Friday, May 30, 2008

2008 Season - 1/3 in the books, six months till the big show

Here's what is instore for the yellowdart for the rest of the 2008 season! Love the fact that only 1/3 of the season is over...Bring on the heat! Look forward to seeing everyone at the races...

Phase I: Build/Re-base

June 17th - Tri Latta Triathlon - Charlotte, NC - 750m, 17mi, 5k

July 13th - Chattanooga Waterfront - Chattanooga, TN - 1500m, 25mi, 10k

July 27th - Charlottesville International Triathlon - Charlottesville, VA - 1500, 40k, 10k

Phase II: Half-Iron Focus

August 10th - Sports Barn Sprint - Chattanooga, TN - 400m, 12mi, 2mi

Sept 14th - Duke Liver Half-Ironman - Raliegh, NC - 1.2mi, 56mi. 13.1

Phase III: Peaking and Tweaking

Oct. - Olympic Distance~

Nov. 8th - Clearwater 70.3 - Clearwater, FL - 1.2mi, 56mi, 13.1mi

*Not included are running races, hot airballoon races, Connect Four Tournaments, SuperSmash Brother Marathons and all night rave parties

- 5k,10k,and 100k dates to follow

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Attack of the Angry Beavers

Yesterday was my first day back to class. Lame, I know but it wasn't all that bad. After waking up at my normal (alright abnormal by normal people standards) 6:00am, I headed out for the trails for a quick eight with some neuromuscular intervals. All in all felt great but still do not have that top end speed that I was feeling leading into Florida 70.3

I got to school early hoping to jump into a Yoga class but thanks to a poor showing the class was canceled. Oh well, maybe I will have better luck today with the class. I decided to head down to the Convo and shoot the breeze with Dr. Dumke before class. Everyone was headed out to the ACSM conference in Indy so there was a lot of nervous energy floating around since no one had started getting ready to leave until that morning.

Class was ok. I was drooling on myself about fifteen minutes in but woke up later only to be reminded why I was falling asleep.

F=ma is so exciting. I think the only thing I learned was why Superman can fly on Earth. Clue: He doesn't fly, he jumps!

After class, Kristen and I jumped in her car aka Seymour (sp?) and drove out to Price Lake. It was raining so we parked ourselves next to the lake and napped/read till the weather cleared. In a moment of sure procrastination (still cannot turn on my brain from my short summer break, aka reading fifty pages of biomechanics is tough) we made the call to go trekking down a creek looking for the beavers. Instead of finding the beavers we found ourselves on the wrong side of the creek, stuck in a rainstorm and trudging through thick rhododendron groves. As soon as we had seen a snake and were covered in mud we decided that the beavers were not happy and made the call to try and find our way out of the beaver kingdom.
Last night was spent riding my bike trainer and studying : (
and eating : )

Dear Diary,
I got a job working in the biochemistry labs this summer! More on this to follow...Got to head off to class and the pool!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Last Day of Summer

Well, its finally here THE LAST DAY OF SUMMER BREAK!!!

The Last Day of Summer Break...(sigh, tear)

For normal people this would come around August but not for the study types like myself. School kicks up full swing tomorrow with a round of Biomechanics Labs and Biochemistry early in the morning. Oh boy!

I still can't believe that my summer break is over. Lame! At least my brother is still in school. To kick off my final day of summer, I slept in till 7:15am then jumped on my bike trainer for two hours while watching the Today Show. I know I am that cool (see like my post about being an old man below) After 2x20min z3 it was time to answer emails, phone calls and the occasional bird calls. Then off to the pool for the first round of swim practice, 4k of drilling and kicking...someone shoot me in the head!

I had to pick up my books afterwards. The worst news of the day came when I found out that I HAD TO BUY MY BOOKS! I never wanted a biomachanics text book but guess I have one now and I have to say it is kind of nice : ( I don't know how to make a crying smiley face or I would.

Well, I'm off to finish my final day of summer break (I know I keep saying that but I am bummed out) with another swim workout and some light water jogging! Sweat!

Tomorrow I start in the labs...I am now officially a Tri Nerd (the tri geek title is only reserved for thundercats and twitchers). I am looking forward though to having more time to train and recover. I think this will make a huge difference in my performances over the next couple of months! Hopefully, I can learn to swim because I am tired of treading water.

Until next summer break

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I think I am starting to come around after a long week of limping around on swollen feet and sore hamstrings. Yesterday, I went out and ran a firetower simply to see run through giant flower filled fields and lush green shaded trials. Maybe went a little heavy on the adjectives but regardless it was spectacular! The firetower run starts at the parking lot at Bass Lake and proceeds to climb for five and half unrelenting miles to the firetower atop one of the local mountains (elv. ~4800). My plan was to go out and jog the route. However, by the time I hit the halfway point at the Manor House I was on record pace and I had stopped to let numerous horses pass. I figured what the hell, it is a pretty day and I feel good lets hold this pace for the remainder of the run. From Manor House the trail pitches sharply upward for about a mile and a quarter then dumps out into a panoramic field filled with wildflowers over looking Grandfather, Beech and Sugar Mountains. The trail then winds its way up around some steep switchbacks for a few more miles before summitting at the tower. All told, without pushing it, I shattered my old firetower record by two and half minutes.

The highlight of the entire run though came on the way back down the mountain. First I passed a Lady Slipper (it is an endangered orchid) on the side of the trail. The best part came shortly afterwards as I came in contact with two horse drawn slays (I know its summer but anything is possible in Boone). These buggies were each being drawn by two very small, skinny horses that were STRUGGLING to get up the mountain. It quickly became apparent why they were hurting so badly. In each of the buggies sat perched two giant women who could not understand why their horses were going so slowly up the hill. As they sat there cursing at the horse to go quicker I really felt badly for the horse especially since I had just ran up the trail it was trying to get up. What has America come to when our definition of hiking and enjoying the great outdoors involves strapping our lazy boys to back of some small skinny horse and having that horse drag our fat asses up a mountain. Sad...but funny none the less.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Like an Old Man

I am back in Boone town 'training' again following an excruciating car ride back from Florida.

After the race I had the privilege of spending 90 minutes in the medical tent receiving two IV bags (probably should have gotten a third) and limping back to my hotel to tend to my trashed feet. This seems to be a pattern of mine following a race; black out at the finish line, spend time in the medical tent, then limp around on swollen feet for a couple of days. Hum...can't be good but at least I do not have to race like that every weekend. For the record my finishing blood pressure was 104/53 (my normal is 118/76) with a resting heart rate of around 100 bpm (my normal is around 46 bpm).

The night following the race was terrible. I could not sleep thanks in part to my cramped up legs and to the fact that I was still extremely dehydrated. After three hours of sleep and four Epsom salt baths it was time for me to get up and go swimming. I got in about 1500yds and felt great all things considered. However, with the amount of external and internal blistering on my feet it was a weird sensation trying to flip turn and push off the wall. Marc corrected my stroke which turned out to be more of a kicking problem and a slight over rotation on my right side (thx to the watchful eye of Zach).

Then it was time to hit the road for eight hours. Leaving the Training Center I really did not have too much soreness but by the time we parked in my driveway I could barely walk to the door. Countless Epsom salt baths and few massages later I can now walk like an old man.

Training has sucked the last couple of days but I think it will be ok. I have a month before my next race and about six and half months till Clearwater...I have logged good running and swimming mileage (should hit 65mi running and 15grand in the pool) but I am pissed it is taking me this long to make a full recovery. Ran yesterday at Moses Cone. Rude awaking back to 'altitude' and Boone weather. 45degrees with 25mph wind gusts left me wishing for some Florida heat. Still have a lot of residual soreness in my calf and quads but seems that my shoulders and lower back have fully recovered.

Class starts back on Tuesday. Thank god having time to train and fully recover is weird. Plus not being stressed out about school leaves me with very little to worry about. Got to go eat!

Until next time stay clear of the thundercats and twitchers.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Florida 70.3 Race Report - "A Pure Guts Race"

Leading into this race all the stars seemed to line up perfectly. Getting down to Florida six days before the race payed off tremendously allowing my body to acclimatize to the heat and humidity plus recover mentally and physically from the last few weeks of school. I knew the course, my taper went well and I remained confident in my fitness.

I woke up about thirty minutes before my alarm was to go off on race morning (3:30am). Showered, shaved and ate my oatmeal breakfast. I drank 16oz of Gu20 before I got in the car. Having packed the night before, we were able to simply walk down stairs and get in the car. I wanted to get the bus drop off at about 5:40am thinking that would give me enough time to finalize my transition area and get a good warm up in. We stopped for coffee and by the time we got to the bus it was 5:55am. Oh well, I figured I didn't need that long of a warm up anyway. Standing in line I got to shake hands and talk to Craig Alexander, who wished me good luck in his sexy Australian accent. The bus ride was smooth. Kept sipping on my second bottle of Gu20 as I strolled into transition area around six o'clock. I had a great transition spot. I made sure everything was dialed in before I left transition. My tires were 145-150psi since I thought the road would be hot and the tires might expand on me a little. I made sure all my nutrition was secure and left transition around 6:10am with about twenty minutes left before my wave was scheduled to hit the water. Ran a few above LT pickups to get my heart rate up, stretched and walked down the beach start. Waiting on my wave to get into the water I ran a few more strides to stay loose until the race announcer called us down. I felt I had a great starting spot. I was on the far outside in line with the first buoy. All the way until the gun went off I really did not get nervous. I simply remained focused on my game plan for the swim and listened for the cannon.

Once the race was underway, I ran as far as I could out into the lake and started to dolphin dive. I think I got in two dolphin dives before I abandoned the notion that I could dolphin dive and started to swim. I did not swim all out to the first buoy as I normally do in a race. I knew it was going to be a long day and I wanted to make sure I got a good position in the swim without having to red line my heart rate too early. On the way out to the first turn buoy I swam alone. I saw a good pack forming to my right but they were about 30m off the buoy and I was swimming slightly slower than them but in a straight line, buoy to buoy. So I decided to hold my line for now thinking I would intercept them at the first left hand turn. Once rounding the turn buoy and swimming over the top of a few of the slower swimmers from the previous wave, I found some feet wearing a green swim cap (aka my age-group) and stuck to his hip like glue till we made the second turn. I knew that I only had about 750m left in the swim and at this point felt comfortablely discomfortable. I put my head down and started to hammer for the shore. The guys feet I had been drafting off of fell off pace so I left him for open water. To my right once again the same pack of swimmers had formed and they were still about 30m off the buoy line. I made the executive decision to swim diagonally and intercept them thinking that swimming in that pack would save some energy for the bike. However, by the time I bridged over to their group I realized that they were not swimming as efficiently as I would like so I made the second executive decision to bridge back over to buoy and swim alone for the final 500m. I dolphin dived twice to get out of the water and clocked my watch at 34:50. I was about four minutes slower than I thought I should have been but I didn't panic having learned my lesson earlier in the year at Collegiate Nationals. Instead I gathered myself up and sprinted through transition area. I threw on my race belt, helmet and sun shades and was off. Unlike Collegiate Nationals, I had no trouble flying mounting my bike.

I knew I had the fitness, nutrition and race preparation to hammer the bike course. Right from the get go I start to peel back time on my rivals. My plan was to ingest a Gu by mile 8 and finish my first bottle by the first aid station at mile 22. I crushed the first twenty five miles splitting a few minutes under an hour! The aid station was not at mile 22 like promised rather it snuck up on me early at mile 15~ no matter though by mile 15 I had already eaten my Gu and started in my second Gu as well as already finished my first bottle of liquid CHO. I slowed and grabbed a bottle of water and refilled my nutrition before discarding the bottle within the aid station. The long straight aways on the bike course seemed to fly by. I could see my competition ahead and one by one I set my cross hairs on the next man in line and powered towards him. At the first turn around on the bike course I clocked on my watch that I was around 5-7 minutes down on my main competition. By the second turn around I had put three minutes into them and was now down around four minutes back. Their group looked solid though as they were sharing the pace setting really well. I came up on a decent cyclist around mile 27 or so that I thought could possibly share some of the work with me since once I passed him he re passed me back. This pissed me off since I am not used to being behind anyone on a race. I decided to do what I do best and be a front runner. I re attacked and he would then re attack. The hardest portion of the course was the section of the course I was most familiar with. I remember laughing at how easily I was biking up the hills, maintaining around 24mph! I ate my third Gu right before I came into the second aid station, which unlike the first was at mile 34 where it should have been. At this point I was electric. I started in on my red bull to get some extra sugar and settle my stomach with the carbonation. That is when it started to rain. It only rained a few drops but it must of poured up the road. I felt badly for the other riders but it was their fault for swimming so quickly. The guy (Harry or Howy from what I could make out on his name tag) kept attacking off the front. He was a big thunder cat so I figured what the hell let the guy have his day because once we get to the run I will skip past him. The only big hill came at mile ~36 and as was planned I simply eased my gearing and cruised up it. Once I got to the top however I put out a big surge to maintain speed and crushed through the next few rollers. At that point Harry ThunderCat was on the side of the road throwing up. I felt badly for him but he was going way harder than he needed to up the hills. My fitness really took over. I only had good thoughts. I kept my arms loose and my shoulders relaxed. At mile forty I ate my fourth Gu and finished my second water and second bottle of Gu20. I checked my watch and realized that if I maintained 25mph I could get back to transition by 2hours and 30min which would make up for my poor swim. I put my head down once again and went to work. The miles ticked by. It was misting and I was riding into a decent headwind but I was still holding 25mph at about 95rpms. I was really working hard at this point and made the call to eat my last Gu around mile 48 instead of waiting to mile 50. There was an aid station but I assessed my nutritional needs and desided I was good with what I had and need to not break my rhythm on the bike. I also turned around realized that I had a new thundercat drafting off me. I did not react verbally but rather put the throttle down for a mile and turned around to no longer see the him. That made me happy. Coming into the transition area I was right on target, having maintained the necessary 25mph speed limit for the last 16mi. I only drank water for the last six miles since I knew as soon as I got started onto the run I was going to be ingesting calories. All told I drank two waters (32oz), 2 Gu20 (32oz) and 12oz of Redbull and ate 4.75 Gu's. I clocked 2:23 and some change from my watch.

My second transition was the best of the year. I came off the bike around 15 or 16mph right behind one of my main rivals. I was stoked having made up almost seven minutes on him during the bike ride. I slipped on my shoes, grabbed my fuel belt and started the 13.1 death march.

Mi.1 - 5:37
I really really tried to run the first mile conservatively and since it was on pavement it felt super slow. I ate my Gu as planned but the aid station was not at mile one like promised so I drank from my fuel belt.

Mi.2 - 6:25
Since the first mile was fast I knew I had some time so I stopped and used the bathroom. I was severely dehydrated. I couldn't believe it since I felt like I was not sweating on the bike and I had ingested over a gallon of liquid. My left knee/quad started to cramp so I drank some Red bull for the simple sugars. I threw water from the aid stations to try to cool myself but I was starting to overheat a little.

Mi.3 - 6:14
This was a good split for me. I even stopped and stretched my lower back. My stride did not feel rushed. I knew I was running slower than I wanted but I was passing the Pro's so I figured everyone was running slowly. I simply did not panic and kept a good efficient foot strike. I ate my second Gu at mile three.

Mi.4 - 6:25
Coming into this mile it must have rained because I entered into a sauna. I really started to hurt right then. I had some bad thoughts about having two more laps like this left but I knew I couldn't focus on those. I got the time split that I was still four minutes down. I did the math and knew I needed a mile a minute to get him on this lap. No problem.

Mi.5 - 6:29
Craig Alexander dropped out. Kinda of a buzz kill since he was one of my favorite triathletes. I was stuffing my jersey full of ice as my GI tract was shutting down. I knew I was not digesting fluid or CHO at this point so I made the call to keep my core temp regulated the best I could and make every effort to get to the line.

Mi.6 - 6:24
Heat was really really making my low back and feet cramp. I got in my third Gu but it took me till about mile seven to fully get it down. I think I had finished the water/red bull in my fuel belt at this point and decided to throw away the bottles since they were extra weight.

Mi.7 - 6:36
I was making up time on my competitors and I knew it. I started to think positive thoughts. I knew I only had one more lap left but it was such a bummer running by the finishing shoot a second time. I still was regulating my core temp with all the ice I had stuffed down my jersey. I knew I was cool since the ice was not melting at that point.

Mi.8 - 6:38
Cardiovascular drift started to set in and I had some trouble regulating my heart rate. At this point I focused on the fact that if I was feeling this badly I knew my competition whether in front of me or behind me was feeling even worse.

Mi.9 - 6:46
Last Gu. Choked it down. My left side started to go limp for some reason and I was leaning heavily on left leg. I kept trying to straighten myself up the muscles on my left side were just seemingly shutting down. I focused on technique and keeping a good working foot strike. I shut my mind down at this point. I just turned it off and told to do what I needed to do to get to the finish line.

Mi.10 - 6:59
I don't remember this mile.

Mi.11 - 6:56
I don't remember this mile.

Mi.12 - 7:27
Last aid station, my left side finally gave way and I collapsed. I knew it was coming for quite some time but when it did I just hit the dirt. Annoying. I remember the medical people trying to help me but I yelled at them because I was afraid of getting disqualified. I willed myself up and went chasing after my Clearwater spot. There was a guy with a 23 written on his leg and I was really scared that he was ahead of me because I knew I could not sprint. I tucked in behind him and as we rounded the final bend he turned right to start his third lap and I turned left toward the finishing tape.

Mi.13.1 - 7:32
It was surreal. I remember collapsing across the finishing tape. My legs were giving way about 50m out from the finishing line and finally gave fully out once I hit the line. I left it all out there and on that day it was good enough for a first place finish.