Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 year in review

My first year of doing triathlons was amazing.  I logged 76,377 (34 hours) yards swimming, 1733 miles biking (111 hours) and 773 miles running (128 hours).  I'm pretty happy with that.

Here is a recap of my races in 2010.  This is for me, so it may be long.  If you don't want to see pics of a pasty white, middle aged guy, run away.....

Race #1:  St. Louis 1/2 Mary 4/11 - 1:58:21

I talked my friend Craig in to running his first half.  I think he had fun.  It was my second half and I beat my last time by 10 minutes!

Overall rank - 2344/6830

Male rank - 1514/3894
Age group rank - 197/490

Race #2: Effingham IL Sprint 5/16 - 1:21:54 (first tri ever!).
low 50's and raining but I couldn't stop smiling

swim - 10:53 for 1/4 mile (2:29 pace).  I freaked out a little, hyper ventilated then stopped, looked around, reminded myself I was actually doing my first tri, smiled then kept going.

T1 chatting with Cheryl

T1 - 2:00

Coming in to T2

bike - 41:10 for 13 miles (18.95 mph) - not bad for my first bike race ever plus my fingers and toes were numb.

T2 - 1:00

My feet were frozen and they hurt!
 run - 26:53 - 3.1 miles (8:38 pace) - I'm pretty happy with that.

I wasn't last, but it sure looks like it!

Overall rank 46/78 - Missed my goal of top half

Age group rank 7/10 - ditto

What a rush!

Race #3: Carlyle IL Sprint 5/23 - 1:24:25
I was sick from my last race.  I often get colds the week after a race but this was worse.  I had cold sweats the night before.  I figured if I was achy in the morning I would DNS, but I felt ok, just a little worn out.  This race weather was the opposite of last week.  The temp was upper 80's and high humidity.  After the race last week I was thinking of doing an Oly soon.  Not during/after this race.  The run was across a dam was like a sauna.

Ryan and I getting ready to race.  Yep, he is that much taller than me.  I'm 5' 7"  and he is 6" 8" and I was standing on the uphill side :-).   Ryan and I met through a beginner triathlete mentor group.  Cheryl calls him "the guy I met on the Internet" :-).  We did two races together in 2010 and are both signed up for New Orleans 70.3 in April

swim starts can be chaotic
 swim - 12:35 for 547 yards (2:18 pace)

T1 - 2:26

bike - 29:26 for 12.4 miles (18.87 mph)

T2 - 0:56

run - 29:05 for 3.1 miles (9:23 min/mile pace)

Nice big hill to run up after the swim.  I put my goggles and cap in my wet suit sleeve and they fell out as I was running up the hill (I lost them) 
 The run was brutal with the heat. It was out and back across a dam and the rocks on both sides radiated heat on you. The run was flat except for a big hill at the turn around that you could see until you got there. It was a big demotivator!

Overall rank: 21/72 - not bad
Age group rank: 5/12 - met my goal

Race #4: Innsbrooke MO Octomax 6/26 - 1:44:24
I get in to a pre-race funk before just about every race.  I love training but I think the stress of remembering everything, full contact swimming, riding fast in traffic on the road, knowing the run will hurt, etc. all add up to stress for me.  This race was probably the worst for that.   I didn't know one person at this race and had to get up at 4 am or so to drive there.  It was also very hot and humid.  I was dripping sweat just setting up my transition area and I seriously questioned why I race.  I know the answer.  If I didn't sign up to race, I wouldn't train regularly.

This was my first lake swim without a wet suit.  It was a little intimidating and the water was uncomfortably warm.  I did a pre-race swim to help ease my mind.  Overall the swim was fine.  I did get elbowed and took in some water, which was scary.  I stopped and treaded water for a bit to collect myself.

swim - 12:17 for 500 yards (2:28/100 pace)
T1 - 3:20 (we had to run up a long hill)

This bike course had lots of short steep hills.  I hit 41 mph on one of them!  It was really fun.

bike - 58:38 for 18 miles (18.42 mph)
T2 - 1:17

The run was brutally hot.  I remember questioning why anyone would do this as I ran. The woman behind me was working hard to chick me right at the finish.  When I was approaching the finish line all I heard was someone breathing real hard trying to pass me.

run - 28:52 for 3 miles (9:37 pace)

Overall rank - 72/224
Age group rank - 13/25

The sense of accomplishment and feeling alive are incredible after racing.  While racing, I think this is stupid and why would anyone pay money to hurt themselves like this.  A couple days after the race, I signed up for two more......

Race # 5 - New Town tri, St. Charles MO 7/11 - 2:00:30

 I got a really nice surprise for this race. I joked with my teenage daughter the night before the race that she should come watch.  She said yes!  She normally sleeps until noon (or later) and she got up at 5 to go to the race.  We bought coffee and she got a doughnut before the race.  When we got there, she was walking around with the doughnut looking at all the skinny people and she said "I can't eat a doughnut here.  Look at all the fit people!".  She is very thin and could have easily gotten away with it but she threw the doughnut away :-).

She was chatting away and kept asking me what was wrong.  I was too quiet.  I had to explain I was nervous with pre-race jitters. 

It was another hot day.  Such is life in the St. Louis area.
 This was my first time trial start and longest OWS to date.  I did a terrible, absolutely terrible job sighting.

Check out the guy with messed up legs waiting to swim.  I have no idea how he did, but it is very inspirational seeing athletes that don't let disabilities stop them from doing things they love.

swim 22:13  for 1093 yards (2:02/100 pace).  I think there was a current helping us on the long stretch.  I didn't swim 2:02 worthy.

 T1 - 2:00

I was glad to be out of the water and a little disoriented.
 bike 59:28 for 20 miles (20.18 mph)

That is hammering it for me!  I'm happy with 20 mph for my first season.

T2 - 0:59
I seem to have my transitions down, about 2 minutes for T1 and 1 minute for T2.  I'm happy with those times.
This run was brutally hot.  I fought the urge to walk many times.

35:50 for 4 miles (8:58 pace) - not bad considering the heat and I'm just not a fast runner.

I always have the urge to raise my arms when I cross the finish line.  What's up with that?

Overall rank - 252/547
Age group rank - 26/48

Race # 6 - Evergreen Lake Sprint (40k bike leg) Bloomington, IL 7/17 - 2:02:54
 It looks like I never uploaded the pics my friend Annie took and I lost the disc.

<-- arms up again :-)

swim - 13:49 for 550 yards (2:32/100)
T1 - 1:38
bike - 1:19:07 for 26.1 miles (19.78 mph)
T2 - 1:24
run - 26:55 for 3.1 miles (8:39 pace)

Overall - 52/176
Age group - 4/10

I qualified for Age Group Nationals with a top five age group finish!  Truth be told, the faster athletes in my age group raced the Olympic :-).

Race # 7 - St. Charles MO 1/2 Mary 10/3 - 1:55:11 (8:38 pace)

This was my best 1/2 marathon time yet.  I have to admit I was a little disappointed in the time.  It seems like I should be able to run faster given the effort I put out.  Maybe if I didn't have so much stuff in my pockets I could have run faster :-).

<-- Yes I was hurting!



<--  Hands in the air :-)

Overall rank - 797/5983
Age group rank - 141/352

I also volunteered at Ironman 70.3 - Branson in Septemeber.  It was a really cool experience.  I planned to do one Olympic distance race in 2010, but a shoulder overuse injury due to swimming sidelined me from swimming for a while.  Overall I consider 2010 a very solid year and I'm in the best shape of my life.  Hopefully I can keep it up  in 2011.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Week 4 (Recovery week)

I'll start by saying, I like recovery weeks :-).  Many training plans incorporate recovery weeks, often every third or fourth week.  The idea is to build volume or intensity for three weeks then let your body recover on the fourth.  Recovery doesn't mean take the week off or even go super easy, it just means scale it back a bit.  My plan called for eight sbr (swim-bike-run) hours the first week,  nine the second week, ten the third week, and six the recovery week. I didn't quite make those numbers.

I started looking for a mentor group to join on BT this week.  I've been in two groups previously and they were very beneficial for learning about triathlons.  After reading all the bios, I decided what the heck.  I'll give being a mentor a go.  I'm no expert, but I do a lot of studying about triathlon training and I think I'm a good motivator for people.  Besides, there are usually more mentees than mentors, so I'll be helping out.  I'm looking forward to it.  If you are a total newb and want to do a tri, join a group.  Mine should be open this week unless they have enough mentors.  Feel free to join a group with a more experienced mentor.

This week was also Christmas.  Christmas is probably my second favorite holiday after Thanksgiving.  We stayed home this year, only the second time in the last 16 years.  We played board games Christmas Eve and had a blast. If you've never played Apples to Apples, check it out. It's a hoot.  It's also nice waking up in your own bed, getting a trainer ride in, then eating breakfast casserole, cheese logs, cheese spread, cheese, cheese and more cheese.  I cooked a turkey and Cheryl made cheesy potatoes, corn casserole, and peanut butter pie. 


I should probably avoid the scale for a couple days until I work these extra calories off :-).  Anyway, we had a bunch of family over, had a great time visiting, and played board games.

Planned s/b/r hours .9/2.9/2.5
Actual s/b/r hours .5/3.25/2.5

Monday, December 20, 2010

Good Shoulder News (and week 3 recap)

I saw my orthopedic doctor this week. He said I may need to make a decision between surgery and quitting swimming. He ordered an MRI which I did Friday and I had a follow up with him Monday.  He looked at the pics and said he sees no tears or spurs so no reason to jump in to surgery! 

He said it is inflamed and gave me another cortisone shot.  I told him I would like to nurse my way through this season and if it still bothering me this fall, consider surgery then. He said he didn't see anything wrong with going this route. I did have a good swim Wednesday night. My plan was to swim sets until I hit 2500 yards or my shoulder starting hurting, I made it 2200 yards before I called it quits. That is the most I have swum since July. My shoulder was pretty sore when I got home so I iced it and it seems fine now. I was reading through some old blog posts and when my injury first started, my left shoulder hurt more than my right shoulder. My left one has no pain or discomfort anymore, so there is hope I can ride this through with no surgery.

Week three is in the books and overall it went well.  I missed two of nine workouts which is typical for me.  It's all part of the balancing game.  I missed one run because I just didn't feel like getting up at 5 am and I missed one swim because we went Christmas caroling with the neighbors.  We sounded horrible, but it was fun :-)

My long ride on Saturday was my longest trainer ride yet, two hours and twenty minutes.  Not a problem mentally, it was actually nice.  I watched some history channel on tv then when Josh woke up I watched him play Call of Duty.  The history channel was showing WWII in color.  War is horrific, and while the Germans were bad, the US did some pretty nasty things too.  I'm glad I never had to serve and really appreciate those who have.

My long run was Sunday.  I violated one running volume rule and my long run was about 50% of my weekly volume (it shouldn't be more than 33%).  It was chilly out, overcast and damp.  With no wind it would have been perfect.  When I turned in to the wind, I was instantly cold.  I need to find a wind proof, breathable jacket and pant set.

Today I'm pretty darn sore.  That was my biggest volume week in quite a while capped off with the longest ride and run I've done in a while.  It doesn't help that the week before I missed 8 days of training.  Sometimes it feels good to be sore and this is one of them.  I know I did some good work outs over the weekend.

Planned s/b/r hours

Actual s/b/r hours

I need to add in some core work.......

Monday, December 13, 2010

Back in the U.S.S.R

Well, the former Soviet Union anyway.  My last Moldova blog has more pictures and info about the country.  It was a very productive trip and we were treated well.  We got a better taste of Moldovan life by venturing out on our own to a couple restaurants.  The food was excellent all week.  They really know how to cook well.  Everything I had was tender and not overdone with good flavor.

I never got a good night sleep while I was there, waking up about 3 am every morning and having trouble going back to sleep.  I didn't have nearly that much trouble on the last trip.  When I returned Saturday evening, I went to bed about 9 and woke up about 8 and I slept like a snoring rock.  It was great!

I didn't get any training in while I was gone, but I now feel comfortable enough over there that I will be able to go out for a run on my next trip.  The same thing happened to me when I was in Brazil.  It took a couple trips until I felt comfortable going out for walks by myself which then led to being able to train (running).  Funny, the first time I walked in Brazil, I felt like everyone was staring at the strange American until someone stopped me to ask for directions in Portuguese.  That's when I knew they didn't know that I was from there.

Here is a cool picture of a house near where we were working.

One strange thing happened on the way back.  We checked in with Air Moldova at 4:30 am and they issued me a ticket for the first leg of my trip.  The guys I traveled with received tickets for the first two legs.  So when we got to Frankfurt I stopped by a Lufthansa service desk and asked for a ticket.  No problem, they issue me tickets for the last two legs of my trip.  Everything is cool until about 20 minutes before my flight and I looked at my tickets.  They weren't mine!  I received tickets for Mrs. Susan Michael.  What??? When I received the tickets the guy must have typed my baggage claim ticket number wrong, but not noticing I'm a Mr. and the tickets are for a Mrs., really?  I went to the gate checkin and they printed the proper ticket so no big deal.

Next topic - communication.  I've been thinking about this for a while and noticing it more and more.  I've been in several conversations where someone starts to discuss or explain something they have recently experienced and before they get a couple sentences in to the explanation, someone jumps in and says me too!  I had the same thing, blah, blah, blah, the only thing is, the first person was talking about a totally different experience that happened to start off with the same subject line.  Since I've noticed it more and more, I suspect I've been doing the same thing so I'm now making an effort to let people finish what they want to talk about whether I've had a similar experience or not.  I've seen this at work, home, and out with the guys, so I conclude it's prevalent.

Next topic - my Black Friday order from ZootSports.  I received this email 12/7.

Dear Mike,

Unfortunately your recent order has been canceled due to unavailable inventory at the time of purchase. As a result, we will be refunding your credit card in full for the cost of your order.

I sincerely apologize for this inconvenience, which was the result of inclement weather that forced a two day closure to our warehouse and offices.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

My response 12/12.


I have to say I’m disappointed about this. I was pretty excited about the deal I got on November 26th. I hope the lack of inventory wasn’t because my inventory wasn’t pulled before your warehouse sale December 5th. I’m also surprised my order was cancelled with no offer for money off a future purchase or something. I understand you were probably overwhelmed by the Black Friday sale, but the tri gear market is pretty competitive and I don’t consider this good customer service.

Last topic - week 2 of 70.3 training.  Not so good.  I was out of the country for 8 days at a hotel with no workout room and I was chicken to run outside (not to mention I was really tired).  It gets worse.  I went to the ortho doc today and he said I likely have a decision to make.  He thinks I'll need surgery if I want to keep swimming.  I have an MRI later this week.

Planned swim/bike/run (in hours)


Monday, December 6, 2010

70.3 training week 1

Week 1 and I'm already having serious training changes mostly due to work.  I did miss one morning run, but I also made two of them.  I'm not a morning person so getting up at 5:15 is a struggle for me.

I set up a custom plan on BT and am modifying it by doing Jorge's winter cycling plan except combining workout three and four each week.  So my ideal schedule is

Mon - rest
Tue AM - short run/shoulder PT
Tue PM - Bike
Wed AM - medium run
Wed PM - swim
Thur AM - short run/shoulder PT
Thur PM - Bike
Friday PM - swim
Saturday - long bike or run
Sunday - long run or bike

Don't worry, life or laziness will keep me from doing 9 workouts just about every week, starting with week 1.  For week 1, I missed my Wednesday AM run.  Besides having a tough time getting up before work, I find three days in a row with two workouts a day to be tiring or maybe it's the fact that I have three leg workouts in a 36 hour span.  I would also like to run more often and shorter with most runs.  I know, I know,  I just need to suck it up (buttercup) :-).

So besides missing my Wed AM run, I missed both my long ride and run this weekend.  I ended up traveling pretty much the entire weekend.  I left my house at 9:30 am Saturday and arrived in Eastern Europe at 6:30 pm Sunday.  I took Friday afternoon off to run errands and pack (and work out).  I managed an hour on the trainer followed by a 6.75 mile run.  It wasn't a true brick (where you immediately start running after changing shoes).  I took about a half an hour to change clothes, get a drink, change shoes, check email, etc.  So it wasn't a brick but it was a nice medium length run (actually long at this point in training) on tired legs.  It actually felt good.  It was weird because my legs were tired when I started and didn't get much more tired during the course of the run.

SBR Plan in hours

Actual SBR hours

Not bad considering I missed two weekend days of training.

Oh, my right shoulder still hurts when I swim.  I see the ortho next Monday and predict another cortisone shot.