Friday, August 31, 2007

Why oh why?

So I was asked why do an Ironman? That's a good question to answer. For one, I used to watch the Kona Ironman when I was kid and always thought how crazy hard that must be. I even remember the Magnum PI episode where he does the Ironman.

I mean to push your body to the maximum for that long of an event. It's just epic to think about. I never really pursued it because I just felt I had no chance with the swim.

As I was running more and more, I decided that a runner really can't be called a runner unless they have a marathon on their resume' of accomplishments. I don't know why I think that but a marathon is the ultimate endurance test of a runner. Back in 1998, I decided that it was time to go for that. I decided I wanted to go under 3 hours because even though I wasn't world class fast it would be good to say 2 hrs something when talking to fellow runners.

I used a training plan and stuck to it no matter what. I almost died on my 30 mile run in the 95 degree heat with just one bottle of water. I was young and naive but I managed to get to the starting line in 1998. I ran the marathon and suffered during the last 5 miles but in those miles I told myself to just suck it up. I didn't train for 8 months and suffer to not make my time. I made my time exactly.

I've done 2 additional marathons since then each of them worst than the one before with the last one pushing me over the edge to cycling full time. It was just a couple of years ago that Elena wanted me to run around the yard with her that I decided I needed to start running again. I wanted to be able to keep up with Elena.

I thought it might be fun to try a couple of duathlons. It was hard and painful but it was fun. So I started thinking back to the Ironman. I started reading more about how all kinds of people suck it up and complete the event. I could suck up and complete what I believe is the ultimate of ultimate endurance events. To say that you've done an Ironman just means so much to me. I mean I'm still in awe of people who have done it and I want to be part of that club.

It's all about pushing yourself and yourself alone. It's not really about anyone else but you need support from everyone else in your life in order to complete the goal. I talked to my friends and Amber about it. Amber said I should do it. So...I'm gonna make the attempt.

I've been trying my best to overcome my weakness in the swim but it's tough going. I never really knew how to swim at all. I never put my face into the water to blow bubbles until just 2 weeks ago. It's a major learning experience and scares me. I mean if you're tired and can't finish a marathon you start to walk, maybe sit down but you don't have the chance of drowning.

I'm becoming more calm in the pool as I swim practically everyday. Today, was the first attempt and continous swimming for a length of time. I swam 30 minutes without stopping. I was quite happy as my swim pace stayed constant throughout. I keep reading and watching online videos to try to help with my swim technique but it's still new.

Anyway, so I decided to do an Ironman to say I've done one. My reason is because I want to show that I can endure the entire distance. I can't wait to cross that finish line but it's a long ways off. I just need to stay focused when the pain and suffering sets in during the training and during the event.

Well off to bed for me...I get to sleep in til 6am tomorrow...Woohoo!

Ironman Canada Registration Part 4

So I wake up about 4am and there is already at least 50 or so people in line with more coming every so often. It's amazing. I wanted to get registered early so I could secure lodging for next year and hit the road. It's a good 9 hours of driving and with work on Tuesday wanted to get a little rest.

The folks from Portland Tri arrived at 5am and they were only 10 people or so back from me so I decided to drop back with them to help pass the time.

Devon brought his sleeping bag and figured he catch a few Zzzs. Jeff, Don and I were just chatting about various things when this guy with a dog walks meanders in front of us. Jeff asks the guy if he could get his dog to lick Devon's face. The guy thought Jeff was a lunatic but we convinced to get the dog to try. The dog started nuzzling up to Devon's face in the sleeping bag but didn't quite go all way before Devon woke up. We were dying laughing and it definitely was one of the funniest moments of the trip for me.

By the time 9am rolled around, there looked to be at least 700 people in line to register. Thank god Ironman Canada has a nice procedure to really shuttle people quickly through the process. I think we waited 5 minutes before I got my registration voucher. Starting September 5th we head out to a website and type our confirmation number in and voila we can register.

I said goodbye to the guys and immediately went off to try to find a hotel. I had stopped by this hotel that was across the street from where I stayed earlier in the trip and it looked decent. My mission was to find accomodations for myself, Elena, Amber and Joe. I figured 2 rooms but this particular hotel had a extra large room with 3 beds so I snagged that since all the hotels required a 5 day stay. I was gonna be there for 5 days but Amber, Joe and Elena may want to come later so it was perfect. Plus the manager was quite nice and seemed really supportive of the Ironman.

I got some gas with my debit card and started the long drive home. There wasn't much traffic on the road in Canada so I was making great time until a cop decided to show up about 20 minutes from the border. So I had to drive the speed limit til the final exit before the border. I turned onto the road to head into the US and hit a 3 mile car backup. It was insane. We'd move like 30 feet then stop for 5 minutes and then move. By the time I got thru, I had waited over 90 minutes. Ugh...I was pissed as it seemed most of the people in line were Canucks. I wanted a special US citzen lane, dammit!!

I got across the border and needed to get gas. My debit card was immediately rejected. WTF!! Luckily I had cash so I paid for the gas and proceeded to head home.

Because of the delay at the border, my trip was slotting into perfect 5pm Seattle rush hour. Oh great and to top that off, President Bush was in Seattle and had shutdown one the major freeways during the rush hour. It took me another 90 minutes just to get through the rush hour. Lame luck as usual with me and traffic.

I finally got through and kept driving. I called the bank since I had nothing else to do to find out why my debit card wasn't working. It seems that they put a freeze on it because of the charges not being around where I live. Next time I travel I'm suppose to call them so it doesn't happen again. I guess they're over protective now with all the identity theft going on.

The trip was a complete success on the grand scale as I have my registration, got to see an Ironman close-up and actually obtained valuable info on the bike course.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

IM Canada Registration Part 3

So I wake up about 5:30AM on Ironman Sunday. I check out of my hotel and head down to the start area to watch the swim. Later in the afternoon, I had a volunteer position that consisted of racking bikes after the people finished the bike portion of the course.

All the swim buoys were out in the lake and since it's one loop it looked quite scary. It was so far away. Crazy far. I just hope I can get my swim in shape to actual not drown. I'm pretty confident about the bike and run but that swim is just massive.

I scope out a spot to watch the start of the race. The pros start 15 minutes before everyone else in order to give the best chance to go fast and not have to worry about getting kicked or punched in the swim. They start to warm up in the water and I notice just how smooth their swim strokes are. It's a thing of beauty compared to my flailing walrus stroke.

There's mini-cannon that singles the start of the pros and they're off. They're cruising when I notice one woman pro is stopped and treading water. I'm really scared. If a pro is having trouble, what am I gonna do. Finally this particular woman starts doing backstroke. Oh my...I guess I better practice that in case I'm about ready to drown from sucking in water.

The rest of the field gets to the edge of the lake for their start. It's a massive amount of humanity. 2700 strong..the cannon goes off again and they're on their way to a long day. It's crazy the amount of arms going everywhere. There are people spread out everywhere.

The pros take about 50 minutes to complete the 2.4 miles while the fastest normal person in the field is about 56 minutes. I get a nice place right by the transition area to see them coming out of the water, taking off their wetsuits and getting their bike helmets on before taking off on the bike.

JonnyO gets out of the water 2nd overall. He's a male pro who posts on the Slowtwitch forums and is real helpful. He's from Penticton so this is his local race. The first person out of the water was 2 minutes in front but with the bike being so long I assume he can pick up the time no problem.

The normal people or age groupers as they are called in Ironman circles start to finish the swim. The first swimmer out of the water just happens to be a swim instructor the announcer tells us. More and more people start to finish and the transition area gets real crowded. I make a mental note not to worry about going into the "change tent" and just getting my helmet, glasses and any food right out in the grass area when I finish.

The race has official cut-off times for each event or you get taken out of the overall race completely. The swim has to be finished in 2 hrs and 20 minutes. The clock was ticking as people were slowly still approaching the finish. It looked like just a couple of folks didn't make the cut-off. This is totally sucky because they were so close but that's just how it goes. Brutal.

I meet up with Don, Jeff and Devin who are also up there to sign up for next year and from Portland. We decide to go get some breakfast. Everything is totally packed because everyone watching decides that would be good as well. We head into this little restaurant called the Capital. They are charging $9.95 Canadian for a breakfast buffet. I take a look at the buffet and say well that's not really worth it so I skip breakfast. They finish their breakfast and we slowly make our way back to the main finish area.

My scheduled volunteer job started at noon and went til 5pm. Basically, I'd be in the bike area with a bunch of other folks. The athletes would come in from their 112 mile or 180km if you're the rest of the world bike and basically throw us their bikes as they went to gear up for the marathon.

At certain times, there was easily 20 or so athletes coming in all at once. Our crew was pretty efficient so nothing got too out of hand. We did have a few injuries as people couldn't quite catch a 20mph moving bike with no driver. We got to eat some Domino's pizza, gatorade and cookies while we were doing all of this.

Besides seeing all the top pros come flying in, one of the highlights was seeing Sister Madonna Buder come into the transition area. It's just amazing at her age. They had announced earlier in the day that there were over 500 athletes who were over the age of 50. The other strange thing when you think about is the overall winner in the men's pro division who basically tore up the course did the entire bike segment without any speed/power feedback. His bike didn't have a computer on it at all or a speed pick-up that I saw. Just all by feel....amazing.

The cut-off time for the bike was 5:30pm. Our head pooba, Kurt let us walk up the bike course finish to help cheer people on to make that cut-off. We were screaming our brains out as people only had 2 minutes to go before their day would be done. 5:30 came and went. I saw only one biker come in after that and basically be denied to continue. I really couldn't watch and left the area. I'm sure there were a few more denied as well. Talk about heart breaking.

On the bike it's you against the wind and the wind was fierce Sunday. You're basically pushing your body right to a limit and you miss the cut-off by a couple of minutes. With my personality, I would probably go postal on someone or something if that happens to me.

After a bit, we went over to the finish area. This is a crazy place. They have bleachers line up along the last 100 meters of the race and they are stacked with people cheering each and every one of the finishers as they come in. The announcer is talking 24/7 and personally greeting each finisher with those all important words, ", you are an Ironman!". People finish by themselves, they sometimes bring their family down the finish chute, dogs, and even what look to be like 6 month old babies. They wave their country's flag. The whole experience is just incredible.

I was pretty tired so I didn't stay for the last finishers right up until midnight. I wanted to get a little sleep before the long drive on Monday. I wasn't able to find a hotel for Sunday night so I figured since they're would be line campers for the Monday registration I'd just do that as well. Luckily, I was able to secure a spot close to the line with my car. I slept in the Escape which wasn't that bad as I could almost stretch out fully.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

IM Canada Registration Trip Part 2

So on Saturday morning, the plan was to meet up with Miranda ( ) and a couple of her friends to ride the bike course. She had done a couple of Ironmans before including Canada so knew the course. It was a brisk morning probably low 50s but only high clouds so it was going to get warm. I brought 4 bottles of cytomax, a ton of powergel and some clif blocks. I was going to try this stuff to get a handle on my nutrition needs as I've always bonked on every marathon I've done. There were 4 of us to start, Miranda on a nice P2 blue Cervelo with SRAM power meter, Colin on a Argon road frame and 1 other guy who was nursing a sore knee so dropped off early. I'm horrible with names and he was gone before I could really commit his name to memory. Oops..

The course is quite fast to start with as it's a gradual downhill. I kept thinking to myself we're gonna have to go back up sometime. We had a slight tail cross wind on the way out.

I'm so glad I didn't try to ride the course by myself or I would've been lost for sure. There was this little jog on this atrocious rode with a nice sized hill in it to really get your legs warmed up. Luckily the rest of the first 45 miles was flat/slightly downhill with numerous sections on brand new smooth pavement.

We hit the start of Richter pass and I was expecting the worst. It was a piece of cake. Well it wasn't so easy but it wasn't super hard. The main thing was there were basically 4 ups with down hills in between so you got some rest. The ups were basically 6% so you could spin nicely in a 25 which I will use come race day. We got to the top, regrouped and were flying down the back side. It was nice and fast although the wind had started to pick up a little. We finished the down and that's where the "rollers" started. That's what Colin and Miranda called them. I call them killer little hills. They were basically 4% grades for about 3 minutes of climbing each. These really sapped my legs and come race day I have to real careful here not to blow my entire race.

We made it past the last roller and then the massive head wind kicked in. It was at least 20mph right in our face. This lasted through the little out and back section and up til our 2nd stop of the day for nutrition. The out and back section with the head wind is right about 70 miles and really a mental hurdle to overcome. Again, it was nice to experience once without being totally shocked into submission come race day.

We started our slow climb up Yellow Lake Pass and the road changed enough direction that we had a nice tailwind. This climb is tougher than Richter not just because it comes at mile 90 or so but it's a little steeper and there really aren't complete rest sections.

We all made it to the top and regrouped for the what was easily the fastest descent I've ever been on. It makes the descent at Mt. Bachelor seem short. This is a nice spot to really be able to refresh the legs and make up time from the earlier part of the ride. It takes you to about 15 miles left to go which is basically flat with some little rollers as you head back into Penticton.

We finished the ride and I wasn't completely trashed although there were 3 of us trading pulls with various spots of rest. I think I could've done it on my own with a little more training in my legs. Of course the key is to be able to get off the bike and hit the marathon course at a fast pace to make up for my slow swim and medium bike. We'll see...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

IM Canada Registration Trip Part 1

So here's the first part of a 4 part registration trip series. Why 4 parts well because I'm a slacker and need my sleep. I can only manage 1 day per day. So basically, I packed up the car Thursday night so I could just wake up and head to the gym. Of course, I had trouble sleeping because I kept waking up and packing one last thing.

I woke up at 4:30AM and went to due my pool workout. I ended up having a pretty good day and swam my longest so far. A whopping 900 yards...whoa! I'm getting more efficient but overall still slow. I decided instead of going for a long run just to cruise a simple 30 minutes on the treadmill since I was immediately starting my 9+ hour road trip up to Canada.

I hit the road at 6:30AM. I had timed it perfectly to hit Seattle right in the middle of rush hour traffic with their I-5 construction made it super lousy. The only saving thing was I hit Costco to fill up the gas tank right before the major backup and went past it on re-entering the freeway.

I followed my Google Map directions and luckily bought gas again right before crossing into Canada. This was a smart move in hindsight.

The Canada customs agent asked me a bunch of questions and then right before letting me asked me the same question twice to see if I'd slip up. I was too quick to fall for it and I was inside Canada. I noticed as I made my way past the border there was quite a large backup getting back into the US. It was right around noon on a Friday so I just didn't think much of it.

I hit the Canadian freeway and I was off like a rabbit. It was like driving in California except you had to translate all your speed to kph and think would cops pull you over if you were going 20kph over the speed limit. I was going 80 to 85mph the whole way and people were flying past me like I was standing the still. The official speed limit was 110kph or rough 70mph.

There were tons of mountains passes on the way to Penticton. It was crazy. You were constantly going up or down massive Mt. Hood like passes the whole time for over 200 miles. The Escape wasn't climbing too well so I was constantly being passed as I was just trying to maintain the speed limit.

Overall, I made great time and the weather was perfect. 85 and sunny. I got to my hotel at 2:45pm and had to wait until 3pm to check in.

I called the two folks I was planning on getting together with when I arrived who were also up there to sign up for next year's Ironman. I called Don and he been there all day as they decided to drive during the midnight hours. He said they finally got into their room and decided to crash before dinner. I also called Darren who had done an Ironman before but was planning on doing Canada next year. I met up with him at the Expo which was about a 5 block walk from my hotel. I ended up walking the entire weekend rather than trying to deal with finding parking.

The expo was smaller than I had expected which was odd but overall they had some cool samples. We ate dinner at this decent Italian place and then I was beat. I decided to go to bed early because I had planned to ride the bike course starting at 7am on Saturday with a couple of other people. I wanted to be as fresh as possible as they were quite fast folks and didn't want to get dropped.

Don called after I went to sleep and my stupid Verizon service wasn't letting me check voicemail.

Part 2 tomorrow with highlights of a brutal head wind on the bike course and all about volunteering at an Ironman.

Got one

Okay so I got my registration slot for next year's Ironman Canada or IMC for short. I'll post some extensive blogs about the weekend up in Canada. From ranting about getting back into the USA after waiting for 100 minutes in a 3 mile car line to crazy drivers in Washington and finally watching the Ironman this year. Wow!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Road Trip

I'm off to Canada. Penticton BC to be exact to watch the 2007 Ironman Canada and register for 2008....see ya when I get back.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My hip(Aug. 22)

Sorry for the late post, but Elena wanted to go out to Chinese food last night so I had no time to post after we got back. It was quite amusing as she paid for her own meal out of her birthday/xmas money. She's been wanting to go eat Chinese for awhile so I said if she wanted to pay for it, we'd go. Mom has her doing chores around the house for $1 a pop which she did the night before we went. Slave labor...

Today I went for my longest run in about oh 5 years. I ran 8.7 miles of hills. It's a typical loop I used to do as part of all my marathon training programs. I just went nice an easy at 7:30 pace. My hip was bugging me for some reason towards the end of the run. It's probably me babying my bum knee and my sore quads from the previous day's ride.

Overall, I was quite happy and 7:30 pace seems real easy so I don't think my marathon goal time is too far off. I started reading the Going Long book by Joe Friel and Gordon Bryn(Gordo). It's a great book so far and I can really feel it's geared perfectly for the training I'm gonna need. What's cool is I believe Gordon is actually racing this weekend up in Canada. Maybe I can get him to sign my book or something if I see him.

Speaking of the trip up to Canada, I'm finishing all the last little pieces so I'm ready. I still have to pack some more stuff. I need to prepare enough nutrition for my 112 mile bike ride on Saturday. I bought a cool seat bottle cage so now my bike can carry 4 bottles. That should be enough to get me through the ride.

The pool has become more crowded each day. It seems more and more people are using it. I might have to start waking up even earlier so I can complete my workout without having to share a lane. It seems Wednesday's are the most crowded. I did however get in 700 yards but I'm still not fast enough or even close. Just keep swimming...swimming

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I hate that I can't seem to figure out how to change the look of this blog. I've looked for a new template so the blog will seem more unique but haven't had much luck or time. Oh well, I'll try when I can find some time.

It's been a week since I started officially training for the Ironman. Well, only 7 days since I started swimming. It was extra hard waking up this morning for some reason. I slept like a rock. Once I hit the water I was awake. I tried some additional technique in the pool to attempt to hone my stroke. I was able to settle in to a 2:30 pace so not bad. I also completed 700 yards my farthest so far.

The countdown is on for my road trip up to Canada. It's gonna be quite exciting seeing all the athletes knowing that in a year I'll be one of those athletes.

I received my 2 books from about the triathlon training. It was funny because said they shipped yesterday and that I wouldn't receive them til mid next week. It's cool that they are here as I'll have some free time this weekend between volunteering on Sunday and riding on Saturday to read. I won't be bored at least.

Today's bike ride was pretty tough. My leg muscles felt tired. I'm guessing it's the amount of training I've been doing. My body will get a couple of days off this Sunday and Monday so it will hopefully prepare me for a nice strong week.

In only 2 weeks, Elena will be attending kindergarten and I won't be having to take her to day care in the morning. My complete schedule will change. It'll be weird not having to leave work by 6pm to pick her up. I'll be able to sleep in if I desire because I can swim, shower and immediately head to work. It's gonna take some adjustment from me and of course Elena will have to adjust to the change as well.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Just keep swimming..swimming

I swear every day I hear Ellen Degeneres as Dory singing...just keep swimming, swimming from Finding Nemo. I seem so obsessed with the water and swimming that it goes through my head at least once a day.

I was lucky that it was Monday as again the pool was empty when I arrived. Overall, I seemed pretty tired from the weekend's tough workouts but I managed. I swam 600 yards and did the first 200 non-stop. Again, I still need work on my technique but practice makes perfect.

One thing that I appreciate every time I head to the pool at o-dark thirty is timed traffic lights. It's so nice to basically drive up to a red light and have it change to green within seconds. It makes the jaunt down to the pool simple for my groggy brain. I saw on the news a few weeks ago that San Francisco is going to have buses with the ability to automatically change traffics lights in rush hour. I wonder how long before you buy a so-called traffic light changer for that particular city when they implement that system. I'm sure there are a few out there already based on the emergency vehicles being equipped with something similar.

Today was a rest day as far as the run. I went super easy as my legs are really tired. That's okay because I won't be able to workout this upcoming Sunday or Monday. I'll be up in Canada volunteering for the Ironman on Sunday and signing up for next year on Monday.

You have to wonder what the current 2000 plus people are thinking this week as all their training comes down to these final few days. I've only experience three times with my marathons but it's a strange hazy feeling. You know that you're ready but your still not sure.

I still can't believe this summer weather or lack of it. It poured today but hopefully tomorrow will be dry enough for my bike ride. I guess it's just a little glimpse at the coming fall and winter months will bring. I'm prepared with already running 60 minutes on the treadmill and having completed 2 hours on a the trainer last winter.

Let's hope for sun...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Tired shoulders

So today's swim was awful. I'm almost just bagged it at the end of the 3rd 100 yard set. I basically have been swimming 100 yards and take a little break then start the next one. After the first 100 I was sore. I decided to breath mostly from the left today as my right arm seemed to have enough energy to get into the water while I was breathing.

The hand opposite the breathing side has a lot of trouble for me. It's like it's dragging. I need to hit up some YouTube clips or something to see how real swimmers do it.

I finished the 3rd one and decided I'd push the 4th 100 for what I could. I did and my time was 2:20 which is still god awful slow. Oh well, hopefully I'll get enough technique and strength to help in a years time. The weirdest thing so far from swimming is my heart rate. I can barely breath and I'm totally gasping for air after I finish 100 yard but my heart rate is 90. It's the craziest thing. When I'm going hard on the bike or run, my heart is around 170+. At 90, I'm barely pedalling or running and definitely not gasping. Strange.

I finished and changed into my running clothes for a 60 minute run on the treadmill. I was a little tired at first but got into it just fine. I decided to try Clif Blocs which are an alternative to gels for during exercise. They worked fine but definitely take a little chewing to get down. They're like a a big square gummy bear.

The cool thing was I tried a different bank of treadmills at the gym. These treadmills had two mini-fans built-in to the console. It was awesome as just a little breeze helped a lot. I was still pretty drenched in sweat at the end but not so crazy wet that it looked like I had just gotten out of the pool.

I bought the Clif Blocs yesterday at the running store. I had to return an extra pair of fast laces that I had bought prior to my big dualthon this summer. I thought each box was a single lace for each shoe so I bought two. Duh! Each box had a pair. I needed a "race belt" for holding my number when I race the upcoming triathlon. I purchased an extra pair of running socks and new pair of running shorts. The shorts were quite nice as I used them this morning.

All in all I made it through the workouts and drove home. I was really tired from staying up too late Saturday playing poker at Andrew's house. He had a barbecue at 5pm that I went to and figured I'd bust out of poker early. For some reason, I got pretty lucky at the tables last night and got 2nd place. I didn't get home til 11pm.

I had planned on taking a nap anyway today so when I got home I did. I only had to wake up because our fantasy football league was having a draft at 11:30. I feel rested in order to make that early 5am wake up tomorrow for another swim. I hope it goes better tomorrow...

The first test...

So on Saturday, I had decided to swim then immediately hit the bike for a flat ride. I had to be back at 12:30pm to watch Elena so I decided to try for 80 miles. I figured 4 hours for the ride 30 minutes total for swimming and changing. Either way I got to sleep in or so I thought. About 5:45AM I woke because I couldn't sleep. It was okay because I still have to get my nutrition ready for the long bike ride. I decided to try a new approach based on reading forums. This particular triathlete would put all his gels into a water bottle for easy access and no mess. I decided 6 gels would be enough to get me through the ride. I added a little water and the gel bottle was ready. I did a full cytomax bottle and a half dose cytomax bottle that I would use to wash down the gel as I drank it.

I got to the pool around 6:30 and there was nobody there. The whole 24 hour fitness was pretty empty. I guess early Saturday morning workouts aren't fun. I always hate that first hop into the pool. It's so cold I totally tense up. I started my swim. It went really well and I ended up with 650 yards. My longest swim so far and I didn't feel too tired. I hopped out and proceed to simulate that first transition. Drying off is the key to getting on additional clothes.

I made it out to the parking lot and got on the bike. My shoulders were quite sore but everything else was fine. I was headed out to Sauvie Island so I first had to climb up over the Barbur hill. I just settled in and tried at best to just cruise. I kept telling myself in the race I have to run a marathon after this ride I cannot be trashed.

A few friends, Ernie, Geoff and Vera were planning on starting their bike ride at 9AM. I was hoping to see them on my last loop around Sauvie and be able to have some companions for the ride home. More on that later...

I got to Sauvie Island. It's a nice bike loop as it's flat and has hardly any traffic. Plus since it is a loop, the wind gets you on one side but you get the benefit on the other. Saturday morning there was no wind at all. It was dead calm. I started moving around the loop. I was settled at about 20-21mph. It felt easy and comfortable. The first loop went off easily. I started the 2nd loop and felt a little stronger so I spun the pace up just a little bit. It was just a little faster. The 3rd loop was more difficult as I was nearing the 56 mile point of the ride. I clicked my watch at mile 56 and it read 2:46. I thought to myself. Halfway for the Ironman. I was sortof tired of the bike by that time. My seat was bugging me and my neck was killing me. I hope I get enough miles in that my body adapts to those things.

I started the 4th and final loop. I figured on this loop I would see my friends as it was just 10AM and it takes about an hour for them to get there. I was expecting to see them just over halfway around and it would help me get through the lap. I was really struggling with this lap. My legs were getting tired. Not good as I was only approaching the 65 mile mark. Hmm...more training is needed obviously.

I finish the loop which conveniently has a store so I can refuel with water. I was totally out. I get my water and make a bathroom break. I thought my friends had accidentally went the same around the loop as me so oh well I missed them.

Luckily for this total bike the way back home is slightly downhill. The bad news was the wind had kicked up and it was right in my face the whole way home. I tried to be smooth and just spin in order to get home with as fresh legs as possible.

I made it my car and had completed 90 miles in 4:35. Overall I was tired but I think I could've started the run and made it. I wasn't totally wiped out. The funny thing as I was heading back I saw my friends just heading out around 11AM. It looks like they totally got a late start.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Right Side

A lovely 4:30AM wake up call is just what I wanted this morning. It wasn't too bad until around 8 o clock when I wanted to take a nap at my desk.

I hit the pool about 4:45 and no one was in sight. The workout place had about 20 people or so in it which still amazes me. The pool was glass. Not a ripple but it was cold when I hopped in. Man, I sure hope that a wetsuit keeps me warm in 68 degree water or so because just shorts in 83 degrees is cold at first.

Today was my attempt to breath from the right side. It seems all the people I ever saw swim always took breaths from the left side. It's all new so I figured I'd try to learn a good habit in all of this. I started breathing from the right side and it seem twice as smooth for me. It was like my natural position. I think overall I was slower but more relaxed. I started doing a lap from the right side and a lap from the left. I even worked on switching mid-lap which was hard. You have to swim 2 strokes with your head in the water to switch. I can't seem to figure out my exhale so it's easy. I seem to be working my butt off just to breath out under water. Plus the air bubbles go right up my nose which tickles.

I swam 500 yards but overall I was slower as I'm still trying to get a nice rhythm. I swear my legs just float behind and offer no help to getting down the lane.

I hoped out the pool at 5:15 and still no one else had shown up to swim. Interesting...

I changed into my running clothes and hit the treadmill. I was just cruising along. The treadmill is pretty easy because you basically just have to pick up your feet but it's very boring and hard to stay focused on something other than the minutes slowly ticking away. I figured the boring side effect would be good training because running 26.2 miles definitely gets boring around the 15-20 mile stage.

I had my first stomach problem about 30 minutes into my hour run. It's the first time I had stomach issues since I started running again. I need to start watching my snack intake so no more pepperoni sticks the night before hard or long runs. Again, good training as I ran with it for as long as I could. I made it to the 54 minute mark and 7 miles before I couldn't take it anymore.

If the Ironman is anything like the marathon, it's 90% mental on race day. You have to mentally tough to deal with any adversity and of course the suffering. You just need to will your body to keep going.

I get to sleep in til 6:30 tomorrow morning before doing a 20 minute swim followed by an 80 mile bike ride. I get to work on my nutrition on the bike and what the body will feel like after swimming. Running after the swim this morning was so bad except for shoulder pain. I think being in the aero bars should be even easier tomorrow.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Just ride and relax

So I only had to worry about a simple bike ride today. I decided to give my new Giro Advantage 2 helmet a go since the weather was overcast. It's a totally sweet lid but not a fast transition lid as it's a pain to put on. It mainly has to do with the ear covers being so snug that the strap doesn't connect easily.

Today is the noon time lunch ride's hill day. Not the best conditions for the new helmet but I'd figure there are some hills for sure to conquer at Canada so I might as well see how the lid goes. I also decided to focus my whole ride on tempo rather than hammering the hills all out as usual.

The helmet was zoom zoom in the tailwind down the hills around Wilsonville. It was quite warm on the inclines but overall it's worth the aero advantage I'm sure. I'll just have to make sure during the Florida Half and if it's warm in Canada to hydrate extra.

I was pretty tired at the beginning of the ride from yesterday's tempo run. Overall, I got into a nice rhythm and it went well. My body is still tired tonight.

Tomorrow morning I have to get up at 4:30AM because our gym is closed at lunch so I have to do my swim and my hour long easy run in the morning. I'm gonna run for the hour on the treadmill at the 24 hour fitness which will suck but that's how it goes.

I hope I do better at the swim...but we'll see.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Just breathe

Okay, so I made it to the pool at 5:15 again and this time all 3 lanes were full so I had to share a lane which wasn't so bad. There were some serious swimmers doing big time workouts. It was amazing and how smooth they were.

I proceeded to get moving with my freshly purchased goggles. I was off to start my drowning session. I immediately could tell I was faster but man it was hard to get enough air. I still sort of ended up popping my head straight up first then turning trying to get as much air as possible. Of course blowing my bubbles under the surface quickly so I can surface to get more air.

My head down stroke was fast and my head up stroke was slow. I'm sure I looked pathetic. Every once in awhile I'd focus on some stroke technique that I've read and I could really tell that it was more efficient than what I was doing. I just couldn't stay focused as I was basically trying not to drown.

I had to rest during this workout as I really was trying to catch my breath. I ended up only doing 12:30 minutes but that's okay as I think I covered 400 yards even with breaks. I did my last 100 in 2:20 which is 40 seconds faster than yesterday. Small little steps. If I do 4 swim workouts at least every week, I have 112 more workouts to get it all put together for that 4000m swim during the Ironman.

With the thought that my swim stinks, I'm hammered my tempo run today at lunch. I need to run a low 3 hour marathon as part of the Ironman to have a chance at my goal time of close to 10 hours. I busted out a nice 4.5 mile tempo run at about 6:30 pace. It was hard but not super tough. If I can get my running towards what I was doing in preparation for my 2nd marathon, I'll be able to run 7 something miles in my sleep.

I'm planning on trying a full brick soon just to see how it goes with swimming tacked on the front instead of the typical dualthon where it's run-bike-run.

Tomorrow, I get to sleep in and will only be doing a single bike workout because I have my daughter. It's my sleep in day. Woohoo...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It begins

So I made my way out of bed at 5am. It was still dark which sucks considering in June it was already light. Oh well, it just means fall is on the way. I went off to 24 hour fitness for my first real swim since high school oh about 20 years ago. Ouch...

I arrive at the 24 hour fitness and I'm shocked at how many people are already working out. Frickin one worry is about the 3 lane pool being crowded. I get into my cool laid back swim trunks and make my way to the pool. There are two people swimming so I have an entire lane to myself. worries about bumping into someone with my lame swimming.

I get in the pool which is set at 83 degrees and it's cold. I'm a little worried about those lakes I'll be competiting in when they are 70 degrees. This is where the wetsuit will save my ass. I start off and immediately start to drown. I'm trying to put my head in the water and breathe on my left side but I breathe and then immediately try to breathe again while my face is still under water. This has always been my main problem with swimming. I can't seem to figure out the "slow" breathe or distinct breathing cycle. I never learned to swim that way so old habits die hard.

I figure I might as well do some of my head out of the water swimming anyway rather than just bailing. So I proceeded to swim laps and tried to work on slowing my breathing as much as possible. I'm just so used to breathing at any time and as fast as I need to from running and cycling. I always sound like I'm gasping for air even though I'm not totally redlined.

I decided to time 100 yards just to see how pathetic. It was a slow 3:15 which ungodly slow. The last 100 yards I did at the end of my whole 15 minute workout was 2:55 so it was at least faster but still way too slow. Luckily I have a year to train and get it down.

I'm gonna swim every morning until I get it figured out. I bought some goggles tonight so I'll be able to see when my head is submerged. Tomorrow, I'll be up again at 5am or earlier to get another 15 minutes or so.

My arms/shoulders were pretty sore. I'm figuring that I'll barely be able to put my helmet on when I transistion to the bike come Ironman morning.

Just as I got 2 more swimmers entered the pool so it could get crowded in the coming weeks and months when I have to do 40 minute swims. The benefit of swimming in the morning is it will simulate the race scenario of a super early swim to start off the Ironman day.

I wasn't as hungry but ate some toast and had a couple of glasses of soy milk. Soy milk is awesome. It has protein, tastes good and no lactose. It's awesome.

The weather turned out quite nice for my afternoon ride. I ended up doing 30 miles with our lunch time crowd and just road tempo on the front. I wasn't even tired afterwards.

Tomorrow, I'll do the swim and then a hard tempo run at lunch time. I'm sure by the weekend my body will quite tired especially since I can't seem to shake this small cold I got from Elena.

Monday, August 13, 2007

In the beginning...

So it's been a long summer and it's not even over yet. I've been contemplating actually stepping up to an Ironman event since May. I've been a runner ever since I was in junior high school. I got burnt out on running after my 3rd marathon and took up cycling for 5 straight years. I decided to start running again and have fun with some dualthons.

I've wanted to compete in an Ironman since I was in high school. It's something that really needs to be on an endurance athlete's resume', just like running a marathon, doing the Boston marathon, and maybe even Western States 100.

So since I'm not getting any younger, I've decided next year is the year. I've slowly started putting everything in place to start the preparation.

First thing was to decide which event to do. For some sort of convenience, I've picked Ironman Canada. It's the last weekend in August so the bulk of the training for it will be late spring and summer. It's fairly close to Portland being only an 8 hour drive away. I believe I can get registered for the event where as other late summer events and Ironman Florida in November book up within minutes online. To get my slot, I'm heading out on road trip to the Ironman Canada 2007 event on August 26th. I'm gonna camp out in line Monday morning to get my slot.

Overall, this may sound extreme but it's just part of the plan. I'll be able to see an Ironman live which will definitely help get me excited and motivated for the hard training days to come. I'll also be able to ride the bike course to see it and stuff it away in my mind as what to expect next year. I may even try to run the last 6 miles or so of the run course to also get a feel for that as well.

Second thing to do is find a pool to train. I've decided to go with the 24 hour fitness center just down the road from where I live. I'll be able to swim most mornings early before work as the pool and facility is open 24 hours luckily enough. Swimming is going to be the biggest unknown as I haven't done any competitive swimming since high school. I competed for one off-season in the 500m swim. It was painful and I stunk. I figure if I can stay focused on swimming for an entire year I should be ready for that 2.4 miles of open water.

I have registered for a half Ironman in May 2008. This registration is done and paid for. It's gonna be in Florida right at DisneyWorld. It'll give the family an excuse for a little mini-vacation and will hopefully get me all dialed in for the full distance.

I've purchased two triathlon training books from Amazon and plan to use them and not a coach for my training. This was how I approached my first marathon and I had great results.

And last I've started this new blog to keep track of everything along the way from simple workout blurbs to more gory details about equipment purchases, and the actual race reports themselves.