Thank you for reading, and supporting TEAM FIGHT. Please consider a small donation to help support young adults affected by cancer. As little as $5 will help get us to our goal! Less than a month left to get there! _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Today was a tough day. Overall, I feel physically good (with what’s written below as the exception), and mentally ready for tapering over the next 3 weeks. Funny how a small thing can either completely shake your confidence, or boost it depending on immediate decisions made.
For today’s ride (which was supposed to be my last long ride before Cedar Point), I was coming off of a rest/test week and a great run from yesterday. My body was a little sore this morning, but nothing terrible. After I started out with a nice easy warm-up of about 25 minutes, with increasing gearing and cadence, I actually felt really good. Even after yesterday’s run my muscles still felt strong and I was cruising along towards Vilano. I felt really happy with how things were going, heart rate upper Z1, low Z2 and steady 19mph plus into a headwind. Then it hit. About 2 miles before Vilano, all of a sudden my right knee started to ache a little, after another 5 minutes it was full on mad at me and letting me know about it with a fury.
I stopped for a minute or two and stretched out my IT Band; this helped a little but not completely. I couldn’t believe that this was happening on what was supposed to be my last long ride before Cedar Point, but in a way I’m glad that it did. We don’t know what we’re capable of until faced with extreme adversity, and generally speaking, we’re best when we decide to plow through.
Rather than calling for a ride, I decided to just start heading back north and see how far I could make it. I’m still not sure if this was the best decision, but I was determined to get at least a couple hours in the saddle done today and after all the wind was now at my back. So, I took 2 Tylenol, put my head down, gritted through the pain, and made it back to the car. It hurt. To get through it, I made a mental deal with myself that if I could deal with the pain, I would go home and R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate). Ironically, about 2 miles from the car, my knee starting feeling better and I had another decision to make. Keep going, or head home and try to get ride of the pain.
As hard as it was to stop, I knew that it was the right decision at that point. Somehow I was able to muster the strength to average nearly 21mph plus on the way back. Even so, it is way more important to arrive at the starting line healthy than injured for another 2.5 hours in the saddle.
I’m choosing to take the positive from this painful experience. The fact that if, by some chance, this happens on race day I now know that I can get through it. That in itself is a huge confidence boost.
With that - signing off and getting back to recovering/healing.
Thanks for reading and supporting TEAM FIGHT!
Thank you for reading, and supporting TEAM FIGHT. Please consider a small donation to help support young adults affected by cancer. As little as $5 will help get us to our goal! Less than a month left to get there!
Big Day Number 2 - In the books!
In summary, this one was better than the last, but still short of what I would have liked to accomplish. I am now left somewhere in between feeling ready to go for my first iron-distance race and wondering if I have enough training time under my belt. The tough part is knowing that I don’t believe I can train much harder during the next week or two without negatively impacting my performance as I need to let my body absorb all the training it’s been through as well as shed the fatigue.
Big Day Swim Recap: 2,300 meters; 41:01 total time
So, a couple of changes from the last big day swim. First and foremost, was not allowing myself to overheat due to the wetsuit. I accepted the fact that if it was too hot, I would come in, drop the wetsuit, and keep swimming. Luckily, the water temperature wasn’t boiling warm like last time - cool enough that I felt okay to swim in a wetsuit. The second change was that I wasn’t going to push the pace nearly as hard as last time and see how I felt afterwards.
The day started off as an absolutely wonderful morning, couldn’t have asked for better ocean conditions.
I headed out into the ocean and was feeling calm. Started my watch on the way in the water, as I will on race day. Dolphin dove out a little ways and then started swimming. I was moving along and felt good.
How could you not enjoy a morning like this? That’s me, cruising along in the ocean.
And then, out of nowhere, about 10 minutes in to the swim I got smacked in the face by a jellyfish! Slimy, stinging, and completely unpleasant. I wiped it off my face as fast as I could, but it still got the best of me and left some unpleasant small welts as a parting gift. I was startled to say the least and headed right to shore with my head above water.
My support crew was there, concerned, wondering what the heck happened. All she saw was me thrashing around in the water on an isolated stretch of the ocean - not a good thing to see happen. The pain was bearable and didn’t seem to be getting any worse, but I really didn’t want to have that happen again - so, we headed off to the backup swim location and jumped right back in the community pool.
While I didn’t get the full swim in that I wanted, due to time, I was still able to get in a solid swim and felt great (besides the jellyfish sting) getting out of the water. Even though I felt good, I still forced myself to take in two bottles of hydration before the bike and eat a light breakfast - very similar to what I’ll have after getting on the bike during Rev 3 Cedar Point.
Big Day #2 Bike Recap: 88 miles, 20.6 mph - Tired of Florida Heat!
Definitely felt better getting on the bike this time - not nearly as fuzzy headed or fatigued as the last Big Day. The fact that I was feeling good, the weather wasn’t too hot yet, and that I was able to get a pair of Zipp 808 Firecrest Wheels from my local bike shop, Champion Cycling, to test out the bike setup for race day helped a lot.
I cruised along to a first loop average of over 21mph. I was flying (for me) and felt great! Heart rate was steady in the lower portion of zone two and nutrition plan was going well. I was pushing a little bit harder than I normally do, but not by much and to compensate for it, I increased both my caloric intake (slightly) and hydration as well as electrolytes.
I hit the mid-way point took on some more water bottles, swapped out my nutrition with a new bottle of Perpetuem, and took off again. After I stopped, I knew that the temperature was getting pretty hot and humidity was through the roof. It was now entering the hottest part of the day and I was beginning to feel the effects of the heat… it’s almost indescribable. It just persists and persists… relentless really. At first, you feel like the weather is getting warmer, then your mind accepts how hot it is outside. Any exposed skin begins to feel like it’s slowly cooking. If I’m honest, I’m really looking forward to Cedar Point not being 100 plus degree heat index! :)
The next 10 miles ticked by and I dialed back the effort a little bit. When my awesome support crew came along, she said I looked a little wiped out - more so than normal, so we stopped and talked for a bit. I was pretty beat up when I stopped and realized that I needed to cool off a little bit, so I took a short break in the car with the ac on and took in some more fluids. After the break finished, we noticed the time and I decided that it would be best to cut the bike a little bit short so that I could focus on my run in the afternoon… I really wanted to have a good run.
She departed, I headed south for another couple of miles and then turned around to head back to base camp for the day. As soon as I did, I was kind of angry with myself for not doing the full 5-hours/100 miles that I had planned. So with that, I decided to slowly increase my effort and then ride the last 5-10 miles at LTHR to get in some good muscular endurance work. I started to cruise along and finally pushed hard… I was amazed! I was holding 24mph plus with heart rate below my LTHR and it was still hot out! Came into base camp and had found the positive vibes again. I needed that last hard effort to overcome the mental negativity that was starting to creep in.
All in all - very happy with this bike effort and hope that I am able to put something similar together on race day.
Big Day Run Recap: 10.79 miles, 1:45 time @ 9:45/mile pace
As I wrapped up the bike a little bit later than I had wanted, the afternoon run didn’t get started until about 5:30pm. This actually worked out great, as there were some massive thunderstorms that came rolling through the area in the afternoon.
It was time to get the last bit of training in for the day - so, my better-half and support crew and her dad (who are both training for the Disney Marathon in January) headed out with me for the run. Within the first 500 yards I knew it was going to be a good run. Normally, I run my long runs in my K-Swiss Blade Light Run shoes, but this time I decided to run in my Newton Distancias. The combination of a lighter shoe along with my legs feeling surprisingly fresh helped me cruise through the first couple of miles at a sub 9:30 pace and low heart rate, which for me was awesome.
I decided about 20 minutes into the run that I was going to try and hold that pace and only walk for about 15-30 seconds every 10 minutes or so to drink water at “aid stations.” It worked, and I felt like I had more in me - which is always a good thing at the end of a long day and long three weeks of training! I also decided to try drinking Coke during the last 30 minutes of the run to see how it would work for me… mixed with water, worked great. I felt more alert, quickly, and was able to push through the last 30 minutes at a faster pace.
I ended the day with a 15 minute cool down walk through the neighborhood and after washing up a bit, a giant turkey sub along with some Recoverite.
Big Day Recap Totals:
I’m happy with the progress from the first Big Day 1 month ago. I believe that my training during the last 3 weeks and mental preparation helped a lot. There are now only 26 days… wait… whaaaaat?! 26 days! That’s it! 26 days until Rev 3 Cedar Point - Full Rev. As this post goes out today, I feel ready and will do my best to keep that outlook through to race day.
As always - thanks for reading, and supporting TEAM FIGHT. As little as $5 will help get us to our goal! Less than a month left to get there!
When I was young (think high school) I remember training for soccer in the morning, going to the beach during the day to bodyboard and then heading back to soccer and being completely wiped out. I guess training is all relative.
I’m proud to say that I feel like I’m approaching the best fitness level I’ve ever had. It has been a difficult journey so far, but consistency has been the key. As I look back to the start of this journey, I’m amazed at how far I’ve come. The first few months were difficult physically, but it was actually easier to get out to train each and every day. The mind knew how hard it was going to be and therefore pushed the body to get a solid foundation. Mostly, this was based on the fear of the unknown and wanting to be as prepared as possible.
It seems to be like that with many of the things that we, as humans, attempt to tackle in life. Generally, there is an initial anxiety that arises stemming from fear of failure or even from fear of success. Once we pass this initial anxiety and commit we are then willing to do what it takes to get ourselves ready for whatever our goal is. We then set about executing whatever plan we’ve devised and trying to keep it as close to the original as possible so that we can achieve our goal. At least, this is what I’ve seen the cycle go like for many, including myself, over the years regardless of the type of goal… be it business or fitness.
With this Ironman training program, I’ve found that the tough part of this is maintaining that momentum all the way through to the end and it was no more apparent than the past couple of days after an absolutely awesome first week of Build 2 in which I trained for nearly 20 hours and over 200 miles - biggest week I’ve ever had! But yesterday, the body just didn’t want to go and I’m not sure if it’s from the mind or from the physical fatigue… funny how they start to blend together from time to time. It’s just the oddest feeling to have had an awesome 105 mile ride on Sunday and then feel like I’m swimming in molasses yesterday.
If I’m looking for a lesson learned from all of this it has to be that the consistency in training has allowed me to not be too anxious this week about a poor performance in one or two workouts. While it seems harder right now to push the mind and body at 90% effort, I know that my foundation is solid and it’s just a rough patch. Hmmm… seems like a lesson that can be adapted to life outside of triathlon for sure… things to think about. :)
On that note… have a great rest of your week!
Thanks for reading & supporting TEAM FIGHT!
Thank you to everyone for the support! Warning, this is a long post. I tried to keep it short, but there was too much that needed to be shared and documented (so that I can go back and keep the lessons learned). Also, I’ve found that it helps me to learn what other triathletes have experienced, so I didn’t want to keep out some key details. Hope you enjoy it!
I arrived to the beach at about 6:40 am to get ready for the swim only to find out that the current and waves decided to pick up overnight. Normally, the waves wouldn’t bug me too much, but rather than push it hard in the open water on the first of two scheduled “Big Days” I decided to move to the backup location, a community pool nearby.
Big Day Swim Recap: 3,650 meters; 59:31 total time
As we pulled up to the pool, it was actually looking great. Nobody around, lanes in the pool, and all to myself. I felt ready and got into my wetsuit (I’ll be wearing it on race day so I want to get as comfortable in it as possible). Ironically, I think that was the demise of my bike portion (more on that later).
The swim started out pretty good, and I felt comfortable. I had a little tightness in the shoulders of my wetsuit for the first 20 laps, but then it subsided and I found a steady rhythm. About 20 minutes into the swim I started to notice that I was definitely warming up a little too much. Thoughts started to pass through the mind, and I should have listened to my gut which said to take off my swim cap and possibly even get out of the wetsuit so that I didn’t overheat. Rather than listen to my instinct I forced myself to continue to push on and even started to push a little harder in the swim. After all, my muscles felt good and my breathing wasn’t too bad so why not keep going.
As I was nearing the end of my scheduled 1 hour swim, my better half and awesome support crew, said that I was close to 70 laps. I was absolutely amazed and started to do the math in my head… I was near the full distance swim in around an hour’s time. Unbelievable!! I decided to keep pushing and ended up swimming a total of 73 laps (3,650 meters or 2.27 miles) in 59:31. I really couldn’t believe the distance/pace on this. Got out of the pool pretty happy to say the least.
As I walked over to the shower to rinse off, I noticed that I felt a little dehydrated, so I got some water in pretty quickly. Figured that I just needed about 24 oz or so, and headed to the house for a quick rest before the bike. This would turn out to be a big mistake.
Big Day Bike Recap: 61 miles, 18.3 mph - Very Dehydrated
I started off on the bike and had a nice 50 mile loop planned. As I got into the first few minutes of the ride I noticed that my heart rate was about 15 beats per minute higher than they normally were. Though this seemed much too high at the time I figured that it might have just been the wind or maybe the hard effort I put in on the swim… either way, surely it would come down. It didn’t.
I settled in to my peddling rhythm and began to focus on my nutrition plan. I kept thinking my heart rate seemed high, but also kept finding what I thought to be logical explanations… must be the effort, the pace (was holding about 20mph in a strong cross wind), the earlier swim, the heat… and so the list went on. The only item that wasn’t in the list was the one that would take me off the bike at just over the halfway point of my scheduled ride time. Dehydration.
After noticing that I was going through water much faster than my normal long rides, I was so thankful to be able to take on additional bottles from my better half and wonderful support crew who met me out on the training route. I started to feel a little better, but that only lasted for a brief few minutes. Miles 40-50, my heart rate continued to be elevated, my perceived effort was much greater than it seemed it should be, and my mental state started to crumble a bit. When I pulled in to the planned quick stop at mile 50 I felt light headed, and a little nauseous. Something was wrong.
No matter how hard it feels, I normally keep pushing through, but this time, I just couldn’t do it. I drank some more water, had a couple more endurolytes, and got off the bike. ”I think I cooked my insides,” were some of the first words that I could mutter. At this point, I realized that the decision to keep the wetsuit and swim cap on for the entire hour swim was a big mistake and I was paying for it dearly. Later in the day we estimated that I lost nearly 5% of my body weight due to dehydration, even though I was taking in water at a slightly higher rate than normal on the bike. Simply put, this was/is unacceptable and a huge lesson learned.
After a short period of time, I decided that I needed to at least try and get back on the bike. After about 7 more miles, I realized that I was doing more damage than good and decided to call it short. Humbled, hurt, and mentally distraught I slowly peddled back to base camp for the day.
Big Day Run Recap: 10 miles, 1:47 time
After an extra hour recovery after the bike, about a gallon of water, some Hammer HEED, a turkey sandwich, and some more water, I decided that I had to at least give the run a try. I was concerned that if I wasn’t able to complete the run my mental confidence would be in a state of hurt. So, with that focus I set out, my wonderful support crew along with me on her bike the whole way. It was not the fastest run by far, but it felt good to get it done and finish out the day. The first 45 minutes of the run felt pretty good overall, the next 20 minutes were a little tough, but the last portion was just what I needed. I averaged about 155 heart rate (steady zone 2 for me) at a 9:40 pace and then was able to push the last mile at a sub 8 pace. With that, I decided to call it a wrap for the day rather than continue another mile… I wanted to end on a high note and needed it mentally.
Big Day Recap Totals:
All in all I can look at this big day a couple of different ways. I’m choosing to look at the positive from it and take away the lessons learned. Not only am I choosing this path because I would rather be optimistic, but also because as a first time iron-distance triathlete, I need to keep the negative thoughts out of my mind. There are only 7 weeks left until Rev 3 Cedar Point and I can’t afford to let negativity settle in to the mind.
With that, here are some lessons learned and positives from the day:
At the end of a long day like this, I’ve found that I still enjoy the sport of triathlon and I want to do better next time. I look forward to my next Big Day on August, 13th and will be ready.
Thanks for reading.
So, it’s been way too long since I last posted. Though, the training hasn’t let up at all. I just completed Base 3 today with a very tough 93 mile bike ride after yesterday’s wonderful sprint triathlon. Generally speaking, I’m feeling good, but definitely a little nervous about the upcoming build periods leading up to the big race. I can’t believe that it’s only 77 days until the big race (Rev3 Cedar Point Full Distance). If I’m honest, I’m a bit nervous about the distance, but have made some great progress in Base 3 during the past 4 weeks. During Base 3 I clocked a total of nearly 45 hours in training and about 540 miles. I also had my longest ride ever at 100 miles on one of the hottest, smokiest days (proud of that effort) that we’ve seen in a long time. Notes for Base 3 & Things that I’ve Learned: With those updates, I’m going to get some food. Need to keep the body fueled and recovering quickly. Build One starts tomorrow and the intensity and distance increases yet again. Within the next 3 weeks I’ll have my first “Big Day” training as my program shifts to focus on training sessions closer to the actual race. Wow… 77 days. Here we go!
So, it’s been way too long since I last posted. Though, the training hasn’t let up at all. I just completed Base 3 today with a very tough 93 mile bike ride after yesterday’s wonderful sprint triathlon. Generally speaking, I’m feeling good, but definitely a little nervous about the upcoming build periods leading up to the big race. I can’t believe that it’s only 77 days until the big race (Rev3 Cedar Point Full Distance).
If I’m honest, I’m a bit nervous about the distance, but have made some great progress in Base 3 during the past 4 weeks. During Base 3 I clocked a total of nearly 45 hours in training and about 540 miles. I also had my longest ride ever at 100 miles on one of the hottest, smokiest days (proud of that effort) that we’ve seen in a long time.
Notes for Base 3 & Things that I’ve Learned:
With those updates, I’m going to get some food. Need to keep the body fueled and recovering quickly. Build One starts tomorrow and the intensity and distance increases yet again. Within the next 3 weeks I’ll have my first “Big Day” training as my program shifts to focus on training sessions closer to the actual race.
Wow… 77 days. Here we go!
First and foremost…
Big thank you to the first couple of folks who have donated to the cause! Jay & Leslie - You Rock!
This picture sums up a lot about how training has been in Jacksonville, FL for the past month… my friend, the wind.
In all honesty, week three of training was a bit tough mentally in the beginning, but by the end I felt good physically and mentally was coming around. This week consisted of a little bit less volume and intensity with “sport-specific” tests. These tests were built around heart rate training and Lactate Heart Rate Threshold (LTHR). The bike test would have been good to do with a power meter, but I used LTHR since I don’t have one. :)
Notes for Week Three of Training: