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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What's a little copyright infringement between friends

Original post training advice


Use this week as an unstructured recovery week. Do not do any running this week but consider doing some short 15-20 min walks no earlier than Wednesday. Swimming is a great recovery exercise as is very light spinning on the bike. Do only what you feel like doing and keep any workouts to less than 30 min at lev 1.

This is what my coach included in my original training plan as the post IM week workout.  I can see why this was his advice.  I rode to work yesterday with Mike.  Not pleasant.  I had absolutely no wind at all.  My legs felt great but I couldn't breathe.

Monday, November 23, 2009

4x and counting...

The further I get from the race the better I feel about it.

I had no idea what my times were.  Honestly.  People asked me this morning and I said, "I think 14 hours."  It turns out that I had a somewhat respectable 13:25 and if my marathon was only off 10 minutes from last year and 20 minutes from by best time.

To start, I woke up yesterday morning feeling worse than I felt the night before.  My nose was completely stuffed and I had the startings of a cough.  Keith picked me up at 5:00 am and drove me down to the race where I went about getting my transistion bags set up before putting on my wetsuit and getting in the water at 6:55.

The cannon went off at 7:00.  I had problems immediately.  I couldn't catch my breath no matter how slow I went.  My nose was clear but I was coughing up a storm.  I ended up breast stroking/dog paddling for a long time.  Then right before I got to the halfway point I all of a sudden relaxed and found my stroke and got through the rest of it pretty well.

I felt pretty bad on the bike from the get go.  I couldn't really get comfortable in the saddle (I keep adjusting the tilt) and my back and hips would really cramp up when I dropped to the aero bars.  I fought through it on the first lap but I dd the second on the top of the bars.  The third lap went better but my left leg was giving me some problems as well.  I just took it slow and steady.  I was off last year's time by about 25 minutes so that's not too disappointing.

The run started pretty well.  I held the 10 min/mile pace for the 1st 8 mile lap and part of the second.  Then I noticed that I wasn't processing any food in my stomach.  I felt like I was going to throw up so I started walking.  I walked/ran the second lap and then kicked it back on and ran most of the third lap.  I never really found my rhythm and I felt terrible every time I ate or drank anything.  Still, it turned out not be a bad run at all.

I don't know if I mentioned it but as usual I went to get a new pair of shoes a couple weeks ago.  What is wierd is that they told me that I was wearing the wrong size shoe so I moved from an 8.5 to a 7.5.  What's more I actually changed brands from the Asics Gel Nimbus to a pair of Nikes.  I was very worried about this but it turns out to have been a great decision because my feet feel fantastic today.  Normally I would have blisters all over and my toe nails would be preparring to fall off. 

So, all in all a pretty good race I think.  I signed up for next year so it couldn't have been that bad.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

final thoughts

Woke up this morning feeling like crap. 

Worse now.  Nose is stuffed up and runny at the same time.

Slight cough now.  A little worse than this morning.  I feel hot I think.

Swam this morning in the lake again.  I'm not overly confident of the swim.

Last night at the manditory athlete meeting the race director informed us that sign up for next year would be on Monday, not Saturday.  After the meeting I walked up to him and asked him specifically if that's what he meant to say and he confirmed it.  The athlete book says otherwise.  Bad idea to dwell on next year when this year isn't over.

Going to bed.  More later.  Race number is 1190.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Some of the best advice I ever got was to "smile during the run".

Your loved ones, and even strangers, don't show up to see you suffer.  They show up to see you doing something your really enjoy.  If you aren't enjoying it, why do you keep doing it?

Ironman Arizona 2009 Race Preview - From

Ironman Arizona 2009 Race Preview

by Patrick McCrann on November 16, 2009 in Race Day Prep

With mere weeks left before race day, athletes preparing for Ironman Arizona in Tempe, AZ, are starved for any information to help them prep for this late-season race. After months and months of training and enduring multiple seasonal changes, race day is looming and it's time to get focused.

Formerly an April event, IMAZ moved to November in 2008 because of the intense heat and challenges associated with racing at that time of year. The "new" race day, quite close to Thanksgiving, means a slightly lower chance of heat, but the day will not be any easier. In addition to an urban location, the race consists of two 3-loop bike and run courses, presenting significant mental challenge for all of the competitors.

Here is a quick review of the top questions inside Endurance Nation about racing Ironman Arizona. In addition to these race specific tips, please download our free race execution guide, read by over 3800 Ironman athletes, to help you manage the overall picture of racing as well. Travel safely and best of luck on race day!

• What is the swim like?

Tempe Town Lake is really a euphemism for the collection of run off water from the area desert / mountains. As a result, the water has a high level of silt and is incredibly murky. Do not be surprised if you can't see your hand in front of your face as you swim! Once you get over the water quality, you are left with a very straightforward single loop swim. The lake is really no more than 500 meters wide at any given point, and as such will be quite flat for your swim. You will have to contend with the sun being up early and directly in your line of sight on the way out. Athletes have had equal success with tinted goggles and using the lakefront landscape as a marker for forward progress.

• Looking at the map, there seems to be a pretty decent climb. I thought Tempe was supposed to be flat?!?!

The bike course actually is very flat; part of the nature of the map is that the three loop course is actually quite short (only 37 miles per loop instead of 56 miles). In reality the first 8 miles as you wind your way out of downtown Tempe is very flat, with the last 10.5 miles on the Beeline Hwy having a slight upward grade. There are a few rollers here, but they mostly help you use different muscles and will give some character to the otherwise flat course.

Your real challenge on the day will be the wind, which has historically ranged from 5-10mph steady to crazy days of 25mph+ gusts. There is precious little cover on the bike; everyone should be prepared to stay aero and focused into the wind, and then use the sections with a tailwind to make up the lost time. To be clear, this is all accomplished by riding at a steady effort, there is no surging. So while a steady 18mph effort becomes 12mph into a fierce headwind, it transforms you into a 24mph bullet on the return. Trust in this knowledge and don't early overachieve on the bike relative to your fitness!

• How is transition? Is there anything special I need to know about?

How you exit Tempe Town Lake is actually the hardest part of your day. You'll have to move quickly from swimming horizontally to climbing up and out of the lake on either stairs or a giant boat ramp. Either way it's up, and it's not easy. Be sure to relaxing the last few meters of your swim and prepare for the quick changeover. Once you are on terra firma, it's through the wetsuit strippers and off to find your bag. They are lined up in rows on the ground, and you would be well-served to somehow distinguish your bag from the others. Colored tap, liberal marker usage, etc, is encouraged.

• What is the run like?

The run course is three loops around Tempe Town Lake with multiple bridge crossings and some slight hills in and around Papago Park. The vast majority of your day will be spent running on the concrete sidewalk that encircles the lake. It's not forgiving, is somewhat rolling and even a bit twisty at times.

Like the three-loop bike, the longer you are running the more people there are sharing the course with you. It can become quite crowded at times, so do your best to be considerate of your fellow competitors.

There is minimal shade and the run course is entirely exposed to the wind -- particularly the bridge sections. If you plan on wearing a hat, you'll want to make sure that it's quite snug on your head otherwise it will be long gone! While the run course is small at only 8.8 miles per loop, it is spread out just enough such that few spectators venture out of the transition area to support the runners. Plan on some quality solo time, as well as dealing with passing the finishline area twice before actually earning the right to turn in yourself.

• What Can My Family Do on Race Day?

There is a very small retail and restaurant area on Mill Street, which is a short walk from the transition area. Your family have several placed to eat (even shop!) while you are suffering. Most don't however, as the three loops on the bike and run combine to put you through the race area very frequently. Instead of trying to see you at every opportunity, it's worthwhile for your family to take a mental break at some point, doing a proper sit down meal before returning to push you to the finish line. Just like you, they'll need to be prepared for the heat, the sun, and the early evening (it can get chilly).

• What's the Biggest Mistake I Could Make?

Without a doubt, handling the winds on the bike and monitoring your effort on the 10 mile false flat on the Beeline are crucial to your day. Riding "just a little too hard" up a 10.5 mile false flat x 3 can ruin your day, not to mention that the winds pick up on each lap as well. The net is that the Beeline is full of athletes sitting up in the bars, and into the wind, on the second and third laps, having overcooked themselves on this false flat. Our advice: ignore the people flying by you on the first and second lap, and do your best to remain in the aerobars when the winds pick up.

• What is the Temperature Like on Race Day?

Temps for Arizona have historically been in the low 80s, but even in November things can be quite hot. It's a dry heat from the desert, and you'll become quickly dehydrated should you fall off your nutritional schedule. Set a timer to keep you on top of your game and be ready to carry / consume up to 1000mgs of sodium an hour across all of your nutrition sources should the temperature really start to peak.

As you approach race day, remember to relax and enjoy the journey. Don’t ruin the next few weeks – or your race experience – by geeking out. Focus on what matters, take care of your supporters and remember to race with a smile!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday - Last day in Chicago

Got up this morning and ran with a friend from the conference.  Good time.  He's done a half IM in the past and he's obviously a good runner.  We went a little harder than I would have liked but I feel fine.

Wasn't the easiest thing getting up but somehow I managed.

After the conference wrapped up yesterday I had dinner with a high school friend, Gary.  We met at his sister's place downtown.  She's got some great views from her balcony.

Afterwards me and Gary headed out for some dinner and many beers.  I got back to my hotel about 10:00.  Just in time to go out with another group.  We ended up closing bars at the John Hancock and the Drake Hotel.  We rolled in about 2:00 am and I was asleep by 2:30.
I took this from the top of the John Hancock.  The flash kind of screwed it up but I didn't have time to take another.

Flight's delayed leaving Chicago.  I could use a nap!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I didn't stay out too late last night.  I ended up on Rush street and drank beer and at hot dogs most of the night.  Good times.  I got up this morning at the crack of dawn to go for a little 25 minute easy run.

Very, very cold and windy.  Little bit of rain just to make it more fun.

I was disappointed that the beer garden was not open already :)

A picture of the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier.
A nice pic of the city skyline as I turned around to head back.  The hotel is about 1/4 past the John Hancock (the tall balck building on the right)

This is a picture of the lake on the way back.  The waves were really much rougher than they look here.  Reminded me of Cabo a bit.

Monday, November 16, 2009


This morning I took the train down here and checked into the hotel.  Conference got started.  Good time.  Lots of really smart people here.

This evening I went for walk around and found myself across from the American Girl store.  Paige is nutty over American Girl so I went in and took a picture of the store to show her.

This is Katie's Facebook entry from later:  "After reading and prayers with the kids at bedtime, I asked them about the best part of their day. Paige's was getting a photo emailed to her from Marc of the American Girl store in Chicago. Seriously this child jumped up and down like it was her birthday just seeing a photo of the store and knowing her dad was there"

I guess I'm going to have to pick up something for her from the store.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Run Strategy

Ok, I've made a decision about the run.

For my first IM Marathon my real goal was to RUN the entire course.  I had blown up my knee a month out but with a lot of rest I was able to complete the run.  For the first half I think I average 8:50 min/miles and on the third quarter and fourth quarter I slowed way down and ended up at 10:59 min/miles average for the race.

Second IM I got hurt 6 months before the race and wouldn't give myself the time to heal so I ended up walking almost the entire 26.2 miles in a little over 6 hours.

Last November I felt pretty good.  Not great, but pretty good.  I had gone a little too hard on the bike I think.  I did the first mile in like 8 minutes and I remember I kept looking down at my HR monitor thinking, "I can't go this fast, I can't go this fast."  But I couldn't force myself to slow down either.

Until mile 2.

I got about halfway to the third aid station and I started walking.  Talk about pissed!  I guess by the time I got to the aid station it was really showing and one of the volunteers asked what was wrong.  I said, "I'm walking what do you think is wrong?"

He looked at me and said, "Don't worry, you'll get it back." 

I remember it really clearly.  He didn't say some mindless dribble like "you can it", or "you're almost there", or anything else like that.  He said, "You'll get it back."  In that sentence he acknowledged that I was walking, which was a bad thing but that I wouldn't have to walk the entire race.  I took it to heart and indeed, within 5 minutes or so I was running again.  I don't think I ever got it back completely but I did run.

Now, by the third lap my legs hurt sooooo much that taking the first running step was AGONY.  It was spooky.  It didn't hurt to keep running, it hurt to start running.  I'd come walking out of an aid station and I would have to talk myself into running again.  I think I ran through station #24 because I didn't want to have to start running again.  I walked through station 25 and started talking to another runner.  I remember she wasn't having a great go of it and I suggested she drink the chicken soup but she refused because she was a vegan.  We walked for a couple hundred yards until she told me that she was only on her second lap.  I sumoned what felt like my last bit of energy and ran the rest of the way down the lake, over Mill Avenue, and to the finish line.  I do remember wanting to die when a volunteer told me I only have a few hundred yards left.

Anyway, I digress.

This year I am going to stick to 10 min/miles.  I like to think it will be for the entire race but let's just say for as long as I can.  I realize that there are aid stations to deal with here so I'm not sure what to do about them and average time but anyway 10 min/miles is the goal.

Go climb a tree

Ken with his “Peter Pan” haircut


Sunday, November 01, 2009

Final Rest Week is History

I did my final rest week run.  45 minutes.  Seemed easy.
I was going through all my old data and I realized that this is the first time I've actually been healthy enough to actually run this week.  In April 07 I had blown my knee up and I think I did one run between my final three hour run and the race 3 weeks later.  April 08 is when I thought I had shin splints and it hurt too much to run the entire last 3 months.  I walked the marathon in about 6 hours.  Last year, while not incapacitated I was definitely in pain every time I ran and I don't think I ran at all during the rest week or in the following 3 week build to race day.
This will be interesting to see how I do with a decent build to the race.  I'd like to think I can pull of 10 min/miles (or something close).
Again, I hate making predictions but I COULD break 12 hours if there is no wind and if I don't completely ruin the day with a 2 hour swim first thing.