Thursday, May 12, 2016

Ironman Eagleman build up

So we are exactly 1 month out from Ironman Eagleman in Maryland.  I have been dedicating a lot of training for this race.  I don't think I have spent this much time working out as I have in years.  There has been a significant time on the trainer dialing in my power numbers and FTP settings, and since this course is pancake flat, I won't have to worry about rolling hills.  This way, I can have a pretty steady race plan.  It makes training a lot easier this way.  I've been noticeable stronger, and able to hold a higher wattage for longer than ever before

As for my other training, it really has gone well.  The interesting part is I feel I am not being as structured as I normally am every single year, but every workout is done with precision and a lot faster and easier than I normally train.  My run splits are lightning fast.  It's actually scaring me.  My last long run was 12 miles, and I finished that in 1 hour and 14 minutes. That equates to about a 1:21 half marathon pace, which would be a PR for me if it was race day.  I know I can't hold that pace for a half marathon after 56 miles on the bike, but even if I lose 4-5 minutes, that still would be about a 1:25 half.  Not too shabby.  I can't slow down even if I tried.

I have also found something in my swim that I am faster than in previous years.  I don't know if I have improved my stroke or I'm just getting stronger, but when doing a time trial in the pool, I am well below my race pace which is pretty exciting.  I still hate being in the pool for long periods of time, but at least when I'm in the pool, the workouts are faster and really spot on.

The one thing that could possibly derail me is that past few weeks.  There has been a magnitude of things that have taken me away from having a nice solid training block.  We had some health scares in the family which led to a few days of making sure everyone is ok.  There was a ton of travel, where it rained constantly so I was only able to run on the treadmill for a few days straight with no swim or bike workouts.  And apparently my weight went from dropping 7 lbs in one week the week of the health scare, to not being able to put any weight back on, to then all of a sudden, me gaining 8 lbs.  Not exactly ideal for stabilizing weight and training.  All this while trying to get down to race weight and see what is the best weight for me to stay at to be in optimal shape for the race.

In fact, I was supposed to have my first race of the season 2 weeks ago, but it rained so bad that I didn't feel comfortable being on a bike for 40 plus miles in those conditions, so I actually had my first DNS of my career.  So going into Eagleman, I will have no way of knowing what I need to work on for race prep.  I don't have anything to base it on.  Looks like I'm flying blind here.

I know "life happens", and that everyone goes through things, but all this happened in about a 2-3 week span.  Luckily, I still have exactly 1 month to dial everything back in.  That means 3 weeks of one last hard training block, and 1 week of recovery/taper for the race. 

Sometimes things go perfectly, and other times, life happens and you have to adjust.  Here's to figuring out exactly how to adjust.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What is strength

This week I have learned a new meaning of strength. How do we all define what strength means.  Is it, how much weight you can put up in the gym?  How many watts you can hold on the bike and for how long?  What about how high your IQ is?  There are so many ways to define strength, but this week I have found the one that is the most important.

Becoming a father was obviously a life changing event.  How could it not be?  But when things are going well, it's easy.  It's easy to run through a finish line with Riley in my arms, or to put him to sleep and have him sleep 12 hours and us be the ones to wake him up.  It doesn't take strength to do these things.  It takes being a father.  It's when things go slightly (or more than slightly) off kilter that strength is needed.

I have learned that having the strength to keep it together and be there for my family far out powers any strength that I have amassed during my years of training.  No 20 mile run, 100 mile ride, 95lb dumbbell.  Let's just say this week has been worse than the week from hell.  When you get information that cuts you like a knife but with the pain of cutting like a spoon you are left with only so many options.  No parent wants to hear news about their child, and no parent wants the week that the wife and I have had. 

As a result, I continue to reevaluate what strength is and how is it evaluated.  I have seen the strength that is needed to be there for not only Riley, but also the wife, the grandparents, the aunts/uncles and pretty much everyone else. Strength is needed to be there both emotionally as well as supportive while not allowing myself to digest, feel, or process things personally.  I have to be the one who holds it together so others don't lose their shit.  What I've found is that if I can't find the strength to make sure everyone is ok, then everyone won't be ok.  This also means that I need to find the strength for myself to be able to hold it together.  If I can't muster it up, then there are a lot of people who will have a difficult time. 

I wish that no one would ever have to be in a situation to find that inner strength, though I know that is not the case.  There are people who have to go through things a lot harder than I have to, which I wish wasn't the case, and these people have to find either more strength than me.  It's doesn't make it easy to say that, but it's true.

I considered myself a strong individual before this week, but nothing compares to the strength that I have developed this week.  Here's looking at never having to do it again




Wednesday, April 6, 2016

It's time to get some higher education and get a PhD


The good stuff


I have rarely been into supplements in my lifetime.  Yeah, the occasional protein powder when I was in college to bulk up (like that worked), but other than a few things here or there, I haven't really been in to the whole supplement game. I do take a multivitamin and fish oil daily, and then with the exception of Beet Powder for long workouts, that's really it.  Since joining Big Sexy Racing team, one of our great supporters is PhD Nutrition.  As a result, I have been introduced to some amazing products, so I wanted to write a quick review of some of the products I have been using, which I can say they have really increased the intensity of my workouts and training.

Pharma Greens:
The first thing I do in the morning is make a glass full of the Pharma Greens.  You're supposed to take these on an empty stomach and wait about 20 minutes before eating or drinking anything else, so I make a mixture, drink it, then go walk thunder and by the time I get back, I am ready for my morning coffee.  The Pharma Greens acts by balancing PH levels in the body, helps in post workout recovery, and cleanses the digestive system, which allows your body to digest important nutrients throughout the day. 
Pharma Greens is also about 7-8 amounts of vegetable servings for an entire day, so you know that if you take this, you are getting the nutrients you need every day. 
What I can honestly say is that within a few minutes of taking my Pharma Greens, I can feel my body getting healthier.  I know that sounds weird, but while I'm out walking Thunder and I don't have anything in my body, I feel a jump of energy and a clean feeling throughout my body.  It's hard to explain, but I definitely feel my body is better after eating these.
I recommend the Green Apple flavor, but have also had the Lemon-Lime which is good also

Battery +/-:
Battery is an all natural sports drink mix.  It replaces the electrolytes that you lose while working out.  I readily admit that I don't use it for the recommended usage.  What I do is add the Battery to my other drink mixes to help increase the electrolyte and salt that I am losing while working out.  I have my drink mix that I have been using for years and love, so the Battery is a really nice compliment and has helped solve some of my cramping issues that I had trouble with last year.

Glyco-Durance:
Glyco-Durance is a drink mix as well, but different than the Battery.  The Glyco-Durance is more of a carbohydrate mix to help deliver these plus calories during workouts.  It is a lot thicker than most other drink mixes that we're used to, but that's a good thing.  The Glyco-Durance gets absorbed in to the body faster than anything else on the market so you're not going to get the crash during long workouts/races as often happens.  In fact, you can freeze the Glyco-Durance overnight and then it will be a perfect mixture by the time you get to the bike leg during a race. 
What I do is mix the Glyco-Durance, the Battery, and my other electrolyte mix (HoneyMaxx) and this is the best tasting mix I have had and actually look forward to it on the bike leg.  I know I'm getting the calories, carbohydrates, electrolytes that I need so I can continue my training strong and get to race day in one piece.
I recommend the Strawberry Kiwi flavor

Pharma Pure:
This is a protein mix that I use after my workouts.  I won't go into much detail into the Pharma Pure since everyone has their own feelings about protein powders, mixes, what they like/don't like etc.  What I will say is that the taste is great, especially the Peanut Butter Chocolate Caramel.  It is like eating a great milkshake.

Ultra Durance:
And we saved the best for last.  The Ultra Durance.  This is possible the greatest supplement known to man.  The purpose of Ultra Durance is many.  It reduces Lactic Acid by 18%, increases VO2 Max, speeds recovery, reduces muscle soreness, or basically everything that a distance athlete would want.

In about 20 minutes after you drink Ultra Durance, your body gets this tingling sensation.  That means its "go time".  There is no caffeine in this, so I mix it with my Crystal Light Energy for the perfect cocktail of caffeine and awesomeness.

I can honestly say that when taking the Ultra Durance, my workouts are seriously kicked up though I don't feel it.  They feel easier to me.  I'm able to sustain a better pace for longer on the run, I swam the farthest I ever had last weekend, and I'm able to hold higher watts on the bike.  I cannot recommend the Ultra Durance any more.  I know that when I take it, I am going to have a great workout and be able to really take my training to the next level

I recommend the Orange Flavor

So that's really the gist of some of the new supplements that I have been taking.  I also want to share that every product at PhD is tested and are in compliance with every testing agency so there are no questions that what I am putting in my body is up to standard and legal.

I can go more into detail about any of the above products but I wanted to give a quick recap of some amazing products and keep this post relatively short

Check out all the products at
http://phdnutrition.ca/en-us/







Saturday, March 19, 2016

My first win!!!

For the WIN
Last week I did something I have never done before.  Win an ENTIRE race.  Not an Age Group win, not make the podium, but be the first person to cross the finish line and break the tape.

I signed up for the Taconic Runner's St. Patty's day 10k to see how my fitness is leading into triathlon season. I thought it would be a good test and since my running this off-season has been going better than ever, I wanted to really see what I was capable of.

For the sake of keeping a 10k race report short, here's how it went down- abridged version.

The gun went off and 3 of us went out of the shoot like a bat out of hell.  All under 5:50 pace for the first mile.  I thought there was no way that I could hold this pace for the entire race, but I stayed with the other 2.  One was a 25 year old shirtless runner, and the other a 45 year old guy.  So I split the middle age group and all of us stayed together the entire way.  How close you ask?

That's as far apart as we were the entire race
Shirtless boy would surge on the down hills, but he fell back at the uphills.  This is where I excelled. It was like a yo-yo.  He would surge, then we would pull him back.

Since the course was a 2 lap course, at the 2.5 mile mark, there was a big hill.  Seeing shirtless boy couldn't hang on the hills, I took a mental note for the second lap. As the second lap went, it was the exact same as the first.  We were no more than 2 feet from each other.  I realized I felt good so at this point, I thought a win might be possible.

Fast forward to mile 5.5 at the hill. It was exactly as I thought.  I am a strong hill runner so attacked the hill and no one could stay with me.  With half a mile to go, I turned on the jets and went for the finish line.

I crossed in first, pumped my fist, and led out a HUGE yell. My first ever win.  Even though it was a local 10k, there were still over 5-600 runners and I was the first one.  Not too bad.  It was even better that this was the first race I was representing Team Big Sexy Racing, so I was happy to perform and get a win for the team.





Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Fear as a motivator

For everyone who knows me, they know that I am motivated on a daily basis by one thing: Fear.  Not fear in the sense of spiders, bugs, heights, etc, but real fear.  With a capital F.  It pretty much consumes me and makes me try and be a better person.

Realize I am not talking about what motivates me during my training.  That ultimately is done by me wanting to push myself as far as I can.  I'm talking about the Fear of not being a good dad, husband, person, and not being able to provide for my family.

This has taken on an even greater purpose for me when the wife and I bought a house about a year.  Instead of not being able to pay rent every month, now it is can I afford to pay the mortgage, can I keep lights, will there be food on the table.  Those types of things.

So what does this mean?  Really nothing.  I can't live my life in Fear every day and let it consume me, though it seems to a lot.  Maybe it's the industry that I work in, maybe it's some type of insecurity, maybe it's something else that I haven't thought of.  The only thing that I can do is try to be the best at what I do every single day.  It helps to have a supportive wife and family to help keep this Fear under wraps, though it at times takes a toll on them.

Even though this post may seem cryptic and weird, it is something that I have thought about constantly and wanted to share my thoughts.  So I wonder, what motivates you and what are you scared of?


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Kicking up the intensity

One of the benefits that I have never had prior to me joining a triathlon team is the internal competition that happens within a given team.  Obviously everyone is competing with each other on race day, but what happens in the time leading up to race day?  Since I have been training solo for pretty much my entire career, I haven't had anyone to compare myself to.  Now I do.

Thanks to the advent of TrainerRoad, Strava, TrainingPeaks, etc, pretty much everyone can see everyone else's workouts.  Our Big Sexy Racing Team has their own TrainerRoad team page so I am constantly tracking my teammates.  What this does is make me train so much harder.  Sometimes not in a positive way.

I have always been able to push myself as hard as I want, or need to.  I've been very lucky with that gene.  Now it just seems like I have so much more internal motivation to basically kill myself during my training.  I pick workouts with the thought of how much sweat is going to be left on the floor and how much my legs and lungs are going to hurt during the workout.

What this has done is the obvious: making me a lot stronger.  I can feel how much stronger my legs are when compared to last year.  I thought I was working hard last year but when I know my workouts are being published to a team site, my workouts seem to have the Emeril splash- being "kicked up a notch".  Not that I'm complaining one bit, but it's amazing to see what happens when other people are going to know what you do.

As a result, this has also bled into my running and swimming.  My run times are getting significantly faster because of my leg strength.  And I'm swimming at such a faster pace than previously.  Not that this improved swimming will help me on race day, but at least I know I can go faster and longer  now.  I'm also staying in the pool longer than before.  I used to have this mental block that when I reached like 30 minutes or about 1500 yards, my body would shut down.  Now I can go a lot longer and harder.

Having the knowledge that I will be racing some teammates at a few events this year, I want to make sure I am the first Big Sexy Racer to cross the finish line and not the last.  I need to put on a good showing for the team.

All of this has led to such an increase in my intensity, which I hope will lead to an decrease in my race times this year.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

New Year, New Team



One of the cool things that happen towards the end of last year was I was accepted on to a new Triathlon Team.  Truth be told, I really haven't wanted to be part of a team in the past few years, even though I have had invitations to do so.  My feeling was, "what can I get out of one?"  Lat year, I was part of the Cobb Cycling team, the Cobb Mobb.  They were a great team and I am still involved with Cobb Cycling and their amazing saddles but it was time to find a more intense team.

One day in December, I received an email inviting me to join the "Big Sexy Racing" Triathlon team.  First off, the names is really cool.  Come on, Big and Sexy.  While I am not big, I do consider myself sexy at times.  The team was formed by triathlete professional Chris McDonald.  They have some amazing partners and sponsors for the team, so I will definitely be writing reviews, giving them shout-outs and promoting the brands here.  The fact that this team is run by a professional triathlete and his amazing wife means that it has the best things going for it and the knowledge is there.

What's cool is this team was ranked as the #1 Triathlon team in the U.S last year (possibly world, but not sure).  And I was invited to join the team?  Something is seriously wrong that they consider me worthy enough to join their ranks.  But I accepted and am a full member of Team BSR.

I'm really looking forward to speaking with, racing with, and getting a lot of wisdom from these guys.  There are so many things that I can learn from some of the top athletes in the country and apply it to both my racing and training.  I've always known how tight the triathlon community is, but when you are part of a team there is definitely something that brings you into another gear.  I can't wait to see how I am able to bounce ideas off everyone and then see how my race season gets better.  As I've written before, I had a disappointing season last year so even the smallest improvement in my season will yield huge results.

I will be posting some images of my new Big Sexy Gear when I get the team kits, so be on the look out for my sexy arse :)