Thursday, May 31, 2007

R & R

Tomorrow we’ll be heading down to the Florida coast for a week of R & R.
I need it. 11.5 hours on the bike during the last week…. plus swim, run and strength equals one tired TJ.

I’m leaving my bike at home, but I plan to do a little recon on the bike course while I’m there. I’ll get up early one morning while D and K are still snoozing and drive the entire course. Just to see what’s in store for me in November.

Coach John wants me to take 3 days totally off while we are away and only do very light running and swimming on the other days. I don’t think I’ll have any trouble sticking to that plan.

Other than a little swimming and running, I plan to spend as much time with D and K as possible, eat lots of fresh seafood…I love seafood, sleep late, lay on the beach and soak up some rays, maybe drink a few margaritas, catch up on some reading, and generally take it easy for a week. I’m looking forward to it.

Happy Training!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Smokin Start.

A 3.5 hour ride with a 20 minute run off the bike was on the schedule for Saturday. I wanted to get started early so I wouldn’t be away from D and K the entire day. My plan was to wake at 5am, have breakfast and be on the road no later than 7am.

The alarm went off at 5 and I pulled myself out of bed and into the kitchen to cook breakfast. I noticed a strange smell when I walked into the kitchen…not always out of the ordinary around here. It smelled like something had been burned….again, not so out of the ordinary. Then I caught a glance of the streetlight out the window and knew where the smell was coming from. I turned on the lights in the back yard and it looked like a thick wave of fog had rolled in during the night. Only this fog smelled of wildfire. The winds had blown smoke over from the eastern part of Georgia.

I didn't want to head out into traffic with driver visibility compromised by the smoke. I started formulating plan B. I could go out to the base (military base) were there’s no traffic and ride the 12.5 mile loop there….where I do most all of my weekday training. But I’d have to pack up everything and make the 25-minute drive. I thought for a split second about doing the ride on the trainer, but I’d go completely nuts on there for 3.5 hours. I decided I’d have breakfast, wait for the sun to rise and see if the smoke cleared.

The sun began to rise and thankfully the smoke began to clear. By 6:45, the smoke had cleared enough that it’d be safe to ride. I headed out about 7am.

The plan called for easy to steady effort for the entire ride. I kept my pace very easy for the first hour and felt good. I increased the effort a bit during the second hour and still felt pretty good. I passed through a small town at about the 2-hour mark and turned east. The wind picked up significantly after making the turn and my nice ride got ugly. The remaining hour and 43 minutes were spent fighting a strong headwind. I made it back home and finished with 63.5 miles and a 17mph average. I made a quick costume change and headed out for the short easy run. 21 minutes at about 9:30 pace.
Overall it was a good session. The headwinds sucked, but I was happy to have gotten in the ride with the smoky start.

Coach John has me focusing on improving my biking during the next several weeks, which equals lots of bike time. My run and swim will taper off a bit during the 6 or so weeks that we work on getting me stronger on the bike. John assured me my swim and run would come back quickly.

This week will be a full week of training through Friday morning. After finishing my bike session Friday, we are heading back down to Panama City Beach for a week of rest and relaxation. We didn’t really get to enjoy the beach while we were there for GCT and I promised KJ we’d go back when school got out. She’s holding me to my word…
John wants me to take three days totally off while I’m on vacation and only do light running and swimming. I’m a bit afraid of what he has in store for me when I get back…..

Happy Training!

Saturday, May 19, 2007


It’s been a week since GCT and I’ve taken it pretty easy all week. 1 swim, 4 rides, and 1 run. All easy. All relatively short.

I forgot to mention my jellyfish encounter when I wrote up my report. Michele mentioned seeing jellyfish during the swim in her report, which reminded me that I’d gotten tagged by one. I actually thought they were schooling fish when I initially saw them. I didn’t think much about it until I felt the sensation of a hot wire being pulled across my chin....I then knew exactly what they were. Luckily the pain subsided quickly and I didn’t have any adverse reactions from it.

It’d been so long since I’d actually toed the line in a race that I’d forgotten how much fun it is to get out there and go at it. I’m going to try to fit another race in soon. Hopefully I can get up to Calloway Gardens in June and do the sprint tri up there with my tri bro Wes. We'll see....

Today's ride was a 32 miler with the club. Coach John told me to keep things easy this weekend and continue to let my body fully recover, so I let the fast gang go and hung in the back where things are much more social. It was a fun ride and I got to catch up with a couple of folks I haven't seen in a while.

Later in the afternoon I fired up the grill and prepared my favorite recovery meal....grilled chicken.

A couple of these........

A couple of these......

And a few pieces of this with the fixins......

And I'm feeling pretty recoverd.

Happy Training!


Monday, May 14, 2007

Gulf Coast Triathlon Race Report

Back home from a great weekend down at Panama City Beach.
I spent the first half of Friday running around getting everything taken care of before heading out of town. The last thing on the list was to drop Caesar off at the kennel and then head over to pick up DJ and KJ from school. We got on the road about 3:30 and made it to PCB around 7:00pm (6:00pm local time).
We went straight to the host hotel. I registered and picked up my race packet. I put my bike together, put on the race number decals and racked it in transition. We then hurried over to the athlete’s meeting and caught the last 10 minutes.
We made it to the condo about 8:00pm and checked in. After cooking supper, eating, getting everything organized and packed up for the next morning, it was 10:00pm. I got into bed about 10:30 and fell asleep about 11:00. I slept until about 3:00am...I never sleep well the first night away from home. I got out of bed about 3:30 and cracked open a frosty bottle of Gatorade. Nothin like Gatorade first thing in the morning. I got D and K up, had breakfast and we left for the race about 5am.

We parked at Spinnaker and walked to the race site...maybe half a mile. The line for bodymarking was very long. It took about 20 minutes to get marked. There wasn’t much time left after getting inked before transition closed and I had to hurry to get set up...not really something I like to hurry through.

Getting Marked

Me and KJ before the start

I got my wetsuit on and we made it down to the beach about wave was to go off at 6:55, so I had some time to chill before starting. Even though I hadn’t gotten much sleep and the morning had been a bit rushed, I was totally relaxed. It was kind of strange actually. I usually get nervous before a big race. But I was calm and ready to go.
They soon called for my wave to get ready to start.

The crowd on the beach was huge before the swim start
The cannon sounded and we were off. My plan for the swim was to take it easy and not burn up too much energy. I started at the back of the pack to avoid the carnage. The water was fairly calm and I soon settled into a rhythm. Other than a leaky right goggle socket and some zig zagging, the swim was fairly uneventful. I hit the beach in just over 38 minutes. Definitely not a smokin swim, but I felt great and hadn’t gone too hard. I made the long jog up to T1 and stripped off my wetsuit. I took about 5 minutes in T1 and headed out on the bike.

I'm in there somewhere...

Getting the wetsuit off in T1

My goal for the bike was to take in 1 bottle of Gatorade Endurance/2 gels per hour (350 cals), average 18mph and save something for the run. I started off easy and let my heart rate settle down. I’d settled into a good rhythm by the time I turned onto hwy 79 to head out of town. I was soon going up the bridge over the coastal waterway. Right after the bridge, the course turns right onto highway 388. I was feeling good, so I increased my speed a bit once I made the turn onto 388. I didn't notice as many "packs" this year as last year, but about 10 miles after turning onto 388, I was overtaken by a pack of about 10 riders. One guy actually passed me on the right. I guess he didn't want to lose his spot in the group. Luckily I held my line and avoided what could have been a day ending crash. I hit the turnaround with an average speed of 18.3mph. I was getting in my nutrition and still feeling good. I kept my speed going and made it back to hwy 79. I crossed back over the bridge and felt the headwinds kick up a bit, but it wasn’t as bad as the previous year. I made it back into town and made the turn onto Front Beach Rd. I was still rolling pretty good and still felt great. I finished up the bike in 2:56:35 with an average speed of 19 mph and an average heart rate of 170bpm. I was stoked with my bike time, but hoped I hadn’t overdone it. I made it through T2 in about 3 minutes and headed out on the run.

Heading out of T1

Not long after starting the run, I heard DJ and KJ yelling for me. They held up a sign they'd made for me and cheered me on. I was really happy to see them and it was just the boost I needed. I started out at what I though was an easy pace, but hit the first mile marker in 7:18. Whoa! Gotta back off. I slowed down and hit the 2 mile mark in 10:33. Mile 3 - 8:51, Mile 4 - 7:51, Mile 5 - 9:10, Mile 6 - 9:15. It was getting very hot by now, but I was still feeling good and started to wonder when the implosion would take place. I was doing way better than I’d expected. I was close to the halfway point of the run and still had an hour and a half left to reach my goal time of 6 hours. I did mile 7 in 8:57, mile 8 in 10:22. Mile 8 was where I had started cramping last year. This year, I was walking every aid station and taking in at least one cup of Gatorade at each station to help avoid the cramps. I was also taking in a gel every 30 minutes with water. My pace for mile 9 was 9:05 and 10:21 for mile 10. I was beginning to get tired, but was starting to think I’d be able to hold on and reach my goal. Mile 11 pace was 7:13...not sure what happened there. Mile 12 - 10:34. I had my first cramp (hamstring) just after mile 12 and walked for about 50 yards to work it out. I finished up the last 1.1 miles in 13:43 and finished the run in 2 hours and 2 minutes. My pace for the run was 9:22/mile with an average heart rate of 173. I crossed the finish line with an official finish time of 5:45:42.

Starting the run

Nearing the finish line

Gettin some lovin from KJ

Me and KJ with the sign she made for me

After the race, I headed straight back in the ocean to cool down my legs. I also had a recovery drink right after the race. I gathered up my gear from transition after cooling down and headed back to the room for a much needed shower. We hung out in the room for a good while and then headed out for PIZZA. Three huge slices of Salvatore’s later and all was right with the world.

Heading back into the water to cool off

I was...and still am...blown away with how well the race went. I set a new PR for this race by nearly half an hour. There are a few reasons I can think of for the improvement. I skipped the early season running races this year, which allowed me to build the base miles I needed. I was able to keep my training consistent and stayed healthy and injury free. I was in much better swim shape this year. My swim time was only a minute faster than last year, but I came out of the water feeling much better this year. I was also on a new, much lighter, bike this year. My nutrition plan was also much better. When Coach John and I spoke, he urged me to increase the amount of calories I took in through the race and it made a huge difference. I didn’t start running out of energy until late in the run.

The end of a great day

It was an awesome weekend and I couldn’t be happier with how the race went.
I’ll be taking it easy this week, but then the real training begins......

Happy Training

Saturday, May 12, 2007


report coming soon

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It's Getting Hot!

It got into the 90s here yesterday and the forecast says we’ll have more of the same for the remainder of the week.
Goodbye pleasant spring temps…hello summer heat!

Last week was another busy week for me. Lots of stuff going on away from training.
Our workload has steadily grown over the past few years at work. As a result, the workforce has also increased…to the point that it’s become an issue for my supervisor to manage the people in my area, as well as his other areas. The decision was made to establish a team leader position within our office to alleviate some of those supervisory demands. I was offered that position last week and accepted it. It’ll mean a few more clams in the basket, but also more work. Hopefully I can continue to keep everything balanced.

As noted in a previous post, I’ve been debating buying a power meter and hiring a coach. After much deliberation, I’ve come to a decision on both items. I’ve emailed and spoken with several coaches during the last few weeks. In the end, it was an easy decision to go with John Newsom as my coach. I’m very familiar with John’s style of coaching, having listened to many of his podcasts at Ironman Talk. John is one of the very best at what he does and knows his stuff…and he’s a great athlete himself. I know he’ll get more out of me than I ever would have on my own.
As for the power meter, I’ve decided to hold off on getting one…at least in the near future. Maybe later in the summer. But for now it’s on the back burner.

I missed a couple of sessions in the middle of last week due to just plain out being busy. But overall it was a good week of training.
The hot temperatures made my 8.5 mile run a bit tougher than normal yesterday. I ended up with about a 9:00/mile pace for the run. I’m hoping to maintain at least 9:45/mile pace at GCT.
I didn’t work Friday to be with KJ at her school field day, which put me a bit behind at work. I went in Saturday morning to catch up on a few things and did my ride in the afternoon. I ended up with 40 windy miles at an average of 19mph. Hopefully my bike fitness will be good enough for an 18 average at GCT.

I threw some chicken on the grill when I got home from the ride Saturday afternoon and kicked back with a few cold beers. A fitting end to a busy week.

My posting will probably be scarce between now and after the race.
My only goal for Gulf Coast is to break 6 hours. Anything under six and I’ll be happy.
I feel much more prepared this year as opposed to last year.
Time will tell….

Happy Training