Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ironman Hawaii - in hind site

This is a pic of a list I made in the mid 90's of stuff I wanted to do before I die. A life list. part 2 is of IM Hawaii is now checked off.

"just have fun, its your first time in Hawaii, don't expect much..."
you hear this a lot. and still, after having an inadequate race in my mind I call a huge bull shit!
IM Hawaii is 140.6 miles. the same as all the other full distance triathlons. Evey race has its own unique aspects that make the race challenging in different ways. That race is very hilly, it's always windy there. The salt water help you float better, but the water is rougher but no wet suit also... hmmm....

here's the deal. Hawaii is hot, humid and windy. done.
The bike course, despite the wind, is faster than most other races. IMC, lake placid, st. George, IMLO. and teh run a very flat. the hill going up palani is tough but thats it. As some one that doesn't do well in the heat this was a concern. I took care of this in 3 ways.
1. Arm coolers on the bike
2. Extra water bottle on my bike down tube. (2 bottles for straight water and 1 fuel bottle w/ Infinit. 3 total)
3. Simply being mentally prepared. Ever get stuck in traffic that wasn't expected. infuriating! but when your ready for it, plan for it, expect it. not so bad... same thing. get ready to be F'n hot. all in all, the heat wasn't bad. Ice down the shirt at ever aid station and I was fine.

Ok so why does it seem like so many people crack there? 2 main reasons.
1. They train to hard/ don't rest enough for the race. It's the world championships and athletes get supper amped! Rightfully so, but recovering from an IM takes time. lots of time, longer than most realize and many rush back into training from there qualifying race. "I got to train for KONA!" yeah you do but you have to recover first. Not recovering enough first is like getting new tires for your car before you take it to get junk yard. It's just dumb. everyone knows this yet very few actually do it.

2. They get over excited and execute the race poorly. This is easy to do. Its the world championships and as you hopefully read in my race report things don't play out like they do in your qualifying race. There are people all around you the ENTIRE time! my 10:10 race time was good for the to 500 something... yeah top 25%. i am normally in the top 5%. This issue can be exacerbated by the fact that almost everyone here is a qualifier. They are used to going fast. If people feel just a bit off and there going slow, lots of folks passing them, they get what I call the IM death gaze. you lave T2 feeling worse than ever before and you think 26 miles!?? no way thats impossible! and they implode.
Here's a little fact. You can't run 26.2 miles after riding 112 and swimming 2.4. its impossible. but you can run 1 mile. and then another, then maybe 2 and so on. I can't tell you how many people I saw on a sun 10hr pace (ahead of me) just stop and quit. 99% of these people's minds quit. not their body... when i left T2 i could see this place in my mind. I felt like death. one at a time, one mile at a time, one moment, one steep, one feeling one thought at a time. my first tip of race execution. focus on what yoru doing right "now". mistakes get made in the now. If your not in the now on race day where the F*** are you?!!?? can I run "right now" for just 1 minute? "yes", then do it.

So which one happened to you then? neither. of course, right...

Here is the other thing. Hawaii is a long way away. really long. Even from CO. A 2 hr. flight to AZ. then 6.5 hr's to kona makes for a long day. add 4 hr time change and 7 for you east coasters and you have a potentially serious jet lag issue headed your way.
What did happen to me was this.
Our planned 14 hour travel day turned out to be around 24 hours. A very simple delay in Denver had us in LAA instead of AZ. 5 hr lay over, before the over seas flight and kona arrival time was 7 pm local time instead of 2. not a big deal right? Thats what I thought, I wasn't feeling bad. That was wed. thur. I was fine again. Didn't do anything dumb, stayed out of the sun, hydrated and fueled well, etc. But Friday things caught up with me. I was just exhausted. And that the was I felt on race day. Just tired. muscles fine, but even a slow pace just had me pinned.
pretty lame excuse I know. but that's all I got.
my training was good. I felt great coming into the race. expectations were right on. My bike felt like it was right on with pre IMLP. Swimming felt great in training and if anything I had improved tech. The run, not as much but I adjusted and was prepared. I was going to "see how I felt" running no faster than 8'/miles and aim for a 8-8:30/mile pace. if I slowed a bit, fine. a 3:45 run would be fine.
As you read in the race report I handled it as best I could. I kept moving and avoided a huge disaster.
I have said before that people don't realize the best moments of their lives because they are so caught up in the moment. Which I think is pretty cool. But what happens when your somewhere that is supposed to be sooo great and its... not so great. Its important during these times you keep some perspective. I had two rules going into this race. don't stop, take it in.
I did both, success.

So what now? I seem to very content with my day, and fulfilling a life long dream...
I have gotta get back there and race at 100%. I can be "satisfied" but never "content".

IM Hawaii must Do's:
for racers and non-racers.

1. swim. its awesome! hit the coffee float the day or 2 before the race.
2. racers you have to have a iron Sherpa. for this race more than most.
3. take it in!! volcano nation park, snorkeling, local food, watch or participate in teh underwear run, do it all.
4. as long as possible after the race!
5. Get out there at least 4 days before the race. and sleep!
6. DO NOT stress about the heat. there isn't much you can do. if you want to move there, go ahead. 5 or 6 days is not gona help you acclimate.
7. Lu Lu's Sunday morning for football.
8. get as many friends and family as you can to go out. Watching this event and doing it are both very inspiring.
9. take it all in. don't forget where you are and what your doing.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ironman World Championships, Kona, Hi. race report

Kona Race Report. the nitty gritty.
here is the down and dirty race report. some power files, etc. more thoughts and details on the race will follow.

Race morning: was pretty standard. food, drink, get to the race, bathroom, etc...
the difference here was this is the world championship. The spectator volume simply crushes that of any other race out there. Media, helicopters, the whole 9. It was just fookin crazy.

I felt good 2 days earlier on my opener ride. and while I had this nagging tiredness and fatigue I told my self it would pass. I was confident it wouldn't bother me on race day.
The swim was pretty wild. The Ford car float, the sound of the helicopters, I took it all in. I lined up front and center. moment number one of "Oh my god I can't believe I am here!" Contact was pretty standard. but I found some clear water and got a rhythm. the water was rolly at times but I plowed through. at the turn I saw a guy under water 10 feet or so in full scuba gear filming. Moment number 2. "holy Sh** I can't believe I am HERE!"

The second half of the swim I pushed a bit more. The pack thinned out and went single file. A large group looked to be a bit ahead of me but I was still on some feet and connected to the group. I didn't have to sight any more, I felt strong and the separation was starting to happen... like normal... right? nope. This is the world championships. Everyone here qualified, you can't simply hold your pace and wait for the other to "fade away". About 10' from the finish of the swim it felt like the entire world came up behind me and it was the start all over again. "you gotta be kidding me!" I thought. but I made it. up to T1, in and out. Most crowded T1 I've ever been in. I had no idea what my swim time was at that point, didn't care. time to ride.

The bike was crowded. again its the W.C.! and I was getting passed, a lot. its rare for me to get passed. but I wasn't worried. Its kona there are just as many people here who will get over pumped up and blow there race as people who will crush it.
However, about 10 miles into the bike I could tell. I had the feeling... That feeling of struggle. There are different kinds of pain. good pain,bad pain, etc. at 25 miles I had been riding for 52 minutes or so. and I felt like i had done 250-260 watts. I had done 220. uhh. not a good sign. this feeling of strugeling would stay with me the rest of the race.
The fatigue of our 20 hour travel day (more on all this later) crawled into me and wasn't gona go away. I have felt this before and it has simply faded away. I had a great race, other times its been the worst day of my life.
I could tell the tail wind was raging as well. I knew it would only get harder. Onto the climb to hawi and I was still strugeling. I adjusted a bit. almost 100% going by feel and using my watts to stay real. Also my HR was jacked. This confirmed to me that this just wasn't gona be my best day. ohh well, I made it hear I wasn't that disappointed.
On the climb to Hawi I started to get pretty annoyed with guys passing me then just stopping 1 bike length in front of me. I tried to stay cool but I am sure there is a pic of me somewhere waving my arms and yelling at someone. Big head wind on the climb which was nice because unlike the common head wind we got a tail wind on the way down.
mile 80 to the finish was a big steady head wind. what I expected. I pushed. I tried to tell my self that I was riding well, just ride EK, come on push! This ain't supposed to be easy. I seemed to drop some of the people I was with for most of the ride but this is where I lost lots of time on the guys that were just in front of me. My watts dropped here a bit even if I was steady. I have seen a few power files of guys the bested me in the bike and this was the biggest area of lost time for me.
In T2 I was quick but scared. As I finished up a volunteer asked "sunscreen?" "yeah, please." he lathered up my shoulders and neck, I stood up and paused. "whole crap... I feel wrecked, I can't believe I have to run a marathon." not the feeling we are looking for coming off the bike in an IM.
Bike file:
if this jams up on you sorry, I am going to download it again when i get my stuff back with my bike.

in the Run I was at first holding back to stay around 8' miles but it was taking some much energy. Normally, "energy" is not my limiting factor. I've got energy to spare. Its more about how much can my muscles take. oh far and how hard can I push them until they fail. This time it was different. I was in a place I had not been before. i hadn't prepared for this. I don't prepare to do poorly.

OK reality check and adjustment time. Chris and I did a damage assment and made a new plan.
I was in rough shape all ready. If one more thing goes wrong, one tiny thing gets messed or stops working at 100% I am screwed. I'll be walking the rest of the way, at best.
~OK. run on 100% feel.
~walk at every aid station. get everything i need.
If I fall behind on fueling, get hot or .5% dehydrated things would crumble fast!
~I decided I would walk every aid station, get everything I need, stay cool.
~ My stomach was good so I started hitting coke on top of my other nutrition, Infinit.

This worked well. I walked most of palini but my rhythm, while slow, was steady. I never thought I would have to walk the rest of the way or not finish. I just kept on keeping on...
I had 3 or 4 more "oh my god i'm can't beleieve this" moments. when people say "just enjoy your day", this is what they are talking about. Often at the best times of our lives we don't realize it because we are so caught up in it. And... that's the way it should be. But every now and then it's worth taking a moment and just being aware of whats going on. of what your doing. Alii Dr., the Queen K, going down into the energy lab, The finish line. The finishing straight is INSANE. it's long, real long. the crowd is huge, and if you miss this opportunity to "take it all in" you are missing out.
Run file:

Lindsay meet me at the finish I drank several cups of chicken broth and saw lots of racers and friends I knew. The stories begin. "did you hear about so and so? 3 flats!" did you see Drew Scott? his running shoes were red with blood."
Even during the bike I saw guys just pull off the rd and stop. guys on the run 3 miles in, that were ahead of me! (I finished in 10:10) just stop and called it game over. while seeing this stuff during the race doesn't make me happy at all, it did, make me realize, "hey, that's NOT happening to me..." things could be way worse.

so Chris and I learned a few things at this race. It is possible for me to keep moving and finish what I think is fairly respectable time, with out feeling 100%. not even 90%. pretty cool.

Next post will be Soon! more on what Ironman Hawaii is like, do's and don'ts and what happened to me? training, prep, heat?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Ruben Sandwich and blending of ingredients

The Ruben is my favorite sandwich. I get it every where I go. Yes its good. I like the grilled bread, hot sandwiches and the gooyness of the meal but I also love it because the Ruben should NOT be so great. every ingredient I dislike. every one.
~Rye bread, Pass
~Swiss cheese, its ok but not my first choice.
~Russian dressing, no way.
~Corned beef, ok that's pretty good... but still not a first choice.
~Sauerkraut. barf

Yet for some reason when you put these together, the right way, in the right proportions it F**** rocks!
This is a delicate balance. To much beef, no good. it's to dry. To much kraut, awfully, if you toast the bread (the number one mistake) major fail. But when the ingredients are good quality, in the right portions and grilled perfectly you have the makings of the best meal ever!

2 days ago, 6 days before the Ironman world championships, I went for a run. Since IM LP I have not felt... my best. slowing getting my strength and feel back. The swim came first, bike next, almost now to the point where I was preLake Placid but the run has been an up and down battle. Struggling to balance the right ingredients in the time I have to simply get to the best place possible. No need t0 better or even at the same level, but I still gotta finish! I need to have that "feel" back. This has been further hampered but another nagging issue which I'll discuss post race regardless of the result, how I get it, or if this issue becomes an issue or not.

Yet on Sunday days before I am to leave, my run felt... like my running legs just woke up from a 2 month nap! I felt at ease with my 45' run at race pace. "ahh thank god!" I said aloud to my self when I got home.

Training will sometimes feel odd "why am I doing 30 sec. sprints on the bike for a 5-6 hr ride?"
"why am I doing 100 yd efforts in the pool? the swim is 2.4 MILES?"

some times the ingredients don't look right when viewed alone. The road to your goals is never a straight line.

But when you take the nasty sauerkraut and Russian dressing (does anyone even put that on salad anymore?) the cheese and corned beef, slap it on the grill between the right bread you get something totally different.

Some times you have to be patient, trust your self, trust your training and resting, put your head down on race day and never stop.