Monday, October 25, 2010

Here's the plan

Was sick all day Friday through today with some crappy cold.  Feeling better..just in time to get my summary of the master plan from my coach today.  In  nutshell here it is:

I've created an annual overview for your training with 2 target races

HIM Racine on 7/17/11 and IM MOOOoooo on 9/11/11  

With that in mind, there are four general macrocycles to the year.  Working backwards from your A race, they are:

Specific IM prep, 12 weeks from June 28th - Sept 11th (race day)
General Aerobic Power Development, 12 weeks from March 29th - June 27th
General Base/Skills/Technique & Weight Loss, 12 weeks from Jan 4th - March 28th
Strength, Flexibility &Nutrition, Now until - Jan 3rd (about 10 weeks)

This is a wonderful length of time to prep you for the ironman next September, and I am happy to discuss each of the phases in more detail. 

From now until the new year, we will try to restore a tri focused training routine, with generous rest and "off" weeks scheduled, work in some functional strength and core exercises, and have you focus on nutrition...not necessarily weight loss at first, but working on food & nutrition as fuel for your body and improving overall management of stress (maintain healthful diet & good sleep habits).   

The 3 month period from Jan - March will be prime time (after the holidays) to set specific weight loss targets and get closer to goal weight.  We will try to have a 6 month period of weight loss ending 3 months prior to your IM, so that the last development phase you are working on race & workout nutrition and not worried about weight loss.   

The 3 month period form March until the end of June I refer to as general power development. This will be the time period with the most intense workouts, using a variety of sweet spot, threshold & vo2 max training intervals in a progressive fashion to build overall aerobic power (essentially, raising your functional threshold in all sports).  For an IM event, the higher your threshold/weight ratio, the faster your performance will be. 

The final 3 months is a focus on fatigue resistance while maintaining the gains we've made during the general power phase.  Rides & runs will gradually get longer and closer to race pace intensity.  

My approach ti IM and HIM training is a focus on the whole athlete, and quality training sessions, not just logging miles. Recent exercise physiology studies have demonstrated that aerobic power (FTP) is improved with higher intensity and lower volume training methods.  the experience of coaches like Matt Dixon, Phil Skiba & the Endurance Nation guys supports that higher intensity, lower volume training, even for IM distance athletes works well, with less time invested.
Well it looks like my coach has it all mapped out for me and is fairly optimistic. I just need to ask her about a few of the concepts that she mentioned that I am not really familiar"nutrition" and "healthful diet" and "training."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Coyotes are scary..and so are bunnies.

Tonight was my first run after taking a hiatus from all physical activity since August 28. (Except for the 100 miles walked up and down State Street last weekend looking for a bar after the Badger game).  The run was an unmitigated disaster.  It really is amazing how much fitness a person can lose sitting on their butt for six weeks.  My heart rate was elevated and I was running 1 to 2 minutes per mile slower then usual..(yes I was actually moving backwards).  However I did learn a few things today. (Some of which my 2 year old daughter already knows).

1.  I am not in running shape.  2.  It gets really dark after 6:45 p.m. 3. black and dark blue are not colors to wear when running at night. 4. Running at night on an isolated path can be very scary. 5. I could probably run faster carrying 40lbs less weight.

I got home late from work and thought it would be a good idea to run on the clear creek trail.  Nice path and fairly level for my neck of the woods.  However I was not thinking about how dark it gets.  I was only supposed to run for 30 minutes today..for me that is about 3 miles.  I ran 1.5 miles and turned around to go back they way I came. By then it was very dark with no ambient light and no one else on the trail.  As I ran through the parts of the trail with trees and vegetation on both sides I realized I was being followed.  I have often run into coyotes on this path and realized that there was probably a pack that figured I was the dying straggler of whatever herd I belonged to...which probably isn't too far from the truth...waiting for me to keel over.  I figured as long as I kept moving I would be fine..I then heard more and more rustling and began to freak out a little.  I finally turned to see the glare from three sets of eyes not more then six or seven feet from me.  At this point my heart skipped a beat and I realized that the eyes were too close to the ground to be coyotes..I was being followed by a pack of rabbits..I can only imagine that they were probably rabid.  As anyone who has seen the documentary Monty Python and the Holy Grail knows, rabbits can be very dangerous on their own..needless to say a pack of them could be downright deadly.  The resulting adrenaline rush was enough to propel my fat rear the rest of the way to the vehicle wear I hastily got into my truck to put a steel door between myself and the ferocious furballs.  I guess the one positive is that I had a negative split for the run.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Let's get it started

As I mentioned in my last post this is my first officially coached week of training.  I have Coach Suzanne of Steel City Endurance in charge of putting together my plan for the year. Since the Ironman is such a huge undertaking I decided that I needed some guidance.  I looked at getting local coaches in Denver that had been recommended but the price tag of $200 to 275 per month was just too hefty.  Even some of the group coaching in the area seemed very pricey.  I also looked into Endurance Nation which offers online coaching and they have great knowledge of the specific Ironman courses. Further the team members are very supportive of one another and show up at the individual races to support each other.  The price was more in line at $129.00 per month..however the training plans are not edited to the individual.  So I contacted my friend Suzanne who I met a few years ago on the Beginner Triathlete website. By the way, Beginner Triathlete is a great resource for all your triathlon questions.  I highly recommend checking the website out and becoming a member. Further it has an awesome free training log.  Anyway, Suzanne is an emergency room physician and has moved her way into coaching swimming, triathlons and cycling.  She told me she had a couple of Ironman triathletes that she is training and would accept me as a challenge. (More then she can imagine). 
This first week she has me doing very easy workouts just to gauge how actually unfit I am.  Just a few easy runs bikes and swims.  I'll let you know how each of them goes and give you a more detailed description of my Annual Training Plan once we have the details hammered out.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Last weekend of debauchery

My official training for the Ironman Wisconsin begins on October 18th. That is when my coach will have my first week of structured workouts for me.  I figured I would lose some weight before the 18th and actually lost a few pounds. I was at 228 on Thursday..however the wheels fell off the bus over the weekend.  On Friday I got a call from my brother Ben. He had an extra ticket to see my beloved Badgers play Ohio State on Saturday.  The stars lined up and Ben and my wife were able to find a fairly cheap airline ticket into Madison on Saturday.  However, Friday night was my anniversary so my wife and I went out for dinner.  I had a great appetizer of cheese garlic bread followed by a spinach salad (the only vegetables I would see for the next three days) and then a blue cheese encrusted sirloin which was wonderful.  I figured I would watch what I ate while in Madison.  On Saturday Ben and his friend Steve picked me up from the airport and our first stop was The Great Dane to meet Steve's dad and brother.  Talk about a menu to die for..macaroni and cheese..brats...cheese curds and of course the Great Dane Brat and Bacon Pretzel Burger.

Lunch was followed by a walk to the stadium where we met my brother's friend Matt and his parents for some tailgating. Matt's parents always have a great spread of food and drink set up including chili, cheese, Capital Beer, and other assorted yummy food.  The game was great. What made it better was my parents made it up to the game which is about an hour and a half drive for them.  My mother is in a wheel chair so they have seats in the handicap section which allowed me and my brother to spend the last half of the fourth quarter hanging out with them and celebrating the defeat of the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes.  After the post game celebration was completed my parents headed back out of town and I joined my brother and his friends in walking to State Street looking for a bar to have a few drinks.  Unfortunately every bar had a line of 30 to 40 people or more and thus we kept walking. We finally found seating at Coopers which is right across the street from the Capitol Building. Again we treated ourselves to an Oktoberfest as well as mini burger and a wonderful concoction of Canadian origin..french fried potatoes covered in cheese and gravy. Somehow it was 1:30 and my brother's friend Steve was still hungry which necessitated a trip to Greenbush Bakery for donuts.  We returned to the hotel and ate the donuts before getting a few hours of sleep.  The next morning my brother, Steve and I went to State Street to buy souvenirs.  On the way there we went past Monona Terrace where the Ironman transition area is going to be.  I looked at the lake and snapped a picture so that I can have a visual image when I am swim training.  Of course we needed to stop for lunch and got a few slices of pizza at Ian's Pizza, including their famous mac'n'cheese pizza. 

It is now Monday night and I just stepped on the scale.  235.6..I didn't even think it was possible to put 7lbs on in three days..but apparently it is. It was a great weekend seeing family and friends, being back in Madison enjoying familiar sites and sounds, eating my comfort foods and experiencing the great environment that is the University of Wisconsin and the people of Wisconsin.  My brother also indicated to me that he plans on doing quite a few triathlons next year so it will be fun trying to plan some races with him.  I am waiting to see my training schedule.  Should be fun.

And I can't go without mentioning the Teach Me How To Bucky phenomenon.  All around campus people were wearing Teach Me How to Bucky shirts and we were constantly being asked by people if we knew how to Bucky. Apparently no one had any idea..Finally while walking towards State Street after the game Steve saw some coeds coming towards us with the shirts on and yelled..what the f*** is the Teach Me How to Bucky?  To which the cutest girl're too old for me to teach you how to Bucky.  Harsh.  Of course that exchange was almost as good as the Badgers beating Ohio State..not quite..but almost.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Birthday Party

     My wife through a surprise birthday party for me today. So I told my friends that I would be competing in the 2011 IM  Wisconsin.  I was actually surprised by the positive reaction I received. Although the few friends at the party that are endurance athletes did look at me with the," you have to be kidding me" look in their eyes.  Obviously they know how hard an IM is and the training involved.  They were also probably eyeing the two bratwurst on my plate as and the stack of cheese I was devouring just to make sure my heart isn't working too well.  As I stated in my profile, I am overweight. Luckily for me I carry it very well and just look like a big guy. Not one that is actually obese by the height/weight and BMI standards.  I am roughly 6'1" and about 235 lbs.  In all honesty I will need to be in the 180 range to be able to complete the IM.  I have not seen 210 in probably 7 years, 200 lbs in 12 years and 180 lbs in 18 years. So I have quite the task in front of me.
     A group of us are doing a weight loss "challenge" starting tomorrow. So I will weigh in with my official poundage.  I am actually very knowledgeable when it comes to eating right and losing weight.  However I do not  put what I know in to practice. I eat like a teenager..both in quantity and quality.  That all ends tomorrow.  My weight is one of my biggest limiters in all three disciplines, but especially the run.  I need to focus on getting 15 lbs off fairly quickly so that my knees do not have to put up with the pounding I am putting them through.
     I will post my starting weight here tomorrow and hopefully have a plan of attack put down in writing to follow. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The First Step.

The first step was probably the easiest.  Just sign up for Ironman Wisconsin. I had heard that it was incredibly hard to get in so I thought..what the heck..once the online registration opens I will hop on the computer and if I get registered it was meant to be..if not there is always next year or Ironman Louisville.  Needless to say registration opened at exactly 11:00 a.m. on the Monday after the 2010 race and I got right to the registration page, finished registering, went to the pay page booted off the system.  I continued to get booted off for the next 35 minutes until I got the sorry, registration is closed message.  I guess it was not meant to be.  But wait!  Apparently the folks at could not handle the huge demand on their servers and had to shut the site down.  The registration was reopened on Wednesday..and after only two attempts I got to the billing page, submitted my credit card info and ..nothing.  Did I get in?  There was no way to know. I called my credit card company to see if my charge went through and the computers were down..OK..who is screwing with me?  Finally an hour later I received an email. I was registered for Ironman Wisconsin.  At first I was very excited..and then I thought..what the heck did I just do?  Should I not tell anybody in case I fail miserably in my training or tell everyone so that I had the pressure from family and friends to see this thing through.  I do not want to "survive" the race.  I want to race it and feel comfortable doing it. Now its time for the reality check to see if the mere "surviving" the event should be my goal.