Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2 Feet First

As in jumping back into training. This week marked the official start of my prep towards Lake Placid Ironman in July 2012. Over this past July 4th weekend, while sitting at the beach with Kara and her family the discussion of starting a family came up. Being that it was the middle of the tri season and my current schedule included Providence 70.3 the following weekend as a qualifier for Vegas 70.3 Worlds, my thoughts were to start a family towards the end of the 2011 tri season. At that point Al (KJ's father) chimed in asking if I was going to take another shot at Kona before starting a family. My response was that family was more important and I have my entire life to qualify for Kona (even if its in my 80s). Al encouraged me a little more saying that I should take another shot at it before kids since I was so close at my last attempt. Kara agreed and I decided Lake Placid would be my qualifier.

Because I was given this new opportunity I thought it better to put all my chips in one basket and cut the 2011 season short following USAT nationals in August. This allowed me to take an early off season and really gear up for the start of training come December.

December has now arrived (and is almost over) and so the official training has begun. I have a new found confidence and drive taking me into this 30 week block culminating in Lake Placid. There a few additional races along the way that will be good benchmarks and prep opportunities.

So will it happen? I would love nothing more than to make it to Kona. Having said that, I also know that in the sport of triathlon, just saying the word Kona can be a jinx. Many that set out for it do not mention it while in training. They may talk generally about Kona, but when someone is asked directly if they think they can make it to the Big Island, the athlete often deflects or answers vaguely. Well here is my answer. YES. I know I have the ability to get there. If I complete all of my workouts, eat properly, sleep adequetely, and control all of the variables that are in my power, then I will be booking a trip to Hawaii at the end of July. Obviously there are things that I can not control; mechanical issues, training injuries, and events of that sort. That said, I am putting myself out there. In an effort to make myself both vulnerable and accountable between now and July 22, 2012. I am not going to deny it and I am not going to celebrate it. My objective it not to be cocky or over confident, it is to simply believe in myself, stick to my plan and hopefully show others that there is no such thing as superstition when you make a plan, stick to it, and work hard for your dreams.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lake Placid Speedo Guys

Guilty!! For the second year in a row, Ironman Lake Placid was stormed by the Speedo Guys? This year we were able to recruit two more, one of which is the Mankini Man that made his first appearance at Ironman Florida in 2009. We have already been featured on 2 different websites. Pics for now can be found here: (you may have to copy and paste the links due to technical difficulties)

and here:


Enjoy! More pics to come

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rev 3 Quassy Half

Revenge is mine!! almost....
Two years ago I signed up and raced the inaugural Revolution3 Half Ironman at Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, CT. It was 2009 and I was coming off my first Ironman year in 2008. The problem with having completed (not raced) an Ironman is that anything after the IM that is shorter doesn't seem like much (even when it is). This was the case with Rev3 in 2009. I didn't have much of a base and raced it like an arrogant A-hole. I nailed the swim and hammered the bike. I got in this mini dual with local age grouper Tim Steiskal. He is a very strong rider so we pushed each other throughout the entire hilly 56 mile bike ride. I entered t2 ahead of Tim, however he would win on the day as I paid tremendously for the effort, more specifically I arrived at T2 with serious cramps in both hamstrings and both quads that eventually led to a run walk half marathon of 2+ hours. Fast forward 2 years to June 2011 and I have a plan in mind.

Even though I was again coming off racing an ironman the previous season, I was much more prepared in my approach to Rev3. I wanted my revenge and I was going to get it by racing smart. One of my strengths this year was my mental game. I had a new found confidence in my abilities which played a huge role in the outcome of my race this year. So much in fact that it really go me thinking, can your mental game be too strong? Can you have so much confidence in yourself that you push yourself too far? These are some of the questions I have been asking myself as of late.

The Swim:
My wave started at 7:20 am, 30 minutes after the pro men and 20 minutes after the first age group wave. Ryan and Andy would be in the same wave that started a little while ahead of me. Because of this I would be gunning for them, and they both knew it. As my wave made it to the waters edge I looked out at the swim course and made my plan. The last 2 races I completed began with me racing to be the first person in my wave to the first buoy. By doing this I would get clear water and be out ahead of the pack. While this worked well in Florida, it didn't work out as well at White Lake. This time I decided to pick my line, and instead of sprinting ahead of everyone, I would find a good steady tempo and at least try and stay even with the front swimmers. By doing this I wouldn't be wasting energy and I may even find someone to draft off of. Althought the latter didn't come to fruition, I did have a very steady and very comfortable first couple hundred meters. I found myself at the front of the pack and swimming a very straight line to the first turn buoy. The trouble came at the first turn when I discovered the glaring sun. The back straight wasn't as accurate a line, however I maintained my speed and as far as I am aware, was only passed by one person (Tim Steiskal). As I made the second turn and headed back to the beach I found myself nearly stroke for stroke with another local stud, Brendan Heller. Brenden races for Bryant Tri and was actually down at IMFL in November volunteering and contemplating signing up. This kid has a lot of heart and the talent to go with it. Him and I made our way to the beach in what ended up being 2 of some of the fastest swims on the day.

Once I was out of the water I made quick work into T1 and before long was out on the bike.

The Bike:
Rev3 Quassy's bike has a reputation for being incredibly challenging. Over the 56 miles, it has 3800' of elevation. My plan for the bike this time around was to have an average heart rate around 169 or 170. If you remember my avg HR at White Lake (on a flat course) was 173 and that was too high. I figured I would drop it a few beats but still be a bit above my target HR from 2010 (163). This was all because I feel I can ride a little harder than originally thought and still have gas in the tank for a strong run. Once again I found myself going back and forth with a specific rider, but this time it wasn't Tim, instead it was Brendan. Both of us were riding smart so it tended to be me passing him on the uphills and him passing me on the downhills.
At mile 33 I caught up to Andy who said he was feeling good and "sticking to the numbers." This would end up being a great decision for Andy as he ended up having a smoking fast run for a very hilly 13.1. One down, one to go, where is Ochoa?? Shortly after catching Andy, we hit the out and back portion where I thought I would see Ochoa...wrong. He was further up than I expected which was great for him, but made me play some mind games.
The second half of the bike was fairly uneventful. As far as I was aware I was in first in my division and moving along well. I wouldn't say that I was crushing the bike, but I also wasn't being passed that often. Over the course of the final 5 miles I was passed by 2 people in my age group, thus entering T2 in 3rd place in my division. T2 was once again uneventful and all that was left was the run.

The Run:
I left T2 feeling the need to hit the head, however I was so set on getting on the run course that I went right passed the sani-can. About half a mile into the run my stomach wasn't feeling right so I found some bushes, took care of business and was back running agian. A few hundrew feet up the road I still wasn't feeling well so at the 1 mile aid station I stopped and used the jon again. These minor stomach issues would slow down my first 2 miles to about 7:00 pace, and considering they were down hill I knew I had some work to do to make up for it.

Between mile marker 1 and 3 I began to feel some cramps in my quads. They weren't serious but they also weren't temporary. Let the mind strength begin. For the next 9-10 miles I would be playing mind games with myself to keep the cramps at bay and continue moving forward at a good clip. I was passed at mile 2 by another age grouper moving me to fourth, however a little further up the road I passed one of the guys that passed me on the bike and moved back into third place. Between miles 3 and 5 I was passed again by someone new (moving me into 4th). It was also in this stretch that I caught Ochoa who was also having a fantastic race. I gave him a little warning that Andy wasn't far behind as they are in the same age group.
Between miles 5 and 6 was the first of 2 out and backs on the run. I noticed that one of my fellow age groupers was fading and I was making up ground on him. When I caught him I tried to drop him but he was able to stay with me. The two of us would end up running shoulder to shoulder for the next 5-6 miles. In my mind this is when the race really began.
The more I think about it, the more I truly believe that the mental aspect is more than 50% of racing triathlon successfully. I haven't been as consistent with my training this year as I was last year, and yet, I was running almost 30 seconds per mile faster than I was in July of last year. I was able to accelerate to try and drop this guy, and I was also able to respond to his accelerations and prevent myself from being dropped. Whether I had the fitness or not, my mind kept me in the race as the miles ticked by. Think about it, up until mile 6, my splits were: 6:39, 7:21, 6:28, 6:40, and 6:53. After catching this guy and running with him my splits were 6:29, 6:30, 6:44, 6:14, 6:12. The second 5 miles were nearly 2 minutes faster, and there were more uphills in the second 5 miles!
This race was AWESOME!! My legs were on the edge of seizing up in cramps, my heart rate was up, and I was running shoulder to shoulder with the same person for 5 miles! I was thinking well ahead that I would need a little something extra for the last mile as it was uphill. I couldn't wait to get there. Just before the 11 mile marker we caught 2nd place in our age group. Up until that point the 2 of us were running in 3rd and 4th. Once we caught 2nd place he joined us and now there were 3 of us running together all in the same age group with just over 2 miles to go! This is the kind of race I always hope to find because (with the exception of White Lake) I feel very confident in my closing kick (althought it may not be as strong as Bevan Docherty)

The way we were now running was single file and I was in the middle. We were on the second out and back when it happened. I lost focus for what seemed like half a second and my left foot found a crack in the pavement. I didn't injure my ankle, however the normal cadence I had had up until this point that was keeping the cramps away was broken and it resulted in the worst bilateral hamstring cramps I have EVER experienced. They literally stopped me dead in my tracks and shortly there after put me on the ground. I was on the ground trying to get back on my feet when Andy came by telling me to focus. I kept massaging my hamstrings and trying to stretch them. Everytime I would try to stand up they would lock up and back down I would go. I finally got to the point where I was able to stand. After a few awkward steps forward I was able to slowly get back to running. The mental strength kicked in again. I was now running and hoping to get some time back. When I hit the 11 mile marker my watch read 9:22. I was sidelined for 3 minutes. Even though I wasn't able to get back to my previous pace, I got through the final 2 miles in 7:24 then 7:39 for the unhill mile. I crossed the line in 4:44 with a 1:30 run split.

I was very happy with my performance. I had gotten my revenge on this course, and even though I cramped pretty badly, I still had a 1:30 run split and finished 4th in my age group.

I left this race with 2 main questions on my mind. The first was what would have happened if I had been there with the other 2 age groupers with one mile to go? The second thing I asked myself is, can your mental strength be too strong and allow you to push yourself to potential injury? Althought I didn't injure myself, I couldn't help but think it is possible. With Providence 70.3 coming up, I feel that I have dialed in my abilities accurately enough to establish a race plan that will allow me to ride hard (harder than both half irons in 2010) and still put out a fast run. The key to Providence will be remembering to take my salt tabs as I have forgotten them at both races so far this year. If I do that and really nail my training these last few weeks, I truly believe that I will have an ever better race than last year.

Ragnar Wrap Up

This one is long over due as it took place back in May...I think. Anyway, the reason for this adventure was because it isn't an Ironman year so I try to say 'yes' to as many things as possible as I tend to do the complete opposite when training for an Ironman. I have my good friend Tom Shea to thank for this one. He put together a team of 12 people, 5-6 of which are seasoned runners, the remaining members were either new to the sport or just good friends looking for a good time. Either way multiple emails were sent out and Vicious and Delicious was born! We figured our team pace would even out to about 8:30s per mile so we began on Friday morning at 10:00 (or was it 11:00? this really was a while ago so some of the details have escaped me). Before I go any further, I should explain what the Ragnar Relay is. It is a 198 mile running relay completed by teams of 6-12 people over the course of 2 days. Each team has a specific rotation and you keep following that rotation until everyone runs 3 times and you arrive in Harvard Stadium in Cambridge MA. Appropriately enough we began at Yale in New Haven. Our team got off to an AMAZING (sarcasm) start when Van 1 (the first 6 runners) left the start and went to exchange #2 where they would wait for runner #1 to complete his first leg. The only problem was that they forgot all about exchange #1 (location between legs 1&2). After about 30-40 minutes of scrambling, Van 1 got this squared away and we continued the relay. While all of this excitement happened with Van1, Van 2 was more concerned with tattoo placement. After tattoos were applied and food was consumed, Van 2 headed to the first van exchange (the end of runner #6, the final van 1 runner and the start of runner #7 or the first van 2 runner).
We had to arrive early in order to complete our safety training and check in requirements. The safety talk took longer than expected and being that I was the first runner to go for van 2, I was ill prepared when Allison arrived in the park for the hand off. I threw on something real quick (alright so I was actually kind of prepared) and off I went... in the wrong direction.

After a quick redirection I was off on my first of 3 legs, this one consisting of 8.6 miles of primarily flat terrain. In addition to being Vicious with tattoos, a number of us were also dressed "deliciously" in speedos as we all swam together in college (those that wore the speedos anyway). This fell perfectly into my movement towards increasing the presence and popularity of the good ole grape smuggler, because face it, as uncomfortable as they look they make people laugh (even if its at you and not with you). In total, there were 4 speedo studs on team VD..or rather team V&D: Tony Brothers Tom and Brian and Me
Whether others will admit it or not, I think they were happy to see us out there because for just a minute they forgot about the fatigue and laughed at us. The event as a whole went amazingly well for our rookie team (I think Allison was the only one that may have done one of these over night relays before). We ended up finishing 10th in our division, 38th overall (out of 190 teams) with a time of 27:13:57.35! ...and that includes the time lost losing a runner, missing a handoff, and running in the wrong direction :) < There were plenty of amazing and hilarious moments that I can't include them all here. I tried uploading some videos but it didn't work.

On the other hand, if you are a data nut then you may enjoy the garmin files for my 3 runs. keep in mind the second took place at 2:00am


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

White Lake Half Iron

For the first time ever, I kicked off my season with a half iron. It took place in White Lake, North Carolina and had a reputation for being flat and fast. Pat had convinced me to join him for this race as he was preparing for Ironman Coeur d'Alene at the end of June. Seeing how I wanted to test myself at multiple half irons this year i figured if I was willing do to 4, I may as well do 5. It would also give me 2 opportunities to prep for Providence 70.3, my focus race for the first half of the season.

We ended up flying instead of driving because Pat was able to find a pair of cheap flights on Jet Blue. We arrived in NC on the Thursday prior, picked up our rental car and headed to White Lake. For those of you that have never been to White Lake, it can be summed up by saying time forgot all about it. Things tend to be a little outdated, however its still a nice town with nice people. After we checked in at Melwood Court we got our bikes built and headed out for a quick spin and run. Everything appeared to be in place and ready for race day.

Friday was spent in the hotel eating, napping, drinking, and repeating. We went to the race expo briefly, took a look at the elite wave list, researched the competition and finalized race plans. During our research we realized that this race was no joke. Not only did it have its past winners in the line up, but it included 2 of the top 4 male 35-39 year olds, and the 5th ranked 25-29 year old male. After we had had enough of our research we went to a local place for an early dinner and were in bed by 8:00.

Race morning arrived with dry skies and bit of fog over the lake. This caused a 45 minute delay due to poor visibility. Pat and I were concerned that we may not make our flight if things continued. We eventually went off at 7:40 with a visible swim course and no rain.

My plan for the swim was the same as any other race, get out in front. Just as in Florida, I won the race to the first buoy, however was passed by the eventual race winner (wire to wire win) by the 300 meter mark. At 600 meters I had a humbling experience as the top female swimmer came past me. I stayed on her heels until about the 1k mark at which point she dropped me. I remained in no mans land (this would become the theme of the day) until the end of the swim (which felt long). I completed the swim in 28:09 and was in third place. Made quick work of transition and was out on the bike.

Bike: My plan for the bike was to push my limits. Last year I raced both half irons with a target heart rate for the bike at 163. The plan on this day was to push closer to 170 (5 beats below my target HR for the run portion last year). As I hopped on my bike and rolled away from transition I saw Pat enter T1. If you remember, I previously stated that if I wanted a shot at beating Pat I needed to have at least a 5 minute lead off the bike. Having a 1 minute lead heading into the bike is not very promising if I hope to get off the bike before him. I tried settling into a rhythm however my HR wouldn't drop. I was riding in the low 170s and people were still coming by me. Pat passed me around mile 5 or 6 and told me he was having issues getting his HR to drop as well. I managed to keep Pat in my sights until about mile 25, at which time he disappeared ahead of me. With the exception of the out and back around mile 40, I figured I woulnd't see Pat until the turn around on the run. The bike continued to be a challenge until about mile 35-40 when the wind finally changed from a head wind to a tail wind. I had a tough time staying in the aero bars for the full 56 miles due to low back discomfort. Eventually T2 was in sight and I was ready for the run...or so I thought. By the end of the bike I was in 9th place overall. My bike split was 2:27 with an average HR of 173.

I ripped through T2 and headed out for the run course with a plan. Rather than racing at an avg HR of 175 like last year, I was going to see if I could hold pace at 180bpm. I feel as though I know my body well and I would pay close attention to any hints it would give me. I was able to hold sub 7:00 minute miles for the first miles, however by that time the pace had already slowed from 6:08 at the first mile to 7:08 at mile 6. In that time I had passed 2 people and moved into 7th place on the road. The pace kept creeping up mile by mile. The toughest part was the heat and humidity and lack of nutrition provided. On the bike they had only water, and on the run they had heed, water, hammer gels, and oranges. I have relied so heavily on powerbar nutrition (because it works so well for me) that I didn't want to chance stomach issues as long as I was still running. Around mile 7-8 my pace would occasionally dip below 7:00/mile which was very encouraging. I kept telling myself to keep moving forward, try not to walk. Even though my pace was slowing I still hadn't been passed by anyone! I guess everyone else was struggling with these conditions as well. My goal prior to the race start was to break 4:30 for the day. With 5K to go, my time was about 4:10ish. I would have to run a sub 20 min 5K to hit my goal. Even though I have done this before I wasn't sure it was in the cards on this particular day. I had 2 choices; 1)go for it, risk blowing up, but at least have a chance at breaking 4:30, 2)maintain current pace, try not to blow up, and finish with a respectable time. I went with the latter. Shortly after the 5K I saw someone else up ahead, it was Pat. I yelled ahead to him that I was coming and as I ran up along side him he explained he too was having a rough day. The heat, humidity, and lack of nutrition had left him with a serious stitch in his side. We both realized that this day had kicked us both pretty hard and we would try and finish the last 3 miles together. Anyone that knows me knows I like an exciting sprint finish. Not today. With less than a mile to go I started cramping up pretty bad, including some numbness in my right leg. There would be no sprint today. Instead, I'd finish alongside Pat ending a brutally hot and humid day with my head high and a new respect for early season half irons. Run time was 1:35 with an average heart rate of 183.

Final result was 4:34.04 and 8th OA. Overall I am happy with the end result. I went 4:34 last year at Prov 70.3 and felt much better. If I can suffer this much for a 4:34 in May I have much more confidence for Providence in July. Who knows, maybe even a new PR by then.

The rest of the day was just as exciting as the race, if not more so. Pat and I had to race back to the hotel, break down and pack our bikes, drive 2 hours to drop off the rental car, get the shuttle to the airport, get through security, and board the plane in 2:45 minutes. We broke down the bikes and got on the road by 1:50 (we were aiming for 1:15 latest). We made the 2 hour drive in 1:40 including a stop for gas and a wrong turn that added unneccessary mileage to our drive. Dropped the car off 20 minutes before they closed (by drop off I mean Pat essentially threw the keys in the direction of the representative as we jumped on the shuttle. We then hauled ass through the airport, checked our bikes (which we were told may not make it because we were so late), then rushed through security and sprinted to our gate. We got to our gate at 3:56 for our 4:15 departure only to find out ther was a 23 minute delay.

We returned to Boston safely and fairly quickly, however had enough time to enjoy a beer on the flight. Bikes arrived in one piece and just like that the trip was over. Now its on to some last bit of recovery before embarking on a 200 mile running relay with 11 friends this coming weekend. It will take us from New Haven, CT to Boston, MA. Hope the legs are ready for 19.4 miles less than a week after a crushing race. Guess there is only one way to find out!

See ya at Rev3 Quassy!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Holyoke 10K, Rankings, and Calendar Update

A few things to catch up on in the non-stop world of this age-grouper. Following Hyannis I toed the line for the Holyoke St Patrick's Day Road Race. It is a very hilly course that is flat for the first mile, then goes up hill for miles 2, 3, and 4. As soon as you hit the 4 mile marker you take a sharp right turn and its almost all down hill from there. Don't believe me? Just take a look at my splits:


To sum it all up it was a stand alone 10k PR that could have been a few seconds faster had my shoe not come untied at mile 2.3 in the middle of an uphill. Regardless, I was more than pleased with this race, especially my final kick. There was another Cyclonaut that was still ahead of me with less than half a mile to go. He had passed me when my shoe came untied and I hadn't been able to close the gap up until that point. I picked up the pace, and as I pulled up along side him I encouraged him to push it and finish hard. I didn't look to see if he responded, I just kept the pace up! It hurt like hell but I was able to open a small enough gap to out kick him to the finish. I am very happy as this teammate of mine is a very talented runner and triathlete that is getting ready for an early season IM (I think cDA).

Following the 10K was supposed to be the Sheriff Sprint Tri. This was a race I had done at least 2 times prior, one of which I was able to win the OA. I was excited to race it again this year as it is a very early season race (beginning of May)and it gets me excited for tri season. After signing up for the White Lakes half I decided that it wouldn't be a great idea to race this super sprint only 2 weeks before WLH. I am glad I didn't race as I'm not sure I would have liked the outcome. This year the Cyclonauts swept the podium with "The other Paul M" (Paul Mikuszewski - a rapidly improving 30-34 year old), Andy getting second and Ochoa rounding out the top three. All of them had very fast times, Paul's was even a few seconds faster than my time from the year prior. With that decision made, it was time to simply focus on WLH.

I am getting very excited for my first race of the season. I have to be careful to prepare properly. My first IM was in 2008 and in 2009 I did not have a stellar year because I had the mentality of "I can do an IM so this wont be that bad." As a result I was often less than prepared and bonked on at least 2/3 half irons that year. This year I am challenging myself to 5 half irons so I need to make sure I put the work in. White Lakes and Rev3 are primarily tune ups for Prov 70.3 which is my first focus race of the season. I hope to get some solid results in North Carolina and CT and have some confidence heading into Rhode Island in July.

One last bit of news is actually pretty exciting for me. The USAT rankings recently came out for 2010, and for the first time in my entire athletic life I received All American Honors. It really doesn't have the same excitement to it as being a high school or collegiate AA, however it gets me fired up! Out of all of the male triathletes between the ages of 25-29, I ranked 40th in the country! This is in large part due to the guidance of QT2 and Coach Pat (who ranked 19th in my same age group)last year in prep for IMFL. I am actually headed down to North Carolina with Pat for the White Lakes Half for both of our season openers. It should be a fun race, that will likely have a small bet placed on it to make matters interesting. By my calculations, I am going to need at least a 5 minute lead when I get off the bike if I am going to have a chance. Curious to see what happens. Check back in a few weeks to see what the outcome is!


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hyannis Race Report

This time last Sunday I was getting home from the Hyannis Half Marathon. Last time I was at this race was in 2008 and I was doing the full in prep for Ironman Lake Placid later that year. I was thrilled to be going back this year and only having to do one lap!

I went up on Saturday afternoon with Ochoa and met Pat and Courtney Wheeler at Ryan's aunts house in Mashpee. We lounged for a bit before heading out for dinner at Sienna. If you are interested in the details of dinner (i.e. Ochoa's ability to drown pizza in red pepper flakes) you can check out the evidence at www.thatrunnerchick.com.

After dinner and a little Big Love (not my or Pat's request) it was bed time. The nice change of pace for this race was that it was not until 10am. We had our breakfast and met up with various Cyclonauts and QT2 racers at the convention center. Weather was back and forth rain and snow, but at least the roads were clear...just wet.

My goal for this race was to be faster than the Westfield Half last April (1:25 and change). I have been doing a lot of running with Ochoa outside on Tuesdays and Thursdays and we both agree that it prepared us well for this race. I had a loose plan of taking the race out around 6:00 -6:15 pace and simply hold on as long as I could.

I secretly wanted to see how close I could be to Andy and Pat. I knew Pat was going out at something crazy like 5:40 and knowing Andy he would be close behind Pat.

I stayed nice and steady as well as consistent. I saw Andy in the distance after about the 1 mile mark when all the heros started to fade from the front. I knew Andy wasn't too far ahead but with all the runners that sprint the first mile then die, I didn't actually see him until most of these runners had faded. I kept inching closer and closer till about the 5 mile mark or so. He informed me I was on pace for 1:19 which sounded awesome, I just hoped I could hold pace. As you will see with the data below, I did begin to fade a bit between miles 6 and 9 but not too badly.

As I was rounding the corder with less than a mile to go I heard someone say, "thats it Paul, nice work!" I looked quick enough to see that it was Tim Snow. I thought he had already finished and was doing his cool down run so I had a few in appropriate words (kidding of course). I came to find out later that the race was just a longer than he was looking for. I had a nice push to the end and crossed in 1:21! New PR! My previous PR was 1:22 at the end of Mightyman in October.

I owe the majority of my progress to QT2. Before 2010 my PR for a half marathon was 1:38 (which I had done 3 different times. Since then I have run 4 half marathons...

April - Westfield Half - 1:25 (stand alone)
July - Providence 70.3 - 1:25 (off the bike)
October - Mightyman Half - 1:22 (off the bike)
February '11 - Hyannis Half - 1:21 (stand alone)

I am hoping this progress continues as I have 5 half irons on the schedule this year and I really want to succeed at this distance. The next test at this distance will be in May when I head down to NC with Pat and Andy for the White Lakes Half. Starting tomorrow I will be doing and Ironman volume block with the culmination in October when I return to Mightyman. The hope is my durability will increase in time for IMLP 2012. Till then, its time to keep fighting the good fight!

Hyannis Half Data

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Whats Next?

After talking with 2 experienced and knowledgable guys (thanks Andy and Pat) it was deteremined that the next step is keeping at it, and moreso than last year. Missing Kona by 9 minutes is tough; plain and simple. The thing about it is that I knew when I was passing on a workout earlier in the season that it may have repercussions. Those ill effects added up and led to a less than optimal bike and a run that was about 10-15 minutes off of my projected time. Both of those would have put me on the Big Island.

Between missing Kona and the opportunity with purplepatch it is clear that I need to commit! Pat and Andy agree that my biggest limiter is my durability (my body's ability to maintain high levels of exertion over extended periods of time without failing). With Ironman Lake Placid being my next attempt at Kona, the plan is to do another full Ironman build this year, rest shortly and then go in to another ironman build for LP in 2012.

With that said, all I can do at this point is train. Pat said it in a way that really stuck, "train more than just about everyone else" I know many of you will respond by saying its not the quantity its the quality. Knowing where Pat comes from when he says this, I get what he is saying and I know damn well what it means. Do Work!!

Today it worked, most likely because it was so fresh in my mind. I went for a run at the res with Ochoa and man was it cold. The plan was to get in at least 6 or 7 miles however the wind was brutal. After 3.5 miles we called it quits. Luckily I had a gym bag in the car and was able to go directly there. I hopped on the tready for an additional 5.5 miles totalling 9 on the day. After 4200 in the pool yesterday and 9 on the ground today I would have to say that this week is off to a good start. My challenge will be to maintain throughout the season. For now, its time to go flip through magazines and find various motivational items. Training is going to have to get done if I want Hyannis to be a success in 3 weeks.


The Response

"Thanks so much for applying to the purplepatch farm project. I am very sorry to tell you that you just missed out on this trip. Please make sure you apply and you were on the very final list of athletes (in fact, you were in the final two men), and we just could not find room. If you applied again my bet is that you will have every chance to make it.

You were an exceptionally strong candidate and very much enjoyed chatting on the phone. I think that you will continue to evolve and I would highly recommend you apply for the next time through. I thought I would talk 'off the record' to provide some helpful insight to you for future applications (as well as framing your own sport) Take this as you will, but I hope you receive it in the spirit of me trying to help.

The successful applicant displayed similar skill-sets to you, but was highly succinct in his vision for his sport, where he wanted to be in three years time, and had a great grasp of personal strengths and weaknesses. It all came out well in the discussion.

I thought you did tremendously well and were very close to achieving a spot, but wanted to provide some feedback to help you succeed next time.

1. Where do you really want to be in three years?

2. What is the path to get there?

3. What do you need to work on to get there?

I would say that everyone wants to be 'as good as they want to be'... but defining it and being able to create a self-vision is important!

Regardless, please stay in touch and keep me in the loop with how your season goes. I would LOVE to see you excel this year and think highly of you as an athlete. I think you have potential to move on and become a great performer in this sport. Please throw your name in the that again, for next time!

Please let me know of questions. Next project: May - Southern California. Make sure you apply!



Thursday, February 3, 2011

Looonnnggg Shoooottt

So I took a bit of a long shot a few weeks back. I had read about the Purplepatch Farm Project on one of Linsey Corbin's tweets. It is an opportunity to train with and learn the approach of Matt Dixon's pro team. Some of his athletes include Chris and Matt Lieto, Luke Bell, Sam McGlone, and Linsey Corbin. The farm project would kick off in Tucson, AZ at a training camp with the Purplepatch pros and be followed by planning my race season and utilizing purplepatch's approach.

I figured it was a shot in the dark, but about 2 weeks after I submitted my application I got an email from Matt. He wanted to know a few more things about me including how I designed my training, hours per week spent training, weaknesses, etc. I assumed this meant I made it to the next round. Still no idea how many people were left but thought it was a good sign. Yesterday I got a phone call from Matt. My phone had died and when I checked the voicemail from my office phone I found a message from Matt stating that I had made it down to the final 5 or 6 people and he wanted to talk for 5 to 10 minutes about my thoughts on the future, my application and so forth. I called him back and left him a message and have been waiting anxiously since then.

This would be a pretty cool opportunity to train with some talented individuals and learn yet another approach to the sport. I should find out by February 7th whether or not I made it. Either way it has been an interesting experience.