Tue, 26 June 2007
I was ready to race. A bit nervous, but ready to race. Than it happened. Coach Mike sent all the people doing the High Cliff triathlon an E-Mail that was straight to the point. “I want you to write a race plan for the triathlon.?
What? In the past he gave us a general outline. This time was different. We had to tell him the plan. Not just any plan, but a detailed plan for the race. This was difficult for me. This was the first time I actually put my race day on the line. Out in front of Coach Mike. I always think this makes you stick to it when things start happening on the actual day. So here it is. This is what I wrote to Coach Mike and the details that followed.
NOTE: So you can see the PLAN (P) that I gave Coach BEFORE the race, and the ACTUAL (A) of what happened during the race.
(P / A): Watch Ironman Kona. The “Blazeman? one. Life is good. Safety tabs off. (P / A): Pack. Write race plan. Relax.
(P / A): AM - Help move the house. Yes, I’m moving to a new house. Mow the lawn. Balance the checkbook. Recheck my packing. This should take until about Noon. I hope to leave for the race about that time.
(P / A): Noon - Drive to race site with an extra emphasis on hydration. - Once at site I will meet Tracy , Michelle and others. I will register, eat and get in a short ride to check out my bike. (P / A) I will take a short run and bike at race location if possible. (P / A) Try to relax and get a few good hours of sleep.
(P / A): I will wake and eat a bit more than in past races. Just like Wildflower. (P): Dress warm, relax, and get a good attitude. Believe in today’s race plan. (A): This was the first thing that did not go to plan. I was NOT 100% confident that I could pull the bike power that Coach Mike had suggested. My goal was to BELIEVE that I could do it. I did NOT believe, but I was at least going to trust the plan. (P / A): Get to race, lay out transition area early and stretch, relax, and ENJOY.
(P / A) Relax. Enjoy. Get at 29 min. No faster, no slower. (Note: My official race time was 31, but you had to walk about 25 yards as the water was so shallow and run up a hill, so the swim time was actauly 29:48.
(P / A): This is the focus of the day. I was going to “take the safety tabs off? even at the expense of the run. (P / A): First 30 min will be at 150 W with a cadence of 90+. My plan worked perfect. Even at the start where there was a HUGE hill, I just let everyone pass me and stay in my range. I felt horrible at the start of the bike. I was not sure I could even hold 140 watts. I was wondering what the heck was going on. I had to trust the plan, so I just stayed at 150 and 90 cadence. The plan was working. I started to feel much better after about 20 min. I think that is one of my keys. I need to keep my watts lower for about 20-30 min. It just helps me get in a rhythm without blowing my lungs.
(P / A): At 30 min, up the power to 160-170 for about an hour. 90+ cadence. Ok. I did NOT think I could do this. On race day, it was no problem. I was feeling great, and having no problem keeping the watts about 160+. This route was easy, but watts are watts, and I was pushing it. My average ended up to be 168. Yeeee Haaaaa!
(P / A): At 1.5 hours, move to 170+ W. This is when I have to believe. Make sure I do the last 1.5 hours at 170-180 W. Again 90+ Cadence. Again, I was having a great day on the bike. Good nutrition. The plan was perfect. Now was the test. I started to go above 170. I was now flying past people. I have NEVER had that happen. This was something new for me. I was doing the passing. I had about 10 people that I passed say the same thing – “Nice bike man.? At one point around mile 40, I looked to see my average MPH. It was 19.6. Wait. 19.6? I can do this. I can make 20. I will tell you that I have NEVER averaged 20 mph in a race longer than a sprint. Ever! Today was going to be the day. I had a group of 3 pass me (no drafting) that rode together. In that past I would let them go. Not today. I wanted 20 mph. I wanted to call Coach Mike and tell him so I hung on. And you know what? It wasn’t that bad. I was starting to believe for the first time on a bike that I belong here. I belong with these guys. I ended my last 1.5 with an average wattage of 171 with an overall average speed for the 56 miles of 20! Double yeeee haaaa! My work all Winter on the bike finally paid off.
(P / A): Smile, and think how excited I am to call Coach Mike about my bike ride today. I did not think I could ever average over 165W on a bike ride and I just did. My plan and actual to this point were spot on.
- Ok.... The run. (P / A): Try so hard and to get that heart rate down to about 145 (140 ever better) for the first 4 miles at 145 max. Well….this was hard as the first mile of the run was straight up a hill. So I did my best to get the heart rate down. I did NOT feel good at all, but I got my HR down. I was running at a good pace, but did not feel as good as Wildflower on the run.
(P / A): Next 4 miles at 140-150. My plan and actual were spot on, but I was not running as fast as I could at that HR. My planned HR was on, but the pace was way slow. It was not the legs, but the core. Not sure how to explain. I was just not going very fast.
(P) Last 5. Do it for yourself. You did it. 150 - 165. Time to take off the safety tabs. (A) This was really the first time in the day that my plan and actual did not match. I just did not have the legs or core to move faster. I was getting passed by everyone. Argggg. With 2 miles to go I looked at my watch and figured I needed to run 9 min pace to break 5:30. I picked it up and took the “safety tabs off.? I tried, I really did, but I just was not moving very fast. I did NOT in any way bonk. I just did not have “something? on that run. I still do not know what that something was.
(P / A): Call Coach and tell him he was right and I really could do it. Yep, I did call Coach Mike and Bolder. I always think about them during a race. I do it for ME, but I can’t wait to tell them. As we all know, there is nothing worse than telling your buddies you had a bad race, so It is much easier to have a good race!
All in all the race went great. In past years, I had always “peaked? the end of June and beginning of July. This year, I do not feel that way. I feel great about the bike, but need work on the swim and run.
My nutrition plan is solid, but I do think I might add some variety in the plan. I just get bored toward the end of ½ Ironman races, so I’m sure I will at Ironman as well. I have a few ideas that I will try at WIBA. After talking with Coach Mike total, he feels I was dehydrated and did not get enough nutrition. After telling him how I was feeling, he thinks that was the issue on the run. The plan is to rework a few things and test again at WIBA.
The swim will get better as I will add a few more long lake swims. The run will get better with Mikes help. I think he realizes I need work on my run as well. What is so exciting is that I feel like I can compete now. I hold my own on the swim. I hold my own on the bike, and now its time to put it together. I still need to work hard on nutrition. Fine tune for Ironman.
Category:SimplyStu -- posted at: 8:55pm EST
Sat, 23 June 2007
Tracy, Michelle and I made it to the race. We are all checked in and ready to roll. We plan to meet some friends and listen to Dick Hoyt speak tonight. Race day temps will be in the mid 80's. Results on Monday!
Category:SimplyStu -- posted at: 5:21pm EST
Fri, 22 June 2007
I have never been good taking the safety tabs off (thanks to my buddy Bold for this). My bike is ready, my coach believes in me. It's time for me to believe in me as well.
Bike Ready - Check!
Coach believes - Check!
Teammates believe - Check!
Stu believes - Time to find out! Check!
Bring on High Cliff 1/2 Ironman!
Category:SimplyStu -- posted at: 8:37pm EST
Thu, 21 June 2007
When I first got my BMC with the cool Zipp wheels and the incredible PowerTap, I was in love. It was new. It was cool. It was amazing. That was than, this is now.
1400 miles later, 3 flats, 2 batteries, 10 washes (1 by a friend, a team member), at least 35 tubes of NUUN, 2 new team kits, and countless hours on the saddle - I'm still in love, but not in the same way. Let me explain.
Have you ever seen a guy walk to his garage, open it up to show his vintage Corvette? Have you seen the passion? You may not see the sweat, the tears, the love, but you do see a car. It has been well used, it becomes a part of you.
That is exactly how I feel about my bike. It is a part of me now. Picture the joy on the guys face showing you his Corvette. Now think of me next to my bike. The tears, the sweat, the love is the same. The only difference is that mine only moves forward with the daily work and daily deposits I have put into Ironman training!
I look forword to Ironman Wisconsin with you and all my team members and buddies!
Category:SimplyStu -- posted at: 2:09pm EST
Mon, 11 June 2007
It started like any other race. I was excited just to be in great shape and test my abilities just 3 days after my last sprint Aquathon race. After setting up my transition area, I looked at the sky and saw heavy rain. I smiled and just watched as the rain soaked the bikes, shoes and just about anything that wasn't covered. I stood under a tree and just smiled. So many people panicked, but I just smiled and enjoyed it all. After about 15 minutes the skies cleared and the race was on. Note: I was prepared and always carry a big garbage bag with me in case this happens. My stuff was nice and dry once the race started.
After a good swim warmup, my age group was called. A new age group for me this year - the big 40. I looked at the guys and for the 1st time thought - I can beat these guys. I normally start up front to get off fast. The gun went off and I quickly was out front. Huh What? Where is everyone? I looked left. Nothing. Right. Nothing? Huh? What? I hit the first turn and saw nothing. Wow. Is this happening? It's not that big of a deal, but I have never been out front - even if this is just with the 40 year olds. So I hit the 2nd turn. Still out front. In the past I would have started to get tired, but with Coach Mike's help, I'm in better shape and not hitting the wall in the swim. I started to pass the groups in front of me, and finally saw a guy come up to the right. For a spilt moment I said, just let him go. NO. NO. NO. I picked up the pace and made sure that I could look Coach Mike in the face and tell him I gave it my all. I was out 1st.
The bike started out ok. With my PowerTap, I was able to see my power. The problem with the sprint is you have to go so hard that your HR is high. I was not feeling the best, but I held on. I was not getting passed in mass like past years. I did count 4 guys pass me from my age group, but I was staying close. Wow. At mile 7 I was starting to get in a rhythm and staying at 90 cadence. It was a mental battle. Come on Stu. Stay with the guys. Say with them! Come on.
I was flying and feeling better until the sound we HATE to hear. Psssssssssssssssst!
Yep. Flat city. My day was done for the division race, but not for me. I changed the tire but noticed a big cut. I didn't think the tire would hold, but I tried. I rode another mile and got another flat. I was not surprised, but not all that happy either. My day was done. What do I do? Well, I figured I better start walking. I walked about 3 miles, trying to tell people "Nice Job", or "way to go." People felt bad for me, but I was actually enjoying all of this. Not sure why, but it was not that bad.
I hit the main road and found 2 older women and a boy about 16 years old getting in a van. I asked if they could drive me back to the start line. I got in the van and jumped in the back seat with the boy. After talked for a few minutes I found out he was mentally challenged. He told me how he had made it to Special Olympics Nationals in Iowa. He was so proud. He asked if I wanted to see the medal he won in power lifting. Our conversation went on and I felt like I was riding in the car with a super star. I promised him that I would tell all my friends that I met a Olympian. He smiled and told me to "go get 'em." Have you even seen a person that works so hard and never wants to take that medal off? Have you seen the pride? The passion? This kid had it all! He had 2 gold medals, 1 silver medal, and the best attitude!
I took my bike out of the car and just smiled. I put my bike together but thought that I had to finish the race. I told the guy at the start that I got a ride but wanted to finish. I asked if that was ok. He looked and at this point I was dead last in for the men. "Sure, go on." I looked at my tire and figured it was better for me to carry the bike so I didn't do any damage. I picked up the bike, put it on my shoulder and started to run. I was abut a mile from the transition area. I was running in bike shoes. Not the best thing, but I had to carry the "virtual" Olympic torch that my new friend gave to me while in the car. I just smiled and started to hear the crowd go crazy. I ran faster and decided that I could not let my new friend down. I had to keep running. I ran and carried my bike over the bike finish! The crowd erupted! I was already in dead last, but decided that I could not stop. I was the LAST male out of T2.
I ran hard and finally caught a few people. I finished the day swimming, biking, flatting, walking, riding in a car, running with a bike, and finally running. (I want to make it clear that I did ask an official if I could continue even though I had to take a ride in a car). Officially I had a DQ as I got in a car, but I really didn't have a choice. I do want to thank my new power lifting Olympian to show that sport is not about winning, it is about passion! I'm 100% sure that I had the best race of the day. No question about it. I met someone that would make even the last place finisher smile. I met an Olympian. I met pure magic. I just hope that one day, on your worst day, you too can meet him. I guarantee that he will make your day! He certainly made mine!
Category:SimplyStu -- posted at: 4:18pm EST
Mon, 4 June 2007
Stu and the gang from raceAthlete meet at the Zipp factory. Stu also introduces a new project with Jessi Stensland (race route previews). You will also hear a cool interview with Tim at Colorado Multisport.
Sun, 3 June 2007
OVERALL TRAINING: B
Good Points: More focused training. More consistent training.
Needs improvement: While a "good" point is consistent training, this is where I need the most improvement. Mental improvement at races. Ability to "push" during a race.
The following race report is a good way to sum up the 1st half of the season.
20 Mile Running Race - It was just a "C" race. Nothing more, nothing less!
I got up and ate a bit more than in the past. I did this at Wildflower and decided to do it again for my 20 mile Syttende Mai point to point race. I felt a bit better at the starting line again. I think a few more calories early before the race helps me feel better at the start. At the starting line I sat on the curb and thought about what Coach Mike said. "Stu, I want you to start out completely in Zone 1. The first 5 miles MUST be in that zone. This is a "C" race. Remember that. The next 5 would be a bit faster, the next 5 faster, and the last 5 hard. HUH? What? So, I'm to run a 20 mile race negative splitting each 5 miles? I have to tell you that this 20 miler is a very difficult, very hilly race. If you take out the massive one hill at Wildflower, this course was harder. Without it, I think they are about the same.
I started out at about 9min pace. It was actually hard to run that slow, and almost EVERY person passed me. I was laughing as I knew I would repass almost 95% of the people passing me. If I stuck with the plan, I would see all these people again. My goal was 45 min to mile 5. I was 1 second off, as I passed the 5 mile mark at 45:01.
Right on pace. I was in control and ready to pick it up a notch. I was going to drop to 8, but thought since the hills start about mile 5, it would be better to hold back to 8:30. I tried, and tried, but could not go that slow. I was hitting 8:19 pace for the next 5 miles. At mile 4.99 I stopped to go to the bathroom. It was a 2 min stop, so my pace looked slower for mile 5-10. Without the bathroom stop I was at 8:19 pace.
So here I was. I was using the same nutrition plan as Wildflower. To make it even easier, I put NUUN and Carbo Pro in a blender and mixed the powder together. I have these bottles that will mix with 2 bottles. I carry 2 of them in my pocket - and basically can carry my entire nutrition plan with me. Yes I do have to mix it, but I also get to skip many water stops as I have my own bottle. I really attribute part of this years success to the nutrition plan. I have to send a huge thank you to Bold for hitting me over the head early in the season with nutrition planning. Many people have asked about my plan. It is simple. I cannot do the "sugar" tasting stuff. For short races, not a problem, but after 2 hours, I just get sick of drinking Gatorade stuff. I can't get down GU or ANYTHING else - I have tried. Believe me when I say that I have tried it all. No problem for short races, but longer races do not do well for me and the sugary stuff. For whatever reason, NUUN just works for me. It might be the "fizz"? I'm not sure why, but it even allowed me to go to the bathroom. Yep - Nothing in the past has. Nothing. In ALL my marathons, or Ironmans, I NEVER went to the bathroom. NOT GOOD. Like all things in sport, some things work for some, and not for others. The bottom line - this will be what I use at Ironman
So back to the race. I'm here. Mile 10. I have 10 to go. I need to drop into the 7's. So, what I did was drop to about 7:40 pace. It was easy. I was in total control. I was waiting for the ball to drop. When this thought came into my mind I would "snap" the rubber band around my wrist. I know it sounds corny, but the interview with Dr Walker seems to work. Anytime I start to think negative thoughts I just snap the rubber band. It worked. Anyway, I was passing people like they were standing still. It is so much fun flying past people. We were still in the very hilly section so some people that started too fast were just in pain.
I get to mile 15. I had put the 3rd set of 5 miles into the lower 7 pace. Now what? The only way to get better was to get into the 6's. HUH? To be very honest, at the beginning of the day, I was hoping to be under 8's for the last 5. I kept thinking about Coach Mike. He really thinks I can do better than I do. When I started to drop into the 6's for pace, I thought about Mike smiling. I can just hear him saying 'Stu - this is what you can do. I never had any doubt.'
I finished strong at 6:58 pace for the last 5 miles. I was tempted to run another 6.2 to get in a marathon, but wasn't sure how to do that.
Now let's take a look at the rest of the grades for Stu:
Good Points: More focused training. More time on the bike.
Needs improvement: Long rides. Endurance.
Here is all I need to say about my biking (FTP Power Numbers)
Nov 05: 167
Feb 19: 182
Apri 10: 195
May 20: 211
Good Points: More balanced training
Needs improvement: Speed and endurance
I have focused on the bike so much this year that my run has not improved much. I know Coach Mike has a plan to get me up to speed the last 90+ days.
Good Points: More pool time
Needs improvement: Endurance
A few weeks back I would say I have not done much improvement, BUT my last two shorter races I have a swim PR in both. In the last swim I even won my age bracket. That has NEVER happened. I still have a way to go, but the swim IS getting better!
Key to the last 90 days before Ironman
See you in
Category:SimplyStu -- posted at: 6:36pm EST
Thu, 31 May 2007
Join Jessi Stensland, InsideTri.com and SimplyStu as they take you on a route preview of the Alcatraz Triathlon. You will get a video preview of the race course and expert advice directly from Jessi. The videos are meant to play directly inside of iTunes. Enjoy. Please note: we are not in any way affiliated with Alcatraz. We just wanted to help you see what the race course is all about before you visit!