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Thoughts from a father, husband, son, Boulder native pro triathlete, coach, and optimist.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Transitioning to a new website

Everyone - I am moving over to a new website and blog from here on out.  I will also be forwarding my current domain soon as well.  New posts can be found at http://www.earthdaykid.com/blog.

Yep - it's earthdaykid.com

Named this after being born on earth day.  Thought it was fun.  Anyways, head over there to read my new posts and training log for 2017 and on.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Weekly Training Log 2017: Weeks 1 - 3

I'm bringing back my weekly log this year and am going to stay on top of posting every week.  I have the time and I also want to document my transition to being a "full time pro."  I'll post a quick recap of the week and about the training that I put in over that time.  I have done this in years past, but was not great about staying on top of it last year.

I started my "week #1" this year right after January first.  I was in Maui with my family over the holidays (parents living there) and spent the first full week on the island.  All the riding was done outside, and more than half of the runs were outside as well.  I had put in a 54 mile run week previous to the first week listed, thus was a bit fatigued on the run going into the first week listed.  I still pulled off close to 50 miles that week.  The swim was minimal and I aimed to focus on that once back in Colorado.

I landed in Colorado on January 9th after an overnight where I was able to get exactly zero sleep.  I ended up taking that day off of training, then getting in some pretty intense trainer workouts in the days after that.  I also made swimming a priority in week two and was consistent in getting in the pool, though not for many long workouts.

In week three, I swam very well.  I started feeling MUCH better and more efficient in the water.  We (the CAC masters swim group) did a 2,000m time trial swim on Thursday, January 19th - My goal was to go under 28 minutes.  I was 28:01.  This is a good starting point, and I will aim to be around a 26:30 in another month and a half.  I am noticing drastic improvement in feel for the water and overall speed in this second week of swim focused training.  I'm looking to get in 20k in the pool every week for the next 8 - 10 weeks.  Call it a swim focus if you like, I am just enjoying swimming for the first time in over ten years.

So there we go - I didn't post much about life in this one as I wanted to catch up with the basics of where I have been training-wise over the past few weeks.  Look for these to come out every week with my totals.  If there in any other information that you think would be fun to know, let me know in the comments and I will add stuff.

I'm looking forward to being as public and open about this as I can.  What I am doing right now is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Good times ahead.

Quick notes on my training numbers:  The training time listed is MOVING TIME ONLY.  I start/stop my watch (Garmin 735xt) every time I stop peddling, running, and at the wall during swims.  I also calculate my bike milage based on a 22 - 24mph average.  Much of my training is, and will be done on a trainer, and I calculate the approx speed based on the wattage it takes to ride a certain speed outside.

Weekly Totals: Week #1 - By the Numbers - Week of Jan. 2

Swim: 6,436 yds 
Bike: 193 miles
Run: 47.3 miles
Total TSS: 1,034.7
Hours: 16:01
Days Off: 0

Weekly Totals: Week #2 - By the Numbers - Week of Jan. 9 

Swim: 11,292 yds 
Bike: 6:15 = 147 miles
Run: 21.7 miles
Total TSS: 869.3
Hours: 11:21
Days Off: 1

Weekly Totals: Week #3 - By the Numbers - Week of Jan 16

Swim: 19,025 yds 
Bike: 7:15 = 170.4 miles
Run: 23.5 miles
Other: Ski + 1.5 hours
Total TSS: 1,045.6
Hours: 15:45
Days Off: 0

As usual, I will post some pictures from the past few weeks in every training log.

My father and son playing on Kapalua Bay beach

Went out to dinner on New Years with these fine ladies - Sister Erin and wife Beth


My parents with all the grandchildren

Landing back in Denver - First week of January

The bump is there - Baby #2 coming in July

My pool - I love this place.  CAC is the first swim squad that I have gotten to love since my college days

Aiden's typical Monday PM - Soccer

Skiing with my sister last Sunday

I was able to go up for an extra run with the dude.  I was extremely impressed with what he's able to do on skis.  He has been taking lessons at Eldora for the past two seasons.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

2016: The Season in Review

Year two is done.  It may not have gone exactly as I wanted it to, but I have accomplished a few goals, done a few more Ironmans, and learned a few more lessons.  I will put 2016 down as a "tock" year in the "tick/tock" cycle that I feel I have been in as an endurance athlete.  I accomplished a goal of a top ten pro finish in an Ironman (Vineman), but fell short of a few other goals that I set out to get done for this past year.  I have done what I can while working full time - and now it's time to move on and make some life changes that will hopefully allow me to compete at a much higher level.  My love for this sport is no less than it has been and I am very ready to get after it and build a better athlete going into 2017.  It's time to be a "pro."

Before anything else, here are the results from this past year.  Some I am proud of, some not so much.  First, there are far too many double digit finishes here.  I will make it priority number one to see a single digit in the placement next to my name for most of the races I am a part of from here moving forward.

4/2/2016 - Oceanside 70.3: 4:25:49 - 29th Pro
5/21/2016 - Summer Open Sprint Tri: 1:00:14 - 4th Overall
5/30/2016 - BolderBoulder 10k: 36:45
6/4/2016 - Colorado Triathlon (Olympic distance): 2:01:14 - 3rd Overall
6/11/2016 - Ironman 70.3 Boulder: 4:08:45 - 24th Pro
*7/30/2016 - Ironman Vineman, Windsor, CA: 9:13:53 - 9th Pro/Overall
*9/25/2016 - Ironman Chattanooga, Chattanooga, TN: 9:15:44 - 12th Pro/Overall (Record heat for race day)
11/20/2016 - Ironman Arizona, Tempe: 8:55:19 - 29th Pro

Last, before writing about the season, I'll share a little about the minimal training I did to "get by" for 2016.  I was hoping to do the same thing I had done last year and see a fair amount of improvement.  Although I think that I did improve overall, I did not see the gains that I would have liked.  This is further proof that I need to change things in order to become better at what I do.  I need to spend more hours per week, swim SUBSTANTIALLY more, and get MUCH BETTER sleep.  These will all be possible come January first as I go to being a full time athlete/coach.  

Next, here are a few numbers on training.

Longest training week of the year: 16 hours 42 minutes - Done in late June.  Most topped out at 12 to 13.5 hours.  I was extremely consistent though.
Longest bike ride in training: 69.8 miles - 10 days out from Ironman Vineman in July
Longest run in training: 17 miles (done 3 times throughout the year). I did long runs every other week that usually totaled 12.5 miles.
Average Runs per week: 6
Average Rides per week: 6.5
Times ridden outside in training after July 31: 1 time for 15 miles
Times run outside after August 9th: 0 - everything was on the treadmill
Total days completely off after April 1st (including Ironman recovery days): 3 - again, VERY consistent in training and not taking time off.

As you can see, my training (for a longer distance athlete) was MINIMAL.  I never rode my bike long, I didn't do many long runs, and my training hours were small.  BUT, I was consistent.  I rode and ran almost every day.  Most rides were between 60 and 90 minutes, most runs were between 30 and 50 minutes.  I kept the intensity high, the hours low, but was able to balance working full time and other stuff while being able to compete.

The actual season and how it went down

The year started out in Oceanside in April.  It's an event I had always wanted to do, so I took my spring break with my wife to go race in Southern California and take a few day vacation afterwards.  The race itself was very sub-par for where I thought I was in April and it left me with a nicely banged up shin.  It was swollen for about a month after the race, but I continued to train on it.  I was smart and ran conservatively for a few weeks, then added back some intensity when I knew that it was not getting worse.  I dodged a bullet with this one.  I firmly believe that this happened because I had not run outside in months.  Training on a treadmill is great for fitness, but can lead to problems when trying to run in real world/race situations.

I was scheduled to go out to New Orleans two weeks after Oceanside to race another 70.3, but that did not happen.  I was injured and took the DNS.  Overall, not starting that race was the right call and I am glad I did it.  I wrote about being "stretched thin" through the early parts of last year in a post here.  I feel as though my hormone levels were off and that I might have been doing too much with not enough rest. 

I was then scheduled to go out to Texas in May to race Ironman Texas, but made the call to not go to that one either after feeling pretty iffy about it and due to all of the uncertainty surrounding the race. The bike course was modified due to conflicts within their local government and for weeks leading up to it, I didn't even know if it was going to happen.  I also didn't feel like my head was ready to go do an Ironman distance race at the time.  Again, this was a good call looking back.

This brought me to the end of my school year where I was to make a decision regarding the continuation of my job at Longs Peak Middle School.  I decided to tell our awesome admin that I would work one more semester (through Dec. of 2016), then move on to train/race/coach full time.  

Here is how I/we made that decision

My wife Beth has been the most supportive person/teammate that anyone could have throughout this dream of racing as a pro triathlete.  She had come to me last year asking that I do the triathlon thing full time, but I didn't really think of it seriously.  Looking back, Beth knew that I was killing myself and sacrificing too much by doing everything I was doing.  I was also not able to be present enough as a father and husband.  When Beth told me to go for it and stop working full time, she was smart.  Thinking of us as a family unit and watching me do too damn much was smart.  I was not totally ready to leave Longs Peak and my job, thus I decided to hang around for another semester, finish the 2016 Triathlon season, then start fresh to take it seriously in 2017.

On to the summer - the greatest time of the year

Summer break started and so did my commitment to getting to the pool for some real workouts.  I started swimming with the masters group at Colorado Athletic Club in Boulder.  I was able to put in a fair amount of 13,000 to 18,000 yard weeks and felt much stronger from it.  I knew that I would not see the payoff this year because my consistency in the pool would not continue into the school year.  It did give me a glimpse of what I will be doing come January - spending at least five quality sessions  per week in the pool with other athletes that can push me.

Boulder 70.3 finish

I did a few local events in late May/early June then had the Boulder 70.3 as a nice warmup (to the WTC scene) race in June.  The race went fine, but was crazy fast this year.  You had to be sub 4 hours to be in the top 20.  Wow.  I went a 4:08 that day.  I need to be sub four at a race like this and I need to work on my speed to get me there.

Beth, Aiden, and myself at a stroke and stride - Stroke and stride was my first ever Multisport event in 2003

I got Beth to do a stroke and stride with me a few days after the 70.3.  Beth had been swimming regularly with the same masters group that I was going to.  Having her go to workouts with me was great and it's something that I look forward to every year from here on out.  I loved having Aiden see his mom do the same stuff that I do.  I don't think that he remembers that she did Ironman in 2012, but I want him to know that she's an awesome athlete too.

The rest of June went by and then I headed up to get in a vacation in the Adirondack mountains in NY.  I stayed for a week there and was able to catch up with my sister in law (Erin) who now lives in Spain.  She made the trip over for a few weeks to spend time with her parents, then mine.  It was a really great time.  I kept training up there, though not at a high level (again minimally - see the theme?), and I was to head home to take a week to prep for Ironman Vineman out in Northern California.

Aiden and I taking a jump off the boathouse deck.  I thought I jumped first, but no - I was scared as usual.

Aiden at the Strong Kids Tri - The greatest kids tri ever.

Ironman Vineman 2016:

We headed to California for a late July Ironman that gave me my first real shot at a top ten finish at the distance. The start list was manageable and full of quite a few guys I thought I could compete with - in the end, that's what I did.

It was a great family trip, and we had tons of great times outside of racing.  I finished, but have not posted a race report from the VM race, but will do that so you can read some stuff about the fun trip that it was.

The race itself went fairly well on the swim.  It was one of the coolest swims and most beautiful starts that I have ever been a part of.  Swimming in the Russian River is unique and I don't think I'll ever experience anything like it again.  On the bike I was hypothermic (feeling) for the first two hours and don't remember too much except for trying to think about how many fingers and toes I owned and how I hoped I would have feeling in them for the start of the run.

Giving Aiden his kiss/hug that I have started to do at every start of the Marathon.  Kind of like my good luck thing now.

The run went well.  I came off the bike close to 10th place and was hoping to run into 8th to make my first pro paycheck.  I came up one position short and was out of the money.  Overall, I was happy about this race.  It wasn't fast, my bike was sub-par, my run was okay, but it was a solid effort for where I was and the training I had done.

This was a fairly anti-climactic finish.  

The day after the race, we headed out to go get in some wine tasting.  It was a fun day to say the least.  My mother drove while we all tried some good wines from five or so wineries.  I don't remember exactly how many.  We were off back to Boulder two days after the race.  

My parents lost their kid (dog) shortly after the CA race.  He was great.

We came home and I went back to work the next week.  It was again a time of transition for me.  I spend all summer building up my identity as a triathlete, then I head back to work and that all disappears fairly quickly.  It's crazy how much work I put into a sport that really doesn't matter much in the real world.  My co-workers knew what I did, but my abilities in triathlon and as an athlete really don't mean much while transitioning back to being in a public middle school.

My parents also lost their sixteen year old dog who had been their only child for many years.  They got Guy (their dog) the year I had left for college and treated him as their kid for his whole life.  It was an incredibly hard loss for them.  The picture above was taken an hour or so before he went on up to dog heaven.  

I was then back at trying to maintain whatever fitness I had for the next eight weeks that was in between IM Vineman and IM Chattanooga.  Read this - maintain, not build.  

This is where I did 100% of my rides and runs from Aug. 1st - Nov. 20th.  No Joke.  Zero outdoor training.

Ironman Chattanooga: September 25th - The hottest day of my life

We headed out to Chattanooga a few days before the race to enjoy a little fun/downtime before the event.  Having gone the year before, I really enjoyed the city and the things that Chattanooga had to offer.  After a few canceled flights and a nights delay in Atlanta, we went up to Chattanooga to have some fun before the race.

Here is Aiden and myself at Ruby Falls - We went the year before and he LOVED it.

Maybe someday dude!  You are going to have to go much faster than 9:25 to break that tape though.

The race itself started out great with a swim that was my best to date.  I was with the lead pack for about half of it, then lost them and swam the rest on my own.  I thought I had lost tons of time after getting dropped by that lead group, but was very happy to know that I had only lost two minutes to them by the end of the swim.  Coming out of the water two minutes down was a personal victory.

The bike was great to start but quickly heated to surface of the sun temperatures on the second lap.  I rode most of the bike alone, then ended up 116 miles later at the same spot that I started out at.

That was hot, but the run was HHOOOOOOT.

Starting out the marathon, I had to throw my goals out the window.  I ran a 3:08 here last year and wanted to try to break 3 hours in 2016.  Nope - this was not going to happen.  I ran the first four miles under 6:50's but knew that was not sustainable.  I would be a DNF if I kept that up.  It was 97 degrees (F) at the start of the run and not getting any cooler.   It will hopefully go down as the hottest race that I will ever do.  I'm guessing the guys at the top are able to run at a faster pace while keeping the core much cooler.  This has to come down to the level of fitness that they possess.

See a theme here?  Aiden stop is a tradition.

This race left me destroyed.

I'm usually good to go within minutes of finishing races of the IM distance, but this destroyed me for a while.  I was able to get back to the hotel and get a good dinner and few glasses of wine in, but it definitely took it's toll.

The recovery from Chattanooga also took a bit longer.  Unlike the usual nine days (from race to feeling 100%), it took 12. 

Aiden doing his second tri of the summer

Back home, fall was here and life was slowing down and days were getting short.  I kept up my training as much as I could, but my swim was down to 4 - 5,000 meters per week for the 8 weeks in between Chattanooga and Arizona.  I also dealt with two serious illnesses after the race in Tennessee. I ended up taking a total of four days off of work because of fever.  That was a ton.

I had not been getting sick the past few years, but this was different.  I think that the race in Chattanooga really dug into my immune system and left me in a hole.  I will re-think doing an Ironman in conditions like this if I am on a start list for one like this again.

Aidens 6th birthday - Beth bought him a cool lego airport that we sat and did together that night

The week before leaving to Ironman Arizona, I was having second thoughts about going down to do one last race of the season.  I was sick again (a third time) and just really worn down.  On top of that, my swim SUCKED and I don't know if I was in the best head space to get going.

I was on the start list, and I ended up going anyways.

Getting down to Tempe was easy and quick.  We set up shop at the same Marriott that we had been at the year before, and things went as expected because of it.  I had a nice few days before the race again to prep for one last Ironman.

I wanted to bring my new bike down (a Dimond), but could not get it in the box in a last minute packing episode.  I brought the banged up P3 down for one last race.

Aiden and I at the hotel pool window - We did the same picture the year before.

Ironman Arizona: 11/20/2016

I was fully prepared to get my ass handed to me and embarrassed in the swim and that's exactly what happened.  There is nothing like starting out your morning in the dark in 65 degree water.  If you would have told me two years ago that I would be in this spot, I would have said heck no.  But I was. It got me some experience and made me better.

The bike went fine and I was expecting a similar time to the previous year as I was about at the same fitness level.  If I was on the Dimond, my goal was to be under 4:29, but on the Cervelo I ended up a little over 4:36.  I had some thoughts of pulling out of the race halfway through the bike.  I did not feel good and was ready to call it a day three hours into the race.  Being sick and worn down was killing my race.

From the start of the IM Arizona marathon, I felt horrible and continued to feel horrible the whole 26.2 miles.   Everything felt off and I felt tired and my stride was crap.  I did not pull out of this race on the bike, thus I was determined to just get through and finish this one.  I NEVER want to get in a habit of DNF'ing.

I negative splitted the run for a 3:10 and an 8:55 finish.  I was not happy with this race, but happy it was done.  The positive I will take is that I can have an off day and still finish under 9 hours.  Progress.

IMAZ 2016 - Not what I wanted but done with the season

Family time

I got home from the race and had a week off of work for our Thanksgiving break.  It was a nice recovery.  Much quicker than the race in Chattanooga.

I was back at school on November 28th to finish up the last 15 work days before I was done with my job for good.  It was a great few weeks.

Santas house with my family - A great Boulder tradition

I took this off one last time on Dec. 16th

So there we go.  That was the 2016 triathlon version of me.  Some good, some not so good.  I have made a decision to move on and focus to make the triathlon me the full focus in 2017.  I'm planning on being a much better athlete, better husband, better father, and better son/brother because of this decision.  I'm making the leap now to be a full time athlete and coach for as long as I can.  I'm living a dream and it's about to get a lot more real.

Happy holidays!  On to a new and better year!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Two EOY posts: coming, I promise.

I have a season wrap-up and an end of work post coming in the next two weeks.  I PROMISE.  thank you to all my readers.  I will have some content very soon.