Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Frogman Swim-Run-Swim

In ancient Hawaii, Warriors were known as koa, and gave their name to the koa tree, whose hard wood provided many of their weapons.
A traditional warrior society, Hawaiian chieftains and their retainers practiced a type of martial arts (lua) and engaged in Olympic-style games during the annual Makahiki festival that tested their abilities.

Much like the Koa Warriors, the bi-annual "Frogman Swim-Run-Swim" tests Military, Police, and Firefighters while honoring those who have paid the ultimate price in service to country.

Since 9/11, nearly 4,400 military have died. Perhaps, more troublingly, more than 1,200 Police Officers have died in the United States during that same period. To honor those who have fallen, the F-SRS committed to completing more than 5,600 push-ups and sit-ups during the course of the event.
So, here's how the day went (0800 hrs. start):
100 sit-ups
100 push-ups
Swim 250 meters
Run 3/4 mile
50 sit-ups
50 push-ups
Run 3/4 mile
25 sit-ups
25 push-ups
Run 3/4 mile
50 sit-ups
50 push-ups
Run 3/4 mile
25 sit-ups
25 push-ups
Swim 250 meters
100 push-ups
100 sit-ups
Toast to our brothers

Despite the early start and challenging workout, I felt honored to be invited to participate in the Frogman S-R-S and was thrilled to take home the "win" on Saturday.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Runny nose...

I had a great pair of workouts on Tuesday...Then, the body just said it needs a break.

I've got one heck of a summer cold right now...Wed/Thurs off, but I managed an EASY swim this afternoon (the solution to pollution is dilution).

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pleasant surprise...

I guess I melted yesterday because it was 100+ degrees outside during my run...I left the house without checking temps and just assumed it was 85 as it had been much of last week.  Needless to say, I understand why my hill intervals sucked yesterday...I should have been wearing my Fuel Belt.

Man, I really find ways to make things difficult on myself sometimes:-)

This morning's swim was mediocre...Slow on the 200s (2:59, 3:00), but at least I can complete them again (shoulder did pretty well). 

Time to go ride the trainer.  It's humbling to know that the TdF guys are riding longer today on their "off" day than I will ride on a training day.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hot, hot, hot...

I've felt about as useful as a poop-lollipop for the past week.  I'm just DYING on every run workout.

Melting Man?  Yep, that's how I've felt during my last 4 outdoor workouts.  I'm just wilting...I haven't completed a run in more than a week as my legs are just dead and I'm not holding up to the heat.  It looks like I'll need to move things to the treadmill for a while (drats!!!).  

It's not that the temperatures are THAT hot, but the humidity is definitely wreaking some havoc on my training (racing heart rates, short of breath, mushy legs).

The good news is that my indoor bikes went well this past week and my shoulder isn't too sore when swimming.  I guess that I just expected to be fully-recovered from Lake Stevens by now (my head is raring to go, but my legs are saying NO!).  

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I really like this...

Who says that gas prices are a "crisis?"  Just throw a leg over the trusty-steed and you can remove gas from your list of problems...

Do you smell smoke?

So, I'm taking a shower after running this evening and I start smelling something "funny."  As is typical, I assume nothing is wrong...Until my eyes started watering and I couldn't really see through the haze.  

I nonchalantly (read: slowly and stupidly) pull on some shorts and ask my roommate if he's noticing anything unusual (just as the fire alarm starts to beep).

It turns out that the Air Conditioner had overheated and caught on fire and was pumping electrical fire smoke into our place.

Anyway, all bikes and people are fine.  

The Federal Firefighters on Fort Leavenworth did a great job and were on site in less than 4 minutes.  I'm sure they were disappointed to climb into full fire gear without the chance to charge hoses (just securing the circuit breaker was enough). 


Sunday, July 13, 2008

18 Weeks

18 weeks until Clearwater...

My rest/recovery from Lake Stevens is complete and I'm back at school.  I'm clearing the decks  of all non-essential priorities to focus on 3 things:

1.  Improving sustainable swim pace
2.  Developing power in the aero position on the bike (it's a completely flat bike course)
3.  Getting a bit faster (15 seconds per mile) on the run

These goals will be accomplished via the Smith & Barney technique of the Method..."I'll earn it."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Content to keep pushing...

Just a handful of the MANY Ironheads who raced well at Lake Stevens 70.3

Andy Grove once stated that "only the paranoid survive."  That might be a bit melodramatic, but I will concede that a consistent strain is the best path to improvement and recent successes have only fueled my ambitions to keep pushing forward.  It's been a really great week at home...A quick synopsis would show:

1.  Four of my guys selected for Navy Chief Petty Officer (Adley, Guin, Laws, and Nelson)
2.  I selected for Navy Commander (more of a feeling of relief)
3.  Tossed the "will I race with heart?" monkey off my back at Lake Stevens (and qualified for Ironman 70.3 World Championships)
4.  Had a great time seeing friends and family (including some great Trap/Skeet Shooting this evening)

I took two days off from training, treated myself to a little ice cream, and slept in.  However, "time, tides, and liberty wait for no man" and it's time to get back into training.

The goals have been set (I'll post them when I'm ready) and now it's time to take the steps necessary to reach them.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Lake Stevens 70.3

BLUF:  Well-run event, beautiful course with some challenging hills on the bike, lots of great teammates on course, borrowed bike, rented wetsuit, no HRM = 2nd fastest 1/2 IM ever.

With airlines charging upwards of $100 each 
way to fly a bike, I simply couldn't justify bringing my own to an event I was 
racing with no taper.  Fortunately, my friend Marc hooked me up with his SPEED MACHINE.  After 15 minutes of saddle/stem adjustment, I was ready to go (note the not-Slowtwitch approved spacers under the stem).

Saturday evening, we had a great dinner in Lake Stevens at Neapoli's.  Apparently pasta was a good idea as Chris Legh (defending Champion) was there as well
.  A quick drive of the course made it clear that the "new" course would be a bit easier than previous editions, but that the 3,000 cumulative feet of climbing would still sting a bit.  Reviewing the course was great for my confidence as it helped me realize that the descents were all critical sources of momentum on course and that there would be no need to slow or break aero position on the vast majority of corners.

Sunday morning started with a bottle of Boost (240 calorie
s), PBJ Bagel (360 calories), Gatorade (150 calories), a glass of cranberry juice (100 calories), and 4 Electrolyte pills.  I left the house feeling full, but knowing that I had 2 hours until the start of my race.

I was really hoping that my recent swim volume
 (prior to my tendonitis) would be rewarded with a personal best.  Although I'm swimming better, I think I just grabbed some slow feet and acted too patiently.  The water was clear with 8 feet of visibility and a "buoy line" which rendered sighting unnecessary.  Exited the water in 36:45 (about 2:45 slower than my goal).

T1 was uneventful and the ZOOT wetsuit I'd rented was REALLY EASY to remove (2:00).  

Bike course is basically a lollipop (5 mile outbound leg, 2 x 23 mile loops, 5 mile inbound leg).  The loops consist of a gradually climbing set of rollers for the first 15 miles, 6 miles of progressive descending (with some really nice fast sections), and a final kicker before repeating the loop.  I decided to run "lean" and only carry one bottle on the bike with 5 GU packets taped to the top-tube.  2 x CO2 cartridges taped under the saddle and a tube in my back pocket.  This was a good approach.  However, I'm not sure that I liked the Clif Bar drink I had in my first bottle (when mixed with GU it made me want to puke).  Therefore, I simply grabbed water at the aid station and took a GU every 20 minutes thereafter.  Simple solution (no need to do caloric-calculus...Just listen to the body!!!).

Speaking of listening to the body...I wore an HRM, but had decided prior to the race that it was there for "post race analysis."  It's a good thing too!  Had I listened to the HRM, I'd have pushed too hard, too early on the bike.  Instead, I listened to my legs despite my low HR readings while letting the "fast guys" ride away early in the first lap.  2 hours later, most of them came back to me on the ride into town.  

T2--SLOW due to a porta-pottie stop (I just couldn't bring myself to peeing on a borrowed bike).  3:00.

Run--Downed 1/3 can of Red Bull, counted cadence, and simply focused on running well.  Mile 1 in 7:06 felt EASY.  However, I also knew that I wanted to finish strong.  I let my teammate go and told him I'd see him at the finish.  Nevertheless, I was just ticking over the legs and really feeling good.  With 9 miles to go, I realized that the majority of my training efforts are done FASTER than I was running so I just let myself run at a "comfortably uncomfortable" pace with a plan to attack the final 6 miles.  Unfortunately, one little muscle in my quad began to cramp so I had to settle for maintaining pace and taking in a few extra electrolytes (I probably should have taken a few on the bike).  With 3 miles left, I was "on the hunt" and decided to risk cramping up... Fortunately, my legs held up and I finished the final 3 miles in just under 20 minutes for a 1:32 half-marathon.

Overall:  4:56:12 (my second fastest 1/2 Ironman to date), 81st place overall (12th in AG) and took the slot to the 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, Florida.

1.  Don't get consumed by the details.  1mm either way won't kill a bike fit and wetsuits are all made of rubber...
2.  We don't need no stinkin' technology crutches!  HRMs and PMs have their place for some athletes, but I'm training better and more importantly RACING BETTER without them.  After 24 years of bike racing and 10 IM finishes, I know my body pretty well.  I do best when I actually listen to what it has to say.
3.  I'm going to rip my arms off if I don't find a way to improve my swim times!!!
4.  Running "lean" on calories (only 1 bottle on the bike) was great for a 1/2 IM (I'm not so sure it would work well for IM as I was pretty "bonky" at the end of the run).
5.  My Fuel Belt was KEY to my run success...My "secret sauce" available whenever I wanted it.  It was comfortable and will be used for all longer races moving forward.
6.  I'm definitely a 1-piece guy.  However, my tri suit from 2004 makes me look like a flamer (NTTAWWT;-)...I need longer shorts on my suit for Clearwater or I'll get arrested for indecent exposure.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


There are many great men serving in our Armed Forces today.  When I hear the story of Petty Officer Mike Monsoor, I'm truly humbled. 

Petty Officer (EOD2) Mike Monsoora Navy EOD Technician, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for throwing himself on a grenade in Iraq, giving his life to save his fellow Seals.

During Mike Monsoor's funeral in San Diego, as his coffin was being moved from the hearse to the grave site at Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, SEALs were lined up on both sides of the pallbearers route forming a column of two's, with the coffin moving up the center.  As Mike's coffin passed, each SEAL, having removed his gold Trident Badge from his uniform, and slapped it down, embedding the Trident in the wooden coffin.
The slaps were audible from across the cemetery, and by the time the coffin arrived grave side, it looked as though it had a gold inlay from all the Tridents pinned to it.