Friday, October 17, 2008

Operation School Bjoern. Part 1 Overview and Winter training

That's right the Gauntlet has been thrown down for 2009. Bjoern and I have committed to an Ironwar in Arizona next November. While we are friends and training partners it still doesn't mean we like losing to one another any better. So I have come up with my plan for the 2009 racing season Introducing OPERATION SCHOOL BJOERN

1. Improve Bike Split
2. Sub 5-hour Half Ironman
3. Sub 1:45 Half IM run split
4. Sub 6 Hour IM Bike
5. Sub 53 min. IM Swim
6. Sub 3:45 IM Marathon.
7. Beat Bjoern!

Going into our Ironman I have come up with a comparative analysis or strengths and weaknesses:

Experience: Me.
Bjoern has been doing tris since his soccer career ended in 2006. I've been racing tris on and off since 2002 and as my main focus since 2006. I've done 2 marathons and have an Ironman under mybelt. I'm no expert on all the little things, but going into a race knowing what to expect definitely takes a bite out of pre race nerves.

Swim: Me
Let's face it I was freaking born in the water. I spent 7 years as a Competitive swimmer, and usually rank in the top tier of the field getting out of the drink. Bjoern's strong and his swim skills are greatly improving..but I'm still confident that I can beat him out of the water.

Bike: Bjoern... by a lot.....
Normann Stadler and Thomas Hellgiel ( I'll just call him Hell on Wheels, because I can't spell his last name to save my life.) proved that you can essentially win an Ironman on the bike. In 2000 Hell on Wheels had 12 min. over Cam Brown at Ironman New Zealand and managed to beat the fast running Kiwi by 4 min. Normann Stadler..well we all remember how Kona 2006 played out against Macca, man if he only had one more mile....
Bjoern beat my bike split by 3 min. over 56 miles at the Nutmeg State Half Iron in 07. If things had kept stagnant...I could assume that it would be a 6 min. advantage going into the Marathon. Things have not been stagnant..Bjoern has made himself even more of an animal on two wheels, and while I've improved, he lives on two wheels, so his lead off he bike could be anywhere from 3-10 min. If I want a crack at him I need to work the bike leg and work it hard.

Run: It's a crap shoot.
While some people would tip the run leg in my favor, Bjoern and I have about equal splits. The x-factor for him is his knee, if he stays injury free, we may be re-enacting the famous photo of Ken Glah and Pauli Kiru making a mad dash for the line. All those years of soccer definitely pay off for him.


Mental Attitude: Bjoern
If you've been a long time reader, you know life crap tends to get me down..especially when it comes to family crap. Bjoern just takes thing in stride, definitely the best attitude to have in 140.6 mile /226km sufferfest, in the middle of the desert, surrounded by nothing but Cacti and sand....

Injury: Me
Except for a case of "wrong shoe type" shin splints, and a strained shoulder from incorrect swimming technique back in my NCAA D-1 days, I've been pretty healthy. Bjoern has that blasted knee issue that keeps popping up but with sensible training and the proper preventatives he should be ok.

Sexy Equipment:Toss up.
I'm a gear whore...I admit it. Bjoern's bike has better wheels and components and I'm jealous....but I've got sexier running shoes...

Alright now that I've outlined the our strengths, I will now outline my plan on getting in shape.

Winter 2008-09 Training plan:

I plan on training like I did last winter, hopefully the weather will co-operate a little more and I'll actually do some hill work along with trainer sessions, and base rides. The cycling must improve!!!

Swimming a lot at harder, faster, stronger intervals. Stef said she was coaching masters so I will have my dominatrix of the lane lines.

Running, well same as always, maybe some speed work if the track's not covered in ice.

Lifting, I need to lift heavy things to increase strength, power, and overall manliness. Does this mean I'll be doing curls ..No that is a deadly sin...although I might be committing other deadly sins...such as bench pressing and pec-flys with free weights, but for the most part extreme core work, medicine ball crap and squats will be the standard of my routines.

So that is the winter training plan. The race plan /spring plan is a little more intricate and will fill a post on its own.

Methodiacally planing

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

To Enter or Not to Enter the Middlebury Trifecta...

" I think Cam Brown's going to have his work cut out for him in 09." me in an email to Catherine

"Well when you beat him next year..." Her reply.

Alright the above conversation was me referring to IM Canada Winner Brian Rhodes, but her reply speaks for itself, granted if I ever beat Cam Brown I think I would have quite the argument for a pro card.

Ironman New Zealand for 2009 is looking like it could happen but I'm still up in the air (I've done a lot of homework and price checking. I could still go for under $3k), I know I've got an Iron late in the season ( Arizona), peer pressure is trying to get me into a more budget/schedule friendly race in Florida, While part of me wants to make Kona before I turn 25 the other part of me is saying wait and yet another part is screaming give up on it all together. Well back to Cam Brown, it seems if I can't get to him the tri gods have arranged that maybe Cam Brown will come to me.

Everyone knows every year I race the Pat Griskus Olympic and Sprint Triathlons. Both races are staples on my schedules because they are on my normal training routes , through Middlebury, Woodbury, Washington, Bantam and Bethlehem CT..Well now a third race has been added to the schedule. Heather Gollonick ( don't think I spelled that right) has decided to go the path of Pro-triathlete/race director..well as fate would have it she chose Middlebury CT as the site of the 1st Rev3 Triathlon. Well the race is a half iron and has committed several top pros, including Bree Wee, Desiree Ficker, and the aforementioned Kiwi, Mr. Brown.

This really has the gears turning, before I found out about this race I was planning for a very limited race schedule in preparation for "Operation School Bjoern" ( all in good fun man) with my opener being either the Patriot Tri or the Pat Griskus Olympic as my opener, The Pat griskus Sprint and either Park City or Niantic being boredom killers, and Nutmegman or Mighty Hamptons as my final prep for IM AZ. But now with a Half Iron thrown into my stomping grounds, I feel like I'm stuck in an old school under armour commercial as the words "We must protect this house!" are echoing in my head.

Needless to say my inner Risk benefit analysis computer is working overtime.

I know the routes, I know the lay of the land, hell I train and have raced on these same routes before.

Pros in the Greater Waterbury Area...well I know I won't receive press coverage because I'm not from one of "The" Towns, Middlebury,Southbury, Woodbury, Washington, Nauguatuck, Watertown.... but local athletes going up against the world's best might make some head lines.

It's in early June, which if I'm not doing NZ is when I traditionally start my season.

$250 entry fee!

Swimming at Quassy....could be good, could be bad...could be ugly...

I'll post more on this as I get more details.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I cursed Macca.....or did Specialized screw us both...

Well upon looking over all the post race data from Kona and wondering why Macca ( Chris McCormack )had been forced to drop out on the bike, well as I browsed xtri I found out it was a snapped front Derailleur cable on his sexy S works that had forced him out. Rewind to the Nutmegman Half Iron this year of the site of my DNF. I had a similar problem, the cable didn't snap but the way Specialized wired the rear derailleur cable over the front derailleur cable was causing it to shift slow hence causing the bike to get "stuck" in the big ring at inopportune times, also the fact that my rear tire was loosing air could have added to the feeling of pedaling and going nowhere, or having insane difficultly on hills. (No lie the rear tire was flat when I got to the bike shop to have the derailleur fixed.) a quick fix from Al and the Stomper's been shifting better than it was when I bought it, granted I haven't really ridden since I had it fixed. but in any case I finding a bizarre parallel between my performance at Nutmegman and Macca's performance in Kona:

I dominate my age group at Nutmegman winning by almost 30 min.( sorry Bjoern)
Macca lights up Kona and gets his long awaited victory.

The front Derailleur on my bike seizes up causing me to drop out of Nutmegman while in the top 10.
Macca's Front derailleur cable snaps while he's toward the top of the field.

If something eerily similar happens to Macca and myself next year, I'm going to start banking on this ludicrous hypothesis.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

The ING Hartford Marathon race report.

Pre race: Friday night was pretty uneventful..other than a mad dash to the EXPO only to find out it was open until 7PM not 6:30 like I thought. Also I got lost trying to find my way to Constitution Plaza, what a mess. In any case I met up with Claire, Cranky and Sir Angry and we hit this somewhat swanky joint, in which Claire and I were definitely under dressed. Also as Angry kept scoping out the newly minted young female professionals dining behind us Claire would chime back with chorus of "Skanks"and what defined their Skankiness/skankhood. Anyway after getting a set of directions from Angry I got back to my car, drove back to Wolcott and got my shit crammed into my little Orange bag for the 26.2 mile hammer fest.

After a restless night of sleep, I got up showered, cussed to myself that I forgot to pick up milk, and made my way out to Hartford insanely early. I parked by Union station literally a block away from the race ( also got anally raped with the Parking fee $12 to park my car...ugg!) anyway it was 5:30 when I got there went to the bus station to take care of business shot the shit with a first time marathoner, made my way over to Bushnell park and forgot that I left my cell in the car got it and then made my way back. Called Claire because she and the Angry one were running late and confirmed the rendezvous point. I met up with Cranky at about 6:45 after applying poor man's blisterblock ( med tape) to my insteps and heels. Claire and Angry showed up about 7:15 after a quick reconfimation of where to meet post race. Crankys and I dropped out bags off at the gear truck, I bumped into Al (Waterbury's Ironman) and shot the shit real quick , Also bumped into Vin from HEAT as Cranky slipped into the crowd then Claire and I cut inthrough the elite corral. IT WAS CROWDED! but luckily we were up front so we wouldn't be running through traffic the entire race. After endless annoucements speeches by politicians, who's idea of a marathon was the legislature's last session, things were finally ready to go.

The Race:

After the quick commands of "Runners Ready..Set." the Air Horn went off and the caution tape dropped, and immediately everyone was off. The first couple of miles were tough as everyone jockeyed for space, I used my bike etiqute for a second shouting out "On your left!" as I would attempt to pass at one really congested corner. I wasn't able to get a split at the first mile but by the two mile mark, things had settled down a tad we were averaging slightly over 7 min miles...I got an official split at 3 miles of roughly 5k 21:21 just over 7 min. miles..shit I'm taking it out too hard I thought to myself. It was about this time the 3:10 ( my Boston Qualifying time) pace team came along I decided to ride the "train to Boston" as long as I could as it wasn't putting me in difficultly. I was still able to talk and struck up a conversation with one guy who was looking to do a 3:15. When I mentioned I was looking to break 3:45 that was when the "Oh shit ,you're definitely going out too hard conversation started. I decided that I would start conserving pace at about the 10 mile mark or whenever my calves started chiming up. 4 miles in 28:26 a 7:05 mile..this pace was cooking 5 miles 35:36 after 7:09 still keeping that 3:10 red vest infront of me and taking gatorade everyother aid station mile 6 I hit in about 43 min. at a 7:02 but I accidently hit stop instead of split on my watch, it was about this point I let the 3:10 pace train mussle ahead along with a guy I met pre race, he was 30 trying to get to Boston and his pace group was only 300 meters up the road. I began to slow the pace it was then I realized that I ha stopped my watch, I refired it but the screwed up the split timing as well as my overall estimates. Regardless I was feeling alright took a hammer gel to get some fuel in the tank granted it felt like it was going to come up at any second, so I threw some water in wash it down. the mile 7 came up at 58:09 after a 7:45 mile, I started talking to a chick on a bike that came along side it was helping to steady my pace. My hip was starting to hurt I knew I had to pee so at the next aid station I stopped used the facilities, got back into it. I hit the 8 mile mark at 1:06 after an 8:30 mile including the pee break. I saw the leaders coming down from the turn around, among them one of my high school teammates Jay Shiel, ( apparently another one of my high school team mates was right on his heels as they both flew pulling 2:57's) mile 9 came at 1:14 after a 7:52 mile I was finding I was getting back to my comfort zone. Mile 10 came at 1:22 after 7:50 mile, at mile 11 we hit the turn around. I looked at the groups coming up the scattered rnners, the 3:30 pace team, the 3:35 pace team, the 3:45 pace team..and then "the party crowd" the 4:00 pace team complete with their leader holding a sign on a pole. I couldn't see Claire, and hoped she didn't drop out. I took my splitat mile 12 1:30.16 a 7:54 mile. I started talking to my friend on the bike again as I saw some of the slower runners coming up. Some people limping along others doing the run walk, preping themseleves for a long day of 5-6 hours of running. I was swallowed up by the 3:20 pace team and a bunch of guys in M-dot visors. I started talking to one of them Kurt as I held on to the pace train for about 1 miles and then was spit out the back a 1:38 13 mile split after a 7:48 mile about this time Cranky along side and would begin work as my pacer..for the next 12 miles. and so it began a conversation to keep the pace and our minds off the collective pain the race directors had in store. I apologized for seeming annoying for talking but after a quick "If it takes your mind off the pain don't worry about it." and so the miles clicked by hovering between 7:45 and 8:30. At some of the aid sations Cranky would stop get a drink because if his words "He didn't want to be wearing his water." As for me I went with the more tradtional method of drinking and dousing myself on the fly. I would tend to get a couple of minutes ahead and then he'd come back helping me to push the pace. We finally got back into Town a with Cranky acting as my Yoda continued at a good clip although the race directors threw a bunch hills in the last 6 miles. My pace began to drop as the latic started creeping from my calves to the knees. After a passing of the 20 mile marker and some encouragement from Cranky, I made myself determined not to walk. But around us we were starting to see those who had gone out too hard strating to drop and those who had been saving surging forward. We ended up on a riverfront shaded trail and it was heaven until it started going up hill.We went trhough the center of Hartford Angry came along side for a little bit giving some encouragement , then he dropped back to wait for Claire.We ended up passing the Jimmy Buffet themed aid station at about mile 22 complete with Santa in a red Hawaiian shirt and wooly pants raking spent paper cups. After Cranky caught up we made our back into on to the rail trail and caught a kid in a UMass shirt at about mile 23 or on the "you've gotta to be shitting me hill." we held steady for about 2 miles still passing runners and at the 25 mile mark the pain in my calves was becoming too much, Cranky and Umass guy pulled away as I began slipping back. One guy came by and commented on my Blazeman Tech shirt..."Fighting Lou Gerhig's disease..Good job man!" "Technically I'm raising money for research.." trying to make the running thing seem less dramatic..."Hey good job none the less dude!" I could already tell my mile pace was dropping way off, my legs felt like lead weights as we came back into the business district, after a quick turn back toward the park a young tri geek decked in his Orca suit was coming along side, I heard somebody scream go Josh and as he pulled along side he started doing the "skip of death and shouting "cramp Cramp, shit shit" as I got back around. We headed toward the park and I was greeted with a cruel sight the line of we have to go the long way round....As we hit the cruve and the arch came into sight I had that emotional moment as I high-fived two kids..I dug in deep Orca boy was toast. I got around him and sprinted to the line some 40 year-old was looking over his shoulder probably thankful I didn't have another 200 meters to the line..because I was closing fast. I crossed with my fist in the air. 3:26:44 a PR by 24 minutes.

The Post Race:
Cranky and I walked to a grassy patch, he went for the food tent as I took some time to stretch out. The massage line and the beer line were huge so no go for me. Plus if I had anything right after the race I would have puked. I laid out on the foil blanket and stretched out. Untaped my feet and put on my trainers...Cranky came back and I made my way to the food tent and loaded up. Claire came by with Angry, she had broken 4 hours and had been barely edged out by "sign man" from the 4 hour pace team. Cranky had qualified for Boston and Angry did better than he hoped in the 5k so I officially won $1 for guessing his time.

Not a bad day at the office. I could go on about post race, Angry trying to get me to hit on MILF in Yoga pants... all the young co-eds/profeesionals coming after 4+ hours but I was too sore to move...

The Lactic Acid is slowly draining