Monthly Archives: March 2014

Training Week #7 (Triathlon Base Training/Marathon Peak Training)

Well, marathon preparation continue to dominate my training. Trying to inch my way to 50+ mile/week before a start my taper. Also trying to have a 20+ mile long run each week pre-taper. Was able to get back outside with all the pros (less boring, better scenery, less crowded) and cons (cold, windy, hills, dogs, cars). Got a 10k run in shortened by 2 dogs and cold wind. Sunday was the first day of spring-like weather and a chance to get a really nice outdoor run in (before the Monday blizzard hits). Overall, it has been a good week. Next week will be odd. Active recovery week for triathlon plan/peak training for the marathon. I think I will leave the swim the same, cut way back on bike training, and ramp up running. Will likely keep this ratio until marathon taper starts and will kick up the biking at that point. The week after the marathon, I will be visiting family and my training will suffer-so that will be my true recovery week.

The Plan:
Tuesday-1:00 swim, 1:00 run
Wednesday-0:45 bike/0:15 run (with transition)
Thursday-1:00 swim/1:00 bike
Friday-1:15 run
Saturday-2:30 bike
Sunday-1:15 run

2 hour swim, 4:15 hour bike, 3:45 hour run
Total-10 hours/9 activities

What I did:
Monday-0:45 bike/0:20 run (11 miles/2 miles)
Wednesday-1:00 swim/1:38 run (1.5 miles/10 miles)
Thursday-1:01 bike/0:31 run (15 miles/3.1 miles)
Friday-1:00 swim/0:59 run (1.5 miles/5.8 miles)
Saturday-2:44 bike/0:30 run (40 miles/3.1 miles)
Sunday-4:05 run (23 miles)

Weekly Total
2:00 swim, 4:30 bike, 8:03 run (% change from week 6: 0%, -12.9%, +19%)
3 mile swim, 66 mile bike, 47 mile run (% change from week 6: 0%, -13.2%, +15.5%)
Total-14.33 hours/116 miles/11 activities

Grand Totals:
Swim-14 hours/21 miles
Bike-31:13 hours/442 miles
Run 38:53 hours/230.5 miles
Total-84:06 hours/693.5 miles

23 weeks to go.


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Flashback Fridays 6: Minneapolis Marathon

June 3, 2012

“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it”-Ancient Facebook Proverb

“Stupid is as stupid does”-Forrest Gump

“What the hell do you think you’re doing???”-My wife

I had completed my first half marathon. I completed it in better then expected time and with a smile on my face. I had the great big goal of running a full marathon by the end of the year (and had signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon in early October). Unfortunately, there are very few events in between a half marathon and a full. So, I had set up a few more half marathons to keep me training for my full.

I was increasing my weekly mileage. My long run was getting longer.

I was increasing at a rate that I started to wonder if I could tackle a full before October…

I just kept running. The miles kept stretching.

I felt good. I was having fun.

The Minneapolis Marathon and Half Marathon was coming up fast. I was running up to 18 miles at a time. They also had a practice/group run 3 weeks before the event. A 20 miler for the marathon folk, a 10 miler for the Half-Marathon runners.

Figured I would show up and try for the 20 miler. If I could not complete it, then I had no business signing up for a full. If I could, then maybe I could take a shot at it. I learned at the Get Lucky 7K not to sell myself short. But, I didn’t want to set myself up for failure or injury.

Practice day was beautiful. Part of the marathon course was a 4 mile trail run around Pike island, and this was featured that day.

I started running with a few others. We swapped stories and it helped pass the time. Pike Island was right by the start/finish area, and it was a great place to run.

The day went on. My legs were tired, but I got a lot of great energy from my fellow runners. Got to the 10 mile/20 mile split and chose the 20 mile course without a second thought.

Close to 2 hours later, I was closing in on the finish. 20 miles. And my legs still had a little left. One more lap around Pike Island. I finished the day with just under 24 miles. I could barely walk, but think I could have gone another 2-3 miles if I had to.

The dye was cast. I was going for it.

Everyone thought I had completely lost my mind.

After all, I would be attempting this 16 weeks after I had started running. It was NOT a good idea.

And, they were all likely correct. I certainly would not recommend this to anyone else. But I was feeling good, had progressed safely and injury free. Putting it off may result in me giving up this dream.

They were right. I didn’t care.

I tapered down and changed races. Did some serious carb loading. The expo/packet pickup was getting to be very familiar territory.

My wife and a few friends came down to cheer me on. It was a spectator friendly venue. They could watch me start, walk a block and see me at 1 mile, then again at 4. A quick hop on light rail got you to the 12 mile/20 mile point. There was a restaurant nearby for the 8 mile lull. Then a quick ride on light rail again to get to the finish.

My wife and I were going to meet our friends downtown by the start. We got there close to the starting time and we couldn’t find them. I literally just had enough time to get to the starting corral and the race started. I was a little worried about my wife, and looked frantically for our friends in the crowd as the race started. No luck. When I got to the 1 mile mark, I saw them all together. That was a relief. I could focus on my race.

The day was beautiful and sunny, but it promised to heat up. There was a last minute change in the race route. Pike Island was flooded…bummer. They added an out and back to make up the miles.

Mile four. Saw the support crew again and they took a few pics. They told me they would be at mile 12. Good. Something to look forward too.

Mile 12 and got a pick me up from the crew. Was feeling strong. Temp was starting to climb. They were going for breakfast and would see me back at the same spot at mile 20.

13.1-half marathon done. I wasn’t even tired yet!

Mile 17. Last minute detour…and it wasn’t pretty. Out and back on a gravel service road. No scenery. No shade. Temp was starting to cook. Saw my first ever bloody running shirt and understood why men were told to put band-aids over their nipples…

Mile 18. We run past Pike Island and up the biggest hill on the course. It was another service road and at least a 30 degree incline. Most walked it. I didn’t. Big mistake. That one would cost me…

Mile 20. Support Crew. They were fed and happy. My uphill run had cost me. Temps were getting into the low 80’s and I was feeling it. They asked if I needed anything. “A ride to the finish line would be nice”. They thought I was kidding…

There are two halfs to a marathon. The first 20 miles, and the last 6.2. That is not an exaggeration. The last 6.2 miles was pain. Shade was a luxury with the sun high in the midday sky. I drank the Gatorade, and I wore the water. The sponges they handed out was the greatest gift. The guy with the garden hose was sent from heaven above. And the miles got longer and longer.

It was more mental then physical at the end. Forcing my mind to keep my body going. I never understood that until that moment. There is some truth that you find yourself, and what you are capable of in those last few miles. They don’t change you, but you can understand you better if that makes any sense.

I could hear the crowd ahead before I could see the finish. They were carrying me now. Temp was in the mid 80’s with high humidity. I was too naive to understand the dangers at that temp. I didn’t care. I could see the finish. I could see my wife and friends. Cameras came out as I crossed the finish line.

Got the gold and stained glass medal (which is still my favorite medal ever), the food and the high fives.

I was a marathon finisher.

Position 515/891

I had done it. And I was scheduled to do another. But in between, I had another goal. The triathlon bug had struck, and it was coming up in 6 short weeks.




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Change of Plans. Route 66 Will Be The Season Finale…

Thought about doing the lottery for Chicage yesterday after being shut out of NYC marathon. But, I really wanted something later in the season then mid October. Route 66 is late November, great reputation and bling. I have registered for the Full Marathon, as well as the fun run and 5k. The final pieces of the 2014 season are now locked in. Should be a great year!

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Shut Out of New York…


Guess I’ll have to put my name in the Chicago Lottery instead…

Someone will let me run sooner or later!

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Start Spreading The News…

…it’s the New York Marathon lottery day!

Yeah, I threw my name in the hat. I wanted a post-Ironman marathon on the schedule. I figure I will be less likely to hit the couch and stay there if I have a marathon scheduled 2 months later.

NYC is my first lottery…and it’s a long-shot. Probably under 10% chance of getting in. But, it was only $5 to try. If I don’t make it, I will register for Route 66 marathon instead. Either way, I will sort out the final details of my 2014 event calendar today.


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Training Week #6 (Triathlon Base Training/Marathon Peak Training)

I looked at my schedule and noticed that the Flying Pig Marathon (May 4th) was quickly sneaking up on me. I was behind schedule for marathon training (was too focused on the triathlon plan. The cold weather also gave me the illusion that it was far off). So, I figure I have 4 weeks of peak marathon training left before I taper. I always seem to enter marathons with far too little in terms of weekly mileage. So, I will be shifting my training to a run-centric plan for now (a LOT more running miles then called for on the plan). My bike mileage is still up there (I have my first big cycling event the week before the marathon-but there is no fixed time or distance for that…so it’s an organized training ride and I am not stressing over that event). After the marathon, I will back off the run to a maintenance level and focus on the bike then build up the run again.

The Plan:
Tuesday-1:00 swim, 1:00 run
Wednesday-0:45 bike/0:15 run (with transition)
Thursday-1:00 swim, 1:00 bike
Friday-1:00 run
Saturday-2:00 bike
Sunday-1:00 run

2 hour swim, 3:45 hour bike, 3:15 hour run
Total-9 hours/9 activities

What I did:
Monday-0:46 bike/0:19 run (11 miles/2 miles)
Wednesday-1:00 swim/1:03 run (1.5 miles/6.3 miles)
Thursday-1:00 swim/3:21 run (1.5 miles/20 miles)
Friday-1:01 run (6.2 miles)
Saturday-1:43 bike/0:31 run (25 miles/3.1 miles)
Sunday-2:41 bike/0:31 run (40 miles/3.1 miles)

Weekly Total
2:00 swim, 5:10 Bike, 6:46 run (% change from week 5: 0%, +6.5%, +58.0%)
3 mile swim, 76 mile bike, 40.7 mile run (% change from week 5: 0%, +15.2%, +53.0%)
Total-13:56 hours/119.7 miles/11 activities

Grand Totals:
Swim-12 hours/18 miles
Bike-26:43 hours/376 miles
Run-30:50 hours/183.5 miles
Total-69:33 hours/577.5 miles

24 weeks to go.


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Return Of The 20 Mile Long Run

Week 6 of Ironman training…and I mix in a 20 mile long run.

Most Ironman veterans are likely banging their heads on the keyboard at this concept.

I should explain the logic (or the madness).

My plan going into the offseason was that I needed something in the spring to keep me motivated throughout the long winter months. If I landed on the couch, I would likely not get off again when the snow melts. I need short-term goals and long-term goals.

This was to be the year of the Ironman, but I figured a spring marathon would not screw training up too badly for a fall triathlon.

As I just completed my first outdoor run and race last week, I thought I had time to build up.

Yesterday, I looked at the calendar. Whoops.

Race day is May 4th. Taper starts mid-April. So, 4 weeks left to train. And it has been quite awhile since a serious long run.

The return of snow and ice forced me back indoors. I went to the indoor track with a plan to run as far as I could. I figured 15-16 miles.

I completed 20 instead.

That was yesterday. Followed that up today with a treadmill 10k. Mostly bike sessions planed for the weekend (but a 5k run after each).

The training will become more run-centric until I start to taper. Twenty-plus mile long runs will be the norm for the next three weeks. Will then start to push the bike a little more. Post marathon, will fall closer to plan.

Base triathlon training with peak marathon training. Should be interesting phase of my training…


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Flashback Fridays 5: Get In Gear Half Marathon

April 28, 2012

I was changing.

Instead of doubt and insecurity, I was developing confidence. I started accepting that I could do this. I was a runner.

I did great at the Get Lucky 7K. I 2917/8782 runners! I passed 1894 people! I feared I would embarrass myself and stick out like a sore thumb.

My only negative emotion was regret. Regret that I didn’t trust myself to sign up for the half marathon, only to run 13.1 miles the next day…on my own.

The time for regret and self-doubt were over. The human body will surprise you when the mind gives it permission to do so. It was on now.

My next race was the “Get In Gear 10K”. They had a half marathon offered as well. A few clicks of the mouse and an upgrade fee, and I was all signed up for my first half. I also signed up for a few other half marathons. Then I signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon at the end of the year. Many dreamed of running a marathon. I was going to do it. No more doubts.

My weekday runs were getting faster and more comfortable. My weekend runs were getting longer. I was enjoying them. They were “me” time.

Three weeks before the event, Get In Gear hosted a free practice run on course. I headed down to test myself. The weather was back to seasonal. Rainy and cool. I was back to layers. It was an enjoyable day. Met and ran with a few cool people. My pacer was recovering from an injury, but was an experienced runner. I learned a lot that day. We started talking marathons and she agreed that I could pull it off by years end. We also got to talking triathlon, and that she could never do one (she doesn’t swim). She noted that there are short triathlon and that swimming and cycling are good for cross training. Another seed planted.”You can’t…” said my brain. “Just watch me…” I replied…

Race day was coming. The unusual became familiar. Tapering before the race. Carb loading the day or two before. Packet pick up. Bib. Chip. Shirt. Check. Scoped out the venue. No on site parking. Free parking and shuttle from a nearby lot. Check.

Race day was equally gloomy and damp. High 30’s. Misty. I was freezing.

I didn’t care.

Lined up in the coral…a little further up this time. Met a few other first timers. Lot of nervous energy and enthusiasm.

The run itself was a blur. Cold and wet. My foot cramped up at times. But otherwise, I was in the zone. The time just flew by. No stops. No walk breaks…just a brief slow down through the aid stations.

Had a little left in my as I saw the finish coming up. I kicked it up a notch.

Finish Time: 2:09:39
Pace: 9:54/mile-seriously? Under 10 minute miles for my first half marathon? Did not see that one coming!

Got my medal. Got my first official finisher’s photo.

My only letdown of the day…the medal was a cheap and sad-looking thing. That’s when I figured out how bling motivated I really was. I decided that it would be something I would check before signing up for races in the future. Otherwise a great day! I also won a $10 gift card and a running shirt while standing around in the cold waiting for the shuttle.

Confidence was building.

On my way home, I was thinking that I had to look into the triathlon thing. I haven’t ridden a bike since I was 12 and I didn’t own one. I have not swam in 20 years. 3 months ago, those would have been barriers. Now, they were merely technicalities.

Next up, Minneapolis Half-Marathon. They also have a full marathon that day. I started to wonder…

Get In Gear Finisher copy



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The Origin Of The Ironman Obsession…

I have this memory. I don’t think I was yet a teenager. It was just another boring weekend. Weather was awful and I was stuck indoors with very little on TV. I stumbled across “Wide World of Sports”. They were featuring this day-long endurance event in Hawaii. It was insane. Swimming, running, biking for hours at a time.

I have a few clear recollections of that afternoon. First, my mom had just baked chocolate chip cookies…and I was gorging myself on them (yes, I was already getting heavy). Second, I thought that these athletes were all lunatics. And third, the name of the event was “Ironman”. For some reason, that left an impression. It was filed away at the back of my brain. Something I could never do, and would never want to do.

Decades later, I had just lost 50 pounds. I was running and had completed a marathon. I had decided to try triathlon, and had completed an Olympic distance. I thought I could push myself a little further.

A local triathlon had partnered with Tristar Triathlons to bring the first Tristar 111 event to the United States. It was 1 km swim, 100 km bike, and 10 km run. I signed up for this as my next challenge.

Around that point, I came across someone who had completed an “Ironman 70.3”. I was intrigued and did some research. It was half of the normal Ironman distance, and pretty similar to the 111 that I just signed up for. After a bit more research, I decided that I could possibly do this. I could actually earn a medal with the word “Ironman” on it. Chills went up my spine at the thought..

Then, I got the e-mail. Tristar 111 was canceled. I was very disappointed since this was my stepping stone to Ironman.

The situation nagged at me. I wanted an Ironman medal. Just one. Even if it had “70.3” on it. I needed to find another stepping stone event.

Or did I?

Why not just go for it?

Steelhead was coming up. With my training for Tristar 111 already underway, I thought I could be ready. I was plagued with doubts and was second guessing my sanity. But the allure was overwhelming. I hit “register”

A lot of emotions went through me in the weeks leading up to the event and on race day. But, at the end of the day, I had it around my neck. “Ironman 70.3 Steelhead Finisher”

I had done it. I had done what I thought was impossible. It was very gratifying…almost.

I wanted a medal. I wanted an Ironman medal. And I had succeeded.

But now, I want it without the “70.3”. Flashback to the couch, the cookies, and Wide World of Sports. Maybe they are all crazy. Maybe I am too.

But I finally understood the allure. I understood the passion. I understood the “why”.

A seed was unknowingly planted on that couch while eating those cookies. A seed that took some 30 years to bloom. But bloom it did. And the journey continues…

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Training Week #5 (Base Training)

My first “race” came up this week. I am using these more as checkpoints in my training and trying to make sure they at as least disruptive to the rest of my schedule. Did the Get Lucky Half Marathon and viewed it as my weekly long run. No taper, no recovery (did my long bike the next day). It did disrupt things a little (so did “work” and “life”), as you can see by a net decrease in running miles and time from my recovery week! However, the half marathon was a great chance to run outdoors (first time in months) and to get some energy from fellow runners. My next two events are over a month away…and they are both biggies. The Minnesota Ironman Bike Ride, and the Flying Pig Marathon will disrupt the schedule a little more…

The Plan:
Tuesday-1:00 swim, 0:45 run
Wednesday-0:30 bike/0:15 run (with transition)
Thursday-1:00 swim, 0:45 bike
Friday-1:00 run
Saturday-1:45 bike
Sunday-1:00 run

2 hour swim, 3 hour bike, 3 hour run
Total-8 hours/9 activities

What I did:
Monday-0:43 bike/0:19 run (10 miles/2 miles)
Wednesday-1:00 swim/0:48 run (1.5 miles/5.0 miles)
Thursday-1:00 swim/1:40 bike (1.5 miles/21 miles)
Friday-0:45 run (4.5 miles)
Saturday-2:05 run (13.1 miles)
Sunday-2:28 bike/0:20 run (35 miles/2 miles)

Weekly Total
2:00 swim, 4:51 bike, 4:17 run (% change from week 4: 0%, +18.8%, -6.9%)
3 mile swim, 66 mile bike, 26.6 mile run (% change from week 4: 0%, +13.8%, -4.0%)
Total-11:08 hours/95.6 miles/10 activities

Grand Totals:
Swim-10 hours/15 miles
Bike-21:33 hours/300 miles
Run-24:04 hours/142.8 miles
Total-55:37/457.8 miles

25 weeks to go.

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