About IMRoycer81

Richmond, Virginia, United States
Thanks for visiting! I'm a civil litigator at KPMLaw. I attended Cornell where I swam IM and Breastroke. In 2007 I filled the void of swimming retirement with triathlon. In my first tri I thought, "holy sh*t this is painful" and "when can I do it again?" Things escalated quickly and my first half was Augusta 2009 and my first full was Louisville 2011. Since 2007 I've been chasing my dream of qualifying for Kona. Prior to September 2017 this blog focused on attempts (and failures) to achieve an elusive KQ. I got the monkey off my back in my 10th Ironman at Chattanooga. There is still much room to improve and I look forward to putting in the work to become a consistent podium finisher. In 2018 I have the privilege of racing for Team Every Man Jack and look forward to learning from a great group of guys while giving back to the triathlon community. I couldn't do any of this without my amazing family. They lift me up. I am lucky to train in a fantastic triathlon town with inspirational athletes. My job, training, and daughter keep me busy, but I update as often as I can. I'm always willing to share the knowledge I've picked up along the way. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ironman Louisville Race Report

10:03:10
11th Place Men 30-34
59th Place Overall 
Official Race Splits 

When I arrived home from IMCDA I was pretty bummed out.  My performance was short of my goals and I was feeling pretty burnt.  I had decided I would keep training over the summer but focus my efforts on shorter local races and focus on fun.  That plan went out the window about 48 hours after I got home and my buddy Rob called me and told me he had signed up for Mont Tremblant.  The conversation when something like this...

Rob:  Hey man I just signed up for Mont Tremblant, Justin is in too, wanna join us?
Me:   How did you sign up for Mont Tremblant?  The race isn't until August and you can't sign up for 2014 until after the race.
Rob:  No, I signed up for this year.  We took charity slots.  The race is in 8 weeks....
Me:  Sh*t

I knew my boys had upped the ante and it was time for me to stop sulking and put my game face on.  After some quick mental calculus, I realized I couldn't make the trip to Canada work logistically but my old friend IMKY was open and beckoning.  After clearing it with the wifey, I signed up the same day, and just like that I was back in the mix.  I took about two weeks of lighter unstructured training but was still getting about 14-15 hours a week.  I really ramped up my training in July and August and attacked every session with real purpose and intensity.  My last big block was my best since I started my long course adventure in 2011.  I was able to string together several 20+ hour weeks where I was getting in 250 miles a week on the bike and really upping my run mileage in a way I was not able to prior to CDA.  I stretched my training limits including longer weekday rides.  This made for a challenging couple of months as I tried to balance my hobby with my job.  As always my wife was the champion of this endeavor, and supported me the whole way through.  I honestly don't know how she puts up with it, but I am glad she does because I couldn't do this without her.

Due to the volume, I was looking for every recovery advantage I could get....so I decided to give Extreme Endurance a try (www.xendurance.com).  Normally I'm not big on supplements and generally skeptical of similar products...  I am kind of old school in that regard (train hard, eat well, sleep well, do work).  Extreme Endurance is a lactic acid buffer which boasts the ability to increase your aerobic threshhold by 10-15%.  Honestly, I was skeptical but several of my training partners swear by the stuff so I figured I would give it a try given my increased volume and the fact that I already had one Ironman in my legs.  It wasn't until after IMKY when I stopped taking it that I realized how effective it really was.  After three days off the stuff I was hobbling like an old man.  Within two days of going back on it my soreness was virtually gone (I'm currently running high mileage in preparation for the Marine Corps Marathon).  I don't know about the aerobic threshhold increases but it certainly makes you less sore.  This stuff is legit and is going to be a part every one of my future training blocks.  If you are doing endurance sports give it a try, you won't be disappointed.

In the days leading up to the race I felt much better than I did prior to CDA.  Looking back, I just never felt right before CDA.  I can't put my finger on it but I didn't feel sharp.  I think part of it had to do with the time frame of the race.  I am so accustomed to being prepared to peak in August, peaking in June just felt off.  I think this harkens back to my swimming days and my muscle memory tells me I should be peaking in July/August.  In any event, I felt confident and strong coming into Louisville.  I was overwhelmed by the amount of friends, family and acquaintances in the Richmond tri community that reached out and wished me luck prior to the race.  A lot of folks knew about my goal of qualifying for Kona and went out of their way to wish me luck by text, phone and Facebook.  To each one of you, THANK YOU....In the closing miles of the run I thought of all the people in my corner and it really lifted me up....now that I have probably lost you with this ridiculously long intro, on to the race report....

Pre-Race
On race morning I work up at 3:45.  I ate two packages of oatmeal, a banana with two tablespoons of peanut butter, two salt stick caps and a bagel (about 800 calories/430 mg sodium).  My dad and I headed down to the transition area to do a final check of my transition bags and got my bike setup.  I got everything in order and started making the mile long trek to the swim start.  I made a decision to get to transition this year at 4:30 so that I could get a better position in the swim line.  Last year I was at the very end of the line and thought I would try and take advantage of some cleaner water and a less cluttered bike course.  I arrived at the swim start much earlier and was in the front third of the swim line.  It was a long wait in the swim line but it was nice sitting with my dad and making small talk with the other participants in line near me.  While I waited I ate a bonk breaker and took two more salt tabs about 30 minutes before the swim (220 calories/430 mg sodium) and sipped on water.  Eventually the line started moving and it was go time.

Swim
48:48, 2nd AG, 10th OA
My training this year was much different in that I made swimming a priority for the first time since I started triathlon in 2007.  I consistently swam 3-4 times a week all year and got my swim dialed back in.  This wouldn't be possible without the great program at Peluso Open Water (www.pelusoopenwater.com).  It has allowed me to swim consistently with other fast folks and regain my feel for the water. 

My plan was to swim strong and consistent like CDA.  I was targeting a 52-53 minute swim.  I thought I would be slightly slower than CDA because Louisville is non-wetsuit and I wouldn't have the benefit of drafting with a fast pack due to the time trial format.  At the start I swung wide and stayed close to shore to avoid the heavier traffic closer to the Island.  I felt a bit tight for the first 10 minutes or so.  In hindsight this was likely due to the current which evidently was pretty strong that particular day.  As I approached the end of the island I got my line dialed in and bee-lined for the turn buoy.  This was hands down the best swim I have every done in terms of sighting and keeping straight lines.  Even as I was swimming I could feel that I was dialed in and going laser straight from buoy to buoy.  After the turn I settled in and stayed long and strong and took advantage of the current. My shoulders loosened up and I counted the buoys as I kept a smooth rhythm.  I could tell I was having a good swim but didn't know how good until I got out of the water.  As I exited the water I glanced down at my watch expecting a 52ish minute swim.  Much to my surprise my watch showed 48 minutes....oh yeaaa extra money in the bank.


Bike
5:24:40, 11th AG, 56th OA
Power- Avg 242, Norm 249
VI- 1.03, Avg HR- 143, Avg Cadence- 92
Avg Speed- 20.8

My plan on the bike was to start at a lower wattage than CDA due to the heat factor.  My plan was to start at 230 Watts and then increase my power if I felt good.  It turns out I was feeling pretty good in the early miles and made a conscious decision to ride at 240 Watts.  The wattage was easy to maintain and I didn't feel like I was taxing myself at all.  I had done quite a bit of work on my cadence between CDA and Louisville so another focus was to keep my cadence above 90 RPMs.  I could tell that my speed was slightly slower than last year but initially wasn't concerned and focused instead on my power numbers and soft pedaling the climbs.  I rode a steady consistent ride and was on top of my nutrition and hydration.  As the ride unfolded I knew I could make up some ground in the last 25 miles back into town.  The majority of that section is downhill and when the conditions are right you can haul ass (note: the conditions were right).  As I finished the second loop I was feeling good and ready to start hammering the last 20+ miles.

At somewhere around mile 90 I had a minor disaster.  As I accelerated down a hill I shifted into a bigger gear but nothing happened.  I was confused so I tried again....nothing.  Next I tried to shift into an easier cog and it shifted all the way into the easiest cog on the big ring.  This ended up being a major mistake in that my rear shifter was only allowing me to shift into easier gears and now I was stuck in a very inopportune gear.  I stopped in a driveway and tried to manually shift into a more appropriate gear that would get me back home more efficiently but had no luck.  I stopped in the driveway of a family who was outside observing the race.  I feel pretty bad because I most certainly scared them to death cursing up a storm at my bike.  After a few minutes I realized it was futile and got back on the bike to get moving.  The gearing was so bad that I was spinning at 100+ RPMs and going nowhere.  After a few minutes I stopped and tried again with no luck. 
 Needless to say I was pretty pissed at the scenario and felt my chance at a sub 10 hour day slipping away.  After my second failed attempt to manually shift the rear derailleur I started riding resigned to the fact that it would be a slow and inefficient road home.  The run into town was a bummer, my gearing was sh*t and I was missing out on a ton of free speed on the downhills.   I spent the last 30 minutes calming myself down.  After a minor temper tantrum I realized there was still a marathon staring me in the face and I wasn't going to explode my whole day for circumstances outside my control... so I got my mind right and prepared mentally for the run.  In looking back at the data I realize that had the "mechanical" not happened I still would have been at least five minutes slower than last year.  Frankly, this has been the most confusing aspect of the race for me.  I am more fit, rode at a much higher power, with a much lower variability index yet my time was substantially slower.  The numbers are telling me I should have ridden sub 5:10 (which was my goal) but instead I was substantially slower.

I posted the following thread on slowtwitch to ask all the data geeks on the interwebs how to explain this discrepancy.  For any of you data junkies that may have some insight I would love your thoughts after reading this thread (Why the hell was I so much slower?).  I have come to the conclusion that my new power meter simply reads much higher than the old one and I wasn't pushing as much power as I thought I was (both during the race and in training) or it is simply out of calibration.  There is simply no way that with my size, weight and aero position that a 240 Watt ride should be this slow.  I am in the process of figuring out if it is a calibration issue with the unit, or if I just need to recalibrate my expectations based on the wattage readings from my current Quarq.  In any event I need to get this figured out before next season.  I believe I am capable of a sub 5:10 bike split on a rolling course and fell well short of this despite being the most fit I have ever been.


My nutrition plan on the bike was very similar to CDA with the exception that I drastically increased my sodium intake to account for the increased heat and water consumption.  Thanks again to Brian Shea at Personal Best Nutrition for helping me get this dialed in.  He gave me a realistic framework that I can tweak as needed to account for weather conditions.  This marks my second Ironman with no cramping which was previously a major issue for me.

My nutrition plan included two bottles of liquid calories and a bonk breaker bar at special needs.  My calorie/electrolyte cocktail was comprised of EFS, Gatorade, Gu Brew, Carbo Pro, two dissolved salt stick capsules and Mio for flavoring.  I purposefully mixed the flavoring of the front half bottle to be stronger (I like a sweeter taste on the front half of a race...not so much on the back half).  Each bottle had 586 calories and 1415 mg of electrolyte.  I upped my electrolyte intake substantially from CDA.  I supplemented my electrolyte "cocktail" with 12 salt stick capsules (2580 mg electrolyte).  I alternated taking one or two salt stick capsules every 30 minutes.  I drank one sixth of each calorie bottle every 25 minutes and took a salt stick capsule at the same time.  I picked up the second bottle around mile 60 at special needs.  I consumed the entire first calorie bottle and probably 3/4 of the second bottle.  Overall my energy was excellent and I didn't experience any cramping.  The only other fluid I took on board was water at the aid stations.  My water consumption was substantially higher than CDA.  I didn't count, but I probably drank about six twenty ounce bottles of water.  This seemed to work well in that I peed two times on the bike. I consumed about 280 calories/hour and 1082 mg electrolyte/hour during the ride.
Run
3:42:17, 11th AG, 59th OA
Avg- 8:29/mile 

By the time I arrived back in transition I had gotten over my hissy fit and was ready to run.  My plan was to start the run much more conservatively and put together a far more consistent effort than my previous attempts.  In CDA I went out way too fast and exploded which made for a very uncomfortable last 10 miles.  In Louisville I was determined not to repeat the same mistake.  My goal was a 3:35 marathon and thought this could be accomplished by starting out at 8:15-8:20 pace and trying to descend on the back half.  I intended to walk a few steps at every aid station to make sure I was getting water, cola, ice sponges and taking my salt stick caps.  For calories I used cola only, and with the exception of a few aid stations I took a few sips of coke at nearly every opportunity.  It's hard to quantify exactly how much coke I drank but I assume somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-4 ounces per cup (about 50 calories).  I also took two salt stick capsules in the second transition and then one saltstick cap every mile for the remainder of the race (6020 mg electrolyte).  This roughly equated to 225 calories and 1330 mg electrolyte per hour.  This formula worked well and I did not bonk nor did I experience any cramping despite temperatures reaching the low 90's.

In the early stages I realized 8:15's was going to be a bit too aggressive and elected to back off in the hopes I would make that time up during the last 5 miles.  This ended up being a sound strategy and this was my first Ironman marathon that I ran in its entirety (with the exception of walking a few steps at each aid station and two bathroom breaks).  I settled into a comfortable pace of 8:25's and held it.  The only hiccup was two bathroom stops within the first 10 miles. In my experience it is more beneficial to be comfortable even if it costs you 1-2 minutes in the port-a-jon.  After clearing out the system there were no major problems for the remainder of the run.

After resigning myself to 8:25 pace I planned to hold there and drop down at mile 15.  When I reached mile 15 this was not in the cards so I held pace and decided to give it everything I had on the last 10k.  With the exception of the two "bathroom miles", the vast majority of my mile splits were right around 8:30.  I was consistent the whole way and ended up passing many guys that had blown past me on the early stages of the run.  Running the marathon in this fashion was quite a different experience and it is amazing how few people are running when you get past mile 20 (or even mile 15 for that matter).  After reflection, I have accepted that I am simply not an 8:00/mile Ironman marathoner, but with good training and sound strategy I will ultimately get there.  This ended up being my fastest Ironman marathon by a measly 30 seconds but in terms of execution, it was leaps and bounds ahead of my previous efforts.  It gives me confidence to know I can run a well executed marathon and not simply "fly and die". 


The run was interesting in that I saw much more carnage as compared to last year.  It was hot but not as hot as last year and the humidity was not as bad.  Despite more favorable conditions, I was seeing way more people getting medical attention on the run course.  Even hours after this race, there were ambulances flying up and down the street to/from the run course.  I hope all of those folks ended up okay.  I suspect that that cooler conditions for much of the summer probably had people ill prepared for the heat of Louisville.  I know that Richmond was uncharacteristically cool all summer and I never had the opportunity to do any significant heat acclimation.

I had a very successful tri season and never thought I would be in a position to do two Ironman races in one summer (successfully).  My second Ironman was much more well executed and although I fell short of my goals it was a great learning experience and stepping stone moving forward.  Had the rear derailleur gods worked in my favor, I think I finally would have broken through with a sub 10 hour Ironman.  This summer was a great test of my limits and I continue to enjoy pushing my own personal boundaries.  I have already signed up for the inaugural Ironman Chattanooga next September and am leaning towards Lake Placid in July.  I still have my eyes on Kona and believe that I will one day get there.  Until then I will keep chopping wood and carrying water.

As always thanks for taking the time to read this novel.  I am always appreciative of everyone who takes an interest in my progress.  Its not about the journey its about the destination!!!! Next up is the Marine Corps Marathon and hopefully a Boston Qualifying Time.  Thanks again for reading!!!!!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ironman CDA Race Report

10:08:53
21st Men 30-34, 94th OA
Official Race Splits 

Before I jump into this race report I would like to thank a few people who continue to make it possible for me to enjoy this crazy "hobby".  Thanks to my amazing wife Brittany (who just co-signed on me signing up for IMKY on a whim), mom, dad, Lum, and Jacko. Thanks to Coach Flanigan and CVE.  Thanks to Brian Shea and Personal Best Nutrition for helping get my race day nutrition dialed in.  Thanks to the boys in the Hammer Tri Club for pushing me to be better at every training session, and thanks to Jay Peluso and the coaches at Peluso Open Water for putting together a great program that has helped me regain some of my old swim form.  I also want to congratulate Justin Moyer, Rob Green, and Jeff Tunstall who all had amazing races at CDA.  These guys each had a banner day and each deserved to be rewarded for their hard work.  It couldn't happen to a better group of guys.  I am proud to call these guys my friends and training partners.  Unfortunately we were down a man in CDA as our good friend Moose Herring (the Godfather of HTC) had to pull out with an injury. I know he was on all of our minds during the race and was a big part of helping each and every one of us get ready for the race. 

Exhibit A
The days are really longggggg in Idaho.  The sun comes up at like 4:45 a.m. and doesn't go down until almost 10:00 p.m.  There is like sixteen hours of usable daylight.  It is totally insane.  This was my first time in the Pacific Northwest and the scenery is beautiful (and so is my wife...note exhibit A), but the weather is damn crazy and changes at the drop of of a hat.  One minute it would be sunny and warm and the next it would be cloudy and cold.  The day we arrived it was 45 degrees and pouring rain.  The majority of the trip was cool and rainy.  It was quite a change from typical June weather in Virginia.  Fortunately we got lucky, and the day of the race was sunny and in the 70's with light winds.  Great conditions made for an extremely fast day across the field.  We arrived on Thursday before the race and spent a few days checking out the sights and getting acclimated.  We rented a house about one mile from the race site which was a nice change of pace from staying in a hotel.  Coeur d'Alene is a really great town and the people are wonderful.  They really embrace Ironman during race week and fan support during the race is second to none.

RACE MORNING
I woke up at 3:45 on race morning to get my breakfast down with plenty of time to digest.  I didn't get much sleep the night before which is pretty typical.  For breakfast I went with my standard pre-race meal which included two packages of raisin spice oatmeal, a cinnamon raisin english muffin with peanut butter, and a banana (approx 850 cals).  I washed it down with Gu Brew and two Salt Stick capsules.   I started heading down to the race site at 4:15 and planned to meet the boys when transition opened at 4:30.  I got down to the site made final preparations to my bike, checked my gear bags and tried to relax until swim start.  The swim at CDA starts a bit earlier than most races (6:35 a.m.) which is fine since the sun has been up already for 90 minutes.  At about 6:15 I pulled on my new Blue Seventy Helix Wetsuit and headed down to the beach for the swim start.  I ate half a bonk breaker (120 cals) about 15 minutes before the gun.  The morning was cool and crisp and initially cloudy/foggy.  The clouds/fog broke early and paved the way for a beautiful day.

SWIM- 52:36
Ranking at end of Swim- 8th AG, 16th OA
Ironman rolled out a new starting format this year and CDA was the guinea pig for the new system.  Rather than a mass start, we self seeded based on projected swim times.  Basically they set up corrals much like a running race.  I placed myself in the sub 60 minute wave.  I was concerned that people would cheat up into the faster wave but it actually seemed people were pretty honest about their positioning.  The lake was pristine and warmer than usual for race day.  Typically the water temp is in the 50's but we were fortunate to have a water temperature around 60 degrees.  60 is chilly but I never felt cold during the swim.   I think my adrenaline took care of the cold ice cream headache feeling I experienced during my warm up swims in the days prior.  Light winds kept the water smooth and we didn't have to deal with any swells or chop.  The plan for the swim was to swim strong and smart.  I wanted to be up with the leaders but keep plenty in reserve.  When the horn went off I sprinted into the water and swam hard hard for about 5 minutes to try and get clear of the crowd.  I immediately noticed that there were some strong swimmers in our wave.  Two guys broke clear of the crowd and then a group of about six of us settled into a chase pack.  I felt really comfortable in the water and everyone in our pack seemed to be about the same skill level.  Rather than push the pace I settled into the rear of the pack and got a nice draft going.  Our pack stayed together all the way through the first loop and halfway into the second loop.  At the first turn buoy on the second lap we caught the rear of the field and all bets were off.  The pack splintered and I did my best to keep clean lines and a strong pace into the swim finish.  I felt calm, comfortable and strong as I finished the swim and ran toward T1.  I glanced down at my watch on my way to the change tent and was pleased with my split.  I spotted my family and wife as I ran out of the water which gave me a nice boost.  So far the day was unfolding according to plan.

T1- 4:49 
In my limited Ironman experience I have learned to roll with the punches.  There are many times during the day when a curve ball comes your way and you  have to make micro or macro adjustments on the fly.  My first curve came during T1.  As I sat down in the change tent I started cramping pretty severely.  My quads, hamstrings, and calves all cramped simultaneously as I tried to get my bike gear on.  I'm not sure why this happened as I had upped my  amount of electrolytes and didn't experience any cramping in the water (which I usually get).  The only thing I can figure is that it must have been the cold of the water and air which locked me up a bit.  In any event, I had to sit in transition much longer than I wanted to allow the cramps to subside.  After an extra minute or two they went away, I ate half a bonk breaker (120 cals) and ran out toward my bike to hit the bike leg.

BIKE
5:22:39
20.83 MPH 
Avg Power- 238, Norm Power- 246, VI- 1.03
Ranking at end of Bike- 14th AG, 65th OA
The bike course took us along a large portion of the lake.  There were two out and back sections done twice comprising a two loop course.   The road surface was excellent with fast pavement.  Winds were light and temperatures were cool making for fast conditions.  My plan was to ride an average power of 215-225 and cap my efforts on the hills at 250.  I had strict instructions from coach not to exceed my FTP for even one second.  As we started the bike I realized quickly that there were some stud cyclists in the field.  Guys were hammering the bike course.  It was actually shocking how hard and fast some of these guys were riding the first loop.  I did my best to ignore the noise and ride according to my plan.  It is pretty difficult to ignore your inner competitor when guys are blowing by you, but I was resolute in my goal not to be too aggressive in the early stages.  I passed the time counting the guys going past me without power meters.  I decided that I would be seeing most of them on the second loop when they started to blow up.  I found it particularly interesting the number of guys that were mashing up the hills in big gears at low cadence. 

By the time I reached the long out and back section on highway 95, I realized I felt good and 215-225 was too easy.  The race was getting away from me and I decided on the fly that I had enough in the tank to push my wattage caps in a reasonable manner.  I decided to ride at 240 and cap the hills at 270-280.  I found that the long climbs were forcing me to climb at 260 even in my easiest gears.  Frankly keeping my wattage at 250 while climbing just wasn't possible unless I wanted go backwards.  The remainder of the first loop passed without incident and I headed out on the second loop.  I felt really good on the second loop and the second out and back on highway 95, I did start to re-pass some of the guys that had gone past me on the first loop.  I rode steady and confident and really settled into a good rhythm on the second lap.  I was riding my race and regaining some of the position I had lost early on.  I actually felt  I was getting stronger as the miles passed and my best segment was the long stretch heading back towards T2.


The nice thing about a multiple loop course was that I got to see my friends multiple times during the race.  It always gives a boost to see your buddies (especially when they are doing well).  Justin and Rob passed me fairly early on in the bike and I tried to keep my relative distance behind them to a minimum without straying from my race plan.  It was also great to see that Jeff was riding strong.  I could tell that he and I were riding about the same speed and it made me feel good knowing that he was having a great day.
The best way to describe the bike course is that it is an honest bike course that favors the good all around cyclist.  The course had a little bit of everything including long sustained climbs, fast descents, rollers, and even a few fast flat sections.  The climbs were significant enough that they would punish the overzealous on the marathon.  I was glad I opted for the 12-27 cassette in the back because I ended up using my granny gears quite a bit on the climbs.  This gearing allowed me to spin easy up the hills at a high cadence without unnecessarily burning any matches.

My nutrition plan on the bike included two bottles of liquid calories and a back up gel flask with watered down Accel Gel (400 calories).  My calorie bottles were a mixture of carbo pro, two gu brew tablets, and two scoops of EFS.  Each bottle had 612 calories and 1240 mg of electrolyte.  I upped my normal electrolyte intake per the suggestion of Brian Shea at PBN.  I opted to keep my electrolyte intake at the high end of medium hourly intake because of the cool conditions.  I supplemented my electrolytes with 12 salt stick capsules (2480 mg electrolyte) during the ride.  I alternated taking one or two salt stick capsules every 30 minutes.  I drank one third of each calorie bottle every 45 minutes.  I picked up the second bottle around mile 60 at special needs.  I drank 1/4 of my gel flask on the hour beginning one hour into the race.  Overall my energy felt good and I didn't experience any cramping.  The only other fluids I took on board was water at the aid stations.  My hydration consumption was fairly low.  I only drank about 1.5 bottles of water in addition to my calorie bottles.  I had to adjust my hydration plan after I  peed 3x on the first loop of the bike.  I realized I was overhydrated and didn't want to pee out all of my electrolytes so I backed down the water consumption considerably.  The plan worked and I leveled out only peeing once on the second loop.  Overall I consumed 1600 calories and 4415 mg of electrolyte on the bike.  This roughly equated to about 290 calories/hour and 885 mg electrolyte/hour.

As I headed into T2 I felt great and ready to attack the marathon. The day was unfolding perfectly and I was excited as I jumped off the bike.  My family was standing right by the rail and I got some much needed love as I sprinted toward my gear bag and into the tent. 

T2-2:28
Coming off the bike I felt a little bit stiffer than normal and my first couple steps were "ginger".  T2 was pretty uneventful except that I ended up in the change tent with a guy from Northern Virginia that I raced at the Kinetic Half....small world.  T2 went much quicker and I was into my run gear much more smoothly than the swim to bike transition.

RUN- 3:46:21
8:38/mile
Thus far in the race everything was going according to plan and the day was lining up as I had hoped.  I didn't know my exact place within the field but I knew I was farther back than Louisville last year.  Even as the race unfolded, I knew  this was a fast field.  Running out of transition I felt good and got to see my family.  I was cramping a bit in the first mile of the run which is pretty typical for me.  I just kept my legs going and knew the cramps would eventually subside.  I popped 4 salt stick caps and settled in.  I planned to take 4 salt stick capsules (860 mg) every hour (2 every 30 minutes).  I consumed all 20 and wished I had more.  I will definitely carry more in the future particularly in warmer races.  Another mistake was to carry the pills in a cloth pouch.  As I was sweating the pouch got soaked and the pills began to break down.  By the late stages of the run I was essentially eating clumps of salt....gross.  My nutrition plan was to drink coke and water at every aid station.  I basically stuck to this plan except when I started to feel full or queasy.  The first five miles were  on the money and I ran 7:39, 7:38, 7:46, 7:36, and 7:49.  At the time, the pace felt comfortable and I was running with a guy from Utah.  We were chatting and keeping pace with each other (for those of you that were there, it was the dude in the Faris al Sultan get up).  In hindsight, I went out much too strong and should have started at 8:00-8:15 pace.  I think that giving up 2-3 minutes on the front end could have potentially paid huge dividends on the back end....Huge lesson learned.  Interestingly my perception of the race during this time was a bit different than the reality of what was unfolding.  In my head I felt like my buddy Rob was putting major time into me on the run but the reality was that I was holding steady for the first six miles and didn't really lose any additional time until mile 10.  My perception of falling backwards started a mental cycle of negativity which  was beginning to take root and which would ultimately ruin the back half of my race.  During an Ironman you can be your own worst enemy and that is what I started to do to myself.  I started the process of defeating myself with 20 miles left to run.

The run was also a two loop course and the farthest point was the worst section.  It was a series of big
hills and the turn around was particularly cruel in that it was at the bottom of a hill which you immediately had to turn around and run back up.  My next 6 miles were still good but I started to feel pretty lousy.  I ran 8:14, 8:48 (bathroom break), 7:50, 7:55, 8:05, and 8:01.  At this point I was making my way back into town.  This is a particularly tough time for me mentally because you are lifted up by the crowds and then emotionally clubbed with the knowledge that you have to head back out of town to do the whole thing again.  The next 2 miles I really started to drop off and my overall mood and outlook started to nose dive.  Miles 12 and 13 were 8:41 and 8:38.  At this point I was back into town and as I ran past my dad I told him that I was starting to feel pretty rough.  It was amazing how fast things changed.  One moment I was on pace and feeling good and the next moment I was in excruciating physical and mental agony.  Normally I am pretty  resilient but  I just couldn't pull myself out of the tail spin.  My whole mood changed in the blink of an eye and I just wanted the experience to be over.

As I ran back out of town I passed my wife, mom and sister.  I remember feeling so much relief at seeing them and all I wanted to do was touch my wife.  As I ran by I reached out my hand and gave her a squeeze.  I think I was trying to gather some kind of additional energy reserve from that brief physical contact.  Somehow my sister captured that exact moment on camera. I continued to climb the ladder of pain and slower splits over the next few miles as I ran out of town.  Miles 14-20 were 8:34, 8:43, 9:17, 8:38, 9:02, 9:09 and 8:54.  At this stage I was walking the aid stations and trying to run in between.  My thoughts were all over the place.  I distinctly remember thinking "I just want a chair, all I want to do is sit down".  This thought must have run through my head 1000 times and I just couldn't shake the feeling. 
A very dark place

Things really started to take a turn for the worse during the last 10K.  By this point I was shot physically and mentally.  I was walking for long periods and just trying to convince myself to run from tree to tree or street to street.  The mental bargaining was in full effect and I was all too willing to break my own internal negotiations.  This is the lowest I have felt in any of my three Ironman races from both a physical and mental perspective.  At this point all of my thoughts were negative.  "I hate this", " Why am I doing this?", "I want this to be over", "This is stupid", "This isn't fun", "I need a long break",  "This isn't for me anymore".  All of these terrible thoughts were running on a loop through my head.  My mile splits continued to suffer and my last six miles were 9:08, 9:41, 9:33, 9:32, 9:34, and 9:44.  I was so low that I was predominantly walking as I got back into town.  In fact I felt so bad that I decided I was just going to walk it in down the last straight away and finishing chute.  Fortunately on the last turn to the home stretch a group of fans yelled at me for walking and snapped me back to my senses.  They yelled out "you are so close", "don't walk now!!!"  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  They were 100% right.  Why the hell was I walking?  I mustered up my last bit of strength and ran it in.  Although the race didn't end as I had hoped, in some ways the finishing chute was more enjoyable.  Because my time and placing was not what I had hoped, it freed me to unplug from my competitiveness and just enjoy the last quarter mile.  I actually drank in the fan support and slapped fives to the crowd.  It was a pretty nice way to wrap up what turned out to be a tough day.
CLOSING THOUGHTS
Immediately after the race I was extremely disappointed.  Although the my time was good, I felt as though I had let myself down by cracking mentally.  There is nothing worse than disappointing yourself.  This was a challenging race and I found the course was much more difficult than Louisville (particularly the run).  All things considered, my 10:08 at CDA was probably a bit stronger of a performance than my 10:00 at Louisville in 2012.  I left this race with the nagging feeling that there was a distinct point in the race where I had the choice to take a path toward 9:50 or 10:08.  I was weak and chose the path of giving up on myself.  At the end of the day this was a valuable lesson and I take from it a deeper well of knowledge from which to draw next time I go into the black.

In the days after the race I thought long and hard about my next move.  I was leaning toward taking it easier and just sticking to shorter local races.  Then I received a text message on Tuesday morning from Rob and Justin telling me they had just signed up for Ironman Mont Tremblant in 7 weeks.  This gave me the push I needed to keep moving forward in a big way.  I am not done, I am better than my performance in CDA and I mean to prove it.  I talked with my wife, coach, parents, friends and although I was looking for people to tell me not to do it, every single person I asked told me to take another crack at it.  So I signed up for Ironman Louisville and in 8 weeks I mean to redeem myself.  Thank you for taking the time to read this and for all the support you have given me.  If you are reading this, chances are you are one of the people who has contributed greatly to my journey.  Back to Work!!!!! 8 Weeks until go time!!!!!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hammer Camp 2013 aka the tale of the bloody saddle.....

Last year I posted a rather lengthy blog about Hammer Tri Camp.  This year's post will be a bit shorter since my experience was not quite as successful.  For those of you that would like a more detailed look at the lunacy that is Hammer Camp feel free to check out my post from last year.  Fat Camp 2012

I was really excited going into camp.  The dates of camp were custom tailored around the date of IMCDA to maximize our fitness going into Ironman.  All the guys participating in camp were scheduled to compete in Idaho on 6/23.  I look forward to camp every year because it is a great opportunity to get away from everything and suffer with some of my favorite bros in the mountains.  The camaraderie is the best part of the trip and our experience at ZAP is always first class. 

This year Moose, Rob Green, Jeff Tunstall, Justin Moyer and myself were the lucky campers.  Our group was a bit of a mash unit.  When we arrived on the first day, Moose tweaked his hip flexor on our shake out run.  His injury ultimately prevented him from running for the rest of the trip and has led him to drop out of IMCDA.  I am really bummed for him because his fitness is second to none and I really think he was set up to have an unbelievable performance at the race.  On the first day Rob was battling a severe cold and he ended up in bed for almost 24 hours.  I managed to injure myself on the second day....more about that later.

This year there were several changes to the camp schedule tailored to maximize our training.  The plan was to move our long ride of Blood, Sweat and Gears to the first day after an hour long swim at the rec center.  We didn't want Rob to miss BSG so we moved BSG to day two and our first day ended up being similar to last year except longer and harder.

Day one consisted of a morning swim at the rec center where we got in about 4000 yards.  We left from the parking lot and did our Grandfather Mountain ride with an additional extension up the backside of Grandfather.  The ride was 54 miles and took about 3 hours and 15 minutes.  It is a tough ride but certainly not the toughest of the weekend.  It is a good way to find your climbing legs with about 10,000 feet of climbing.  We finished up the day with a 13.5 mile run at Moses Cone Park from Black Bottom to the fire tower.  This run is tough and is basically uphill for 8 miles followed by 5 miles back down.  The run took nearly 2 hours and included 2500 feet of elevation gain.  I had a good consistent day on Day One and was solid across all 3 sessions.  I had a particularly strong run and made great time up to the firetower.

Day two was Blood, Sweat and Gears.  Rob was good to go on day two and we set out on the BSG course with a few changes.  This year we started at Moses Cone which meant that we would finish the 112 mile ride by climbing up Shulls Mill Road.  This is a 45 minute climb with like 83 switchbacks.  Definitely a tough way to close out a 7 hour ride.  Prior to the ride we got in another swim at the rec center and we suited up for a long day in the saddle.  I felt pretty good for the first 90 minutes but about 2 hours into the ride I began to get quite uncomfortable in the saddle.  Somewhere in the 40 mile range we got to Todd Store and I was already beginning to think that my ass was so uncomfortable that I wasn't sure if I could carry on.  For some strange reason I was getting extreme saddle chaffage (I am still at a loss at what caused this).  The pain increased throughout the day and the last 5 hours were an exquisite form of agony.  By the end of the ride I was screaming like a little girl every time I shifted on the saddle.  It was so bad that I couldn't keep up with the guys on the flats and the downhills because each pedal stroke was like a dagger.  It was frustrating because my climbing legs were strong and I was able to catch back on the climbs when I was out of the saddle.  Unfortunately, this created a yo-yo effect with me hanging on for dear life for the last half of the ride.  It was exhausting to be on and off the back.  I was able to hang with the group until Mile 80ish and then I just couldn't hold on.  It was time for a long ride back by myself.  Honestly I should have pulled the rip cord because I was in so much pain, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.....stupid pride.  I gutted through the whole ride and finished, but it came at a cost.  When I pulled back into the parking lot I was greeted by Moose who said, "Is that blood on your saddle?!?!"  It turns out that it was blood on my saddle, and I had managed to chafe all the skin off my ass.  This resulted in about 9 days off the bike to heal and me being shut down for the remainder of camp.

On Day 3 I was able to participate in the open water swim in at Watauga lake but that was all I could muster given my ass situation.  Needless to say it sucked being an observer for the remainder of camp.  Fortunately for me (but not the other guys) the weather took a turn for the worse and the next few days were filled with rain.  This resulted in no Howard's knob climb and an abbreviated ride on Sunday (no Beech mountain).  My frustration was somewhat mitigated by the fact that I didn't miss as much as I might have if the weather was normal.

When I got back from camp I spent the next week nursing my ass back to health and taking the opportunity to put in a good run block.  Fortunately it didn't set me back too much and I have been able to have several successful rides since healing.  Needless to say I am already looking forward to the next camp to redeem myself....rumors of a Fall camp make me very happy.

17 days until IMCDA....thanks for reading.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Kinetic Half Race Report: "Don't Swim Like a Pansy"

Two weekends ago I raced the Kinetic Half.  I was looking forward to this event as it was my first half of the season and I hadn't previously done this race.  I heard it was a challenging course and it lived up to the hype.  This is more of a regional race and it was a nice challenge to race against some very talented and fast individuals from Northern Virginia and Maryland.  It was also a great opportunity to race with most of the Steel Hammer Crew.  Going into the race I was tired but finally getting fit.  I put together my two best training weeks in a row immediately prior to the race, and although I was pretty gassed it felt good to know that I was finally getting decent fitness after an injury filled winter and early spring.  The weather was pretty crappy.  It was warm and humid and it rained for a large portion of the bike. There was a slight challenge on race morning in that I had to get up extra early to drive about an hour and twenty minutes to Lake Anna.  I ate breakfast at about 3 am which consisted of a cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter, banana and agave (approx 650 calories)

RESULTS
4:29:52
14th Place Overall
2nd Place Male 30-34
Note: I'm not sure where the splits came from in the results because Setup lost the timing chips for all racers over number 400.  I wasn't wearing a timing chip so while the splits in the results are in the ballpark, they are not correct.
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Swim- 27:43
There was only one goal for this race.  Win the swim.  Coach Flanigan has apparently grown tired of me not taking full advantage of my swim background and he gave me strict instructions to not swim like a pansy (although he may have used a more forceful word not suitable for the interweb).  The water was pretty chilly after an unseasonably cool spring so the swim was wetsuit legal.  Generally speaking I hate wetsuit swims because I feel that the suits really restrict the range of motion in my shoulders.  However, given the fact that Ironman CDA will definitely be a wetsuit swim it was good early season practice for June 23.  I attacked the swim much harder than normal and got busy for the first 500 meters.  It took me about five minutes before I got clear of the crowd and then it was smooth sailing.  Once clear I settled into a smooth Ironman pace and began to pull away from the crowd.  All the swimming I have done over the past few months has really paid off and I felt strong in the water (thanks to Peluso Open Water Masters Program).  It felt good to put the field behind me and swim in open space.  The really great news was that swimming harder didn't really change the way I felt coming out of the water.  My heart rate and level of energy was about what I am accustomed to.  Mission accomplished, and I came out about :45 seconds ahead of the next person.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Bike- 2:25:38,
Avg Speed- 22.5 MPH
Avg Power 268, Normalized Power 278
Variability Index- 1.04
The bike course was honest.  The terrain wasn't overwhelmingly difficult but it was rolling and the weather conditions made it more difficult than it should have been.  It rained for a good deal of the course and the wind was pretty terrible.  There were large sections with brutal head and crosswinds.  I was alone out front for the first half hour before the stronger riders began to catch me.  There were some legit cyclists at this race!!!!  My goal was to ride between 240-250 watts but guys started going around me and I began to panic a bit.  I realized that 240 wasn't going to be enough to be competitive and I started riding harder, sometimes you have to ride with the field and that's what I did.  Much to my chagrin there were still dudes passing me.  I set a new ceiling of 270 watts and tried to keep it there for the remainder of the bike ride.  My buddy Justin passed me about 30 miles into the bike and was riding strong.  I hung close to him for about 10-15 minutes but realized that I would not be able to run if I did the bike course at his speed.  Shortly thereafter Rob Green passed me going uphill.  Rob was flying and ended up splitting 2:18 on the bike which was the second fastest bike split in the race!  He called back to me as he went around me and told me to hold on but there was just no way.  He was absolutely killing it and I had to let him go.  A few more guys passed me on the bike but I was still positioned in the top 10 by the time I hit the second transition.  I was a bit concerned rolling into transition that I rode 20-30 watts harder than I planned and I knew the run course was very challenging.  As I ran out of transition I was hoping I didn't cook my own goose.  In looking at the data, I had an objectively good ride but it was a certainly a wake up call to ride against faster competition than I am used to.  My take away from the bike is that there is still work to be done before IMCDA.  Objectively the numbers were good, but I was not pleased with how many guys passed me.  I at least need to ride on par with my training buddies Rob and Justin (props to them for throwing down big bike splits).  During the bike my nutrition consisted of one bonk breaker (230 calories) and a bottle consisting of 400 calories of Carbo Pro, 100 calories of Gatorade and 6 salt stick tablets.  I drank about 2/3 of the bottle during the ride.  along with one bottle of water.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Run-1:32:03
Avg- 7:06/mile
Mile Splits: 7:08, 6:46, 7:07, 6:49, 6:58, 6:56, 7:03, 7:04, 7:17, 7:19, 7:25, 6:58
The run course at Kinetic is brutal.  You run out of transition and run immediately uphill for about a mile.  You then run a challenging section of rolling hills.  The run course is three loops and you have to run the brutal uphill section three times.  This run stings!!!!!  My plan was to run consistently especially on the long climbs.  My focus on the uphill was on a quick cadence.  I was pleasantly surprised when I ran the first uphill mile in 7:08.  I was even more shocked when four of the next 5 miles ticked in under 7:00 pace.  I certainly wasn't feeling like I was running that fast so it was awesome to find out that I have the capability to ride at 270 Watts and not completely explode on the run.  I started to get a pretty nasty blister late in the run and the hills definitely started to catch up with me.  Miles 10-12 were pretty weak and I was climbing the ladder of pain.  It was good to see that I was able to reel the last mile back under 7:00.  My nutrition on the run consisted of straight coke.  I took a cup of coke at every other aid station and supplemented with water as necessary.  I was overall very pleased with my run split.  This was my fastest ever run split in a half ironman and my previous best was at the Charleston half which is pancake flat. 

Overall the race was an objective success, but I am not especially pleased with how I performed relative to the competition.  I continue to improve every year, but I am still not yet where I want to be.  I want to get to the point where I am in the mix for the top 5 overall at these longer well contested races.  In any event this race confirmed that I am in a good position as I head into my final IMCDA preparations.  As always, thanks for taking the time to read!!!!
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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Richmond Tri Club Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Richmond Tri Club Sprint 4/28/13
56:39
5th Overall/1st Men 30-34
Results

At last race season has arrived.  After the endless winter, it is finally time to strap on the aero gear and get to racing.  This winter was challenging for me.  For most of the winter I dealt with a litany of nagging injuries.  I am glad to report that I have finally turned the corner and gotten a few weeks of consistent training under my belt.  My first race of the season was last Sunday at the Richmond Tri Club Sprint which served as our Club Championship.  I love racing our local sprints because it is a great opportunity to hang with the awesome members of our tri community and it gives me a chance to get some threshold work within the framework of my Ironman training.  I was pretty nervous leading up to this race because of my recent winter of discontent.  Frankly, I have done no speed work and I feel like my training has only recently become consistent.  I didn't know what to expect.  At the end of the day I had a great race and this was the perfect way to build confidence and get the season rolling.

Swim- 5:09
The 400 meter swim in this race was an interesting format.  It was an open water pool swim.  We are fortunate to have a brand new state of the art swim facility in Chesterfield County.  The long course pool was set up for an open water format complete with turn buoys. One of the few benefits of being injured all winter is that I was able to swim a lot.  This has paid dividends and I could tell immediately in the swim.  I was relaxed and smooth the whole way.  I felt better in the water than I have in years.  I kept it long and strong and didn't get too aggressive.  I exited the water right behind the race winner Michael Harlow.

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Up close and personal with Mr. Harlow's ass....yikes

Transition 1- 1:07
I say this in every race report for every race distance half ironman and below, but I suck at transitions.  They are laughably slow.  Its almost as though I can hear clown music in my head as I fumble around like bozo the clown.  My transitions feel a little bit like this looks....(ignore the weird sound at the beginning of the video...stick with the whole video, you won't regret it).  One of these days I'll get my act together and not give away a free 30 seconds to the competition.


Bike
30:11, Avg Speed-24.7, Avg Power- 326 Watts
The Race plan per Coach Flanigan was to attack the bike all out and leave nothing for the run.  I rode aggressively but chickened out on the back half of the bike course out of fear of exploding on the run.  I rode the first half very aggressively and felt like I had a strong ride overall.  I was stoked to set a new FTP based off of this 30 minute time trial, but feel I probably could have kept it going a bit more consistently on the back half.  I was near the front of the pack and I tried to keep the lead competitors in my sights.  I successfully stayed within sight of Michael Harlow but my buddy Rob Green annihilated the bike course and put a minute into me.  I am so happy that Rob is riding so well.  Overall I feel very good about my power and bike fitness and I feel like I am in a good position as I enter the big build phase leading to Ironman CDA.  I am also pumped to have the opportunity to do a couple more long rides with Rob before fat camp in a few weeks.  Maybe I can leach some of that bike prowess from him.

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Transition 2- :51
Transition 2 was much better and much faster.  Nothing really exciting to report except that I started running the wrong way immediately out of transition.  No big deal and it may have cost me a second at the most.

Run
19:26, 6:11/mile
I am very pleased with my run.  This split was an all time PR for me at the 5K distance.  I have never even run an open 5K this fast.  I was also happy to see that my Garmin clocked this as a legitimate 5K and the course was not short.  This was very exciting given the limitations in my run training over the winter.  I initially thought that I was sucking ass in the first mile because Parker Spencer blew past me like I was going backwards.  I was shocked when the first mile clicked over in 6:10.  I realized that I wasn't sucking, but Parker is just a freak of nature on the run.  My run was consistently strong and I focused on maintaining the same time gaps between the top guys.  I actually felt stronger as the run progressed.  Overall a great day and great result.  This was an awesome start to the season and a super fun and well organized race.  Thanks for reading.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bike Makeover

I thought I would put up a quick (and long overdue) post on my tri bike overhaul this winter.  First and foremost I want to thank to Clint Kronenberger and Andrew Swenson for helping me with this project.  Let me start by saying I love my Trek Speed Concept.  I got it in March 2011 in the build up to my first Ironman and since then I have logged several thousand miles on it.  A few crashes and a few thousand miles had taken their toll on the old girl so I decided in the off season to tear it down, add a fresh coat of paint and have it rebuilt.

Clint at Coqui Cyclery (http://www.coquicyclery.com/) tore down the bike for me and gave me back the frame and fork which I gave to Drew Swenson (https://www.facebook.com/AndrewSwensonDesign) for a sick custom paint job.  Drew worked with me from concept to execution and his work far exceeded my expectations.  He is an unbelievably talented artist and his work on my bike is truly amazing.  While the new paint was getting done, Clint went above and beyond and assembled a complete stainless steel hardware set to replace every bolt on the bike.

At the end of the process it was as though I had a whole new bike.  I am truly lucky to have great local shops that run by high quality people that do exceptional work.  If you get the opportunity to support either of these businesses in Richmond, please do so.  Enjoy the pics!!!!

Work in Progress......

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All dressed up and ready to roll!!!!!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I Suck at Being Injured and Being Injured Sucks

After a long break, it's time to get back in the blog game. Over the last few months I have been crushed at work and I haven't had time to write about what was going on in my life.  Besides working for what felt like 20 hours a day, I spent a ton of time working on my tri weakness, running.  I was running all the time which reaped huge benefits for my run speed (5 min half mary PR from March to November) but also caused me to be in my current injury predicament.  I was surprised at how easy I was able to log mega miles by simply doing double runs on a daily basis.  It's amazing how much you can run when you don't have to worry about pesky biking or swimming.  In September I ran 208 miles, in October 267 Miles, and in November 246 miles...700 miles in 3 months.  The amazing thing was that I never really ran super far during any single run.  My longest run during this period was 15 miles, but I did a shit ton of 8 mile runs.  There were many days where I did 8 at lunch and then 8 after work.  I tried to run easy when I was tired and run hard when I felt good.  I never did any dedicated speed work or track workouts.  My whole goal was to run as much as possible while maintaining as much frequency and consistency as I could handle.  When you do that the mileage really piles up quickly!!!!

Unfortunately, because I am a bonehead and stubborn a-hole, I let my physical therapy home exercises slip by the wayside.  In early December my left foot started getting sore.  I ran through it for about a week or two but realized quickly that I better shut down the running for a bit given the huge run block I had just put in.  My foot pain ended up being a case of plantar fasciitis and after a few weeks of conservative therapy I had a cortisone shot in my left foot.  The relief was immediate, but shortly thereafter I started to experience bilateral forefoot pain.  As near I can tell I have developed a case of nondescript metatarsalgia.  My understanding is that this is a "garbage pail" ailment and is really just a generic term for forefoot pain when it is not exactly clear what it is causing the pain.  Essentially I have not done any significant run volume since mid-December.  In one sense it has been good because it has allowed me to fall back in love with my bike (which I didn't even want to see by the end of September) and with the water.  For the first time I got over my hatred of the trainer and I have spent significant time riding in the pain cave.  I actually think this will reap huge benefits in the spring for my cycling ability.  I was also able to do some pretty nasty short interval sets well above my FTP.  The other good thing is that I am in my best swimming shape since 2005.  While I am nowhere near my competitive swimming days, my swim fitness is leaps and bounds ahead of any other time since I started competing in tris.  Unfortunately, the mega hours on the trainer have led to a third foot problem, posterior tibial tendonitis.  When this flared up last week, I finally decided that I need to start listening to my body and I have decided to shut it down a bit. 

In looking back, I essentially have not taken any time off for the last two years with the exception of forced time off when I broke my wrist and had surgery last July (and that was less than 4 days).  In hindsight this is probably not a smart long term plan for success.  My problem is that I have so much difficulty turning "it" off, even for a week.  I am addicted the highest level of fitness.  I am addicted to the daily suffering, and I am addicted the constant improvement I have been fortunate to achieve across the bike/run disciplines.  Improving at races and in my daily work outs keeps me coming back like a crack addict day after day after day.... I have come to rely too much on running and riding as my sole avenue of stress relief.  When these activities are off the table, even temporarily, I suck (mental note...I need to work on this).

I have been injured in the past and I am always terrible at it.  I am a grumpy bastard when I can't run/ride.  Britt can attest to this.  This particular injury has been especially frustrating because it feels minor but it is significant enough where I know something is wrong.  I have this low level ever present foot pain and I am really tired of it.  The best way to describe it is that my feet just don't feel right.  I know I could continue to run/ride but I am going to do the right thing so as not to jeopardize IM CDA and my lofty goals of getting to Kona this fall.  I am particularly frustrated because I have actually been listening to the advice I have been given without any significant results.  Usually I just ignore everybody and keep hammering through the pain.  This time I am actually listening, doing all the therapy, icing, meds, PT, stretching, etc....WTF, why isn't it working?!?!?!

I have been off riding/running for a week and I have been focusing on swimming.  I am feeling small improvements on a daily basis (but not fast enough).  I am going to take another few days of just swimming and hope that I continue to improve.  On a positive note it will give me more time to blog....coming up soon is a new post about my tri bike overhaul courtesy of Andrew Swenson Design and Coqui Cyclery.  Thanks for taking the time to read.