Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Recap

Last day of the year. It was definitely a year that brought some hills and valleys. I raced 4 times and would say that one of them was a great race, one a good race, and two were sub-par races. Unfortunately, I have had the taste of a sub-par race in my mouth since the last race of the season (Vegas). Fortunately, I learned a lot from each of the races. I am looking forward to having a big 2013 and have Vegas to help motivate me in the off season. I will be transitioning from my off season plan to my official plan for IMTX in two weeks. I have seen some progress in the off season, but need to make more strides in order to put myself in a position to go after my goals.

I am working with my wife to put together my competition schedule for 2013. I am hoping to post that soon. I will definitely be racing more this year despite the fact that I will be in Spain the entire month of June and part of July for work. I am actually trying to find a race that I can fit into the schedule there that won't cost a ton of money to make happen. I am hoping to volunteer at the ITU tri in Madrid, I don't think I will be recovered from Texas for it to be worth competing in. I would like to try an ITU race soon.

I spent a little time today looking at my workout log today. This is something I need to spend more time doing. I think I will switch to Training Peaks next year because it allows a lot more data breakdown. I need to train with higher volume next year and include more tempo workouts (especially runs). I put in more miles in all three disciplines in 2012 than 2011. I ran a whopping 30 miles farther than last year, swam a whole 3000 yards farther, however put in more than 1000 more bike miles than 2011.

I focused a lot on improving my bike for 2012, and have kept this as my focus for the off season. I have spent the last few days tinkering with my bike fit. I am going for a much more aggressive fit on my P3 than I had on my P2. Hopefully I will have this zeroed in by next week so I can get some saddle time in before I can move back outdoors. I'll also be messing around with my nutrition plan in the next couple of weeks as well. I am trying to reduce the friction and make everything run more smoothly on the bike leg. I also have to practice getting more nutrition in during my runs. I bonked twice this year and I don't have room in the race schedule for sub-par races this year.

All-in-all, I am happy with 2012. I learned a lot and hope I can use the experience to make 2013 better. I wish everyone a successful 2013. Happy New Years! Train safe and smart.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

What a Sponsorship Means to Me

The last few days have been a bit of a blur. I was offered a spot on Team and I accepted yesterday. This allows me to cross off one of my goals I posted a few weeks ago. I am absolutely thrilled to have the support of and will work hard to hold up my end of the relationship. The best part of this is that was where I bought all of my triathlon gear before joining their team.

I am blessed to be supported by such a staple in the triathlon community. Being located in a rural area, it is imperative to have an online tri store I can trust. was the first store I tried for a number of different reasons. I appreciate the fact that they are so involved in the triathlon community and work hard to support and promote the sport. I love their demo program as well. I traveled to Arizona for work and was able to visit their physical location as well. I was really impressed by the facility, and even took a dip in their endless pool. Ever since I visited their store, I have been hooked. I have been extremely impressed with their customer service, their knowledge, their on-line chats, and the ease of returns if items don't fit.

This is the first year I applied for any sort of sponsorship. I didn't realize how much time, energy, and stress was involved with the process. I knew I wanted to get a sponsor to support me for the 2013 season, but going through the application process made me take a little time to reflect on why a sponsorship was so important to me. Obviously, the gear benefits and the ability to say I am a sponsored athlete is nice, but that is not the reason I applied. The biggest thing I am looking forward to from working with is the network of elite triathletes I will get to be associated with. I will get to work with other elite athletes who share my passion for the sport. I look forward to learning from and with such a focused group of triathletes. I  look forward reading their blogs, race reports, and meeting other team members at races. There is so much to learn and I am very thankful to for allowing me the opportunity to race with them this season.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Break Time = Train Time

Wow, what a semester. I guess it is not technically over yet, I still have some grading to do. I feel bad that I don't have my grades in already. This is the first of my 9 working semesters that I have not had grades submitted by the last day of the semester. The fall semester was tough so I chose sanity rather than getting my deadlines. I had a great week of training this week; the highest volume I have had all year. I feel really strong in all three facets which is not something I have been able to say previously.

I swam more this week than an previous week in the last three years of training. The pool was supposed to be closed the entire break, but found a guard to let me in the pool for an hour each day from now till New Years. I was planning on having a bunch of long runs and bikes over break, may have to back those down a bit. Hamstring is a bit sore after the spike in volume this week, so being able to put more time in the pool will be helpful. Been swimming a lot of repeats the past few weeks. Really been able to lock into a bit faster pace. Need to solidify my form a bit. Last underwater video was in July. Will be taking another video shortly.

Been spending a lot of time on the bike this month as well. Indoor rides have been primarily on the WattBike. Found a few more things about the unit that I don't like. There is no button to set intervals on and the memory on the unit is extremely small. It will not hold over 4 hours of data with heart rate. Still, it is very convenient and I do like the ability (and constant reminder) to work on my cycling form at the same time. Also got a few rides on the new P3 this week as well. I actually got pulled over by a cop this week while riding my bike. The Police officer told me that he pulled me over because riding your bike is inherently unsafe and if I continue I am going to get myself killed. It didn't make me happy needless to say. I didn't do anything about it, and probably won't. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he was just concerned about my safety. Maybe I'll send him a thank you note...

A few medium runs this week. I tried to have a "recovery run" on Thursday evening, but the weather was perfect and my legs didn't want to slow down. My slowest run of the week was today: 10 miles at 6:00 pace after a 3000 yd swim and a 26 mile bike. It was great to get a brick in. Really, the first Brick workout I have done since Vegas. It really made me want to race. I am hitting better times than I was when I peaked in 2012. Hopefully I can stay healthy through the season...BIG PLANS!

Three main goals to accomplish over break. First, I need to finish up grading, get syllabi done for second semester, and getting the Lab set up before Interim. I also need to spend a little time solidifying my race schedule for 2013. Why are all of the races so expensive and so far away? Today I decided I want to try to find an April Half or Olympic somewhere so I can get a tune up in before IMTX! I can't wait. Last thing is to keep up the training volume. I love that training is such a stress reliever for me, I have some making up to do!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Wattbike Review

Reality set in at the end of this week bringing snow, fog, wind, and cold! Unfortunately, that brings a lot of training indoors. Fortunately we got the new WattBike shipped this week. I heard about this company at the ACSM Annual Meeting in San Francisco this summer. I researched the company a bit and decided that it would be a good addition to the Human Performance lab (which is on a tight budget).  I broke in with about 6 hours of riding since it arrived on Thursday including a 3 hour ride today. Here are my thoughts so far.

First, I was impressed by how easy it was to get into the same position I ride on my Tri bike. It took me about an hour to put the unit together out of the box, and all of about 10 minutes to switch to my saddle and get my position set up. I honestly could not feel the difference between the two set-ups. The Wattbike has numbers on the adjustable parts. I wrote down all of my numbers and am able to quickly get into my position for every ride. An added bonus is that it uses Look pedals so I didn't have to do any cleat switching.

Overall, the ride was smooth. I enjoyed it much better than the indoor trainer with my bike which was a bit of a surprise. It was much quieter and I didn't have to worry about any slippage when I stepped on it. At the end of the my second ride, I did 3 all out 20-30 second sprints. I got above 1100 watts on each and there was no issues. It is easy to get to the RPM:Power ratio that I usually ride at on my trainer and outdoor rides. Added bonus #2, you won't burn through tires every month like I do on the trainer.

I like having the "shape" screen up while riding. In just 6 hours of riding, I have learned a lot about my stroke and even seen some improvement now that I focus on efficiency a little more. That is information you just can't get with  a wheel based Power system. The electronics on this system are where the real benefits are, in my opinion. I like how easy it was to look at the ride data on screen after the ride and transfer the information to a computer for a more in-depth view of the workout. There is so much more data to break down (and learn from) with the Wattbike than the PM on my bike. It is also really convenient that I can upload the workout directly to my Training Peaks account with graphs, etc. The ability to have the bike link directly up with a computer gives you even more options for viewing information during the ride.

One thing I wish it did was link with my Ipad (or any other tablet). It is a little easier than a laptop to mess around with with in-ride. I also wish it would give a warning when the storage on the computer was getting full. I didn't get a chance to review the second half of the data from my second ride because the storage on the bike's computer got full. I didn't know until after the ride. I will make sure I delete the computer before every ride from now on so that doesn't happen to me again.

The reason we purchased the bike was for research. Once I got the shipping notification, a student I am working with on a project went through the IRB process so she was able to start data collection as soon as the bike arrived. The data collection process has gone off without a hitch through about 20 of the 60 trials. We are (anxiously) waiting to run the data, but it is nice to have a reliable piece of research equipment that can be used as a training aid as well. I am looking forward to getting more familiar with this as I train on it through the winter and supervise research on it in the years to come.

Link to their website:

Picture of "shape" output after 3 hour ride (I've got some work to do...):

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Goals for 2013 & Beyond

It is that time of year again. I am not much of fan of New Year's Resolutions, but goals are extremely important to me. Contradictory, I know. New Year's Resolutions just seem so cliche and appear to be met with very little follow through by many. I am also in the midst of a fairly substantial change in my working situation (same job, different responsibilities). With any life change, I think it is necessary to reassess the direction you are heading.

 I have high expectations for next year and even higher for the following years. I believe the only difference between a goal and is a wish is that a goal is written down. There also has to be an action plan in place for every goal. I have re-done the 50 goals for the next 10 years assignment I first did when I was 16. A few of them are listed below. Many of them are more personal or have no meaning to anyone other than me. Hopefully, this increases the accountability to reach them!

Tri Specific Goals:

  1. Attain my Pro card by the end of the 2013 season
  2. Attain a sponsorship by the end of 2013
  3. Win an Ironman 70.3 AG in 2013
  4. Podium in every 70.3 and 140.6 race I compete in for 2013
  5. Podium in a 140.6 and a 70.3 at the Pro level by 2018
  6. Qualify for World Championships as a Pro
Other Goals:
  1. Publish 15 research articles/reviews by 2018
  2. Gain accreditation for the human performance program by 2014
  3. Have the Human Performance Lab up and running 2013
  4. Devote more time to family every year 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

No Rest November?

I'm sitting waiting for the fog to clear so I can go for a ride. December first, and it is 50 degrees in Iowa! Can't pass up a day like today. I had a great month of training in November. Some people participate in No Shave November. I decided that I would participate in No Rest November. I got at least one work out every day in November. All runs were outside as well! We have had some amazing weather this fall and I feel lucky to be able to train outdoors this late into the season. I am hoping to get some winter training gear for Christmas and at least run outside all winter. It helps pass the time so much better than on the treadmill.

Need to decide what I am going to do for a training plan this month...and through May. I am happy with my Progress through November. I am hitting most of my times from when I hit my peak for the 2012 season. Now it is time to start upping the volume to prep for IMTX. I am hoping to have a sponsor or two for the 2013 season. I have been talking with a few and should find out this week or next on most of them. It is a bit nerve racking. I have had a few good races, but need to race more to increase my exposure. My biggest goal for the 2013 season is to get my Pro card. I need to race more to do that. I have to figure out what distance of race gives me my best shot. I am going to try to race competitively at Oly, Half, and Full distances this year. Hopefully I can put together three great races to get my card. I will also do a few races which are auto qualifiers if I can manage a top three finish. It is a high goal, but I am committed to getting it.

My job situation will be changing a little, which will allow a much more "normal" and structured training regimen. Less traveling and few nights working. Although I'll miss athletic training, I am ready to be a full time instructor. The Human Performance Program needs more structure and attention. I am excited for what I can do with that program. I am also excited for the increase in time for family and hobbies.

When I was 16, I made a list of 50 goals for the next 10 years. I attained many of them and fell short on a few of them. This goal list is what led me to the sport of triathlon and also brought me to the Ironman distance races. Now I am hooked. The expiration date on that list was over a year ago. I am a huge believer in goals. I have been able to accomplish so much more due to having a clear direction of where I want to go. Of course priorities change from time to time, and you have to adjust your goals accordingly. A goal migrates from a wish once it is written down. I will be posting at least part of my list in the next week.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Post Holiday Blues

It was great to be able to head home and see some family over the holiday. I hadn't seen my family for quite a while. I was also able to get some runs in on my home turf! Thanksgiving was the first day I didn't have to go into the office since Vegas in September! It was a long go. It looks like I will have a full week off over Christmas break, so I just need to push through the next three weeks. If the rest of the time is like today, it is going to be a long month. I guess I got used to relaxing a bit and am struggling to get back into work mode. I did get my list of things to do so now it is just crossing them off one at a time.

I am having really good workouts, especially for the off season. I got some long workouts in last week: two 10 plus mile runes and two 50 mile rides as well as the shorter ones. I had a quick 5 tonight and it seemed to fly by. I have been running outside despite the cold and wind which seems to make time go by a little better as well. I am a little extra motivated this week because I am supposed to hear back from a few potential sponsors. It would be great to be able to have a little additional help with gear as well as getting my name out a bit as I continue the quest to get my pro card. Hopefully 2013 will be the year!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Overall, good day

Had a pretty good day today overall. Started with a 6:00 a.m. 2500yd swim. Second swim was 2000 yds at noon. Had to get two swims in today due to pool closing for remainder of week for Thanksgiving. Highlight of the day was a great phone interview with a potential sponsor for the 2013 triathlon season. It rejuvenated me a bit. Training has been going really well. The weather has been amazing! 52 degrees and no wind in the end of November does not occur very often. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to get a ride in today. Chomping at the bit to get my new ride on the road, just waiting to finish up the build. In the mean time, the Watt Bike works wonders. I have been able to catch up on some reading for work during some of my bike work outs. I am anxious to start building up the volume again for Ironman Texas. Big goals this year, and won't achieve any of them by taking short cuts!

Hoping to be able to insert sponsors in these margins by the end of the month!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Long day

Saturdays in the winter are always a long day with all day wrestling tournaments. Glad I got a chance to sneak a run in after weigh ins. Always fun to run on a new terrain. Could not live in a big city. I enjoy the solitude of running on rural roads. I also like never having to wait for traffic.

I was much busier today than i would have liked. Emotionally draining day. About time to check out for the rest of the bus ride home.

Friday, November 16, 2012

New Bike!

I got a new bike for the 2013 season. It is a 2012 P3 with DA components. It even has a Quark pm. I am sad to see my P2 go, I spent a lot of time on her. Silly how you can attach yourself to something like that. Hopefully with the money I got from my P2, I'll be able to find a decent set of race wheels to really trick out the new ride. Money can sometimes buy speed in this sport. Now I have no excuses, I have a great bike. I have to provide the motor. Isn't she a beauty?!?

New to the blogging world but thought it would help clear my head. Officially in Week 2 of my Ironman Texas preparation. Volume and intensity are low and I'm getting back into the swing of things. It is hard to hold back at this point when I have such high goals for the year. I feel like it is an expectation of family and friends that I qualify for Kona again. It is an expectation I have for myself. I have been blessed to have had safe training and racing for 2 years and am praying for more of the same for 2013.