Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Week 1 Has Begun!

Week 1 has begun in my quest to earn a prefix to my Ironman title... DOUBLE!

I've been working out for a few weeks now, but this week marks the start of my peak training program  for the double.  Everything is feeling really great right now... my body is really waking up from a long, easy off-season.  One of my favorite feelings that comes with the early stages of this type of training is how my legs feel!  It's a hard thing to describe (some of you may know what I mean though), but my legs are beginning to feel like they have springs in them... it's mainly due to the increased bloodflow when recovering from a workout, but as I sit here typing this it seems that my legs are yelling at me to go for a run!

I won't be talking about every specific detail of my workouts, but I had my first BAD swimming cramp last week.  Quite literally felt like someone reached inside my thigh and pulled on my hamstring as hard as they could!!  My leg instantly locked up, and that was the end of my workouts for that day.. fortunately, it's been feeling just fine since then.  Didn't have the best diet or drink enough water that day, so that's likely the cause.

My base training is well underway now, and I'll be starting my first of four build phases of training in late February.  With that said, and as some of you may know, I got my Endurance Planner training software and it is proving to be a great tool!  The capabilities and control that you have with it is definitely the biggest benefit... I'll be tracking everything from body weight to gear usage to various performance measures (such as, heartrate and capable endurance pace with each sport).  The quick snapshot below outlines the training volume (time) for each discipline.. you can see some of the build periods and low-priority races in different spots.

This will be tweaked quite a bit eventually though, since I'm not quite happy with how I designed a mid-season peak (seen as the sharp dip in volume in the middle). The last "mini-build" you see at the end is after the Double Iron, acting for my final race of the season, the Iron-Star 1/2 Iron. 

As promised, here's a list of my most-definite/definite races for the season.  I'll likely have 3-4 more races mixed in there somewhere to keep it exciting and mix up the training.  Hoping to be in Houson for the Clear Lake olympic as well!  Who's with me?!
  •  Spring Fling sprint  (May 1 - Gainesville, GA)
  •  West Point Lake olympic  (June 12  - LaGrange, GA)
  •  VA Double Iron  (October 8-9  -  Lake Anna State Park,  VA)
  •  Iron Star 1/2... apparently renamed to Oil Man Texas  -  (Nov 6  -  Conroe, TX)
One more note, I went to get an early massage by Eileen Steil last week... she'll be my masseuse for this season, and an amazing one at that.  I strongly recommend her to all of you in Atlanta, especially if you're physically active and need some quick muscle recovery and/or fixing.  Equally important as the massage, I had a great chat with her regarding ultra-distance (longer than Ironman) training and races and got a wealth of information... keep in mind this is a deca-Iron finisher (the ONLY American woman to do so, btw), so she knows a thing or two to say the least.   One of the best pieces of information I got from her was the need for external support and motivation.  It's going to be a painstakingly trying 9 months, equally physical and mental.  With the unfaltering support from my parents, brother, Allison, David, workout partners, and all the rest of you interested in my progress... I don't think I could be in a better position with support and motivation.  I genuinely appreciate you, and hope that you enjoy following me through the best and worst of it!

Till next time... stay healthy & be happy

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Carry the flag

So it's already been a little while since my last post... my bad if you've been on the edge of your seat since the most recent  :)    I spent the 3-day weekend in Houston... while Atlanta experimented with an ice rink on city streets, which failed beautifully.

I didn't workout while in Houston, so I don't have much to report on that front... besides for a decent 2000 yard swim this morning and going for a lift after posting this.  While on my drive to Houston though, I finally came to a point of having a dedicated "mental connection" to doing this race in October.  It's really difficult for me to describe what I mean by "connection", so I'll sacrifice a man-card and some internal thoughts by trying to explain through my experience with Ironman Florida.  First off, I don't know if other people go through similar feelings as I had with IMFL, so this could be similar to what others experience... I'm not relating IMFL as a life-altering event, but it certainly affected nearly every thought and action of mine for the 365+ days that I trained for it.  I set a goal and decided that nothing was going to get in my way... I became wholly invested with finishing this race.  I'd watch Ironman (IM) videos on youtube and would become choked up by some of the clips, as I would imagine myself doing the same thing.  I would have dreams about finishing the race... as the race got closer, these dreams turned more to nightmares of me sleeping-in through the race start, but that's a different topic... these visions of finishing the race become a small obsession.  I would get choked up by simply envisioning my first Ironman finish.  It becomes the reason to wake up at 4am for a 2+hr swim, or ride your bike for an entire Saturday with your college football team in a rivalry game, or to strictly discipline yourself to eat well for (ideally) every meal... it acted as a filter for every thought that went through my mind.  If I failed at one of these things just once, that's not terrible... but, I always had to be cautious because it can become the snowflake that started the avalanche.  A quote from a great movie, Vision Quest... the main character Louden was trying to lose weight to wrestle and, against all odds, defeat a well-known state-champ. Louden was offered a cheeseburger from a friend.  When Louden refused, his friend said,  "It's one burger, it won't put you overweight".  Louden replied, "Yea, but it'd be a good start".  I probably messed up the exact wording, but the general message is clear.  To succeed in such daunting goals, you have to stay disciplined.  If I wanted to beat the odds and dedicate myself to doing IMFL, I had to find that state of mental preparedness to stay on path to do it.  This mental preparedness "took shape" in me envisioning myself crossing the finish line and hearing the words "You are an Ironman".
How this relates to now, with the double Ironman...  Given it's short list of competitors from across the globe, a tradition at the Virginia Double Iron is to carry your country's flag for the final 1/4 mile across the finish line (you can see this in the limited double Iron videos on youtube). When driving to Houston, I had to catch myself a little bit when I began envisioning myself finishing the race.  While imagining myself carrying the US flag across the finish and having my support crew there for me, I (once again) choked up a bit and realized that I have the mental state and am ready to meet this goal... I WILL carry the flag!

This all might seem very trivial on the surface... but it really does mean a lot for the mental aspect of training, which is more than 1/2 the battle.

I'll get my Endurance Planner software in the mail very soon, and I can't wait to set up my 35+ weeks of training!!  The engineer in me is excited to fool around with the software capabilities, and the athlete in me is excited to schedule all my workouts for the year :)   When I have my schedule worked out, I'll let you know all the other races I plan to do this season!  Oh, and before I head out for some weight training...... DA BEARS!!!!

Till next time... stay healthy & be happy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Just keep pushing

So training has been very limited the past few days bc of the ice storm that came through Atlanta a few days ago.  Which is an interesting note in itself... long story short, the city has been crippled for 3 days since it doesn't have nearly enough equipment or experience to handle a moderate snow/ice storm.  Nevertheless, I've been doing everything I can to keep working up to a base fitness for this season... mainly a lot of indoor cycling on the trainer, weight training, and core exercises.  So far... I'm feeling very out of shape and slow... but time and repetition is the only way out of this funk, so I'll just keep pushing. 

To quickly elaborate on what I mean by "base fitness"... Most triathlon training programs are designed in a very structured, progressive manner that is organized by periods (aka  periodization).  Just take a peek at this picture to see how each of the periods are typically designed...
Sometimes, you'll have two build periods, but no need to talk about that here.  Currently, since I took a very long off-season to give my knees a break, I am working through the prep period till the end of next week or so.   After that I'll begin my base period of training on a schedule that I'll tailor using Endurance Planner (EP) software (www.enduranceplanner.com).  Previously, I've used Mark Allen Online for training (which gave me AMAZING results... I have nothing but praise for MAO), however, I'm trying to save more money this season... so I decided to go with EP.  Only time will tell if this was a smart decision, but after talking with the EP owner/head coach (Kevin), I'm very confident that this was a great move.  Also, Kevin is a multi-time Ultraman champion... sooo, definitely a great source for information.  To conclude, during the final period (peak), you have anywhere between 2-4 weeks of tapered training volume (time) with an increase in intensity... by doing this, you're body goes into a strong recovery mode, which equates to a significant spike in fitness over a short amount of time.  

Why am I giving you all this information?  Some of you might actually find it interesting, but for those who don't... knowing this information will help you follow me through the coming months, and makes it much easier for me with posting the upcoming training extravaganza.

Till next time...  stay healthy & be happy

Monday, January 10, 2011

And, so it begins...

Well hello there! Thanks for checking out my double Ironman blog.... hopefully you'll find it interesting (on any level) and will come back every now and then to see how my story plays out.  I don't plan to post here everyday... that'd get a little old... but I'll keep you posted every now and then with my training progress and race results

The purpose of this blog is purely to share a few of the countless experiences and thoughts that I'll have over the next 39 weeks... concluding with the largest physical challenge I will attempt in my life to date, the Virginia Double Iron Triathlon (consisting of a 4.8 mile swim, 224 mile bike, and 52.4 mile run).   The race will take place on October 8-9 in Lake Anna State Park, Virginia.  Each discipline is done straight through and consecutively, with an overall time limit of 36 hours.... yea, I'm not denying that it's completely insane... I'm still wondering what the hell I'm thinking

On that note.... why do it?  I've been thinking about doing this race since Ironman Florida (Nov 7) and have gone back and forth on the decision.  In the end, I'm attempting the challenge to test my limits and prove to myself that I can do it... also, I don't know how many more years I'll have the knees capable of it!    How will I do it?  Through an obscene amount of training, and surrounding myself with great people who will keep my head up during tough times.

Before I clock out... it's going to be a very trying 39 weeks with highs and lows, any support you want to send my way can be done through Paypal to my gmail address, OR just post some comments below... hint, I prefer comments  :)

Plenty more to come!  Till next time... stay healthy & be happy