Sunday, September 25, 2011

Guess Mike's Kona Time!!

Alright, so in the midst of updating the time slots I lost this entire post.  No worries, I reposted all the time slots below as they were before.  But, for those of you who didn't see the rest of the post, I'll try to update this tonight and have the rest of the other details that were up earlier.

Everyone and anyone can comment below or tell me on Facebook, to let me know what 5 minute interval they would expect me to finish Ironman Hawaii!  By doing this, I wanted to get all of you just a little more involved for race day and get you even more excited for the big day! Only one person per time slot, and the winning guess will get some things from my sponsors, as well as something from the race... I'll announce that once I know more specifics!

Seems like the biggest piece of information people are using is my 2010 IMFL time (10:33:35), in combination that the Ironman Hawaii course is significantly more difficult than IMFL.  Also, my fitness is better now than it was in IMFL.
I don't have any goal time for the race (I didn't for IMFL either), since I'm really doing this race to soak in the experience... while trying to get as good of a finish time as possible  :)

This is a lousy lead-in, but this will have to do until later today.

NOTE:   "10:05:00" means 10:05:00 to 10:09:59
(any earlier time... don't even think about it!)
9:45:00                                          DK
9:50:00                                         Barbara Conte
9:55:00                                          Gsoutiea
10:00:00                                        Rob Banfield
10:05:00                                        Momma B
10:10:00                                         Heidi Austin
10:15:00                                         Chris Lessmann
10:20:00                                         Allison Wolff
10:25:00                                         Erin Reed
10:30:00                                         David Lantz
10:35:00                                         Bini Kadwa
10:40:00                                        Kate Mitchell
10:45:00                                         Donna Adams 
10:50:00                                         Nick Stanley
10:55:00                                        Shannon Wright
11:00:00                                         Rubik Sheth
11:05:00                                         Jonathan Steudlein
11:10:00                                        Poppa B
11:15:00                                         Dustin Bernatovich
11:20:00                                        Sean Lillibridge
11:25:00                                         Kristin Deaton
11:30:00                                         becklegacy
11:35:00                                        Austin

(any later time... You never know!!!)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Are you strong enough...?"

If there's one lesson I'll take away from this training season, it's the absolute criticality of having people around you to support and stand by you through seemingly insurmountable challenges, like Ironman Hawaii.  Without my family and close friends, I could not even imagine making it through the past 4 months... their consistent and steadfast support has been nothing but amazing, and I'm extremely lucky to have that.  4 months ago, I would not have expected to be at the point where I'm at today.   I started this season with a 7 month "off-season"... really tho, I'd call that more of a "hiatus".   Of course this was due to grad school, so I don't regret any of it... but it was very intimidating to see Ironman Hawaii 4 months away, and my fitness level being ridiculously close to zero.  Now... I've worked my ass off day-to-day and month-to-month, I can say that I'm in the best shape of my life (again!  ...since I said this for IMFL as well), and every ounce of me just can't wait to jump in Kailua Bay and hear that cannon fire!!

In all reality tho, the support around you can only get you so far... it all comes down to your preparedness, tenacity, and focus to be ready for such a challenge as Kona.  Though these are all qualities that are left to the athlete himself/herself, there is still the simple and crucial element of a training plan!  You can be as determined as the world champion next to you, but if you don't know how you're going to accomplish your goal, then what good is your determination doing you??  I chose Endurance Planner to put together my training plan for this season, and I really couldn't be any happier with the results.  I've had some amazing short distance races this season, and have placed in my AG (age group) in some really big races, which I really didn't expect to do!  One of the unique elements of Endurance Planner is the manner in which it allows you to work alongside the co-owner and coach, Kevin Cutjar.  I've been emailing and Skyping with Kevin for the past few months about training progress, training plans, general triathlon questions, race pacing, race nutrition, what to expect in Kona, and this list can seriously go on and on and on!!!  The Endurance Planner system is unique because of how it is structured around the athlete rather than the coach or program... its sole purpose is to provide a wealth of information and assistance to every one of their athletes, elite pro and common age-grouper alike!  I've learned so much through reading the EP forum, chatting with Kevin, and looking through the Coach's corner on the EP website. 
In my most recent Skype with Kevin, we talked for a good 1.5 hours or so about everything I should expect in Kona and how the remaining weeks of training will flow before the race.  I can't even begin to mention everything we talked about because this would end up being a novel, but I do want to share one thing that I wrote down when he said it.  We were discussing my Kona pacing strategy and how it will feel when I'm actually in the race.  Kev said that endurance pacing comes down to one simple question... "Are you strong enough to go easy enough?".  And though my Ironman experience is rather limited, that was the best "one-liner" piece of advice that I have heard so far!  Once you nail down a nutrition and pacing plan, and you've trained your ass off for the past few months causing you to basically put life on hold, everything that you've done and planned comes down to EXECUTION! 

I don't know how well I will perform in Kona or how fast I'll be... and to be honest, I've come to the point where I don't really fret over it.  I want to go to Kona healthy and ready (mentally and physically), and I want to execute my race exactly how I've planned.  If I can finish the race and say that I executed my race plan well, then I can say it was a perfect race!  And I will owe it to everyone of you who have supported me along the way... THANK YOU!!!

Stay tuned for more information on the race and, if I have time, my pacing/nutrition strategy.  Also, I'll be posting a competition for YOU soon... all of you will take a guess at my Kona finishing time, the winner will get some fun sponsor swag and something(s) from Kona and the race

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Close calls... too close

As my training is reaching its peak phase now, I certainly haven't been lacking in putting some excitement into the mix lately... and I don't mean good excitement.  Short version... within 5 days, I was "hit" by a car on my bike and got myself into a solo bike wreck.

Longer version...

As for getting hit by a car... without going into too much detail b/c it will just get confusing... I decided to go for a 3hr ride (60-70 miles) before going into work.  After riding for a good 2hrs I was riding by an entrance to an office building parking lot and was hit by an SUV who was trying to beat traffic and didn't see me.  Fortunately, I saw the car about to hit me and was able to pull out of the aero position to become more stable before she hit me.  Additionally fortunate, the older (60s?) lady driving the SUV hit the left side (so, she hit me perpendicularly) of my rear wheel and frame... no contact with my body, but I'm guessing it was a bit close!  Some more good fortune was that I didn't fall after she hit my rear wheel... it simply pushed my bike diagonally and I did this "squirrel-ly" looking move to ride out of it without going down.
It's all hindsight, but if she were a 1/2 second earlier or I were a 1/2 second slower... I probably wouldn't be racing in Kona next month.  The few moments when I knew I was going to get hit, all I was thinking about was "You've gotta be kidding me!!  All these sacrifices, long hours, and hard work over the past 4 months are going to be thrown away b/c of one foolish driver... effin A!"
Anyways, after she hit me I checked my bike and gathered my thoughts... once all was well, I started walking over the her since she stopped at the parking lot entrance after hitting me... makes sense, right?  Well, that's when she sped off into the parking lot as I was walking towards her.  After tracking her down, she claims to have not even known that she had hit me (even though she has a dent in her front bumper from the incident).... ugh, whatever, I get frustrated every time I tell that part of the story, but I'm just thankful that my body and bike was completely unharmed by the incident.

Now it's time to share MY idiotic move recently... after finishing up a ~120-130 mile ride, I unstrapped my feet from my cycling shoes and was just rolling the final 1/4 mile or so to my apartment, where I was going to continue with a 30 minute run.  Well... to put it bluntly, I just got stupid and lazy... as I reached back for something out of my jersey with my left hand, I decided to put my right hand on my aero bar to take control of the bike (what I should have done: put my right hand on the handle bar, which has more stability).  For those of you who are familiar with aero bar systems, you're very aware of the lack of control authority you have on the bike from this position.  Next thing I knew, my bike sharply turned left and SLAM!  I went to the ground hard and slid for the next ~10ft or so.  It was a very hopeless feeling since it happened so fast, I couldn't even put my arm out to brace myself... which, is a good thing b/c I probably would have broken something in that case.  Fortunately, I walked away from it with no broken bones or significant muscle/tissue damage... but, I did sustain a bunch of scrapes on my left side and my right shin kicked into the big chain ring causing a sort of puncture wound... it was one for the books.

I was planning to post pictures of the wounds, but decided against it b/c they really aren't pleasant to look at... especially the puncture wound from the big chain ring.

Next post coming (pretty soon actually)... I had a long talk with my coach, Kevin Cutjar of Endurance Planner, the other day and I've made some last minute adjustments to my peak training and race fueling... I'll talk about that more soon b/c it really was some valuable information that may help those of you who are also doing triathlon, or similar.  I'll also elaborate on my new motto by which I train... "Are you strong enough to go easy enough?"  -Kevin

Till next time... thanks so much for everyone's support.  With the race coming so quickly, all of you are really making a strong showing for me with your kind and supportive words... I wouldn't be doing this well without such stellar encouragement from you!  I'm thriving on it, keep it coming!!!