Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Here are the "official" pictures

Here are some of the pictures from IMAZ, I just got them yesterday.

I am on the inside buoy line about 30 yards from the front. This and the few minutes following were by far the most crazy time of the race (as expected)

This is just an awesome picture with the sun coming up. It is now my desktop background. Notice the clouds, it was like that most of the day.

Another view of the swim.

Coming out of the swim and checking the watch - I was very pleased with a 1:21 swim. The swim socks were a nice, last minute addition with 59-60 degree water temps that morning.

One of the only pictures that they caught me on the bike.

Per my promise to my daughter "Upright and not on a stretcher"

My only wish is that I would have pulled my family in from behind the barracades for the picture. The arm warmers were on all day! The red-white-and blue Tri Smart Tri suit is awesome, my family could see my coming from a mile away! I am standing like that because I forgot to use glide on the inside of my arms and they were raw from where they rubbed on my tri top.

Lastly, here is a great video I found of the swim start on YouTube. Click here for the video. I was on the far side on the inside.

Thanks for following and words can't express how much I appreciate the thoughts, comments, and support.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Post Race Report - sorry it is a little long

Note: There are no pictures yet but I will post them when it is done....

Race Report:

Pre Race morning:
I set the alarm for 4:15AM and met my buddy Mike for breakfast at 4:30 in the hotel. They opened extra early for the athletes which was nice. We stayed at a hotel that was 1 block from the Ironman village so it was very convenient for the athletes. We ate breakfast, went back to our rooms and got our special needs bags and race nutrition. My nutrition consisted of 5 gel flasks of EFS and 80 ounces of Gatorade that I picked up the night before. The morning was fairly warm and the pre dawn winds were calm. We loaded our transition bags (that we dropped off the day before) with our nutrition, turned on our GPS tracking devices, put our drinks and bike computer on our bikes and got ready to swim. The water temp was between 59 and 60 degrees, since it was a little on the cold side and the swim was going to be over an hour I decided to wear my neoprene swim socks and neoprene cap (wise choice). We said good bye to our families, they took a couple of pictures and it was time to watch the pros start. The morning went really quick and was very busy getting ready so there was no time to get really nervy about what I was about to do. Before we got into the water I got my picture taken with Justin and Mike in addition to Rene and the kids. I could see that my daughter was worried. 2 years ago when I decided to do this Kathyrn and I were watching the IM World Championships on TV. They were showing the people wrecked, bodies not working right, collapses at the finish line, stretchers and IVs everywhere. I look down at Kathryn and she is crying. She looks up at me and says “Daddy, I don’t want you to do that, I don’t want you to hurt like they do. I don’t want you to be in pain” It was so heartbreaking. Before I got into the water I looked at Kathryn and could see she was about to break down again. I told her, “I will be all right Kathryn, you don’t have to worry about me… I promise you I will be fine” Those were the last words to my family before I jumped in the water.

The Swim:
The pros went off at 6:50 and as soon as their cannon sounded everyone made their way to the water. Justin, Mike and I agreed to get on the inside buoy line about 40 yards behind the start line. With 2700 athletes and over 1,000 first timers we thought that it would be a lot busier near the shore line so we took the inside. As soon as I got in the water my goggles lost seal so I swam to a kayak on the inside and adjusted the best I could and then I just tried to relax and not think too much. I have trained sooo much I told myself that when in doubt don’t think and just do. There are many cliché’s in this sport but one of the things that I have heard over and over is that I have trained my body to know what to do through the over 180 miles of swimming, over 5,500 miles over biking and over 1500 miles of running so let it do what it is trained to do and just do it. I talked to a couple of athletes around me and wished them luck. I had my ear plugs in so I couldn’t hear the music and Mike Reilly very well. At this point, I was getting a little nervy, there were swimmers all around me and I was in the middle of it all. Then I heard it… through the noise and the cow bells and spectators and buzz I heard the beginning of the song Ironman by Black Sabbath and this rush of adrenaline came over me and everything focused and my body seemed to “snap to it”. At my half Ironman it was during the pledge of allegiance, this year it was the beginning riffs of Ironman. I will never forget that moment. Then they played Colplay’s Viva la Vida just like last year. Mike Reilly instructed the Kayaks to get out of the way and told the athletes “I WILL SEE YOU AT THE FINISH LINE” and as soon as those words were out of his mouth I heard the faint muffled cannon and the 2010 Ironman was on the clock.

My heart was pumping so hard I mentally tried to calm myself down. I was in the thick of swimmers all trying to do the same thing….find some water and not drown. People getting hit, kicked and just trying to find a place to swim. None of it was malicious but it was still rough. I was “water polo” swimming to start just because it was so hard to find an open spot and I needed to see. I swam this way for probably 50-100 yards and because this is horribly inefficient my heart rate went through the roof just because this is the most difficult way to swim. I kept thinking to myself calm down it will thin out but I was very anaerobic while getting hit and hitting people. At the beginning of the day I knew there were three things that would keep me from going to bed an Ironman. 1) Panic and DNF on the swim (a lot of people do) 2) have a major mechanical problem on the bike that could not be fixed on the course 3) major stomach problems that would keep me from running. At this point in the swim, I had to fight back the panic and keep my head . No major contact until about 300 yards in and I could a full force elbow in the right goggle and it shoved the nose piece of my goggle into the bridge of my nose. I thought for sure I would have a black eye, my right goggle lost seal and the water flooded in. I was seeing stars and it really took a lot to maintain composure. I tried to get a few more strokes in because I knew if I stopped I was going to get run over from behind so I swam like this for a little while until I found some clean water. After several unsuccessful attempts to get my right eye to seal I just dealt with it and swam. After about 500 yards I was able to get into a nice, calm study rhythm and swam up on the group ahead of me and started weaving through them. Although I found a rhythm I was working to keep it and avoid as much contact as possible but there was still a lot of people. I would spot open water and swim to it but unfortunately there were so many people they would see the same water and do the same thing. Finally about 1500 yards in it really opened up and I was able to just swim at my pace, long and smooth. At this point I had totally given up trying to get the water out of my right goggle, my left was still clear so I just sighted with my left eye. I could see the second bridge and sited on the 2nd span and swam to it. I could tell by how fast I was moving through the bridge piers it seemed like I was making pretty good time but really it had already felt like I had been out there for awhile. I rounded the turn buoys and it got really crowded again. I navigated through some people and focused on being long and efficient as possible. My temperature was good and with the exception of my goggle I was doing well. I passed under the farthest bridge from the start on my way back in and spotted on (what I thought) was a buoy ahead. It was getting more difficult to see but I kept swimming. I swam like this for a good 20 minutes only to realize there was NO ONE around me. I sat up and realized I was about 100 yards off course to the inside of the return buoy line… I was sighting on the wrong buoy so I sat up, looked at what bridge span everyone was swimming for in the distance and started sighting on the opening and instead of swimming at 90 degrees I just started swimming towards the pier in the distance. After I got my bearings my calves started to cramp up. Nothing major just a little cramping when I would point my toes, nothing bad enough where I had to stop and stretch them, I just kept swimming. Once I made the piers, I was in the final couple hundred yards, rounded the last turn buoy and got to the stairs, a volunteer told me to put my foot on the step and he pulled me up. As I came out of the water, Mike Reilly said into the microphone Tracy Butler finished the Ironman swim in 1:21. A wetsuit stripper helped me get my suit off and off to T1. I saw the family, they yelled, I gave a fist pump and a big smile and WOOOT and now to get on the bike.

T1: T1 was a mad house, there what seemed to be 500 people all changing for the bike. I couldn’t get near the changing tent so I changed outside along with many others. Got everything on, threw my swim stuff in my T1 bag, borrowed a towel from another athlete to get all of the grass and mud off my feet, threw my bag in a pile and was off. Grabbed my bike and made the long run to the mount line.

The Bike:
The day was pretty overcast but by this time I would guess the temp was in the mid 50s. The arm warmers and cycling gloves felt good and I wasn’t super cold. I headed out past Arizona State University and purposely held back on the bike. There was a lot of bike traffic so as Doug Bristow told me, bike like you are bored and I tried to do so the best I could. With a tail wind that was easy to do and for the first 18 miles it was take in a lot of water and start my nutrition. I get to the turn around and the wind was really picking up. My speed on the way out was over 22 MPH but as soon as I turned around my speed dropped to 15-17. The weather still wasn’t bad but the wind was picking up. On my way back into town I saw something amazing on the bike. There was a guy wearing an Army cycling jersey and as I rode up on him I realized that he only had 1 leg. His right leg was amputated at the hip and I am assuming there wasn’t enough leg to attach a prosthetic so he had nothing. He had his left leg clipped in the pedals and was balancing on his seat with nothing on the right side to keep him steady. I have no idea how he kept his balance in that wind with only one leg. As I passed him I told him to “keep it up Army” and he gave me a thumbs up. Throughout the day I was constantly amazed by the fellow athletes. I saw a 61 year old woman with no leg below her knee DOING AND IRONAMAN. I was constantly amazed what some people can do. The second loop the wind was blowing constant and it started to rain. As I made it to the turn around for the second time the wind was really bad. About 5 minutes after that, the wind really picked up and it started hailing. The hail was coming in directly on the line I was riding so I could see it coming up the road. It was hard to tell what it was at first but I could see cyclists in front of me “hunker down” as the hail got to them. It came like a wave and the next thing I knew is that it was on me. Bikes were getting blown all around and the head wind was so strong I was lucky to be doing 10 MPH. Hail was coming in between my sun glasses and my forehead hitting me in the eyes and I was just focusing on keeping my bike straight. When the hail passed it was raining all the way into town. I couldn’t wait for the turn around so I could get a break from the wind. The third loop was more of the same and I focused on just getting through it. If I made it through the bike I knew I would make it through the run. As I rode into the bike finish chute I looked down to see that I was able to finish in roughly 6 hours and 25 minutes, only about 10-15 minutes behind my goal time. With the wind and the number of crashes because of the wet pavement and wind I was very pleased to have it done. My nutrition was good and I was able to get it all in without any major stomach problems. I was feeling as good as I could have after the first 2 disciplines.

T2: I found my T2 bag quickly and was able to get into the tent. I grabbed a chair and a lot of people were talking and in good spirits to have the bike over. I really nice volunteer grabbed my bag and dumped It on the ground in front of me. I grabbed everything I needed but I couldn’t find my glide (skin lube) for my toes to keep from blistering. He asked me if I wanted any Vaseline and I told him I would be fine but his response was (it is a long day out there, you better take some) so I did and boy was I glad. The worst pain I had all day was the blisters that I got on the bike due to my wet feet that I didn’t realize that I had them until the run. Without his advice it would have been horrible. I left T2 and was running out when I realized I still had my cycling shorts on I pulled them off and as I ran by Rene I tossed them to her to keep for me. The look on her face was priceless. She told me after the race that the spectators around told her to hide them because I would be penalized if race officials saw me discard clothes to a spectator. I didn’t care, I wasn’t running a marathon in cycling shorts….

The run:
The run consisted of 3 loop course around Tempe Town lake. Per my coaches advice I was running with “least effort”. I was feeling really good and for the first loop I was running between 9/9.5 minute miles. I knew it was fast but I figured I would do this as long as I could. I still had my arm warmers from the bike and when the wind was at my back I would pull them down because I got warm. When the wind was in my face I pulled them up. This went on for the entire first loop. The second loop I was starting to slow down a bit and at about 12 miles I found myself running at about the same pace as a guy name Chance. We started talking, it too was his first IM and he asked me my time goal. I told him I would like to finish between 12 and 13 hours. That was his goal too. He and I both were in good spirits so we decided to run the course together, walk through the aid stations to take in nutrition and fluids and run to the next one. He asked me why I was doing this and I told him about Deborah Olney’s battle with Cancer. I asked him the same question and he told me he was doing a fund raiser for a Phoenix Homeless Shelter. In addition, he had 3 of his vertebrae fused together in January. When I asked what his doctor thought about him doing an Ironman he shared with me his Dr. was a triathlete as well so I guess the goal is to find the right doctor . As we ran through Tempe town park I saw Rene, Jes (my buddies wife) and the kids. They yelled to me (1 more loop, you got this) and that is when it really started to hit me that I was going to bed and IRONMAN. The last loop flew by. Chance and I talked the entire time, walking the aid stops and running between them. My left toes were pretty raw and my legs were sore but I was feeling pretty good. We come up on the three miles to go mark and this surge of adrenalin came over me and it was almost overwhelming. I pictured what it would feel like running down the chute knowing I had just reached my goal and if it would be everything that I had pictured countless times. We skipped the last two stops and just ran like it was the start of the race. As we entered the park where all of the spectators were everyone could tell we were on the home stretch. We got several “great pace” or “you guys look strong” As we approached the turn for the finishers chute, I told Chance to “go get his pay day, I would catch up with him on the other side of the finish line once I talked to my family”. As I rounded the final corner I hear from my left TRACY and turned to see my family. I stopped and ran back to them, hugged and kissed Rene, bent down and looked Kathryn and Nathan in the eyes. I looked at Kathryn and told her “I told you I would be all right, you don’t have to worry anymore” I looked at both and told them and yelled “YOUR DAD IS AN IRONMAN. Then I turned and started a slow, purposeful jog down the finishing chute. The chute was probably 75 - 100 yards long and the crowd was enormous. Everyone was going crazy, I was pumping my fist and high fiving everyone that had a hand out. I didn’t even look at the clock, I knew I was well under 13 hours. As I crossed the finish line I heard Mike Reilly say my name and saw the two cameras click capturing the moment. I got my finishing medal, finishing hat and shirt. Got my finisher picture taken and immediately saw Rene and the kids. Hugged them, then went to find my buddy Mike and his family. Rene and Jes went to pickup my bike and transition bags while Mike and I just sat and tried to stay warm. Unfortunately, I never saw Chance to bid him well.

Post Race:

We walked back to the hotel, I sat in an Epsom salt bath, made a few phone calls and ordered a big fat cheeseburger and fries from room service. I could barely eat 1/3rd of it. Then went to bed.
General interesting things about the weekend:

Justin Drummond:
My other buddy Justin was trying to qualify for Kona. He is super fast and on his drive in from Albuquerque he hears a loud thump from the roof of his car during a wind gust only to look in his rear view mirror to see his bike fly off the roof of his car and land in the interstate. He swerved off the side of the side of the road, ran out in traffic and almost gets hit by a car to grab his bike. His carbon frame was cracked and the only thing holding it together was his drink cage. Mike and I got word and started calling around to local bike shops. Tribe in Scottsdale said they were open til 7pm and to have him come by and “they would take care of him”. For a couple hundred dollars that build him a new bike using whatever spare parts they could from his mangled Isaac. He picked up his bike with literally less than an hour to get it checked in on Saturday. He rode 1 mile on this bike before posting a 5:04 bike split (really fast). He missed a Kona slot by 3 people but had a PR by over a 1 hour and 10 minutes.

I don’t even know where to begin. I had no idea so many people were interested or even cared but the outpouring of support was unbelievable. So many people watched me cross the finish line live on the web. Rene tells me as soon as I did her phone went crazy with facebook updates, emails, phone calls etc… I read every message that night before going to bed and it was very humbling to find out how many people really cared. I can’t put it into words how much it meant to not only me but my family. I have to believe that I had such a great race because of the support, prayers, and good Mojo from back home. You all are Truly unbelievable.

I bought each of my kids Ironman watches a few weeks ago and after the race I presented them to them with the message of thanks for being so great with me being gone so much over the past several months. In addition, I told them that the watches signify that they can do anything they put their mind to if they want it bad enough.

As most of you know, a major part of my inspiration was and is Deborah Olney. During the tough times of the race I just kept telling myself that Deborah couldn’t stop fighting her recovery from cancer and what I was facing was insignificant to what she has faced and was facing. The progress she has made and the determination that she shows every day is exponentially more than my Ironman. On the Saturday before the race, I spoke to my best friend Matt who called to wish me luck but also to tell me his son Tyson was in the hospital with a staph infection and a heart valve problem. He was very weak due to the infection, to the point of having to use a wheelchair. They are going to get the infection under control and after the first of the year he is going to have to have surgery on his heart. He sounded more down than I have ever heard him and he said Tyson’s “light was pretty dim” right now and his spirits were down in the dumps. I told him to tell his son I would dedicate the last 6 miles to him and those miles I would think of him for my inspiration to finish. The Ironman may have been dedicated to Deborah but the last 6 were to him. As I pushed the last 6 in the home stretch I thought of what he was going through and what I once thought was a big deal is again, really insignificant. Tysen’s prognosis is good and the antibiotics are helping the infection but the holidays are going to be rough and he may be in the hospital for awhile.

What I personally take away from this is challenges are relative but how you choose to deal with them are not. You can complain or feel sorry for the situation or you can raise your chin, see the silver lining and do your best just like Deborah, Barton’s, and countless other families who don’t choose to take on challenges but who take on challenges because they get dealt a blow that THEY HAVE TO DEAL WITH. There were people out there complaining about the wind or the suffering or there were those of us that smiled and knew that we were lucky because we could compete that day. As one racer put it, we earned our M-dot that day with a day. The thing I will always remind myself of is that it was miserable at times but the pain and suffering was by choice and insignificant by those standards that really matter.
BTW…. I looked up Chance’s blog later that night because I couldn’t find him after the race. He told me about his surgery but what he didn’t tell me was that it was actually his 3rd surgery and he was told he would never walk again. Not only did he overcome major surgery, not only was he and Ironman and did his Ironman for a great cause but he was a humble one at that. Everyone out there has a story and every single person I met this weekend was more inspirational than the next. I will do this again if for no other reason than as a reminder of what is possible and it was very inspirational for me.

Lastly, the same message that I started with, that I have shared with my kids is the same message I will share with you. I didn’t start this as a super fit person. I was in HORRIBLE shape. When other triathletes ask me “what discipline did you bring to the sport, swimming, biking, or running” I laugh and say none of them… my gift is “Hard Headedness”. That has not changed. I once heard someone say that “if you want to see what you’re made of, commit to an Ironman. You will know if you are a fighter or not.” Those words are true. It is hard but everything worthwhile is. What is even harder is committing to something that you are not sure you can do and then telling people you are going to do it with the hope you have what it takes to live up to your words. I will be changed forever by this experience not unlike marrying the man or woman of your dreams, graduating college, or having your children. This has been a life altering experience and it is one you can choose to undertake but the first step is choosing to undertake it. Anyone can do anything if you want it bad enough. Find something you want bad enough and go for it. I PROMISE YOU, YOU WILL BE HAPPY YOU DID!

Thanks for reading and the support

Friday, November 19, 2010

Check in

Found a small problem with the bike it is being fixed now and then check in. It is awesome being here.

Location:N Mill Ave,Tempe,United States

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tracking Info Update and final race prep

Update for the tracking link - This is specifically for me:

Browswer and Iphones go here:

Handheld PDA and Blackberry/Palm go here

The race is 4 days out and putting the finishing touches on any race prep. I contacted the owner of Maplewood Bike (best bike shop in St. Louis in my opinion) and he got back to me immediately. Stewart used to be a very accomplished mountain bike racer so he understands pre race psychosis. I asked in "if you were doing the biggest race of your life this weekend, which of your bike techs would you want to look at your bike" He told me Jim and that Jim puts the hyphen in anal-retentive. That is good news because I know Jim and he built my bike in the first place. I picked it up last night and after checking everything, replacing the chain and some adjustments it is ready to go.

Today is pre packing all of my special needs and T1 bags so I don't have to spend all day Saturday doing it. Today is taking my bike apart and marking everything so when I put it back together it is exactly as it is now. For those of you that have never done this, being on a bike for 6 plus hours is (by itself) difficult. It is critical that you bike balances your body's ability to produce power while at the same time being comfortable. The more "aggressive" your layout on the bike the faster the setup but also the more uncomfortable. The more "conservative" your layout, the more wind resistance but more comfortable. I have had my bike fitted by maplewood early in the year using the Retul system to find that balance as scientifically as possible so it is very important I get everything exactly as it is now. Even the difference of an inch in a critcal area can turn a great day into a much more difficult one. Soo... that is what I will be doing today.

This will probably be my last big post before the race. I will be sending smaller ones via my phone with some video and pics throughout Saturday.

Lastly I want to thank everyone that contributed with thoughts, posts, emails, well wishes to the Olney's, financially, and even the silent prayers. The support in all aspects have been felt and personally I want to thank you. My last count I estimate that over 50 people will be tracking me the day of the race and those are only the ones that I know about. Although I will be the one where the "rubber meets the road" this has truly been a team effort. From my management team at Acropolis understanding the couple of times that I have had to leave a bit early or come in a bit late to get a key cycle of training in or just random people that have asked and wished me well. I know it is just polite conversation for most but really makes a big difference.

Lastly, Lastly I want to send a note to my kids when they read this one day. KGB, you will not remember this years from now but I will never forget it. We were watching the IRONMAN world championships one night and they were showing the people melting down being carried away on stretchers and as jazzed as I was for the challenge I looked down at you and you were crying. When I asked you why you looked up at me and said you didn't want to see me get hurt. That day I decided to not skip a workout, to do everything in my power to prepare the best that I could because I don't know what I would do if I saw the look on your face if that was me. Kathryn, I have prepared and now what happens happens.

NBB, you telling me that one day you want to do an Ironman with me is enough. No I am not going to win as you hope....but if the day comes that you want to do one of these, I will train with you and if my body is able (please don't wait too long) you have a training partner. I you wait until you are 40 like I have, I will definatley support you just as you have supported me.

What I want both of you to know is that the random pictures wishing me luck that I find that you have drawn me the night before a really long or really tough workout have inspired me. Walking in the back door from a 15 mile run and KGB meeting me with a glass of water has meant more than you know. However, one of the best pictures that I found that I don't think was even meant for me to see that says "my dad can do anything" with a picture of a stick figure swimming, biking and running is the one that I will have in my head in the toughest hours. I have wondered if the time away from the family these past 2 years has been worth the short term sacrifice for long term lesson and only time will tell that. However, so far, it looks like my kids have gotten the message during these impressionable years that 1) they can do anything with enough will and focus 2) you have to have the support and help of others to accomplish worthwhile things 3) Nerves are your mind's way of preparing for a challenge.

That is all for the mushy stuff and thanks for allowing my message in this semi public forum.

The time to get serious us upon me.... It is gametime!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I work with some of the coolest people

Brad takes me out of the office today only to come back to this!!! I truly was speechless. The company decorated the office and catered lunch in! I am truly honored.

- read about my inspiration Deborah ...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Real time tracking during the race.

At the risk of even adding more pressure I have rented a device that will allow my family (and all of you) to track me during the race if you want. It is a GPS device that I will wear during the bike and run (no swim) that will allow real time tracking, current speed, elevation etc... during the race.

The address is here and if you click on Ironman Arizona my name should appear once I get my device. My buddy Mike Montoya is getting one also so track and send him good MoJo as well. Just as a heads up, if they have a beta site like they did for IM Florida it will not work on the Iphone or Ipad. You will need a device that recognizes flash or you will have to go to their regular site on the Iphone. Here is a screenshot of a random race I picked at the New York Marathon. I will say if you have a computer, the BETA site is much much better but both are very good. If you want to see what my pace has been throughout the race click on the history check box on the left hand side. The speed it shows is in MPH rounded to the nearest whole MPH. This is okay on the bike but the run it isn't great. The Beta site looks like it gives much better statistics.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

T-Minus 12 Days

Good Morning, I hope this finds you all well.

First, I want to thank all of the well wishers who have sent email, phone calls, notes of encouragement. One of the greatest things about triathlon and the community as a whole is that we all pull for each other. There have been triathletes that I have only spoken to a few times send me email of enocuragement and it means a lot. Thanks

My taper is on track. I did miss a run last week just due to really bad scheduling on my part. It was only a 45 minute run so it will not be a blip of an impact in the large scheme of things. I had a 4 hour brick on Sunday (3 hour ride at race pace and a quick transition to a 7 mile run). The cycling portion went perfect and as planned, high energy, very low stress and all of my numbers were as expected. However, I transitioned to the run and I immediately started cramping in my stomach. At the risk of being too graphic, it was like my insides liquified and it was bad. I had to make 4 "emergency" stops on my run and when I was able to run my stomach was cramping horribly. I have never had this happen so I am marking it up as an abnormality and moving past it. I can only pin it on 1/2 things: 1) We went out for KGB's birthday the night before and I ate some foods that I don't typically eat or 2) my speedfill waterbottle has a long drink tube. The speedfill holds 40 oz of fluid and has a long drink tube that snakes up through my aero bars so I can drink while riding without having to change positions. I started my ride only to realize that I cleaned my bottle but not the drink tube so it sat in my garage since my last ride. I very well might have ingested some bad stuff that took the entire bike ride to affect me. I WILL NEVER MAKE THAT MISTAKE AGAIN! I am still not 100% but with a week 1/2 half out I will be fine. Unless I am missing something, the only things that will threaten my finish is a mechanical break down on the bike or severe problems like I had on Sunday. It was pretty debilitating. I guess the good news is that when I was able to run I was able to easily maintain my pace.

I picked up my bike coffin travel case last night from the Tri-Club for me to use with the only stipulation is that I have to put an IRONMAN ARIZONA sticker on it when I finish. This case will make it much easier to travel with my bike and keep my ride much safer that the flat style of case.

This week I am going to be out of town for two days in Phoenix for work. Come home late Friday, pack and go back out for Ironman next Thursday. It is getting close.

Lastly, I know that I posted about water temperatures and the concern that it may be cold since Tempe Town Lake Dam burst in the summer and they had to fix it, and refill it from Lake Roosevelt at a higher elevation. That will not be a problem. There is a fellow Triathlete that has taken it on himself to measure the water temp ever few days and post it online. He isn't even doing the race! See what I mean about triathletes! It is a great group. Last readings the water temp was 70 degress and will probably be in the 66ish range come race time - Perfect. The long range forecast for Tempe has the lows at 53 and the highs of 75ish. It will actually be a bit warm but with low himidity it will be nice. It is shaping up to be a great day!

Now to finish with a quote from one of the tri and Ironman Doug Bristow. I actually met Doug last year at the local pool. He was swimming in the lane next to me and I was trying on my wetsuit for the first time. I asked him to help me fix the collar and it came out that he was training for his first IM - Ironman Louisville. He sent me a message yesterday and after I asked him for any last minute advice this is what he said: "I thought to myself during the race....swim like your warming up, bike like your bored and run like your obsessed" Now if I only have the mental control to do it.

Thanks for the support. I will post more when I get back from my trip!


Friday, November 5, 2010

Transition, Special Needs, Morning Clothes bags defined

Good Morning,

First I want to give a special thanks to my buddy and Ironman Veteran Mike Montoya. He talked to me for about an hour last night telling me all that I need to know regarding equipment managment for the race. Keeping in mind I can be out there on the course for as much as 17 hours with no help (other than what the race provides) it take a bit of thought to figure out what you might need race day.

So, aside from nutrion (a totally seperate topic itself) I am going to recap some of the great tips that Mike gave me and share them with you.

First off, the day before the race. There are going to be 2,000 people doing this event so all of the checkin has to be done on Saturday before the race. On Saturday you have to rack you bike and drop of the following:

- What is already on the bike
- Transition 1 (T1) from swim to the bike
- Transition 2 (T2) from the bike to the run
- Morning Clothes bag
- Bike Special Needs Bag
- Run Special Needs Bag

I will describe them in the order that I will use them. The first bag is Morning Clothes. I had no idea such a bag existed until I volunteered last year. In the morning befor ethe swim the temperatures will be in the 40's most probably. It will be dark and it will be cold. We will have to go down to the swim and be in the water probably 15 to 20 minutes til 7:00am. Once I get my wetsuit on (or even before) I will have on a sweatshirt, flipflops, probably a hat etc... and right before I get in the water I have to put this "stuff" somewhere and that is where the morning clothes bags come in. Every bag is marked with a race number. I take my stuff, put in this bag and hand it to a "morning clothes" volunteer and get in the water.

Already on the Bike:
- Bike Computer
- my 40 ounce speedfill with my sports drink
- 2-24 ounce bottles - 1 with sports drink, the other with water
- My bento box (think a little box that I can access while riding) a nutriion bottle filled with salt capsules
- 2- Co2 Cannisters and adapter (in case of a flat)
- 1 - tightly taped and wrapped tubular tire
- Vittoria pit stop fix a flat taped to my bike somewhere (or I will carry it in my bike jersey)

T1: Because there are 2,000 funneling into and out of transition there is no way Transition can be handled like a typical triathlon, there is just not enough room. So, what the smart people at Ironman have done is require us to put everything in a T1 bag. As we exit the water and enter transition area, all of the bags will be sorted and either on racks on on the ground. As swimmers enter transition, volunteers hand you the bag and you run into the transition tent. It is my understanding that if it is not too busy, a volunteer will help you by dumping all of your stuff out of the bag at your feet, you grab what you need, the volunteer (or you) put you swim stuff in the bag along with anything else you do not want to take on the 112 mile bike ride. You leave the tent, jump on your bike and go.

Here is what I am putting in my T1 Bag:
- Bike Helmet
- Socks
- Cycling Shoes
- Cycling Gloves
- Arm sleeves for the bike (for the cold morning)
- Sun Glasses
- Race Belt
- Bike Shorts
- Cycling Jersey
- 5 bottles of liquid nutrition
- 1 bottle of tire sealant
- GPS tracking device (more on that in a future post)
One thing that I read that I am going to do is put hand warmers in my cycling shoes if I can so that when I put my cold feet into the shoes they will be at least a little warm. I have heard horror stories that it takes many many miles before your feet warm up. I would like to avoid that if possible

Bike Special Needs: A special nees bag is just that. It is a contingency bag in case something goes wrong or you can't carry everything that you need. You get one chance to access your special needs bag half way through the bike. There are volunteers at the spot with spotters. As you approach you announce you are stopping, they call out your number. A volunteer grabs your bag with your racer number on it, you get what you need, leave what you don't and head out. Total time at special needs should be less than a minute.

Here is what I am going to pack in mine:
- Skin Lubricant
- Sun Screen
- Extra Tubular Tire
- Extra CO2 cannisters
- Extra bottle of nutrion

T2: Transition between bike and Run: This works just like T1 and this is what I plan on packing:
- Running Shoes
- Fresh Socks
- Run Watch for pacing and time
- Skin Lubricant for my feet
- Sun Screen
- More Salt tabs
- Fuel Belt so I can carry water and nutrition with me

Lastly is my Run Special needs bag. I will be able to access this halfway through the run:
- More nutrition for my fuel belt
- Skin Lube
- Arm warmers (for after dark)

That is about it. I am sure I will add to this as the race approaches. Mike gave me some great advice last night and recommended that I pre-pack all of this up at home prior to travelling to Tempe. The reason being, I will have plenty of time to think about it now vs. Saturday before the race when it will be the most stressful. This was great advice. Then when I check in and get all of the bags above, I just fill them with the predescribed contents and go.

That is the plan, Mike, if you read this what am I missing???

Have a great day


Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Good Morning

This post is a little different than most. My training is going to get pretty boring (for both of us) from here on out so I figured I would change it up a little bit. For those of you that run/bike/swim/golf/etc... and compete (against your own PR or others) you will totally understand. For those of you that don't in adult life I challenge you to pick an event and Go For It! You will quickly understand why.

Most of us competed in sports as a kid or in high school and although that touches on the feeling that I am going to attempt to describe, in my opinion, it doesn't do it justice. I don't know if it is because as a kid, I didn't appreciate it or fitness was a part of everyday through practice so it was less of a goal? Whatever the reason, competing (against myself) as an adult is really a big part as to what drives this silly behavor. Very few times in adult life have I been presented with an opporutnity to measure progress towards a goal. I have work but there are very few, very clearly defined thresholds of success. We look at numbers all of the time or we can look at a large sale but success is more "fuzzy" than a race so it isn't quite the same.

Specifically for triathlon, it isn't somethin you can cram for (like many other tests I have taken). You put in the time and when race day comes your body just does what you have been training it to do. I have to monitor what is going on and constantly adapt to changing conditions but you put the time in and all should go well. If things outside of your control change you deal with them but there really isn't much more to it than that.

Now race day is a special time, especially for the really personally stretching events. What I mean by that is any event that is a first time event. If you just starting running it may be your first 5K or if you are new to triathlons it could be your first sprint distance or first open water swim. Whatever the event, if it is a goal the feelings are the same for me. I am going to feel the exact same butterflies on the 21st that I felt the first Calcutta golf tournament I played in or my first running race or my first open water swim.... To my mind, a challenge is a challenge.

Currently, the race is starting to morph from something in the distance to something much much closer. With that said, I am starting to think of the details, devloping race plans, looking at the weather and what I am going to wear to be most comfortable and of course, looking at and planning for contingencies. Once it gets to a week out I will really start to get nervy. Rene will avoid me :-) and remind me not to be grouchy. As each day passes, the race will move from a tertiary thought to all consuming culminating when I am in the water waiting for the cannon to sound starting the race. Once I get to Tempe with the other participants (I still can't call myself and athlete) and knowing that they are going through the same mental checklists, the wondering if they have done enough, wondering if they will respond to the challenge. The best part, everyone is nice, everyone understands, everyone is borderline sick to their stomach, everyone is sharing the experience and wish the best for everyone else.

So the morning of the race, the nervousness shifts to focus. Every race begins with the Star Spangled Banner. My pics to the right, it shows my buddy Mike and I getting ready to start my first 1/2IM and I remember a focus coming over me, IMAZ will be no different and I am really looking forward to it.

During the race itself, you have people that are quiet, chatty, struggling or even almost euphoric and I respond in kind. When you see someone struggling, you encourage and tell them to run with you and help them overcome. I encourage everyone because I know how big of a deal it is when you have hit the wall and you feel like hell and a complete stranger comes by and basically says "we will get through this, come with me". I guess to sum it up, I have included a link to the video of the swim start at last year's Ironman Arizona. I have been to a lot of fantastic sporting events, I have been fortunate enough to see a SuperBowl, the clincher when the Cardinals won the World Series against Detroit and many other events and I can say, I HAVE NEVER seen a more spectacular event than the IRONMAN swim start.

Enjoy the video here

Now, if you wonder why and are looking for inspiration, I have included two more vidoes for you to view. The first is what inpsires me and I hope I have what it takes. You can watch it by clicking here.

The second video is geared to inspire all of you. It will bring tears to your eyes and if you have ever been scared of failure or to try, keep the Hoyts in mind. You can do anything you put your mind to do. You may not do it the first time or even the second but if you want it bad enough, there is nothing you can't do. Click here

The last thing I will leave you with is set a goal and follow where it takes you. You just may surprise yourself with where you end up.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Bib number 1077

T-Minus 20 days and counting.

We received our bib numbers today. Mine is 1077, Mike M is 1093 and Justen D is 1088 They will rack our bikes in transition according to Bib numbers so when you think of 2,000 athletes doing this even and the total span between the three of us is 16 spots that is pretty amazing. I will be a lot slower than both of those guys so I won't see them during the day but will before the race.

My light week of training is over and I needed it. I was feeling fatigued all the way through Friday of last week. I was able to get all of my workouts in and my bikes are going to have to shift to indoors with the days getting shorter. Today is a pretty solid week of medium distance aerobic efforts. I have a swim tomorrow with a 9ish mile run. Tomorrow is KGB's birthday so I will have to get it in before we have people over or after she goes to bed. I ran with Lee Brousseau yesterday. He is a professional MMA fighter that we have become friends with over the last several months. He is one of the mellowist guys I have met. Hard to believe he fights as a hobby. He has a fight coming up at the Scottrade center in 5 weeks and is working on his cardio. He has to hate me, I asked him 1,000 questions about MMA and it is funny how the two sports parallel (except for punching of course). Speed, Power, Endurance and the balance between the three applies to both sports. It was interesting to see how he balances the three in what he does and compare it to what I am doing in Triathlon.

I have a full week again of 13 +/- hours of training with my load decreasing for the next 20 days. I am starting to shift my focus what I am going to pack and take with me.

All for now


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Back at it! T-Minus 26 days and counting!

Happy Tuesday and I hope this finds you well.

I have had 3 days off of doing nothing but recovery following my "Big Day" and to be honest, it is time to get back at it. I can't remember the last time I had 3 days off and I am glad it is over! I was able to actually be around the house and spend time with the family which was great. We still had a very busy weekend but no more than usual and we were able to take things as they came vs. having to schedule every waking moment like we have been doing. The good news is that my shoulder feels great with zero pain and I will swim tonight. That will be the test. My lower back is still a little sore in the morning but loosens up as the day goes on. I have a run tonight. The fact that my back didn't bother me much on the big day is a good sign but time will tell.

Nothing much more to report other than a lighter recovery week this week, then a heavy week working down in distance but staying up in intensity during the taper. The weather watch has begun for Tempe trying to figure out what the weather is going to be like. Last year on the 21st it was a low in the upper 40's over night with it warming to the mid 70's peaking at around 2pm then a slow cool into the evening. Just about perfect race conditions with low humidity. Last year when I volunteered I remember it being a little warm mid day but I will be on the bike during that portion so the breeze will make it fine.

Have a great rest of the week!


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Big Day Number 2 is in the books

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. I know most of you have read about the "Big Day" and its dual purpose of just a killer peak workout while at the same time being the closest thing to an IRONMAN race simulation available. The idea of the Big Day came from Joe Friel, the author of the Triathlon Training Bible and whose methods are where much of my training is started. You can read a great description here .

Anyway, my first Big Day went very well and to be honest, I thought I was being pretty conservative. The first go around was a month ago and the weather was horrible, chilly and rainy for the bike. I was able to push 160 Watts on the bike and that is comfortably in my "endurance" range. I then went on my run and pushed the run harder than what Coach Jennifer at TriSmart wanted me to but I was able to hold the run pace for the entire two hours. Following several emails and some conversations with Jennifer, we thought that the first Big Day was solid and set a base line tempo that we both felt comfortable with and that I could use on race day. After some conversation, we decided that this time I was going to push the bike harder and see if my results on my run remained solid. If I push the bike and can't hold my run pace that is very telling. If I push the bike and have an equal run, I can change my race plan and push the bike watts per my second big day.

This workout has to get in this weekend or I miss it entirely. The intensity is such that it has to fall immediately before a recovery week (next week) and my builds, recovery, and taper weeks are all scheduled so that I peak the week of IMAZ so get Big Day 2 in this weekend or don't do it at all. Now, for those of you that know me I have OCD about certain thing and the culmination of 2 years of training and a lifetime goal falls into one of those categories. The day of the race will come and many many many things I will not be able to control, however, I want to take as much guess work out of the day as possible so that I can focus on suprises that are bound to arise. Pacing is one of the biggies so looking at the forecast for this weekend being windy and rainy (it is clear as a bell BTW right now) I decided to take a PTO day off work and do my Big Day on Friday and that is what I did.

So, Thursday night I had a short 45 minute run. I ran for about 2 minutes on the treadmill and had to stop because my back hurt so bad. I could have pushed through but I thought it was more important to rest and HOPEFULLY improve enought that I could get my Friday workout in. Same went for my shoulder, take it easy, it was getting better so do nothing on Thursday and give everything one more day of rest.

I was up early, went to the pool with many many old people and got my one hour swim in relatively pain free. My shoulder wasn't 100% but it cooperated enough that it didn't get any worse. I swam slighly off my goal pace but that was expected. It was a much better swim that what it could have been. Jennifer and I decided going in that if my back or shoulder didn't workout I would "bag" the swim and move on. Fortunately, I didn't have to do that.

The Bike:
I was on the bike right on time at 9:00am and once I got out of town I pushed up my watts and rode. It was pretty windy but not horrible. At some moments I was 24MPH and others I was at 15, that is just how it goes but the good news was that I was between 170 and 175 watts the entire time. My legs were feeling fatigued but they should at 90 miles. My avg speed was a little over 18MPH which is good, I would be super pleased if I could get that to 18.5 on race day but that is up to the conditions of the day. I got home, called Rene and told her I was off the bike (she worries on the long rides). Rested per the "Big Day" rules then headed out on the run.

The Run:
I started my run conservatively but to my amazement I really had to focus on pulling back on my pace at the beginning. My legs felt surprisingly good and for the first 1/4 mile I was running sub 8 min miles ~ WAY TO FAST ~ so I pulled back and settled in at my goal pace of 9:00 m/m. This time I took my fuel belt with one flast of EFS nutrition mixed with water and 3 flasks of water (last time I ran out). Again, part of the big day is to learn what works and learn from what doesn't and this day was no exception. I then focused on keeping my pace in the 9:00 m/m range. Here are my run splits:

As you can see, my splits are dead on with no degradation over time which was the fear. Jennifer and I still need to review everything but it looks like Big Day two was a success.

Just a general note about the Big Day workouts, THEY ARE TOUGH and to date they are as hard as my 1/2 Ironmen that I have done. As hard as these are, it is difficult for me to fathom how hard the race will be. I will be biking for another 1-2 hours and then running for another 2-3 hours more than yesterday. It will be punishing but all worth it in the end.

Today I am resting - sort of - and I feel amazingly well. I had a muscle cramp in my lower shoulder all day until I went to bed, woke up this morning and it was gone. Yeah.... My back is sore but doing much better and so is my shoulder. Maybe all that I needed was a tough day on the road.

I will probably take it easy tomorrow as well but next week is a lighter training week maintaining fitness and lowering stress... Time to walk the fine line.

All for now, have a great weekend! I think I will even have a beer or two at supper tonight!

Take care


Thursday, October 21, 2010

My back and shoulder are still wrecked

Good Morning,

I rarely post two days in a row but aside from my knee issues well in the past I have not had to deal with many injuries. I had a 2 hour bike ride that went fine last night, no pain and just a good ride. Used the stem unit on my shoulder and was in bed by 9:15 following Parent/Teacher conferences at KGB and NBB's school (great reports by the way). I slept pretty good. I have a meeting tonight with at our office so I didn't go in at my normal 6:00am but instead I got to sleep in a bit, see the kids this morning before I left for work and was able to come in at 8:00am.

Now to the problems. I woke up this morning and had a hard time getting out of bed due to my lower back. My shoulder is improving but not good enough for my scheduled swim at noon today so I am going to bag it. However my back is still a mess. It has been loosening up now that I am moving around but if it doesn't show a marked improvement by mid morning I am going to try to get in for a treatment. It is a bit worrisome because I don't have a lot of swims on the schedule and just with my 1 hour swim last Sunday I could tell my form is slipping just from lack of practice, however, I CAN NOT afford an injury now so it is that balance of pain/training/and preperation. I can deal with a little pain as long as I am confident it will go away in fairly short order. I am not sure what is causing it but suspect it is swimming because I actually "arch" my back to keep my core and legs high in the water and now that this has become normal for me I think it is adding stress.

As I previously posted, I have my second "Big Day" this weekend and the forecast is calling for rain Saturday and Sunday. As much as I hate hate hate to do it I may need to take a PTO day tomorrow to get it in before the weather turns bad. Part of me is thankful that I am part of such a great team at work that makes great decisions in my absence, however, we have so much going on that I want to be here. So it is balancing being out of the office tomorrow vs. this one very important training day peak of a two year build. This too all assumes that my back and shoulder are physically up to it. I need to push but intelligently push.

Anyway, my purpose was not to vent but more to capture where I am at for later review.

All for now, have a great Thursday


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Back and Shoulder problems - Great!

Good morning all, I hope this finds you well rested!

I am a little tired on this Wednesday morning. I had an 8 mile run last night that went great. It was a tempo run so it was designed to be faster than normal and with the cool temperatures it was great. I was able to keep my heart rate down but was running fast for me in the 8:00 - 8:30 minute per mile range comfortably. I woke up yesterday with a sore right shoulder, fortuantely I don't have another swim until tomorrow and my hope is that it will improve in time for me to swim. If not, I will skip the swim and keep using the stem unit on the shoulder hoping for improvement. My lower back is giving me problems again. I tell myself these aches and pains are just part of the deal. I can't trace either one of them back to one acute instance so it is frustrating that they crop up. Oh well, I have dealt with them in the past and will continue to deal with them.

I have my second "Big Day" race simulation this Sunday consisting of a 3,000 yard swim, 90+/- miles on the bike followed by a 13-15 mile run. This will be done over a 10 hour period. I really hope my soreness is gone by then. The seoncd time doing this workout I am going to test the upper limits of what I can do aerobically over a long period of time on the bike. The first time around 4 weeks ago the weather was bad, cold, and rainy for the bike portion so I didn't really hammer the bike. Coupled with the fact that I am an idiot and my rear brake rubbed the entire time didn't help things either. This time I am going to increase my average watts on the bike and see if I can match my run pace as the first time I did this workout. If I can, I will know I can go slightly harder on the bike and not "blow up" on the run. If I have a horrible run, I will know that my pacing the first time around is probably best. If I am sore or not healthy going in, comparing the two workouts will be tough.

Just as a side note - We got our Southwest notification that our trip is around the corner (actually a month away). Most of my hard work and training is done. I have built a good base, now my training is going to shift from build to maintain and peak. Tempe Town lake is now full of water, hopefully some really hot days in the Phoenix area will warm it up a bit but if not, I will deal with it. I am getting excited thinking about the day while at the same time wanting to puke.

I took my bike in for a tune up giving me time to log some miles first. I started putting my check list together for my special needs bag and have begun working on my race plan with my coach. She has to hate me and dealing with the engineer in me. I the triathlon equivalent of planning the exact spot that a gernade is going to land. We are talking about a 12-17 hour event and I am planning each section like I can control it - when I know I can't. Too funny

All for now, I have to video chat with my kids over breakfast....

have a great week

Monday, October 18, 2010

Did you know Combines move at 21 miles per hour?

I didn't either until yesterday, more on that in a bit. Yesterday I had a 3 hour interval ride as described below:

Cruise intervals. Warm up for one hour, Zones 1 and 2. Then perform 5 intervals of 10 minutes in zone 4-5a. Recover 3 minutes between intervals with easy spining. Finish the ride by trying to hold your Ironman goal race pace for the last 30 minutes of the ride. Cool down.

Now zone 4-5a is about 85-90% effort for 10 minutes. This was a challenging but good workout. The weather was beautiful and the trails were packed. There was a cyclist that had to think I was messing with him. Many times on the trail there is way too much "machismo" especially with the cyclists. Well yesterday was no excpetion. I was riding intervals so my speed would fluctuate between 22-24 mph down to 16-17 between intervals. I happend to come up on a cyclist that was riding in the 20 mph range so I would catch him in my 10 minutes interval and then I would slow down, he would catch me. A few minutes go by and I would fly past him again. Finally after doing this about three times we both happened to be stopped at the same light. After a brief conversation I told him I wasn't messing with him, I was doing 10 minute intervals so forgive me for looking like a cycling idiot on the trails. He acknowledged that it was weird and he appreciated me telling him. Wished each other a good day and we were off again. He must have turned off on another trail because I didn't see him anymore that day.

The only other highlight was that I almost got hit by a car that was going way too fast (50ish in a 30). I am alway cautios at interstections when on the road and when roads cross the trails. Yesterday I was coming up on a very lightly traveled road that crossed the trail ( I don't think I have ever seen a car on this road) but I slowed down, sat up, covered my brakes and as I was appoaching the cross street a young girl comes flying up the hill from my right. I looked left and didn't see any cars coming so I braked and turned left at the street into what would be the "on coming" lane. She locked up her brakes and fortuantely held her side of the road in the far lane. I shook my head, told her to slow down before she killed someone (sounding just like my Dad by the way) and continued on. Just reinforcing the fact of how careful you have to be when cars are around.

Now to the combine. The last 30 minutes of my ride are on Moreland road back to my house. It ia great road to ride on with smooth sholders, 2 lanes and not a lot of traffic. It is out in the country with a muny airport and farms all around. This is typically the first and last 30 minutes of every ride. With my intervals my last 30 minutes was race pace. I was feeling really good so I was pushing pretty hard. On an incline section I was passed by a combine that was travelling between fields.

This is what I learned about combines:
1) They are quiet until they pass you, then they are loud
2) I think they drive on the road to clean the corn stalks off of them. He was shedding like a long haired dog in August
3) They move about 23 miles per hour
4) They cut a HUGE hole in the wind, perfect for drafting

I was able to ride in the draft of the combine for about 10 minutes. As I was sitting at the light, my buddy Rick and his wife pulled up along side of me and obviously seen what I was doing and yelled something to the effect of how my race was going with the combine. I couldn't catch it all because I had my headphones in but it was something like that.

This week is a 16 hour training week with 8 my second 8 hour training day coming on Sunday. This is the last of build two so with the race being 34 days out I will have one more build span and then taper focusing on being "race ready" if such state exists. Almost to the home stretch. The goal here is to hit that majical "peak" so that those days fall on race week. The balance between intensity and rest is always a tough one. With increased intensity fitness increases but so does stress making me less race ready. However, too much rest costs fitness that obviously is needed on race day. The balance is always a tough one but fortunately Coach Jen at TriSmart has done a great job with me in the past on the tapers and I am planning on the same happening here. She has a lot of experience, I just need to trust my training and do as she says.

All for now... Have a great week...


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ooops,I messed up my alarm, what am I 10 years old?!?!?

Last week was a solid week of training for me. I was able to get everything in injury free and I was even able to get a question posted and answered on Joe Friel's blog (the owner of training peaks, WKO software, and author of the Triathlete Training Bible

This weekend I had an all day planning meeting for my church so with the exception of an hour swim there was no time for training on Saturday. Sunday there was an organized Century ride that my buddy Don was going to ride a portion of it with me. The plans were to meet in Alton at 6:30 so he could drop off his car, drive over to St. Charles together and begin the ride by 7:30. Alton was the 60ish mile point, he would stop there and make his pre scheduled plans that he had and I would finish the remaining 40 or so miles. After our busy Saturday and after the kids were in bed I readied my bike and clothes. Since this was an organized ride, I didn't need near the amount of nutrition and drinks just because they had stops about every 20 miles with a box lunch mid way. 100 mile rides are always challenging because of all of the stuff that you have to carry to get through it. I was really looking forward to this ride so I set my alarm for 5:30 am and went to bed.

The next thing I remember was waking up, looking at my alarm clock and seeing it was 7:10!?!?!?!?!? I jumped out of bed as mad as I have been in a long time. Went to my phone and saw several messages, texts, smoke signals etc... from Don wondering where the heck I was at. I called him immediately and decided to stay local since we had to be riding by 7:30. There was no way we could have made it. So in the time it took Don to drive from Alton to my house I started packing nutrition, mixing sport drink and getting my bike down off the car. He was really cool about it but I was so mad at myself. I totally derailed not only my day and my plan but now his too.

It actually probably worked out better because Don was going to muscle through it with an injury. He went to Casltewood State Park on Friday afternoon and crashed pretty bad on his mountain bike. Cut his knee open, blunt force trauma and generally just got beat up pretty bad so he was already hurting.

We rode together for an hour and he turned around and rode back. I stayed out riding the trail system (I think I covered almost all of it - see below) to get my 100 miles in. The good news is that in my 5;45 minute ride I was able to push about 10 more watts of power on average than I did on my "Big Day" workout two weeks ago and I felt pretty good. I am still getting used to my new setup on my bike (about 2 months old now) on the longer rides but all things considered it was a solid ride.

This week I am hoping the write up in the Business Journal is printed but we will see.

All for now, have a great week


Friday, October 8, 2010

Muscle Activation Therapy

Good Morning

Let me start by saying I am very very leary of snake oil salesman. I was never a huge fan of chiropractors, muscle stimulation, massages etc... At the risk of sounding like a total psychopath I don't like people touching me. Now, not the extent of Howie Mandell or anything, I just think the whole massage thing is weird and when I have tried it, it has never been the relaxing "ZEN" type experience that they are tyring to sell you. I tell you this only to frame my post.

As I have posted this week, I had a very very long run on Tuesday night and through my own stupidity pushed harder than I probably should have. I have a 2 hour hill ride tonight, a long swim tomorrow and a 100 mile ride on Sunday so this is probably not the week to hurt myself. When my back was bothering me a few weeks back I was so desperate to get over it, I went for a massage but fortunatley, the random person that they gave me was an expert in something called Muscle Activation Therapy or MAT for short. Unlike a typical deep tissue message that focuses on shutting the muscles off through pressure and often times pain, the theory (as I understand it) of MAT is to actually figure out what muscles are not receiving signals from the brain correctly and through very acute pinpoint message "reactivate" those connectsions. The best way that I can explain it is like this:

- Between you knee and your hip you have over 13 different muscles controlling movement. If you would have asked me a week ago I would have said, you have your hamstring and your quads and although these are the largest "groups) that typically do most of the work there are many more subtle muscles that serve a very specific purpose. Through many different vehicles (exercise, fatigue, lack of exercise, stiffness, limitations in motion, injury etc....) Signals from your brain to muscle groups can in effect be shut off thus shifting the work that is typically done by these muscles to other muscles. In shorter distanct efforts you may see this in a break down of technique, or loss of speed etc... however, in endurance efforts and in me specifically it manifests itself as very acute soreness, cramping, overuse, loss of range of motion etc... For me, I actually feel my left leg get tight and if bad enough I actually have a slight limp or change in my running gate. Multiply this times the number of steps or pedals or swim strokes and it becomes a compounding problem. I sent in very skeptical!!!!! But I was desperate. If someone would have told me that I had to stand on one leg and cluck like a duck I would have tried it with a "zen" type massage being a close second.

After yesterday, I am a convert. Following my back treatment, I felt better almost immediately. It was apparant after one session my range of motion got significantly better in the areas that were treated. Following my long run, I knew my week was not going to get any easier and I had already put myself in a compromised position so I went in for a second appointment prior to another run.

Let me tell you, for the first time in a very very long time I was able to run without a change in gate on my left side. Before I left the therapist's office I could tell immediately my range of motion in my left leg improved. If you have read my posts I have always complained of left knee problems. Her theory (and probably on going project) is that my knee is unstable because my brain is not telling all of my muslces to "activate". Over a period of time, the inactive muscles get weak causing even more instability.

The therapy session itself is very straight forward. The therapist puts you in a position and asks you to "resist" the force that she applies so she can see if the muscles are active. If they are active, the force is "smooth" (my words not hers). If the muscles are inactive the response feels "jerky" (again me not her) because other muscles have to compensate for the inactive one and are not as efficient at movement in that specific position and must compensate. Once she determines what muscle is inactive, through message, she reactivates the muscles to brain connection and retests. THE STRANGEIST THING ABOUT THIS PROCESS IS YOU CAN IMMEDIATELY TELL THE DIFFERENCE BEFORE AND AFTER. The activation is called palpation. It is really stange feeling a "jerky" response and then immediately feel a "smooth" response when doing the exact same motion that was done a few minutes before.

My run last night:

I didn't know what to expect. I had a 6 mile tempo run and I was still sore eventhough I had greater range of motion. I could tell immediately that I didn't have my normal slight limp or change in gate on my left side. I had no discomfort at all in my left knee and I just felt like I was using more of my left leg than before with no signs of favoring it.


It may be all in my head but as skeptical as I was going in I highly doubt it. Anyway, my theapists name was Rachel Durnell at The Root of Motion. Her phone number is 314-623-7365 and web site is and the link is below. If you are having exercise related issues, she is worth talking to.

More to come...


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Long night last night - decoupling defined.....UGH

Training is really amping up now. I know I have written that several times but each time I have written or made that comment the current training has been either A) longer or B) more intense than in the past. This week is no excpetion.

I am in what is call "build 2". There are a total of 3 builds over a 12 week span. I will hve three weeks of intense training in each of the three "build" phases seperated by a rest week in between each build. The purpose of each build phase is to increase intensity and duration to get me both mentally and physically ready for the race.

My workout last night was as follows:
Duration: - 2:15 - Tempo finish. The first part of this run is warm-up in heart rate 1-2 zones. Increase the pace of your last 30 minutes to race pace (Zone 3-4)

I had the best of intentions. The night was cool and I was about 2 miles into my run when I crossed paths with Rick. I joined him in his run and that always equals (increase of pace). I hate to slow him down but do like running with someone so I ran faster than what I should have. We proceeded to run the next 4 - 5 miles together. He peeled off at my 1 hour:10 minute mark. I still had another hour to go. I hadn't eaten supper becaues I can't eat right before I run. I didn't take any nutrition (gu gels) and only 10 oz of water. I held my pace for as long as I could. By the time the run was over, I was hurting. I basically ran zone 3-4 with a lot of zone 4 for the entire half marathon plus.

Below you will see a graph of my run. The red line is my heart rate (see it creeping up and to the right). The blue line is pace (see it going down and to the right) The fact that my heart rate and pace are getting farther apart as the run continues is called "decoupling" and is a sign that I pushed too hard. Ideally my heart rate should stay relatively flat compared to my pace. If both lines are flat, decoupling rate is 1%. Anything less than 5% is considered very good. Mine on this run was 11%. I can't get it through my thick skull that pushing at the beginning compounds in the end. This is as much a blog entry for me reminding me not to do anything stupid as it is for you.

Tonight I have another 1 hour run that I am going to take it relativly easy on. I a hill climb bike ride that there is just no way I can do tonight due to time constraints and physically.

All for now....


Monday, October 4, 2010


I am closing the pool this week due to the leaves. I shut the heater off yesterday and with the water temp now 68 degrees I figured it would be the perfect time to test my swim socks and neoprene cap. Since I have never swam with these before it is important to try them out for fit and to makes sure I don't get claustrophobic or the rub etc.... Race day the water temp in Tempe town lake will be upper 50s / lower 60s and If the water is that cold I will be using both to keep my head and feet kinda warm.

The swim went well. No issues. One more thing that I get to check off the prep list for race day. Other than looking like a scooby snack in my rubber suit all is good. read about my inspiration Deborah ...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Photo shoot, sore back and 5,400 lbs of savings!

Good Morning all!

I have my "photo shoot" today for their business / athlete section of the St. Louis Business Journal(sounds funny doesn't it) because I am the farthest thing from from being a supermodel. The good news is that he wants to photograph me swimming so that should make the photo sufficiently fuzzy enough to be okay. I have no idea how he is going to do it but we shall see. I have decided to go with my St. Louis Tri Club suit because my logo is on it and in the picutre I will not look like a woolyworm swimming with all of my harryness.

I am glad that this is a recovery week because my lower back is messed up following my race simulation on Sunday. No actue injury just really sore. Just to put it in perspective, I don't like people touching me, no spa treatments, no back rubs, and only on occasion of real pain do I visit a chiropractor however today, I have a message at a local place because my back hurts and I have a hard time standing up straight. It has been improving every day but it still isn't good. The only time it has felt good is my 30 minute run the other night. I don't know if it is the form or the "running tall" that coach Jennifer has me doing but again, it was the only time I felt good all week. That was a fun run, I had a meeting and had to fly home, Rene had the kids at Nathan's football practice which, believe it or not, is just under 4 miles from my house. I got home at 5 til 7, changed really fast, and went on my run to get to the field for a ride home before practice ended and to complete my 30 minute run. Rene called me from the driver seat of her car as I was running into the parking lot so it worked out perfect. This Ironman stuff has really made me become a better time manager. There literally is not a minute of my day that is not planned.

I ordered a new pair of running shoes online that should be in today. The are the Zoot Men's Ultra Speed racing shoe. They are really light and hopefully sturdy enough for me to use in the Ironman. In a marathon, I want to wear the lightest shoes that I can get away with without sacrificing comfort. When you are taking over 43,200 steps during the marathon every bit of weight you can save helps because you actually expend less energy. These shoes weigh 2oz less than the ones that I am currently running in. 2oz is the same as .125lbs. If you multiply that weight savings times 43,200 steps that equals 5,400lbs of less weight that my legs have to lift over a 4 hour marathon. As I have said before, these endurance events are all about nutrition, training consistency, and economy. Anything that can make me more efficient without undue risk is a bonus equating to an all around better day.

With the decreased weight I hope they are sturdy enough to take the pounding. I will not use these to train very much and will try to log a few long runs in them to see how they will do for a marathon. The good news is that I still have 2 months so I will not break the rule of "nothing new on race day"

all for now


Monday, September 27, 2010

The Race Simulation round 1 is over!!!

It was a great weekend at the Butler's. Dinner Friday night for Nathan's Birthday. I had one of those reality check moments when my daughter made me promise Friday morning that I would be at dinner. Knife in the heart but truly frames the cost of training for such an event. Without the support and encouragement of family there is no way this would be happening. However, on the flip side she said to me on Saturday that "my dad can do anything he puts his mind to" so I hope the last statement more than outweighs the first in the long run.

Saturday morning was the Miles for Meso run in Alton that Acropolis Technology Group was a supporter of. The Frohock's ran as a family in their prep for the Chicago Marathon and did great and Doug Meyer and his son Thomas ran also at a sub 8min/mile pace. Thomas is 14! I ran well under direct orders to have fun because Sunday was my race sim. I had a ball but had to run to NBB's football game (4 touchdowns) and KGB's first soccer game and she did great as well! NBB's kids birthday party in the afternoon, prep for just like a race day Eve and then to bed.

Sunday started early for my 8+ hour training day, up at 5:30 for oatmeal, banana, and coffee and Gatorade. Then to the pool for a wetsuit, 1 hour swim for 3500 yards (2 miles) then a 1.5 hour rest then on the bike at 9:30. It was cold! It was rainy! It was windy! It was good! I was able to "race" per the plan (actually slighly less power than goal). However, it wasn't all good.

Have you ever heard of the Chinese Water Torture where they would take prisoners and have water drip on them for a time eventually driving them crazy. I had a rear brake rubbing on my bike and at over 90 time per minute I had a brief chirp that sounded like a cricket and IT DROVE ME NUTS! I stopped at one point to try to adjust my rear wheel but it didn't help. That was 27,000 chirps during the ride. Wow. I am still hearing it and will NEVER EVER EVER not check my brakes before I start a long ride. Anyway, I was able to ride almost 90 MIles (just short of it) and I was freezing but actually rode better at the end than at the beginning which was great and unexpected.

I had a 1.5 hour break after the ride where I took a shower to warm up and had a pre scheduled phone interview with the St. Louis Business Journal (more on that later). My friend Rick Mann (who I have written about a lot) was meeting me at 4:00 to run. I asked him if he brought a book to read because I was under strict orders not to run less than 10 minutes per mile for the first hour (he runs sub 7 minute miles). He said no worries and we ran and had great conversation about parenting, religion, and life in general. I am fortunate to be blessed with people in my life that are like minded but not so like minded I get fresh perspectives. It is good to take a step back periodically and look at what is going great, not just the challenges. Rick ran with me for an hour (9 min/mile) and had to get home. I continued on alone and was able to maintain 9 min/mile for the rest of the run! I figured if I didn't I would be in big trouble with Coach Jen! I actually finished better than plan which was great! Taking it easy on the bike paid off on the run and the weather being cool helped a lot.

I ate with the family, sat in the hot tub (again to stretch and get warm) played with the kids and enjoyed a few books with them and then to bed. I think I was asleep by 8:45.

Today I am feeling it. That was the longest effort I have had to date. My legs are very very sore but this is a recovery week for me and that is exactly what I plan to do! Recover.

My posts will be pretty sporadic this week but I start to build again next week.

Take care and have a wonderful week!


Friday, September 24, 2010

Swim Lesson with Hap Gentry

Good Morning

Most of this week has been spent on the trainer after the kids go to bed. Have I mentioned how much I dislike riding on the trainer? If not, please let me reinforce it here. Compared to outside, the trainer is tough to ride on. It is more difficulte to follow a workout plan, get the heart rate up etc... It just isn't the same as outside however it is the best alternative.

I got a call yesterday from Hap Gentry, my swim coach, who taught me to swim. He took me not being able to swim 50 yards to being able to swim 3+ miles. He was approached by the St. Louis Business Jornal to profile a business owner / athlete and Hap put her in touch with me. All in the same conversation (and while I had him on the phone) I asked if we could meet this morning for a swim lesson.

It has been 6 months since I met with him and of course, in less than an hour he gave me several things to work on and of course had me swimming faster than I have ever been able to swim and the kicker less effort..... Funny how that works... Swimming harder increases drag and decreases speed. Just to put it in perspective, I was able to shave 4 seconds off of my fastest all out 100 yard swim. 4 seconds doesn't seem like a lot but when I could reduce my time at less effort, over an hour plus 2.4 mile swim that is a big deal. He is truly and amazing swim coach.

So, now that my swim is out of the way this morning, I have a 1 hour run later today. Each year on the kids birthdays we let them pick where they want to go for their birthday dinner. Typically it is McDonalds or Pizza Hut because we just don't eat a lot of fast food. However, this year when we asked my son who turned 7 this week his answer....... "I want to go to the Cooking Pot" the cooking pot to him is translated into the Melting Pot. He has expensive taste. I am starting to think the gift certificate that was given to us (that introduced him to the "Cooking Pot" may very well be the most expensive "free" meal we have ever had. Oh well, Birthdays only come once a year right?

Sunday is my "Big Day" as written about before. I am trying to prepare for it just like I would a race. I am actually getting a little nervous about it just because it is a race simulation and will be the biggest indicator if finishing is in the cards and then, if my power and pace goals are anywhere close.

We shall see......

Tracy Butler

Monday, September 20, 2010

Great Weekend, horrible run

Happy Monday everyone!

The weekend around the Butler's was a good one and I hope yours was too. Saturday morning Don B and I met at Pere Marquette park for a long ride. My legs were pretty fatigued going in due to the long build week and doing hills on Thursday but as I tell myself, these days are the ones that mean the most so we set off on the first climb. The climb went okay for me but I felt a lot more tired early when compared to the same ride on 9/6. Don wasn't so lucky as he was stung by a bee on the lip near the top of Marquette Park. He soldiered on (I was kind of hoping he would want to call it a day ;-)) but he didn't. We took the ferry over to Calhoun and rode up the Illinois River on the West side towards Brussels, with a side trip up Batchtown hill coming back with a turn around in Hardin. We then retraced our route to Pere Marquette finishing with a revers of the pervious climb.

The total ride was 64 miles and it took us 4:35 hours to complete. Avg speed was 16MPH with a total climbing Ascent of 2905 feet. My Avg HR was 134 BPM which puts it solidly in my aerobic zone 2 (where it should be). Over 80% of my ride was zone 3 and below. My average power at 177 watts (Tempo Zone 3) this is partially spiked due to hills. I did almost 25 minutes with power above 261 Watts (Zone 6) and this was the climbs. All said it was a great ride and although we cutout the last hill at Hardin it was still a very challenging ride.

This weeks highlights have a 2.5 hour run on Tuesday, a 2 hour hill workout on Friday with what Jennifer calls my "Big Day" on Sunday. I don't quite know what that means yet until but as we speak I just got an email from her so I will be calling her now.

This is what it looks like:

4:30 a.m.-5:00 a.m. Wake up and eat a race-day breakfast followed by some light stretching and mental preparation.
7:00 a.m.-8:00 a.m. Swim for one hour at race intensity using race-day gear.
8:00 a.m.-9:30 a.m. Get off of your legs and eat a light meal.
9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Ride as you will do on race day including intensity, equipment, clothing, fluids and nutrition.
2:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m. Get off of your legs and eat a light, mostly liquid meal.
4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Run as planned for race day including intensity, clothing, shoes, other gear, fluids and nutrition.

All for now..


Friday, September 17, 2010

Pere Marquette Hills

Good Morning, I hope this finds you well.

This was my view last night at the top of Pere Marquette. As I said before, sometimes you have to stop looking at the road to realize how fortunate we are. It doesnt' get much more beautiful than this:

Following my more technical blog this last week I figured I would go out and "do" some of the things that I talked about. Last night was hill repeats so I got home, threw my bike on the car and headed up to Pere Marquette park in Godfrey, IL. It was a beautiful drive and especially as things start to cool a bit and the air gets a little more crisp and a lot less muggy.

Anyway, just outside of Pere Marquette lodge there is a hill and actualy if you go to google maps and zoom in on the area they have actually taken pictures of these hills that you can preview before you go ride. I basically rode up to the highest point in the park, turned around, and rode back down. On my fourth repeat I just kept going and rode the loop back to where my car was parked.

My legs are pretty spent this week so my power was low but it felt just as difficult as when I rode on September 6th when I was coming off a recovery week. Below is a map of the ride, in addition, my training file is also here. If you like to ride and are looking for hills this is the best I have found that is semi-local.

Today Acropolis Technology Group is the prime sponsor at the SimmonsFirm Foundation golf charity event so my run very well may not happen today, we will see. Tomorrow morning Don B and I are meeting to repeat the ride from 9/6 so it should be a challenge, especially on rubbery legs, I will let you know. I may even try to compare the rides on 9/6 with fresh legs and tomorrow with fatigued legs. I will be curious as to how they stack up.

Lastly, good luck to Rick Mann and all of Team Godzilla and the St. Louis Tri club that is doing what looks to be a very challenging Branson Ironman 70.3. It is billed as being very very challenging so good luck to all.

Here is the file from last nights ride:

What you are looking at is a graph showing % Grade, Power that I am applying to the pedals, and Heart Rate. I would have graphed speed but I didn't want to share my sub 5 mile per hour climbs with the world.

The reddish line is Heart Rate and as you can see, climbs with the hills. The good news is that it doesn't get higher on each repeat meaning that my HR didn't degrade over time. Now, there is a lot to be said for the relative shortness of the ride and there are many variable but the fact that my HR didn't reach max and actually stayed the same is encouraging.

The yellish line is the %Grade of the hill. In my screen capture, I highlighted the steepest section at 16% grade. For those of you that don't cycle, 16% grade is a lot. There are steeper out there but I can tell you, I can't maintain climbing at 16% for very long. Good thing this was a short section.

Lastly, the purple line is power. If you look at the highlighted section you will see that I am applying the maximum force to the pedals at the times of this steepest grade at a little over 500 Watts. I have peaked for a few seconds over 700 watts but only as a spike. I can only maintain 500 watts for a very very short amount of time and it really uses a lot of energy. For long races when you need "steady state" or constant power it is imperative that I avoid these huge spikes because it takes so much out of the legs.

So, that was my ride from last night. I hope it makes sense and again, if you have any questions or want me to specifically talk about some aspect that interests you plese let me know at

Have a great weekend.

Tracy Butler