Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My wifes bike is sweeeet

My wife has a Trek that she purchased last year as an all around bike for riding / triathlon. It is by no means a tri specific bike but a good entry level bike. I had to take my bike into the shop yesterday for a pre season tune up plus a few minor issues that have developed over the off season. Upon checking it in, the trainer has worn my rear tire out, I need to replace a shift cable and replace the chain. With all of that, it wasn't ready yesterday for my ride last night so either I shuffle a run or use Rene's bike.

She was gracious enough to let me use hers. I haven't ridden a standard bike since purchasing my Quintana Roo Tri bike in 2008. I threw my Garmin in my cycling Jersey and took off. Other than the fact that the bike is setup for her and not me it was a good ride. It is soo different riding upright versus aero. I could really feel it in my glutes which was a welcome change and I need to incorporate more standard riding into my off season regimen. Being upright in the wind sure changes things a bit.

Tonight I have a 1 hour Tempo run that I am going to get in after work and before my standing Wednesday night meeting. I am going to use my Vibram's and see how it goes. If I am feeling "spunky" as my coach calls it I really want to push a bit tonight. A lot might change between now and then so we will see.

Swim and ride tomorrow, swim and Run on Friday. The weather right now is perfect with highs in the low 70's.

I am going to stop at the local bookstore today and pickup a book on nutrition. I realize that if I can get my traning and continue to increase my CTL (cumulative training load) in WKO near 100 while dropping 10 pounds between now and IMAZ while staying injury free should result in both faster bike and run splits. The book I am pickin up is "Racing Weight, How to get lean for peak performance". We will see how it goes but it looks like a light read and has some focus on triathletes.

All for now


Monday, March 29, 2010

New Week = New Challenges

Last week was a build week. My Annual Training Plan (ATP) had me scheduled to complete 10:45 hours in training and I actually complete 11:20. I had a solid training week eventhough the weather has not totally changed. I had a 3 hour "reverse" Brick yesterday and consisted of a Tempo hour run on the dreadmill followed by a 2 hour bike ride on the Drainer. It figures that as soon as I am finishing up on the bike the rain stops and the sun comes out.

I got a message from my coach yesterday that read...Sorry- Originally this was supposed to be a reocvery week, but I changed my mind. Recovery week next week leading up to GO instead." GO is a 1/2 Marathon.

So, it looks like I have to wait another week for a break. I am starting to feel it but one more semi-heavy week should really help me build. I am going to pay close attention since this will be the 4th week in a row with a pull back. My TSB (Measure of how fatigued I am) is at a -27.3. This is the 2nd highest it has ever been. So, I will try to stay in tune with what my body is telling me. If I feel drained I may pull back a bit. Right now I am feeling tired but not fatigued so we will see what happens. I like my progress and will see what happens.

I am really on the fence on if I should run GO in my Barefoot 5 finger shoes. I am still pretty torn but we will see.

Have a good week
Tracy Butler

Friday, March 26, 2010

How did the day from Hell go?

It is Friday and this is a follow-up from my last post. My last post was the plan and this is the post mortem. The good news is that I was able to get all of my workouts in yesterday, the bad news is every minute of my day was scheduled from the moment I woke up til the moment I went to bed. Here is the breakdown:

4:30 am - out of bed
4:45 - 5:45 am - on the Trainer - (watched the beginning of The Hearbreak kid - pretty funny if you like Ben and Jerry Stiller
6:05 am - Out the door to work
7:00 - noon - work, meetings busy
Noon - 1:05 - 2400 yard swim at noon
1:10 to 4PM - finish work - busy (we have a ton of stuff going on right now)
4-4:45 - Drive home
4:45 - 5:45 - cook supper for the kids (Rene went for a run) and finish prepping for my Church meeting
6:00 - 9:00 - Church meeting and travel home
9:15 - 10:00 - On the Trainer to finish my ride (coincidentally the TV show Sports Science review the physiological behind Ironman
10:00-10:10 - Shower and lights out

Now Today

Not as hectic at work but still busy. I have a 35 minute Tempo Swim today that I want to get in at noon. I will run this afternoon when I get home, quick shower and then off to Rene's parents Anniversay Party.

I hated to split up my workouts yesterday but better to do that than to miss them entirely. I am looking forward to my run today in the Vibram's. My calves are finally getting to the point that they are not sore anymore, just a little tight.

I am really starting to think the you need three things to be an IRONMAN - FOCUS, PERSEVERANCE, and the ability to schedule and stick to the schedule. I guess a 4th would be the ability to go without sleep.

Tracy Butler

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Brutal Next few days

It is Wednesday morning and I am looking at my calendar for the next couple of days. The weather is beginning to turn and I was able to get an 1.5 hour ride in last night OUTSIDE! It was allright, not great but all right. I pushed and averaged 183 watts power according to the PowerTap but my speed just wasn't where I thought it should be. My ratio of power:HR for the ride was a litte under 6% which shows that I didn't degrade much during the ride (the goal is less than 5%. Also it appears my pacing was solid throughout the ride with a VI of 1.04. VI is the ratio between normalized power/average power. A VI of 1.0 means perfect pacing according to Joe Friel. The ride had some hills along with a lot of rollers and even a bit of wind on the way back to I am happy with this result so early in the season. I am on a quest for more power but I know the road to more power is getting a bit leaner while maintaining muscle. Nutrition will be my focus as my training amps up of the next few months. I stepped on the scale this morning and was 174. I raced SOMA last year at 172 and would love to be in the 165 range for IMAZ. I think that is reasonable when I look at my Annual Training Plan (ATP)

Now on to the topic - Scheduling:

Today I have a one hour temp run. By itself not a big deal but a full day of work (in at 6 off at 3), a meeting with one of our contractors as soon as I get home at 4:00, then off to a church meeting that starts at 6:00 and will run til 8. Home by 8:30 and hopefully on the treadmill running til 9:30-9:45. I can never sleep immediately after working out but I hope tonight is the exception.

Tomorrow I have a 45 minute swim and a 1.5 hour bike ride. Tomorrow is my later day at work (7 off at 4). Rene has masters class tomorrow so she is up early. I have another church meeting tomorrow night and these normally run over so working out after will not be an option. Sooooo... here is the schedule

Up and on the bike at 4am - 5:30 - showered and out the door at 6am to be at work by 7. Swim at noon then the rest of the day is mine... except for my meeting that will go on FOREVER.

Good thing Friday is easy with a 1 hour run and Rene's Parents anniversary party Friday night!......

This is tough but as expected... As I mentioned to my children this morning while we "virtually" had breakfast together following KGB comment that "Dad, you will be running til midnight" I reminded her (more for myself than her) was that nothing worthwhile is easy.... This is definately getting harder both mentally and physically... I sure hope the end justifies the means...

I probably will not write for a couple of days but we will see how it goes...

Until next time
Tracy Butler

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Great Training Week

It is Sunday night and I had a great training week. I was able to get all 10hr 10 minutes of workouts in and was actualy able to get 10:50 this week. I had probably the best trainer workout in a long time today except it was 2:30 long. That is a long time on the trainer.

I had my 1.5 hour run yesterday and wore my zoots and go figured, my knee was bothering me. I am going to try to run in my five fingers for awhile now and see how my knee goes. My dilemma is that I am not sure what distance my feet will hold up. I am really considering wearing them in the Go St. Louis half marathon. if they work, I am really going to have to figure out what I am going to do in my 1/2IM and the full IM later this year.

All for now. I have a full week this next week and I just need to fit it all in.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring is here!

I finally got to take my bike off of the trainer and ride outside. With the days a little longer (and warmer) I was able to get in a hill workout on Wednesday. My training session called for hill climbs and unfortunately, the only hill that I have close that fits is 9th street hill. For those of you not familiar with Wood River 9th street hill is a motha.... it consists of a 1.5 mile climb that peaks at 8% at the max. I ride from my house in Bethalto to 9th street then proceed to do repeats. It was great to ride outside and it was even better to see that my power output was in good shape. In the flats on the way to the hills I was able to generate over 200 watts of power (a cyclist measure of how much energy applied to the pedals over time) and really good speed. I truly will not know how my off season training has been until do my typical ride and take a few tests.

Generally I am feeling pretty good right now. I have had to do a little schedule juggling to get it all in but I have been able to get all of my workouts in this week. The downside is that it is beginning to take a toll on my family. My new early work schedule starting my day well before my kids get up is taking a toll. I can tell Kathryn and Nathan miss me being around and it is tough not only on them but on me too. I hope the example I am setting today will have a lasting effect on them. This is a pretty limited window in the grand scheme of things and it is important that they learn now about finishing what you start even when it is tough. Only time will tell if that message gets through.

So, thank God for my wife. She has a great "life barometer (sp)" and keeps things as even keel as possible. Today the KGB and NBB have a 1/2 day of school so I am taking the afternoon off and we are going to the St. Louis Science Center for the afternoon. I will still have an 1 1/2 hour bike ride tonight after we get home but it will be good just to spend some time with the family this afternoon.

Again, I know no one reads this so I kind of treat this as my personal journal. Rene and I have been talking the last couple of days about doing something to help some friends of ours. If we ever take action on it I will write about it here so I can capture the date in my log.

More to come and get out and enjoy the Spring!

Tracy Butler

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Vibrams' Round 3

Just a quick note today...

I had a 1 hour Tempo run last night and did my run in my Vibram's and again, no knee pain. It is amazing to me how self correcting these shoes are. At the slightest sign of pain, I auto correct and the pain goes away. I am becoming a big fan of the fact that my legs know what they need and a more natural form of running is pain free (so far). The run was a good pace and aside from a little soreness under my big toe on one foot and my little toe on the other no blisters.

I have been exchanging emails with Coach Jennifer around my Annual Training Plan, hours, and what to expect as my training ramps up. She has been great and I can't argue with the results thus far so I need to trust my training and keep focused during my workouts. I also was able to talk to my buddy Mike Montoya in New Mexico last night. He is prepping for St. George, going to Colorado for a laser bike fit and is generally nailing it. He is doing IMAZ with me in the fall and probably one of the most dedicated triathletes that I know.

Today I have several meetings so I can't workout at lunch and have an 1:15 minute ride tonight before my meeting at church.

All for now


Monday, March 15, 2010

Sore..... YEAH

I had a great training weekend. Here is the breakdown

Friday I had to sneak a bike in between work and an event at KGB and NBB's school. I was able to get it in, take a quick shower and sprint out of the door.

Saturday was "I AM A DUMBASS DAY" I had a 30 minute swim and a 40 minute run right.... Rene and I coordinated schedules because she had to get some training in too. I took my Vibrams for run number 2 on a hilly route and it was awesome. The base of my legs are soo sore from the new forced running style but NO PAIN anywhere else. The soreness is muscle soreness and is the good kind of sore. I was able to maintain a great pace and again, other than the occasional rock the Vibrams were perfect. NO KNEE PAIN!!! Other than looking like a dork, I can see using these and my racing flats for the majority of my running. I can tell my running POSE is much better and much more on the balls of my feet. I just need to build muscle strength in my lower legs and I can see improving speed. Time will tell but regardless, my legs are really sore.

So, here is the DUMBASS portion of my run. I get him and log my run only to see that I had a 75 minute run not a 40 so, with Rene gone, I went downstairs and finished on the treadmill. No harm done but it pays to look at your workouts.

Sunday was a 2 hour ride on the drainer. It wasn't that bad. I was able to finally watch Dean Karnazas 50 marathons in 50 days.... Truly amazing and inspring story. He is a machine and it just goes to show... you expect a little, that is exactly what you will get. If you expect a lot, you will get that too. It may take some work but it is just as easy to expect a lot as it is to expect a little. Don't settle and know that most people limit themselves versus circumstances limiting them.

Rene and I had dinner with Coach Jennifer and her husband Doug. We had a great time and laughed a lot. We were literally two of the last tables in the restaurant. The stories were hillarious and we had a great time.

Time to get to work....

More to come


Thursday, March 11, 2010


Okay, I know I am a Tri technology FanBoy. I understand my shortcomings and unfortunately, if technology (or bizarro technology in this case) that logically makes sense I have to admit, I am a sucker for. So........ the Virbram 5 finger is now in my life. I really can't call this technology because it is basically like slapping a piece of rubber on your bare feet and running.... Your toes go into each "finger" and it like running well.... bare foot.

I have been reading born to run, learning Pose from my running coach and the more read the more natural running makes sense. Today I picked up a pair of 5 fingers and went for a 4 miler. It reached nearly 70 degrees today so it was a great day for a run. I took my typical route and after I realized that I really needed to watch for rocks to avoid stone bruises it was a great run. You can't fake pose in these shoes. The best part... my knee was perfect after and during the run. I averaged sub 9 and felt great.

I am sure tomorrow my calves and feet will be sore. The wresting match getting the damn things on will improve and I really hope I never get a rock in the one of the "toe fingers".

Again, I am trying to remain unbiased about the purchase that run was probably one of the best I have had. It could be the first nice day in a long time. It could have been that I had zero knee pain, it could have been anything. I am remaining cautious but for a first run in brand new shoes this has been the best break in run I have ever had.

Time will tell. If nothing else, they are great Pose trainers.

Til next time


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Forearem Fulcrum

Just a quick note today.

When Rene and I were having our last training session with Hap Gentry he introduced us to the Finis Forearm Fulcrum. The purpose is basically to draw attention to bending your wrist on the pull during the swim stroke. If you think about it, when you get fatigued you tend to take the path of least resistance. In swimming that equates to (among other things) a shallow recovery and breaking the wrist on the pull. If you think of it, when you are using your entire forearm and hand as a paddle vs. breaking the wrist and using just your hand the hand is easier. What this device does is basically "fall off" your arm or become really loose if you break your wrist. You can really only use this device for drills and so far, I plan to only use it for a few 100 yards in warmup just to reinforce the connection.

I got my set on the internet for $10. If you want to find out more go to

I used it yesterday and plan on making it a regular part of my swim workout.

Happy Training


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Flashbacks to a previous life

It has been a little bit since my last post. This has been because I was out of town at a busness meeting. It was a nice break since my knee is not yet 100% and the little bit of extra rest was nice.

Rene was able to meet me at the Doral Golf and Spa Resort in Miami. It was very nice and the CA World Championship Golf Tournament is this week. My meeting was with 11 other companies like mine including by brother Brad, my good friends the Leonards, Swansons and David Tan. It was nice and busy. They are all golfers so this is really the only time that I golf anymore (hence my previous life reference) and it was nice because we were one of the last groups before the 50 best golfers in the world play on the "Blue Monser" this week. It was amazing to watch the production that hosting a major PGA tour stop involves.

I golfed like crap but the company was good. I was able to get in two bike rides about 50 minutes each on the stationary and run 2 hours. No swims because there wasn't a place to do it. However, I am glad to be back! I had my first out door run in awhile yesterday and it was nice. There is a 1.1 mile loop through Shaw Park right next to my office and will serve as my lunch time running route during the Summer.

The knee is still a little tender and affects my gate but not the worst pain I have ran with for sure. No one ever said this would be easy and I just need to intelligently work through it. I have a swim today at noon and nothing tonight. Rene and I are having dinner with Coach Jennifer and husband Doug and we are really looking forward to it. I just feel like I have soooo far to go and I know I have lost conditioning since my peak. I really need my knee to get better so I can push a bit. I see my WKO blue line (conditioning indicator) sinking and although I know it is base building season it still bothers me.

All for now, time to swim....


Monday, March 1, 2010

Exhausted - it finally caught up with me

I have always had the water balloon mentatility meaning that people are like water balloons and that we under estimate our ability to expand based upon the contents. What I mean is, people make excuses for not stretching themselves and taking on more and more. Well, my water balloon popped over the weekend!

Coach Jennifer Meyer really is a huge proponent of not taking on too much. Everyhting taxes the body and you have to be careful not to take on too much. Everything has a load and it is all cumulative. She measures training load however, I think there needs to be a "life load" measurement also. Recently my training load has been average but my life load has been through the roof and it all caught up with me this weekend.

Plesae keep in mind, I am not complaining. Being busy and productive is great however, I have had a lot going on. I have several new initiatives at work, a new office, possibly purchasing a new business, home construction, knee injusry, training load, work travel, new work schedule, Church demands and my new role there, plus growing kids and personal commitments. Long story short is that Saturday I reached saturation and literally could have taken a 3 hour nap (I have never really been able to nap BTW). Rene and I had a joint swim lesson with Hap Gentry (an absolutely fantastic swim coach) that I didn't want to miss (I could write and entire entry on that alone). We got home in time for our Saturday Night. Rene and I had commitments and didn't get home until late and I bonked. As I crawled in bed my throat was killing me, I had a headache and was physically and mentally exhausted. I couldn't sleep and felt so bad in the night I got up, tooks some meds and went back to bed on two different occasions. BTW... if you have never used Zycam for a cold I highly recommend it. Within a few hours of basically snorting the stuff my sore throat went away. I ended up sleeping most of Sunday only getting up to take in some food. I finally roused around 4:00pm and knew I had a brick to get finished and thought the sweating and getting my heart pumping would do me some good. I am traveling again this week and know I am not going to be able to get all of my workouts in. My first tri is Memphis in May and it is in 83 days so I know these bricks are important. Plus I need to keep intelligently testing my knee (which is showing signs of getting better).

I was able to get my brick done and it ended up feeling pretty good. I was run down but it wasn't a tempo but a nice aerobic brick so it wasn't super taxing. I took 30 minutes in the middle to eat dinner with the family. Took a shower and helped put clothes away (a Sunday night ritual).

Yesterday it really hit me how big of an impact this is on my family. The kids miss me not being around and Rene's load has picked up considerably. I don't know how or if I can make this up to my family. My ony hope is that one day my children will understand how big of a deal this is for me and how important it is to set goals and focus on them. I have gained some time by sleeping less but even that has a price. The toll of less sleep is far from free and I am only now figuring out how much it actually costs. I hope this is like most and eventually "my balloon" and my families balloon will stretch accordingly. Damn this goal is such a selfish one. I know there has to be a payoff for my family. I know and understand my payoff but the families payoff is only hope at this point. I truly hope this isn't an empty goal that I am the only benefactor! Only time will tell!

Coach Jennifer Meyer ( has given me a repeat week with light running to make sure my knee fully recovers which is great. I will be in Florida this week so I will be able to run outside (hopefully).

Well it is a new week. I have several important meetings today plus a meeting at church at 3pm, Swim at 4(ish), haircut and Kathryn has dance class coupled with Rene's meeting tonight. It is another roller derby night but again, we are all balloons right? Better to stretch periodically than never know what our capacity really is.

Tracy Butler