Monday, June 28, 2010

Quartermax Post Race Results

This race was as challenging as my 1/2IM. It challenging in a different way but it was tough.

Background - Quartermax is located in a beautiful location in the hills of Missouri just outside of St. Louis on a resort lake (Innsbrook) near Wright City. The lake is beautiful and it is just a really neat place. One of the things that makes it so scenic is the hills. Hills are good for vacation - challenging for triathlons. Although a challenge, my race went great.

Here are my thoughts:

Goals Vs Actual

Swim: 18:00 minutes: Actual was 24:00 minutes, I thought I was swimming well and although the water temp was 85 degrees + it was not even close to being wetsuit legal. I was fully prepped for that so no big surprise race morning. I thought I swam really well and my time doesn not reflect it. Only hit a couple times, was able to draft for a little bit and it was a solid swim eventhough my time doesnt' reflect it. Many people thought the swim was long but no complaints, we all raced the same course so it is what it is.

T1: 3:00 minutes: 2:55 actual. Tranistion was a good ways from the swim up a long hill. This time was under goal.

Bike: 1 hour:20 min Goal : Actual 1:19:20 rate 21.2 MPH I am very please with this considering the hills. This is one of the hilliest rides I have ever done in training or racing. There was approx 2300 feet of climbing in 28 miles and relatively that is a lot (you can laugh now Montoya) - Mike is a buddy of mine who just did St. George IM - his nickname is Mighty because of the way he climbs. For the rest of you, this is a lot, for Mike - read on once you are done laughing.

T2: 2:00 min : 1:11 (seemed efficient but always room to improve)

Run: 54 minutes (an okay run, this takes the hills into account): Actual - 52:29 pace 8:24. My run felt really good and it was in the shade for most of the time on a rock road. It was hillier than the bike and if it would have been in the sun instead of the shade it would have been brutal.

Total: 2 hours: 37 min goal vs. actual 2:39.56 I am very please with this result.

Overall I had a great race. I really thought I rocked the swim but knew I was in the water too long but technique and “feel” was good. I don’t see how I lost 6 minutes off of goal but of the three disciplines this was the least of my focus from a timing goal standpoint. As I prep for my longer races the swim time becomes even less important since it represents a fraction of the overall race time. This race was to focus, check fitness, race as hard as possible without blowing up my legs on the bike destroying my run. I pushed pretty hard on the bike. This was on purpose to gauge my legs on the run after pushing a little too much on the bike. I didn’t hammer it but I know there were times that I made the decision to be aggressive on the hills. My actually power (by my meter) that I was tracking during the race was showing 195 watts so that was on target. As a side note, I passed a fellow TriSmart athlete (Ben) with about 4 miles left on the bike course. The fact he swam several minutes faster than me and I was able to catch him on the bike was a positive. The negative comes when he passed me at the first water stop on the run and although I kept the spacing between us for a few miles I couldn't catch him. As a more light note during the race. I had my power meter alert set if I dropped below 200 watts to alarm(it sound like what I would think a ray gun would sound like – really annoying). It was beeping a lot especially on the downhills. At one point, a guy asked me “is that your cell phone???” I of course put that thought out of his mind with a “Ha, Hell no, power meter” For those of you that don't do triathlons it is amazing that you always end up riding with a group that paces at your speed so many times, you will ride next to or around the same few people almost the entire ride. The poor guys riding around me were well aware when I wasn't pushing the power that I needed to, my "ray gun" let everyone know.

My legs felt good on the run. I felt like my technique was solid and was able to keep my pacing. It was pretty hilly so pacing is relative so I rarely looked at my watch for pace since there were so little flats. There was actually 1500 feet of climbing on the 6 mile run so compare that with the bike and you will see how difficult that was.

This is a great event and now I understand why this is so many athlete's "A" race for the year. Very Very challenging and I will be recovering for a few days for sure and most importantly, I will be back next year.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Twas the night before Quartermax and all through the house...

Tomorrow is a rare Saturday race and only my second of the season. I did Memphis in May a few weeks back. This one one is called Quartermax in Wright City, MO. This is a local favorite and is a challenging event. There are two distances, long and short. I am doing the long distance that is a 1,000 meter lake swim, 28 mile hilly bike and an even hillier 6 mile run. The temps tomorrow are going to be in the low to mid 80's, couple in the humidity and it will be a challenge. The distances aren't horribly long and just to put it in perspective I did a 40 mile bike ride followed with a 5 mile run in training last weekend so add a swim and tomorrow becomes very nicely catered training day with a bunch of friends.

Rene and KGB are at her National Dance Recital competition in Ohio, her team rocked last night and made it to the finals tomorrow. Today they are enjoying a day off at Kings Island amusement park (good for them). NBB and I have been running the house in their absence. Other than a sink full of dishes that I will fix tonight we have had a great time. I have been able to get some nagging projects done around the house. Due to the fact that I have to be on the road to my tri at "the crack of stupid" early tomorrow morning he is spending the night with my parents.

Last year I did this race as my second triathlon ever and it was by far my worst race of the year. To keep it short, it was my worst race but the one where I learned the most and prepped me for the rest of my races including my much longer distances later in the year. I would have traded the day in a minute but not the experience (if that makes sense). Just to keep things in perspective, this is the race that three years ago a very very very rare drowning took place during the swim. Kevin Hunt was only 50 yards from the shore when he was lost. I did not know Kevin but each year since, they have ran a story on it in addition, many people in the tri community knew of the incident. I have swam in lake Aspen several times and there hasn't been a time when I haven't thought of what a horrible accident that was. I know as I stand on the beach tomorrow if they don't have an official moment of silence for he and his family, I will. Please don't misunderstand the tone of my posting other than wanting to pay respect. Things happen and people forget. This is just a quick note that I haven't. Triathlon is a very safe sport but accidents happen. At this tri specfically there are a lot of saftey boats and it is not over crowded. My bigger concern for tomorrow is cramping in the heat and the hills (and getting there on time).

On a much lighter note, I have a pre race brick tonight consisting of a short bike followed by a short run. Then a quick dinner, packing up my gear and checking it like an OCD patient checking the stove to make sure it is off. After about the 10th list review I will try to get some sleep. I never sleep well the night before a tri. That has always been a worry but regardless of the lack of sleep, when the cannon goes off and I am running down the beach shoulder to shoulder with with the other race competitors, I won't be thinking about sleep.

Just to get it on paper prior to the event. My goals for tomorrow are as follows:

Swim: 18:00 minutes (a good swim)
T1: 3:00 minutes
Bike: 1 hour :20 min (a good bike)
T2: 2:00 min
Run: 54 minutes (an okay run, this take the hills into account)
Total: 2 hours: 37 min

My baseline goal is sub 2 hours, 37 minutes. If I am sub 2 hours 33 minutes I will have done very well and exceed at least my goals on 2 of the 3 events. If for some stroke of triathlon genius I cruise and finish sub 2:30 I will have had to rock everything including transitions and will be right up there with my 1/2IM performance. However, as my good friend Rick Hamilton once said on the golf course...."Talk is cheap Butler, let's play!!!"

I will lset you all know how I did tomorrow.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Memphis in May Triathlon Video

Memphis in May did something this year and offered a "highlight" video. For a small fee, they had video cameras setup around the course to capture the utter look of exhaustion and the beginning signs of heat stroke on the faces of myself and fellow triathletes as we made our way around the oven called Memphis. I figured it would be beneficial to the paramedics as they tried to piece together the when, where, and whys I was passed out and was unable to speak during the race. If a picture tells 1000 words what is a video worth..... $24.95 is the answer to that question.

Seriously, it wasn't that bad, however, for those of you that don't have much exposure to triathlons or even have seen one, this video might give some insight so if you ever want to try one, you will see, it is not that intimidating.

Couple of things to note:
- I am the guy in Red, White, and Blue with a white helmet, black bike. Hard to miss
- You will see people of all shapes and sizes. You don't have to be Uberfit to do triathlons and that is probalby the number one myth that I had going into the events.
- You can't tell in the video but everyone is so supportive and it truly is a great group of people sharing a common hobby/passion
- Elvis is cool

Copy the following link into your browser and it will take you to a You Tube video.


Monday, June 21, 2010

The Bird Lady

Since yesterday was my day off from training I figured I would add some levity. My daughter made me a picture on the computer and gave it to me over the weekend while I was on the treadmill. Following my post last week about wondering what kind of impression this is making on my kids and if it is all worth it is still anyones guess, however, based on the picture it is having some sort of impression. It was really touching actually and if I can instill in my kids to never quit I will trade a few month of being busy to that life lesson.

If you see, there is a reference to the bird lady. First, I am not a hater and am all for people working out, however, Here is the story.....

I belong to a local gym and many times, the only way to get a swim in is to use their 25yard lap pool. This pool isn't very big and only has 1 (maybe 2) lap lanes. It is always very crowded with assorted classes, kids etc... Then... there is the bird lady. She is a very nice older woman and always always always uses the lap lane for what I have called.. bird hopping.... Imagine a flamingo standing on one leg with one leg bent, the other on the bottom of the pool. Then imagine that same flamingo hopping on the one leg while pushing the water with its wings over and over and over and over again. The bird lady doesn't do the following: get her hair wet, switch legs, go any less than 70 laps (yes, I said 70), take nothing less than 2 hours, share the lane with anyone, move when swimmers are waiting, and lastly, the bird lady doesn't read the many signs that clearly state the lap lane is for swimming only. Again, she seems very nice and more power to her for working out but it is very frustrating to have a 45 minute window in my day to get a swim in only to walk around the corner and see the bird lady. Keep in mind, since her head is above water the entire time she can do her workout ANYWHERE in the pool but insists on using the lap lane. I guess Rene and I have talked about the bird lady enough that the kids think it is hillarious. so.... the bird lady is immortalized as a part of my IRONMAN training. When I am up to my "you know what" in people on the 2.4M swim I will think of the bird lady.

I will have to get a picture for a later post and I have no idea who this goes to so if the bird lady happens to have a friend of a friend that forwards this to her, please comment and enjoy.

All for now.

Another Animal, Bee, and Power - Oh My and chased by a dog too!

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there and to all of the moms that make us Dads look like competent care givers in the eyes of our kids. We all know the real deal. Seriously though, I hope you all enjoyed your weekend.

My weekend was filled with my daughter's dance recital. They have it every fathers day weekend and this weekend was no exception. I only counted 4 inappropriate routines and the good news is that my daughter wasn't in any of them. I understand that the older girls have a lot to say in picking the routines but some cross the line. Okay, that is conservative Dad talking.. on to training.

This weekend was busy as always. I got all of my training in this past week culminating with a "simulated race at 1/2 Iron pace". This is a very specific workout to gauge my pace zones and most importantly testing my power output on the bike to make sure my legs don't blow on the run. Here is the description as given to me by Coach Jennifer (

"The purpose of this brick is to make confirm that your race pace on your bike is correct and does not inhibit your run.

Warm up 10 minutes. Bike 40 miles at your estimated race pace (56 mile velocity/power, RPE 14, Zone 3). Quickly transiton to a 5 mile run at race pace (slightly slower than 13.1 mile pace, RPE 14, Zone 3).

If you have trouble holding your running pace we need to readjust bike pacing. Email me the results."

I was dreading this test for some reason. I prepped for it Saturday night after Dance Recital number 1, was up at 6:45 and on the bike by 7:30. Going in my plan was to maintain 190 watts on the bike for 40 miles (2 hours) and then move to the run at sub 9min/mile. Not super fast but something I can maintain for the 1/2IM. Last year at SOMA 1/2IM I pushed 180 Watts and ran 9min/mi so this is a little faster. I loosened up pretty quick and didn't have a huge problem pushing the watts, however, 45 minutes in a looked down and my power readings stopped. I am guessing the battery in my PowerTap located in my rear wheel finally died. I have about 3,000 miles on the PT so it was about time. I then watched my pacing, Heart Rate, and Perceived Effort (PE) for the rest of the ride and finished on feel. I should have been pretty close to 190 but there is no way to tell for sure. So that ocvers the Power part in the subject, I had another animal run between my wheels this time (no harm done) and was stung by a bee that I rode into. It tagged me left of my belly button and got my attention.

When I finished the bike, I quikcly transitioned to the run (all of my run stuff was in the garage). It was 87 degrees when I ran by the church and it was humid and hot. Less than a mile in this lady had her 2 dogs out and both of them saw me and ran straight at me. This is the 3rd time these dogs have done the and I let her know it. I stopped and took three steps towards them which slowed the down, at one point (before she got to them) I really thought one of the dogs was going to bite my arm. I lunged and I put my arm up and thought for sure it was going to bite me. She finally gets there apologizing and yelling at her dogs. I told her this was the third time this has happened and she said the same (insert explative here) and I was pretty sick of her dogs. In the end, other than a few minute distraction and elevated HR I was running again. You want to talk about getting your Heart Rate up! Being chased by two big dogs will do it.

Anyway, other than it being hot and humid the race sim went off without a hitch and per plan. I jumped in the pool as soon as I got home to cool off, ate some lunch with the kids, opened the numerous cards that they drew for me including one by my sone showing he and I as Jedi Knights fighting General Greevious (sp) or something. Kathryn made me some greek yogurt and drew me a picture (that will get it own post - too funny).

Quartermax race as the end of this week and to the bike store to get my powertap looked at.

More to come!


Thursday, June 17, 2010


I was able to get all 12 hours of training in last week (which was great) with this week both adding time and length of workouts. If you think of it, there are many ways to get to 12+ of training. More - shorter duration workouts and less - longer duration. I am working on figuring out which I prefer. As my training shifts from speed development (more-shorter) to endurance (fewer-longer) it is becoming more of a scheduling challenge.

For example, yesterday I had a 1.5 hour hill climb workout. That workout is too long to do on lunch (which I do with most of my swims) and I had a meeting last night at 6:00 pm. So, yesterday was my early day at work (leaving at 3:00). I got home at 3:50 and by the time I got my water bottles ready, changed, spare clothes (for my meeting) and bike loaded it was 4:20. Since it was hill climbs, I had to drive to the hills. I had a meeting at 6 so luckily, ninth street hill was close to my meeting. I parked my car at the meeting, jumped on the bike and rode for 1:20 returning to my meeting site. Loaded my bike, threw on some deoderant, grabbed my laptop and attended my meeting. Fortunately, everyone knows what I am doing and I frequently show up in workout gear. They are super cool and understand, I just sit away from them in case I smell. Other than an occasional strategic fan placement so that I am down wind, they don't seem to care. Missy K asked me last night how I am able to get it all in. My response was "I'm sitting here in my tri suit under my clothes aren't I?" I have used the time between work and evening events as training. In the past I would do things around the house and drive to these events, now, I find myself leaving an hour or more sooner and instead of driving, running to them. I get almost all of my swims in over lunch hour and sometimes have to juggle the schedule accomodating workouts that were meant to be over a few days to be crammed into 1 day.

Tonight is more of a challenge. I have a 45 minute swim that I can't do over lunch. I also have a 1:15 run. The good news is that I don't have any commitments tonight except for 1, seeing my family... This is really starting to take a toll on them and me. So tonight, I will wait until they go to bed, then get my run and swim in. I have a golf scramble tomorrow morning to if I am not fresh because I am up late, I am not too concerned.

So, tonight it looks like another late night run and swim.

It is really only just beginning......Ironman training is truly a love/hate relationship where not only I sacrafice, everyone important to me has to sacrafice also and it is really not fair to them. I didn't fully understand that when I started and although people talk about this sacrafice and it is always in the first few sentences of everyone I have ever heard talk about it, I underestimated how true this is. IRONMAN training is selfish when you try to maintain your normal life and ADD this to it. Crossing the line will be a victory for the entire family because what my wife and kids have to cover because I am just not around much is truly tough on me to watch. Add to that all of the things my wife has going including training for Sprints and Olympic distances she is often using treadmill/trainer while I am on my runs/rides outside. This is truly brutal on all of us and I am so fortunate to have Rene, KGB, NBB in my life.

A perfect case in point was after Rene picking me up following my super hot run on Saturday that was too hot to finish. I walk in the back door and there is KGB with a glass of ice cold water or NBB rushing to give me a hug when I am dripping with sweat and nasty from being outside for no more of a reason than he hasn't seen for more than a few minutes at a time all week. It is times like these where it hits me and I can't help but think of all of the things that are slipping and I have this aching question "is it worth it?" I guess I will not know that until November 21st.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

HOT HOT HOT weekend

As most of you know this last weekend was brutal here. 90+ heat with 90% plus humidity and it is amazing to me how much heat and humidity affects outcome of a workout. This weekend was no different.

Saturday I had an 1:45 minute run wich equates to about 11 miles. My weeks have been so busy that I made the mistake of argueing with the alarm clock (something you should never do). I set my alarm to get up early and it just didn't happen. I needed the sleep and against my better judegment, I slept in on Saturday instead of running at 6am like the plan. Well..... I paid for it. I didn't start my run unitl 11:30 and it was brutal. No matter how slow I tried to run, I coulnd't stay cool and my heart rate was through the roof. In the last two years I have never not finished a workout but Saturday was the day. I was able to run for the first 6.5 miles and ran out of water and the heat was brutal. I called Rene, she and the kids came and picked me up and I finshed the remaining 30 minutes on the treadmill. Amazingly enough, no issues once I cooled off.

Learning my lesson from Saturday I had a 3.5 hour ride for Sunday. Rene was a lay reader in church and church was our yearly outdoor service in a local park. Rene had just over a 2 hour ride that she needed to get in. The park happens to be along my long ride route so I was up at 5:30 on the bike by 6:05am. Was able to get my ride in and had it end at the park. Rene was nice enough to bring me shorts and shoes so I arrived at the park, threw on my shorts and shoes, and made it to the outdoor service. I was wearing my St. Louis Tri Club cycling jersey but I don't think GOD cares what I am dressed like. Aside from the funny looks and smell it worked out perfectly. After church, Rene jumped on her bike and got her ride in on the trails and we were both done mid day. We then got our swim in in the back yard while the kids swam in the pool and it worked out pretty good.

This week is another 12 hour week with a few long sessions. I have a full week at work and something going on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday nights. I really need to wrap up a few commitments and I am working hard to do so. It is just really brutal right now.

I have a tempo swim on my lunch hour and a 2 hour run tonight that I had to move to later in the week. KGB has softball practice, NBB has a game, they both have swim lessons at 7:30, in addition, Rene and I both have meetings. We are so fortunate to have involved parents. I will be dropping the kids off and grandparents at each game will get them home.

Somethings gotta give.....soon

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I hit a squirrel....... On my bike

Yep, you read it right, I can't make that up. I have been riding a bike since I was five years old. I have hit rocks, a building, my friends but never have I hit an animal.....until today.

It was the strangest thing ever. I was riding on the Edwardsville trails and like many other rides I see a lot of animals. Deer, rabbits, skunks (more on them in a minute) and my squirrel. He/or she darts out in front of me, as I go left, the squirrel goes left, I go right and the squirrel goes right and the next thing it is in front of me and .... well.... I ran over it. The squirrel rolled, I avoided crashing and the the squirrel ran off. I didn't stop because (A) I am not a vet so even if the squirrel was hurt, I couldn't do anything and (B) I am guessing it was pretty pissed at me and have you ever seen squirrel teeth? No thanks....

Now for the skunks, a few miles up the trail I came up on what looked like lumps of white and black, as I get closer it is 4 skunks and the last thing I wanted to do is hit them so I went left and rode past... no incident....

Other than hitting a squirrel on a bike, it was a good ride....

All for now

Back to normal

Back from the conference and after a horrible week of working out life is back to normal with hopefully not too much of a set back. Monday is typically my day off but yesterday I had to get a swim in so last night after the kids went to bed I was able to get a 40 minute interval swim. This one was tough due to the "5a" interval which basically means 6+ minutes at "all out" pace with 2 minutes of rest in between sets. Repeat this for 40 minutes. I really like this workout because it forces me to focus on form when I start to get tired which is almost immediately. In swmming, sloppy swimming creates exponential drag equates working hard equates tiring out easier etc.... In a nutshell, sloppy swimming is an energy death spiral so workouts like this help control it. The best way to describe this workout is that it is like running 800 meters at the track. You don't start out sprinting but at a very very fast sustainable pace trying to maintain great form the entire time.

I have a 1.5 hour bike ride tonight, it is looking like rain so it may be on the trainer OR I might switch my ride to a run and just deal with it outside. It is so tough to stay inside when the weather is warm. KGB has softball practice tonight and both kids have swim lessons so quick to get home, quick to get the workout started so I can spend some time with the little ones both during and before swim lessons.

More to come this week. It is good to be home!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I'm a begger on the las vegas strip - officially

I am currently in Las Vegas for a vendor conference. After sitting through sessions today I had to get my 1:15 hour run in and for some reason I have always enjoyed running on the strip. There are so many people to watch and avoid it is similar to trail running but with cars and people instead of trees and stumps.

Anyway, I went for my run. The current temp is 93 degrees with no humidity. The black pavement has to make it hotter but in preparation for my run I grabbed a bottle of water at the bell stand before I set off. I ran from Mandalay Bay down past Treasure Island and the Wynn. I ran out of water at about the turn around and figured I was going to die of thirst on the way back. For those of you that haven't been here in awhile they have street vendors selling bottles of water almost on every block. A bottle of water costs a buck and guess what I didn't bring any of .... Money... So as I am running I was in front of the Bellagio and stopped a group of people that looked nice. I explained my situation and asked for a dollar to buy a bottle of water. My salty running shirt I thought was a give away that I was obviously out running and that this was not my schtick to beg for money. The first person I asked was appalled and said she didn't have any money... BS... come on, this is Vegas... at least tell me you don't give money to beggars or something but a lame excuse like... I don't have any money is tough to believe. Fortunately for me, a very nice person overheard my explanation and her rude response and reached into her purse and gave me a dollar. I thanked her and was on my way. The water was gone by the time I got back to the Hotel but all was good.

The run itself was okay. It was hot but so is IMAZ so it was good training for me.

That is all I had workout wise for today and now I can cross "begging for water on the vegas strip" off of my bucket list. It has been a productive day.

All for now...