Sunday, November 20, 2011

Massage for better performance

After almost three weeks completely off it feels good to be hitting the roads again.
I wanted to write just a bit about my recent use of Massage at the end of my season to those who might be, like myself, unsure if it would be worth including in their training regimen. I had been dealing with pesky hamstring injuries since February and had cut almost all running out and modified other parts of my workouts due to the long time it took the tightness to go away after a hard workout. I decided I needed to do more than I already was to heal them to ensure being ready for HyVee US Nationals and Austin 70.3. My colleagues at Pinnacle Sports Medicine, who are my first defense on all injuries, had recommended some additional massage from the beginning for this type of injury but I was resistant mostly due to cost.

With a little more on the line in the last two races I figured it was maybe time to try. I set up a series of appointments with Eddie Ulloa at Eddie U. Massage starting before HyVee and running until Austin. I figured I would probably need a series of treatments to give it a fair assessment. I was rewarded with acute relief immediately that had my legs feeling much looser and pain free already at HyVee for my strongest performance of the year even with the lack of run training. With each successive massage the tightness I was experiencing during and after hard workouts was decreasing and I was recovering much more quickly. I specifically remember going out after a massage for a key workout several weeks before Austin at the hills I train on by Lindsborg. It was a hilly 50 mile ride with the last 25 a hard Time Trial followed immediately by mile repeats on a gradual hill all to simulate Austin. Based on where my running had been I was hoping for a 6min pace average on 30s rest. I surprised myself with a 5.35 avg. that felt easy and I finished having some left. I knew my legs were ready and unfortunately didn't get to show it after overheating in Austin.
My hamstrings are very near 100% but I will be making massage a more significant part of my routine because I can tell it is facilitating the healing and recovery, and allowing me to continue quality training. I can only imagine I will have similar experiences with recovery once completely healthy again that will lead to a higher level of performance.

If you're looking to try some massage I would recommend Eddie Ulloa since my experience with Eddie has been terrific. He has a wide array of useful modalities for every situation and adjusts techniques based on current training or up-coming races. He has a good knowledge of working with athletes which you have probably noticed since he makes it a point to be at almost every endurance event in and around Wichita. This was also something that drew me to use his services. I'm a believer in supporting local businesses that sponsor, provide support, and often volunteer at races sacrificing their own weekends to do so.
Good luck to everyone that is embarking on off-season training. Be safe.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Austin 70.3 Race Report

Following HyVee I had no concrete plans to finish out my racing year but was hoping to get in a final half Ironman. I talked my brother into taking a weekend trip to Austin, called on some friends for a place to stay, and registered for Austin 70.3.
The swim was a 73 degree wetsuit swim in Decker lake, the bike a winding ride through the ranch land east of Austin, and the run a rolling three loop jaunt back by the lake finishing inside the Leudecke Arena.
My major gripe with the 70.3 series is continuing to put the male 30-34 age group last to get some of the slower waves on course sooner. However, in the end everyone vying for the win has the same disadvantage racing in the heat, I just wish we didn't have to. So although the pros were off at 7:30 we got in the water at 8.45.
The swim was very uneventful with a calm start at the front and quickly finding some feet to pull me around. My swim time was 28.21 (56th overall including pros). Not too bad considering the closest thing I've had to open water swimming since May is going around the perimeter of my 25yd pool thanks to the algae blooms in local lakes. Transition went well, and as far as I can tell from the results I had the fastest of the amateurs.
Although the bike roads looked pretty sketchy the day before when I drove the course I didn't notice that much on race day as I cruised around the 56 mile course. The wind picked up on the back half of the loop but I was not that surprised since it had looked that way the day before as well. I rolled back into transition with a 2.18.16 (15th overall), 24.3mph avg.
By the time I got off the bike around 11:30 it was warming up into the 80's with a pretty stiff South wind. Although I felt I had done my best to acclimate from the cool KS weather I also knew from past heat struggles that my body wasn't ready to rip off sub 6's. I settled in around 6.20-30 pace and felt i could hold that for the 3 lap rolling course. With 3 miles to go I was passed for the first time by someone in my age group and I knew that could likely be a place on the overall podium. I gave chase with everything I had left but it wasn't enough. Sure enough it was second place overall finishing just 16s ahead. On the helpful side that chase propelled me ahead of 4th place by 5s who finished in another age group at a different time. Run time was 1.29.03 (15th overall) and total time 4.18.59. Good enough for 15th overall, 3rd overall amateurs. First and second place amateurs were from out of country so it was nice to finish as first American as well.
Although I thought this was my first automatic pro qualifier, I was unaware that USAT had changed the criteria once again to races with 20k+ pro prize purses. Austin's purse was only 15k so it no longer qualified. However, this was a by product to what was one of my better finishes in my tri career and I was not intending to make use of it just yet anyway..
On reflection, although I have had struggles with heat on all but 1 of my 5 half ironman attempts this was probably the only major problem area I didn't execute on. The swim, bike, and transitions went to plan. Nutrition strategy has become pretty much a non issue, nailing it in every race since June. Finally, my recovery was easily the best its been from this distance which is probably almost completely attributed to my recent use of pre and post race massage (props to Eddie Ulloa). I think I may write about this a bit more later as a newby to massage for those who have, like me, been wondering if and how much this can benefit your training/racing.
Have a great off-season! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

HyVee Triathlon - 5150 US National Championship

During a season there are many races, but nothing like the peak race. Everything is set up for your best performance. Training peaks out with 8 weeks of the hardest, fastest and race specific workouts of the year. However, that is comparatively the easy part. The training is topped off with a week or two of taper which can include multiple days of complete rest which never happens the rest of the year. This can drive a person mad after the previous months of multiple workouts daily.
HyVee was my priority race this year. I drove through 8 hrs of rain to Memphis, TN with Yvette and raced in a thunderstorm just to qualify at Memphis in May for the 5150 National Championship. The carrot on the end of the stick was a brand new Mini Cooper and $5000 in other prizes. Purses of this value are unheard of in the amateur triathlon racing world. I knew it would bring all the competition out of the woodwork which would make for a great race.
We arrived on Friday to get some of the pre-race hassles out of the way like packet pick up. Saturday morning I rode the entire run course to familiarize myself and mark distances. Also per usual routine I ran the final miles of the course and later drove the entire bike course.
I actually got 5 or 6 hours of good sleep Saturday night and awoke feeling fresh and prepared for the race. Yvette, Corynn and I headed down to Greys lake and although lake temperature had been a toasty 83 earlier in the week the cold front and air temps in the 50s had dropped it to 75 making it wetsuit legal.
Our small group of about 40 amateur elites were in the water first. A relatively uneventful swim and I was out of the water in 13th in 22.05. Through transition and I got my first split to the leader...4 min. I was slightly surprised because I thought the first out would be around 19min based on who was racing but I had missed picking Adam Webber's name out of the list. The former Duke swimmer was out in 18. I knew to make up that amount of deficit I would have to take a big chunk back on the bike and then nibble off the rest in the run.
The bike course proved to be a little difficult with gradual hills and swirling wind. I pushed past my fellow competitors moving up spots, however I was only taking back a few seconds from the leader at my time checks. I flew back into transition with a hard earned 58.11 for the second best bike split and 4th overall.
My legs were feeling the effort as I headed out on the run. However, they came around and I was into my stride by the time I hit the long bridge over the lake and received the news from my brother that I was indeed still around 4min back of the lead. I was less then pleased by the deficit after the type of effort I was giving to that point.
On the quick out and back first 2 miles I confirmed splits and got to see the entire top 10. Everyone looked to be running well which was later confirmed by 8 of the top 10 running sub 35min. I clicked off the first 3 miles in 16.40 right around my expected pace. Although I was moving well this hadn't stopped 2 guys from moving around me. I continued in that position and near that speed through the next couple miles as we were spit off the bike path and into downtown. The last half mile was a gradual uphill ending with a steep one block hill to the finish at the capital building. My legs finally couldn't fight anymore and one more competitor came around me. I completed the hill as best I could and stumbled down the carpet across the finish with legs completely spent. Run time was a respectable 35.17 and I finished 7th overall, two places off the medal stand and prizes.
I was satisfied with my race efforts to get to the front, as well as my paces, but would of course liked that to have yielded a higher place. The first place mini cooper would have really been nice but it goes without saying that with a prize like that the competition will be "the toughest amateur field of the year" as one press release put it. This was due to the multiple national amateur champions and winners of other elite fields in top races around the US that had all come looking to get their hands on a new car.
I doubt this will be my last appearance at this race because we really enjoy going to Des Moines. However, I have many race goals and am unsure if it will be a "peak race" in the up coming years. I do know that the next time I am on the start line at HyVee the competition and course will be just as challenging but my fitness and preparedness will again be at another level. And with a few more million yards (literally) in the pool I will hopefully be beginning my bike/run pursuit from only 2 minutes back of the leader.
I am looking ahead to possibly getting in a half ironman yet this season but no registrations have been sent yet.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Three more Kansas wins

In the last couple of weeks I have raced three local sprint tri's. On August 4th I raced the Derby Rock N' Route Tri for the third year. My focus here was to get some feedback on where I had improved my run to over the previous three week training cycle. Following a solid swim and bike I rounded it out with a 17 flat run. This was not up to form but was starting to show some signs of speed coming back. Derby always treats the overall finishers great and this year I was sent off with a new cycleops trainer from Bicycle X-Change.
The following weekend I decided to do the double with the Hutchinson Salty Dog on Saturday and the Hays Summer Slam on Sunday. This was a somewhat of a last minute change but we were going to be in the Hays area anyway and so I thought we should check it out. I also thought back to back races would give a little extra boost to my training for Hy-Vee.
I had a solid race on Saturday finishing with a comfortable 7 minute lead. On Sunday I was pleased with my quick recovery and with slightly tired legs had another solid race finishing with an 8 minute victory.
All three races are very well put together and have their own home town feel. The Salty Dog concludes with a pancake feed and the Summer Slam had grilled pizzas.
I am currently in the middle of my last three week peak training cycle for US Nationals and am anxious to get to Des Moines to test my fitness against the best amateurs in the country.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Record heat, record time at Mudwater

On a day that started out already at 85 degrees and saw a new record high in Wichita of 112 we were pretty much doomed to sweat it out at this years Mudwater. This is the Kansas River Valley Triathlon Club's annual race which I must say does a tremendous job putting it on each year.
Myself and two other competitors made our way around the 2 lap, 1500yd, swim course in just over 19min. I moved into first through transition and headed out for the rectangular, 39k bike loop. Although it was warming up quickly it was a pretty calm day and I decided to push the bike despite potentially putting myself in a state of bother during the run. I came back into T2 with a 55min bike split and a 5min lead over second. On the run I handled the heat fairly well thanks to being fairly well acclimated by this point in our unusually hot summer. However, less than a mile in, I developed  a stomach cramp that would last for the remainder of the race. I'm not sure the cause but will hope that never happens again. I cruised it around limiting the damage with a 40min final leg for a 1.55.53 course record time. Congrats to all my fellow KSRVTC club members.
This week begins my peak training for Des Moines. Next race is Rock N' Route Sprint in Derby first weekend in August.
Another week ahead in the triple digits...stay cool out there.

Monday, July 4, 2011

First at El Dorado Triathlon

I really enjoyed this race venue last year in its first year but I was on the fence all the way up until 2 days before the race. A text from a friend of mine brought to my attention the appearance of a competitor from Chile who raced the pro wave at Kansas Half a couple weeks prior. Obviously I didn't want the title to be taken out of state, let alone out of country, so...put me in coach.
Leading from the get go I put in the two laps for the swim and began working on the bike course. Onto the second lap I was greeted by a late challenger. The train tracks parallel the course and a freight train thought he would get the jump on me. Try as I might to keep pace it wasn't a fair fight and I had to yield before completely blowing up.
The primary competition for the day actually came from Lee Walther who paced just behind me through the swim and bike entering about a minute back heading into T2. The 51 year old from OK said he was just getting back into racing...I'd say he's back.
My run legs are feeling stronger each week that goes by and this was the first race I felt some ability to stride out. They still have a ways to go to regain fitness but its still 9 weeks to Des Moines so I'm feeling confident I can get them in shape by then.
This weekend's race is our club (KSRVTC) race at Lake Afton which is always a lot of fun. Hope to see you there.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

4th at Memphis

Yvette will tell you every race with me is an adventure. This is not news to me and as hard as I try not to make it one, it always is. This weekend was a three day adventure to Tunica, MS for the great spring classic Memphis in May Triathlon. This was the first year in its new location at Tunica, MS amongst the recent Casino development. If you have watched any news in the last couple of weeks you likely saw reporters live in Tunica boating amongst the Casinos, which were under water, and residents evacuating. Although still flooded on arrival we were fortunate that the race location was just over the levee and out of harms way. We still were made acutely aware of the damage and destruction from the flooding as we made our way through Memphis, across the now wider Mississippi River, and even in places along the course.

Race morning dawned with uncertainty in the weather and thunderstorms looming. As the first racers set off it began raining and a short while later thunder could be herd rumbling. After a conversation with the race staff the day before it was determined the elite amateurs would likely go off around 9-9:30 with the pros at 10. I was down warming up at 7:30 and keeping an eye on the single file start line (TT style) that was inching ahead. We were not given much leeway on our checkout and feared I would not be finished in time to clean up and get out without an over charge. At 7:45 it was looking that way so I went to help Yvette carry a few things out to the car. We walked back around the hotel around 8.10 to see the line was gone. Starting to get a bad feeling I walked up and asked when the elites would be going off. “They’re in the water” was the reply, “you need to get going.” I had gone through my pre race warm up so I didn’t panic, slipped on my wetsuit and took off.

About 500m in I had started catching people and it began to downpour. Swim split was 21.26, a new best I believe. A muddy run through transition and I was on the bike with the rain still coming hard as I set to work. The course was flat and fast minus the corners due to quite a bit of water sitting on the roads. I kept the pressure on rolling past the bare fields and slaloming the competitors which is typical when they start us last. At the halfway a bump from a bridge spelled disaster for a lady right in front of me who’s bike seat disintegrated into the pieces that hold it together and nuts and bolts went flying across the road in front of me as the seat fell off the back. A near miss. Bike time was 57.54 for the best amateur split of the day and my best Olympic bike split as well.

I started off on the run comfortable and controlled clicking off 3 quick miles at just sub 18. Things changed drastically after the halfway as I began to fade. I have struggled with my nutrition in the past at this distance and although I thought I had it figured out also had a back up gue in my pocket for just such an occasion. Too little to late and I was in survival mode with two miles to go and contemplating walking. I had been there before and could not believe I had let it happen again. I dragged myself to the finish line (run course was 1/2m long adding insult to injury) and couldn’t believe I had likely just driven all the way to Memphis to finish outside the top 10. Run time 43.33. Total time 2.04.57.

The relief I felt when Yvette told me I had managed 7th was immense and I knew at least I had gained my qualifying spot to Des Moines for the 5150 Championship. After a delicious BBQ spread we headed out for our 10 hr drive home since we didn’t have to stick around for awards. Back home that evening we again made the startling discovery that some pros had been mixed in by mistake which bumped me all the way to 4th. I had just missed the podium, and my first automatic pro card qualifier, by less than two minutes.

After all that went wrong or could have gone wrong in the end the only thing that matters is results. The results will show that I placed 4th and qualified for the 5150 US National Championship. All the rest will only affect how I prepare for my next race.

Next up Kansas 70.3. Train safe and don't forget to bodyglide your neck when you wear a wetsuit.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dollar Bills and Fast Wheels

“Who’s going to beat Ben, I’ll give $250 to the person who beats Ben today?” I smiled to myself since I knew the cavalier bet was not the lock he thought it was. I was flying a little under the radar having crashed the previous year and knew I was very capable of winning the race and beating last year’s TriZou champion and 2010 Jr. Elite National Champion, Ben Kanute. So when the race director issued that challenge right as we were jumping in the pool it was game on and time to get paid.

This was my fifth year at the race on Mizzou’s campus, third year in the elite wave. It has been a race that usually doesn’t have a real deep field but always had notable competition. Past winners include, Matt Charbot, Andrew Starykowicz, TJ Tollakson, and Ric Rosenkranz all of which went on to have notable pro careers. Two years ago I left with confidence, having just run the same split as Simon Lessing, and renewed goals to get my swimming and biking up to par. It puts it in perspective when you get lapped in a 400, which Ben has done to me until this year.

I exited the swim this year with an approximate 5:30 long course 400 swim time and "only" a minute down on Ben and in 6th place. Yep, do the math that guy is a talented swimmer. I pushed hard early on the bike knowing he is also a talented runner that won on a sprint finish the previous year and that I would need to be within sight, or better yet slightly ahead, by T2. The course is a hilly 2 lap course in Columbia with a little wind this year that added to the difficulty. I made the pass around mile 11 and hit T2 with the slight lead and the race director “getting a little worried.” My time for the 14 mile bike was 36.32. Notice my new Zipp wheels that Mike at Bicycle X-Change rush shipped in time for the race and likely made the difference for the fastest bike split of the field and the overall win. Thanks Mike!

I only caught a glimpse of Ben on the run at the turnaround and he was running strong a short distance behind me and I hadn’t gained anything on him. Results would show he ran 8 seconds faster than my 15.48 so he probably continued to gain but I wouldn’t know it until I hit the finish line because I never looked back. This was an important run due to my lack of run training this spring, and not having full confidence in my injured hamstrings, yet still being able to hold the lead and take the win.

I am satisfied with a tough win and looking forward to my peak race for the spring in three weeks at Memphis in May…now actually in Tunica, MS. Top 10 elite amateurs will qualify for the US National Championships at HyVee in Des Moines and it is my goal to be among them.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Final 30's me finish live!

You can go to the following link to watch live finish line footage of the trizou triathlon on Sunday, May 1st. Race starts around 7:00am and you can start looking for finishers around 7:45. I have finished high in previous years but never first, hopefully this year I'm the first one you see.

I finished my 30 in 30 on Wednesday, here were the final workouts...
April 25th -swim 30x50, bike 30 miles
26th - swim 30x50 as fast 25 / recover 25
27th - swim 30x300

Monday, April 25, 2011

Emporia Race Report

It was a fine day for racing at Emporia last Sunday. Mild temps and light South wind made for a very pleasant day at the office. Although I was starter #3 in the time trial swim start, #1 and #2 were absent at start time so I got things going as first in. Since I was still overcoming some minor hamstring issues the goal was stay quick but controlled on the swim and bike and manage it in on the run. Everything went to plan and I was first home for the fourth year in a row. An added upgrade this year was chip timing and everything seemed to go off smooth in that department.

On to Columbia, MO this week. I believe there is a streaming finish line video so I'll post that link later this week if you're interested in being up at 7:50 on a Sunday morning to watch what is sure to be a great finish.

Week 3 and 4 of 30's results...

12th - swim 30x50's open water (no push) start
13th - swim 30x150's pull/sight/free
14th - swim 30x50 paddles strength
15th - swim 30x200's
16th - swim 30x50's paddles every 4th power int.
17th - 30min 20k TT (race) and 30 push ups
18th - swim 30x100 free/back
19th - swim 30x50 fly
20th - swim 30x100
21st - swim 30x25 kick
22nd - bike 30x1min strength int.
23rd - 30 sit ups
24th - bike 30x30s power int.

Just a couple more days of 30's, I'm feeling younger already!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Week 2 of 30's workouts

Another fun week of 30's workouts. The season begins this week for me at Emporia on Sunday...lets see, if the past is any indicator I'm guessing 40 degrees and windy.

Apr. 7th - 30x25 sprint 25 easy continuous swim
8th - 30x100 free swim
9th - 30 Push Ups (I know pretty weak, it was midnight and i still hadn't done a 30).
10th - 30 Mile easy bike
11th - 2x(30x50 pull w/ paddles) swim, 30 mile easy bike

Train safe, hope to see you in emporia.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

30 in 30 Training Challenge

I've decided that my 30th year deserves more than just one special workout. Plus I found out the Southwest Chief (Amtrak) going from Newton to Topeka does not have bike racks and thus foiled my original idea of a 300K ride down highway 4 from Topeka.

So I drew some inspiration from espn's recent series 30 for 30 and have embarked on my own 30 IN 30 or 30 days in which at least one of my focus workouts for each of those days will include 30 something (intervals, miles, etc). I am also attempting not to duplicate any workouts.

I began the challenge Tuesday, March 29th and will go through Wednesday, April 27th. My goal is to make this a month of solid training leading into my spring goal races. It has been a good challenge so far and has definitely elevated my training. If you are wanting to do some or all of the workouts yourself I'll post the 30 portion of the workouts I did each week and you can adjust for your own use...or just laugh at my insanity.

March 29th - swim 30 x 50 yds descending every 4
30th - swim 30 x 50yd paddles, bike 30 x 1min uphill repeats
31st - swim 30 x 25yd sprints
April 1st - swim 30 x 150 short rest, bike 30 x 4min low cad on 5min
2nd - bike 30 x 30s low cad on 1min
3rd - bike 30 x 30s power on 2min
4th - swim 30 x 150yd first 50 non free last 100 free
5th - swim 30 x 50 short rest
6th - bike 30 mile overspeed TT

I also got a late birthday surprise from Yvette with a exercise room makeover. She has some photos on her blog. It's a huge improvement and looks awesome!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


As is often the case the off-season has not gone 100% to plan. After a short two week break following the US Open I segued into a very productive 8 week base through the New Year. This included 50 miles swimming and about 1000 miles in the saddle in December alone. A rogue toe sprain derailed plans slightly in January forcing some isolated swim time. However all injuries heal and I am back to balanced 20+ Hr training weeks.

What has been fun to watch this off-season is the club's (Kansas River Valley Tri Club) dedication to winning the USAT national mileage challenge. We have secured first places in our division in both December and January and look well on our way to holding the overall lead through February. We may even finish second across all divisions which is pretty exciting.

A new race season will soon be upon us and I have updated my tentative schedule on the link at the top right. My primary goal this year will be going for the podium at the National Championships for the new 5150 series in Des Moines, IA. This will first require a stop in Tunica, MS for the Memphis in May Triathlon to qualify. I will still be at the local KS staples as well as Ironman KS 70.3 and a final 70.3 following Hy-Vee which will likely be Branson.

I turned 30 this past week...that's all I have to say about it so far. I have not yet attempted my typical birthday feat of a large training day or week due to having just a couple weeks of solid training under my belt. I'm still hoping to do something special when I feel my body will handle it without revolting.
Feel free to facebook me with suggestions. It needs to include the number 30 (hrs, miles, kilo) or variations of (300, 3000) and be completed in a day or week time frame.

Perhaps after I've completed my birthday challenge I will have more thoughts on being 30.

Happy Training!