Friday, July 19, 2002

I went off in search of MOO people today but ran out of luck. I suppose it makes sense, since i didn't exactly know where I was going before I left. I had a vague idea, but I wasn't sure which Caribou on Nicollet Ave. I was supposed to be at, so I traipsed up and down nicollet looking for my fellow Tri-geeks. Alas, it was not to be.

Things didn't turn out all bad though. I got back to work and had a check sitting there for me, which means... off to the bank and the bike store! I wanted to take a look at saddles. The Selle Italia that came on my Fuji is alright (especially in the width department) I like the narrowness better than my Serfas RX that's on the Trek, but it's just a little hard on "the boys". I also wanted to look at shoes. Ever since I bought my Diadora Cosmos last year I've regretted it. They're just not comfortable!

The bike shop I frequent is almost completely like something out of High Fidelity. There's the pretty normal manager, the quiet shopworker, the eccentric hyper shopworker, etc... all of them ride, all of them talk smack to each other about their riding. All of them follow "The Tour". It's really funny. I go in today and dig through the clothes for a little while, seeing if they have any bib versions of their store shorts. I fell in love with bibs before the Paul Bunyan, but the store shorts match my TCBC club jersey... if only the two could meet!

Anyway, I'm gabbing with the shop guys about Lance's win today (which hopefully one of these climbs' will be Roberto Herras' win) and we get back to talking about the Ironman. One of the shopguys, Bob's niece is competing at Madison, so we've talked about it a bit whenever I'm in. Conversation also swings towards my Fuji Team. The store just became a Fuji dealer so every time I go in I have to pull my Team out of the car so they can have a look at it. Today though we started digging in to what I needed to do before Madison. We settled on a couple things.

1. I HAVE to get a better seat.
2. I really need a Stem that will jut me out a little bit more. I'm sitting too far back right now.

Other than that, my bike is just about ready for Ironman. I think once I get the new stem things will be a lot more comfortable. I haven't completely decided what stem I'm going to buy yet, but maybe I'll buy some really cool bladed thing. :-)

Before I left, conversation swung around to talk about the ride they do out of the shop every thursday night. All of the guys live on the other side of the city, so none of them really know the local roads very well. I got recruited to lead the ride somehow. Best part? I got a discount on the shoes I bought. Oh, Shoes! I was going to talk about that.

I looked at shoes today. I don't know if the ones I ended up buying are going to be THE ones, but I think they're pretty close. i ended up buying Nike Cipressas. I have to admit I was swayed by the color, but they're much wider than my Cosmos, so I think they're going to work better. I'm still a little concerned about length, but they ARE supposed to be tight. I'm going to try them out tomorrow, and if they don't work, I'm going to trade them up to the next half size. (an 11 vs. a 10 1/2) The color though, they match my bike! Whee. Tey're kind of a cool grey and blue. Best yet? I got them for like $30 off! Cheaper than my Cosmos' and more comfortable. Can't beat that.

I'm thinking that I'm going to reformulate my Ironman training plan. I kind of want to crank it up from teh 13 weeks to a 13 hour ironman plan. I feel like I'm not working hard enough. There were three official rest days this week. This weekend IS going to be harder, but it just seems like the weeks are way too easy. I also really need to start examining my strength training and augment it a little bit. I need more than some nightly pushups. I think that's about all that's going on in this corner of the world tonight. Tomorrow a nice long bike ride and an 1:15 swim at E2. Sunday calls for a 2.25 run. Lots of work!


Thursday, July 18, 2002

A horse is a horse of course of course....or, I find my calling?

Yesterday? Not much at all... for some odd reason, even though last week seemed like a rest week, this week seems like it truly is a rest week. Tomorrow I have yet another day off. I might be a bad boy and just bike to work though. If there's anything that I don't like about this plan, it's that this summer my cycling has been down lower than it would normally be... obviously my swimming and running are higher than they'd normally be, but my cycling (which is my main sport, and will continue to be my main sport into the future more than likely) has taken a bit of a dive. It's all right. I'm not super paranoid or anything like that; it's just that I'm not on the bike as much.

I've been spending more time on this mile141 website. It's kind of cool to have a place where some other IMMOO people hang out so that I might actually have a chance of knowing someone once I get to Madison. I also got my first piece of e-mail from someone that read the journal. Kinda cool... another Minneapolis Clydesdale.

What's a Clydesdale, you ask? Basically, a Clydesdale is a triathlete that's umm... large. I don't think that I'll ever be under 200lbs. it's just not something that's going to happen. Even if I lose my gut, I'm still going to be over the Clydesdale classification at 170. So, I'll celebrate my Clydesdale-ness. I think there's something noble about it. I like the idea that I can still do big things, just not as fast... and when it comes to the Ironman, I'm sure that I probably won't be fast.

Tonight was supposed to be an hour of riding at Form. I can't ride at Form. It's SOOOOO difficult for me to do heart rate zone training. I like to ride fast and hard. Plus, since I hadn't ridden with TCBC in a while (Twin Cities Bike Club) I thought I should get a group ride in. I hustled home from work, grabbed my clothes and a bottle of Accelerade and ran back out the door. There were a couple of rides rescheduled to tonight so riders were spread out a bit more. I saw the group and thought... "Oh cool, I should find some people that I can ride pace with" Let me always cherish the fact that there will forever be old guys kicking my ass... it's the sort of thing that makes me feel better about growing up. That there are 50 and 60 year old club riders that can keep a 25mph pace makes me hope that I can do that at their age (or even NOW for that matter). I was thinking about doing the A/B version of the ride which was a 39 mile route, but right off the bat on the first hill I got completely dropped... so I settled in with these older guys that were doing the shorter route, technically a "B" pace... which, to quote the TCBC website is...

Ride Type-B / Avg Speed(Min.)-12mph / Rest Stops every 15-20miles / Leader rides at the rear

I don't think I've ever been on such a fast paced B-ride. My cycle computer says that we averaged 17mph, but that includes stops. As far as I could tell from looking at the computer during the ride, we maintained something closer to 20 and above. I'm healthy again, but three weeks off the bike have left me weaker than I should be, so I was working pretty hard to keep up. Luckily, I have my secret weapon. Aerobars! The greatest thing about them is that as soon as I drop into them, I get about a 2mph increase with no extra effort. With the seat I have at the moment, I put a little bit of pressure on my testicles, but the increase is worth it. When we hit the gateway trail on the way back, I did an extended jaunt in the aerobars and was maintaining around 26mph. I felt like I was flying. What's scary about pace? The Tour de France riders can do 20 mph in the MOUNTAINS... that kind of thing just makes me feel like quitting. ;-)

After the ride I headed back home and got my tri-shorts on. I guess that they're technically running short-tights, but I've found they work really well in the water. The best part is that they're tight like a Speedo, but they cover a lot more. There was no one on the lake tonight, and it was so peaceful swimming in the lake while the sun set. There was this orange glow that covered most of the lake... it was really beautiful. I was only supposed to do a half hour in the lake at E1 (which for some odd reason I thought was my racing pace, I look now though and realize that it's a calm swim. Oh well) I guess I did the workout at a higher intensity than I might otherwise have. I think when I get my next check I'm going to look into a decent pair of non-dark swim goggles. I hate the ones I have now, and I think it would help me with my freestyle form. Part of the reason I think the goggles might help is that I would be able to look up a bit more often. I think one of the things I don't like about freestyle is not knowing where I'm going when my head is looking down in the water. In the pool, I can see... in the lake? Well, it's just murky.

It's still SOOOO much easier for me to divert to a side stroke/scissor kick. When I can't see in the water, diverting to a side stroke lets me look out of the water with one eye and still keep a little bit of aerodynamic form. Not as much as freestyle, but better than the breaststroke.

Since I only had a half hour, I was going to do a different route in the water. I was ESPECIALLY going to swim a different route since there wasn't any traffic on the lake. I set off east across the lake

Actually... here, check this out
If you open that up in a new window, the big blob of blue is Lake Gervais <-- named after the founder of Little Canada! heh. Anyways, there's a beach that's towards the southern part of Gervais. I swam East, to the other side, than about 3/5 of the way to the peninsula jutting out on the east side, and then back and across to the beach. I had a really good pace going during the first fifteen minutes and I couldn't completely figure out why... THEN, I turned around and realized why.. There wasn't a HUGE current, but there was enough of one that it impeded my progress for a little while until I could get my bearings. I've been really good in my lake swimming so far to not freak out... tonight I had to fight it a little bit. When I realized I wasn't swimming forward nearly as fast, and my leg was cramping up a little bit, there were a few seconds where I thought, ACK! But, I buckled down and thought that I can do this. At the very worst you can float for a LONG time. You'll get there. Don't worry about it. I made it, but there were those few little moments. I haven't swum THAT far out into the middle of the lake before. I'll probably do it again, but only when there isn't any traffic around.

Tomorrow? A rest day. I'll try to do that book article I was talking about the other day. I don't have much planned, so hopefully I can squeeze that in.

More later,

P.S. - let me know what you think! Please! E-mail me.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

I can't sleep, therefore I journal... or something like that.

Today was basically an easy hour in the lake and a half hour run. I managed to get up after my alarm clock went off, almost right away.... this could be considered a minor miracle. I was actually able to be out of my house and at the lake by around 9:00, and in the water by 9:10. I definitely think it's easier swimming in the lake in the early morning. At the very least you don't have any boat traffic to bother you. The concern in the water today was that I was getting a little dizzy whenever I started doing freestyle. I couldn't understand it. For whatever reason, I'd feel very disoriented when I'd put my head down in the water and start to stroke. It was aggravated even more when I would do a body roll as part of the stroke. I ended up sidestroking as best I could.

For some reason, the waves also seemed to be moving much quicker in parallax than they usually do, and that aided again in the feeling of disorientation. Just switching to some sort of breast stroke seemed to be the best that I could do. At the very least, I'm getting better at working continuously for an hour-two hours at a time. When I get my next check, I really need to look into buying the Total Immersion triathlon DVD. I think it would help my swimming quite a bit to sit and watch proper swimming over and over again.

My swim to run transition went really well. I took probably a few seconds too long to dry off, but I'm not going to do breakneck transitions during IMMoo, so I'm not going to stress about the tran times too much. My legs were fresher today than they were on Sunday. I ran out of the beach parking lot and climbed a hill right away. A little painful, but nothing horrible. It was supposed to be a relatively easy run, and I forgot my Heart Rate Monitor, so i didn't push it incredibly hard, but I did a little over 3.3 miles in around 30 minutes, so if I can get to the run during Ironman Madison, I think I'll have a decent chance of finishing.

Anyway, I'll write more when I get a chance tomorrow. Things are incredibly hectic at work this week and tomorrow I need to dig out of what I didn't get done today.


Monday, July 15, 2002

Subterranean Post Cornerstone Blues...

It's been a rough july training wise so far. After a Cornerstone that was just relentless, I find myself in the position of just not quite knowing how I'm going to make it to the finish line come September. After not being able to bring my bike to Cornerstone, I was going to really press on getting swim and run workouts in. Waking up to 90degree weather while you're outside though, covered in sweat, just doesn't lend itself to being workout conducive. Aside from being sweaty and hot when you woke up, swimming in the lake without earplugs got my ears really irritated and painful, and after the first day or so, I also had a really bad sunburn all over my back, which just made me not want to live even more. I could have probably worked out in the evening, but in the evening, you'd much rather go to a concert and see friends you only see once a year than run back and go jump in the lake for a 2 hour swim.

Needless to say, it was also too hot to run. After my attempt on Monday to run and another swim on Tuesday, I ended up with a really bad case of Heatstroke on Wednesday. Ang and I headed off to town Wednesday night to get away from the noise and get some fluids in to me. I'm glad we did, because I could have gotten quite a bit sicker than I was. Heat stroke just isn't very fun. Anyway, Wednesday ended most of my workouts for the rest of the week. I just never felt well enough again to make another attempt at anything very physical.

After I got back from Cornerstone, sickness crept upon me. BLERGH. If there's one thing I didn't need, it was to get sick. I was anxious to get back to working out and this cold hit me that literally knocked me off my feet. All my energy felt completely sapped from my body.

Tuesday, I made an attempt to get back into the swing of things. Before heading off to my young-adult bible study, I drove over to a local lake to get a swim in. I was aiming for what I thought was the lake a local triathlon takes place at, but the lake I thought was Turtle lake, turned out to be another lake. The thing that bothered me was that this lake turns out to be what must be the shallowest lake in the local area. It being incredibly shallow and incredibly clear, I had to swim through really thick weeds almost the entire time. Plus it was really disconcerting seeing the weeds come up at you because of the clear water. I cut my swim off short because of a lack of energy and ran up to where my car was parked. Running to my car is where I really realized that there was something wrong. I just didn't have any energy at all. I couldn't figure out why I was incredibly out of breath by the time I got to my car. The next day, the cold hit me full force, and I had my answer.

The cold kept me out of commission until Sunday... or at least I was bound and determined to get at least ONE long workout in this past weekend. I woke up feeling better on Sunday, so I decided that that would have to be the day. I looked up the 13 week training plan and found out that this weekend was supposed to be the first long brick workout. Basically a brick is this... you do your first sport, then immediately transition as quickly as you can to the next sport. For me, this meant a long bike ride followed by a shorter run.

I was really anxious to get back into the swing of things. After the Paul Bunyan fiasco, I didn't get to ride my bike the entire week before Cornerstone. I get my bike back the day before LEAVING for Cornerstone, and end up not being able to bring it with me because of packing space. THEN, I come back and get sick which leaves me no energy to ride if I WANTED to ride, so the reality is that I hadn't been on my bike in nearly three weeks. That's just way too long. I got everything ready and headed off on what was supposed to be a 1hr30min ride. Almost right of the bat I could tell that the cold wasn't completely gone and that I had lost some fitness. The other thing I learned was that I think my planned route hit every piece of construction in the northern suburbs. My planned route went from an hour and 30 minutes to a painful 30 mile hour and 50 minute route in weather that just happened to also be in the mid 90s. Why oh why can't i just have one variable to analyze so that I can at least do a little bit of analysis and figure out what's going on?

If it's hot and I don't perform as well, GREAT!
If I'm sick and I don't perform as well, GREAT!
If I'm undertrained and don't perform as well, GREAT!

But don't throw all three variables at me at once because it makes it hard to figure out which one has more weight. ERGH.

I finally got off the bike after running out of water and almost running out of my tepid bland accelerade (which happens to be palatable cold, but once semi-warm becomes almost undrinkable) Stumbling into the house, I got some water and changed into my US Postal Team cap (GO LANCE!) and Running Shoes... ran out the door and BAM! My legs told me that they didn't want to run. OUCH! I kept moving though and started to walk down the street. Just walking had my heart rate at 160. Running a few steps bumped it up to 180. Up and down my heart rate went as I toddled down the street. Somehow I managed to keep going, I'm not entirely sure how. Eventually, I even picked up a little bit of steam. I had a little bit of incentive in that I wanted to get home in order to watch a little bit of CBS Tour de France (or Tour de Lance, take your pick) coverage. Coming around my block, I turned on the engines as best I could and musted up some energy. I decided that I'd push it as hard as I could go and for the first time in quite a while, I went anaerobic. I think I remember seeing my heart rate peak somewhere around 193 BPM. I tried to push through the lactic acid building up as best I could and ran into the house a big heaving, sweating, sloppy mess. I think it's so funny that my mom has become used to this. Without missing a beat she just asks if I had a good run and goes back to her movie.

After I got into the house my heart rate for whatever reason kept going up. I went from 193 to 196 for a little while before finally coming down.
When I went to bed yesterday night, my legs were so drained that I couldn't fall asleep. They weren't in pain, they just felt like they were more tired than they had ever been in their lives... I was worried that they were going to be extra painful today... suprisingly though, they felt pretty ok.

Tomorrow's workout?
1 hour of swimming at FORM
and a 1/2 hour run at E2.
Actually one of my favorite workouts! :-)

Also tomorrow? A bibliography of all the books I've ended up buying in this year long process. Training for an Ironman has been more of a learning experience than I ever thought it would be, and I've got a bookshelf to prove it.

Deus te Amat, and I do to.

Posts from the road… June 30, 2002

Well, at the very least, I know that my computer is working as I ride along in the back of Ang’s Parents minivan. We managed to get on the road about 9:00 this morning and things never seem to go off without a hitch. Ang had to run home after she left so that she could get her Health Insurance card and then when she got to my house we realized there was no way in God’s good heaven that we were going to get my road bike into the car. Strike one against being able to go about a regular training week this week.

I had no conceptions of everything going off without a hitch workout wise since I’m going to be in the middle of Illinois corn country camping out with 40,000 other people, but I was hoping to get some miles in on my bike now that it’s back from the shop.

I’m still not too sad about bagging the quintuple century ride. I think I hit a little spot of overtraining. I kind of lost the short term desire to do longdistance stuff. I think next season I’ll focus almost predominantly on long-distance stuff. Maybe I’ll even get a Randonneur (Randonnay) thing going with the Twin Cities Bike Club. It’s a long distance type thing where you go through a circuit of Kilometer rides… in order to ride Paris-Brest-Paris or Boston-Montreal-Boston, you need to do a 200,400,800,1000,1200 km set of rides. Boston-Montreal-Boston is this year and it won’t be for another 4 years? So I’ll have time to be able to set my sites on that possibly.

Before that though, I need to focus on Ironman Madison. Not bringing my bike could be a good thing because it will allow me to focus on running and swimming this week which are probably what I need to be focusing on anyway. The bike is the given in the race for me. Albeit, I want to still train to make a decent split on the 112, but if I’m riding it and not necessarily racing it, I know that I can do 112. It’s the 2.5 and the 26.2 that boggle me a little bit and so I’ll focus on that this week. There’s a lake on the Cornerstone farm that I hope I’ll be able to swim in. I know there’s a swim area, but I don’t know how they feel about people that decide to swim the lake… maybe if I do it early or late.

There’s a little film festival going on at Cornerstone this year, and one of the things that they’re going to be doing is a “Make Your own Film at Cornerstone” thing. I don’t have a digital camera with me so what I think I’m going to do is this… I have my minidisk recorder and digital camera, so what I think I’ll do is to create a Cornerstone cartoon. I’ll tape all my audio there and cut together something like Waking Life. I think it could be an interesting experiment.

Anyway, that’s all from the road for the moment. We stopped at Wendy’s for lunch and I didn’t eat healthily at all. It’s going to be hard nutritionally this week. I brought a bunch of applesauce and granola bars for breakfast so that should be fine, but it’s the rest of the day that I’m a little more concerned about. We’ll see how it goes.

To all the ships that sailed the sea
Monday and Tuesday, July 1&2, 2002

There are a couple things about Cornerstone that never change, the heat and the dust. This
year, there’s plenty of both. Yesterday and today have both been in the mid nineties with
humidity that’s almost as high. I didn’t get a chance to bring my bike down, and Monday
as I was reading through the Cornerstone program, I noticed that there was a big page about
the lake and how there wasn’t any swimming allowed outside of the designated swimming
areas… and absolutely NO swimming across the lake. I was more than seriously bummed
that yet another part of my training wouldn’t be able to done this week. After reading that,
there being all this refrigerator noise from a truck next to our tent all night and being
severely sticky with sweat, it just wasn’t a good morning.

There was absolutely nothing going on Monday as well. None of our friends were here yet
and sitting around in the heat with nothing to do just isn’t much fun. We holed up in the
van with the A/C on watching movies for the most part. Sunday night was a "Return of the
Killer Tomatoes" Feature, and Monday had showings of both High Fidelity and

Ang, Gina and I went for a walk Monday afternoon and ended up down by the Cornerstone
lake. Lo and Behold there are people ALL over the lake, mostly on air mattresses. We walk
down to the water to put our feet in and I realize I actually have a suit on. It’s supposed to
be a day off, but Saturday and Sunday didn’t have anything happening during them (I was a
bad training boy getting ready for Cornerstone) so I figured that I could do well by going
for a swim.

I was really impressed with the fact that there are almost no weeds in this lake. I’m not sure
why, but I’m sure a big part of it is the type of soil that’s at the bottom of the lake… there’s
so much sediment that I’m sure there isn’t much light down there at all. I found that one of
the most refreshing things in the Cornerstone world was/is to dive down into the water
where the temperature drops dramatically… the top water is probably close to 80 degrees,
and about 3 feet down, due to water visibility, the temperature drops precipitously. All of a
sudden you’re feeling water that’s in the sixties right on down to absolutely frigid water at
the very bottom. It felt so good diving under the water and floating up through the
temperature layers. I was also really happy that I found out I’d be able to complete my

Tuesday called for an 1:15 of swimming and :45 of running. The day started off better with
a full night of sleep thanks to a handy dandy pair of ear plugs, but the temperature today
surely wasn’t cooperating. It just isn’t good when the temperature is already almost 90
degrees when you wake up. I lunked around the campsite for a little while and eventually
convinced myself to get on with things for the day. As soon as I started running, I knew it
was going to be a long workout (or at least the run part) 5 minutes of easy running had my
heart rate in the stratosphere (around 180) just because of the heat. The swim makes things
easier, just because the water keeps you cool, but there was a problem there too. The
sunblock I used today isn’t waterproof, so I have nice big sunburns across the top of my
back. OUCH! Maybe that tells me that I need to work on my form so that my sunburn is
more even across my back. _

The swim other than the sunburn was pretty uneventful. Since I don’t have my bike here
with me, I think that I’m going to do a swim workout everyday this week with the runs in
the same position, so it’ll be

Monday: Swim
Tuesday: Swim, Run
Wednesday: Swim
Thursday: Swim, Run
Friday: Swim
Saturday: Swim, Run (instead of Bike)
Sunday: Home-LONG bike.

It won’t hurt to spend a lot of time in the water this week. Aside from the fact that it’s the
coolest place on the grounds, it’s also something I really need to work on. I’m still
struggling with continuous form. I can keep form, but I just don’t have the endurance in
Freestyle that I’m going to need. I can move – breast stroke, butterfly, backstroke,
sidestroke, but I just can’t keep doing freestyle for a long period of time. That’ll be
something I work on in the water this week.

When I got out of the water today, I had a sudden sense of what Ironman Hawaii in Kona is
like. Running kind of felt like it might feel in Hell. There’s not the isolation of the Queen K
Highway in Kona, but running on grounds that are completely covered in people, and
drinking lukewarm water made potable with a brita pitcher in the extra humid heat just
wasn’t that much fun. Once again my heartrate raced to probably it’s peak this season (I
accidently left my heart rate strap at home, so I can only estimate, but when I took my pulse,
I was close to 200 beats per minute, in just a jog. It’s totally and completely the heat.
Inhaling the dust didn’t help either. We really need a rain to secure all the dust to the
ground finally. It’s not as bad as it’s ever been, but it’s certainly not the best it’s every been
either. I cut my run short, even though I finally hit my stride toward the end. I was worried
about the heat, and I really wanted to get some fluids into me. I think I’m almost back to
normal hydration wise, I’ve been trying to suck back all the water I can. But I’ve still
generated almost no urine today, so that bothers me a little bit. On the one hand, it means
not having to use the porta-potties (which are clean for the most part, but c’mon they’re
PORTA-POTTIES, they’re not going to be perfectly clean EVER), but I don’t like what it
says physiologically. As soon as I finish this I’m going to grab my water jug so that I can
work on finishing it off.

Tomorrow will just be swimming. I’m going to try and do a 2 1/2 hour swim. At least two
laps across this lake. I don’t know distances at all, but I’d judge that I did over a mile today.
Anyway, more news later.

To all the ships that sailed the seas of dust,
June 27, 2002

80 days until Ironman...

This week has been a mess, workout wise. Starting Sunday night I was busy
working at this conference doing video stuff that was on the other side of
the city, it basically meant doing a 50 minute drive twice daily. Not much
fun, so it really screwed up my training. Aside from that, my bike isn't
back from the shop yet from it's weekend injuries, so I wasn't on teh bike
this week either. The conference ended yesterday night, so back into the
workouts today.

Today's workout? Swim for 1:15 at Endurance Level 3, and run for :45 of

Tuesday, I swam in a lake for the first time and I can honestly say that
it's much easier swimming in a lake than it is swimming laps, at least for
me. I think there's something about swimming or running or biking inside
that really makes it harder for me to do distance. When I'm in the water
and see something off in the distance, it's easier to set my eyes on that
marker than it is for me to say, "Ok I need to swim umpteen laps to do this
distance today."

The only thing that I don't especially like about lake swimming is dealing
with the weeds. Because of the boat traffic on the lake, I tend to not try
and swim out in the middle of the lake. Swimming 50 ft off shore means I
stay out of the way of boats (though not the absolutely annoying jet-skis)
The lake I swim in though (mostly because it's REALLY close to my house)
is pretty weedy, and thus when you get out there, you still have to contend
with the slimy plants. Maybe most disconcerting though was having my eyes
open as I swam freestyle. When I was in a weedy area, I'd see the weeds
coming at me, and even though I knew they were soft and wouldn't hurt me, I
couldn't help but get a little freaked seeing something coming at me. If I
were running or biking I could easily avoid it, but swimming you're
basically stuck with "Augh! Here it comes!" Plus I kept thinking that some
of the weeds were hands reaching up to grab me when I saw them out of the
corner of my eye. Hopefully with all the people at Ironman, by the time I
get to the weeds, a gazillion people will already have swam through them
tearing them into a million pieces.

Another part about lake swimming is not knowing where exactly to jump in.
Whenever I walk past the sign that says "No Swimming past the beach swim
area buoys" I always get a little nervous that some county lake patrol boat
is going to come up and say (with some sort of southern accent) "What the
hell do you think you're doing boy?"

Anyway, Tuesday I got in for the first time and did maybe 1/2-3/4 of a
mile. It felt pretty good for the most part. Though my stroke is still
pretty horrible. I kept giving up on my freestyle because of the weeds. it
was easier to do some sort of awkward breast stroke that pulled the weeds
out of the way before I got there than it was to do a freestyle stroke and
collect weeds with my superman arm position sticking out and gliding me
through the water waiting for my other hand to appear and assume the

Today after I got home from work I grabbed the last two pieces of pizza
that my parents, sister and brother-in-law had for dinner and made myself a
BLT wrap... let that sit for a half hour and then headed down to the

I always feel a bit awkward when I head down to the beach to do a long
swim. Walking barefoot through the beach area in barefeet, a speedo or my
Triathlon-sprint shorts and a T-shirt. People kind of look at you
strangely... especially when you walk past the beach and keep going,
finding a tree to toss your t-shirt into as you stretch and put on your
swim goggles.

After you stretch, you have to kind of search for a little bit of waters
edge that doesn't have too many weeds and just walk out into the water.
When I went down to the lake on Tuesday, I spent quite a few minutes just
standing at the edge of the water, trying to get the chutzpah to actually
head out into the lake. Today, the chutzpah that was needed was quite a bit

I started out with some freestyle but hit the weeds almost right away
again and went back to my horrible breast stroke... I went out a little
further to get away from the surface weeds and kept going with the
freestyle. I still need to do a lot of work with my balance in the water.
Seeing that video at Total Immersion has helped a lot, but I can't keep up
proper form for long distances... my biceps are also quite a bit smaller
than I'd like, because at this point they get tired pretty quickly. There
was more boat traffic today. I had to keep checking for boats whenever I
heard the buzzing in the water. A bunch of teens kept sweeping past me, and
I wasn't quite sure why, except for the fact that there's a freaky
triathlete guy swimming by himself in a pretty-much non-swimming area.
People don't give me weird looks when I'm running or I'm biking, but I
couldn't believe all of the weird looks that I got in the lake today. Every
boat that came by gave me some sort of look.

I ended up swimming for probably a mile/mile and a quarter... and actually
getting a full hour in. Usually I never get a full swim workout in. I
think the lake helps this quite a bit. Whenever a boat did swing by, I'd
end up with the waves coming at me which cut down my progress quite a bit.
I kept pushing though, and on the way back (I turned around when I reached
the 35 minute mark so that I wouldn't go completely over my workout time
and so that I wouldn't tire out and get stranded in the middle of the
lake.) I focused on my freestyle again, which for some reason started
working a lot better right away. My body was twisting the right way, and I
was able to remember to keep my superman arm out until my other arm reached
it so that I could get the maximum glide as a "longer me".

Ok, sidebar time. The "longer me" thing has to do with the way Total
Immersion teaches. The way they teach swimming is to work on form. They try
to teach people to swim as fishlike as possible so that you can maximize
efficiency and save energy. To do this, they teach you to stretch out your
body and twist to a side on each stroke so that you cut through the water
easier <--- a sailboat vs. a barge.

Anyway, I was able to keep a pretty proper freestyle stroke up until I got
back to shore. I feel really fine in the water. Friends of mine have
talked about being nervous when they see all the water around them and the
shore far away. I guess it doesn't' really bother me. It took a little
getting used to to see your horizon so much lower, but it felt pretty
natural to just sit and tread in the water when I needed to take a break. I
think the focusing exercises that were in this cycling psychology book I
read last year, have helped a lot in that area. Just focusing on the hear
and now, what my body is doing stroke by stroke and not thinking about
what's ahead in the next leg of hte race or whatever. Focusing on the here
and now. It just helps a lot. I read in Iron Will about how when you think
about the next leg of the Ironman, you're through... meaning that it just
beats you into the ground to think about the marathon while you're
finishing the bike, or looking ahead to the bike during the swim. You know
you're going to be at some further point in the future, so just focus on
what you're doing now to get you there a little sooner. I suppose that's
easier said than done.

I know I'm performing well when my mind can kind of go into
performance-hypnosis and i can just kind of observe the scenery with a
blank mind as my legs pedal or run along. That kind of happened tonight
during the run. After I got out of the water, I ran for my car so that I
could transition to the run as quickly as I could. I still need to work on
my transitions, but my legs felt pretty fresh when I ran out of hte beach
parking lot and straight up the first hill. When I do more bricks, I think
I'm going to need to keep either my camelbak in my car so i can grab it in
the transition, or some sports drink. You don't think you sweat in teh
water, but you actually sweat quite a bit, and I could feel it during the
run. I really needed something to drink and there wasn't much around. Just
suburbia everywhere I looked... not that I had any money on me to buy
anything anyway. Got my run done feeling pretty well and came home.

I decided that I'm not riding to Illinois this weekend. I haven't gotten
my bike back from teh shop yet, and I'll really focus on getting my regular
workouts in next week, even if I am in some remote Illinois cornfield
listening to music with friends. We'll see how all that works. I think i
can get normal workouts in, but we'll see.

I should run. More later.
Sunday, June 23 >From: Chris Parks >Quoth Brian > > I'm beginning to think though, that I could really excell at the > >Ironman. based on today's performance, if my bike works > >properly, I should be able to get a really decent split in teh bike > >portion of the race, and hopefully by doing this longer mile stuff, > >I'll still have legs by the time I need to run the marathon. > >Can the lure of the triathalon be explained to the non-initiate? 30 >years ago i would have taken you for a really old-school Catholic >looking for a lot of pain to "offer up." :-) I think there are several reasons why I want to do "it"... and I think I need to make that part of today's journal entry. Training wise, I'm heading out for a run in a few minutes. i was stuck working at a conference all day so I didn't get a chance to run any earlier than this. When I first read that they were going to be introducing a Wisconsin leg of the Ironman season, there was something in the back of my mind that said... Hmmm, that would actually be really interesting to try. I had just started doing long distance cycling stuff, and it was another chance to "Do a century". I think though, that it's turned into more than that. In his book, Iron Will, author Mike Plant talks about how the Ironman is one of the most life changing things an athlete can do. When one finishes the race, suddenly things are different. You have to push yourself so hard that you really find out what you're capable of. It takes so much concentration and force of will to keep going... even if you're just trying to finish in 17 hours. I really like what this woman named Elizabeth Johnson said in another Ironman book that I read called "Becoming an Ironman", "One of the things an athlete must do before attempting an ironman is to strengthen the body core. This won't take a membership to a gym. You can't get it in the weight room. I'm talking body core. You've got to get right with God because you're going to pray out there." Coming at it from that standpoint, there is a sense that the Ironman is a spiritual exercise... and to me, I really do consider that a big part of it. Not just race day itself, but the focus and drive that it takes to force yourself out to train on days thhat you might just not feel like you have what it takes or when there might be something more fun that you could do instead. I'm also doing it because there aren't any other sports that I've really been any good at. I don't think I'll ever be an amazing triathlete, but there's a sense of accomplishment that I've found in longdistance cycling and I think I'll find in triathlon that I've never experienced in any other athletic endeavors. I'm a fat guy (or at least a big guy... last time I checked I still weighed in around 225) the one thing I have that some other people might not, are big lungs. I can generally keep going. As I rode the double century yesterday, I could have kept going, and in a difference scenario where the bike hadn't broken down, or I hadn't had to go through miles of mud, I could have, but somehow or another I got demoralized through both of those instances. I want to push through that so that i can tell myself "You can do that!" "You, a kind of pudgy guy can go for a 140 miles" I want to be in shape... another reason. A lot of times, i can't do something unless I have some sort of goal. The ironman, seems to be one of those penultimate goals. i can't get my money back, and it's like $400 to do the darn thing, so I HAVE to get in shape so that I can get the t-shirt and medal. If I paid $400 for it, I want the whole experience, which means that I need to work for it ahead of time, which means I have a chance of actually getting into shape. I don't have a completely horrible body image problem. I like how I look for the most part, but I'd like to take off my gut, and trainign for the Ironman helps in that secondary quest. so those are a couple of reasons. If you want some more, I can write them up with additional thought. In closing, I leave you with what Mike Plant finished with in his introduction to Iron Will "From the outside, it is easy to see the Ironman as an exercise in self-indulgent fanaticism. Frankly, considering the kind of dedication required of the triathletes who compete, it IS self-indulgent. And I suppose that swimming, cycling and running 140 miles in a single day could easily be considered fanatical. but it's not as simple as that. As I discovered in 1982, the race is more than just photographs and anecdotes. it's more than raw miles and times on a watch, and even more than wonderful athletes like Dave Scott and Scott Tinley pushing themselves beyond conventional limits of physical performance. The Ironman, in fact is about people who become heroes. it's about an impossible task proved to be possible year after year. it's about athletes, the fast ones and the slow ones alike, stripped of everything but the simple desire to take one step farther than they theymselves believe is possible. That they do this voluntarily, some of them on an annual basis, might sound crazy, but noble is what it really is. I guess that's what I like best about the Ironman: the nobility of the effort. I hope some of that comes across in this book. Hell, it's what this book is all about." More later, Brian
June 22, 2002
wanna see some Mud?
June 22, 2002

blah. home from the double century. About 20 miles in, I blew a spoke on my back rim... heard a metallic clank and didn't know what it was. Just after that happened, we saw a road closed, bridge out sign and kept going because there might have been a way to get across it, and the ride leader had called the highway department where they told him they were positive that there weren't any bridges out on the route we were going.

Because of this stated fact, we proceeded to ride into the road closed to thru traffic and ended up traversing a couple miles of sandy-muddy-road in construction. It was SUCH a mess. I have photos of it that I'll post. We end up with a detour which pushes the mileage for the day to 225 and we keep going. At the first convenience store we come to, I stop because I think my wheel is out of True, not realizing that of course it is because I've broken a spoke, which is automatically going to make it unTrue and make it wobble. The ride leader properly tensions the other spokes around the broken one to compensate and I take off again.

I can feel my tire starting to wobble 20 miles up the road when I pull up to the next town and I realize there are loose spokes again. I try to tighten them the best I can and ride out of town figuring I'll try to flag down teh ride leader as soon as I see him. A few miles down the road, I hear a "CLANK!" and realize that I've broken another spoke. Two broken spokes on a wheel that only has 20 spokes to begin with because it's a racing wheel lead to having a REALLY wobbly wheel, so it's absolutely impossible to continue past the 70 mile mark. I've never DNFed a ride. I really didn't want to start today.

Had to call my mom and have her come get me an hour and a half away. Felt bad that I made her go out of her way. Marched the bike right back to the bike shop when I got home. A brand new bike with only 70-80 miles on it SHOULD NOT be breaking spokes. Really frustrating. I'm doing alright though. I got more hours on teh bike in than todays training called for, so that's a bonus, and I was averaging about 20-23mph for the first 70 miles which felt really good. What felt even better is that I did most of it around 150 bpm on my heart rate monitor... which is way below my Max. Heart rate.

I still need to do some seat adjustments because lowering myself into the aero position on my aerobars is causing a little too much pressure on my testicles (sorry,TMI) and it's a little painful to stay in the position for too long.

I'm beginning to think though, that I could really excell at the Ironman. Based on today's performance, if my bike works properly, I should be able to get a really decent split in teh bike portion of the race, and hopefully by doing this longer mile stuff, I'll still have legs by the time I need to run the marathon.

Ang is buying me a commiseration dinner tonight, so y'know, that's not
such a bad thing.

More later.
June 21, 2002

I'm hyper and feel like I need to go do something physical RIGHT THIS INSTANT. Today is supposed to be a biking day, but we're in the middle of a deluge outside. I swear it's a Monsoon... we've already got a couple inches.

I had to run by one of the bike shops I visit every so often and the shop owner almost crapped himself when I told him I was doing a 500 mile route. I think it's long, but I'm just not that scared of it. maybe I should be. They're calling for rain at the start of the double century tomorrow. It's going to be just THAT MUCH less appealing to be at the school around 4:30 in the morning in the pouring rain. Blech. I'm going to steal my moms digital camera tomorrow because it's smaller than mine, so hopefully when I get back I'll be able to post some pictures. My aim is to do the ride in under 14 hours of riding. Actually, I'd REALLY like to do it in 13 hours, but we'll see. I'm still not sure how much extra performance I'm going to get out of my new bike and aerobars.

Tried the Accelerade I purchased yesterday. it's more palatable than Endurox, but it could take some getting used to the creamy texture. After I get off work today I'm going to go eat a big dinner and hopefully be in bed by 8. Last year I didn't get nearly enough sleep the night before, and I think that could help aid my speed this year.

I just feel more prepared for the double century this year. I'm actually kind of excited about it instead of feeling some sort of impending doom like I did staring into the start of last years ride. I'm trying to channel that excitedness... it's making it hard to work though, and I'm sure it's going to make it hard to sleep later.

Anyway, back to work.

Thursday, June 20 Day 3 Swimming and Running on todayĆ¢??s docket... After getting up late and rushing to run some errands on my way to work, I picked up a pair of aerobars, some water bottle holders and the wiring for my extra cycle computer so that I can actually tell how fast I'm going on my new bike. While I was at work, I checked out the Total Immersion website to see if there were a couple articles that could help me out with my afternoon workout. I read a little bit, but I stumbled upon a short video clip and suddenly what i read in the book made SO MUCH MORE SENSE! After seeing the video clip, I was anxious to get to the pool. When I finally got there, I realized that I had my heart rate monitor and speedo, but not my goggles or swim cap. Swim cap? No problem. Goggles? Goggles help me stay straight at the moment. I NEED my goggles. I decided I needed to workout either way so I put what stuff I did have on and got in. The new problem? KIDS ALL OVER the swim lane. I started to try what I saw in the video, and I was swimming SO much better. Almost right away, I cut 6 or 7 strokes off my 25-yard length to around 16-17, and I was able to keep my heart rate from skyrocketing. Part of that was that I had to keep stopping to make sure there weren't kids in the lane, but my heart rate still wasn't as high as it usually goes in the pool. Using energy efficiently is going to be so important during IronMoo, so keeping my heart rates lower and being able to relax are going to be pretty essential. I didn't get a full hour in, mostly because I didn't want to deal with the kids anymore, and the first of today's 3 goofy freaks showed up. As I was heading out of the pool, I said to the guy entering, "Welcome to the minefield of children swim lane," and he said something to the point of "I usually just swim hard and right through them." He stretches for a second and takes off. Sure enough, not even a length down the pool, he SLAMS into 2 kids and keeps going. I just kind of turned my head away and hustled to the hot tub for a couple minutes. When I get to the hot tub, the second goofy freak appears. Standing in the hot tub with the bubbles off, she's straining to see the water aerobics class beneath her so that she can do her aerobics in the scalding hot water. I sat there for a couple minutes watching my heart rate (108) and get out so that I can go run. After showering to get the chlorine off, I ran to the treadmill, where appropriately enough, the third goofy-freak of the day is. "Richard Bokovoy, Eternally Running Candidate" is on one of the treadmills. Richard runs for everything locally with his son Ricky as campaign manager and loses every time. School Board, City Council, Mayor, State Legislature, he's lost them all, and here he was on a treadmill. What is he wearing? 1970s polyester, brown pants and these shoes that Would be anything but athletic. No laces, canvas fabric, kind of a waffle iron bottom with no heal. They looked like they'd be more appropriate for playing in the senior shuffleboard league on a cruise ship. Definitely not something to run in, but he didn't need to worry about that because he had the treadmill set to 1.4 miles per hour. Wouldn't it be more productive to just walk around outside? At the very least it would be more edifying. Today was a running form day, so I didn't push the envelope very much. I pulled up a hill program on the treadmill and worked on keeping my heart rate at 150. Every few minutes I'd do a 1-minute interval where I'd go from 4 to 5 mph then back to 4, then 4-6-4, 4-7-4, 4-8-4, and back to 4-7-4. I peaked with a heart rate of 186. I was noticeably less sore today. Picked up a bottle of Chamois Butt'r and "Ultimate Shaving Cream" at the bike shop to get ready for Paul Bunyan on Saturday along with a new pair of cycling bibs. (Just like bib overall cycling shorts) and I also picked up some Accelerade to start testing to see if I could drink it during competition. That's all for tonight, need to go tweak my bike and spend time with Angela. Not necessarily in that order.
Wednesday, June 19

I guess that that whcih doesn't kill me makes me stronger, but I'm really
sore right now and i can only imagine how much more sore I'd be if I had
run further than 8 miles yesterday. People seem to be scared of the
Ironman, like it's this gargantuan thing. To me though, I can only get
glimpses of that. When I looked out on Lake Bennett a couple weeks ago,
that scared me, that was one of those glimpses. They're rare thouhg. I hope
to keep making the Ironman appear smaller and smaller.

One of the reasons I want to bike the 500 miles to Cornerstone is just
because of that. When I come ouf of the water at Ironman Moo and run to my
bike for hte next 112 mile chunk, my mind has the knowledge and my muscles
have the memory of what 500 feels like, and suddenly 112 miles looks like a
walk in the park.

The one thing I don't like about my bike is the way it handles slick or
unsteady surfaces. I ahven't wiped out yet, but I've lost control of my
bike momentarily multiple times now.

Todays 1 hour ride was exceptionally easy. I was supposed to be working at
a low heart rate, so I did the entire ride between 130 and 150 BPM, which
for me, is exceptionally low.

I need to look into the possibility of some sort of upper body
weightlifing program. I think that it would help in the water. I'm due for
bed so I should run.
13 weeks... kind of an unlucky number, but just 13 weeks until the day that scares me quite a bit at the moment... Ironman Madison. I started a 13 week training program last week and this week was the first official day. From here on out, hopefully I'll get around to posting each workout journal entry every day. June 17, 2002 Training commences. Things have been up and downhill the past couple weeks. After a bad semester at Augsburg, I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to come back. If I flunked out, no Ironman for me. I found out that I can get back in via a letter on saturday. All I need to do is get a letter from a professional counselor saying I'm ready to go back. My 13 week Ironman training program started Monday, thogh I kind of started a week early last week. My swimming is the weakest sport at the moment. I swam for about 40 minutes at the local community center today. I'm still struggling with my form. My upper body is strength is also exponentially disproportianately less than my lower body. I really need to keep reading Total Immersion to get more tips on form. After swimming, I drove home and got ready to run back to work/church. It's about 8 miles from point a to point b, and though my running schedule told me I needed to run 30 minutes at Endurance level 1, I decided to do the route to church because my long sunday route turned out to only be a half hour. Word of wisdom to the wise, always poop before you leave. If you go out for a nice long run without? Well, let's just say that spending your time searching for a portapotty isn't fun. I made the mistake of wearing my alternate running shorts instead of my lycra. 2 Miles into the run, I developed a wicked chafe on my right leg that burned like crazy for the next 6 miles. Heart rate on the run peaked around 184. Afterwards, heart rate still hasn't sunk below 100 3 hours later. Slightly concerned about that. Here's how this weeks training schedule shapes up. Monday - Off Tuesday - Swim 1 hour working on form, 30 minute run at Endurance Level2 Wednesday 1:00 of cycling working on form (this might be changed because I'm getting ready for the Paul Bunyan double century (202miles) ride on Saturday. Will probably do workout at a pace of at least E2-E3. Thursday - 1:00 swim Endurance Level 3, 30 Minutes of Running working on Form Friday - Bike :45 at E1. Will more than likely actually do 30-50 miles at E-1 to prepare for Saturday Saturday - Supposed to be 1hour swim at E2, 1:30 bike at e2 will actually be approximately 13hours of cycling at E2 for double century. Sunday - 1:30 of running at E-2. Might make rest day. so that's that for this week. Tomorrow? Cycling.