Monday, August 30, 2010

Ironman Canada 2011

Yesterday, I registered for Ironman Canada 2011, which is on August 28, 2011 in Penticton, Canada (about a 4.5 hour drive from Vancouver).  Check out on a map here

Distances:  2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run (marathon).  I'm excited for this challenge, although I'm terrified of the 2.4 mile swim.  Ironman participants have 17 hours to complete the event (the race starts at 7am and closes at midnight).  I suspect that I will finish in the 15-16 hour range.

My friends PN and MM from Vancouver will be doing this race with me.  Marlene went to college with MM.  Who would have thought that she and I would be doing an Ironman together 15 years after meeting?

I'm told that the bike ride is tough - very hilly with 2 very large ascents.  Check out the course maps here:

Swim Map

Bike Map and Elevation Profile

Run Map

I'm currently "base building" while training for the Chicago Marathon.  I'm still debating whether or not I want to train by myself or if I want to join a team or get a coach.  My friend BG sent me an Ironman training program that he used.  It is a 20 week training program and assumes that one has already been training at least 8 hours per week before starting Ironman training.  As a reference point, I trained 9 hours last week.  The program peaks at about 18-20 hours of training in one week.  A lot of this is on the bike and in the pool at a low impact to the body, which is why one can train so long without getting hurt.

As this will be my first Ironman, I'd love to see my family and friends come to watch the race in person!  Of course I will chronicle my Ironman training on my blog.

One of my triathlete friends sent me this Ironman motivational video.  Pretty amazing, my favorite shot is the aerial one of the swimmers (I'm assuming that this video was taken during the Kona Ironman).  I'm going to apply for the Kona lottery this year (for the 2011 race).  There are very limited spots, so it is very unlikely that I get in.  My friend and physical therapist AL qualified for this year's Kona Ironman on 10/9/10.

Here are a couple of other cool Ironman videos. You'll be able to see why I'm terrified of the swim

I recently read a book called 17 Hours to Glory,  great book, I recommend it.  It motivated me to want to do an Ironman.  The book has stories about various Ironman participants as they complete the Kona Hawaii Ironman.  I found many of the stories compelling.  The 2 that inspired me the most (and there are many more than 2 that inspired me) were about Dick and Rick Hoyt and Julie Moss.

The video about the Hoyts is a must see.  Check it out.  Make sure to watch the entire video, as the best part is in the last 4 minutes when they show live footage of them finishing an Ironman.  Amazing.

Julie Moss - tough for me to watch, game changing for the Triathlon sport

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Week 11 of Chicago Marathon Training is complete

Week 11 of my Chicago Marathon Training is complete.  Had a great week of training and a fun personal week.  My daughter Mikayla's birthday is August 31st (she'll be 4), so we had 2 birthday parties for her this week.  One on Thursday in our complex's private park (Lincoln Towers) and the other at her great aunt's house (known as Lola Tessie) in Queens.  Both parties were a lot of fun and Mikayla and her school friends had a great time on Thursday and the family had a great time today.  Mikayla had her joint birthday party with her friend Ava.  Can't believe that Mikayla is 4 years old already.   Time flies.  Here is a picture of Mikayla (on the left in a blue flower dress) and her friend Ava.


Week 11 Training Summary

  • Worked out all 7 days this week

    • 4 runs (4.6 miles, 8 miles, 5.15 miles, and 13.1 miles, total 30.89 miles)

      • Total workout time this week was approximately 9 hours.

      • All of my runs were very easy, keeping to my game plan of staying healthy.

        • 18 mile long run next weekend, looking forward to it.

      • My cyst is still present behind my left knee, nagging at me, but not keeping me from doing anything.

      • My right IT band is 95%.  It twinges once and a while, but overall is it healthy (I think my cycling is helping to strengthen my legs which is helping to keep my knee strong).

      • Felt like my fitness really improved this week. I am becoming more fit, keeping my heart rate down, and am definitely becoming more experienced on the bike.  My legs feel stronger and I am starting to understand that speeding up my cadence is beneficial.

      • My next sprint triathlon is on September 12 at Greenwood Lake, NY.  I am looking forward to doing this race with my friend MH and perhaps my Wisconsin friends CH and JS too.

      • Thursday - An easy run that turned into an unexpected tempo run - Ran my 5.15 miles on Thursday with the following negative splits (8:52, 8:18, 7:50, 7:14, 7:05). I went out thinking that I would run around 9 minutes per mile for the entire run, but I felt very good after 3 miles so I decided to push for the 4th mile (which is on the west side of Central park through the rolling hills, always the toughest part of the park for me during races, and I ran a 7:14 split. I wasn't going all out, probably 80% effort. Then I immediately slowed down to an 8:00 pace but that felt easy so I decided to push for 1 more mile (knowing it was my last mile) and registered a 7:05 split (again, probably at 80% effort). I felt great after and thought to myself "no question that my easy days are keeping me fresh to run fast after I am warmed up"

      • Saturday - ING NYC Marathon Long Training Run #2 - My schedule had me at 12 today, but I ended up running 13.14 miles.  I ran into my friend and old colleague from Goldman Sachs BG at the start line, and we ran all 13 miles together.  I hadn't seen him since I left GS in 2008 (he's still at GS).  He is running the NYC marathon this year and has done 2 Ironman races over the last 4 years (Lake Placid and Madison Wisconsin).  So, for most of the run we talked about the Ironman race, since my goal is to do one in 2011.  He gave me great advice and I admire him for his accomplishments.  We had a great run and it was great to see him.  I absolutely love running into my old friends during my runs, and this has been happening to me almost every weekend during my training.  I felt GREAT for the run, ending up with an extremely easy 1:57:00 half marathon split, average speed 8:59 per mile and an average heart rate of 141. That's not a misprint, 141!  We were running negative splits between 8:30 and 8:45 for the last few miles and I had a lot more in the tank to give, all because we went out easy and I kept my heart rate low.  I also believe that my long bike rides are really helping my leg strength and fitness.  While my average heart rate in cycling is always much lower (around 132 for a tough workout), I think the hills and "interval" training of cycling is making me more fit.
Here is a picture of the start line for the ING NYC Marathon Training run #2.  I lined up in the 9 minutes per mile corral.  It was an absolutely beautiful day at around 65 degrees with low humidity.

    • 1 swim (1.02 miles, 44 minutes)

      • Swim felt good, I'm just looking to survive it easily.  I need to get earplugs, as I almost always have my right ear clogged with water when I exit the pool

    • 2 bike rides (40.64 miles and 42.67 miles)

      • Had 2 great rides this week, one with CH and JS on Friday and another today on my own.  I feel like I am getting in better cycling shape and that this is helping my running. 

    • Other

      • Thursday - A nuclear stress test - I'd been having a little chest pain over the last few weeks, so I got a nuclear stress test today (they injected radioactive dye into my body and watched how it moved around my arteries before and after exercise (stress) .  Thankfully, the test result was normal.  I made it 18 minutes and 10 seconds and the doctor said that I "set the record" for the length of time that I lasted (they said that the previous record was 18 minutes).  At the end, I was working hard with my heart rate at 179, the incline very high up (had to be over 20%), and the speed at 6.0 miles per hour.  It took over 6 minutes to get my heart rate over 100 during the test, and my average heart rate was in the mid 40s immediately prior to the test.  I had also run my 5.15 miles 2 hours before my stress test. At about the 15 minute point of the test, the doctor said to me " you have a shot at the record for length of time for the stress test".  I said "oh yeah, what's the record?".  She said "18 minutes".  I said "OK, let's go to 18 minutes and 10 seconds".

      • Friday - Went to the Barclays PGA Golf Tournament in New Jersey.  It was awesome, we had access to the Barclays tent on the 18th green and walked all over the course.  Followed Tiger Woods around with hundreds of other fans.  He was actually joking around with the caddies and talking a lot to other golfers.  I'm not a huge golf fan, but the guys I was with are and they said that Tiger NEVER jokes around. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Week 10 Chicago Marathon Training Summary

Week 10 of my 17 week Chicago Marathon Training is complete!  7 weeks to go.

I felt great this week except for the cyst that has come back behind my left knee.  I've been told that cysts come and go and are aggravated by "overuse".  I've only been running 4 days a week, which has helped keep the cyst pain down versus my last marathon, but it is still there.  Bothered me a little during my long run today but isn't hurting as a write this.  My right IT band has been twinging a little, but it was nearly perfect by the end of the week.  I got physical therapy on my right IT band this week (the first time in a month).

Week 10 Summary
  • 4 runs (4.5 miles, 8 miles, 4.5 miles, and 16 miles)
  • 1 swim (1 mile in 42 minutes)
    • I have included a video of me swimming - any advice on becoming more efficient would be greatly appreciated, as I consider myself to be a weak swimmer
  • 1 bike ride (30 miles)
  • Still really enjoying my "easy" runs, not going all out
  • I haven't done any speed work and this has definitely kept the pounding on my legs down


Monday - swam 1 mile at the West Side YMCA pool, 42 minutes, felt good.  I am capable of swimming faster, but enjoy swimming at a moderate pace.  For future triathlons, my philosophy will be to "survive the swim", keeping energy for the bike and the run.  I don't think that I can gain much time without working much harder.  Having said this, I asked Marlene to take a video of me while swimming in a small pool in the Hamptons a few weeks ago so my friends can give me advice on how to improve my stroke.  Please keep in mind that this is a small pool and I was more concerned about protecting my head versus swimming straight!

Tuesday- 4.5 miles, 8:19 pace, 155 average heart rate, 37:28

Wednesday - 8 miles, 8:33 pace, 155 average heart rate, 1:08:02

Thursday - 4.5 miles, 8:36 pace, 154 average heart rate, 38:48

Friday - Rode 30 miles (5 loops of Central Park) with CL and JS, 18.4 mph, 132 average heart rate, average cadence 70, 1:37:50

Saturday - Off, went to Sesame Place with the family.  Good time.

Sunday- 16 miles, 9:00 pace, 148 average heart rate, 2:25:02.  Ran with RL (visiting from Chicago) and BGR.  75 degrees and 94% humidity at the start, very muggy.  It rained for the last 4 miles of our run.  Felt great, run was very easy.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Week 9 of Chicago Marathon Training is done

Week 9 of my 17 week Chicago Marathon training is done!  Work finally calmed down, so I was able to have a solid workout week.

Week Summary
  • Worked out all 7 days this week - total workout time for the week = 8.6 hours
    • 5 runs (4.5, 7.29, 4.49, 15.5, and 5.5 miles) - total 37 miles
    • 2 bike rides (36 miles and 24 miles)
  • My legs feel great, only tiny twinging in my right knee
  • Cyst behind left knee is still there, although it seems better than the week before
  • Still no time to swim - will do so next week
Over the last month, I have been trying to take a day off to hang out with my kids.  Finally, I was able to do so on Friday.  We saw Toy Story 3 at 10:30 A.M. on Friday morning.  This was the first movie for my kids, and they loved it.  My younger daughter Kaiya (22 months) was able to sit through the entire movie, no problem.  Our older daughter Mikayla (turning 4 on 8/31) could never have sat still at that age.  Here's a picture of the event (note that there were only 5 other people in the theater when we saw the movie, which was perfect!).  The kids got to eat a lot of goodies (popcorn, strawberry milk, m&ms, cheerios, goldfish, etc.)

Over the weekend, we visited my friend RS at his new home in the Hamptons.  It is an amazing house and we had a great time!  We spent Saturday and Sunday in the Hamptons, which meant that I had to move up my running schedule by one day (usually I run Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday).  Therefore, this week I ran on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday (long run), and Sunday (5 days).  I added an extra day, as I have made it a tradition for me to go for a run whenever I am travelling.  I ran around the South Hampton neighborhood on Sunday and was amazed at the size and quality of the houses there.  They are amazing! 

Click here to check out the Garmin File from the run to see where I ran.  I like to click on the map to zoom in and out to see where the Hamptons sit on Long Island.  Pretty amazing all this data comes from the watch.

Here is a summary of the week:

Monday - ran 4.5 miles, average pace 8:35 per mile, 151 average heart rate, 38:46

Tuesday - ran 7.29 miles, 8:38 pace, 148 average heart rate, 1:02:59

Wednesday - 4.49 miles, 8:40, 150 average heart rate, 38:59

Thursday - 36.3 mile bike ride, 19.0 mph average, 139 average heart rate, average cadence 70, 1:54:30

Friday - Ran 15.56 miles, 8:50 pace, 146 average heart rate, 2:15:51.  Click here for my Garmin Watch Summary.    Half marathon split was 1:56:16 and ran negative splits the entire way. Average heart rate was 142 after 12 miles, very low for the pace I was running. 70 degrees and 70% humidity, it felt much cooler than this. When I started, I felt like I was running very slow. I wasn't warmed up until the 5th mile. When people used to tell me that it took them miles to warm up, I used to think they were crazy. Now I understand!

Saturday - Rode 24.28 miles, averaged 18.2 mph, average heart rate 120 (assuming that my maximum heart rate is 197, this was 61% of my max.  Can somebody that trains in heart rate zones explain to me what zone this is?  This workout was extremely easy), average cadence 66 (too low, I need to increase this). 1:19:03

Sunday - ran 5.5 miles very easy, average pace 8:56, average heart rate 143, 49:12.  Ran in the Hamptons.

About 7 weeks left until the Chicago Marathon on 10/10/10.

I am now actively trying to figure out what Ironman I am going to sign up for next year. I'm told that they sell out a year in advance, almost immediately.  I am looking at Ironman Florida and Penticton, B.C. Canada in late 2011.  Anybody have any advice?  Of course, the registration for this race is on 11/7/10 at noon, which is the date of the 2010 ING New York City Marathon, so I may need somebody to help me register for this one.

Bonus Material

Here is a video of me finishing the 2009 ING New York City Marathon (I purchased a video and my brother edited it down to this - Thanks John)!  The quality is poor, but it is still pretty cool.  The thing that still amazes me in the number of people around me.  I finished just under 4 hours at 3:58, so nearly everybody around me was trying to do the same thing!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Week 8 of Chicago Marathon Training is complete

Week 8 of my Chicago Marathon Training is complete.  I had another very busy week, working about 90 hours.  Over the last 3 weeks, I have worked about 100, 90, and 90 hours, respectively.  I have been so busy that I didn't even write a summary for my week 7 training, so I'll include a summary here.  As my friend PN said: "during those crazy work weeks, one should focus on simply maintaining fitness" which is what I tried to do.  I'm very proud that I didn't miss one scheduled workout during those 3 weeks, despite sometimes sleeping less than 5 hours and never sleeping more than 6.5 hours in a single night (most nights I slept 5 hours).  It definitely wasn't easy getting up some mornings (although some mornings I was excited to do something other than work, so that made it easier to get up early).  I know that sleep is absolutely critical for recovery, so I am really going to try and get more sleep over the next few weeks (which isn't easy to do with 2 young kids).

I can definitely feel my fitness improving.  For the most part, I feel very healthy.  I had some chest pain about 2 weeks ago and saw a cardiologist.  I regularly get heart palpitations where my heart adds extra beats.  It is normal in some people, nothing to worry about. I'll write a separate post about my visit to the cardiologist another time. 

Regarding my running health, unfortunately, the cyst that I had behind my left knee has come back, so that has been nagging at me over the last week.  Not much I can do about it.  Since I've had it before, I am used to dealing with the nagging pain.  It comes and goes.

Week 8 Summary (for the week ended 8/8/2010)
  • Worked out 5 days, running 4 times (30 miles) and riding once (30 miles).  I haven't gone swimming in weeks, something I am going to need to do with my next triathlon coming up on September 12.
  • When I set up my marathon schedule, I hand typed the schedule into my own excel tracking spreadsheet.  This week seemed like a lot of running, with a schedule of 3, 7, 8, and 10 miles.  When I finished the 8 miles on Thursday, I emailed my friend RL (also running the Chicago Marathon) and said "hey, how did your 8 miles go today?"  He responded "the schedule only had 3 miles for today".  "3 miles?..... oops I ran 8 today".  I went back to the schedule and checked the rest of the schedule and realized that I made a bunch of mistakes in it, which I fixed. 
  • My right IT band twinged all week.  I continue to roll it out, but due to my busy work schedule, I haven't been able to get any physical therapy, something I am hoping to do next week.
  • I have been focusing very hard on making every run very easy to minimize the pounding on my body.  I feel extremely good during these easy runs, as evidenced by my heart rate staying low despite the very hot and humid weather every day this week. 
  • My marathon race plan will be to run a very easy first half marathon, focusing on my heart rate, which for me, is directly correlated to how I feel.  My target heart rate for Chicago for the first half marathon will be 149 or less.  We'll see if I can actually force myself to run slow enough to achieve this (usually about 8:55-9:00 per mile).  If I can go out easy, then my plan will be to turn up the speed after 13.1 miles.
Week 8 detail:

Monday - OFF

Tuesday - 4.55 miles, 38:59, 8:34 pace, 155 heart rate

Wednesday - 7 miles, 1:01:54, 8:44 pace, 151 heart rate

Thursday - 8 miles, 8:46 pace, 155 heart rate, 1:10:15

Friday - OFF

Saturday - 10.31 miles, 8:42 pace, 151 heart rate, 1:29:44  - very easy and very hot

Sunday - rode 30.74 miles in Central Park, 18.4 mph, 72 cadence, average heart rate 132

Week 7 Training Summary - 5 workouts, 4 runs (30 miles) and 1 ride (30 miles)

Monday - OFF

Tuesday - 4.5 miles, 8:25 pace, 157 heart rate, 37:57

Wednesday - 6 miles, 8:26 pace, 152 heart rate, 50:45

Thursday - 6 miles, 8:42 pace, 155 heart rate, 52:48

Friday - OFF

Saturday - 30 miles on the bike in Central Park, 19.2 mph (my record, and I averaged 20.0 for the first 12 miles), 141 heart rate, 71 cadence, 1:35:02.  Definitely getting stronger on the bike

Sunday - 13.43 miles, 8:56 pace, 148 heart rate, 2:00:00, half marathon split 1:57:03.  I felt AWESOME this entire run, it was very easy for me, and around mile 11 I was easily running an 8:18 pace.  Ran the ING New York City Marathon training run with my friend DG.  I took a speed class with DG last summer and ran into him at the start line of this practice run.  I said "how fast are you planning on running and how many?"  He said "easy, around 9:00 per mile and 18".  I said "I'm running 13, want to run together?".  And we did, I ran 13.3 miles with him. 

I have attached a picture of me after my week 7 long run (13.3 miles), taken by my mom who was visiting from Wisconsin. Kaiya, my 22 month old daughter, is standing next to me.  I am soaked because it was very hot and humid that day.