New Coaching Business

24 11 2014

For 2015, I’m officially starting my own boutique coaching business; TLC Endurance. Website under construction and can be found here:  TLC commonly refers to Tender Loving Care and also happens to by my wife and business partner’s initials.

Time Trial Races in Central Indiana

12 03 2013

Monrovia TT Series
It’s been taken over by J’s Bikes
4/14, 5/12, 6/16, 7/21, 8/18, 9/15

Colavita-Zipp Series
5/5 Kentucky Speedway
5/19 Monrovia, IN
6/1 Bluffton, IN
6/30 Portland, IN
7/14 Kokomo, IN

Hammerfest TT Series
Near Evansville
5/13, 6/10, 7/8, 8/12, 9/9

Breakaway Bicycle Club
Kokomo, IN
4/28, 5/26, 6/23, 7/14, 8/18

website for B2 Bikes TT Series

Morgan Monroe State Forest TT

How, after racing triathlons for 28 years, I put down the fastest bike split of my life

17 10 2012

I’ve been a fairly serious age-group athlete since 1984. My strength and favorite part of triathlon has always been the bike. I’ve had a few breakthroughs over the years; one being the season after my first full winter of cycling – indoors and out depending on weather. I recall having a little breakthrough when I first started using deep race wheels. One would think after all these years of training and competing, at 55 years old, my fastest performances would be behind me.

The summer season of 2012, I had two races with bike speed averages faster than I’ve ever gone before. One at the Indy Triathlon and a few weeks later had another in Chicago (26 miles in 59 min).

The difference this year? Cyclocross last winter.

Cyclocross is the perfect activity to keep motivated and bike fit over the winter. And as it turns out, triathlon training is absolutely awesome base training for cyclocross racing. And together, they make a well rounded fitness program.

Triathlon fitness is all about “threshold” effort and therefore threshold training. At the end of the tri season when a triathlete has maxed his/her threshold, it’s time to switch to anaerobic and VO2 Max intervals for cyclocross season. When cyclocross season wraps up in December, you roll back to base training for  triathlon season – except this time, the level of fitness going into base is much, much higher than ever before.

It’s good for the body to be pushed in new ways. Cyclocross racing puts a higher level of stress on the muscle and cardio system than does even the shortest sprint triathlon, increasing total fitness and anti-aging effect.

2012 USAT National Age-group Championship

14 09 2012

USAT National Age-group Championship

August 18, 2012
I’m at the bottom of a new age group this year and it’s always something I look forward to as it’s my chance for a decent finish at a national caliber race. When they announced Nationals would be in Burlington in 2012 two years ago, I knew I’d be there. I’ve been winning my age group locally by 10 and even 20 minutes this summer but I knew that Nationals would be a whole new ball game.
The down side of aiming for one particular race for two years is I was putting a lot of pressure on myself.  I got it in my head a top-10 placing was a possible if I had a perfect day and was a little lucky. There are a lot of ways to screw up and loose a critical minute or two and my sub-conscience apparently was hard at work worrying about this even though I have a pretty good track record for not screwing up my races. I had very restless sleep for two nights leading up to the race draining me of some of my much needed energy.
The reconnaissance trip I made last year really helped make this year much easier in knowing the race course and the logistics of the whole weekend. The one downside was, I think (as it turns out, for good reason) I got a little psyched out by the sub-par swim I had last year. So, I worried about a swim course I didn’t like – I worried about how well I’d be able to run with the steep hill that seemed to take the steam out of me last year and for good measure, I worried if I’d be able to get everything out of my gut in the pre-race porta-potty visits.
The only other time I had such stress anticipating a race was six or seven years ago going into Ironman Brazil. I remember race morning feeling exhausted from lack of sleep the previous two nights. I wonder if as I’ve gotten older; I’ve become less able to handle self imposed stress.
Race day
I was too nervous to eat much solid food. I think it was one Aussie Bite, one Ensure drink, one Gatorade, one protein drink. Additionally, I had a PowerBar Gel 30 minutes prior to the start.
I could tell while queuing up for the start, the wind was really kicking up the swells and chop, so my fears were already starting to play out. Once the gun sounded and we headed out on the longest straight leg of the swim, I was able to settle in and follow someone’s feet. Besides the obvious reasons for doing this, I had my own private motive. In the past few years, I’ve noticed I’m more and more apt to get a panicky spell while in triathlon swims. I get it in my mind, I’m too tired, out of breath and have too far to go. This is especially true if I’m still swimming out, away from shore. So, yesterday I decided not to sight on the buoy on this section of the swim, but rather keep my head in the water and keep calm. I have to report this worked rather well and the one time curiosity got the better of me and I took a peak – I felt the negative sensation start to wash over me. So, head in the water I went. When the buoy was finally reached and it was time to turn back towards shore; the sun was right in my (and everyone’s) eyes and it was very confusing as to the correct direction. Suddenly the layout that was in my head didn’t make sense bobbing in the choppy water. Some swimmers around me made a sharp 90 degree turn and others turned more like 75 degrees. In by head I was kind of splitting the difference hoping I’d figure things out once I got closer to…. something. As I was swimming roughly towards shore, I think a current may have pushed us further to the left and even more off the (correct) 90 decree angle I should have taken. Once I did get fairly close to one of the sea walls, I stopped and looked for a buoy and could find none. Someone on a surf board yelled and pointed to the correct turn point – way, way to my right. So, before I could turn left and go around the sea wall and into the swim finish, I had to go way right to go around the buoy. So, between the challenging conditions (which seemed to let up in the next hour or two, benefiting some of the later, younger waves) and the misdirection, my swim time was pretty disappointing. I knew it had to be bad as it felt like I was out in the water forever, but I figured, you never know what was going on – maybe most everyone got real screwed up and I could still have a good day.
The bike was pretty non-eventful. I felt like I was flying through the field which always makes it the funnest part of a triathlon for me. I remember thinking my new cyclocross skills were giving me extra confidence carving out super fast turns. I glanced down at my average watts now and then and it seemed like it was usually around 254 – 255. Normally in an Olympic distance race, I don’t hold back at all on the bike, but today I held back a tiny little bit extra on the uphill sections. I also tried to use high cadence more than I usually do on the uphills hoping this would help my run. My bike split was about a minute faster than last year and I think I was much more ready to run at the end. I ended up withe the 2nd fastest bike split of the day.
The run starts out with a nasty climb then gently uphill for until around mile 2 or so. From there it’s almost all slightly downhill. I wore my watch for the sole purpose of having it for the run. I knew if I could click off some sub-seven minute miles, I’d be motivated and inspired. As it turns out, none of the miles markers were remotely in the correct place so I had no idea how my run was going. My low point on the run was around 3 1/2 miles. I felt myself starting to get discouraged by some of the younger athletes passing me from later wave starts. This doesn’t happen to me at any other race (local races) and I found it was taking energy away from me. One guy passed me at a pace I thought I might be able to match, so I decided to try and stay with him. When he heard me on his shoulder, he started encouraging me. It was awesome. We started running side by side and ended up running the rest of the race together, picking up speed the whole way. 6:45 pace for the run – which I am thrilled with. 16th best run for the day.
After finishing and learning my overall time (2:20) and place (15th), I was a bit disappointed, but after letting it sink in, I think I have to be happy with such a solid bike and run.
This morning I finally got a chance to look at the results and saw 10th place was 1:34 in front of me. I easily lost a couple minutes in my swim misdirection but I have no idea how the others in my wave fared with respect to swim navigation. It looks like swim times in general were slow so I think everyone found the swim challenging to one degree or another. I do know one guy died in my wave perhaps from a stress induced heart attack. So, the bottom line is I think I had near the fitness for a top ten but I think I choked a bit under the pressure.

The fittest I’ve ever been on the bike in late December

24 12 2011

I’ve discovered a new sport that has turned out to be as much fun as triathlon. I’ve intended for years to jump in a cyclocross race as the tri season winds down, but I never got around to it until this past fall. Now that I’ve taken the leap, I’m having a ball. Instead of doing a run emphasis or swim emphasis as would be normal this time of year (writing this on Christmas Eve), I’m actually cutting down on my running a little so as to be as strong as possible for the last couple races.

I’ve dabbled in bike racing here and there over the years and even though I absolutely love cycling and am very comfortable in a fast, competitive group; I’ve not fallen in love with the sport. It’s super dangerous with multiple high speed crashes at every event -race organization, at least here in central Indiana is very amateur compared with sanctioned triathlons.

That has all changed with cyclocross. There’s a new race promotion company in our area called Planet Adventure and they are putting on a first class show every weekend this fall in multiple venues – sophisticated electronic timing – instant results – free professional photography – and on and on.

If you are the competitive type and really enjoy RACING – you’d love cyclocross. It’s head to head racing at a ridiculously slow, safe speed. And as it turns out, I think triathletes are prime candidates to do very well as I’ve discovered. I’m finding I can beat guys that are much faster on a road bike and I’m not sure why. The best reason I can come up with is cyclocross really rewards general aerobic conditioning and also probably, light weight.

I’m glad I did not read too much (OK, I read nothing) about cyclocross prior to my first couple races because I would have been intimidated with the equipment “necessary” including multiple wheel sets – different tires for different conditions – and deep aero section wheels to keep mud from accumulating on the rims. Not knowing any of this, I went out on my 20 year old Bianchi with heavy box rims and six-speed drivetrain and placed 5th in my first Cat 4 45+ race. A couple races later, I was winning my division consistently and now lead the points going into the last race of the season next week. It’s kind of fun beating younger guys on their $4000 carbon bikes and Zipp wheels, but the truth of the matter is, equipment (other than maybe tires) is about as unimportant as it is in a running race.

I’ve been looking on Ebay and have noticed used cyclocross bikes, no matter how nice or expensive the original price, don’t sell for much more than $1000. Maybe December is a buyer’s market, because resale seems very, very low.

How to get up early to train before work

13 10 2011

I am not a morning person by nature. My teaching job requires I get up at 5:30 or so just to make the commute to my classroom. So, I never considered the possibility of getting a workout in before work until a couple years ago. Now I get up at 4:45 every workday and get a nice run under my belt first thing each day.

Here are my tips how this can be accomplished:

  1. Get rid of your TV. Television is probably the number one reason why people want to stay up late.
  2. Get your spouse on board
  3. Get a good book and head to bed around 8:00 and start reading.
Now you can grab a swim at lunch and a bike ride after work for three short but intense workouts a day!
Good luck

2011 Season

21 04 2011

I’m starting the 2011 season with legs that seem willing to run, so we’ll see how it goes. The plan is to stay healthy, by keeping run mileage to a minimum and go for a peak performance through four weeks in August – Tri Indy Triathlon – USAT National Age Group Championship in Burlington – Chicago Triathlon.

I plan on continuing my winter running routine – 2.5 miles, very easy every morning M-F. Take Saturday off from running and Sunday will be tempo day on my hard weeks. Here’s what the program looks like:
I’ll start Threshold/Vo2 Max intervals on Tuesdays in Phase 3 towards the end of June.

Last year, I had a stress fracture that goofed up my run training most of the summer, but even with almost no running in June (of 2010) and very little in July, I still had a very decent race in Chicago last year. I think this was due to two factors: Years of running in my past. And, lots of hard bike riding.

So, the plan is to bike as much as possible – Not big long rides, but lots of rides – many if not most, at high intensity.

Applicable reading:

Going Long – Healthy Lifesyle Part II

27 01 2011

I’m amazed how much improved my eating habits are from a year ago when I wrote, “Going Long – Healthy Lifestyle.” At the time I was surprised by some of the comments I got here and on saying my “new and improved” diet wasn’t all that healthy. I decided that maybe nutrition is too personal to write about in this blog since everyone has their own ideas of healthy eating. People that are laid back about nutrition think that the healthy eaters worry too much about what they put in their bodies, and the folks at the other end of the spectrum can’t believe the “junk” other people eat.

I have come to think of nutrition as a journey for me and my wife. We read, listen to podcasts, read some more, and then make a change in our eating habits. Then we read some more and get inspired to improve again.

Specifically, I’ve cut out the “fruit snacks” as a snack. I’m not quite ready to give up on a sweet drink with meals, so I’ve replaced Snapple which seems to me to be a glorified soft drink, with Tradewinds Raspberry Tea which is real “kettle brewed” tea. I’ve quit drinking V8 vegetable drink and increased my intake of real, organic vegetables.  I still do the peanut butter and jelly wraps and this serves as my dessert many nights after dinner and before bed. I still think the stats are pretty good, but I know high sugar is a problem I need to address one of these days.

I’ve replaced Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheat with Kashi Cinnamon Harvest. It’s slightly less sweet and looks to have a bit better stats. Actually, I eat very little of it – Just a handful now and then as a snack.

For breakfast, my wife researched and implemented a green smoothie which we enjoy every morning. She has just the smoothie, but I’ve still been doing my two pieces of toast and jelly and milk in addition to the smoothie. I think starting tomorrow; I’m going to do just the smoothie. Some of the components have to be ordered online, so it’s not a simple thing to throw together, but it does pack a nutritional punch.

1 1/2 c water
1 leaf romaine lettuce
1 leaf kale
1 large handful spinach
1 banana
1/2 apple
1 spear pineapple (frozen)
1/4 c blueberries (frozen)
6 ice cubes
1 tablespoon of the following: maca powder, goji berries, flax seed, bee pollen, lecithin, chia seeds and protein.  2 tablespoons of hemp seeds.

This makes enough to fill two 12 oz cups.

My favorite go-to dinner is organic, whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce and organic, locally raised turnkey meat. The wife fixes up a batch over the weekend and I have it to warm up two or three nights during he work-week. I recently learned she also sprinkles flax-seed in the sauce to add to my Omega 3 intake.  I combine this with the veggie of the day for a nice quick little dinner.

Here is some information on nutrition as it relates to prostate cancer prevention.

the case for sprint training for endurance athletes

19 03 2010

Unlike sports which require strength, speed and power to be successful, distance running is primarily limited by the delivery and use of oxygen. There are no studies showing that strength training improves oxygen delivery from lungs to muscles. In fact, the resulting changes from strength and endurance training are contradictory. Strength training stimulates muscle fiber hypertrophy (growth). This may increase body weight, which increases the metabolic cost of running (more muscle requires more oxygen). Larger muscles also have a smaller density of capillaries and mitochondria, which is detrimental to endurance. Endurance training causes muscles to respond in an opposite fashion by increasing the number of mitochondria and capillaries to facilitate the use of oxygen. Endurance training also decreases body weight, optimizing oxygen use.

Despite this seeming contraction, there is growing research demonstrating the value of “power training” as opposed to traditional “strength training.”   Recent studies have shown, in subjects who used power training, running economy improved when subjects included explosive or heavy weight training in their training programs.

Besides the documented positive increase in running economy one of the biggest advantages of all-out power workouts is that they flood your body with Human Growth Hormone (HGH).  HGH is released in the body while sleeping so getting a good night’s sleep and even an occasional nap is a strategy athletes have used for years to maximize recovery and to ultimately, perform better.   Many bodybuilders and anti-aging types frequently take artificial injections of HGH at a very high financial cost.  HGH production decreases as we age so it is probably even more important to the masters athlete.

Power training is done with weights in a weight room using heavy weights ( >85% of one-rep max), and fast speeds for 3 to 4 sets of 5 to 6 reps. Another popular method uses plyometrics which includes jumping and bounding exercises involving repeated, rapid eccentric and concentric muscle contractions. This is shown to improve running economy and 5K running times.

I’m trying Hill Sprints as my form of power training for running (I think this most closely replicates the action of regular running plus it’s easy for me to get to a short hill perfect for this kind of workout.) and 25 yard sprints in the pool.

So far I can report no problems with knees or shoulders. In fact, I’ve decided the uphill effort doesn’t seem to stress my knee at all – we shall see. The workouts are a lot different from anything I’ve done before. Think about the last time you ever ran as hard as you could go with absolutely no pacing yourself – all out for 20 or 30 seconds. I’ve felt great this week and I’m kind of excited about trying something brand new after all these years.

Here are some interesting links on this topic. Most aren’t particularly scientific but it gives you an idea of the growing attention power training it getting.

Power Emphasis

17 03 2010

I’m starting a “power” phase of swim and run training which I plan to continue for a total of three weeks.  The fourth week will be a recovery week. I’ll post more later about the reasons for trying this strategy, but for now I’m going to share a couple workouts I’m doing.

After a 15 to 20 min warm-up run do:
4 X 30 sec – all out – uphill

I’m going to continue doing tempo runs on the weekend and possibly adding Threshold runs on the track (3 x 1 mile at 10K race pace) once a week. This is all dependent on my knee and ankle holding up. If it gets cranky, I’ll have to back off and stick to my easier paced, morning runs only.

You’re going to love this workout :- /    It takes a lot of time and doesn’t yield a lot of yards, and can be hard on your shoulders, but doing it once a week for three weeks should pay off (if you don’t injure yourself).

    Running total Running total
400 swim Warm-up 400 8 min
8 x 50 kick With 20 sec rest 800 18 min
4 x 100 drill on 2:15 Swim with hands in fists – not open 1200 27 min
20 x 25 on 1:00 Lots of rest – go VERY hard 1700 52 min
100 easy Backstroke and/or breast 1800 54 min
3 x 200 pull on 3:45 Your arms should be toast after this set. 2400 66 min
400 Warm down – mix in some backstroke 2800 74 min