Why IMCHOO Will Be Different!

I’m less than a week away from Ironman Chattanooga. My bike is in transit via Tribike Transport. I am getting excited to be participating in my 3rd Ironman and my 2nd one this year. My last one was Ironman Texas on May 17th.

I learned a ton from doing Texas. I was lucky and I mean lucky enough to finish it. I threw up at mile 70 on the bike, was in the medical tent at mile 80 for about 20 minutes and just made the bike cut-off by about 15-20 minutes. Ironically my best 5 mile bike split happened at mile 90. The run wasn’t much better. I got sick at least 2-3 times and almost passed out a few times to the point medical people were holding me up at around mile 10 of the marathon. But I made it.

As of Sunday evening my body is still recovering from last weekend’s Reach The Beach. I did have a decent training week but my legs are still pretty tired. This week I need rest with a few days of lifting and an easy run on Tuesday or Wednesday.

So why will Ironman Chattanooga be different?

1. My Core will be stronger. Coming off of Ironman Texas I took off most of June. I did a few runs, bike rides, and for the first time I took some exercise classes. Coming off of Texas I made the excuse of being sore and not doing well in these classes. Yes my back was full of knots but the truth was I have a very weak core. I have spent the last 6-7 weeks working on strengthening my core. It’s not as strong as it will be for next year’s races but I have made great progress since August.

2. Bike. I am getting back to basics on my bike. For Ironman Louisville I had my triathlon bike but I never got comfortable on it. For IMTX I used my road bike but had bars and a bottle on the front. For IMCHOO I just using my road bike. No frills (well maybe one surprise).  I used this same setup at Timberman 70.3 in August and I felt very strong.

3. Legs. For IMTX I ran a fair amount including helping my friend Kate train for Boston. We did a few races together and that helped a lot. But as a runner I always peak in the fall. Last weekend at Reach The Beach I tested my legs and put myself on the limit (hence why I am sore) for about 14 of those 20 miles. I know with my recovery this week my legs for next Sunday will be just as strong as they were last weekend. Of course I won’t run near as fast as RTB but I know my legs will hold up.

4. Nutrition. Nutrition is really the forth sport. For IMLOU and IMTX I wasn’t able to figure it out. I learned something from my friend Aziz at Timberman. My morning nutrition hasn’t been enough.  I will be taking 3-4 bottles of Ensure which will give me calorie intake of over 1,000. I will also have Oatmeal.

My on course nutrition needs a ton of work as well. One of the mistakes I have made in the past was drinking three bottles the first hour on the bike. I really believe my body couldn’t digest it enough. I will be cutting this back to two bottles. I also learned from Todd and talking with Kate’s friends at the gym that I need to take a type of Hammer product. I plan to use Perpetuem. I took this at Timberman (one bottle an hour) and it really helped out. I will also be taking salt tablets. For emergencies I plan to take have a few bottles of Ensure in my special needs bag. I worry about the second half of the run and need my energy. I also plan to have some potato chips for some extra salt when it’s needed.

5. Focus. IMTX taught me how to suffer like I never did before. I take pride in being able to embrace suffering for events such as this. Part of this is being able to stay focused. I think in Texas I lost some of my focus. For a period of time I almost quit. But I didn’t!! For IMCHOO I will be a bit more focused. I think a lot of this is because of my nutrition and the confidence I have.

6. Chip on my shoulder! I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder coming into this race. Even though I have finished IMLOU and IMTX I am not satisfied. I have yet to have my ‘A’ race at Ironman. I don’t believe I will be satisfied after IMCHOO either but I want to be able to run the whole marathon. The marathon is my strongest event and I want to prove it on Sunday.

7. Anything Is Possible! It’s the slogan Ironman uses and I believe it. I have 100% confidence in my ability to complete this event again. It doesn’t matter that we are starting later, the bike is longer, and I don’t know the course. I know what it takes because…. I am a 2X Ironman!!!!!

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Reach The Beach 2014

Reach The Beach 2014 was my third year in a row running. The group I was part of had four teams from Camp Calumet. We raise money every year to send kids to camp. Last year we raised over 52K and this year we have exceeded that amount with about 12 days to go.

Coming into Reach The Beach I have been training fairly hard to get ready for Ironman Chattanooga on September 28th. I had planned to come into the race with ‘tired’ legs with all my training. But in the end that didn’t happened.

My 40th birthday (I am still working on this blog) I spent at camp with close friends and had the opportunity to run with my friend Amy. We ran five miles together and even though we were going fairly fast, including a 6:48 5th mile my legs weren’t recovered from the Labor Day race. They just felt tight and tired.

The week leading up to Reach The Beach consisted of very little training and a bike ride. I had two nights where I slept maybe 4-5 hours tops and then the next night I would make up for it by sleeping 10ish.

I took a 2 PM shuttle with other camp people from Chelmsford. I had a great conversation with Bruce and Sue. We got to camp on Thursday the 11th at about 5:30 PM. I decided I need to go for a run to get the cobwebs out of my legs. I always like to do a 3 mile run the day before a race. The first mile is a warm-up, the next mile is at race pace, and the last mile I walk.

After my run I showered and met the whole group for dinner at the Dining Hall. Everyone at camp is so friendly. You can really see the excitement from everyone. Those that have run it before know to expect. Those that haven’t run it before are a bit nervous and asking questions.

I was in Van 2 which means a later start for us. It means we get to sleep in but we run through the night. Heidi was our team captain and will make you laugh non-stop. Beth who I ran with last year is the rock. She has everything we need and is organized. Steven who I met last year is a Pastor and a great guy. This guy is fast and makes it looks easy. Geoff another Pastor who I got to know well on Saturday morning after our second legs (at a church ironically). His first leg is just nasty. It was non-stop up and down. Ironman (Lake Placid) Matt another great guy who is fast and knew how to get the job done. Julie our driver for the second year in a row (Beth and I were with her last year). She is organized and knows where we are going all the time. She kept in contact with Adrian the other driver in van 1.

I run with this group for a few reason’s. 1. It’s camp and we’re raising money for kids. Camp is by far my favorite place in the world. 2. These teams are extremely organized. Knute, Pete, Vicki, Karl, Jim, team captains, Calumet staff, & several others help to make this happen. We have plenty of food, gear, places to stay, vans all rented, and separate drivers for each van. As I tell people my job is to show up, shut-up, and run.

I had the same legs as last year. These were considered harder legs (I still think Geoff’s first leg is the hardest I have seen out there). I ran legs 8 (6.64 miles), 20 (6.18), & 32(6.75). My total mileage was 19.55 miles. The conditions for me were ideal. Low humidity and temps in the mid 60’s.

My first leg I was pretty amped up. I was pacing around a bit waiting for my turn. My legs felt strong and I had a feeling I was going to have a pretty good run. My run consisted of running West Side road in North Conway, NH. It’s not completely flat but for New England roads this stretch is overall flat and fast. With so much energy I opened up my first mile in under 6 minutes. I ran it in 5:47. For the first 3/4 of a mile I was on about a 5:30 pace with my heart rate still in check. But I had to pull it back a bit so I could survive the remaining miles. For this first leg I averaged 6:21 a mile and my heart rate had an average of 166. Which is actually comfortable.

After we finished our legs we quickly grabbed some food and went back to camp. We showered and got about 3 hours a sleep. My second leg started at 2:15 AM. Heidi ran the leg before me and it was a bit chilly. My GPS showed my run being 48 degrees. My leg started about 200 yards or so into a hill. So instead of having a warm-up on a flat leading up to the hill I was starting a few hundred yards into it. I wasn’t going to red-line my heart rate so I decided to take it slow. My first mile I ran at 8:25. This was the only mile I ran at RTB that wasn’t at BQ pace (my BQ pace is 7:30). I also had about 300 feet of climbing in the first mile. So trying to run at a pace under 8:00 would have been a complete suffer fest for the next 5 miles. Last year I was dumb and suffered the whole way because I did just that.

This 2nd leg was the only time I was passed. I got passed by two people and it was on a down hill stretch. One guy I just let go. I think I was running about 7:00 and he was going about 6:50-6:55. I ran with him for a bit but decided to conserve some energy. The second guy to pass me I think was probably running sub 6:30’s. I didn’t have the legs to play but I was tempted. :). After mile 1 I stepped it up and found my groove. I averaged 7:18 for my 6.18 miles. I was pleased and really never felt like I pushed it. I have room for improvement on this leg if I run it again next year. I would need to do a warm-up though.

After my second leg I went and took about a 4 hour nap in the car in the back. I didn’t sleep this whole time but I find resting helped me for later on. After our legs we went to D&D for some breakfast then went to a church for some rest, wash-up, and eat more food. We met the other van 2 teams there. We were there about 3-4 hours. It was great to wash-up and spend sometime with friends on other teams.

My last leg was at 1:12 PM. I ran 6.75 miles. I wasn’t sure how my legs would respond to this leg. They were starting to feel a bit tight. Last year I was lucky and ran about 4-5 miles with someone and we were able to push each other. This year I was actually seeking out runners to pace with me. No such luck. The temps were a little chilly at 63 degrees but I decided to run in short sleeves and shorts. These miles aren’t that difficult. It had some rollers and if you’re willing to suffer up the hills you can really knock out some quick miles because of the generous flats and downhills. My first mile I ran a 6:24. It was fast and flat. I was almost hit by a car crossing an intersection because the car didn’t want to listen to a cop and stop. But I never lost stride in running across the intersection. :). I was able to average 6:40 per mile on this last leg. This was 20 seconds faster per mile than last year.

My one gripe with RTB teams (our group doesn’t do this) is all these vans who put kills on their vans. A kill represents each person they pass. I know it’s done playfully and it’s okay to be competitive but it just rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s because I am on a charity team and prefer it that way. I can honestly say I have no idea how many I passed, don’t really care, but I would bet it’s more than most teams had that’s for sure.

This really is my favorite event of the year. It’s something that I look forward to doing and putting on my race Calendar. It’s already on my 2015 race schedule. It’s such a team event. Everyone from our group of 48 runners, 8 drivers, & countless volunteers from Calumet makes this event top notch.

 

Thank you.

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New Haven Road Race-20K (9-1-2014)

Have you ever ran a road race and within a few hundred yards you knew it wasn’t your day? That happened to me. But before we get into that let’s take a look back leading up to this race.

I first ran this race 10 years ago on my 30th birthday. I ran with my friend Betsy. The course has changed since then but from my memory the elevation overall has remained the same. I ran the 2004 event in 1:48:58 (8:54 per mile average).

I ran this course again in 2012. The course in 2012 was pretty much the same as it was this year. When I ran it in 2012 I ran it in 1:32:50 (7:30 per mile average). The big difference in 2012 was I had a cramp at mile 10 and ended up walking about 1 mile.

This year leading up to the race I had completed a 1/2 Ironman 2 weeks before. I have been running several miles to get me ready for my fall races. including 2 long runs of over 12 miles.

On Friday 8/29 I ran 16 miles. My legs didn’t feel well from this run and was hoping I would be recovered in time for the Labor Day race. The next two nights I was out late and got very little sleep. I decided to take the next two days off leading up to the Monday race. I normally like to run the day before a race but because of not sleeping much and being busy I thought it would be best to take the time off. Also my nutrition leading up to nutrition wasn’t ideal. Eating late dinners and not really healthy food I felt a bit heavy entering Monday.

On Monday I practiced my morning nutrition that I did for the 1/2 Ironman. I had one Ensure and oatmeal for Breakfast. I sipped water until the start of the race.

Once the race started I knew it was going to be a struggle. Sure the weather was warm and very humid but that wasn’t going to be my issue this day. It was my legs. Within a few hundred yards I could see my legs weren’t 100%. It wasn’t that they were tight they just felt fatigued from Friday’s run as well as running 40 miles back-to-back weeks.

I was able to run the first three miles in averaging under 7:00 minute miles. It’s not that I was running slow I could just tell my legs weren’t responding. It felt like a struggle the whole race. My two slowest miles weren’t hilly at all. At mile 6 I think I lost a bit of focus but was able to rebound the next few miles.

Here is the breakdown of my average per mile.

Split
Time
Distance
Avg Pace
Summary 1:31:07.3 12.63 7:13
1 6:49.9 1.00 6:50
2 6:53.5 1.00 6:54
3 6:59.2 1.00 6:59
4 7:11.4 1.00 7:11
5 7:11.5 1.00 7:11
6 7:28.9 1.00 7:29
7 7:16.5 1.00 7:16
8 7:09.7 1.00 7:10
9 7:30.0 1.00 7:30
10 7:24.1 1.00 7:24
11 7:35.5 1.00 7:36
12 7:17.4 1.00 7:17
13 4:19.8 0.63 6:53

I had plans of coming into this race peaking to run an A race. I ended up running an A- race. I finished 177th overall out of 1991 (top 9%) and 33rd out of 245th in my age group (top 13%). I normally would expect I would be in a higher % overall but this race is very competitive.

I now have three more key races this fall. RTB on 9/12, Ironman Chattanooga on 9/28, and a full marathon on 10/26. I will be better prepared for those races. Though with RTB I plan on doing it as a duathlon with some biking beforehand. In the end I really want to try and qualify for the Boston Marathon so my main focus for these next several weeks will be running.

 

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Success is a Choice

The title of this post is actually a book by Rick Pitino. It came out in 1998 and I read it way back then. I honestly don’t remember much about the book except one of the lines from it that said “it’s only a dream until you write it down, then it’s a goal”. That line will be stuck in my head for the rest of my life.

I do think success is a choice. I also think it’s incredibly hard work to succeed.

I wonder what the success level is for those people who are trying to climb the corporate ladder while training for Ironman. We know it’s more than just 18-30 weeks of training. If you have the bug like I do and want to do one or more Iron distance every year as well as several other short distances is it possible to truly succeed in your career?

Making a lifetime commitment to the iron distance is essentially training 48-50 weeks a year of 4-6 days a week.

Succeeding in your career is a loaded definition. You can define it anyway you want. But to do ‘only’ 40 hours a week at your job, training 10-15 hours a week,  and family commitments I believe makes it incredibly hard to climb the ladder. I am sure it’s been done and some of you are currently doing it but to have many commitments something has to give.

I wrestle with this thought all the time. I believe I am at a point in my career where moving up will come more slowly than it did say 10 years ago. I am ok with this. The role I am in doesn’t have the same opportunities as I had with Hewitt, where I spent nine years. That I am ok with as well. I don’t want to work in an environment where I (and others) have to work 50+ hours every week just to have the chance to move up. I don’t mind doing 50+ hours a week but when it’s every week it causes burnout and I don’t give myself the chance to workout as much.

For me to truly succeed in life I feel I need to be an entrepreneur. Or at least have some type of side business that doesn’t compete or interfere with my current job. For example, the thought of being a software developer has always been a dream of mine but yet for the last 4-5 years I have yet to take this step. Why? I can give all the excuses in the world as to why I haven’t yet but the answer that keeps coming back to me is I still enjoy working out way to much to give it up.

I have it in my head that I need to totally immerse myself into this endeavor that I have yet to spend more than a few hours a year on it. I believe instead of training 10-15 hours a week I need to turn this free time into being a developer. I suppose this isn’t completely true but something would have to give.

Have you ever thought of this? Would you give up your normal training routine to try and pursue a new passion?

One thought I have is maybe just train Monday through Friday morning’s with no expectations. As mentioned earlier maybe I would just do a couple of 1/2 marathons with no pressure. I know as soon as I cut back on my training I would immediately put on 10-15 pounds. Is that something I am willing to do?

A few years back I came up with a plan that I would do a few Ironman distance’s, run the Boston Marathon, and then give it up to try and be an entrepreneur. I am close to the end of my racing plan and suppose to move on to 2.0 of my career. The thought was my path to being an entrepreneur was suppose to start in 2016.

If you told me today that I would have to give up my Ironman passion for say 10 years to totally 100% succeed at being an entrepreneur I am not sure I would say yes to that today.

I struggle with the thought of this balance almost everyday. I really don’t have a clear answer on what I should/will do. From an amateur standpoint I feel I have done ok with some of my performances. I am not satisfied overall with my results because I haven’t reached my full potential. I wonder if I have to have better results before I am willing to give up this training. Right now I am not sure.

But at some point in my life I really want/need to pursue making a better life for myself in my career. Success is a choice! The question is will I succeed?

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Kona

Before I ran my first marathon almost ten years ago I would dream about qualifying for Boston. I would imagine what it’s like to cross that finish line in under 3:10. Today I am still dreaming about what it would be like. I am fortunate to the point where I am getting closer and know what it takes. For the first few years in my race training I would have no idea what it would take because I was so far off. My best time for years was about 4:11. Since I would need to improve by another hour it was really just a distant dream. I am now within 30 minutes of qualifying.

As I have written about before it would take cycling for me to really improve my run. Now I believe I am a full 12-16 week training plan away from qualifying for Boston.

What about Kona?

For those that don’t know what Kona is it’s the Super Bowl of triathlons. It occurs every year in October. To participate in this you either have to qualify in the top 3 in your age group in another Ironman or get in from a legacy program, charity, or be a lottery winner.

Before I did my first and only Ironman so far I would never even give the thought of qualifying. For me to have a chance to qualify based on my age group I would need to finish in sub 10 hours.

On my best day I felt I could do an Ironman in about 12 hours. Even though I finished in about 15 hours I think changing a few things I am not far away from doing about 12-12:30 hour Ironman.

For Ironman Louisville 2013 the winner in my 35-39 age group finished in 9:28. The third place finisher completed it in 9:38:43. So that still leaves me 2 1/2-3 hours on a good day.

How do I possibly get my time down from say 12 hours to a sub 10 hour Ironman? For me it’s really about the bike. Even though I spend most of my time on the bike this is by far my weakest of the three. I think on a good day on the bike I can do about 6 hours. I need to work harder at finding a way to get to a sub 5:30. These 30 minutes are huge.

My training most weeks are about 8-12 hours a week. I try and average about 10-12 hours but life happens. For me to lower my bike time significantly I need more hours on the bike and a fall Ironman so I can come into it peaked for the event.

I also think it takes someone like me years of triathlon racing to figure it out. I don’t have a time frame of when I hope to qualify for Kona but based on my training and what I am willing to put into the sport I think by my mid to late 50’s is when I hope to go to Kona.

I would do Kona based on a legacy program because of how difficult it is to qualify.

At the end of the day my first dream is qualify for Boston. I think looking at my race schedule for 2014 and 2015 I have a real chance to qualify in the fall of 2015. As of now I am thinking of going to Hartford to make this attempt. I have run this course twice so far and know it fairly well. It’s a fairly easy course and not that many runners. The other option is to go back to the Marine Corps Marathon where I first ran it in 2004….. Still chasing the dream…… Boston!!!!

 

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2014 Race Schedule

February:

  • 23rd: Hyannis 1/2Marathon

March:

  • 9th: Ocean’s Run 1/2 Marathon

April:

  • 6th: Whittensville 1/2 marathon

May:

  • 17th Ironman Texas

August:

  • 17th: Timberman 1/2 Ironman

September:

  • 1st:Labor Day New Haven Road Race
  • 7th: Flattest Century (TFCE)
  • 12th & 13th: Reach The Beach
  • 28th: Ironman Chattanooga

October:

  • 5th Smuttynose 1/2 marathon
  • 11th Dallas 1/2 Marathon
  • 18th Douglas 5K
  • 26th: Loco Marathon, NH

November:

  •  9th: Seacoast 1/2 Marathon

December:

  • 14th: Dallas Marathon

Future Events:

2015: (I am still working on my final schedule and plan to publish this by the end of the year. )

Feb: Hyannis 1/2 Marathon

March: Stu’s 30K

Ironman Texas May 16th- Confirmed

Ironman Lake Placid July 26th- Confirmed

September: RTB

 

2016:

Ironman Texas

Ironman Florida

2017:

Ironman Mont Tremblant (August)

Ironman Maryland

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Being Anal Is A Positive!

I first remember hearing the word anal when I was teenager. I think I was about 16 or so and someone called me anal. At the time I didn’t really know what it meant. They weren’t saying it in a rude way but I didn’t take it as a positive. Over the course of several years I would hear someone calling me anal from time-to-time. Again people never said it in a harsh way but it is said in way that isn’t something you should be proud of.

In the corporate world sometimes it’s a bit more obvious on who is anal. A classic definition of someone who is anal is when you go by a co-workers desk and everything is completely neat and tidy. Papers are filed a certain way, pictures are organized, coffee mug is always on a coaster, and the desk is spotless. You can bet their email is just as organized. Accountants are notorious for being this way. People would say “They dot their I’s and cross their T’s!”. That’s a code word for being anal.

Outside of work it’s not always cut and dry on what is anal. There is some overlap between being anal and dedicated. Does a person who rides his bike every Monday at 5 PM for 20 miles dedicated or anal? What about a person who vacuums their house every Saturday morning at 8 AM? Or someone who does laundry every Friday night?

I believe there is fine line between dedication and being anal. If you refuse to miss training session because it’s on the schedule and you miss out on an important family event then you’re being anal. If you move that same training session to earlier in the day or a different day then I believe you’re being dedicated.

I really believe being anal gets you to the start line of an important event. Yes this does entail dedication but being sure you leave a dinner party early on a Saturday night so you can get in those 80 miles early on Sunday morning requires you to be a bit anal. Having one less drink or not drinking at all is a bit on the anal side. I say this from experience.

So the next time your out at a party and you say you have to leave early to get up and train and they say “You’re being anal!” Smile and say “Thanks for the compliment!”

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Off-Season Training

Off-season training is important to setting up your next season. It’s about balancing some time-off, not losing to much fitness, and looking to improve some weaknesses.

When does the off-season begin? Generally the off-season begins after your last A race/event of the season. For me the off-season began after the Hartford Marathon on October 12th, 2013. With the weather reasonably warm in October I generally try and keep up my training for the month. Living in New England your off-season will be forced upon you from December to March. The limited daylight hours are a big piece of this as well.

Since the marathon I have taken some time-off from training. As mentioned in previous posts I prefer not to take off much time but rather to move forward and cut the training back. I was scheduled to do a 1/2 marathon in the beginning of November but because of a minor injury and feeling burned out I backed out.

I do find that my off-season training is more focused during the week while the weekend’s are a time to relax and maybe get in a short workout if I am in the mood. For example, the last three weeks I have woken up both Friday and Saturday with sore legs. During the season It’s always Monday and Tuesday as recovery training days.

So what is my off-season focus?

  • Nutrition
  • Strengthening my legs
  • Riding my tri-bike on the trainer
  • Lifting
  • Strengthening my core

In previous years I have put on 10 pounds in the winter. I would lose the first 5 or so in the month of April when training picked up and then would take the next 2-3 months to lose that last 5. This winter I am trying to eat healthier without dieting. I have cut out bagels all-together for breakfast and focused on eating oatmeal or eggs. I am working on going to a more low-fat diet as well. It’s really important I don’t put on more than 5 pounds or so this winter because of my early season Ironman in May.

For the last few years I have been in denial about how weak my legs are. I understand I am built for distance but I am not able to hold certain speeds as long as I want to. I have a flat 30 mile training course in New Hampshire that I trained on about 10-15 times this year and was only able to hold 22-23 mph. I find once I get to 24+ mph I can’t hold it for long. I need to improve on this. So I am spending a lot of time this winter doing a full leg workout once a week. I am not looking to put on size but really improve the strength in my legs. I am on the fence on how I plan to incorporate this into my in-season training. More than likely I will cut back on the weight I am lifting and doing this right after the weekend so I am recovered in time for the weekend.

I need to get comfortable on my triathlon bike. I admit I shouldn’t have taken this bike to Ironman. I wasn’t prepared to sit in the TT position for more than 40 minutes at a time. I plan to have this bike on the trainer all winter and work on sitting in this position for a few hours at a time. I also think I may need to get another fitting because I am not comfortable in it. I will play with the position for the next several weeks to see where the problem is. There is a chance I don’t take my Triathlon bike to Texas in May if I am not ready.

I am finally getting back into lifting on a regular basis. I am working on doing each body part once a week. I started out doing about 10-12 sets per body part and working on improving this to 12-15. Overall as mentioned above I need to strengthen my legs so I plan on doing about 15-20 sets of quads. I am a big fan of super setting body parts. So I do two body parts together and don’t really take much of a break between sets. For example, I will do a set of quads on say the leg press then immediately head over and do a set on my calves. Then I will head back and do another set of quads. I try and do 12 repetitions for each set.

I realized my core is fairly weak. I had planned to work on my abs about once a week but realize now I need to focus on this two times a week until I feel improvements. This workout is fairly quick but it’s vital to have a strong core. I am still researching on improving this so if you have some ideas let me know.

I do still spend the majority of my time running on the treadmill doing intervals or spending a few hours a week on the stationary bike. But it’s really important to work on weaknesses in the off-season to set myself up for a busy 2014 race schedule. One important thing to note is while lifting I don’t spend more than a total of 20 minutes on the two body parts. The exception is the legs. I specifically do a separate evening one hour workout. It’s important to focus only on the legs for this workout and not feel rushed to get out.

It may seem that the off-season is only beginning but my 2014 season is right around the corner. My first race of the season is a  1/2 marathon and is 3 months from today, my first 1/2 Ironman (this is tentative as of now) is only 135 days away, and my first (second overall) Ironman of the year is only 176 days away. So much for an off-season!!!!!

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Are you an A, B, or a C?

Until about three years ago or so I didn’t even know what an A, B, or C was. This term I am referring to is actually used in the corporate world. Sure it’s used in cycling to define what level you are at mostly when talking to another cyclist you haven’t ridden with. It’s almost like describing your handicap in Golf. But this term A, B, or C I am referring to is what kind of competitor are you?

In the corporate world one of the most famous A’s was Steve Jobs. It was described to me as A’s only want to work and hire A’s. B’s want to be around B’s and C’s. And C’s only want to be around C’s. This isn’t meant to be a blanket true statement but generally how it works in the corporate environment.

A’s are willing to work around the clock to get the job done. They don’t really have other outside interests except a family. A’s are the smartest in the room and they know it. They are either near the top of the organizational chart or are climbing up it. A B worker may put in the hours but generally aren’t as smart as A’s. B’s have a life outside of work and outside working 40-50 hours a week they aren’t focused on work. A C generally is watching the clock. They prefer to only put in 40 hours a week and aren’t emotionally attached to work. For the most part a C isn’t looking for that promotion but looking for stability.

In the triathlete world I am not sure this is completely true but I do see this as a guideline. ‘C’s’ are the casual athlete where most of the sport fits in. If not for C’s races wouldn’t be held. C’s are the fastest growing segment of sport in general. They are the bread and butter of the sport(s).  They tend to do a few races a year for fun. They may have one or two ‘A’ races but generally they don’t have a plan. More than likely they workout 2-4 times a week if they have the time.

They are seen as family comes first and if they have time they will workout. C’s are the one’s who have a major race on their bucket list. They will do a few 1/2 marathons, 1-2 marathon’s in their life and once the kids get old enough may complete an Ironman. C’s generally don’t workout 12 months a year. Most of them will take time off around the holidays as well as after a big race. I would say a C works out up to 9-10 month’s a year at most. I know this because I use to be a C. When I was a C anyone above me competitively (not ability) I thought was an A. It wasn’t until I became a ‘B’ that I realized there was actually three buckets of competitor’s.

I am a ‘B’. As a B competitor we normally workout about 11-12 months a year. We generally try to take some time off after a big race but find ourselves back training fairly quickly. We may not train at 100% but we feel the itch to keep pushing forward. We have a training plan that we try to keep to but sometimes other factors get in the way. We tend to have several races a year including a few ‘A’ races that we want to do very well in. B’s aren’t satisfied with just one marathon or Ironman. Generally they will do several over the course of their life.

To a ‘C’ competitor we are seen as an ‘A’. We know we’re not an A because we don’t have the extra dedication to get us to the next level. We tend to fall a bit short because we don’t want to become obsessed and burn ourselves out from the sport. When you’re a B more than likely you train consistently 5-12 hours a week and If you’re in Ironman training you may step up your training to 15 hours a week for a short time. As a B we are working out several times a week and a few double session’s. We’re more concerned about hour’s of training overall than training X amount of days. B’s and A’s are the most critical of themselves.

The ‘A’ competitor is very detailed in his or her training. They will stick to their plan and know what it takes to get to the start line. They have the training plan mapped out for the next several months. Their diet is generally healthy, take the right supplements, and more than likely they have a coach. The ‘A’ competitor may not be an A level overall but more than likely they would be considered an ‘A’ in their age group. Their training in season is 10+ hours a week and will have several weeks at 12-15+ hours. They are the smartest of the three groups. They know they can take a week or two off from training after a race and become stronger. Most A’s have been doing this for several year’s and if they have a family are generally better at managing their time than a B.

Overall I don’t believe being an A is sustainable for life. I am not sure it’s meant to be either. All pro’s are A’s and their professional life end’s by their late 30’s. I am guessing here but assume at some point they fall into the B category to stick with an active lifestyle.  Those that are at the top end of their age group may go back and forth between an A and a B during the year. B’s generally are in the sport for life. C’s come and go from the sport. But as I mentioned earlier they are the reason the sport continues to grow.

So are you an A, B or a C?

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