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Its been awhile since the last post. I'm into my third week of the build-up and it has been pretty difficult. Mostly because I've had a disregard for heart rate lately and seem to be blasting through all my workouts in zone 3-5. Why? Well I was talking to my coach and he said he wasn't worried about heart rate for this 2 month period, so I took that a little too literally and just blasted away. By by the end of the second week I was too tired. He really meant on the hard days he doesn't care, but on the recovery days RECOVER! Duhh!! Sounds pretty simple eh, but hey everyone gets carried away.


So I actually skipped my long bike this weekend and the only workouts I did was working in my basement. We were having a Halloween party for my five year old and I had to get the basement ready for a playroom. Right now its a training room. I have my computrainer and vasa ergo down there and weights, etc. It took me awhile to move things around and my back is just killing me! The party went great and kids ran around and didn't break any of my stuff so I was happy about that.


I've been much stronger in the swim from the few short weeks at masters and the ergo. Still the slowest in the class, or second to slowest, but there are some real accomplished swimmers there. I'm still swimming faster than ever before, and its good to try to keep up with some of the people, its a good workout. My legs seem fully recovered from the marathon, oh speaking of Marathon I finally got a few pictures:





I think this is just at or just beyond the half way mark. People are still holding up from the heat.





This picture is another story. It must be later in the race. My head is little down because I remember the sun being so annoying. The problem with the race was there was no wind at all for cooling effect. But anyway that's all in the past.



I've been going at it pretty hard on the computrainer as well. My power output seems rather weak, which at least gives me an idea of how to improve. I think the computrainer and vasa are some great investments, hopefully they will pay off next year. Starting the third week of training I'm going to go back to basics and do the hard days hard, super hard, and relax on the easy days. I had a fartlek run yesterday followed with some cross training and today masters swim with a hard bike. Tuesdays seem to be the killer days. I'll do the bike in the evening. I'll try to keep more up to date logs with workouts. My actual workout data is on training peaks but I'm not sure the graphs from computrainer can be accessed:



No trick or treat trot, I had the Halloween party to get ready for.  But maybe the turkey trot.  May do a longer race in december, the HUFF50K, but that's still up in the air.  My goal now is just to increase endurance and speed in the swim and the wattage on the computrainer. 









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Masters Swim

Posted by niemsco Oct 17, 2007

This Monday I officially started my speed buildup for the winter for swim and bike. Monday I started with a short run of 30 minutes. Actually I will probably not run too hard or long for awhile considering the marathon was just over. But on Tuesday I was in for a rude awakening. I started my first Masters swim class. I have never done masters before. My triathlon coach actually coaches the masters class. Masters starts at the ungodly hour of 6am. I've only ever ran or biked that early in the morning. Getting into a cold pool at 6am was not my idea of fun. I was warned that were some people really get at it in the masters class. These people are kids! High schoolers on the swim team. When kids in high school get up around 5am to go swimming in the morning then swim after school, you know there is a problem. I've seen 10-12 year olds on the swim team that could probably kick my butt. Luckily though most of the "kids" were in their own lane except for one.


I shared a lane with this kid and a guy who also just ran the Chicago marathon. I asked my coach to put me in the slow lane but he just laughed. This other guy swam fast also. To make a long story short, it was by far the toughest swim workout I've ever done. It was 75 minutes of intense swimming at least that's how I felt. I got lost in the count but it was over 3000yards total... at least, I just tried to keep up. I was extremely surprised, because I just seemed to be the laggard among the group. I tried keeping up with these guys but it was killing me!! I'm sure I went anaerobic at one point. We didn't do any more than 150 at a time, but it was hard, and rest was minimal. Actually I'm looking forward to going on Friday, hopefully this and the vasa will get me going.


Then in the afternoon I had 75 minutes on the computrainer, way too hard! I simulated the first part of the IM Wisconsin course and I just flat out flew into zone IV. This was not what I was supposed to do, I just got carried away, racing that damn computer. The computrainer gives you a trainer to go against. The problem was I had him on 200watts and the guy was just flying and I kept trying to catch him and I was creeping into zone V. I don't have that kind of power yet to maintain on that course. Anyways I was dead, I shouldn't have gone so hard in the second workout. If I keep that up I will not be able to keep this up and I'll have to start skipping the doubles, coach says its going to get a lot harder. I'm looking towards next Tuesday and the workout it worse, so I need to get some rest.


Today I had a nice relaxing 50minute run. I'm throwing the Newton's out the door. Those shows are just horrible... for me. The cushioning must have died at 50miles. I'm convinced this hurt me in the marathon. I ran on them one last time today and my legs are just killing. I have to buy a pair of Asics now before I run again. I mean what the heck, Newton's are 175 dollars, they feel good when you first try them out, and I tried to ride them out as long as possible (get my money's worth). But its getting to the point were I'm hurting myself more by running on them. For me the shoe just doesn't work. I'll donate them at the local running store. That's it for now.


Work by the way is hectic and just gets in the way of serious training   Oh well what can you do, need to pay the bills.

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Recovery - Dryland training

Posted by niemsco Oct 13, 2007

So its been a week since the Chicago marathon and I haven't done a whole lot. Just watched Macca win IM World Championship! Awesome! So again the plan is to go hard from mid october through december, then rest before building for IM Arizona. To do this I made some investments on the swim side based on some recommendations from coach by getting a vasa ergometer. I look it at this way, if you do something, do it all the way, not half ***. Besides if it doesn't work out, I can just sell it to my coach or put it on eBay


I didn't do anything for a few days after the marathon, went to the pool once and swam for 30 minutes, then decided to set up the vasa. The vasa ergometer monitors your pace per 100m, wattage, force both on right and left arms, and you can even change the resistance to simulate upstream/downstream swimming. It does everything except swim for you. The idea behind this thing is to build strength, stamina, and improve technique. I consider myself a decent swimmer, very familiar with TI techniques through my coach, and practiced those extensively, which doesn't always translate to open water swimming I'm finding out, which presents different issues.


Anyways I get on this thing and start pulling with the high elbows, etc. I go 25m on this thing and I'm done... done!! I couldn't believe it. I'm thinking to myself, man what the heck is going on. I was sure I put something together incorrectly or something was wrong with the machine. Something must be stuck! So I'm reading through the manual, got my tools ready to rip it apart, then I found this CD. Now I'm watching this seminar this guy is putting on with the vasa ergometer. He's a coach that has about 8 or 9 athletes who have these things and has specific workouts around. Then he had some guy get on there to show how to stroke with the ergo, which he made look easy. Then he makes a reference that when he started he could hardly do 25m! Then he said he just did 1:05 at IM lake placid, and he wasn't a swimmer at all. Then I said, wow, I can't believe I'm that weak! I've been lifting at least twice a week for many years, I consider myself to be fairly strong, but apparently not in the right areas. I immediately realized that I've never done the correct pulling technique, never exercised the right muscles, and straight arm pulls are probably why my shoulder has hurt for months. So its almost like I'm at square one at least with propulsive swimming.


Today I tried to do a workout, 200 warmup, 200 drills (single arm drills), 200 cool down. However it was all tough, no warmup or cool down. I was just glad I could do 200m on this thing in one go. Funny thing about this ergometer is that people say they train on it exclusively without going to the pool at all, or going a handful of times. I find that hard to believe and DON'T plan on following that example. I plan to get into Master's next week and then do this on the off days to build the strength.


That's about it for now. Oh I did run today. I was blazing down the street for someone reason. I just felt good to run, so I went a bit too fast. And now my legs hurt :(. Recover, recover, recover... Got to keep telling myself that. I will do the old trick or treat 10K in a few weeks though. That's a fun race, my 5 year old can do the kids race and get some candy!

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Brutal Chicago Race

Posted by niemsco Oct 8, 2007

So it was the day of the race and I woke up around 3:30 so I could down some calories 4 hours before the start. I still had a little head cold, but the good news is my stomach was ok, so it looks like I avoided some serious illness. I took my time in the morning and had some breakfast then got on the CTA Red line to get down to the race site. I have to admit I was a little light headed from being sick, and everything went by really quickly and before I knew it I was in the start coral ready to race. I really didn't get into the race until a few miles into it.


Originally I had just planned to run Chicago to have a fun marathon. It was exactly 1 month after I completed Ironman Wisconsin. I didn't expect to run any PRs but wanted to take advantage of my fitness level and enjoy the Chicago race atmosphere. That WAS the plan, but the weather had different plans for everyone. Not only was it hot, but it was extremely humid which was really the problem. It ended up being the hottest Chicago marathon on history as well as one of the hottest October days in Chicago. Typically I would run a marathon at a 7:30 pace, today I planned on taking it easy and doing an 8:00 pace. Of course I planned on doing that when I thought it would be a typical cool October. What happened was I actually went out mile one in 7:47 and I was sweating bullets and decided to throttle way back. I started at the back of my corral and noticed a lot of people were passing me, and I knew they would be in trouble. I was actually lined up with a 8:00 pace group, so people just went way to fast and I would have to say were not familiar with what the heat can do to you in a marathon, and I only knew because I've ran in a hot marathon before and suffered big time.


I actually passed the half way mark fairly close to about an 8:10 pace and felt pretty good until about 30K. The second half of the marathon was almost completely in the sun which is what made it tough. The shade of the buildings had disappeared. I started cramping up, and my legs were in a lot of pain at 35K. I did run the entire thing however and finished in 3:44, walking through some of the aid stations in the second half. I had a lot of trouble with the leg pain, all below the knee, which could have been a combination of three things: 1) Of course the heat, 2) These new shoes I had started to wear after IM Wisconsin, which had been causing me some heel issues a few weeks ago, 3) I wasn't fully recovered from IM Wisconsin. Probably it was all three things, so I'm going back to my old Asics.


I finished strong in the stretch and felt ok at the end. But the race was just brutal. Over 300 people were hospitalized, two are still in critical condition as I write, and one person passed away on the course. It was the worst possible scenario. I constantly saw people down on the side of the road, in medical tents along the course, and even one guy out conscious just before mile 26. One guy collapsed right in front of me with 300m to go. Myself and someone else made sure the guy was ok, I guess he just cramped up and couldn't really stand. He must of limped or crawled to the finish. The marathon is really supposed to be a celebration of fitness, but can be brutal if you throw caution to the wind. There should have been more of an effort to slow people down. Maybe should have done away with pace groups all together or started the race an hour earlier. They knew it would be this hot for several days before the race.


They ended up canceling the race for the first time in history. About 12,000 or so people DNF either on their own or were forced to. However if you think about it, it's usually the people in the front running hard that suffer the most. Its not the slower runners, so I'm not so sure they should have stopped it when they did. But I guess you can't be two careful. There were so many casualties already I'm sure the officials were just freaking out. Also Chicago wasn't prepared at the water stations. I read that many runners did not get any water until mile 8! That was because they ran out of water. Those people were out on the course well over an hour before they got any water. That's insane! It's Chicagos fault.


After the race everyone was walking around with bags of ice on their head, including myself. It was just a weird scene, I just wanted to get the heck out of their and find my family which I did. This is not what I signed up for. I did not find out about all the problems until I got home and saw what happened on the news. I now am just happy I finished the race and don't have any serious problems. My heart goes out to the family of the man who passed away and all those others that were hospitalized.


For me I'm going to take a few weeks easy until I start my master plan of building on the bike and swim. I may do some swimming later this week. I'll put the running on hold for awhile and use the other sports for recovery workouts.

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Day Before Race

Posted by niemsco Oct 6, 2007

Friday I committed to do the race in Chicago and went down and got my packet. I always dread doing this as driving into the city, paying 16 dollars to park, and then walking a half mile even to get to the expo, takes some of the fun out of the entire event. That is one drawback to large events, all the fluff that goes around them. I took off a few hours from work Friday morning to do this and to my surprise it went fairly quick. The expo just opened I planned on getting there early so that worked out, besides the accident on Lake Shore Drive I had to navigate around. The entire thing took two hours, which is pretty good. I think it took more like the 3 hours last time.


Last Thursday was the last time I ran or did any workout for that manner. Basically I ran for 35 minutes with a few miles at pace. I also went to my guy to get a massage, and I'm probably not going to return for a long time. This guy is very good, and he's a fellow UW alum, he actually played football for the Badgers, so I think that's cool. But the guy just had a baby and he's always in the twilight zone now. I continually get ripped off 5-12 minutes off the time, and he's continually interrupted. I don't say anything because I know what he's going through, he never sleeps! I will probably say something next time (maybe through the receptionist), I only go there during race season, and now that it is over I don't really need to go for awhile. The guy is the best though, so what are you going to do?


Chicago is going to be hot this year, probably the hottest its been in a long long time. It should be 70 or so at the start and is supposed to be a bit humid. Probably no world records this year. In the end it doesn't really matter that much, I'm going to run with an HR Monitor and just stay controlled. I plan on running for about 15 minutes today and stretch out just to relax.


The problem is I got sick last night! My wife has been sick, and I think I may be catching it, because I couldn't sleep and I feel like a truck ran over me. Almost like a hangover. Oh man it sucks, because I haven't been sick in a long long time. And the timing is great


I got my computrainer yesterday!  This is what I can't wait to get going on!  I actually haven't been on the bike since Wisconsin.  I think I'm going to monkey around with that today and watch football. Go BADGERS! I need to keep the family away, when one of us goes down to illiness it always get around, and sometimes keeps circulating! Or maybe just sleep all day so that I don't get any worse. As long as its just above the neck I should be ok, but when I woke up my stomach was a little queezy. That's never a good sign.


I'm also looking into starting a Tri-Club in my area, something else I need to get going. I would start this up with my coach and a few others. I find it surprising there are not many tri-clubs in the area, only one major one in Chicago, the Chicago Tri club. There are a lot of running clubs, but no tri clubs. It looks like a lot of work to get this going.


In any event I'll write after the race, hopefully I'll make it there and hopefully I'll be feeling ok.

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Final week

Posted by niemsco Oct 3, 2007

So on Monday I was a bit sore from walking around KiddieLand all day. KiddieLand is an amusement park for of course Kids! But they have some cool rides for the adults to go on with their kids. The problem is my daughter wanted to stay for 6 hours! I certainly can't complain about anything with my family considering the support they give me during my training. She liked the bumper cars the best and we got together and bumped mom around the course for awhile it was great! There was a smaller roller coaster there named the little dipper. First time for her on a roller coaster and she just freaked out when we went down the first hill. She won't be doing that for awhile


In any event MONDAY was a day off, but I found myself at the gym again, just doing some light lifting, upper body and stretching. I need to get out of the office everyday otherwise its just so boring!!! I was careful not to do anything silly like leg presses!


TUESDAY - track workout

This time I actually went to the track. I go to the track at a local high school and got there about 5:30am, and its still dark at that time. Plus there was a fog alert. You couldn't see the other side of the track. In fact there were two other people out there, which was kind of funny (scary), as I could only see them when I was on top of them. After a 15 minutes warmup I did 4x400m with 90s in between. My times were 82s, 79s, 79s, 80s. Not a lot of top end speed, but I never had top end speed, except when I was 10! Its not too bad and corresponds to some times I had early in the year when I was training for a 1/2 marathon and I was tired. Only 4 repeats didn't want to do too much.


Then in the afternoon I did a 30minute recovery swim, 5 minutes of warmup then essentially some drills and a few shorter reps, no more than 200m.


At night I feel pretty awful actually. I just feel like downing a few beers on Sunday and relaxing rather than run a marathon to be honest. I feel bloated (hate that), and legs are barking. I'm still considering bagging this, maybe going to the race just to watch... Probably would just down the beers instead and watch football I'll wait until Thursday to decide.


WEDNESDAY - Swim endurance

My endurance after IM in the swim is really low. Its similar to when I have trained and ran a marathon then took a few weeks off. It takes twice as long to build back up... I hate that!!! The swim seems similar. I did a more structured workout took 25 minutes:


warmup:200 free/ 200 pull w/buoy


1 x 200 RI 20

1 x50 RI 10 DPS

1 x 100 RI 20 (medium effort)

1 x 50 RI 10 DRILL

1 x 50 RI 10 pick it up

1 x 100 RI 15 swim smooth

1 x 50 fast

cool down: 200 easy


That is what I was supposed to do. I'm not so sure any of it was easy or smooth, but done. Minimized any kicking, didn't want the legs to start hurting. I'm seriously considering getting a Vasa Ergometer swim trainer. I've been reading up on this thing and it just seems awesome, plus two coaches I know recommended it and one coach has coached NCAA division I national champions!! I need something that's going to boost my power and endurance at a ridiculous rate to get to Kona. Conventional wisdom is saying this can't be done in the pool alone. We will see.


Feel a lot better than yesterday. Still feel bloated, and I'm not sure that's from tapering or not. I don't really have a true taper here, just a 1 month recovery from my last mega race. So the body is doing funny things. I'll write before the event in any case.


My current training plan is to go crazy end of October until Christmas building speed and strength in the swim and bike, then rest until mid January to start building for IM Arizona. I don't want to get hurt and not be able to go crazy. Last year in Chicago I hurt my knee bad, but it was hurting before the race but I wasn't going to bag it, because I raised 3000 dollars for charity. I HAD to run! I wasn't feeling better until earlier this year! However I don't really have injuries right now just complaints. So its a bit different, but need to watch it.

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