Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hello, I am back...did you miss me?

Just a quick post to let you know that I am back.  I believe that I was done with Ironman after CDA but the tickets are booked and I am headed to Phoenix in a few weeks.  I will be volunteering at IMAZ 2012 and the following day with be signing up for IMAZ 2013. 

I have changed my blog name because I will be spending almost all my training time and efforts out here in Saudi Aurora with the cows and such.  I have lots to talk about and will spill the beans soon but for now I need to hit the pool and get ready for Trick or Treating with the kids. 

What a fun way to end October! 


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ironman Bike and Run

I was very excited to start the longest ride I have done without stopping especially after having such a good swim.  I was also very excited to see Anne since I had not seen her yet.  The bike course was two loops with the transition being in the middle.  You had a 15 mile out and back to transition and then out the other side for a 40 mile out and back.  We had to do this twice.  The first out and back was pretty low key with very few hills and was a great spot to get my bearing.  As I started to settle down I was excited and hoping that I would see Anne early and when I spotted the Colorado support crew ahead and was able to narrow my focus in on Anne I slowed down to a stop and give her a big kiss.  She means the world to me and to have her out supporting my Ironman made the day all that more perfect.

Because I had done a pretty fast swim I started the bike with guys and gals that were rocking the bike course and for me I had two goals.  Number one was to keep my average HR for the entire bike ride to be under 150 BPM and my second goal was to not allow my HR to spike above 165 while climbing.  For me that meant that I had to settle down and allow people to pass me and not let it affect my day.  I was use to this because on most of my races I get out of the water pretty quick and then the fast riders and runners that are not so great in the water have to make up the lost time.  What I did not realize was how many of those swimmers were at Ironman CDA.  The entire day I was getting passed.  Passed on the flats, hills and turns and so I had to make a game of it since I was going to be out on the course for 7-8 hours.  As someone came by me I would give them a nickname and try to get them to talk to me.  The first 10 times I tried this I was able to get some pretty funny reactions both positive and negative from the fast riders.
The 1st turn came fast I was headed back into town were Anne and the crew was and I was again really excited to see them.  I had just been passed by Peter Atwater who was looking to have a good day and it was fun to see one of my training partners out so strong.  Anne was loud and gave me the boost that I needed to carry me into the next 40 miles of hills. 

The hills again were pretty funny since I had to keep my HR down and sometimes that was a REALLY slow speed.  It allowed me to cheer on the Pro’s and the really fast Age Groupers.  A few  of the Colorado crew would podium the next day and to see them in action was great. 

The first lap went pretty quick if 3+ hours can be considered quick and I was getting excited to see Anne again.  I passed her with a great smile and was off to the small out and back starting lap two.  The second send off and my last 40 miles on the bike was pretty hard.  I hit a low spot until I was able to see my coach Beth and chat it up with her a bit.  OK, I did not chat I sang the “Red Solo Cup” song and made a few people around me smile.  The hills on the second loop seemed to be higher than the first and the down hills were shorter but after a long time I was headed back to town and getting my arms wrapped around the run that I had a head of me.  The last climb the sun decided to finally show up and the temperature started to rise.  Usually not a good sign for me but I had done such a great job keeping to my goals that I was thinking I would be OK.

Coming out of transition I had the sun block girls lather me up and I was headed out the run shoot onto the course.  The crowds at Ironman are RIDICULOUS.  They spend all day cheering for everyone and to feed off that was very helpful.  We had a climb right out of the shoot and I had to slow down like 4 times to get my HR down to my goal effort.  I saw Anne and the crew again at the same area and felt a jolt of power.  It was at this point that I realized I had been going for over 8 hours now and had a marathon to run.  My HR spiked when I started to think about the time and the effort it would take and I was even able to cry until I pulled myself out of it and focus on 1 mile goals and not the total distance.
The run course was next to the first out and back of the bike and so it was fun to be running next to the lake and have the view that we did.  I climbed the first hill and did well on the flats eating, drinking and working to keep my effort consistent.  The second hill I started to slowly run up but I ended up walking since it was so long and steep.  I saw Peter coming down the hill looking good keeping a steady hard effort. 
The run course allowed me to be even closer to all my friends and we all made eye contact, hand signs and comments to each other depending on where they were.  I made it to the run turn and headed back towards town.  It was going well but I realized that I had stopped sweating which was not a good sign.  I slowed down again and took a lot more aid as I passed the next mile marker.  Over the next 30 minutes and almost half way done I started to feel my energy disappear and I knew what was coming.  I was dehydrated and heading to a bad spot.  I felt my stomach turn and I made the choice at mile 9 to walk.  The next 10 minutes trying to deal with my present situation was REALLY, REALLY hard for me.  I was in a bad place and it took all that I had to just keep walking.  Runner after runner would pass me and the spectators would cheer me on and I was pissed.  I had done everything that my plan called for to the tee and I was now doing what I did not what to do on the run and that was walk.  I had over 14 miles left and it was going to be a very long day.  I passed the next aid station and did not take anything but had to leave a token gift behind the port-a-potty.  I took a sip of water and started to walk to the run turn around where Anne and the support crew were stationed. 

My spirit was low, my body was hurting, I had been moving for over 11 hours and now I had 13.1 miles to go.  I did not want my day to end this way but still wanted to finish.  Coming down the gentle grade where Anne was gave her time to cross the road and as I approached her I stopped, turned and put my head down on the fence.   I felt like stopping.  I told her I had burned up and was going to have to walk the rest of the day to finish and had a pretty low spirit.  She told me she loved me and I would finish and would be an Ironman just as soon as I walked the second half of the run.  That sparked something inside me and I stood up and the idea of stopping never entered my mind again.  I had a quarter mile to the turn-a-round which seemed like a mile and then I was back to where Anne was.  She gave me a cold bottle of water and told me to take little sips and to keep walking.  She started to walk with me and had the intentions to walk the whole way until I told her it was not allowed.  She is my rock and understood what I was going through and was going to help even if it was walking next to me.  I gave her a quick hug and told her I would be back in 3.5 hours.  That was what my mind calculated the walk time would take me.  The next thing I remember was looking at the front yard of one of the houses on the run course.  The grass was shaded and looked so inviting so I laid down and closed my eyes.  Someone asked if I was OK (NO I WAS NOT is what my mind was thinking) and all I could say was “yep just taking a rest”.  I think I could have stayed laying on the cool grass for a long time but I had to get up and keep going.  My feet hurt and my toes were swollen and so I had to loosen up my laces to stop the pain.  One by one all my friends would pass me as they were headed to the finish with what every positive comment they could give.  They were all in the last push of such a long day and anything they gave was huge.  I passed the next aid station and they offered warm chicken broth and it tasted great.  The comments that I was getting from the crowd stopped bothering me and I really felt that they were genuine.   I was going to finish this race and regardless of when I crossed the finish line I would be an IRONMAN.  The next few miles were better and I was able to start thinking clearly.  I picked up my walking pace and started to look at my watch.  I realized I could walk a pretty quick mile if I tried and if I really pushed my walk I could finish under my goal time of 14 hours.  The next aid station I took coke and chips and within a minute of drinking the coke I felt strength return to my body.  The next aid station I drank two cups of coke and more chips and again I felt more strength return.  I looked at my watch and determined that I needed to run a bit to get under 14 hours.  I decided that if I kept feeling better I would run the last 3 miles and if I was lucky I would cross the finish line just under 14 hours.  I was trying to walk fast and feel good when I saw Beth on her way back to town.  She actually stopped and talked to me for a minute and gave me as much positive MoJo as she could.  She took off again and went to finish her first Ironman having a pretty good day.  I had 1 mile to the bottom of the big hill were the run turn-a-round was and I decided that I would try to run just a few block.  I picked up my head, put a smile back on my face and started to run very slowly.   It worked, I could run again so I decided that I would run just a few blocks but that turned into many more.  I was able to run and so I did not want to stop.  I kept running all the way to the bottom of the hill. 

 That mile was huge for me because for the first time ever in a race I was able to come back from a death march to the finish.  The hill seemed to be smaller than the first time and as I crested the top and started to go down the back side I could see the run turn-a-round.  I was nearly 6 miles away from finishing my first Ironman and I was on target to get it done in less than 14 hours.  I hit the timing mat and the familiar beep sounded which said I was on my way to the finish.  I walked back up the backside of the hill and took on some more coke and chips.  I looked at my watch and determined that the mile I ran gave me 2 minutes to work with.  That gave me a boost and I started to run again but this time my feet were not the only ones running.  I had picked up some company and I was pulling others from a walk to a slow run.  We ran down the hill and towards the bottom I felt the best I had in the past 5 hours.  The guy walking in front of me was talking to a friend on a bike and as I approached them he started to take off.  I yelled “hey bike guy” and he turned around.  I asked if he had a phone and he said yes.  I asked if he would relay a message for me and he called Anne.  He got her VM and left the message “Tyler is running and will be to the finish shoot in about an hour”.  The last time I left her I said “I will see you in 3.5 hours and that was not going to be the case”.  My watch beeped which told me I had finished another mile and so I looked to see that my last mile was a 9:17 which was the fastest of the day.  I had 5 more miles to go and I now had 2 people holding on to me as we ran passed all the walkers towards the finish.  The next three miles were spent digging deep and keeping a steady pace to allow me to possible make it to the finish running.  I was now 137.6 miles done and 3 mile to the finish.  Now I was running on parts of the run course where I had walked earlier.  I passed the port-a-potty where I left my token gift and was now only two miles out. 

The last mile was amazing, the two people that were running with me had dropped off and I was again all along to finish the race.  I was approaching the split there those that had another lap would go right and those that were done would go left.  I took the left turn running and made the right turn towards the finish line.  I was a few blocks away but the crowd was crazy and I was able to feed off of them.  I was going to finish under 14 hours and was going to be an Ironman.  I saw Peter, Sonja, Michelle, Michael and others and gave them running high fives.  I was looking for Anne but did not see her yet.  I was just a few hundred feet away and the crowd on each side had layers of people cheering.  I was jumping, yelling and going from side to side giving high fives to everyone.  I was soaking up the moment and doing what I had imagined on so many workouts this past year .  I stopped short of the finish line and did a little dance.  I was caught up in the moment and loved it.  I took all of it in and can tell you it was nothing short of what was talked about by others.

I became an Ironman on June 24th 2012 after 13 hours and 42 minutes of effort.  I AM AN IRONMAN and will have the memory of that day for the rest of my life.

Anne, you are my Rock and I am so glad that you were there to help me make it to the finish line.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ironman CDA 2012 Swim

Couer d’ Alene Idaho is an amazing place with the lake sitting at the bottom of all the pine trees on the hills edges it’s a place that feels magical.  When I arrived the city was alive gearing up for the Ironman Triathlon that was about to happen for the 10th time.  CDA has more volunetters that sign up to help than athletes that show up on race day.  Some years is has nearly been a 2-1 ratio making it the best run race to date.

Anne and I at the swim beach at Lake Couer d' Alene
Nicole, Anne, Michele and Nancy were the best support crew EVER.  Beth and Keith were my constant training partners that I was very excited to spend the race day with!
My calm before the storm!  I was checked in and ready to race.

The days leading up to the race were spent working on last minute race plans, testing the water (which was really cold both times that I tried swimming in it) and getting myself in a mental place that would allow me to spent almost an entire day racing.  It was a sun up to sun down challenge that could not last longer than 17 hours.  I was gearing up for my first try at the Ironman distance triathlon.  Anne arrived the day before and she went straight to work making my life easier and doing everything she could to help me get ready.  We were staying in a house with the 3 others that arrived at Panera Bread Company 1 year before and signed up together.  We also added a few to bring the total racer count to 6. 

I was able to sleep really well the night before and I was able to get my transition set up just the way I wanted.  I went for a jog and made sure that all systems were a go and then headed to put on my wet suit with 2300 fellow racers.  The cannon was set to go off at 7am as a signal to start the day.  2300 people were placed on a very narrow beach front for a two loop swim both being 1.2 miles long.  Michele, Keith and I made a mad dash for the right side of the group and placed ourselves right up front.  We were going to swim the longer distance to the turn buoy but felt we could have clearer water doing so.  I WAS WRONG. 

The second the cannon fired I was off pushing the pace pretty quick from the start to get away from the masses.  I had practiced my swim start a ton of times over the last few months.  The problem I had was 500 others were trying to follow the same plan I was and I had no breathing room and was getting kicked, hit and pushed around just like I was told, read about and saw on TV.  I felt that they exaggerated the feelings and it would not be that bad.  I was a good swimmer and should have no problem finding clear water but not today.  I made the first turn, second turn and still had to fight to swim smooth and fast. 
I kept calm and did not even feel the temperature of the water the entire race.  All the stress over cold water and I could care less, I was trying to get away from the other crazy swimmers.   The sound of the announcer was loud even several hundred yards from the beach and I was getting pumped up to start the second lap.  I touched sand and was up on my feel running to around the turn and off to the second lap.  I looked at the clock and saw that I was done in 32 minutes and was jazzed.  I could hear my name being yelled but could not place it. I found out later that Anne and Shannon were at the turn and it was her yelling my name.  My race plan after a quick start was to go at a steady, medium effort and today that felt pretty fast.  The second lap was just a repeat of the fist with the one exception being that on the last leg back I was able to swim without getting touched.  I hit the sand again and was up and trotting to the transition tent. 
 The amount of people cheering at the swim beach was unbelievable, thousands of people cheering and yelling.  As I made my way up the beach I heard my name again and was able to focus this time on Nancy and Michele and gave them high fives and then headed over to the wet suit strippers.  Rather than going straight to transition I ran to the T1 bag area and yelled my race number to several volunteers.  They had my bag held high in the air by the time I made my way down the row and I was moving into the changing tent. 

These are the bags you grab before heading to the changing tent in T1

This was the first race where they have separate male and female changing tents to get ready for the 112 mile bike journey that I had ahead of me.  I took a few seconds to look around at the mass of people coming into the tent and changing.  What a day it was turning out to be.  I was loving it at this point and was ready to take on the rest of the day with excitement.
I finished the swim in 1:07:27 feeling really good and excited about the rest of the day!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Race Week Knoxville Rev3 70.3

This is my first Triathlon of the season and on top of that one that I am traveling to. I find it kind of funny trying to remember all the items that I will need to pack and get ready for this race. I am sure I will forget something and that is why the Expo's are fun, I usually need to buy something. I am grateful that I have Tony going on this trip with me and I am a bit sad to leave behind Beth, John and Keith. We have been training together for the last 6 months and I am the only one that will be doing a tune up race before IMCDA. I am excited to have Sonja and Michelle there working the event for Rev3 and figure I will get some extra love at transition (Maybe a spot near the pro's or something cool like that). It is very evident that I have had to slow down this year to make my goals and as I work on my game plan for Sunday I get excited to see how it will unfold. I am not looking for a time result per say but executing a game plan all the way to the finish.  I have been successful on my last 3 70.3’s walking the last 4-6 miles of the run completely destroyed.  I have made several of my long training rides the past months on the course of my last 70.3 that I did in Denver called Harvest Moon. This course ate my lunch and over the last few rides I have come to see the results of my new training efforts. I expect that I will have a heart rate average between 20-25 beats per minute below my last 70.3 on both the bike and the run. What is very amazing to me is that I do not suspect that my time will be much slower. I do not know for sure because it will be a very hot race with 90 degrees as the high in Knoxville and heat takes its toll on me. I love race week and I am very thankful to Anne for making is a non-issue for me to go. I will keep her and the kids in my mind not as I try to go faster but as I try to be smart. Knoxville here I come!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Seeing Progress

I just finished my largest build segment to date. The last few workouts I did everything that I could to just hold on, I was feeling really tired and warn out. I had a 4 hour bike on Saturday followed by a 45 min run and was able to do it from my door step with a great new training partner Peter. We are matched really well and are helping each other get ready for CDA. The reason I posted that I am seeing progress is the fact that I was able to ride at a steady pace for 4 hours and then transition off the bike to a solid run. I am usually cooked by this time and do what ever I can to hold on and Saturday I was running at very solid 160-165 HR and a pace going up and down near the 10/min pace. As I write this I am feeling more confident in my plan to slow down to go faster. The biggest test of the last year and more particular the past 6 months will be in 14 days. I have never ran the last half of a 70.3 but have walked a perfect 3 for 3. I am excited to test what I have learned, test what I can do when making smart decisions. Today I am really excited for Rev3 Knoxville 70.3. I am excited to see the progress translate to a race performance. I am excited to have the support of my family. I know that Anne is getting sick and tired of hearing my pace/BPM's Average/Speed/Effort each day. She is kind, listens and then tells me how proud of me she is and that I am doing great! I am one lucky guy even on days where my resting HR is elevated and I am very nervous to tackle a Z3 run with slight pickups for 90 minutes.....She tells me that I will do great and she will see me later. Anne is my biggest fan and gets what I am doing and I love her for that.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

What a difference your Heart can make!

This past weekend I had a 5 hour brick which was made up by a 1 hour swim at a steady pace followed by a bike ride. I had a new seat put on my TT bike and had an updated fit to help me on the longer distance rides. My goal for the bike was to see if I could ride and manage my HR better as the terrain and time extended. I wanted to go back to the Harvest Moon course since it killed me on the last leg of the ride this past fall. I remember how I felt that day and how I hoped I would feel at the same spot riding a lot smarter today.
I was riding alone and so I took it really easy out to where I would start my effort. The wind as predicted was pretty bad (I hate it when the weather men are right) blowing north. I was riding east feeling the effects of the wind and knowing that my first turn was a left turn so the wind would be at my back. I prepared for an even bigger battle on the second half of the course with it being mostly up hill and now with a direct head wind. The left turn on Watkins road came pretty fast and as I was making a small climb I was shifting to harder gears because the wind was pushing me up the hill. For the next 10 mile I was pushing my 11 cog as best as I could and still maxing out several times because of the downhill section and the tail wind.
The sun was on my right shoulder and as I would look left I could see my shadow and was able to watch my legs moving like pistons. It was a very cool feeling to be moving as fast as I was, seeing my body position as smooth as it looked while my legs were driving up and down. I watch the pro's do this all the time and for the first time I felt like they did. Only difference is I had a 20 mile wind at my back and I was going down hill. This fun leg of the ride ended way too quickly and I made a right turn onto Colfax road where I would ride for the next 15 miles.
The fun was over because the wind had moved from my back to my side and I had to work hard to keep the bike going straight. This section of the ride was again downhill with only a few little rollers to allow you to stand up and stretch. I felt good on this section keeping my effort and HR right where I wanted it the whole time. I fueled up again in Bennett and was soon back on my bike ready to make the right turn into the wind and the climbing that would be the next 25 miles of my day.
I decided that I would take the speed data off my Garmin and stay focused on HR for the next section. It was as bad a I was thinking it would be so I settled in and tried to keep my legs moving and my HR down. Every time I allowed my mind to drift I would come back and I would be way over my desired HR Max for the day. I ended up turning on a HR alarm when I exceed 150BPM's and that would help me know when I was not paying attention. I was alone out on this section with no cars passing me and no one out working. No one really wanted to be out in this wind on the Eastern plains. I made it to the right turn back onto Quincy road where I had 2 big climbs left. I moved to my lowest gear for the first time of the day and kept slowing down to keep my HR below the alarm. I was now on my bike for over 3 hours which was my longest ride of the year. I had to laugh as I felt I would be faster walking some of the sections of this long drawn out climb. The top came and so did the next one with the same smile wondering if I could walk the hill faster.
I started to go down hill a bit towards home and I was very pleased with my results. Nothing else mattered this day except that I was able to control my HR and keep it under 150BPM's on this ride. I was eager to look at the results but that would come a little later since I was rushing home to make it on time to Josh's birthday party.
Josh turned 9 today and had a blast at the Gym where we had his party. We then ran to Webelos next and by the time I was able to stop and relax it was nearly 5pm. This was the biggest sign that the type of training I am doing will net me the endurance to keep going all day.
Later that night I loaded my data onto Garmin and took a look. I smiled when I saw that I had a HR average of 146 for the day. My speed was only 1 MPH less than when I raced the Harvest Moon course and died last fall. I am very excited with my training and look forward to REV3 70.3 Knoxville in a 6 weeks. Of the 3 70.3's I have done I have never ran across the finish line and at Harvest Moon I had a 2:58 run errrrr walk to finish that day. I look forward to running off the bike and being in control of my next race.

Thanks for the help Coach Beth,

Love you Anne,


Monday, March 19, 2012

Week 10-11 and Canyonlands Half Marathon race report

The past several weeks were resting weeks as I planned to run in the Moab Canyonlands Half Marathon. I wanted to see what the past few months had done for me in base building and see if I could again execute on a longer event not by being fast but being smart in a longer race.
I had several good workouts leading up the race week and then spent most of the week in Valencia working with clients that came into town. Landing in Grand Junction on Thursday afternoon was a great start to the weekend and it was fun to connect with John, Nicole, Nancy, Keith and Beth. We made it to Moab in time to get a late afternoon ride in. We stayed on the south end of town and headed up towards the La Sal Mountain range. The weather was great and it was nice to get some sun on our backs. Months on the trainer really allow you to be thankful when you get back outside.

The race started at 10am so we all had a pretty easy morning getting food and things set-up. The group of runners grew as Tony, the Cross’s, Dave and Margaret and Paula and Scott joined us in Moab and ran the 5 miler or Half. We had to take a school bus up the canyon next to the Colorado river and were dropped off with plenty of time to get in a good warm-up run. I lost the group after warm-up and decided to seed myself near the 2:20 pace group. My goal coming into the event was to execute a steady build and not to exceed the ability to control my effort over the entire event knowing that the last 3 miles were the courses toughest miles.

The gun went off and we slowly moved forward for two minutes as the faster runners took off. I hit start on the Garmin and I was off trying to keep the first mile really easy. It was a pretty steep downhill and I was passed by waves and waves of people even thought I seeded myself near the 10-11 minute mile pace groups. This continued for the first 3 miles where I did not pass one person and was passed by hundreds of others maybe even thousands! Mile 1-3 (10:19, 10:30, 10:33). I felt really good with the first 3 miles and as we passed by marker 3 I wanted to pick-up the pace slowly and build for the next 7 miles. It was kind of funny because just as I started to increase my speed at the start of mile 4 the wave of people passing me stopped and I alone began to move forward though the sea of runners. Mile 4-6 (10:01, 9:52, 9:11). I was told that the first 6 miles of the race were going to be the fastest and it would be a hard 2nd half. To complicate my race plan the wind today was pretty aggressive and the sun was out and it was hot. I was not carrying any water and relied on the aid stations. I had wanted to break 2 hour mark for my first half marathon but as I pushed my effort on 7, 8 and 9 I came to terms with the fact that I would not. I focused on my main goal of execution and keep smiling as I was passing hundreds of people. Mile 7-9 ( 9:17, 8:51, 8:49 ) Mile 10-13.1 had a pretty good hill climb and then we exited out of the canyon and hit a steady climb to the finish line. I made the decision to not push any harder than what I could maintain for the next 3 miles since I was at the top end of my effort and holding steady. I was running near 185bpm’s for the last 2 miles and had to get 3 more done. When the runners came out of the canyon we went under the road and had a little climb back up to the main road. I made the right turn and looked up and saw nothing but people walking the river and cool canyon to look at was gone and it was the ugly part of the race couse. The wind was pretty extreme at this point and the effort to keep the same pace as the last mile of the canyon was not a reality for me. I was not able to tuck behind anyone since most runners were running slower than I was at this point OR walking. I did my best to stay in control and deal with the pain that I was in after running so hot for nearly 45 minutes. I had 2 (ish) miles left and I wanted to keep it even. I closed my eyes and thought of Anne and the kids and that helped carry me to the last mile. I still was running pretty strong and passing groups of people walking or running a lot slower. I saw Keith towards the last quarter mile and we ran in together. (He kept his tradition alive and ran up the canyon first with John so ended up running near 24 miles that day)

I had seen him and John at the start of the race and then Dave at mile 12 but no one else the entire race. I kept the gas on the entire day and did not die in the 2nd half. I was able to have a steady climb and felt great with my finish. I loved the race, the group that I ran it with and most of all that I was able to run smart. My training is paying off and I excited to continue to push towards IMCDA. I will keep working on building my base and making the training time pay off. I am so thankful for coach Beth to help me get to where I am today and to Anne and the kids for allowing me to chase my dream. This weekend gave me more confidence in what I can do and the desire to train hard again. I have a few builds until Rev3 Knoxville 70.3 Triathlon in May and look forward to training smart. Mile 10-13.1 ( 9:04, 10:05, 9:35 ) Total time 2:07:25
Love you Anne,