Tag Archive | "triathlon"

Highlights of an Amazing Journey on the Underground Railroad Trail

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If you are looking for something unique and different in this world of endurance training, consider a long distance multi day bike-packing trip. As a cyclist for over 30 years, this self- journey experience was exceptional and was very helpful with respect to the uniqueness of self-supported long distance racing and no aid stations (Trans Am Bike Race). The longest self supported ride I had done in the past was a 350 mile 2 day ride on the Allegheny Passage/C&O Canal trail from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC.

Post ride thoughts - I will definitely include this ride annually as an after tax-season stress relief ride. I would highly recommend the route to anyone looking for a unique challenge and check out the maps for various sections of the route if you are interested in a different Midwest/Southern USA hospitality self contained ride.  There are so many food stores, campgrounds, www.warmshowers.com, hotels, restaurants, etc. along the route that it’s very manageable for anyone, if you do 25 miles a day or 200 miles a day.

Pacing – This was a bit of a personal learning process. Trying to slow down was not that difficult on the hills with the extra 20 pounds of supplies on the bike but the mindset still was to push a bit too hard early on (just like a race)until I found the groove after 4 days of riding.   Going downhill is a thrill beyond (50 mph) with all the extra weight as descending is a blast and also with any tailwind. I would call the ride – fast-paced bike packing and definitely taking in the sights and sounds was clearly a goal to do this ride. IMG_0565 Maps and GPS methodology – Using the Garmin 1000 (I am not a techy with regards to the bike and don’t even use a cyclometer and just ride) with the Adventure Cycling Association’s maps (exceptional maps) it took a bit to get used to figure out the best process (I am anal) to not just keep looking at both the maps and GPS. It’s like everything else and after a few days it became second nature and I stopped missing turns, etc.  The maps offer various “spur” sections – additional loops and rides to see historic sites and I took full advantage of them and would recommend not just staying on the route the entire time. Actually it’s quite easy with the maps from Adventure Cycling Association Garmin 1000 GPS Quick Review – The device has many features but the most important, is the ease of use for the GPS function for me.  It does not come with a 200-page book on how to program and set it up which was a relief.   Again, I am not a computer/tech person with respect to the bike – just pedal and have fun has been my mindset.  The Garmin was fine with wind, volumes of rain and several days of hail however the battery life changed based upon the weather. When it was raining and a bit colder (40-50 degrees Fahrenheit) it lasted around 5-6 hours. Better weather got 7 hours until charge time.   So, it’s important to have chargers with you or a Dynamo hub set up.   I used portable chargers (solar and non-solar) and it worked well. Batteries– Using a battery charger – it worked well to keep the GPS charged.  However, the maps were so detailed that a GPS is not necessary Routine– Morning routine became like a work day and very similar to racing in a DECA– 7AM was the start time every day and the goal was to ride 10-12 hours a day and it was very easy to manage with respect to food/water locations and places to camp/stay. Day 1 Memory– what a way to start as I started with driving Rain from Pittsburgh to Lake Erie then over to Ohio   it was tough 170-mile ride to begin the journey that’s for sure. Must Do Campground – Eagle Valley Resort in Eagle Station, KY.  Great general store can get a small cabin real cheap for an option out of the rain for a change. Memorable Camping in Ohio at a lake – once into Ohio, first campground was fabulous and had a perfect setting on a lake.   The owner of the campground was so nice, they ordered me pizza and invited me to dinner with their family.  It was a great reminder that there are so many great people in the USA that it’s sometimes overlooked with all the negative news, etc. Getting into the groove – After day 4, the daily process remained the same: Breakfast, ride 5-6 hours, lunch, then ride 5-6 hours, and eat dinner, rest and repeat.   It actually was a blast doing this day after day! 2 Things I would not take on next trip – The leg warmers were fine and it was not necessary for bringing rain pants for the bike.   Even with driving rain and cold, legs never got cold.   For this trip, I needed only charging device vs. the 2 that I took along. 1 Thing I would take along on next trip – Because of the pulling on cleats because of the toe covers, the cleat screws do loosen and I would bring along a couple extra screws just in case if I might lose a few.   I had a screwdriver on my multi tool and it worked fine keeping them snug. People saying hello – All the worries and pre-ride warnings of dogs and trucks in Kentucky was way overblown in my experience. I did carry some pepper spray (I have been bitten on the bike before – and pepper spray will not harm a dog) just in case.   I had about 6-8 dog chases but just by slowing down, they were fine and were just playing – including Rottweiler’s.  In regards to no shoulder on the roads in Kentucky and the worries of trucks everywhere, this was a non-issue.    The roads were spectacular in terms of surface conditions.  The trucks yes plenty of F150 pickup trucks but they all moved over (coming from behind) and the opposite direction almost ever truck driver waved to me.    Bottom line, I loved Kentucky and hope you have a similar experience. Open country roads – The Underground Railroad trail is a series of open country roads, a few cross overs of state roads, and some rails to trails. Overall, the vast majority of the ride is on country roads.  Interestingly, through Ohio and Kentucky there were sections of riding for 3-4 hours without even seeing a car. Road Kill  – This was eye-opening!   As cyclists, we all know there is a different perspective of seeing things while on the bike vs. an automobile.   This was clearly evident by the massive amount of road kill, from opossum’s, raccoons, birds, deer, fox, cats, skunks they were everywhere. Interestingly, in Kentucky there is a road kill pickup truck and they just come along and scoop up everything. It’s amazing what we notice; the small things such as vultures are everywhere and eat the road kill down to the bones. IMG_0625 Amazing Towns– (sorry I did not write down the names of all the places).  Definitely stop in the local town diners and restaurants for sure and eliminate all the chain restaurants for learning about the local culture. Ohio riding through Amish country rounds was 10 star road conditions. Ashtabula, OH – great coffee shop in town that’s a must. Medina, OH – great location to load up on food and some sites West Jefferson, OH – the Rails to Trails starts here and nice with no traffic but after 100 miles it becomes a bit mindless and could not wait to get back on the roads! Cedarville, OH – great Inn on the trail (if you need a break from camping), which has everything for cyclists. Milford, OH – Just a cool town Corydon, IN – a must visit is Emery’s Ice Cream Jeffersonville and Clarksville, IN – great towns, views of Louisville and plenty to see Owensboro, KY – exceptional town, great waterfront Owensboro, KY Experience– This was to be a stopping location on my journey and what a weekend to arrive in Owensboro. I grabbed a few items to eat at a convenience store (Yahoo drink, almonds and a protein bar) and the lovely owners started to chat with me about the journey and invited me to be their guests at the International Barbeque Annual Festival in Owensboro. This was an amazing festival and the food was perfect after a very long day of riding (13 hour day). Rain Fun – There was plenty of rain because of all the storms in Texas and Oklahoma that continued to move to the north and Midwest. I had a few days of driving rain and hail but it lasted on 3-4 hours so it was not an all day rain. One thing that happened with good timing after the rain was normally wind and then the sun would come out – best solution for drying out soaking shoes, toe covers, cycling gear was the wind and sun. Wind Fun – For all the benefits of drying out clothes as I mention above, as we all know so well there are few thing worse on the bike than climbing hill after hill in a 20 mph headwind. All I could do was literally laugh, as I could not ride faster than 6mph even on the flats. One thing you do notice going that slow in the wind is more details of the road kill! Crash – Only one bike crash and typical road rash. Stupidly, I took wet train tracks not at a perpendicular angle and slid out. Of course, all that really mattered was the bike condition – it was fine and not even a scratch! Saddle sores– used Hammer Nutrition saddle balm product vs. Bag Balm only because it was a bit more packing convenient and worked extremely well. There were plenty of other great stories, but one thing stands out above anything from this experience – the people. The breakfasts (where the owners would not allow me to pay), personal food care packages, dinners, story telling, meeting athletes, and recommendations of places to see, are the reasons I will be back again next year for this ride. Please let me know if you need ideas or background related to the Underground Rail Trail ride it’s well worth checking out!

DecaManUSA 2018 Update

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We are working hard to try to make this race happen!

Slow Carb Eating – Personal Experiment

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The world of food and diets – Slow Carb, Gluten Free, no “White”, no sugar, Paleo, my question was how would they work for a long distance endurance athlete?   Author, vagabonder, and entrepreneur, Tim Ferris discusses this approach to eating – slow carb in his best selling book the 4-hour body.   He does not advocate long distance endurance training and is more of a HIT (high intensity training) and strength focused approach.    One thing you have to like about the Ferriss style is he tries everything to disrupt his body.

The slow carb diet is defined by Wikipedia (excerpted by Tim Ferris):“The Slow-Carb Diet is based on eating foods with a low glycemic index. It can be summarized as the elimination of starches and anything sweet (including fruit and all artificial sweeteners) and a strong preference for lean protein, legumes and vegetables. The main foods are eggs, fish, grass-fed beef, lentils, beans, vegetables (like spinach, broccoli, cabbage, radish), mushrooms, fermented foods and drinks (natto, kimchi, sauerkraut), unsweetened tea or coffee and water. Calorie-dense nuts and legumes such as pecans, chickpeas, hummus, and peanuts are allowed under careful portion control. Plain coffee is allowed, but all milk products are to be avoided except cottage cheese.”    Unlike Paleo – beans are allowed and recommended for carbohydrates and protein (lentils are a favorite).  Also, one day a week is the fun day and consuming anything without limits to food types and quantity is recommended. 

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Ferris claims, “without doing any exercise he lost 25 pounds of body fat in 6 weeks.”    As endurance athlete, not doing any exercise is never going to happen.  This approach does not agree with my mindset and many friends and colleagues.   The idea of rushing to get the most benefits in the shortest amount of time is find for some, including Ferris but personally these longer training sessions are the most fun.   However, it was worth examining in detail through a personal experiment to see how my body would react with heavy training and the slow carb approach. My biggest concern, would I get sick of eating the same things over and over again?

Personal Slow-Carb Experiment with Training:  8 weeks with an average of 20 hours training (75-80% endurance running, cross country skiing, cycling and 20-25% weight and intense plyometric training).   60 days of continuous training and active recovery sessions every other week – hiking on the trails.

Daily routine:

4AM – Eat immediately after getting out of bed – 1 chicken breast and a bean salad (same thing every day)

1 cup of  Kimera Koffee (touted to help with energy level, athletic performance and concentration and it does!)

Multi Vitamin: Hammer Premium Insurance Caps, Endurance Amino Caps

3 Omax3 Fish Oil capsules

60 ounces of ice water

After workouts – Hammer Recoverite and Cocoa Elite, 40 ounces of water

Mid morning snack – Bean salad

Lunch – Green salad (Kale, parsley, dill, arugula, olive oil, salt, pepper, avocado and either pork, beef or chicken with the salad)

Mid afternoon snack – almonds

Dinner –Green salad, olives, and extra protein (meat, fish, chicken, pork).

So it was fairly basic diet but without any alcohol, juices, sugar and anything white.  I did include alcohol on the weekend – red wine.

Early on I noticed that recovering from the hard weight workouts was difficult the next day so I increased both proteins (through food and recovery drinks) and more carbohydrate from greens and lentil salads.   It just took a bit of tweaking to get the right balance of food to be able to push through the next day’s workouts.

One big concern was that losing body weight quickly might reduce power wattage on the bike and added in extra weight work – specifically the magical kettle bell.   It’s amazing (with good form) the overall body impact that a simple kettle bell swing can do!

Personal Test Results in 8 weeks: 26 pounds of weight loss and significant increase in muscle mass.   Clearly this was enhanced with all the strength work.   Overall body fat dropped significantly and without getting very scientific with water weight analysis, skin calipers the easiest way to determine it is with the “clothing check”.  Pretty simple, when your clothes start feeling very loose body fat is being converted to muscle.    A great motivator especially as we all know the feeling of just a bit too tight with the cycling shirt in the early season!

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Power wattage on the bike has increased in the 15-18% range with power/weight ratio, but the key was clearly ramping up the quad strength workouts.

Overall, I was very happy with the slow-carb approach with additional protein and carbohydrates.   The best part of the program is that when you get hungry, just eat and this was crucial during the long training sessions for adequate recovery.

As the race season approaches, consider slow carb as it might assist you with your fitness goals.   Looking forward to the next 8 week slow-carb and training push leading up to the Trans Am Bike Race with one new tweak –  the addition of cold showers every day!  See what happens.

Race Perspectives from the Sidelines Crewing at the Florida Double Anvil Triathlon

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The annual gathering of ultra triathletes to the warm weather and sun of Florida is always a welcome sign that spring is almost here.   This year’s annual Florida Double Anvil Triathlon moved the confines of the triathlon mecca of Clermont, Florida. Clermont has a rich history of the triathlon and the famous Great Floridian Iron distance event. Hard to believe it’s been around 26 years already.

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Steve Kirby – race director, stellar volunteers and race team positioned the race in the beautiful park of Lake Louisa. It’s always amazing how things come together when we don’t try to hard and just let things flow.  Personally, I had a trip planned with business and was able to help out and crew for an athlete on the back end of my business trip and was so worthwhile as always, helping out athletes and an event.

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The race consisted of the typical “double iron distance” 2.4 miles of swimming in Lake Louisa (no gator problems!) 224 miles cycling through an out and back loop of approximately 6 miles, then the fun of 52.4 miles of running.  The park offered the athletes locations to stay in cabins at the race site to eliminate going back and forth to hotels and the race “pit” area housed all the transition, crewing, food, etc. and had plenty of room to see the athletes.

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A few observations for those of you considering the double iron distance, this bike course is not as flat as “typical” Florida terrain, and it has a few shorter grades but the road conditions are superb.  After riding many miles on the course, I noticed clearly that there was not even a bump on the course. However, I did not ride 224 miles as all the athletes racing so I can’t fully appreciate what the small little grades felt like late into the evening!

The run course consisted of a 2 mile loop vs. an out and back with some off road sand that clearly slowed down the run splits. Steve Kirby mentioned that hewill examine other quicker options for 2017.

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Crewing for an athlete – Andres Villagran (2nd men and 3rd overall) and working the bike turnaround during the graveyard shift was such fun.   It’s such a different perspective to see athletes grinding and racing hard lap after lap from the sidelines.    Interestingly, of all the athletes and teams competing, I hardly noticed any major suffering.    Of course, internally in the mind of the athletes I am sure their legs and lungs were hurting just with the significant distance covered over 24-36 hours.   The crews were fabulous and the diversity of minimalist vs. maximalist in terms of everything athletes brought was incredible!    I clearly took a few notes on ideas of things to consider for future races – most importantly the lay back chairs for the crew – not an athlete as it would be impossible to get out of one of those when very tired!

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The food worked wonders every lap for the athletes as always especially when new food was cooked –thanks to the great team preparing everything day and night.

It’s always interesting to examine the race performances by the athletes and the bike pace in this year’s event was over the top.  The top men and women were pushing so hard on the bike.   Many were gritting their teeth and especially noticed this when I was riding the course – truly amazing!

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19 athletes toed the line for the race and 5 teams going at it with constant racing.   The team-racing concept clearly was not easy, go a few hours then rest then repeat over and over again.      14 athletes finished the solo and a great showing by our women!     The second overall finisher was Maria Simone and hats off to an amazing race – she was pushing hard constantly but I will always remember that smile every loop.    Our men’s winner – Juan Carlos Sagastume was strong on the bike and run to claim the top spot with a time of 24:55.   Andres came from way back in the field after the swim, (as normal) with his signature “catch as many athletes as possible” flying run to take second for the men.    It’s was a great pleasure crewing for Andres and similar to Maria the signature smile and ease of letting things flow was his signature – borrowed bike and absolutely no walking at all on the run!

Congratulations to the ladies – wow super efforts from Laura Brock (2nd), Danielle Winkler (3rd), Colleen Wilcox (4th) and our very young Laura Knoblach (5th). Yes, 5 women starters and all finishers and with Maria’s amazing effort the women were incredible and great to see more than just 2 or three women competing.

The men’s results from 3rd -9th place:  Johan Desmet, Pascal Morin, John Lee, Erik Hanley, Joey Lichter (CLEARLY Joey had the Super Crew of all time!), Michael Ortiz (just a fabulous run), Goulwenn Tristant.

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The team challenge was great watching as each team had a different strategy in terms of rest and racing and clearly this was about team fun, racing and competition.   They were all going after it and the start and stopping from each athlete clearly showed it was not easy at all.

For those considering moving up from the Ironman distance, this is definitely a great first time double attempt as the course is not brutal – but like many events, and this year was no exception – significant rain can occur and come prepared, especially for your crew. The race is convenient to Orlando International airport; the overall costs are reasonable (in the south of the US), close to Disney for post race crew and family fun.

Most importantly, time and again one of the main reasons so many ultra triathletes continue to come back and race is the family and community that is part of every single event.  The crews, families, volunteers and athletes make these events full of lifetime memories.

HIW and HIT Efforts – Intensity leads to Results

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What can you do as an entrepreneur and/or an athlete for results in a shorter period of time? Practice a weekly discipline of High Intensity Work (HIW) and High Intensity Training (HIT).

The results of pushing hard in work and in training for short amounts of time will have impact in 3-4 weeks. When adding these intense sessions together (not every day as it can lead to burnout and injury) the amount of actual work completed and fitness gains can be dramatic. It’s important to track the results and I suggest keeping a simple log.

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  1. Take the number one item from your daily task or project management system item (If you don’t use one – load one of the great low cost online tools onto your computer ASAP to ensure accountability tracking – Trello, Base, Basecamp, Zoho, etc. ) that will have the most impact on your business and intentionally focus on completion.
  2. Do not focus on anything else, absolutely no distractions and establish a specific time you want to have it completed (make sure it’s a realistic time frame).
  3.  The timeframe should be short for this intense effort of work. This could be as simple as crafting your message before speaking to an irate customer and rehearsing all the potentials before your call. Intensive preparation will lead to better conversations.
  4. If it’s a difficult task, expect it to be mentally exhausting.
  5. Repeat this 3 days a week and in 1-month compare the results of your business – the results will happen.

 

HIT:

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HIT training continues to receive positive feedback with respect to results from study after study of athletes. The biggest challenge for many endurance athletes is to simulate race pace conditions.  Yes this hurts big time! However, the results will come quickly with a regular weekly workout regime to include 2-3 HIT sessions.  As difficult as it is to push through the pain and required focus, they are mentally challenging. The efforts are in the 90-95% of maximum heart rate ranges – expect difficulty for sure.

 

Focus on weakness areas whatever sport you currently compete. Below is an example for a cycling HIT session:

Total time 1:00 – 1:15 – Long HIT Interval sessions

  1. Warm up 15 minutes, then complete 5 X15 second spin-ups and: 45 recovery after each spin-up
  2. Complete 2 sets of the following:
  3.  3 X 3 minutes at 90-95% of maximum HR or Power rating with a full 3 minute spinning recovery between each 3 minute interval. The “hurt locker” effect will occur the last minute of the interval. Push these hard.
  4. Take a full 5-minute recovery between both sets.
  5. Recovery for the remainder of the workout.

Monitor results over a 4-week time period of 2-3 HIT sessions per week. HIT training will increase efficiency of how the muscles use oxygen and will increase performance.

Consider adding a combination of HIW and HIT every week and business and fitness results will occur in shorter periods of time.

7 Items to Consider For Your Triathlon Swimming

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It’s the offseason, time to focus on the “dreaded” swim for athletes who are interested in triathlons but worried about the swim.   This is so common for athletes coming from running or cycling backgrounds.   As we all know it’s much harder to learn appropriate swimming technique when you learn as an adult vs. a child.   It’s just easier to learn how to run and bike.  I have conversations all the time with runners who want to attempt a triathlon but get intimidated with learning how to swim and the magnitude of swimming in a sea of bodies in the open water during a race.

It’s important to understand for all athletes that the race is never won in the swim; however it’s imperative that energy needs to be consumed to some degree for the cycling and running disciplines of the triathlon.    As we all know, joining a Master’s swim program or individual instruction from an experienced coach or training camp is a start to perfecting your swim technique.

More than cycling and running, swimming technique and getting a “feel” for the water is what is necessary for strong performances.   Since I started into triathlons from a swimming background it’s sometimes difficult to be objective with respect to the concern and sometimes terror I hear from other athletes concerned about the swim.   However, like anything else in life it’s important to spend time on your weaknesses and for athletes with no swimming background (and of course not as fun as their main sports of running and cycling) there is a tendency to not spend much time in the water.

7 items to consider improving you’re swimming and preparing for a triathlon:

  1. Don’t just swim in the pool.  If the triathlon swim is open water, spend 1 day a week minimum with another partner (not alone) with open water swimming.   Very different without lane lines to follow.
  2. Practice “sighting” with your head out of the water so you can simulate looking for buoys in the distance.   Practice this in the pool as well by doing several laps with your head out of the water.
  3. Practice swimming with fogged goggles – yes it can happen race day and be prepared and it will eliminate panicking.
  4. Practice how to efficiently turn around a buoy, which can cost a lot of time in a long swim such as an Ironman.   It’s important to set yourself up to come around the buoy and not lose much momentum if it’s a 180-degree turn.
  5. Learn how to swim in open water without goggles.   You may lose your goggles in a crowded swim and get hit with an elbow or hand.  If it happens in a race you will be prepared and not panicked.   Yes, you will get hit in the head at some point during a race!
  6. Experiment with different types of goggles that fit well and you can use for longer swims without eye socket pain.
  7. Practice quick transitions to remover your wetsuit.  Use Pam cooking spray around your ankles (it works best – better than Body Glide and petroleum based products) so the wetsuit easily slides off the most difficult section – your ankles.

Don’t get overwhelmed and intimidated by the swim.   Get the necessary instruction and make a personal commitment to improve over a period of time through gradual progression.   It’s the offseason so no better time to learn how to swim!

 

 

 

Deca Iron Sicily Update

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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0jNlkXO66g&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]

I thought I would update everyone with my experiences at the first-ever Deca Ironman Triathlon in Sicily. We had a good contingency of athletes from around the world, heavily populated with some of the fast and extremely talented athletes in the Ultra Distance Triathlon world.

The Race was set in Enna which is also called Palermo, Sicily – the southern part of Italy.  Unlike the other Deca’s I have done in the past, this deca was unique.  When we finished our pool swim, we had a 4 to 5 mile ride up to the race circuit, which was a race track where they race Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s.  We did 1 Ironman per day for 10 straight days, but I think everyone enjoyed the climb to loosen the legs up after the swim and get out of the saddle, knowing you would be on a flat course for the remaining 110 miles or whatever was left.

The course worked out really well from a logistics perspective.  The crews had their pit area, very similar to a race car track pit.  One thing that I think every athlete who participated in the race (we started with 21 athletes and 12 finished) truly enjoyed was the unbelievable food.  For those of you who are Italian, it was absolutely amazing, the different types of foods that we had during the race, pre-race, post-race, breakfast – it was a welcomed change for most of the athletes with the vast variety.

There were a few growing pains.  I’m sure the race director, Georgio, who did a wonderful job putting this together, will incorporate the ideas from the athletes to make it better in the future.  The understanding is that it will probably be moved to 2013, to Northern Italy and then come back to Sicily the year after.  I think this was a great learning experience for the race director, crews, and Georgio, who has a lot of personal experience racing these for many years.  The athletes were very thankful that he put this on. There was no Deca this year, since the Monterey, Mexico race was canceled.

Personally, we experienced unbelievable weather. Not that I have every experienced anything like this in the past with all my racing, but we had multiple days of golfball size hail that covered the race course, 45 mph winds on the bike and the run for many days.  We had 3 or 4 good days of sun, but then the weather really became a factor.  The DECA Gods really made it interesting on day 10. We were on the last day and ready to finish the last Ironman and we had the worst weather.  It was cold and in the 40 degree Fahrenheit  range, with driving wind and rain the entire day.  It did make day 10 which is usually a celebration, a really tough day but it wouldn’t be such a tough race if we didn’t have those elements, so we really embraced it!

During the race I experienced an injury which was, thankfully, the only challenge I had.  (I put some posts on Facebook about this).  I had an inflamed sheathing on my shin.  The sheathing that covers the shin bone was swollen up pretty bad with severe pain.   The solution was, and a good value add for all of you out there doing long distance running races, is that the impact of that foot continuing to hit the same way on the road for hours and hours on end took a toll on that shin area.  I had two days where I was only able to walk the marathon.  I slugged through 8 hour marathons thanks to Rick (my Crew) and Jan (my Wife), who kept telling me that we only had a few more hours of this mess.

The solution was to use another crew members Kinesio tape, an elastic tape that she put it on the front of my shin. I then used a full compression sock, in the past I usually use just the sleeve for recovery purposes.  I got the full sock from another athlete – which is what makes the DECA so great. Everyone helps everyone else, it is very competitive of course, but everyone is there for everyone else to get to the finish line.  I put the full sock on with the tape underneath and it really pulled away a lot of the swelling.  I slept with the socks and by the next day the swelling had gone down and the pain subsided with some ibuprofen. I was able to run the last three days of the race, which was helpful.

For those of you doing some long-distance running, take a look at the full compression sock instead of the sleeve.  It was dramatically better than the sleeve, which was just bunching up all of the swelling in one area.

The Deca was an experience like no other.  I always say there is nothing like the Deca – It is 10 Ironmans, You can do one a day for 10 days or the continuous version.  Either way, they are epic races that take you through many ups and downs, but I think that is why many of us enjoy them.  No more than a 100 mile running race or 50 mile running race or some long event; those are the things that you remember the most, along with the great support from the crews and race director team. There were a lot of folks at this race that I have not met before, you build a bond after racing for 10 days.

This was number 3 for me – third Deca, and I plan to run many more.  For now, there is plenty of time for recovery until 2012.  I hope all of you have had great final races. We had the Hawaii Ironman last week, there were 100 mile running races last week and for those of you coming up on your final races, enjoy and I will talk with you soon!

 

 

Deca Iron and Cyprus Relay Update

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Are you considering hiring a running or triathlon coach?

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It’s amazing how the coaching profession has taken off for endurance athletes over the last 25 years. I remember when starting out in triathlons we just trained and raced hard week in and week out. Off-season just meant cutting back the miles slightly but never a full recovery. There was limited science, technology and nutrition so we focused on training with the goal of more is better. Today, there are many options for athletes to work with a coach in various specific endurance sport disciplines.

5 benefits of hiring a coach:

  1. Provide some additional motivation
  2. Structure a year round training program
  3. Offer advice with respect to new techniques
  4. Offer assistance to improve form and technique
  5. A coach will keep you accountable for the workouts.

When evaluating coaches it’s important to ask some key questions:

  1. Is the coach available regularly – voicemail or email. Many online coaches will only provide access via email and separate fees for regular calls.
  2. You should evaluate coaches locally as well as outside of your area (online) and determine what will be best based upon your objectives.
  3. Ask the coach how they will adjust your program “on the fly” in the event you get sick, injured, business constraints. The original spreadsheet of workouts might need to be completely overhauled. Ask them what flexibility they have in making the changes and of courses the cost.
  4. Experience – Find out details of length of time coaching, do they still race (important), get not only testimonials but have a few phone conversations with clients.
  5. How often will you receive the workouts, weekly monthly, etc.
  6. Pricing options, flexibility, pricing discounts for a longer commitment.
  7. Ask what is their main sport background along with specific types of athletes they coach and accomplishments achieved by their athletes.

Of course it’s a personal choice to consider hiring a coach and the financial requirement is only one key consideration to determine if it’s right for you. Using a coach can provide a “sounding board” to bounce ideas off of him/her.

You comments are always welcome, feel free to email me at wayne.kurtz@racetwitch.com

 

 

Reflections of the Virginia Double Iron Triathlon

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Our only ultra distance triathlons are (continuous format vs. Ultraman format) held at Lake Anna, Virginia.   All of the other races included in the IUTA (International Ultra Triathlon Association, www.iutasport.com are mainly held in Europe with the big year end finale in Monterrey Mexico with the Quintuple, Deca and Double Deca Iron triathlons.

We had a fabulous weather day this year with the Triple Iron competitors starting on Friday Oct. 8th and the Double Iron athletes dipping into the chilly waters of Lake Anna on Sat. Oct. 9th.   The race course is considered one of the most difficult on the IUTA world cup circuit with it’s gradual multiple climbs on the bike and one climb per loop on the run.  These are not gut-busting hills but they do take their toll after the endless loops on the legs and especially on the mind.

For me, one of the key attractions of this race (like all the various IUTA World Cup races) is the family atmosphere among the athletes, crews, friends,race director (Steve Kirby) and his great volunteers. If you want to push beyond the distance of the normal Ironman distance and challenge your body and mind, then these two races in Virginia should definitely be considered for your 2011crace alendar.

There will be another Double Iron Triathlon in Tampa coming this March as well, so two ultra distance triathlons in the U.S. in 2011! All the competitors dug deep to get through the tough patches as is common with ultra distance endurance racing.   Personally, I had my normal fun and enjoyed building some new friendships.  I had a solid day of racing and final preparation for all the fun in Monterrey Deca Iron in 4 weeks.

If you want a challenge beyond the Ironman, this race is a must!Congrat’s to all the athletes who participated and achieved their personal goals.  The results can be found on the website:  www.usaultratri.com.  Check it out on www.racetwitch.com and please add a race review.

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