The Gold Guys Present: Training Tuesday

Following my easy week and transition week I’m getting back to work this week. I’ve got a few good weeks of training then Ironman Arizona. For a couple random reasons I rode inside again this week.

Bike: 4.5 hours. 30 min wu, 8×25 min steady / 5 min ez. Entertainment: listened to the Neal Brennan episode of the Joe Rogan experience which was super long but oddly kept my interest for the ride, watched on Netflix the end of “The Suspect” (very good action movie, 5 stars) and “Rising From the Ashes” about building a cycling program in Rwanda. Snacks: tried something new. My cyclist buddy Matt Hoffman told me he eats salted avacado straight during extremely long rides. I love avacado and I love salty food during rides rather than pure sugary stuff and I wanted to try having something with fat. Made avacado rolls with regular old white bread wrapped around 1/4 an avacado cut up, salted to taste. I had one of these rolls, one bottle of gatorade, one packet of fruit snacks (out of actual gels so I use generic fruit snacks) and a little water each hour for 440 calories. Worked great and energy was stable. Felt good on the run after so I’m definitely going to keep trying the avacado rolls. I’m going to try 500 calories per hour next week to see how that goes for my gut.

Run: Just over two miles off the bike with Teddy. Teddy is getting better at running, his general pattern is to get super excited right out of the gate and pull for about a mile then he gets tired and drags behind for the rest of the run. Puppies pace poorly.

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Quick Kona Thoughts

The Gold Guys wanted me to get a few brief words out about Kona.

-Kienle was dominant. Strong enough to ride back to the main field, ride through it, and ride away. He ran solid and no one was in position to catch up. Lots of very good guys were dueling for 2-10th behind him but there were 8-9 minutes back. This was a really impressive race.

-Rinny got it done, again. Well played on her part. I keep expecting the other women to get it together and bury her. With many strong swim/bikers like Steffen, Joyce, Swallow and this year Ryf, how are they not 20 minutes up on Rinny in T2? The women’s bike seemed chaotic with one small group leading early then eventually Ryf just taking over and riding away. No organization, no cooperation.

-Ryf had a wicked debut.

-Hoffman was un-hassleable. Had Olympic Champ trying to gun him down over the final 10k and Hoff kept on his game and held out for second. What a huge performance from him.

-There wasn’t really any coverage of anything other than the lead, so no updates as Rinny ran through the field, and no info as several men slaughtered each other to get in the final podium spots.

-Tons of guys and gals blowing up on the course. So many fit, strong, talented folks, how are their so many disastrous races? Simple: people don’t play their own game, they go with the race. In the spirit of competing guys go bananas to make the main group on the bike. Some blow up during the bike and some don’t pay the price till the run. I think the wind and heat at Kona make it much worse if you do blow up. I’ve blown up in mild conditions and it was lousy and it would be so much lousier under harsh conditions.

-Kona is always going to be hot and windy. Every year. 100% guaranty. Yet we still have people tweeting and talking about it. Plan and execute accordingly! This is not an acceptable excuse! It is not a surprise!

-Honey Badger. Everyone in the tri twitter stream seems to like Mary Beth Ellis and I figure she is a nice person and she has a reputation of being tough. Putting that aside, every year at Kona we see her sitting in on the bike. This year she was just hanging out behind Rachel Joyce. She famously got a penalty for sitting in a couple years ago. I know she sat in behind the leader all through the bike at Ironman Texas a few years ago. She talked openly about riding in a big bunch of age group bros during her impressive 8:45 Ironman debut at Austria a few years back. There is so much buzz about her in the media but no one talks about her penchant for gamesmanship on the bike. Would love to see more sophisticated discussions about athletes and how they play the game rather than ‘oh, she’s tough, she’s the honey badger, blah blah blah’.

-THE COVERAGE.

Looking back at my own stream of tweets about the race, most of my coverage was making fun of the actual race coverage. I love getting to watch Ironman’s biggest day live and I’m glad they do video coverage of the pro race. That said, there is lots of room for improvement. I like Matt Lieto, he does well. I like Greg Welch. His accent is fun and he really knows the race, but he can be a little dull. Michael Lovato is not well suited for the job at all. He was not interesting or insightful. He made several odd remarks about athletes. He made several sexist remarks. He pronounces some words in an extremely annoying way. We all know former athletes don’t automatically make great coaches and Lovato proves former athletes don’t always make skilled commentators. Ironman is already investing so much in the video coverage and all the online materials they could easily put Welch and Lieto with someone more skilled.

Also, there was zero input from any women.

I’m not saying the job is easy. They have to fill 10 hours and work with very limited information (mostly they seem to have the same info the viewers have, with occasional updates from spotters) and they have no control over where the video feed goes. I am saying there has to be a better way do it.

They could have a better network of spotters on course providing info.

Some of the tweets from the official Ironman account were out of date, as in 20-30 min too late or inaccurate, so and so has moved into 2nd, but they hadn’t. Lots and lots of room for improvement there.

One other random thing I’d like to see is a database of info about each pro in the race. The announcers need more info at the ready about any given athlete. Recent race results, sponsors, personal anecdotes, anything interesting to help viewers connect with the athletes and get to know new athletes. This would have been good this year because the guys were at a loss with Ryf leading all day since she just came over to long course. All they could really talk about was her arm carriage on the run.  This would be very easy to implement and would be great for viewers and really great for the athletes and their sponsors.

I love watching coverage of Ironman races because I love Ironman races. If you are the same and want more coverage of Ironman races and BETTER coverage, let them know! If you agree about Lovato being wrong for the job, please let Ironman know!  If Ironman wants to get the most value out of the pro race they need to present it in a professional way. A few changes and they could set their broadcast team up for success.

A note for Minnesotans only: I am trying to take an Minnesota Ironman Census for 2015. If you’re racing an Ironman, I want to know where! Email me at palmertricoaching@yahoo.com or tweet me or facebook me or let me know over strava or instagram. Do not contact me via linkedin. Thanks.

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The Gold Guys Present: Training Tuesday: Transition Week

Last week I took it easy to recover from Ironman Chattanooga. I feel more or less normal this week and am getting back into a training routine but not going full gas yet. I’m calling it a transition week. Would I feel this normal if I had run faster at Chattanooga? Probably not. The upside of blowing up is you’re not as beat up. Unrelated, the weather here has taken a turn and it’s gotten pretty brisk outside. I’m anticipating quite a bit of trainer riding preparing for Ironman Arizona.

Transition Week Tuesday:

Bike: 3hrs on the trainer. 15 min wu, 4x (15 min steady / 1 min big gear / 4 min ez) 30 min steady, 5 min ez, 20 min steady, 10 min ez. Netflix selection: Skyfall the first half and the end of Tombstone the second half. Given what happened at Chattanooga I am very focused on getting the right number of calories per hour on the bike. Had a bottle of thickly mixed Gatorade each hour, a gel each hour, and a banana at the end of hours 1 and 2. This was enough for a 3 hour ride but I will probably need more for longer rides. One upside of indoor rides is that managing your calories and fluids is much simpler.

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The Gold Guys Training Chamber. Aka the basement.

Run: 10 minutes light after the ride with Teddy. Teddy was pretty well behaved.

Swim: 25ish minutes and 1200ish yards. All pretty easy. 100 band. Some backstroke. My stroke is feeling great right now. Last Friday I had a great set of 300s, 200s and 100s and managed to swim my second best 200 ever. This Monday I had another great practice and swam a good 1000 and a very good 500.

Hot tub: Every easy swim I do at the gym I follow with a hot tub session. I was in a whirlpool every day Monday through Thursday after Ironman. Not sure how much it contributed to recovery but it felt good.

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The Official Gold Guys Pros & Cons List From Chattanooga

The Gold Guys asked me to present a dynamic discussion of Ironman Chattanooga rather than a traditional rambling race report. Please enjoy these pros and cons from Ironman Chattanooga:

Pros:

Homestay: My homestay Alex was fantastic. A great homestay makes for a great weekend. He showed me around town and even braved the rain to make sure he caught me at the finish, even though I was coming through later than predicted. Can’t thank him enough. Alex, see you next September.

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The Swim: The swim was all downstream. I went 9 minutes faster than my ridiculous swim from Louisville last year. It was the best. I’ve never swum that easy in a race before. Just sat at the back of the main pack. I was actually sharing a pair of feet with Trevor Wurtele and we swam face to face since he’s a lefty breather and I breathe right. I think my 40:35 should be a Minnesota state record for legit distance Ironman Swim. My fast lanemate Marcus went 44 at Louisville and it is wonderful to have smashed his time without having to swim hard. In your face Marcus. This quick time is a small consolation for my outstandingly lethargic overall time.

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Nick from Tri Juice got some great photos from the race.

The Bike Course: This is my favorite Ironman bike course. Only a handful of full 90 degree turns otherwise all gently curving roads. This way you can keep your momentum. All the climbing is very subtle, lots of gentle up and down so you may not even notice the climbing till the second lap.  Some rougher roads as you leave town but that was over quick, overall road quality very solid. My only five minutes of glory came during the bike when I went to the front of the main group. My brief stint at the front got me on the online coverage! Unfortunately I bonked myself cross-eyed & fell off the pace. Rode 4:46 on my PRsix. Does my PRsix match my Gear West Bike kit? Yes. Best to look sharp even if you don’t race sharp.

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Perfect Weather: Not hot, not humid, overcast, even a light sprinkle at the finish. Almost optimal, more wind during the bike could have been useful.

The Ruth: Pride of Rochester Ruth Brennan Morrey debuted with a massive state record for Ironman going 9:09 and getting second. I had figured this is what she would go so I was not surprised. This a monster achievement and such an impressive performance.

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Ruth was very proud of an autographed photo she picked up at the QR booth.

Learning: This was my most difficult Ironman to finish and I very much wanted to step off the course after only 8 miles of the run. One of the biggest reasons I did not quit was out of respect for QR. They put a ton of effort into their pros racing and I knew I was going to drag myself across the line. Going into the race I did not plan my calories carefully enough. My goal was simply to be steady all day and maintain even energy levels. I was pacing more conservatively than ever before. So that was good. But I need more calories than I planned and even with mild pacing I was losing it by 50 miles. By 70 or 80 miles I was going cross-eyed and had to really focus on trying to regroup. I rebounded for the first few miles of the run but inevitably lost it again and was miserable earlier than ever before. I am embarrassed by the my egregious caloric miscalculation and the enormous slow down that resulted. Last year in heat and humidity and with less specific preparation I ran a stunningly slow 3:35 at Ironman Louisville. At Chattanooga under perfect conditions I went a full twenty minutes slower and stumbled in at 3:55. It was such a relief to finish. This race proved I need to be much more precise when planning my calories and I have 7 weeks to get it together before Ironman Arizona.

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Factory Tour: QR HQ is in Chattanooga. On Monday I visited the offices and also toured the Litespeed factory. QR is part of American Bicycle Group which also owns the Litespeed and Litespeed has some terrific titanium bikes. Seeing how those things get made was neat. American Bicycle Group CEO Peter also raced the Ironman, except he did it with a broken elbow. It is comforting to know that the man running the company has a personal passion for triathlon.

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Peace Coffee Sponsorships: Over the weekend I was able to sponsor several athletes with tasty Peace Coffee. Ruth cornered me at the pro meeting and insisted I sponsor her a bag of coffee at once, “or else”. Being a timid and trepidatious young man I meekly obliged her sponsor request. In addition to athlete sponsorships I created a whole new level of inter-sponsor sponsorship by sponsoring the QR breakroom with a bag of Twin Cities Blend. Full disclosure, I’m only joking about Ruth saying “or else”. She didn’t have to, it was implied by her expression.

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Cons:

My performance was way off. I am aware of the issue and have a chance to be better at Ironman Arizona. I’m not interested in dwelling on anything negative from the weekend.

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The Gold Guys Present: Training Tuesday: Recovery Edition

The Gold Guys didn’t want the Training Tuesday feature to be all about showing off big training days. So last week you got to see a ‘Taper Tuesday’ and this week a ‘Recovery Tuesday’.

Training today was:

20 ish minute easy swim / aqua jog. I went back and forth in a hotel pool. To move the legs I did a tiny bit of kicking and also some aqua jogging. Followed this with a nice sit in the whirlpool.

Beyond that one thing I’m trying this time around is cold/hot/cold. I’ve taken several lengthy showers with several minutes of cold water, several minutes of hot water, several minutes of cold water. Ideally I’d be jumping back and forth between ice bath and hot tub but that obviously isn’t practical. Not sure how I’d rate the efficacy of this method yet. I am not feeling too terrible BUT I didn’t incur as much damage during the race since I went so slow. I’ll report more on this in a week.

I am interested to see how long recovery takes. I want a ballpark notion of how long it takes after IM before I can train normally. Knowing this will help me to plan out seasons.

More on Ironman Chattanooga itself tomorrow.

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The Gold Guys Present: Training Tuesday, Taper Edition!

This is the second installment of The Gold Guys new feature ‘Training Tuesday’. It is race week for Ironman Chattanooga. I am in the midst of tapering and also sorting out all my race details before starting the road trip Wednesday. Since I’ve had such a sparse summer due to my heel bruise I haven’t even broken in my new Gear West Bike tri suit. To make sure it is race ready I committed a Cardinal sin and did a ride in it. Riding twenty minutes around Minneapolis in a tri suit makes you feel silly. Thankfully the suit is fine and no one gave me a hard time. The shop went with a Castelli suit and it looks sharp, plus the black, red and white happens to match my PRsix. Not a bad coincidence. I think that is called sponsor synergy.

Taper Tuesday:

-Wake up, banana, cup of Peace Coffee Birchwood Blend

-Easy aerobic run with Thea. Very comfortable, felt great. 7.3 miles.

-Breakfast, another cup of coffee

-Quick swim at the YWCA. 10 minutes straight freestyle and about 8 minutes backstroke. Maybe 1000-1200 yards. Didn’t count.

-Massage!

-Lunch, more coffee

-Quick ride in new GW tri suit. Maybe 20 minutes and 5ish miles. As with swim, no measure of time or distance.

That’s it! Since my buildup for Ironman Chattanooga wasn’t particularly long I’m only really ‘tapering’ this week and trained fairly normal through the end of last week.

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Training Tuesday & Chattanooga Goals

The Gold Guys asked me to introduce a new feature explaining my training on Tuesdays. Why Tuesdays? I tend to get a reasonable amount done on Tuesdays, especially during Ironman preparation. Also The Gold Guys and I all love alliteration, obviously. So here is the first installment of Training Tuesday:

-Wake up. Coffee, breakfast. Usually I just have coffee and a banana and ride to masters then have breakfast after swimming but I wanted to come closer to a normal Ironman day this time.

-Drive to Hopkins Masters.

-Masters: mostly easy swimming. Workout was 100s and 50s so I ignored it and mostly swam continuous and not particularly hard. Also it was a sparse lanemate day in lane 5 so there wasn’t much motivation to do the set or go fast. 3000 ish total, some regular swim lots pull+paddles. I love pull+paddles very much and do not apologize.

-Long ride from Hopkins. So much nicer to start from there. Saves me 13 miles of stop and go riding out of town. It felt odd to jump right into continuous steady riding in aero since it usually takes so long to get out of town. Stopped at Gear West Bike to pick up a few gels and also some tubes with long valves. Steady all day, very nice route and mostly windy out but then a tailwind after mile 60. Calamity struck all at once with 15ish miles to go. I bonked, my taint reached an alarming level of fatigue, and my front derailleur stopped working while I was in the little ring. These three things put together made riding very awkward. Overall it was a great ride. The PRsix has been stellar. I’ve been strong, comfortable and more importantly FAST every ride. Ride was 5:24 and 108 miles.

Ironman Chattanooga Goals

-Swim: nothing too specific. Want to swim with lead or chase group depending on if there are normal swimmers or super swimmers. Time is up in the air since we’re going downstream, could be very fast. Louisville last year was partially into the current then with the current (whereas Chattanooga is all with the current) and there I was with the lead group and went 48:59. My first IM swim at AZ in 2010 was 51 with the main chase group (with Chrissie Wellington, Chris Lieto, Timo Bracht etc). IM Florida in 2011 I went slow and mostly solo in 54 but I was in lousy swim shape.

-Bike: I just want to ride steady. IM AZ 2010 bonked on the bike (4:40). IM FL 2011 bonked on the bike, worse (4:35). IM Lou 2013 I really blew myself up (4:45). So I just want to not be such a dummy and ride steady. I think the course is relatively moderate though Ironman has stated it is 4 extra miles. I figure I might ride anywhere from 4:30 to 4:50 depending on how the course actually turns out.

-Run: Here’s a shocker, I want to run steady. AZ 2010 I ran 3:28 or so and started around 7 minute pace for lap 1, slid to 8 min pace for lap 2 and dropped to 9ish min pace for the last lap. Florida I took it out through 10 miles in 70 minutes, finished the first half in 1:33ish but slowed for a long stretch before rallying, overall my fastest at 3:18. Louisville I took out the first 8 miles in low 7s but then imploded finishing in 3:35. The time off running this summer and the slow comeback were not great but recently my running has been good again. So we’ll see. The next big goalpost for my IM running is 3:10.

I’ve started to identify myself more and more as an Ironman pro but I haven’t actually been smart during an Ironman yet. At Chattanooga I’m aiming for the seemingly modest, yet surprisingly tricky, goal of being smart and sensible.

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