27 May 2010

Who Fartlek'd? The Steep Learning Curve Of Mile Repeats

A little fatigue set in on Tuesday following a brutal introduction to mile repeats by my friend Vanessa. My legs were a little bit on the jello-y side for the rest of the evening, but I managed to squeeze in some much needed rest. 

Tuesday's workout called for a bike/run. I ran to the track to meet my buddy Vanessa, who just came off of an impressive 3:38 at Boston. She thinks she could have ran it faster, and I have no doubts that next time around, she most certainly will. The plan was to do mile repeats on Tuesday. The run from my house to the track is almost three miles. I had to leave a little later than I wanted to help get the boys off to school. When I arrived there at nine, I was already  sweating fiercely. If I have not already mentioned, it went right from mid-50's to 88 degrees in the matter of a day here in western New York. What is up with that? Anyway, the humidity Tuesday morning was right around a bazillion percent. (funny, spell check recognizes the word "bazillion.")

Here is Vanessa trying to convince me that mile repeats are a good idea.

This is me NOT buying it.

For those of you who do not know what mile repeats are I will give you the skinny: Basically,  you take your the average of your best 10k times as a base for your first split. So, if your average 10k time is somewhere in the 48 minute range, you want to run your first mile split in about 8:00. With each consecutive  split, you want to run 5 to 7 seconds faster. In between splits, you run a slow recovery lap around the track before you delve back into the fiery furnace of pain. 

It was time for my first go. Eight minute mile. I got this. Run Forest run. I crossed the finish line in 7:35—waaaaaay too fast for a morning with a bazillion percent humidity. 

I took a swig of GU2O and did a recovery lap. As I was running the lap with Vanessa, I expressed concern that she might have to resuscitate if I run any faster. She said that I ought to try and run at least the same split, or 3 seconds faster. Okay, second time around, I finished right at 7:33. So, I ran over to my water, poured it on my head and started running my second recovery lap. It seems so easy. Here we go, third time around:

This is me feeling completely dejected after my miserable attempt at mile repeats.

We planned on running five mile repeats this morning. I am embarrassed to admit that I only was able to do two. I got less than a quarter mile around the track on my third repeat and the body said, "Excuse me... what are you doing?" I had to shut it down. I did, however, run it back to the house with Vanessa talking about medievalist nerdy stuff (she's a nerdy medievalist,) although, she is not really nerdy, but supercool. I learned some valuable lessons as a result of my feeble first attempt at a track workout:

1) Do not go out past 7:00 a.m. to start mile repeats. 

2) Don't believe Vanessa when she says she "I am not trying to kill you," then laughs hysterically as she turns around and heads toward the track.

3) Try NOT to run in bazillion degree heat with bazillion percent humidity. 

Later on that afternoon, I hopped on my bike and did a ride out to work. I made sure I went the extraordinarily long way, because it is not that far to work—only 11 miles, but I made it fifteen. I did some work and rode back a couple hours later. The legs were a little fatigued Tuesday evening. 

Today I had my first swim lesson with Coach Jack. That's right, you heard it here. I decided I did not want to go on being a less than average swimmer. Coach Jack is awesome. More on my lesson and progress later. This evening i ran my 8.35 mile course in 1:05:36, completely shattering my old course record (set on Sunday) by four minutes! Think I am steadily getting the nutrition part down on my long runs. No lower g.i. issues today—thank goodness!

Breaking News: Stella got her first hair cut yesterday. 
Here are the before and after pictures:

Isn't she cute?

Rig Update: Rig is being built by the only cat I trust to do it. I will be taking some pics and movies of the build and sharing them on my blog. Very excited for the build. More excited to ride it!

More soon. Train Smart!

24 May 2010

Iron Reflections: 20 Weeks In

I have come to the realization that trying to train over the course of a week with five children, and lives as insanely busy as ours, (well everyone's,) I pretty much have to take what I can get sometimes. I have to constantly remind myself that I am—despite dreams of racing Crowie towards the finish line to inch him out at the tape—not a professional triathlete, nor am I single, independently wealthy, or willing to interact with my family for only twenty minutes a day.

To be a good father and husband, I have to be around. Being around often means sacrificing the number of hours that I can train in a day, or over the course of a week. It is hard psychologically—at least for me. The first 10 weeks of training were far easier, but as they weeks progressed, and the volume increased, my body is unable to turn it around as quickly for the workout the following day. Well, let me throw a caveat in there; it would be able to turn it around if I went to bed earlier and got more rest. I do not get enough rest, for sure. Thus, the part about being a good husband/partner/significant other. You can not come home from training, have dinner, put the kids in bed and crash without the risk of divorce papers. One thing that I miss is the occasional night out to have a beer or two. Not now, not with ironman training. I have two beers and I feel terrible the next day. Case in point: Friday night, an old student came by the house to visit, stayed for dinner and we talked over a nice bottle of red (the wifey helped too.) My Saturday training session felt sluggish.

I tried to think what the reason my wife and I stay up too late and feel tired the next day. I think I've figured it out:

Our life constantly revolves around little people. All day... "mommy this, daddy that...." There are times when we are driving in the car and three of our children will be arguing over one toy. It would seem as if the fate of the human race depended on this one particular plastic toy—manufactured in China for pennieslied in the hands of each one of them from how adamantly they argue over it. Meanwhile, our baby is crying because she wants to listen to "princess music," and one of the twins is whining because she forgot her picture she colored at the Y (which get set down outside in the mulch in our landscaping, or on the grass, or in a stack of a million other pictures that they colored from the Y as soon as they get home to be shortly forgotten and never heard from again.) But to them, these issues are current and larger than keeping oil from hemorrhaging into the Gulf of Mexico. The wifey and I will look at each other in the car sometime, and realize that our only recourse when this kind of thing happens late at night—which it often does—is to announce the bedtime rituals (shower/bath, teeth brushing, jammies, books,) will commence immediately upon arrival at our home.

My great week of training capped off with a mediocre Saturday ride. The plan called for a 3:25 ride, followed by a 50 minute run, but we were all resigned to the fact that was not going to happen. I feel bad, but my training partners know that I can not be gone from the house for six hours (length of time it would take with loading gear and the drive) on a weekend. Not going to happen. I spent my morning at the diamond with the boys, then we ran to the bike shop to talk about my new rig (more on that later.) We were about 10 miles in when I started pulling way from Manuel and Adam on the bike. Every once minute or so I would look back to see where they were. I did not feel particularly strong on Saturday. I felt really tired—even before I got out there. It's the sleep thing! About five minutes later I heard my cell ring and it was Manuel—his chain had broke. To make matters worse, I had to bike two miles back to them to learn none of us had an extra link or chain tool. Here are Adam and I making fun of Manuel—not for breaking his chain—but for not showing up with the required Crankskins gear. This gear makes us at least .0001% faster.

Sunday's workout was a bit crazy. I was suppose to run a race in the morning. A 5k followed by a 10K. There was a deal in which you could run both races for $27. I was going to run the 5k to warm up my legs, and then race the 10k. I had forgotten that my wife had a 10 a.m. rehearsal and I was not going anywhere. Good thing too, my body was still in rest mode. I did get out for a run though, 8.5 miles during the hottest part of the day. It got up to 84 with about 600% humidity. Seriously, I was sweating like crazy before I even left my driveway. I could not be happier with my respectable 8:14's. I took a few endurolytes before I took off and a couple on the run every half hour to stave off the cramping. I had all four bottles in my fuel belt loaded up with liquid, but my drink turned out to be a wee bit too sugary and I only brought one bottle of water. I drank half the water and poured the other four ounces over my head and back and chest.

Speaking of the diamond, I took the boys there Saturday morning to practice their game and have some fun. They never want to leave once they are there, especially Luca, and it shows. He went six for six in his game the other day, caught five pop-ups, and switch hit for two doubles. He certainly does not get his coordination from me! Julian and I played some football alla rest of the world in the field next to the diamond while Luca had his game. Here is Luca batting lefty, just before he connected for his first double.
Here I am with the boys during the game. I love Little League. I mean, when am I ever going to be able to pull my son aside again anytime during his sports career, give him a hug and take a picture again in the middle of a game? Hey... technically, I guess I could do that anytime I desire. I think that is one of the spoils of parenthood we enjoy. Whenever my kids ask me "why?" in response to something my wife and I tell them to do, I say ".. because I use to change all your stinky diapers, and this is your way of paying me back."

I capped off my weekend with a trip to our favorite ice cream joint. Here is Stella letting me try some of her Superman ice cream. Our family does not go out for ice cream often (and it's a good thing—$18 for seven "baby" ice creams!) but when we do, we throughly enjoy it!

More on the new rig later this week.

Train Smart!

21 May 2010

Back By Popular Demand: Race Report #1

As the race season is now upon us for us northerners, it is time to reflect on all the talk of gear that we have been engaged in during this off season. So, back by popular demand, I bring you race report #1. Nothing quite puts things into perspective like someone pointing out that no gear in the world will substitute for training your proverbial ass off and getting it done. Just another reminder that it is not the bike—but the engine, not the shoes—but the runner, and  not the suit—but the swimmer. Happy Training!

20 May 2010

Invest In Youth: Racing For My Community

Wow!  So much has been happening this week. I do have some big news to announce:

I am really fortunate to belong to my local YMCA. It is a great organization. The hombre at the helm  is unbelievably encouraging, supportive, friendly, and present. I think the latter is the most important. He is often found at the front desk with his staff, meeting, greeting and talking with members, getting to know them, their health concerns and fitness goals. That attitude trickles down the line from everyone to his administrative staff, support staff, cleaning crew, and members. I should also tell you that my wife and I really value the atmosphere of the YMCA as compared to other options that we have investigated. As a faculty member at a university, I enjoy a membership at our sports facilities for a fraction of what it might cost for my family membership at the YMCA, but I also receive a lot less. First of all, there is no child care at the university. A family membership there means I could bring my children to the weight room and to the pool once they turn sixteen. With fourteen years left to go until my youngest turns sixteen, I think we will continue to be YMCA members. More importantly, I have managed to forge great relationships with  folks that I have met at the YMCA. With the exception of Adam, all my training partners—and crankskin.com team members—were guys that I first met at the Y while training. We all chose the YMCA for similar reasons: member programs, child care, youth sports, fellowship.

With that said, there are a lot of families in my community that are just not able to afford the services and programs that the YMCA provides. This is really unfortunate. Four of my children have taken part in YMCA youth sports programs, as well as swim lessons.  Luca and Julian have participated in multiple sports programs. The experiences from their perspective have always been overwhelmingly positive.
It was at our local YMCA, that my son Luca, first developed his passion for sports, and had some really great coaching to encourage a positive attitude concerning competition. Because I believe—as does the YMCA—that all children should be able to participate and enjoy the programs and services the YMCA provides, regardless of their economic circumstance, I have decided to race Ironman to raising money for the YMCA's Invest In Youth Campaign. I am placing a widget on my page permanently that looks like this:

If you can not see this widget please enable images and links at the top of this email. 
If clicking the widget does not work, you can go to: https://www.rochesterymca.org/giving/Transaction/EmailDonation/134

I know we are all strapped for dough these days—okay, speaking for myself right now—but even if you could donate one dollar, that would be awesome!

Training has gone amazingly well this week. I have hit all three weekly swim workouts for the first time in over a month. I have managed to fit in strength and cardiovascular training in every day as well. Yesterday I hit chest:

4x12 reps of bench press
4x10 reps of incline bench press
4x10 reps of dumbbell flys

Then I got in the pool for my workout:

Warm Up: 8x (50 swim 25 kick)
Main Set: 24x50 w/ 10 sec rest
Cool Down: 5x100 (middle choice)
= 2300 yards

This morning's swim workout:

600 S
2 sets of 4x50 w/10 sec rest
Main Set: 12x100@75% straight into:
Cool Down: 300 S
=3000 yards

I feel pretty good. I am eating like a horse... a small horse. I am really making a concerted effort to take in a lot of more protein after my workouts lately by means of supplements.

Cousin Matthew came up on  Sunday evening. He came in at 251 pounds and is already making some serious progress, losing 3 pounds in 3 days. His first visit with us was two summers ago,  and my wife and I helped him take off 72 pounds during one summer stay. The anecdote?  Eat less, eat decent foods, exercise more, drink plenty of water. No mystery to me. His only transportation this summer—aside from the rides he takes with me on errands—will be his bike and his own two feet. I plan on having him use plenty of those two this summer. I am trying something new that I hope to blog about in the next few weeks and months while he is here. We are taking a picture of him every day that he is here, as well as documenting every meal he eats by taking pictures. It is really hard to do. I don't always remember to bring my camera everywhere we go. With our crazy lives, it is just one more thing to have to think about. Feel super great about kicking his butt this week. He is a bit sore after day three, but he'll thank me at the end of the summer. More updates to follow.

Other super Duper Cool News:  RunnerDude over at RunnerDude's Blog  is going to feature me as his runner of the week in an upcoming post. Me!  For those of you who have not checked out his blog yet, do so. This guy is the real deal. Good information, insight, encouraging, inclusive, and has a running resume vitae as long as the American Constitution. I am in the process of fielding some questions. I will post a link to the post once I am on there. Pretty nifty, eh?

Okay... that's all for now. Still waiting on my new rig. It should get here sometime next week. I have to think of something to name her. Any suggestions? Pegasus? Too Greek. You can check out the full specs on the rig here.

More soon, Happy Training!

17 May 2010

You Are What You Eat: A Date With Destiny Or A Deal With The Devil

Have you ever been in such a bind, that you would offer up anything, short of your soul, in order to accommodate your insanely busy social itinerary/obligations as a parent? Last week I was hard pressed to find a colleague to work for me so that I could make my son Luca's baseball game. Running out of time, I decided to put forth the following email:

Dear CO-Workers,

I am looking for someone to work for me tonight from 6-10. My son has a
baseball game. If anyone is willing to, I can swap out another shift this week—
even a morning!

In addition, I have not eaten a BIG MAC in over a decade. If you work my shift, I
will drive immediately to McDonalds and eat a BIG MAC. I am NOT kidding. I will
do this. I will document the BIG MAC eating online. 



I have to admit that the idea was not solely mine. A few years ago I was at a new music festival in Ohio where a friend of mine told me a story about a doctoral candidate who stood up in the middle of a concert of one of his colleagues' music that was apparently so bad that he stood up and announced "I have been a vegetarian for ten years, if you stop playing right now, I will go to McDonalds and eat a Big Mac." The performers, a little rattled, trudged on until he stood up again and yelled "I am NOT kidding, I will now up the ante. If you stop playing RIGHT now, I will eat TWO Big Macs." Somehow, me eating a Big Mac does not seem nearly as bad as a vegetarian on the brink of insanity, who feels compelled  to eat a Big Mac to stop a musical performance. Just so happens, that my training partner Mike helped me out, but he is way, way too eager to hear about my gastrointestinal future. I never knew Mike was the (d)evil, but I guess you learn a lot about a guy when Big Mac's and lower g.i.'s are on the docket. Anyway, being a man of my word, I am afraid I am going to have to succumb to the insanely ridiculous caloric and sodium levels of one aforementioned Big Mac sandwich. I thought that perhaps I could somehow escape the "heart attack in a bun," and that everyone would soon forget, and I could go on eating boneless, skinless chicken breasts with beans and rice for lunch and dinner. The good news is that I think the Big Mac will be such a shock to my system that it should not really stay with me too long. Story and pictures to follow soon.

Training: Back at it this week with some serious training. Ah, this is what it feels like when your body is exhausted and you can not wait to get the kids in bed, so you can follow soon thereafter. Adam, Manuel and me went out for a serious ride around Canadaigua Lake—one of western New York Finger Lakes. It is not a long ride—almost 50 miles—but it is one of the hilliest rides I have ever ridden, and we did some serious climbing all day. The wind was also being less than cooperative. It didn't seem to matter much which way we turned, it felt like we were going right into it. Those of us who ride, know the feeling of going down a fairly steep hill, and feel like we are not increasing our speed because the wind is effectively acting like a sail trying to send us back up from where we came. However, one of our descents was so steep and curvy,  that even with my rear brake depressed, and feathering my back break, I easily was going over 30 miles per hour. Sure, you say 30 m.p.h. is not that fast?  It was on this road. It looked something like a San Francisco street with hair pin turns resembling the Le Mans race course. As much, as I like going wicked fast, I value my life even greater. In fact, I narrowly escaped a big accident yesterday. Manuel was behind me when the car we were going around parked on the road decided to open his car door right at the exact same time I was passing the door. Manuel said that I literally missed the door by less than an inch. That was more than a little scare. I shouted back to be more careful and the man coming out of the car was just laughing. For some reason, he thought it would be hysterical if I smashed into his driver side door causing serious bodily injury to myself—and possibly him—and some dents and dings in his car. Not to mention I just read a sobering news story about a serious crash in Montreal that killed three triathletes and injured three others. My nutrition on the ride was adequate at best. I took:

2 gels
40 ounces of electrolyte drink
1 package of carbohydrate lemon booster

I really had to force down the fluids on my ride. It was really windy and cold, and I was not feeling that thirsty. I did not feel weak on the ride necessarily, but I did not feel incredibly strong at any time either (with the exception of our initial launch.) I always feel strong and excited in the beginning. I kept my pacing pretty decent, despite the fact that Adam was in front of me and was pushing the pace a little faster than I expected. I kept encouraging him to save it for the other side of the lake—without sounding like I needed to slow down—putting my pride at risk. I know the course. I knew we would spend more than half the day climbing. And, in fact, there were times we would climb as fast a 5 m.p.h.! (8.0 kmh.)

Adam and I ran a nice 13.2 mile course yesterday. We had some steady rolling hills for the first six miles, then it was fairly flat. My legs were already toast on the way out. This was my sixth consecutive day running. Adam and I have begun strength training again as well. Our leg workout last Monday left both of us fatigued the entire week. I am looking forward to having the day off to swim and recuperate after a high mileage leg week. The good news is my wind felt great. If my legs did not hurt as badly, I think we could have pushed sub eights, but we ended up running solid 8:20's. We'll both take it considering how badly our legs hurt.

In other news: I went to a concert of a colleague this weekend at The Eastman School of Music. He did a lecture demonstration and premiered a new work. He was giving an example of punctuation in music that I found interesting. He said that he was at a seminar at Indiana University when a professor spoke about how music could be framed depending on its context. He used this example:

A woman without her man is nothing.

Of course the men in the seminar started shaking their heads up and down in agreement, laughing all the while, until the professor repeated with what he said was the correct punctuation:

A woman, without her, man is nothing.

So true. Honestly fellows, where would we be if it wasn't for the support of our women? (Don't answer that.)

Finally: I have some very important news to announce with my next post that has to do with sponsorship and raising some dough for a great cause.

More soon. Train Smart!

12 May 2010

Achieving Qi With Index Cards

There exists a delicate balance between the amount of training that I can endure, and my body's ability to actually withstand and tolerate that training. It is sometimes physical, but more often psychological. I believe mental fatigue from the rigors of la vie quotidienne play the largest part in determining my  physical well being. There are times when I can actually fool my body into doing more than it is capable of physically, if I am mentally neutral—the state that I define as not being overwhelmingly mentally fatigued. Ironically, I am actually most susceptible to crash and burn if I am overly eager to get in a workout. I think that the anticipation of the actual workout takes some energy. It is like the wait for the swim the morning of a triathlon. My body needs just the right amount of micromanaging in order for it to not rebel and want to sit in front of the television watching reruns of Golden Girls.

The last three or four weeks have been incredibly difficult in terms of training. Here is what has been going down:

1) Busy at work
2) Finishing some gigantic projects/starting NEW gigantic projects
3) Left shoulder feels like it might dislocate at any moment while I am swimming
4) I have five children
5) I have five children that I would like to spend time with
6) The weather has been consistently terrible to go out for a ride, and I do not feel like putting my rig back on the trainer
7) I have been going to bed too late because I am up trying to catch up on projects
8) My wife feels it is necessary that we spend at least ten minutes every night talking
9) Remodeling two bathrooms in the house
10) Giving and grading final exams

I literally saw no end in sight to the mountainous amount of work I had going on, but it is beginning to thin out here recently. My saving grace? 3X5 index cards. Honestly. Everyday I spend time writing down everyone I have to email, mail out scores to, and errands I have to run through the course of my day (as I remember them.) Some of these errands make lists on consecutive days until they are finished. It feels really good to be able to cross anything off that list.

Okay, instead of getting crazy about not getting to get in my scheduled workouts during the 36-week commandments of training, I asked my friend Kelly over at trimommylife what could be done since I am still under a little bit of stress. She recommended that because I am not getting in the volume that I would like these last couple of weeks—especially with the swimming—she suggested I ought to aim for making every workout a higher intensity. That is exactly what I did. Last Thursday I ran a 20:48 5K. Then Friday and Saturday I ran two consecutive 8 milers (8.5 on Saturday at an 8 minute pace.) Sure, not blazing fast, but still faster than I was running last year at the mileage. I hit the gym for some weight training yesterday. It was the first time I've hit the weights since starting Ironman training back in January. The result? I am having trouble walking up and down the stairs today.

Cousin Matthew is coming up this weekend to begin the Summer Beatdow..... er training. Matt had a serious relapse this past year and put on some serious weight as a result—a good twenty-five pounds—and the number on the scale is steadily rising. His problem? Plain and simple: he drinks alcohol, gets three sheets to the wind, and then runs out for fast food at 1 a.m. while hammered. That is pretty much a recipe for disaster. One obvious solution for weight loss is to avoid the empty calories found in alcohol by NOT getting snookered off your rocker. Sure, I imbibe from time to time in a nice glass of wine, the occasional beer (or three, and it is rare that I will ever have more than two beers.) Two beers and I am done—cheap date. Getting back to Matthew, he will not have the opportunity to drink this summer. He is going to eat better, and his only form of transportation will be his two legs or a bicycle. I am pretty brutal when it comes to "Fat Camp." Fat Camp is not fun, and being the sadist that I am, I do not mind inflicting pain and suffering upon someone if I know it is all for the greater good.

The cycling is not going as well as I would like it right now. What the heck May! Really.... forty degrees in May?! I mean honestly, what gives? My training parter Mike said we should try to get in the lake soon  as I have a tri coming up on 6 June and we are both eager to start training in open water without all the chlorinated, 92 degree water that we are use to. The next day or two after he mentioned that, he told me that he looked up the lake temperature and it was 46 degrees. Forty six! I would have to put a wetsuit on top of my wetsuit to get in water that cold.

I have some VERY exciting news to announce in my next post, which coincidentally will now be a little more frequent as I have passed the proverbial hump of the insane end of the year work load.

Okay, more soon. Train Smart!

04 May 2010

Maintaing It On The Hamster Wheel Of Life

I had two fairly lengthy swim workouts on Monday and Wednesday of last week. One was in my "home"pool YMCA, which often approaches temperatures resembling the sun. My swim on Wednesday was at  another  YMCA pool, and the water temperature was a good 10 degrees cooler. I honestly could have swam for hours in that pool. Well, except for the fact that I find going back and forth in a pool analogous to a hamster spinning on a wheel going nowhere—no offense swimphiles. Seriously, what a huge difference a pool can have on your performance. I think the best swim workouts I have had while training this pre-season were when I did that little residency down in North Carolina at Appalachian State University. The pool was amazingly fast, cool, and relatively quiet at all hours of the day. That is exactly the type of atmosphere I need to get through a grueling swim workout. Of course, we are now into May, and I barely have a month left before my first triathlon of the season—6 June—at Keuka Lake. I am racing an Olympic distance that day. The difference between the air and water temperature that day could be about 30 degrees! I have had friends tell me that they could not even feel their extremities until they started the run course. Oh joy!

I ran a 47 minute 10K on Friday—a vast improvement for me from a few weeks ago. I had done a short 25 mile bike ride on Thursday and went I went out Friday for my 10K, my legs felt really strong. However, I really do have to get in the gym following my semester to do some weight training. I feel like I have lost a lot of muscle from all the endurance training. More, with my schedule still crazy for another week, I feel like I am barely maintaining my cardiovascular fitness, let alone strengthening it.

The good news is that I followed my week with a 56 mile bike ride on Saturday with Scott. The ride was hot, hilly, and windy!  It got up to about 82 degrees. I know what you southerners are thinking—"you wimp—82 degrees?!  I'd be wearing my winter jacket." Keep in mind that western New York is a bit different than say, anywhere south of the Monogahela line. Spring fluctuates between  40 to 80 in the span of 24 hours. I took another work induced off day today, but it is okay. I still have a lot of stuff on the burner. I am going to try and get in a ten mile run tomorrow afternoon between classes.

Okay, some of you might know that I have been compiling some questions for Dr. Alex McDonald, a professional triathlete, and member of the Timex Multisport Team. Hey, any time I have a chance to pick the brain of a Kona-qualifying MD, I seize the opportunity. Carpe Diem friends. So, the following questions are in no particular order, but they are all questions that I have had over the years, or I have heard friends ask about training. If any of you can think of any other pertinent questions—feel free to add any thoughts or questions you have.

Questions for Dr Alex McDonald:

1) One of my biggest fears about training for triathlons is that I will get sick days leading up to a race—or worse—feel ill on the day I am suppose to race. How do you  negotiate a race that you've spent time, energy—not to mention some serious dough in the case of Ironman—but know that you are not operating at 100%. Has this happened to you, and what have you done?

2) There is a lot of talk about proper nutrition, leading up to, and during the race. I find a lot of contrary information. Is the best rule, just to use plans as a template, and determine your  nutritional needs on your own by how you feel during training?

3) I have a love/hate relationship with swimming. When I have the time to do the volume consistently, I can not wait to get in the pool. When I miss a workout or two, I feel like I am learning how to swim all over again.

4) We all have busy lives. When some of us are not busy with our part-time jobs training for Ironman, we like to put some "valuable time in the bank" at home with the people that matter. Have you learned any skills through the years to balancing family life with a high volume of training that you could share?

5) I've noticed that my workouts are stronger at certain parts of the day than they are at others. Perhaps—like Superman—I am in constant need of vitamin D from the sun for power—but I really have a problem feeling fast when the sun is not out. Should I train when my body feels the strongest?

6) How much of a difference will a triathlon specific bike make on the bike and run portion for the age-group triathlete?

7) How do you do negotiate your season when you sustain an injury that is going to keep you from training for a prolonged period of time?

8) We all know that you have to invest a lot of time in the physical component of triathlon, but do you have any suggestions for the first time half, or full ironman about any mental preparedness that you can do to get ready. Do you do any visualization with regard to running or swim form?

9) For an amateur. deep wheeled rims might shave a whole minute off of an ironman distance course—maybe. What one piece of gear DO you think would make a significant difference for the age-group triathlete that they might be overlooking?

10) What was your introduction into the sport and how long do you think you will continue to race triathlon?

Okay, that is all I have, for now. Of course, answers bring up new questions. When I get responses to all of these, I will post the questions again along with the answers. Finding more time here in the next few weeks! Miss writing as much as I want.

Finally, congratulations are in order for my blogger friend Bob over at ironbob-ironbob.blogspot.com for a amazing performance at Ironman St. George. Way to go hombre! Can not wait to hear the full race report.

Until next time, train smart!