Sunday, July 28, 2013

Functional Threshold Power Test #2

Today was the end of a 'Rest / Test' week in the Build phase of my training season.

I decided that I'd do another Functional Threshold Test on the bike since the last one I did was back in mid-April.

Functional Threshold Power (FTP) is the power that you could hold for a 40km time trial.

As I headed out at 6am it started to rain. I *almost* turned back, but I talked myself out of bailing. After all, there isn't anything technical about the course I was going to ride, so even at a decent clip, it was still safe to be out there. Also regarding bike handling - I do have *some* skills. I've also ridden enough times in the rain to just put it aside.

Got to the start location at about 40 minutes - good warm up with some wind-ups where I was hitting some good numbers (watts) that told me it was a good day to test. Pretty much recovered from the hard part of the build that ended 4 days ago (interestingly, I was still feeling it on my Friday ride, so I'm dialing in the recovery periods I think pretty well).

After a quick swig out of my bottle I hit the lap button and rolled off.

The FTP test protocol goes like this:

  • Warm-Up: 20-40 mins
  • 10min at what you think your FTP will be (key is not to be too low (sandbagging) or too high)
  • Over the next 20min, try to slightly increase and zero in and hold it. Goal is to try and slightly negative split the 30 minute time trial.
  • FTP is basically the average of the last 20 mins (above) provided that you didn't under-guess the first 10 mins.

Yes, the test is not truly 40km, but the rationale (Coggan, Friel, et al) goes something like this: what you can hold for 30min is basically 5% more than what you could hold for twice that time. But in a race, you can push about 5% harder due to the adrenaline / excitement of racing. Most people can't push as hard solo (I'm one of them). So it's a wash.

FTP was 257 Watts - which is about a 15 W gain from my April test. I was pretty happy with that. My guess going into the test based on past weeks is that I was around 255 W.

btw: that put's me at 3.4 W/kg

Chris Froome (who just won the Tour de France) is at 5.8 W / kg - that's humbling.

Of course now that means I need to bump up all my training zones - but actually, I've been riding at the upper end of them for a couple weeks now, so no biggie.

After the TT I shut it down and rode Z2 for the rest of the 2 1/2 hours. Mostly in the light rain.

Ride Stats:

  • 61 degrees F / light rain
  • 43 miles / 2,130 ft climbing
  • Avg power: 153W
  • Normalized Power: 190 W

Pretty jazzed to start this week's training cycle!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Training Approach and Example 'Build' Week

Ok, prepare for me to geek out a bit here on training structure. Feel free to skip if that's not your cup of tea. 

The last few weeks training has been in what Joe Friel calls the 'Build' weeks. At a macro level, here's what my schedule looked like this year:

Lots of Base training during the off season, so I had a decent amount of volume under me heading into mid-March when I officially started 'training'. I also chose an in-between 'on/off' ratio of about 2.5 weeks on with a 4-6 day 'rest period' for a total of 3 week periods. I have tried doing a 3/1 ratio (4 week periods), but as I've gotten older, I find that is really a bit on the edge. Keeping it at 3 weeks but shortening the active rest period really seems to strike the right rhythm and it also keeps me from losing too much fitness as the training 'sinks in' during the rest 'week'.

In short, the Friel defines the macro periods as:
  • Base - focus on aerobic endurance, force and skills training
  • Build - focus is shifted to muscular endurance / anaerobic training
  • Peak - focus is very race specific intensity and cutting volume
  • Race Week - steep rest / taper / keep sharp
  • Transition - recovery from the race
That is extremely simplified. If you're interested in understanding this better and implementing, then get his book, "Your Best Triathlon". It's more to the point than his previous Training Bible (still a good read). I'll also warn you that you have to actually go through the phases to really internalize them. I find myself re-reading the sections on mindset and intent as I enter or re-enter a phase. I've developed a good feel for what each phase should entitle.

My macro-season planning looks like this:

Base (3x3 weeks)
Build (3 weeks)
'B' RACE (Sprint Distance: 2nd AG)
Peak (3 weeks)
Race Taper (1 wk)
'A' RACE (Olympic: 2nd AG)
Transition (1 week)
Build (2x3wks)
Race Taper (1 wk)
'B' RACE (Olympic: 8/17/2013)
Peak (2 wks)
Race Taper Week
'A' RACE (70.3: 9/7/2013)
Transition (2 wks)
.... then either another Sprint or Olympic - or 1/2 marathon with appropriate run-focused training switch... haven't decided yet.. If a friend wanted me to pace them in a marathon, I'd do that instead. Pretty much end of season 'fun' :-)

Lessons Learned:
  • Overall the training cycles and specifics have worked really well for me
  • Need to be better at adding in swim band and TRX training. I get lax
  • Need to be better about foam rolling and stretching
  • Still refining planned 70.3 nutrition - getting close. Been experimenting a lot. Going to try out the Skratch Labs and Osmo Nutrition stuff in the coming weeks to narrow down a hydration mix that works - UCAN isn't a bit chalky for the race for me (but brilliant before hand)
  • I think I need to incorporate VO2 / anaerobic even for long course (70.3). Good advice from reading some Dave Scott stuff on aging athletes
  • Swimming is coming along. I can be competent in the swim now, but not yet 'competitive'. A heavy 'swim focus' winter will put me in the money coming out of the water next year and not suck time out of my bike / run.
Sample Week of Workouts (Build 3 Phase):

Monday:
Strength: TRX (Core / Upper Body)
Swim: open water (1hr) ~2000m steady aerobic w/accelerations

Tuesday:
Bike: (2hrs) 40' WU / 6x8min @Z4 Power - uphill & <80rpm / descent recovery / 30' CD
Swim (1 hr) 20x100 broken into 5 sets of 4x100, all on the same interval, but decreasing rest progression

Wednesday:
Bike: (1 hr) Z1 (recovery)
Run: (1:15) 30' WU w/5x20s strides / 5x8min Z3 (tempo) pace w/2min recovery / CD to finish
Swim: (1hr) open water w/team

Thursday:
Run: (1:15) Recovery

Friday:
Bike (1:30) Mostly Z1 w/5x2min Z6 (hard effort) / 90s recoveries
Swim (1:15) Masters Team

Saturday:
Bike (1:30) Recovery w/skills
Run (2 hrs) WU 10min / 8x9min Z3 (tempo) w/60s recoveries / aerobic Z2 to 2hrs
Immediately follow w/foam roller and stretching

Sunday:
Bike (3hrs) WU 10' / 5x20min @Z3 (tempo) w/4min spin recoveries / Z2 (aerobic) to 3hrs
Run (15min) off the bike w/3x5min @race pace w/60s recoveries
Swim (45min) easy w/skills

WEEKLY TOTALS:
Training Time: ~18 hours
Distance (Swim) ~9500yds
Miles (Bike) ~160 miles
Miles (Run) ~38miles
TV Watching = zero hours

So you might be thinking, "Holy crap that's a lot!" - which it is for me too. It's the most heavily loaded period of my training season (which made it worth writing up) and will only last a couple weeks. Normal weeks are more between 12-15hrs per week. Last Build block was probably around 16hrs (guessing).

Also - I don't generally keep track of the totals and the week comes together more based on stringing the workouts together to meet the theme and knowing what my body / recovery can handle. I sometimes will drop a (non-quality) workout or shorten a recovery run if I feel like crap or work goes sideways for a day with some fire raging - without feeling a shred of guilt. I know it's the quality workouts that matter and I know that other stresses need to be accounted for.

Well, we also eat ice cream a lot.
Finally keep in mind. Besides the lack of TV watching, I also don't have any other hobbies - well, I don't have time for them during this part of my season. Paige and I don't really entertain, we don't party, go to concerts - we're pretty boring people to be around during the season (well except we like being around each other ;-). It's family / work / sport - and that's it.

Incidentally - I've thought about writing an article about how to find time to work out. Recently I read that the average American spends an all time high of between 20-34 hours a week watching TV. There you go.

Monday, July 22, 2013

How I Spent the Majority of My Evenings Over the Past 3 Weeks

Last night wrapped up the final stage around the Avenue des Champs-Elysees of the 100th edition of Le Tour de France.

The race kicked off actually while I was in India, which was awesome because I could watch it live in the evenings due to the time zone there.

In Germany it was a bit tougher to watch, because the only stations that had it on were broadcasting in German.

The stages since I've been back have been amazing. The climb up Mount Ventoux where Froome finalized his grip on the maillot jaune and of course TWO climbs the next day up l'Alpe d'Huez - amazing!

I watched the closing ceremony yesterday and the French really did a wonderful job with the light show on the Arc d'Triomphe. And you couldn't ask for a better podium (IMHO). Not just Froome, who finally got his due and rode this year like a team captain, demonstrating a maturity well beyond his 28 years - but also watching Nairo Quintana take ride not only into second place, but also taking the polka dot and white jerseys as well - and at 23 years old! You could see how much it meant to him to be up there. The same goes for Oliver Rodriguez who had his two young kids on the podium with him. There were a lot of moments in the Tour this year - but that scene made my eyes well up. This feeling that yeah, all the doping isn't behind us, but maybe, just maybe that podium was clean.

I know a lot of folks take the cynical perspective - but not me. I prefer to trust and hope. It lets me enjoy the moment more. I don't want to miss a potentially epic celebration to cynicism.

And if it turns out not to be true later - well, I've lost nothing other than to then let that moment go. I don't invest my whole joy of cycling and racing in the moment - rather it's the moment that attaches to the joy I already feel for the sport. I'll take hoping for better over being called a fool any day of the week.

And I will say this - it made my hard 3 hour ride this morning a bit easier to do. To feel the bike underneath me. The quiet and isolation of being out while most people were still sleeping. Watching the twilight transform into a full fledged morning. It was awesome. I love this sport with all my heart.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Germany...pics and thoughts

Recently I took a long weekend to wander around Frankfurt, Germany on my way back from a business related trip to Chennai, India.

I really enjoyed spending time in the city. Spent most of my time just walking around, doing some decent runs, eating in outdoor cafe's (the weather was beautiful) and people watching. Oh, I also got to watch my first Ironman event, the European Championships that were being held (by pure luck) that same weekend.

I've been to four countries in Europe; Ireland, England, France and Germany. And it's only been to about as many cities. So obviously not a well rounded view of the EU. But I have to say this - every time I'm there, I can admire the lifestyle. I'm not saying it's better or worse than what I experience in the US, it's just different and I can appreciate and enjoy it's uniqueness.

There is a vibe that is different in every country I've ever visited - 8 in all I think to date. Germany was unique in ways that would take pages to describe and even then I'd have to search for the right words. But there were distinct things that I really liked about being there. Little things that might seem trivial. But as I've gotten older, it's the littler things I tend to focus on and appreciate.

For one, the food is awesome. But then again, my tastes are simple. How do you go wrong in the land of sausage and Hefeweizen (my favorite beer)?


Breakfast was included in my hotel stay, and consisted of about the most awesome buffet I've ever seen. In addition to my favorites of yogurt, muesli, granola, fruits - they also had cheeses (Gouda is my favorite), smoked salmon, sausage, pancetta, etc.. There were small loaves of hearty breads (seeds, nuts, sprouted grains, etc.) that you could slice off and decorate with bits of the meats and cheeses. I found this to be a pretty enjoyable breakfast, just small tastes of various things instead of a heaping pile of eggs and bacon.



Nothing wrong with eggs and bacon, just different.

Pepper Grinders the size of Atlas rockets - be still my Slavic heart :-)
The sights walking around were also very pleasing. That whole Bavarian look is unmistakable. You could have dropped me in the city, not told me where I was, and one look around I probably would have guessed Germany. The churches were especially beautiful and historic and standing in the middle of the city square, listening to all the bells from the various churches ringing at once in a kind of true surround sound was pretty cool. I picked it up in a short video clip, but it doesn't do justice to actually standing there.



Here's some more pictures just walking around...

Proof I was there.... or at least moderately skilled at Photoshop

Skyline..meh... it's a bunch of tall buildings... next...

Frankfurt is the financial capital, thus the bull and bear (not shown). Note they didn't skimp on the metal when casting the.... realism of the bull.. 



99 luftballons???

At the Ironman Expo.... "I want to go to there..." - my next tri bike me thinks...

One look around, and you know you're in Germany.... or Frankemeuth, Michigan.

see.....

The 'locks on the bridge' is not just specific to here, but I think it's a hopeless romantic concept.
Beautiful in the morning sun - adding a bit of humanity to a cold structure.
Deutsch Ducks ?

Great running / walking trails and parks throughout the city



Even the 'No Dogs Allowed" signs are distinctly German


Modern shopping mall - nothing special inside. It was a shopping mall.
So, some final random observations:

1. Bikes everywhere. I love it. People use them to get around. Families, commuters, people just out for a ride. Helmets on the kids, but not the adults. I kind of knew that helmets on adults were mostly an Americanism. I've heard all the arguments against them. When I was a kid I went off the bike, into a car and got 8 stitches in my forehead. I don't think I was going all that fast. I've seen enough buddies go down and crack helmets in half without even a concussion. 'nuff evidence for me.

2. Cars stop *behind* the cross walks. Drivers are respectful without fail. It's not that they make a big deal of it - it's just ingrained into the way the traffic moves. I can't specifically explain it, but I've spent enough time in traffic to sense the 'vibe' and 'flow' of traffic and drivers. It's different.

3. German women that smile politely at you but look like they would thrash you within an inch of your life if you cross them... or if they had a few minutes to burn while waiting for the morning train. Strange...

4. Polizie and Ambulance sirens that make me feel like I'm in one of the Jason Bourne movies - *every* time I hear them.

5. Observed at the Ironman race. The 'doorknobs' that cross the middle of the bike course, oblivious to a racer bearing down at 50 kph. They just waddle across, no urgency, no realization afterwards that they came within inches of being road kill. Idiots seem to be universal.

6. A special strain of the male euro-hipster virus seems to have firmly taken hold here... sigh... Maybe this is why the women look pissed. :-D

Aufedersein !

Sunday, July 7, 2013

In One Week: Five Things I Did for the First Time Ever!

I think we should always celebrate when we do something significant for the first time. I had the pleasure of doing 5 new things in the past week!!

Played Cricket
OK, 'played' is a relative term taken at great liberty in this situation. A better way to say it would be to say that I discovered yet another 'stick and ball' sport that I have no natural talent for. And granted, it was playing with my team from the Chennai, India office in a company outing. And it was a rooftop, recreational version with a short field, different rules and utilized a tennis ball. But I'll take it.

Me demonstrating my extra awesome 'whiffing' tequnique
The team that will never select me again. I'm the one holding the bat.
Visited Germany (outside of the airport)
My flight back from Chennai was through Frankfurt. Upon a bit of investigation, I found that the flight was cheaper if I stayed the weekend. Woohoo!

Didn't really have a plan - other than to just walk about the city, go running and relax and read.

Ahhh... the land of sausage and Hefeweizen
Ran in Germany
Of course no trip to a new country would be complete without me pounding out some miles in it. And what a great city to run in. Tons of trails and parks.

Saw an Ironman in Person
On my wandering around on Saturday I noticed some Ironman signs. A quick check 'O the Internet and my luck - The Ironman European Championships were on Sunday in Frankfurt! Whoah! How freaking cool is that?

Ahhhh crap.... now I'm inspired to do one of these.
Rode One of These
Very unique hotel in my hotel. In the US this would be a lawsuit waiting to happen. Or perhaps it wouldn't even function if the average American these days got on board (it's limited to 2 people).



-----------

Of course all of these new experiences gives me some fodder for some additional posts - more to come. Need to get some Z's as I'm heading home tomorrow!

auf Wiedersehen!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

And Now for Something - Completely Different

Not sports related, but a story that was interesting enough to share.

Apparently, the USDA has implemented regulations and are following up with an 8 page letter to a magician instructing him that his rabbit license necessitates having a disaster recovery plan in place for what to do with the rabbit before, during and after a potential disaster strikes. I'm not making this stuff up.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/1/agriculture-department-tells-magician-write-disast/

As a follow-up, I was able to obtain a copy of the response and associated Disaster Plan. (ok - this part I *did* make up). Enjoy:

Source: Obtained magically of course out of thin air.

------------------------------- attached -----------------------------------------

Dear USDA,

Please find attached one 'Disaster Recovery Plan' for aforementioned bunny.

Please note that said rabbit is indeed magical, as thousands of grade school level children can attest. I have no doubt that your colleagues at the NSA are already monitoring the children's eMail, cell phones and social network sites and have sufficient evidence - making further deposition of those children completely unnecessary. Of course I anticipate you spending another few million dollars doing it anyway.

"DISASTER RECOVERY PLAN for FLOPPY the BUNNY"

First - Assess disaster and assign formal government Disaster Classification code as follows:

Code GREEN: All is well. Continue feeding Floppy carrots and greens

Code YELLOW: Something, somewhere is amiss.
  • Continuously watch CNN or MSNBC for 24x7 updates on details of disaster such as wild speculation of causes, interviews with the third cousin of someone that once shared a bus ride with someone that experienced a disaster that was mildly similar, and therefore has completely irrelevant insights to share, video of 'disaster looking, nasty stuff by reporters that stand in the middle of disaster and offer important (and painfully obvious) safety tips for staying safe... things like, "stay indoors".
  • Post useless drivel constantly to Facebook and Twitter such as: "thoughts go out to victims", "watching now, how terrible" and of course Instagram of current meal. All these things are important and help. 
  • Do not let Floppy watch - he won't want to anyway.... 'cuz he's a bunny.
Code RED: Aside from all assurances, things have gone sideways. DISASTER is upon you. Can be ascertained by the following criteria:
  1. Locusts are descending
  2. The walls of your local place of worship* start to bleed. *Note that for most of you heathens, your local place of worship is likely your neighborhood sports bar or nearest IKEA
  3. God interrupts CNN/MSNBC broadcasts to say he's really "..quite pissed and has had enough of you ingrates"
  4. You hear the name Gozer the Gozerian - the Time Traveler or see sight of a giant Stay Puff Marshmallow man looking incredibly torqued off, laughing manically and stepping on churches.
  5. Facebook is offline (or Twitter actually starts working consistently)
  6. People start using MySpace again, Windows 8 or Blackberrys
  7. Amazon posts that it might take more than 2 days to ship your order... perhaps "more like eternity"... but assures you that your credit card will only be charged once your order actually ships.
  8. Starbucks is closed
Come to think of it, the closure of Starbucks (#8)  really is your best indicator. It's more reliable than the disaster siren you hear once in a while since in a real disaster, operators of the siren are going to say, "screw this - I'm not hanging around to ring the siren". Plus, unlike warning sirens, there is Starbucks on every corner - and if there's not, then you're pretty much been screwed over for a while now.

UPON REALIZATION OF CODE RED - ENACT FOLLOWING PLAN IMMEDIATELY
  1. Place inverted top hat on table. Brown derby will do in a pinch. Baseball cap is not an acceptable alternative. Dew rags are 'right out' and should not be used.
  2. Calmly put Floppy the Bunny in hat.
  3. Wave wand and shout "ALAKAZAM" - gesture mysteriously.
Bunny will vanish to 'magical safety zone'. To retrieve after disaster has subsided, simply execute the above again, deleting step 2 and adding step 4: "Remove bunny from hat"

As for magician - hopefully you have large magical vanishing box handy.

Otherwise, batten down the hatches and load magical wand with really nasty incantations (this is limited to 10 spells in California and per recently passed legislation - no more than 15 in Colorado). Renounce your atheism (as the rest of your new age hippy nonsense friends are most likely also doing), and wait patiently for Gozer to arrive.

Here's a picture of the bastard.
Note that in this circumstance, you do not need to ensure he crosses threshold before unloading Abracadabra on his sorry bum as he has already 'made your day'. It goes without saying that if another magician is present, please remember to NOT cross the streams as this will result in 'all life as you know it ending and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light".

Hopefully the above meets with your approval.

Sincerely,

Marty Hahne - The Great

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Loveland Lake to Lake Triathlon: Race Report

Ok, a week and a half after the event; but it's been a pretty busy last week or so!

Loveland L2L is a good sized event that features both Olympic and Sprint distances. I competed in the Olympic distance (1500m swim / 30mi bike / 10K run)

Results:
2:38:35 / 2nd in my division
In fact, the top 4 of us were all within 6 minutes of each other. I expect to see these guys at some other races this year :-)

Overall a great race. Great weather, great course. Felt good in all disciplines.

Pre-race:
Paige and Luke came up with me. Loveland is about 75 minutes form my house - enough to want to spend the night. Paige made the hotel arrangements and was so great in getting dinner and supporting me. She's done the course in the past, so in addition to how great it is to be married to another competitive athlete that understands the craziness - she's a pro at this venue.

I like the race in that you can just ride the 3mi in the morning from the hotel, right to the race. Got up pretty early with no alarm. Threw on my gear and scarfed down some boring food for breakfast.

Got to the venue and found lots of people that I knew. Teammates of Paige (and now me :-) that really puts my head at ease.

Goofing around with Lisa before the race. Warming up with invisible swim bands.

Sharon is one fast lady. She took 1st in her division - by 16 minutes!
Did I also mentioned she kicked my butt too?

The whole team before the swim.
Swim:
Water was like bath water - well, like near 70 degrees. That's close enough.

I started out pretty conservative near the back of the pack. I had been having issues with my wetsuit feeling restrictive and with breathing overall. Paige (who is an awesome swimmer IMHO), game me some good warm-up advice. It's all about really breathing out and getting the exhale firing properly. I also had found some good videos on some tips for ensuring the wetsuit is on properly that really, really helped. What I found was that the suit wasn't previously constricting 'across' the chest, but rather wasn't hiked up enough and was constricting from shoulders to hip (constricting my chest and stomach). Once I had that figured out, it was like night and day.

After about 100m I realized I needed to move up, so I bridged easily to the next pack. Then did that a couple more times and felt progressively stronger on the swim as it went on. Definitely could have gone faster overall - but I think it was smart to start out conservative given where things were at. Next time will probably go out harder.

T1:
Felt like a million dollars coming out of the water. Like I had just warmed up. Another good tip from my better half to strip my wetsuit before running the 1/4 mi or so to transition. Did that and ran past a number of folks trying to waddle up the hill. Out onto the bike in a flash. Flying mount was nothing to marvel at, but it was effective and I didn't wipe out.

Bike:
I had pre-ridden the course, and it was nice to know the turns - especially that it's a bit twisty early on. Started passing folks right away on the bike and especially on the long climb up to Horse Tooth reservoir (there *other* lake in 'lake to lake' ;-) I was passing throngs of folks. It's not that steep of a climb for the most part at 2% - but it's long and steady. Then a few 6% - 8% crests to punch over. I love hilly courses, but it was clear that a lot of people didn't :-)

Had decided to stay on the horns (kind of Boardman style) for the downhill sections. Actually passed a couple folks that were trying to stay on the aero bars. Hit 44.3 mph on one of the sections. Yeah - that's a bit too fast for me to not be near the brakes - especially where it was twisty. Man, that HED 60mm aero front wheel can be a beast through a tight corner. Wants to keep standing up. I was grunting to counter steer it through. But it's steady as a rock at least.

Nice little tail wind on the trek back to town. The ride is a bit longer than a typical Olympic distance (additional 4mi) - but I felt like I paced it well. I had read some good advice that people often save their legs a bit too much for the run, and that hurts the overall time and doesn't really make the run feel that much better. So I experimented by pushing the bike a bit harder and would just deal with the run. Lost my toolkit on a nasty bump about 1/2 mi from T2 but wasn"t about to stop to retrieve it. Lesson learned - strap that puppy down a bit more (ran it in a bottle between the aero bars).

T2:
Smooth flying dismount - in and out quickly. Nothing exciting about that.

Coming out of T2 - on to the run
Run:
So it's not a very 'pretty' run course for the most part. It's an out and back - so you can see if anyone is really far ahead. I actually didn't see the first place guy pass me - but it's hard to guess age sometimes and besides - I was just running my hardest anyway. Saw a couple team-mates out on the course and shouted encouragement. I've gotten to know a lot of Paige's team (and recently just joined Team EMC) - so now they are my teammates too :-) All really nice (and talented) folks.

My run was decent, but still kind of 'meh'. I averaged just under a 7 minute pace - and had really been aiming for more 6:45. I think it was a little warm and I had cooked it a bit on the bike. But even 15' per mile is 90s in a 10K - and I'm sure I did better than that with the bike effort (21.5mph average) - so I still think it was the right strategy.

Had done a LOT of BRICKs and actually my run off the bike has felt pretty solid. Dead legs for maybe a few hundred meters, so that wasn't it.

I've just found over the years of running that the best you can count on with a good taper is 'decent' legs. Sometimes they excel to feel great - other times they just feel a bit dead. I've looked at everything from nutrition to sleep to workouts - no real rhyme or reason to that decent to great feeling. Just is or isn't there.

I tried to pick it up a few times - nothing came. Felt my glut-meds a bit - so maybe a bit of a weakness to work out, but maybe I just need to HTFU a bit more next time.

Felt good into the finish and was able to kick through. Bent over my knees with a slight case of trying not to puke at the end - which IMHO is always a good sign that I kicked what I had for the last few hundred meters or so. Volunteer said she would cut off my ankle bracelet. I thanked her but warned, "You may want to move quickly if you hear me starting to yack"

Nutrition:
Nothing really earth shattering. I mean at a 2.5 hours, there's really not a lot you have to do. Good god - I saw people with gels, bars etc... I guess if it makes you feel better but physiologically, it's pretty unnecessarily for something that short. Again, just IMHO. I had done a bagel with cream cheese a couple hours before riding to the start. Then just a couple swigs of UCAN along with a full bottle on the bike (although I goofed and mixed it too concentrated). Probably just repeat it next time. I need to figure out my long course plan for Harvest Moon - but I have until September and have some good experience from the marathon - which I think it tougher on the gut.

Next race is Rattlesnake - Olympic again in a few weeks. A bit closer to home and more of a hilly bike than a climb / decent type course. Then it's on to 70.3 in early September.

Feel like I'm starting to get the hang of this triathlon thing :-)