Radical Immersion

Ironman Training with Life, Marriage, Children & Work

And the FTP Remains the Same

In January I did an FTP test in the basement.  A strong playlist featuring the Violent Femmes, Ramones, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Dropkick Murphys and a heavy rotation of Social Distortion carried me through.  I had a new threshold by something like eight percent.  I also had trouble getting back up the stairs afterward.

Yesterday I rode an FTP test out at Hains Point.  It was windy but the cool temperatures kept a lot of the normal riff raff away and the road was nearly clear.

After 16 minutes I was on track for the elusive 300 watt normalized power reading.  Sadly, those four minutes were excruciatingly long and I didn't deliver.

After 16 minutes I was on track for the elusive 300 watt normalized power reading. Sadly, those four minutes were excruciatingly long and I didn’t deliver.

The results were virtually the same.  Normalized power was identical.  The variability of the ride, VI, was identical and very close to a perfectly even time trial at 1.01.  The cadence improved from an average of 87 to 93 and the average heartrate dropped by a single beat to 146.  Not because I’m any stronger but due to dropping a few winter pounds, the measure of watts per kilogram improved from 3.37 to 3.47.

Today I had trouble the first time I took the stairs.

Profits, pressures and costs of globalizing triathlons

klassman:

James Madison once famously observed that a man cannot be a judge in his own case. In this essay, the tensions between professionalizing triathlon, providing a high quality race experience and growing the market are highlighted.

Originally posted on The Fields of Green:

Photo by Dean Treml/Red Bull via Getty Images Photo by Dean Treml/Red Bull via Getty Images

Across the multi-sport industry of triathlons, the endurance challenge series with top prestige is licensed and produced by World Triathlon Corporation (WTC). WTC’s world renowned sport property brand is its Ironman triathlon – a 140.6 mile length race combined of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycling race, and 26.2 mile length marathon.

Perhaps, surprisingly, the daunting heft of these miles attracts, rather than repels “IRONFANS” and over 250,000 athletes to Ironman and its Half Ironman, 70.3 mile version, events annually. With its sport property annual revenue reported to hover near the $200 million mark, the WTC continues to attract the participant numbers, caliber of elite athletes, prestige, media rights deals, and wealth of sponsor partnerships that are enviable across the sport industry.

When it comes to the organization of elite global sport, complacency is not an option. Yet, the stakeholders whose…

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Rah Rah Raleigh

Esme and I took a road trip to Raleigh this weekend.  She hung out with her lifelong pal Ava and I ran the half marathon.

Another post will have to do justice to the race details.  In sum, it was fantastic.

It is Wednesday and my post-race recovery is slow.  Last night I basically blew up 60 percent of the way through a track workout.  Legs felt like concrete.  Today my hamstrings and my ass feel like ground sausage.  These things are a small price to pay for having fun outdoors and running faster than I’ve ever run, but they are a price.

That is all.  My complaints about good things are finished for the day.

The Single Best Thing I’ve Read on Open Water Swimming in Years

Jodie Swallow is now going to write for Witsup.  Her first article is on swimming well in the open water.

She starts out strong:

It isn’t an absolute correlation that speed in the pool equals speed in the sea. Open water (OW) is to pool swimming; what mountain biking is to road racing; what Xterra is to triathlon; what cross country is to athletics.

And it keeps getting better.  Well worth the effort to clip and save.

PR does not always stand for Personal Record — IM Puerto Rico Race Report

The race was full of drama.  Life and death kind of drama.  There was a shootout.  The injured athletes are apparently okay.  TRS has more here on implications and some of general security issues facing races.

I swam well.  I went 26:33 with no wetsuit which was fast enough to tie Dede Griesbauer and since she is an absolute icon of the sport and a fabulous swimmer for going on three decades, there is no room for complaint and plenty of room for happy.  I think there were eight age-group men and two age group women (including one who DNFed) who swam faster.  There is one guy listed with a 19 minute swim — which I am sure is in error.  I doubt anyone swam five minutes faster than the fastest pro who gapped the rest of the pro field.  Excepting Mr. 19-Minutes, I was first in my age-group out of the water by one second.  The next guy went on to get second in our age group at the end of the day — I slid all the way back to 16th.

We had an in-water start.  After the turn-around, I tried to go inside of the markers to avoid congestion.  It is clear that I crossed under the bridge on the right and moved left toward the finish and away from the surf which was on the right and in front of us.

We had an in-water start. After the turn-around, I tried to go inside of the markers to avoid congestion. It is clear that I crossed under the bridge on the right and moved left toward the finish and away from the surf which was on the right and in front of us.

I rode hard.  I think I rode well.  The roads were in good shape, there was wind and the scenery was great.

Where you see the black/white dot on the road is where we turned around halfway back to start the second loop.  We did the second half of the course twice.  Almost no elevation change -- excepting some of the highway ramps close to the city.  Stunning to ride with the ocean over your shoulder -- and windy too.

Where you see the black/white dot on the road is where we turned around halfway back to start the second loop. We did the second half of the course twice. Almost no elevation change — excepting some of the highway ramps close to the city. Stunning to ride with the ocean over your shoulder — and windy too.

The critical statistics were all in line with my goals however the time on the road was slower than I hoped.  All things considered, I’d rather have a slower time where I executed the way I planned than a blazing time that I cannot ever approach again due to a fluke in pacing or wind.  I had hoped to ride under 2:20.  By contrast, in October I went too hard for the first half and ended up with normalized power of 224 watts, and IF of .81 and a variability index of 1.07.  Granted, the Austin 70.3 is over much hillier terrain, but 1.07 is too much and I even ended up with a best ever run split.  Too bad I didn’t have the VI from Puerto Rico and the NP from Austin on the same day.

I was aiming for a normalized power of 230-235 and a intensity of .8.  While those numbers were lower than I wanted I'm very happy with a variability index of only 1.01.  That is what I needed to run well -- that, and more run training.

I was aiming for a normalized power of 230-235 and a intensity of .8. While the actual numbers were lower than I wanted I’m very happy with a variability index of only 1.01. That is what I needed to run well — that, and more run training.

I smoothed the graph below significantly, but there are still a lot of ups and downs on the pink line.  I don’t quite understand that feature yet.

Tuck down and get out of that wind you big galoot!  Oh, and get stronger too so that your cadence is more steady and the power is higher.

Tuck down and get out of that wind you big galoot! Oh, and get stronger too so that your cadence is more steady and the power is higher.

I ran like a rolling turd.  It was only three or four miles before I realized that this was happening so I did my best to smile my way through the race.  It was pretty, the people were nice — why get upset?  Typically, one chart or map does not tell a whole story, but in this case it might.

Here we see the percentage of time spent running in each heartrate zone.  I would have liked it if the bars on the left were minimal and most of the time was found in fourth and fifth bar.  As it turns out, I ran with a heartrate about a dozen beats per minute above my threshold for 31 percent of the race.  It was hot, hilly and I was not prepared.  Live and learn...

Here we see the percentage of time spent running in each heartrate zone. I would have liked it if the bars on the left were minimal and most of the time was found in fourth and fifth bar. As it turns out, I ran with a heartrate about a dozen beats per minute above my threshold for 31 percent of the race. It was hot, hilly and I was not prepared. Live and learn…

The run course takes you down a very steep cobbled street that has a 90 degree turn about two-thirds of the way down.  After popping out from a little tunnel, we found ourselves on National Park land running on a wide concrete path along the sea and a giant wall of stone.  I’m told the locals call this section of the run “The Oven” because the combination of the sunshine, wall and whatever traps heat.  It would have been fine except we had a turn-around about a 3/4 of a mile down the path and then had to make our way up the steep hills again.  Brutal — but brutal for everyone not just me.

The view from the iconic entrance to the path below one of the historic forts on the run course.

The view from the iconic entrance to the path below one of the historic forts on the run course.

My leg was marked with a big 5Q.  What you see here is a guy who is absolutely zonked but trying to make a 5Q in American Sign Language.  FAIL.

The photo is washed out because it was that sunny.  My back was fried by the end of the morning.

The photo is washed out because it was that sunny. My back was fried by the end of the morning.

Women In Triathlon

klassman:

A first-time blogger jumps into something new — eyes open and full of candor.

Originally posted on trimenzies:

This is my first post on here so bare with me while I get started. This blog site will be my feeling on things that are going on in the world of triathlon and other things. So lets start with the hot button topic that I have publicly stayed away from so far. Women in triathlons.

After this past month I have seen over and over new women’s groups popping up on social media.This started out as a simple question why are there not the same amount of women pro slots in Kona as men. This has lead me to ponder the equality over the whole sport and after really looking into in I am baffled. I feel like I should apologize, I have been in this sport since I was 5 years old and it was not til recently when brought up by my girlfriend Kim that it is…

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50 Women to Kona

klassman:

Have you seen this post yet on #50womentokona? I hadn’t either. You should. It is full of all sorts of righteous indignation and spitfire.

Originally posted on The Mediocre Triathlete:

Please pardon my detour away from the silly toward the serious. If you are not familiar with the #50womentoKona movement, and gender equality means anything to you, get familiar! Better yet, get involved!  Visit the website www.TriEqual.com for an education and an opportunity to help. 

Silliness resumes next post….

50q

The current movement #50womentoKona shouldn’t really mean much to me as a triathlete. I am ten years into the sport, and I’ve had a blast with minimal care for, attention to, or following of pro triathletes. I do admire them. I just don’t follow them, with two exceptions. Cameron Dye is not only my favorite pro triathlete, but he is also my BFF. We share a passion for donuts. I learned this when I met him at the 2014 NYC Triathlon. He is responsible for my motto, “TMT-Where donuts are finish line food.” Coming in a close second is Chrissie Wellington…

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Puerrrrto Rrrrico!

We’ve been married 15 years.

They have been hard, wonderful, enriching and life-filled years.  We’ve loved, lost, doubted, grieved, moved and grown.  We have made big life decisions and been wrong.  We have made life-altering changes that have been rewarding beyond expectation.

What a ride.  We rented an efficiency apartment and then a tiny one-bedroom house.  We’re now on to owning our third house — and at 8+ years have lived in it for longer than all the other places together.  We have four wonderful children who everyday remind me how crazy, exotic and surprising they can each be in their individualism, generosity and sheer wackiness.  We have jobs, hobbies and passions, enviable health and enough resources to keep paying the bills every month.

Monday morning in the Ocean Park neighborhood of San Juan.

Monday morning in the Ocean Park neighborhood of San Juan.

We have also been through a failed adoption, five miscarriages, sudden job loss, a catastrophic accident for a close family member, death of loved ones and the ongoing challenges of aging parents.

We’ve had a life, and we’re just getting started.

One day last weekend, there was a meltdown over the rules of a board game, a band competition, the first soccer game of the season, track practice, drop-off for a sleepover, going out to the local burger joint and frozen custard shop and more games and reading before bed.  That is just the kids.  In between, Dana did her thing and I mine — which consisted of 95 minutes on the trainer, a four mile run and some strength exercises.  I fell asleep on the couch with one of the Narnia books at my fingertips — reading time abbreviated by Papa’s inability to stay awake.

I wonder how we ever left for a weekend.  But we did.  Dana and I went to San Juan to celebrate our anniversary.  She was able to spend time — twice a day most days — with her favorite teachers taking part in a special workshop in an airy studio blocks from the beach.  I raced.  The Ironman Puerto Rico 70.3 is on a fantastic course.  We swam in a protected lagoon (with manatees!) while the bike course quickly exits San Juan via closed highways and puts the Atlantic over your shoulder for a good portion of the ride before you turn south and find mountains on the horizon.   The run course is also spectacular.  It is hot, largely unshaded, full of hills and it takes you through Old San Juan and past two towering forts.

We stayed in a hotel with a balcony overlooking the lagoon where the swim took place.

I love her and cannot wait to see what comes next for us.

My favorite picture from the race.  A friend always says about challenges, "Make sure you are running to something and not just away from something.  I'm running headlong into the next 15, no 50, years together.

My favorite picture from the race. A friend always says about challenges, “Make sure you are running to something and not just away from something. I’m running headlong into the next 15, no 50, years together.

50 Shades of Suffering

In college I took an entire class on the intellectual problem of evil.  How is it that most monotheistic religions have an all-powerful God and yet there is evil.  We read scripture, The Book of Job, The Brothers Karamazov, descriptions of 20th century genocide — the world is not at a loss for examples of evil.

Among the books was one simply called Suffering and it gave some sort of meaning to suffering — it wasn’t simple a waste of energy or a punishment, it could be redeeming.

It has been decades since I read the book.  But riding a bike has a way to bring the mind around to the topic again.  And then I found these guys did a short video on how to get better at suffering.  Think on that for a moment.  You are going to go out and punish yourself and do things that are avoidable and extremely uncomfortable.  This is a how-to video.

WITSUP? Gender Equity, That’s What

When I can, moreso in the summer than the winter, I frequent a handful of triathlon focused sites.  I read Slowtwitch and Triathlete Magazine articles.  I really enjoy the Down Under perspective from First Off the Bike.  The business of triathlon is covered at the predictably named Triathlon Business.  I follow several professionals’ social media accounts.

It was through social media that last year I found WITSUP.  At first glance, you might think a site devoted to women in triathlon would not be so interesting to me.  But, you’d be wrong.  They do nice interviews, the content — nearly all as far as I can tell — written by women is not always just for women but for triathletes.

Recently, the WITSUP community (like FOTB, also based in Australia) has gone to the front of the parade for changes in how professional races are staged — especially the Ironman World Championships and the biggest of the Challenge races.

A four-part series on gender equity in triathlon is currently being published.  Sara Gross is thorough and even-handed.  Part two of the series is here.  As best I can tell they are also leading the effort to work constructively with the new Women In Tri panel established by WTC.  Go here to get a concise overview of the issues at stake and to lend your own support to the cause.

I signed the letter.  In the area where you leave a modifier next to your name, I wrote the following:

Husband, Father of Four, Supportive Dude, Fan, Finisher of Dozens of Triathons & Open Water Races, Race Volunteer, IM 70.3 World Championship Qualifier, Multiple Ironman Finisher

Being a fan — watching the development of races, seeing the human struggle and triumph, marveling at the execution of near super-human feats — brought the issue to my attention.  As I have developed as an athlete I’ve also gained a sliver of insight into how some of the structural problems affect the professional field — especially draft packs and the effect of strong swim-bikers and how they can affect the female professionals.  As a fan, I want to see deep and competitive fields and not tactics compromised by another simultaneous race happening on the same course.

Last night I took my 10 year old daughter to run with me at the track.  Afterward, we talked about what she saw.  It was an interval session with nearly 30 members of the club present.  I ran near the front of the second group and to her, I was going “super fast”.  She was polite enough not to point out how I struggled with the last 800.  I highlighted that the bulk of the leading group were women.  We talked about them by name and accomplishment: Mothers, 20-something professionals, a 50+ national caliber and record setting age-grouper, former NCAA Division I runners, a doctor, a writer.

Our family has resources.  My children have a strong and accomplished mother demonstrating how to live well. In the end, they will be okay.  But they and so many others will have their horizons broadened — in sport, in business, the arts, academia, the non-profit community — when they have heroes with whom they relate.

Lend your support today.  Make room for the next generation of heroes on the Kona pier.

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