Radical Immersion

Ironman Training with Life, Marriage, Children & Work

Category: Food & Diet

Meltdown in the Mountains — 80 Minutes of Medical Attention

A list of the weird things my body did upon finishing Ironman Coeur d’Alene

  1. I became dizzy, disoriented and had narrow, tunnel vision.  I slurred my speech and repeated the same thing several times.
  2. I talked excessively to a guy I met at the finish line, Scott Rigsby, like I had known him for years.  It was very uncharacteristic behavior for me but he didn’t seem to mind and was the person who steered me into the medical tent to find someone to help my crazy-talking self.  I’ve known of him for years, but never met him.
  3. I did not recognize two friends who stood “bedside” shortly after I arrived.  According to their report hours later, at first I just stared blankly at them like we’d never met.  Sorry about that.
  4. There was a metallic taste in my mouth.
  5. My teeth and my feet became tingly and numb.
  6. My right calf seized up into a monstrous cramp the first time I shifted and tried to sit fully upright.
  7. Freezing cold towels were draped over my legs to help the cramp which made me start shivering and shaking so bad that I couldn’t talk and I crushed a paper cup full of soup because my hands clenched while they shook.  The cold towels were removed and I was given a space blanket.  We were in a massive tent, on asphalt, it was 105 degrees and I was happily bundled in a blanket.
  8. The vastus medialis muscle above my right knee went into a spasm that lasted approximately 30 minutes.
  9. I had a twitch in my left foot; for about five minutes it just kicked out an inch or two to the left every five seconds.
  10. I forgot Dana’s phone number.  Fortunately, the medical attendant who agreed to text her for me was able to look at my Road ID to get the number.  For some reason, during this conversation I developed a stutter.  It was amazingly frustrating because I felt like my brain was working at 80 percent normal speed but the messages — which I was thinking — were not coming out of my mouth.  She would say, “What would you like me to tell her?”  I could not get the words out to say something as simple as “I’m fine.  A little dizzy.”  This exchange with an extremely patient women trying to help me communicate made me cry.  She gave me a towel to wipe my face and it was still cold from the leg incident which caused an immediate headache.
  11. I became extremely emotional — nearly weepy several times like when they first took my vital signs, overjoyed at other points, and worried about details that were entirely insignificant like how tight the laces were on my shoes.  I apologized several times for taking up space when there were obviously people who needed help.  I was assured that I was in fact one of those people — only I couldn’t recognize it.
  12. Several times I called out to the guy in the chair opposite me.  I thought poor Kevin — only about eight feet away — was in terrible shape if he didn’t recognize his own name after the race.  Only about an hour later, when Kevin arrived in the medical tent and took the spot two chairs to my right did I realize the guy I’d been harassing was someone else, wearing entirely different colors in his kit, and with his name clearly visible on his bib — it wasn’t Kevin.  I was the mess, not the other guy.
  13. For the first half hour I was in the tent, my nose would not stop running.
  14. I became mildly paranoid about my heart rate and kept checking it even after they removed my watch to improve circulation to the extremities.  The watch had the heart rate on display so I had to count it out.  This would be no big deal but I was paranoid and doing it every few minutes.  Every time I checked it was within a few beats of when they came by and checked it which was in the low to mid 60s.  My blood pressure was also pretty stable around 110/70.
  15. I felt drunk.  We’re not talking buzzed or tipsy.  I was like that guy you’ve all seen who gets so loaded at the tailgate he never makes it into the stadium.  The only difference is he usually sleeps in the parking lot a mile from the game and I was awake, on a plastic lounge chair, totally falling apart in a parking lot only 10 yards from the finish line.

The medical personnel said that I had acute hyponatremia and not to worry but to drink my fluids — chicken broth and Gatorade.  I knew enough about hyponatremia to get a little freaked out.  I kept thinking about the irony that I was going to drown, on dry land, when the thing I did best at these races was swim.  Later, before I was released, it was explained that if I had more serious symptoms or if I had vomited even one more time, I would have had an IV immediately and probably been shipped straight to the hospital.  Their prescription was salty drinks and time.  It worked.

I didn’t have it from drinking too much fluid but rather from too low of sodium concentration because I had been sweating out electrolytes faster than I could keep them down and absorb them.

I was also told that it was both helpful and a good sign that I was able to recount for the medical team my “history” which is to say I was able to detail my nutrition over the previous six hours — how much I drank, how many salt tablets I took, how many gels I ate, how many times I vomited and my estimate of how many gels I kept down.  It was helpful because it gave them a picture of how long I had effectively been running on empty and they didn’t have to guess or assume the worst.

It was a good sign because even though my mind was playing all sorts of games and working slowly, the ability to count a variety of items/activities and recount them was a good sign.  I knew how many salts I had taken and the intervals at which I had taken them going back ten hours but could not recognize friends who stood next to me or sat across an aisle.  I gave a detailed account of my Gu consumption but was dizzy enough that three people had to lower me into the chair.

Most of these symptoms that emerged in the medical tent, I’m told, were brought on as my systems tried to “turn themselves back on” as more electrolytes entered my bloodstream and the balance of water, sugar, salts etc. regained a semblance of normal.  It took almost a week for my stomach to get back to normal.  I’m going to lose one toenail to the race.  I felt mentally sluggish for several days after the race and had term memory problems — like when I called someone and had trouble with the voicemail because I couldn’t remember my own phone number or difficulty with my computer passwords.  All in all, it probably took about a week to get back to normal.

Thank you to the people of Coeur d’Alene who lined the run course with ice, hoses, sprinklers and good cheer.  I’m sure you kept many people out of the hospital.  The volunteers kept us all out of the hospital.  The medical volunteers were smart, attentive, patient and genuinely humane.  Thank you all.


With a Dash of Crazy: 2015 Triathlon Goals

  1. Do at least two open water swims outside of a triathlon or vacation
  2. Consistently swim at least 7,000 yards a week December 2014 through July 2015
  3. Swim at least one 5,000 yard workout per three week cycle
  4. Swim within a stone’s throw of race leaders when there is a pro-field — e.g. giving up no more than five minutes over 2.4 miles
  5. Swim with the lead age-group pack at Ironman Coeur d’Alene
  6. Achieve a 300 watt average over a 20 minute time trial by March 31, 2015
  7. Ride Ironman Coeur d’Alene with a variability index of 1.03 or lower
  8. Keep variability index for all race efforts at 1.05 or lower
  9. Run a 5:30 mile
  10. Run an 18 minute 5k
  11. Run a 3:30 split at Ironman Coeur d’Alene (To do this, I’d have to run 8:00 minute mile pace and be able to run an open marathon at about 3:10 or approximately a 7:15 pace.)
  12. Run 1:32:30 at Raleigh Half Marathon (a 7:03 minute mile pace)
  13. Break 10 hours at Ironman Coeur d’Alene
  14. Finish in top-five for age group at Ironman Coeur d’Alene
  15. Do at least one Olympic distance race
  16. Volunteer at a race
  17. Never race above 179 pounds and race Ironman Coeur d’Alene below 175 pounds



I’ve been offline for a month.  What has happened?

  1. I’ve been messing about with the new Garmin 910XT.  In short, it is a phenomenal piece of equipment but it doesn’t quite do everything as advertised.  Namely, I cannot get consistent readings from the power meter to the wrist in a position where it is visible while riding.
  2. My physical therapy is down to once a week.  I’m eight weeks post-muscle tear and ready to be done with the limited activity.  NB – I cam to a realization about two weeks ago.  I am a runner.  Never before have I identified as such.  But, I figure that if I miss it when I’m not allowed to run then it must say something about me.
  3. I have new “race shoes” for the season.  They are stored away. I haven’t even been able to bring myself to trying them on yet.  They are 1400 from New Balance.  More of a flat compared to the new 890s that I adopted last year after half a dozen years in the same full cushion shoes.
  4. Yesterday I put in the work and was rewarded with my first century of the year.  at 101.48 miles I barely scraped over into triple digits and the one trip up Mt. Sugarloaf was pretty uninspiring, but it is a start and today I don’t feel terrible.
  5. I signed up for a 2014 Ironman.  September 20 on the old Chesapeakeman course on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  It is flat as a pancake.  Patrick also signed up (the week before he set a new personal record at the Boston Marathon.)  I have some ideas about time goals but I’m not ready to commit to them in print.
  6. I’ve been reading the Coggan book on training with a power meter.  It is like a textbook which I like.  I do not like my initial FTP number of 239, but it is a starting point.
  7. Dana has been diligently training for the Raleigh 70.3.  She is out on a ride now.  I think she is going to fly through the first two thirds of the race.
  8. My swimming is up lately due to the extra time.  It is also a bit faster.  I don’t think it is primarily due to the extra volume.  I’m quite sure that I’m swimming faster — repeating in the 1:15-1:17 per hundred yard range — than the past couple years because of the absence of tiredness from running.  There really is only so much load that the body can handle.  Regardless of the reason, it is nice to do a set like 8×300 descending.
  9. My weight remains a constant struggle and worry.  I’m above 190.  Really, there isn’t much more to say other than “gross.”


Ready to Run?

Ready to Run?

Weight on My Shoulders

I’ve gained weight.

There I said it.  It is easy to see.  I feel it — like a sluggish envelope suctioned around my “real body.”  And, it is grossing me out.

It has both been a cause and an effect of a general blah I’ve had for about two months.  Trouble with my left leg led to almost zero running.  Cold, ambivalence and darkness have curtailed riding.  Calories in and not enough energy out through training.

However, I’ve been swimming a fair amount.  Last night, I managed 3,100 yards including a set of 13×200 r. :15.  I averaged about 1:17 and for all practical purposes descended the whole set.  The first one was in 2:40 and the last in 2:29 and near the end three in a row were 2:32.

It felt good.  It wasn’t great.  Great swims cannot be justly described with words — only experienced.  I wasn’t floating above the water, never tiring, but neither was I pushing through it like a barge.  Despite descending the set I never felt the proverbial piano land on my shoulders.  And that may be what it takes to bring me back to the right path, the healthy path, a slimmer more fit path.

I bet she could do repeat 200s forever — and on a faster interval.

My Power Supply

Dana will occasionally joke about my status when we met — I didn’t cook and certainly didn’t eat good food.  We’ll leave details to your imagination but as a prompt, think of canned soup, lots of pasta and take-out and frozen pizzas.

In August 2005, nine years after meeting her and more than five years after getting married, I did my first race.  As far as races go, it was a disaster.  The run was through a little town perched in the North Carolina mountains.  I had the kind of sweats that precede vomiting and passing out.  On an out and back bike course, I crashed on the way out.  We went camping afterward and my road rashed back, legs and ass were subjected to sleeping on the ground.  But, I got hooked.  It was the third step in my progression toward a healthier and smarter lifestyle.

The first steps were meeting Dana and subsequently getting married which brought all manner of goodness — including better nutrition and meals — into my life.

Last month, I took another step.  I started ordering lunches from My Power Supply.  I pick them up on Mondays from Mind the Mat — Dana’s favorite yoga studio — just a few blocks away and then take them to work.  The meals are proportioned, nutritious and include a heavy dose of protein to give me a slow energy burn throughout the day.  Not least of which, they cost the same or oftentimes less than the fast food options I have been buying from the local sandwich and salad shops.

Like so many changes, the steps toward better health have been incremental.  It is a constant process with meal choices here, sleep habits there, exercise decisions about intensity and frequency throughout.  It was the people at My Power Supply who opened the door for the next step.  They have an ambassador program.  I applied.  They accepted.  Tomorrow is my first event — I’ll volunteer with them for a couple of hours to spread the word about the company, its services and living a healthier, happier lifestyle.

I’m not really sure what to expect.  I know that the time I spend with these folks is time spent with people who share many of my values.  Part of the agreement I made included the following core ideas that guide the company:

  • Serve community, locally – We love strong communities for the support they give their members, the values they share and the good they do for others. These are the folks we want to serve, so long as we can do so locally – whether individual gyms or the broader DC, MD, VA community where we grew up.
  • Say it straight – The world generally, and the food realm in particular, is full enough already of corporate-speak and bs. Food quality, access, sustainability, health – these are serious issues that shouldn’t be glossed over with jargon and semi-truths. We aim to speak plainly, aggressively seek out feedback, educate, tackle tough questions and be part of better solutions.
  • Give back – Starting with our 1-1-1 Giveback philosophy, we’re weaving a bright philanthropy thread into everything we do. Super important to us personally, a core value of the communities like CrossFit and Yoga we serve, and an inspiring characteristic of other companies we admire (like Salesforce.com, Google, Zappos).
  • Follow a compass, not a rulebook – We’re inspired by lots of things but we’re not prone to orthodoxy. We prefer following a clear direction and seeing where it takes us rather than any rigid prescription. Take our food philosophy – inspired by Paleo, focused on fueling up active people but forward-looking and open to inevitable evolution in healthy eating and moving.
  • Yes to big ideas, no to convention – When you’re making a big change like eating better, consistently new experiences are critical to staying with it (and seeing the biggest gains). So we focus on thinking differently, avoiding the tractor beam of convention and stalking new ideas. Not always the easiest course in the near term, but required we think to keep things fresh and help you sustain change over time. 

These are things I can get on board with.  Along the way, I’ll learn some things and meet some new people.  Stay tuned.  You might hear more about the activities of the brand ambassador role, and nutrition generally, in this space in the future.  In the meantime, next time I see you in person don’t worry about formalities.  There is no need to address me as Ambassador Lassman.

(Check out the groovy artwork available for ambassadorial webpages.)

I wonder if they’d mind if I photoshopped in a pair of goggles instead of the weights? Probably best not to rock the boat.

More Gratitude, IMLP Run, The After — Hypothermia? & Ice Cream

The Run

In her superb love letter to swimming, Lynn Sherr observes that the best of us are only about 10-11 percent efficient in the water.  Energy expended compared to work done, there is a lot of waste.  Sea mammals we are not.  The rough and tumble of my swim may have given me poor efficiency scores in the water — there is no way I was able to turn it all the way to 11 — but the run was smooth as I could reasonably expect.

Which for me, may mean I was only 10 percent efficient but hey, who is to look a gift horse in the mouth?

To continue to use aquatic references for the terrestrial portion of the race, I was even-keeled for the run and this — more than the best time or a dramatic sprint for the finish line — was a mark of success.  The splits show a few inflection points however there were no major breakdowns.  After three miles, I went from a too fast starting pace (7:32, 8:00, 8:01) to the 8:35-8:40 range where I stayed for more than an hour.  Excepting the split for mile eight when I stopped to pee, my splits didn’t vary by more than a few seconds until mile 10.  At this point, they jumped up to the 8:55-9:10 range until mile 19 when they abruptly slowed again.  At this point, more variability entered the picture from mile to mile and I was anywhere from 9:19-9:47 until mile 25.

Mile 25 starts at the bottom of a hill and ends near the top.  I broke.  My steady-eddy attitude gave way to “get me done with this thing NOW!”  The positive self-talk turned to a blue streak of unprintables.  Even though I wasn’t tallying up my splits or figuring out my likely finish time or guessing my marathon time, I was aware that mile 25 was the first time that my splits went above 10 minutes per mile.  It was disheartening.

I knew I was going to finish.  I was pretty sure that I was well ahead of my 2012 time and on the way to a personal best.  I had just cracked — my focus, energy and ability to hold everything together had evaporated with each step up that damn hill.  Worse than cracking, I was aware that I had cracked.

And then one of the many minor miracles of the day happened.  I saw my little Uma.  Not really.  Uma died last year around Thanksgiving.  She had been with us for more than a decade and it is heartbreaking still to think about her passing.  However, at Lake Placid Uma’s doppelgänger was in town to cheer.  There she was on the roadside and I called out to her and her spirit lifted my heart and I ran a little lighter, a little taller and a lot faster through the 1.25 miles of the course along Mirror Drive and into the Olympic Oval.

All in all, the run split was 45:59 faster than 2012.  It was my best time and it was 33 seconds off of the “best case scenario goal time” for the day.  It is the best executed run that I’ve ever done.  I’ve run faster splits.  I’ve run more even splits.  I’ve run through more intense anaerobic pain.  But these efforts were all inferior to the overall mental and physical efforts that I needed to run 3:56:33 at Ironman Lake Placid in 2013.

Also, I cannot remember seeing such a lovely crew at the finish line.  The Olympic Oval is a marvelous place to finish a run.  There is the stadium seating, the gentle curve, the fans lined up, hillsides for additional viewing and, Mike Reilly’s voice echoing off of the nearby high school.  I finished well, managed a smile and although I saw the tribe on the final turn and managed a wave of “I Love You” in sign language, didn’t stop to visit or high five anyone.

The nutrition plan worked.  I stayed focused on the moment that I was in and didn’t let my mind wander to the rest of the run or the people around me.  I was able to see Dana Ann and several of the kids when I needed them so much after making the climb up the big hill at mile 12.  Simply put, the run worked and for that I’m so very grateful.

The After

I was wiped out.  Seriously, wiped out.

Hi guys.  Don't worry, Papa isn't talking sense and cannot think straight.  Here, have a medal, t-shirt and hat.  Don't fight.  Hi guys, don't worry, I seem to be repeating myself.  Anyone want to wear a medal or a hat?

Hi guys. Don’t worry, Papa isn’t talking sense and cannot think straight. Here, have a medal, t-shirt and hat. Don’t fight. Hi guys, don’t worry, I seem to be repeating myself. Anyone want to wear a medal or a hat?

As mentioned above, I folded like an accordion on one of the two volunteers assigned to help me through the chute.  I insisted that we go to a table so I could sit and not to the medical tent.  I did not want the kids to see me with the medical professionals.  It turns out, I don’t think I needed them at that time but I wasn’t being completely rational either.

I visited with Dana and the kids and we made a plan of where to meet after I got a short rubdown from the volunteer massage people.  I found Patrick and we traded notes quickly and then headed for the rubdown.  At this point, the signals started to show up, but I didn’t recognize them at all.  I was a mess and very soon I was going to need help.

I had trouble controlling my hand so that I could sign in for the massage.  As the volunteer masseuse worked on my legs, I started to cry.  There was no weeping or wailing, but there was a big release and I turned to jelly on the table.  By the time I left the tent, my right arm was twitching methodically.  It looked like I had a nervous disorder like Parkinsons.  I went to claim my bags and could not speak intelligently to the volunteers checking race numbers at the bags.

It seems that my rack had one bag on it that was mine, and a second bag that belonged in the exact same spot one rack over.  I picked up the bags on my rack without checking them and tried to walk off not realizing I had someone’s bike gear.  As the guy explained the problem, which included a missing bike bag of mine, I could not form sentences.  I just muttered and pointed and leaned on a fence.  He called someone for help to locate my bag and gently took the other person’s gear from my hands.  By this point, both of my arms were twitching and I was getting cold.  I was confused.  Not angry or frustrated, I just couldn’t figure out what to do next.

After what was probably only five minutes, the volunteers had me all squared away and pointed me back toward the flagpole in front of the school — my meeting place with Dana.  Here I made at least one good decision by deciding to leave my bike in T2 until later.  I was struggling with the bags and the maze of fences and tables on the oval’s infield.  However, I couldn’t figure out the fences and finally shouted to Dana to meet me up the street in front of the Olympic Center where there is a pile of snow (shavings from the Zamboni).

I walked up the hill on Main Street to meet the tribe at the snow pile and went into full shutdown.  Later, I realized from reading others’ race reports, I probably had hypothermia.  Finally, quivering all over and not really making much sense, I met the tribe along with Patrick and his clan at the snow pile.  Dana looked quite alarmed and she helped me out of my wet shirt and into her raincoat.  We all walked back to the hotel where the warmth, something to drink and a shower helped me immensely.

Lake Placid provided mountains of fun.

Lake Placid provided mountains of fun.

The Outcome & the Gear

All in all, the whole trip, the whole race, the whole experience was amazing.  I hope the kids get more out of watching the Olympics this winter from their adventures atop the ski jumps and walking down the bobsled runs.  I was able to finish upright and impress the woman I love — and if that is not enough reason to do these things, I don’t know what is.  And, I dropped a whole bunch of time off of my 2012 performance.  Who’d a thought that I’d finish 143rd overall or 27th in my age group?  I didn’t.

I swam well — though it didn’t turn out the way I had envisioned it.  I rode well — and had a great experience learning a little what it is like for those who race for position.  I ran well — as well as I could have hoped and without any really bad incidents.  The kids had fun.  Dana loved the town and the adventures of the surrounding area.  Even before we went to Ben & Jerry’s on race night, I was a winner.

This is the standard point in the race report of professionals and other sponsored athletes where they list all their sponsors and coaches and physical therapists and nutritionists and such.  I swim in a BlueSeventy wetsuit and was ready to rock a brand new Roka speedsuit.  I wear Speedo or TYR goggles.  I ride a Kuota K-Factor with Mavic wheels, Shimano Ultegra and Shimano shoes.  I roll with Continental tires.  On the back, I sported a Wheelbuilder.com disc cover and on the front I rode with a borrowed Zipp 808.  Usually I don a Giro helmet but borrowed a Spiuk Chronos.  I have a racebelt from Spibelt and wear a 2XU kit.  Oakley protects my eyes and I am devoted to New Balance — currently running in 890 v.2 with some after market speed laces.  I eat Gu gels and Bonk Breaker bars which get washed back by water or Powerbar Perform.  I also train with Nuun and race with Enduralytes.

Oh, and I have five sponsors.  My wife and our tribe of four little people.  They are more than I deserve.  I’m so very thankful.

NB — Corporate Sponsors Welcome.  Seriously, just call me.

Suitcase of Courage

The Tour de France ended yesterday. Amid all the spectacle, drama and amazing athletic performances, audiences were able to once again catch the commentary of Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin. For many, they are the voices of professional cycling and are known as much for the context they provide to the races as for their colorful expressions.

Climbing out of the saddle is dancing on the pedals while a rough peloton with elbows, handlebars and shoulders knocking is argy bargy. A rider making a big ride back to the peloton after a crash or going out in front alone, with a long way or big mountains to cross before the finish, is deemed — usually several times — to have dug into his suitcase of courage. Neither the race nor the commentary disappointed.

Last week was also Desmond’s first swim meet. He was entered in the 25 meter freestyle and the 25 meter backstroke. As a member of the Tropical Storm development team, he did not race every week like his sisters on the Hurricane team. He was nervous. He was worried about the backstroke. I was nervous. I was worried that a bad experience would confirm to him that he “couldn’t” when really he just couldn’t yet.

He did it though. He was fantastic. Here is a clip of the freestyle, the stronger of his performances. He is in the lane closest to the camera.

25 Meter Freestyle — First Race

It was clear to see why he was worried about the backstroke. He bobbed up and down a little like a straw. He had trouble getting into horizontal plane and by the time most of the heat had finished he was struggling, really struggling. But then something amazing happened. He kept on. Several times, he looked around and then he’d tip his head back and try some more. Stroke by stroke and inch by inch, he kept trying and he came closer and closer to the wall.

Cheers rang up from around the pool deck. Some of the older kids — teenagers — had quietly been assigned by the coaches to look after the youngest kids for their first meet. Their cheers for Desmond encouraged others to take up the call. And though he reports to have heard none of this, he dug into his suitcase of courage and was fortified by the clamor. He showed the heart of a champion while his father choked up just a little bit.

The prize from that race will certainly last longer than the oversized lollipop passed out by the coaches to all the first time swimmers. It will stay with me for a long time. I’ll take it wherever I go, in my suitcase of memories.

One heck of a lollipop.

One heck of a lollipop.

Before I forget…

The weekend in Raleigh was big fun all around. We spent time with friends, saw familiar and welcome sights and were able to race at a well-organized venue. While I’ve written the race report up at BT, there is a lot more to unpack and explore. It may take a while. Therefore, I’ve made a handy list of things that I want to think a little more about.

1. Dana did the whole race, didn’t really have any trouble, finished with a smile and didn’t get sore this week. Wow, simply wow. My biggest regret is clearly that I missed her finish because I was trying to get the camera in order to capture it for posterity.

2. My swim was slow. Some of that may be attributed to the lack of a wetsuit. Others wrote in their race reports that it was choppy across the long side of the triangle. I didn’t notice this and find it dubious. There was more physical contact in this swim than any that I’ve ever done. Notwithstanding all of these circumstances, it was a slow swim. I felt fine — not low in the water, heavy, or tired — and accelerated where I wanted to do so. This is troubling. In advance of the race, I had a goal of improving by 10-12 minutes and a wildly ambitious goal of going 4:44:59. Had I swum well, or even just swum better, I would have made that wild number of 4:44.

3. My bike cadence was high. Much of the time I was in the high 90s or over 100 and not in the low 90s. I was able to go into the biggest gear — riding with a 25-11 — a couple of times and pedal right on through a gentle downslope. I don’t think I’ve developed a ton more power and the road tilted up as much as down so this is something to think about. In addition, for nearly the whole ride my heart rate was in the high 130s.

4. I was unable to piss the bike. On the upside, I think for the entirety of the bike course I was only passed by three people. On the downside, I pissed the run as I finished the second loop at the art museum. Like Lake Placid, I did it at the end of an aid station. Unlike at Lake Placid where I stopped moving and essentially bent over and just breathed, at Raleigh I started the piss while walking through and just kept moving. The effect was to fill my left shoe. In the hunched over position it is possible to get the piss to ramp off my knee and or ankle band and stay out of my sock and shoe. I’m not sure what would happen if I was actually running. It may shut off the spigot (like when swimming) or it may ramp off the knee and fly back like when cycling. Or, it may simply fill my shoe but I’d make faster progress then pissing while walking. These are empirical questions and should be tested — in trianing.

5. I started the race with a plan to run agressively and did so. While I didn’t negative split, I did bring my times back down for the last 3.5 miles and I’m immensely happy with that outcome. I’m not sure why, but I find the prospect of a negative split something of the holy grail in pacing.

6. On the run, I took most of a single Gu and either water or Perform or both at each aid station. At this distance, even on a hot day, I can do the run with nothing but fluids. This is good to know.

7. I was dropped in the last aid station by a guy who’d been running shoulder to shoulder with me since mile 9. I slowed for fluids and he didn’t. He put 20-30 yards on my that I could not bring back and then they eventually turned into 50-60 yards. It was a tactical mistake — he was in my age group. Live and learn.

8. My age group had five slots for the Ironamn 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas. When roll-down started, two had been claimed. I got the last one in my age group. I really cannot believe it and find the whole prospect of going to the race a bit sureal.

I ride clean -- and consent to all manner of testing.

I ride clean — and consent to all manner of testing.

The race is September 8th so I guess my training plan will be to continue to train and taper for Ironman Lake Placid, rest for a week and then develop a plan to get me through August that includes a second taper and a trip to Family Camp.

9. I rode with Aaron’s helmet and with the aerojacket on my back wheel. Before the race I thought of each as a luxury. Now, they both seem like necessesities. Funny how quickly perspective can change.

10. I ran almost the whole race with a heartrate in the mid- to high-140s. This is great for Ironman because the top end of zone two for me is 148-149. However, I would have liked to push hard enough to have that average in the high 150s. I think I can sustain it for more than 90 minutes. This is something to figure out because I was pushing on the run. There wasn’t a lot of “saving for later” going on.

11. I was nervous about the pre-race breakfast plan but it worked well enough. I had five eggs between 4.00 and 4.20 a.m. along with two cups of tea. I had a liquid powerbar at about 4:45 a.m. as well as a banana and a Bonk Breaker between 5:00 and 5:30 a.m. along with some water. Start time for my wave was at about 7:52.

Fine Tuning for the First Time

Four days from now will be the first triathlon of the season. It is the “tune up” for the big race of the season — coming eight weeks before Ironman Lake Placid.

I’m excited. After six years of triathlons, there are many firsts involved.

This is the first time the whole tribe will be there for a race.

This is the first triathlon that Dana has ever done — and the first time we’ve raced together.

This is the first time I’ll ride with a disc on the back — courtesy of the aerojacket from Wheelbuilder.com.

This is the first time I’ll race with an aero helmet — on loan from friend, colleague and 5X Ironman Aaron.

This is the first time Raleigh has hosted the race and the first time I’ve done a WTC branded Half Ironman.

First time that I’m going with Bonk Breaker and the first time that I’ll start the race with a plan to run agressively.

This will be the first time I race at a weight that is at the high end of what is reasonable for an amateur who wants to climb well. I’ll start Sunday morning between 180-185 which is twenty pounds more than a cyclist of my height and about 15-20 pounds less than the last time I did a HIM.

Catch Up

All the experts — real and self-proclaimed — say that there is no catching up when you miss workouts and fall behind on Ironman training. Look ahead, get back on the plan and go forward without dwelling on what didn’t happen. Not so with a blog where I can go back and catch up.

Last weekend the whole tribe went to Raleigh to visit with friends and to watch as Dana and I swam at Lake Jordan. It was big fun. She covered 1.2 miles in 45:12 or the same time that she had a year ago when she swam a mile in an open water swim. I ended up third overall with a 57:47 for 2.4 miles. The Lake Jordan swim was the first time that Dana and I raced together and I really liked it although we have some things to learn about logistics. I nearly missed the start and Dana could have used a bit more time with the port potty lines.

I think this is the first race, of any kind, that I did not get a personal best time going back more than two years. Reflecting on this point has been interesting. I swam well, felt strong, and generally had a good morning. (Sighting was bad, I selected the wrong goggles and my time was slower than IMLP 2012 split by more than four minutes.) Also, I know that it is freaky and a fluke of amateur athletics to have so many consecutive best times. But I liked my streak. I didn’t talk about it. It was more like a no-hitter in the dugout — I knew, but did not speak of it. In a word, I was proud. Pride lays us all low. It is a good reminder. And notwithstanding the broken streak, we had a blast.

After the race the tribe rallied for a family portrait.

After the race the tribe rallied for a family portrait.

About two or three weeks ago, I met this woman on a ride. She too is training for Lake Placid. She was nice and is quite speedy and lives in the neighborhood. Maybe I pick up a few tips.

I did the Whole30 nutrition plan in April. It more or less worked for me. I really miss desserts and chocolates but I’m not failing throughout the day, have lost some weight and generally continue to improve my health and fitness.

I’ve nearly completed my long-ride/run transition from Powerbars to Bonk Breakers. The impetus was the Whole30. Neither is compliant but the Bonk Breakers are made with more food and fewer additives. They are also more expensive and harder to store on the bike. But, I’m figuring it out.

Also, I’m behind on training. The comparison of my planned training versus actual training for last three weeks have not been stellar. But, there is always been tomorrow. A big ride plus a 45 minute run is scheduled for the morning before we all go to the first evening movie of the summer shown in the playing field of the neighborhood school. The series is sponsored by a dear friend who is a local businesswoman and stalwart for the community.

I cannot wait.