Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Swim Focus: Did it work?

Well, my swim focus has come to an end. After two months of consistent dedicated work I made it.
My normal swim volume is probably somewhere around 30,000 yards a month. For October and November I had a goal of 50,000 yards per month. Unfortunately due to a sickness in October and a little bit of life outside of triathlon getting in the way I was unable to hit that mark either month. I did make it to about 45,000 each month though. Here is what I learned from past 2 months.
1. The black line in my pool is actually blue. The funny thing is I never noticed this. I had it pointed out to me by Kelly Jahns who informed me in late Novembr. I guess it's time for some new goggles. :)
2. A swim focus will really dry out your skin. I'm pretty good about putting lotion on post swim but I can't reach my back, and I'd feel weird asking my swim buddies to lotion me up. So I walk around with an itchy back all the time.
3. I started to actually enjoy swimming. (don't worry, the feeling went away). I no longer dreaded going to the pool in the morning. The biggest reason for this was the people I swim with. They were all very encouraging and helpful.
4. I did get faster. I felt like I got significantly faster, though I'm still not signifcantly fast but certainly "faster" than I was.
My benchmark tests showed some rather significant gains.
1000 TT. October time- 15:32 December time- 14:42
500 TT. October time- 7:20 December time- 6:54
100 TT. October time- 1:14 December time- 1:12

The only goal I didn't hit was my 100 time which I missed by 1 second. Hopefully I can maintain some of this speed I've gained in last year and it will benefit at Ironman Coeur d' Alene in June.

Friday, December 9, 2011

De Soto Polypro Thermal jersey review

Living in the northwest I am constantly on the look out for things to keep warm while training in frigid temperatures. After a couple of years of doubling up on Underarmour cold weather shirts and fleece beanies I think I've finally found the best solution.

This is it!  The De Soto Polypro thermal jersey is awesome.  
1.  Its thicker without being cumbersome.  There is a fleece liner to keep you warm, however it still seems to breath remarkably well.
2.  It has a hood.  I know what you're thinking "big deal" hoods just bounce around and get in the way.  This hood is different though.  Its tight around your head and cut slightly in on the side so it doesn't inhibit your line of sight at all.  It reminds me of the suits you see speed skaters wearing. 
3.  It has thumb holes.  You can cover nearly half of your hand with these thumb holes and it keeps the sleeve from sliding up.
4.  It had a pocket at the top of the neck that you can put a chemical warmer in.  I haven't actually put a warmer in there but I have put my ipod in there and it worked great.  
Bottom line the Polypro jersey is great for biking, running cross country skiing and I'm sure it would work for any outdoor activity where you want to be warm but don't want to worry about of a lot of bulkiness getting in your way.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Just keep swimming

Well... It's now the offseason and that means it time to focus on your weakness. For me it's painfully obvious that it's swimming (and maybe transitions). That has meant more time than ever staring at the black line at the bottom of the pool.
After the 70.3 World Championship I took 2 weeks off. When I say off I mean OFF. It didn't take long for me to notice I no longer had abs and my pants either shrunk or I was getting a little "thicker". It's amazing how quickly I was packing on the pounds. After those 2 weeks I decided I was time to get to work. The pool was calling my name. Typically when the pool calls my name I have no problem ignoring it. This year it was unavoidable.
I started swimming with an unofficial masters group Monday, Wednesday, and Friday last January. I have seen a tremendous amount of improvement in the last year in the pool and a small amount in some of my races. If I was going to make the leap to tremendous improvement in my races I needed to swim more. So starting October 1st I set out to swim 5 days week. I'm happy to report that 1 month in I'm still swimming 5 days a week and things seem to be progressing nicely. I'm actually enjoying my swims. All the swims haven't been long been but most have had some technique work built in. After all, swimming is 20% strength and 95% technique.
The swim focus started with a 100, 500 and 1000 yard time trial. I'm embarrassed to share these times but I figure if I throw them out in the blogosphere I'll have no choice but to improve upon them. Besides when you swim a 37 minute Half Ironman there is no hiding the fact that my swimming is well behind my bike and run. So here are the results.
500- 7:20
1000- 15:32
I think a 1:11 100 is doable and 7:00 500 and hopefully 14:50 1000. I'll report back at the end of November.
In the meantime I encourage everyone to get out there and do what you enjoy the least. :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Las Vegas 70.3 World Championship

Walking down to the lake... an 1:30 after the pro start

This race has been my goal "A" race since Kona last year. Kona didn't go quite as planned. I’d say the biggest problem for on the big island was letting everyone convince me that the race didn't matter because I wasn't going to win my age group anyway. This way of thinking poisoned me and made me believe that I didn't really belong there.

I set out this year to race a World Championship. Not simply show up and participate.

I qualified in Boise on a roll down. That didn't eaxactly help my confidence going into Vegas. If I couldn't even get it done at a smaller race in the Northwest, how was I supposed to compete with the best in the world?

As the season progressed I started to get more and more fit and it was showing in most of my races. I finished in the top five overall in all of my non WTC races with one overall win.

The successful season paired with some great training sessions leading into Vegas had me cautiously optimistic.

T1 full of bikes!

Race Day:

The pros started at 6:30 and I went off at 8. Transition closed at 6 so that meant I had to get down there at around 5 to make sure everything was ready to roll. Luckily I stayed at the Ravella on Lake Las Vegas, which is about 500 yards from the swim start. That meant I was able to walk back to my room, eat and hang out until my wave was getting closer to starting. On a side note if you're looking for a hotel I reccomend the Ravella over Loews. It's actually a lot closer to the swim and T1.

As far as a warm up goes. I just hopped in with about 5 minutes left before we started and swam around a little. I got tired of treading water so I stood on the rocks under the bridge for the final minute before the race started.

Here I come...37 minutes into the swim :(

Swim- 37:04

I decided to go with a swim skin this year. In Kona, I just wore my tri shorts and I had a hell of a time getting into my top after the swim. My Desoto Liftfoil performed beautifully! You can even wear it the whole race if you want. I raced in my Planet X team kit and pealed the swim skin but you can go either way.

As far as the swim went, I started to the far left and swam straight for the first turn buoy. The course curves to the left and I think you can effectively cut some of the swim by not following the buoy line. I got out for the first 100 yards with very little contact. I even managed to stay up near the bulk of the field up to right around the first turn buoy. The swim was pretty uneventful. I was hoping to swim a 34-35, but I came out in 37. Oh well. At least I have something to work on for next year.

T1 – 3:27

T1 is about a 200 yard run around the backside of the lake. I ended up passing about 5 people on the run, only to have them pass me back as I struggled to get my socks on. Somehow I put both on heel side up and had to take them off and start over. Coming out of the change tent my Planet X Exocet was looking pretty lonely. I assumed this would be the case and I didn't let it bother me. The nice thing is I felt zero pressure all day.

I grabbed my bike and started the long run out of T1 and up a windy hill. I left my shoes clipped in and was having problems with the heel loop hitting the ground and spinning my shoes around. I was just waiting for one to pop out of the pedals and go flying. This was a new problem for me. I guess I’d never had to run this far with my bike.

After mounting my bike I had a ridiculous time getting into my left shoe. I collapsed the part I needed to get my foot into and couldn’t get it to open back up. This happened to me one other time this year and it is extremely frustrating. Eventually I got it straightened out, but it took about ½ mile.

What would you do differently?:

I need different socks. I never have problems with the pair I wear for the run. Also, use bands on my shoes to hold them level.

I know my wife meant to show me getting onto my bike, but I can't help but notice how lonely T1 looks.... I was in the last wave though so cut me some slack.

Bike- 2:30:38

In talking to people throughout the week I had told some that I was planning on going pretty hard on the bike and some I was planning on taking it easy. To be honest I wasn't lying to either of them. I didn’t know what the plan was. I ride mostly based on feel and I just decided to see now I felt on the day.

Right out of transition you have a 2 mile climb. I was passed by about 5 people in this section, as I struggled with my shoes. Luckily I was able to pass them all back within the next 2 miles. I was passing people left and right (actually most on the left ;). I was feeling great.

There was one guy in my AG (Charlie) that I was going back and forth with until about mile 20. He was kind of a bigger guy so I assumed he must be a biker and I figured I may have a shot at catching on the run.

The race progressed and I kept waiting for the big hills everyone had warned me about, but they never came. For the most part this course is spent going back and forth between your big ring and small ring. I had an 11-25 on the back I never really needed the 25. There is one difficult part of the course. The climb out of Lake Mead all the way back to T2. It's not super steep but it is long.

By the time I was back near Henderson I was seeing fewer and fewer people in my AG. However, as I was passing by one of the last 2 penalty tents I did see two guys from my age group, and I couldn't help but smile (cheating bastards).

I rolled into T2 feeling good. It turns out I was more on the easy side of the bike. Which in my opinion is usually the better way to go.


I finally had a decent transition. Shoes and socks went on easy and I was ready to run.

Feeling pretty good on the run

Run- 1:30:11


I came into the run having no idea where I was in my AG and not really caring to tell you the truth. I wanted have a good run, and that was all that mattered. This was my last race of the year and I wanted to leave it all on the course. No saving it for a future race. No worrying about an injury flaring up. Just go hard and see where you end up.

The first mile or so is a steady downhill. This allowed me to get my legs under me and set a good pace from the beginning. I was running at about 6:30 per mile pace and it felt relatively easy going downhill. At around 1 mile into the race a guy from my AG in a PACwest kit went flying by me like I wasn't even moving. I looked down and at that time I was running a 6:10.

"Welcome to the world championships" I thought.

My mind started to drift back to my Kona race last year where I did nothing but get passed for the entire run. For a split second I started to struggle with my confidence. It’s times like this that you have to remind yourself that you’re just starting a half marathon. That’s a fairly long race by itself. When you pair with a swim and hard bike anything can happen. I decided to just to keep my pace and run my own race. I knew I wasn't getting on the podium so I may as see what I could do.

The first lap was a bit of a struggle, but then something awesome started to happen. I started noticing that I was passing people in my AG and no one else was passing me. With a renewed sense of confidence I was able to find another gear. It was crazy. Nothing hurt, I was staying cool, and was running really well. The uphill half of the race I was running about 7:20 and the downhill is would let myself go as fast as I wanted and I was running 6:10's.

The second loop flew by and before I knew it I was on the last loop.

It was gut check time.

I had been falling apart at about mile 11 of all my longer runs and races this year and I didn't want that to happen. So with three miles to go I started to push hard. I knew I only had one more trip up the hill then it would be a mile downhill to the finish.

Oh yea, and PACwest guy that blew by me was suddenly running right up the road from me. Holy shit! I had managed to bring this guy back that I had deemed untouchable. When I him passed I made sure it was a hard pass and checked him at the next 2 turns. I gapped him pretty quickly and he looked miserable. From there it was just pushing hard to the top of hill and gearing up to finish with the downhill.

Then, out of nowhere I noticed at the turn at the top of the hill that were 2 guys in my AG within striking distance so I gave it all I had left coming down the hill. I was running a 5:40 and gaining on those 2 in hurry. I made the pass about halfway down the hill and kept on the gas all the way though the shoot. I was spent! I ended up with a final finish time of 4:43:07. That was good enough for 21st in my age group and the 4th American finisher in my age group. Those Europeans are FAST!

What would you do differently?:

The key at a race like this is staying cool. If you overheat you're done. I made sure to take ice and water and dump it all over me at every aid station. I also hit the coke early. I know from experience Coke is magic for me on the run

My best cheerleaders!

Post race

Warm down:

I had done exactly what I wanted to do at the race. I ran hard... So hard that when I stopped I got really dizzy. Luckily Ironman races never have a shortage of volunteers at the finish. 3 people grabbed me and helped to the medical tent. The tent was full so I sat there for a minute talking to Nate Birdsall and cooling off. I could tell an IV was going to be a long wait so I eventually got up and walked to meet my family and friends.

I had an excellent cheering/ support system for the race. My brother his wife, my wife and daughter, and my friend drove up the night before from San Diego to come watch. It always helps to see familiar faces.

Finally I had a race I felt I could be proud of. I loved this race and really want to come back. Next year is an Ironman year and hopefully another Kona year so we'll see what happens.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Troika 74.6 2011

Troika has been on the top of my list to do for the last 2 seasons. My first year I think I just plain ran out of money to sign up. Last year I was still battling IT band problems and I had Kona to think about. This year things seemed to come together nicely. I've been smarter with my injuries, and not let them put a complete stop to my training and racing for any long periods of time this season.

Race morning was interesting.... Morgan had to work the night before the race from 11:00 pm to 7:00 am. This left me to take care of Amelia over night and tend to any middle of the night awakenings. Luckily there was only one at about 3 am and I wanted to get up around 4 anyway. So I just started my day at 3. She went back to sleep and my sister in law arrived at 4:45 so I could make the drive out to Medical Lake.
When I got to the venue I saw all the familiar faces that make it out to every race. (I love being a part of such a strong local contingent of triathletes.)

Before the race I already had the podium all figured out. At least thats what I thought. Sam Piccici (not sure if I spelled that right, I know it starts with a P then you just throw "i"s and "c"s everywhere) was there and he was coming off of a crazy fast 9:30 at IMCDA. Ben Greenfield was a late entry and he's always a threat to win. Troy Nelson has been getting faster and faster every time he races, so I thought that would be the podium in that very order. This would leave Jon Moen and I to battle it out for 4th and 5th. You always figure someone from elsewhere will show up and beat everyone so I had that guy in the back of my mind as well.
The swim- (40:07)
There were rumors that this swim is always a bit long. This year it really lived up to the hype. During the swim I felt pretty good for the first half. I was pretty much in the thick of the middle of the pack. I decided to go ahead and draft for much of the swim and in retrospect I think that was a mistake.
The way back into the beach there didn't seem to be enough buoys and I couldn't tell if I should aim for the one closest to the beach or if I was missing one off to the left. I decided to swim with a group of 4 guys and we all swam very wide. In the end my navigation was very poor and I think that partially accounted for my slow swim time with respect to others. The good news is, everyone was slow. About 4-6 minutes slow in fact. No one swam under 33:00. Ben who swam a 27:xx last year only managed a 33:xx this year. So if you take 6 minutes off my time I think I would have been around 34:xx. Not exactly where I want to be, but I have not been staying in the pool long enough lately. I only have myself to blame. I put myself in a 6 minute hole to the top swimmers and about 4 minutes to Jon and Troy. Not a good start.
Bike- 2:30:21

I took off on the bike and made the decision to try and push at least to the turn around so I could make up some of the damage from the swim. I don't wear a watch to swim so I didn't yet know how slow I was in the water. When I got up by the turn I started counting spots and taking splits. Ben was in 1st, Sam pretty close behind in 2nd and they both had about 7 minutes on me. I ended up counting 16 in front of me. From there I just rode hard and tried to catch as many people as possible. My Planet X exocet and wheels again did me well. By the time we went back by Medical Lake things were getting spread out and I passed Greg Gallagher to move into 9th. Normally Greg would be a contender to get onto the podium but he told me before the race that he had won the entry the week before and he was just training through it.

I saw my parents out on Espanola and they gave me a split of 6:30 to the leader and told me I was in 5th. I knew that wasn't right, but hopefully the split was somewhat accurate. It was nice to see them out there though. It gets pretty lonely in these smaller races. I was hammering the bike and not really worrying about pace up until I hit the 40k mark and realized I had rode it in 1:00:24. This was a 4 minute PR for that distance. I realized I better back off a bit. So I did.

From there I didn't see any other racers for the next 45 minutes to an hour. It was a strange feeling. At about the 45 mile mark I caught and passed a guy and could see one more up about 30 seconds. I passed him when we turned past the river in 7 mile. This is where I started to get suspicious that the bike would be long too. At mile 52 I knew we weren't even going to be close to 56 miles. The 56 mile mark was behind the college which I knew to be 4 miles from the finish because it's basically the 4 mile mark for Bloomsday. I was really ready to be done. Mentally it sucked. Physically it probably wasn't a big deal. It gave me a chance to pee one more time and I let the guy pass me back so I could follow him into the finish, as I had no idea where to go. So we ended up going 60 miles. I came off the bike in 7th.

Run- 1:30:07
I passed the one guy in T1 and never saw him again until I was coming back. It was weird running through park with everyone in normal clothes and me all by myself clad in spandex. But I digress.

At the three mile mark I started to really wonder where everyone was. I had lost track of my placing in my head (my parents number started to creep into my mind). I knew Sam, Ben, and Jon Moen were ahead. Somehow I didn't see Troy on the bike. In my mind I thought best case I was 5th. I was steadily ticking off 6:47 miles on my garmin. Pre-race I wanted to run 6:30's, but this was all I had for that day. I was starting to get frustrated that no one was in site. I felt like there were points at miles 4 and 5 that I could see way up the road (I was thinking I could see 3 minutes up the road) but no one was in site. Thankfully, Roger and Jesse Thompson were out there cheering us on and Roger told me I was 6th, about 6 minutes back from Ben and 3 minutes from everyone else. You have no idea how much this helped. I tried to pick it up a little and by the time I made the turn around I was 2:30 back and gaining on many of them. Ben was too far ahead for me to catch at that point and when I saw Troy he was running FAST. I thought he had a legit shot at catching Ben. Everyone else was in striking distance. Unfortunately my stomach started to rebel. It was all I could do to hold everything in. The last thing I wanted to do was be immortalized on as poopman #2. Some poor schmuck from Ironman Florida had shat his pants last year and from that moment on he has been known as poopman by thousands of triathletes.

My pace took a little hit with that distraction but I will say I was able to keep it together for the remainder of the race and I will not be taking "poopmans" place anytime soon.
Back to the race... I was able to catch a younger guy who I was concerned was in my age group. He was the only one I thought might be, as he was the only one I didn't know and he looked about my age. As I caught an passed him I noticed his calf said 21 so I felt pretty confident I would win my AG. This put me in 5th and to my surprise I could see Sam not moving too well and not too far ahead. When I passed him I could tell he was not doing well. He was pretty much running the same pace he ran at Ironman. He's a much faster runner than he showed that day. Everyone has bad days though, and all I could do was move on. So now I had Jon ahead of me, and that was all that stood between me and a podium finish. I got a split from a friend on the course of 1:45 to Jon with about 2.5 miles left. At that point I knew I was done passing people and I really wasn't feeling that great anyway. I went into cruise mode and made sure no one was coming up behind and just finished out the race. I probably lost a minute over the last 2 miles but I really didn't care. The chance at a PR went out the window with the longer swim and bike.
It's easy to be mad and complain about them screwing up the distances but in the end everyone covered the same distance so it doesn't matter. I will do this race again, but maybe not next year. Another race where I was never passed after T1, which again be chalked up to poor swimming more so than strong biking and running.
Final finish time 4:42:15, 4th overall, 1st m25-29

Monday, July 18, 2011

De soto Liftoil Review

I thought I would share a review of a recent purchase I made. It is he De soto Liftfoil. What is a Liftfoil you ask? Well, it's a one piece tri suit that doubles as a swim skin. Impossible you say? No so fast. This thing is great!

We'll go through the Liftfoil in order of event that you wear it.
1. The swim- The De Soto Liftfoil is first and foremost a tri suit. However, it also pulls double duty as a swim skin. In non-wetsuit swims this is my go to suit. First of all it is very hydrodynamic. De Soto claims it to be every bit as fast as the more expensive swim skins from Blue Seventy. It has no pockets to act as parachutes in the water. If you've swam in a tri top you know what I mean. This suit also has what De Soto calls a float pad. It adds a little extra buoyancy and doubles as the bike chamois.
2. The bike- De soto shorts are by far the most comfortable I've ever used. They work great with Adamo saddle because of the slightly wider pad. The Liftfoil also feels very aerodynamic. In a podcast on they claimed that it could save minutes in an Ironman over a traditional 2 piece design.
3. The run- super comfy and you able to zip it down the front to cool off.
4. I forgot to mention the fourth discipline..... T1. You can run right past everyone peeling their swimskins.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Trailblazer sprint 2011

This race was a late addition to my race schedule. Like 2 1/2 hours before the race late addition. I started kicking around the idea on Friday when I heard it was an afternoon start. This meant it wouldn't interfere with Morgans Saturday morning Zumba class. The zumba class is pretty much the only thing Morgan asks of me all week so it's only fair that she gets to do it.

Anyway, I thought about it on Friday and talked it over with Morgan while we shared a bottle of wine on the porch. I decided then, that I wouldn't race so I wouldn't risk hurting my fragile running legs. I could promise myself all I wanted that I wouldn't race it hard, but let's be honest... all those promises mean nothing when you're getting ran down at the end of race.

When I woke up on Saturday I watched a couple of races I had recorded on the DVR. That was enough for me to get that itch to race. The soreness had left my legs from Boise on Thursday and this ended up being a free/recovery week. I also still had my bike all dressed up for racing from Boise. So I decided to give it the old college try.

My mind was made up and all I had to do was wait for Morgan to get home from Zumba at 11 and I'd be ready to go for the 2 pm start. The problem was the I had looked on the internet and seem that the race started at 2. I just happened to see Matt Cusack post on facebook that it started at 1. Whoops! I fratically called Morgan and she rushed home. We both showered in record time and got everything all packed up and we were out the door at 11:30.

We arrived at registration at 12:00 and I mingled with everyone while we waited for the swim to start. I got my bike racked next to Matt and a local guy. Before long Josh Hadway and Dave Erickson racked between us with plenty of room to spare. The more the merrier. Not everyone felt that way as one guy was a little territorial over his spot and thought we were too close and he moved his bike. I didn't know we were at the world championships. Anyway, everyone else was very low key and friendly and eventually we all hopped into the lake to swim across to the start. Josh decided to go sans wetsuit which proved top be a mistake. (I think he was trying to give us every advantage to try and stay somewhere near him. He didn't have his race wheels or helmet either. He didn't make it to the run, but I think he may have been planning on running in hiking boots too.) :)He ended up with hypothermia on the bike and had to drop out of the race. I can't say that I blame him. I was cold in my wetsuit and he's gotta be about 2% body fat.

Swim- This was the strangest swim start I've ever been a part of. We were all across the lake talking when a faint horn blew from across the lake. We all stopped talking then the horn blew about 3 more times. "I guess that means go" Off we went. I put my head down at started to go hard. Before I knew it I was a good ten feet to the left of everyone else. I straightened out and ended up on Josh's feet for a little bit until Matt bumped me out of the way. With such a short swim there wasn't the normal gap that I have to make up on the swimmers so I came into T1 and saw all the guys I thought would be contenders in the race still there. Off came the wetsuit and onto the bike I went. I had my shoes clipped in and did a great flying mount, landed on my right shoe which caused the whole thing to collapse under my foot. The top of was smashed down so much I couldn't my foot into my right shoe. I had to come to a complete stop and unclip my shoe it cost me about 30 seconds and three guys passed me. Yet again, I screw up my transitions. This is a part of the race and I'm consistently horrible at it! Anyway, I got rolling but I had lost site of all the leaders. I decided before the race that I would bike hard and run easy or possibly not run at all. So I took off on the bike and made the first turn and instantly got stuck behind two cars going about 20 mph. I ended up passing them both (I kind felt like a bad ass passing cars on my bike, even though they were slowing down for the other racers). Once I came around them I pushed hard and passed the 3 guys that passed me during my shoe debacle back. Right before the course turned to go around Clear Lake I caught a glimpse of Matt. He was about 30-40 seconds up. I lost sight of him for a while as the course really starts to wind around. The roads were wet and it was a little sketchy going around a couple of the corners. Eventually the road straightened out and I could see Matt who had actually caught 3 guys in front of him. I saw one of them was Josh and I knew that had to be the lead group. I also knew that meant something must be wrong with Josh. As I rode by him he was sitting up on the bullhorns and he dropped out shortly there after. After I passed Josh I passed the next three guys within a minute and I was into the lead. From that point I focused on staying on course and trying to make all the turns. The police officer that marked the turn to T2 was sitting in his car on a side road and I nearly missed it.

It felt good coming into T2 first but Matt wasn't too far behind. He actually left T2 first and I figured he would run away from me as I took it easy around the lake. He was about ten feet up on me and I just relaxed and ran easy. I fell into a nice relaxed pace and by the time we hit the first turn we ended up being even and he told me he was not feeling good and he thought he might puke. I have to be honest here. I really like Matt and I was okay with him beating me, but I didn't want anyone else coming by and I was afraid if I stayed with him we might get caught. So I put in a mini surge of about a minute and opened up a gap and made the next turn around the lake. From there it gets hilly and I started to feel some pain in my left leg. I promised myself that I wouldn't push it on this race no matter what happened. I decided to stop and walk and was happy to see that Matt was still in 2nd. I stretched for a couple of seconds and waited for Matt to catch up. I ran with him for about 20 seconds but I could tell that 3rd place was getting close. My leg felt okay so I settled into a comfortable pace again and I had all the gap I needed at that point. I finished the race with my first overall win. It wasn't pretty but I'll take it. I know this race wasn't as deep as it usually is but a win is a win and in this sport so much depends on who does or doesn't show up (or who gets hypothermia) you have to be happy with a win no matter what. Who knows the next time I race could be the full of speedy guys and I'll get my butt kicked even though I may have raced better.

Sorry about the lack of splits but I raced naked and I don't even know what my finish time was. I think it was around 55 or 56 based Matt's time.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Boise 70.3

This race has been my primary focus for the majority of this year. But,before I get into the actual race I have to say having never been to the city of Boise I really was impressed! We stayed at the Grove downtown which offered plenty of opportunities for Morgan and Amelia to explore (and shop). The city was clean and the people were very friendly.

I got checked in on Thursday and made it through the whole process in about 10 minutes. This left me some time to walk around the expo which was essentially empty. There was a tent from Spidertech there with an LMT applying the tape. I had some IT problems after Onionman flare up on a 4 mile run in which I ended up walking the final 2 miles home. That was about 6 days out from race day so I decided to just rest up and hope it would be better by the weekend. To be honest it was feeling pretty terrible on Thursday and I was contemplating not racing. So I thought "I might as well give this stuff a try." I told the guy taping what my problem was and he was nice enough to go through a full evaluation. He felt my calf and the outer part of quad and I believe his exact words were "Holy sh!t these spots seriously pissed off!".

Great! I was more discouraged than ever. Then just like that things started looking up. He was nice enough to do some A.R.T. on my leg and then apply the tape over the friction point on my IT band. I don't know if it was the tape or the A.R.T. but I felt better right away. He had me come back the next day so he could tape all the way up to my hip.

I returned the next day and finished the taping. It was great, and I was ready to rock. As a side note it's a good thing I registered the day before because everybody else registered right after the 11:00 am pre-race meeting. My friend Jon Moen stood in line for 1:45 to get registered. We were planning on swimming, dropping off our bikes in T1 then driving the course. We got a later start than planned then headed off to Lucky Peak which is a few miles out of town.

Now, we had heard how cold the water was going to be but you don't have any idea until you swim in it. It was.... refreshing. Who am I kidding it was freezing! We weren't able to swim in the resovior so we swam in the river where they pump the water from the bottom of the reservoir. On the plus side it had a fountain shooting water in the middle so, that was fun to play in.

Race day- This is an interesting race with the 12:00 pm start time. I woke up and got all my stuff together then proceeded to wait and wait and wait. Eventually I caught the shuttle down to the reservoir and got my bike all dialed in. Then I waited some more.

This was a wave start and my wave was the last to go. This meant that I had to stand around on the boat launch watching wave after wave go for 45 minutes. The pros were long gone by the time we got into the water.
Finally it was our turn. As I hopped in I realized that it didn't feel near as bad as the day before. Racing makes cold water easier to tolerate (as does insulating your wetsuit with "warm water"). :)

The horn sounded and we were off. Of course the front pack was immediately gone. I settled into a nice pace and before I knew it I was swimming into people from the previous waves. This wasn't as bad as I thought and it was actually probably the smallest amount of contact I've ever had during a swim. All in all it was pretty uneventful and I don't think I pushed at all. I wanted to come out in 32 minutes but I ended up coming out in 34. However, during the race I had no idea what my swim time was. The race clock showed the first wave time and I wasn't wearing a watch. So, anyway I came out of water and had my typical poor transition and I was ready to bike.

Bike- The bike starts downhill and then really goes downhill. You end up going 45 mph down the hill screaming "on your left" as you pass the 50 year old women weaving down the hill at 18 mph. This would be a theme for the rest of the race. I settled into a nice pace from there and really started passing people. My goal time was 2:30 and all the passing I was doing was a little disconcerting. I kept thinking that I must be riding way to hard because I was way ahead of schedule. By the time I hit the halfway point I was on pace for a 2:25 and all the climbing is in the first half of the race. I just kept riding, but I was holding back a little. This is were a power meter would have come in handy. Someday I'll buy one. The rest of the ride went great and I cruised into T2 with a 2:21. I'm very happy with my bike time and my new bike. This was the fastest speed I've ever averaged for a race of any distance. My planet X exocet with the 82/101 wheels felt fast the entire way and I got quite a few compliments on it.

So it would appear that I made some time up and I was actually feeling pretty good. Again I had a horrible transition where I ran passed my rack and had to go back to find my spot. I then put my shoes on and realized that I had forgotten to change my socks. I took my shoes off and changed the socks to a dry pair and I was off. There went all that time I made up on the bike.

Run- I was feeling pretty good minus some bloating. I took off out of transition and again started passing people like crazy. This wave start thing was very strange to me. I had no idea where I was in the race. I couldn't tell who was in my AG who was on there 1st or second loop and there were people everywhere. I actually never saw anyone in my AG the entire run. It kind of through me off. I tried to push, but my legs would only go at 6:45 pace. No matter what I did I was right around 6:35-6:50 the entire 13.1 miles. I would have been happy with a 1:30 but secretely wanted to break 1:25. But with my lack of run fitness I ended up going 1:27. The good news is my leg held up the entire way. I passed a lot of people but never passed anyone in my AG and had no idea where I was.

My goal was qualify for the 70.3 World Championships in Vegas and I was pretty frustrated to not be able to tell what was going in the race. It ends up feeling like a time trial on your own for the whole race. In the end I was not passed at all on the bike or run by anyone, but I had dug myself a pretty big hole on the swim and I was never able to crawl out of it. I was pretty much in no mans land about 4 minutes back on the person in front of me and 10 minutes ahead of the one behind me.
At the end of the day 6th place in my AG ended up being good enough to get my Vegas slot and I'll be training for that through the summer. Hopefully I can get some quality consistent running in and be ready to kick some butt in Vegas.

Swim- 34:02

Bike- 2:21:04

Run- 1:27:46

Finish time-4:29:36

47th overall and 6th in m25-29 age group.

My two favorite cheerleaders.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

OnionMan 2011

This race is one of my favorites. It's the first Olympic distance of the year in Eastern Washington and it always seems to draw a competitive field. This year was no different.

I elected to drive down the morning of the race again this year. I did this last year because I was too cheap to pay for a hotel. This year I was too cheap to pay for a hotel and I needed to stay and help with Amelia who just happened to come down with an allergic reaction to formula at about 7:30 the night before. So... after running around getting her liquid benedryl and talking to the pediatrician multiple times we got it all straightened out, but that meant I still had to pack everything up in a hurry at the end of night. When all was said and done I finished packing the car up at about 10:45 pm and headed off to bed.

The alarm sounded at 3:00 am and I rolled out of bed to hop in the shower and start my 3 hour trek down to Walla Walla. The drive down was beautiful as always, but about the time I hit Dusty, Washington it started to sprinkle a little. By the time I got to Dayton it was raining pretty steady. This was not good for me. I had only brought my Planet X race kit consisting of a singlet and shorts. Not exactly warm on the bike. Well, I pressed on checking the weather on my phone multiple times and it kept telling me it wasn't raining in Walla Walla and it wasn't going to all day. Great I thought. The forecast is always right. Right?
Wrong! I pulled into the parking lot at Bennington Lake and I could look out the window and see that it was raining.....and windy..... and 45 degrees. I actually contemplated turning around and going home, but I had driven all that way and I was super excited to see where I was fitness wise to start the tri season. Besides, a little rain never hurt anyone. I've always ran well in the rain. After all I'm a mudda! My mudda was mudda! (Seinfield quote those true fans out there)

The rest of morning consisted of the usual. Setting up my tranisition area and getting everything all ready to roll. (On a side note I did get quite a few compliments on my bike and how "stealthy" it looked. Stealthy was never a word used to describe my old yellow Cervelo.)

Anyway, the pre-race meeting started and they anounced that "due to the water temperature, the swim would be changed to a one loop swim instead of two." Normally a shorter swim would have me very excited. The problem is with this race I like to use it to see where I'm at for the season. A one loop swim doesn't help much as far as comparing from year to year. Oh well, it was out of my hands and actually probably helped me in the long run as I wouldn't be so far behind the fish.

Swim- 12:46
The swim started pretty uneventfully. I lined up directly in line with the first turn buoy and kind of at the front. When the race started I took 100 hard strokes and then hopped on some feet in front of me. I was able to draft for most of the swim and ended up coming out of the water 23rd overall. That's actually pretty good for me. I was quite happy with the swim as I saw fellow Spokanite Troy Nelson get out right in front of me. I was pretty sure he was usually one of the better swimmers. So far so good.

T1- 1:42
This is where things took a turn for the worse. I started running up the boat ramp to my bike and was doing great stripping my wetsuit when I heard someone yelling that I dropped my goggles. To be honest I really didn't care about them but I turned around and the guy was nice enough to toss them to me. From there I ran up to my bike and struggled with my wetsuit. It of course got stuck on my heels and it took me forever to pull it off. Finally I was running out of transition did a great flying mount and stuck my sunglasses on. From there all hell broke loose.

Bike-1:04:12- So my sunglasses go on, but they are covered in rain and I literally can't see 5 feet in front of me. I get my feet into my shoes and start pedaling but I still can't see and the road was in the worst condition I've ever seen it with speed bumps to boot. So there I am swerving back and forth trying to see and getting my shoes on. Oh... I forgot to mention that I wear my Garmin 305 on my wrist for the bike so I was also holding that and waiting for a good time to put it one. As if things weren't going badly enough my aero bottle was rattling so bad the velcro started to come loose and I was inches from losing it into my front tire. If you were behind me watching this I apologize for the complete lack of control I was showing. During this whole debacle I was passed by 3 or 4 riders. Not a good way to start!

After that whole debacle I get everything on and I can almost see 10 feet in front of me when I see the first corner coming up. No problem.. I'll just ease on my brakes. Well easing on the brakes yeilded me no stopping power. This was my first ride in the rain with carbon friendly brake pads. They don't work so well when they're wet. I had heard this before but it was really hitting home here. I made the turn but honestly I was not optomistic about the rest of the ride. I was freezing but so was everyone else so I can't really complain. I wish I could claim that my body temp was lower than everyone elses thus I was colder, but that's not the case. On a side note Ben and Jerry's has a new flavor with potato chips in the ice cream. This might be contributing to the extra body fat.
Back to the race. I finally settled in and started catching people pretty quickly. I passed 3 of the 4 that passed me almost immidatley and slowly started realing others in. By the time I hit the turn I was in 7th and only about 15 seconds down on 5th and 6th. I caught 6th right away and it took about 15 minutes to get 5th. The 4th place guys stayed just ahead of me and I followed right behind him into transition.
T2- Another comedy of errors. My first mistake was leaving my shoes on the bike. As soon as i hit the ground I felt the sharp gravel digging into my feet and looked up to see my T1 spot was a good 50 yards away. The only positive was my feet hurt so bad from being cold the gravel wasn't too bad.
I dropped my helmet and had to stop and pick it and ran my bike to it's spot. At that point I realized my hands were not working at all. I couldn't grab my shoes and I had to put socks on. I know this is a rookie move but I felt like I had no choice but to sit down and get to work. I could see out of the corned of my eye that 2 guys left transition while I was struggling, but I felt confident I could run them down. I finally made it out to the run and I knew at least I would warm up.

Run- 37:35

I couldn't feel my feet for quite a while. Like 2 miles actually. It ended up taking me about 2 miles to catch the first guy that passed me in transition and I caught the next guy right after the 5k mark. This put me in fourth. The problem was I could see there were a few people coming on strong behind me and I could tell one in particular was running really well. I managed to hold him off until there was about 1.5 miles left but I was feeling some cramp like twinges in my inner quads. I guess that's what I get for running beyond my current run fitness. He passed me and I was able to hang with him for about 100 yards at which point I decided I needed some water at the last stop. I ended up missing the water and getting gatorade and losing contact with my man. We were both putting in serious time on the guy in third place as I noted I was about 2 minutes behind at the 5k mark. I just tried to stay as close to 4th place as I could. I ended up about 10 seconds behind 4th and 18 seconds behind 3rd place. I found out after that 3rd place got cash so I was a little bummed I wasn't able to catch him.
Finish Time- 1:57:13

All in all I'm very happy with this race. The swim is what it is. I don't have anything to compare it to but I did come out of the water about 10 places better than last year. The bike was a 3 minute PR in poor conditions so I gotta be happy with that. As far as the run goes I think this is what I'm most proud of. I was only 7 seconds off a run PR and I haven't put in the mileage to be there yet. The one thing I need to work on is the free speed in transitions. Hopefully it all comes together in Boise.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bloomsday race report

It feels really good to finally be writing about a race. It's even a running race! After quite a few DNS races this spring I was cautiously optimistic that Bloomsday would be my debut. It wasn't easy, but I finally made it to the starting line.

In the months leading up to this race I had sufferers numerous setbacks with my IT band and calf injuries. I made the decision in February that I would do no speed work this spring and would really take my time building the distance back up. This meant that I was coming into Bloomsday having two weeks over 15 miles while only exceeding the 7.47 mile distance of Bloomsday 3 times on pancake flat Centenial Trail runs. To say I was a little nervous about getting hurt again would be an understatement. I decided 2 weeks ago that I would do zero taper for this and not let myself get sucked into running it too hard. So the day before I did a pretty hard loop on the Ironman Coeur d Alene bike course with Derek Garcia (he was into his taper for Ironman St. George, but that didn't stop him from putting the hurt on me). We finished up an easy 4 miles brick run. The run felt surprisingly good.

I woke up on race morning without the typical butterflies I get on race day. (My life has changed a bit since last year so my morning race routines now include hanging out with Amelia and helping a little with her morning routines.). My legs felt a little dead after the Ride and run yesterday, but I figured would come around if I asked really nicely so I wasn't too worried about it. I got dressed had some breakfast and headed off to downtown Spokane.

Now, I'm not positive but I think this was my 18th Bloomsday. I have everything from where park, warm and make port a potty pit stops down to a science. Everything went well but my legs still felt dead in my warm ups. There was nothing I could do about it at that point so I went and lined up. I was racing second seed but my pre-race goal was to break 50 minutes. That would be 7:30 slower than my last years time. It also meant that I really didn't belong in 2nd seed. Oh well. I still lined up at the front out of habit and ran into fellow tri-fusion teammate Nate Duncan. We chatted for the few minutes before the gun went off and it sounded like we had a similar strategy and goal for the race. He was also coming off an injury and didn't want to aggravate it. He said he was just going to try and stay with me to keep himself from going out too fast. Well the gun went off and he was instantly about 10 seconds ahead of me. I was getting passed like crazy, and I'm actually proud of myself for not trying to stay with people. Pretty much to the college or about mile 4 I ran my own race and didn't worry about anyone around me. When I hit mile 4 I started to feel good and was actually passing quite a few people. That lasted until Doomsday hill. This hill has never been that bad to me before, but this year was a different story. Doomsday pretty much chewed me up and spit me out. I struggled all the way up the hill! In the past hills have always been a strength for me. I've never enjoyed them but I think I've always hated them less than everyone else. Like I said, this year this was not the case. As I crested the hill I could tell I was not going to recover well.
For those that don't the course it really flattens put for the last 2 miles and you should be able to pick up the pace and finish strong. It took me way too long this year to get back on track. As soon as I made the first turn into the neighborhoods I had to stop and adjust the IT band strap I have been wearing lately. It seemed to not like the water I was dumping over my head at the prior water station. I later found out my nipples didn't appreciate the water I had been dumping on my head either. Anyway.... The stop only cost me about ten seconds and it seemed to satisfy the need I had to walk. From that point on I was able to bring my pace back down to fairly descent run.
I wasn't doing a ton of passing, but I wasn't getting passed either. We then turned the corner onto Broadway. From there it's about 1.5 miles to the finish it's completely flat and you can see all the way to the corner you turn at to finish the race. This is a horrible way to finish. You run for a couple minutes and look up and the corner doesn't seem to get any closer until you're right on it. I turned the corner and made the downhill run to the finish. This year I knew I wasn't going to be in the 100 so I didn't really give much of a finishing kick. I think I passed one guy and got passed by one, but it really didn't matter. I was just happy to break 45 minutes.
Final finish time- 44:50.
In the end it's hard to get excited about running slower than I did last year, but it is encouraging to know that I can still turn the legs over with some speed after not having put the work I truly needed to into it. So...all in all I would rate this as a success.

Next up for me is Onion Man down in Walla Walla followed by Boise 70.3 on June 11th. Things are finally starting to come together. I'm hoping I can string together a couple of "long" runs around 10-12 miles in the coming weeks and be ready to hammer out the 13.1 in Boise.
Happy training everyone.
PS- I published a race report on this about a week ago but it disappeared into the interwebs. I think the previous one was better written but it seems to be gone forever.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Why do we go too hard?

Unrelated to this post but, here's a picture of my new ride. It's a Planet X Exocet with Sram Red. (It's gonna look pretty mean with the race wheels!)

In the previous post I gave an example of my own stubborness and stupidity derailing my training. In this update I'd like to look a little closer at some possible reasons this happens.

The first is obvious and was discussed in my prior post. I, like many triathletes want to do too much too soon. I ran too hard for too long and ended up with my prior ITBS resurfacing. The problem is that running doesn't feel all that difficult when doing it.
As a triathlete when I get injured I simply cut back or take a complete break from whichever of the three sports seems to be aggravating the injury. This allows me to maintain my cardiovascular fitness while I take break from running. In theory this is an excellent idea. The problem I seem to run into is that I keep a decent aerobic "engine" but my legs aren't used to pounding that I want to put them through. It takes time for your the ligaments and muscles to adapt to any sport. Running in particular is very hard on your legs so it takes even more time that others. So.... I come back from an injury with the mindset of easing back into things, but before I know it I'm running fairly fast simply because I feel great during the workout. This is all fine and good for a couple of weeks, but it eventually your body will remind you that are not in the same shape you were a year ago.
This time I'm taking it slow. Sometimes painfully slow. I know I know, I've said this before. This time I mean it! The paces I'm running on the treadmill are downright embarrassing! Hopefully this will result in a healthy season and recovery that actually lasts more than a month. I've missed a few road races that I would normally be all over.
The second problem I've noticed sort of fits in with my first point. For some reason the swimming and biking still seem to mildly affect my ITBS. It's not bad enough to hurt, but it is obvious that it's slowing my recovery. I feel like I'm constantly keeping things mildly inflamed. The problem I can't afford to stop completely at this point. I'm too close to Boise and too committed to quit now. So I'll continue to take things slow and and hope that the additional steps I'm taking to heal actually work.
Well... I'm sure There are plenty of other reasons triathletes seem to always be hurt, but those are the two that come to mind for me. On another note I've lined up another sponsor. The company is called Albopads. The product is a reusable pad that you use pack your bike you send it through airport security. I'm sure those security guys are all VERY gentle with our expensive bikes, but you could always use a little extra cushioning when it come to a $5000 investment. You can check them out at the link on the right of the page.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Going too hard

We'll, I've decided that I really need to stop starting my blog posts with "It's been awhile". The problem is, it has been awhile. I'll throw out the obligatory I've been busy, and the truth is with a new baby I have been extremely busy! In fact I've been so busy I've completely changed the way I train. I'm now trying to get everything done at 5:00 am on weekdays. It was hard at first, but it is getting easier.

With that out of the way I'll get down to the reason for writing this. I'm injured.... again. It's the same problem I've been battling since pre Ironman Coeur d' Alene. My IT band has been teetering on the edge of stopping me from running for about 9 months now. I can feel the tightness in my hamstring and calf pretty much every run but, thats as far as it goes. About 3 weeks ago the pain made it into the lateral side of my knee once again and that meant stopping running completely. Not exactly where I want to be during my Boise 70.3 build, but it's too late now. How did I go from feeling okay running for a few months to not being able to run at all? Well thats where I show my stuborness (stupidity would be a better word).

I, like many triathletes seem to have an obsessive need to do more and do it faster than all my friends. For example, I'll have a 10 mile run planned, but check into Facebook before I head out and see that one of my friends went 13. Well, if they're going 13 I better go 13 right?. That in itself wouldn't be a huge deal, but I feel the need to still run the 13 at a pace that would probably have been too fast even for 10 miles. I feel pretty good the whole run and I nearly PR my half marathon race time. That's great but, no one cares how fast you ran on a Sunday in January. It's all about race day.
Most of the time the problems don't rear there ugly heads right after or during that specific workout. I feel like it's usually a compounding problem that is further aggravated by my 6 mile tempo run 2 days later. The next week I go out and do another 13 and I start to feel that familiar twinge in my knee. At that point I know I'm in trouble, because it always seems to happen 7 miles from home. So... I walk/jog home with my tail between my legs telling myself how stupid I am and fall into a day long depression.

The moral of the story is to stick to what you have planned and be careful with pacing. A lot of triathletes don't realize that you don't necessarily have break through workouts that propel you through your next race. For the most part it's the cumulative effects of training consistently that shows on race day. As many of us have learned you can't train consistently if you're always injured. From here on out I'm resolving myself to running my long runs at easy paces and saving the speed work for the shorter stuff. This seems like common sense, but we all need to here sometimes.

For the next few weeks I'm in the pool and on the trainer hoping that the time off wont set me back too far. If you see me running around the pool staring at the you on the treadmill longingly I apologize in advance.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Welcome to the World Amelia!

Amelia Mary Allen

This post has taken me a long time to write. It's a very hard thing to describe something like watching your first child being born. It was absolutely the most AMAZING moment if my life.

I'll keep this fairly short. My wife Morgan was absolutely incredible through the entire 18 hours of labor. She pushed for 2 and 1/2 hours, and I have never been more impressed with someone. When all was said and done we were blessed with a 6 lb 11oz baby girl named Amelia!

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind! I haven't had to go back to work yet and to be honest Morgan has done most of the work. I feel guilty, but it has been nice being our own little family laying around the house and enjoying each others company.
I've been able to get some decent training time in during my paternity leave but the real test will come when I go back to work. The plan is to swim Monday, Wednesday, Friday in the morning at the Valley YMCA. We just switched gyms and the pool at the Y is sooo much better than Oz. Swimming in the Morning means 5 am for me and that will take some getting used to.

Friday, January 7, 2011


Well...Onionman went okay as I said, but I drove home from the race and thought I felt pretty good so I might as well go for a run. Bad idea! I had underestimated the toll the race had taken on my body. Racing Ironman has caused me to think that short races should be easy and I should bounce back a lot faster than I actually do. The reality is these shorter races can be pretty hard on your body as you tend to push yourself much harder and do them at much faster paces. I finished my 8 mile run and felt a little tight but not too bad.

The following week I ventured out with intention of running my last 20 miler before Ironman. I made it about 4 miles and started to have some pain in my right knee. I walked a little bit, but I didn't want to walk the enitre 4 miles back to the car so I ran/walked back with the knee pain. I've had little aches and pains before, and I remember thinking this was no different. "It will be gone by tomorrow"

Well, the weekend came and I did my long ride on the Ironman course and a 5 mile brick after with a little tightness, but no pain in my knee. Hooray!! I'm cured. (yeah...not so much)

The next day I had a medium length run (about 13 miles) so I head out and make it about 6 miles then the knee pain comes back and it's a lot worse than before. Again, I'm stuck 6 miles away from home. This time I had no choice but to walk three miles to a gas station and call my wife to come pick me up. A year of hard work down the drain. I thought I was done. There were only about 3 weeks left to Ironman so I threw everything I could at the problem. Physical therapy, stretching, even accupuncture. No running for three weeks and I decided that I was going to leave it out on the course, and let the chips fall where they may.

Come race day I felt pretty okay but I was pretty confident my chances at Kona qualifying were gone. Of course everything ended up working out great (for a full recap check my race report) and I got my Kona slot. Still I couldn't help but think if I could have ran even better had I been healthy.

From there I had more running problems. I never really got running again until December. I'm just now starting to feel right again. Although I do have to do all my running with a calf sleeve or compression sock on my left leg to keep my calf feeling right.

So.... not much running and the well documented bike crash lead me into Kona with less prep than I wanted, and very different expectations of the race. Although it didn't quite turn out the way I wanted it was an awesome experiece and it really has made me hungrier to get back and do much better.

So here are my training numbers for 2010.
Swim- 126 hours (my skin hates me for the 126 chlorinated hours) 195 miles
Bike- 267 hours (I left some of my skin on the road this year) 5203 miles
Run- 115 hours (I left a lot of skin in my running shoes this year) 942 miles

I'm a little dissapointed in the running numbers, but there isn't much I can do about it now. My goals for 2011 are to get to Las Vegas for 70.3 World Championships and race well on the big stage, with another Kona run (hopefully) in 2012. With the shorter distance and baby due in 2 weeks I imagine the volume may take a little hit for 2011, but I plan on making up for in intensity. Good luck to everyone in 2011!