I'm a debatable gentleman and endurance sport activist living in Los Angeles. Here, we'll talk about the second of those two things...

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The Team Behind an 80-mile Run Week
Definitely my biggest ever. Put in a 71 earlier in the year and had my best run of the year. Miyagi told me to do it again…but to handle it this time like a man and to stop being so dramatic about it. He was more eloquent than that, of course. You know what it feels like you’re doing other than running during an 80-mile run week? Nothing. It feels like you’re doing nothing else.
You know what it feels like getting off the bike of a major race knowing you’re 7 days off from a 80-mile run week? Yeah, neither do I. But that’s why we do these things. It’s World Championship season. 

The Team Behind an 80-mile Run Week

Definitely my biggest ever. Put in a 71 earlier in the year and had my best run of the year. Miyagi told me to do it again…but to handle it this time like a man and to stop being so dramatic about it. He was more eloquent than that, of course. You know what it feels like you’re doing other than running during an 80-mile run week? Nothing. It feels like you’re doing nothing else.

You know what it feels like getting off the bike of a major race knowing you’re 7 days off from a 80-mile run week? Yeah, neither do I. But that’s why we do these things. It’s World Championship season. 

Anonymous asked
First of all. I am impressed. It looks like you know what you are doing. And I like your attitude. But there are a few things. You look like a fucking grandma on your bike. You could be 10x more areo than you are now. Why spend 5000$ on an sworks shiv if you are going to shit the bed on a good fit? 2. The run course in st. George was short. I have heard it from numerous sources including the top pro. Maybe thats where your inflated run ego has comes from this year.

Now we’re talking. I like to talk. Most people just write in and tell me I remind them of some friend named Jessica, or suggest that I die. The rest, I really should spend more time answering. I appreciate your appreciation of my attitude — I’m proud of it. I try to do things right. Your tone is slightly trollish based on exaggerations, but also ballpark astute, so you are welcome here. I do know what I am doing - or at least I know more about what I am doing than I did yesterday, and the day before. Still much to learn. Does your grandma look like me? Can I meet her? She sounds very well built and handsome. If I were able to be 10x more aero, how fast would I be able to go? Mach 7? Mach 8? As fast as Chevy Chase sledding in Christmas Vacation? That would be ideal. Okay, okay, but seriously. My position is actually not as horrific as you make it out to be. Do you think I always ride like I am riding into transition at IM Canada, with my right aerobar snapped at the bolt and clinging to my left by a Specialized rubber band? Or do you think maybe, as you offered, I know a little bit about what I am doing?

Let’s be real here. I owe you that much for your backhanded compliments. Last year, I rode a pretty incredible bike, a Shiv TT. It was a large, but likely too small for someone 6’4. Wildly aggressive, wildly aero. Wasn’t so bad when I only had to cover 56 miles. But in Kona, chafing became raw, torn skin and so much pain I didn’t even care about staying aero the last 20 miles home into a brutal headwind. Didn’t care. Left a rusty puddle of blood-water on the seat of a T2 plastic chair, and at some point of my limping most of that run course I maybe told myself…how bout aim for a little more comfort in 2014. It was a traumatic experience that lasted about as long as it took me to stop walking crooked. Now that I’ve offered so much, and have spent the good part of this season getting comfortable on a bike that fits me, I will say “more aero” has been a conversation I’ve been having with my coaches lately. They’re still undecided. 

I’m a lot of things, but I’m not inflated. Sometimes, you can catch me in the process of reaching, but that’s different, and eventually, I come up with what I’m reaching for - that’s why you like me, because I am fucking relentless, in spite of your inherent desires, being an internet commenter and all. I don’t believe I’m Steve Prefontaine — that’s the most important thing here. Everyone knows the run course was short in St. George. But by what? 2 minutes? 3? Still. A 1:28 St. George does not equal 3:35 Whistler. One of my boys who outran me by 6 minutes in St. George outran me by 34 in Whistler. Are those margins equal, or can we agree that my shitting the bed should have been a reference dropped on my marathon run instead of my bike fit? I guess we’ll see, won’t we? Because I’ll be back at it soon enough. Because that’s what I do. It’s you I’m worried about, friend. Or should I call you…person? There’s a great expression in the world that’s been recycled in many forms, probably throughout time. One of the more recent versions you’ve probably heard — you either build or destroy. My question is this…how’s the view from the side you’re sitting? Cause my view is a damn beauty.

Ironman Canada - 9:42:46 AG #4 (Amateur #8) OA #16

Well, it’s been a bit of a mad dash in June and July, with a lot of racing, and a lot of chasing. Wasn’t pretty most of the time, but the dust has settled and it seems I have kicked and screamed my way back into the Ironman World Championships in Kona. And that feels right.

Whistler was extraordinary. The venue and part of the world has absolutely left a mark on me. The air was invasively clean compared to Los Angeles and I can’t remember anything I ate besides blueberries and wild salmon. The views, scenery, active people everywhere, fun town, the way Canadians talk…it was all great.

So the race…I knew it was going to be a big one. I thought coming off Vineman, even though it was only 2 weeks ago, was going to set me up to drop a hammer on this thing, even with 6500 feet of climbing on the bike and a very hilly run against a big body. I didn’t care. I was going to transcend all that. Swim was absolutely stunning. It reminded me of exactly a year ago when I was in Zurich for Ironman Switzerland - cannot give much higher marks to either venues. A business casual swim brought me out of the water in 57 minutes. Top pros swam around 51. There weren’t any top, top end swimmers, but 57 was still a great result for me. I can attribute this entirely to my skill work with Tower 26 and just being comfortable in pack swimming. Last year, I often went into swims with something to prove and would kill myself for every second - and most of the time, I also sought out clear water so I could swim alone. This year, I just kinda cruise, hunting for feet or hips or shoulders. Lazy. When you have the skills, this approach works. But now I need to swim more. I need to graduate a pack before the big show, before they take my fancy wetsuit away. 

In my mind before the race, I thought best case I could swim a 57 and bike a 4:55. I thought if I could get onto that run before 6 hours, I would have a good gap to hold off the runners and contend for overall amateur. My bike was solid, not spectacular. I think it’s hard for me to be spectacular on a course like Whistler. Came in with a 5:04. Normalized power was 290, average 273 - and I don’t have enough experience breaking things down to know if on a course with as much 0 watts as Whistler if losing 67 average watts between Vineman 70.3 and this full is a huge drop…but I have a feeling it is. I came into transition in 10th place overall and second amateur - there was a 56/4:57 ahead of me. 

The run won. I thought 3:18-3:25 coming in. I ran a 1:25 in St. George - so I still believe that’s an earned estimate. Planned on heading out at a 7:30 pace, which would have actually been a 7:15 pace in the early miles and set me up well for the long, slow, bleed out that is an Ironman marathon. Instead, I started out in the 7:30’s and just couldn’t find rhythm. The course was rolling…rocks, pavement, dirt, planks — absolutely beautiful but I was struggling. Third and fourth place amateur passed me around mile 10. I think a couple more got me around 17. The last 3 got me in the fog of the last 9. But I fought for it. When I had to walk steep hills, which was often coming home, I took them on like a power-walk psychopath and then picked back up into good, committed running. Like I said before, by no means was this effort pretty, but I got the job somewhat done in a 3:35 — a huge failure based on estimates, but I am taking heaps from it. And I’m excited for the coming opportunities to make it the outlier I know it is. Even in the bastard swelter of the Queen K. Bet on it.

Time for a break. Time for a reset. I know Mt. Tremblant and Kona are the next two up, but the one thing I have to do right now is take 10-15 days and just clean out and reset. First three races of the year were great. Sharp, focused, executed. These last 3 have been a little funky. My run has been seriously funky. I’m excited to make inspired revisions and move forward. Now that I’ve been around this game long enough I know - everything is pattycake before the WC’s. They are a rack of money balls.

Ironman Canada
I like to talk about things. Before they happen. Has something to do with my processing of large endeavors. This Thursday, I am flying up to Vancouver to drive to Whistler so that I can race Ironman Canada. Full distance. Before 2014 started, and probably somewhere during or right after my injured march on Ironman Kona commenced in 2013, I decided I was through with the 140.6. I had flown to Zurich in July last year after already having qualified for Kona at Honu, and ended up walking carefully the last 7 miles after coming to a belief that there was a broken bone in my foot - wasn’t the case, but things were beginning to fall apart. I came into Kona pretty injured, and off-center, and I told myself it was enough, to put the full distance behind me with my hands up, admitting defeat. I had taken it on twice and stumbled mightily both times. As a result, I let the full go to make space for an obvious and welcome focus on 70.3. I wanted to win an Ironman amateur title and qualify for a pro card during the early part of 2014…and even though it seems like ages ago, I did both those things, the first at Galveston 70.3 in April and the second at St. George 70.3 in May.
Then in June, after I had already crossed off the season’s major goals, something sudden happened. I needed to go long. Sure, a good part of that urge was born out of a desire to get back to Kona, the thing I swore off, and put my new bike legs to the test on those legendary 112. But mostly though, the driving force behind me was a particular voice I had buried - that I had told was not tough enough to go long, or not built right enough to go long — the voice that had most likely put me into this sport in the first place was fighting back. It shot out of hiding to tell me exactly, “This is your mental shit, not my physical. And you can go fuck yourself for all I care, we’re going to Whistler.” That week, I signed up. This week, I’m taking that voice and all of his friends and family to Canada.
Straight up, I’m daunted by the full. I’ve never been good at it. I like to puff my chest going into a 70.3 - it’s my process — it keeps me moving. I feel like I know what it takes - to train, to win, to make leaps forward. This is so different - I feel careful and almost cowering…but that’s the greatness of it, and why I absolutely need it - that long conversation with something that has a long history of chewing me up and spitting me out. 
And yet I concede nothing…you bastard…Whistler. I’m coming.

Ironman Canada

I like to talk about things. Before they happen. Has something to do with my processing of large endeavors. This Thursday, I am flying up to Vancouver to drive to Whistler so that I can race Ironman Canada. Full distance. Before 2014 started, and probably somewhere during or right after my injured march on Ironman Kona commenced in 2013, I decided I was through with the 140.6. I had flown to Zurich in July last year after already having qualified for Kona at Honu, and ended up walking carefully the last 7 miles after coming to a belief that there was a broken bone in my foot - wasn’t the case, but things were beginning to fall apart. I came into Kona pretty injured, and off-center, and I told myself it was enough, to put the full distance behind me with my hands up, admitting defeat. I had taken it on twice and stumbled mightily both times. As a result, I let the full go to make space for an obvious and welcome focus on 70.3. I wanted to win an Ironman amateur title and qualify for a pro card during the early part of 2014…and even though it seems like ages ago, I did both those things, the first at Galveston 70.3 in April and the second at St. George 70.3 in May.

Then in June, after I had already crossed off the season’s major goals, something sudden happened. I needed to go long. Sure, a good part of that urge was born out of a desire to get back to Kona, the thing I swore off, and put my new bike legs to the test on those legendary 112. But mostly though, the driving force behind me was a particular voice I had buried - that I had told was not tough enough to go long, or not built right enough to go long — the voice that had most likely put me into this sport in the first place was fighting back. It shot out of hiding to tell me exactly, “This is your mental shit, not my physical. And you can go fuck yourself for all I care, we’re going to Whistler.” That week, I signed up. This week, I’m taking that voice and all of his friends and family to Canada.

Straight up, I’m daunted by the full. I’ve never been good at it. I like to puff my chest going into a 70.3 - it’s my process — it keeps me moving. I feel like I know what it takes - to train, to win, to make leaps forward. This is so different - I feel careful and almost cowering…but that’s the greatness of it, and why I absolutely need it - that long conversation with something that has a long history of chewing me up and spitting me out. 

And yet I concede nothing…you bastard…Whistler. I’m coming.

Vineman 70.3 - 4:15:48 AG #2 (Amateur #4) OA #15

Great race in wine country this weekend. Vineman is always a blast, and is probably my favorite race outside of Kona on the schedule every year. Just perfect. 

I came into this race ready to ROLL it. Even though I’ve recently switched into some long training to line up IM Canada, I still had a good feeling I was going to torch this thing. Did not. 4th amateur is great here, and I am happy with my day overall, but I’ve been 4th amateur the last two years - It was time to move to the top. Didn’t happen. When you’re an addict for progression, these results sometimes make you feel like you’re standing still. But that’s not the case. This was just a bit off from where I thought I could have been. As long as I have my great race in Canada, all of this will make sense to me. 

Swam solid. 28 minutes - less than 4 minutes off the front pro pack. Happy there.

Biked bigger than I’ve ever biked. 340 watt average. First 75 minutes went by in a 355. I was rolling. Based on power gains, and the fact that I’ve gained 5-11 minutes at every course I’ve ridden this year compared to last, I was SURE I was going to ride sub 2:10 and challenge the top pro times. When I got off the bike this year to see a 2:15, I have never felt so unrewarded in a competition. I was shocked. Doesn’t 3.9 w/kg buy more than a 2:15? Last year, I rode a 2:15 - no chance I pushed close to that power last year. This year, I was first wave and rode solo the entire time. Clearly still learning what’s what in this game. But I rode the ride I was hoping to ride - so hell, I wrapped a bow on that and put it in my pocket. Happy there. I had to be.

Run was tactical. I was excited to force myself into pacing the front half. Before the day, I planned on holding 6:20’s and no faster since I usually run the first 3 miles of a 70.3 around 18 minutes and then struggle. I went out EASY, eventually calling a compromise when 6:20 felt a little labored, so I pulled back to hold 6:30. It felt great and cool and comfortable. The first 6 miles, I was all alone out front, talking to myself about how much I LOVED doing what I was doing (which is not the usual case miles 4-6, then beyond). I even unzipped and peed on one of the big hills while running (seriously that sparse). All along, as those miles ticked by, I couldn’t wait to cut it loose on the back half. I felt so great, so LOADED. I was going to crush a negative split. I was so confident I was going to take back all the patient time I was giving up. Cruised through the vineyard loop past mile 7 and picked up the effort…but the pace only held. Some guys in the wave that started 6 minutes ahead of me started catching up. I saw the guy I was battling for #1 - I was up about 30 seconds around mile 8. I didn’t know how fast he was going, but I knew I had to GO at that point. Pace was slipping a little, but barely - but the feeling was actually pretty similar to every 70.3 run I’ve ever done - and the time I was gaining was not coming close to making up the time I gave away in the front half. At mile 10, I was fighting hard and got passed by a guy in my AG. I was crushed, then tried to stay loose and cool and focused on his cadence. I thought…just keep him close…he’s been chasing. We went over some hills and around some turns and he wasn’t getting away. At 11.5, we went through an aid station and I went by him, then went through a LOT to put 40 seconds on him to the line to come across #2, about 75 seconds behind first place. It was a fierce race and I went damn deep to come in where I did. Happy there. First place ran a 1:22, third a 1:24. I ran a 1:27…which actually means it’s time to learn something here…

There’s a statement in endurance sports that speaks to me right now more than it has in the past. When you feel good, go…when you don’t, pull back. I know there are a handful of smart, contradictory statements you could put beside this, but let’s forget those for now. I feel like at this point in my career - now that I have absolutely given patience a fair shot — I will always fight for my life the back half of the marathon. When I feel good, I need to push that opening pace for as long as my body lets me. I put the brakes on DEEP for the front half of this run, probably gave up 90-120 seconds saving for ultimately no back half spending. Point is, looking back, I think my best times come when I let my body…and even my dangerous emotion dictate the pace. I’ll be taking that to Mt. Tremblant, NOT Canada…

This smarter pacing was an idea that sprung from my 3 weeks of long distance training - focusing on how I’m going to deal with that 26.2 mile run post bike. Not sure it’s as appropriate for 13.1, at least not for me, at least not for now. So as I said, as long as I have my race in Canada, all of this will make sense to me. Perfect sense. And Vineman will have been as perfect as I said it was.

Vineman 70.3, IM Canada, Mick & Miyagi…
What a month of June. I raced, and the results of that race caused me to re-align my season. Also arriving in that stretch: some humility, supreme momentum, and confidence of a great July. So, I’m going up to IM Canada at the end of the month to take a second shot at getting into Kona. Since most of my training has been fairly hybrid all season long, my coaches and I didn’t think this was a stretch to pull out of Racine 70.3 and go long 2 weeks after Vineman 70.3. This BIG July racing should roll me into a 10 day break before I line up the World Champs in Mt. Tremblant, and ultimately, Kona.
When I couldn’t sleep the week after Eagleman, I called an emergency meeting with my two head coaches, Mick and Miyagi. I told them what I had in mind and they agreed to help navigate me through what was coming. We agreed that I was pissed off, and that my anger was to be used to charge through probably the most ambitious 3 week training block I’ve ever seen. That ended yesterday, and I’m damn proud of what has been placed inside of me. Mick isn’t a fan of going long, because it takes away from his fierce approach. Miyagi enjoys it…so this is what we did… We gave Miyagi 2 days a week. I ran long again on Thursdays for the first time in a long time. Distances were 17, 21, and 18 over the last three weeks - half roads, half trails at Will Rogers. On Saturdays, the bricks stretched. Rides were 6, 7.5 and 5 hours all with a 6-8 mile run off trying to square up Ironman pace and effort. During the week, a tuesday night brick was added. Friday night run taken way. My average schedule over the 3 weeks looked like this:
Monday: Tower 26 Swim (60)
Tuesday: AM Spin Class (50), tempo run (70), HOT core/barre (60) PM Trainer (75) + Run off (30)
Wednesday: AM Tower 26 Swim (90), Interval bike (150) PM Spin Class (50)
Thursday: AM Long Run (150) PM Strength (30) Yoga (75)
Friday: AM Double Spin Class (100) Tower 26 Swim (75) PM Spin Class (50)
Saturday: Brick Ride (360) + Run (50)
Sunday: Interval Run (75), Double Spin (90), Strength (45)
——-
The key in this training block (Ironman) has been my heart rate monitor. I am an emotional athlete - I think it’s what has ultimately made me rise, so I wouldn’t want to be anything else, but sometimes that emotion has gotten me into trouble. Mainly, in the first 3-5 miles of the run. I am trying to train myself to turn OFF emotion at the early stages. Sounds obvious and easy, but I am brick-headed and sometimes no matter how clear the writing is on the wall in front of me, I’ll keep hitting my head on it…over, and over, and over. This year, every race save St. George, I feel like I’ve been charging out of the post trying to prove to myself I’m RIGHT NOW faster than a 1:24. And it hasn’t worked once. Same thing - feel great, struggle, stumble home. For Vineman, I am going to reverse thinking - not run very low 6’s or high 5’s trying to bank seconds for inevitable failure. Instead, I am going to set 1:22 pace - a 6:19, and fight that number with some bravery and patience. In Canada, I’m not even going to look at pace - only heart rate for the first 16-20 miles. These are the games I’ll be playing in the month of July. Games.

Vineman 70.3, IM Canada, Mick & Miyagi…

What a month of June. I raced, and the results of that race caused me to re-align my season. Also arriving in that stretch: some humility, supreme momentum, and confidence of a great July. So, I’m going up to IM Canada at the end of the month to take a second shot at getting into Kona. Since most of my training has been fairly hybrid all season long, my coaches and I didn’t think this was a stretch to pull out of Racine 70.3 and go long 2 weeks after Vineman 70.3. This BIG July racing should roll me into a 10 day break before I line up the World Champs in Mt. Tremblant, and ultimately, Kona.

When I couldn’t sleep the week after Eagleman, I called an emergency meeting with my two head coaches, Mick and Miyagi. I told them what I had in mind and they agreed to help navigate me through what was coming. We agreed that I was pissed off, and that my anger was to be used to charge through probably the most ambitious 3 week training block I’ve ever seen. That ended yesterday, and I’m damn proud of what has been placed inside of me. Mick isn’t a fan of going long, because it takes away from his fierce approach. Miyagi enjoys it…so this is what we did… We gave Miyagi 2 days a week. I ran long again on Thursdays for the first time in a long time. Distances were 17, 21, and 18 over the last three weeks - half roads, half trails at Will Rogers. On Saturdays, the bricks stretched. Rides were 6, 7.5 and 5 hours all with a 6-8 mile run off trying to square up Ironman pace and effort. During the week, a tuesday night brick was added. Friday night run taken way. My average schedule over the 3 weeks looked like this:

Monday: Tower 26 Swim (60)

Tuesday: AM Spin Class (50), tempo run (70), HOT core/barre (60) PM Trainer (75) + Run off (30)

Wednesday: AM Tower 26 Swim (90), Interval bike (150) PM Spin Class (50)

Thursday: AM Long Run (150) PM Strength (30) Yoga (75)

Friday: AM Double Spin Class (100) Tower 26 Swim (75) PM Spin Class (50)

Saturday: Brick Ride (360) + Run (50)

Sunday: Interval Run (75), Double Spin (90), Strength (45)

——-

The key in this training block (Ironman) has been my heart rate monitor. I am an emotional athlete - I think it’s what has ultimately made me rise, so I wouldn’t want to be anything else, but sometimes that emotion has gotten me into trouble. Mainly, in the first 3-5 miles of the run. I am trying to train myself to turn OFF emotion at the early stages. Sounds obvious and easy, but I am brick-headed and sometimes no matter how clear the writing is on the wall in front of me, I’ll keep hitting my head on it…over, and over, and over. This year, every race save St. George, I feel like I’ve been charging out of the post trying to prove to myself I’m RIGHT NOW faster than a 1:24. And it hasn’t worked once. Same thing - feel great, struggle, stumble home. For Vineman, I am going to reverse thinking - not run very low 6’s or high 5’s trying to bank seconds for inevitable failure. Instead, I am going to set 1:22 pace - a 6:19, and fight that number with some bravery and patience. In Canada, I’m not even going to look at pace - only heart rate for the first 16-20 miles. These are the games I’ll be playing in the month of July. Games.

Ironman Canada
Change in schedule. Can’t go to Racine 70.3 the week after Vineman. It wasn’t enough. It wasn’t speaking to me. Could not let Kona go this year without another shot. Things that happened at Eaglemen rattled me into the best 3 week block of training I’ve ever been through. So it’s Whistler now, July 27th, 2 weeks after Vineman. July is going to be rugged, and great. Everything about this feels right.

Ironman Canada

Change in schedule. Can’t go to Racine 70.3 the week after Vineman. It wasn’t enough. It wasn’t speaking to me. Could not let Kona go this year without another shot. Things that happened at Eaglemen rattled me into the best 3 week block of training I’ve ever been through. So it’s Whistler now, July 27th, 2 weeks after Vineman. July is going to be rugged, and great. Everything about this feels right.