Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mid-Term Exam

Half way through my training for the SOMA Half-Iron, I am now starting to get comfortable with what I am doing.

The last two weeks have been spent getting in some great training. As you know it gets quite hot out here in Phoenix, so I have been working out super early in the morning and also a few short workouts at night. I try my best to stay away from the heat; 114 degrees can make for a long training session.

I now feel like I have a routine that I am finally comfortable with. Some days there is only one discipline to concentrate on, and other times there is a mixture of two. So far I have not reached the point where I feel I am being overwhelmed. I see the bigger picture now and things both physically and mentally are starting to fall in place, and it feels great.

Swim: I swim once a week at the lake. Two times a week I wake up at go to 5:45am masters swim practice. I am still swimming at 60%, but I am working at being more efficient with my body position and stroke. This will make my 60% faster any I will still have energy left in the tank for the rest of the race.

Bike: Once my strongest discipline, this is now where I need the most work. I have been working on en entire different pedal stroke. I am also working on keeping my cadence at 95 rpm. I ride four times a week including one spin class and one long (50+) ride a week. I am now a slower cyclist, but a better cyclist. After a few months with the proper pedal stroke and rpm count my speed should catch up and surpass my previous times.

Run: I am starting to gain confidence in the run again. There first miles are the hardest for me both physically and mentally. Once I break through the first couple miles I am able to stay on cruise control. My mind seems to wander during the run more then any other triathlon discipline. I run 4 times a week with varying distances and tempos. I do go long (10+) once a week, I should add that it is very slow.

Rest: My Rest Day rocks! I love the scheduled rest day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Click... Click... Click...

Things are starting to click. I am starting to feel really good about my workouts and feel I am making progress each time out. After two not so inspiring weeks I sat down with my sponsor/coach and we are both now re-committed to getting me to the finish line at the Ironman Arizona.

My coach hooked up a crazy machine to my new bike. The machine was called a compu-trainer and it measures the power output of a pedal stroke. On a screen the results are broadcast in real time. The data projected onto the screen confirmed that I have an awful pedal stroke, it is very inefficient and uses only one set of muscles. All of my power in my stroke is from pressing downward. Basically if you were looking at a clock I am trying to get from the 12 to the 6 without going through 1 to 5. To have a better pedal stroke I need to concentrate and work on a few important details.
1- Pedal in a full circle. Apply pressure all the way around, not just up and down.
2- Increase my cadence. I need to pedal with less resistance and have a higher rpm. I have been comfortable with an rpm in the mid 70’s, but to be a more efficient cyclist I will need to bring that up to 85-95 rpm.
3- Drop my heel. By doing this I will incorporate other leg muscles into my stroke.

My Monday night open water swim sessions at the lake have been fantastic. The water feels great and I am seeing improvement each week. By the way I didn’t get lapped last night by the faster swimmers!

I just feel really good right now.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

News...Big News...Huge News


A few of my friends and I meet up at the lake each Monday of an open water swim. There is a nice sheltered .5 mile loop that we like to swim around. We usually swim 2 loops, but on this day a few of the others decided to swim three loops totaling 1.5 miles. As I was swimming just about to finish my second loop I was passed by two of the swimmers. I had been lapped! Those two had finished their 3rd loop seconds before I finished my second. Oh the horror, the horror.


Since I injured my shoulder swimming last September 9th, almost a year ago, I have only been swimming at 60%. The doctor told me that swimming over 60% will tear apart my shoulder again. During my races and training I have been very conscious of the 60% and have been very careful. Lately I have been feeling great in the water, but I am really restricting the speed. The last year has been spent swimming slow, smooth, and steady. Now I want to kick it up a notch. How am I really supposed to know what 60% is? And if I feel great should I bump it up another 10 – 20 percent?

Big News:

I have joined the Masters Swimming Program at my local YMCA. The pool is awesome and huge. I think the structured swim workouts a couple times a week will greatly improve my endurance and efficiency in the water. I think this will really improve my stroke.


Do any of you use a swimmers snorkel or fins when you are training? Do they really help, or do they just sit in the garage and collect dust? Do they help, or do they create bad habits?

Huge News:

I have a new bike! I picked it up a few days ago and man is it fast. I think the black makes it go at least 2 mph faster. It is a very smooth and comfortable ride. I figure that it will take a couple hundred miles to get used to it, but putting on those miles should be a whole lot of fun.


What is the best way to condition yourself to stay in the aero-position for an extended amount of time.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Desperado Dual - Race Report

Desperado Dual


Both my brother and I are constantly looking for fun ways to meet up with each other. He lives in Salt Lake City, UT, and I live in Phoenix, AZ. The past two years we have been meeting in Tempe, AZ, for the SOMA Quarterman Triathlon. A couple months ago we decided to kick it up a notch and ride in a century bike ride. We both decided to ride in the Desperado Dual, a 106-mile loop through some breathtaking scenery.

One week before the race I received a phone call from my brother and he stated that he would not be able to participate in the ride. I was disappointed that I was not going to be hanging out with him over the weekend.

I had already paid for the event, so there was no way I was going to eat the hard earned $45 I laid down for registration. About 1-minute after hearing the bad news from my brother I called up Josh (my brother-in-law), and asked him if he would like to go on a nice bike ride. I tried to stay clear of letting him know the distance, but eventually he asked and I had to tell him. After I let him know it was over one hundred miles the line went silent. About a minute past before he responded saying that he would if he only had a road bike. “Gotcha,” I said to myself. I told him I would have my brother drop off his road bike and helmet later that night. Josh went on to say that he had only ridden a road bike one other time in his life and that was a 28-mile ride on flat terrain. I went on to tell him that if he can ride 28 miles the he certainly could go 106. With that he reluctantly said yes.

Getting There:

I picked up two of my friends (John and Marcia) and we loaded the bikes, coolers, and camping gear into the truck and headed out on our seven-hour journey that would pass through northern Arizona and into a town called Panguitch in central Utah. The new truck ran great and fit all of our gear easily even with the new shell over the bed. We were all grateful the shell was on the truck because it rained off and on throughout the entire day.

We stopped to fill up the truck in Page, AZ, and ate lunch at the local Denny’s. The three of us took about a fifteen-minute break to admire the beauty of Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam.

Three hours later we arrived at what would be out base camp for the weekend, the Panguich KOA. We met up with my parents, and my sister, and her husband, (my brother-in-law) Josh. Everyone stayed in little clean cabins besides John and Marcia, they decided to blow up an inflatable mattress and sleep in their tent.

The Race:
Or should I say ride? Yes, let’s call it a ride, because we certainly did not feel like racing anyone. The only thing racing on this day would be my heart rate. The race started at 7:00am sharp. We started at 7:12am sharp! That’s right; we started the ride late and never made up that lost time.

The first five miles were flat and I was doing OK. Then a hill came along, and I mean a big hill, and I got dropped. I suck at fighting gravity and going up hills. This is a weakness of mine and I know that I need to improve on the hills if I want to become even an average cyclist. The hill kept going and going, I mean this thing seemed to last forever. Finally 22 miles later I reached the summit at almost 8,000 feet of elevation.

My parents and Jodie were waiting at the summit with water and plenty of encouragement. It was great to see them there; they were a great help and kept me moving forward. The next stop was almost another 40 miles down the road; it was a long 40 miles. I did my best to keep the cadence in the mid 70’s, which is a comfortable pace tempo for me. Any lower then that and it takes a toll on my knees, any higher and I get winded. As I tried my best to keep my heart rate at 148 bpm and my cadence in the mid 70’s, I watched my three companions slowly pull away until they were out of site. The ride was through some amazing country with bright colors in the rock and the trees. I was really enjoying the ride past Bryce Canyon and the miles started to disappear one by one without much effort. The route goes through a steep narrow canyon called Black Canyon and I was able to reach 43 mph! That was awesome.

At mile 60 I stopped at the rest station and grabbed some water and had half of a muffin to get some much needed carbs in me. I could feel that I was starting to fatigue a little. I realized that I was now over half way through the ride and thought I could mentally break up the ride into 2 rides, a 60 miler and a 46 miler. I only had the 46 miler to go! I thought that I could certainly go on a 46-mile ride, I had broken 40 several time before in the past. No problem.

Um… actually it was a big problem. The next twenty miles were into the wind and I really started to tire out. I could feel that my legs were toast, and I had no more energy. Mentally I was also getting exhausted, especially once I realized I was counting down the distance by tenths of a mile. The last two miles before the rest stop at mile eighty seemed to last forever.

When I pulled into the rest area and located my personal support crew, I placed my bike against the nearest tree and dropped to the ground. It felt so good to stop. I laid there on the grass for a couple minutes. I soon got to my feet and stumbled over to meet up with Josh, John, and Marcia. They had been waiting for me and were ready to take off again. I told them to go on ahead. I stayed at the rest stop with my support crew and had a banana and a sport drink. After about 20 minutes, I decided it was time to suffer through the last 26-miles of the challenging ride.

My ride did not last much longer. I rode (suffered) for another 9 miles and saw the “Team Tony” support vehicle about a half mile ahead. Fighting the wind my heart rate was at 177 bpm and my cadence could not break 50, even in the granny gear. There was absolutely nothing left in my legs. As I got closer to the support vehicle I found it harder and harder to even stay in a straight line, I began to zigzag along the shoulder of the highway. I was done.

I really wanted to complete the final 17 miles, but on this day it was not in the cards. I was both physically and mentally exhausted. I placed my bike into the support vehicle and we drove on down the road to cheer on the other three riders in our group. I was really impressed with Josh, this was only the second time he had been on a road bike and here he was completing a century. All three of them did a fantastic job. They ended up finishing the ride and we all met up for a much deserved lunch.


A 106 mile ride is just that, a 106 mile ride. It is not 2 – 53 mile rides, or 4- 26.5 mile rides, or in my case a 60 and a 46 (29) mile ride. Nope, a 106 mile ride is a 106 mile ride. Lesson learned I guess.

Even though I was not able to complete the entire ride, I was still upbeat and positive about the experience as a whole. It was the most beautiful ride I have ever been on, and I was able to beat my previous distance record (54 miles) by over 44 miles! I was able to camp out for a couple days with my family and good friends for the weekend.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Sicko Or Psycho?

As you know I have been MIA for a while now. I was having a great week of training and then it hit me. I still don't know what the hell hit me, but it hit me hard. I was so sick.

In a five day span I lost 18 pounds. I told myself if it lasted another day I was going to go to the hospital, and then it went away. I think I had a bad case of "the 5 day cholera," but that is just a guess. Whatever it was I don't like it, and never want it again.

Now the sickness is gone, but I am still very dehydrated. I have my first 100+ mile bike race this Saturday, my longest ride ever was 54 miles. As you can imagine I am quite nervous.

Question: If I start pounding tons of water now to get back some of the hydration I lost will I be alright for the race, or is it too late to start chugging water?