Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday Speed Day

Have I mentioned that I hate Tuesdays.  That's because it's Speed Day and the workouts stretch me just a little bit outside of my comfort zone.  Today was no different and it didn't help that I dorked up the workout.  Of course I didn't make it easier, I just had to make it harder by going an extra mile.  But in the end it was a good workout.  I actually did 10 miles within spitting distance (8:40min/miles) of my marathon goal pace (8:32min/miles).  That's really good for me considering that my half marathon PR is only an 8:50min/mile average and my long runs in HR Zone 3 are normally in the 9:45-10:min/mile range.  Do I think I could of held the pace for another 3 miles?  Probably not but it gives me something to think about.

Now for a slightly different thought.  I've blogged about taking Macen for some of my shorter runs in the BOB stroller.  Well some of those runs are tempo/fartlek type runs where I run or sprint a distance at a certain pace and then I break it down and walk or slow jog for a short distance or time and then it's back to running or sprinting.  Well when I break it down I've got the ultimate cheerleader with me who says "Don't Stop Dad You Can Keep Going!"  I've tried to explain to him that's it's just part of the workout plan to stop and rest every once in awhile.  I didn't think he was getting it until we were walking back from the PX on Sunday and he jumped off his bike and declared "It's now time to rest!"  He kept walking only he was pushing the bike and not riding it.  Shantel was like what the heck, until I explained where I thought he got it from.  Too funny

Monday, August 29, 2011

This Week's Workouts

Here is this week's workouts.  I have been a little slack about posting them.  I promise I'll get better.  This week actually has a decent jump in mileage for the Sunday long run.  The most I've done in the last couple of weeks has been 10 miles.  I'll have to tweak this a little bit since this is Labor day weekend and we are planning on going to Berlin to see the sights so I probably won't get any running done on Saturday or Sunday.  I'll let you know how it works out.

2 miles GP
2x2 miles T
3 miles GP
3 miles
6x100 S
80-minute run,
including 6:00–8:00 TUT
5 miles
15 miles
39–43 miles

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Marzen

Oktoberfest is just around the corner and Shantel and I are making plans to gather some old friends we haven't seen in years together for a trip down to Munich.  It's my only chance to go to Oktoberfest plus we haven't seen some these friends in more than 5 years.  It should be a good time.  It's fitting then that the last beer from Hacker-Pschorr that I'm going to review is their Oktoberfest Marzen, the original beer of Oktoberfest (Marzen has now beeen replaced mainly with Helles at the fest itself)

This beer pours a dark copper, almost a brown, with golden tints.  The generous head is a light beige that disappears quickly, but leaves light lacing on the sides of the glass. The aroma is malty and slightly sweet and the taste starts outs the same with a slight bite at the end.  The bite is more of the heavily roasted malts then the true bitterness of hops.  A very drinkable beer and probably one of my favorite from Hacker-Pschorr.

This is the last beer in the Hacker-Pschorr collection that I will be able to review.  I actually think I've covered them all at one point in th last 20 months with the only exception being their doppelbock.  I'll miss the next doppelbock season as we move back to the states but maybe I can find it there.

I'm going to change my beer review format a little bit.  Instead of single beers, I'm going to do a whole family of beers (or as much as I can find) from a brewery and then do one long post including pictures of the brewery if I can.  I've already got several worked up that are just waiting on actual brewery pictures so look out for them.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

BOB stroller

While I was deployed Shantel bought a BOB Revolution running stroller. We had a couple of neighbors who had them and she thought it would be a good way for me and Macen, and eventually Maddox to spend time together.

Well Macen hasn't been too interested in going on runs with me, so we've only used it a couple times, mainly for short walks to the park or to once to the health clinic for an appointment. Well today we used it for a short 3 mile run.

It was a great run. Even pushing the stroller I stayed well within my per mile average and honestly the stroller practically rolls itself, that's how smooth it was. So smooth in fact that at the 1 .5 mile mark Macen fell asleep and didn't even notice when we jumped the low spots in the curbs.

Bottom line if you are a runner and you have young kids then you need a BOB. It's a great way to spend time with your kids and still get your run in. The big wheels also make it great for off road (or off pavement for you urban adventurers) stuff as well.

Marathon Training

We'll I guess I ought to talk about my marathon training. Well I'm using a free training plan from runners world It has a couple of different levels and I'm using the intermediate level in hopes of breaking the 4 hour mark and hopefully closer to the 3:30 mark than the 4 hour. The plan has two off days, Monday and Friday, weekdays are devoted to speed and shorter runs and the weekends are medium to long runs. So far I'm hating the Tuesday pace runs the most.

The good part about starting a new training regimen is that I start at the beginning with a good base from the previous regimen. I'm never really starting from scratch and it gives my body an opportunity to heal.

I am going to try and throw some swim and bike workouts in on Mondays and Fridays, low impact, low intensity type stuff so that I get some " active" recovery.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Athens Marathon

OK it's official I'm entered to compete in the Athens Classic Marathon.  The race follows the historical route from Marathonas to Athen's Panathinaiko Stadium, which hosted the first modern Olympics in 1896.  Shantel gave me the go ahead the other night but I held out to register until today, just in case she changed her mind. 

One of our former neighbors will be there and there is the possibility of another couple from our street going as well, so there will be people for Shantel and the boys to hang out with.

I'm excited for this, not only is it the 2,500 anniversary of the Battle of Marathon and the run that gave the race it's name but it's the last event and trip we will get to take in Europe as we prepare to move back to the States.  We'll get to some of the most ancient history of the world in the days prior to the race and then I get to go out and try to break my PR on the marathon.  My PRs only a 4:20 and I'd like to run a 3:30-3:45 so we'll see where I can get my fitness levels to in the next few months.

This will also be my last major event for awhile.  I will move into my off season after the race and stay there until after the turn of the new year.  I'm looking to do things a little different for 2012 so stay tuned to see what those are.  Until then it's more Long Slow Distance runs with some speed work thrown in as I get ready to break the 4 hour marathon barrier.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hacker-Pschorr Munchener Gold (Export Bier)

Today's beer doesn't normally stray as far north from Munich as some of the other Hacker-Pschorr beers.  I picked up when my parents were here and we were wandering around Southern Germany.  It's Hacker-Pschorr's Munchener Gold (Export Bier)

It pours a yellow gold with a thin head that quickly dissippates leaving very then lacing on the sides.  The aroma is slightly hoppy.  The taste a balance between malted barley and hops with the hops winning out in the end, although not overwhelmingly.  The finish is crisp with a slight lingering after taste.  Not a bad beer but definitely not my favorite Hacker-Pschorr.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What's Next

What's next?  Well I just don't know.  We only have about 4 months left in Europe so I'm not sure I want to do another race here.  A couple of the neighbors have brought up doing the Athens Marathon, it's the original course (that's right, the one where the guy DIED after he ran it!) and it's the 2500th anniversary of the running.  Their wives would also go as well as their kids so there would be someone for Shantel and Macen to hang out with.  One of the couples also have a little one just a few days older than Maddox so he will be there as well.  It's tempting but we'll have to see how it fits in with the other stuff we are going to try and accomplish.

I'm already looking ahead to races in the Kansas City Area for 2012.  I'll definitely do the Ironman 70.3 Kansas race, probably the Kansas City Triathlon, Shawnee Mission Triathlon and maybe the Kansas City Marathon.  I'm also thinking about Ironman Louisville (it's amazing how quickly one forgets how painful an Ironman is).  What I don't want to do is run us ragged like I almost did the last time I was at Leavenworth.  I will try to limit myself to one race a month and stay in the Kansas City area with the exception of the Ironman.  As usual Shantel gets final approve authority over all race schedules.

What I do need to do is get back into a rhythm and start running, biking, and swimming again, so that the base doesn't go away.

Hacker-Pschorr Munchner Dunkel

I'm starting to run out of beers from Hacker-Pschorr but here is one more that I've picked up as I scoured Getrankemarkts in Bavaria, it's the Munchner Dunkel.  It pours a dark coffee colored body with a beige head that didn't last long.  An aroma of roasted malts filled even my picky nostrils.  The taste of slighly bitter roasted malts filled my mouth. but a slightly caramally finish kept it from being too overpowering.  Not my favorite dunkel, but not a bad beer either.  Although I must admit I don't think I've had a "bad" beer in Germany.

Hacker-Pschorr Munchner Radler

OK it's time to get back to posting about beer.  Maddox has arrived and Ironman Regensburg is in the history books. I'll pick up where I left off with the Hacker-Pschorr collection.  A fitting selection after the Ironman is their Munchner Radler.  If you are not familiar with Radlers read about them here.

It pours a very pale gold, almost a clear.  Lots of carbonation makes for tiny bubbles that give a white head that builds and then dissipates but never disappears leaving lacing on the sides. The aroma is sweet lemonwith a touch of beer.  The taste is all sweet lemon with no hint that there is some beer in the mix.  A satisfying drink if you are looking for something a little different or don't want to get drunk.  Even Shantel gives it a thumbs up.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Final Thoughts on Ironman Regensburg

Well it's been 48 hours since I finished Ironman Regensburg and here are some final thoughts.

You don't know what you don't know.  Every race is different and I've always done shorter races where the transition area is in the same spot.  The two different transition areas and a different finish areas were a new experience.  I know now what I need to pack for the different transitions, i.e. fresh socks for the run, a towel for the finish bag, and maybe a running jacket for the run.

PCC/PCIs, for you non military folks that's pre combat checks and pre combat inspections.  In other words check your stuff and then have some else recheck it.  I forget my small towels for T1 and T2, my body glide, motrin, and sunscreen.  All things I normally have on hand.  Part of the problem was this was my first and only triathlon of the year, so kinks I would have worked out by doing smaller races I didn't have worked out for this one.

Have a plan and stick to it.  That's especially true of the longer distance races. I had a training plan that I stuck too and I said all along that I wanted to average 15 mph on the bike and then run 13 minute miles.  I averaged 15.9 mph on the bike and 13:23 minute miles.  I was really tempted to push it hard on the flat portion of the bike but I've done that before on Ironman 70.3 races only to have my legs give out 3/4 of the way through the half marathon.  That didn't happen on Sunday.  I took it easy and maintained my average and felt great through the run.  I was also tempted to push it during the run since I felt like I had plenty of gas but I kept the pace nice and easy and would walk for a minute every mile.  I know that dropped my time but I enjoyed the run, finished my first Ironman and I'm able to walk and go for a short jog 48 hours later.  That's much better than my first Ironman 70.3 11 years ago where I finished but I couldn't walk for a week later.  The difference was the training and race plan.

Finally for all my talk about beer I didn't drink any beers during the race or immediately afterwards.  Afterwards I was just DONE, so all I wanted to do was get the bike and my transition bags and head back to the hotel for a soak in the tube, where I promptly fell asleep only to wake up to cold water about 30 minutes later.  I did get an offer of a beer from one of the aid stations on my last lap.  I was on lap 3 and the volunteers were winding down and breaking out their beer.  One of them told me to ask for a beer on my last lap and they would give me one.  I guess I took too long on that last lap so that while the aid station was open that particular group of volunteers were gone. Darn the luck!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ironman Regensburg 2011 Pictures

Waiting in line at the porta john for that last minute download.

After a quick warm up swim.  Feeling good and confident.

Swim finish, really good time at 1hr 46 min (for me).  How did I manage to squeeze 195lbs into that neoprene suit?

Swim to bike transition.

Finishing the bike in 7hrs and change.  A "cool down" run is next

Lap 2 of the marathon feeling good but slowing down.
Lap 3.  Is it over yet?  

Coming down the finish chute.

The Finish

Ironman Regensburg 2011

Well folks it's official, I'm an "Ironman"  I completed Ironman Regensburg yesterday in 14hrs 57min 45secs, not as fast as I wanted but under the 16 hour cutoff.  Before I get into the race day story let me give you a little background.
Most of you know that I redeployed from Afcrackistan on 27 May.  I really ramped up my training once I returned and I was posting all about it. That all kind of went to hell around 13 July, that when, if you noticed, I stopped really posting about my training, all you got were beer posts that I had scheduled to post in advance. 
On July 13 Shantel and I welcomed our second son Maddox James, so that week's training was shot.  I got back on track for the most part the next week only to have my Mom and Stepdad arrive for their visit the Friday before race.  No issues there it was taper week anyway and I really enjoyed playing tour guide all around southern Germany and the Czech Republic for them. 
So if you really look at I only had 10 weeks to prep, 1 of which was lost for the birth of our son, and the other was a taper week.  That's 8 weeks of training to do 140.6 miles in under 16 hours.  I don't want to hear any excuses from anyone about how hard an Ironman is to complete.  It's not easy but if I can do it with only 8 weeks of real training than a normal person should be able to get off the couch, get a plan and finish one.

Now for the race day story.
Forcast for race day: 55-60 degrees with rain showers all day.  I got my hopes up at 4:30am when it wasn't raining as we went out to the car to drive to the swim start.  I was thinking that the forcasted rain today would be like the forcasted rain all week; just a figment of the meterologists imagination.  My hopes were dashed as we were waiting for the shuttle bus to take us from the parking area to the swim start when it started pouring and kept pouring and kept pouring.  It rained off and on all day until the run portion when there was still some scattered drizzling.
The swim start went off right at 7am and it was asses and elbows as 2500+ particpants did one mass start into the lake and I was right in the middle of it.  Things spread out eventually as all of the "fish" left me behind.  I spent most of the swim with several other blue capped men and a couple of orange capped women and I just tried to keep up with them, keep a steady pace and not stray too far from the bouy line.  I succeeded for the most part and came out of the swim with a time of 1hr 46 minutes.  Faster than anything I'd done in training.
The bike was wet, wet, wet.  I was wearing a a sleeveless tri jersey and I was wishing for some arm warmers or a long sleeve jersey.  I drove on though and I really enjoyed the ride through the Bavarian countryside.  Despite the weather the bike course was lined with Bavarians out having a good time cheering on the bikers, cooking out and of course, drinking beer.  I couldn't believe it, but it's not like a Bavarian to turn down an excuse to party.  I finished up the bike portion with a time of 7 hours and change.  What do you know, I'm about 20 minutes ahead of the pace I wanted to keep.
I started the run with 7 hours to go until cutoff time.  Piece of cake I thought.  Yeah right.  I'd had high hopes for the run since that was really the only event that I had trained for while in Afcrackistan putting in several 15+ mile runs and I'd had several good training runs in the weeks prior to the race.  Well the first lap went pretty good with about a 12 minute a mile average and a couple under 12 minutes, but I was fading, not fast but I know me and I realized that any hopes of a sub 13 minute average was slipping.  Lap 2 was decent with a couple of good miles but the monkey was on the horizon and he showed up for good on lap three where the average jumped from around 12:30 to almost 14 minutes.  Lap 4 I decided to make my victory lap, the pace was a shuffle at around a 15 minute average, but I knew that at even that pace I was in no danger of missing the cutoff.  Why push hard when I'm not in contention for a Kona slot and the only goals I had were to finish and not finish last in my age group?  I crossed the finish line at 14hrs 57min 45secs.  Not stellar but I accomplished my goals and I FINISHED!!! My run split was a 5hr 55min and change.
Overall the race experience was great.  Great volunteers, Great spectators, Great racers.  I chatted up racers from the US, Great Britain, Poland, Germany, Italy, and Canada, everyone was mutually supportive and made the race experience so much better.
I feel good today, not great just good.  This may have been my only Ironman distance race.  I don't know.  I know that my friend Andy will probably try and twist my arm into doing an Ironman race next summer, we'll just have to see.  I'm really comfortable with the half Ironman races and I think that is where I will probably concentrate my efforts, you never know though, I may have to stretch my limits again.
I'd like to thank my Mom and Hugh for being my Ironman Support Crew.  They were there for the start and for every transition and Hugh took plenty of pictures which I'll post later.  They rang cow bells and kept me going.  Thanks guys. 

Finally I'd like to thank Shantel.  This was the ony race she's missed since we've been together, she stayed home with Macen and Maddox,and she hated it but she was glued to www.ironmanlive.com watching my splits and tracking my progress at home.  She was even worried when my last run split didn't get posted and was really relieved when I called to tell her that I was done.  Thanks babe, I couldn't of done it without you letting me out of the house for those long rides and runs.  I love you.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Race Day

It's 4 hours before race start and I'm up. I've actually been up since about 1:30am just tossing and turning. I'm as ready as I'm going to get.

I've been bad about posting. But training has been on track and I'm fairly comfortable with my fitness level. Life has been really busy lately. From here on out it's all mental.

I'll check back in in about 18 hours.