Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Chicago Pics

I'm sure that Di's got some good shots coming on her blog, but I found a few that I like. Of course, it's all about me on my blog.

Pre-race: Here's a shot of Tim, the Bigun, Roman and Dr. Dave.

Swim: This is the long leg I was talking about - that's probably me swimming into the boat up there to the left...

and here is a tired-looking Bigun - damn, I look OLD!

Bike: It's all about the bike!

Here's a haggard looking, non face shaven, but great leg-shaven thirsty Bigun...

Run: Yep, I beat her in the shute. I love beating up on women and small children. Woop up an #6 on them.

"That's when you go riding into town, a woop'en and a womp'in every living thing to within an inch of it's life...sparing the women of course." - Blazing Saddles

Post race: Look at all these burned up lobsters!

Brittany, Bigun, Di and Andy:

Mike, Bigun, Di and J-Wimm:

Here's a shot of me holding back Roman after he got sheister'd out of his 1st Place Medal. This guy shouldn't have messed with the Clydesdales!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chicago Triathlon

A good time was had by all. Here it is Tuesday and we are still exhausted, but only because of the driving - today and Monday we logged over 1200 miles getting home from the Windy City, thankfully without incident! We really couldn't wait to get home to get online and read about IMKY finishers. Congrats go to all of you, Di and I are really very proud of you!

Ok - pre-race. That was one huge expo! Biggest I've ever seen - indoors, loads of vendors and every kind of bike, wetsuit, and gadget you could imagine. Even saw one of my favorite bikes - the Roarke Custom Titanium - on display for the first time. Thump-thump, thump-thump. For some reason I thought we had to have our bikes racked on Saturday, but that wasn't true. After getting registered and meeting up with friends and Sherpas Andy and Brittany, we walked down to the swim course and transition - this was an unexpected few city blocks from the Expo - we didn't quite make it to Transition, and head back, pretty tired from driving and walking, to follow Andy home. That evening I put the bike together, made up my hydration and hit the sackat around 10pm, beat from nearly 3 days of driving. Note to self: don't put yourself through all that ever, that was a hard way to get to a race and then try to expect to do well...

Race Morning: Had to leave Andy's at 3:45 since transition closed at 5:45 and he lives about an hour away from the race. Good thing he's not shy about his driving speed...They dropped me off to go find parking, and I walked the bike in...right there next to me walking in to transition was Roman and his buddy Dr. Dave from Omaha. Good timing. In the sea of 8,500 competitors and 52 bike racks, we get there at the exact same time. We all set up our equipment and head out of a closing transition with nary a care in the world - our wave doesn't leave until 9:41am. Accenture made the Clydes all go last. Oh well.

We meet up with Di and Andy and Brittany, drop our stuff and watch for a while. We watch Dave kick off and then go get ready ourselves. There we finally get to meet Mike and J-wimm, who've braved Chicago traffic to come and see us race (Mike's got NASCAR-like driving skills, btw, but that's a story for another time). The whole time, the waterfront is a complete zoo, with competitors and spectators coming and going. No chance for a warm-up swim, btw - this will be a rolling easy start.

Swim: We big guys all pile in the pretty cold water - it's around 60 degrees; not quite as cold as Alcatraz - actually, not even close...but it was still cold. It's a "in-water" start, and Roman and I seed ourselves at the front (he's in front...I'm right behind him, with a dastardly plan to swat his feet for as long as I can). It was a good seed - I didn't get trampled and only had some mild jostling at the start. It was pretty pleasant actually. I was just touching Roman's toes when some big dude body slammed me from the left side a good 200 or 300 yards into the swim, and that broke Roman free of me, never to be seen or heard from again except in passing on the bike and run course. Shoot!

The water was very clear - and only twice did I notice the "taste" of diesel fuel. With the swim along the concrete walkway, I hardly lifted my head up to sight, and since I'm bilateral, I got a really good line, right up until I slammed headlong into an anchored safety-guy in a rowboat. I guess I was too far to the right after all, but really, I think they could have been out a little bit wider. I found the 1200 meter straight swim a bit much - I like having the swim broken up into shorter legs - it was difficult to judge how much more you had left to go. I pretty much just kept my head down and swam. I noticed something you don't see standing on the shoreline - along the sidewalk there were ropes and buoys that competitors were hanging on pretty much the whole way...poor folks. Finally the buoy marking the end was THERE and I was stumbling up the stairs with the help of some volunteers to make my way to T1. The LONG way to T1. My time including the run to T1 was 34:30. At this point, Roman was 29:51 - it was all over but the cryin' prior best OLY swim was 32:08 - but the timing mat was at the water exit - I'm really not sure how long the time was for this run to T1.

Speaking of T1 - my wetsuit won the wrestling match, but I didn't let it pin me. 3:15 vs. Roman's truly felt a LOT slower than that even.

It's all about...The Bike: I wish. The Chicago bike is insane. Period. It's a never-ending pound-fest of potholes, expansion joints, and ejected/discarded trash. It's flat, but not flat-flat. There are overpasses with a little elevation change just to make it easy. I really felt great, once I got clipped in - what a spazz I was after the mount line trying to clip in. NO, I didn't have my shoes in the clips first....still need more practice at that, and with a "steep" uphill start, I didn't want do do anything too different.

I had poured about 3/4's of one water-bottle full of Gatorade into my Profile Design aero-bottle, knowing that if you fill those things, the fluid just shakes out before you can drink it anyway...well, I hit the first filled expansion joint and got a face full of lemon-lime Gatorade - it kinda stings in your eyes, btw. After the second big bump, I looked in the I reach back and grab the bottle that had just a little left and drank that from the water-bottle. That would be my only fluid intake since the start of the race. The other, nice and full water bottle, was the one that came up missing when I reached back to look for it - so while I remember an average speed of over 23 mph at one point - yes, probably a bit too fast anyway - my dehydration and fear of warming run temps dropped my average bike speed on the last bit officially to 21.6mph. Roman, on his shiny black and red BMC rocket, cranked the bike at 22.5mph. Awesome job, Roman! Making my way through the myriad of bikes and people cost me 3:26 in T2, vs Roman's speedy 2:24 - while not accounting for a minute, I really wish I had walked the route from the "bike-in" to my rack location instead of the casual, "you just come in up there" brush off. We all know this is what we are supposed to do, so why blow this stuff off? While not my projected 22mph PR, 21.6 for the full Oly bike is a PR - so we have a decent swim, and a good bike so far...

Run, Run, Run: My plan was to run 'till I puked, but that didn't happen. No cramps. Just a solid knowledge that I HAD to make up for some lost hydration, and fast. I was fading, and could really feel it. I was grabbing everything I could and still keep running though the aid stations. Gatorade in, water chaser, some luke-warm water over my head, run a mile, repeat. Imagine my surprise when I saw I was averaging under 9:30? Great, now just hold on to that and try to negative split. I finally saw Roman at one point running with Tim and made a mental note of the distance on my Garmin, just in case I had a fighting chance. I rounded a turn as saw runners stretched out for at least a mile and knew that the Everyman was well ahead of me, so all I could do was go for the best run I could do. So many times you race a Tri against yourself or just the clock, and while I started out with every intention of giving Roman a run for his money, the race turned into me vs. me. I turned up the effort at mile's 3, 4 and 5, and felt like I was full out sprinting at 5.75 miles (disregard the total lack of increased PACE on my Garmin chart - the extra effort just kept me there...). The course was open - very little shade and just a touch of hilliness between miles 4 and 5 I think. Great aid stations on the run - while the liquids were not cold, there was plenty of it. I finished with a 9:26 pace - a PR for the OLY distance, and an overall time of 2:50:07.

Post race: Accenture had a good table set up with drinks and fruit and bagels and two awesome water fans that were gifts from the heavens. Accenture bills the greatest post race party, but I found it lacking in that, while they claim it to include the competitors and their family and friends, there was nothing in the way of liquids or food for any of our Sherpa-kin. That was pretty disappointing. This race is difficult for the spectator as the segments are very spread out from each other - there was a ton of walking involved for Di and the Crew. Since we went off so late, by the time I got back to transition (which was blocks away from the race finish!) and got packed up, it was time for the awards ceremony. We baked and broiled in the sun with nothing to drink while they waited until last to announce the Clydesdale medal winners. After all that, "they" screwed up and totally dissed Roman's first place for the "40+ 200-225lb" Clydesdale category with his 2:36:29 finishing time. I managed to take second in the "40+ 250lb and over" category. 2:46:26 took first - I'd usually quickly say that I'll get him next year, but we all know that 2008 is the year of the Ironman...maybe in '09 - when Andy and Mike and J-wimm race it with us? We'll see...

Editor's note: Pictures are being downloaded from Di's apparatus and will be added eventually....

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

raceAthlete meet up in Chicago

It looks like Roman has a meet up organized for 1pm on Saturday in Chicago at the Inside Triathlon booth in the Expo. Looking at the "map" for this Expo - wow! If it's really that big, it will surely be the largest Expo we've been to yet. I should wear a bib to catch the drooling.

I'm really not sure who else will be there - Di and I are looking forward to meeting with Mike and J-wimm, and with Roman and his family; I doubt that is it for raceAthlete or Tri-blogger Alliance folks in Chicago.

I'm totally exhausted from 3 days of cramming in all my lawns! Some day I'll be in good enough "lawn" shape to handle 10 or 12 lawns in a day...I hope so, see'ns how I really need to get to 50 lawns ASAP (from the 31 I have now...). The sun was brutal the past few days with record high temps this week in the Tampa region. The only saving grace was the breeze - if not for that, I'd have wilted and died. NO SHIT!

With that, I haven't even thought about swimming, biking or running one iota. Well, not true, I have THOUGHT about it. Then I popped the top on another brewski and thought some more about it. When the Bigun tapers, he really goes all out! I'm pretty sure I won't do much while traveling for 2 days to the Windy City, so I'll be pretty well rested by the time my wave goes off on Sunday.

I'll be missing a day in front of IMLive looking for all the folks I know - GG, Sweetness, Iron Pol, and Dieing Water Buffalo for starters - taking names in Louisville. Good luck to all of you and to those whom I missed. On the Ironman!!!!! I just got a comment from a good ol' College roomie of mine, TA - he's needing someone for Sherpa duties at IMMOO! Crap! Another great reason to go to Madison. All of you IMMOO'ers, I'm soooo, soooo sorry! I feel lame. Weak. Lame and weak and full of excuses. I'm hanging my head in disgust with myself as I type this. Someone hit me. Thanks, Di! You can always count on your spouse for a "free wack" when you ask for it...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Iron Week 44

Note to self: Long run days are just that. Long run. ONLY. At least for a while, until I get in some semblance of "Iron Fit"...that 10 miler kicked the Bigun's butt. It's been a while since I've gone over 6 miles, and it showed. I was delusional in thinking that I'd throw some bike miles in afterward...yea, right. Like that was going to happen.

Like I promised, I broke 20 miles for the week in running, and did my LR (Long Run) workout. Good stuff. Not Iron-grade yet, but on the way there. I had to break in some new shoes this week - the Beasts - and I have to say that my ankles are giving me some troubles with the new shoes. All that ankles are having to adjust.

This week was NOT about the bike. Sorry Bold. I only got on the bike once this week for my Pyramid workout...I know, pretty weak. We'll bounce back after the Chicago trip with a planned century ride - the Bok Tower Century down in Sebring (last year, this was my first ever century ride...) - so the Bigun will be back in the saddle, again...

Swim wise, a decent week. I did 2 workouts at 2,500 meters each, doing sets of 500m. I had a third workout - 600 meters - I totally bonked after a warmup set - I hadn't eaten lunch and only a small breakfast before a few lawn cuts...felt stupid getting out after such a short set, but I really felt shakey and dizzy and had nothing to give the pool that day. I think that yesterday's 2,500 was one of my best "feeling" swims in a very long time, if not ever. I did not keep any time for the sets, but everything felt right: cadence, breathing, pull, catch - all that technical swim stuff. I may just surprise myself this Sunday with a good swim....

With only 8 hrs of total training volume, it wasn't a week for the record books. It was HOT. It was HUMID. I can see, with this new lawn business, a future of "inverse Triathlon seasons" is in stall for me. July and August being "off" months, while I race and train in the winter, fall and spring. We'll see what September has in store for us, weather-wise...I don't know about you, but I'm ready for some cooler days!

And on a non-training note, although it could be argued that cutting grass all day has some training effect, I have officially broken the 30-customer mark. Yea! Not too bad for only 4 months at this. I can probably handle another 20 or so until I have to hire a helper. Tri-Dummy volunteered, but all the high-fangled technology like gas-powered blowers and edgers, plus using a riding mower...I really don't think he could handle it.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Pyramid revisited

I like this workout. I'm calling it my Pyramid workout, 'cause it reminds me of the old weightlifting routine; 10-8-6-4-2 and maybe that one max if you really felt it. Keep raising the weights up while taking the reps down- we used to call them pyramids - it used to make me pretty damn strong, so I'm thinking it may work on the bike too.

I just got into the hard part of my ride tonight and had to quit on account of time. They close my perfect bike riding training center Flatwoods down around sunset, and after work, I had about time for a 2 hr ride. Last time I got in just 3 sets, and made it to the 22mph for 5 miles set. Today I got one step closer to the whole workout, and got to the 4th set, 22.5 for 4 miles, before calling it quits. I modified it a bit from the last time, and shortened the rests to 2 miles each. It's supposed to look like this:

7 mile warm up
7 miles @ 21mph
2 miles recovery
6 miles @ 21.5 mph
2 miles recovery
5 miles @ 22 mph
2 miles recovery
4 miles @ 22.5 mph
2 miles recovery
3 miles @ 23 mph
2 miles recovery
2 miles @ 23.5 mph
2 miles recovery
1 mile @ 24 mph
recover to taste.

I do this on a very flat course...I was getting a bit worried this second time out that it just wasn't that hard a workout, until I got to that last set that I had time for, the 4 miles @ 22.5mph - that one kicked me square in the cahones. I needed time for another 10 - 12 miles, which would have made this a 50 mile ride. I'm sorta dreading having the time to work at finishing it out. Those last sets will be buggers! My quads are letting me know I did something today for sure. I finished with 200 pedal strokes in the biggest gear as hard as I could muster, for a total ride of 37 miles. I'm finding that with my 12-27 cassette, I'm riding in the 12 once I get around 22mph - I'm a masher for sure. A plodder on the run, and a masher on the bike and just too dang slow in the water...

Chicago still a "go"!

Thanks, peeps, for your comments on my first draft IM training plan. I've started to adjust it....the first major change is no more FL70.3 - if we get some bloggy peeps there racing, I'll be able to cheer. Blink and Excel-Man are right, so close to CdA, I'd still push too hard and probably take something away from the IM.

And that's fine with me - IMFL70.3 doesn't get good reviews anyway.

It's been a crummy night - Di, bless her heart, bought me some of my favorite - chocolate covered raisins. I, of course, ate wayyyyy too many, and have been paying for it. Di's been paying for it too, I'm sorry to say.

Plans for the Chicago Oly are still positive. Looks like the hurricane will not be threatening Florida, so nothing to worry about there. We'll be leaving Florida on Thursday now, visiting with my Mom in Greensboro, NC...then visiting with my cousins near Cleveland on Friday, and plan on being at registration in Chicago around noon on Saturday.

I really have no idea what this race has in store for me. I've been training well, but with the heat and humidity, every workout is slow. Big "if" here, but if we can catch the weather right, with some low humidity and reasonable temps, I could have a good day. Good for the Bigun is in the mid 2:30's. Morning lows there even with the mid-week heat wave they look like they are getting are still 10 degrees cooler than here, with 10% lower humidity.

Anyone wondering where that will come from? Well, I'll be lucky to belt out a 30 min swim, but in a wetsuit, with the awesome sighting conditions there, I'll have a shot. I'll be screaming on the bike, going for 22mph average. Why? Just because. Then I'll be running to puke mode in the low 9's. With 4 minutes for transitions, That would be about a 2:37. 11 minute PR. We'll see. With any luck I'll be able to keep Roman in my sights. I won't be wearing my bee suit.

We are looking forward to meeting Mike and J-Wim, Roman the Everyman and Barb, and hooking up with our buddy Andy and his wife Brittney with whom we'll be staying on Saturday and Sunday. I envision lots of good eats and drinks on Sunday following the race. After we collect our bling, of course!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bigun's Plan of Attack on Iron

I've been working on this - gave a copy to my good friend Johnny Tri too. If anyone likes the template and want's a copy to edit for yourself, let me know, it's just an Excel Spreadsheet (childs play for the likes of Andra Sue and Excel Man). Since Blink just posted his plan, I thought it may be time to post mine. You'll have to click on it to really see it, but it's my train-up for IMCdA. Very flexible still - it's a work in progress... Does not include strength workouts or goals - that's something I really need and want to start incorporating into my workouts.

None of the races into next year, except for IMCdA are etched in stone. Those 28 weeks will be ALL about Ironman. Of course, the decision for St. Anthony's will need to be made by Dec 1st; if you don't sign up on the day it opens, you don't race.

I'm not sure about a lot of things in this plan. Too much time allotted for various long workouts during a certain week, or too little? 20 miles max long run leading in...that I know is my max long run. Doing that, I'll be better prepared for this marathon than I was for my first and only one in '03. 7 times over 100 miles on the bike...enough? At least 7 swims over 4,000 meters. 7 is a lucky number. Not necessarily my lucky number.

I'll take this spreadsheet and use it as a template for planning my weekly workouts in Training Peaks. You can see that I'm a 3 weeks "on", one week "off" kinda guy. There have been rumblings that there may be a decent sized gathering of raceAthlete folks at the FL70.3 race...that would be very cool. I don't want to commit to any races yet, to those of you who are looking for a piece of the Bigun (you know who you are...), but I do like to look ahead.

When it's all right there in front of's looks like the blink of an eye! April and May are going to be intense. I feel sorry for Di already, all the stinky workout clothes, me lying around the house sleeping and obsessing, getting up early to swim and run, waking her up. Poor girl. I'm lucky to have her...and that she puts up with me. I'll be needing her cow bells in June for sure!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Iron Week 45

Well, it's about 45 Weeks until my first shot at Ironman. Lots of time. Right. I'm still working up a training schedule, and since today is a work "Admin" day, and I may not do any training either, I might have time to put some final touches on it.

So how was the week? Crummy stuff first - my weight is still 242lbs. Crimeny, I can't seem to get into the 230's and stay there. Of course, last year I was struggling at around 250 - 255, so I guess these remaining fat cells are entrenched. Dug in. I'll just keep chipping away, I guess. What else sucked? Running, that's what sucked! Only 5 miles - but hey, I got me some new digs! BEASTs - so in hindsight, I was taking it easy, breaking them in...yea, that's it.

Ok stuff - swimming. Put in all of 6,400 yds or so - most of that was a 3k swim on Sunday with Jetpack. I haven't swum in a 25yd pool in forever - felt like I was cheating. Did 500yds x 6, then watched him finish up another 700 yds. My right elbow still hurts, but I think that's a somewhat permanent thing - taking time off has not seemed to fix it. My goal has always been to average 6k a week, so that was good, but my Ironman goal is nearly double that, so I'll need to work that volume up a bit. ONE-O-ONE wise, a 3k swim is a good thing - with breaks between sets, I did it in 1:10, which is very cool...

Finishing on a good note, yep, it's all about the bike! I had a really good week of bike training this week! Tuesday was a 37 mile interval set, Thursday was my now-signature 42 mile pyramid set (awesome smoker btw), and Sunday I somehow finished a very, very slow 92 miler in some hills. It was extremely casual on the way up - Jetpack and I laughed it up the whole way... funny thing as the temps rose, and the wind picked up in our face - the way back really sucked! But, it was the first time I did a long Swim-Bike Brick like that, and the whole experience was pretty cool. Almost a good IM bike, and overall a great 101 training day.

14 hrs of training this week - the most I've ever done. I need another big week this week, then a nice taper before Chicago. I promise, more running this week!

Character, Culture and Tri-Ethics


Iron Shane wrote of it in his emerging website, as part of his "Word of the Week" e-mail post. It really got me to thinking - go figure, the Bigun, thinking again - everyone stand back. I wrote this as a response to his e-mail...

I think our culture focuses far too much on the deeds of an individual without looking at the motives or the methods in which those deeds were accomplished. In many cases, once the character flaws are exposed, the individual once idolized fails to lose their heroic stature. This sends the message throughout our culture loud and clear - "the ends justify the means".

Before long we WILL see our sport become more and more infused with folks with great deeds but of low character. As sponsorship and prize purses become more lucrative, as Triathlon Teams become more popular with salaries that approach professional cycling, as Ironman slots become harder and harder to obtain, making qualifying that much more difficult - people will cheat to capture these prizes. Our Professional and Age Group heroes alike.

The triathlon culture (edit...what I should have wrote here is, The triathlon community...) is still small enough to be less effected by other sports and other facets of the world's cultures. With leadership and dialog, education and a strict adherence to the rules of the sport and ethics of the community, we have the opportunity to positively influence OUR culture, and perhaps set an example for others to follow. It's good to see, of all the topics, information, marketing, politics or just plain B.S. that COULD come from the Word of the Week, you choose the word Character. Bravo

Shane used some of my writing in his follow-on e-mail about Character yet again. I'm loving it! Again I wrote him back:

Thanks Shane - all this is important to me...I'd like to think that Triathlon is an Honor Oasis in the Character-flawed culture that is the world in which we live.

Just like it seems the stage winners from the TDF are the tested in that sport, your suggestion of Kona participants being tested is a valid one. Some percentage that is reasonable and that targets not necessarily the top age groupers, but maybe ones that have shown an uncharacteristic jump in fitness from one year to the next. Who know's what the answer is as far as testing goes....

I read a recent article in Slowtwitch in which a leading Bio-ethicist, Thomas Murry, PhD takes an alarming stand on the use of performance enhancing drugs. The problem is this: Should aging athletes have, with doctor's prescriptions, the ability to take otherwise prohibited drugs to cure or help their ailments brought on by the years and still compete? I think Dr. Murry uses Aging athletes as an example, but carries his argument over to all athletes with a prescription.

Thomas Murry writes: So, what does all this mean for the aging athlete? If someone has a clear medical need for a drug that could also serve a performance enhancing purpose, the ethical case for permitting that athlete to use that drug at a therapeutically appropriate level is strong. If someone needs insulin to manage their diabetes, or as in one case I saw while serving on a USOC committee, testosterone to prevent feminization of secondary sexual characteristics after having both testes removed as treatment for bilateral testicular cancer, then, under proper medical supervision, they should be permitted to take the drugs they need.

I want to say, "clearly" here, but there is nothing really clear...still, treatment that includes otherwise prohibited performance enhancing drugs most likely will enhance the athletic performance of the individual taking those drugs. Sure, it will cure what ails him or her, but just because it was prescribed, does that give that person the right to circumvent the rules?

Thomas Murry goes on to write: Let me stop being, for the moment, a two-handed ethicist (“on the one hand, on the other hand…) and propose a rough principle here: If the drug proposed for use by a particular aging athlete is medically indicated to treat a disease, then the athlete should be permitted to use a therapeutic level of that drug; if the drug is meant to preserve the athlete’s health and well-being, and there is compelling scientific evidence that its benefits outweigh its risks for that population, then again the athlete should be permitted to use a medically sound dose. But, if there are no clear clinical indications or compelling scientific evidence, then athletes competing in masters’ level competitions should not use the drug. In this last instance, the risk is that flimsy science could be used to back drug use whose primary purpose and effect is sports performance enhancement.

Aging athletes have the same right to a level playing field as young athletes. A sensible policy towards dual-use drugs—drugs that have both legitimate medical uses but can also enhance performance—can help to keep that field as level as our years allow.

I completely disagree with his last paragraph - Aging athletes do NOT have the same rights, in the context of prescribed prohibited performance enhancers, as young athletes. Reworded, HEALTHY Aging athletes have the same rights as healthy young athletes to a level playing field. Is it too bad that a person is forced to be treated with a drug to maintain their health? Of course it is - it's too bad. But, once cured or relieved of the symptoms of the illness, that athlete, aged or otherwise, now has an advantage over everyone else. The prohibited drugs also enhanced that person's athleticism - and that's not fair - that's not a level playing field.

Athletes, aged or young, pro or amateur, taking prescribed prohibited performance enhancing drugs should be allowed to participate - Triathlon is all about overcoming obstacles and triumph over hardship - those people should, however, not be allowed to compete.

I feel it extremely important to discuss ethics and character from the refrence point of the Age Group Triathlete - we alone can postively effect our culture...left to it's own accords, culture of any kind tends be...less than ideal.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Here is the theory to which the Bigun aspires to. First, though, you should know that my beliefs are a bit skewed - it's a poor man's belief. If I had the money, sure I'd train with a power meter, but I think I'd always rely more heavily on the Heart Rate Monitor. Second, I didn't come up with any of this - it's all stuff I've read, or an interpretation at least.

Each heart beat is like the striking of a match stick. And like a box of matches, you start the race with only so many, plus whatever you can add along the way in the form of food and liquid calories. You train your heart to burn more efficiently each time you exercise, and without complicating that too much, the heart will draw it's fuel - the wood of the matchstick - either from fat or from glycogen stores. There's lots more at work than that, but in the simple world of the Bigun, that's how it works for me.

When you train, you either train your heart to be more efficient at burning from fat stores or from glycogen stores (again, HIGHLY simplified - you always are burning a combination to some degree). Fat burns much more efficiently, but is utilized mostly at lower heart rates. At some point when the HR rises, the heart switches from burning (mostly) fat to burning (mostly) glycogen. It's been written that glycogen stores deplete in about 2 hrs. I don't think you could burn up all of your fat stores - well, at least the Bigun can't - in even a 17 hr Ironman race (oh yea, it gets deeper still, with intra-muscular fat being even more efficient...remember, Bigun like candy...).

Similarly, you stay in an aerobic (in the presence of oxygen) state at lower heart rates, while burning fat, and you go anaerobic - where you cannot process your lactate faster than you produce it, building it up and causing PAIN, at higher heart rates, also burning up your glycogen stores.

So the trick (for endurance events, at least) is to keep your heart burning (mostly) fat as long as possible. That requires keeping the HR low - for me, I've got to stay in the 140's or even under 140 to really be in the proper HR range. I think the goal is 70% - 80% of max HR - for a fit 42 year old, having never been tested, my max HR is probably around 182bmp. So my base range, or my aerobic heart rate range would be 127 - 145. My running pace at 140bpm is just under 11 min miles, and I can bike around 19mph. I'm sorry, but that's just not fast enough for the Bigun.

There is the theory that if you want to run fast, you gotta run FAST. There is also the theory that if you want to run fast, you have build a big base and run SLOW. I particularly like the added bonus from not running fast - I don't get injured as easily. So...I prescribe to the run slow, race fast theory - and mix in some speed work too.

I also believe that given the right conditions, one matchstick will burn brighter and longer than another. Give that match more oxygen, control how it burns, and capture the heat and light that it produces BETTER, and you'll get more out of each match. The same goes for the heart beat. The only way the heart will be more efficient at burning fat is to train, a lot, in an aerobic state. The more efficient the body becomes at processing energy in an aerobic state, the faster you will get at lower heart beat rates.

This would explain the 12 Base Training weeks I have scheduled in the beginning of '08 in preparation for IMCdA'08. But I also like to go fast. I enjoy a good sprint tri; going all out for an hour and a half or so. This requires specificity in training too - training the body to be good at processing glycogen stores and processing lactic acid. This is done in my "Build" and "Tempo" weeks - lots of intervals and Fartleks planned in those weeks.

Oh yea, so the big point, though, is the relationship between HR training and Power training - if I had access to only one, I'd surely take HR - ok, look at it this way....what all effects heart rate? Heat, humidity, sleep, rest, sickness or overall health, plus a bunch of others I'm sure I'm leaving out. If, then, my plan on race day is to pedal at an average of 170 watts, but it happens to be uber-hot or I've got a bug I don't know about - my plan is all messed up. 170 watts might be way too hard for the condition I'm in at that moment. 170 watts might take 160bpm today, because I'm having a bad day. If I used HR as my limiter, instead, if I"m sick or it's hot, I can still have the HR goal at say, 150bpm, I just won't be running or pedaling as hard. The difference is that in 3 hrs, I won't blow up if I keep my HR goals.

I'm not sure if I explained it well or not - I get questions from time to time on why I trained a certain way - like a mixed workout, where I'll throw some speed work into a longer aerobic session. A workout like that trains the body to move in and out of one fuel source to another, like what would be necessary in a race with some hills or wind in one direction. Mixing up workouts really takes the boredom out of triathlon training and gives you a "release" of discipline when in pure base mode.

Shoot, I was a "2.0 and go" kinda student in College - so I could have all this bassackwards. But, it seems to be working for me, so I'll stick with it, until they write something new and revolutionary and different in Triathlete or Inside Tri.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Jobs I've Held:
  • Crew member converting 440 yd HS tracks to 400m...
  • Bus Boy at some hamburger joint - Track coach made me quit...
  • Sprite commercial star - that's right, the Bigun, 1982, went to NYC and got the part as the kid you see drinking the sprite and then catching the winning touchdown...lots of coin for a HS kid - they even played it in Hong Kong after the US played out.
  • Cadet - yep, you get paid to go to West Point.
  • Officer, US Army - Infantry and Special Forces
  • Owner/Operator of "The Crux" indoor rock climbing gym
  • Salesman, Hot Spring Spas
  • Salesman, Vinyl Siding
  • Salesman, New York Life Insurance and Mutual Funds
  • Receiving Supervisor, Goody Products
  • Consultant, AutoImpact - collision repair industry
  • General Manager, Bodyshop in Houston.
  • Salesman, Chevrolets
  • Salesman, RV's
  • Owner/Operator of Integrity Lawn Care.

Movies I can watch over and over: (no particular order)

  • Silverado
  • Search for the Holy Grail
  • Dodgeball
  • Wedding Crashers
  • We were Soldiers
  • Dave
  • So I married an Axe Murderer
  • Return to me
  • 13th Warrior
  • Pitch Black
  • Army of Darkness

My guilty pleasures:

  • Chocolate
  • Soda
  • Big screen TV in High Def
  • lots of unmentionables...

Places I have lived:

  • Virginia Beach, VA - born
  • Little Falls, NJ - grew up
  • West Point, NY
  • Columbus, GA
  • Baumholder, Germany
  • Fayetteville, NC
  • Acton, MA
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Houston, TX
  • Brandon, FL

Shows I enjoy:

  • Wheel and Jeopardy
  • The Weather Channel - am I like the only one?
  • House
  • 2 Men...
  • Farscape reruns
  • most of the good stuff is on too late, like Grays, for example.

Vacation spots:

  • da shore
  • Great Adventure
  • Aldersgate church camp...yea, the Bigun wasn't always a heathen
  • Ohio - my uncle's farm
  • Hawaii
  • San Fransisco
  • Everywhere in Europe
  • Albuquerque
  • Alcatraz
  • we live in Florida, c'mon....

Fav. Foods:

  • Pizza
  • Di's Chicken Stuffed Croissants
  • Lasagna
  • all deserts

Websites visit Daily

  • National Hurricane Center
  • Blogger peeps
  • Training Peaks
  • Slowtwitch - NOT...bunch of elitist bastards....I do check on the 101 thread though.
  • Triscoop

Bad Injuries:

  • various kid stitches; bit by a dog, stepped on glass, fell off the top bunk on to my chin...
  • not really counting, but...had all but 4 of my baby teeth pulled, they would not come out on their own, and had 4 adult teeth (the pointy ones) pulled - the Bigun's mouth is too small...
  • Broke wrist - football
  • Broke ankle - wrestling
  • Tore ligament in ankle - football
  • Dislocated fingers - football
  • tore up calf on concertina wire, was too cold and wet to notice, no stitches but bitchin scar
  • Torn ACL - volleyball (stupid!)
  • nondescript back injury on a jump (parachute) - fell out of bed (couldn't move), still gives me problems
  • Chipped teeth on a tank hatch when we came to dead stop hitting a big rock in tall grass
  • nothing else really good in a few years (besides self induced crap like kidney stones and a vasectomy....)


  • all the HS sports crap
  • your standard Army crap
  • some meaningless Sales crap


  • Bigun
  • Metzger
  • Dancing Bear
I'm not tagging anyone - seems like the lot of you have been tagged already...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Endourance Couples

I wrote in my last blog that Taconite Boy and Trimama were one of the few racing couples that I knew. Then I got to thinking about it, and there are quite a few here in Blogopia, in no particular order:

Nytro and Iron Benny.

Barb and Everyman

TriDogMom and Iron Shane

Geek Girl and Sweet Baboo

Stronger and TriJack (ha! just had to get that in it's any big secret, gees...)

Aimee and Tri-Dummy (Aimee being quite possible the latest addition with her inaugural race this past weekend)

Boomer and Hubby (yea, even Hubby ran a race not too long ago)

J-Wim and Mike

There are probably more out there in our world that I'm forgetting, and I'm sorry for missing you. I just thought it interesting that with all the time and energy and finances it takes to be an endurance athlete, it almost seems natural that a spouse or significant other takes up racing to some degree as well.

No, this isn't a prelude to a big announcement of Mrs. Bigun's first race - we're just happy that she's able to get on a bike every now and then and ride with GEL. We must not forget the importance of our loving Sherpas - without Di by my side at races and through all this training, I'm not sure I'd be able to do it! Plus, trimming down so she'd find me sexy when I do my "sexy dance" was my initial motivation to work out. Hopefully Sweetness now has an image of the Bigun doing his "sexy dance" burned into his brain...

I'm feeling pretty lazy and tired right now, so no customary links or graphs or pics. SORRY! Well, ok, one link, coming up. Di did some search and found my rendition of "Business Time" translated in German on this dude's blog...he acknowledges me, so that's cool. It's just funny seeing it all in another language...and I'm a language guy. What's a language guy, you ask? I like to try and pick up other languages when the need arises. When I was in Houston, and had a bunch of Spanish speakers working for me, I tried to learn esSpanish. When I was stationed in Germany in the late '80's, I tried to learn to speak German. They (the Germans) called me "Metzger" - the Butcher - because I so badly spoke it. I took Russian in college - now there's a language with a short fuse in the memory bank! Use it or lose it.

Well that was a tangent! On the training front....this heat has me smoked all-the-time! I cut 6 lawns today from 9am - 3pm, and then tried an interval ride of 50 miles. I went out WAAAAAY to fast on my first interval (about 23.5mph for 6.5 miles) and thoroughly ruined the prospect of a 2.5 hr ride. The next interval let me average about 22mph for the 6.5 miles, and on the third lap, all I could muster were 100 turns standing as hard as I could for 4 of the 6 miles. So I got an ok Fartlek in at the end there. HR, of course, gave me NO READING the entire way. But, averaged 19.1 for 37 miles. When I got home at around 7:30pm, it was still 90 degrees out, plus humidity.

With no rain in the forecast for this week, I should be able to do my yards as planned, and only suck up the week, leaving me free to smoke myself with a long run and bike on the weekend. Yea!!!!!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Taconite Humor-Muse

Ok, well, Taconite Boy - you can call him my muse. I try and get funny with his blog from time to time with the Amazing Adventures of Taconite Boy - you may have seen my work. Someday I'll have to go back and publish here, although I doubt anyone would find it as funny, out of context.

Anyway, so TB posts a really funny video.

I find it funny, but never leaving much alone, I came up with my own lyrics. They go along with the song fairly well - but really meant for TB and Trimama, one of the few racing couples I know.

Ahh, yea, that’s right baby, Girl, today we’re gonna triathlon…you know how I know? Cause it’s Sunday, and Sunday’s the day we race. Wednesday is our long bike day with a 45 min run off, but Sunday morning is Triathlon. Cause everything is just right, conditions are perfect. Walt Disney World is miles away, conditions are perfect.

You get up early and say something studly like, “I’m not sure how that oatmeal’s gonna feel in about 5hrs”; I know what you’re trying to say, baby – you’re trying to say, ooh, yea, it’s Business Time. It’s Business Time.

Refrain: It’s Business…It’s Business Time!

That’s what you’re trying to say, you’re trying to say Let’s Get Down to Business - its business time

Refrain: It’s Business…It’s Business Time!

Next thing you know we’re in Transition setting up our gear, that’s all part of it, that “pre-race”. Then you go make your 4th trip to the porto-let, that’s not part of it, but it’s still very important.

Then, were in the water! You’re wearing that baggy old, black 1980’s style wetsuit that you got for free when your tri-buddy got a raise and bought a sleek grey and red Quintano-Roo – but it’s never looked better on you. Oooh, old black baggy wetsuit’s gonna get it on in the water today! You just don’t know what you’re doing to me!

You remove that wetsuit but trip over it ‘cause you didn’t zip it down all the way, but you recover with a barrel roll and slip into T1. Next thing you know you’re down to your shoes and bike helmet, and you know when your down just your bike shoes and helmet what time it is…it’s time for Business! It’s business Time!

Refrain: It’s Business…It’s Business Time!

You know when you’re down to just your shoes and helmet that’s why they call them Business Shoes.

Refrain: It’s Business…It’s Business Time!


Racing hard. Racing hard for two….hours. When it’s you and an Olympic you only need 2 hrs, cause your so intense! Two hours in an Olympic is better than 3 hrs in an Olympic. You say something like, “was that it?” I know what you’re trying to say, you’re trying to say, “aaaah yea, that’s it!”. Then you tell me you want some more, and I’m not surprised. But now I’m tired.

Refrain: It’s Business…It’s Business Time!

Racing hours are over, baby…

Refrain: It’s Business…It’s Business Time!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Rain, Rain, go Away!

Got a whole lot of NUTHIN done today! Crud...just a constant rain, one shower after another. So the Bigun stayed home today. Cleaned up the garage. Changed a bike tire and tube. Paid some bills. Crap like that.

Wassup with TV these days? I watch this show called Cheaters - anyone see it? Crazy stuff. And the women were taking the men back, for crying out loud! What kind of message was that sending? Oh, and "Bang! Chicka Boom, Boom!" - Spike TV - good stuff. CSI re-runs are good for a rainy day.

We did get a break in the rain at about 5pm. Too late to make it out for my scheduled bike ride, so I ran instead. I've got to make up today's customer's yards tomorrow - so I'm seriously doubting I'll have time to bike tomorrow either. UG. Could be a good run week though.

Still have some elbow pain on the right when I swim. Starts to ache after 1500 meters, and then the hurting sets in at 2k. So that's when I stopped today. I tried something different for me today in the pool - 1000 m easing into a nice pace, then 1000m of 50m hard and 50m easy, sort of an "active" recovery. Made for an interesting swim.

The run was good too - still a little different for me - 4 miles at base HR - shooting for at or under 140 average HR, then shoot straight up to anaerobic and maintain the HR over 165 (my max is a guesstimate at 182...). It felt really good to stretch it out and run an average of 8:08 for a mile and three quarters. I saved the last quarter mile for a cool down.

The highlight of my day, however, was this really, really good sliced ham I bought at Costco - MAN! What a sandwich it made! Lunch was pretty awesome. Tomorrow's lunch will be good too. Isn't it nice to know ahead of time that a good meal is on the way?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Mow Brick

Leave it up to Tri-Dummy to come up with the newest summer catch phrase - the MOW BRICK. Cut some grass, kick some ass! After a slow cutting day, with only 4 lawns cut due to the afternoon deluge that hit right after I started lawn #5, I had to follow up my butt-kicking from Tuesday with a really hard bike.

The plan was to mirror the run workout - go out slow, stay in Base HR Zone, and then pick it up to LT. Great plan; usually a plan like that calls for tenacity, good hydration and the right tools - like your HR strap. Oops. Fortunately, I've ridden my Flatwoods loop for about 5,000 miles now, and I know that between 18 and 19mph keeps my HR in the Base range.

Then, after 12 miles, I remembered something from HR Training 101 - "training miles in between your base HR zone and somewhere close to LT are what we call in the "Biz" JUNK MILES". Well, I wasn't about to do any junk miles today. So, I did another 12 lap (lap 2) averaging around 18mph, just to make sure I was ready to kick my own ass.

Lap 3 did just that. It started out feeling pretty good. By the 6 mile turn-around parking lot, I was starting to run those scenario's in my head..."oh, Bigun, that was good, you can ease up now. Ok, just get to the main trail. Remember, you still have another lap after this one." But that was short lived...looking down and seeing that despite the pain, your still holding 22mph is a good motivator!

I had a great help for the last 4 miles - way up ahead, the couple drafting on the uber expensive carbon road bikes (saw them in the parking lot when I started lap 3...). Time to finish up! They were hauling butt, 'cause I had to crank it up a notch to catch them - and here's the thing...even on the trail, ride on the right people! You may be going fast (sort of...), but there's always someone faster! HA!

Rolling in to finish up the lap, I was d.o.n.e.-done! The "plan" called for 50m, but in the interest of getting home to dinner, and the utter truth - I was finished getting rained on! Usually here in Florida, we get showers. Cats and Dogs sky dumps that last a few minutes - a half hour max, and then blue skys - right? Wrong. It did not stop raining the entire 2.5 hr ride. So my waterlogged Bigun self cut off 5 miles of cool down and headed for home.

Which brings us to this morning. Ahhh. I used to be a big weight guy - squats, bench, heavy weights, yadda yadda - and used to love that feeling the next day of sore muscle - well, this endurance stuff generally hasn't gotten me there. 35 minutes of pushing as hard as I could must have done the trick, 'cause I'm walking on sore legs today! Yeeeeha!