Monday, December 31, 2007

Iron Week 25

Merry Christmas - that about sums up Week 25 on the countdown to Ironman. Pools were closed, Mrs. Bigun was off of work, excuses, excuses. But, we all get Christmas Bye's this week - hope everyone had a gluttonous week like me. Now I'm ready to throw away all the cakes, brownies (no! not the brownies!) banana breads and other most excellent treats and get back to eating healthy.

My short term swim goal is to do a 4 x 500 meter set (in a 50m pool) with each 500 under 11 min. I came close this week, coming a total of 57 seconds over the 4 intervals from getting it. The swim coach at my pool offered to film me a little on Monday to see what form tweaks we can make. Only swam a total of 4100 meters this week, but with the pool closures, I can't hardly complain.

I actually got 2 bike workouts in this week for a total of 100 miles. My long ride of 62 miles was the longest I'd been on a bike since October, but at 17.5mph average, it was a nice ride. Well, I made it a little bit challenging by staying in my 12 gear for the whole ride, even when the wind picked up. I stayed in the 'base' heart rate range for over 3 hrs, so the ride really was a complete success.

Running this week was not as good as prior weeks. I felt slow and heavy all week, my longest run being a 10 miler. I bricked on Sunday trying to make up for my lack of mileage, and tacked on 8 miles to the long bike...but my total of 23.5 miles is short of my "over 30" goal.

One more hard week in the cycle, then a welcome easy week coming up. I'm gonna make sure I get my running in - only 6 weeks until the Marathon!

Friday, December 28, 2007


So I bail out of Tax Class early last night, at 7pm, to get a nice hour swim in, since the pool closes at 9pm. Right. I show up, all the lights are off outside in the pool area. The receptionist there is nearly asleep on the couch. "oh, they left at 6:30 one was using the pool...I thought it was should call next time".


I was in the holiday spirit, so no rant in front of the hapless receptionist. I guess I just have to chalk it up to the holidays. Of course, the pool was closed for 3 days around Christmas. So here it is, Friday, and I'm still without a swim for the week. Thanks, BSAC (Brandon Sports and Aquatics Center). For $37 a month, I guess I get what I pay for, right?

I flatted twice on my return to biking yesterday. Welcome back, Bigun! Both were punctures, not pinch flats...and fortunately I had 2 CO2s, and a tube patch kit.

The new 305 Garmin works flawlessly! HR works all.the.time. No adjusting mid ride to get the strap to pick up the beat again. No disconnections. No signal losses. Hassle-free HR training. Who would have thought?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Iron Week 26

Yee Ha! Hope everyone had a great least as great as the Bigun! You may remember that my Garmin 301 was giving me fits. It wouldn't take a full charge anymore, the HR strap no longer worked, even with a new battery, it wouldn't take splits for a while, then it wouldn't even stay on - I reloaded the software and tried to breath life into the old dog, but it shut off 3 times on my last 13m run...I was getting very tired of it!

Santa to the rescue! Got's me a nifty new Garmin 305 - I couldn't be more excited. No, it won't make me run any faster, but it will take the hassle factor down immensely!

Speaking of base bar broke last week, and by the time I got the new one installed it was late on Sunday, and I failed to get in a single bike ride. Booo. But,'s the holidays, and I've enjoyed spending a bit of time with my favorite Sherpa. So sue me.

I felt like a runner last week with 30 miles of running, capped with a 13m long run at a 9:32 per mile average pace. That's more like it for the Bigun. I swam pretty decent too...upping my long swim to 3k, with a 3 by 1000 meter workout, and a total of 7k in the pool last week. A little under 8 hrs total training time for the week - it was not a bad a week for not biking.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas - and have a great training week!

Saturday, December 22, 2007


My weight? Right! I wish. No, this is my 200th post. Soon, my weight will match the number of posts I've done...but that's a couple months out, unfortunately.

This would be the perfect time to wish all of you a most excellent holiday! Enjoy your time with family and friends over the coming weeks, eat heartily, drink merrily, and be safe.

I hope you get what you wish for in your stockings come Christmas morning! Many, if not all of you will have started your official training programs for the '08 Season this coming week, or next. A little time off from work to get back in the training groove. Awesome! Best of luck with that!

Just so you know, when I'm tipping back a brew or sipping on some adult Christmas concoction of Di's making, I'll be thinking of ya'll and wishing you the best.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

TB'nB Products, Inc.

Nothing says "Happy Holidays" better than that sickly sound of your bike falling over on to the pavement. We've all heard it before - the sound of aluminum, or worse yet, carbon fiber hitting black tar can spoil any one's day within earshot (note, if your bike's made of steel, really, who gives a rat's ass?).

All manner of attachments can easily be destroyed by the zero mile-per-hour plummet - pedals, crank arms, bike computers, seat posts, and yes, even the occasional base bar can crack like Everyman on an Ironman run.

Fortunately, there is a solution. TB&B Products Inc in conjunction with NASA and the super-secret branch of the government that Tri-Dummy works for have developed a fall-proof anti-bike-tipping devise that we like to call "Alessandra (TM)".

For just $200 an hour you too can have the perfect must-have biking gadget that will leave all your roadie buddies drooling. Call our toll-free hot-line to have Alessandra (or a suitable substitute) shipped to your favorite bike-ride launch point. All we need is your bike size (we like to match up Alessandra leg lengths) and credit card number and you'll NEVER have to worry about broken base bars again! Get your loved one the perfect holiday gift!

Call now!

TB'nB is not responsible for broken heels or any additional bike seat wear that may occur from the use of our product. Minimum of 1 hr, all additional time billed by the half hour. Alessandras will not ride bike, have no mechanical training and frankly, you'll be lucky if she can form a complete sentence. Should the need arise, we do have our companion product, "Alfonzo" available at half price in limited supply. We say limited, 'cause Tri-Dummy just won't stop calling for the dude.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Amaising Adventures of Taconite Boy

Episode 18:

The region around the city of Coeur d'Alene is a mountainous one, full of thick, dense forest and hidden terrain. Once inhabited by Native Americans, it is dotted with ancient burial grounds - most long forgotten and untended by their worldly makers.

The dead, however, are still there. The grounds are still hallowed and spiritual, no matter how overgrown. This fact was realized far too late by a simple family settling in the CdA region at the turn of the century. A growing city, bustling with new development and endless opportunity, made no amends with the historical nuances and "color" of the surrounding countryside. A certain uneasiness was felt immediately by the woman of the house; even the children complained of bad dreams and bumps in the night. These feelings were ignored by the man seeking new wealth in this golden land - even though he sometimes did feel them himself.

A generation lived, grew old, and died in that house, leaving children and grandchildren to play in the streams and woods nearby. One such grandchild, a large kid at an early age, took pleasure at taking trips of discovery into the woods. He left no rock unturned as he searched for, and found, interesting objects. Old bowls, tools and the occasional arrowhead were all stored in his treasure chest, and soon it filled to capacity and was put away, as the attentions of a young boy often change with the seasons. As the boy turned into a man, having used his size to win battles on the football field and woo the local prom queen, he came across the chest and fondly remembered his days of discovery.

One last trip into the woods before leaving CdA for his own fortunes; one last trip for old times sake. This one would take him down a barely recognizable path, past a stream and over a draw that was familiar, yet never before seen by this young man. And then, at once, it laid before him, a large mound dotted with oddly growing trees and scrub brush, the original ornaments and decorations long since weathered away. It called him closer, and he went willingly, until he had climbed to the mound's peak. Had someone been watching, it would have been as if a sledgehammer had hit him in the forehead, dropping him like a sack of bricks - yet hardly a sound was made, save for the blowing of the wind and rustling of the leaves...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Iron Week 27

Ahhhhhh. Deep Breath. Big Sigh. This was an easy week. Recovery. And it felt great. I cut my volume in half, only working out a total of 5 hrs. In the beginning of the week, the workouts felt heavy...I was in serious need of some rest. On Sunday, I did a "base Brick" - an easy 37 mile bike (18.3 mph average) and a really easy 4 mile run (10:45 pace), and it felt great! All the heaviness was gone, and I had to hold back a few times as bikers on "o" bikes zoomed passed me for some ungodly reason.

Isn't it funny, kind of off- topic, how someone will pass you, and then about 15 seconds later, when they are a few hundred yards up the road, they settle in to just about the same pace you're doing? Must be something about a big, fat guy on a bike that makes folks want to pass me. Not that I was going that fast. But it was a silent, secret victory to hear these dudes breathing heavy as they passed, while I was in my "barely breathing, hardly sweating keeping it conversational" zone.

So here we go headlong into a bike-focus week. My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to maintain the run volume achieved in the previous training block (at least 30 miles per week) and add 3 bike sessions to it, steadily increasing the volume during the 3 week training block. The first week will be a "feeler" - I'll do two 40's and my long bike on Saturday will be 80. We can re-assess from there, seeing how I feel next Monday!

I've re-vamped my training outline for CdA - I've decided to keep in my 16m runs, since I feel like I can actually recover from them in my off weeks; that will be my longest run, but if there are any signs of injury, of course, I'll back off of that distance, and only run that far before a recovery week.

I've added a couple of things. There's a 10k in January that a local run club sponsors. I'm feeling the need for speed, and possibly a 10k PR....

I also put the 12hrs of Sebring on the calendar. Excel Man is going down to hit that race, and I think that Moonpie had hinted of it at some time as well. I'm concerned that it's a week after the we'll see, but since IM is all about the Bike, I may just have to HTFU.

You also may notice a difference in my weeks leading up to CdA - the newest issue of Triathlete Mag has training phase advise, and stresses a 4 week taper, done in 15% increments. I'm an absolutely horrible taperer, so any taper plan will look good to me. I tend to not start tapering early enough, so this will force me into a taper in what looks to be the "right" sort of way, with a gradual recovery to the big show. I like it.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Another Amaising Adventure of Taconite Boy

We bring you now to our handsome Hero, still glistening from his IMWoo finish...

TacBoy: What is it? Jennifer? Oh, no, I'm sorry, I can't sign those...

Trimama: For once you're smarter than you look, Hero...

Reporter: Ehem...TacBoy, what an amazing day you had - finishing an Ironman and saving the city of Madison from yet another arch evil-doer!

TacBoy: Well, you know, that's why they call me a superhero....

Trimama: Oh, hell - I can't listen to another word of this!

Trimama storms off with her arms full of Ironman bags full of IMWoo finishing schwag. She yells back to TacBoy over her shoulder: "make sure you get a book deal or some radio show contract so we can pay for all this crap!" - you can hear the minivan's tires screeching away for miles....

Reporter: What's next for the Taconite Boy?

TB: It's funny you should ask - the good people of the town of Coeur d'Alene have beckoned to me to not only race in their world-class Ironman event, but also, to rid their fair countryside of a scourge so foul, so horrific, so EVIL that I loath to even mention his name.

Reporter: Do you mean....?

TB: Yes, I'm talking about the fearsome, deadly, horrible....

Tune in next time for more of the Amasing Adventures of Taconite Boy!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Iron Week 28

Paradigm shift. Well, not a shift...a remembrance. A while back, I thought hard about the things that make a big Clydesdale different from other triathletes. Then I got to reading about training for a marathon, and in a panic, forgot some of the things I believed in, and made pretend I was a skinny little runner. Ehem....I'm not - I'm a big, un-skinny triathlete. Training for an Ironman, not a marathon.

That being said, Hard The "F" Up, Bigun. Only 27 training weeks to go, and I know, now, that I've a long road to haul.

My long run this week was 16 miles. I ran all of the first 12, at an average of 10:50, then stopped for water and limped on in for the last 4 miles. Those 4 really, really hurt! I had forgotten how much a long run hurts.

I got in 3 weeks in a row over 30 miles and managed NOT to hurt myself, which is a good thing. My hamstrings were screaming at me on this last run, hence all the walking, but I'm sure that's a function of the long run.

I only biked 38 miles this week in one session. I've nailed my training route, it's got some decent rollers in it, and with 3 loops will be a great long ride, with over 2200 ft. of elevation gain. Just like the week before, in week 28 I was making sure my legs could handle the increase in run volume before I tacked on the bike mileage.

I had one good Swim session early in the week, but then tuckered out for session #2, and then bailed on #3. No excuse for not swimming - although I gotta say, I've had some persistent fatigue that I'm hoping to shake next week on my "easy" recovery week.

So now for the paradigm shift. You've got to realize that all this running is a big, albeit necessary step for the Bigun. I'm fine with slower paces and walking here and there, and even the lapse of training on the swim and bike - the goal is to get used to this much running (and then some...over 40 miles per week soon) without getting hurt. The marathon puts a short-term, run specific goal out there for me - quickly forcing me from my comfort zone of bike, bike, bike.

But Ironman is all about the bike. I needed to be reminded of that - thanks Bolder. It's time to get back to the bike. It's in addition to the running that I've gotten used to, but not so much long run as long bike. Will my marathon suffer? Sure...but I'm not training for a marathon, I'm training for an Ironman. So don't think me crazy for not doing that 18 or 20 miler in the next few weeks (I'll need to fix my training spreadsheet). I'll be turning the pedals.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Feel like a runner

I haven't posted any training charts or graphs lately...I just haven't been feeling it. I've been putting in the time, but without losing any weight or seemingly getting any faster.

So on today's 9 mile run, I decided that if I felt decent, I'd blow out the carburetor a little bit. It was a boost to the motivation to get some decent splits in for a change! With the exception of stopping for water in the middle of it, which I didn't really "need" but I just do for safety's sake, I was on track for a pretty nice 15k/9m run. For a 250 lb'er, ie the Bigun, that is.

I'm also posting my 16 mile long run route for this Sunday coming up...without a color printer, it's hard to show my trusty Sherpa where I may be should I have some unforeseen problems along the way. Of course, if someone wishes to join me, I promise to go really slow.

You can probably tell, I try very hard not to cover the same ground twice. And I also try hard not to get too close to the house once I start...too easy to quit that way.

Retraction on the T-shirts

Oops. Turns out Di has been talking with some of the other Sherpas about t-shirt ideas, and I stomped all over that with my last post. Sorry Di, and others working on the idea! Please continue to march on the supporter's gear, and keep in mind that T-shirt guy Jay has offered his help with them as well.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

CdA Kit

I wrote this for the CdA blog, but wasn't sure how many folks get to that site regularly, so I republished it here....

Well, we gots 28 weeks until the incredible gathering of athletes and sherpas at IMCdA'08. Bloggers alone, we have at least 22 racers, and at least 13 Bloggy sherpas; add to that family and friends who are not Bloggers, and we got ourselves one heck of a TEAM (a hearty welcome to Taconite Boy, who just went from "supporter" to "racer")!

TriGreyhound came up with an idea - a CdA Blogger Kit - and thought we should solicit ideas and opinions from the group. Great Idea.

Q1: Should we put together a Kit (shirts, shorts, t-shirts or sweaters for supporters...)?

Q2: Should we go with the Tri-Geek Dreams logo or a special version of it, or come up with a new logo/slogan?

Q3: Can we get some ideas for alternate designs - does someone have the skills in the group, or should we solicit Mr. IronWil or AJ for help?

Q4: Any ideas on where to buy?

As this idea is in it's INFANCY, please please please input your ideas and comments!

For example, it may be cool to have the KIT back to folks early enough to allow for further customizing for the individual racer.

I'm excited by this idea. I feel an allegiance to the folks in this community and a bond that will only get stronger in the coming 28 weeks as only sweat, pain and tears can do. But I also know that folks can get pretty particular about what they race in....

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Iron Week 29

You know there's something special going on when the Bigun's run mileage exceeds his bike mileage 2 weeks in a row! It's called MARATHON, Baby!

I find myself wondering what happened to that guy who ran his PR half Mary in 1:57? Where is that guy?

The big deal for the next 10 weeks (only 10 to go...jeesh) is Run Volume. Since I'm in uncharted territories here, I thought it wise to back off on the bike for a couple more weeks to make sure my wheels get used to the run volume first. I'll do a whole 3 week cycle before getting back on the bike hard again. My knees will thank me.

Weight: 251lbs. I suck at losing weight. I like to eat too much.

I also did some 100 meter sprints in the pool...5 to be exact. That was some shit. I need to do more of that...way more.

Bottom line for Iron Week 29 - good run, bad bike, decent swim. Bad Weight. Turn the bad's into goods, and the goods into greats. That's the ticket.