12 Weeks and Counting

I have hit the 12 week mark until the big day in Kona. I have to say, my training could not be going better. I am even starting to have illusions of racing well there and not just finishing the race. However, the goal still remains to just finish. At this point, I feel great, I am not too tired and I am healthy!

I also feel that July is such an awesome month to be training. Why? Le Tour!! With the tour on TV at night, how can anyone not be inspired to log some miles?

I also have to admit that I told Shani last night that I was going to be a bit sad on Sunday when the tour is over. The problem with the race is it is so long, that you get used to watching and following it for the month. When it is done, you go through a bit of Le Tour withdraw.

One big difference for me this year in my training, is the incorporation of running at the track. When I am in town, I try and make it up to the Tuesday night track workouts. They have been a lot of fun and my coach, Dana does a great job hosting them.

For example, this past week, we warmed up then did 4 x 1600’s. I started a bit slow with a 6:24, then went 6:08, 6:01 and 5:54. My legs felt strong and my breathing was real relaxed. This point last year, 6:30’s would have been a stretch. To go under 6:00 in the heat of Houston is really starting to get me more excited about racing. I have learned to really enjoy something I always frowned upon. Bottom line is this, if you want to run faster, you have to run faster. I am really enjoying doing just that.

This week is somewhat of a rest week, so the workouts are much shorter and my long ride this weekend is only 4 hours. This will be nice after riding Centuries for the past few weeks. The week is also absent a long run. My total training time will top out at about 11 hours compared to the 18 and 21 in previous weeks.

Lastly, I wanted to share this awesome picture of Shani, Hannah, Parker, Uncle Scott and Tina. Shani and the kids just got back from a wonderful 2 weeks in California and they had a wonderful time. Uncle Scott took everyone to the San Diego Wild Animal park for the Roar and Snore and camped out at the park one night. The kids had a blast! They could not ask for a better Uncle.

Good Luck to everyone racing at IM Lake Placid this weekend!

When the Cat is Away, The Mice Play

Shani and the kids left on Tuesday to go to California. They are going to LA to visit her brother in Manhattan Beach, then off to Rocklin to visit some of our friends there. They have had a great week so far and I am happy they are getting to have so much fun in California.

So what do I do when they are gone? I work, train, train some more and watch the Tour. I had my first 21 hour training week of the season. With the wife and kids gone, I took advantage of having my evenings free and worked with my coach Dana Lyons to ramp up my volume.

One of the big differences for me this week was my cycling. I tried to get a ride in almost every day, including some fun stuff.

I went out on Thursday evening and rode with the Woodlands Cycling Club. They meet at the Stonebridge Church at 6:15pm and ride for over an hour. The fun part is they do these loops of about 2 miles long and do them really fast. I broke the road bike out and had a blast riding fast in a group and even taking off on some breakaways.

In addition to the frequent short rides, I also did two rides of 100 miles back to back on Saturday and Sunday.

My back to back centuries started on Saturday when I rode for about an hour myself then hooked up with the Woodlands Cycling Club again for their Saturday long ride. There were about 20 of us and again these guys brought the speed. The speed they hold for the 60 mile ride is 24+ the entire time. It was fun just trying to hang on. I took a few pulls on the front, but learned I have a long way to go to do anything substantial with those guys. Cycling training is so much more intense than the long and steady you do while training for an Ironman. After my 60 mile ride with them, I stayed on the roads for another 30 miles to get my 100. Because we rode so fast during the 60, I had done a 100 miles in 4:48, well under 5 hours.

On Sunday it was time to ride again. This time I hooked up with some fellow triathletes, Raul, Steve, Steve and Clint. The idea here was simply to ride another 100 miles and get home. However, I found that after about 30 minutes my legs felt really strong. Instead of sitting in and limping through another 5 hours, I was able to put in some nice steady efforts. I was also surprised how well I felt when I got home. The only thing I can contribute it to is a nice fitness boost from the Buffalo Springs race and my bodies ability to recover from cycling versus running.

In conclusion, the week consisted of 12,000 swim yards, 25 miles of running and 266 miles of cycling with a total workout time of 21 hours. Unlike a pro, I had to do this before or after work, so this kind of volume is always a treat to do during the season.

Hawaii is getting closer, and this week gave me a lot of confidence towards my goal of finishing the big one in Kona.

Shani and the kids get back on Thursday. I am ready for them to come home.

The Long Run

Whether it be a marathon or the Ironman, the one workout I dread is the long run. They are the necessary evil in the world of long distance training. The big difference between marathon and Ironman training is the long run happens after you have ridden many miles on the bike earlier in the week. Thus you never run it on fresh legs.

I don’t do the long runs that fast. I purposefully go slow and just grind them out. My coach gives me plenty of other workouts to run fast, so I simply run these workouts by time only. I use to stress over how fast I was going, or my pace, now I just do them. I took this strategy into Ironman Wisconsin and the Houston Marathon and it worked great. I was limping along at 8:30 miles on trail before Houston and managed a 7:09 pace on race day. So running these things fast are just not worth it to me.

I see so many people out there with Garmin’s trying to pace their long runs. I ask why do that? If the goal is to be on your feet for 2.5 – 3 hours, then what do you care how fast you are running? Often my legs are so tired when I start these things that my only goal is to just get them done. If I had to look down at a watch the whole time, I would go crazy. Save the pacing for when it is necessary. Leave the long runs to just getting the time in at a low heart rate.

The other good part of the long run is you get a chance to imagine yourself running along Ali drive in Kona! Every tri-geek has done this multiple times and if they ever tell you that they have not, they are lying. Other than imagining myself in Kona, the long run gives you a great time to do some thinking. I find myself going over work stuff in my head, life stuff and anything else you can think of during the hours on the pavement. I don’t run with a cell phone so the distractions are at a minimum. I occasionally have the I-Pod with some music or a podcast, but often I just enjoy hearing the feet hitting the pavement.

As far as nutrition, I usually start with a banana and 24 oz of Gatorade. I run with my fuel belt which has 4 x 8oz bottles that I also fill with Gatorade. I typically drink one bottle every 20 minutes then stop and re-fill. I carry some gatorade powder in a flask so I only need to hit a fountain. If I hit the fluids every 20 minutes and a gel every 45, I have a decent run.

In Houston, fluids are mandatory! In California you could get by with a few drinks out of a fountain, here you will lose so much water that you risk dehydration. The funny thing is, you can get so dehydrated at 6:00 in the morning because the temperature is 77 degrees, but the humidity is 100%.

I run so early in the morning that I don’t get a chance to run with others during my IM training. I can leave here at 5:00 and be back by 7:30 in time for work. Not a lot of people interested in that schedule. This morning my friend Mike Young hit 30 minutes with me in the beginning so that was a nice treat. For the marathon training in the winter, I do run Sunday’s with others at parks and on trails which is a nice way to pass the miles.

So to wrap this up, I guess I can dread the long run before I begin it, but I always revel in the accomplishment upon finishing one. How many people do you know knocking out 19 miles before work?

Training on The Road

I often get asked, how and when do you train? This question often comes from people I know that see how often I travel and they wonder when do I get in the workouts.

Well, the first key is to have a good coach. Dana Lyons ask me for my schedule every week before I head out of town. He then coordinates my workouts around my schedule so I can do what I can while on the road. For example, if I am gone Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I tell him how long I have to workout and he typically gives me a variety of runs.

Now the creative part is finding the time and place to do these runs. Two weeks ago while in Philadelphia, I was staying by the airport. I had on the schedule a tempo run with 5 x 1 mile repeats. I noticed by the hotel, that there was a service road with a bike lane. I had the hotel bus driver tell me how far it was around and we discovered that it was about exactly 1 mile. So problem solved. I ran the loop 8 times counting warm up and cool down. You do get some strange looks when they see an idiot running circles around the hotel in the dark. However, it sure does beat a crappy hotel treadmill.

Traveling west is my favorite. The reason being, if we don’t have a work dinner, I can go to bed early at my regular time (8:00 pacific time) and wake up at 4:00AM with no problem. This leaves me with 3 – 4 hours of prime workout time in the morning before work. I typically only need 1 – 2 hours so there is plenty of time to get in a nice long run, get some work in and head out the door all before 8:00 am local time. On both of my recent trips to San Diego this has been the case so I have not missed out on too much running time. Note, If you are a night owl, this obviously will not work for you.

(In Dallas, we are fortunate enough to stay at the Cooper Clinic. This place is a triathletes dream with an outdoor running track, 2 lap pools and countless spin classes. They all start super early in the morning so you can get in the miles long before you have to start your day. If you travel to Dallas, give them a call and see if they have a room for you in the guest lodge.)

Swimming can be done as well by simply visiting http://www.usms.org. The masters website will list all masters workouts and clubs in your area. If you can’t find one of those, the local Y always has a pool. I try and keep an extra suit and goggles in my suitcase, so if there is some extra time before a dinner etc., I can try and get in a short swim. If time does not allow for a swim, so be it. I think too many people stress over this one. Yes I swam in college, but I learned the hard way that these races are not won during the swim. They are won on the run!

Getting in a ride can be a real challenge while on the road, so most of the time I just work with Dana to be sure I don’t have one scheduled. If I can plan my travel around an early morning bike ride and an afternoon flight, then great. If not, it comes down to my one long ride on Sundays which I make sure it is a good one.

Sometimes I just don’t train and try to plan my off day from training around my travel schedule. It can be a real drag to get a run in after you have flown for 4 hours and have 100 e-mails to catch up on. The stress alone is a work out, so I always opt for the e-mails, stay current with work and live to train another day.

When I don’t travel, training is pretty simple, because I get up early! Daylight savings is a blessing, since you can start rides at 6:00am and be back by 7:30. You can run in the dark, so out the door by 5:00 and you have plenty of time to get in that run or swim.

Lastly, every athlete wishes they could have more training time. When I am having a rare pity moment, I often say what if I could ride my bike for 300 miles a week? It takes me about 5 seconds to realize that I am more than fortunate to see 150 miles a week and I have a great job and family that allows me to get in that much. After all, this is still a hobby and there will always be someone that can train a lot longer than you can, so you just have to get over it and make each session count.

So if you want to find time to work out while on the road, work with your coach, be creative and make it happen. Half the fun of this sport is the silly things we do as triathletes to get in the miles around our busy lifestyles.

Big Brick Workout / New Wheels

Last year while getting ready for the Wisconsin Ironman, my coach Dana Lyons had me do the following long workout several times:

1 Hour run (about 8 miles)
5 Hour Bike (about 100 miles)
45 minute run (about 5 miles)

This workout is not done fast, but because of the duration, it really simulates race conditions. I hate to see it on the schedule, but love when I am done with it. The final 45 minute run really simulates what your legs will feel like during the final 26 miles of the Ironman. Also, the heat is on here in Houston making it hot and humid during most of the bike and the final run. I work hard to keep my heart rate low by staying efficient during the final 45 minute run.

Sunday was the first of these workouts for this season and it went pretty well. I was real happy with my run pace of 7:30 for the first hour and 7:45 for the final 45 minutes. By October, I want this to be done at 7:00 and 7:30 respectively. I have plenty of time to get there. As far as the bike, I typically try and keep the Power at 200+ watts for the day which was pretty easy to maintain and I was right in line with my power from last year.

I talked my friend Mike Young into doing the 5 hour ride and we ended up picking up Clint Bryant at about the 3 hour mark. It is always great to have others when you are riding so far and so long. This was the first time I have ridden with Mike Y this long and I have to say, I can no longer drop him. He actually dropped me on the final sprint. What a difference a year makes.

Lastly, the old Saab finally died. I will not go into details other than the trade in value on the Saab was much less than I could get for my bike!

I ended up getting a new Honda Element fully loaded with navigation and an upgraded sound system. The cool part of the sound system is you can plug your I-Pod into the built in USB port and it pulls your entire ipod menu up on the Nav screen. You can change your music from the controls on the stereo as opposed to messing around with the Ipod as your drive. I also love this car, because you can fit a bike straight up in the back for races and rides and the floors are totally rubber. No need to worry about water, sweat and all the other things that ruin a car.

My friend Michael Woodward in California got one of these about 4 years ago and my friend Mike Young picked one up a few months ago. After driving Mike’s, I was hooked. For what I like to do, the new ride is perfect. Below are some pictures along with my chosen car model (Hannah).


I had a great week of training with the return of my long runs and rides. It was a lot of fun to be back out there on the bike Saturday for 4 hours with some friends. The best part of the training is riding with friends and others that are training for the season. One of my training partners, Al Richardson is also going to Kona. He qualified at Florida last year and this will be his 2nd trip. Al is in the 50 – 54 age group but can ran as fast as most of the pros.

My week ended with a great Mother’s day dinner with Shani and the kids. We had a wonderful time at Jasper’s in Market Street. The kids got all dressed up and we treated mom extra special for the night. Our kids are at an age where they are so much fun to be around. I could not imagine what my life would be like without my family. I am very lucky.

Tomorrow night is the start of the T-Ball World Series. The Angels are playing like champions and we get our first test tomorrow night. Parker and I threw the ball for a while today and he continues to improve.

Special congratulations goes to Laura Gaddy for winning her age group at the local Tri-Girl Sprint race in Humble. This was Laura’s second race and she climbed to the top of the podium!

Lastly, the local press had an article on last weekend’s CB&I Race. It was great to be mentioned, but it was not the most flattering portrayal of the day. But hey, if you are going to be in the front, you better be able to deal with getting “crushed”. I get another chance next weekend to race at the Silverlake Triathlon. Shorter course, but another good opportunity to build up some speed. A copy of the article about the CB&I is below:

woodlands villager – sports

Houstonian dominates CB&I Tri

Jody Gaddy (middle), of The Woodlands, keeps his eyes trained on the road ahead during the biking portion of the CB&I Triathlon Saturday.

Published: 05.04.09
While area triathletes Michelle LeBlanc, Dana Lyons and Karen Ponette-Maldonado turned the sixth annual CB&I sprint triathlon into the unofficial championship of The Woodlands, Houston’s Dean King quickly eliminated any suspense that a local might have grabbed Saturday’s top spot.

The 36-year-old petroleum engineer from Sydney, Australia, who moved to Houston at Thanksgiving two years ago, came out of the water in the event’s first 500-meter swim wave just seconds ahead of former Cy Fair High School and University of Denver swimmer Timothy Monk, of The Woodlands.

But King added two minutes to his lead during the 15-mile bike leg over Monk, the 38-year-old who is bound for Kona, Hawaii, in October, before crushing him with the day’s best five-kilometer run time of 16:49 — and besting the field with a winning time of 1:00:58.

Although extremely humid, the morning’s cloud cover spared the approximately 1,000 competitors from any searing early May heat.

“This morning was almost perfect as there was not much in the way of sun,” said King, who wasn’t bothered that there wasn’t anyone with him to push the pace. “I just try to race my own race. I train alone so I’m comfortable with pushing myself along.”

So comfortable that he kept masters winner Lyons, 51, of The Woodlands, from having any shot of winning the overall title.

“I felt pretty good, as it’s nice to be doing a short course,” Lyons said of his 1:03:11 effort, less than a week removed from winning the Corpus Christi Duathlon last Saturday. “I really hammered the bike and redlined the run, but it wasn’t enough to catch Michelle.”

Hammering the bike meant equaling the 25.9-mph pace of LeBlanc, one of the best woman cyclists in the region. But she defended her women’s title with a 1:02:56 performance that was second overall and bested fellow Finish Strong Running coach Lyons by 16 seconds.

“It went well,” LeBlanc said, speaking to an Achilles injury that has toned down her potential racing schedule for 2009. “Even with the injury, it is hard to stay away (from the CB&I). It is the community event of the year.”

And with Rice University swimmer Natalie Kirchoff, 23, of Columbia, Mo., almost nine minutes behind in second place in the women’s division, LeBlanc, like King, had no problem creating challenges for herself.

“I make my competition anybody and everybody,” she said.

Ponette-Maldonado’s competition surprisingly got harder when she turned 40, but her winning women’s masters performance, in 1:12:40, resembled anything but a difficult trip Saturday.

“I’ve been injured recently, but I had a really strong bike today,” she said. “I really wanted the age group win today.”

And she got it with a four-minute, 42-second margin over Houston’s Ann Morris, 45.

Saturday’s most impressive performance may have come from 13-year-old Audrey Manchester, of The Woodlands.

While finishing 13th among all women with a time of 1:16:44, she was the fastest female 19 years and under — a minute and 18 seconds faster than Clear Lake’s Jeanette Wacker, 18, and almost five minutes better than The Woodlands High School Triathlon teammate Hannah Berryhill.

In fact, the younger Manchester finished just one spot and six seconds behind Wacker’s mother, Ann, 51, a former University of Texas swimmer.

Manchester’s mother, Tammie, 42, may not be much longer for the Athena division, but before she goes she won her 40-and-over division in 1:24:51 and was just 58 seconds behind 39-and-under winner Laura Green, of The Woodlands.

Greg Colvin easily won the men’s 40-and-over Clydesdale division in 1:11:49, while The Woodlands’ Mike Bard, 38, took the 39-and-under age group in 1:12:26 — with three competitors trailing by less than 70 seconds.

The Woodlands’ Stephen Daniel, who won the 50-and-over Clydesdale division, was given the Randolph Parnell Award, which honors the triathlete who died during the swim portion of last year’s CB&I.

Meanwhile, the margins of victory in the relay divisions were nearly as wide as the Mississippi.

College Station’s two-person mixed team of Rooter Wareing and Michelle Roskowsky, though, proved that the currents from the Brazos run pretty strong too as their near eight-minute, mixed relay division win in 1:04:31 was the day’s fifth-best time.

The Mighty Ducks won the men’s division for the second year in a row on the strength of a three-minute personal best 5k run of 19:54 by The Woodlands’ Bill Crews. Joining Crews to post the event’s seventh-best time of the day (1:06:12) was Dan Mayfield in the water and Brandon Ewers on the bike.

Heidi Allen, Carrie Davies and Diane Richardson formed Watch Out Bernhard to win the women’s relay division in 1:24:03.

Copyright © 2009 – Houston Community Newspapers Online

Does Weight Matter?

Does weight matter? I ask myself this all the time. See I am a former chunky person (fat). It all seemed like it happened so fast. I was swimming in college, discovered beer, pizza, the original Chipolte, and golf. While I was still swimming, those things did not matter. I ate 3,000 – 5,000 calories a day, but swam 4 hours a day so no big deal.

Stop swimming, start working, golf in a cart becomes your exercise and before you know it 220 lbs on a 5′ 11″ frame. (Me above 1998).

When I started running back in 2000, I did not lose weight because I kept eating the same amount of food and probably more. I then figured out that if you eat less than you burn, you lose weight! This was real easy to achieve by eating a few slices of pizza and not the whole pie.
The first picture reminds me everyday of who I used to be.

It has been about 9 years to the day that I started to really focus on my weight. Not a lot has changed because I still watch the weight everyday.

As of now, my weight is 175. That seems to be the going average for me. I have seen as low as 166 and as high as 180 over the past 2 years. I do have a body fat scale and see 9 – 11 % on that whether I am 166 or 180 lbs.

I have posted good results at 169 lbs and qualified for Kona at 175 lbs. During the Houston Marathon, I actually gained weight during the race and they made me go to the med tent because I weighed 179 at the finish. (That brought back flashbacks of the old me from 1998).

So to answer my own question the answer is yes, it does matter. Not in lbs, but how I think about it. I will always watch my weight, but I will always look back at the first picture and realize that the race between myself and my weight is long over. I need to declare that race a victory and just enjoy how great I feel at 37 years of age.

It All Starts Now

On April 15th, 2009, Ironman released the list of lottery winners for the 2009 IM World Championships. Congratulations to all of those that were chosen. I hope Ironman keeps this tradition alive and gives everyone a small chance via lottery to go to Kona.

The release of the Lottery Winners is also the official start to most peoples build up for the IM World Championships. I have seen my rides increase to 4:00 with brick runs hitting :45 minutes. I had a great session on Sunday with 80 miles in the saddle followed up with some mile repeats at the track. I was so surprised at my times, because I was holding 6:17 per mile. I have also seen a few kilo’s burn off in past weeks so no doubt that is helping speed up the run.

Last week in my travels, I met a Dr. Minkoff. He is a 5 time Kona finisher and gave me some great advice about a product called M.A.P or Master Amino Profile. Although my employer does not make this product (yet), Dr. Minkoff was such a firm believer and it has a long history in triathlon that I have given it a whirl. Dr. Minkoff was kind enough to provide me with samples so I will let everyone know how it is working.

If my repeats at the track after my 80 mile ride are any indication, it is going pretty well.

My work is causing me a lot of stress right now as I am sure it is for everyone in this economy. However, I tell myself daily that if I can qualify for Kona, then I can overcome anything. My personality is such that I put drive into everything I do because I hate being second best. The same goes for work. DNF ‘ing is not an option for me, whether it be work, family or racing.

On a family note, my son is progressing so quickly at T-ball and managed to get 3 outs the other day at his game. I just love seeing him improve. He is so driven to get better and to see his confidence build each game puts a huge smile on my face. The same goes for my daughter who has completed 2 big runs in the past week. One being the Girls Run Tulip trot and the other the Conroe ISD Elementary 1 Miler. She ran hard at both races and I was so proud of her.


Spring Break 2009

Spring break has come to a close. This year the family stayed home because Dad had to work and we had Mimi come and visit. I know Shani and the kids had a blast with Mimi and sometimes just having family around is a great vacation.

We also were blessed to have the our close friends the Schloegel’s visit from KC. Matt is my old training partner and close friend from California. I don’t know what it is about him, but we seem to pick up where we left off. Matt and I were able to get in an evening ride and an early morning run. Just having them stay the night was a lot of fun and we caught up during a wonderful dinner. Matt has 4 girls and my heart goes out to him once they all become teenagers.

I finished off the week with a long ride of 4 hours and a 30 minute tempo run. It is always nice to be out on the bike, so although my workout was not that great with tired legs, I loved being out there.

No spring break in Texas is complete without pictures of the kids in the bluebonnets. Our neighborhood is covered in the Texas State flower so we had to head out about 2 blocks to snap some great pictures.

I am off to Seattle tomorrow to interview some candidates for our opening there. I hope we find someone good.

Watching it Rain

On Wednesday, we had some cold weather move into Houston. It was quite a culture shock from the 85 degree days we have had over the past few weeks. Thus, I find myself inside today relaxing and watching it rain outside and writing on my blog.

Before I get into my training update, I have to share with everyone how proud I am of my son Parker and his T-Ball game on Wednesday night. I have ever seen him play so hard and do so well. He played in the infield for 3 out of the 5 innings and hit some shots to the outfield while at bat. You could see his confidence lift as the game went on. What a great sport for young boys.

With all I have going on with work, training and family, having an afternoon of relaxation has been a really nice treat. Mimi is here from Orlando and is joining us for all of next week. The kids are so excited she is here. I enjoy her visits as well because it always frees up some time for training!

Thanks to MiMi being here, I watched Cycling Tv on the internet this morning and got to see Alberto Contador Bonk on the final climb. I thought that guy was invincible, but it goes to show everyone can have a bad day. He was left all alone out there to defend his jersey and they got the best of him. Unless a miracle happens tomorrow, his Paris-Nice is over.

Yesterday was a long run of 15 miles, and the cold drizzly weather was welcomed by me as I always enjoy running in colder weather. Legs felt great and running in the dark, thanks to daylight savings, can make for an interesting adventure during an early morning run.

I did manage to get a nice swim in today up at the new natatorium. The Nat was set up as long course and should be for the rest of the spring and summer. Long course swimming is such a different experience than short course. It always reminds me of the long summers of training as a kid. Although my arms were tired today I still managed to put in a solid 4,000 meters. My swimming is really starting to come along and my times are starting to show some improvement.

Tomorrow should be a long ride. I hope the weather lets me get outside. If not, I will be on the trainer in Dana’s garage. If you have not checked it out yet, take a look at Dana’s new website www.coachlyons.com.

I found this youtube post of the final kilometers of the Paris Nice today. The quality is not that great and there is no voice over, but if you missed the stage, good chance to see what happened: