Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ironman Lake Placid

This past Sunday was Ironman Lake Placid. It promised to be an exciting day. As predicted, the women's pro field was stacked. Despite a few dropouts like Dede Griesbauer and Linsey Corbin, Heather Wurtele, the double Jackies(spelling different) as well as the late entry of Tine Decker, promised to produce a fast race.

Amber had been up in Placid since Thursday night, staying with aR's Ryan Kelly,  Myles Chase of MC Cycles and Alex and Audra Index of Endurofun Sport. I arrived Saturday night after attempting the Presidential Traverse. Due to slick rocks from rain, I didn't complete it but did get a chance to (nearly) run into a moose and her children on the trail as well as a stray fox in the parking lot.

By the time I made it up to Lake Placid, all the preparation was set. We had dinner, watched replays of that day's Tour de France and got to bed around 10pm. Race morning came as it always does: too early. And after a mile walk from our condo to the swim start they were ready to go. Miles was competing in his second Ironman having done LP last year as well, Ryan was doing his first "real triathlon" and Amber, the vet, was doing her fifth.

It was soon announced that, as predicted, the water would be too water for wetsuits. Luckily, Amber's coach Kurt Perham, had brought her a speedsuit which may not have helped her physically but certainly helped her psychologically as she, now, at least looked similar to the other pros.

The swim went off well(in my opinion) with Am swimming a 1:00:18 and coming in 4th Pro woman. As I was volunteering in the Gear Bags, I was lucky enough to see her as she transitioned from swim to bike. Thinking that I wouldn't see her until half-way through the bike in about two and a half hours, I went back to my volunteer duties. However, a few minutes passed and all of a sudden, there's Amber on the other side of the fence screaming for me to go get her wheels. Apparently, during her transition, another spoke(see IM St. George) had broken and the mechanics had told her that there were no 650's. I ran probably my fastest mile ever back to the condo, picked up the wheels and my bike and jetted back to the transition area. Just as I arrived(I'd like to think 5 minutes later but was probably closed to 9), I saw her take off on the bike. A mechanic had found a pair for her to use(hopefully not off another racer's bike). All in all, it took about 15 minutes for her to get out on the bike dropping from 4th to 8th place.

Despite the set-back and the resultant worsening in placing, Amber then put together a solid bike with a 5:44.00. I was able to see her at the half-way bike and was also able to see Heather Wurtele zip by. To say she was flying would be an understatement. Tine Deckers kept up with her for the first lap but seemed to slow a bit on the second eventually coming in 5 minutes behind. When Am came off the bike, she had made up only one spot with Heather, Tine, Tyler Stewart, Suzanne Zelazo, Jackie Arendt(awesome race for the 1st year pro!), and Jacqui Gordon rounding out the first six spots.

While Amber proceeded to try to chase down Jacqui G, Jackie A and G did the same to Suzanne running a 3:22 and 3:28, respectively. Amber looked solid on the first half of the run, but then slowed a bit on the second finishing with a 3:35.31 marathon, with a total time of 10:30.39, 9 minutes back from sixth place Suzanne. Had she maintained her first half marathon pace she would have run a 3:15 or so, and not broken a spoke, she would have finished right around 10:05 which would have been fifth place. You never know how these races will turn out though and I am just so impressed that she kept going. She actually passed a fading Ryan Kelly on the run, but Ryan, as to not let his training partner beat him, caught up and they ended up finishing the last few miles together. Should make an awesome finish line photo.

This race was particularly fun to watch because I was able to see all the runners on multiple occasions as the run course was a two loop, double out and back course. I was able to see TJ Tollakson run a sub-3 hour marathon to win. Even more impressive was Tim Snow's 2:51 marathon(check out his article on how to run a fast IM marathon here). It was also nice to see all the S2, PBM and TriHard triathletes from New England out on the course. Looking at the beautiful Suzanne Zelazo wasn't so bad either(I know. Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's wife, but it seems that doesn't apply to triathletes and furthermore, she's not my neighbor:) Anyway....).

Here's how the Pro Women's Field turned out:

1st-Wurtele, Heather  09:19:03

2nd- Deckers, Tine 09:34:41

3rd- Stewart, Tyler  09:38:09

4th- Arendt, Jackie  09:56:21

5th- Gordon, Jacqui  10:07:22

6th-Zelazo, Suzanne 10:21:08

7th- Ferreira, Amber  10:30:39

8th- Alldritt, Miranda 10:46:46

9th- Danais, Marie 10:48:26

Other Notable Racers:

Sean Snow-10:47:16

Lisa Ransom-12:13:00

Chad Carter-14:02:37

John Rymes-12:33:53

Regi Kavadias-12:50:17

Jimmie Cochrane- 11:06:52

Myles Chase-11:58:32

Steve Soba-12:06:24

Keith Shields-13:23:18

Michelle Bozarth-10:52:11

And so many more excellent performances that I cannot list right now. Awesome job to everyone that not only finished but had the guts to start!

Below is a bunch of photo's that I took along the course. Sorry the resolution is so poor-only so much you can do with a Blackberry phone.

Jimmie Cochrane at mile 10

Finish Line

Ben Hoffman at mile 24 coming in second overall

David of PB racing at mile 10

Jacqui Gordon(I think)

Chad Carter starting his run

Amber too fast for the camera on the bike

John Rymes of S2 on the run

Sean Snow starts lap 2

Keith Shields coming out of the water: "Well that's over."

Danny enjoying a nice "maple whip"

Sean Snow

Heather Wurtele

Amber Pre-swim: No Wetsuits Allowed!

Maria Danais, 9th Pro Woman

Heather Wurtele approaching the finish

TJ Tollakson finishing

Miranda Alldritt, 8th Pro Woman

Gina Whipple of S2 starts her run

Tyler Stewart starts lap 2

John Rymes

Amber in Transition

The Snow Family

Heather Wurtele

Heather Wurtele

Jackie Arendt, 4th Pro Woman

Handsome Ransom starting the run

Tine Deckers, 2nd Pro Woman

Ryan Kelly starting the second lap of the marathon

TJ Tollakson starting second lap of marathon

Up Next: Amber: A much needed rest. Danny: Continuing lazy summer strategy.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Danny Ferreira's Secrets to Running a Fast 8 Miler

Yesterday was the Stowe 8 Miler, part of the New England Grand Prix. I hadn't done a road race since May with the 5k Rock N Race and hadn't raced at all for over a month. So I was raring to go and wanted to race FAST. However, when all was said and done, I ended up running about 20 seconds per mile than I did at the last NEGP race I did- and that was for a half marathon! Here's where this could have gone wrong:

--Training: Typically you would like to train for the intensity and distance you'd be racing but, due to the heat, I've been cutting all my runs short and keeping them sloooooooow.

--Tapering: Usually the last few days before a race, it is ideal to rest up to let your legs recover. I decided to do a 153 mile ride through the six gaps of Vermont the day before. Here's how that went:
     "Out like a lion, in like Am?" So apparently that's not the quote. I was thinking that if I go out fast, I would finish fast like Amber, but instead I slowly died as the ride went on. I dropped the peloton 30 minutes into the ride. I then rode the next 50 miles by myself before being consumed by them, finishing in the mid-pack. Here are my splits:
               Brandon Gap Summit(mile 19.8) Time: 1:12; Pace: 16.2 mph
               Middlebury Gap Summit(mile 46.8)Time 1:39(2:51); Pace: 16.36 mph
               Lincoln Gap Summit(mile 71.5) Time 1:37(4:28); Pace: 15.25 mph
               Appalachian Gap Summit(mile 90.8) Time: 1:27(5:55); Pace: 13.3 mph
               Roxbury Gap Summit(mile 108.2) Time: 1:19(7:14) Pace 13.1 mph
               Rochester Gap Summit(mile 137.7) Time 2:05(9:20) Pace 14.1 mph
               Amee Farm(mile 153.5) Time 00:48:48(10:09) Pace 19.55 mph

--Nutrition: The day before you race, you want to make sure you eat no new things and also about the same that you typically do on a regular basis. Due to the ride I ate the following:
        Pre-Ride: bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats and 1/4 loaf of Italian Bread
        During Ride:
                      -5 bananas
                      -2 gu's
                      -2 granola bars(1 Zone and 1 Nature Valley)
                      -5 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
                      -14 bottles(20 oz) of water/poweraid mix
                      -6 fig newtons
                      -2 clementines
                       -2 pickles
             Post-Ride: Salad bar, chicken soup, spaghetti with meat sauce and 2 beers
             Pre-Race: Egg, Sausage and Cheese sandwich on a croissant and a large hazelnut iced coffee at Dunkin' Donuts

--Good Night Sleep: The recommendation for sleep is 8-10 hours of sleep a night. Apparently a cheap motel with rowdy sport fisherman, poor AC and thin walls make for a less than optimal sleep.

--Warm Up: Ideally before any race you want to get your body to a steady state so that it doesn't waste precious time during the race doing that. I, on the other hand, spent my pre-race time lying down in the shade.

--Weather- Can't control this one, but try to time your A races in the mild-temperature seasons of Spring or Fall so that hot, hot temps don't ruin all your potential and sap you of energy. Was 82 but felt 100. Killed me...

So this was a great example of what not to do for running a fast race, but if you do the opposite, you just might be in contention for the win.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Lake Placid Preview: Pro Women Racing

There are twelve professional woman triathletes that will be toeing the line at Ironman Lake Placid. It appears that it will be a pretty deep field.

#40 Heather Wurtele

---2010 and 2011 Ironman St. George Winner
---2010 Ironman Canada 2nd Place
---2010 Calgary 70.3 2nd Place
---2008 Ironman Coeur d'Alene Winner

#41 Linsey Corbin

---2011 New Orleans 70.3 4th Place
---2011 California 70.3 8th Place
--- 2011Pucon 70.3 Winner
---2010 Arizona Ironman 2nd Place
---2010 Ironman Coeur d'Alene Winner

#42 Tyler Stewart

--- 2011 Eagleman 70.3 2nd Place
--- 2011 Ironman Texas 4th Place
---2010 Ironman Cozumel 2nd Place
--- 2009 Ironman Coeur d’Alene Winner
---2008 Hawaii Ironman 2nd Place
--- 2005 and 2006 Ironman World Championship Amateur Champion

#43 Dede Griesbauer

---2011 Ironman Texas 15th Place
--- 2009 Vineman Ironman 70.3 Triathlon 3rd Place
--- 2008 Eagleman Ironman 70.3 Triathlon 2nd Place
--- 2007 Timberman 70.3 3rd Place

#44 Kelly Williamson

--- 2011 Ironman 70.3 San Juan Winner
--- 2010 Steelhead 70.3 Winner
---2010 Branson 70.3 Winner
--- 2010 Ironman Coeur d'Alene 3rd Place

#45 Amber Ferreira

---2011 Ironman St. George (after two broken spokes and a flat tire)- 7th female pro
--- 2011 Mooseman 70.3 4th Place
--- 2011 Providence 70.3 5th Place
---2010 Ironman Lake Placid 8th Place
---2010 Snowshoe Champion

#46 Kristin Iavarone

--- 2011 Eagleman 70.3 11th Place
--- 2010 Golden Gate Triathlon 3rd Place
--- 2009 Vineman Showdown Triathlon 2nd Place

#47 Jacqui Gordon

--- 2011 Ironman Texas 8th Place
--- 2011 St Croix 70.3 7th Place
---2010 Timberman 70.3 11th Place
---2009 Ironman Lake Placid 6th Place

#48 Jackie Arendt

--- 2011 St. George 2nd Place
--- 2011 Kansas 70.3 5th Place
--- 2011 Buffalo Springs 70.3 9th Place
Team Blog

#49 Liis Toomingas

---2011 St. George 4th Place
--- Couldn’t find much else on her(She’s a young Finnish triathlete) but looks like she did Kona in 2003. I wonder how she'll finnish.

#50 Marie Danais

--- 2008 Ironman Louisville 6th Place
---2005 Ironman USA 6th Place
---2005 Ironman Wisconsin 5th Place
 Team Blog

#51 Suzanne Zelazo

--- 2011 Rev3 Quassey 16th Place
--- 2009 Florida 70.3 11th Place
---2009 Toronto Half Marathon Winner(1:20)

Please refer to respective websites for photo credits.

Tapering for Lake Placid, Chet Warman Memorial Race and Stowe 8- Miler

Right when Amber starts her taper, I start back up with racing. This has been the longest stretch of time without racing since my stress fracture and I am definitely itching to get back into racing. I will most likely get my fill this weekend. Saturday is the Chet Warman Memorial 6 Gap Challenge which encompasses 151 miles of Vermont roads, six gaps and 10,700 feet of elevation gain. According to the late Chet Warman it contains "the longest, steepest stretch of road in America" with sustained grades of 20% to 24% on Lincoln Gap.  Fun. This race will be a true test of my ability to compete in the Adirondack 540 in September and I have already set a time(8:30) which I need to finish this in, or I won't register for the ADK 540. 8 1/2 hours seems like more than enough time to complete 151 miles as I will only have to average 17.75 mph. It will really depend on how many stops I will need to take for food as well as just how much those climbs take out of me. We will see.

The weekend wouldn't be complete if not to follow up an exhausting ride with a speedy run(hopefully). On Sunday, the best New England runners will be out for the Stowe 8 miler. As part of the New England Grand Prix, this race is sure to attract the fastest runners around. My best race of the year, New Bedford Half Marathon, was a NEGP race and I attribute my fast time to being surrounded by fast runners. We will see how that goes.

While I'm getting back into the swing of races, Amber will be enjoying a much needed taper prior to Ironman Lake Placid next weekend.

Up Next: VT double for Danny, Taper and rest before Lake Placid for Ambo

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Providence 70.3, the Flu, and "Alternative Training"

What a great finish line ending?

We went down Saturday to Providence(other photos here) with S2's John Rymes and aR's Ryan Kelly. We did all the logistical pre-triathlon mazes: dropping off gear bags, bikes and registering etc. Due to issues with our hotel we ended bunking up all in one room which may have actually worked out well since they now didn't need to pick us up in the morning. I dropped the three of them off at the swim start which was interesting to see since no one was allowed wet-suits so the usual triathlete tuxedos were not seen. Rather a bunch of individuals splashing around. While I went back and gorged myself with the free continental breakfast, Amber, Ryan and John all put together good swims and headed out on the bike course.

I timed it so that they would be arriving at the Bike-Run transition soon after I got there and sure enough without twenty minutes, I see Ryan come in. He arrived into transition 5th and left 3rd with a very fast transition. Amber arrived a bit after, right with Annie Gervais, who went on to run her way to a second place finish, but did not have such a fast transition.

Amber post-race, pre-sick
Amber looked strong out there but it was so hot that she did struggle a little bit on the run saying after that she just couldn't get her legs to turn over. She ended up finishing 6th overall(5th pro) with a time she was disappointed with but one that I would have been ecstatic. Either way this was just a nice last hard effort before Lake Placid in two weeks.

Amber 3 miles ahead of the runners going in the other direction
We then made our way home, stopping at Not Your Average Joes for dinner. I then quickly packed up and made my way up to the White Mountains to be ready for the Presidential Traverse the next day. Just as I am dozing off, I get a call from Amber who was crying. Apparently after I left she got violently ill and was throwing up and very dizzy. I quickly packed my things back up and drove back down to her. She spent the rest of the night and most of yesterday alternating between sleeping and getting sick. It may have been heat stroke, food poisoning, a 24 hour bug or separation anxiety but only now is she starting to feel better at all.
I think this was her body's way of getting a much needed before Placid. Perfect way to taper.

Speaking about training strategies:

After the good response from my last post on my run, swim, run workout, I have decided to let people in on some of my other workout secrets.

1) Abdominal Tightening: I know that Amber and Greg Whitman both have touched upon numbers 1 and 2, but I would like to defend these stances. Abdominal tightening, while probably burning an inconsequential additional calorie or two, is a main foundation of lumbar stability. If I can engage my core throughout my day, I can re-educate those muscles to fire even when tired. Like at the end of a marathon.

2) Breath Holding: Come On! People live in tents or in Colorado to get the benefits of anoxic breathing. Easier way to do it? Hold your breath. As silly as it sounds, if done correctly and frequently enough, you'll be stimulating the same body responses to produce more red blood cells to compensate for diminished oxygenation.

3) Garages: Good to park your cars in. Better to use as a safe and cool place to do hills and speed workouts. My 2 favorite workouts are:
       a) Run up the stairs, sprint across to other stair well, descend 1 flight, sprint back, and repeat to the bottom. That's one rep. Do 5-10. 
       b)Run the ramp, sprinting the up ramps and recovering on the flats. Descend via stairs. Do 4-8.

4) Single Leg Stance: Standing on one leg challenging your balance as well as strengthens your proximal hip musculature. I try to sneak in times throughout the day where I'll stand on one leg. Or better still: stand on one leg, engage my abdominals and hold my breath. Who says I can't multi-task.

5) Bricks: Regardless of distance I bike, I try to run afterwards. This does two things: a)it gets you're legs used to running off the bike and b) it allows you to simulate the fatigue of a longer run without all the pounding.

6) Jeremy's Boot Camp: Okay so this one is new to me, but I have now attended three sessions, and think I'm a convert. The amount of different muscle groups utilized during a forty five minute session is amazing and it's crazy that I'm not only fatigued but also winded when I leave. It definitely hits some of my big areas of deficits quite nicely.

7) Hiking: I don't go hiking nearly as much as I would like but don't discount it. The cardiovascular benefits of the ascent combined with the eccentric strengthening on the descent makes the fact that you're out in the wilderness having a blast all that much more enjoyable. Not challenging enough? Throw some water(or beer) in your pack and you've got instant resistance. And if it becomes too much, you can always dump it(water) or drink it(beer).

Amber stretching a bit

8) Tapering: My Favorite part of any training program is the week before a race where I can sit back and relax. Seriously though, rest is a much needed and often under-appreciated aspect of training that needs to be part of everyone's routine. Where else will your body be able to recover and get free HGH?

UP NEXT: Danny: Chet Warman 151 Gap Ride(Saturday) and the Stowe 8 Miler(Sunday). Amber: LAKE PLACID!!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A run, swim, thunderstorm, bushwack, Presidential Traverse

Last night, Rich Lavers, J. Massa and I went for our usual Wednesday night run. However, due to the heat, I decided to mix things up and take them on my run/swim. I run up to East Concord from the Y, jump in the river and swim down to NHTI where I get out and run back to the Y. It's about a 20-25 minute run to the river, 20 minute swim, then 15-20 minute run back. Pretty decent workout but also fun and particularly nice on hot days like yesterday.

That was the plan at least. We made it up to East Concord, realized that both Rich and J had kept their socks on(which drags you down when swimming) but decided to go for it anyway. We jumped in the river and started down. Rich was a little timid about swimming a mile since he "wasn't much of a swimmer" so we alternated between swimming and running on the sand bar mid-river. About half way down, the thunder came. Hard. And close. We opted to get out of the water and give the lightning a little bit less of an opportunity to strike us. Unfortunately this brought us right to the edge of a large swamp. J and Rich decided to skirt the edge while I trudged through. "Poison Ivy doesn't grow in swamps, right?" The logic was flawed behind that assumption: I have had poison ivy. I have never been in a swamp. Therefore poison ivy does not grow in swamps. Hmmmm. While the logic was tenuous at best, I was lucky in that I didn't run into any poison ivy. I did however go waist-deep in some pretty stinky, thick mud. And was cut up by some saw grass(I'm not sure it was actually saw grass just that it cut my skin similarly to what I would expect a saw to do).

Meanwhile, J and Rich managed to skirt the edge successfully, staying moderately more clean and less injured than me. We popped out on the NHTI soccer field, right next to a twenty foot high metal post. Yikes! Not the best place to be standing during a thunderstorm. Luckily for me, Rich is a little taller. We took off back home making it to the Y without further incident. After showering away about a pound's worth of dirt, I was done. Not a bad Wednesday run after all.

On the run, Rich and I discussed our aR teammate Ryan Welts' new Presidential Traverse fastest known time, and decided that we will try to better it later this summer. What we may lack in talent, we will certainly make up for in unpreparedness. A little friendly intra-team competition.

Up Next: Providence 70.3

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Smile! Concord, NH a training Mecca

New building in Concord with the right attitude
We spend a lot of time on this blog talking about races we've done or are planning to do, but today we wanted to spend some time talking about the place where we do the majority of our training for those races: Concord, NH.

We've lived in Concord nearly as long as I've been running and with all the races throughout the country and world that we have since done, we haven't found a place that affords quite as much diversity in terrain or scenery, proximity to races, and great training partners as Concord.

Just within city limits you can swim in a river, two good sized ponds or at the YMCA, spend all day climbing Carter Hill/W. Parish or stick to flat terrain out on 106, run the busy city roads, quiet roads of NHTI and the bike paths or take it off the roads altogether with the amazing trail network behind Concord Hospital and over at St. Pauls. Come winter, they groom White's Farm so you can skate or traditional ski or you can snowshoe on those same trails that you've been running all summer. Within the next few towns you can climb several peaks(Mt. Kearsarge via bike), swim in some of the cleanest lakes in the country and run trails as technical as anywhere. Within an hour's drive you can get to the White Mountains, the ocean, or Boston depending on your training prerogative. Need to get away? How about two major airports within an hour both accessible by public transportation? Sick of training? With some of the best skiing in the East nearby, you can definitely amuse yourself on the slopes, or some of the best granite on the planet for rock climbing. Spend a relaxing day at the beach, whether it be a lake, river or the ocean it's all clean and refreshing.

What we gain in accessibility and proximity, we do not give up in scenery either. Some of the best foliage, prettiest mountains, lushest forests and beautiful and cleanest lakes in the world abound in New Hampshire. It certainly makes training far more enjoyable when you can look around you and see the miracles of nature without a smog-filled hue. Also helps to have a low-crime rate, and few, if any, dangerous animals or insects-allowing for an uninhibited outdoor adventure.

Have you seen how many race NHTI alone has? We have the CARS series, the Granite State Snowshoe Series, the New Hampshire Grand Prix, the Will Run for Beer, Freeze Your Buns, Mine Falls Trail Series, Western New Hampshire Trail Series and several of the New England Grand Prix races within a half hours drive. Three marathons and three half-Ironman(Timberman, Mooseman, and the new Mascomaman) with 45 minutes. Once you start counting northern Mass races, you'll find enough races to fill nearly every day of the week.

And there are people that do them all. We live across the street from Dave Audet who's run a sub-3 hour marathon in every state in the US and still runs everyday. A block down the road, Ryan Kelly, the professional triathlete and fellow aR member. Looking to go for a trail run? How about Rich Lavers of Seven Sister's Fame or J. Massa, a podium finisher at the Tough Mudder and one tough mudder. Want a great track workout with national-caliber coaching? A short drive to the Gate City Strider's track workouts will get you there. Need a tri coach? How about Steve Reed or Sean Snow, multiple Ironman HI finishers, offering different training strategies. The Concord area may actually have one of the highest percentage of Clearwater qualifiers in the country when you look at everyone who has qualified and how small the town is. We've also got Connor Jenning's who holds UVM's 3,000 meter record and, of course, little old Amber Ferreira. She coaches, works as a physical therapist and is a professional triathlete! All in a town of less than 30,000 people. Not too shabby of a group to train with. Need a little more encouragement? Jeremy Woodward will gladly whip you into shape with his functional strengthening program which I did this morning and now cannot move my arms or legs or abdominals or...

So while we may not have the huge mountains of Colorado, the year round dry, clear roads of Arizona, or endless swimming of Southern California, we do have a little bit of everything in moderation, which like everything in life is actually best for us(and our training).

UP NEXT: Providence 70.3