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Race Report: Rev3 Pocono Mountains Half 2017

Redemption on the Pocono Curse

In 2010, I set out to complete my first half-Ironman distance triathlon at Ironman 70.3 Pocono Mountains. The day was pretty much a disaster from start-to-finish. Hurricane Emily had come through the day before and ruined any chances of a swim since the Delaware River was extremely high. The triathlon became a duathlon with a rolling start on the bike. The roads around Delaware Water Gap State Park very wet and slippery. I made it exactly halfway through the bike course when my left-crank arm on my, less than a year old, Quintana Roo Caliente tri bike fell totally off. DNF!

I walked my bike through the streets of East Stroudsburg to the care after getting dropped off from the long ride in the SAG van. I recalled the times I spent in this town before being kicked out of East Stroudsburg University about 20 years before. I also remembered my parents telling me about how I was kicked out of the East Stroudsburg movie theater at a very young age for making animal noises during the showing of a movie we attended. I have not had very good luck in this town and I had since referred to it as my “Pocono Curse.”

I signed up for the Rev3 Pocono race earlier in the year because I thought it would be a good training race for my A race the following month in Lake Placid. I had done a Rev3 race up in Quassy, Connecticut a few years ago and they do a very good job. While it was only my C race for the year, I wanted to have a chance to seek revenge on this curse with the hope of putting an end to it. And so I did.

Coming off of less than spectacular performance at Ironman Boulder 2 months prior, I had nowhere to go but up. I also had built a pretty solid foundation of fitness and for the 2 months before I could focus on building speed for the shorter distance race. The race organizers also had a practice ride of the bike course a month before, so I was able to get up and preview the course beforehand. I was glad I did. It was a really nice course and also challenging as well. I also got a lap of the run course in too, which I knew would be very challenging to do 4 times.

Pre-Race

I was very fortunate to that one of my friends and former manager from work owned a vacation home only short walk from the transition area at Split Rock Resort and Lake Harmony and invited me to stay with them for the race. This made the logistics for the race so easy. Their house was actually on the 4-lap run course too, so my wife could just hang out there all day and watch me run by.

We arrived at Split Rock on Saturday afternoon. I headed over to the lodge for the packet pickup but realized it was at the Expo Center instead. There was absolutely no signage anywhere indicating where this was it just said the name in the athlete guide. There was no map or anything tell you where it was and we walked around for a while trying to find it. Finally we located it in a large field near the waterslide area which was where the finish line would be.

The rest of the afternoon went more smoothly. I got my bike prepped and dropped it off in the transition area in the side parking lot at Split Rock lodge. I then headed over to the mandatory athlete meeting to get the particulars. There was a few course changes noted, so I was glad I went. They also said the water temperature was 77.9 F which was right at the 78F wetsuit cutoff. They said it would drop due to the forecasted overnight rain though and they were pretty sure it would be a wetsuit swim.

Rev3 Pocono Mountains Half – Bike racked and ready in transition

I then relaxed a bit on the beach and took it easy for the rest of the evening. I had my standard Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry over rice for dinner and then just sat out on my friend’s deck until around 9pm. I prepped all my race nutrition and gear and crashed for the evening.

I was up at 5pm to slug down my pre-made breakfast smoothie and some coffee. Got my stuff together and took a nice short walk down to transition. I set everything up and got my wetsuit on ready to take on the day. It was a nice morning with no wind and the sun just coming up before the swim start at 7am. The Olympic distance athletes were supposed to start at 6:30am but they didn’t go until close to 7am. We started rolling into the water, in sets of two’s,  a little after 7am.

The Swim

The half swim course consisted of a square that almost covered the entire lake. The Olympic course turned through the middle of the half course. We swan in a counter-clockwise direction keeping the buoys on our left side. The sun came up on the opposite side of the lake but didn’t really pose too much issue in sighting. It was just to our left swimming out towards it. I did get it in the eyes while breathing to the right after the second turn.

The swim started with every pairing up in two and rolling through a gate to walk to the end of a dock. They let two people off every two seconds. We had to sit on the end of the dock and roll forward into the water. It was VERY silty on the bottom and was very cloudy for the first 20 yards or so.

I settled into a pretty steady stroke rather quickly. We were all spread out quite well and I had a ton of open water to just swim. It was pretty nice. I didn’t have to navigate around people and sighting was pretty easy. I was able to really focus on a good stroke and catch which I think was key to getting a good result here.

I started to run into some traffic after the first turn, but nothing compared to some races. I moved to inside the buoys which was pretty clear. The only bad thing about this is you have to swing back into the main flow to make the turns. Fortunately, this wasn’t too bad. I did have a little sun blinding when taking breaths on my right side after the first turn. I made sure I looked further up and back and that took care of that.

The swim went really fast. I guess that is expected after the last race 2.4 miles. The friends we were staying with said they were going to be having Mamosa’s on the dock for the swim so I was trying swing closer to shore after the final turn to the exit. I couldn’t see anyone on the docks and the swim exit dock was approaching quickly. I had to swim back out to make the final right turn bouy before swimming to the dock. I reached the two ladders to exit onto the dock and hoisted myself out of the water.

70.3, Endurance Sports, Half Ironman, Me, Race, Sports, Triathlon, multisport, tri
Rev3 Pocono Mountains Half – Swim Exit

I looked down at my watch and it was showing 32 minutes and change…WHAT??! That is SUPER FAST swim time for me! I usually expect to swim 1.2 miles in 36-37 minutes. This was like 4-5 minutes faster. Holy crap! I hit the lap button before it could go 33 minutes. I started pulling down my wetsuit while trying to survey the crowd for my wife. Nothing. Hmmm… I made the left turn down the road and then heard my wife yell my name from behind. I ran back and gave her a smooch and then headed on my way to the bike. Apparently she was talking and almost missed me. I guess that can happen when you smoke the swim.

Swim: 00:32:51.523

 

T1

The first transition was pretty smooth. I ditched the wetsuit and stumbled around trying to put my socks on. There was a pile of dirt and stones near my transition area that I kept stepping in with my wet feet. I forgot a towel, so my socks were going to have a nice coating of stones in them. That may be a problem later.

The transiton areas are rally nice for Rev3. They have a nice slot to hold your rear tire and stand up your bike. There is a rectangular area next to it to put your gear bag and then layout your shoes and things just outside of it. There was also one No show next to me so that gave some ample room too.

I stashed my Quarq GPS monitor in my back jersey pocket. It was a bit larger than I expected and the pockets on my jersey were a bit strained having to hold it. I was a bit worried it would fly out when I went over a bump or something. They had belts for them, but I opted out. Wished I would have gotten one now.

I made my way to the bike out, taking about 3 minutes total in T1. Not too bad considering I had to run back to see my wife.

T1: 03:02

Bike

The bike course starts right out of transition with a short, but steep little climb. You had better have your bike in an easy gear in transition or you could be dropping a chain right off the bat. You then head out Lake Harmony Road, which has a few little. freshly paved, rollers until you make a left on Route 903. From there it is riding the fairly flat section on the shoulder while cars are whizzing by you on the left. Yes, not a closed course at all. Next, you make a right onto route 115 which is a gradual incline until just before making a left onto Long Pond Road.

You then make a right into the Pocono Raceway after a short way up Long Pond Rd. You then ride in a “Polish” lap direction before dropping down on the apron of the track and riding the twists and turns of the inner road course. You then head back onto the main track, in the typical direction, through Turn 2 and then out onto Long Pond again.

70.3, Endurance Sports, Half Ironman, Me, Race, Sports, Triathlon, multisport, tri
Rev3 Pocono Mountains Half – Bike on Pocono Racetrack

Next, is a couple out-and-back sections before heading back on 115 and 903 passing the entrance to Lake Harmony. This is the 25 miles that make up the Olympic course. It is mostly flat and fast. I  think most decent cyclists will complete this in the 20 mph range.

The final 31 miles is comprised of a large loop through Hickory Run State park, through White Haven, over the Francis E. Walter Dam and back to Lake Harmony. Heading into Hickory Run contains a few climbs. The climb from mile 29.5 to 31.5 is pretty decent but not super steep. The rollers beforehand are quickly forgotten after you hit the 3-mile downhill section in Hickory Run. I hit speeds of around 45 mph during this section.

Now that your muscles have all stiffened up during the fast downhill, you will pass the park office and hit a short but steep uphill section to wake them up again. The remaining 20 miles are mostly all uphill, although pretty gradual. The section on White Haven Rd. actually feels pretty flat and you can generate some good speed here. Get in a nice spinning gear and haul.

The Francis Walter Dam is quite a view. There is a small climb before it and then a doozy of one after. The section after that is fairly flat and protected by trees, so you can cruise through here as well.  Eventually, you will make a left onto Route 940 which kind of sucks. It is old chip-seal and has a decent amount of traffic. I just felt like I lost some ground here. Once you turn right onto Moseywood Drive you can get some speed going again. I thought this was the end but they threw in a little extra divergent section that was not in the original route. And it sucked too. We came up the back of Forest Drive which was really steep. I was not expecting this and it really hurt the legs. Be ready.

My Race…

The bike went pretty well for me. I had ridden the course a month prior, so I knew what to expect. Well, except for that last little surprise climb on Forest Drive. I ended up averaging about a mile-per-hour faster(~18.7mph) than I had during the recon ride. I finished the 57+ mile bike course in 3:01. Not too bad for a 3500’+ elevation gain.

I never needed to take anything from the aid stations. I had 2 bottles of Skratch Labs, a bottle of water, a couple Honey Stinger waffles and an Amrita bar. I feel this was pretty adequate fueling for me with no stomach issues and ready for a good run.

I maintained an Intensity Factor(IF) of 0.77 giving me a TSS of 180. I probably could have dropped back to a 0.75 and maybe gained a little more time on the run. A TSS of 150-160 would probably be more optimal.

Bike: 03:01:43.010 (57.1 miles @18.85 mph)

T2

The 2nd transition went pretty quickly. Ditched the bike and stick on the run shoes. Out we go in 1:32 …

T2: 01:32

Run

The Course

The run course consists of 4 – 5k loops for the half distance. Each loop is like a dumbell. Two loops connected by one straightaway. It is a tough end to a pretty tough bike, so you surely need to save some energy for this. You will only do two loops for the Olympic and 4 times for the half.

Exiting out of transition, you immediately start steeply uphill on Crest Drive. Then heading down and then two left turns onto Forest Drive which leads back up the steep uphill again. Next is the only real flat stretch of the whole course on Birchwood Drive, followed by a downhill stretch of Wolf Hollow and Corson Road. You then make a sharp right onto a short out-and-back section that was added in to add some distance. Once back onto Wolf Hollow you then take a left turn onto another even shorter out-and-back section which is comprised of packed shale. The next section is an even longer uphill grind before winding back to Birchwood via Moseywood Drive.

The course is either going up-and-down or out-and-and back, with the exception of Birchwood stretch.  You can never seem to get any consistent flow that gathers momentum. You are constantly digging for more. Strava shows a corrected elevation gain of 894 feet and Training Peaks is showing 728 feet. EIther way, it is a lot for 13 miles. For comparison, Ironman Boulder was around 650 over 26 miles.

My Race

My feet were pretty numb starting out on the run, but that is typical. The initial climb up Crest Drive hit me like a ton of bricks. Fortunately, my wife Denise and our friends Ted and Emi, who we were staying with were waiting for me on the climb and taking pictures, so I had no choice but to suck it up and grind through the hill. Right after, I dropped two gels out of my Amrita race jersey which I had to go back and pick up since I know would need them later. Some time lost there.

I also had rented Quarq race Qollector unit which I kept in my back jersey pocket. The unit was a bit bigger and heavier than I had expected. I was constantly keeping a check on it to make sure it didn’t flop out. It was about the size of a pack of cigarettes and about twice as heavy. Maybe more like having a iPhone in your pocket. I think if I ever get a waterproof iPhone that would be just as good. From a spectator perspective, everyone that was monitoring my race said that it did a really good job of plotting my race.

70.3, Endurance Sports, Half Ironman, Me, Race, Sports, Triathlon, multisport, tri
Rev3 Pocono Mountains Half – Enjoying the hills on the run

I thought that the 4-loop course would really get to me mentally, but I actually really liked it. One thing that may have helped is that our friends’ house was right on the run course on Forest Drive, so they all hung out in the driveway to cheer me on. Seeing them 4 times was surely motivation to push me through this tough course.

The race support was also amazing. The run aid station on Forest Road consisted of a bunch of young girls from a nearby camp. They were cheering their hearts out non-stop. My wife told them that I was coming by and they were even giving personal cheering. Pretty hard not have a good race when you get this on the run course…

 

I also met up with another racer, Kellie, late in the bike who ended up staying with the whole run. We kept passing each other and pushing each other on the hills. Kellie would walk the hills and I would try to run them, but she would then pass me later on the flatter stretches. I soon realized she was saving some energy by walking the hills that allowed her to run faster on the flatter stretches. I tried doing this a little bit on the last loop, but it was a little late at that point.

70.3, Endurance Sports, Half Ironman, Me, Race, Sports, Triathlon, multisport, tri
Rev3 Pocono Mountains Half – Bringin it home! Finish Line

Summary

Overall, I thought this was a solid race for me. My swim was probably one of my best swims ever, despite being a little short. The bike leg was also right on target for power numbers and time. The run was tough, but I kept pushing through the hills and ran them all except for the last one. Had a few hiccups on the run but didn’t let them get to me. I would do this again in a heartbeat.

Finish Time: 05:38:47.033

Results Link…

 

 

 

 

 

Ironman Pocono Mountains 70.3…My First Half Ironman?

I sat anxiously by my laptop on October 1st, 2010 while on vacation in Lake Placid, NY awaiting the 10AM start of online registration for the inaugural Ironman Pocono Mountains 70.3 Triathlon. I submitted my $275 which would then commit the next year to training for my first “Ironman”-branded event. I had been tossing the the half-iron distance around since it would be the next logical progression in my pursuit of a full iron distance. When I saw the ad in Triathlete Magazine, I thought that this was a sign that this was the race for me since it was so close to home. The eventual outcome was one I never expected.

From October 2010 until May 2011, I focused on building a solid base of endurance which ultimately ended totaling 2x the distance of each discipline in the half-iron distance per week : Swim 2.4 miles, Bike 112, and run 26. My wife and I were heading to Peru for 2 weeks at the end of May to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and then spend 4 days in the Peruvian Amazon exploring the jungle. Hiking at high altitude would be the perfect recovery before kicking training into high gear. Upon returning from Peru I turned my training over to my coach Scott at TriYourLimits . Scott would prescribe weekly workouts for me via Workoutlog.com and I log on each day complete the workout and upload my Garmin with my results. The training was very gradual with a recovery week thrown in every 4th week. Things went very smoothly and I did not incur any injuries as I had the previous season coaching myself. I knew I needed a coach to guide me because I would easily overtrain doing it myself.

The season flew by. I competed in the Patriot Sprint Triathlon in Bath, PA by Piranha Sports in July. That turned out to be a bit of a mess. The bike leg was cancelled due to last minute oil and chipping of the roads thanks to the idiots at PennDOT. The swim was really bad for me personally. I tried to get in the mix and got kind of freaked out. Water was VERY warm too. Never got into any real rhythm. Run was equally bad with concrete quads the whole time. Good wake up call though.

In September I competed in the Steelman Olympic Triathlon at Lake Nockamixon. This was a much better performance. Had a great swim, 0.9mil in 29 min, and I felt really comfortable. Probably was my best swim(33:04min/mi pace) so far and it was the longest(0.9mi) too. Bike leg was 18.8mph avg speed, which is ok for a pretty hilly course. I was trying to hold back a bit to save my legs for the run. The run was another story. The sun popped out and, with all the rain we had, it going very humid. I don’t fare well in hot humid conditions. a 58min 10k is nothing to write home about. Even had to walk a couple times.

The rest of the season was all training for Ironman Pocono. I followed my training plan pretty much to a T. 2 weeks prior I started into my taper and things really started feeling good then. I felt really fast(relatively) and had to hold myself back a bit sometimes. I was feeling like this could be a good race. I had a little bit of anxiety the week before, but when the rains started coming down that began to dwindle a bit. I was watching the current-level forecasts on the NOAA website for the Delaware River and it wasn’t looking swimmable. On Friday before the race they announced that the swim leg would be cancelled. Strike 1!

With the swim cancelled, my anxiety all but disappeared. I still wanted to have a good bike and run, but without the swim it just isn’t a triathlon. We headed up to the Fernwood Resort in Stroudsburg, PA on IMG_0675.PNGSaturday and checked in at the expo. I attended the athlete meeting and got the details. There would be a time trial start for the bike and they would just run down the rows in T1 telling each athlete to go every couple seconds. They had changed the bike course multiple times due to roads washing out. Forecast was for rain all night into the morning and cold. Fortunately the winds were supposed to be light. We ran my bike over to T1 and then dropped my run bag over at T2 at Stroudsburg HS. It was crazy with everyone driving all over the place to drop their gear everywhere. Logicstically it was not well thought out.

We stopped at Thai Thani on Rt. 611 for some lunch. Yeah Thai food for a pre-race meal…probably not a great idea. I had Masaman curry which is not very spicy, so it should not be an issue. We then checked into our room at the Fernwood. I had reserved a suite so I thought we would have a decent room atleast. The room stunk and was very musty. There was a heart-shaped tub and a sauna in the room. The tub was probably why the smell was so bad and the sauna didn’t even work. Place overall was kind of old and rundown. A bit disappointing. We stopped over to see some friends that also were competing and shot the breeze with them for a bit. I hit the pasta dinner later and there was no one there. It was pretty basic, but fine.

I woke up around 4AM on Sunday and had bagels & peanut butter and coffee. Deciding how many layers to put on was a bit of a decision. I took extra stuff with me and figured I could hash that out while waiting around in T1. I met our friends in the lobby and we jumped on the yellow school bus shuttle and headed over to T1 at Smithfield Beach in Delaware Water Gap. It was interesting listening to the conversations on the bus. I chatted with a couple guys who were next to me in T1 most of the morning in between taking a half-dozen piss breaks in the woods. The clouds actually broke for a few minutes while we waited but did not last too long. Finally they started calling people off to start and after over an hour we were on our way. River Road through DWG was very smooth and slick feeling. It had a major camber and made you feel like you were going to slide right into the woods. I hesitated to get in the aerobars. We hit the first big hill after a few miles and there was people walking their bikes all over the place. I dropped down to an easy gear and spun my way up. I told myself I was not going to take any chances and just wanted to finish in piece.

The next hour on the bike went pretty smoothly. I didn’t look at my time until after an hour and was surprised that I was averaging over 18MPH. I didn’t feel like I was going that fast. Hmmm….I could finish in under 3 hours?…Which was what my original goal was. They had a figure-8 configuration in the course and while cutting across the middle road I heard something metal against the road. I thought hopefully I just ran over something? Then a guy passed me and said “man you are dropping metal all over the road.” I looked down at my bottom bracket and my left crank arm was totally loose. I could see the teeth from the inside shaft that runs through the middle. Bottom Bracket“This cannot be happening” I thought to myself. I pulled over to the side and through my bike down. I walked back to try to find the pieces I was missing but no avail. About 20 people went by me asking if I was ok or needed anything. Yeah right! You are wizzing by me at 20MPH in a race…are you really going to stop? They were out of ear shot before they finished getting the words out. Save your breath people!

The walk back to my bike was a tough one. I was mad and disappointed. I could not believe it was going to end this way. All the hours of training I put in and it all comes down to my bike falling apart. I got back to my bike and tried to ride it some more, but it eventually would not even turn the chain anymore. I ended up walking a mile and a half until the SAG van at the cutoff crew was coming down the road I had covered earlier in the ride. He stopped to ask what was wrong and said he could not do anything about that. They loaded my bike in the van and the driver asked for my number. He then got on the race radio and called in the words that made it all sink in….”1769 DNF!!!” I could feel my stomach drop instantly. I felt close to breaking down.

There was another guy and girl in the van already. The girl sat in the passenger seat and seemed pretty upset. The guy was quite jovial and helped lighten up the mood a bit. We had to retrace much of the course I had already ridden following the last rider. He was stopping every few minutes and it was pure torture. It started getting late in the morning and I figured my wife was getting worried since I hadn’t been seen yet. The guy in the van had a phone so I left her a message. We picked up more riders as we went and eventually we filled up the van and had to head back to T2 early…thank god! The van became somewhat of a support group for DNF-ers. My wife eventually got the message and called me back. We eventually got back to T2 and there was major traffic jams in Stroudsburg due to the race and telephone pole being down. I grabbed my running stuff in T2, called my wife and headed towards downtown where she was waiting with one of our friends on Main St.

IMG_1111.JPGWhile walking towards town, athletes were coming past me with their finishers medals around their necks and the silver foil blankets on. That didn’t help! My wife came around the corner and things really hit home then. We collected ourselves and heard that we had to go back to T2 to get my clothes from the morning. We picked that stuff up and skirted downtown to get to our car. It was an early Bonefish Grill night. Finally I thought there is no way I am going to waste all this training I have done. I jumped on my iPhone and looked to see if there were any more Ironman 70.3’s this season…Miami on Oct 30th! Bingo!

My wife was all for it too and I began making arrangements that night. I had never expected to be going to Miami, but hey you never know what adventure lies around the corner. So the training will continue for another month. It should be a good race with a swim and a flat bike and run course. We are spending a little more than I had planned, but it should be a great experience. It could end up being the greatest thing to happen when you look back on it. Stay tuned for more on that in future posts.

IM Pocono 70.3 Training Week #3 – Finding My HR Zones

My coach recommended that I head down to Cadence in Manayunk and get my Lactate Threshold tested after my constantly whining about this zone 2 issue. This way I could establish what my zones really are. It was $150 for the test but I needed the piece of mind and thought it would be worth it. I gave them a call and made an appointment for Saturday afternoon. In the meantime I started doing some googling about heart rate zones. The zones that were set up in my WorkoutLog had been set using the old 220-age and then just taking the percentages from the difference. Looking around I realized how old and out-of-date this method is. There are some different formulas out there and after trying them out I already saw a big difference. The one I used was from the RunnersWeb.com site, which used a 208- 0.7 * Age to get my max HR. This gave me another bpm, which helped a little bit. This biggest change was in calculating the zones. Instead of just taking percentages of the difference, it subtracted my resting HR which and took the percentages from that. This made a huge difference. After doing a couple runs with that, I was not residing more in Zone 3 than zone 4. I still wasn’t in zone 2, but I am getting there.
The rest of the week played out well. I did a hill ride workout on Tuesday, where I was supposed to keep a 85+ cadence while going up and down hills. Many of the hills around me have a pretty high grade, so I found myself pushing the pedals pretty hard. My tri bike doesn’t have a really “granny” gear, so it got a little tough trying to maintain that cadence. My cadence sensor crapped out on me too so I had no idea what I was really doing. The rest of the week I was really starting to feel a bit taxed. Not sure if it was that hill ride or just 3 weeks of training taking its toll. I was not totally wiped out, but just felt like things were a little more effort than normal.
On Friday I had the day off from work, so I got back to Dutch Springs again for another open water swim(OWS). Did a little over 1.3 miles in 45 mins. Took a couple little breaks in there, but did better than previous week. Some kid on a kayak came paddling over to me and asked me “what is wrong?” I said “wrong with what?” He said “why are you swimming over here?” I replied with “because I want to.” and continued swimming.
On Saturday, my wife and I headed down to Cadence for my LT test. I met Jack, who was conducting the test, at the counter and he took me upstairs to get started. I asked me a bunch of questions about what I am training for and general info. I needed a current running race pace so he could figure out where to start the test. The only pace I could remember was the half marathon I did last year. I did a olympic tri last september, but could not remember my time. I did the half averaging just over an 8 min/mile, so he started a little below that.
He started me out at 7.4 mph(8:06 pace) for 4 mins and then took a blood sample. He then immediately jacked it up another few tenths of a mph and took another sample after 3 mins. He did this 3 more times util we got to about 8.5 mph. He concluded pretty quickly that I was more efficient in the middle of the test than at the beginning and end. My most efficient pace was around 7:45 min/mile, which I was pretty psyched with. Of course did that mean I was slacking on my half marathon? Well, after he calculated everything it turns out that my zone 2 range goes all the way up to 152 bpm, which is right around where my HR hangs when I am in cruising mode. My Max HR is also higher than what the 220-Age calculation gives me. All-in-all it was well worth it to get the test because now I at least have a baseline to start at.
On Sunday afternoon, I got out for my long run down at the Lehigh Parkway. It was very humid, but my run felt so much better because I could just run like I feel like and not stressing over my HR zone. And low and behold it was mostly all in zone 2. Finally!
Training Week 3 stats were a little lower since I moved my long bike from Saturday to Monday because of the LT Test. Week 4 will be a recovery week, so things get tapered a bit. Happy 4th of July!


IM Pocono 70.3 Training Week #2

Week #2 training went well. Swam 5,466 yds in 2:18, biked 84.7 miles in 5:09, and ran 13 miles in 2:27 hours. Still battling with my heart rate zones and getting into zone 2. Running in what is supposed to be zone 2 is just impossible, and I am just not feeling like I am doing anything after these runs. I finally got over to Dutch Springs for my LSD(Long slow distance) swim on Friday. Got in a 1.1 mile swim in about 38 mins. Felt good to be swimming out of the pool for a change.
After my swim on Friday I headed over to see some friends who live nearby. Ended up having a few beers, which I paid for on Saturday. Finally got out for my long ride on Saturday, which helped feel much better. My wife joined me for part of my long run on Sunday down at the Lehigh Parkway. Since I was running so slow to get in “zone 2”, she was able to run a little longer than she usually does.
With 2 weeks under my belt I am feeling really good. Hard to believe I have exercised every day for the last 2 weeks.


Week 1 of IM Pocono 70.3 Training – Finding Zone 2…

Last week(6/13/2011) was my first training plan week for Ironman Pocono Mountains 70.3 on October 2, 2011. The training went quite well and actually felt pretty easy despite the increase in volume. The hardest part of this week was trying to stay in heart rate zone #2. For me Zone 2, which is 60-70% of my estimated maximum(~178 bpm), ranges between 107-125 bpm. While I am able to attain this zone on the bike, the run is a whole different matter.

Last year I began Chirunning, which allowed me to increase my distances through more efficient running technique. This technique makes running a more relaxing activity and I don’t feel like I am gasping for breath anymore. Despite this, when I strap the old HR monitor on it tells a different story. Running at the slowest possible pace still jacks my HR up to around 150bpm, which is in Zone 4. The only way I am able to get to zone 2 is by walking. So there in lies my dilemma for the week. Is it better to stay in Zone 2 despite having to walk to do so? Or should I just run as slow as possible and hope that eventually my heart will get down to Zone 2?

 View my Training Log…

Week #1 Totals
Type Distance Duration Avg Pace # Time in Zones
Bike 80.4 mi 04:59 16.0 mph 3 HEART RATE

Z1 : 50-60% 00:15 89 – 107
Z2 : 60-70% 02:08 107 – 125
Z3 : 70-80% 02:32 125 – 142
Z4 : 80-90% 00:19 142 – 160
Z5 : 90-100% 00:00 160 – 178
Run 13.4 mi 02:06 09:29/mi 3 HEART RATE

Z1 : 50-60% 00:03 89 – 107
Z2 : 60-70% 00:05 107 – 125
Z3 : 70-80% 00:18 125 – 142
Z4 : 80-90% 01:33 142 – 160
Z5 : 90-100% 00:12 160 – 178
Swim 5425.0 yd 01:58 02:10/100yd 3
Total Duration: 09:03   9