I signed up for Ironman St. George May 2020. This will be my third St. George and ninth overall, I previously did the inaugural one in 2010 and again in 2011. Looks like IM St. George will also be the North American championship race and will rotate every three years as the designated NA championship race with other events.
I do have to say that St George in 2011 wasn't the best experience. I hit the "why am I doing this?" and "is this it?" walls pretty hard. I wasn't getting any faster, I wasn't competing (just participating), and it felt like a big waste of time and money.
So why sign up again? Being healthy and fit aren't exactly wastes of time and money. Being healthy is probably a good thing. These races are actually pretty fun and I'm locked in with this distance. I just can't get up for shorter distances, I prefer endurance vs. speed. And I miss it. Training is like active meditation for me, and the discipline and consistency it requires helps me with other parts of life that require discipline and consistency.
I'm doing the SF marathon this Sunday. It's going to be my fourth time doing this race. The highlight is running across the Golden Gate bridge. The low light is all the time spent in Golden Gate Park, we see about every inch of Golden Gate park. The other low light is that this race has gotten to be too expensive.
I prefer the Oakland marathon that I ran earlier this year. I like the warts and all course through Oakland much better. There's more people cheering at the Oakland marathon and the runners seem a little more laid back and a little more entertaining. Whatever. Just being cranky/Oakland prideful.
Anyway, SF marathon should be pretty fun. Weather is always great, overcast, not too cold and not too hot and not windy, perfect running conditions. The hills are tough though.
What a great event! A challenging "warts and all" route through Oakland — from City Hall to Rockridge to Montclair to the Mormon Temple to International Boulevard to Jack London Square to West Oakland to Lake Merritt and back to City Hall.
Great crowd throughout the whole course. Very "homey/welcome" feeling, not like running the San Francisco marathon.
There was no rain despite the threat of rain, it was pretty good running conditions. Hoping next year will be the same.
I used the day as a "training day" if that makes any sense. I was strong through 20 miles, slowed down a little bit for the next two, and then put it into recovery mode. Starting a marathon on tired legs is definitely an interesting feeling.
A marathon is still a marathon. I was hoping it was going to be easy but I was getting antsy around mile 17.
The event was well run, some areas could be improved but not bad for their second time around.
The Expo the day before was a little meager. Could use some more vendors but the ones that were there were pretty good.
The medal is nice.
The shirt, long sleeve again, could've been better. Needed a better graphic design and maybe a slightly higher quality shirt.
The massage tent could have been managed better.
I'm hoping to get more people signed up for the race. I'll likely going to do it again next year. It was definitely a lot of fun and it's great to have a running event like this in Oakland.
I'd like to keep the Summer and Fall open for things other than races but may consider some races depending on who's in.
My base workout locations are: my house in North Oakland near Children's Hospital (bike/run), Temescal Pool, Sports Basement in San Francisco (bike/run), Mike's Bikes Sausalito (bike/run), Tam High School (swim/bike/run), Lunardi's (bike/run).
Will also be doing some trail runs in the East Bay hills (Skyline 50k routes) and in Marin (NorthFace 50k routes).
My fitness goals for 2011 are to maintain my fitness levels from last year, drop some weight, improve my core strength and flexibility, and become a stronger runner. I'd also like to reconnect with friends/training partners and just have some fun on the road.
My dream bike is a Parlee Z5 — an all carbon fiber bike that can be built as a complete bike at around 13lbs. My current bike is not heavy at a little over 17lbs and bikes for racing have to weigh at a minimum 15lbs (thankfully I don't race). Shaving 2 to 4lbs off a bike would be really great though. I could also just eat less and lose some weight.
Anyway, for the build I'd go with the SRAM Red group with ENVE seat post, stem, and bar, Fizik seat, Look pedals, and TRP brakes. I'd also go with the Dura Ace 7850 50cm wheels because they're carbon wheels with an alloy braking surface, otherwise would go with Lightweight or ENVE clincher wheels.
If all goes well, maybe in 2012? I could use the time to think of a nice paint job, though will probably end up with something like the first picture above — a solid blue bike.
I'm in the camp of people believing that carbon fiber is the best material for road bikes. Carbon fiber just sucks up the bumpiness in roads that it makes for really comfortable riding. I've ridden maybe 10,000+ miles on my road bike and can't complain — stiff, durable, comfortable, just solid riding.
I needed a new pair of prescription sunglasses (my prescription changed) for working out and I finally ended up getting the Daddy-O square Ray Bans — very comfortable and great lenses. It's darker than I'm used to and it's just been a great frame for working out and cycling than what I've had in the past.
I was wearing Oakleys but my prescription got too high and none of their really nice (overpriced) frames would allow my prescription. The ones I have now lean towards being normal glasses with sun glass lenses versus actual sunglasses. It's too bad because I really like Oakley. Thankfully Ray Bans are just as stylish and they're cheaper too.
I did a bunch of research as I usually do and ended up getting the glasses from SportRX Prescription Eyewear. Rob T. hooked me up and was very patient with me as he made the initial suggestion. I eventually emailed him my prescription and glasses came in soon after. It was a very nice experience.
Anyway, it's funny that I'm sporting Ray Bans since it seems like the wayfarers have made a come back. Maybe us '80s kids are on the attack.
This is the Garmin Edge 500 and I'm super attached to this thing mostly because it works. I bought this in December last year and it's reasonably priced. DC Rainmaker has this crazy long review.
I use this computer for cycling and running though it's optimized for cycling. I have a heart rate monitor for my heart rate and it comes with a cadence monitor to monitor rotations per minute (RPMs) or my legs around the bike crank. It's a Garmin so there's a GPS so it measures distance and elevation. It's also an ANT+ product and so it works with other ANT+ products like power meters and such.
The computer also comes with Garmin training center software so I can download all the information from the Edge 500 onto my computer (Mac OS X but works on Windows too). From there, I upload the data to WorkoutLog.com which records all my workouts.
From a technology standpoint, it's pretty freaking cool — a total home run product. It works, it's minimalist by default, configurable to your needs, easy to get data in and out. Even the battery power is pretty good, lasted me a whole Ironman race (well the bike and the run part…and I took a long time).
It's a piece of technology that will actually tell you about yourself, what you did, and could actually make you faster, stronger, better because you have data to measure against.
Training for Ironman St George and Ironman Canada started in earnest for me in October last year. I have this training log that I use to record my workouts. It's a pretty neat tool but could be a little faster and little more slick on the user interface side. I upload my workouts from a Garmin Forerunner which I'll talk about in another post.
What's new this time around is that I'm working with a coach, Chris Hauth (a genuinely nice guy, an '92 and '96 Olympian representing Germany, and he's *won* a few Ironman races). He's coaching a few of my friends as well.
The workouts have been/are super efficient in terms of time and effort, and I'm also working out strictly on heart rate and also interval training. I just don't have time for any bad workouts, and his philosophy of doing something every day and getting enough rest and recovery to move on to the next level is proving to be right.
I'm also doing a bunch of (cycling) spin classes but the spin classes are based on wattage. We use a CompuTrainer in class which you attach to the rear wheel of your bike, and it adjusts the resistance on your wheel based on what watt resistance level you give it. Training by watts and high cadence and going to a ton of spin classes is also new this year.
In any case, St George is coming up, May 1 and Canada is right around the corner at the end of August.
*Updated for Mike, (removing thingie which was just the CompuTrainer)*
Also, adding below, the difference in training with Chris vs IronTeam.
I'm training using time versus distance e.g. 2 hour run vs 10 mile run
I'm doing lactate threshold tests to determine my workout zones and bike wattage
I'm training on strict heart rate, at a "Zone 2" primarily using a heart rate monitor
I'm training on the bike using watts/power
I'm training on bike focusing on cadence, less hill work, and sustained effort
I've got a good bike fit
We'll see if it translates into a better time. It is translating into far easier and manageable (even pleasurable) workouts.