Saturday, June 30, 2007

Sadly wonderful...

"Wow!" That was my wife's reaction when we pulled up to La Jolla Cove last night. I had heard from one of my clients there was going to be a memorial swim, (so to speak), for Jim McCann, at the usual Friday night club swim. It hadn't been advertised, or communicated on the tri club board, so I thought it was just going to be a small thing, but boy were we mistaken.

I figured I would show up and swim easy with some people, my first activity since the race. We pulled up, and the grassy area was PACKED with people. I had never seen it this crowded on a general Friday evening. I almost wondered if there was another event going on. But no, this was the underground, memorial event.

Some people said a few things, and then lead the memorial swim, with a wreath to send out in the water. We swam out to the 1/4 mile buoy, nearly 200 people strong, and formed a circle. We had a moment of silence, and ironically, in that silence there were a few seals howling about a 100 yards away from us. It was rather symbolic. Otherwise, we just floated there, looking at the wreath, feeling the waves push us up and down. I had a few memories and images of Jim float thru my mind.

In typical Bob Babbit style, he also lead a moment of NOISE, knowing Jim would have been more about having fun and making noise being the water, enjoying ourselves.

Afterward, I swam to the 1/2 mile buoy with some folks, then back to the Cove, for a mile total. I put some warm clothes on, and headed for the food table. It was quite busy. So many people.

It was a very odd evening. Everyone enjoying each other's company, talking, discussing races. I was approached by so many people about my race last weekend, and wanting to hear more about the bee sting, it was almost funny. There we were, enjoying the sport and the social, life-style aspects of it which Jim wanted to share so badly with everyone, and yet we all seemed to have this sad energy about us. We love our sport, the people, the social gatherings and functions, but sadly it took the death of someone we all loved to recognize that even more.

It was sadly wonderful. Everyone smiling and laughing, while dealing with this tragedy. It may be this way for awhile, but that's the healing process I guess.

I had some discussions with Babbit, and told him I don't envy the person who takes over for Jim as President of the Tri Club. Only because he gave soo much of himself, and made it work so well. He was selfless, and ran nearly everything himself. He did so much on his own to make it run so well, and have the growth that it did. It will be hard to match his commitment level. He was truly a special person in that sense.

I gave Dee Dee a hug as I was leaving, and gave her my best. She's such a strong soul.

Sadly, it was a wonderful evening.

Vance - 2007 NFA

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ironman Coeur d'Alene 2007 Race Report

This was the toughest race of my life. It wasn’t because of the strength of the field, which was very strong, or the weather, which was quite windy, but the circumstances which I fought. I learned a lot about myself.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ve followed my discussion of the new book, Lone Survivor, by my friend Marcus Luttrell. Marcus, his twin brother Morgan, my top support-crew guy JT, and a few other guys I am close with, are all Navy Seals, (Marcus actually just retired). In a way, I’ve kind of been adopted by the Navy Seal family. Marcus was the only Seal to survive the deadliest day in Navy Seal history 2 years ago in Afghanistan. His book recounts the events which killed 19 of his friends and teammates, and his incredible story of survival against all odds. It also details the training he went thru, and how the Navy Seal training is designed to see how badly you want it, and who will quit. They push you to the limits, then further.

A part of the book which really helped me in the race was where the instructors are explaining what it takes to become a Navy Seal… “the body can take damn near anything. It’s the mind that needs training…Can you cope with that kind of unfairness, that much of a setback? And still come back with your jaw set, still determined, swearing to God you will never quit? That’s what we’re looking for.”

“Don’t let your thoughts run away with you, don’t start planning to bail out because you’re worried about the future and how much you can take. Don’t look ahead to the pain. Just get through now.”

It was a tough week leading up to this race, with the surprise death of my friend, Jim McCann on Wednesday. I found out Thursday, and I took it hard. I was being tested before the race even started. The words in Marcus’ book would ring in my head throughout the race, and help me to the finish, as the tests would continue.

Up at 0400, and out for an easy 15 min jog, everything felt great. Back in for breakfast and final prep, with my first cups of coffee in weeks. Off to the race, and everything was looking great.

The water was choppy and rough with the wind, but nothing different than what we had seen all week leading up to the race. I was ready. At the start line I had Lovato on my left, and Victor Zymetsev on my right. I knew the swim would be lead out by Bryan Rhodes, Luke McKenzie, and Tom Evans. I decided it would be best to stick with the chase pack, as I didn’t want to end up being strung out away from Luke and Tom, swimming solo. I needed a good draft, and think for the long haul. I also wanted to use Zymetsev’s experience to help me. He had won 5 Ironman titles, and beaten Tom the year before by pacing his efforts just right. I felt it was best to key off him and use his experience to help me.

The race starts with the cannon, and we’re off. I am right where I want to be, next to Lovato and a few others. End of lap one, and Greg Welch tells me I’m 90 secs off first, Rhodes. I figure perfect, I just need to hold pace on the second lap, as 3 mins is fine if that’s the gap.

2nd lap I settle perfectly onto a quick age-grouper’s feet, with Jasper Blake on my feet, and come out 3 mins down, 7th, perfect! Victor had made a little surge on me late, but I felt it was best to wait it out. I head out of T2 chasing Jasper and Victor. Glance at my watch for swim time, 54 mins and change. Not great, but I realize I’m right in the mix, and I feel good.

Out of T1, and my wife tells me about 4 mins to 1st, and I’m in 7th. I begin the road through town, and man there are a lot of people out! I pass Jasper about 5 miles in, get out to the turnaround and see Rhodes leading, followed by Evans, McKenzie, Victor, and Fabio Carvahlo. We get back into town, and Paulo and Johnathon Caron give me a bike split of 3:45. I get to the long straight away and my wife tells me 3:30, so they’re coming back. I overtake Carvahlo, and do a few time checks on Victor, and see I’m closing in on him. I just wanted to use him to keep the pace honest and work together legally. I knew he didn’t really know who I was, so that would probably play to my advantage. The gap closed to 15 seconds as we hit the first descent, just before the 25 mile marker.

I dug into the turns, riding in the aerobars thru the blind corners, speeds near 45 mph. I could feel the wind begin to open my jersey just a bit. Suddenly, I feel what seems like a stab wound, right to my chest! “Ughhhhh!” I realized right away, bee sting. I sat-up out of the aerobars, hit the brakes, and lifted the jersey. I reached in and pulled out the stinger. I was cursing out loud, “I can’t believe this happened again!” Wildflower was a similar instance, but that happened in my right arm.

I pass by the 25 mile marker, and see the split, 1:01:33. I’m on a pretty good pace, but not killing myself by any means. I begin to wonder, what does this bee sting mean? What happens now? I know I’m allergic, but to what degree will it affect me in the race? What can I do to stop it, or prevent it from effecting me? I decided I would just continue to race, stick to my plans and see if it affected me. I hoped I had pulled out the stinger before it could really release much venom into me. (After the race, the sting area would form a 3rd nipple on my chest!)

By now, Victor had put another 30 seconds between us, while I dealt with the bee, and I was solo. Over the course of the first loop, the gap to the leaders would fluctuate between 2:30 and 3:50. If it was a hilly section, the gap grew. If it was flat, I brought them back.

I come back into town, and see the lead group. Victor has nearly caught them, and has passed Rhodes. Right about now, I’m struggling a little, and feeling a little weak. By the time I get back out at the turnaround, Evans has made a move, and I’m losing time. Lovato is catching me, and I’m wondering what’s happening.

Mile 76, and Lovato catches me. He turns and looks at me, and says, “Are you okay?” It was clear I was going backwards, and I’m looking pale. A little later, Jasper Blake has caught and passed me. I am trying to assess the problem, and realize it’s not nutrition, I’m stuggling to breathe deeply and get going hard again. I decide to focus on filling up on water and hydrating, fearing the sting has effected my hydration levels.

I drop all the way to 9th, and begin wondering how far down I will plummet. I think about dropping out, realizing the bad luck has come, and perhaps this isn’t my day. I remembered what I said about Jim McCann’s death in my blog, and how I had to give my best. Dropping out certainly would not be my best. I thought again about my situation, and saw that I was still in the top 10, a fair showing for sure. I needed to soldier on, as the race was far from over.

At mile 90, I began to get things back under control, as my hydrating plan seemed to be paying dividends. I moved back into 8th, and pushed for T2. Bike split of 5:00:19, struggling.

I come in to T2, a few minutes down on Jasper, and quickly get changed and off. The crowd is very large, and cheers can be heard as I leave the transition. I start off gingerly, and see where I’m at. I get to mile 1 and it’s about 6:42. Feeling better, I decide it’s time to start winding it up. I get moving back thru the crowd, and picking up the pace.

I begin to find the quick rhythm I want, and suddenly, I’m having a lot of trouble breathing. I’m suddenly an asthmatic, but I’m not an asthmatic! The lungs will not allow me to take a deep breath, and my diaphragm is spazzing. I almost become a little panic stricken, and wonder what the hell is going on, as I’ve never felt this way in all my years of running! This was the second mile, so how in the hell was I going to run a marathon? (It wasn’t until after the race when talking with a few doctors that I find out bee stings attack the respiratory system, and the symptoms I was displaying very normal for an allergic reaction. They were amazed I finished, much less how well! Come to think of it, so am I!)

I slow down to catch my breath and see Heather Fuhr and Paula Newby-Fraser. I tell them I need medical, and they say it’s right there. I look over and realize they mean I have to stop racing and step off the course to the medical tent. I couldn’t do it. I had to keep pushing and racing. I couldn’t quit, my body would have to give-in before my mind.

I slowed down and just tried to find the fastest rhythm I could, without suffering the breathing issues. I check the split for the next mile, 6:24. I do the math in my head, and realize this is still sub-3 hours for the marathon, and if I can hold it, I’ll still do well. Next mile was 6:22. This 6:20-6:30 pace continued until about mile 17, when I started to struggle, and couldn’t breathe again. I had told Jonathon Caron to radio medical of the situation at about mile 4, and was worried I might collapse out there, from the reaction to the sting. I wanted them to know what was going on if I suddenly passed out. I honestly had no idea what to expect, and I was truly scared.

Come the second lap, my left quad and IT band were tightening up badly, and I didn’t know if I would make it even another step, much less another mile or to the finish. At the final turnaround I do a time check, and I’ve lost some time on the guys in front of me, but I’ve got a big gap to 9th. I realize all I have to focus on is finishing at this point. All I could think of was Marcus’ book, “Just get through now”!

I look up the road at a target, trying to get to it, before choosing another. One foot in front of the other, trying to make my breathing as relaxed as I could. Every step so painful in my leg, and painful in chest. I was on sheer willpower, (and coke, cookies and water from the aid stations!)

I hit mile 25 and begin to realize I’m really going to make it. I come near the corner to turn down Sherman to the finish, and people are congratulating me, and I wince out a smile, almost incredulous it’s really about to end.

I round the final turn and hear a HUGE roar down the street, as it’s lined with people 3-4 deep! Two police cyclists are waiting to escort me down the final 5 blocks. I am in such pain, disappointed about the circumstances, but emotionally charged that I made it thru the worst, and scariest race experience of my life.

I come to the finish area arch, slow to a walk, and I’m in tears. I don’t know if it’s from the pain, fear, or realization that I had suffered thru and made it. I’m overwhelmed with the emotion of a top 8 finish, despite facing challenges greater than just the distance itself. I walk thru the tunnel of people, giving high fives, and break the tape, 9:06:40. I had run 3:08:09 for the marathon, in a suffer-fest of pain, breathing issues, fear and doubt.

I cross the line and my wonderful wife Orlanda is right there to give me a hug. I could not believe I had made it. It had looked so horrific and impossible. I learned so much of myself and how I am capable of amazing things if I truly keep my mind strong.

Thanks Marcus for your words in the book. Thanks Jim McCann, for helping me to make a promise to do my best.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Mmmmmm, COFFEE! First time I've had it in 2 weeks. It's 4:45 AM here, leaving for the race shortly. Did an easy jog, and felt great. Hope it's a sign of things to come!

Ready to race...

Vance 2007 NFA

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Game on...

The race is in about 12 hours. Headed to bed soon, but wanted to post a special thanks to everyone who has emailed, text messaged, called, etc, wishing me good luck. I appreciate all the support.

I got my new custom suit from Zoot today, and it's HOT! Check out the photos tomorrow, as I don't have time to upload them here.

Tune in tomorrow and watch the race...I will do my best to make it exciting.

Vance - 2007 NFA

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A loss of a great friend...

I've been prepping a few posts, ready to talk about my taper and what is going here for me in Coeur d'Alene, as I prepare to race against the toughest men's field assembled in this part of the world, outside of Kona. But all that changed today, when I learned of the death of my friend, Jim McCann. Jim passed away yesterday in his home, at age 46, from an apparent heart attack or stroke. His passing was very sudden, and unexpected.

I wish this post was about talking with friends, swimming, biking, running, and hanging out. Instead, I'm reflecting on a friendship which I will miss, and feel guilty about taking for granted.

About a couple months ago, Jim and I had talked, and spent an afternoon together filming some short clips on transitions for his business. After we got done, he and I sat and talked for a few hours. We discussed a lot of things, and he gave me a lot of great advice as I try to run my own business and make a living from triathlon. He never asked for anything, or had a hidden agenda, he just loved people, and wanted to see them succeed.

I'll be, when I heard the news, I called my wife. I started crying on the phone with her. It was tough. Jim was recently married to his wonderful wife, Dee Dee, and I couldn't help but feel for her, as a newly wed myself.

Jim, I wish you well in your new place above us. I will miss you, and all that you've done for me, the triathlon community, and all the great things I never even knew about. If I could talk with you right now, I would tell you your life and passing has made me stronger, more focused, and a more grounded person. Thanks man....thanks a lot.

I won't say this won't affect my race, but I refuse say it's a negative. This shows me what a truly special opportunity I have this weekend. I have the chance to win this race, I know I do. I can not give anything less than my best out there, I will not allow myself that. Life is not long enough, and these opportunities too rare. Jim's life has shown me that.

Farewell, my friend...


PS -Triathlete Magazine has written a great obituary on Jim,

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Hy-Vee and the Taper

So my prediction for Hy-Vee was dead on, 1 American podiumed total. Congrats to Laura Bennett, on a fine payday, and a brand new Hummer. Sad that all that money from an American company is going to foreigners, and not helping the Olympic development of Americans as well as it could, (or should in my opinion.)

I watched the broadcast, and all they talked about was the money. It's like this was the biggest and most important race ever! Another reason why this race was a bad idea, what will happen next year? They haven't confirmed the event for next year yet, and the prize purse, but I wonder...If it happens again next year, 2008 will have the Olympics, the World Championships, Lifetime Fitness Tri, and the Hy-Vee World Cup again. How much money will an athlete make if they win the World Championships and the Olympics? Not as much as they would make if they won the Hy-Vee or Lifetime Fitness races, (plus the Hummer and Toyota Sequioa which come with the purses). Does this make any sense? It doesn't to me.

And of course, it just seems stupid that a short-course athlete can do another race next weekend, and many more races, and continue to earn a lot more money. An Ironman athlete can only have one race which comes close to this one, and that's Kona. And many consider Kona to be the most important and biggest race every year in the whole sport. Makes you wonder.

Well, enough of the Hy-Vee rant. Days 6 and 7 of the taper went well.

Saturday - I had a 2.5 hour ride, with a 30 min tempo at Ironman race pace/intensity. I felt lousy for the first 30 mins or so, but by the time I started the tempo, I felt great! I couldn't believe how quickly 30 mins went by! My watts were right on, and the speed was right what I wanted. It was a good sign. After the ride, a quick jog off the bike, feeling good.

Sunday - 65 min run, with 5x1 min at half-marathon pace, with 2 min recoveries. Otherwise, steady and just trying to get into a nice groove. Again, it took awhile to feel good, about 40 mins into the run.

Packed a bunch today, making sure everything is set for the trip.

Tomorrow is a swim and easy ride, and finish packing, then meeting up with my boy Tony to make sure the bike is ready to race! No more mistakes with the bike prep like Wildflower.

If you've seen the forecasts for CDA, you can see it's expected to be about 70 degrees on Sunday, the coolest day of the whole week! That's a great sign...

Vance - 2007 NFA

Friday, June 15, 2007

31 on Day 5 of Taper

I'm 31 today...damn.

A bunch of birthday thoughts, opinions and whatever I feel like...

First off, a guy who's read this blog, and left comments in the past had a bad crash a few weeks ago. Dave, if you're reading this, I hope you're doing well. I didn't have your email, or phone number, and I tried to find a way to contact you to send my best. Hope you're healing up, and I look forward to seeing you back on the bike soon.

Weather for Ironman Coeur d'Alene, as forecasted today...Looks pretty good!

Jun 24
From the South 9mph

Zoot announced their new triathlon-specific shoe line to be launched early next year. I helped a little with the look and feedback on them, and they're pretty damn impressive. Check it out...

Been listening a lot to a new band called Peter, Bjorn and John. Check them out if you can.

Here's my controversial opinion for the day...It's my birthday, so I think I can get away with throwing an opinion out there. (Also, what good is a blog if you don't use it to speak your mind.) Read on...

This weekend is the Hy-Vee World Cup in Des Moines, Iowa. $200K to each winner, male and female. Sounds awesome huh? I don't think so. Honestly, in my opinion, this is the biggest waste of money and actually does a disservice to the sport. Let me explain...

1. Money is the biggest draw for this race. Is that how it should be? There is only a finite amount of money, and as long as this is the biggest thing about the race, it will most likely not last very long. This race is being advertised about the prize purse, not the fact that it's a WORLD CUP! Sure, a bigger prize purse is good, but when that's the most impressive thing, or that is the focus, this will not help the sport grow. Yes, the sport needs more prize money events to support it's professionals, but I will answer that shortly.

2. For how much prize money there is, $700K in total, why can't they do 3 or 4 World Cups? Why does it have to be just one? Why not do 3 or 4 events at the normal 200K prize purse? If growth of the sport is the goal, then 3 quality events will do us better than 1 event, which is even limited in field size. How many people in the US are going to be at this race? How many people are going to watch it on TV? Not as many as if there were 3 or 4 races!

3. If the goal is not necessarily to grow the sport, but utilize this race as a way to promote Olympic development for our athletes, then this plan is even worse! This race is open to international athletes, and what are the chances of an American winning the race? Sure, we have a shot at putting an American on top of the podium, but so does Austrailia, New Zealand, and host of other countries! Hy-Vee may very well have just slowed the development of American athletes in the sport, if a foreigner wins the event.

Hy-Vee is a midwestern grocery-store chain. Few things are more American than that, and yet they may be handing over the $200K checks to a Canadian, Aussie, Spainard or Portugese athlete. I don't have a business degree, but I'm not sure that really fits their marketing strategies.

Here's a prediction for you. We will podium 1 American, total, male and female. That's all. I may be wrong, and that sound pessimistic, but let's be realistic here, ITU is TOUGH and there is a lot of chance to it.

4. If Hy-Vee wants to help the sport, they would be better off getting more bang for their buck with 2 or 3 triathlons, and supporting up and coming American Olympic hopefuls. They could sponsor the whole US National Team members, with a large monthly stipend, to help them travel the world and get their ITU and World Cup points to qualify for the Olympics! They could have every US National Team member be a Hy-Vee sponsored athlete, which would allow Hy-Vee to capitalize on the success of MANY ATHLETES, AT MANY RACES AROUND THE US AND WORLD!

The biggest challenge facing up and coming US triathletes, (and I speak from experience), is the cost of travel and competing in events around the world, chasing points to qualify for the Olympic Trials. This is just to get to the Olympic Trials! Without the proper support to help athletes, we will lose great athletes who just needed time to develop and learn.

Maybe I'm alone with these thoughts, but it just seems to me that everyone is all excited about one race, instead of seeing the bigger picture for the sport, and it's development here in the US.

Of course, this may be a perfect example of why ITU racing is not big in the US, especially when compared to Ironman.

In other topics...My training for Day 5 of the taper...

Swim workout this AM, 3500 meters. Felt like crap in the water, fighting it until late. Finally found a rhythm, but it took forever. I can tell I'm getting the typical flat feeling of the taper.

About to go hop on the bike trainer for 60 min workout, and then a short transition run. Hopefully I'll feel better than I did during the swim!

The store is up on my website, but you can only see it if you're on a Mac, for some damn reason. My guys are working on it though.

That's all for now, have to get on the bike. Will be posting a bunch of cool photos tomorrow.

Vance - 2007 NFA

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I am #8 for Ironman Coeur d'Alene...Numbers came out this morning, and I have been assigned #8. It's 1 off from the luckiest number in the world, so I'm hoping that's a good sign!

Honestly though, I'm not a big superstitious-type. I tend to believe I have all the control on whether the race goes well or not. Of course, bee stings and flat tires are tough to control.

Today was a fairly light to moderate day. AM run of 75 mins, with 5x3 mins at HR cap of 160 bpm, with 3 mins easy, then 3x1 min FAST, with 2 min easy jog. With warm-up and cool-down, totalled 75 mins.

This afternoon was on the massage table with my mentor, Kevin McCarey. Good session. Body is looking good for the race.

My site should have a store up soon, where you can get some of my killer t-shirts, if you're wanting one. If it's not up this evening, check back soon! The t-shirts are the "Heartrate Monitors Can't Rate Heart" and "Keep an IV bag of champagne waiting".

Tomorrow is my birthday, so I'll be preparing a big blog entry for it! Lots of thoughts and opinions on some things. Of course, I have 3 workouts tomorrow, so who knows?

Vance - 2007 NFA

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Taper day 3

Today is day three of the taper...

This morning I was up early to go see ART guru, Dan Selstad up in Solana Beach, at 6:30. First client of the day for him, and a good chance to get some work done on a few annoying little spots I've had. Good news is I am healthier than I even realized!

After the 30 min session with Dan, it was off to do the swim workout. Swam ok, but not great. Luckily we did a 200 meter time trial, long course, and I was better than I expected to be. Put in about 4500 meters, so a good session.

After that, got some food, and visited my boys over at 1650. They're helping me set-up a store on my website, so all of you who are loving my new t-shirts can order them up. Also, they'll be putting a whole new website format together for me soon. Should be complete a few weeks after the Ironman.

Will be hopping on the bike shortly, for a 90 min easy spin, just to get some time in. Until then, I'm napping, eating, and killing time with emails and funny websites.

Here's one I came across, which I'm thinking about having my clients do for a run workout...

Japanese Treadmill Challenge - Watch more free videos

Otherwise, I'm reading Marcus' book, Lone Survivor, which just gets me PUMPED to race Ironman Coeur d'Alene! He makes me feel like I'm an invincible Navy Seal! (So far anyway.)

This evening will be relaxing, finishing up client plans, and spending time with the wife. (Somehow, as nice as that it, it doesn't sound very "invincible Navy Seal"-like....Oh well, that's why I'm just a pro triathlete...)

Vance - 2007 NFA

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Taper Time...My boy Marcus...

The taper has started, and I'm ready for it. It's been a long time coming, and it's finally here. Of course, I'm fighting the feeling of wanting to do more, but staying confident in the plan which worked so well at Florida.

Yesterday I got something which help me to fill my time while tapering, Marcus' new book, Lone Survivor. (If you haven't read my prior post on it, check it out.) I've already read the first 30 pages, and it's pretty amazing. I would really encourage people to read it!

This morning, Marcus was on The Today Show, getting interviewed by Matt Lauer. Check it out...

I will keep you updated on what my taper looks like, so tune it regularly thru raceday, June 24th, to see how it's going.

Monday - Day off...Massage with my guy Alan. (Alan is doing the swim around Manhattan this weekend!)

Tuesday - Today, light session with my trainer, Swain. Mostly core work and a lot of stretching. Then in the pool for 2K, with some near race pace.

Spending the rest of the day making phone calls, running errands, and working on plans. Soon I'll be back to reading Marcus' book.

Vance - 2007 NFA

Friday, June 8, 2007

Thanks Pete...Sorry kids...

Ouch...2 hour trainer workout. Thanks Pete. My chaffed testicles thank you too.

I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to my future children for my profession and it's effect on them.

Seriously though, I was so fired up after that workout, I was yelling outloud during the cooldown spin!



NEW BIKE!...And keeping perspective

In all the craziness of XTERRA West and then getting back at training for Ironman Coeur d'Alene, I forgot to share my new bike with everyone! Because Kuota wasn't able to deliver a mountain bike in time, we retooled the deal to be road only, and received my road bike, a Kuota Kebel. It's equipped with full Ultegra 10-speed, which is cool, and perfect for tooling around, riding to the pool, and when I'm sick of the aerobars!

As for training...

Keeping perspective can be tough. Sometimes all I think about, (like most triathletes), is going HARDER, FASTER, FURTHER, HIGHER HEARTRATE, MORE WATTS, etc.

Went back to Palomar with my training partner Mac Brown, and from the start of the ride it was clear I was not feeling good. It wasn't anywhere near the feeling I had on the ride last week where I felt like I could crush the mountain. This wasn't all that surprising, as I didn't have as much rest heading into this ride, as I had last week heading out for the 6 hour venture.

We started the climb, and within the first 60 seconds my right cleat comes loose on my shoe. DAMN IT! I decided not to stop, and just try to ride it out. I had already stopped once and tried to fix it, but my multi-tool didn't have a big enough screwdriver to really tighten it down well enough.

Within a few miles, Mac drops me, and I can't seem to get my heartrate up to LT or higher. I'm struggling, and thinking about bailing. I'm looking at the wattage meter and it seems the numbers aren't as high.

I get to a few of the checkpoints I have, and realize that I'm still on time to match or beat last week. I can't believe it. I press on. I continue to struggle, and try a few big surges to get back in the game and get the HR going, thinking I'm still just not in the groove yet. HR won't really respond.

I keep going and the times are still right on, and now I'm feeling a bit puzzled. Was my math correct? Mind you, riding in the aerobars up this climb can be a real B*TCH!

I finally get to the top, and I'm only 4 seconds slower than last week! 4 seconds over 11.7 miles! Amazing. At first, I'm all bummed, thinking if I could have just been a little more rested, I could have hung with Mac and crushed that time.

When I got home, I downloaded the data from the ride, and started analyzing it. I was trying to find some good news, as I'm not wanting to be a negative head case. This close to the race, I'm looking to rock everything I do!

Once I actually set my ego aside, and looked at the data, here's what I found out:

My average wattage was the same.
My normalized power was LOWER. (Normally, this is not what you want to see.)
My time was 4 seconds slower.
My average HR was 4 bpm LOWER.

When I took in the information as a whole, I started to realize my perspective was all wrong. These are great numbers!!! Lower HR, and lower normalized power, means the body was able to complete the same tough task of climbing the mountain, with less effort. THAT'S THE WHOLE GOAL! Yeah, I was tired. I didn't have the same lead-up to this climb as I had last week, with more volume and intensity, and yet the body was able to perform BETTER overall!

Like I said, sometimes it takes perspective. Luckily, the wattage meter seems to help me keep perspective.

Now I have to go hit the trainer, for Peter's big 2 hour session. For all those of you who think life as a pro triathlete is fun and glamorous, think about doing 2 hours on a trainer, and not because it's bad weather outside!

Vance - 2007 NFA