Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Malibu Training Weekend/"Secret" Training Protocol Revealed

10 Weeks to Ironman Coeur d'Alene!

While my Seattle friends are patiently gutting out a nasty extended-winter, conditions in Malibu on Saturday were
perfect for riding! Or anything else outdoors...

The day's ride covered 90 miles through the Santa Monica mountains, with over ten thousand feet
of elevation gain. The route was Malibu Civic Center parking lot-PCH-Topanga Climb (34 minutes), across Old Topanga to Mulholland, Mulholland all the way to PCH, PCH west to Yerba Buena, Yerba Buena Climb (47 minutes), across towards Latigo, turnaround and back down Yerba Buena to PCH, and PCH back to the car at Malibu Civic Center/Pepperdine University.

The plan was 5 hours, or 90ish miles with 10,000+ feet of gain. My goal was to keep the Heart Rate under 150 on the climbs, and in the 130s on the flats (what flats?!). I am training my body to tolerate 5 hours of Steady pace riding, followed by a strong run. I used Vitargo and nuun for my fuel as always and was able to complete the day feeling strong with Zero low spots. About 6 minutes after the ride was a marathon-pace 5 mile brick run through Malibu along Pacific Coast Highway (PCH)

"Arousal Control" is important in Ironman distance racing and is one of my weaknesses historically that I am fixing in 2009. I know, insert joke HERE....But seriously it is easy to get excited when you are feeling strong, or depressed when blood sugar drops during a long training session or race. Proper fueling strategy and cognizance of this tendency will ensure a more even pace and power output. On Saturday, I managed to do just that and finish the workout feeling strong (and Stoked!).

Sunday's highlight was my return to long runs!

Since my mystery foot injury over the winter (undiagnosed "foot pain" by 2 podiatrists) I have not done a single run over 2 hours since November's Adventure Racing National Championship. Now that I have been pain-free since late February, it's finally time to start ramping up the long run for Ironman CDA. The long run is the bread-and-butter of run training, and under 2 hours just doesn't cut it, especially when the goal is a "fast" marathon.

On Sunday the plan was to run 2 hours with a narrow heart rate window of 145-149, or the middle of my "Steady" zone. (My #1 goal in Ironman training, or any endurance training, is to log as much volume as possible at "Steady" each week, while recovering enough to absorb it. That is the name of the game if you want to know the truth about endurance training.) I ran on the infamous verrrry soft "Wood Chip trail" that connects Redondo and Manhattan beach. The surface is extremely soft which is easier on the joints, but much slower than a normal hard-pack trail. I was able to keep the heart rate in check and managed just under 17 miles for the workout. Just like Saturday, I felt fresh at the end and felt like I could go longer and faster. With 10 weeks until the Ironman, that's a good sign. I am STOKED to be back to normal run training and ready to finally start ramping up the mileage after a long break.

Just gotta keep it rolling for 10 more weeks!



Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ironman Coeur d'Alene

After the California 70.3 Half Ironman, I signed up for Ironman Coeur d'Alene with the goal of a sub-10 hour performance and qualifying slot for the Hawaii Ironman.

Everything I do between now and June 20th will be designed to
make me faster and smarter on race day. I have a crack team
of training partners, coaches, mentors and sponsors to help me achieve
my goal. It also doesn't hurt to bring along almost 20 years of endurance sport racing in my 33 year old legs.

I am calling it Operation Aloha and I am pulling out all the stops this time. I have done two full Ironman races in the past, Ironman Florida in 1999, and Ironman Wisconsin in 2003. This time I mean business. I figure I will need to show up in sub-1 hour swim, sub-5 hour 112 mile bike, and sub-3 hour marathon run shape if I hope to smartly pace it as a 1:00 swim, 5:10+ bike, and 3:20+ run. I believe I am almost there right now, so the next 11 weeks are about avoiding injury and 'nudging' up my fitness level with specific preparation, volume, and recovery.

Competing in the Hawaii Ironman has been my #1 goal since I started racing triathlons back in Indiana at 16 years old.

Stay tuned!


Photos from Ironman 70.3 California are up...there are always a couple embarassing ones. This race was no exception. There are also usually snapshots of running form that I tend to over-scrutinize. Am I the only one who does this?


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ironman 70.3 Race Report

On Saturday I competed with 2,100 other triathletes in the Ironman 70.3 California race in Oceanside, California. The Ironman 70.3 distance is a Half-Ironman, or 1.9 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run. "70.3" indicates the distance in miles of a Half-Ironman.

This was my first triathlon of any kind since the Ironman 70.3 Vineman in Sonoma County, California in 2007. My goal for this race was to establish a benchmark for my 2009 season, and to "practice what I preach" during the race. IE proper fueling and pacing on the bike and running as close to potential as possible. As far as time goals, I hoped to swim under 30 minutes, bike around 2hrs25 minutes, and run under 1hr30...or right about 4:30 with transitions included. I came close! I wound up swimming 34, biking 2:26, and running 1:32 along with some ridiculously slow transitions for a total time of 4:40. I paced properly on the bike but did not drink much water at all to balance out my Vitargo intake which came back to haunt me on the 2nd half of the run. I felt incredible on the bike and first half of the run with the Vitargo energy, but in a Half Ironman you have to nail your hydration as well. More water with nuun next time! Another lesson learned: I often make the mistake of under-hydrating in cooler conditions. At half-ironman race-pace intensities you cannot do that and still perform at a high level.

Overall I am pleased with the result, as I did this race on just 3 months of base training. I was able to see my friends and training partners Keevin, Slater, Monique, Chuck, and Lar Dog on the course during the race which made the event even more exciting. Much like the Time Trial I did last weekend, I finished the event knowing that I could come back and race much faster, but at the same time satisfied that I left it all out on the course. Mental errors like improper hydration or slow transitions have nothing to do with fitness but can cost you heaps of time in a triathlon. That alone is free time that I look forward to saving in my next race. Lessons definitely learned.

One great thing that came out of this race was that I managed to qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Clearwater, Florida, November 14th. My family is stoked, since they live in Vero Beach, which is only 3hrs from Clearwater!

After this weekend's race I also made it official...I am racing in the June 21 Ironman Couer d'Alene Idaho. I have wanted to do this race since it's inception. Couer d'Alene is one of the most beautiful spots in the country and I have only heard fantastic things about this race. Several fellow Orange County Triathlon Club members will be racing in Idaho which will add to the excitement and pressure to perform. I will need to finish somewhere between 9hrs30 and 9hrs45 in order to qualify for the 2009 Ironman Hawaii World Championship.

Ever since I began racing triathlons at age 15 my ultimate athletic goal has been to qualify and race in the Hawaii Ironman. Now I have updated that goal: I think it would be even cooler to qualify for and race in both the half and full Ironman World Championships in the same year! One down...and I really miss my former home, Hawai'i.

See you at the races,


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Team nuun-FeedTheMachine Announces 2009 Sponsors

We at Team nuun-FeedTheMachine are proud to announce our amazing sponsor line-up for 2009. Most of them have been supporting us for years which is a testament to the fact they recognize the enormous effort we put in at racing competitively around the world and supporting the growth of our sport in the US. The team will race as nuun-FeedTheMachine in 2009.

Joining our stalwart co-title sponsor nuun - which has kept the team hydrated and at optimum performance during the world's toughest endurance races - is our new sponsor FeedTheMachine - endurance sports nutrition retailer. FeedTheMachine has been providing the best endurance sports nutrtion products to endurance athletes for years so the partnership was a natural fit. Christian Burke -owner - explains, "Becoming the co-title sponsor of DART was an exciting development for our company because this team epitomizes what endurance is all about. They compete successfully all over the world in all sorts of conditions for days at a time on little to no sleep. As an expedition adventure racer myself, I know what they put themselves through and understand their need for cleverly designed nutrition programs. They are a savvy group that keeps trying all sorts of products under intense conditions. When I want to carry a new product, I just ask the team to test it and see what they think. Since they are 10+ athletes, they provide me with solid feedback that sometimes varies based on individual preferences. I then combine it with my company's own testing to share with our customers. This is invaluable information that our customers seriously appreciate and come to us for. Ryan VanGorder - co-founder of DART - concurs, "After so many years of racing, we've gathered a wealth of hard earned knowledge on what works under given conditions so we're pleased to be able to share this with FeedTheMachine so they can - in turn - help their customers. We've been doing this successfully with nuun for years so we're glad our experience can help others."

One of the result of this partnership is a new multivitamin and mineral supplement for athletes called SportMulti that is part of FeedTheMachine's own line of products - FTM Brand. SportMulti is a complete, high potency, and naturally sourced multivitamin and mineral supplement made from the most bioavailable nutritients. It's designed for athletes to address their unique needs due to the additional stresses on the body brought on by training and competition.

In addition, to our co-title sponsors, we've partnered with the best of breed in the outdoor industry. After years of racing in some of the most difficult conditions on earth, we've come to appreciate a good piece of equipment when we find one. Our success depends on the gear we use and sometimes even our lives hang in the balance if a piece of equipment fails. So, when it comes to selecting gear, we better know what we're doing.

With that in mind, our 2009 sponsors have been carefully selected not because they give us free stuff, but rather because they make use faster and keep us safe.

If you haven't tried some of their products or services, give them a try. You won't be disappointed and you may just be that much faster! If you have any questions about any of our sponsors' product, drop us a line and we'll be happy to help.

See below for a list of our best in class sponsors:

nuun - portable electrolyte replacement
FeedTheMachine - endurance sports nutrition retailer
SportMulti - high potency multivitamin and mineral supplement for athletes
Rudy Project - helmets and sunglasses
Arc'Teryx - outdoor clothing
Vasque - shoes
Suunto - wristop computers, wireless performance devices, and compasses
Full Speed Ahead - bicycle components
Light & Motion - lighting systems
Gregory Mountain Products - backpacks
Teko - performance socks
Ibex - cycling apparel
Michelin - tires
Hydrapak - hydration reservoir systems
Hayes - disc brakes
Manitou - suspension forks
Headsweats - head gear
Ergon - ergonomic mountain bike grips
Crank Brothers - pedals
Second Ascent - outdoor gear store
Turner Suspension Bicycles - mountain bikes
Epic - kayak paddles
Kokatat - watersports wear
KINeSYS - performance sunscreen
Outdoor Adventures Center - Northwest Kayaks
Face Level Industries - riverboards
Gu - Energy Gels
Blue Seventy - wetsuits
PROBAR - meal replacement energy bar
Sharkies - organic fruit chews
Northwest Outdoor Center - kayak rentals, classes, and tours
Erik Moen - Orthopedic / Sports Physical Therapy and Sports Performance

We trust our lives to these products!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Race Report: Santiago Canyon Time Trial

On Saturday March 28th I competed in the Santiago Canyon Time Trial, organized by Team Velosport and RockNRoad Cyclery in Mission Viejo, California. This was my first race of the 2009 season. With only base training miles under my belt so far this year, I was looking for a repeatable benchmark of my power and aerodynamics on the bike. The Santiago Canyon Time Trial is ideal for this purpose as it is held four times per year and the course is conveniently only 10 miles from my house.

The course is only 11 miles long, but the first half grinds relentlessly uphill, necessitating flawless pacing and patience if you are going to have any power to finish strong at the end. During the race I recalled the advice of Greg de la Paz of Rock n Road Cyclery, who had told me that the top of the climb at around mile 4.5 was the halfway point, time-wise. I reached that point at approximately 13:47, putting me close to my goal time of 27 minutes flat.

I knew going into the race that I had a good chance of negative-splitting the course since the second half is rolling to downhill, and at 180lbs on a full-aero bike I should be able to hammer the 2nd half at well over 30mph. In the end, I was able to cover the challenging course in 27:18/24.2 mph, good enough for 3rd place in my category and 7th overall. After finishing, all I could think about was returning for another crack at this course later in the season to improve on my time and placement! The Velosport folks put on a fantastic race and I encourage anyone to test their mettle at the next Santiago Canyon Time Trial.

My next race will be the Ironman 70.3 California in Oceanside on April 4th. Base training is over. It’s time to rock and roll!

See you at the races,

Sean Clancy
Team FeedTheMachine.com-nuun