boulder 70.3


Thanks for all of the well wishes and notes for my race, Ironman Boulder 70.3. I did it! I finished in 6:13:33!

I started in the very last swim wave which was challenging. The water was gorgeous and I was just a a few minutes slower than I would have hoped. Given the crowd and the bit of altitude, I was happy with my time.

The bike was challenging and beautiful. I averaged 19.54 mph which I’m very happy about. I finished it in 2:51:59 and, if it’s not my fastest time for a half iron bike, it has to be close.

And the run was not fun. It was hot and dry and the altitude, while only 5,200 ft, pretty much sucked the will to run right out of me. I ran exactly 2:30 which is about 10 minutes slower than I would have liked. I normally hit pretty close to 2:00 for a half iron and I had figured I would be 20 minutes slower. I’m not going to beat myself up over 10 minutes. It was a tough run and it’s very early in the season for a Minnesotan let alone someone not used to the elevation and dry heat.

That’s it! I’m very happy with my overall time and I finished 33 out of 101 in my age group. Thanks for rooting for me!

Saturday is getting closer! At packet pick up, the beach was closed to to bacteria. It’s storming now so I hope that remedies the situation as having the swim cancelled after the cancellation at IMFL would be a real disappointment.

Mike is here and is an All Star race Sherpa. Tomorrow we will check out the course and put the bike in transition.

I’m excited!

Ironman Warps Your Brain

One of the challenging aspects of triathlon is balancing three sports. A typical triathlon training schedule will have 9 workouts over 6 days. At first, endurance and strength is a limiter to how much time you can spend doing each discipline. But eventually, if you are lucky enough to stay healthy and remain interested, there comes a point that you hit your own personal training max, and I have hit mine.

I’ve gotten to the point that I just can’t keep “adding on”. If I spend more time on one thing, then something has to be sacrificed. Here is a look at my training hours since 2010:

The last 2 years I had 500+ hours of training. I already have more hours logged in 2015 than I did at this point in those years because I’ve been able to add some evening workouts now that both of my kids are in college. This year, I’m averaging almost 90 minutes a day not including prep and clean up time. I’m not even training for a full distance Ironman or marathon. I’m doing Boulder 70.3 and some half marathons and the training is still incredibly time consuming.

This is how Ironman warps your mind. You average 90 minutes a day of training, 7 days a week, and somehow you still feel like you aren’t doing enough. It’s really bugging me that I’m falling behind on the 2,015 in 2015 Challenge and that I’m running less miles than last year. Even though I’m swimming and biking a ton more that I was at this time last year, I feel like I’m not doing enough because the run miles are lower.

I wish I could add more run miles to my schedule, but I don’t see how I can do it without wearing myself down. Right now I’m being a triathlete, not a runner, so I have to look at the whole picture. Training hours are the best way for me to put things into perspective and convince myself to not be upset about falling behind. 

I wonder how long it takes to become a normal person again.

I know what I’ll be doing starting June 14th, the day after Boulder 70.3. Running!

While I may jump into some local triathlons after the half iron, I’m going to focus on running the second half of the year and train for the Goofy Challenge as well as a fall 10 mile trail race. 

Mike and I have raced on Disney Marathon weekend twice before and it’s by far the best orchestrated race I have ever done. I’m excited to go back and see if I can race back to back days. To say it will be a challenge is an understatement! 


Me doing two of my favorite things: riding my bike with Mike and then sitting at the computer analyzing all of the data on WKO+ and GarminConnect. 

While I should be refueling and stretching, I like to sit, drink my Diet Mountain Dew, and figure out what all of the numbers mean. It’s the accountant in me and it never gets old.

We had a fantastic ride today. It was a little chilly but it was sunny with calm winds and I’m riding well although my volume is not where it should be. We rode 2.5 hours and my Normalized Power for the whole ride was just 10 watts shy of my FTP result from February. I’m happy with that, especially since I ran 12.5 hilly miles yesterday.

My Ironman Boulder 70.3 training volume is fine on the swim and run, low for the bike, but I’m hanging in there. I just keep reminding myself that I signed up for this race to give myself spring motivation and that I never meant for it to be an all out effort. If anything, I wanted to move training down on my life’s priority list, which I have, and it’s made me a lot happier. Probably not faster or stronger, but happier.


Walk of Shame

Beth and I are vacationing in Boulder after her great 70.3 yesterday. Vacation means guilt-free eating.

After approx 6,000 commercials I finally succumbed and ate a Taco Bell crunch wrap. It was great. Hard to believe it only cost $1.50. Alarming actually.

Then we did the walk of shame to the Dunkin Donuts next door. We each had a chocolate glazed.

If every mile I run extends my life a few minutes a meal like this probably subtracts a few weeks, but every once in a while that’s OK. Best of all, my wife and training partner agrees!


Yesterday’s all day rain meant that the roads this morning were wet and gritty. Both me and the bike looked like we spent the day at the beach.

Today was the last ride on this bike before Ironman Boulder 70.3. I’m not happy about having to dissemble my bike, box it up, and ship it out 19 days before the race. And it’s going to California first? I am skeptical about this whole process which is not only cumbersome and inconvenient but also very expensive. It’s much more expensive to use this service from TriBike Transport than their typical service which keeps the bike all in one piece. But this was the only service they provide for this race.

I’m bringing race wheels with me and I’ll have just a few hours to make sure everything is assembled and in working order before I have to drop it in transition. TriBike has always done a great job for me so I’m trying to stay positive about it… can’t you tell?

I rode two hours on the indoor trainer yesterday due to storms and rode two hours outside today. That isn’t the one long ride that was on my schedule for yesterday but it’s indicative of what this training cycle has been like.

Time to pack it up!

If you get up, run, swim, and then sleep for a bit, is that considered taking a nap or going back to bed? Does it matter if the bed was made and you lay on top, so that technically you aren't “in” the bed?

I so desperately wanted to sleep after my early morning run and swim, but I decided I was a little too embarrassed to do that. I did some work around the house, did some errands… and THEN took a 30 minute rest at 2 pm on top of the covers. That for sure counts just as a nap. 

I’m fooling myself into thinking that I’m simultaneously tapering for the St. Louis Go! Half Marathon while not losing any ground on my Ironman 70.3 training. I ran 5 miles and then swam 2,900 yards. Guessing the result will be that I’m not really tapered and that I will lose some needed training for IM Boulder 70.3. This is what happens when you sign up for too many races. Will it stop me from making the same mistake again? No. Oh, well. It’s all about getting out there and having fun. 

First open water swim of the season! I guess since I have a race in 8 days that I’m a little late to get in the water. But, hey, it’s Minnesota so the water is cold and there are limits as to how much I’m willing to suffer in the water. 

We just swam a few laps along the buoy line, so not much actual training happened. It was good to go through the motions of pulling on the wet suit and getting in the lake.The last time I had it on, we were standing on the beach at IMFL as they cancelled the swim due to rip tides. Hoping for better race conditions in Boulder. Getting close!

Beautiful lake swim today with a friend. Since Boulder 70.3 is this Saturday, we just swam about 800 yards with chat breaks every 200 yards. I wore my long sleeved wet suit for a swim last week and the sleeveless today. I’m bringing both with me but will opt for the sleeveless unless it’s pretty cold

I know that the full sleeved wet suit is faster, but I just like swimming in this one more. It’s more comfortable and a lot easier to get off. In the ocean, I always go with the full sleeve to protect myself from critters, but I’m fine in the fresh water.

Knowing that I’m going to be slower due to the altitude is interesting. It lets me take a lot of the finishing time pressure off of myself as I don’t expect myself to race as fast at 5,200 ft as I do at 900 ft. And, frankly, I’m not that fast anyway. I’m just hoping to have a lot of fun and enjoy the day as much as possible.

Good-bye 2014! It's been fun!

This past year has been pretty busy from an athletic perspective. Time for a little recap!

In the spring, I became a coach for Lifetime Fitness and a RRCA certified run coach. Over the year, I coached 75 people for a spring marathon or half marathon, another 80 for a fall marathon or half marathon, and 70 people for a fall 5K or 10K. I enjoyed it immensely and learned a lot about coaching adults as well as coaching others while I train for my own events. I’ll be coaching again in 2015! 

PR’ed The Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon, finishing in 4:08:47. I used the Hansons Method Advanced Plan for the first time and ran more miles than I ever had before. As soon as the race was over, I jumped into training for Ironman Florida.

I did the Chisago Lakes Half Iron Distance triathlon in 5:52:27 and placed 4th in my age group. I was happy with that performance since it was early in the season for me as my Ironman wasn’t until November.

I finished first in my age group at the Square Lake Long Course triathlon (the bike is 54 miles instead of 56 miles, but the swim and run are half iron distances) with a time of 5:52:23. Although the bike course is 2 miles short, it’s a challenging race with a hilly bike and hot and hilly run. It wasn’t a PR for me but was happy with my race.

PR’ed at the 10K distance while in the peak of IM training with 52:29. 

And, of course, Ironman Florida was my A race for the year after the spring marathon was over. It was my third Ironman and, although the swim was cancelled, it was special for it’s own reasons. My parents came to watch for the first time and Mike waited for me on the run so that we could finish together.

There were a bunch of other races along the way, including a few half marathons and lots of moments with the athletes I coached. It was a really nice year!

I can’t wait for 2015. I’ll be running and doing triathlon as well as coaching. The St. Louis Go! Half Marathon in April and Ironman 70.3 Boulder in June will be occupying the first part of the year, along with coaching spring marathon and half marathon training. Let’s get the party started!


Just a couple more pictures from Boulder 70.3.

A long time ago, I thought it would be fun to run the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon (the half that goes with Grandma’s Marathon) the weekend after Boulder. I have 25 runners that I’m coaching that are racing and I figured I would run the half and then go back on the course to cheer for them. 

The cheering part still sounds fun, but running a half marathon so close to my 70.3 is a bit intimidating. I ran today for the first time since last weekend’s race and everything seems to be in working order, so I’m hopeful that I’ll have a decent run.

As far as pacing, I’ll just take it easy and try to enjoy the race despite the predicted rain. I’ve never run Grandma’s so it will be fun to see what it’s all about. 

Wow, what a lucky day. It’s July 1st and it was only 60 degrees for my run. Perfect! 

Way back in January, I committed to the 2,015 Miles in 2015 Challenge. I knew I would fall behind in the first half of the year as I was training for Ironman Boulder 70.3. How far behind I wasn’t sure, and I wasn’t sure that I would be able to catch up. A friend asked me to sign up and so I did, and now it’s July 1st and time to figure out how much making up I have to do if I want a shot at making it.

I’m not going to make it. Whoops!

As of yesterday, I’m at 754 miles and I’m supposed to be at 1,000 miles, so I’m 246 miles behind. Just to keep up, I have to run 170 miles or so a month. I’d have to run well over 200 miles each month for the rest of the year to make it. I’ve only run over 200 miles in a month twice in my whole running career, so running 200+ miles for 6 months straight probably isn’t going to happen. I don’t even want it to happen. That’s a lot of miles and I wouldn’t run that kind of mileage just to say that I did. I still want to bike and swim and coaching takes up a lot of time. And I like naps. Running that kind of mileage wouldn’t leave much time for napping. 

I figured it was a long shot when I signed up so I’m okay with it. My next adventure is Ragnar in August and then training for the Goofy. That’s plenty exciting and it’s time to get ready for those things.

Always something fun to do!

No doubt that my focus on running since Ironman 70.3 Boulder last summer has hurt my biking and swimming. I swam 1,000 yards yesterday and it was okay but I was ready to be done. Today I rode the bike trainer for 40 minutes, easily 30 watts lower than a normal ride, and again I was ready to be done. 

Maybe it takes going back to the beginning to appreciate or former accomplishments. No doubt that adding bike and swim workouts while in the peak of marathon training is a bad idea. But running marathons back to back makes it hard to find a good time. Summer is right around the corner and it’s time to get back in triathlon mode. Nowhere to go but up!


We are back from Amsterdam!

We did some running, a lot of walking, and plenty of eating. Seeing how they live there was enlightening– the vast majority of Amsterdam residents are very thin and look very happy and relaxed. We saw them biking everywhere in regular clothes in the beautiful sunshine and in the pouring rain. I really loved seeing all of the bikes and all of the different kinds of people.

I rode my bike today and had a blast. It’s a different kind of biking than they do there, for sure, but I was happy the whole 30 miles and had a great ride. A week from this Saturday we are doing the Tour de Tonka for 77 miles, so I feel the need to get my mileage up a bit. I haven’t biked more than 30 miles at a time since Ironman Boulder 70.3 so 77 miles will be a bit of a long ride but doable. 

For the first time since my first half iron in 2010, I don’t have a triathlon on my schedule! I have the Goofy Challenge in January, but no triathlons. I think I’ll look for another 70.3 for early next year. Makes me excited to think about it!


Different week, same story. Bike and run, run and bike. Throw a couple of swims in for good measure. As I’ve mentioned, by biking for IM Boulder 70.3 has been lacking but I managed 3 hours on the trainer yesterday. When I bike, I’m biking well, but I’m just not getting enough volume. Running is always easier to fit in because it’s just logistically easier. My training plan is totally out the window at this point and I’m just making it up as I go.

Coaching has impacted my training more than I ever thought it would. I figured my volume was so high anyway, that moving the workouts to fit the group’s schedule would be no big deal. But that’s not true- I don’t get to do my workouts in the right order which hurts the effectiveness of the schedule. And I often have to adjust my pace to run with others. I love that and wouldn’t change it, but it does effect my training. My running and tri performance has taken a bit of a dip since I started coaching. I was spoiled before being able to put my training first without having to balance it with a job, and I know that. I just didn’t think that I job that required me to run with have as big of an effect as it did. Not complaining, just noticing. 

IMFL Pre-Race

I haven’t posted a Ironman Florida race report yet. I think it’s because the day was so long and weird that the story would be too long and boring. So I’m just going to post some pictures and some quick thoughts in a series of posts. Here is a first installment.

The expo was fun, as usual. I opted to not sign up for next year, as this was my third IMFL in a row. It was fun shopping knowing that I’m already an Ironman. I finally feel like I “fit in” and that I’m not a poser when I walk around with the other athletes.

The weather was gorgeous and the ocean was like a swimming pool, with flocks of sting rays flying through the water like flocks of birds.

I got to swim and a ray jumped up and flapped at me…

and spend time with Mike…

and spend time with my parents who came down to sherpa and cheer.

We turned in our bags and racked the bikes…

And went to bed knowing that the forecast for the next day was terrible.

Thoughts leading up to the race:  For the first time, I was more excited about doing an Ironman than I was nervous. It was great to have my parents there and the nice weather leading up to the race made it feel like a mini-vacation. The weather forecast of high winds knocked out just about any possibility of posting a PR, so I could just concentrate on doing my best and not worry about my times. 

It was also different knowing that I wasn’t going to be doing this again for a while. I’ve really enjoyed my training and will continue to train for Boulder 70.3, but I’m ready to take a break from 5 and 6 hour bike rides for a while. 

Next time, the swim that wasn’t a swim.