Category Archives: Ironman Austria 7-16-2006

Thursday 7-13-06 Before Ironman Austria

Last night, I tried to sleep early but it took me a while to assemble my bike. Somehow the gorillas at the airport have nearly destroyed my bike case again. They tossed it so hard that they bent my rear drop out (slightly) and totally broke the inner lining of my suitcase. Unbelievable.
I took a photo and sent it to Tom Ritchey over at Ritchey Logic. I love my Breakaway and hope that comments like mine will continue to improve the design.
This morning I get up and go with the tour group over to the pier to swim. First we go for a quick jog and once again we are dusted by our pro tour guide, Andrea Fisher. But I am heartened by the fact that I do this jog and don’t even feel my HR increase noticeable. This was in sharp contrast to last year at Ironman NZ when I felt this light jog raise my HR to a very high level.
We come back to the pier and put on our wetsuits. Jumping into the lake is like jumping into a warm bath. The water is *really* warm, almost too warm for our sleeved wetsuits. I swim to the first buoy and then hang a left to see the channel into which we swim before we come out of the lake.
After swimming, I head for registration. We pick up our materials and go shopping. The stuff they have is OK. I buy some stuff and head back to the hotel and get my bike adjusted by our mechanic. This is when I find out my rear dropout is bent, as it affects shifting. Sometimes I really wonder what happens in baggage handling. They must really just toss suitcases around in a haphazard manner.
I get the bike all ready and now I find my first problem. My ATM card, which worked great at London Heathrow and at the Klagenfurt airport, has now stopped working at some local ATMs. Now how the heck am I supposed to get cash? More on this later as I go search tomorrow for an ATM machine that will take my debit card.
Later in the afternoon, I head out with my tour group on the bike course. I notice on the elevation map that there seem to be some daunting hills. I hope this is an illusion. And I think I was mostly right. We go out onto the course and quickly gain up the speed. I am glad for the compact cranks as I effortly spin up and down the rollers at 20+ MPH. This is a great confidence builder as I do these hills and my HR has barely moved close to my lactate threshold. But, I do still worry about my IT band.
At night, we go to a special dinner for our group at an old castle. The food is good, but takes 3 hours to get to us! We’re eating, but we’re all jetlagged and want to go home soon.
In the background, we hear a random selection of American music, that seems to move back in time as dinner progresses.
Why is it that European countries always play retro American music?
See photos here: Ironman Austria Thursday 2006-07-13.
More tomorrow – time for bed!

5 days until Ironman

Last nite my IT band is acting up. I roll it out with my TPMassage roller, a cloth bound roller which you lay on and massages your muscles as you move back and forth. It seems to take out my soreness and knots which is really good. I need to be loose for the race.
Even now I experience little aches and pains. This seems to be consistent with other races during taper as my muscles seem to protest. Sometimes the aches are sharp and I am afraid that something serious has happened. But almost every time I am proven wrong. I asked my PT guy about this and he said that training and stressing your muscles causes pain-killing endorphins to course through your body. Any minor ache is masked completely, and only the really serious stuff comes through.
But then, during taper (or off season), your training volume is way down. I find that now even minor aches feel severe and it’s merely because the endorphins aren’t circulating any more. But my problem is that I can’t distinguish the “minor” pain from “big trouble” pain and now every little ache feels serious! I try to relax, knowing that most likely it is nothing serious and on race day everything will be OK.
I look in the mirror and see the typical drawn look that racers have right before a race. I have really thinned out. Last year I was 156 lbs when I started training for Ironman NZ. On race day, I weighed in at 151 lbs. Then, later last year at NYC Marathon, I weighed 147 on race morning. I wonder what I will weigh in at this year at Ironman Austria. Like for bike racing, I want to be as light as possible. Less mass to carry around with me and waste energy with!
I take some time to reflect on the training resources that have brought me here this year. I’d like to thank Dr. C and Dr. Steve and the staff at Team Clinic in Santa Clara, without their ART I would be tight mass of rock instead of loose and fast; Dr. Rikke at HealthLogic in Menlo Park, whose torturous Graston technique busts through my knots like a hot knife through butter; and my coach Mike McCormack of M2, whose training has got me here today. I will wear his team colors at the race.
I feel remarkably relaxed about the race. It is now hot and humid in Klagenfurt with rain on the way, as reported by my buddy Dan who is also racing and he is there now. I hope it cools down.
Flight to Heathrow leaves in about an hour…

Ironman Austria: 7 Days to Race!

Ironman Austria is only a week away. It’s been an easier path (thankfully) to ironman this year. I think my body is adapting to this type of stress which makes training more interesting.
I have discovered that I do not need to do as much training as previously thought. Rather, the multiple years of training, as well as cross-training effects between the 3 sports, has allowed me to focus on building strength and speed and endurance second, as endurance comes much faster and easier than strength and speed.
I hope for great weather and not super-hot weather. I hope that my IT band doesn’t act up as I just put on compact cranks on my bike and the extra revolutions have aggravated it somewhat. And I hope for a banner run off the bike.
This year, I am much more relaxed. I had more “Ironman Paranoia” last year and was always wondering if I did enough to get me to the finish line. I know I put in the training this year, and have great confidence that I will make it to the finish line one way or another.
The reasons for Ironman have not changed. It is still a journey for me to see how fast I can go. It is also accomplishment based; to finish Ironman is to do something only a fraction of the world’s population can do. My motivation is still high and I enjoy learning about my body and my mind, and what both can do separately and together.
I head out from LA to Heathrow on Tuesday night, and then to Vienna, and take a twin prop to Klagenfurt, arriving on Wednesday night.
The site is Ironman Austria and on race day, you can track me at Ironman Live right on the web. For all you west coast-ers, by the time you get up in the morning, I should be on the marathon. If you log-on and see that I have not made it yet to the run, start worrying….just kidding – remember my motivation? I will be making it to the finish line even if I have to crawl. So no worrying…heh.