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mackey

This last weekend didn’t exactly go as I had hoped, the weather is rather shitty so no open water swim and no riding on Saturday. I did manage to get out Sunday for a spin but as I was powering up a hill I straight-up blew a spoke on the road bike requiring me to get a ride back into town.

And while that kinda sucks, it gave me a chance to sit on the side of the road and do a little self-reflection while looking at the grassy hills and clouds.

Hopefully, my LBS will be able to build the wheel back up relatively inexpensively. The wheelset isn’t that great to begin with and I’d hate to drop too much coin on that (I’d rather put it towards an upgrade). But whatever it takes to keep the bike rolling.

Saturday morning before the weather turned to piss, I ran a 10k with the local running club…who are all FAST. My 53:09 time put me towards the back of the pack. It was good to put in one decent timed-effort before the big race; I definitely took off the line a little quick (first-mile split was 8:17, the second was 8:22) so I’ll just need to keep that in mind on Sunday when I head out of T2. I think that I need to keep my pace right around 9:15 if I want to not blow up in the second half of the run.

Last week I had another athletic check-in, things are still on an improving trend. My weight is down over 20 pounds from a year ago, I’m currently at 203. This week is going to be an effort to get below 200 for the first time in about 8 years. I’m not going to dehydrate or overwork myself to get there, but if I can start this race in the 190’s I feel like that’ll put me in a good mental place. When I was in AZ and doing a lot of racing in my late 20’s, I was down to 178. That’s pretty light. Too light. Long term, I think somewhere around 193 would be a sweet spot in terms of weight and strength but I’m going to let myself reach an equilibrium without trying to force my body into a weight class.

How am I going to lose four pounds in under a week without dehydrating myself? Dunno. The plan, though, is relatively basic: drink lots of water, no booze, snack smartly, add in an extra 30 push-ups each day. That probably won’t do it but it can’t hurt to try.

I’ve created my packing checklist for the trip, the bike is pretty much race-ready with a set of tires, and I can admit that I’m officially starting to experience the butterflies. In fact, I’ve set my Apple Watch to the zen butterfly screen…how nerdy symbolic.

  • toolkit & pump
  • body glide
  • DZ’s nuts
  • on-bike tube/c02
  • bib num belt
  • arm warmers
  • calf sleeves
  • talc power
  • bondi’s & socks 3x
  • newton’s (jic)
  • flip flops
  • sunglasses
  • visor
  • sweat bands (wrists)
  • wet suit
  • goggles 2x
  • ID
  • helmet
  • ear plugs
  • electrical tape and zip ties
  • towel
  • clif shots, clif bars, & nuun

I have a bunch of other info that I’ll need saved in Evernote which I can access from my phone or iPad. This includes our campsite reservation confirmation, my USAT member number (via their app), what exactly I’ll be setting up in transition, and the list above.

My girlfriend and I, along with a few friends, will be camping at Beauty Creek which is about 12 miles outside of CdA. I’m comfortable camping and it’ll feel a little chaotic than hotel-ing it…though the morning routine might be a little cooler. We’ll be leaving our home in Pullman Saturday morning around 8 am to hit the campsite around 10, drop some stuff off and then roll into town for athlete and bike check-in. Hopefully, I’ll get to hop into the lake for a quick swim, if for no other reason than to just test the waters and maybe calm some race-morning nerves.

That afternoon I hope to be chilling in the campsite with my friends, listening to some music and drinking coconut water (while enviously watching them drink IPA). For dinner we’re going to keep it simple with chicken skewers and wraps. I’m going to pop an Advil PM at about 8 pm so I’ll hopefully be passed out before 9 with an alarm set for 4:15 am. Breakfast is going to be a half of a smoothie right when I wake up and then a Clif Shot at about 5:30-5:45, age-grouper start is at 6:15.

The rest of the day will unfold in real-time.

Two weeks out and I’m feeling relatively okay with where I’m at. Last weekend I ran 14 miles with some hills, the weekend before I open-water swam then bricked in a 33-mile bike. The distances aren’t going to be a problem, through stringing them together will be most certainly be interesting.

My open-water swim experience starts and ends with some races I did back in Arizona (re: no wetsuit necessary). We’re pretty lucky in that just about 40 minutes from our home is a section of the Snake River that’s perfect for swimming and time-trialing (flat and pretty straight with little traffic). The university rowing team has a boathouse down there and a couple of 2k courses buoyed, which makes for great swim practice. She kayaked next to me while I swam out almost a mile and then back; The water was a chilly 54 degrees but in the wetsuit, it actually wasn’t too bad. And I am not a fan of the cold water.

Nutrition is going to be a little bit of a wildcard. I’ve been training with Clif Bars and Clif Shots, which they’ll have on-course, but I haven’t been training well. Most of my long days I’ve gone with too little fuel and bonked. Just haven’t been smart about it. I believe that I have a pretty good plan for race day, but I guess we’ll see how well it works:

4:45am – Breakfast: instant oatmeal with almond butter and agave nectar. also a banana, water, and small coffee
6:00am – Preswim: ClifShot
6:45am – T1: ClifBar
7:00am – Bike: aero bottle with straw will have a Nuun, will drink (and refill) as needed. behind the seat will have a bottle with 6 ClifShots mixed with water, will drink 1/6 of that every 30 min on bike.
10:00am – T2: ClifBlocks
10:15am – Run: Will start out run with a bottle in-hand filled with a Nuun. That’ll get refilled as needed and will take another ClifShot about every 3 miles. Will start drinking Coke at 10 miles or if I seriously bonk after 7.

Those times are obviously approximated and rounded as a guide. I know that I can handle Clif Shots and there will be aid stations with those every 15 miles on the bike and at about every mile on the run so I should be solid. Will probably carry one in my water bottle pouch thing just in case.

Post-race nutrition is going to consist of a hoppy IPA and a burger.

The last few parts for my tri bike “war rig” should be showing up on the doorstep here tomorrow. Those would be a new set of rubbers (Conti Grand Prix 4000s), an XLab Mini Wing behind-the-seat water cage setup, and a carbon Profile Design seatpost. Just cuz. I went with the XLab Mini Wing for it’s compatibility with my ISM PR 2.0 saddle; It’s got some weirdly angled rails that a lot of hydration systems won’t mount to. My next post will cover the bike setup more specifically.

The other thing I need to work out this weekend will be my bike transition. I don’t think I’m going to do the whole “shoe’s already clipped into the pedals” thing…but I’m going to try to out to see if it’s feasible. I also need to practice how I’ll dismount the bike, which sounds dumb but I haven’t gone into a transition zone in nearly decade and I’d rather not eat shit in front of a crowd.

Those are my thoughts for the day. I’m going to snap a few pictures of the bike this weekend and slap up another post on that, since I think it’s cool. Also on Thursday is my last athlete check-in with the physio so I’ll get a final set of numbers. I can already tell ya that I wish I were about 8 pounds lighter than I am (though I have no idea how much I weigh). Anyways we’ll see. Adios.

The training calendar reminded me this morning that I’m a mere ten weeks from Coeur d’Alene 70.3, which is April 24. Things are pretty well on track as best as I can tell. I’m coming off of a bit of a foot issue that arose due to some overzealous (non-scheduled) running. Took two weeks off and am easing back into the weekly mileage.

Last Saturday went out for what I thought was going to be a chill 5-miler but then the weather turned. Total downpour began less than 10 minutes into the run and the crux was a 20 mph headwind, with rain, on a mile-long grade. Brutal. Type II.

To circle back to the foot-issue, the AT reassured me it wasn’t PF nor was it a fracture. Simply a strain. After some time off (10-ish days) I started a prescription of daily foot exercises and stretches such as picking up a towel with my toes, standing and walking on my toes, rolling out the bottom of my feet on a ball and also a frozen plastic Coke bottle (which feels great).

I also took the opportunity to jump into a new pair of runners. For the past year or so I’ve been in Newtons which are lightweight, minimalistic, zero/low drop, and encourage fore-foot striking. Though I’m not certain the Newtons had anything to do with my foot issue(s), it was time for a new pair that I could break into before race day and I’d been hearing great things about Hokas, so I went for it with a pair of Bondi 5s. So far they feel great, completely different from the Newtons.

Yesterday was another PT check-in and numbers are solidly reflecting the increase in training over these past few months. Body fat dropped 4% since January which is significant and good to see, because my overall weight hadn’t changed much. Re-did some core tests and improved across the board. All good things.

Also made the big wetsuit purchase and opted for the Orca S6, which assists with keeping the legs afloat. Me being a relatively new swimmer will be thankful for this in the open water. I haven’t tried it on yet, but am planning on some river swims once the water temps get above 50 here in the next month or so. As for the bike, it’s still in pieces on my sofa. All that is needed is a headset and a stem (plus some hydration hardware). Build day is probably going to be that first week in May, which doesn’t give me a whole lot of time to get accustomed to riding in the aero position (which I’ve never done before) but I think setting it up on the trainer and spending a few hours per week on it with some weekend outside rides, all should be good.

At this moment, I’m actually on a flight to Austin, Texas for a bachelorette weekend. I don’t think I can afford the total lapse in training but I’ve found a pool that’s about 2.5 miles away from where we’re staying. Goal is to get up early, run to the pool for a swim session and run back. If I can average five miles of running and 2k of swimming per day while I’m vacation I think that’ll be a total success.

Primarily stoked to visit Mellow Johnnie’s, eat some crazy good BBQ, and just relax with some friends.

Signing out for now.

Ouch.

Checking in before March is over. Things are moving along relatively well; Swimming is up to about 9000 yds a week and cycling on the turbo is right around 5 hours a week. Running was rolling strong until about two weeks ago.

I was outside on a long run at about mile 6 my left foot start to cramp up. Slowing to a walk and then a stop, I stretched it out a bit and then went back at it to finish up another 3 miles. A few days later I noticed the same feeling, not quite a cramp but that’s as close to an explanation as I can give, while on the treadmill at mile 4 or 5. Then I began to notice the sensation when I wasn’t running, even had that foot cramp up on the massage table once. After giving it a few days rest I tried again in a different pair of shoes but that wasn’t solving anything so I’ve now been off the run for nearly two weeks with what I suspect is plantar fasciitis.

The dreaded PF. Shit.

Looking back at mileage, I may have ramped it up a little to much, to fast.

Week A: 16.4 mi
Week B: 9.16 mi
Week C: 15.2 mi
Week D: 14.1 mi
Week E: 13.9 mi
Week F: 20.2 mi
Week G: 18.7 mi
Week H: 19.1 mi

General rule is, increase mileage by no more than 10% a week to prevent injury. Right around Week F, things jumped about 31% and that held for three weeks until failure. Here’s the thing. I know not to increase mileage too much too fast. I knew the 10% rule. I’ve been tracking my mileage for months… but I wasn’t following a plan.

My actual training plan begins next week, 12 weeks out from IM70.3 Coeur d’Alene and now I’m not going to be able to begin at the necessary mileage but my foot is FUBAR. I know better and even further to my disappointment, I’m pretty sure the causation is at least partially due to a weak vastus medialis (inner quadricep) which was giving me some left knee pain a couple of months ago.

I took some time off, did some better stretching, knee pain went away and I was able to run pain-free for several weeks making significant gains until this. It’s a lesson in ignorance: I tend to the problem until it doesn’t seem to be a problem anymore. Can’t help but to think that if I had seriously worked on my hip and leg exercises religiously, this may not be an issue. But here we are and tomorrow I’ve got an appointment with my Athletic Trainer to see what we can do. Hopefully I caught it soon enough that a few weeks off will do the trick.

At least I’ll now have more time to devote to the bike trainer and the pool.

Speaking of the bike, the TT project I’m affectionately referring to as the Rat Rod is getting closer to build day. The parts are strewn across the “reading couch” in my home office and with the addition of a headset, stem, and brake/shifter cabling, the bike will be ready to roll! I haven’t ridden a triathlon bike before so this is going to be a big step outside of my comfort zone. I’ll be documenting the bike build and initial rides soon enough, probably in late April!

As the time for the first 70.3 approaches, my training builds up, and as I work through my plantar fasciitis issue, I will be posting more regularly. Game face on.

Update: Saw the physio and determined it wasn’t anything more than muscle strain. Just running a little too much, too soon, in shoes that probably require stronger feet (Newtons). Easing back the mileage, introducing some foot strengthening exercises, and looking into some different running shoes should do the trick.

Right. Here we are firmly in 2018 yet I haven’t checked in, in quite some time. A bit has happened, I started in a new position at work which is quite exciting. I’ve gotten into a healthy rhythm of daily training and taking care of myself. Swimming volume has gone up, running volume has backed off. Sparkling water intake has gone up, booze intake has been drastically reduced. Good decisions being made.

Let’s start with knees. Back in October-November I decided that if running once a day in the morning was good, running twice a day was better. I started heading over to the rec room near my office during lunch to pound out 3-4 extra 5k’s a week with minimal stretching and virtually no cool down. As anyone can imagine, that eventually messed me up and at some point in December after a 7 mile run I found myself limping for several days due to some pretty rough knee pain.

After chatting with my athletic trainer we decided it was due to a few factors but primarily tight hips and an imbalance in my quadraceps (vastus medialis pulling my patella off-track). I took a few weeks off of running and started a regimen of stretching and foam rolling…not my favorite things but here I am in February right as rain. Swimming distance per week has been bumped to offset some of the running and that’s certainly working out as well. I began taking some private lessons and we’ve made some tweaks to my form which I’m super excited about, but I’ll touch on that next week.

Last month I had another physical check-in and progress is still going well. My last VO2 score was 47 and now I’m up to 51.57, so that’s pretty significant. Fat mass is still at 20% which is not good at all…but some changes in diet and aerobic volume should keep working on that.

One milestone I’ve hit, is the age of 38. Man. Where did the time go? There’s a Buddhist belief that “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” I have found this to be very important in life. If you live to be the best you can be in the moment, living right for the day you’re currently in, you will by happenstance be better prepared for tomorrow and will look back fondly on this day from the future.

INWCXS 2017

This past weekend I headed a couple of hours north to watch the the Inland Northwest Cyclocross Series final race, at Walters’ Fruit Ranch in Washington. The girl and I were actually oven/range shopping but the deal I made was that we could spend the first few hours watching the races.

I’ve never raced cross, but I have taken my mtb around the local circuit several times. Next year, though, I think closing out the summer race season with a series of cross races might just be a thing to do, because why not. My Cannondale frame is now stripped down to almost nothing and the rebuild, turning it into a gravel (but usable cross) bike is going to start in the new year.

Not much news here, otherwise. Last week I cranked up the running miles and may have slightly aggro’d my achilles…so after a week off from running I followed up this morning’s spin with an easy 2 miles and all seems fine. Next week we’ll be heading to Arizona for Thanksgiving to see family, eat, enjoy the warm weather, eat, and probably eat some more. The restaurant scene in our hometown of Pullman, WA is weak AF so we need to take advantage of the chomps when we venture to bigger scenes. We’ll also be bringing our running gear and will hopefully get in some daily desert trail sessions in my old stomping ground.

There isn’t any environment I find more enjoyable to run than the desert. It’s a mix of rolling hills, sand, dirt, rock, and very little shade. Takes me back to when I began running in college and it just fills me with energy thinking about it. Hopefully it’ll offset all of the food intake but I doubt it.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, catch ya in a couple of weeks!

MIMCdATC

October 16th marked the official start of the Mackey IronMan Coeur d’Alene Training Camp. In standard training camp fashion, I’m kicking off the day with a swim session (coached) immediately followed by a nutritious shake. Then, because I’m a typical American adult, sitting on my ass for 8 hours at work. I am lucky enough to work on a university campus and there is a gym with a shower in the student housing next to my office…so I get to pop over there and pound out a few miles on the treadmill during lunch if need-be (hence the shoes, etc. under my desk).

But the Training Camp plan has been actuated and I have T-minus eight months until “taper week” which is roughly the week before Ironman 70.3 CdA. Not that there necessarily needs to be a full week of tapering off before a 70.3 but it sure sounds legit. And yes, eight months is a pretty long training camp, but it includes re-integrating swimming into my routine…which is my serious weak point.

Yes, we are currently in November and so I do have a couple of weeks under my belt. Plenty of early mornings and lunch-break 5k’s. All is good. No surprises. Nothing exciting to note.

Last week I did have another check-in with my work’s “wellness team” and things are still trending positively.

Test 3 (June 2017)
22.56kg fat mass
79.6kg fat free mass
VO2: 41.4ml/kg/min

Test 4 (August 2017)
20.5kg fat mass
77.4kg fat free mass
VO2: 47.2ml/kg/min

Test 5 (October 2017)
18.5kg fat mass
78.3kg fat free mass
VO2: 47.02ml/kg/min

Overall weight stayed the same but composition is better in both mass directions. VO2 is about level, but that’s within the margin of error for this form of testing. We’re going to schedule a full-blown V02 max test for January (which is about when I’ll turn 38) and then I’ll do another one 6 months later in July, after the tri.

So that’s it for now. The weather is turning to shit, time to be like Lionel Sanders and fully embrace the indoor trainer.

Let there be cake

The Girl and I, along with a couple of friends, are skipping town for Kalispell, Montana to attend a the wedding of Patagonia-clad flyfishing extraordinaire Tonda to his over-educated fiance, Dulce. Unfortunately we’re not going to have a ton of time to explore, and wildfires have affected a fair amount of Glacier NP, but we’re goin’ to make the most of it. The following weekend I’ll be loading up the dogs and heading West to Seattle to visit family. At around 5.5-6 hrs each way, neither drive is necessarily heinous…but it’s good to have plans to get out of town and see some friends, family, and new country.

I love weekend road trips. Several hours are spent pre-planning in the form of iPod playlist creation, searching out trails to run/hike, places to stop and take photos, coffee shops, breweries to enjoy a beer at and BBQ joints in which to chow down a messy sandwich after a long day. It’s the little things. And in this crazy world, where people dwell, fight, kill, slander, and generally aggress,  I think it’s important to look for the good in things and also plan good things to look forward to. 

In the meantime, off-season pre-training training is going along just fine. My buddy, who also serves as my legal counsel and pseudo-coach, drew up a weight lifting plan that I’ve interjected into my weekly running & biking duties. Hoping this will provide some good base strength over the winter that will a) help protect against over-use injury and, b) get to that ripped Hugh Jackman bod I’ve been dreaming of for so long. #nohomo #butmaybealittle

The other day I was digging back through some old training/racing spreadsheet files and came across a running log I was keeping back in 2009 before I moved up to Washington.

Nothing special…but my weight (which alone, is not an indicator of health) was right around 180 in the Summer of 2009. Fast forward a couple of years, in 2011 I was up nearly 30 pounds to 208. When I started seeing the trainers here at the University, my starting weight was 224 pounds. We can easily round and just conclude that I was up 50 pounds from my triathlon days in AZ to my sedentary days in Washington. Gross.

And enough of that shit.

Let’s talk tech. Gravel bikes are all the rage right now. So are ‘cross bikes. So are “all road” bikes. There are slight tweaks in geometry to each, but who really gives an F? For the sake of keeping it real (as the kids say) I’ve decided that my grave/cross/all-road rig is going to be built upon my original gangsta MTB hardtail, a 2006 Cannondale F400. Not the top of the line in terms of the groupset but I was wreckless and all of that shit except for maybe the bottom bracket was soon replaced anyhow.

The frame is still sound though the rest of the rig has seen better days. I rode this thing hard all over the great state of Arizona. Too many rides to count, too many crashes to remember, and sadly it hasn’t seen proper singletrack in years. Though the specifics are yet to play out, my plan is to strip it clean and build it back up as a drop bar 1×11 rolling on 650b’s. As of now I’m thinking I’ll probably roll with a rigid fork but if I happen to find the perfect Lefty on eBay…

Well I’ve sufficiently filled up an entire post of random rambling. That’s it for now. Until next time, I leave you with a new training mix:

One for the weekend.

Back in the day, when I spent my work week tromping around the Arizona desert measuring plants and counting creatures, I was introduced to Edward Abbey. Upon reading his classics Desert Solitaire and The Monkey Wrench Gang, he quickly became my favorite author whose writing shaped how I lived and viewed the West. Right now as I sit here in front of my computer device thinking about my upcoming weekend of riding and running miles outside, I get excited. Excited to feel a little more free, a little uncomfortable, and a little vulnerable. That is until I get an air quality alert that winds from the East will be blowing in smoke from the complex of Montana wildfires.

I love my job, but I love being outdoors more.

Essay by Edward Abbey "I Loved it…I Loved it All" from Ned Judge on Vimeo.

Rolling resistence.

It’s September 11th and nothing that I post here really matters.

That being said, one take away that can be made…is that life can change quickly so you need to live for today and do the best you can. Yeah it’s cliche, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

So here we are in September. The weather is getting noticeably cooler and the unfortunate realization of winter running & riding is still a ways out, but seemingly right around the corner. Having spent the vast majority of my running years in the Arizona desert, I’ve struggled to enjoy snow running but this season I’m hoping to make the best of it but starting to acquire cold weather gear now. If anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears.

“Dumb training” continues. No watch, no real plan besides doing whatever training I want to do for however long I want to do it. And while (as previously mentioned) that’s no way to train for a race, it’s doing a great job of keeping me motivated to just do it…as some might say. This past Saturday I ran my greatest distance in probably 5+ years. I attempted the same distance last weekend but bonked 3/4 of the way through, mostly due to heat & hydration issues. Yesterday I rode our Albion Loop and, again not basing this on anything but my perception, kept a greater speed and on some climbs in a bigger chainring than my previous go’s. Progress continues.

Looking forward to 2018, I’ve set my A-race for the year to be Ironman 70.3 Couer d’Alene (June 24). It’s a little early in the season, I’ll only really have about 2 to 2.5 months of weather-appropriate outdoor training time but hopefully that won’t be too big of an influence. My biggest hurdle will be maintaining run mileage over the winter (the treadmill sucks) and getting my swimming ability up to an appropriate level. And this is where a legitimate training plan will need to be introduced. Or not.

The mechanical challenge for this winter is going to be a couple of bike build projects, primarily a new road frame. Several years ago I purchased a frame from a local manufacturer with a geometry somehwere between a TT and road bike. It happened to be big (like 61cm) which I need, and the price was right. I’ve toted this frame around for a long-ass time and have never done anything with it but this winter, when road riding is out of the question, I’m going to finally slap it onto the workstand and build it up. Something I’ve never done before.

It’ll be fun to document here and with any luck, it’ll be ready to roll once the ground thaws. The general plan, at this moment, is to build up the road/tri bike by cannibalizing the carbon fork and wheels from my the current road rig. Then using the remaining components from the current road bike to build on a cross/touring frame (not yet in my possession). First B-race for the spring is the Gran Fondo Ephrata which is 80 miles, 30 of which will be grinding gravel.

Lots of riding in the future and that’s a good thing.

That’s it for now. Peace and beers.

Current training track:

1 2 3 Page 1 of 3

Basically toe-ing the line.

I think I’m ready?

T-Minus 10 Weeks

Ouch.

This will be like last year but more and better.

INWCXS 2017

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