Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Review #1: Beyond the Iron

Ok, so here is edition #1 of the "Shanks Book Club" because I mean honestly, if Oprah has one... why can't I?!?! Except that mine is self created, doesn't have a "seal of approval", and I don't expect anyone to read these books with me. However feel free to do so and we can discuss the books at a separate time.

Now I've read a lot of blogs this AM and I'm not sure how it'll compare to the ones belonging to the creative minds of Haley, Poonstar, and Grizzle Rose, but here we go! 

Today's Review: "Beyond the Iron" by Wayne Kurtz
Website: Race Twitch 
You can read in my last post why I picked this book. But I figured it would also be a quick read since this dude was writing in what seemed to be Courier New 14 font! So it was quick to breeze though. Now for the breakdown...

Pages 1-20: Basically covers the races that are considered "beyond the iron" and how they are set up and along with distance break downs... I knew all of this going in so I skimmed.

Pages 21-30: Included here are few steps to think about, such as: make a plan, set a goal, making a training schedule, be prepared to train your mind, apply strategies to overcome tired legs, and start learning to sit in the saddle for long distance.All of which I consider novice features that you should do for just about any race! However it begins to set the tone of the book, which I will dive into later.

Pages 31-110: Looked a lot like this...
Now only if I knew how to rotate a pic
Within these pages Wayne includes a 20-week cookie cutter training plan for participating in your first ever Double Ironman. As with any cookie cutter program the mega fail is in how the training plans are so broad that it is unlikely to work for most individuals. Case in point, the athlete I am working with for her 1st Double Ironman, no way in hell 20 weeks out from this race will she be doing 3-4 hour runs! Sorry Dani but that will not be happening until much further into your training plan (which I think you'll be thankful for). Main reason being that was back in September and the other being she's doing a Ride Across FL (418~ mile) ride on Thanksgiving day, so it'll be a quick but low key run build after the FL Bike Ride. Blah, back to focus! The other problematic factor I see within the training plan is a lack of variation. It's almost the same thing week in and week out with just the duration of the main set intervals changing. I see a high potential for burnout here, especially when training so long. He does try to mix things up with strength training and doing things in the middle of a bike ride that "could" be effective. It gave me an alright idea of weekly load to look at and hours spend training, but again every athlete is different and that is why I despise cookie cutter books like this, because unfortunately not everyone is smart enough to adjust the training to meet their individual needs.
Pre-20 week training plan he goes into some descriptions about the strength program along with testing and how he does it and how to break up the HR zones based on testing (He uses a % of Max HR, yeah not a fan). Run test is a 5 mile Aerobic TT at 75% of Max HR. Bike test is 5' at 80% of a previous 5' all out effort followed by a 20' break and then 20' all out TT... so basically a modified Coggans/Allen test.
In regards to the plan I see a few of the things he was going for but that didn't transfer exactly right. Example: Doing 15" surges with 5' recoveries. Only correlation I can make is doing Alactic Burst but the benefit of those ends at 10" and I believe incorporate a longer recovery period. Overall I think there's a bit too much intensity within the program, yes it is surrounded by tons of volume and L2 (which he also says 70% of max HR). Again, to each their own but this is my review damnit and I say too much intensity! haha.

Pages 111- 240 (end of book) : After the training plan there are a ton of repetitive post and tips. Some good ones in there, like using diaper rash cream on chaffing parts of your body. Then bad ones like another entire chapter dedicated to races he already explained in Ch. 2. It basically looked like a ton of blog post that he has written in the past that he copied and pasted into back half of the book to use as filler.

Overall report: If you have litterly no idea of anything (distance, training, races) that are available after the Ironman Distance then I would suggest this book for you as it covers a lot of Novice/Basic features of the topic. However if you know anything about the races and distance then I suggest you spend that time/money on just researching blogs online of people that have done these races in the past, there will be much more valuable information in those then in this book. I could just be slightly bitter due to my desire for further learning and education and Beyond the Iron failed to provide any of that to me, i.e. what the body actually goes through and changes within your internal systems that you should look for.

Now which book to review next...
note to self: stop taking sideways pics!
And since my bike is not affixed to the trainer (and I have no plans of moving it for a while) it provides me with multiple hours on the bike to get some quality reading done!
Yes I realize my Rev3 number is still on there (motivation) and so is my front race wheel (lazyness).
Well that wraps up Review #1! I hope you enjoyed and please let me know what you'd like to see more/less of in future reviews. But as for now it's time for me to get my run on! And as always I'll leave you with a song.

This has correlation to the book review, but the song is pretty damn funny

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


So while heading into class today I was dwelling over all of this amazing reading material I had at my house that I have yet to crack open! So I decided to make it a (public) goal to read a book a week, perhaps every 2 weeks... it all depends on how big the book is and how many shiny pictures are included. And my hope is that by making this public I will stick to it. Along with reading the book I will post a quick synopsis of the book along with my personal highlights.

First on the list: Beyond the Iron by Wayne Kurtz

Please ignore the messy room and my disaster of a closet. I'm still unpacking from the move!

Why it was picked: I have a friend who is training for a 418~ mile ride across Florida (to set a record) along with training for the Florida Double Ironman in late February. Dani and I have been going back and forth about her need for a coach, Dani's Coaching Blog Post, so she can stop thinking about what she's doing or needs to try and do to race well. I referred her to a few individuals but none of which she was satisfied with. After her blog was posted we sat down for dinner to discuss the situation and the potential of me becoming her coach. After laying it all down on the table we came to terms and we are about to embark on a journey that neither of us have taken on in the past! She gave me this book as a starting point, since it's what she had roughly been basing her training on. So here we go!

I really do hope this workouts out (the reading, not really referring to the coaching but yes that can be included haha) as there is a lot of knowledged to be gained within the stacks of books I posses.

And now for your song: He is We - "And Run"

Friday, October 7, 2011

Turning over a new leaf...

Holy crap I am bad at updating this. I vow to do better by the blog and update this more often. I have been really busy since my last post (Mid June?) but will make it a point to put my thoughts to paper and get this thing going again... until then, here's a song! Big fan of the intro...

Monday, June 20, 2011

And just like that... everything has changed

This is a post I meant to write up after the first weekend of June, so my apologies on the delay... however the remainder of the month has played more towards what I was going to write about anyway.

So the first weekend of June I was set to do 2 sprint triathlons in 2 days. Blalock Lakes (part of the Tri the Parks Series) on Saturday and Sweetwater Tri on Sunday. I won't go into too many details because I don't want to go off on a tangent. However I ended up getting 2nd in my AG and 9th Overall at Blalock Lakes and the very next day I got 2nd in my AG and 3rd Overall (they only gave 1st overall then went into AG, and 2nd overall was in my AG haha). In Blalock lakes I also threw down the 3rd fastest overall run split, which is kind a of big deal, at least for me!

I have been working with my new coach, Matthew Rose (owner and head coach of Dynamo Multisport), for only 6 weeks, 6 weeks!!! And I was able to throw down these results and times. He has done a good job of outlining a path for me and I'm holding up my end of the bargain by completing almost all of my workouts (I've missed 1 or 2 to sickness). So I have to give him a quick shout out for the quick turn around. We've talked about what I want to try and accomplish in the future, and it is a long term project, but we're both pretty excited about where it's headed.

But the biggest change for me was now that I have performed well in a race or two the expectation levels in my head have grown significantly as well as what others expect from me on race day. It's a different type of feeling going into a race that I'm not used to. I'm used to strolling in, not in really good shape, and putting together an alright performance and just joking around after the race. So for things to change so quickly and drastically, it's really hard for me to wrap my head around. I can no longer slide under the radar, I am now a marked man! It's weird but at the same time pretty cool. Since the change has come so quickly it'll take some time for me to adjust and wrap my head around. I need to get back to a balance of having fun, training hard, but not taking racing too seriously. I mean go hard as shit when you do race but not be a dick about it! Luckily I do have a very laid back personality so after the race I can turn off the switch, hand around the finish line, congratulate others and shoot the shit with my competitors.

I'm not trying to be a pompous ass here and be like "oh woe is me" ... that is not my intention, it's just has always helped me to be vocal about my feelings in order to help me sort shit out but to also get others opinions on the matter. And my main goal is to not become some cocky a-hole that takes Triathlon too seriously and brags about their results, because I am not a fan of that type of individual. So please keep me in line!

.... So now on to the rest of the month. I had a good weekend but thought it was kind of a fluke... and honestly I still do! I still haven't gone up against the "big dogs" in my AG or in the overall so I take my awards with a grain of salt and know that there is a lot more work to be done! So on 6/11 I raced the Mud Run, which is the solo version of the Muddy Buddy event... in which you just run the entire event. I rolled up with a tiger speed on and matching headband...
So I came obviously to party! However upon showing up and getting a few miles into the course I realized I was a threat to get on the podium for an overall spot! So the above pic was taken right after the 2nd to last obstacle and after a big uphill where I surged to drop the other 2 guys I was running with, about a 1/2 to 1 mile to go. I ended up crossing the line in first place and taking the Overall Mud Run victory...
And yes I know, those kids are scared for life and I am sorry!
So now onto this past weekend... I raced Callaway Gardens Sprint, and there was some fun shit talking going on pre-race with a few bets, all in good fun of course :-) I ended up getting 1st in my AG and 5th Overall in this race! Making my 4th podium in 3 weeks... mind boggling!!

In conclusion, it's been a crazy month with too much racing and really I'm just trying to process all of the good results! I'm excited for June to end and my last race of the month, Philly Tri, to be over so I can take a small break and get back into day in and day out training without the crazyness that a race brings into your weekend! As I said, there's still a lot of work to be done... and I'm ready to get to it!

And here's your song...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Catching up on results...

Ever since a disappointing performance at Collegiate Nationals (Sprint) I began seeking a coach. I knew that I was no longer able to help myself in the sport and I wanted someone else to create workouts for me so I didn't have to worry about it along with now getting a new insight to training, racing, and day to day things. I began working with Matthew Rose from Dynamo Multisport shortly there-after. I had been swimming at Dynamo for about a year and been teaching spin classes there for the past 4 months so I've gotten to know Matt pretty well. What made this easy is that we both have similar methodology's when it comes to training.

April 30th: John Tanner sprint, part of the Tri The Parks Series (TTP)
600M swim: 11:01 - wetsuit
T1: 1:19
13.8 mile bike: 41:31
T2: :43
3.1 mile run: 20:20
Total: 1:14:56
I ended up 9th out of 20, not bad considering I was just getting in the flow... plus a lot of fast dudes showed up on this day! However I still wasn't happy with it and I had work to do!

June 4th: Blalock Lakes, TTP race
600M swim: 11:23 - skinsuit
T1: :37
14.8 mile bike: 43:25 (Wrong turn at start added .4 mile to the ride, actual ride was 15.2. My fault for following the wrong people and not knowing the course)
T2: :34 - started to head the wrong way out of transition... once again know the course!
3.1 mile run: 20:08 (3rd fastest run overall and fastest in my AG by over 1min)
Total: 1:16:09
I got 2nd in my AG and 9th overall. Lost 1st in AG by :45 and I added on 1:30 by going the wrong way on the course. Race went much better this time. That extra month of training leading into this was really helpful. I was able to hold a much higher bike power and still run really well off the bike!

June 5th: Sweetwater Triathlon
200M swim: 2:50
T1?: :58 I put a "?" there because there was no chip timing so not sure when it started or ended haha.
9 mile bike: 26:20
T2?: :21 - thanks Marc for grabbing my bike (no racks either... very low key and grass routes race)
3.1 mile run: 20:45
Total: 51:15
I ended up getting 2nd in my AG (again) and 3rd overall. I ran down the 3rd place guy but the other 2 were too far ahead, closest I got was 2mins. Swim really hard, bike really hard and tried not to let the #1 chick catch me, run hard so I could gain back that 1min because the chick caught me at the dismount line... ended up gaping her by 2mins.

I had a very solid race weekend, coach says I should be going faster, which he's probably right and we'll find out after more testing which is soon to come! I'm really happy with the results and I raced pretty damn hard and to do that on back to back days, I'm impressed with myself! Below are some photo's and of course a video...
From Blalock Lakes with Brett and Dani, I'm far Right

Pre swim at Sweetwater Tri: yes I did the entire race in a speedo... 

Post race: hanging out with Pike, we were the only 2 to dress up... 
And now I'll leave you with the theme song for the weekend: Chiodos "Those Who Slay Together, Stay Together"

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Been a long time

I'll admit it has been a hella long time since I've written on this thing. Too much to detail so I'll just recap shortly these past few months and make it a goal to become better from here on out.

January: I ran the Mountain Mist 50K in 7:42. It was my first ever 50K so kept it conservative and took my time at aid stations and enjoyed the shit out of it!

February: Ran the Breast Cancer (Half) Marathon in 1:36:31 which was the exact time (To the Second) that my buddy Jacob Evans thought I should run it in... just baffled that I nailed it, to the T! I will always do this race because it's for a great cause and the support on course is amazing!!!

March: On March 5th my Nephew was baptized and I have the great honor of being his Godfather. Donovan is uber cute and I will be making it a point to go visit him as much as possible, which means scheduling races so I can go down there. This was also on the end of my Spring Break so I was able to make a few good connections in Jacksonville, FL because... well you just never know ;-) .
On March 19th I walked the Shamrock 8K with my Parents. It was a great experience to be able to do that even with my parents. It was my Dad's first ever race and my Mom's longest ever. We finished in 1:42:00, yes that's one hour and forty two minutes.
March 20th I ran the Shamrock Marathon in 3:44:45 which was a PR of about 58minutes! I guess great things can happen when you actually kind of train for an event. I made this trip with Brett and Pike who are both Athletes on Team EC. Pike's boyfriend also came... before the trip I was not very found of him, well actually I though he was a big ol' douche. Luckily we were both able to relax a bit and ended up getting along quite well, guess that can happen on a 10 hour drive :-)

April: On April 1st I took a V02 max test in my Exercise Physiology Lab. Turns out I scored very well, an 80.7, which is World Class Athlete level... this kind of freaks me out haha. This comes after I did a Blood Lactate running test in Early May in which my IAT was a 6:22 pace... which dropped my running zones by about 1min per zone... 1 minute is a pretty big jump! This shows (even if the V02 wasn't 100% accurate) that I have been WAY under performing to my potential. This needs to change... and it will change!

So I am going to post a song with every blog... because well shit, I love music! Enjoy...

Monday, January 10, 2011

What happens in Texas...

Well, will hopefully stay in Texas haha. This past weekend I went to go watch Tri buddy Jacob get married to Courtney. I had met Courtney before and I must say Jacob is a lucky man and bravo to him for putting a ring on it. The wedding itself was a short one, 30mins long or so, but the events surrounding it is what made it a great experience for me. I'll save a lot of the details for conversations over beers but here's some info!

I met a lot of quality people in TX. I mostly hung out with people from the wedding party I met at the rehearsal dinner on Friday, except late Sat... but that's a different story. The individuals I met were (mostly) of a good nature and willing to set up to the game when it came time to party. Which in most occurrences is when you see how a person really is and how they behave and react to certain situations. I met some big ol' Texas born and raised folks, cheerleader mothers, twins (or so they claim), and lots of peoples with accents. Overall I was happy my liver raised to the occasion and made a lot of the occurrences possible.

However the biggest thing I got from this wedding and the feeling I got was that True Love does exist. The examples of love I saw this weekend was eye opening. The vows at the wedding, the overall ceremony itself, the reception speeches... all were beautiful and put a smile to my face. But it wasn't only love, it was love through Christ. Which is something I haven't seen so prevalent in previous weddings. It was a different view about the whole Marriage thing, rather than just pledging your love to each other it was pledging your love together through the love of Christ and being appreciative of what he's giving and will continue to give you. Like I said it was a very different view than I've gotten from most weddings and I don't know if it's just a TX thing... but it was refreshing and I was a fan.

It helps to reassure me that current steps I am taking in my life are the right ones. I'm allowing myself to make time for other activities outside of Triathlon. It is either time for school, allowing myself to start going to church again, and getting rid of the "I'm training" excuse to hanging out with others and having a life outside of Triathlon. It's preparing me to get back out there, It's been a weird month for me as I had just gotten out of a 6 month relationship so I've taken some time to get back on my feet and find what I WANT in life and what I NEED to make myself happy. It's an ever evolving state of mind and there is no quick fix but I am confident in what I am doing now and I have the belief that it will lead to good things. And through my friends and family I have stayed strong and will always hold my chin up high. So thank you to everyone in my life... I will continue to learn from you daily.