My ‘new’ Mantra

In the past I’ve always had a picture, phrase or something to really drive the wimpyness out of me.  My reminder that I needed to HTFU.

After my dismal performance at High Cliff, Mary said it was probably time for a new one – I found it last night while reading Triathlete magazine:

..each morning I wake up and take a giant suck-it-up pill, and wash it down with a refreshing can of hard…”

Thank you David Goggins – you are officially my new HTFU reminder.

My Fundamental Dilemma

Recently Gordo posted an excellent blog entry on his site.  It never fails to seem that whenever I am having some floundering thoughts about things, Gordo always seems to write something that drives deeply into the precise subject I am thinking about. 

The short summary of his recent post is that over the last several months, he has spent much of his training time in the red zone – fun, but high intensity and prone to burn out.  That has resulted in him feeling “off”.  He is putting himself back on a more traditional (for him) approach to prepare for Silverman (Half) in November.

This is something I have been struggling with over the last 9 months or so – the place of intensity in my training routine.  I know that to continue to improve from my current level I have to get stronger on the bike and on the run.  I am simply not strong enough on the bike or the run to accomplish my goal of being the top amateur at a North American Ironman. 

To do that, I need to include intensity in my training plan – aerobic overload will only get me so far.  I need to introduce some higher quality work to raise my FTP and my 5k/10k pace.  I’ve tried this several times over the past couple of years.  In 2007 it led to a complete fitness breakdown by 4th of July.  In 2008 it was too little too late – but it did help.  Late 2008, I attempted to do the Endurance Nation off-season plan – it was simply to much for me.  It was a very sound 16 week plan, but I just did not enjoy suffering every single workout – and once I got frustrated with it I started chalking up zeros.

A similar thing has happened this spring – I’ve had some pretty good consistency, but I have been racking up more zero’s then normal – and I’m not sure of the cause.  Recently I’ve been wondering if it could be my routine working against me – putting important workouts on days where my mind is not really capable of executing them (i.e. Long Run on Friday PM, while working at home) – as opposed to having done it on Tuesday while being “stranded” at work 12 miles away with no other option to get home.

So I’m left at a bit of a loss.  I am/was really looking forward to the Merton Group ride on Tuesdays to help get some great rides in, but that forces my long run to later in the week.  That format will ensure a better quality ride, but will result in less consistency of completing my Long run, and possibly more Gym Class Hero efforts out of myself.

If I do my long run on Tuesday, I have to do a quality ride solo Thursday morning – the result, better consistency, but probably a bit weaker effort will result on the bike – significantly less Gym Class Hero efforts.

Compounding that is a desire to be a bit social in my training and hit some rides/runs with Matt [Amman] and Chris [Wichert], while not trying to force them to comply with my schedule.

Why do I always seem to over think these things so much?  Maybe that’s why coaches are so in demand….

Looking for an Ironman PR?

Next Monday, I am helping lead an Ironman Training Clinic.  The clinic will be lead by Bob Hanisch (  We’ll be discussing what to focus on in the final weeks leading up to an Ironman race when you are looking to not just finish the race, but rock star it.

The clinic is free for TriWis members and $45 for non-members (you should just join TriWis if you want to come).

Here is the pertinant info:

Monday June 22 @ 6:00 pm

Peak Performance Training Center
4125 N. 124th Street, Suite A
Brookfield, WI 53005

If you want more information drop me a line, or email mkarbo <at>wi<dot>rr<dot>com.

Confessions of a Gym Class Hero

Having had a few days to digest my race at Elkhart Lake, I have a few main thoughts regarding the race in general and my performance.

The race locale and the course were great.  I don’t think I have swam in a clearer lake, although it was really chilly the water clarity made it nice to swim in.  The bike course was very difficult, a relentless rolling course.  Finally, I did not think the run was as challenging as others had warned me about – I found the Triple T run course to be much more challenging.  The only thing I was not fond of was the transition area – LONG.  I did not enjoy it at all after the swim with a sky high heart rate.

In an odd way I am grateful for the poor performance.  When I am in the midst of a less then stellar performance I tend to have a very tough time staying positive about the race.  I definitely encountered that on the bike.  By the time I hit T2, I was pretty frustrated.  Fortunately I started the run and trucked along at a pretty good pace.  I managed to work out my frustration by about mile 2 of the run, and actually started to enjoy myself.

My 243 average power (261 normalized) was pretty low, I would be somewhat disappointed with that for a Half, let alone an Olympic distance.  After looking at my week of training, I’m pretty sure I left my legs in my workouts.   Between the Tuesday group ride I did, my run with Matt (10+ miles FAST), and then Thursdays ride – left me with not a lot for biking.  Even though my TSB on Saturday was +4.6, my overall TSS was really high for the week, at least compared to my long term load.  I didn’t do real great at Elkhart Lake, but I was definitely a rock star in training last week.

This week will be a fairly easy one, a couple of hard efforts to keep the freshness up – with a focus on getting to High Cliff with a TSB of +0 and a flat, to slightly rising CTL, and then do my best at High Cliff.  No predictions on time or result, but just the best I can do.

Did a 4k LCM swim tonight, 1-2-3-4-5-5-4-3-2-1 @ 1:30 base tonight.  It was my first LCM swim of the year so of course I felt like I was drowning the whole time.

All I need to make it official is a Gym Class Hero certificate from Matt.

It’s like I woke up one morning

and was a super hero. Did a 90 minute ride last night with 2×20 @ HIM (272 watts) on moderately large rest – no issues in fact it didn’t seem all that bad in reality. Similar to a workout I did last summer where I did an hour of HIM effort. No problems doing it, but started to get really uncomfortable by the end – fortunately last night I never had to go into the uncomfortable realm 🙂

Going to try and race ~300 or just above this weekend at elkhart lake and see how it goes on the run.

A post for the sake of posting

I just recalibrated my powermeter. Looks like the slope drifted from 21.78 (rounded to 21.8) to 21.37 (rounded to 21.4).

Because torque and cadence = a certain power, torque is calculate by dividing by the slope – which means my PM was underreporting by a couple of %.

SRM recommends recalibrating every six months or so – so I need to repeat this again in December or January.
Since the SRM uses the slope, combined with the zero-offset, combined with cadence and torque (think y=mx+b) while riding to generate a power number you want to recalibrate the system occasionally to ensure the slope is accuarate.

Best. Ride. Ever.

Things have been going OK that last couple weeks since the Triple T.  I’m essentially all healed up, my right knee has still has some tenderness and some big fat scabs, but otherwise all is good.

Training has been progressing pretty well.  I’ve had a few bumps along the way, but generally I am quite happy with where I am at – especially after last night.

I joined a group of roadies for a ride out of Transition Cycle/Centennial Park in Merton, WI.  Depending on where you star it’s 50/42 miles of intense riding.  I was a bit apprehensive at some points, I kept having flashbacks of my fall, but I was happy with how the ride went.

For the most part I disregarded my PM display during the ride, simply putting out what was needed to stay with the train.  Unfortunately a little over an hour in I got dropped on a long drag uphill.  The group surged and I didn’t/couldn’t react and got spat out the back with a couple of others.

The result of that was some of the hardest riding I have done in my life.  I turned myself inside out for 20 minutes or so trying to get back on the group.  I just couldn’t make it – 20 guys versus 1 just isn’t fair.

Afterwards, when looking at the file I about dropped my shorts.  My peak 60 minute average was 299/341 (AP/NP), 20 minute (321/340).  I set new career bests at every major level, 1 minute, 5 minute, 20 minute, and 60 minute.  I even played around with the offset a bit in SRMwin to make sure things seemed on the up and up incase the offset slipped a ton during the ride – even then it was still impressive.

Needless to say, I think my current FTP estimate of 299 is a bit low.  I don’t know where to move it to as I really don’t think I could replicate that sort of an effort unless extremely motivated.  Guess I’ll have to see how Elkhart Lake goes this weekend, and High Cliff after that.

WKO file from the ride

For those without WKO – here is some of the high points:

Peak 1min (504 watts):
 Duration:   1:00
 Work:       30 kJ
 TSS:        5.4 (intensity factor 1.804)
 Norm Power: n/a
 VI:         n/a
 Pw:HR:       42.07%
 Pa:HR:       1.65%
 Distance:   0.301 mi
  Min Max Avg
 Power:        138 908 504  watts
 Heart Rate:   153 171 165  bpm
 Cadence:      69 104 81  rpm
 Speed:        14.9 23.7 18.1  mph
 Pace          2:32 4:01 3:19  min/mi
 Crank Torque: 169 1035 538  lb-in
 Temperature:  64.4 64.4 64.4  Fahrenheit

Peak 5min (364 watts):
 Duration:   5:00
 Work:       109 kJ
 TSS:        14.2 (intensity factor 1.304)
 Norm Power: 390
 VI:         1.07
 Pw:HR:       4.86%
 Pa:HR:       -9.98%
 Distance:   1.933 mi
  Min Max Avg
 Power:        0 752 364  watts
 Heart Rate:   133 178 162  bpm
 Cadence:      62 97 81  rpm
 Speed:        15.4 33.7 23.2  mph
 Pace          1:47 3:54 2:35  min/mi
 Crank Torque: 0 900 386  lb-in
 Temperature:  62.6 64.4 63.9  Fahrenheit

Peak 10min (344 watts):
 Duration:   10:00
 Work:       206 kJ
 TSS:        27.8 (intensity factor 1.292)
 Norm Power: 386
 VI:         1.12
 Pw:HR:       6.07%
 Pa:HR:       4.19%
 Distance:   3.894 mi
  Min Max Avg
 Power:        0 908 344  watts
 Heart Rate:   134 173 162  bpm
 Cadence:      37 115 90  rpm
 Speed:        13.3 31.7 23.4  mph
 Pace          1:54 4:31 2:34  min/mi
 Crank Torque: 0 1090 331  lb-in
 Temperature:  64.4 66.2 65.9  Fahrenheit

Peak 20min (321 watts):
 Duration:   20:00
 Work:       386 kJ
 TSS:        43 (intensity factor 1.136)
 Norm Power: 340
 VI:         1.06
 Pw:HR:       7.26%
 Pa:HR:       3.94%
 Distance:   7.336 mi
  Min Max Avg
 Power:        0 752 321  watts
 Heart Rate:   132 178 160  bpm
 Cadence:      34 104 79  rpm
 Speed:        5.7 33.7 22.0  mph
 Pace          1:47 10:30 2:44  min/mi
 Crank Torque: 0 1016 353  lb-in
 Temperature:  60.8 64.4 62.8  Fahrenheit

Peak 30min (314 watts):
 Duration:   30:00
 Work:       565 kJ
 TSS:        66 (intensity factor 1.149)
 Norm Power: 344
 VI:         1.1
 Pw:HR:       2.55%
 Pa:HR:       9.41%
 Distance:   11.635 mi
  Min Max Avg
 Power:        0 1013 314  watts
 Heart Rate:   132 178 159  bpm
 Cadence:      31 110 81  rpm
 Speed:        5.7 33.7 23.3  mph
 Pace          1:47 10:30 2:35  min/mi
 Crank Torque: 0 1044 335  lb-in
 Temperature:  60.8 64.4 63.5  Fahrenheit

Peak 60min (299 watts):
 Duration:   1:00:00
 Work:       1075 kJ
 TSS:        130.2 (intensity factor 1.141)
 Norm Power: 341
 VI:         1.14
 Pw:HR:       -5.67%
 Pa:HR:       1.9%
 Distance:   24.201 mi
  Min Max Avg
 Power:        0 1013 299  watts
 Heart Rate:   125 178 157  bpm
 Cadence:      30 130 83  rpm
 Speed:        5.7 41.3 24.2  mph
 Pace          1:27 10:30 2:29  min/mi
 Crank Torque: 0 1090 310  lb-in
 Temperature:  62.6 66.2 64.2  Fahrenheit