Art or Science?


How about a little of both?

As I mentioned in the race report for Tri-ing for Childrens, I had a pretty satisfactory race.  Strong swim, decent bike, and weak run.  Yesterday after the race I rode home from the race and pondered the question – Why did I run not much faster today than I did last weekend at SORT?  My thoughts focused on other races this year and previous years- when I had good runs, when I had bad runs and what I did before them, and tossing in my bike pacing during said race.

The unfortunate conclusion I came to is that while there are some common threads – there isn’t anything super concrete take for instance –

My fastest 5k run was done at the end of a sprint race with a TSB of -32.

Yesterday one of my slowest 10k runs was done at the end of an Olympic distance with a  TSB of 9.

The 5k week I did a two long rides in the 10 days before the race, several 3-4 hour rides and a Tempo run and a long run.  The 10k week only had a Half Ironman + a Long run.

Which leads me tobelieve that numbers alone does not predict performance – they are useful for forecasting potential – but exceptions to both sides happen.

It also highlights that sometimes it’s not always in how much you did – but how you did it that is important – so while raw numbers can help guide you – some artfull interpretation and subjectivity is definately required.

What’s for this week?  No races and lots of training.  Been pondering what to focus on and how much to do.  A bit unsure yet, but I’ll figure something out soon.

Tri-ing for Chilren’s Triathlon 2009

The goal for this race was simple and straight forward – crack two hours, with a secret goal of winning the race.  I knew that winning would be a tall order as there were a bunch of speedy guys entered.

My game plan was to swim HARD and put as much pavement between myself and the fast runners in the race (Joe Kurian, Pete Metz, etc).  I figured I could bike more or less even with them, but knew that on a good day I’d lose 2 minutes to Joe Kurian and company in the run.

Leading into the race, I did a hard first part of the week and ended with an easy Thursday/Friday/Saturday.

17:18 (3rd OA)

Unlike last weekend at Racine, I hit the swim from the get go.  Jordan Mathes (a UWGB swimmer) and I didn’t redline it – exactly, but we started out at a withering pace swimming side by side.  At the first turn bouy a couple of hundred meters in, we turned directly into the sun.  I had a tough time seeing the next buoy through the glare.  I lifted my goggles, spotted the buoy, and *SNAP* – the nose piece of my goggles broke.  With no other option, I just kept swimming – after not long I found Jordan’s feet and just stayed there – as it was the easiest way to swim and not worry about sighting to much.

We exited the water and charged up the beach alone – I didn’t see anyone near us, though my vision was pretty hazy from the water.  I was happy to see the time on the clock, and figured even though the swim was a bit short, I’d have a good 2 minutes on the people I was mostly worried about.

1:01:28 (10th OA)

 The plan for the bike was to ride strong but cautiously on the first half of the race and pick it up on the second half.  Jordan made it out of transition first – remembering how he powered by me at Elkhart Lake, I settled in and just matched Jordan’s pace.  I didn’t worry to much about power at this point, I figured if/when Matt came by I’d shift gears and follow him and try to put some more ground between myself and the runners.

About 2 miles in, Jordan and I took a right turn.  Immediately after turning, I had this feeling like “I thought we went straight.”  Jordan must have had the same though as he slowed a bit.  We talked about it quick and decided to U-turn to be sure.  As we got back to the intersection Matt went blazing by.  That sealed it for us – we were directed correctly (Turns out the last minute course revision added the turn, with the original course having us head straight, and I simply reversed them in my mind).

Jordan accelearted back into the game faster than I could have, so I just focused on me.  The first loop was pretty uneventful, it found Matt and Jordan pull away to specks.  I worked the second loop a bit more and manage to pull into T2 right on Jordan’s heels.

After checking my powerfile it looks like I lost between 45 seconds and 1 minute due to my confusion.

41:11 (26th OA)

I ran out T2 and immediately regretted doing a Long Run this week – between Racine and that run, there was nothing my legs.  I knew a 37:xx was out of the question, and just coming in under 40 would be a challenge.

The run went by in a blur of complaints from my legs.  At the half way turn around I was ready to quit, but kept on seeing Pete Metz, Dennis Melowski, and Terry Labinski right behind me.  The zipped past me pretty quickly on the way back out on the second loop.  When Terry past I used that as motivation to try and pick up the pace, but my legs didn’t have much to give.

2:01:39 (7th OA)

I’d rate this race as about a 7.5/10 in terms of satisfaction (with Racine being an 8-8.5 and High Cliff and Elkhart Lake being in the 3-4 range).  I came out of this race with some great insight into my rest and training patterns and it’s direct effects on performance – so definately not a bust.

WKO File

No Rest for the Wicked


The picture today is a shot from probably the most epic stage in cyling history.  It’s a gentle reminder to myself that success comes from working hard – even if it doesn’t seem like fun – especially because when you look back – it might have been fun.  However, it needs to be tempered with working easy.

Racine was a great race this past weekend, and I dug pretty deep for my race, but I’m entering the last weeks of viable training time for IMWI.  In that light, I took Monday as a complete rest day, and slept in Tuesday morning.

The goal for this week is to get some solid training in, but show up Sunday at Tri-ing for Childrens ready to go sub-2 for an Olympic.


  • Monday
    • Off
  • Tuesday
    • AM: Off
    • PM: 2:15 run (2:12:52 -17.749 miles actual)
  • Wednesday
    • AM: Swim (6×300 SCY @ 4:00 – 3:35-3:40 swim time)
    • PM: 2 hour bike + 30 run – 3×20 @ HIM
  • Thursday
    • AM: Swim
    • PM: 90 minute bike + 30 minute run – Steady IM Pace
  • Friday
    • AM: 2:30 easy ride to Lake Geneva
    • PM: 60 minute easy-steady run
  • Saturday
    • AM: Swim
  • Sunday
    • Triing for Childrens
    • 3.5 hour easy post ride

The remaining 3 weeks before Pleasant Prairie will be focused on hitting my basic weeks: 1 Tempo Ride, 1 tempo run, 1 long run, 1 long ride each week.

I feel like my FTP which is likely around 320 is plenty high – I don’t need to worry about getting it higher – I just need to hit the workouts and become more confident in that and more comfortable riding at that intensity (and it’s children zones).

In the past, I have usually struggled a little with this last month of so of training before IM, I tend to become a little lax and miss more than I’d like.  I would like to improve on that this year and maintain the wave of the last month.

Spirit of Racine 2009

The goal for SORT was to simply have a great race.  Going into the race the intention was:

0-20′ EZ, use PM to stay easy
20′- 65/70′ 240-250 Real Time
65/70′-End “ 250-260 Real Time

First loop: Target 44 minutes (avoid last years mistake)
Second loop: Faster than first

Swim: 21:32
4th OA

I started out at a steady pace on the swim.  I did not hit the gas from the get go.  Not knowing how strong the swimmers in my wave were I wanted see if anyone would take charge and lead.  A few dolphin dives and strokes later I was around the first bouy with a group of a few people.  After another handful of yards no one seemed to took the lead, so I took charge and went.  The swim was rather uneventful.  I simply swam bouy to bouy.

Bike: 2:23:50 (252 AP/257 NP)
13th Div/86th OA

Within a few minutes of the bike instincts took over and my game plan for pacing went out the window.  Fortunately, I remained intelligent enough to ride within my limits.  I was surprised to see how slowly I was going for my power, but slowly it dawned on me that it was actually fairly windy.

Around half way things started to speed up as the wind shifted.  This caused me to lose a little bit power wise, as I started to conserve a bit based on my speed.

All in all the bike was very uneventful, I was alone most of the time.  I got passed by a few people at the beginning of the bike, and a couple again at around mile 45 – otherwise I was totally by myself with one guy about 20-30 yards behind.

Nutritionwise I took 6 gels (5 powergel, 1 GU – 3 had caffiene), water, a couple of salt tabs (Thermolyte), and a couple of NASIDs to help keep the aches quiet.

Run: 1:29:00 (6:48/mile)
9th Div/37th OA

Coming off the bike, I was determined to get my senses back and run my plan.  44 minute first loop, 43 minute second loop.  Unfortunately, I left transition and saw Paul Wozniakowski (rockhopper on ST) just up the road from me as he had passed me at the tail end of the bike.  He and I have had a healthy back and forth at races for the past few years, and I wanted this one – who needs a race plan anyways?

Matt told me at about 1/4 mile in (just before you hit the first hill on the run) that I was running VERY fast, I checked my watch and sure enough I was running in the 5:40 range.  I immediately slowed down.

As the run progressed, I started to pick a couple of people off and was gaining ground on Paul.  The positive feedback from my watch and the mile markers kept my spirit high.  I hit half way somewhere between 41:45 and 42:30.  I caught up to Mary heading out on her first loop up the first hill on the course – at this point she was walking and I was a bit worried for her – but I forced myself to focus on myself – she’s a tough girl (she ended up doing just fine), so I just gave a nice slap on the butt and wished her luck and kept going.

Shortly after cresting that hill and heading down back to beach level (but before the second hill) I got the inklings of a side stitch – I worked it out by focusing on my breathing and it was gone by the time I topped the second hill.

Things continued uneventfully, with me slowly gaining on Paul, near the turn around at shortly before mile 10 I was there – he was just in front of me.  I was STOKED.  Then before I knew it I was struck by a side stitch that nearly folded me over. 

For a split second my horrified mind couldn’t believe that my great day had just ended, and that I would would be struggling in for the last 3 miles, I allowed myself to focus on that for a second or two – then I turned my mind to the task of getting rid of this stich and running again.

I stopped immediately and did some focused breathing and stretching, then started running again – no luck.  I walked and repeated this cycle a few times (Stretch, Run, Walk, stop, stretch, run…).  Slowly the stitch lessoned in intensity and moved a bit lower – once it moved lower on my side I was able to get into a steady run, it was slower then I would like, but I could run.  Shortly after mile 10 (near the sprinkler on the road on the way back from the turn around for those paying attention), the stitch was gone and I was able to start speeding back up.  I never returned to full speed, but I was running solidly and was able to carry it into the finish.

I’ve only had a stich like this once before, so it was a new experience for me, so I was definately riding the very fine line of my fitness (which is GOOD!), but it shows things are really coming around as I was on pace for a strong 1:25 (or faster) run until the very end – and most importantly I didn’t give up when disaster struck and did a good job of mitigating the damage.

Nutritionwise on the run, I did a couple of salt tabs (Hammer), 3 or 4 hammer gels, and water.

Overall: 4:16:50
7th Elite/17th OA

In the end adjusting for the short swim, my time was awesome.  Minutes faster then I have gone before!  Unfortunately, I did not catch Paul on the run, but he was given an unfair penalty that put him behind me (his Powertap CPU got knocked off while he was on the run, and they nailed him for abandoned equipment.  Yeah USAT a $300 PT CPU is worth throwing away).

WKO Powerfile


I’m working on my race report for SORT yesterday.  Long story short it was a good race.  I was the first person out of the water – hopefully somebody got a good picture of me in my Gear Grinder kit!  Swim was short, but fast.

The bike went really well I averaged 252 (257 NP) on the bike.  Higher than my average power at both High Cliff, and Elkhart Lake (an olympic – wow that was a sad performance).  That resulted in a 2:23 bike split.  My computer said the course was about .3 miles shy of 56, but I didn’t change the computer for my race wheels.  When I googlemapped it last week, I got 56 miles on the head.

I topped it off with a 1:29:00 run – my best in a half since 2006.  I would have likely crushed my 1:26:5x run from 2006, but I suffered a huge side stitch just before the final turn around (Mile 9.5-10).  That reduced me to a run walk for a mile or so before I got back to a solid run.  Probably an indicator that I was at or near my limit.

All in all a very good race – a race report will come shortly and some other thoughts on SORT.

Finally a race worthy of me.  Next weekend is an Olympic – Triing for Childrens.

To whom it may concern

Shannon and gang
I wanted to offer you a few pieces of feedback from today’s SORT race.

First off I am a huge fan of your races. I have done SORT 5 times now, and have done the TTT 4 times, and plan to do it a 5th next year. Up until this year I considered SORT to be equal to or only slightly behind Ironman races in terms of quality, organization, and support.

The first was the swim. Why was it so short? Why was it so shallow in places that while swimming I was able to touch the bottom? As I told a friend, if I wanted to be able to walk the entire swim, or a large portion of it, I wouldn’t sign up for a race in Lake Michigan. At a race of the stature that you promote Racine to be, a short swim is unacceptable (in fact at any race IMO).  Last year  – no issues as the fog was crazy and you did the best you could. This year, inexcusable. If I wanted to swim 1500 meters, I would have done an Olympic today.

Second, the drafting today was horrendous. Words simply cannot describe what I saw when I was at mile 2 of the run, and I saw two groups of riders, 2 wide 15-20 deep cruising towards transition. I only imagine what else was happening out there. Up in the elite wave it was pretty honest. Obviously a boatload of USAT officials giving out 100+ penalties didn’t do jack. You can’t count on the participants to be honest, so YOU need to do something. Smaller waves, larger intervals between waves, a smaller field, something. Fix the problem by preventing it.

Third, I am not sure if there were timing problems in some of the waves, or if it was a sheer effect of drafting, but some of the Female bike times were insane, I haven’t looked at the Men’s times close enough to form an opinion there. I observe that an female AG “winner” rode a 2:21, nearly 24 miles an hour. Out splitting me by 2 minutes; last year at IMWI I rode 31 minutes faster than that participant. Just 3 or 4 months ago she rode a 2:39 at NO 70.3. Not only that, but she rode 4 minutes faster than Lisa Bentley – the year she was 3rd in the World at the Ironman.

Give. Me. A. Break.

Lastly, I was personally disappointed in the lack of a deep competitive pro field that we have seen in years past. It would have been fun to see David Thompson, Luke Bell, Chris Leigh, Jordan Rapp, or any other speedy guy out on the course dishing out the hurt with Blake.

While I fully intend to return to the TTT again next year, I am currently doubting my return to SORT, despite it being in my backyard and the timing of it in my usual training schedule,I see a lot of potential in taking a drive up to the Door County half and hopefully enjoying a much fairer race.

I am disappointed to have to send an email of such a negative tone to you guys, but the things I mention above were a HUGE spoiler on a day that saw me execute my best “half” in a couple of years. See you next year at the Triple T, and hopefully when I will feel confident that SORT return to its past form next year when I chose a race for this weekend.

Scott Bowe

There is no easy way



Figured it was time for an update.  After embarrasing performances at my last couple of races – namely Elkhart Lake and High Cliff I finally had a good race.

This past weekend I returned to Stevens Point to defend my win last year, I wasn’t going alone as I had managed to convince Matt, his wife, and Mary to join me.  I went into the race expecting to get beaten by Matt, but with the full intention of making him hurt for it (He did).  Anyways, I ended up third overall, coming in a minute behind Matt, and 2 seconds behind fellow Gear-Grinder Tom Shepard – who out kicked me with 50 yards to go.  4th place went to Michael Boehmer.

Despite finishing 3rd, I was very happy with the race.  My performance was much more reflective of my capabilities as compared to some other races this year, especially with a -32 TSB (CTL Constant = 10) Saturday Morning, and my TSB just a couple days earlier hitting -39, my lowest ever.  My swim was good, my bike was a little less then last year (287 vs. 297 watts) with a major fade starting at about 20 minutes in, and my run was spectacular.  I ran an 18:54 for a 3.22 mile run – if you take that pace to 5k, it’s 18:15 – my best 5k by a handful of seconds.

This week is a rest week, I’m looking to bring my TSB up to slightly positive – between +5 and +10, and be in the hunt for a strong performance at Spirit of Racine.  It’s actually pretty important for me to turn in a strong performance this weekend, partly because I “need” to, but partly because I’ve haven’t had a “good” race at Racine since 2006.

After Racine I have Triing for Childrens an Olympic distance – target there will be to break 2 hours.

Training wise – everything has been going very good since High Cliff, I finally hit a good rhythm

Swim: 35,500 meters
Bike: 834 miles
Run: 111 miles
Just shy of 70 hours, all in 3 weeks!  Which leads me to my blog title today – if nothing else the last 3 weeks taught me, if you want to go fast – you’ve got to work hard.