04 October 2018

Tri Tidbits from Slade Endurance

Here are some Triathlon Tidbits (some are only specific for 70.3 and Iron distance). This could easily be turned into multiple shorter posts but knowing that a few athletes I coach and/or friends who still have their final long race of the year to do are in preparation, here are some tidbits from Ironman Chattanooga. As with everything else, TEST, TEST, TEST. Nothing new on race day!

Stay Cool
Racing in heat can severely impact your performance. This happens primarily because you body has to protect itself from overheating and will divert resources away from race performance in the interest of survival. Trying to stay cool or cooling off before you overheat can make or break your race. Acclimating/acclimatizing for a hot race is a good idea but I won’t get into that. Here are some things you can do during the race that could help you. Note that I do not include drinking water. Though this is good for hydration, it’s cooling effect is short-lived. It also could cause you to drink too much if you’re desperate to cool off. I also didn’t include dumping water over your head. That also has a short-lived cooling affect. It’s not worthless because it might dampen clothing for additional evaporative cooling but if you’re already wet from sweating, water isn’t going to help.
1. Chew ice – if aid stations on the run have ice, take a cup and chew the ice into a slushy mass before swallowing. This cools your core but also has an affect on the nerves in and near the mouth. It should be counted in your hydration equation.
2. Put ice in your hat and down your race kit to cool you as it melts.
3.  Avoid getting sunburned. Use sunscreen, a hat, and protective fabrics.
4. Arm coolers or DeSoto Sports skin coolers are sleeves or similar apparel that can provide sun protection, and when dampened, offer a cooling effect. I used these at Ironman Chattanooga: on the bike and the run.
5. I’ve never done this so don’t know if it would work but I 1stthought about it 4 or 5 years ago: take one of those “cooling towels” (like Mission), sew it into a long, tubular bag, and sew in a zipper or Velcro closer on the open end. During the race add ice on the race course and drape it around your neck for cooling.

Run Nutrition
Keep it simple because things tend to go out the window during the race as fatigue sets in. Carry a minimal amount if possible and instead use the on-course nutrition if possible. I carried a throwaway water bottle with carbs in it out of T1 and electrolytes (in the form of SaltStick Chews) as well. I carried a sleeve or 2 of Clif Bloks that could have been in my pocket but I also could easily have used the ones on the course.

Bag Marking for Identification and Easy Opening
You have 5 gear bags for most Ironman races: Morning Clothes, Bike Gear, Bike Special Needs, Run Gear, and Run Special Needs. Besides using the number stickers provided by Ironman, use a black Sharpie marker to write your name and number elsewhere on the bag. Some people use a colored tape to help them find their bag during transition but I don’t find this necessary. The other thing I do is use marker or blue painter tape or even black electrical tape to mark the strings to tell me where to pull so I don’t make a knot when I open the bag. I’ve seem people rip their bag open which then forces them to struggle to put their wetsuit or their bike helmet, etc. into the bag once the contents is dumped out. How do I mark the strings? First I tie the bag using the standard tie-your-shoes bow. I do NOT double knot them. They are a continuous string so you have loops, not string ‘ends’ and you may not know which one to pull. So I then mark the end loops that I need to pull so I don’t end up with a knot and I don’t have to think about it while in transition.

Open Nutrition Packages
Nutrition packages (and other wrapped items like Tylenol blister packs) should be prepared for use before the race. Depending on the item and how you carry it, consider cutting open the package. Clif Bloks, Sport Beans, and similar items can be opened. With Gels and GU’s you are probably asking for trouble. If you have something like a plastic tube or tablets with a safety seal or the like, remove that in advance for easier access.

Race Tattoos
If you’re wearing temporary tattoos (race numbers, etc.) put them on the night before.

Pre-race music 
If you want to have a mental playlist of particular songs playing in your head during the race, create an actual playlist and listen to them in the days leading up to the race and especially on race morning as you go to transition and wait for the start. This will help you avoid having earworm songs you don’t want stuck in your head. (Christine used this for Chula Vista Challenge and it reminded me of how beneficial this is to do.)

Transition Instructions
If there are specific things you might forget when you’re tired or excited or fatigued, include a concise “To Do” list in your transition bags so you don’t forget to do something. Put it in a Ziploc bag so the writing doesn’t smear if it gets wet. You can also write a simple instruction out that you could hand to a volunteer if there’s one available to give you extra help.

03 October 2018

Ironman Chattanooga 2018 Race Report

What a day we had! Another Ironman is finished. The swim was cancelled a few days prior due to very unsafe conditions so the race was a bike and run only. I took 4th in my age group (pure speculation but might have moved up a place if we’d swum.) I’ve already forgotten some things but it’s fairly complete and VERY long at over 4000 words. I’ll write a shorter, separate post that gives some additional triathlon tips but here goes...

Chattanooga is a great place to hold an Ironman. The area and natural surroundings are beautiful. The riverfront, rural farmland and woods, and urban area are all a pleasure to experience. I raced here for the 1st one in 2014 and was looking forward to coming back to a familiar course. It rained until Thursday night but then cleared. When I checked in that day I learned of the swim cancellation. It was a big disappointment, to the point that some people decided not to race. It eliminated one of my strengths but I didn’t dwell on that because it’s not in my control – I just had to adapt and move forward. I was already rethinking how I would race it before I’d even finished the check-in process. 

For the first 3 nights I stayed at the comfortable and spacious lake house of my sister- and brother-in-law’s 40 minutes north on Lake Chichamauga. I spent Wednesday night and Thursday by myself, including 2 hours trying to remove a loose part from my race wheel. It was stressful, energy sapping, frustrating, and ultimately a failure. The next day I gave it to teammate and bike expert John Sheridan and he fixed it in a ½ hour! Relief! Linda and Mom, Stephanie and Scott, arrived in Tennessee on Friday. I won’t go into other details but it was good to be with family and supporters. 

Saturday morning I drove into the city for a final, short bike ride before racking my bike for the race. We had a Team Challenge brunch where Kat, the National Triathlon Manager (and fearless leader), ran the show. I was recognized as the top fundraiser for Ironman Chattanooga with $12,370! Unfortunately it’s not the highest for allof this year’s Iron Team but I am so very grateful to all who donated to my efforts. During the race I thought about those who donated, especially when I was struggling and felt like quitting (although I was never truly close to giving in or giving up.) I met some teammates at the pre-race ride and the brunch (some for the first time). Linda gave a moving, emotional speech about our experience with ulcerative colitis that startined in 1985. She did a great job, as she always does. We also heard from a local family whose 12 year old son has had IBD nearly his whole life. He is why we need cures!

We had an early dinner on Saturday after checking into a hotel to be close to the race. It’s amazing how much I needed to do and to think about after dinner but before going to bed the night before race day. And I came to Chattanooga well-organized! I applied temporary tattoos that one of our athletes, Kelly, made for me, laid out my stuff, organized my nutrition, and went to bed. Race morning was completely different from any others I experienced. The typical 3:45 or 4am wake up wasn’t necessary because of the cancelled swim and the 8:30 start time. 

We arrived around 7:00 instead of the usual 5 or 5:15. I didn’t need to be there earlier so there wasn’t much point because there was no need to prep for the swim, take the shuttle to the swim start, or warm up. It made for a seemingly much more relaxed transition area and race start. The pros started at 8:00 and first age groupers at 8:20ish. Because I was on Team Challenge I had a very low bib number and started very close to the front since we went off in numerical order, 2 by 2. It was fun to be amongst teammates.

The ride goes south out of town 11 miles, crosses into Georgia, and then gets into a 47 mile loop that’s done twice, mostly through rural farm country and woods. It is beautiful. Starting early kept it cool and under cloud cover for most of the ride. The road is undulating with a couple of steeper hills that don’t last long. The view is beautiful and peaceful with an occasional car on the road but few spectators except when rolling through the small town. There was lots of gear shifting to find the right resistance on the pedals, which makes it easy to “drop your chain” but I fortunately didn’t. 

The terrain variation helped keep my back from rebelling too much and I tried to stretch it frequently, and before I ‘needed’ to. It only started to inhibit my effort towards the end. I took a water bottle at 3 different aid stations, filling the reservoir on my bike before I tossed the mostly empty bottle at the “last chance” trash drop. Sorry if this offends anyone but… I managed to pee not once but 3 times on the bike! That was a first for me. It helped keep me from compromising my hydration out there because it’s very easy to stop drinking if you have to go. And it kept me from ever stopping for the entire ride.

It was very quiet out there for the most part. It only took 45 minutes to send off the couple thousand riders but I stayed ahead of most of the age groupers behind me except for the faster women and ridiculously fast men. At different points during the race I could not see any other riders. That felt a little odd and probably meant a slower ride time for me. I get energy from others and also am a little competitive in trying to pass people, while avoiding overdoing that because I always have to think, “There’s still a marathon to run after this.” Still, while I VERY much enjoyed this ride and this course, having a few more fellow athletes out there near me would have been nice. And even though it was a 2 loop course I only passed 4 slow riders because of how quickly behind me the last riders were able to start the race. At Ironman Arizona, where there are 3 loops and some people take nearly an hour and 20 minutes longer to complete the swim than me, I will start lapping people on the 2ndloop. 

What happens in your head has a huge effect on performance. I thought about my donors a number of times out there and how appreciative I was for them supporting me (and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation cause).  I was truly grateful to every single person who donated, no matter the amount. Something I did this time was to purposely get a specific song stuck in my head in preparation for the race so I wouldn’t be singing to myself some annoying songs that somehow are either kids’ songs or what are rightfully called earworms. I had snippets of the song Hall of Fame by Script playing off and on in my head during the entire ride.

I also thought about the person with Crohn’s whom I’ve been concerned about most lately: Brooke. She’s a 20-something woman with a bright, bubbly personality, who is loving and caring and a bit of a free spirit as well. If I, as a geezer of 62, was to prejudge her based on her appearance, I think I would respond somewhat negatively. From afar you see that she “decorates” herself in ‘interesting’ ways, with a nose ring, ear gauges, tattoos, and medium length purple hair with some of it as a buzz cut. Fortunately I’m aware enough to know this about myself so I try to temper my preconceptions. Good thing or I would have missed out on getting to know and love this special person. She was on our San Diego tri team this summer and raced her first triathlon. Well, she’s been in the VA hospital for over 2 weeks with a “flare” up of her disease and has struggled with lots of pain, uncertainty, malnutrition, lack of sleep, and (in my opinion) sometimes some pretty poor medical care.  I hoped she was at least able to be following me while I raced because distraction can sure help get you through the day, BOTH as someone who’s sick in the hospital and as a triathlete doing an Ironman!

I took in about 250 calories an hour while riding. I was short of my intended 300 but I wasn’t too concerned; for one thing I wasn’t starting at a calorie deficit from an hour swim. I kept up with hydration and electrolytes so I felt like I was in a good spot. Nutrition on the bike not only fuels your ride but even more importantly sets you up for the long run. Underfuel too much on the bike and you risk burning through you stored muscle glycogen (carbohydrates) and also risk not being able to easily access your energy source of stored fat. That can come back to bite you on the run and force you to slow down, walk, or even stop moving forward.

At 96 miles I suddenly felt like, “Okay, I’m done now!” Unfortunately there were 20 miles to go. My back was hurting more frequently and the fatigue was noticeable and concerning. I happened to look down at the bike ‘computer’ right when I hit 100 miles (and the sun started to appear) and it was right at 5 hours. From there I tried to distract myself with calculations on how long it would take to get off the bike. That number in my head, if I’d done the math right, was disappointing as I would be about 15 minutes slower than my goal split, plus I felt more fatigued than I’d wanted to be. But that was where I was with it. I backed off in effort towards the end in preparation to get out on the run.

On the ride back to town I saw the minor league baseball stadium and knew I was very close to the end. The Chattanooga Lookouts are a Cincinatti Reds AA team. I’d parked there before to go to the race venue but forgot that the course circles way around. At this point I took my feet out of my clipped in bike shoes and pedaled with feet on top of the shoes in preparation for the dismount. I probably should have waited for at least another ½ mile before doing that! So much for my ‘knowing the course’!

The dismount went well as I handed off my bike to a volunteer without falling, tripping, or hurting myself. Another volunteer handed me the bag with my run gear in it and I walked, and jogged a little, barefooted to the change tent. I sat in a chair, took off the helmet, sunglasses, and bike gloves. I’d worn some “arm cooler sleeves” on the bike – they’re thin, white, fast-drying fabric that cools you off when you wet them with water. The ride was cool enough that I never poured water on them but with the sun now out and the temperature rising, I decided to leave them on for the run. Forgetting to squeeze Aquaphor on my toes, I put my socks on and quickly slipped on the running shoes, which have elastic “speed laces”, while another volunteer filled my water bottle that contained carbohydrate (fuel) powder. Hat on, race belt (with bib number) and nutrition in hand, I walked out of the tent.

Instead of going where the volunteer pointed, I laughed and pointed the other way, heading to the portapotty! Once inside I wasted 20 seconds doing nothing besides deciding I didn’t actually need to go! After all, I’d just wetted myself 15 minutes ago while riding back on the bike.

Out I came, walking out of transition, trying to get my back to be upright, straight, and ready to run. I threw in some slow running but I know it takes me time to get moving. And besides, perception is all messed up because I’ve been moving at 20 mph for the past nearly 6 hours so even when I run it feels slower than it actually is. I know that my first mile ALWAYS feels great but also terrible. It’s great because, hooray!, I’m off the bike! It’s terrible because I just rode 116 miles and I have 26.2 miles to go on my feet! Even on my training runs, even during a 3 miler, it takes a good 5 or 10 min. or more before I can find a groove, not hate running, and not want to quit.

The first mile has an uphill that really sucks but makes it easy to justify walking. I didn’t know what place I was in because of the staggered start but another 60+ year old in my age group passed me during the first mile or so and I knew then that I wasn’t in first place. It was a little disheartening, especially since I was barely starting a 26.2 mile run and felt pretty crummy. Gradually I found my running legs and did some version of 10 minutes running, 45 sec walking. This run/walk method is actually faster and more efficient than forcing yourself to just run. Sometimes I’d walk twice as frequently and always on the steep uphills where my running speed (and efficiency) is slower (and worse) than purposeful walking.

The run course is 2 loops and each loop has 2 distinct loops within them, one on each side of the river. The one on the south side of the river is fairly straight, partly on a highway and partly along parkland along the river. The 2nd½ of each loop is on the north side of the river. It’s more of a residential area and old Golf/Country Club. While it has some beautiful homes and views, it’s also pretty hilly. Running up most of those hills is a waste of time and energy so I walked up and ran down. Running down takes a toll on the quads but I’d trained for that.

I did the best I could getting nutrition in. Calories were probably in the 175/hr range, which was pretty good. I kept the liquid coming in too, getting about 4 oz. at most aid stations, along with a cup of ice. Since I left the arm coolers on, I asked volunteer to pour water on each arm, which felt good and helped keep me cool. I also grabbed a cup of ice almost every time so I could chew it into an “ice slushy in the mouth” and swallow. Finally, I also got a volunteer to dump a cup of ice into my hat to help keep my core temperature cool. During the 2ndhalf I also started taking in Red Bull, which is on the course. It’s a legal boost that helps keep me going.

I made jokes with, and thanked, volunteers, and high-fived kids who were out there trying not to be bored. I asked people who were in front of their houses cheering (and usually drinking) what was for dinner or where the BBQ was. I confused one 10 or 11 year old aid station volunteer when I asked him for a cigarette! By the look he gave me I immediately followed with an “I’m kidding!” 

I kept pushing myself to keep going, knowing my pace was not nearly the 9:35 or 10:00 miles I’d aimed for. I knew my heart rate was good, falling into zone 2 to low zone 3. I also felt that I was pushing at an appropriate perceived effort. So I stopped paying attention to my mile pace because it was going to be what it would be! It made no sense to push harder and then be forced to walk all of the final few miles. I got into a good flow for a number of miles at various points out there. The good feeling would come and go though. Sometimes I would think about not letting my donors down, who might be ‘watching’ from afar. Again I thought of Brooke and her struggles. I also tried a different mental game technique for the 1sttime: an alter ego. I had created a character in advance, called Razorblade Slade, based on some of Hank’s (my dad’s) characteristics, trying to call upon his strength and relentless persistence to push through the long run. Let’s just say that it’s still a work in progress, though worth continuing to work on.

I only ended up stopping once to pee during the run, only losing about 90 sec. for that. Maybe I was a little more dehydrated than I thought when I was in the moment. However, I think I took in the right amount. And fortunately I saved at least 5 minutes not having to make a sit-down portapotty stop, which is always a bonus. My aim is to burn through my calories as efficiently as possible so I don’t have much “waste” to eliminate. I think I was successful.

Besides all struggles to keep running, I didn’t know how my fellow 60-64 year old men would fair. How would they handle the heat, humidity, and hill? I always seem to have strong self-belief in my ability to handle hotter conditions and I did prepare for them. What if they paced it wrong and had to walk most of the run? I knew to just keep going, give it my best, and get to the end, tolerating as much discomfort as I could. It helped to see Linda and mom (both great spectathletes and personal support crew) on the course, as well as national TC triathlon team manager, Kat Gunsur-Smith, who yelled and cheered my along in multiple random spots and who reminded me that I like to suffer. (Truthfully I don’t know if I can say I LIKE it but it makes the finish and after-race so much more satisfying knowing I gave it my all). And Genna, a great spectathlete in her own right who I told in advance what to yell at me, and of course, my teammates on the course. 

As I neared the finish line, doing my fastest mile, Genna was near the beginning of the chute, holding out the Team Challenge flag I had had made 4 years ago for this race that I carry across the finish line whenever I can. I quickly grabbed it, looked around to see that no one was close behind me, and ran to that line with the big orange flag flying behind me. I was very exhausted but not dehydrated or ready to pass out so no medical tent visit was needed. Finding out time and place could wait. I was just relieved to be finished!

As usual, when I saw Linda waiting there, all my held-in emotions fell out. We had our traditional sweaty-wet hug, kiss, and cry on her shoulder moment. Tear ducts were try but, crying, I told her we did it again and that I loved her (DUH!). And then I hugged and kissed Mom. I felt unsteady and a little out of it: not unexpected! Got my picture taken, met back up with Linda and Mom, and eventually sat down at the Team Challenge tent and ate some food and drank, waiting to see Kat, and waiting for teammates to finish. 

There are so many people I owe a THANK YOU to! Hopefully I won’t screw up and you’ll hear from me separate from this race report. I want to thank all who worked to put on this great race, from race director to amazing volunteers; all those who donated; all who watched and cheered from near or far; my sister-in-law and brother-i-l and their generous hospitality; my mom, who is so enthusiastic and supportive (and fun to have with us); and of course, my chief enabler, partner for all of time, love of my life, Linda. Ironman’s catch phrase, “Anything is Possible”, is only true if you have support, especially support like mine!

Below are the numbers from the race as well as a concluding paragraph. But 1st I’d like to give this thought. It’s one of the first I had when I started thinking about how the race went… You are capable of so much more than you think, if you just KEEP GOING. If you tend to give in to physical discomfort and back off or stop, then it will be more challenging to KEEP GOING because you brain can be your enemy. KEEP GOING anyway! I’ve heard it said that if you KEEP GOING, one of two things happens: you either succeed or you learn. Both of those sound pretty good to me!

The numbers and the concluding paragraph at the end of this. Here are the splits, times, heart rates, cadences, stride rates, and places, with the 2014 race results and 2018 best scenario goals listed for perspective.
Swim – 0:00– (2014 – 49:46; 2018 goal 55:00)
Transition 1 – 0:00– (2014 – 9min55sec; 2018 goal 7m00s)
Bike (116 miles) – 5:50:58(2014 – 5:39; 2018 goal 5:35)
Transition 2– 5m57s (2014 – 7m33s; 2018 goal 5m00s)
Run (26.2 miles) – 4:52:15(2014 – 5:05:47: 2018 goal 4:23)
Final – 10:49:11 – 4thof 74 in my age group- (2014 not including the swim – 10:51:12 – 22ndof 104 in my age group; 2018 goal without swim 10:02)

BIKE 5:50:58(elevation gain 4800 ft), 116 average heart rate, 129 max h.r.; zone 2 h.r. = 85%, zone 1 h.r. = 15%, average cadence = 86.
Splits (5 miles each), Average MPH, Heart Rate Ave., HR Max.
1 – 14:32, 20.6mph, 111HR ave, 120HR max,
2 – 13:25, 22.4, 115, 120
3 – 14:29, 20.7, 113, 117
4 – 15:54, 18.9, 114, 119
5 – 14:32, 20.6, 110, 116
6 – 15:02, 20.0, 108, 115
7 – 14:55, 20.1, 109, 120
8 – 14:44, 20.4, 113, 120
9 – 14:41, 20.4, 116, 124
10 – 14:11, 21.1, 121,128
11 – 15:35, 19.3, 123, 129
12 – 13:10, 22.8, 121, 128
13 – 16:33, 18.1, 121,124
14 – 15:01, 19.3, 119, 125
15 – 14:59, 22.8, 117, 122
16 – 17:17, 18.1, 117, 125
17 – 15:34, 19.3, 118, 123
18 – 16:22, 18.3, 117, 123
19 – 14:42, 20.4, 118, 125
20 – 16:23, 18.3, 118, 122
21 – 15:43, 19.1, 119, 123
22 – 16:20, 18.4, 118, 124
23 – 15:43, 18.3, 115, 121

RUN 4:52:15(elevation gain 1,175ft)128 average heart rate, 145 max h.r., Heart rate in zone 2 = 51%, zone 3 = 49%; 80 average cadence 80/minute; 
1st½ Marathon (13.1mi.) = 2:25:02
2nd½ Marathon (13.1mi.) = 2:27:13
1 mile splits, Heart Rate Aveage, HR Max
1 – 11:26/mile, 122 H.R. ave., 129 H.R. max
2 – 9:53, 128, 133
3 – 10:53, 128, 133
4 – 10:50, 130, 135
5 – 10:48, 129, 133
6 – 10:29, 130, 134
7 – 10:34, 129, 134
8 – 10:19, 132, 137
9 – 11:54, 128, 135
10 – 10:23, 129, 135
11 – 11:44, 124, 131
12 – 12:34, 124, 132
13 – 11:03, 128, 138
14 – 10:40, 129, 136
15 – 10:49, 130, 136
16 – 11:01, 131, 136
17 – 10:43, 127, 136
18 – 10:48, 129, 135
19 – 11:43, 127, 132
20 – 11:46, 124, 134
21 – 11:19, 129, 135
22 – 11:28, 129, 135
23 – 11:45, 128, 135
24 – 11:18, 122, 132
25 – 12:39, 123, 132
26 – 9:59, 134, 140
0.2 – 9:09 (pace), 137, 145

After looking at the numbers it tells a much more consistent and stronger effort than I recall. The more I look at the data the more heartened I feel that I did indeed put out the effort I needed to and that I actually did execute my plan pretty closely to expectations, even though my finish spot fell 3 spots short and my time didn’t live up to expectations. It is very probable that my time goals were not quite realistic. However, keeping in mind my performance effort and execution, my ambition to perform well in 6 ½ weeks at Ironman Arizona is still intact. The competition will likely be even tougher there than it was here but achieving a personal best time is still within reach and something I’m motivated to achieve. Thank you for reading to here!

24 September 2018

Ironman Chattanooga - RACE WEEK! - The Race Plan 2018

24 September 2018 update

Thank you so very much for the most recent donations. Every amount is valued and appreciated as we ask science to find cures and treatments for Crohn’s and colitis.

This update will be very brief! I’m in the process of collecting and packing all my things for the trip to Chattanooga. I need lists to stay organize and make sure I have everything I need. I try to eliminate as many variables and stress producers as I can prior to the race – I don’t have control over everything but what I do have control over is what I focus on.

If you want to follow me on race day, it can be done by downloading a free phone app, Ironman Tracker. I am #138 (Henry Slade). The race starts at 7:30am eastern time on Sunday, September 30. Linda might post on Facebook during the race, depending on how hectic it is (and if she has enough battery life!) Jayne might also be posting and texting as long as it’s not too disruptive of her spectating and cheering!

Instead of giving training totals and the like, my “Race Plan” follows. It is long and not necessarily of interest to everyone. I’ve written a race plan for every Ironman I’ve done, as well as many other races. This plan shows what my goals are and how I intend to achieve them.

Thank you for your support and thank you for reading this far. No obligation to read “the plan”. FYI the goals are at the beginning.

Ironman Chattanooga Race Plan
Past Performances (for reference):
2015 Ironman Arizona splits– 11:29:27 – Swim1:01:08 (1:34/100m)/ T15min23s / Bike5:21.49 (20.88mph) / T27min33s / Run4:53.34 (11:12/mi) – 9th place of 149 in age group
2014 Ironman Chattanooga splits– 11:56:31 – Swim0:49:46 (1:17/100m-downstream)/ T1 9min55s / Bike 5:39:33 (19.79mph) / T211min30s / Run 5:05:47 (11:40/mi) – 22ndplace of 104 in age group

Performance Goals
A Goal – 11:05:00 – Swim 0:55 / 1stTransition :07 / Bike 5:35 (20.75mph) / 2ndT :05 / Run 4:23 (10:00/mi) – Finish time will depend on if the swim has a downstream current or not.
B Goal – finish 
Outcome Goals
A Goal – win my age group of 60-64 year old men
B Goal – finish 
Process Goals
1)Mental: I will: Stay emotionally steady throughout for the entire race: calm but focused. Embrace the discomfort. Use my alter ego. Carry gratitude, joy, love, and strength in my heart
2)Swim: stay strong but relaxed and moderate, focusing on a solid pull and a relaxed kick, watch for swimmers passing who might be draftable.
3)T1: keep it smooth, flowing, and easy, going through the process, tuning out the excitement around me
4)Bike: get comfortable and go through checklists during 1st11 miles out of town. Start early with taking frequent breaks from aero to stretch the back. It’s a race but control effort when deciding to pass others. Repeatedly think checklist: aero position, relax arms/shoulders, nutrition status, full pedal stroke, time for aero break?, correct effort?
5)T2: Follow the steps deliberately and efficiently. Portapotty stop if needed.
6)Run: Ease into the 1st mile, walking as needed. Walk break at each aid station (approx. each mile). Be smart on the hills. Shift into my alter ego for 2nd ½ of marathon.
7)Finish: Leave it all out there. Live up to your Razorblade Slade alter ego
Experiential Goals
1)Represent my donors and Team Challenge with pride, good sportsmanship, and in a positive light
2)Race with joy, gratitude, and focus; SMILE
3)Embrace and enjoy my natural surroundings and fellow competitors
4)Thank and have fun with volunteers and spectators

*Quiet time for mental game, race plan, alter ego
*Taper off of caffeine
*Heat acclimatization just in case – sauna time
*Same as above
*Pack! Use lists
*Get stitches removed
*Quiet time for mental game, race plan, alter ego
*Stuff for flight – printed race plan, alter ego, ipad, neck pillow, snacks
*Stay in Zen bubble – avoid negative people and needless stress
*Attend Team Challenge meet ups
*Attend an Athlete Briefing
*Ensure enough water bottles for the race are at hand and labeled
*Charge Di2 gear shift battery
*Switch off “pause” on Garmin electronics and check display screens
*Turn in bike, bike and runbags
*Relax, feet up, foam roll, back stretches, etc.
*Charge all electronics
*Eat dinner by 6:00
*Double check special needs bags
*Lay everything out for tomorrow
*Prep race nutrition, cut packages, ensure enough bottles and water, organize for race

RACE MORNING:Timeline for tasks, mental state, arrival, etc. (note: use your own time increments)
4:00 Wake up and eat immediately
4:10 First bathroom
4:20 Shave; tri kit, heartrate strap, watch; body glide; apply race tattoos; sunscreen arms, legs, lower back, neck, face;
4:45 2ndbathroom
4:50 Use checklists to carry stuff down, load cars, and leave
5:00 Race site: Check bike (ez gear, tires), bike nutrition (have checklist), bike computer, drop Special Needs bags
5:50 Shuttle to Swim Start lineup
6:00 Sip Osmo drink; headphones song: Hall of Fameby The Script, etc.
7:00 Transition Closes
7:05 Start doing warm up – arm swings, resistance tubes, push ups
7:10 Drink Beet Elite/aminos drink; pee 
7:25 pour water on face and shoulders, fix goggles, ready to roll
7:30  Race Starts

SWIM: Goal time :55 with a moderate current, 1:07 no current
~Keysfor Success (pacing, mental, technique/physical):
*Sight a straight course, not just buoys
*Find someone to draft as available
*Early catch
*Steady, sustainable, even effort
*Relax legs and feet, using light kicking
~Mental: “Strong and steady”

T1: Goal time :07
~TaskList: get bag; dump bag, speedsuit in, goggles/cap off into bag, towel dry shirt and spread on ground; put on: chamois butter, shoes, arm coolers(?), gloves, glasses, helmet on, running mount on bike; Ride easy - it's not a sprint!
~Nutrition: water bottle with UCAN/Perfect Amino
~Mental: steady, calm, efficient

BIKE: Goal time 5:35 (20.75mph)
Keysfor Success (pacing, mental, technique/physical):
*Get comfortable in saddle and run through checklist
*Checklist – relaxed arms/shoulders, back position and status, nutrition, pedal stroke, effort
*Frequent back stretches – stay ahead of pain
*11 miles out of town is a WARM UP
*Hold back on first loop
*Resist the excitement
*Shift often, spin up the hills, aero and pedal down hills
*Stay alert to avoid drafting
*Sink into pads, head tucked, eyes rolled up “turtle view”
*Ride steady to run strong – heart rate below 127 (zone 2)
~Nutrition (up to 300 cal/hr)
*Fuel 5 carbohydrate powder and maple syrup in 40oz water (Speedfil) – sip every 10min, chasing with water
*Water w/Nuun electrolytes in aero bottle
*Clif Bloks – 2 sleeves, cut open (200 cal each)
*UCAN bar – 1, cut open (180 cal each)
*Perfect Aminos at ½ way
*Caffeine starts at 40 & 90 miles
~Mental: take in nature; “Sh’ma Yisrael”; song: Hall of Fameby The Script

T2: Goal time :05 (including bathroom stop)
*Deliberate, thoughtful, measured effort. BREATHE
~Tasklist: shoes off before dismount, handoff bike, helmet off; Note card to volunteer – “Please tell me to take gloves off”, Aquaphor on toes, socks on, shoes on, hat on, wrist bands, race belt; Portapotty if needed
~Nutrition: Shot Blocks, tabs bag in pocket (10 SaltStick Melts, 5 Amino tabs, 2 – 1/2  Caff tabs for 2ndloop), Hand-held water bottle with UCAN, amino, etc;

RUN: Goal time 4:23 (10:00/mi.)
*Resist the excitement - walk first hill and control heart rate - low 120's (zone 2) early
*Walk aid stations
*Focus on: form and efficiency and ease 
*Run on perceived effort but check heart rate and pace (take hills into account)
Nutrition(up to 200cal/hour)
*Water and ice – drink 16-24 oz per hour as needed from aid stations
*Clif Bloks – 1 sleeve/hour (200cal)/1 block every mile
*Clif Shots (gels) – 1 every ½ hour during 2nd ¼ of run
*Electrolytes – 1-2 Saltstick Melts every hour as needed
*Tums peppermint as needed
*Caff 1 tab – at 2nd loop
*Red Bull option during 2nd1/2
~Mental: “What if this is the way it’s supposed to feel?” “What if I’m a stronger athlete than I think?” Alter ego – Razorblade Slade; song: Hall of Fameby The Script

BOTTOM LINE: This race is about pushing limits, challenging myself to tolerate discomfort, qualifying for Kona, and proudly representing Linda, my family, Team Challenge, my donors, and my honored heroes.

Ironman Chattanooga in 2 weeks

17 September 2018 update - A Dreaded Injury

Along with some repeat donors, I have quite a few new donors since my last update so I thought I’d take a step back and explain things. Anyone who has so generously donated to my fundraising efforts for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s Team Challenge Iron Team, receives a weekly email update on my progress in training for Ironman Chattanooga and Ironman Arizona… just in case you’re interested. If you’re not, no biggie, you can just ignore this! This is my 2nd to last update before Ironman Chattanooga on September 30. I’ll continue with updates after that since I’ll be racing Ironman Arizona in November.

I am truly grateful to all of you who donated to my fundraising efforts. Thank you! I get choked up and tearful every time I see the name of who has donated. I just feel so much gratitude and appreciation to all of you. I am still in first place amongst the Ironman Chattanooga athletes with $9,430! I think it will take $10K to stay there so I’m hoping to reach that before I head to Tennessee (via Atlanta). Also last week I had a generous donation (a LOAN) of race wheels by an athlete I coached a couple of years back. These race wheels are made of light, aerodynamic carbon and can make quite a few minutes of difference, especially in a 116 mile ride. It is especially generous of him as he has a race of his own on the same day that I’m using them! Thank you Joe!

The week went pretty well with training as I start to cut back on the volume. On Saturday I got in an 83 mile ride followed by a 4 mile run. It’s always a little surprising to get done with a ride that’s shorter than what I’ve done lately and then think “is that all?” It’s a little ridiculous but after going over 100 miles week after week, I can tell the difference.

Sunday morning I swam a 2.4 mile ocean swim race in Oceanside. The waves picked up and it was a challenge to get out past the breakers and then again at the harbor entrance. I was doing pretty well until I got to the rough conditions at the harbor. I couldn’t find the buoys so I managed to swim 100’s of yards off course until the Harbor Police boat sounded a horn and pointed to my right. Oh well, sometimes stuff happens! By then my left shoulder and biceps were hurting some so I backed off. I still finished in 4th for my age group. I was also proud of how the 4 athletes I coach did with their swims.

I came home instead of going out to breakfast with them. I wanted to avoid a gut full of breakfast food just before doing my 2 hour long run. I dragged my feet preparing at home for the run, filling water bottles, getting nutrition out, and loading a little ice chest. Our freezer drawer frosted over and was stuck. In my attempt to dislodge and “fix it” I managed to slice my hand open on a sharp metal edge. Swearing ensued. Dr Linda looked at it and said we needed to go to urgent care, probably for stitches. In the car I was already formulating ‘work-arounds’ so I could continue training and do the race regardless of what the doc said. Linda was right, as usual, and I got 6 stitches. I’ll likely miss just 1 swim workout this week – I’ll be able to swim again on Friday. Riding and running aren’t compromised (I did the long run today, Monday) and I’m grateful for that!

One last thought: I am nearly 62 years old. Triathlon training is like a fountain of youth to me. Training and racing, being engaged in setting goals, moving, going outside to act like a kid and swim and bike and run is truly a gift. The benefits are many. I encourage everyone to get off the couch and start by doing what you can do and just enjoy what we humans are meant to do: move. 

Next week will have my race goals and how you can follow me on race day, live.

Here are the lower (taper) numbers for last week:

Weekly totals: 18hr 13min (not counting 1hr 45min sauna time); 180 miles
Swim 3hr 48min – 14,004 yds (3 swims), longest: 5,054 yd
Bike 8hr 09min – 143 miles (3 rides), longest: 83 miles
Run 5hr 38min – 29.4 miles (3 runs + 2 brick runs), longest: 11 miles
Strength Training 2hr 35min
Weight – 153.5 lbs

Thanks for reading this far!

Ironman Chattanooga in 3 weeks

10 September 2018 Update

I am truly grateful to all of you who donated to my fundraising efforts. Thank you! I am still in first place amongst the Ironman Chattanooga athletes with $8150! I think it will take $10K to stay there.

This weekend was why Linda and I coach the San Diego Team Challenge Tri team. We had 24 athletes finish either a sprint or Olympic distance triathlon while raising funds for cures and for sending kids with Crohn’s or colitis to camp. We had 10 first timers who all overcame various hurdles to cross the finish line. Linda made a “non-swimmer” at the began of the season an open water swimmer by race day. The transformations we see and experience can be amazing and rewarding and emotional. We also managed to get the word out through Grace, our 11 year old honored hero, when she was interviewed on live TV about the colitis. She has had it since she was diagnosed at THREE YEARS OLD. Here’s a link to the clip: https://www.kusi.com/9th-annual-san-diego-triathlon-classic-at-liberty-station/. Scroll down to the 2ndvideo on the page.

My health is still pretty good but I’ve added a 2ndantibiotic back into the mix. I’m trying to avoid having my symptoms decline as they did a year and a half ago. My back is still about the same as I neglected it the past few days. I weighed in at 154 this morning. That’s down 2 lbs since the last time I weighted. This is unintentional as I am eating pretty constantly and eating everything in sight. I chalk this up to the calorie burn of training, the lean muscle I’m carrying, and the revved up metabolism. Once I’m through with Ironman training for the year the weight starts to come back on and it’s hard for me to stop it!

Last week’s priority was our tri team so training, etc. was affected some. Mostly I had to miss a long ride on the weekend and only managed to make it up with a 2 hour indoor ride on Monday morning. The day after coaching at the race I did a 16 mile run that went okay. The other workouts during the week were a mix of above and below expectations. 

Looking ahead I will be gradually cutting back on volume as I taper, lose fatigue, and come into form for race day. It’s always a time I look forward to while simultaneously worrying. After committing so much time to following a routine and doing so much training, the emotions and physical feelings as training is dialed back, can be upsetting or confusing. I have plenty of experience with this so hopefully I will handle it well. 

There is much to do in preparation for the race in 3 weeks besides training, including taking the bike in for a tune up and getting some borrowed race wheels installed. I’ll use my old bike to train for the next few days. Sunday I’ll be doing an open ocean race in Oceanside. It’s a 2.4 mile swim, the same distance as an Ironman swim. I won’t skip other workouts to be rested because Chattanooga is my priority. I’ll be riding about 90 miles on Sat. and will do my long run (about 13 miles) after the swim race on Sun.

Here are the numbers for last week:

Weekly totals: 18hr 09min (not counting 1hr 01min sauna time); 102 miles
Swim 3hr 56min – 13,529 yds (3 swims), longest: 5,050 yd
Bike 5hr 51min – 99 miles (3 rides), longest: 37 miles
Run 5hr 38min – 31.6 miles (3 runs), longest: 16 miles
Strength Training 2hr 43min
Weight – 154 lbs

Ironman Chattanooga in 4 weeks

3 September 2018 Update – Beer at the Beach?
I am grateful to ALL my donors – Thank You! Last week a long time friend got me to the $6000 mark.  Then, over the weekend there were 2 donations that took me over the $8000 mark! I am so very appreciative to everyone. Currently we’re in 1stplace on the Ironman Chattanooga Team Challenge IronTeam, for now, and I hope to reach out to others to share the journey. I’d love for us to be the 1stplace fundraiser come race day! (online.ccfa.org/goto/skipslade )

Here’s the 12th training update. No obligation to read! Looking ahead, there are 4 weeks of training until Chattanooga and 11 until Arizona.

I haven’t mentioned it in a while but I’m currently on one antibiotic to treat my ulcerative colitis (pouchitis) symptoms. It has helped me be in a pretty good position health-wise, which has allowed me to train at maybe the highest level I ever have. I keep my fingers crossed because I know I’m sort of on the edge as my GI health moves very VERY slowly in the wrong direction. It in no significant way is impacting training but I know where I’m at with things and I need to constantly be aware. The past 2 Thursdays were slightly affected as I had no reasonable access to a bathroom on the 90 min bike/60+ min run. This caused an “inconvenience” when I had to force my GI system to back up. People with Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis have to worry about public bathroom availability much more than the average person out there. It goes with the territory.

The long run of 18.5 miles was late Sat. afternoon. After overeating at a not-so-great lunch, the run started out miserably. During the first few miles I was making all kinds of bargains with myself to just get some of it done. I thought I might not even get to the 6 mile mark! As the run progressed the bargaining stopped and I sucked it up and finished.  Admittedly it was much slower than it should have been but it actually got easier in the later miles.

Sunday was the long ride. I put in 119 miles in the saddle, followed by a 4 mile run. The ride started at 7am at home in Encinitas. I rode to the coast and headed north through Carlsbad. ½ way thru Carlsbad I felt something hit the back of my helmet. Then I saw a beer can roll on the ground. It turns out some passenger in a car driving by finished most of a beer (7:55am) and decided it would be hilarious to nail me with it. Fortunately it hit my helmet and fell harmlessly to the ground. No concussion, no injury, no bike damage, no crash. I was a little angry but also relieved to be in good shape. It was a Coors Light can. Ironically, Friday Corey (Son2) had been talking about that being my beer of choice way back when I drank. Due to my colitis I haven’t had a drink of alcohol since 1999. The ride continued into the hills, back to the coast, and up through Camp Pendleton and the San Onofre Nuc Plant. Back pain was nearly nonexistent. Thursday’s appointment with the physio and the resulting exercises have made a big difference. Hopefully that will continue.

“Heat preparation” continues for the possibility of a hot Chattanooga race. If the weather is mild, no harm done. Did 3 stints in the Sauna of at least 15 minutes. I’m build up to 30 or more minutes.

Here are the numbers for last week:

Weekly totals: 25hr 05min (not counting sauna time); 232.0 miles
Swim 4hr 06min – 13,418 yds (3 swims), longest: 4,318 yd
Bike 10hr 45min – 185 miles (3 rides), longest: 119 miles
Run 7hr 13min – 40.3 miles (3 runs + 2 brick runs), longest: 18.6 miles
Strength Training 3hr 01min
Body Wt. 156 lbs – plus or minus

Ironman Chattanooga in 5 wks

27 August 2018 Update

Here’s the 11th training update. No obligation to read! Looking ahead, there are 5 more weeks of training until Ironman Chattanooga!

Thank you to those who have sent kind words of encouragement! It was a heavy week of training and the fatigue is pretty heavy at this point. I’ve experienced this level of Ironman training fatigue many times so I’m not freaking out about anything. I know that I’m going slower too but that’s temporary. My tolerance of even small problems is low and my patience is lacking. On the other hand whenever I look in the mirror I’m amazed (yet again) what happens to my body when this much training is going on: lean/low body fat, defined muscles, veins popping. I can barely eat enough to fuel the training.

The injury to my hip flexor is essentially gone. I only missed a short 2 mile run last week. I’m still having issues with my back and psoas muscle. On the 116 mile long ride I decided to get a bee venom injection in my back. Unfortunately the little bugger stung my right butt cheek instead so it didn’t help my back one bit! Now I have a nice, puffy, itchy welt. My long run of 17+ miles was slower than I’d wanted. It was tough going but am happy to have gotten it in. 

This week I also began some heat preparation in case Chattanooga is hot like it was last year. I won’t do a lot of it until the final 3 weeks but I have returned to the sauna. 10 minutes 3 times last week. I’ll aim for 15 to 20 min each time this week. 

Thank you to all of you who have donated to my fundraising efforts as part of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s Team Challenge Iron Team. I am very close to the $6000 mark! If you ever want to add to it, the link is: online.ccfa.org/goto/skipslade 

This week’s totals: 24hr 47min (not counting sauna time); 241.0 miles
Swim 3hr 56min – 12,642 yds (3 swims), longest: 4,267 yd
Bike 11hr 32min – 196 miles (3 rides), longest: 116 miles
Run 6hr 39min – 37.8 miles (3 runs), longest: 17.5 miles
Strength Training 2hr 40min
Body Wt. 156 lbs