Tag Archives: weight

IMMT 2016 Training Update – February 29th 2016

I am now already a month into my official training for this seasons’ “A” race, Ironman Mont-Tremblant. My quest for a sub-12 hour Ironman last year at Coeur d’Alene left me a little high-and-dry, or more like HOT-and-dry, with DNF due to the 107(F) degree temps on race day. I am hoping Mother Nature will be a little more cooperative this year in Canada. I will also be hitting Ironman 70.3 Syracuse in June and probably a couple local tune-up races before that.

Snow Blizzard Jonas 2016
Blizzard Jonas 2016

This season I decided to go back to hiring a coach. After self-coaching the last two seasons, I felt I needed a bit of a change and a different perspective on what I have been doing. I have hired Todd Wiley, from Bucks County, PA. Todd has extensive coaching experience and was also a professional triathlete. I had met Todd last year through a strength training workshop he put on with my current strength coach, Fernando Paredes, at Fusion Fitness & Performance and also at a training camp he put on at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid last year.  I have met a number of other very successful triathletes who have been trained by Todd and having nothing but great things say about him. Several of these folks have even qualified for Kona under his guidance. Besides his experience,  Todd is a super nice guy and very easy to work with, which is so important in a coach-athlete relationship. And after working with Todd for the last 4 weeks I can definitely confirm that that is all true. I am definitely looking forward to some great outcomes in my events and also gaining some new coaching knowledge from him too.

Race weight? Not! So after having two vacations in two months(December & January), which I hope to post about soon, I started out my training season a bit on the heavy side. I didn’t hit the 2-bill club, but at the max was about 2 lbs shy of it at 198lbs. This is far-and-above my optimal 170-175 race weight for the season.  I definitely have my work cut out for me. So far I am already down about 10lbs after only 4 solid weeks of training. Progress in the right direction. Keeping tabs on my caloric intake, elimination of microbrew consumption and an increase in training load should bring everything under control well before my B race at Syracuse.

One thing I really like about Coach Todd is that he stresses the importance of strength training integrating it into my weekly training plan. I used to add it to my plan, but would frequently blow it off. Lately though, I have been realizing the importance of it and being accountable to someone else helps to make sure it gets done. I have a good feeling that it will make a huge difference in my results this season. I have been really consistent with it over the last six months and have developed a good foundation to start the season.

Swimming is starting to come around finally after taking 3 months off from the pool. I kind of felt taking that much time off was a mistake since it took me a month or so to get back to where I was prior. Now I finally starting to feel stronger again in the pool. Todd has been integrating some drill work too which has helped bring back some form to my technique.

2016-02-24 18.39.39

I have been spending a good amount of time on the bike trainer this season due to the weather. I did get out for a road ride a couple weeks ago and felt pretty strong out there. I think a lot of the pre-season work I did using TrainerRoad has laid a good foundation on the bike. My initial FTP test earlier this season was pretty low(~220’s), but my last one was up to 237. I am just starting to feel like I am outgrowing my power zones so I think the next test should put me back into the 250’s again.

I have also seen some recent progress in my running. Todd has kept most of my runs so far in the Zone 2 HR range and I am noticing my pace is increasing at the same heart rate. I also think that losing 10 lbs is a big help with that too. I usually do most of my mid-week work on my treadmill due to the lack of daylight and then get outside for my longer runs on Sunday. I definitely looking forward to the time change coming up so I can start breathing in some fresh again.

That’s about all for now. I have been slacking a bit on my blogging but definitely want to get back into the swing of things again. I have a couple posts waiting in the wings on our recent trips to Banff, Canada and Sedona, AZ during the off-season.

Happy Training!



Revisiting My Goals for the 2012 Season…

imageI thought it would be a good time to review my goals for this season as I approach my  “B” and “A” races for the year. Although most of the work is behind me now and there isn’t a whole lot of time to do anything about these now, it is always good to see how I have done with these.

  1. Run 9 min/mi or less pace for half-iron distance runs(8:30 for olympic dist). – I think I have definitely increased my run pace with a good loss of weight and an increase in speed/tempo runs. A recent 5k during 100 degree heat , on a course that I usually run fairly slow on, produced one of my faster 5k times. I also feel like my average LSD run pace has increased as well. One of the keys to this will be holding back a little on the bike leg, which I will get to in a latter goal. Looking at my long runs(> 8 miles) for 2011 vs. 2012, I had run 166 miles for 27:48 hours in 2011 resulting in a 10:02 avg pace overall and in 2012 I have run 145 miles for 23:33 hours for a 9:45 avg pace. This improvement in my slow runs will hopefully translate into an improvement in this discipline. Not sure if I can get to 9:00min/mi but anything under 10 I will be very happy about.
  2. Get down to 165 lbs. – As of this writing, I am weighing in at a solid 169.0 lbs. While not the 165lbs of my goal weight, 4 lbs away is a pretty successful attempt at getting there. I was weighing upwards of 197lbs back in January of 2012, so a 32lb weight loss in 7 months is nothing to sneeze at. So, I just saved 4 lbs to feed off of during the 6 hours I will be racing on September 9th.  One other positive improvement has come along with this weight loss : a extremely healthy diet. I have now transitioned to a primarily plant-based diet in the last 2.5 months and am feeling the benefits of it. Despite the loss of weight I feel really good overall, my performance is increasing and (knock on wood) no injuries.


  1. Consistent strength training and especially core work throughout the season. This goal still needs some work next season as I prepare for Ironman Lake Placid. I did increase my strength training and core work, but it still leaves much more to be desired.
  2. Maintain 20+ mph average speed for all races. This one is up for debate. One thing I realized as I gained more experience, is that I need to keep my bike effort in check in order to save my legs for a good run off the bike. This may mean conceding to ride over 20MPH and depending on the course that may not be attainable under normal conditions. I did do a good amount of quality bike efforts and hill repeats throughout the season, so I do feel like I improved as a cyclist. The IMLP Training Camp surely demonstrated this in my ability to easily do the full IMLP Bike Course in 7 hrs and still have good legs during a brick run afterwards. We will see how this turns out on race day.
  3. Decrease Transition times by 20%. – I have been practicing my T1 bike mounts and trying to get the whole rubber-banding of my shoes dialed in to eliminate any more bad mount experiences(Ironman Miami 70.3 and Independence Sprint Triathlon). Think I have found a good pair of sockless running shoes with the New Balance Minimus Zero’s and have got them outfitted with a pair of Yankz laces for a superfast T2. If the Independence Sprint Triathlon I did earlier in the season is an indicator of this goal, I think I can say I have easily met it with a T1 time of 53 secs and a T2 time of 1:03 min. That was with a wetsuit too.
  4. 2:00 min/100 yds pace or less for swims. I am feeling very confident in this goal as well. My pace for the .25 mile swim during the Independence Sprint Triathlon was ~1:27/100 yds given the time of 6:23. Additionally, the two 30 min swims I did during the Troy Jacobson IMLP Training Camp produced swim distances of just over a mile both times. The pace for these were 1:39/100yds and 1:38/100yds respectively. Far and below the 2:00 pace of my goal. Granted not all races will not be wetsuit swims and have a Mirror Lake surface with a rope running 4 ft below the surface, but I do have some leeway here.
  5. Dial-in on long course nutrition. The IMLP Training Camp really helped with this goal. The ability to do a 7 hour ride and come off the bike with fresh, non-cramping legs was proof of this. One big breakthrough was the learning of my need for salt supplementation from Troy Jacobson to eliminate cramping, especially during warmer weather events. I am a big sweater and there is always a nice coating of salt that comes along with that(which is why my dog enjoys licking my legs when I get home from a long run or ride). During the 7 hour ride in Lake Placid I was constantly nibbling on salty corn/flaxseed chips(natural Doritos) and hydrating with Skratch Labs Hydration mix, which has a higher than normal sodium, potassium, and magnesium content.
  6. Continue to Have Fun! I am definitely still having fun and am enjoying this journey, so I would say this goal is still “in the bag!”

My third Steelman Triathlon(1 sprint, 2nd Olympic) will be this weekend. Despite a changed bike course it should be a close “apples-to-apples” comparison to last year and further indication of whether I have successfully met these goals or not. Regardless of the outcome, Meeting that last goal is ultimately the one that matters to me the most, because when it all boils down nobody cares about what the times you got. It is all about enjoying the journey and constantly seeking to “Find Your Greatness.”

Equipment Failures

It has been a week of equipment failures this week. First off, the crankset on my QRoo Tri bike has come loose for the third time now and second my Swimsense watchband starting coming apart. Although this seemed to be a couple big annoyances, it could not happen at a better time and the outcomes appear to be heading in the right directions. More on that later. Training has been going very well. Weather has been unseasonably warm so getting some great opportunities to get outside and train. Weight loss is also still moving in the right direction. Still hoping to get down to 175 before our Italy trip in May.


Weather has been great and have been able to get out for some good runs and rides. The image on the left is a typical scene for me while riding in PA Amish country. The Amish buggy’s are always out in full-fource on the weekends. Sometimes it is nice to get behind on of these when you get a stiff headwind for a little break. I usually don’t stay there too long since they go pretty slow.  One thing that has put a damper on my cycling was my non-drive side crank arm has come loose AGAIN!! This is the 3rd time now and is just over a month since the last time the bike shop( Cycles BiKyle ) tightened up again. I immediately reached out to BiKyles’ and expressed my frustration. They did express their apologies for the inconvenience and that I should come down again for them to look at it. It is over an hour drive each way and it is getting real old, fast. Especially when they just tighten it up and send me on my way. I would not be able to get down there again until 2 weeks later. In the meantime, I have been speaking with some of the local bike mechanics to get their take on the situation. Performance Bike was very helpful, but didn’t have any knowledge about the issue occurring with others. John over at Sleeping Dog Pro Cycles in Topton, PA was familiar with the situation with the FSA Cranks but said it was several years ago and they had since resolved the issues. He urged me to reach out to FSA and search to see if there was a recall on the component. I had sent FSA an email from their website,IMG_0676 but directed to the Warranty dept. I decided to send another email after talking with John at SDPC but this time I directed it to Customer Service. I had a response from Chad at FSA within a half hour. He was really eager to get the resolved immediately and requested pictures of the components and questions as to where I got the bike. I ran home at lunch and snapped some images and forwarded them to FSA. I quickly got a call from Chad and he indicated that the crank arm and the bottom bracket were not compatible and the crank arm was an old component. Hmmm? He was wondering if the bike came from QRoo like that, but I didn’t know. I was wondering if I got some scavenged components or something. Chad then tried to contact Cycles BiKyle but neither the owner nor the head mechanic were available. He then decided to ship me the new parts directly. Now that is some customer service! Wished I would have contacted them myself earlier. BiKyles told me they contacted FSA the first time this happened, but FSA gave them “the typical corporate response”. Whatever that means. I am wondering if they even tried to contact them now. FSA is very eager to make things right from what I can see. So once the parts come in, I will make an appointment to get it replaced. I am thinking I may just pay John over at SDPC to install it since it is closer and I feel it will be done properly.

IMG_1013Equipment failure #2 was my Swimsense watch whose band started splitting right along the pin that holds the buckle. Looking at the watch I could see any easy was to replace the band, so I decided to put in a support case with Finis on the issue. Finis was very responsive as well, and requested some images of the problem. They they forwarded me a RMA# and label to send the watch back for replacement. I didn’t think I could deal with the loss of a watch to count my swim laps, so I decided to pull the trigger on a new Garmin 910xt watchIMG_1020. I had been planning on getting one before Italy anyway, so this kind of expedited the need. This watch will log pool and open water swims along with my biking and running. One watch for everything will be nice. Being able to track my open water swims at Dutch Springs will be nice too. I will probably go back to using the Swimsense in the pool since it automatically detects rest intervals which is a nice feature.  Screen Shot 2012-04-16 at 9.32.31 PM

Training has been progressing well. 2 weeks ago I had 8.5 hours in and this past week was about 10.5. I was feeling it a bit today so decided to give myself a rest day. I really don’t want to overdo it now, since I will start ramping up after vacation. I am starting to see my run pace increasing without a change in HR due to the loss of weight. I think being in the low 170’s will be an optimum range for competing. Hopefully by next post, equipment will be back to normal again. This week will be another higher volume week and then next week I will back off a bit for recovery. Hoping to get to the track this week and do some speed work. Flyers are kicking some Penguin-butt(3-0) so hopefully they knock them off quickly. Fun series to watch…lots of fighting. Until next time.

Taxes and an Early Spring

Trees are blooming in mid-MarchThe mid-March weather in the Northeast has been crazy warm. Not just a few days, but rather consistent. The trees and flowers are a bloomin’, so hopefully it doesn’t freeze again are we may have some problems this year. It has been awhile since I have posted anything and every day I am out training I think about how I need to start documenting my progress this year. So tonight my procrastination to do my taxes has motivated me to post something finally. I poured myself a leftover Murphy’s stout and am gonna type away until it is gone.


Small sheep farm I pass in Fleetwood, PATraining has been progressing quite nicely. I am up to ~8 hrs a week right now and am feeling pretty good. Got in some long bike rides and runs on the weekend as well as some shorter, quality work during the week. It is so nice to be out on the road again with the bike. Last Sunday I pulled a calf(gastroc) going up the steep hill by bridal path, but fortunately it wasn’t bad enough to shut me down. I still got around ~7.5 miles in. I thought I may have to layoff it a bit, but I ran twice more this week and it felt fine. Even did 8.5 tonight(Thurs) which is a lot for a weeknight in the off season. I actually forgot to start my Garmin until after the first lap around Rodale(Fitness Park) and then I totally forgot about that first mile until I got to the car. Any here is my current training volumes so far this season.

Total time

Dieting has been slow and steady. I have lost a total of ~10lbs so far since Jan 1 2012, which is about > 3lbs a month. It seems like the older you get the harder it is to drop weight. I had to lower my daily calorie target to 1500 from 1700 to really start seeing some movement. The change is very gradual which I guess is good. I am starting to feel the difference, especially running, without that extra 10lbs dragging my ass. Another 10 would be perfect. The Livestrong Daily Plate is so awesome, it is really the only way for me to hold myself accountable for my intake. The graph below shows my progress. The big spike was from my week vacation in Lake Placid. Typically, when it snows like normal, I get a lot of exercise up there. This year we got hardly any snow, so it became and eat and drink fest. Hence the 7.5 lb setback. That sucked! Although it was still a nice vacation.

Screen Shot 2012-03-22 at 10.31.35 PM

I am hoping to get down to around 170-175 by May. We are heading to the Amalfi Coast in Italy to do some hiking there. Although we will be doing a lot of hiking there will still be pasta, pizza and wine waiting for us at the trailheads, so I may need a little buffer.

Upcoming Events 

I have a little sprint triathlon called the Independence Triathlon coming up in June. This will be a little tune-up race to get back in the swing of things after vacation. I had a credit for a free race and that was the only thing I could fit in.

I am also doing the Troy Jacobson(from Spinervals fame) Lake Placid Tri camp in June which I am really looking forward to. Should be a good measuring stick for my full Ironman experience.

In July I will be volunteering for Ironman Lake Placid at Run Stop #4 on River Rd. Should be nice since we stay there. I think this is really going to pump me up for the “big show” next year. Volunteers usually get some preference to the following years’ registration so hopefully I can get in. IMLP sold out pretty quickly this year. I just saw Timberman was offering qualifying slots from IMLP this year. Crazy!

Steelman Olympic will be in August again, which is usually my yardstick for the big race of the year, which this year is Ironman Muskoka 70.3 .

I hope to get some posts out on some recent gear issues, additions, and subtractions. So stay tuned.

A Good Start…


Last week I decided to start using the TheDailyPlate on LiveStrong.com since I was not getting anywhere losing weight and I have had good success with this tool in the past. It can be a nuisance tracking everything you eat, but this web site makes it pretty easy especially if you eat the same things most of the time. The food database has pretty much everything in it, but if you can’t find something you can add things to it provided you have the nutrition information. So after a week of tracking food and exercise, while keeping my calorie balance under ~1800 calories, I have lost 5 lbs.

5 lbs in a week seems much, but usually the first week or two of a diet can be have a significant loss. This is usually do to water loss. One thing that is probably helping is that I have not really decreased my training load. If I keep my calories down over the weekend, which is usually the toughest, and keep my long bike and run I should really see a drop by Monday. It is pretty motivating to see such a loss this first week and I hope it will be the kick to get me going.

Snow is forecast for tomorrow morning, so looks like another long day in the basement on the trainer.  Probably looking at doing the Troy Jacobson Lake Placid IM ride DVD. I also signed up Troy’s Lake Placid Triathlon Training Camp in June 2012. The camp is pretty inexpensive and will provide a good taste of the IMLP course and what I can expect next year. My coach also highly recommended it.

I also registered for the Independence Triathlon at Lake Nockamixon on June 3rd. It is less than a sprint at .25mi swim/10mi bike/2mi run, but it will be a good little training race. I had a free coupon code from Piranha Sports due to the last-minute cancellation of the bike course at the Patriot’s Triathlon in Bath last year that I needed to use before Jan 25th. They aren’t having the Patriot race this year so this was the only really local race I could choose from whose date worked for me. I like racing at Nockamixon so it should be fine.

‘til next time…

Back in the Saddle Again…

I had finally completed my 2-week recovery and was back in the pool this past week. It felt good to swim again because I felt like something was missing. I started up the strength training with specific focus on core work. I can really feel that this area is lacking with all the soreness. Did some shorter speed work on the track at my works’ fitness center. The track is pretty small, but still better than the treadmill. With the days getting so short, it is hard to get outside anymore. I was able to get a 2 hour bike ride on Saturday and then a 40 min “fasting” run on Sunday.

Strength Workout

Lat Pulldowns 1×14-16
Squats 2×16-20
Pushups 1×25 or failure
Calve Raises 1×20
Triceps Extensions 1×16
Dumbell/Hammer curls 1×16
Step-ups 1×20 each leg
Plank 1x30sec
Side Planks 1x20sec per side

I am trying to follow Matt Fitzgeralds’ Racing Weight Quick Start program for getting down to my “racing weight.” One of the things he recommends is a fasting workout where you do an endurance workout on an empty stomach.  My run went fairly well but I was really tired the rest of the day. Not sure if it was from that or if it was just playing hockey or the workouts earlier in the week.

On Thursday I played my first ice hockey game of the season. My team had played about 6 games already, so I was a little behind the there. I played defense for 2/3 of the game which I thought would ease the transition a bit, but the next morning I felt like I was hit by a Mack truck. Saturday and Sunday were even worse. It is hard to believe that I can get that sore after being in triathlon shape, but hockey is just so different. I think it is good cross-training for the winter and really develops some explosive leg power. I can really feel it when I get on the bike. My legs feel powerful for the first hour of a ride. We also won our hockey game 7-2, so that is off to a good start.

Diet-wise things are not going anywhere fast. I am actually up three pounds despite keeping my caloric intake around 2500 calories. I may have to drop down to 2000/day if things don’t start moving. During the week I do see some progress, but the weekends seem to creep back again. This is surprising since I usually get more exercise in to counteract that.

Next week is Thanksgiving so a short week of work will be nice. Hopefully the weather will be good to get out for some rides and runs during the day.