04/22/15

reflecting on 70.3 NOLA

Every race has lessons to learn from it.  Some have more than others… those tend to be ones that go horribly wrong that have more obvious lessons to learn.  However, even on races that go well I think that if one reflects on the race long enough, areas for improvement can be found… even if you won that race.

I obviously didn’t win 70.3 NOLA last weekend, but I felt like I had a great race. Squeezing in a top 10 finish with some big names on the start line such as Andy Potts, Matt Charbot, Eric Limkemann, Ben Hoffman, and Trevor Wuertel to name a few.  I had a short conversation with my coach after the race, thanking him for this help and expressing my satisfaction with the race.  He told me to think about the race and get back to him with 3 areas that went well, 3 areas for improvement, and if anything in the race made a light bulb turn on.  Here is what I came up with:

 

1.  Nutrition – I felt my nutrition, hydration, and electrolyte replacement was spot on.  I never felt weak.  At times I felt like I was loosing steam, but would know to take a shot of NAPALM (on the bike) or some coke (on the run).  With the exception of 1 gel on the bike course and a few shots of Coke on the run course, all my nutrition came from Infinit Nutrition. I absolutely love their product. I have never had any GI issues with their product and it works. Every time!use coupon code MAVERICK at checkout to save 10% on Infinit products.
2.  Bike pacing – I felt my pacing was pretty even.  It wasn’t until about mile 40 when Chris McDonald caught back up to me (I rode solo the entire ride prior to that) that I was able to work with anyone. At that point the wind was so strong, evn sitting 12 meters back was a big difference in power. I would guess 50-60 watts difference.  That’s why my average the last 45 minutes or so was much less. – I love my Rotor power meter and Q-rings.  Pacing is so important in longer races and a power meter makes it much easier to gauge my effort.
3. Run – I felt strong and smooth the entire run.  My attitude was 100% positive the entire race.  I did feel like I had another gear from a breathing/heart rate standpoint, but when I tried to kick it into gear around mile 3 (a huge hill/bridge at the beginning of mile 2 took me a mile or so to find a rhythm after that) i just didn’t have the snap in my legs to get the pace to quicken.  Other than that, the run was great.  I passed 6 or so people with authority.  So fast they didn’t even try to match my pace.
Things that I could improve on:
1. Swim – I’ll try to make this brief.  The water was warmer than what the “official race temperature” was.  I swam in my full-sleeve wetsuit in the same water temp on friday and was burning up.  Even swimming easy I felt like I was going to over heat.  On Saturday, I used my swim skin and was very comfortable in the water.  I decided to use the swimskin on race day knowing from previous experience if I over heat in the swim my bike leg often is embarrassingly slow.  At the start of swim, I got caught in the mix with some of the slower swimmers. I was right in the middle and couldn’t get out to catch the guys I know I can get out of the water with that ended up being about 1:45 ahead.  That group consisted of Trevor Wuertel, AJ Baucco, and Ben Hoffman. I was out with Hoffman and Wuertel last year in this race, out with AJ in San Juan.  Maybe part of the reason was they were using wetsuits??  Not sure.  But one the athletes I coach sent me an email with a good idea on what to do next time the water may be too warm for me to use a wetsuit, but still wetsuit legal – wear my Blueseventy Core shorts over the swim skin.  They give you middle body/hip bouncy but without covering my whole body and cooking myself before the race starts.  I think I will do this in the future. - Use code MAVMIKE to save 20% on your next Blueseventy order.
2. Run – as mentioned in the “the things that went well” I felt like I had another gear on the run from a cardiovascular standpoint, but didn’t have the snap in my legs on that day to knock down the pace an extra 10-15 seconds per mile.
3. I really can’t think of a third thing that could have been improved on for the race.  I really think it boiled down to the swim.  If I were able to get out with the pack I know I can swim with (Weurtel, Hoffman, and Baucco), I would have had the advantage of a group to pace with the entire bike leg (or at least more of the bike leg).  I spoke with Eric Limkemann after the race and his wattages were similar to mine, but since he was in a group he was moving faster.  So if I did manage to get a group for the bike leg, I’m still not 100% certain I would have been able to out run Hoffman and the 6th place guy to claim the final position getting paid, but would have definitely been at least 7th.
Light bulb of the race – suggestion to use the core shorts.  I think that is a great solution to me just getting hot in wetsuits really easily.
I also received a really cool/nice message from Alex Bok (manager of TBB back in the day). I met him at the Maverick Multisport Pre-season camp in January this year:
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04/13/15
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BSX Insight Bike Test 1

Just a few days ago, I received the highly anticipated BSX Insight device (Multisport unit).  I had originally thought about waiting until after 70.3 NOLA to do a bike test, but after a quick conversation with my coach, Brian Grasky (a USAT level 3 coach), we both decided we were too curious to wait.  This device is the world’s first wearable lactate threshold device.  What does that mean?  No more blood draws/finger pricks.  We both knew that I would go into this test being fatigued since I had done a big race simulation on Friday morning, a hard swim set Friday afternoon, and a 6.5 hour training day on Saturday.  We figured the results may run a little low, but at least put us in the ball park of what the actual result would be.  Based on my high levels of fatigue, we figured the test would read about 10 watts lower.  See chart below (a TSB less than -20 indicates high level of fatigue):
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To get started, you need to pair your BSX Insight Device with your phone.  Simply turn on the bluetooth on your phone and follow the prompts to pair the device.  My phone found the BSX device in just a matter of a few seconds.

Secondly, you have a series of questions that it asks that you need to answer to the best of your ability to get the test protocol set up correctly.Screenshot_2015-04-12-12-26-04

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Next, for the bike test, the BSX device needs to pair with your power meter and heart rate monitor.  My HR monitor synced with my BSX device almost instantly, and the power meter took about 10-15 seconds.  Once that is done you get a little tutorial of how the test will be run and you are on your way to the pain cave.

The test starts out extremely easy and ramps up every 3 minutes until failure.  My test lasted a little over 33 minutes (not counting my own little warm up and cool down), which is about perfect.  I made it about 30 seconds into the 420 watt phase and then cracked.  This is a huge improvement for me from when I first demoed the product at the Maverick Multisport Pre-season camp in January where I only got 10-15 seconds into the 400 watt step.

Once I stopped the test, the BSX app went to work and came up with the results:

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This is about what I was expecting based on my level of fatigue making the results a bit lower.  This is the second time I’ve used the device and both times it was very accurate.  The first time, as mentioned above, was at the Maverick Pre-season camp when I was well rested.  My coach and I knew going into the test that my FTP was between 345 and 350 watts.  The results for that test was 345.

As a reminder, Brian (my coach) and I thought that my level of fatigue would lower the results by about 10 watts.  My latest 20 minute critical power test (CP20 test) was 380 watts.  By taking 95% of that 20 minute power test, that puts my FTP at 361 watts… putting the BSX on target for this test.

Overall, I like doing the step test better because it takes out the guess work needed in pacing as hard as you can go for the CP20 test.  No more starting out too fast and not getting accurate results because of not being able to complete the 20 minute critical power test.  It also works well for people who may not push themselves hard enough in a 20 minute critical power test.

Want one of you own?? Use MAVMIKE at checkout to save $40 on the multisport unit and #stopthepricks!

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04/9/15

BSX Insight unboxing

Today was a great day… just two days after my birthday I recieved the world’s first wearable lactate threshold unit, the BSX Insight.  I am extremely excited to get this device in my hands because it will revolutionize the way I train.  It will also help my coach, Brian Grasky, coach me even more effectively from Tucson, AZ.  If you are serious cyclist, runner, or triathlete the BSX Insight is invaluable when it comes to being able to find your zones without going to a lab and getting your finger pricked.  If you decide to order the multisport unit, use MAVMIKE to save $40 on your device.  I will upload my first trial run of it shortly.

03/16/15
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Puerto Rico 70.3 Race Report with Live Race Footage

Yesterday I completed the Puerto Rico 70.3 for the first time.  I felt strong and confident going into the race.  I had seen big improvements in all three disciplines since last season and was excited to see how that translated on race day.  Below is a quick recap in video of the race with REAL RACE FOOTAGE!  I talk about my race and some highlights on the course.  Overall, the numbers were good, but with a mechanical problem on the bike, my time was much slower that I was hoping for.  Good news is the fitness is there and I’ll be smarter and have the issue resolved on my bike for NOLA 70.3 on April 19th.

If you have thoughts on this video… good, bad, or otherwise, please let me know.  Or some suggestions on how to do these in the future.  I thought that people would like these since race coverage for triathlon is well… basically non-existent.  And usually by the time a big race makes it on TV, it is literally months later.  This isn’t a cinematic production, but I hope you enjoy it and can learn a few things about the race and the course if you ever do San Juan 70.3.

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03/7/15

Anthem 5K 2015

First video race report.  Kind of a test run (no pun intended) for some other things I want to do in the future.  Watch the video of the Anthem 5K located in Louisville, Ky.  It’s the first leg of the Triple Crown of Running!

02/25/15
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Cobb Cycling Saddle

Let’s face it… Americans find themselves sitting more times than not, right? In fact, as I write this, I’m sitting on a chair at the dinning room table.  When my wife and I first bought these chairs, they didn’t have cushions on them.  They functioned okay and holding us while we sat, but they weren’t comfortable, so we added some seat cushions and now our rears are much happier while sitting eating meals!

I’ve also owned/sat in several different chairs, couches, Lazy Boys, etc. and some of them I just don’t care for, or fixed them to make them more comfortable for sitting and relaxing.  Another thing I’ve spent a lot of time sitting on is my bike saddle.  I’ve been riding bikes and racing triathlons since I was a teenager.  The first bike I got had some cheap saddle on it that functioned (giving me a place to sit on the bike) but it wasn’t comfortable.  After about 15 or 20 miles my rear wasn’t happy.  At the time, I figured that was just part of riding a bike.  Saddle soreness and other things that probably shouldn’t be posted on a blog!

I then moved on a triathlon specific saddle by Selle Italia.  It was better but the issue of saddle sores and other unmentionable things still happened, albeit much less.  The next bike I purchased had a Fizik saddle on it.  In my opinion, I took a step back as far as comfort. But again, I figured it was just part of the sport.  I had a hard time staying in the aerobars due to the discomfort.  Finally, I had the revolutionary idea of finding a saddle that worked for me and was comfortable.  I discovered the John Cobb V-Flow Plus and have been riding it for several years (probably about 4 year now).  I have never… no exaggeration… never… had a problem with it.  It was comfortable from day one and due to the memory foam in the saddle, it only got better.  One thing I learned about these saddles recently during the Maverick Multisport Preseason camp is that the saddles that Cobb designs have a naturally swirling air pocket that forms under the saddle that basically acts as an air conditioner to keep your under area nice and dry (which keeps the skin from breaking down).

So… if you’re riding a saddle that doesn’t feel well, I encourage you to make the switch to a Cobb Saddle.  They have a guide on their website to help you find the best saddle for you.  Just like the chair I am sitting on wasn’t comfortable and I found a solution for it, there is a solution for your saddle not being comfortable.  If you’re not comfortable, how can you be fast?

If you are interested in purchasing one, email me at mike.s.hermanson@gmail.com and request a coupon code for 5% off and free shipping.

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