Category Archives: Race
End of last year my enthusiasm was on a high for Triathlon. Yet it is like always… I am a man. And I met a lady. Not some lady. THE lady I met. I met a lady and knew: “that’s her”. And told myself: “You are stupid if you let her go!”. Well I was smart: I did not let her go, but married her 🙂
Then again: it really was (and is) a life changing experience. Except for triathlon this was baaad. Like really bad. Not because she stopped me to workout and train, but because we needed time together and most other things lost their importance drastically. Couple that with a drastic change in business life and you get an idea on how the priority of sports dropped for me slowly.
Yet I trained all the time, but not as much.
Then race season approached and I was happy to race. For that I put my Neo on for my first open water test swim and… mind-boggling catastrophe. I trained swimming a lot beforehand, improved technique drastically (or so I thought), sometimes swimming 5 times a week (despite my other changes). But when I was open water swimming, I could not even swim freestyle for 200m in a row. How should I do 1,500m+ ? Even worse: considering my training, this was a real shock to me. And so,… I slowly dropped training completely…
The times I trained, I trained together with my wife, sorts of being “her personal trainer”. And I loved it. She wasn’t swimming for like 10 years. But with me she went swimming almost regularly. Not because she wanted to do me a favor, but instead I realized she really enjoyed it – I was able to make it enjoyable for her. You can barely imagine the fun, joy and laughing along the way.
So I slowly dropped all races and did where I felt good and where there was and is a lot to do: business life and private life.
Unfortunately (or luckily?) the Triathlon-fever was still burning. And so I also started Triathlon-projects in my Marketing consultancy. As a matter of fact I started to support several race organizers and… suddenly also an athlete. Patrick Lange his name. Let me tell you: this was and is great fun! Doing my work in a field I love most. When I first had contact with the option to support him,… by then I did a lot of research. As a result it turned out, that Patrick has huge potential. I compared numbers of successful athletes in the past to top athletes of that time. Then I did the same with Patrick and compared his numbers (races, race times, age, weight, history,…) with top athletes of today. As a matter of fact: that guy has it. And so… we work together and a friendship grew. Yet Patrick would not be Patrick, if I he would not push others. And so the time came, that I suddenly did my first run again…
Where that leads to? I don’t want to tell – this time just do. but I will write those steps down, like I did in the past
It happened: I went out for my run. So I went on and… as promised had a look at Challenge Roth swim exit…
Ok, maybe too cold for Challenge right now… then again here we have the bike transition zone:
So on I ran towards the area of Rothsee Triathlon Festival. Rothsee is still covered with thin ice – almost looks like my cold experience on the sprint race last year.
Looking straight forward I look at the bike transition of the Olympic distance race and along the run course:
Returning back to Hilpoltstein I had some interesting talks, met Coach Ralf and his wife afterwards and had a chat with Claudi in the “Zwinger” – if you ever come to Challenge Roth: go there for dinner, have a beer and tell her, where you learnt about her.
And for the Americans looking for medieval flair:
Or some seats for guests:
After all I had nothing to eat today and so I made sure to leave fully sated. Anyway my training today hurt me, but I am happy I finished it nonetheless. What a grand day.
The short answer is: No.
Actually Coach Ralf expected me to do some. Then Coach Ralf saw my “off-season” training diary and asked me about my sanity in regards to – rest. The current plan is: either I need rest this year and tell my Coach or… we go on this way (hardcore) until my first IM distance race. I prefer the latter one but I still complain about my training. Without joking now: this training hurts, yet I feel the positive impact and I feel as if I am running out of time already.
My assortment of wristbands tells everything by now:
It is exactly the way I am living by now: professionally and in private.
No specific rest except rest according training schedule. Mind-wise I am already on the starting line in Frankfurt at Ironman 2012 (every night when I am dreaming).
More and more people approach me, telling me on how inspiring they consider my discipline. They ask me how I do it to never stop. How I can go on. Of course my ego likes those questions, but…
The truth is: after last race I trained a lot but I didn’t care on my eating and when I returned home last Saturday I had to realize that I gained weight 5kg (=10lbs). Yikes! Of course I did not like to post about it, instead… I had to lose it asap – keep in mind that in my weight class 5kg is like 3% that is like 2-2.5kg (5 lbs.) for a 75kg (150 lbs.) person . Yet my discipline paid off: Since today in the morning am again at my last race weight and lost those 5kg within 7 days. Lucky me – training pays off and I am very proud :).
So the truth is: I am only human too.
The difference to some people is merely: when I realize such and think about racing in Triathlon I panick and can push myself to extremes at once – every single time. But believe me: only human, sometimes with too much ego, which also pushes me. Actually more things did not go according plan:
- Preparation: I am preparing for next year with a lot of ideas to make it perfect – a lot of secrets I won’t share yet 🙂 – but a great surprise to all involved if some work out. Next year won’t be perfect, but it is fair that I try to make it. One part of this did not go too well yesterday, much more difficult than anticipated for my ideas.
- Swimming yesterday: I thought I feel good, yet yesterday’s swim unit with Coach X was… futile. My worst training – probably ever. I tried to do everything right, thought about my last units and instead I had to stop each time. I was close to shout, become angry and cry – all at once. Nothing went according plan. To top it off, when Coach X left, a woman approached me: “That is nice – did you just learn freestyle?” – ok, I thought I need to cry for real. Yet she topped it off: “Do not lose your fun in doing so – you seem so… dedicated – too dedicated to keep your fun.” One may argue about her first statement, but the second hit me really deep since there was truth to it. A lot. Too much truth. I so want to, that I start to lose my fun – this is dangerous it could stop me cold.
- Running yesterday: So I had that swimming experience, felt frustrated, was angry and so I went running later on. I did not expect much, I just wanted to lose my anger. Instead I had my best run – ever. Due to a neighbour talking when I had left, I forgot to continue taking the time. Yet if my estimations are close to correct, then I was definitely below 6min/km – easily. Yet I don’t know for sure. What happened? I somehow could run, not jogging, but controlled running. Paired with my anger and frustration this apparently worked well.
- Weigh-In today: So with all that stuff from yesterday I was for my weigh-in today, since I got a scale here in Bad Homburg. My whole excess weight is gone – I am back to my last race weight already.
Bottom line: good and bad news are bathing me hot and cold.
Nothing special, but only human with one exception to most people: I have a dream and I am willing to pursue it, no matter how unrealistic or far away. Sometimes it really seems that only the road leading there counts – not necessarily achieving the goal.
Nuff said – just read Scott Ransom’s part on preparing for Kona and I am shocked in awe for the sheer dedication.
Read more here.
Somehow… somehow I still can not stop training, it is never enough. Today I was lazy – I only offered a spinning instructor lesson of 1.5 hours. Since I am instructor I refrained from more training today for myself: I had told my people that today would be exhausting. Their comment?
“Today`s spinning unit with you (me) times four = Challenge Roth.”
I loved that statement… (Mark me that statement was by people who know exactly about Duathlon/Triathlon and Challenge Roth).
Spinning the American way
To my American readers: I “adjusted” my spinning lesson. How? You might recall the Magnet Nike add:
By now I found the complete song by Fisher:
That song has an interesting power for riding a bike and so I use it for the beginning of a spinning unit as well as for the end. My people now know when it gets serious and when to calm down. Somehow, somehow this song is a tribute to my American readers – a short moment in my spinning lesson, where I think about you reading my blog and where I smile: Beth, Shonnie, Christi, Scott, Mike and many,many more. When that song plays, you are somehow there in the spinning lesson for a brief moment.
Thank you for taking the ride with me – in times where work overload stops me from posting and in times where I can not stop posting several times daily. Posting about my addiction: Triathlon.
To those who like to know: here an idea on how spinning can be like – actually the style in the link is somehow similar to how I do it:
I am still around Roth, work does not allow me to go home right now. Still I am feeling good down here. The only thing I miss? My TT-bike I miss, so I increased the amount of spinning units drastically to stay fit on the bike (3-4 times spinning a week + Mountain bike training apart from daily running and swimming). Yes, I still enjoy my workouts. As soon as Coach Ralf is back in action I will try to turn this amount I have now into my regeneration training amount. Right now I do not try to figure out, what that might mean for next month Triathlon training…
Running is a blast – it improves daily now. Some days I am out running up to two times a day. Last run (yesterday) hit me at 6:19 min/km. So I am about 2-4 weeks away from my “long-term” goal of being below 6:00 min/km. Considering my weight-loss, I am sure to get below 5:00 min/km this year. Finally I get to interesting times – yes, I am happy about it.
I got my fight with my wager. Not with my partner I had the wager with, but with the Triathlon club responsible for races and rules. It seems there will be a funny twist to this story. I am still laughing on what is going on and will tell you all about it here once I sent my next letter.
Seems as well as if I will translate the whole correspondence and everything around so you get the drift on what is going on. A small hint: today I learned that a soft breeze of app. 3 miles/hour is actually a gruesome storm, which makes buoys drift apart in mere seconds on a secluded area of a lake covered by tress all around. This of course is the reason for the longer swim course. Yes seriously! I call it: the Frankfurt Triathlon swimming mind storm! (Really stormy that stormy storm is.)
And just because people are less… stringent on the truth on my complaint I started to verify each and every statement by officially available and confirmed data. Seriously – they try to pull my leg. This is exactly the point, where people get me started. I am all in for an honest statement: “Hey, something was wrong!”, “We work on that!”,… A statement like that and I am ok. No need to be the troublemaker for serious and honest people. But pulling my leg and trying to make me shut up by means of… “bending the truth” is plain not wise – promised!
I love this sport and will not allow anyone to spoil it for me this way.
I am ok and kicking still – more than ever. IM Frankfurt casts its shadow and I am already anticipating it, knowing it is close already – much closer than it sounds with 310 days to go…
So what happened since Frankfurt City Triathlon?
Considering my plans, I am really burning for 2012 already. Coach said I can do base endurance units. I added the part of: only units I have fun with 🙂
So I succumb to my need to move (it really exists no kidding):
- running almost daily – had my fastest run split today – ever.
- spinning – I am needed as instructor and I gladly do since I love being spinning instructor.
- muscle fitness training – I have a specific training for my swimming muscles to improve strength for swimming, improving my power and endurance.
- Frankfurt City Triathlon – I decided I am not willing to live with the result. I asked the sports jury, outlined my issues and complaints and requested a final sports decision as well.
Seriously: I payed for an olympic distance under rules of the responsible Triathlon division. There were referees as well – I consider it my minimum right to ask for a correct race under existing rules. No matter how I look at it: were the race 1500 m swim or 40 km bike I would have won my wager. Were both at 1500 m swim and 40km bike I would be below to 2:55:00 finish time. Anyways I looked up the rules and checked it all: to me it is definite – this was not an olympic distance. I got a lot of people who by now confirm this – including Pro Triathletes. *grrrr*
There will be a decision about Frankfurt City Triathlon within this month. I am curious – let us see what the sports jury tells.
I am still upset about my pictures and my belly (those are actually the first pictures I willingly look at). 49 kg to go…. (was 50 kg two days ago).
Warning: uncensored pictures of a fatsmoker2ironman ahead. Up to now I refrained from posting current pictures, which do not show me in a positive way or… blurring my posture. By now that changed…
The race I finished in 3:07:17. I am not satisfied at all. Meaning I have to learn my very own lesson out of it. Overall I enjoyed and loved the experience. The race as such offers great highs on the race tracks but also real lows in organization and exception handling.
It all started the day before race, when a club mate arrived. Of course there was an issue – he had to leave his TT-helmet at home, since it had a rip. So we had to get another one for him. Guess what? It was an odyssey. Even at Rothsee Triathlon it is dead-easy to get all the gear you need, even on race day. At this race… tiny exhibition, almost nothing to sell. Weird – neither of us expected that. Race meeting we also learned that neoprene suits will be prohibited due to water temperature. Yeaaaah! Me without my “Raelert”-blessed wetsuit…
Afterwards we went off to the lake for checking, where there should be another bike-equipment reseller to supply what my club mate needs – a TT-helmet… Of course nothing in stock, but the owner promised to bring one tomorrow before second check-in closes. So we persuaded the referee to let us in anyways, even though my comrade only brought his bike without helmet.
None expected it, but… we were allowed to check-in without helmet…
To top it off, it started to rain, so I took my bike shoes back home to have dinner and go for a sleep. I slept, but I did not sleep well.
Race day early morning – rain was hammering outside. Seriously? Swimming the whole course – making it a pure swim competition?
On our way to the lake the rain slowly faded according weather forecast and it was obvious that the streets will be drying during race, maybe already dry even by then. Onsite it was confirmed – no wetsuit. To me it struck me cold. Simply since I still got my issues of low legs in the water. Whenever using my wetsuit it was fixed perfectly, also I have a special way to close my wetsuit which further supports my swimming.
My wetsuit taken away, cold outside I saw the swim course and my heart dropped low. Forget about mental strength – this one did it for me. Since I trained in that lake I knew perfectly well, that my training distance in the lake was less than this swim course. I cursed at myself for having chosen an apparently too short swim course in training (read further below).
Swim start approached fast.
So here we go – the first full body picture I dare post in the most compromising posture. Well I calm myself by telling me: it was much worse weeks or months ago. Some minutes before start I took a sports bar, so I would have energy when hitting the road by bike.
With my slight discouragement I started swimming warm up – killer. I did not like to swim, I hated it. I did not want to warm up swimming and hearing there will be the start soon, I was happy to be told to return to start zone. But why? I knew I need 500+ m to warm up swimming. I did not even do 200m. Everything I knew of what I need in warm-up I made wrong because… I was still upset for swimming without the wetsuit and the distance. My mind played tricks on me. In fact: I swim my best times on distance when I warmed up with 1,000 – 1,300 m as warm up. No kidding. So 200m was… stupid.
Start itself was grand:
- I positioned myself well to the side, so I could approach the buoys directly, while staying outside the starting brawl. It was obvious it is some more but those approximately 10 m more were well worth the benefit of starting calm.
- I started calm, stayed out of most of the brawl and found some to swim in their “water trail”. They were too slow.
- I went out of my frontman’s water trail and looked for another – there was none. Most of the group drifted too far to the side, away from the buoy. Not me – I chose the straight bee line to the buoy.
- I felt somehow cold, weird, lack of breath (which is my mind) and sooner than later I started breast stroke. FFS! I trained that, I have the muscles, I can easily swim 3,000m now, but… not this day. 4-6 strokes and back to freestyle.
- No matter what I did, always breast stroke phases. I enjoyed every reason to switch to breast stroke: someone slower in front of me, orientation, breath,.. I found ample reason.
- I finished swimming in… 39:40, which was far worse than I ever deemed possible for 1,500m (more about that later since I was right).
Since I got my watch I knew my time and full of anger I ran onward for my bike to hit the road.
My swim to bike transition was 4:17, which was below average but ok considering the length of this transition zone.
On my bike the whole world changed to the better.I needed far too long to put my shoes on, still I got it done. Except that “person”, who believed he is faster than me? Faster than me? You gotta be kidding me pal!
So I hit my bike for some serious bike riding. Being on the bike made me feel at home, realizing I pass all others and none passes me,… it made me feel hyped and I concentrated on my breath, harder than in training but not too hard. Also I made sure to hit my first gel pack asap. As expected the race course was made for me – slightly downhill, even pavement – a hardcore aero position freaks dream. My dream. I never left aero position except 4 times on a hard bending. On anything else, be it uphill or downhill, I remained in aero position and hit the pedal as hard as I could.
Soon enough I realized I had passed most of my start group and most of the women’s start group before us. That is, when people started to tell me stuff on the race course: “OMG don’t break your pedal.”, “Seriously you hit your bike damn hard.”, “How do you do that?”,.. Believe it or not, I needed time to realize that people on the side and the others racing really meant me, simply since I was quite fast. Only 2 (!!!) passed me, some tried to pass me, but gave up. All others were passed by me including my club mate who had started with me.
Really impressive was a chat with someone on the race track on a decent bike who had the same first name: Martin. It was obvious, that he knew his stuff and was well-trained. He passed me, after some chit-chat, so did I pass him later on, but I realized I spend too much endurance keeping up, if I don’t let him pass. I had to let him go.
Well at the end of my bike course I gently slowed down to be fit for the run and took my third gel pack. That is exactly when my club mate passed me. Seems he had some bike legs in the end to catch me again. So we hit transition zone 2 together.
I direly missed a rear disc wheel and had issues with my gears on my Shimano Utegra. In a race you realize the differences heavily. Sometimes I needed 3 attempts to shift my front blade, some rear gears didn’t drop in at all (I knew it, yet in a race you also feel it). All this took time and stopped me from serious acceleration after break phases. My bike time: 1:11:27, which is a 37,79 km/h average speed. Or 23.48 miles/h average.
Transition went well and so I hit the road running. Running… hurt. Yet I knew it and kept running concentrating to get into serious running. Finally I got to it and ran in my normal pace – I hoped to run faster in higher pulse, but I could not. I was even sure to drop if I tried since my pain in my thighs seered through my body. Slowly it became obvious that I won’t hit my target time – my goal. I was tempted to stop but did not.
Funnily a lot of people passed me all mentioning my bike ride.”You got it: I hit 36.7 split and you smoked me – go man.”, “Are you serious with your bike ride?”, “Where did you learn biking?”, “Was it you on that bike competition in xyz?”,… no kidding I heard that all the time. People slowing down talking to me, telling to go on. Not one, not two, but … A LOT. I kept going.
In round 2 I found my run legs and could slowly speed up, not a lot but still speed up and my club mate approached me who had already finished to help me onward.
My run on 10km was 1:08:57, which relates to 6:54 minutes/km. Not fast but inside my normal running, especially considering my thigh hurting.
I finished in 3:07:17.
Despite my being upset (see below in epilogue) I still had to care for my wager partners. Now here my full body picture where one still sees my belly. Grrr took me ego to post that one..
On this picture I am facing exactly to the west towards America after race and telling my appreciation to Scott’s skills in Triathlon and wishing him godspeed for Kona. The rest of the wager like doing a sprint Triathlon,… will follow later on.
Right after sending m y words over for Scott, I still had work to do…
Again facing west I sent my best wishes and words of appreciation to Bethany:
Yes, I will complete the other parts of my wager too – no worries, most is already in preparation.
I am actually upset with race organization itself. I truly consider this Triathlon needs to improve a lot in future:
- Swim course was much longer than 1.5 km. This has been confirmed to me by a lot of other athletes, including Pro’s. With that in mind I measured the swim course by google Earth: The swim course in total was something of 1.82 – 1.92 km, which actually explains my bad swim split.
- the bike course was 45 km instead of 40 km. The race jury told me: “this is olympic distance and we are free to modify the bike course by up to 10%.” (Gotcha! 40 km + 10% = 45 km – damn this is not my share of mathematics).
- Letting my team-mate in for bike check in without helmet. I mean, I love they did that, but seriously… never heard that.
- Wetsuit prohibited the day before race – seriously the rules tell a final decision can only be made 1 hour before start. 24 hours is not 1 hour.
- On start the spectators were told to clap for the race organization – almost none clapped… (hearing this made my day).
I am truly upset about it. I find it difficult to trust in such a race. By this I learned to value “old-school-races” like cadion Rothsee Triathlon or Challenge Roth. I never ever thought there could be such a huge difference.
future and goals
I am actually torn between joy and being upset. Bathed hot and cold. Yet there is something since that race:
- I am not feeling sour at all. I figure I could have done more, but really I could not.
- I can not await Frankfurt Ironman 2012 (no kidding).
- I am dropping my weight by additional 50 kg = app. 104 lbs. within this year.
- Once I got my weight I will have some serious bike equipment.
- I want to learn swimming in dolphin style and intensively improve my swimming.
- I will improve my running noticeably.
So far my view – your suggestions?
I am running out of time… tomorrow is race day. How do I feel? Mixed up – tapering is weird. Confidence mixed with doubts in myself. Yet I did my training well, maybe very well. Not much more I could have done.
In my last post I mentioned bad news?
- Yep, they changed the bike course from 40 to 45 km and
- the run course from 8.9 to 10 km. So any margin for the doubt I had in my support is gone and even turned against me.
- Lucky me it will most likely even rain before race, maybe even during race.
- And if this wasn’t enough, my right thigh still hurts a lot.
- Additionally I still have more of a belly than I want to.
Considering this it is highly unlikely that I can do my race below 3:00:00 hours. People suggested I talk with my wager partner about it.
But I won’t.
It is an olympic distance – period. I can not run from a wager because it turned against me. Yet despite unlikely I have some odds for me still:
- I am mentally determined to do it.
- I enjoy the lake we are swimming in – the water is to my liking. It even tastes well.
- I am good in swimming now and after all I am using a “Raelert”-blessed wetsuit.
- My transition times I trained on site were ok. I know for sure I won’t be more than 3 minutes on the possible longest transition course (in reality I believe it is a short one so I am confident to do below 2 minutes transition).
- The bike course was made for me. Look at the bike race course profile here. Almost nothing uphill and a long road with close to no bends towards the city. Seriously if there is a race course made for me: this is it.
- Running is in Frankfurt with no real ups and downs, but straight forward. From here on my sheer willpower will carry me onward.
I will just do it.
@Michael – On a short sidenote beforehand after our talk in the lake: drop me a note if you like to since I got a suggestion for your issue.
So tapering phase is incoming for me. It is a weird feeling – the fitness of my lifetime and I am hungry for more, much much more. Yet before elaborating on my current status I received an Email… (translation below for the English only readers):
Deine Teilnahme an der Frankfurter Sparkasse Ironman Championship 2012 ist hiermit bestätigt.
Veranstaltung: Frankfurter Sparkasse Ironman European Championship (de) 2012
Datum: 08.07.2012 – 00:00
we herby confirm your application to Frankfurter Sparkasse Ironman Championship 2012.
event: Frankfurter Sparkasse Ironman European Championship (de) 2012
date: 08.07.2012 – 00:00
So it is done, no turning back. 8th of July 2012 it is. I am not sure yet if I should be happy or cry. Cry simply because I am aware of all the pain to follow in the year to come. Others train 16+ years for this and I try to do it after 2 years and still after my first year I feel like a newbie. Well actually I am a newbie still.
Anyways taper phase is incoming. I am happy for taper phase because I feel my legs need rest to regenerate. Especially the pain in my thighs on the backside faded for my left leg but increased for my right leg – ouch. Interval running training has its issues and drawbacks for sure in my weight class. While at it:
- Right now my weight drops like ice melting in the sunshine. Since I got a scale here at home now I can verify that I lose almost 1.5 kg (app 3lbs.) per day. I blame mostly my running training, which is high impact. Yes I love it.
- As mentioned above my right thigh is painful, while my left thigh now is ok – the same pain in my left thigh left me 2 days ago and now it feel just grand.
- Today I was swimming in the lake where my next competition is. I tried to swim approximately the course for race day. First turn wasn’t good I had to stop freestyle and continue breast stroke for 3-8 strokes about 5 times since I am not used yet to a race rhythm. On second turn suddenly it was ok and I could quite easily swim the whole race distance in freestyle. Also I learned that my muscles easily do the distance, taking breath is still a major issue – were it better I could swim a lot faster. Overall I blame my past as a heavy chain smoker. It becomes drastically better, almost day by day but its far away from perfect.
- Running – wow that discipline almost frightened me until a few weeks ago, then it became hard work and now… I feel like I can fly. Depending on the time of day, overall fitness etc. I can make tempo runs. I also learned to play with my tempo and my pulse and feel the power surging through my legs. It feels incredible. By now I am aware that running is my major issue on race day, but… I am much more curious on Ironman next year. If my improvements in running go on like this, it might be a blast doing the marathon next year.
- Ohh well, biking – let us be frank I am not much on my bike. In everyday life I do everything on my bike and this for sure ensures that I keep my fitness. Swimming and running are more important and that’s right now exactly the way of my training plan.
- Transition – so far I did not care much for transition, but it seems I have to. In the next few days I am training a lot, like leading my bike by saddle, jumping on bike eventually with shoes in cleats, bike to run,… Swim to bike I actually trained the swim exit part – I believe to be really good in getting my wetsuit off, keeping goggles and cap in the wetsuit. Onto bike is my issue. We will see on the rest and decide 4 days before race day what I will do: conservative or feeling comfortable with those optimizations.
- Did I tell my right thigh hurts? Right in this second while typing – grrr cant await tapering.
So Coach keeps telling me: all I want you is to finish, forget about your wager. Well I do believe I will win my wager 1st turn, but it is actually not only for that. The better I am on race day, the more I can say thank you to all involved. And maybe deep down I need the pressure to give the last quantum I need to be good for my weight class and situation. I am quite sure to finish, but I hope I can finish in a way that I feel like crawling once I pass the finish line. Not before, but directly when I pass it.
That’s what I truly hope: knowing and feeling I gave everything I could – never less.