Monday, February 28, 2011

Feb Numbers, Open Water Swim, and Ride from Hell

February's totals:
Bike:23h 46m 33s  - 442.8 Mi
Run:14h 34m 12s  - 102.9 Mi
Swim:12h 50m  - 28350 Yd

                                 Total February Volume:   51h 10m

Overall February was a solid month.  I missed about a week total of training because of bronchitis and the stomach flu.  I was happy with the run volume but expected 100 more bike miles and another 10,000 meters in the pool.  But with missing the training I did at the beginning of the month I will be happy with the outcome.

Some other memorable occurrences this month included:

A Bike Crash:

An Open Water Swim:

A Ride from Hell:

The Bike Crash happened 9 days ago and I am happy to report that I am healing up.  The road rash sucked but one of my Trakkers buddies, Laura, recommended 2nd Skin for the big wound on the hip.  It did wonders (Thanks Laura!) and the hip feels so much better.  Sort of sucked wearing pants the first few days after the crash!  The crash happened on my Felt B14 and I am happy to report that she came out of it unscathed.  I dropped her off at the Felt dealer and they gave her a clean bill of health after a thorough inspection!  Maybe she was feeling some pressure to not be down with an injury because this arrived at my door Friday evening:

Yep, that is a brand spanking new Kestrel Pro 4000 TT.  Currently the Kestrel 4000 is being assembled at Tri On The Run and should be ready for a fitting at the end of the week.

The Open Water Swim was last Saturday and it was awesome.  The water temperature in the San Jacinto River was a comfortable 66 degrees.  Dave, Karen, and I did a little over a mile as our spouse's followed along side in Mike's (Karen's Husband) boat.  The first part of the swim was brutal as we were swimming directly into the current.  It felt like we were barely moving.  Great training but would suck in a race! The swim back was with the current at our backs and we all got to feel what it would be like to swim like Andy Potts:

Spraying on some TriSlide

Karen, Jeff, Dave - this is cold!
Check out these next three photos.  Dave and I were practicing drafting - look at our strokes, can ya tell we have the same Master's coach?  Looks like a synchronized swimming exhibition:




The Ride from Hell took place yesterday and it was on the Northern section of the Ironman Texas course.  This is also the section with the majority of the larger hills on the course.  You are probably thinking the hills are why this ride sucked but the real reason was THE WIND!  The first 20 miles or so of the ride are through a state forest and pretty sheltered from the elements because of the dense trees.  We were all having a good time until we came out of the forest past Richards and got hit with a crazy crosswind.  It was easily a sustained  25mph wind with gusts into the 40's.  The last 30+ miles back to the car were brutal as we rode right into the headwind.  

Now I have rode in winds before but these gusts were so unpredictable and were blowing my light ass all over the road.  The real problem for me is that I think I might be a little gun-shy coming off last weeks crash and the high winds cause me some white knuckle moments.  At one point while going down a good sized hill in aero a gust hit me from the side and it took all I had not to crash again.  I was literally shaking once I recovered.  One of my buddies suggested this may be a good thing and actually a wake-up call that we are not indestructible and need to be careful.  He could be right but I just want the confidence back.  

Moving Forward ....
March is the key month of training for my Ironman as I am healthy as a bull and ready to crush the training with it entirely in the Build phase.  I will get over 40,000 meters in the pool, 600 miles on the bike, and 120 miles on the run.

I am excited to try out my new Kestrel 4000 and get some miles on it.  The Galveston 70.3 is coming up in 40 days and I am hopeful that the Kestrel can be my ride!

Also, for all of you who are convinced I have a Nutrition Lab in my garage (Patrick and Kovas).  I am going to post reviews on Optygen HP and Ultragen.  I have been using Ultragen as a recovery drink for the last year and started Optygen HP two weeks ago - Kovas and I started on the same day and are comparing notes!

Thanks for Reading,

Jeff Irvin

Monday, February 21, 2011

Week in Review

Week 11 of Ironman Training:

Swim:  11,050 M  - 5h 25m
Bike:  135.53 Mi  -  7h 11m
Run:  31.78 Mi  -  4h 30m
Total Volume:   17h  06m

Long Ride:  55mi
Long Run: 14.5mi
Long Swim: 3300M

Overall Week Eleven was very solid.  I got in all 12 of the scheduled workouts and finally got my run mileage up over the 30mpw barrier.  The volume goal for the week was 18hrs and I fell a little short because I had to cut Sunday's ride short because of some bike issues after I ate the road.

Week 12 is supposed to be a step back week but I am going to add extra volume.  A lot of you will probably say this is a bad idea but I basically had three step back weeks in a row when I was sick so my body has had ample time for recovery.  And I feel Fantastic right now.  

  • A big THANK YOU to everyone for your concerns and comments over my wipe out on Saturday.  All the wounds have turned to scabs and it sort of sucks but it could have been a lot worse.  I woke up Sunday morning and felt like I had just gotten over a few rounds of being a tackling dummy for Ray Lewis.  My wife tried to talk me out of doing my long run but I figure that Ironman is going to hurt so this would be a good mental training day.  I got in a 14.5 mi run and felt so good afterwards for sucking it up and doing the work despite not feeling 100%.  If this stuff was easy everyone would do it!
  • I am IN LOVE with TRISLIDE!  If you are unfamiliar with TRISLIDE you need to meet and become friends because this stuff is fantastic.  It is a silicone spray that is designed to be sprayed in your wetsuit so you can easily put it on and take it off.   BUT it is so much more!!  I spray it on my feet before each run to prevent hotspots. It goes on my nipples to prevent chafing.  I sprayed it on my armpits the other day when the shirt I grabbed was too small and was rubbing my pits.  I sprayed it yesterday on the road rash on my hip so that I could run without my shorts hurting the wound.  I spray it in my bike shorts and it prevents monkey butt.  This stuff is gold people and it is cheap!!

  • My name is Jeff and I am addicted to Twitter (@JeffIrvin).  If you are a Tweet-aholic please leave your Twitter address in the comments so that I can follow you and we can share in mindless 140 character banter!  That brings me too ....

Thanks for Reading,


Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Bike Crash and Road Rash Pics

Annie and I signed up to do the Humble Lions Club Charity ride this morning.  She was doing the 25miler and I was going to do the 55miler. About 1000 people were signed up for this ride and it was only 15 minutes from the house so it was on roads I know like the back of my hand.  Started off as a good morning - Good coffee, good bagel, good parking spot, good friends to ride with, just overall good!  It didn't end as well.

We meet up with our riding buddies and the ride started.  I got into a group with some friends from the Tri club and we were moving right along for the first 20 miles or so.  It was at this point that I had dropped back some as  I was chatting it up with my friend Karen.  Her training plan has her training by HR zones and she was in the perfect zone and I told her I was going to catch up to the rest of the group.  They had maybe a 1/2 mile lead on me.

I dropped into Aero and was holding between 24-25 mph and caught up to the guys.  I had a nice grove going and felt like hammering for a little longer so I passed everyone and probably had a couple hundred yards buffer from the pack when I was approaching a left hand turn on the road.  This turn is maybe 20- 25 degrees and I have actually practiced here in the past making turns in aero at this exact place.

Today I hit the turn a little less wide than I should have while still in aero at about 23mph and as I leaned a little to correct my rear tire caught some loose gravel and down I went.  Looked like I was sliding into second base with a carbon TT on top of me.

Luckily the guys behind me were able to react quickly and no one else went down (or rode over me).  This was around mile 22 and I finished off the 55miles and then got in a 4 mile run after the ride.  This means I am okay but am going to have some soreness tomorrow and I got some fantastic road rash.  My bike is fine as well.  Her left brake lever lost some paint and the left side of the front skewer was acting funky.  I wanted to get an extra 20miles in but decided to get the bike to the LBS since it was making some funky sounds in that front skewer and hub.

Here are some pics of the road rash.  IMO, they aren't too bad but if you have a weak stomach you may want to skip these:

And the Grand Finale - My Hip:

Some of the pictures do not do the wounds justice because of my body hair.

The #1 Lesson Learned today was to shave my legs and arms even in the winter. The hair in the road rash is painful.

The #2 Lesson Learned today was that a shower and then Hydrogen Peroxide hurt worse then the crash.

The #3 Lesson Learned today was that if you must go down placing your body between the concrete and your bike is a very wise decision.  My wounds will heal in a week or so, the pain of losing your favorite carbon frame would last forever!!!

I have had some smaller crashes in the past but this is the first time any significant wounds have occurred.  I had on my helmet and my head hit the road pretty hard.  The way I look at it this could have been a lot worse and if you are going to be putting 5k-6k miles on the road per year the chances are pretty good you will go down every now and again.  Shit happens, wipe it off and get back in the saddle!

Thanks for Reading,


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Catch ups ...

  • This is the weekend weather that they are calling for in Houston!  Very Excited!!!
  • Thanks to everyone who sent emails inquiring about how I have been doing with the recent flu/bronchitis/sinus infection/malaria/small pox.  I am happy to report that I am 100% back to myself and healthy and happy.  Already have about 8hrs of training in over the last 3 days and have a HUGE weekend planned!
  • My concerns of losing fitness while being sick for the better part of three weeks were valid but so far I am not seeing to much of a drop off.   The pool has been the most challenge to regain my fitness and I am still a few 3000M + Master's Classes away from being back in to form.
  • This morning I did a 1000M timed TT and came in at a rather pedestrian 17m 49s.  That is a 1:46/100M time (1:37/100Yd).  Bad news is that this was pretty slow for me. Good news is when I finished my last length I was not even winded.  Meaning that I did not push myself hard at all.  This was encouraging.
  • My run endurance is a little weaker than normal but my speed is still present so I expect to be back after a couple longs runs. Last night during a 7mi run our group held a 6:30ish pace for the last 3mi. Also, I did an FTP test on the bike on Tuesday and it was exactly the same as 5 weeks ago.  I was really expecting a 5-10% drop in FTP  power but was really happy to see that did not occur.  Deep sigh of relief!!
  • If you are a long time reader you may have noticed  the two bullets above mention Meters and not Yards in terms of swimming?  Well, I found out last night that the pool I have been swimming in for the last year is 25 Meters.  I had always thought it was yards and have been keeping my online training log as such.  That is cool because I have been actually doing more distance than what I have been recording.  I like this much better than doing less distance.
  • Rev3 is hosting it's first race (Saturday Sprint/Sunday Half Rev) of the season this weekend in beautiful Costa Rica.  My Twitter and email have been blowing up with all the updates and pictures from my Trakkers Teammates who are there!  To say I am jealous of all those racing would be an understatement!  This race is going to be added to the MUST DO FOR 2012 LIST!  Look how awesome this looks:
Costa Rica Baby!
  • This weekend my Tri Club hosted a Duathlon on Saturday morning.  I did not race (thank goodness) as I was in charge of setting everything up and keeping time.  We had about a dozen people brave the 27 degree temps and another half dozen of us hung out drinking hot chocolate while all the racers froze on the bike.  It ended up being a very nice day and I stayed at the park and got in an hour run in the new Avia Avi- Bolt II shoes.
  • I have a bunch of pictures on Facebook from the Duathlonnthat I wanted to take and post on the blog but the new Facebook picture page is freaking awful.  Does anyone else hate the new FB photo setup? It will only allow you to save pics as .htm?  If any of you right-click savvy peeps (Kevin?) know a work around please let me know!

-  Surely everyone is now aware of the changes in the Boston Marathon Qualifying rules by the BAA.  I think it is cool but am not going to try and explain it.  Luckily a couple of other bloggers do a real good job of piecing it all together.  Check out Meredith's take over at This Runner's World and then check out Megan's detailed analysis of the announcement as well.  And when you are over at these blogs make sure to become a follower as they are both very enjoyable blogs!

- Joel at TriMadness is beginning a series on Triathlon Coaching.  He has a bunch of posts going up over the next few weeks detailing everything you ever wanted to know about coaches from the perspective of both the athlete and the coach.  Joel works very hard at his blog (ie: doesn't use bullets points 3 times a week like another lazy blogger?) and always presents us with extremely well researched material so I am really looking forward to what he has to say in this series

- My buddy BDD at Tridiesel had an excellent post this morning on something we all sometimes feel:  Frustrated.  He put this feeling to words in a very real and relate-able way.  Make sure to check this one out!

- And last on my shout out list, but first in your hearts: Patrick @ The Road.  And this one is important.  He gave mad love to my 80's looking white sweatband I was wearing in the last post!  Not only that, but he is currently on the look out for an even more badass looking retro sweatband for us both.  One day at a blogger meet-up we will get a pic of us together rockin' the sweatbands!

Thanks for Reading,


Sunday, February 13, 2011

And my Wolf Pack... it grew by one

So there... there were two of us in the wolf pack... I was alone first in the pack, and then Annie joined in later:

That sweet looking Trek 1000 on the CycleOps Fluid Trainer belongs to my wife.  It is a welcome addition to the gameroom (aka: Pain Cave) as I will no longer have to do all my suffering alone!  

Annie is doing her first outdoor Tri in April and she decided it is time to start training.  Over the last year I have been using her bike as my practice bike and it needed a little work.  So after a trip to the LBS yesterday I got the "Blue Crush" all tuned up and ready to roll.  She is the one taking the picture so you are unable to see her kicking ass but she got in a solid 30 minutes of big gear work.  This was her first time on an indoor trainer and I believe she said it was, "hard".

Notes about picture:

-  Yes that is a white sweat band on my head.  I am a dork.
-  I have 3 towels across the hoods.  I sweat a lot.  Probably adds a centimeter or two in height. I do not ride outdoors with the towels (-:
-  If Annie rides on the trainer more than once we may upgrade from the phone book stand.
-  That is Bailey asleep on the couch next to the Steelers blanket.  It is her couch, she sometimes allows us to sit there.
-  Ladies that studly body is not photo-shopped! Settle down - I am a married man!
-  My eyes are looking up because the TV is mounted to the wall and I was watching Anchorman.
-  There is also a ceiling fan (not pictured) so that little fan is not the only one I use.

We have room for a couple more bike in the Pain Cave so if anybody else wants to join the Wolf Pack ...

Thanks for Reading,


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Deep Thoughts: The Keanu Reeves Edition

"You're playing and you think everything is going fine. Then one thing goes wrong. And then another. And another. You try to fight back, but the harder you fight, the deeper you sink. Until you can't move... you can't breathe... because you're in over your head. Like QUICKSAND. "    
                                    - Shane Falco, "The Replacements"    

On January 16th I PR'd a Half Marathon by over 8 minutes in miserable weather conditions.  This was not a real big deal to me, but what was a big deal was that my run fitness was right where it needed to be for the upcoming Ironman Texas.  My swim fitness was also pretty much Ironman ready and my bike fitness was not quite ready but was getting stronger with each workout.  I was feeling awesome and more importantly I was feeling extremely confident that my first Ironman was going to be a huge success. I was ready.

Then three days after the Half Marathon I began to feel sick. I had to travel for work and by the time I got back home I went to the Doctor and had Bronchitis and an Upper Sinus Respiratory Infection.  This lasted over two weeks.  I was able to get in a few workouts but they were all well below average and I was just going through the motions.  

Last weekend I was finally over the sickness and actually ran in a local 5k.  I was nowhere near peak run fitness but was able to log a good run and even finished second in my AG.  Things were looking up and training was ready to go full steam ahead again.  

Then came Monday - I was standing in line at the grocery store and began to sweat and the stomach started to turn.  Not good.  An hour later I was at home hugging the toilet.  Stomach Flu. WTF???  

Total time lost to being sick was about 3 weeks.  For the sake of my sanity the number of missed workouts will not be added up.

My s/b/r fitness is not where it needs to be, not even close.  I am still not 100% healthy.

Ironman Texas is in 97 Days.

I feel like I am in over my head ... Like Quicksand.

Thanks for Listening,


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New Kicks: AVI - Bolt II's

Avi - Bolt II
These sexy little suckers in size 9.5 arrived at my door this afternoon.  They are the Avi - Bolt II racing flats by Avia (@AVIARunning).

As a Triathlete a few features on these shoes jumped out right away and they may offer some great benefits.

First, check out the the design of the back of the shoe:

As you can see the back has a tongue on it that allows for you to easily and, more important, quickly pull the shoes on your feet.  This gives you a something to hold onto while pulling the the shoe on.  This prevents you from "stepping" on the back of the shoe and stamping down on the heel.  I actually practiced like I was in transition pulling these shoes on and the concept behind this design is fantastic for Triathlon.  Also, this tongue acts as padding so these shoes can be comfortably worn without socks.  The back of my old shoes made it difficult for me to go over a couple of miles without socks because they would rub and cause irritation.  Now I have not ran in these yet but I am guessing this is no longer going to be a problem.

Check out the height of the back!

The second feature that I really like is that they come with a Lock-type of lace system:

As you can see in the picture these are the laces that came with the AVI-Bolt II's.  This means I do not have to spend the extra cash (or time) on Yankz!  I have been wearing these all night and the laces are extremely comfortable.

The third feature I noticed was when I picked up the AVI-Bolt II's they were very light.  I checked the specs and they only weigh 8.5 ounces - this is awesome as I am a big fan of the lightweight minimalist shoe for running.  However, after wearing them around they do seem to have a little more cushion then other lightweight flats I have worn in the past.  I am REALLY hopeful that this shoe can be used for ALL of my training and racing, especially for the longer runs.

My plan is to start running with these shoes tomorrow and then after a few weeks write up a thorough review.  My first impression is that  I really like they way these shoes look and am optimistic they may be the affordable (only $68) racing shoe Triathletes have been waiting for.

More to come ....

I know, I know- the legs need shaved Patrick!

Thanks for Reading,


(Disclaimer:  Avia Running is a sponsor of my Triathlon Team, Team Trakkers and I received these shoe at no charge to use for training and racing. That being said I am in no way obligated to give positive reviews to sponsors.  I will give you an unbiased opinion of every product I review.)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

If You Have to Smell it to See if it is Still Good ... (and a Race Report)

... You should probably throw it out.

Yep, I am talking food here people.  My wife, Annie, learned this lesson the hard way over the last 24 hours.  She found some eggs in the fridge and they were well past the re-stock date.  She, however, decided that after a closer inspection with her nose that they were, in fact, consumable.  This decision will go down in Annie's mental file cabinet as an extremely poor one!

The poor girl has been hit with an awful case of food poisoning!

So that is today's life lesson:  Toss your old food out to avoid violent vomiting!

  • I cannot wait until the Superbowl today!  As many of you know I was born and raised south of Pittsburgh and even though I live in Texas now I am still a huge Pittsburgh fan.  My house has Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins gear all of the place.  In my gameroom/pain cave I have prints on the walls of all the old and current stadiums.  I also have pictures of past Super Bowls hanging around.  I have about a dozen Steelers jersey's hanging in my closet and I spend the absurd amount of cash on the DirecTV NFL Season Ticket every single year.  As a matter of fact, the only reason we still have DirecTV is because of the NFL Season Ticket.  I have a Hines Ward and a Troy Polamalu Bobble head that takes a prominent seat next to me during every game.  Terrible Towels are a plenty in my residence. My pugs even have Steelers apparel.  To say I am excited for this game is a complete understatement!
  • Yesterday was a festival at the local YMCA.  It is called Bridge Fest (they shutdown the big bridge over Lake Houston) and is always a big event here in Kingwood.  They have a bunch of events going on but the highlight is a 5K race over the bridge that has about 1000 people run every year.  My Tri Club (I am the VP) decided to setup a tent at the event to create awareness and drive membership.  The plan was that Annie was going to drive down and meet my friends, Mike and Patrick, and hang out at the tent while I ran down from the house which is about 5miles.  Then I was going to run the 5k at an easy pace for another 3.1 miles and then run home.  Total miles: 13 - long run complete for the week.  Well this plan went out the door when the rotten eggs resurfaced (literally) for Annie!
  • I had to drive to the event because I could not run with all the Tri Club gear and my bike so I decided to run the 5k a little harder than originally planned.
  • Bridge Fest 5K Race Report:  It was about 25 degrees (much colder with wind chill) at the race start.  I still have a little bit of difficulty remaining from the bronchitis of last week and this could really be felt breathing in the cold.  About 20 minutes before the race started I decided to go for a quick warm up run in the opposite direction.  I started off and sort of lost track of time as I ran about 2miles.  When I got back all the racers were already lined up at the start and were packed in like sardines.  I was able to finesse my way up to about the middle of the pack but had a TON of walkers and kids ahead of me when the gun sounded.  It took me a solid .5 mile to find some running room and I lost a considerable amount of time weaving in and out of slower runners.   I picked it up during the last .5 of mile one and my split was 6:40.  I was trying to average 6:15-6:20/mi so this was slow and meant I was going to have to pick it up if I had any chance of finishing sub-20minutes. I made the turn around at the halfway point and realized the only people in front of me were about a dozen Cross County runners from the high school, a guy probably in his late-20's, and my friend Adam (in my AG) from the Tri Club.  I was hurting as mile two was done at a sub-6 pace in order to get back the time lost but this gave me a boost and I kicked it in and told myself it was going to hurt but would be over soon so just hold on.  I caught up to Adam and chatted for a second but I was hurting and talking was not making it better so head went down and I suffered until the end.  My lesson learned was that I still hate 5k races!
    • Garmin Time: 
      • Distance: 3.18mi 
      • Time:  19:54 (missed PR my 12 seconds)
      • Pace:  6:15
    • Age Group (30-39):  2nd Place
    • Overall:  ?  (These results are all unofficial as I left to take care of sick-girl before the awards and they have not been posted online.  A friend called to tell me I won the AG).
  • After the race I went home and took a little nap and then went and completed the additional 10miles required for my weekly long run.  My legs felt awful the entire run.  It was so bad that I actually used an iPod for the run - I never use an iPod for my runs.  Good news is that I got through it.
  • When I finish this post it is to the trainer for a 3hr 45min ride.  On the movie queue is Inception and Piranha.  I am concerned Inception might be too deep for the trainer.  Might have to watch South Park or The League on DVR.  Mindless is better when the trainer is involved. I do not share this concern about Piranha - it looks awful!
  • Annie is feeling better this morning.  She is still sleeping but told me when I woke up that she was better but tired.
  • I am so happy this week is behind me.  It was trade show week in Houston so I had to spend Thursday and Friday standing at a booth for my company at the George R. Brown Convention Ctr Downtown.  My feet were killing me for both of those days.  I had to miss two swim workouts because we had an ice storm and it took me like 2 hours to get to downtown on Thursday and Friday.  In Houston the majority of our major highways have elevated on/off ramps and these suckers freeze and make traveling treacherous.  This is why it took so long for me to get in and out of the city as we could only use back roads and when I say "we" I mean a few million other drivers!  It was awful.  
  • After yesterday's cold morning the sun came out and it was 65 degrees.  This was awesome.  Up until I heard a weird sound outside the house under the kitchen window.  I walked around and my sprinkler pipes had burst.  Water was shooting 8ft in the air.  This happened last year during a deep freeze and it is a HUGE pain in the ass.  I walked to the street, turned off the water, walked back to the house and turned off the sprinkler connection (needs to happen in this order), walked back to the street and turned the water back on and then announced to Annie that we are not going to have sprinklers until after Ironman - suck it green lawn!
Time to go suffer on the trainer!

Thanks for Reading,