Sunday, January 31, 2010

Shaken not Stirred

First Hangover in a good while other than the prerequisite New Years day one. I thoroughly enjoyed last night. It was the last night in the country for one of our friends (Elizabeth) and six of us went out to celebrate. We ate at an awesome place where my meal consisted of 2 scrambled eggs and 4 vodka-waters. Vodka water was a brilliant drink in my mind before this night. I thought it was a trade secret of sorts and prevented hangovers as you take in water with every shot. It also tastes fine to me... sort of like bad water.
Careful James, I rufied your drink.

As I sit here waiting for my headache to subside, I am forced to take stock of this drink. In the DR drinks are incredibly strong. Think 2/3 vodka with a splash of water. Stateside, I recommend this drink. Here, you're better off drinking the chilled urine they call beer.
Hillary going after the coldest urine in the Dominican. BOTTOMS UP!

The three-four hour ride I was planning may have to wait until I rally from this miserable existence. In other news, I think I will hit about 17-18 hours of training this week. Cheers to that, Hillary.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

What's your favorite posish

Today I went to bike on this flat spot and did 30 min of work at 26.5 mph average. Blitzing it and it was pretty controlled. I have messed with my position and now I am absolutely smacking it. Check it out. I have also lost a bit of weight so I am moving a bit quicker.

Also yesterday I did a weird thing. I walked on a treadmill... You may be saying. Listen JP, that is bullshit and you know it. But before you say that let me explain. I cranked the incline up to 15% and the speed to 4.2 mph. I did it for 60 minutes and watched my heart rate. I had no idea you could sweat like I did just walking. The Dominicans were seriously disturbed. I don't like going to the gym because I am constantly the object of judgement.

Anyway... try going to the gym and walking... not running... at 15% and 4.2 mph and see what you think. It is pretty tough.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Luke McKenzie Interview

We’re here with 3x Ironman Champion and multiple podium finisher, Luke Mckenzie. He is an absolute shark in the water, hammerhead on the bike, and pops off sub 3 marathons like it is his job. Well it is his job and he is damn good at it.

JP: Luke, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. First, can you tell us when and how you got started in Triathlon?

LM: I was always interested in triathlon from a young age. I watched Ironman Australia in Forster, which was right near where I spent my childhood. My family and I volunteered on the aid stations from about 1988 – 1994 before we moved to the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast was Australia’s epicenter for triathlon in the 90’s and after 8 years of competitive swimming I decided I wanted to try triathlon. I did my first race in 1995 and did quiet well and made the switch from swimming to full time triathlon soon after.

JP: It seems like you are leaning towards Ironman racing at this point in your career, When did you make that transition and how do you find it compared to short course racing?

LM: Basically it’s just been natural progression. I began in the junior ranks in ’95 and raced sprint distance for 2 years before moving up to the Olympic distance in ’97. I made my first Australian Junior team in ’98 and raced at the ITU World Junior & U/23 Championships on four occasions. At that stage of my career I was targeted for Olympic teams for 2004 and 2008 but I realized at the end of 2003 that longer distance was my strength and ultimately my passion after growing up watching the Forster Ironman. In 2003 I made my first trip to the US to compete in Half Ironmans and non-drafting Olympic distance and found I was more competitive than I had been in ITU racing. After my second season in the USA I was looking for some races to do at the end of the year in Australia and they were having the inaugural Ironman Western Australia and it was a perfect introduction to Ironman racing. I finished 3rd in that race and loved the experience. Since then I have dedicated myself to the Ironman distance.

JP: It seems like your swim/bike combo has been your bread and butter, but your running is coming along strong. Are there any changes you have made this year that have lead to the improvement?

LM: Definitely. It’s been finding the right mix of training and also getting strong enough to swim and bike to the level I would like and still remain strong on the run.

In 2009 my run training was focused on more “quality” running over “quantity” and this seems to have help with some improvements in racing.

On the racing side I really concentrated on “pacing” and found I was having more in the tank towards the end of the marathon as opposed to falling in a heap and groveling home like I had been.

JP: What does a basic training week look like for you?

LM: Usually somewhere between 30-35hrs of training. I always try and have one rest day or at least a very easy day per week.

JP: What is the highest volume week you have ever done?

LM: Well I used to swim 60+ km weeks as a swimmer but I wouldn’t count that as a “triathlete”. I know I have put away a few 30km weeks over the past few years.

My biggest ever bike week would have been a few seasons ago in Oregon when I cracked 900km and running I have ran up to 140km.

My highest volume week of 2009 was in Oregon in the beginning of August where I swam 22km, rode 670km and ran 120km. That was in the beginning of my Kona build up.

JP: Shifting gears into 2010, could you tell us a few training goals?

LM: I definitely have some target sessions I really want to nail with my running. The run is where I have the most room for improvement at the World Championship level. In saying that I want to keep building my bike strength and hopefully in the years to come I can separate myself from the “pack” in Hawaii.

JP: With wins at so many races it must be hard to pick a favorite… but do it anyway.

LM: I love so many races for different reasons but if I was going to pick one race it would have to be the Hawaii Ironman. There is nothing better than racing our sports biggest race against the best in the world on a brutally hard course!

Other favorites would include St. Croix 70.3, Wildflower, Escape from Alcatraz & Noosa triathlon in Australia

JP: What are your target races for 2010?

LM: Ironman Malaysia, Ironman Switzerland and of course Hawaii!

JP: Alright time for the lightning round

Favorite place to train: Bend, Oregon

Favorite food: Ribs

Favorite Candy: Lindt chocolate

Gear you can’t live without: Coffee machine

Funniest triathlete you’ve met: My wetsuit sponsor and my sister Jacque’s boyfriend, Guy Crawford. Anyone who knows him knows he is hilarious and I love having him around. He does a lot of training with me and always keeps me entertained.

JP: How are things in terms of sponsorship for you?

LM: I am fortunate to have a really awesome team of sponsors. I can honestly say I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else right now! They are all producing what I believe are the best products in the triathlon market and have shown me such amazing support.

K-Swiss have been backing me for 2 years now and our relationship is more than I could have ever hoped for. They are like family and it’s been so much fun being part of their push into triathlon.

PowerBar are really supportive and I work with a lot of great people between both America and Australia.

The guys at Scott are a fun bunch and I love hanging out with them when I get a chance. The bikes are the best I have ever ridden and there are definitely some exciting things coming towards the end of 2010!

Other great companies I get to work with are Zipp, Sram, BlueSeventy, Nuun, Fuelbelt, Vision, Fi’zi:k, Smith and Computrainer.

JP: Thanks again for the time…but before we go, do you have any training tips for the age grouper out there, specifically for this time of year?

LM: Thanks for the chat. Some training tips I could share are: This is you’re opportunity to build a solid base of strength and fitness leading into the racing season. Pay attention to the small things like core strength, flexibility and nutrition. This is the time to plan your season and prepare your training accordingly.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I DominiCan't stop seeing people get robbed at gunpoint

First things first... I just got back from a pretty swell little road trip with some friends (Shawn and Sarah) from school... as well as the Goblin known as Caitlin. We hit a good side of the island that is short on obnoxious white people and long on sweet beaches and excellent food.
The highlight for me was swimming in this glassy part of the ocean with crystal water. I was distracted from actual swimming and was mainly poking around, looking for sea creatures and the like. I found 15-20 starfish, a bunch of crabs, and a ton of colored fish that if I had seen in rapid succession would have surely been seizure inducing. I also found a sweet conch shell without the crab in it. So I took it.
The lowlight was driving out to the beaches and seeing a group of about 6 men with AK-47's trained on another group of men who had hands raised. It seems this is quite a frequent thing out here and it getting pretty freaky.
Anyway, I am coming to the end of my recovery week which was thoroughly enjoyed... Caitlin also really likes them because she sees me.... probably a little more than she would like. I am stoked to start another three week build and do some tests on myself. I just rode 1.5 hours comfortably aerobic and was pegging it at around 22-23 mph so I think the tests will be good. I am shooting (no pun intended) for 18 hours next week, 20 hours, then 21 hours for this 3 week period.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lifetime bans and Disorders

Alright so basically I have some stuff to say... Listen or I'll come out of the screen and hit you with a sock full of nickels. Kidding. Or am I?

#1- So we went to a sweet baseball game on Thursday... it was pretty uneventful in that the Tigres got smacked around by the gigantes. Basically we spent the game comparing the facial hair of the batters to various leaders throughout history. The top two beards were a Edgy Abraham Lincoln and Sexy Stalin...

The best part about this game was that a coach threw a punch at an ump! Hilarious. He got a lifetime ban... Think I'm Lying?

#2- I went to grab some food at our local grocery store... I got some chicken (not the point but it was mind boggling good)... The cashier looked at me. She was giving me the major eye. She asked how old I was and I was confused as she had a thick accent and this is a weird question when you want to buy chicken. After leaning in to hear what she said, I told her that I was 24. She told me she didn't believe me. She muttered something else so I cupped my ear and cocked my head. She then said, " Tiene Disorden???" As in do you have a disorder.... hahahahhaha

that's it bye bye

Sunday, January 17, 2010

20 Hours

I have one more run to go until I finish the biggest week in my life! 20 hours of exercise. It tops a previous best of 18. I did 4 swims, 6 bikes and 4 runs to get it done. It also comes at the end of a 3 week block and I am still feeling alright. I am taking it a bit harder today to get everything out of this training block and then recover like my life depends on it. I am growing to respect the commitment of these pros who can put together 30-40 hour weeks like it is nothing... My goal is to get up to about 27 or so at least once this year and see how it goes. It seems like overkill but what's the point of doing a volume that I know I can handle... time to stretch the limits.

Also, Keep an eye out for a new Luke Mckenzie interview...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Heather Wurtele Interview

After three short years as a pro, Heather Wurtele is an Ironman Champion (IM Coeur d’Alene 2008), the Canadian Long Course Champion, and all around axe of a triathlete. 2009 was her first year as a full time pro and with her pro triathlete husband, Trevor, Team Wurtele has taken their show on the road. Let’s find out how things are back at the ranch.

JP: Heather, how would you describe your first year as a full time athlete? How have things changed for you?

HW: It has been a fantastic year. It is hard to believe that we were both still at our full-time jobs in Victoria until the end of January last year. When we got on the ferry in our new home - a 22 ft RV - and headed towards the border for our training grounds in California, our smiles reached to the broadening horizon! We have learned a lot about ourselves and what it takes to be happy in general - not much. Training has been incredible and challenging, as it should be. The biggest bonus has been having proper time to recover (way more sleep), so we have been able to absorb the workload better. Ironman training is a long term process, though, and we still have a lot of room to improve over the next several years.

JP: What is it like being married to another pro Triathlete (Husband Trevor Wurtele) and do you train together?

HW: Other than when we both have low blood sugar, it is fantastic! We understand the peaks and valleys that come with training and racing, and we both are so passionate about the sport that we motivate each other on a daily basis. We usually train together in the pool and do a fair bit of riding together as well - Trevor is a great carrot. For higher intensity efforts, we may head out at the same time, to the same area, but do our own workouts.

JP: I know your 2009 season had a bit of a rough ending. Could you walk us through your season and exactly what happened with your injury?

HW: I was actually pretty happy with my season overall. 5th at Wildflower, 3rd at Ironman Coeur d'Alene (a bit disappointing that I didn't manage to win again, but still improved my time, which counts for something!). I also won the Canadian Long Course Championships at the Osyoos Half Iron, as you mentioned. The highlight for me was when I finally found my run legs and placed a close second at the Lake Stevens 70.3, ahead of some pretty speedy and famous women! I was feeling the the best I ever had fitness wise heading into Kona, but I managed to seriously sprain my adductor magnus insertion (basically deep in my butt) and my leg hurt so much on race day I couldn't even turn the peddles over after Hawi. I had to stop and get a ride back in the medical van.

JP: How is your rehab going?

HW: I am close to 100% again, though I need to be careful with my long runs. The injury helped me identify some muscle imbalances, and I have a great lateral stability/core routine now that will hopefully help me prevent this sort of thing in the future.

JP: What are your plans for the offseason / holidays or are you back into the swing of training already?

HW: We stayed in California for the holidays this year because we were enjoying the warmth so much. We actually trained a fair bit, but it was an un-structured, do what you feel like sort of training. Since skiing wasn't an option we usually felt like swimming, riding and running!

JP: Walk us through your plan for 2010.

HW: Our race season will start with the Oceanside 70.3 as an early season, no pressure warm up then it looks like we will both be doing the inaugural St. George Ironman in May. After that, depending on how that race goes we may do Ironman Coeur d'Alene, some 70.3's Ironman Canada and then the World Championships. I really love Ironman Canada, and it is a course that suits my strengths, so I'd like to do it again, even though the timing is bad for Kona.

JP: Any off season tips for the age groupers out there?

HW: If you are building a good solid aerobic base with a lot of low HR training (which is generally a good idea) then keep your ego in check, especially on group rides! Yes it may be annoying when people pass you that you know you can beat - damn commuters with Panniers - you have a long term plan. It does you no good to train in the red zone all the time.

JP: Time for the lightning round…
Favorite training session-
  • River swimming in the Suswap, cycling hill repeats on the back side of Mt. Figeroa, and a long uphill run to Broadcast Peak
Favorite food-
  • Pomegranates
Favorite place to train-
  • The Okanagan Valley in BC, in the summer, for all the open-water lake and river swimming. The Santa Ynez valley in CA, in the winter, for the amazing riding.
Favorite book-
  • I read a lot so this is hard... probably Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Favorite movie-
  • The Station Agent (also the surfing documentary Riding Giants)

JP: Anything else we should know about you or Team Wurtele?

HW: Yes, I am 6'2" inches tall. Trevor is 6'3"
A travel tip: When driving through LA traffic, in your RV, on your way to a race, pretend you're a retired couple and that you own the center lane. Own it, my friend, own it! This will allow merging traffic on the right to do their thing, and allow the Porches, Ferraries and family vans to blow by you on the left. Make sure you've done all the necessary bathroom and stretch breaks before entering the mayhem that is Intersate 405. Stopping is not an option.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bloggin bout accidents

So it just seems lately that all my posts have been about training accidents. This is both funny for me to read later (hopefully enjoyable to you as well, dear reader) and strange that this pattern keeps occurring.
Today, I broke free and escaped my first accident. I was riding my sick BMC for the first time and absolutely shredding this park in Santo Domingo, when some horrible insect flew right into my eye. Not abnormal. Then it started stinging me right in the f*&^ing eyeball. I swerved in pain, holding onto one aerobar as I tried to cry it out. Nothing was working and I couldn't see very well. That little bug wanted just as much to be out of my eyeball as I wanted him out and he was determined to sting his way out. After much cajoling and swerving all over the road, I pulled him from his new home. IN PIECES! And... sorry to disappoint you... I DIDN'T CRASH!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Pay It Forward

About a year and a half ago, I was blessed with being able to join the Evotri family. I pinch myself literally every day to have been able to meet the incredible people and to be challenged to make a difference in the multisport community. Being linked into the triathlon community is something that is so integral to my life and my happiness. It has afforded me so many opportunities. However, I have found that giving back can be difficult in a sport that is very much selfish in a lot of ways. I have struggled with this self absorption that seems to be a mark of our sport.

BUT….. I totally channeled my inner Kevin Spacey and figured out a concrete way to share some of the gifts that both Evotri and triathlon have given to me.

I have been meeting a lot of Dominicans recently and being a part of the triathlon community in Santo Domingo has been incredibly interesting. A friendly Dominican named Jonathan has been particularly nice to me, inviting me to all sorts of events and has introduced me to everyone he knows despite our having to struggle with my rubbish (but improving mainly thanks to him) Spanish. He is very poor. He had no water bottle, no bike, no pump, and no shoes. He struggles to get to races and has to borrow pretty much everything. However, he is cut from the cloth of Natascha Badman and Chrissie Wellington and I have never seen him without a smile.

After letting him borrow some small stuff I realized I could help the way that Evotri helped me and deck him out with some stuff that I now have duplicates of thanks to Evotri. I paid it forward and gave him my old bike, shoes, pump, water bottles, clothing, and some chocolate to top it off. It was cool to see his reaction as it was the same as mine a year and a half ago. His response, “pellízqueme”. My confused response was, “Que significa esto?” He pinched me and I understood. It was almost exactly like when Stu and the team called me to let me know I had made it. He bounced up and down and kind of had a awestruck look on his face. We fit him to the bike and he was off around the block with his patented smile.

My challenge to you is to find a small way to pay it forward as triathlon has given so much to us. Think of a way it has helped you and try to share that with someone else.