Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Part One: Recovery tips (Plus a special thanks to my sponsors)

Since I have started training I have realized that post-workout nutrition is by far the most important meal of the day. This is especially true for others who work all day, have kids, a significant other, and also train. These daily stresses take a significant toll on the human body. If you do not give your body its needed nutrients it weakens your immune system which makes you more susceptible to sickness, your muscles take longer to recover, and it can cause chronic fatigue (that constant feeling of be tired ALL the time), and there are numerous other negative health aspects as well.

The biggest mistake people make it not doing anything about post-workout nutrition. In fact, most people are extremely misinformed and have cultivated a sort of 'nutritional ignorance' when it comes to this aspect of training. People who work out regularly stay lean and fit simply from the high volumes of training they are doing. Unfortunately, you can still look good without spending a whole lot of time worrying about proper food intake. It is true, skinny people are sometimes the most unhealthy people because they think they can get away with eating poorly based on their current physical composition.

Basically, the muscles are most efficient at carbohydrate and energy uptake AFTER a workout. The bulk of an athlete's post-workout calories should come during a 30-minute 'window' after you get done exercising. During this time the ingested energy (coming from protein and quality carbohydrates) will go to replenishing the depleted muscle energy stores (also called glycogen) and enhance muscle recovery. Many people subscribed to the body-builder type recovery.... protein, protein.... and more protein. However, the basic mechanism of post-workout carbohydrates is to give the muscles enough energy to stimulate protein production. Post-workout carbs decrease the rate of protein degradation in muscles, and simultaneously increase whole-body protein synthesis.

Glycogen is the energy stores in your muscles that the body uses for fuel when we have not ingested any calories. During exercise glycogen stores become depleted, and it is how you replenish glycogen that has an affect on your recovery. If you were a car, let's say you start out with a full tank of gas on Monday, you drive day in and day out and maybe on Thursday your 'fuel light' comes on. So you put five bucks in your car and drive another day, the next day put another five bucks in, but you never completely fill it back up. I am sure you have heard that your car gets better gas mileage when your car has a full tank. Just like your body, when you start out with a full tank of muscle energy (glycogen) and run it down day after day, never taking the time to refuel, your performance decreases at an alarming rate.

Synopsis: when you choose recovery foods and fluids wisely you will optimally replensish your body's energy stores and recover more quickly for your next workout. For the endurance athlete who must often train twice in one day, this is essential to prevent chronic fatigue and promote peak performance. Make sense?

I will finish up this two-part series later this week.

A special thanks for the people who have sponsored my Ironman so far:

My grandparents; Dewey and Mary Orr of Riverside, Washington

Denise Merten of Tempe, Arizona

Pro Swim Coach John Tunstall of Phoenix, Arizona

And Betty Crawford of Ephrata, Washington

Thanks a million! Every bit helps!


"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going"
-Jim Ryun

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Humble pie (plus ice baths)

It's Sunday, and thank God for that. This past week has been brutal, but at least it is over. My nineteen mile run on Thursday went exceptionally well and I managed to escape Tempe and explore the greater Phoenix area. It is surprising how much you can see when you are foot and not whizzing by things in your SUV at 45 mph. With Thursday's long run out of the way I figured that battle had been won. But Friday's long swim was average at best. And the actualization of Ironman training hit me straight in the kisser on Saturday. I needed to sleep in Saturday morning so I did just that; big mistake. I woke up at nine, did my breakfast routine and got on the road about ten for my hundred-mile bike ride. By that time it was already 90 degrees out and warming up as the hours passed. I stuck religiously to my nutrition plan; 24-ounces of fluid and a little package of fig newtons per hour. Right around 4.5 hours I could see my heart rate start rising, so I backed off the pedals, but it kept rising in to the 160's (my average heart rate during these rides is around 130). So.... this was not good. I decided to head home knowing I still had a six mile run ahead of me. The heat and sun were still beating down, and the notorious May wind was not helping at all! It honestly felt like I was training in Dubai. I got home rather unimpressed with my effort and made the transition into my running clothes and headed out the door. Not 20 minutes later was I huffing and puffing. My swift jog turned into a slow jog, then to a shuffle, then to a walk. I let my heart rate get back to my comfort zone and I took off again, this time it only took ten minutes to get to that huffing and puffing stage. Mind you this was not an all-out sprint, it was just a simple jog like I have done millions of times. But this time was different. I ended up walking home, full......from the humble pie I had just eaten, and bruised..... from the roundhouse kick my ego just took. What was supposed to be a 7-hour brick workout, turned into 5 hours and 45 minutes of piss-poor performance.

At about six that evening I finally got it out of my head. I realized that not every training day can go perfectly. I remembered one of those old quotes my coach told me in high school, "It's not how many times you get knocked down, it's how many times you get back up." So I actively focused on recovery and getting my mind right for Sunday's workouts. I will go into more detail about the nutritional aspect of recovery later this week. But for my active recovery I re-hydrated with an electrolyte drink (cytomax, Gatorade works too), and did some stretching for about 45 minutes. I contemplated taking an ice bath but I did not feel like getting off the couch. I have read about ice baths and their benefits for endurance athletes before, and I have heard of Lance Armstrong and Dean Karnazes (ultra marathoner) taking them to help recover after arduous rides and runs. Here is the basic premise of taking an ice bath: when you get into an ice bath for ten to fifteen minutes, the icy cold water causes your blood vessels to tighten and drains the blood out of your legs. So when you get out of the bath, your legs fill up with 'new' blood that invigorates your muscles with oxygen to help the cells function better.

Today's workouts went much much better. I had a two-hour bike ride followed by the same six-mile run. This time I ran the whole way and it felt great. It was not as hot as Saturday, but much more windy. I think that helped me because when I started to sweat it was instantly cooled by the breeze. I felt rejuvenated knowing it was just a bad showing on Saturday not just a classic episode of being under-trained. So after my workouts today (Sunday) and after I got some food in me I figured I would finally try out the chilly recovery concoction that have been conveniently neglecting. I went to the store and picked up a few bags of ice and threw them in the tub with some cold water. Talk about not wanting to do something. Ice... water... naked... not a good combination and very unappealing. But actually once you get past CTD (Critical Testicle Depth) and sit in their for a few minutes you are in the clear. It did make my body feel more refreshed and I can already tell my legs are not nearly as sore as they have been on past weekends. Although not a pleasant experience, I will keep on doing it. Yet another thing to add to the rigors of training, school, and work and by far the least enjoyable.


"A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do."
-Bob Dylan

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

You know you are a triathlete when...

When asked how long your training is today you humbly answer: three to four hours.

You consider work or school as regeneration time between training sessions.

That charming "cologne" you wear to work is chlorine.

When a co-worker or friend asks if you are racing this weekend, you say "yeah, but I'm just running a 10k, so nothing too crazy".

Conversations with tri-friends concerning lubes and chafing carries no sexual connotations.

You have no trouble pushing a day's caloric intake to over 6000 calories.

Your living room has a "swim pile" a "bike pile" a "run pile" and a "weight training pile" and you pick and choose kind of like a cafeteria on your way out the door.

You have no FRIGGIN' idea what to do with yourself on your "off" day.

Your friends are insanely jealous of your tan legs. Until they realize that the tan stops at your bike shorts.

You start scheduling your weekly appointments around your training schedule.

You precede all of your non-brick workouts with "just". As in "I'm just doing a 10 mile run today" or "I'm just doing a 60 minute swim".

Anything later than 5:30 a.m. is considered sleeping in.

and lastly...

Your 'check engine' light goes on in your car and you wait months until you get it fixed, but when your bike is a little out of tune it's in the bike shop the next day.


"If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, triathlon must have taken him completely by surprise."
-PZ Pearce

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ahhh... the weekend

Another week down, now only 3 more weeks til graduation, 3 more to the end of my internships, and 5 more till Brazil. This past week was pretty hectic, I had a lot of loose ends that needed to be tied up and not nearly enough time to do them all. My training week was pretty brutal and took a lot out of me. I know I complain now about all the things going on, but I do not know what I would do with myself if I had no classes, work, or training to get in. I do not deal with boredom very well. So... busy is good :)

Thursday I had a long run, about 17 miles. I recovered suprisingly well and I was not sore enough to miss my Friday workouts. I felt kind of bad because my girlfriend flew in late Friday night and I think she had hopes of sleeping in Saturday morning but I had to get up and get my bike ride in. I am not very welcoming am I? Ha ha. My ride went well though. I rode Bee Line highway and it felt like the wind was switching with each loop I did. I would ride uphill and it seemed like the wind was in my face, then on the downhill the wind would be back in my face. So needless to say I did not set any land-speed records on Saturday. Sunday however was a bit different. It felt like I had a tailwind the entire ride. I was like... wow I feel great let's pump it up a bit. Sure enough, when I got to about the half way point the wind switched and I rode all the way back home with the wind in my face. Damn you Arizona wind. I swear it is just this month that is windy... I think it may be scared of the heat because mid-May the wind will not be around when it starts getting in to the 100's. No wonder why Ironman Arizona is switching its date to November; less heat, less wind.

This week ahead is pretty heavy: in terms of both school and training schedule.

School: 2 tests, and 2 6-page papers due

Monday: 1 hour swim with my coach, 40 minute run
Tuesday: 1:30 bike ride, 30 minute run, 1 hour swim
Wednesday: 1 hour swim, 1 hour run
Thursday: 3 hour run (19 miles)
Friday: 1 hour swim
Saturday: 6 hour bike (100 miles), 1 hour brick run
Sunday: 2:30 bike, 1 hour brick run

Total: 21 hours 10 minutes (my hardest week yet)

Honestly it is a war of atrition. I just want to GET THROUGH this week. Some of it may be ugly, but as long as a I just finish it I think it will give me a lot of confidence going in to my taper.


“A man grows most tired while standing still.”
-Chinese Proverb

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I met with my masters swim coach Johnathan Tunstall again on Monday and I can already feel my stroke improving. Swimming is like golf. It is a technique sport so nearly anybody can learn how to do it (some easier than others obviously). I am still not a terrific swimmer, but these next 5 weeks I am trying to get in the pool at least six days a week in hopes of giving me an extra little oomph on race day.

Here is my training schedule this week:

Monday: Brick workout: 1 hour swim followed by a 40 minute run
Tuesday: Brick workout: 30 minute swim followed by a 2 hour bike
Wednesday: Brick workout: 1 hour swim followed by a 55 minute run
Thursday: 2 hour and 40 minute run and a few hours later a 30 minute swim
Friday: 1 hour swim
Saturday: Brick workout: 5 hour 30 minute bike followed by a 30 minute run
Sunday: Brick workout: 30 minute swim followed by a 1 hour 30 minute bike and then a 30 minute run

Total: 6 swims, 5 runs, 3 bikes
Total: 18 hours 35 minutes

On the other hand, Phoenix is starting to get hot! It has been in the 90's all week and is showing no chance of cooling down. My bike ride on Tuesday was a unbelievably strenuous, it was about 90 and windy. I have not quite adjusted to the heat so my body just sweats profusely when I am training. I am having to drink nearly 24 ounces of fluid an hour to ward of dehydration. It is actually a chore to drink and eat while riding or running because you are not necessarily thirsty or hungry at that moment but you know you have to get it down because you might feel good now but in a few hours that "feel good" feeling might not be there. And when you start skipping those little meals it will most likely just come back and bite you in the ass. So usually my nutritional goals during my long workouts are: drink 18-24 ounces of fluid an hour, and eat roughly around 300 calories an hour. I have started to experiment with different foods my stomach can handle during these long workouts. The newest workable food source has been none other than Fig Newtons. What an excellent little workout food. They are perfectly portioned, around 200 calories, low in fat, high in fiber, and actually have more carbohydrates than Cliff Bars and Powerbars. But I must say, they do not work very well when running because of their dry texture and crumble-bility (yes I just made up that word), but on the bike they work magic. A little number that has also been working well on the bike is rolled up tortillas with peanut butter and Nutella. Although messy and sometimes hard to eat will riding, they provide just enough calories to keep me going. I have yet to come up with a strategy other than race gels for the run, but I am working on a few different products at the moment. I will let you know how that goes.


"Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired"
-Jules Renard

Monday, April 14, 2008

Long training week and no sleep (Plus Ironman Arizona)

Saturday I had a 5-hour ride, so I figured I would ride the Ironman course and check out the conditions. They were exactly as I expected.... hot... and windy. Both which are bad news for a triathlete. The heat is bad because it causes you to sweat out your nutrients so you have have to eat and drink twice as much in order to cope with fluid loss. Heat is also bad because it causes your core temperature to rise which makes your heart work twice as hard to pump blood to your extremities to try and keep itself cool (this also becomes worse when you are sun burnt) The wind is especially bad on the bike because it makes you work so much harder when you are in the headwind, thus raising your heart rate, exasperating your energy stores, causes you to sweat excessively, and overall just sets you up for a long demoralizing day. Thank god I was only out there for 5 hours, not 6 or 7 hours like some of the people on race day.

I have not been sleeping well lately, so after my ride on Saturday I came back and crashed for about three hours. It was much needed. And especially after a training week of nearly 18 hours my body did not recover very well. I noticed this especially after my long run on Thursday night. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I was walking very stiff and I was not sleeping through the night because my legs were so restless. Now (Monday) I am starting to feel a bit better, but still dragging. I only have a swim and an easy run today so hopefully this little recovery time will give me the boost I need to make it through this weeks training (another 18-19 hours of training).

Sunday I woke up early to go catch the swim start at Ironman Arizona. The forecast said it was going to be windier and hotter than Saturday. Not good! The swim went as expected, the pros were all out of the water under and hour, and most of my friends started to trickle in after 1:05. Heading in to the transition area everybody completely covered themselves in sunscreen in hopes of warding off a sun burn on their 112 mile bike. I heard the bike course experienced up to 40 mph wind gusts! It was not ideal race conditions and people starting dropping like flies after the first 40 miles into the bike. Even some of the pro field could not handle the heat. It was in the low 90's the majority of the day and the heat was definitely taking its toll on the competitors. I was volunteering at the finish line so I actually got to hold the tape for the 2nd and 4th place finishers. It was said that it was one of the greatest Ironman finishes of all time. Four athletes were neck and neck all the way up to the the final few miles. It was pretty cool to be standing at the finish line because there was quite the list of Ironman celebrities in attendance including 3-time Ironman champ Michael Lavato, and 24-time women's Ironman Champ Paula Newby-Fraser. NBC sports considers Paula to be the greatest female athlete of all time! So it was an honor to even be in her presence... even though she was not very nice and was not keen on talking to "volunteers" ha ha.

Besides the soreness and lack of sleep it was an amazing weekend. My girlfriend was in town which is always fantastic, I had a great experience at Ironman Arizona, and it culminated my toughest training week yet. Not an ideal weekend for most folks but I thoroughly enjoyed it :)


"Only those who attempt the absurd achieve the impossible."
-Found on the back of some guy's shirt at IMAZ

Friday, April 11, 2008

Excellent training week (Plus Photographer Peter Lik)

Thursdays are typically dedicated to my long runs. So this Thursday after work I laced up the trainers and tried to make my way up the valley to Camelback mountain. My plan called for 2 1/2 hours, so about 16-17 miles. Your long runs and long bike rides are by far the most important workouts of the week because this is where you really build your endurance and teach your body to cope with being in constant motion for more than the average duration. I felt extremely good until about mile 12 when I could feel my body start to wind down. I assumed it was just because I was dehydrated or something so I took another couple gels to see if my body needed some fuel. That seemed to work for a little while. I slowed down my pace to probably a 10/min mile and then eventually to a walk. It turns out I just had to pee really bad ha ha. So after that dilemma I finished up the run but I was still a few miles from the house. I purposely ran further and turned around later so I could get my body used to sustaining constant movement over an extended period of time. So in total the workout was just under four hours. I ran about 2:50 and walked about an hour.

Friday was a recovery day. So I just had a quick 2000 meter swim. I actually hired a coach to help with my stroke mechanics. This guy works magic I tell you. He told me I have a natural swim stroke, but I lack the fundamentals that "normal" swimmers have. It takes me about 16-18 strokes to get from one length of the pool to the other, and after some drills I was easily doing it in 15 (Most pro Ironmen do it in 11). Elongating your stroke length is a huge deal for two reason, the less strokes you take the less energy you use, and the less strokes you take the longer your body glides through the water and therefore covering more distance. I plan to train with him once a week up until Brazil just to give me an extra little edge because I am not a very keen swimmer ha ha.

This Saturday will be another long workout. A 5-hour bike ride, so around 80 miles. I will be riding Bee Line again so everybody and their brother doing Ironman Arizona will be on the course checking it out most likely. So I will have plenty of friends to keep me company. Sunday will be an awesome day. I am volunteering for Ironman Arizona and they have me posted as a "finish line catcher". Basically when these people cross the finish line they pretty much collapse.Because their bodies are in motion from 8-16 hours depending on their ability the human body is not taught to withstand that much stress and when they cross the finish line their body literally shuts down because a their energy stores are completely depleted (The Chris Legh video below this post is a good example). It will also be cool because I will get to see the all the awesome pros finish then see all my good friends finish. I feel a little left out however. I was supposed to race this Ironman but after my Half Iron in October I had a terrible case of tendinitis and my knee swelled up to the size of a softball and filled with fluid... no bueno.

Oh and some other good news. The girlfriend is in town :) She has been very supportive with the whole Ironman training. She understands that I need my afternoon naps, and she understands that if I don't eat every couple hours I get snappy, and she understands that I cannot stay out late on weekends because I have a hellish training day in the morning. If I was her I wouldn't put up with me ha ha. She has been great though :) This Sunday will also be a good chance for her to see what an Ironman actually is. Most people think it is just a bunch of health freaks out proving their manhood by moving around for half the day. It is much more than that, but people rarely "get it". These events have such a good vibe to them. There really is just so much energy in the place and everyone is feeling it. The people doing these events just don't wake up one morning and go... hell I am gonna go out their and do a little Ironman today. These people dedicated their entire year to training, they sacrificed their fun time, their family time, and their work time to accomplish something that not many people have an appreciation for. So hats off to all of you guys participating in IMAZ this Sunday, you guys rock! (I will hand you a cold beer at the finish line)

Last weekend when I was in San Diego I got to see an amazing art gallery in La Jolla. Peter Lik, a native Aussie has some of the most impressive works I have ever seen!He does mostly landscape shots in the U.S. and Australia. When I walked into the gallery the first thing I asked was "are these back-lit?" The colors are so vivid and just pop right out of the frame. I promised the salesman if I ever made any money in this life time my house would be filled with his wonderful prints. Here is his website ( Check it out, but trust me the internet pictures do not even compare to the real thing. The attached picture was taken at dusk in Page, Arizona.


"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
-Thomas A. Edison

Chris Legh Triathlete Story

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Mid-week madness (Plus Sister Madonna)

Time is flying by and it has finally starting to sink in. I graduate in exactly one month, both internships are finished May 2nd, and Ironman takes place in exactly 45 days. However, it feels like just yesterday I finished up my Euro-travels, hopped in the Ranger (my 99' Ford Ranger beauty) and drove down to Arizona to start my college experience. But that was nearly four years ago.

On Monday I had a nice little brick workout. A brick workout is where you do workouts back to back with the only rest in between is for changing clothes. So I had a 3,000 meter swim followed by a 45-minute run. And today (Wednesday) I have a similar workout, a 2500 meter swim followed by a six-mile run. My body feels great so it will not be too dreadful. Tuesday called for a four hour bike ride. So I went to my first class, and conveniently missed my next class in order to finish my bike ride before it turned dark. Priorities right? All the professional triathletes are in town for Ironman Arizona this Sunday so my ride on Bee-Line highway was rather humbling. And with four hours of riding alone I began to think about how quickly these four years have passed and how far I have come. As these pro's were whizzing by me at Mach 1 I realized how far I NEED to go in order to compete at Kona, but I also realized that less than two years ago I could not even ride my bike over an hour without huffing and puffing like an aged smoker. Last year I thought running for an hour straight was a huge accomplishment, now an hour run is considered a recovery workout ha ha.

Endurance can definitely be trained. It is not limited to elite athletes or burgeoning teenagers. There is a reason why some of the best triathletes are middle-aged. It takes years to develop the endurance to do an Ironman, and do it well. The guys who win these Ironman events are in their mid-thirties. And there are even men over 50 that finish under ten hours (I plan on finishing under 12 ha ha). Nothing is impossible, and the world of endurance racing knows has no age limits. Probably one of the most inspirational of these age-group triathletes is Sister Madonna. This lady is incredible! So what does an Ironman look like? How about a 78-year-old Catholic nun that did not start running until the ripe-young age of 49? This Spokane, Washington resident has competed in 37 marathons, 300 triathlons and 31 Ironman Triathlons.......all after the age of 50! At 76 she was the oldest female competitor ever to finish an Ironman, and she says she wants to be the oldest competitor EVER to finish at Kona (current record is 80 years old). During her sporting career she has also worked very hard at raising money for various charities, and she dedicates every race to an ill person in need. She also has quite the sense of humor. When she was being interviewed by ABC before Kona two years ago she was speaking about her faith and how much she enjoyed training and she was then quoted saying "Yah I guess you can say I train religiously" ha ha. I hope at that age I still have the ability to be competing or even working out. She truly is an inspiration, to me, and to many.


“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
- Henry David Thoreau

Monday, April 7, 2008

My diet (Plus San Diego and leg shaving breakthrough)

All the time people ask me what I eat, how I eat, and when I eat. As a general rule of thumb I prescribe to the 80/20 rule. I make an agreement with myself that if I eat good 80 percent of the time I can eat shitty 20 percent of the time (I assume most people are around 50/50 (my roommate and friends included)). If you do not allow yourself these little "vacations" from your diet it can set you up for disaster. This is commonly why people fail at keeping up with their nutritional strategies/fad diets. Diets that are too restrictive rarely work; even Jared from the Subway commericals splurges on cookies and ice cream from time to time.

When grocery shopping, stick to the outside of the super market. It is when you go down the middle lanes that you buy the junk food that is processed over and over again and left with very little nutritional value. When I mean processed foods I mean cookies, crackers, cakes, breads etc. For instance, white bread used to be wheat bread before all the nutritional elements were stripped during the processing phase. These products that have been processed are very hard on your body to digest and give you alot of "empty calories". Empty meaning that the calories of this type that are being consumed give your body a fraction of the needed nutrional elements. There is reason why the people on the island of Crete are some of the healthiest people on the planet. The average male lifespan is nearly 90 years! Historically, Cretans have eaten only what their land produced: lots of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and various types of proteins like fish, lamb, and chicken. Freshness is key.

Debunking the low-carb/high-protein diets. Everybody is different, everybody has different nutrional needs. So do not believe these fad diets/Dr. Phil diet miracle crap. When you read a book saying you need to cut out carbs, or eat your weight in grams of protein per day, do not listen. These books and websites are great at giving you general information about nutrition, and give you a good base in which to live your life day-to-day but these mass-prescribed diets do not work for everybody. For instance: I eat nearly 6000 calories a day. Do you think the average Joe could do that without becoming a plumper? Probably not. But my body needs that many calories to keep me going. For example, during a 6-hour bike ride I burn nearly 5,000 calories. During an Ironman the average athlete burns 10,000 to 15,000 calories (about 5 days worth of calories for the average person). So my needs are a little bit different that others. I am sure your needs are different as well.

So what do I eat, and when do I eat.

4:30 a.m. A glass of water, and a piece of fruit and peanut butter toast to get my body going

8:30 a.m. More water, Egg-beaters (about 4 eggs) and a cup of cooked spinach. maybe some cooked lentils if I have a long workout that day.

11:30 a.m. Turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread w/ light low-fat mayo. I add tons of veggies such as spinach, tomatoes, onions, and green peppers. Water. Maybe some low-fat cottage cheese.

2:00 p.m. A can of low-sodium soup or whole wheat spaghetti with grilled chicked from the night before. More water. Maybe a piece of chocolate (70% cacao dark chocolate because it has more antioxidants).

4:00 p.m. Pre-workout meal. My world famous protein smoothie :) It contains 100% strawberry juice, frozen mango, frozen strawberries, low-fat vanilla yogurt, a whole banana, and two scoops of protein (about 50 grams).

7:00 p.m. A post work out smoothie or other nutrional supplement that provides me with a good mix of carbs and protein with a good helping of Glutamine and Branch Chain Amino Acids to help me recover faster.

9-10:00 p.m. Grilled anything with whole wheat rice, potatoes, or some other carb.

In total... around 5,000-6000 calories of "whole foods"


I went to San Diego for the weekend to see the girlfriend. I can understand why San Diego is a mecca for triathletes and fit people in general. The place is gorgeous. I had a 12-mile run on Saturday so we headed down to Mission Beach to run by the surf. My girlfriend Nichole, my Mom and I are doing the Portland Marathon in October. So I kind of made a competition between the two of them. I tell my Mom that Nichole has been training for months and is in fantastic shape, and I tell Nichole that my Mom is fit as all hell and will leave her in the dust. I guess that is my attempt at being motivational? Nichole ran with me on Saturday, and I am starting to think my Mom might be in trouble ha ha. The weather was kind of crappy at the beach, pretty gloomy. But the beach is kind of like pizza in a sense, even when its bad..... it really isn't that bad. I once heard a guy say, "a bad day at the beach beats a great day at the office". Running on the sand for a few hours seems like minutes. It sure does beat training in the concrete jungle of Tempe, Arizona. Overall it was a fantastic trip, and a much needed break from the daily grind.

This week ahead is pretty arduous. I have about 18 hours of training planned, so about 15 workouts in total. If I didn't take Sunday off I think I would be a hurting unit. My goals for this week are to keep strict controls on my diet, go to bed early, and focus solely are finishing my last 10% or my workouts at race-pace to get my body accustomed to the feeling of fatigue.

Oh... I forgot to mention my leg shaving breakthrough. Schick Intuition shaver might be the best product since sliced bread. It is like a Mach 3 razor with soap around it so you do not have to use shaving cream. Genius. (Thanks girlfriend)


"Think big and do the uncommon"
-Timothy Ferriss best-selling author of Four Hour Work Week (an absolute must-read!!)

Friday, April 4, 2008


Wednesday did not really go as planned. There are just some days you lack the motivation to train. After working ten hours and sitting in traffic for an hour swimming and running tend to lose their luster. I got home, got some food in me, tried to perk up and made my way to the SRC (ASU's student recreation center). I swam about 1000 meters, and then quit. Got on the treadmil, ran about 4 miles, and then quit. What a terrible day of training. I was pretty disappointed with my overall effort. I vowed to make Thursday a better day.

I had two options on Thursday: 1) Wake up at 3:00 a.m. and ride my bike for 4.5 hours, then go to school, and then go to work. Or 2) Sleep in, skip school, ride for 4.5 hours, then go to work. It is not hard to understand why I chose the latter. Some may call that "senioritis", but I call it priorities :)

So, like planned, I finally got to sleep in a little bit; 8 a.m.. Typically, the first hour of riding functions solely as a warm up, the middle 2.5 hours are a little bit below race pace (about 18 mph), and the last hour, if I have some remaining energy I try to push a little bit without making my heart rate jump too much. I have been riding the Bee-Line highway which is the bike course for Ironman Arizona. On the weekends it is fairly busy, or atleast I see another rider every few minutes on the course. But this Thursday it was rather bleak. I saw one other rider the entire 4.5 hours. Talk about being lonely.

These long rides in which I am alone for 4-6 hours are probably the most mentally draining workouts of this entire experience. You can only keep yourself company for so long until thoughts of quitting start entering your mind. "Why the hell are you doing this," "It would be much easier to be sleeping in right now," "All your friends are sleeping in," "You are not even a good triathlete," "At this rate you won't even finish under 15 hours," "You think you will qualify for Kona? Good joke." All these thoughts come and go throughout the workouts. And the longer I am out there the worse it gets. The volume of training is not what usually gets to me, it's this mental overload that continually wears on you. The only thing that keeps me going sometimes is knowing that soon enough I will be hearing the crowd cheering, and the announcer at the finish line saying "Daley Ervin you are an Ironman!"


"All men who have achieved greatness have been great dreamers"
-Orison Swett Marden

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


This week started out like every other week this semester. Work from 5:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., an hour of driving home due to traffic, a quick 30 minute nap, a long swim (3000 meters, about 120 laps in the pool), a post workout meal, homework, and a then bedtime. Tuesday, much of the same. School from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., weight training from 2:30 p.m., to 3:30 p.m.. a meeting with my mentor from 4:00 p.m., to 6:30 p.m., a two hour bike ride, dinner, some blogging, and then bedtime. However, these two days have been a little different. I did all of this with newly shaved legs :)

For guys, shaving their legs for the big race has pretty well become an important part of Ironman race preparation. Its right up there with carbo loading and pre-race hydration. Actually, more to the point, its become a tradition and the mark of a real honest to God triathlete who has truly arrived, or at least a great pretender (in my case, more of a pretender).

I doubt most people actually realize why leg-shaving takes place and why the heck athletes put themselves through it in the first place. In the beginning there was one and only one logical reason to shave your legs for an Ironman. It all started with cyclists who shave their legs in the event they have a nasty crash where exposed skin meets the ashphalt. From what I have gathered about road rash, it is far easier to clean and treat abrasions if the blood and dirt is not dried and matted in your leg hair. And in all honesty.... it does hold true. I have crashed a few times and its surprising just how much faster these wounds actually heal when the affected area is smooth and easy to treat. Plus it alleviates the agony of trying to rip off a band-aid that is connected to your leg hair (ouch!).

There is yet another reason to shave your legs. For years competitive swimmers have been huge advocates of shaving. And when I mean shaving, these guys shave everything off..... legs, arms, stomach, chest, face, eyebrows, nose hairs, butt hairs.... everything. The theory behind this is obviously less resistance in the water. So... is it true? As a newly shaved athlete I can attest that swimming suddenly did seem effortless when trying to propel yourself through the water. You virtually "slide" through the water. Then it dawned on me..... that is exactly why fish don't have hair right? That is logical right? If not... then picture a salmon with chest hair.... now thats funny! :)

Anyways.. other than that, is there a real difference between shaved legs and not? No. It does make cleaning your wounds easier, and it does cut down on resistance in the water, but in most of my triathlons I wear a wetsuit anyways, so shaving is pointless. People also contend that it makes you bike faster... idiots. That is a mental thing if you ask me.

So to shave or not to shave? Sure, why not? If it makes you feel like a triathlete then of course you should. Although, after two days of shaved legs, the up-keep is quite annoying. Ladies.... I have the utmost respect for you. Keep up the good work.


"If you only do what you know you can do..... you don't do very much"
-Tom Krause