2014 Goals & Training/Competition Overview

I’m happy that 2013 is in the past. It wasn’t my best race year and towards the end of the season, I became unmotivated. However, in terms of health & fitness, I’ve been eating (somewhat) healthier & started CrossFit, which changed my way of thinking about endurance training.

2014 Health & Fitness goals

  • Train smarter — Rather than just going out and logging miles, I plan to focus more on improving strength, speed & power. Of course, occasional long-distances are still needed to train pacing, I don’t need to go race-distance every time out. A couple weeks ago I started reading “Power Speed Endurance” by CrossFit Endurance founder, Brian MacKenzie. It talks about the importance of strength & skill training in endurance sports. This book, along with other reading, has inspired me to think differently about how I train.
    "The unkowns" a tough WOD that I didn't finish on veterans day.
  • Make rest & recovery a priority — As I write this, I’m nursing a sore throat which is likely the result of having too much fun & poor nutrition over the holiday break. Although I feel slightly guilty about taking two days off in a row, and kind of wanted to see where my “Cindy” (a CrossFit benchmark WOD, which was what I would have done at C-TOWN today) time was, I know taking it easy is the best thing for my body & training efforts today. I’m sure I could have pushed through it, but I also know it would put more stress on my body, which is already fighting whatever I have, & increase recovery time. In the past, I would have just pushed through and made my illness last longer. I’m also using heart rate variability monitoring to gage recovery & determine when to go hard vs take it easy. This metric has been used by pro athletes for years but until recently, has been too complicated & expensive for amateur athletes. Now apps like Sweetwater SweetBeat ($4.99) & inexpensive heart rate monitors like the Polar H7 ($60) make it much more accessible.
    Sweetwater HRV
  • Continue to improve nutrition — I’ve come a long way from eating fast food daily in college until now. I’m forcing myself to try new, healthy foods and incorporating them into my diet on a regular basis. My diet is still far from optimal, but I want to continue to improve what I eat by making intentional food choices based on nutritional needs.
  • Calendar a training schedule — I typically train based on availability & what I’m feeling that day. I’d like to start being more strategic about what I’m doing & make sure I’m constantly varying the training & challenging myself.
    Bike Trainer & Computer

2014 Training & Competition Outlook

  • January — CrossFit 4-6x / week. At least one workout in each sport per week with a focus on skill.
  • February – May — CrossFit 3x / week & re-start Masters swimming once a week. Train each sport twice per week. Traveling to Vegas for work for about a week in April, will need to plan travel workouts—and might drop in a CrossFit gym there!
  • June — Continued training. Electric Run 5k. This just sounds like a great time!
  • July — Continued training. Fairport Triathlon. Will be a “B” race to get ready for GG9. That said, it’s been a challenging race for me (especially the swim) in the past.
  • August — Taper training. Gay Games 9 (GG9). I plan to compete in Sprint Triathlon + 100m Free Swimming. This is my main event for the year and likely one of the biggest competitions I’ll ever compete in.

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Two races in two weeks

Ok so first I need to confess, I’m really late posting this—been lazy about blogging lately…

This summer I competed in two sprint triathlons, two weekends in a row. Although having only one week in-between isn’t ideal, it wasn’t too bad. That said, neither were my best race.

Lake Metroparks Lighthouse Triathlon | Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fairport Tri 2013 by seanskisez

This was my second time competing in this race. I didn’t really take this race too seriously and didn’t prep as I should have. Usually I stay away from alcohol completely for a week prior to a race and I didn’t follow that rule this time. The Friday prior I had drank a little too much thinking it wouldn’t effect me. The night before I also ate dinner late & went to bed late. The race is about a 40 min drive from home and, of course, I was rushing to get there on time giving me almost no time to prep once I got there. Typically I like to get setup in the transition area, warm up, listen to music & mentally prepare for the race ahead—that didn’t happen. Standing at the starting line, I also started to feel dehydrated. I was already off to a bad start and the race hadn’t even started yet.

During the swim I felt overwhelmed and had to stop and catch my breath a few times. Thankfully there were spots I could stand as the course is just off the beach. I just couldn’t get my breathing pattern down right and I felt overwhelmed by the other competitors around me. This theme of just not feeling right continued throughout the race, although not as bad during the bike & run. I finished the race with a time of 1:35:21, much slower than last year’s time of 1:19:10.

Results (Time | Overall place out of 298 | age group (M 25-29) place out of 12)

(500M swim, 20K bike, 5K run)
Swim+T1 23:29 | 260 | 11
Bike+T2 44:43 | 151 | 10
Run 26:59 | 116 | 9
Overall 1:35:21 | 173 | 10
Full results

Cleveland Triathlon | Sunday, August 4, 2013

I’ve competed in the Cleveland tri five times now (2009 super sprint, sprint distance all other years). Disappointed by my swim in the Fairport tri, I was determined to enter the water confident and ready to race, so I dedicated a good amount of my training the week in between to swimming. It paid off! I placed 3rd in my age group (out of 14) in the swim & felt great. I got to the transition area early enough to warm up & prep for the race. I also made sure to get a good position from the start (as to avoid the starting line wrestling match in the water)! The bike went well too. I felt good the entire ride & finished a respectable 4th in my age group. Then it went down hill. I was feeling great up until the first few meters of the run. A sharp pain started in along the tibia on both of my legs. It continued through the entire run. I finished with a pace of 10:32/mi (my normal pace is around 7:30-8:30). I was able to work out the soreness after a day or two, but I still can’t pinpoint why it happened (which is the most frustrating part).

Aside from the run, I was generally happy with my race. My overall time was slower than last year on the same course (2012 > 1:33:03), but I’m sure I would have been at least close had it not been for the sharp pain in my legs.

Results (Time | age group (M 30-34) place out of 14)

(0.5mi swim, 16mi bike, 5K run)
Swim 10:21 | 3
T1 3:46
Bike 54:26 | 4
T2 2:33
Run 32:38 | 10
Overall 1:43:45 | 6
Overall place 50 out of 159
Full results

This season I suppose I just wasn’t as motivated as I had been in the past—and it showed in my performance. I think I’ve been a bit bored with tri-specific training & didn’t spend enough time doing it. I plan to compete in sprint triathlon & 100M freestyle swimming in Gay Games 9 when they come to Cleveland in August of 2014. I’m really looking forward to that competition & hoping to come back to tri training in a few months with a renewed motivation for the sport. A few weeks ago I started going to CrossFit and it’s been a great change of pace for me. I look forward to the workouts (even though they kick my ass!) and feel much more motivated to workout than I did prior.

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Tri Season: It’s time!

Leaves are on the trees and it’s getting warmer—that means it’s time to start focusing on tri-specific training. Over the winter I’ve focused more on lifting, partially because I don’t like running and cycling indoors, but also to build strength for the season.

I had previously stated on here that I was planning on doing a week dedicated to each; swim, bike, run to kick off the season. I’ve decided this was a bad idea because it meant two weeks of not training other areas. Instead, I’m gradually reducing strength training and replacing it with cardio. This means the time I do spend in the gym needs to be focused on efficient full-body moves vs specific days dedicated to arms, legs, abs etc.

One thing I want to do more of this year is more interval training in all three disciplines. Last year I did with running and it paid off. This should really help in the short course, sprint, races that I compete in. The great thing about interval training is it takes less time will still being a very effective workout training fast-twitch muscles and learning how to pace yourself.

On another note, I’ve decided to try a paleo-ish diet with the hopes that it will help with lean muscle-mass. I say “-ish” because I like carbs way too much and intense cardio training requires carbs. Basically I’m trying to focus my diet on lean meats, fruits, nuts and vegetables along with limited whole-grain carbs, mainly in the first half of the day.

Healthy Dinner - blueberry greek yogurt, banana smoothie + organic kahl/baby spinach/chard, carrots, dried cranberries and chicken salad
Healthy Dinner – blueberry greek yogurt, banana smoothie + organic kahl/baby spinach/chard, carrots, dried cranberries and chicken salad (no dressing)

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Travel & training

I just returned from a business trip to Vegas. I had full intent to do a normal workout every day. I even packed pre-measured zip lock bags with supplements  But it just didn’t happen as much as I thought.

Vegas, April 2013
Vegas, April 2013

When I arrived on Sunday I went for a run. It was awesome running in shorts for a change. Turns out I ended up in the Vegas gheto but had no issues. It was a good run however I felt a bit dehydrated. On Tuesday, I forked up $15 to use the hotel spa which had a gym. That was actually a “twilight special” as it’s normally $22 per use! Even with the limited equipment I got a good workout in. Aside from that, I did some hotel room exercises without equipment (crunches, pushups, squats etc.) on the other days.

The lack of sleep, bad nutrition and minimal exercise has taken a toll on me. I’m feeling a little sick now that I’m home. Ready to get back to normal in terms of fitness and nutrition! I do miss the warm weather tough…

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March 2013 training update

As I write, I’m still in “winter training mode.” That is, a balance of strength + cardio. To be honest, I haven’t been running or cycling as much as I should. I’ve spent a lot of time in the gym this winter trying to build strength for the season. Hopefully it will pay off in speed once I get back into each sport.

Today I went to the gym and worked on chest+back for about 60 min, then swam for 30 min.

Practically had the gym to myself today
Practically had the gym to myself today

Still going to Masters swim once a week. It’s really paying off. My form is much improved which has helped speed. I feel like I’m actually swimming (almost) like a real swimmer now.

I plan to kick-off the race season by focusing on each sport (swim, bike, run) almost exclusively for a week each starting April 14. More details on that training plan to come, but generally I’ll pack each week with sport specific training + one strength workout per week for maintenance.

I’m also starting to really get sick of the cold weather. I can’t wait for summer to come. I’ll be in Vegas in a couple weeks for work and I’m looking forward to some warm-weather runs outside! This time of year it’s generally 70-80s, which is perfect.

I got a GoPro HERO3 Black Edition recently to start making some videos. Here’s one from my run yesterday at Edgewater Park. It’s a little shaky, so probably won’t be running with it much.

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