Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Evening Festivities with the Greenfield Boys

Sunday evenings are always a time of fun, music, and nudity in the Greenfield home.

We begin with pony-riding...

Then sing-along songs...

And a bit of music lessons...

...then finish with the grand finale: a bare buns race to the bathtub.

After all this excitement, it's time to fall asleep, preferably on an animal skin (please don't sue me, PETA).

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Royal Puppet Christmas

Yeah, yeah, I know. Another clip that has nothing to do with triathlon. But it's Christmas, so I'm allowed.

Included in the video of my children's first Christmas:

-Dogs eating unicorns

-A bear with ADD and a sword

-A congested elephant

-And much, much more...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cuatro semanas lejos

Ironman 70.3 in Pucon, Chile is just 4 weeks away!

I am fit, I am stoked, and I am ready to rock the parade in South America. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that to feel this way a whole month out is a good thing. I've even brushed up on my Spanish - I'm officially on my 50th lesson tomorrow! That's "Quintieth", I think.

Muy bien. Jessa, the Boyz, and I leave for Miami on Jan 7, then it's off to Chile via Peru on Jan 13.

Anyways, my official pre-race pump-me-up song is Environmental Product by Brisk & Vagabond.


Environmental Product - Brisk & Vagabond

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Greenfield Boys

And now something that has absolutely nothing to do with triathlon adventures, but is much, much better...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Spinning with Seuss

A) That is GU Vanilla Flavor Gel that I am eating. The first gel was planned. The second gel was an afterthought, after realizing that it was living on my aerobar pad.

B) The background audio is "Horton Hears a Who".

C) I'm not sure what my phrase at the end of the video actually means. Turn the camera off, I guess.

Incidentally, I'm getting into fantastic shape for Pucon 70.3 coming up in mid-January 2009 - slamming down some mad indoor training rides and hill run repeats up the kazoo. I leave for Miami on Jan 7 for a week of acclimatization, then it's off to South America for a week-and-a-half.

Somehow, the knee is flawless, and each week I lay down more armor onto the knees and hips with fire hydrants, hip hikes, Gymstick leg swings, single leg deadlifts, single leg squats, and a host of other moves that you can see by clicking here.

Look out, Chile...

P.S. After this ride, I showered. The only towels in the bathroom were little River and Terran's ducky towels.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Back in Business

I officially started training again this weekend. Part of my winter training plan will involve cycling and running intervals based on peak power and peak pace tests. This is also a coaching strategy that will be implemented with several of the athletes that I coach. Anyways, here's the video. PUKE!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Closed For Repair

I could provide you with the nitty-gritty details that include the exact color of my deformed knee, but you know what - a general overview of this week should suffice.

-Took 6 days completely off cycling and running and knee bending. Gained *just* a bit of weight.

-Woke on 7th day, still couldn't climb a flight of stairs or kick while swimming. You gotta be kidding me.

-Went to see world famous sports medicine, who basically said: "Quit if you still want knees next season." Shoot, no more cortisone for me?

-Underwent a 90 minute biomechanical PT evaluation, where I discovered that my left foot joints ain't mobilizing and my right hip is completely locked in place. E-mail me if you want the explanation, but basically these combined problems are making me a very slow runner who overuses my left knee.

-And I will not be racing Clearwater 70.3 World Championships. Unless they give me a motorcycle.

-Beginning next Monday, I will set about fixing these issues and building a better body for the next season. Complete with waxed legs, an enhanced bust, and hopefully a moustache.

-Based on what I have learned about fitness and biomechanics in the past 8 weeks, I will be returning in 2009 as must faster and more "put together" athlete. I needed this injury to learn alot about my body, and how to enhance performance drastically with some simple biomechanical changes. Such as not wearing pumps, high heels, or snowshoes to my office.

Well folks, the 2008 race season has been a wild ride. Thanks for following. For those of you who are curious, here is next season, focused purely on the 70.3 circuit, with a few unnamed Sprints and Olympics sprinkled in...

Jan 20 Pucon Chile (low priority)
Apr 5 New Orleans
May: Florida or Wildflower
June 13 Boise
July 12 Rhode Island
August 2 Calgary
August 16 Lake Stevens
Nov 10 Clearwater

A huge thanks to all my sponsors, who have given the best support, shoes, bikes, nutrition, supplements and products on the sure to visit their websites on the right side of this page. And thank YOU for your comments, support and encouraging words!

Avia - (my shoe)
Specialized (my bike)
WheelSport East (my bike shop)
Blue Seventy (my wetsuit)
Bumblebar (my energy bar)
Champions Sports Medicine (my doc)
GU (my gels and sports drink)
Impax (my Enerprime multi-vitamin and Delta-E energy drink)
Markham Homes (my house and my way cool sponsor Brian)
Hammer Nutrition (my whey protein, endurolytes, and CoEnzymeQ10)
Millennium Sports (my secret power supplements)
nuun (my daily hydration drink)
Pacific Elite Fitness (my coach)
TN (my sunglasses)
Wicked Fast (my recovery pills)

See you in 2009. I'm off to eat fudge, have a martini...

...spend time with my cute boy...

...and his butt-ugly brother...


Remember to follow my Twitter updates at

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Kona Pics

See that green turtle under the water? They're illegal to touch. Little did I know this, as I tried to get my baby to ride on it's back. It was only later that I found out my 6 month old son might have stayed a night in the Kona jail for turtle molesting...

My bee-yoo-tiff-full wife with the little studs...

Look, I can handle the two of them, no problem...

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Oops, must've lost one...

There was this great massage therapist at the Kailua Farmer's Market - he walked all over Jessa's back. You should've heard her back pop...sounded like breakfast cereal...

Here we are, walking in the Parade of Nations and handing out candy to fat kids...

The annual Underwear Run. I opted out of the thong this year, and instead wore sponsored GU Nutrition underwear...

I think the knee strap really ties my outfit together. The boys, meanwhile, were quite amused by what I'm sure they interpreted as some kind of magical breastfeeding convention...

Ah yes, the famous walk. Still light outside in this picture...

Feeding my knee some ice...

Well, I ended up on the Ironman Hawaii podium anyways. Thanks to the efforts of my cousin Jim Alsager, I was able to raise over $38,000 for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and was the 3rd highest Janus fundraiser. What can I say about the Kona podium? The lights are very bright.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Kona Race Report: Part II

So within my first 50 feet of walking, I encountered my family. That was hard. My wife is an athlete, and I can see the disappointment in her eyes when I don't come bolting out of transition as usual. Not disappointment in me, just disappointment that the race had to end like this.

As soon as I started up Palani Drive, the steep hill coming out of transition, I knew I was in trouble. The knee almost buckled. I struggled the 1/2 mile to my hotel, which took almost 15 minutes, and then, without "forward progress", which would have DQ'd me, I got a knee brace from my hotel room.

With the brace on, the pain was manageable, so I walked to the first mile marker.

Hey, here's a cool perk! I can eat 300-400 calories at an aid station and not have to worry about Gi distress, since I'm not running! I grabbed a couple bananas, a peanut butter Powerbar, a cookies n' creme Powerbar, and a handful of pretzels, and strolled on down the road to the next aid station. For good measure, I dumped a cup of ice down into my knee brace for a bit of walking cryotherapy.

Hey this wasn't too bad!


After what must have been about 5 miles of walking, I was glad to arrive at the next aid station, as stale boredom was beginning to set in, and the race day adrenaline was wearing off.

Reality Check: The aid stations are just 1 mile apart.

Crap, this could be a long day.


The first bit of the marathon is 5 miles out and 5 miles back. By the time I got "back" into town, I was physically and mentally smoked. My heart rate was averaging 100 beats per minute. 10 miles is longer than I've ever walked in my life at one time. My quads hurt. My hip flexors hurt. My feet hurt. I was using muscles I'd never used before.

Doing the math in my head, I knew I could walk 15 minutes per mile and perhaps come in around 13 hours, since I biked somewhere around a 5:35. How bad could that be?

The long 8 mile trek out to the energy lab awaited. I was 2.5 hours into the longest hike of my life.


Each step out to the energy lab was pure torture. My knee was throbbing at this point, but I found that if I locked it out and walked with my right leg only, I could go almost pain-free. This was easiest if I stayed in the drainage ditch by the side of the road, so all the way out to the lab, I walked in a cement culvert type of thing, with my right leg higher than my left, so that I could lock out my left leg in full extension.

After already bicycling the last 50 miles solo, my right leg was already dead, and now it was going on pure mental drive - an order from my brain not to stop.


At mile 12, I decided I hate carbs.

I hate soup with crackers.

I hate pretzels.

I will throw-up if I see another Powerbar.

NO, I don't want that gel you're offering me, Mr. Volunteer, do I look like I want sugar? Give me meat and cheese.

Gatorade. No.



Top comments and my desired response that I did not give:

COMMENT FROM SURFER DUDE: "Just walk it off, man, walk it off. Cramps suck."

RESPONSE: "Thanks for the assumption that I'm cramping, but I've actually digested 12 styrofoam cups of sodium-laden chicken broth over the past 6 miles, along with 15 half-banana pieces. I have sodium and potassium coming out my ass. This is not a cramp. But thanks."


RESPONSE: "WTF? I just passed Mile 7! Are you playing mind games with me? Do you think you just string me along another 19 miles by telling me I'm almost there? You're going to be in bed in your pajamas by the time I get even halfway there."

COMMENT FROM VOLUNTEER: "C'mon, a slow jog is faster than a walk!"

RESPONSE: "Buddy, I was just passed by a 75 year old age grouper like I was standing still. I realize the physics of movement dictate that I am going to get spanked by the shufflers. Thanks for reminding me."


And indeed. During my humbling trek, I was quickly passed by grandmotherly, spandex-clad retirees, men with beer guts, and guys with no legs on handcycles.

There was the girl who said, "Just remember you paid 500 bucks for this." As she power walked by me. Oh geez, thanks, that was uplifting.

The guy who said, "I hafta keep my heart rate under 125 or I get heat stroke." As he disappeared into the sunset up the highway, leaving me in his dustl.

Oh yes, and the army guy in combat boots and full army fatigues, doing some kind of military fundraiser. Marched on past. Go army.


It was dark as I made it to the halfway point in the energy lab. All I had to do now was walk 8 miles home. My entire body felt like crumbling to the ground. I was tired. Wet. Soggy knee brace. Sunburnt. Sleepy. Disappointed.

I walked under the Ford Inspiration Station at mile 18, where people can leave you encouraging messages. Jessa had left one, but it didn't show up. Maybe the readerboard broke down. I almost did. The anticipation of a message had strung me along the past 3 miles.


I GOT A GLOWSTICK. They handed it to me as I stumbled out of the energy lab. I don't even know what to do with it. I tucked it in my shorts and kept walking.


The long walk down the highway from the energy lab was the worst. I started talking to myself and hallucinating.

"OK, let's see, mile 19 to 20 is going to be like walking from my house to Albertsons, here we go!" Then I'd picture the big Albertsons grocery store on Argonne, and walk to it.

"Done grocery shopping, now let's take our groceries over to the Rocket Bakery and get some coffee, over at mile marker 20.5". And off I'd go, jabbering mindlessly.

Out loud. People probably thought I was nuts.


The stories I've heard of the Ironman walk involved somehow hooking up with some kindred spirit to stroll with and learn your fellow athlete's life story and motivation. There were none of these friendly companions during my death march. Just long silent dark highway.

I was glum by the time I got back to Palani Drive to walk the last mile to the finish line. Volunteers and crowd participants cheered me on, but I had nothing left to give but a half-hearted smile. I just wanted to go home and be done with this thing. I was limping at this point.


The final 400 yards and the finish line were anti-climactic, and had a very different feeling from last year. Mike Reilly announced, as I crossed the finish line, "You've just fulfilled a lifelong dream! Ben Greenfield, YOU ARE IRONMAN!"

I didn't feel like Ironman. Or a fulfilling dream. Over the next 2 hours, I eventually gathered all my belongings and made it back to my hotel room where I crumbled into the bathtub, barely unable to stand, sit, or bend either leg.


OK, yes, I know that wasn't the happiest blog posting!

But here is what I learned:

1) DON'T QUIT. I learned more about perseverance and mental toughness during this Ironman than any other physical endeavor of my life.

2) RESPECT. Anyone spending more than 12 hours on an Ironman course now has my deep respect. Something about the point where it get dark is incredibly mentally challenging.

3) UNDERSTANDING. I learned much about what happens on the race course AFTER it begins to empty out. The loneliness. The quiet. The boredom. I understand much more about the experience of Ironman.

Ultimately, I am glad I fnished. I wish it could have been a better race, but that's the way the chips fall. I haven't yet decided if I'll race Clearwater. I'm signed up, have plane tickets, lodging, and everything squared away. I'll spend the next week rehabbing, then make that decision. I had two very fast 4 mile runs and a 2 hour brick completely pain-free during taper week, but I exceeded the volume that my legs were ready for in this race.


That was the last Ironman for the next 2 years! Time to take some time off from the volume and work on speed. I'll bounce back from this race stronger than ever. I promise. Look at Rutger Beke. He was 800-ish in this race last year after walk-jogging a 5 hour marathon. And third this year. He said that last year's marathon was the reason why. He learned alot. So did I.

Over and out.


Kona Race Report: Part I

Here I like awake at 2am with the post-Ironman insomnia you veterans are probably familiar with. So I figured, what the heck? Might as well type.

Precursor: I am more sore than I have ever been in my life from anything. Any Ironman. Any trampling from a herd of cattle. Any severe beating with a bamboo stick. Anything.

Precursor #2: Today was the hardest physical endeavor of my life.


I awoke exhausted. Not good start to Ironman. Once again, between crying children and my nerves, I slept the usual amount that i slept the entire week: about 3 hours. Lying in bed with the alarm blaring at 4:45, I did not feel like doing anything except rolling over and passing out. Not a good sign. My throat hurt, my head was foggy, and I just felt...tired!

But once i got out of bed, I was able to find a little spring in my step and gather my belongings, then head down to the race start. Once again, those of you familiar with Ironman know that race morning logistics are one big circus. Already exhausted, I stumbled my way through body marking, bike set-up, swim preparation, and pre-race nutrition and hydration.


From the moment the gun sounded, I knew something was off. I just wasn't in a good mood. I wasn't motivated to push. I half-heartedly sat on the feet of a group of swimmers ahead of me up to the sailboat turnaround, where I looked at my watch and saw 0:28. Way off goal, especially with more current swimming back. It took 0:32 to return and my swim time ended up 5-6 minutes longer than anticipated.


Despite a physically sound taper, my brain was "tired" on the bike. I just couldn't get the turnover. By the time we rode the first 9 miles and headed out of town, I was ready to be done. During the ride, I spent more time in my second chain ring than ever. But at least my knee wasn't hurting!


Jinxed it. About the time we started ascending into the headwinds of Hawi, somewhere around mile 45, I felt a twinge in my knee and slight amount of pain. It seemed lower than usual, more patellar tendon, so I pulled over, stretched, then kept pedaling. Halfway to Hawi, I stretched again. Then again at special needs bag. The knee felt OK at that point, but when I stopped to stretch. I just wanted to curl up and fall asleep by the side of the road. My eyelids were heavy and my head hurt.


Coming down off Hawi, there were ferocious crosswinds. Forced to lean to the left, into the wind, I began to use my left knee (the bad one) quite significantly. I think that did the final trick, because when I came back onto the highway from Hawi and headed into the final 35 mile stretch, the IT band began to hurt. I was determined to make it back into town, so I switched to "Right Leg Only" pedaling, staying as light on the left leg as possible. My right leg was exhausted just 10 miles later.At every aid station, I stopped to stretch. I did not pass a single cyclist in those last 35 miles and I was passed what must have been hundreds of times. The highest my heart rate rose coming back was 137, 4 beats below my minimum goal heart rate for the race.


AFter what seemed like an eternity, I arrived back in Kona and dismounted. I could barely walk. I took nearly 5 minutes to limp to my bike.rack. When I sat down in the transition tent, I nearly fell asleep. I wanted to crawl into a dark corner and just sleep for hours and forget everything.


But he last thing I wanted was a repeat of Canada, where I sat for 10 hours after dropping out of the race and watched hundreds of athletes finish during the time that I could have been out at least walking the marathon. So I grabbed two rolls of flexible medical tape, sat down, and wrapped my patellar tendon and IT band. I slathered on insane amounts of sunscreen. I grabbed a banana. I slammed two Delta E's, because I needed a serious pick-me-up. Then, I started slowly walking.

My long day was just getting started. be continued....

Friday, October 10, 2008

Quick Kona Friday Update

Still on 3-4 hours of sleep per night.

I woke up this morning with a cold, after attempting to sleep on the patio to block out the crying babies. Since I *never* get sick, I'm thinking it has something to do with the sleep. Keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't morph into anything full blown before tomorrow. I have a headache and I'm congested....I'll race either way, but it'd be nice to feel a bit better. I'll go to bed very early tonight.

The rest of the body feels good (from the neck down).

Race starts in 17 hours and counting.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

2008 Official Kona Race Strategy

This post is designed for those who want to A) follow the race online at (race #1688) and see if I'm on pace; B) learn how to properly fuel the body and pace for Ironman according to nutrition and physiology science.

There will be some distinct nutrition and pacing strategy changes from the 2007 Ironman Hawaii strategy. I try not to post this *too* close to the race because I don't want everybody stealing my ideas and then spanking me on the race course. ;)


Official Ironman race start is at 7am. Body marking begins at 4:45.

Breakfast 2 hours prior to race start (5am): 2 sweet potatoes (~400 calories) + 6 Enerprime + 2 Hammer Gel Race Caps + 3 CREO2. The Race Caps and CREO2 would be a bit more effective it taken closer to 45 minutes prior to race start, but I don't want to worry about taking them while in transition. Just one more thing to remember, and I'll be scatter-brained as it is.

Extensive IT band stretching and 20 minutes of full body Yoga in my hotel room prior to the race. I've found that this drastically reduces my knee pain, and while increased muscle elasticity can inhibit force production, I'd rather be pain-free than get that tiny extra bit of wattage.

Be at race by 5:20-5:30am for body marking. Sip 18-20oz of water per hour leading up to race, with 1 dissolved Nuun electrolyte tab in each bottle. Very short 5 minute run for warm-up. Consume 2 Enerprime powder packets at 6:15. Be in water at 6:45. Bring one GU Plain Gel out to water to be consumed 5 minutes prior to race start.



Swim heads south in a clockwise direction with buoys on right. I'll start in front of the giant floating Ford sign, which will shield me from a bit of the madness. Rather than sighting off a strip of land jutting out into the water from the Kona Royal Resort for the out portion, like I did last year, I'm really not planning on doing much sighting at all. Just draft, draft, draft. I worked on drafting in IM Canada and I really feel I can put together a solid swim by staying on the faster swimmer's feet. In the past few days, the current tend to be much harder swimming back in, so I'd like to be around 25 mintues or so at the turnaround.

I'd like to come out of the water sometime around 7:55pm. I realize this is 5-6 minutes faster than last year, but my swimming has been very solid leading up to this race. I'll be wearing a velcro strap around my left IT band, just above the knee, to keep me from kicking at the knee. The last thing I want is an inflammed knee before I even get on the bike.



In swim to bike bag: 2 Hammer Gel Endurolyte caps and 1 GU Plain Gel, 12oz clear water.

On my bike in transition: 5 plain GU's and 4 GU Roctane on my down tube (hacked off Profile Design water bottle, click here for details).1 28oz aero bottle full of clear water. 1 tube with 20 endurolyte caps (for 4/hour). 3 Clif Blok packets in my swim to bike bag, in flavors Black Cherry, Pina Colada, and Margarita. These are my tasty "treats" that I get at the end of each hour, and I literally just stuff them up the legs of my bike shorts. Also, I'll be wearing a special IT band strap above my left leg.

Also in swim to bike bag is my heart rate monitor, which I'm not going to wear during the swim. I'll have it pre-programmed for my bike aerobic threshold. This is 141, so the monitor will be set to beep when I drop below 141, or go above 151.

Coming out onto the bike, I'll be using the old Peter Reid trick and holding back until I've eating a Powerbar, which will be taped to my top tube. Not that this is the "ideal" food, but it will be chewy and keep me from going too hard, too soon.

Every 30 minutes: 2 Endurolytes.
Every 20 minutes: 1 Plain GU or 1 Roctane (alternate between the 2).
Every hour: 100 cal of Clif Bloks.
Every aid station: 3/4 water bottle for about 1.5 water bottles per hour (around 30oz).



Split bike section into 7 sections:

1) Out of pier and T1, through town, to Highway 19 (~9 miles). Resist urge to push and show off to crowd. Enjoy and smile.

2) Highway 19 to airport (heavy crosswinds, ~6 miles). Stay out of draft packs.

3) Airport to Kawaihae (some headwind, primarily crosswind, ride conservatively, ~28 miles). Hold back, this will be when the legs start to warm-up and I'll want to push a bit, but shouldn't. Watch HR monitor.

4) Kawaihae turnoff to Highway 270, up to Hawi turnaround (ride a bit harder, tailwind will be coming up soon and my legs will get a rest, ~17 miles)

5) Turnaround, tailwind back to Kawaihae (spin out tailwind, continue solid pace, 17 miles). Pick up special needs bag with 2 more Clif Blok packs and another bottle of Endurolytes just in case I need more.

6) Kawaihae to airport (crosswinds, let legs dictate pace, ~28 miles). Pay attention to nutrition, don't make any mistakes.

7) Airport to T2 (~6 miles, spin out legs, start to go easy, don't try for any impressive splits, prepare for run).

I'd like to be off the bike sometime around 1:15. My bike split last year was a 5:15, and I'd be fine with this, as I think it'd be best for my knee. I could be faster, and wouldn't be surprised with a 5:05-ish, but we'll see.



Bike to run bag will have another HR monitor pre-programmed with 151 for low HR and 161 for high HR. Also, another bottle of clear water, and more Delta-E if I need a B12 megabooster pick-me-up. 1 more canister with 20 e-caps, to be consumed at 2 every 30 minutes. I'll hold these in my free hand.

No bottle of GU or Roctane on the run. I'll be using aid station Powerbar gels and bananas. As much as I'd like to take a flask of GU with me, I find that I can focus on my run cadence and protecting me knee when I have as little distraction as possible. I will be focusing on 300 calories/hr for the run, with about 1 gel at every 2 aid stations. You never are able to squeeze all the gel out, so this will come out close to 300 calories.

Lots of ice down the shorts and the back at every aid station! 3-4oz sips of water at each aid station based on *thirst* for the run. Research has shown that thirst is a decent indicator of hydration, and I will pay attention to get at least 20oz of water/hr on the run, but if I'm thirsty, I'll drink more than that.

At run special needs, I will have more Endurolytes if I need them, as well as an Ace bandage if I need to wrap my knee at that point.

Last year, I split the run into the following portions.

1) T2 to Alii Drive - let legs settle from bike, 8m pace (~4 miles)

2) Reverse course back to Palani Road - speed up slightly, 7:00-7:30 pace (~4 miles)

3) Queen K Highway to Energy lab - maintain pace, stay mentally tough (~10K)

4) Energy lab - possibly slow down just a bit, run conservatively (~4 miles)

5) Energy lab to Palani turn - kick it up a notch if legs feel good 6:45-7:15 pace (10K)

6) Final mile - ENJOY LIFE!!!

This year, I am instead going to run through TWO aid stations at about an 7:45-8:00 minute mile pace, then stop at the THIRD aid station to stretch for 60 seconds. Basically, I'll just be doing this EIGHT times. Very simple, but that's how I'm going to have to string the knee along. If successful, this will result right around a 3:40 marathon.


You do the math. If I pace this correctly, I'll be finishing right around 5pm. If I have a fantastic race, I could be done at 4:30. I'm going to approximate that I'll finish right at the 10 hour mark if the knee holds. If not, and I have to walk, it could be later, but that's OK! I'll still cross the finish line. I'm not going to destroy my body in the process.

OK. That's it. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers. A huge shout out to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, who will be praying every hour for my health and strength.

Sorry in a hurry, gotta go, more to come on Friday!


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Kona: Days 3 & 4

The photo above is "Dig Me Beach" in Kona, where hundreds of triathletes swim every morning leading up to the race, in an attempt to A) keep the muscles firing for race day and B) show off their tans, shaved legs, and technological swimwear. People line the sidewalk to watch and throw day-old bread to the swimmers. The bread floats on top of the water, and we come to the surface to munch the soggy morsels in our technological swimwear. Mmmmm....


Day 3: Monday
I spent Monday morning at the Ironman Medical Conference, where I assisted Ray Browning in teaching a bike fitting workshop to a group of sports medicine physicians and health care providers. What was really fantastic was that the girl who we fit had pre-existing knee pain that disappeared after we finished.

What we did was take a hacksaw and some pain numbing cream and basically amputated her right leg at the thigh.

No, it involved some cleat rotation and shimming. It's always satisfying to fix a problem. If you want to check out more of this type of thing, visit my website for Champions Sports Medicine.


Didn't really train much on this day, other than to attempt a 30 minute run to see how the leg feels. Knee still hurts just a bit, but I'm pretty sure I can stiff-upper-lip it through the marathon. Or get that hacksaw again...

In the evening, Jessa and I went to a little hoeur d' ovres dinner for the medical conference, then went to bed. At 8. That felt weird. Incidentally, we went to bed that early on Sunday night, and every night since we've been here. When you're in the same room as the babies, you just kinda go to bed when they do. I feel like a retiree. Maybe I should switch to the 70-74 age group.


Day 4: Tuesday

In the morning, I swam out to the floating coffeeshop, sponsored by Coffees of Hawaii. It floats about 750 yards off-shore, and on the way out, I noticed a banner anchored to the ocean floor that read "Espresso Bar" with an arrow pointing towards the boat. Talk about creative marketing. Of course, coffee tastes like C-R-A-P when you a mouthful of saltwater. But, hey, it still beat Starbucks.


After the swim, I registered for the race. Interestingly, the required weigh-in went as thus:

"Sir, can you please weigh yourself on this scale?"


"Thanks, I'll be right back." The weigh guy wanders off. I shrug and step onto the scale. It reads 175. Let's see, since I'm wearing my backpack and bike shoes, I'll just guesstimate 170. Uh-oh, here he comes...

"Alrightee, so what did ya weigh?"


"Fantastic, go snag your goodie bag."

Ah...the detalied rigours of ensuring an injury and illness proof Ironman...

Later in the day, I rode my bike to GU house. GU is one of my sponsors, and they not only provided me with gel and Roctane fo race day, but also let me take my entire backpack of sweet potatoes and shove them into their house oven, since my hotel room lacks any cooking devices.

When I returned from my ride to snag my sweet potatoes, there was some official interview happening inside, so I couldn't retrieve my potatoes. I rode back to my hotel. Hopefully someone turned that oven off, or all that will be left of my pre-race breakfast will be little burnt starchy turds.


I *really* wish I had brought my camera's USB cable, because at 5pm on Tuesday, I marched with Terran and River under the US flag in the Ironman Parade of Nations. Jessa got some good pictures, and I threw out tons of candy to the crowd, making my tiny contribution to the childhood obesity crisis in America. I tried to throw the tiny Tootsie rolls to the fat kids, and giant Lollipops to the skinnier, more Ethiopian-looking ones, but I'm not sure how good my aim was...


OK, I want to finish this blog with a shout-out to my sponsors who have helped me out so far during my trip to Kona:

AVIA - the best shoes in the world gave me a rocking pair of kicks to race in, snagged some extra elastic shoelaces and race belt for me, paid a ton of my race registration fees, are going to be throwing a rockin' dinner and race viewing party later this week, and are basically some of the coolest people on the face of the planet. Who needs ZOOT clown shoes?

Specialized - not only for the bike I'll be riding, but also for snagging me a pointy helmet to wear so I didn't have to pack my aero lid...

-Bumblebar - tons of bars for the plane ride down and a contribution to my new favorite post-swim meal, a Chocolate bumblebar wrapped around a banana.

-Millennium Sports - CREO2 endurance creatine product for race day!

-Champions Sports Medicine - Nothing like having a doctor walk up to you while you're having breakfast, "Ben, do you need any cortisone shots in your knee today?". Now that's service. I opted for the Arnica rub instead.

Check out the many more sponsors on the right side of the page...there will me more shout-outs to come!



Coming tomorrow: The Official 2008 Kona Race/Nutrition Strategy!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Kona Day 1 & 2: Sleepless

Kona Day 1:

We departed the Spokane airport at 9:30am, and for our first two flights, the twins were well behaved. On each flight, we had a little bag with chocolates and disposable earplugs that we handed to our airplane neighbors. Included inside the bag was a cute and tiny note that read:

“Hi, we’re River and Terran! This is our very first plane ride, and we’re very excited, but we might get a little nervous, so please be patient.”

People dug it. How can you give a dirty look after getting a note like that?

The note was not my idea. I stole it from someone. I also do not crochet doilies, arrange fruit baskets, or do sponge painting. I am not that guy.

Nonetheless, despite the good karma of our goody bags, on our final flight (LA to Kona), the kids totally sucked for about the entire first 3 hours of the ride. And when I say sucked, I’m not talking about mommy booby. I thought I was going to lose it several times as they squirmed, screamed, and hollered bloody murder for nearly 180 consecutive minutes.

About the time I was ready to just take them into the bathroom, shut the door, and spend the rest of the trip sitting on the can with my babies, they finally fell asleep and we made it through the landing without incident.

It’s a freaking chore to take car seats, stroller, diaper bag, baby food AND all my Ironman triathlon gear across the country. But we learned quite a bit about baby travel on the way down. Important lessons in life, like that the Sonic milkshake trick really *doesn't* work.

Day 2:

At 3:30am, the kids were up and screaming.

After comforting, playing, and hanging with them until 6:30, we figured we might as well go do something fun since we were awake. So Jessa signed up for the local 5K, stopped at Lava Java and grabbed a coffee, then she ran while I pushed the kids around. We got a picture that I'll post later, but mommy was the #1 female.

We went grocery shopping, then I assembled my bike, rode an hour, swam 20 minutes, then did a 20 minute infrared session with my Kenkowave. Tried to nap after with the boys. Kids still screaming every time they hit the crib. I'm a walking zombie rightnow. 4 hours of sleep so far in the past two days.

Kona was not hot today. I was windy, overcast and a bit humid. If race day is like this, it'll be a breeze. There I go, jinxing it! Just thank me when it's 104 with 70mph gusts and 94% humidity. Remember that you can track the big race on Saturday at the Ironman Live website.

Later this week, I’ll be recording a really cool podcast with some fantastic endurance research from

Monday, September 29, 2008

Maybe this is how I hurt my IT band in the first place...

The wedding celebration in Poland *was* 5 days after Ironman Canada, after all...but I started easy, just gently twirling the bride...

Then I mosied on over to a little circle dance...

Cut a couple moves with my dad, the bearded fellow...

Then I decided to get down just a bit...

And maybe I began to show off a little...

Things maybe just got a bit too crazy...

But on the bright side, I learned my upper tolerable limit for vodka.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sep 27/28 Weekend Training

Synopsis: This was the last weekend to put "money in the bank" prior to Hawaii. I also started loading with CRE02, a creatine product from Millennium Sports.

Saturday: 1.5 hour outdoor hilly ride at aerobic threshold. Didn't want to go much more than this, as the friction/potholes feel like they might inhibit healing of my knee. Halfway through this ride, I blew a tire and had to get a ride from a cop to the nearest bike shop. Maybe I should have quite showing off my cool tricks to the girls at the park.

After this ride, I spent the rest of the day with my wife and babies, then threw down another 3.5 hours at aerobic threshold heart rate + 10 beats (about 153bpm) on the indoor trainer with the radiating heat fan under the bike. I lost 5 pounds during this session! Nothing like spending 7 to 10:30pm on a weekday night ON A BIKE. INDOORS. Sometimes, this is a weird sport.

Knee still felt "weak" after this session. Nervous about running a marathon in 2 weeks.

Sunday: Just to get a little hair on the chest with tired legs from the previous day, I swam a 3000m time trial prior to attempting to run. I then practiced my evolving Hawaii plan - run 3 miles, stretch, walk 2-3 minutes, then run again. Using this strategy, I ran 9 miles, then returned to the pool and swam a 2000m time trial. Knee feels pretty good tonight.

Final thoughts: Knee-wise, I'm very nervous about actually riding 112, then trying to run a marathon. I haven't attempted a brick in several weeks, so short bricks are on the menu this week as I officially begin my taper. We'll see what happens.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another Week Closer to Kona...Training Update...

Synopsis: GOOD news! After discovering several proprietary stretches, bracing techniques, heat application methods (including Greyhound juice) and exercises for IT band that I will feature forthcoming...somewhere (probably, I was able to throw down a bit of pain-free running this week. Not marathon-worthy volume, but running nonetheless.


Monday: 20 minute core training, 10*60 seconds aqua sprinting at 1:2 work:rest ratio, 30 minute elastic band/cable pull routine, 10*250 swim at max pace

Tuesday: 70 minutes Arbor Crest hill repeats on bike, with 3 layers clothing for added heat, 30 minutes dumbbell/stability ball push routine, Arbor Crest hill repeats running up/walking down for 30 total minutes at lactate threshold running.

Wednesday: 30 minute Gymstick routine, 30*50m pool sprint freestyle repeats, 30 minutes of 5 minute cross-country ski intervals (aqua jogging style)

Thursday: 60 minute of 1:3 work:rest ratio sprint repeats on indoor bike trainer with heat, 4x1 mile flat repeats for run at lactate threshold, 30 minute elastic band/cable push routine

Friday: Recovery day. 30 minutes easy aqua jogging, 60 minutes Yoga, 60 minutes massage from Tim Gilreath, 30 minutes ice bath, 20 minutes foam roller. Recovery days are hard!


Final thoughts:
Strangely, I am feeling incredibly fit rightnow, but fit like I was in college when I was playing water polo and doing Crossfit-style workouts. This is what I looked like then (2005):

Not necessarily triathlon focused fitness, but more total body crazy stuff. I've put on 3 pounds of muscle, shed 1-2% body fat, and boosted my lactate tolerance significantly. Between medicine ball swim sessions, 4 hour indoor trainer workouts with a radiating heat fan, cross-country aqua skiing, deep water running (click here for more on that), 30 minute High Intensity resistance training workouts with elastic bands, stability balls, Gymstick and rowing machines, and oodles of foam rolling and yoga, my body has had all sorts of new crap thrown at it over the past 5 weeks, which can sometimes be really fantastic for fitness. Hell, I often use this approach with my clients to achieve a fitness or fat-burning breakthrough. *Ahem*, they love it! Whether it pans out for a Hawaii-style Ironman is the ultimate question. In just 2 weeks, we shall see...

Next post: Sep 27/28 weekend training

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sep 20/21 Kona Training Weekend Update

Saturday (preceded this with a 4K pull buoy swim):

This was at an average heart rate of 141, my *exact* aerobic threshold, so it was a very effective training session. The room was somewhere around 85 with the heater directly next to my bike. Knee felt OK afterwards, but very stiff.

90 minutes aqua jog with AQX aquatic training shoe (picture below)

Scared to run rightnow. I don't want to re-injure after the second cortisone injection. Don't want ligament to go boom-boom. After the aqua jogging, my knee felt fine, but on the way to the car, when I stepped off the curb, felt *buckling* knee pain. It disappeared pretty quick after I iced it. We'll see if I can string this thing along until Kona...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Another Training Update

I will not be racing US National Age Group Championships this weekend. A bummer, because I had hoped to qualify for my pro card here, which means a double whammy from this knee injury - couldn't round out my season with the 1/2IM Black Diamond (so no chance at a #1 TriNW ranking!) and couldn't go after the pro card.

And this week's training, after experiencing the knee pain on Sunday, went as thus:

Monday: 1 hour Gymstick and free weight training with clients + 10x pull buoy 200m repeats w/ 500 warm-up and cool-down
Tuesday: 1 hour 200W indoor bicycle + 30 minutes aqua jog
Wednesday: 10*250m row with free weights + 30m steady aerobic swim
Thursday: 1 hour lake swim. ANOTHER CORTISONE INJECTION!
Friday: 6*500m freestyle repeats. Feel like crap from cortisone injection.

There is no way this is going to have me ready for Kona. Barring a big turnaround and the ability to put in volume this weekend, I will have to simply have some fun in Kona and shift focus to Clearwater.

This is kinda turning into a big deal. This is the longest I've ever been "laid up" from an injury.

On the brightside, I'm a really good swimmer now. ;)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

And Finally, Weekend Training

Opted not to race Black Diamond.

Saturday: (see video)

Sunday: 30 minute lake swim, 20 minutes elliptical trainer, after attempting to run on treadmill and being caught up by debilitating knee pain. A bit depressed. May try another cortisone injection...

All said, this was a really weird week of training. Nothing like what it need to be for Hawaii prep. I actually gained two pounds of muscle, according to body fat % and scale results. Guess that's what swimming and lifting does. ;)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Heads Up: A Hair-Raising Week of Training

The highly-unique, drastically-modified Kona injured-knee training regimen continues...

Sunday (day after Palouse Sprint Triathlon):
90 minute elliptical trainer. Thank you, NFL Football Season.

Monday: Got injected with cortisone after completely torquing already injured knee on spiral staircase. Just call me Tom Brady. Swam 4K with a pull buoy. That was...not interesting.

Tuesday: Swam another hour, but easy. Aqua jogged the "Frankenstein" straight-leg walk for 15 minutes. Did a full body weight circuit for 15 minutes, then finished with 5x2 minute 100% elliptical efforts with right leg only, each followed by 20 reps side right leg jumps onto box. This was a really hard set. My right leg was confused about why I was kicking its ass.

Wednesday: Knee felt a little better. Swam 30x100 meter repeats, alternating after each repeat with 25 push-ups, 25 seconds squat hold, or 25 little bigs. Finished with 30 minute VERY easy recumbent bike. My body is starving for some sun...get me outdoors soon, please!

Thursday: Knee feeling even better. Cycled seven Arbour Crest hill repeats on bike, rowed 20 minutes lactate threshold intensity at YMCA, and finished with 20 minute treadmill run at 8.0. Starting to get encouraged that knee might actually be ready for Kona.

Decided to lay-off knee. Performed core workout with one of my clients (15 total minutes of front and side plank holds), followed by 300 medicine ball slams, and 50 jump pull-ups, 50 push-ups. Later that day, I swam 10x broken 200's (100 @ 85%, 75 @ 95%, 25 @ 100%), then 10 minutes of fist-swimming drills. Mostly pull buoy, to spare knee.

Finally, on Friday night, I finished with baby River destroying me with a set of head lifts...

Ironman Hawaii approacheth...

Over and out,

Monday, September 8, 2008

Random Pictures

I rarely post pictures of my kids and some people believe maybe they don't exist, so here you go:

Me and the boys playing on the beach in Penticton, Canada....

Me with River at Seaside, Oregon....

Me singing in our RV on the way to IM Canada, but there were kids somewhere in the RV, back there, behind me....

River and Terran, all dressed up...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Palouse Sprint Screw Yourself.

Yeah, OK, more about the title of this post later on. Well, I was on the fence about coming down to race this one. Like I said, I'll be giving updates on my Kona Ironman training, so let me talk about that first...

Wednesday: arrived back from Poland on Tuesday at midnight, horribly jet lagged and constipated from a steady diet of meat and cheese for the previous 7 days. Swam 1500 and ate lots of fiber.

Thursday: Swam another 1500, 500 w/u with 5*200 hard efforts. Felt strong in the water, like bull.

After my swim, I aqua jogged 12*60 sprints. This means you attach a big foam belt to yourself and run in the water. Typically, you will be joined by a couple elderly patients with a bone density so low that their femurs snap if they happen to stomp on a spider.

My knee felt touchy, but good. Then I went back to the office and lifted for 30 minutes, a "total body" body weight/Gymstick workout with a couple of my clients.

Finally, I rode 20 minutes indoors before heading home from work, and messed with my bike on the trainer; adjusted seat height down 1 centimeter to de-stress injured IT band/hamstring. Also, I shortened my cockpit (No "that's what she said" jokes please) by another centimeter by sliding my aerobars back, in an effort to reduce a bit of low back strain in a position that may have been too stretched out most of this season (20-20 hindsight, right?). Ultimately, I felt decent in this position, but my knee angle changed from 30 degrees to 32 degrees, and really, closer to 25 degrees is better from a power standpoint, so once I beat the IT band inflammation, I'll bring my seat height back up.

Friday: Swam another 1500, 500 w/u with 20*50 hard efforts. Actually ran (like real running, not in the water) 10 minutes to the pool for this one (but I did wear my foam aqua belt because it's sexy). Running back to my office, my knee became incredibly painful within 5 minutes, and I walked most of the rest of the way. CRAP! And I'm supposed to race the Palouse Sprint Triathlon Saturday morning. The remainder of Friday, I worked at my office, but kept my knee wrapped in ice, then did infrared treatment with my Kenkowave and did 30 minutes of electrical stimulation. When I went to bed, my knee was throbbing, so I wrapped it to decrease swelling.

So that was this week's training!


OK, so you're probably still wondering about the title of this post.

I woke up Saturday morning and decided to try to race after all. But while driving to the race, in Moscow, Idaho, I accidentally *sat* on my way cool TN sunglasses and somehow popped a screw out. These were not the indestructible ones, but a different brand I've been wearing in time trials (The Shadow).

Well, I don't want to put out an eye while racing. Imagine if I hit a little mosquito or something. I could go blind! So I got this little microscopic Philips screwdriver and fixed my sunglasses. For those of you familiar with triathlons, you're always running around transition doing a million things before the race, and I realized after fixing my sunglasses that the screwdriver was nowhere to be found!

I was confused.

So I found the race director and told him to keep his eyes open, because I had dropped this teeny-tiny, deathly sharp tiny screwdriver on the ground in transition, and I didn't want someone to puncture a foot or a tire. These little screwdrivers are pretty damn sharp...

...and then I moved on to the race start. By the way, I hold the 2007 course record here with a 50:01. This distance is a 500m pool swim, a 15K bike, and a 5K run...

...just immediately before the swim, I decided to take one final pee... I pulled down my shorts, and there, cradled inside my bike chamois and directly nestled between where my balls would rest, is the tiny little screwdriver...


I couldn't even feel the screwdriver lying there. But yes, just imagine, I could have lost my manhood and truly screwed myself upon leaping onto my bike. As soon as that hard saddle hit the screwdriver resting in my little pantaloons, there would have been some seriously puncture and leakage problems. And they don't make CO2 cartridges for fixing that.

Hence the title of this blog post. Thanks to that last-minute pee, I'm lucky to be...ballzed.


OK, back to the race.

After shoving a knee brace in my T2 bag (last minute stupid decision to try it in the race without having tried it in training) I hopped into the water and had about 200m to warm-up. Then one big breath, and I shoved off the wall. I drafted the whole time off this highschool swimmer dude. We triathletes have to face the humbling fact that all highschool swimmer dudes are fast. My swim cap fell off at after about 5 laps, and for those of you who have seen my hair lately, that's some pretty damn good drag I created with that mistake!

Came out of the water 2nd and didn't look at my watch. All I knew was that if I wasn't going to be able to run fast, I'd have to ride hard. My wife photographed me from a scooter...

Based off my estimated splits, I was 2 minutes ahead of my nearest competitor coming off the bike, but I had no clue how my body was going to run. I might need that full 2 minutes and them some if my knee acted up...I pulled on the brace and went sprinting out of T2...

At the run turaround, I took another split and I was 3 minutes up. I really had no clue how my knee was doing, because the brace just kinda almost numbed everything, almost like when you stick your tongue on a battery, or when you accidentally rub muscle-warming salve on your crotch.

So here I am coming up to the finish line, and guess what? I actually won with a new course record of 48:22, beating last year's time by over a minute and a half. So, boom, there ya go. Screwdriver in the crotch, brace on the knee, loosy-goosy swim cap - my new racing secrets. And maybe all that Polish meat and cheese did the body good.

The knee felt OK when I stopped, but as soon as I took the brace off, it felt a bit dicy, meaning a little inflamed and a little sore. So hopefully I didn't screw myself figuratively after escaping a literal self-screwing. I'm supposed to throw down a half IM training session tomorrow, so we'll see. One things for sure - I'll wear that brace on the run!

Cheers. Let's see if I can squeeze the word "self-screwing" into next week's blog. I may try to race the Black Diamond Half Ironman on next Saturday, and defend my race title over there...

P.S. Swim this afternoon should be reward for racing hard...

1) 500m warm-up
2) 3 times through a 5*150 set of
-Water polo ball swim (swim while keeping a water polo ball in front of your face)
-Pull buoy
-Medicine ball swim (hold a med ball between your legs)
-Hand paddles
-All out 150 freestyle
3) 10*12 meter elastic band tube sprints (tie elastic band to waist, and other end to dive platform)
4) 500m cool-down

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hawaii Ironman World Championships 2008: The 1st Kona Update

Leading up to this year's 2008 Kona event, I'd like to post my training as an attempt to keep myself honest and give you, the reader, a bit of an inside glimpse at my personal training regimen.

This trip to Poland (see previous post, written in a vodka-fogged state, but thoroughly spell checked) was my "last hurrah" before jumping into my Kona training hardcore. As is the bane of many an Ironman triathlete, I am somewhat concerned about one injury that crept up during Ironman Canada on August 25 - a hamstring strain.

The strain related inflammation has subsided, but it has now been eight days since the race, and I cannot climb stairs without a sharp stabbing pain in the left lateral knee (close to IT band attachment), cannot run for more than two minutes, and cannot ride a bike without the same sharp stabbing pain. I still have 2 days before arriving back into the States to begin my training for Hawaii, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed, icing, stretching, and staying off my feet. I will also visit the doctor when I get home.

Based on anticipating another week before the leg is ready for heavy bike volume, and the fact that I am already signed up for a couple more races before the big day, here is the tentative plan for Hawaii:

Week of August 31 (return from Poland on Sep 3):
Run (Thu/Fri): Light 20-30 minute aqua jogging or outdoor jogging, depending on knee status.
Bike(Thu/Fri): Very light 30 minute spin session. 4-5x 90s accelerations on Friday's workout to test knee.
Swim (Thu): 500m warm-up, 10x100 on the 1:45
Swim (Fri): 500m warm-up, 20x50 on the :45-50
Race (Sat): Palouse Sprint Triathlon
Endurance (Sun): 75lap endurance ladder or 1 hour open water swim, 2 hour light ride depending on knee, 90 minute run

Week of Sep 7
Run: 3-4 45-60 minute runs (depending on whether cycling is possible yet): at least 1 mile-repeat workout, 1 hill repeat workout, and one 90-120 minute run "off the bike" on the weekend if not racing Black Diamond Half Ironman.
Bike: Dependent on knee. Need to do 6-12 minute long tempo hill repeats to prep for Kona, likely on backside of Argonne (total, 75-90 minute workout). Will also be doing higher intensity VO2 max workout indoors (1-4 minute intense intervals, 60 minute workout) with humidifier/heat fan. If knee is good, will try to ride 3-4 hours on the weekend.
Swim (45-60 minutes each): 1: 400-800m interval sets; 2: 100m sprint repeat/skills workout; 3) 60 minute endurance or pool open water swim
Race: May race Black Diamond Half Ironman in Seattle. Won this race last year and have free entry. Will probably skip all other workouts this weekend if I race it.

Week of Sep 13: Taper week for National Age Group Championships - sorry, can't share all my secrets. Will train a total of 7-8 hours.

Week of Sep 20 (high volume week):
Run: Will do long run *early* in this week, as soon as legs are recovered from Age Groups. Long run will be 20-22 miles, probably at hottest time of day. Other runs this will be lighter, to maximize recovery. Weekend some speedwork/hill repeats. 4 runs total this week 45-60 minutes long, other than long workout.
Bike: Continued VO2/hill tempo work. Will ride every day this week for 45-75 minutes.
Swim (1 hour each): 1: 300-600m intervals; 2: 100m sprint repeat/skills workout; 3) tempo endurance swim (1000-1500m intervals); 4: open water endurance workout

Week of Sep 26:
Begin Hawaii Taper (late taper, but my fault for racing Age Group Championships). Plane leaves on Oct 4th. 3 hour indoor Computrainer bike ride with full heat and humidity on Oct 3rd. Total training volume for this week 10-12 hours.

Week of Oct 4: Hawaii Taper in Kona. Total workout volume with be 4-5 hours.

If the hammy heals, this should be a good race. Typically, I would try for a couple more volume weeks and a 3-4 week taper, but time is finite!