Sunday, November 30, 2014

S0B50K Week 4

This was always going to be a big week. The way my schedule fits into the calendar means that there are some weeks where there are six runs and this was one them.

Monday. Off, a quick 30 minutes on the Bike…shut the front door!

Tuesday. Off, another 30 minutes on the Bike, this time riding along with Zwift which I am beta testing! So far so good!

We Ride a Latte. from Zwift on Vimeo.

Wednesday. 7 miles on the local roads and trails, another good kick in the pants! Hills. trails, Stuart!!!

Thursday. 5 miles. Treadmill. 2 mile warm up, 1 mile hill climb at 15%/3.2mph 2 mile cool down

Friday. 7 miles. Treadmill. Started at 1% increased 1% each mile over first 5, then back to 2% for remaining!

Saturday. Off. 

Sunday. 18 miles was the plan. Headed to local Trailhead with a view to running the first section of the Sean O’Brien course with Becca, best described as wet! We called it after 3.5 miles and 2000’ of climbing and turned around.


Up into the clouds and rain!


I ran another couple of miles after to get to 10 and then another 7 miles on the Treadmill to hit 17 for the day.

So 5 runs 6:44 and 37.08 miles and 2 rides 1:03 and 17:06 miles.

Next week is a step back as the week after I have a Fat Ass 50k so some time off my legs will be a good thing!


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Review; i Am – Not Your Average Shirt!

I was approached a couple of months ago by “I Am shirts”, and with most things I am running behind on writing up a review. I was offered a free shirt and having looked through their website I choose the High Mileage one, ‘cos you know I am!


The shirt arrived and I have been able to wear, wash rinse repeat for the last few months now. My verdict…pure awesome. In terms of fit they have really nailed it! Broad enough across my shoulders to avoid that seam pull from your armpit, they are fitted so you avoid that baggy shape that you end up with when you size up and they are plenty long enough to fit my taller than average 6’1” frame,

The shirts are pitched as vintage and they have then super soft worn in feel, there are a blended fabric including rayon. The designs are dyed into the fabric, rather than on top, which means that they will not fad over time, in fact the shirt feels better the more you wear and wash it. But wait rather than let me go on and on about them here is a quick video that tells you all you need to know!

i Am - Not Your Average Shirt from i Am Brand on Vimeo.

Another thing I like about this brand is that it’s a small home-grown company, based in Louisiana, they don’t take themselves too seriously and they have plenty of unique designs. They are not all running based and they should appeal to your inner Geek, Musician, New Orleanian or Pilot!


With the Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday upon us here’s a good opportunity to push out their discounted weekend deals and offer a freebie to one lucky ready.

Between now and Monday when you order on line and use the Coupon Code “BLACKCYBER” you’ll get 30% and free shipping on orders over $25. One lucky reader will win a free shirt, all you have to do is;

  • Like them on Facebook = 1 entry
  • Follow the on Twitter = 1 entry
  • Tweet “I just entered the @quadrathon contest to win an awesome @theIamBrand t-shirt, you can too here #quadiambrand”

Tweet this once a day between now and December 5 gets you another 7 entries for a maximum of 9, a winner will be drawn over the following weekend and you can choose your own shirt!

This shirt was provided free of charge by the good folks at theiambrand See previous gear reviews in the sidebar on the right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ironman Arizona; a guide to Sherpaing and Spectating

This is the second time I have chased Becca round an Ironman race, the first time was in St George in 2012. That year was a very different race to this year, you can read her reports for St George here and for Arizona here. I decided that I would list some thoughts that anyone sherpaing and/or spectating in the future might find useful.


  • Race day is all about the athlete. They have trained 6+ months for this probably longer if they have had a build up year, this day is really their reward. Don’t spoil it by being pissy about anything, just indulge them. 
  • That being said remember to look after yourself. Eat and drink. Wear sunscreen and chapstick. Have cash on hand and anything else you think you might need.
  • They may talk a lot, they may say nothing, by now you will know have a pretty good sense of race day nerves and how they affect them. If they need pumping up do that, if they internalize everything let them do that. Don’t do anything different and don’t give them anything else to worry about.
  • Wear running shoes, you’ll be on your feet a lot of the day and may have to actually run a bit.
  • Electronics. Get everything charged the night before. Camera’s, phones, whatever you have get it charged and bring extras ways to charge. I had three iPhones and an iPad for social media coverage and tracking, I had several outlet chargers in the car, a charger case for my iPhone and a USB charger too.

imageMission Control

  • Be patient, there is always waiting involved.
  • Get your athlete to give you the bike collect chit, you will need this for later.
  • Buy Sidewalk Chalk, you’ll need this for the run course.
  • Take lots of photos, I mean lots. Trying to frame that perfect photo just ain’t gonna happen, point and shoot baby!
  • Becca was carrying an MyAthleteLive GPS tracker so I could followed her through the day, $50 very well spent!
  • You can also use IronTrac which is an iPhone App that presents the splits provided by the Race, this is only as good as the WTC though as it pulls data from their API and can be notoriously bad!

MyAthleteLive left and center, IronTrac right 

The Swim

  • The start is cold and dark. Bring a headlamp and layer your clothes, you spend a lot of time waiting around. Then the sun comes up and it gets warm.
  • Like coffee? Starbucks on Mill Street is open but it’s a zoo, bring coffee from your hotel or stop at a gas station, now is not the time for fresh you really just want hot and caffeine!
  • If your hotel is not close enough to walk to the start, drop off your athlete and let them walk the last half mile. Park the car and come back to find them. They dropped the bike off yesterday and you do not need to freak out your athlete looking for a parking space.

imageIt is possible to spot your Athlete

  • Expect to carry stuff. At a minimum clothes that they will take off at the start and a track pump. Bring a back pack.
  • If you’re luck you can see them at the start and for the cannon, if not walk down the south side of Tempe Town Lake till you get to Rural Road and get on the bridge. You’ll have a better chance of seeing them going out towards the turnaround and coming back.
  • As a reminder, all that stuff you have been given, you’re still carrying it, that’s why you need a back pack.
  • If you choose not to follow the swim you have three choices;
    • The Swim out steps on the way to T1.
    • The run from the Swim out to into T1.
    • By the Bike out.
  • Depending on your athlete’s swim time get a good spot to view from as they go fast.
imageBecca on the left, heading back

  The Bike

  • The bike course is three loops so there is plenty of chances of seeing your athlete without having to spend 4-6 hours sat on the side of the road by the ASU Sun Devils Stadium.
  • Head out the bike course and you can park in the following places;
  • South of the Bike Course;
    • Corner Alma School and E McKellips.
    • Corner N Country Club and the Beeline, you may need to park a bit south of the junction and walk up.
    • End of Gilbert, you may need to park a bit south of the junction and walk up.
  • North of the Bike Course;
    • Corner of S McClinktock and MCkellips.
    • Corner Alma School and E McDowell.
    • End of North Mesa.
  • You may be asked to move on by the Police, be polite and do so.
  • Based on the expected Bike finish time you can probably expect to see them;
    • Inbound on lap 1.
    • Outbound and inbound on lap 2.
    • Outbound on lap 3.
  • If you want to Chalk the run course head back into town after they have passed inbound on Lap 2.
  • If you want to see them hit T2 head back into town after they have passed outbound on Lap 2.
  • Use the time in the car to re-charge everything up!

imageOne of over 400 photos from the day! Point and shoot baby!

  The Run

  • Like the bike, the Run course is loops. This means you can cloverleaf around the outside in your car and then run shortcuts across the middle to catch up with your Athlete.

  • If you want to chalk the sidewalk you have a great opportunity to while your Athlete is on their third bike loop, come up with something fun or pertinent. If all fails “Go XXX Go!” will work just fine!


  • My advice is to start on the North side of Tempe Town Lake and then work your way around from the harbor and Curry Hill. From there head east towards the Bridge at Priest. From there you can cover the south side of the lake along the pathway and Rio Solado.
  • Around mile 12.5 and 13 the runners are looping so you can see them at least twice.
  • Don’t worry too much about anything East of Mill Street as most of the sidewalk is actually a gravel path.
  • While you’re athlete is out on the run, this is a good chance to collect their bike from T2 and get it stashed into the car or hotel room if you are local. Only if you have time!

  The Finish

  • Head to the bleachers when you can. It’s lots of fun to just soak up the party atmosphere.
  • It’s a tradeoff between the higher seats which have more room and you can see further or the lower ones that get you closer to the action.
  • Likewise do you want to stand as closer to the finish as possible or be further out down the chute. Either way it’s your call.
  • Again point and shoot on the photos, I got a couple of good ones at St George (left below), not so at Arizona (right below).


  • Let your athlete take there time going through the finish and the recovery area, there is no rush, let the savor it all, they have earned it.
  • Let them tell you everything that has been going though their head for the last XXX hours…verbal diarrhea!


  • Get them back to the hotel room and refueled and cleaned up and then head back to the finish. Make sure they are wearing their Medal!

This is by no means a comprehensive list but it’s some of the relevant stuff I could think of. This was my third time at Ironman Arizona in as many years so if you have questions please email me or hit me up on Twitter!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

S0B50K Week 3

This was always going to be a big week. The way my schedule fits into the calendar means that there are some weeks where there are six runs and this was one them.

Monday. 10 miles. Becca and I were still in Tempe so I ran around part of the run course again.


Tuesday. off!

Wednesday. 10 miles. Solid run around the local area before breakfast.

Thursday. 4 miles. Treadmill. Ran The Sufferfest The Machine, a nice quick speed/hill session!

Friday. 8 miles. Treadmill. Felt good so I went with it!

Saturday. 24 miles. Trail. The plan was a figure of 8 around a local state park. The heat crept up on me and I struggles through the middle miles and managed 23 miles on the trail!


Sunday. 5 miles recovery.

So 6.09 and 61.51 miles for the week.

Next week will step back some as I pulled miles in from then to now. Saturday’s long run was a good reminder that I need to get on the trails and run more hills and when on the treadmill I need to to ramp up the incline more than 1%!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

42 shopping days to go…

Till I/we sign up for this little lot…


  • 13.1 LA January ??, 2015 – Not sure if this really going to happen but just in case it is on the radar, it didn’t happen this year, hopefully it will next
  • Calico 30K/50K January 25, 2015 – 30K for Becca, 50K for me
  • Sean O’Brien 50K February 7, 2015
  • LA Marathon, this is a Becca only race, I am over big city races
  • The Great Race of Agoura 13.1 March 28, 2015- a fun local race
  • Leona Divide 50 mile April 18, 2015 – Both Becca and I are throwing our hats on this one!
  • Rim to Rim to Rim 46-50 miles May 9, 2015 – This will be a self supported crossing of the Grand Canyon..TWICE!
  • Transrockies Run 120 miles over 6 days August 11-16, 2015 – What would be a better way to spend a week in Colorado with your best friend?

Monday, November 17, 2014

SOB50K Week 2 (Step Back)

Race week, not mine by Becca’s Ironman Arizona! I was off from Wednesday onwards with a view to getting us squared away so we could get out of town Thursday night.

I shuffled things around to to fit in ‘cos that’s what you do.

Monday; 5 miles. Nice and easy, a bit slugish. Very bloated from bad coffee.

Tuesday; 8 miles. easy warm up and cool down and a quick 6 in the middle

Wednesday; 7 miles. Got my ass handed to me on the local trail!

Thursday; off. Drove out to Palm Desert, nearly halfway to Tempe

Friday; 5 miles, easy 5 mile on the Treadmill

Saturday; 14 miles, nice and steady. I have been focused on my split’s, on being consistent and maintaining a steady sustainable pace and that’s bearing fruit on these medium runs. I am taking great pleasure in reciting them to Becca on my return from each run!

image Sunday; lots and lots of walking and running around! How much you ask…

IMG_1352Remember on Saturday I ran 14 miles!

So 5.46 and 39.24 miles for the week. It was a rest week!

I’ll have a write up on IMAZ next!

Monday, November 10, 2014

SOB50K Week 1

As the Marathon is behind me I am now focused on the next big race, the Sean O’Brien 50k in February so the post titles will reflect that change, there are a couple of stepping stones between now and then though but that the next “big one”! As a reminder you can check out my entire Training Log for Santa Clarita here. There’s no rest for the wicked and I was back at it the day after the Marathon.

Monday. 5 miles. treadmill. Nothing to see here…move on!

Tuesday. off!

Wednesday. 7.5 miles. Easy pace felt harder than it should have. No HR as still a bit chaffed from the Marathon

Thursday. 5 miles. Treadmill. Harder than it should have been but getting easier post race, tick!

Friday. 8 miles. Treadmill. Felt good so I went with it!

Saturday. off!

Sunday. 18 miles. Easy first 6 miles, then picked it up for next 7 miles and then eased off at end, right ankle a bit sore sore :-(

So 6.19 and 45.03 miles for the week.

Towards the end of the week I was feeling better and was able to have solid long run on Sunday. Becca’s Ironman is one week away so next week will be a bit of challenge allowing for travelling and Ironsherpaing, hopefully I’ll hit all the high points!

Here’s a reminder about the Sean O’Brien 50k, it's a great movie from a friend of mine Billy (LARunr)although this is about the 50 miler you'll get the point!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Win a Headsweat Gift Card


Headsweats is working on their 2015 catalog, and they want YOU to be a model! Submit your best Headsweats action shot in one of their winter beanies, headbands, reflective headwear or hats in the "comments" section on their Facebook Page, you may have to scroll back a bit to find the exact post but look for the picture posted above.

Sorry, visor fans, they’ve got plenty of these shots already! Bonus points if the HS logo is showing! They will choose winners on Tuesday, Nov. 11th, and you will receive a $25 gift certificate.

Disclaimer: you must be able to provide a high-resolution image of your submitted photo. Any photos taken by a professional photographer must have permission from the photographer to be used by Headsweats.
#headsweatslove #runheadsweats

Friday, November 7, 2014

What do Washing Machine Engineers and Coaches have in common?

A few years ago there was a fashion of putting the laundry detergent into a ball and putting the ball inside the washing machine with the clothes. It was all the rage and it was all you could do to not buy a bottle of detergent that didn’t come with a ball. These days you still see a few but for the most part bottles are ball less. You have to ask yourself what the hell did the washing machine engineers think about this. They spent countless hours designing, testing, manufacturing a process that adds the detergent at precisely the right time during the washing cycle and what do we do…throw a ball of soap in with the clothes and hope for the best! Completely bypassing this entire process that has had 1000’s of man hours invested into it along with 10s, 100s of 1000s of millions of dollars!

image So what does this have to do with a coach…well let me tell you parallels. They spend hours putting together a training plan. The plan will contain periodized training. Gradual increases in duration and intensity designed to increase both your aerobic and anaerobic fitness. It will include longer distances designed to build up your endurance both physically and mentally. Overall it’s designed to get you to start line of the race in the best possible condition. It’s the same with washing machine, it’s designed to add water, add detergent, rinse and spin in a structured process that will get your clothes clean and bright in the best possible way.

So why is this important, well to be honest this is a bit of a rant. I know someone who will remain nameless training for an Ironman distance race. This is no small undertaking. Training for each discipline during the week typically is 3 swims, 3 bikes and 3 runs. You don’t need to be in MENSA to see that a couple of days are doubles and most people will understand the concept of the long run and or bike (usually a brick) at the weekend. Training varies from week to week but an average around 12 hours is the norm ramping up to 16 or 17 hours. This may be more for someone who has no kids or an”easier” work life, but for most people it’s around the right ball park.

However all this has to be tempered with a bit of life happens. When I trained for Ironman Arizona in 2012, I followed a free plan from Beginner Triathlete, every Sunday night I would look at the workouts and structure them to fit into my week as best as I could, on a good week 75% was done on the right day, on a bad week it was around 40%. But every workout for every week was completed. Every. Single. One!

So what happens when you think you know better, well usually the wheels fall off at some point. You can can bluff your way round a Sprint or an Olympic, trust me I have done it. You can muddle your way through a Half Ironman but when it comes to 140.6 miles there is no room for bluff. Any little weakness will be exposed and as the day wears on, that crack will grow and grow. I only wish this person well during their race, I hope they meet and surpass their expectation but I have my reservations and if history bears out it will be a race filled with excuses rather than with success.

Take it from me, like washing machine engineers, coaches are smart, they go to school. They learn how to create a sensible plan that if followed will get you the result you want…or pretty darn close to it. 

imageThe bottom line, I hope his race doesn’t end up like this!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Santa Clarita Marathon

While this race was a stepping stone on the way to LD50 in April and bigger things in 2015 it will go down and quite probably the most sensibly executed race ever. As noted in a previous post my goal was 3:43, that was an 8:30 pace. It was a fairly arbitrary goal based on how the 13 weeks of training had gone. I was floating around from an 8:35 (3:45:02) to 8:25 (3:40:40) pace and in the end just settled on splitting the difference. If I ran a sensible race I would achieve it.

Some basics for people who want to know:

  • Granola, yogurt and a cup of tea for breakfast
  • Cup of coffee in the car on the way.
  • No warm up or stretching
  • Handheld water bottle with High5 (like Nuun carried the way round, refilled twice)
  • A gel every 38 minutes, 6 in total
  • Saucony Kinvara 5, Inferno Shorts and Shirt

Becca, who was running the half, suggested I follow the 3:45 pacer which seemed like a good idea. After some milling around and the national anthem the race started and we off. The Pacer went out a bit fast and the first 2 miles were some of the fastest for the race. Around M8 or so he ducked into the restrooms and I lost him. Becca caught up with me and gave me one of her gels, I was worried as I hadn’t seen any on course and had already taken the only one I was carrying. From there I ran on by myself. Around M10 I headed to the porta-john, this only added 30 seconds to the mile split so it was ok.

The Half and Full Marathon start together and at M13 the half runners turn off towards the finish. There were 1450+ half runners and less than 350 marathoners so as you can imagine the course got a bit empty for the second half. My concerns over gels were put to bed from M14 onwards. I made a point of stocking up when I saw them, much to the surprise of the Volunteer, when I grabbed three from her in one go.

I had set my Garmin 910xt to show 2 data fields, Lap Pace and Lap Time, this way I could check in on myself during each mile and ensure I was on track. My goal was to be as consistent on my splits as possible. Overall I wasn’t focused on negative splitting the course, I really wanted to run a solid 26.2 miles one mile at a time. With hindsight I wasn’t passed by anyone from M12 but I picked up a lot along the way.

Becca had left her Mountain Bike in the car with a view to coming to find me on the course and she caught up with me around M18. I was very much in the zone and just plugged away passing people as I went. The race course is pretty flat, there are some gentle ups and downs and a couple of short sharp hills as you come out of the footpaths that follow dried river beds etc. It’s a twisty turny course with plenty of double backs. It’s very varied and there is always a change of view just around the corner. Fortunately the more boring areas, industrial park etc are early so they go by without any worries.  

image I got to the point where the wheels had fallen off in 2011, around M21, and maintained my pace without issue, neither speeding up nor slowing down. Miles 23 and 24 were a bit gritty but once I was past those I knew I was good. At this point I was catching Half Marathon walkers and the route took you over a couple of foot bridges which led out the the finish. I picked up the pace in the last .2 of a mile and crossed the line.

The official numbers etc;

  • Overall: 68 out of 350
  • Men: 63 out of 240
  • M 45-49: 15 out of 37
  • Age/Grade: 61.17% Place: 75
  • Finish: 3:42:01 Pace: 8:28
  • Chip Time: 3:42:01
  • Gun Time: 3:42:45

What I am really pleased with is this;

  • 5.5 Mile: 0:45:31 Pace: 8:16
  • 15.3 Mile: 2:08:49 Pace: 8:25
  • 21.5 Mile: 3:00:18 Pace: 8:23

Here are the splits graphed, remember I was looking for consistency, if I take out my 2 slowest and 2 fastest miles my variance is 18 seconds per mile for the remaining 22 miles.

imageBecca managed to grab a couple of good photos along the way too; 

 IMG_0997 IMG_1003

By no means a PR but a well executed plan. If want a week by week play on my training you can see it on this page.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

SCM Week 13

Race week, no real deviation away from my training plan. In fact all I was doing was adding 2.2 miles to my long run on Sunday.

Monday. 5 miles. treadmill. Nothing to see here…move on!

Tuesday. off!

Wednesday. 10 miles. The mid week long run is becoming quite regular now, it’s a cold dark early start to get it done before work but it’s doable. Nice and solid with an average pace of 8:05, basically race pace –25 seconds,


Thursday. 5 miles. Treadmill. tick!

Friday. 7 miles. Treadmill. yeah one of those weeks!

Saturday. off!

Sunday. Santa Clarita Marathon, you can read the report here 

So 7:48 and 54.45 miles for the week.

All the mid week runs were fairly easy, especially the treadmill ones, just to save something for the weekend. Friday’s run was the last on the month.