Monday, March 12, 2012

Ironman Mont-Tremblant Training Week #1

Week #1 of Ironman training is in the books.

It was not the perfect week as I was scheduled to do a morning and evening ride on Monday but my legs were still too trashed from The Woodlands Marathon on Saturday. I could not even pick my legs up over the bike on the trainer and figured this might be a sign that another day of recovery was needed.

On Tuesday I went to my first Master's swim class in over four months. It felt like my first time ever in water. By the end of the session I started to feel a little better but it is going to take a few more weeks of hard work to get back to my old level.

Here is my week #1 volume:

Swim - 3x - 6000M - 3hrs
Bike - 4x - 111.52mi - 5hr 26m
Run - 1x - 7.38mi - 1h 2m

Overall I really enjoyed getting back on the bike. It has been raining all damn week so all four sessions were on the computrainer, including a long ride of 51mi in 2h 34m. Indoor riding sucks but it is such a great workout! AND I watched the first season of "Game of Thrones" while on the trianer - holy shit is this show amazing!

I decided to not run until Sunday morning and am happy for the extra recovery because I got in a great run with 7x hill repeats in my favorite parking garage. These hill repeats are going to be a rather regular occurrence since IMMT is in the mountains. It was weird to not lace up the Brooks for seven days considering over the last 20 months I averaged close to 60 miles per week. But my run fitness is pretty good right now so no need to force it and get hurt.

Glad to be back in the Swim/Bike/Run world again. It was fun being strictly a runner for a few months but it made me realize how much I like riding and swimming!

Thanks for Reading,


Thursday, March 8, 2012

What is Harder?

Thank you to everyone for taking the time to read the Race Report from The Woodlands Marathon. It was an amazing day and it was awesome to be able to share it with all of you on the blog. Each of your comments were much appreciated!

One of the comments I wanted to address and see if the feedback is consistent with my answer. Here is the comment (highlighted in yellow):

Another Display of my Award Winning Editing/Photoshop Skills!

Nelly basically asked what is harder/more painful - Ironman or a Marathon?

What is funny is that this has been the most common question I have received since the race on Saturday. I have received a bunch of emails and phone calls from friends and they all have asked the exact same thing.

So, in my opinion, what is harder?

Marathon x 10.

Racing a Marathon is 26.2 miles of sheer agony. The last 25% of the marathon is by far the most pain I have ever experienced athletically. Something about the 26.2mi race that just utterly destroys the human body. It is the perfect distance for pain.

Now, notice I used the phrase "Racing" a Marathon. Six weeks ago I ran the Houston Marathon with my wife. It took us exactly one hour longer to complete than it did for me at the Woodlands Marathon. This was much easier for me that Ironman. In fact, I was running the next day with very little soreness.

With this in mind the answer is not really all that simple. In my N=1 experiences maybe I just did not race as hard during my lone Ironman and the comparisons are not even fair? No doubt that the marathon was more painful but was my effort the same for the Ironman?

Now I have confused myself.

Nelly, if it is okay with you, let's shelf my answer of "Marathon x 10" for now and I will get back to you at the end of August when I am done with Ironman Mont-Tremblant. Because I am going to race this sucker with all I got!

What do you guys think - Ironman or Marathon?

Thanks for Reading,


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I am going to hell ...

One day I will meet Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates and he will remind me of the day I took the iPhone out of my pocket and recorded this:

Only judge if you didn't laugh!

Hey, Daniel Tosh, feel free to use this on your show.

If you want to see more Fatty Fails on mechanical bulls go search over at YouTube - hundreds of videos!


Monday, March 5, 2012

The Woodlands Marathon Race Report

Finisher's Medal

Jeff Irvin
The Woodlands Marathon - 3/3/12
Time - 3:06:25
Overall Place - 32/1009
M35-39 AG Place - 4/112
Average Pace - 7:07/mi
Boston Qualify by 3min 35secs

Running is a painful and crazy endeavor.

It hurts, sometimes hurts real bad, but yet we still do it?

It has been many a race when the extreme pain has set in and that voice in my head would start screaming  to stop and debate with me over the very reasons as to why I was doing this to myself.

On Saturday this voice was as loud and persistent as it has ever been, actually deafening, I almost gave in to it's demands - almost.

And when I crossed the finish line and achieved my goal it was at that very moment that the intense pain was replaced by extreme joy and the question of why became irrelevant.

Once in the medical tent that joy went away rather quick ...


Kevin and Jennie made the trip to the Country of Texas for the Woodlands Marathon. Jennie would be running her first half (she did amazing) and Kevin and I would be trying to Boston Qualify. He is younger then me so he needed to be sub-3:05 and I needed a sub-3:10.

With the Boston Athletic Association enacting new qualifying standards this year both Kevin and I had to be 5 minutes and 59 seconds faster than those who qualified last season. Yes, our timing sucks but we were Ironman training last year so we played the cards that we were dealt.

Kevin and Jennie arrived in town on Wednesday evening and the weather was rather hot and humid. However, according to all the forecasts a cold front would be moving through and make race morning comfortable. We got lucky as this is the first time in recent memory that a weather forecast has actually been correct! Race morning the temps were in the high 40's and humidity was non-existent. The only hiccup was some strong, cold winds coming out of the North.

We spent the couple days before the race hanging out and introducing Kevin and Jennie to all the goodness that is Texas. They are awesome people and we all had such a great time with them! Both Annie and I cannot wait to do it all again in Quebec later this year.  I will let them tell you about the trip on their blogs but we all had a blast!

We also had another special guest in for the big race - fellow Texan and friend -  Jason of Cook Train Eat Race Fame, made the long drive down on Friday afternoon to be part of the support crew. It was great to have Jason there before the race as he is always so laid back and keeps us all laughing instead of worrying about the race. Thanks buddy, your support meant a lot!

We had a crew of friends running in this inaugural 26.2 and 13.1 miles races in the Woodlands:

The Runners: Elizabeth, Me, Bobby, Dave, Jen, Jennie, and Kevin

The Race - First 13.1 Miles:

The Elite Race went off at 6:45am sharp. Kevin and I were in Corral A and were lined up right behind the 3:00 Hour Pace Group. We were sent off two quick minutes behind the Elites at 6:47am. Race On!

Don't ya love how my Brooks ID Singlet can be seen from anywhere?

Our goal was to keep the 3hr pace group in sight and try and hit the halfway point right around 1hr and 30mins. This would equate to a 6:52 per mile average for the first 13.1mi. Everything was going perfect as Kevin and I were running shoulder-to-should just clicking off the miles. The course was flat and fast and on the first loop we were able to tuck in behind the pace group when we headed North into the wind.

The pace was fast and uncomfortable but we had both trained for this and we hit the halfway mark right on schedule:

Looking Strong!

We are both still mid-foot striking at the halfway mark!
Second 13.1 Miles:

Kevin and I maintained our 6:50ish pace until mile 17 and that was the last time I would see sub-7 splits on the garmin. The 3hr pace group was no longer in site. Actually we were pretty much alone at this point picking off the occasional slower runner from the Half Marathon Race that started 10 minutes after the marathon.

By the time we hit mile 21 things started to hurt and hurt bad. The water stations were 1.5mi apart and Kevin and I separated a few times over this part of the course but eventually he caught back up to me around mile 22. We may have talked but my memory is a little hazy from this point. I know I was looking at the garmin and trying to figure out what type of pace we needed to maintain but math was not working so well.

We ran together for the next 2 miles and began to catch up to a lot of the half marathoners. In fact, it was getting difficult serving around them as lateral movement was not so easy. Mile 24 was my worst with a split of 7:42 but I got a boost when Kevin dug deep and made a push. He started to pull away and I was cheering for him with all my heart to get in under 3:05.

By mile 25 I was still moving and my vision had started to get blurry and tunnel and white circles were appearing before my eyes. I was actually thinking I might pass out and just kept telling myself to keep moving. Each step hurt more than the last and my body was pleading with me to walk. The 7:39 pace of mile 25 was the longest mile of my life. My entire body hurt and when I finally saw the turnoff to the finish line I damn near broke into tears. These pictures coming down the chute tell the story:

Where is the finish?

Still cannot see it?

There it is!

Finish - 3:06:25

I hit the finish line and Kevin was there to catch me - and I needed to be caught! He informed me that he finished in 3:05:12 and missed the BQ by a mere 12 seconds. Broke. My. Heart.

It was hard to be disappointed because he just set a marathon PR by over 15 minutes with that 3:05 but he deserved that stupid BQ!

We were both in severe pain when Kevin made his move at mile 24. If he would have just hung back and been happy finishing it still would have been a heck of a race for him. He gave everything he had and I could see it in his eyes that it hurt like hell. He left it ALL on the course. The race he ran took skill and determination. The last 2.2 miles of the race was nothing but sheer guts. I averaged a 7:35 pace over the last 2.2mi when we split and he picked up 1 minute and 13 seconds in that span - THAT is the definition of Badass!

I am a firm believer that in life we are presented with few opportunities in which our true character is given the full chance to shine. Those last 2.2mi on Saturday I was able to see Kevin's character shine and am proud to have run this race with him and even more proud to be his friend. You killed it dude!

Post Race:

I was a wreck. Kevin walked me to a golf cart and the next thing I remember is sitting in the medical tent telling a Doctor he looked blurry. It was cold and he was thinking I may have had too much fluid (Hyper-something, Jason knows the word). Anyway, they made me stay for about a half hour until I felt better. I really didn't feel better but was sick and tired of being in the medical tent. Best part is I was lying on a cot and speaking with a women about how I felt as she was asking me question after question. I opened my eyes and it was Annie asking the questions. I did feel better after seeing her.

After the med tent I took a leak and this is when I realized that I was in bad shape as my urine was filled with blood. Not good times.

We found everyone and got some food in me and I started to come around.

**Edit: All is good now and I'm back to having nice, clean pee!


Huge Thanks to Kevin for pushing me the entire race. The race I had would not have been possible if you would not have been there.

Thank you to Annie and Jason for being the world's best race sherpas and photogs! And how awesome is my wife to be sitting in a medical tent with me and not be freaking out at all? Most spouses would be wagging the finger saying this is was your last race!

Congrats to Jennie for killing her first half marathon, to Jen for setting a new half PR, to Elizabeth for running a 1:50 a few short months after baby #2, to Bobby for completing his 10th marathon, and to my good buddy Dave for getting like a 45min PR with a 3:23 Marathon!

The hard work you all put in inspires me each and every day!

Thanks for Reading,


P.s - Ironman Mont-Tremblant Training begins today!

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Woodlands Marathon Goal

Tomorrow is the Woodlands Marathon.

Seems like I have been training for this thing forever and now it is finally here.

For the training I used the Pete Pfitzinger Advanced Marathoning 18/70 plan. It peaked at 70 miles per week and at the end tossed in some speed work. For the five months that I did this plan my total running volume was 1092.24 miles. That breaks out to be an average of 218.45 per month.

The peek months were December with 251.33 miles and January with 251.68 miles.

During this training period I did quite a bit of racing:

- Rocky Raccoon 50K
- San Antonio Half Marathon
- Turkey Trot 5mi Race
- LaPorte Half Marathon
- Texas Half Marathon
- The Houston Marathon
- BridgeFest 5K
- LifeTime Fitness Run for Chocolate 10K

The races in Bold were new PR's!

As THEY say The proverbial hay is in the barn.

Time to race.

The pacing planning that Kevin and I are going to use is that of even splits. We are going to go out around a 7min/mi pace and keep the 3hr Pace Group (6:52 pace) in sight. Once we get loose after a couple miles them we are going to try and maintain pace with the group and try and hit the half way point around the 1h 30m mark - a few minutes over is okay.

We will try and maintain this pace up until mile 20 and if we can pick it up slightly then we will if we need to back off some then we have some wiggle room.  To Boston Qualify I need to be sub-3:10 and Kevin needs to be sub-3:05 so he has a little less wiggle room then me.

If one of us needs to slow then the other is free to just keep running. A lot of times I see people run together and they implement the Navy Seal policy of "No Man Left Behind." This will not be our policy. We are going to be more like the CIA, "I have no knowledge of his existence?"

This is the best for us to help pace each other but also not impede one another from having our best race!

So that is it.

If this even pacing plan is successful then we should be coming in around 3:03.

Jennie is running her first half marathon at the Woodlands as well, so make sure to wish her luck!

Annie is going to be the spectator extraordinaire and will be on Twitter and Facebook with updates. Here is her Twitter: @airvin95, and Face Book: Here.

Thanks for Reading,