Monday, November 4, 2013

Road to Recovery

The road to recovery has been slow-but steady.  It's hard to believe that I completed Ironman Wisconsin nearly 8 weeks ago, and now I am celebrating a 3 mile run/walk.  Priorities have dramatically changed, and I am alright with that.  I was able to go years without significant injury.  I was due.

In 2009, a short 3 weeks before Ironman Wisconsin, I was in a bicycle crash that left me with a minor concussion, 2 broken ribs, a broken hand, and about 25 stitches.  I could not walk, let alone run-as I laid in the ER of Good Samaritan, I feared my IMWI dreams for 2009 were over.  But those who know me know I do not give up.  It would take something a lot bigger than a few broken bones to keep me from that starting line that I worked 10 months to get to.  So I altered my goals, and set out to finish-sure enough, I was able to swim one-armed, carefully ride, and speed walk my way to my 4th Ironman finish.  

I share this 4 year old story because I believe it proves my dedication to goals I set out to achieve.  A heel stress fracture will not hold me back from what I hope to achieve in 2014.  I did register for Ironman Wisconsin again on September 7th, 2014-but I dream to run my first 100 mile race before I turn 30. My 30th birthday is December 3rd, 2014-so I have about 13 months to achieve this goal.  The tricky part now is when.  I cannot have this event be during Ironman training months, and it cannot be too soon after Ironman either.  Before I was diagnosed with this heel stress fracture 6 weeks ago, I had my sights set on the Indiana Trail 100 in late April.  Now that I am up to nearly 3 miles of straight running-my goal for April may be attainable.  If not, I'll have to look for something in late 2014.  

Either way, I'll do it. I'm recovering.  I'm running again. It was a long 6 weeks without it, and the run/walk plan I'm on is truly demoralizing. I tell myself that I have to start somewhere though, so I'll take what I can get for now. I'm back.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Stress Fracture Vent Session

Post-Ironman Wisconsin sure did not go as I had anticipated.  I was limping around in my typical post-IM fashion for the first few days post race, but as all over muscle soreness disappeared, my heel pain increased.  By the middle of the second week after Ironman, my heel was so bad that I couldn't even walk on it.  So I sucked it up and made the doctor appointment, which gave me a referral to a sports med/podiatrist.  This lead to an X-ray and examination, in which the doctor concluded I indeed had a stress fracture in my heel. This meant a walking boot for 4-6 weeks, and of course, absolutely no weight bearing activity-No running.  Telling me I can't run in the fall is truly miserable-Fall is the best season to run.  Perfect temperatures, colorful leaves, crisp air-This totally sucks.  I had a plan to run my first 100 mile run in late April-I know April is quite a distance away, but I'm a week into wearing the boot and there is no relief quite yet.  I guess my hope of feeling back to normal after a few days in the boot wasn't entirely realistic.  The training plan I was going to start would start at the end of October, and I know now that there is no chance of that happening.  I guess I'll be playing the next few months by ear.

So what can I do now?  Oh, my favorite thing in the world-swim.  I am not a fan of swimming, not one bit.  But, it is the one thing I can do with zero pain so I am in the pool, and it's October.  Can't remember if there has been a season where I've swam through October-Maybe my swimming will actually improve this year :)  Besides that, I'm doing a lot of push ups, core work, and spinning on a bike (nothing outdoors though :(...clipping in and out of my pedals hurts too bad).  I tried an elliptical last Saturday, and truly did not feel any pain; yet I woke up Sunday morning in a tremendous amount of pain, so I'm staying away from it for awhile. 

Several people I've spoken to about this say this is a blessing in disguise.  If I recall the past few years, I  really haven't taken a significant break from running (last year I trained for and ran my first 50 mile ultra, ran everyday of 2012 and 100 days into 2013, and competed in Ironman distance triathlons since not much time off of running).  Maybe this is my body forcing me to stand down for a little while, and that could be a good thing (I keep trying to tell myself...) but it really doesn't make it any easier.  I've gone through both the denial and anger fazes of this injury-and now I'm on to the depressed stage.  I truly feel bad for the people around me that have to listen to me vent and rant about this injury and not being able to run.  I am sorry and well aware that worse things could have happened-I just don't deal well with "resting" and being told that I cannot do something-it only makes me want to do it more.

Alright, another rant over.  Counting the days until the next doctor's appointment next Wednesday, and then my 4 week appointment after that.  Hopefully with a few more days/weeks of TLC this heel will be back and ready to rock-I have big plans for it in 2014 :)  

Monday, September 16, 2013

2013 Ironman Wisconsin Race Report

Ironman Wisconsin Race Report
Sunday, September 8th, 2013
Pre Race Info/Stats

This was my 8th attempt at the Ironman distance, and my 5th in Madison, Wisconsin.  This would be my 3rd Ironman event as a member of team Endurance Nation-although this year, I did not do half of the workouts I should have leading into the 12 week prep for the race.  I was very spotty in May and June, but hit July and August hard as “crash training”.  During July and August, I took 3 trips up to Madison (WIBA in July, a weekend training with the family at the end of July, and the EN tri rally in early August) to ride the course.  Several full distance swims (1:04, 1:06, 1:07), several 100 mile bike rides, one 125 mile ride, and a handful of long runs (several 13s, a 15, 16, and 18).    I was not approaching this race to PR-I have more respect for the distance than the 2 months of solid training I put in.  But I also hoped that my years of Ironman experience, optimal weather forecast, and new nutrition plan would lead to a great day-ideally, the 13 hour range.


We got up to Madison just in time for the Endurance Nation team dinner.  Before checking into the hotel, we went straight to Monona Terrace to park and walk to the Hilton for the team dinner.  After dinner and a quick grocery store trip, we checked into the Concourse Hotel Madison (a few blocks from the race site).  Later I went out for a few drinks with members of EN and the coaches.  It was a great way to ease into a fun weekend ahead!


I wanted to test out my wetsuit in Lake Monona as I had only had it on one other time all season, back in early July at the WIBA weekend.  Met up with team EN for our morning swim around 8am, and boy was the water WARM!  I only swam a little under a mile, and felt overheated by the end.  I was worried for the swim because of this heat-not only did I hate swimming in a wetsuit, I knew that race officials would drop that thermometer in a nice, deep part of the lake on Sunday morning to ensure a wetsuit legal swim.  I went to register immediately after, and spend a few dollars in the expo. I actually did well this year-only bought one long sleeve and the race t shirt with all the athlete’s names on it.  Afterwards, I had to rush to the EN 4 Keys talk on State Street.  This is definitely a must for any Ironman athlete!  I went back to the hotel after to grab a quick bite and take the bike for a quick spin to make sure it was all dialed in and ready to go!

Later was the athlete dinner.  This would be my 8th athlete dinner and they all start the same, Mike Reilly welcoming us with a great motivational video, then bringing up the youngest athlete, oldest athlete, inspirational stories, etc.  But this year, he asked if there were any father-son athletes racing-and my FIL stood up and announced that not only were him and his 2 sons racing, their wives were as well so all 5 of us were asked to join him on stage.  Mike Reilly interviewed us in front of the 2500 athletes/families at the dinner-where my FIL declared his goal to “beat Lauren” on Sunday. Oh excellent-the pressure begins ;)  For the remainder of the weekend, random athletes approached my family and I wishing us all luck.  We couldn’t go anywhere without being approached-I felt like a triathlon celebrity.  Not kidding.


Saturday began with a monster breakfast-I think I had 7 pancakes.  After, we went back to our hotel rooms to pack our transition bags and get our bikes ready for drop off.  One of my biggest concerns this year was my nutrition. Every single Ironman race, I have digestive issues on the run. I get sick by mile 6 or 7 of the marathon, and the rest of the race is a death march.  I spent 3 weekends in August doing 100 miler after 100 miler practicing a new nutrition plan, and I hoped that I was actually ready for it and it would work for me. It’s nearly impossible to practice in training though, because never in training do you ride 112 miles and run more than 6 miles after.  After another trip to the expo to pick up some last minute necessities, we were ready to drop our bikes/bags off and head to an early dinner.  Feet were up by 7:30pm, and I was actually asleep by 10:15pm. 

Race Day

4:30am always comes way too early.  A cinnamon raisin bagel, banana, and large coffee went down right away, followed by sipping Perform until race start.  We got up and walked to transition.  The weather felt amazing-a tad cool, but windy!  After pumping the tires and dropping off special needs bags, we were ready to walk down the helix to the lake.  Even though this was my 8th Ironman start, I can’t help but feel the nerves of anticipation knowing what a long day I had ahead of me-but as EN preaches, I tried to stay in my box and worry about starting the swim-not how I’d feel at mile 80 of the bike or 16 of the run.  Popped a gu 30 minutes before the swim start.  Praying the day would go well, and my nutrition would hold out, I entered the water.

Swim-1:16:28 (21st in AG-Eww)

Ironman mass swim starts are hell.  Whoever says “Oh, its part of the magic of Ironman” is incredibly insane.  I absolutely hate the first 500-800 meters-the repeatedly getting kicked, punched, dunked, etc…it is miserable and EVERY year I want to quit within minutes.  But-I move on. I am terrible at swimming in a straight line-and the waves this year made it even more challenging.  I was all over the place-this was my first year swimming with my new garmin 910-and my measured distance was 2.72 miles for the swim.  This must change in the future!  This was also my first experience with the one-loop Ironman swim in Madison. The swim is shaped like a rectangle and first, with the back stretch extremely long and into the waves/current.  I tried to stay in my box, counting my strokes, but I was very disappointed when exiting the water because my swim time was a good 6-7 minutes slower than normal times. Oh well- I knew I couldn’t control it so I decided to just move forward with my day.

Transition 1-7:28

The transition area in Madison is extremely long, for you must run up the helix to the changing area in Monona Terrace. I moved quickly and kept my plan simple-helmet on, socks/shoes on, sunglasses on, run to bike.  In the past I’ve had amazing help in the transition tent from volunteers-unfortunately, I must’ve come in at a crowded time because I was on my own.  No worries though-I was ready to ride!

112 Mile Bike- 6:31:51, 17.15mph average (16th in AG)

My goal for the bike was to ride steady and not to fall behind on nutrition.  Steady watts, “flatten” the hills, spin, power downhill.  I was to drink 1-1.5 bottles of Perform an hour, a gu on the :30s and 1/3 a power bar on the :00, along with 1 salt pill an hour (for a high only in the mid seventies, I hoped that would be sufficient).  The way out I felt absolutely amazing-we had a stellar tail wind, my effort was low, and speed high.  I felt great-perfectly tapered.  This year I took about a 2.5 week taper, which felt perfect for me.  Any shorter I don’t feel rested enough, and any longer leaves me feeling flat on race day.  I hit Verona 16 miles in, and was smiling from ear to ear.  The crowds out there are amazing and knowing the course as well as I did makes for a huge difference in my approach to the day. I know every hill, every turn, every descent, etc. like the back of my hand-so there are absolutely no surprises on race day! 

I was doing well early on with nutrition.  On a nice, cool day, it is easy to keep up with hydration.  On race day I look forward to the toughest part of the course-the hills are lined with people Tour de France style and it truly makes you feel like a pro!  Unfortunately after Timber Lane (the second huge climb on the course) I dropped my chain-no biggie, off the bike, fix it quick, back on the bike.  This happened one other time on the bike-but I’d much rather that than a flat tire (which was the story of my life this summer!) so I kept on moving.  Bathroom stop right before Verona on the first loop, and at the same porta john on the second loop.  Hit the huge hills on the second loop still feeling great-fresh even, and I wanted to push!  But I held back-It was a perfect day for a run so I was saving what I could to potentially have a great marathon run.  So kept up with my nutrition-Perform, Perform, Perform (learned the hard way to at least keep one bottle of water with me during the bike-Espresso Love gus do NOT go down well with lemon lime Perform!) and dreaded what I thought would be a terrible headwind on the stick back into Madison.  I must’ve saved enough-because I was flying by people on that stick and once I made the left turn towards the city, actually got a second wind and really upped my MPH for the end of the ride.  My favorite part of the bike is when I hit John Nolen Drive on the way back into Madison-rounding Lake Monona, the capital building in the beautiful backdrop of the city-makes me smile ear to ear every time.  And-time to get off the bike and get ready for my favorite part of the day-the Ironman marathon!

T2- 5:08

This transition I had a great volunteer help me out-race number on, visor on, running shoes on, a quick stop at the “Walgreens” table to add some Vaseline to some chaffing I had going on, a porta john stop-and I was on my way. Ready, ready, ready to RUN!

26.2 Mile Run- 4:48:45, 11:01 pace (20th in AG)

The Ironman marathon is always a test to see how well my nutrition plan went.  In the past, I’ve literally just waited for my stomach to turn south and the porta john stops to begin-this year I started the run with a bag full of Immodium and Ibuprofen in my tri top.  I kept thinking, how soon until this run starts to suck and the sick hits?  I started at an 11 minute pace.  It was tough to run that slow, but it always is in the beginning.  Running that pace gets much easier throughout the day-then difficult ;)  But I did my best to truck along at the pace, and I was actually doing well.  EN preaches to start slower for 6 miles then pick it up-I’ve never been able to do that, because by mile 6/7 my stomach always goes south. So this year, when I hit mile 6, 7, and 8 of the run, and I realized that my pace was actually speeding up-I couldn’t believe it!  But I stayed conservative-I knew the inevitable stomach issues would come-but I was trying to push back when it started.  So I kept to my run nutrition plan, Perform, Perform, gu/water, continue-at each aid station I hit.  It wasn’t until mile 13 that I said out loud to myself-Oh $hit this is working!!! I am still running-and its halfway through the marathon!  Unreal! But, life wasn’t all rainbows and flowers at this point.  My heel (that had been bothering me for some time now) started really, really bothering me-to the point that I was running on my toes on my right foot.  So around 13, I took 4 Ibuprofen (I know, not my smartest move) in an effort to numb my foot to be able to run.  Soon after, this worked-but boy did I feel it the next week!  But during the race, I kept clocking miles at a comfortable pace-waiting for a quick moment of suck at mile 20, but I was able to mentally move past it fairly quickly because I started calculating that I’d actually break 13 pretty easily if I kept that comfortable pace.  In hindsight, I may have been able to really bury myself to try and break 12:45 (a previous PR) but I was already way ahead of other goals I had for myself that I decided not to push and just keep moving forward.  Miles 21-25 passed fairly quickly-and before I knew it, I was rounding the capital towards the finish line.  There isn’t anything like that feeling of hundreds of people cheering for YOU-It’s the best feeling in the world!

Finish Time- 12:49:40 (20th AG)

I could not be happier for the race I pulled together on minimal training this year.  I did not give Ironman training my all this year-but I guess, that’s not going to happen every year.  Finally being able to figure out a nutrition plan that works for me made this entire year worth it!  I’ve struggled with nutrition for 7 Ironman races, and this 8th finish was SO SWEET without those issues!  I was even able to eat after the race, while I cheered on more family/friends that were finishing the race.  And even though I have other goals next year-this amazing race made it impossible to not register for Ironman next year-as of this afternoon at noon-I am all in for the 2014 edition of Ironman Wisconsin.  And I could not be happier J

Sunday, September 1, 2013

T-Minus 1 Week...

The 2013 Ironman Wisconsin triathlon is exactly one week from today.  As I sit here typing this post, I glance at the time and hope that by this time next week I will be finished, cheering on the rest of my family and friends as they experience what may be their first, second, or tenth Ironman distance race.  This will be my 5th attempt at Ironman Wisconsin course, and my 8th attempt at the distance.  

Of course this morning I woke up with a head cold.  After the first full 2 weeks of the school year, I almost expected it despite my attempt at avoiding the inevitable congestion/sore throat/cough.  I thought my ride this morning would help clear me up a bit-but it did not, so the rest of the day I spent on the couch resting and drinking as much Vitamin C that I could possibly take in.  It's ok though-I could sit here worried sick that this will destroy my race, or I could chalk it up to the nature of the beast-that is, the Ironman spirit anyway.

The Ironman triathlon is a 2.4 mile open water swim, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile marathon run.  It is not meant to be easy.  It is not meant to come without adversity.  It is as much a mental as it is a physical test of endurance.  I love everything that the Ironman stands for.  I love that people of all shapes and sizes approach the start line with a common goal-to complete 140.6 miles in under 17 hours.  From the pointy-end athletes shooting for a Kona slot, to the 15, 16, 17 hour rockstars that work that course all day, and everyone inbetween-everyone's primary goal is to complete the course with the anticipation that Mike Reilly will call them an Ironman.  This is one of the main reasons I sign up year after year-the finish line experience is truly magical.

The Ironman weekend is like Christmas in September to me.  I plan to arrive in Mad Town on Thursday evening after work, in time for my team (Endurance Nation) dinner.  Afterward, I will check in to my hotel and relax for the evening-of course, continue to obsess over the weather forecast for Sunday.  Friday morning will bring a team swim, with both members of Endurance Nation and the 2013 Ironman Wisconsin Group page on facebook coming together to test the waters of Lake Monona. I am anticipating the water to be quite warm given the late summer heat wave in the Midwest.  After the swim will come time for the Endurance Nation 4 Keys Talk, which is a free discussion by the coaches where they break down the course and correct ways to execute an Ironman race.  After the discussion I plan to spin on my bike to make sure everything is all dialed in.

Later that day I will complete athlete check in, try not to spend too much money at the expo, and prepare for the athlete dinner at Monona Terrace.  After dinner I will head back to my room to prepare my race bags (Swim to bike, bike to run, special needs bike, special needs run) for drop off on Saturday morning.  Friday night is also the most important night for sleep-since nobody sleeps Saturday night!

Saturday morning (after what I hope will be a late sleep in) I will finish my bags and drop off my bike/bags.  Perhaps a short jog (only if I'm going nuts) and time for feet up the majority of the day.  Large breakfast, good lunch, and average dinner will be on the menu-with the goal of being in the room with my feet up by 6:30pm.  I'm assuming there will not be much sleeping that evening, because the 4:15am wake up always comes far too early!

I love being around the race hype/excitement that comes to Ironman locations.  It's the one time of year I can walk around in spandex for 4 days and not be stared at like I'm from another planet :)  But it's so much more than that.  This has become my lifestyle, and the people that participate in these events understand what that lifestyle is and why I choose to live it.  There is a reason I countdown the days to this event-Of course there are some nerves, but it's not over whether or not I will PR (to be honest, it'd have to be best case scenario on all accounts because my training started so late this year), its more the anticipation to be around all that the Ironman stands for-and below are a few of my favorite quotes I've gathered through the years to keep me inspired:
*Until you face your fears, you don't move to the other side, where you find the power
*Success in this sport is, above all else, about enduring suffering
*Pain is temporary, pride is forever
*You can keep going and your legs may hurt for a week, or you can quit and your mind will hurt for a lifetime
*Of course it's hard.  It's supposed to be hard.  If it were easy, everyone would do it.  Hard is what makes is great.
*HTFU ;)

It's race week...I can't wait to get up to Madison!!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Were shoes my problem the whole time?

Today was supposed to be my first step-back long run during my Ironman 3-week taper.  Last week during my 18 miler, I was envisioning myself the following week only doing one loop at Waterfall Glen (a ~9.6 mile crushed limestone trail in Darien) and feeling great that my run was over after a short 90 minutes. Needless to say, my Achilles/solius/whatever the heck is going on with my heel had other plans-thus, the extra time in my day to start this blog and actually complete a second post within 2 days ;)

This evening, I was browsing the forums of Slowtwitch (a triathlon forum that is truly almost impossible not to watch during training for triathlon events-specifically long course) when I stumbled across a post entitled "Asics GT-2000".  Since these are my running shoes, I clicked on the posting, only to find the original message to look something like this:

"Anyone having issues with ankle/achilles soreness after runing a few hours later or next morning? Especially those that ran in 2170's or the asics comparable models before. I never had this problem before running with the new shoe. So I was wondering if it was a effect from other injuries or the new shoes."

As I continued to read, I found responses such as this one:

"I've been a 15 yr Asics GT21...guy. Think I started at 2010 in the early 90's. Went to pick up the new 2000's a few weeks back and the guy at Dick's said people are returning them in record numbers. They were even on sale, mid season, which is apparently a sign of poor sales. Lot's of complaints apparently and injuries. Really sad, actually. LOVED those shoes. I moved over to the Brooks Pure series and really like them. However, I have narrow feet and they fit me nicely - no blisters even on first distance run. He also confirmed that many Asics faithful were moving to the Adrenaline 13."
And this:

I" believe the heel to toe ratio dropped from 12 to 10mm from the 2170 to the 2000. It shouldn't be enough to affect things, but small difference can tweak the body.

Every now and then a shoe model is changed enough so it doesn't work anymore. We've sold the 2000 well thus far, but have heard of quite a few loyal 2170 wearers that haven't liked it."

It went even further than this.  It took one google search to find that there were similar forum posts on,, etc.  I couldn't believe it.  It didn't seem like my answer would come so easily. I've been a loyal Asics GT 2100 series wearer since I started running in 2004, because I've never had a problem with the shoes (unless, of course, I went too long without changing the pair-which has happened far too many times to someone who religiously tracks miles). 

This morning I spoke to a friend that is convinced my problem is likely my soleus being far too tight-which I still believe is the case for multiple reasons.  She was not the first person in the last week that suggested this could be my issue.  I went for a deep tissue massage from Bernie Conway at 140point6 Massage Therapy and he quickly suggested my soleus was very tight and I needed to start working on it ASAP.  But I have to wonder, am I experiencing this issue due to that 2mm drop of the heel in the GT2000s from the GT2170s?  I've felt this tightness most of the summer, and I've been running in the GT 2170s since early June.  My mileage has slowly increased throughout the summer, and with every week came more tightness. 

When runners experience injury, it is typically due to some sort of change.  A change in training, speed, mileage, terrain, frequency, shoes, etc.  What was bizarre to me was that I had not changed anything this year-I approached my triathlon training build the same way I'd done every year, rotated terrain (a mixture of crushed limestone/treadmill/road running), continued my frequency, did not do much speed work at all (hammy can't handle that with the heavy mileage), increased mileage following the 10% rule, etc.  Like I stated earlier, I am not new to this running game so I know the smart way to approach training.  This is why I was so frustrated by my current situation-until today.  Today I felt I got some answers-from learning to stretch my soleus appropriately (who knew?) to hearing about this shoe issue-who knows what the problem really is.  What does matter is that I am not sitting here sulking about it.  I am taking the steps I need to to get me to that starting line on September 8th.  I found an old model of the GT 2170s online and ordered immediately.  My stretching/icing routine has become as important to me as my running workouts.  I'm hoping to get out on the road in the morning with an old pair of my 2170s to see if that actually helps my situation.  I'm taking whatever precautions necessary at this point; getting to the start line WILL happen-I just need to make sure I get to that finish line as well!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

First Post!

Well here we go!  I initially was talked into starting a blog by some very persuasive friends of mine :)  But the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. Let's face it, I can't post EVERY workout on Facebook-and there is only so much my friends can take hearing me complaining about injuries.  Thus, the start of this blog. I am intending on using it to post race reports, training/workout updates, goals, injuries, etc. all related to my passion for running/triathlon.  We'll see how it goes from there!

For those that don't know, I am currently in training for the Ironman triathlon on September 8th, 2013 in the beautiful town of Madison, Wisconsin.  This isn't my first rodeo by any means-this will be my 8th attempt at the distance.  Over the years, I've dealt with much adversity leading into these races (undertraining, overtraining, injuries, a terrible bike crash, etc.) and it seems this year will be no different. 

I am a crazy Chicago Blackhawks fan, and their road to the Stanley Cup this year really put my training on the back burner.  Was this an excuse for not putting in 12-15 hours a week in May/June?  Maybe.  But I really didn't care-triathlon is a lifestyle of mine, but let's face it, I'm far from a professional triathlete so my priorities were simply elsewhere for sometime.  I had a blast celebrating the Hawks win yet another cup in 4 years!  But, come June 25th, I knew I needed to get my butt into gear if I wanted to attempt this race. 

So I was able to put in 7-8 heavy weeks of training.  I built up to a few 17-18 hour weeks and started to feel like things were falling into place.  Since my bike crash in 2009 I've been fighting a hamstring injury and with all the biking miles that started to come into play again-but it's nothing I haven't dealt with before, so I was starting to feel really excited as I hit my last really long week of training.

Then-another curve ball.  The last few weeks my heal/Achilles has been really tight, but I've been doing all the necessary steps to be able to get through the day (icing, rolling it out on a golf ball).  But today after my swim, I got on the treadmill to try and get a quick 5 miler in, when the tightness got so bad that I wasn't able to put any pressure on it.  I tried to stretch out a bit, but it just wasn't happening so I bagged the workout. The last thing I need is to tear my Achilles now with Ironman in 19 days.  I'm really hoping that this tightness/pain is really bad right now because of the crazy long ride I put in on Sunday (my longest ever, 125 miles) and the 30+ running miles I put in on top of that last week. 

For now, I am going to stand down and rest.  Swam yesterday and today, will get a short ride in tomorrow, but I am supposed to run 10 on Thursday (not sure what I'm going to do about that quite yet).  I'm doing an 80 mile ride this weekend-my plan calls for the second race rehearsal, but the last 3 weekends I've done 100+ milers all in race rehearsal format (to try out and tweak my nutrition strategy) so this weekend I'm backing off to 80.  Let's hope this heal injury clears up ASAP-I don't need to be tackling a hamstring and heal injury during this year's race!