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Posts tagged ‘ironman’

Training Week 1 Review

I’m in. Yet again. This will mark my 3rd attempt at the Ironman distance triathlon. This time, the venue is Ironman Florida, in Panama City.  It’s great because it’s close to home and will provide me will more excuses to go down to the panhandle this Summer!

With my registration comes the need to train. Not that I haven’t been training. The real need is to pay attention and train smart. Note – I’m tempted to say “train right” as a bit of foreshadowing, but I haven’t quite bit that bullet yet.

Week 1 in review:

Swim: I got in the pool. Yay!  A total of 1500 meters that day. Things felt good. This is the easiest place for me to get burned out, so I’m going to be careful as to how frequently I visit the underwater hamster wheel. My first triathlon of 2012 will be April at the earliest and no more than 2000 meters, so I’m in good shape for that already.

Bike: I rode just over 80 miles this week. One workout was on a spin bike while the other two were open road, including a 50+ mile ride on Saturday. Nutrition was my only issue on the ride. I should have packed more sports drink, or a couple of packs of Cliff Shot Blocks.

Run: I ran 18.9 miles, with a long run of 10 miles on Sunday. Everything feels good – but kinda feels like slow motion. The 10 miler was averaging around a 9:40 pace. Not bad for my longest run since March.

Weights: I lifted one day, hitting biceps, triceps, shoulders and abs.

Tennis:  Yes, I’m still playing tennis through this. I went to drills and had a singles match this week. This totaled around 2 1/2 hours of my “training” this week.

In all, it was just short of 12 hours of athletics. My current concerns are over-training, under-training, and improper training.  Geez – I think that about covers it. I’ll be working on a plan for dealing with those fears over the coming few weeks. 51 more weeks to go!

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Is This the SAME Mike Schubert?

Yes. I’ve known a large number of great people over the last 35+ years of my life. Many of them came into my life or I lost track of during one phase or another. One question I get a lot when people catch up to me is “How did you get into Ironman?” Being an engineering type with a simple story to tell, I thought I’d write an article for the world and share when people inquire. It goes something like this:

The whole Ironman dream started back in the 80’s watching somebody crawl across the finish line on NBC. I remember thinking that I loved to swim and bike, but couldn’t run 10k much less a marathon. So it just kinda sat out there. Tennis was my strong suit and I stayed pretty fit up until 96 or so and then drank too much beer and took on the desk job. Bad combination.

So in 2003 my dad passed away, my job sucked (good pay, no expectations, but it wasn’t challenging or remotely rewarding), and one day I felt a pain on the left side of my chest. No big deal it turned out, but my doctor said I needed to lose weight and eat better or that story would change. So I started going to the gym at lunch and eating a little better and dropped 30 pounds in roughly 3 or 4 months. That made it easier to run and I started doing 5ks. Then 10k’s, Then half marathons and finally I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 2006.

With food poisoning. Yeah – food poisoning 3 days before my first marathon. I should’ve been eating 2500 calories each of those 3 days and instead barely ate 1000 each day. But somehow I got up and toed the line – and the finish was spectacular. It was 30 minutes after my finish when I was still sick (i’ll spare the details) that I realized I should raise the bar much higher than it had been. I am capable of pushing myself harder, farther and through more pain, than the typical person. I had done a short course triathlon earlier in 2006, but this was the moment where I realize anything was possible.

As of the date of this post, I’ve done 2 Ironman triathlons – Lake Placid, NY and Madison, WI. 4 or 5 half iron races. 15 marathons in 8 states (it’s a great way to see the country I figured). One of those marathons was Goofy’s Challenge in Disney where you run the 1/2 marathon on Saturday and the full on Sunday for a total of 39.3 miles. I have pictures from just about all of these if you’re really interested.

It’s absolutely insane to type all that out. But in a nutshell, that’s what keeps me waking up every day and going to sit in an office. It goes beyond just being my stress relief but is something that makes me absolutely giddy. I still remember the first time I got on my bike and road to Stone Mtn Park from my house as a kid. And as an adult I remember getting on my bike and riding to the Alabama state line and back.

I guess I’m still a computer geek. I like tinkering with code and solving problems, playing games, and soaking in the sun. Now it’s your turn – what’s your story?

2009 Great Floridian Iron Distance Triathlon Race Report

This was the 19th running of this race, and by far the hottest. Temperatures reached the high 80’s early in the day and set a record of 90. This did not bode well for me.


Race day started off with a 2 loop swim in Lake Minneola. I have no idea what the water temp was, but even with the recent heat in the area they were able to find some place in the lake that was below 78 degrees. Water felt warm to me, especially in a wetsuit. Each loop was 1.2 miles in length, and followed a triangular course. Typically, you’ll see swim courses that have yellow buoys along one side, orange down the other, and red indicating turns. This isn’t law, but in general there is some colorful indicator of turns, and then consistency in buoy colors between the turns so you know you’re on course. In this race, that was not the case. Not the big of a deal but confusing. The biggest event for me on the swim was getting a solid kick directly underneath my right eye socket. A little water came into my googles, but not too much – I dealt with it. However, this triggered a headache that would not go away.

Transition was fairly uneventful. I was stripped of my wetsuit, headed into the changing tent, and prepared to ride. My heart rate was definitely in check. I was ready. I mounted my bike and headed out on the course.


I thought Florida was flat! Nowhere had I found an elevation profile of this year’s course. It amazes me that an event that has been around for 19 years is radically changing its bike course. I found a profile from last year that had 1800 ft of climbing, with most of the hills (including Sugarloaf) being in the first 30 or so. That would’ve been no sweat under these conditions, but turned out not the case this year. Sugarloaf Mountain was not the challenge. My Garmin shows ~4200 ft of climbing this year. What was the race director thinking??

On top of this, the aforementioned heat began to take its toll. I had a migraine at mile 40. A steady breeze felt like I was pedaling head first into a hair dryer. This was not my day. Throw in not being able to eat any longer and my sweat rate dropping, and I withdrew from the race. It was simply not worth the risk to continue on. Early race results indicated a roughly 40% DNF rate, but results that I looked up just now came in at around 25%. Both are much higher than what you would typically see at an iron distance race. I made the smart choice for me.

Here is this year’s bike profile for those of you that are interested. The course rolls a lot and those all add up!

2009 Great Floridian Bike Course

The Ironman Florida elevation profile appears below. It is ~1000 feet of climbing for the sake of comparison. The scale is what makes it look hillier than it is.

Ironman Florida Bike Course Profile


I can’t speak for the run, but my primary concern as an athlete would be lighting. I heard from numerous people that there are places on the run course that were not well lit. My fear would be stepping wrong on something you can’t see. Or being chased by an alligator in the dark. Usual stuff, right? Other than that, it appears the only elevation change on the course is to cross two bridges.

That’s all for now. Time to finish recovering and get my run back on. For some, it’s the offseason. For me, it’s MARATHON season.

There is no offseason.

There is no finish line.

Code Release Weekend

Originally uploaded by IsaacMao

This is a code release weekend for our intranet. These things can be hit or miss. The best laid plans can quickly go awry when updating a complex system. Aside from a deployment that stretched to 3 a.m., testing has proceeded fairly smoothly.

After 4 hours of sleep last night, I got up to get a run in. My head was foggy and my brain kept telling me to stop – but my legs, lungs and heart said keep going. My BRAIN was OVERRULED. It was after my run that I was reflecting on the experience when I realized that my Ironman training has paid off and STUCK. Today wasn’t an event. There was no medal at the end nor a crowd along the way. In fact, it was 46 degrees and sprinkling. And yet, not only did I get out there to run, but my conditioning took over and just knocked it out.

Sometimes its the little things that make you appreciate the hard work you put in along the way. Hopefully I will have a similar experience with today’s rollout.

Visualizing Race Day

I am busy preparing for my upcoming iron distance race and thought I’d share one of my tips for dealing with a course you have not seen. Generally there are race maps available online, and you can get a general idea of the elevation profile. But this doesn’t show you what the place actually LOOKS like. One thing I do is to check out You Tube to see what videos people have shot in the area.

Below you will see a YouTube video that shows some video, as well as a bunch of stills, from last year’s incarnation of my upcoming event. While the bike course has changed this year, the imagery from the race site probably has not. Over the next few days, I will continue to scour multimedia sharing sites like YouTube and Flickr to find more images from the swim, bike and run courses. All of these inputs will add reality to the two dimensional maps I am looking at in the area.

Why do this? So you won’t be surprised on race day. My philosophy is that you should train on conditions that are more difficult than the race course itself. Seeing real life images will help you construct a plan to accomplish just that.