Category Archives: Uncategorized

January fades in to February fun

January had its up and downs, mostly ups the only downs being a small three day cold and a 5k that blew up in my face after the first 2k’s. The long story short was don’t try to run all out the day after heavy deadlifts, squats and box jumps. That being said I am feeling great progress in the strength department and I think the long term positives are most definitely there. I did get to try out some fast, race style running in the crocs which got some great laughs and press, all while showing people to never take themselves too seriously.

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Flying! rhythms with dying which is what was going on here

The crocs felt fast and smooth on the first mile and I look forward to giving them a true test when I can hit all 5k hard and not feel like my legs are going to fall off after the first 2 kms. Oh well, the Renton Parkrun people loved the story and reasons for wearing them and were impressed with my time of 18:30, even if I was not ecstatic about it.27368672_317288382009315_9127506919218112578_o The nice part is I can really only go up from here. I had another key workout this last Saturday the 3rd of Feb, which consisted of 12 mins hard uphill and down, then straight into the track at tempo/5k pace for some 1 km repeats. Those went very well with HR and effort being in the right ranges for sub 5k effort and knocking off sub 3:30km. Not too shabby after heavy lifting on the 2nd. Swim is coming along with the most important part being learned to be more balanced. I have been incorporating more frequency and less duration during this part of the season and will ramp up the efforts as it goes on. I am in the process of rebuilding the stroke to be comfortable breathing to either side and using less effort to go faster than I was. This is frustrating process as one lap will feel perfect, then I will try to replicate it, stroke for stroke and it does not feel the same. So far the though the results have been encouraging and I will probably be doing a time trial in the next couple weeks to gauge my progress. Bike is feeling strong as ever but this year is really not about building a huge bike but more about maintaining what I have and improving the run and swim as these are the areas that need the most work. The strength aspects of the training have really been what gets me the most excited during the week. Being able to life heavy things well and get that feeling that is so much different but at the same time similar to nailing an interval in the other three aspects of the sport is exhilarating. Being that I started so low on the weights my progress has been very fast, with significant gains being seen week to week. I love being able to feel my postiure chain being activated and feel stronger and healthier overall.

Fig-3

Neglected for years, no longer!

Posterior-Chain-1

#goals #stopstaring

Here is a link to a strength program that I have been using so far with a few adjustments and then adding in my own core work and some Foundation training video that originally cured my IT problems last year, by Dr. Eric Goodman. I am finding that a 25% split across all four activities, swimming, running, biking, and weight training and mobility work leaves me feeling more balanced and ready for all aspects of life, rather than drained on a certain activity. Well that is a nice lengthy wrap up, and I am ready for this month of solid work. I am going to be trying to integrate some breathing principles that I have played with in the past but this time be diligent about them. The work of Brian MacKenzie has been all the rage in the podcast world lately so time to give it a go. Peace out.

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Well, we are off to a solid start…

6.5 hours of solid work, 30 minutes of re-learning to swim and and hour of weights work. for a total of 8 hours. Pretty full schedule but felt very balanced. Got to play for at least 80% of it with only about 10% feeling like work and 10% just checked out easiness. I was integrating some really solid run intervals both on Friday’s long run and Sunday’s treadmill workout although Friday was more just an hour of solid playing in the woods around Arroyo Park, a local little forest with a nice mix of Cedar, Douglas Fir and swampy underbrush in the low parts. We had a nice little rain storm that day so it was a throw back to my childhood days of running through the muddy woods drinking in the smells of musty decomposition, and a mystical, foggy, stillness. All the while I was trying to make as little noise and be smooth as possible doing some fartlek work up the hills in my leggings and crocs with my hip pack around my waist and a bright blue headband on. My wardrobe and ear to ear grin while covering myself in mud and sweat might be the cause of the strange looks I received by a couple of unsuspecting dog walkers. Oh well, rip it and grip it folks! Drink in the best of what the PNW has to offer! Anyways the other workouts were similar but not quite as exciting, more chopping wood and carrying water, including some brisk evening runs and a few good intervals of riding. Saturday turned into long ride to see my friend Chris in Birch Bay, which is always excellent and filled with enlightening and entertaining chewing of the proverbial fat. Sunday finished with my return to the GYM!!!! Time to get my true meat head on! Also swimming is back on the menu! Well not so much swimming as floundering trying to relearn only good habits this time. Snorkel work, isolating kick, flow, stroke, and adding in breathing on both sides in a couple weeks. It is amazing how taking a break and relearning every part of the swim with my knowledge that I have now is going to be the best thing of 2018 I feel like. I have the most area to improve here and cannot wait to put the work in! Next week starts today!

2018, Super League Triathlon and the year of experimentation.

2017, which I wrote zero about but thought a great deal about, was successful by all measures. I raced the same amount, roughly as before but shorter distances focusing on Olympic and Sprint races. I had really good progress to show for 2017, with improvement in all three areas but mostly in my swim. My run took a little longer to get going through the season but ended up showing up strong for my last race of the season where I ran a very nice 5k off a very hard bike effort. As my work responsibility have been ramping up I have found the need to spend more focused time on the practice of triathlon and less leisure base building time. I still wanted it to be a part of my life and I still wanted to race to my capabilities but also make time for other interests of my life. I wanted to make triathlon a manageable and integral part of my life for the next 50 years not the next 5. In order to do this I needed to whittle down my hours per week dedicated to the sport. One of the biggest issues that I had was the most of the triathlon related literature and coaching is focused on athletes that have office based jobs. I however move around a lot in my work as a commercial and industrial electricians apprentice. There is very little down time and as a result I felt like I could handle a more focused intensity sessions and less volume. I realize that this opens me up for potentially more injuries but I do believe that if I stick with my weight training I have swapped in as part of my new routine, specifically focusing on my weak posterior chain, i.e. hips, glutes, and hamstrings, I will lower that risk and as I have seen of lately increase my speed and running efficiency. I will also be preforming more periodic test in running, cycling and swimming to assess my progress. In January I am looking at getting back into the pool after taking the fall off to focus on setting up a solid running base to work from. I want to finish this small note off by saying that I have decided to take on my owning coaching and training schedules as I feel it will require me to be more engaged and not on auto pilot. I have learned so much from Daryl Smith of Advantage Multi-sport, and can never thank him enough for all the patience, time and effort he put into my education and training. I hope to continue from where we left off on the trajectory of progress that we have been on over these last 4 years. Thanks again Coach, I would not be where I am without you and 2018 bring it on. I am ready.

Lake Padden WC BBQ gone bad…

Sweet, tangy sauce. Tender fall-off-the bone pulled pork. Lightly toasted white, fluffy, potato bun. Decadently rich smoked gouda Mac’n Cheese, all polished off with an ice cold root beer and punctuated with a generous piece of the sugar crusted cornbread cake, smothered in butter. As I was eating this meal, a monthly treat provided to us by our wonderful boss for a job well done, the passing thought as I slammed a second piece of cake, “I wonder how this is going to affect my race tomorrow?” Oh well, YOLO. I should have said no. I should have stuck to the plan. I should have been a good boy but the inner glutton screamed out for more and I gave it to him. To the point that I felt a tumultuous battle being raged in my digestive tract the rest of the day and even my patented pre-race meal of safe sushi sat like a layer of bricks in my stomach as I laid my head on the pillow. Would I recover in time to push myself when I needed to? Short course racing, unlike the Half Ironman I had done two weeks prior to this race, is a whole different animal. You are basically battling how much pain your muscles, digestive system and fatigue your body feels for the whole 2-ish hours. You are never relaxing, constantly pushing the envelope to your max sustainable effort. I warmed up well for the swim, something I am trying to do more often when I race, as I have seen much better results when I do. My hands cut through the waves like that butter that I had generously piled on top of the cake. Swimming felt good, it sounds weird saying it even now, but swimming has been feeling good as if it is the start of a wonderful relationship. I find myself looking forward to the swim. A chance to put some time into Stuart. A powerhouse on the bike and a very good runner but slightly slower swimmer than me. The air horn blasted and the water frothed with the windmilling of arms of the 50 fastest swimmers. My position was good, heart rate and effort was high but it was only for 12 mins, I just needed to hang on. My hands hit sand and rocks, beautiful dry land. The rest happened like a blur. I jumped up sprinting to transition. Helmet, socks, glasses, take off. Shoes on the bike, strap in and go, go, go. Power to the pedals up the hill, ugh what’s that feeling in the stomach? ignore it. Faster, harder, burning in the legs, stomach pain again. Take some water, a little better. Damn, there goes Stuart! Tried to stay with him for a little but everything hurt too much. Legs, stomach, chest, back off a little, Brent. Save something for the run. Off the bike, feeling ready to hurl. Sprint out of transition, maybe that will cure the stomach pain. Nope, breathing rhythm off, pain growing, legs were not responding. I felt like I was running with jello for legs and lead in my shoes. Not a great combination. At that point my focus changed. Just finish. Make it stop. The rest of the run was a fight to not lose whatever was left rolling around in my stomach. I crossed the line, 4th overall but disappointed in myself. This was the only race where I had not improved on my last years results. I knew even after Victoria only being two weeks before, I had a better race in me than what I had just done. I knew I had not done my best. I knew I only had myself to blame. Some lessons are tough to learn. Diet and nutrition, the fourth discipline, had been ignored and I had paid the price. Never again.

PS my Calgary Half Ironman story is in the works and hopefully some actual content worth reading. Thanks again for your time.

Here we go again…

The night before a race, the same questions wirlling around the old head, “Did I train long enough/hard enough, What are my goals, What will I be happy with as a result, What do I need to make sure everything goes smoothly tomorrow, Is there anything I can do now to prevent potential problems tomorrow?” These and so many more worries are combined with a level of excitment euqal to a childhood night before Christmas. I cannot wait for the gun to go off at 6:06. To be racing instead of preparing to race. I need to slow down…DEEP RHYTHMIC BREATHS…You have done all you can. It is time to sleep. You will be happy to be racing, to be moving, to be able to breath, cut through the water, fly down the road effortlessly, to run and feel the wind on your face, to imerse yourself in the enjoyment of human powered movent for 4 to 5 hours. These are the things I need to remeber, the things I am so grateful for, these are what I will focus on. The process. The finish line is just the cherry on top. Goodnight all. Sweet dreams.

On finding/renewing inspiration

As the title indicates I am well aware of the lack of sticking to my “resolution” of being more active in this space. The times I have sat down to write this post, or any post for that matter have been numerous. Needless to say there is always a million reasons to not do something and usually just one or two to do something. It is up to me (you) to focus on these reasons, to zero in on them with the pinpoint accuracy and complete them. So without further adieu here is what has been up lately in the world of Brent Hartwig.

TRAINING               (STRAVA LOG)

Has been going very well. I find myself sticking to prescribed plans by my coach, the ever patient Daryl Smith, seeing better indicators of fitness, such as faster run, swim, bike times, and having time to recover for the next days session. I think we can hone in the intensity more, as I work a very active job already so I should be able to cut out some low intensity work, but I need to talk to him about that. Overall I have been able to improve my swim in large amounts by implementing some new techniques, namely ones in the podcast by Gerry Rodriguez called Tower 26, “Race ready podcasts”after I felt I had plateaued. I have implemented kicking and a few other ways to focus my tautness in the water. The results have been very encouraging and I think over time I will finally be able to match my bike and run level with my swim. The biggest plus from it though is that I now relish my time swimming, whereas before I would begrudgingly complete only the prescribed dosage. With my first race of the season being only two weeks away I find myself anxious to see it all come together. On the bike front I have been doing more and more trainer sessions inside without a fan as I find this much more mentally challenging when I am doing my intervals. I usually follow the mantra if it feels hard it is probably good for me. Running I have been doing some more Fartlek (Geschwindigkeit Spielen if you prefer) stuff lately and I feel some benefit in the leg speed turnover department but mostly continuing with the less is more approach as I have found this works well for me. I would like to play with some decreased volume and increased intensity since I am moving around all day as work but we will see if I can talk coach into it.

NUTRITION

I have been doing a lot better at sticking to a more honest diet lately with of course the guilty pleasure here and there. Usually I try to get most of my nutrition from purely whole food sources as opposed to supplementing it with vitamins or supplements. Recently though I have been looking at changing things up just to see what happens but I will try out some new race fueling on Victoria 70.3 coming up. The last time I did this distance back in 2014, I was a much different athlete and was living a much different life, including diet, so my race fueling was much different. During training now I try to rely on whole foods, with my go to being dried fruit of pancakes with peanut butter and jam for my rides over 2:30 hours. It works very well but I have yet to perform at race pace continuously for over 4:30 hours, which is what I will be doing. I plan to consume a lot less then I did in 2014 but I think I will stick to about 300 calories an hour on the bike and run maybe more but the important part being staying consistent throughout the race. I am going to be trying something new after Calgary 70.3 in July, so stay tuned for food pics. Here is a great guideline video that I found very helpful in finding a good base to start from.

RECOVERY

Continuing with the theme of doing better as time goes on, I have been doing much better of taking care of myself with periodic Yoga sessions, nightly roller sessions and the spontaneous massage from my significant other. I also have been keeping up on hydration consuming twice as much water as I had been and seeing great results. I need to be careful though in the race as peeing on the bike has yet to be accomplished by me.

In closing I would like to say that I cannot wait for Victoria, it has been a long time coming and there are times when I get discouraged and ask myself, “Why am I devoting these precious resources, time, money, health, and numerous other for a very selfish event?” but in the end it all comes back to that feeling. The feeling of flying down a road feeling fit, of running mile repeats and feeling like you are floating on air, and more recently almost feeling like I am resembling someone who is swimming and not fighting the water. These feelings are hard to put a price on but as George Malory once said, we climb the mountain “Because it’s there”. That is good enough for me.

 

Resources

 

http://www.advantagemultisport.com/

Trainer article 

http://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/the-lost-art-of-fartlek

http://tower26.com/

 

 

 

Another one bites the Dust-2015 recap

Hello there my fellow users of the English language,

As is the custom toward the end of what we in the western world have chosen to classify as a calendar year, I would like to reflect on the what the 2015 triathlon season has meant to me. Through the many races of the year the goal remained the same, get better at racing and pacing, know when to rest and how much my body could handle, and build for next year, 2016. I had in mind that the 2017 70.3 distance world championship would be held in the US but was not sure of the exact location. When the IRONMAN brand announced that Chattanooga would hold the 2017 70.3 World Championship I was very excited to say the least. I had heard great things about Chattanooga but had very little reason to travel there until now. As the 2015 season wrapped up with a 3rd place finish overall at Lake Stevens Olympic distance tri and a personal best for me of 2 hours 7 minutes, I looked forward to the 2016 season with a chance to prove myself at the 70.3 distance. 2015 saw me improving in swimming and running while maintaining strength on the bike as well as finding ways to race well with minimal rest. One thing I will be more committed to in the coming year is actually following through on posting more on this with little money saving tips that I have found to work through the last couple years. While I am still constantly learning myself, I do find that if I put some of these things down on virtual paper it will make them stick more for me. Also I will be trying to video log a bit of progress as this is something I have never really been comfortable with and I think it would be a good exercise in vulnerability. I would like to close this year out by thanking everyone of you that has played some part in getting me to where I am today, so firstly my parents, cause they kept me from doing too much bodily harm to myself growing up and instilled some great lessons and qualities that I draw on constantly. When I have a hard swim or interval training set that I find particularly daunting I remember back to all the hard work I did as a kid and the results that followed. There is always a direct relationship between quality inputs=quality outputs. Secondly my coach Daryl Smith, who always displays an amazing amount of professionalism and patience with me when I move workouts around, or need to change things up. He always is flexible and understanding and for me that is huge. Thirdly my friends and family that support me in my life of racing, weather it be cheering at races, grabbing my forgotten race number, being great hosts, great training partners and just overall great role-models for me. I hope to one day be as great as the people I surround myself with. Lastly and most importantly, my loving partner in the sublime, Leslie, who not only puts up with my craziness but encourages me constantly to push harder, stay within myself, and learn to love the process of building a dream. Cause if you learn to love the process, then the outcome is just an added bonus. Peace out 2015, you were pretty awesome.

2015
Finish Place
Final Time
Age Gender Overall
Lake Stevens Olympic Tri Lake Stevens, WA, US Sep 12th 1 3 3 2:07:25
Bonney Lake Triathlon Bonney Lake, WA, US • Sep 5th 1 7 7 2:02:59
Lake Meridian Triathlon Kent, WA, US • Aug 23rd 1 6 6 2:12:21
Whiskey Dick Triathlon Ellesburg, WA, US • Jul 26th 1 1 1 2:47:39
OlyChelanMan Multisport SaturdayChelan, WA, US • Jul 18th 1 3 3 2:10:49
Padden TriathlonBellingham, WA, US • Jun 27th 1 4 4 1:40:46
Moses Lake Family Triathlon Moses Lake, WA, US • Jun 13th 1 2 2 2:01:53
Mt Rainier DuathlonEnumclaw, WA, US • Apr 26th 1 4 4 2:20:02
5 MiRunning’ O the Green 5K & 8K 2015Bellingham, WA, US • Mar 14th 3 8 8 30:42