Race season is upon us. Whether you’re participating in the Pigman Sprint on June 2 or either the Pigman Long Course and Olympic Distance on August 18, training the right way now is critical to your success. Here are 4 tips to help you get the most out of the time you spend training.
By Dennis Green
Heart of America Triathlon News
Most of us train and prepare for races using a combination of tips from friends, research from books and online articles, and a lot of trial and error. But while there are no shortcuts to success, one way to eliminate some of the trial and error part is to seek professional help.
For two Eastern Iowa triathletes, triathlon camp has become an important part of their training toolbox.
Jenny Lorenz, 52, from Marion, and Barry Breffle, 42, from Cedar Rapids, are well-known on the Heart of America circuit. Both regularly place at the top of their age groups and sometimes sneak into the overall awards. They’ve also each qualified and raced at Kona.
The idea to trek to Colorado for a week of intensive training came from Barry.
For years, he had followed the career of Gordo Byrn, a professional triathlete and coach whose career highlights include an Ultraman World Championship.
“I’d read him since the early, early days of the Internet,” says Barry, “on a listserve called Dead Runners Society. He made his career in finance, then got hooked on triathlon and has performed at the elite level for years.”
Barry attended several of Byrn’s coaching clincs, offered through USA Triathlon, and when Byrn’s company, Endurance Corner started offering training camps, he looked into it.
Endurance Corner offers two camps, a spring camp in Tuscon, and a summer camp in Boulder. Barry and Jenny agree that for a Midwestern triathlete, the summer camp generally fits in better with the average midwest training schedule, where you have to lay off at least some training over the winter.
Jenny says getting to totally focus on training is a real treat. “You’re in an environment where that’s all you’re doing for the whole week. Eating, sleeping, breathing triathlon. You don’t have work, you don’t have any outside distractions. You’re learning from some of the sport’s best minds.”
Training averages four to six hours a day. The rest of the time is filled with clinics, and capped off most nights by dinner, usually featuring a guest speaker.
The Boulder area is home to many professional triathletes. Barry says they are able to tap into that community for speakers and clinicians.
“Christy Wellington came to speak to us, Craig Alexander, the Bennetts (former Olympians Greg and Laura) did a transition clinic that was super, super fun. Joe Friel, who’s like the original triathlon coach; Bobby McGee, Olympic running coach.”
Jenny says she profited from the ability to really drill down and focus on things she needed to improve on.
“Over the years, I’ve been chronically injured in my running. Part of the problem is I over stride. And when they brought Bobby McGee in to do the running clinics with us, he can look at your run gait and tell you, ‘Ok, here’s how you can become more efficient, here’s how you can use less energy so you can run longer.’ And just little things. He did drill work with us, dynamic warmup exercises to help us learn how to recruit certain muscles. And I’ve worked ever since going to camp to try to change my running style, so I can be more efficient.”
Of course, for us flatlanders, training at altitude adds yet another dimension to the process.
Barry says the effects kind of sneak up on you. “Right when you come to altitude, you’re OK. It’s the second or third day when it hits you. You notice it swimming the most, that it’s hard to get enough oxygen.”
“And I notice it at night,” adds Jenny, “when I’m laying in bed, that my heart rate will run higher.”
Both agree that while you have to get acclimated, altitude shouldn’t be a reason not to do the camp.
Most of camp focuses on the bike and the run, but swimming is not left out.
“We usually do two open water swims,” Jenny explains, “but it’s really cool. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the Boulder Masters group does swims in the Boulder Reservoir. They bring out buoys, and mark off a 1000-meter course. There are kayakers so you can go out and do a race simulation.”
Barry says it’s one of the prettiest swims you can imagine. “You have the mountains on one side, hot air balloons on the other, you’re swimming next to the Bennetts. I’m pinching myself.”
The week culminates in an actual Olympic distance race. “Which is interesting,” says Jenny, “to go into a race after you’ve been smashed all week. You’re trying to go hard, at altitude.”
Interesting is one way to describe Barry’s 2012 camp experience. He broke his collarbone in a bike accident, but hung around till the end of camp, so that Jenny didn’t have to quit early.
Injuries and altitude aside, Barry and Jenny agree that it’s a tiring, but fun experience, and recommend it to any serious triathlete looking to amp up their game.
Registration is open for the 2013 camp. Barry and Jenny are both signed up to return. If you’re interested in joining them visit http://www.endurancecorner.com.
Alex Syhlman of True Time Racing tells us that not only were he and co-race director Steve Karsjens able to save the Hickory Grove race, they have added some unique twists, including the only duathlon and aquathon in our series. Read on for details including a discount of up $20 if you register by the end of February:
The Pigman Sprint sold out much quicker in 2013 than in years past. The June 2 race normally fills up by the end of January, but as of January 17 we have closed registration and opened the waiting list.
You can get preferred placement on the waiting list, by signing up for either the Pigman Long Course or Olympic Distance races to be held on August 18.
The Olympic Distance isn’t that much further than the Sprint, and many triathletes consider the Long Course to be a very doable challenge. So, whether you get into the Sprint or not, you’re guaranteed a great race.
The Olympic Distance is in its second year but has gotten great reviews, while the Long Course is considered one of the best races of its type in the nation.
Visit Pigmantri.com now and register and get on the waiting list — before it’s too late.
The 2013 Heart of America Series race schedule has been released:
June 2 – Pigman Sprint
June 15 – Quad Cities
June 16 – Hickory Grove New Date!
July 13 – Lake Geode
Aug. 4 – Camp Courageous
Aug. 11 – Bluff Creek New Date!
Aug. 18 – Pigman Long Course and Olympic
Sept. 8 – Iowa’s Best Dam Triathlon
Sept. 15 – CyMan
(Corrected 3/31 for new Best Dam Triathlon date)
There are a few notable changes. First, we are happy to announce that reports of the demise of the Hickory Grove race were premature. Race directors Alex Syhlman and Steve Karsjen spent the off season working with the DNR in attempt to save the race, endangered by high bacteria levels in the lake that forced the cancellation of the swim two years in a row.
Their solution is to hold the Hickory Grove race earlier in the season, essentially switching it with Bluff Creek, which will move to the traditional Hickory Grove date in August. However, the DNR would not allow Hickory Grove to be held in May, so its new date is June 16, the day after the Quad Cities race. This may complicate things for people who usually do both those races, but it is the best solution we have, at least for this year.
The remainder of the schedule is similar to last year.
Remember, that some of our races are approaching sellout. Register early! Visit our race page for a list of race websites and contact information.
The bulk of your training these days may be on the treadmill or trainer, but some our series races will be filled well before the snow melts.
The Pigman Sprint and the Quad Cities Triathlon both tend to reach capacity very quickly, and of this writing, each are over half full. Both will close by the end of January.
Don’t be left out! Get registered today!
Christmas is just a few hours away. Need a last minute gift idea for the triathlete on your list?
How about registering them for their favorite race? Or, if you need to get yourself signed up, remember that early registration is cheaper, and guarantees you spot in our most popular races, which often fill up well before the spring thaw.
Registration is now open for several Heart of America Series races. Here are the races you can get signed up for right now:
The remaining races in the series will open soon. Watch this space for the latest news.
by Dennis Green
Heart of America Triathlon News
The dates are set for the Pigman races in 2013. Race director John Snitko has announced the 2013 schedule for the popular triathlons, along with the Marion Arts Festival Half-Marathon, which he also directs.
Here’s the schedule:
May 18th, 7:30 am – Marion Arts Festival Half Marathon and 5K Run/Walk
June 2nd, 7:30 am – Pigman Sprint
August 18th, 7:30 am – Pigman Long Course & Olympic Distance
Registration for the Pigman races open in mid-December. Past participants will get an email, and you can also watch this space for the announcement.
All of these races are well-attended, but the Pigman Sprint always fills up early. So, keep your eyes open for the signup announcement and get registered early!
Visit www.pigmantri.com for more information.
By Ron Adkins
Heart of America News
I just read an incredible book.
Matt Fitzgerald’s Iron War: Dave Scott, Mark Allen & The Greatest Race Ever Run (Velo Press,
ISBN: 9781934030936) chronicles the now-legendary 1989 Ironman World Championship and
the rivalry between triathlon’s two greatest competitors.
Dave “The Man” Scott came to Hawaii in 1989 having already earned six previous Ironman gold
medals. He was hungry for a seventh. Scott is widely considered the prime shaper of the sport,
setting the standard for other triathletes to follow.
Mark “Grip” Allen was a 10-time winner of the Nice International Championship and had won the first World Olympic Distance Championship. He came to Hawaii in 1989 hoping to break the string of six failed attempts at Ironman victory.
Their encounter at the Ironman is now regarded as one the truly great moments in sports, and the
most significant race ever run.
Author Fitzgerald engages the reader beautifully, following the two racers from the premature
cannon shot to start the swim leg, to Scott’s and Allen’s side-by-side foot race from the bike-run
transition to the last mile.
For long-time triathletes and fans, the next sentence isn’t a spoiler. Mark Allen eventually pulls
ahead of Scott and wins his first Ironman Championship by a mere 58 seconds. He would go on
to win another five Ironman’s before retiring.
While the details of the actual race is the suspense that kept me turning pages, it was the
story behind that race that stuck with me the most. Fitzgerald, in a way, uses the Ironman as a
backdrop to spotlight the competitors, each at the turning point in his career. Dave Scott was the
undeniable king of triathlons hoping Ironman 1989 would solidify the crown. Mark Allen was
the triathlete tired of watching Scott’s back as he crossed the finish line.
The author uses the sport of triathlon as a metaphor, asking the questions, What makes a
triathlete run? What is it about this sport that motivates people to push themselves through the
wall of endurance?
“The magnitude of the satisfaction that a triathlete experiences upon crossing a finish line,”
writes Fitzgerald, “is directly proportional to the amount of suffering he has overcome to get
there. This reward knows no ability. Even the slowest of the slow can push themselves beyond
existing limits and finish with tremendous satisfaction.”
That, says the author, is what triathlon is all about. Digging deep into untapped reserves, to excel
beyond expectations, is what drives triathletes to cross the line.
In writing about Dave Scott and Mark Allen and their epic race, Fitzgerald answers the question
for us all: The fulfillment of any goal is worth the pain of achieving it.
By Ron Adkins
Heart of America Triathlon News
Kayla Soliday’s second tri ever was the recent Best Dam Triathlon, where she competed in the Olympic-length course to qualify for Collegiate Nationals later this year. By coincidence, her first triathlon was at last year’s Collegiate Nationals.
Kayla competes as part of the Iowa State University Triathlon Club. This is her second year with the team.
And, as a student at Iowa State, she is studying industrial engineering for her second bachelor’s degree.
Seeing the pattern? It keeps going …
Triathlon is the second sport she has conquered. She was previously captain of the University of Northern Iowa rugby team. She was deemed ineligible because of her age to play for the Cyclone rugby squad, so she pondered another outlet for her athletic talent. She chose triathlon because she found their difficulty attractive. “I was used to being part of an aggressive team sport, but with triathlons, it’s all about the individual. When you get out there to train, and when you compete, it’s all on you,” she said.
While she loves racing on the whole, Kayla confesses that she’s “not a swimmer at all. I’m awful at it. I try to pick up my lost time on the bike. That’s my strength.”
She draws that strength, she says, from being part of her tri club. She’s a proud member of the TriClones and one of its most vocal cheerleaders. “It is so much fun,” she said. “There’s such a wide range of ages in the group. And we all encourage each other and push each other to train. We’re constantly sending out emails and texts saying that we’re going out for a run, or ‘we’re going to be training tonight, so you better get your butt out here.’”
Her connection to the number two continues. Her boyfriend, Alex Whigham is Kayla’s biggest supporter and his pride in her accomplishments is evident when he talks about her. At the Best Dam Tri, Alex drove from Dubuque, Iowa to watch her compete. It was the first time he’d seen her race in a triathlon.
Alex greeted Kayla at the end with a surprise bouquet of flowers. Kayla didn’t know he was coming to the race, but was delighted to see him (and the flowers) waiting for her at the finish line.
“All the people by the finish were waiting to see if I was going to propose to her,” Alex said. When asked if he did pop the question, both Kayla and Alex replied with an emphatic, “No.”
“We’re not quite ready for that,” laughed Kayla. (Alex nods in agreement.)
He will, however, despite her connection to two’s, remain Kayla’s Number One Fan.