tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Patrick McCrann's Space 2017-05-04T12:45:03Z tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1151301 2017-05-04T12:44:52Z 2017-05-04T12:45:03Z April 2017 Training Update

The better part of the last four weeks was designed to get me ready for our annual Blue Ridge Cycling Camp. This is an annual pilgrimage to the outstanding city of Boone North Carolina. There we ride like maniacs and have a ton of fun every evening.


Last year I was unable to ride at all. In fact, I was relegated to fighting with AnnieB over where to put the van seat so my knees wouldn't get crushed against the dashboard! I had a moment on the Day Two ride back from Mount Mitchell. I recognized the stretch of road we were riding on and how, last year, I was walking up and down that stretch of road just to get some exercise. Kinda humbling for sure. 

My Strategy

The plan was to build up overall fitness with an emphasis on the bike. I still enjoy being a triathlete, even though camp requires significant cycling fitness I still wanted a balanced approach. To that end, I used all three disciplines as a resource and tried to keep them as consistent as possible.

The Disciplines

I did a fair job of separating the run workouts to allow for recovery and keeping them in the 5 to 6 mile range. Over the course of the last month I've noticed the speed start to improve and discomfort post run to be less. I still need to ice my knee and do some flexibility work but overall things are going well. 

As for the swim, I have continued to use my Vasa Ergometer as a great tool for building fitness. There is no substitute for getting in a great some work out in just 15 minutes a day. I know that swim work dryland works because I have definitely noticed an improvement not only in my swimming form but also the times on the clock. I'm excited to continue this experiment across the rest of the season.

The final aspect of training, and the most critical, was the bike. I started off at the beginning of the month doing quite a bit of intensity as a means of building up my strength. With the approach of the Blue Ridge camp I had to dial that is higher intensity efforts back and replace them with more volume. This is something that's very visible inside my performance manager chart from TrainingPeaks.com.

There were two main ways that I did this. First and foremost was our Sunday Zone Three ABP ride at 9 AM on Zwift. This is become an incredible resource for me and a whole lot of fun. For those of you who don't know's with, I really recommend you check it out. It's a great way to get in a trainer workout without ever feeling like you're on the trainer. Bonus if you can join us on Sundays as your teammates are there and we are texting and joking and riding together while the time kicks by. I promise you, once you hit the hour mark, the pain really starts to set in.

In addition to the Sunday workouts I was able to get out several times thanks to good weather for some longer rides. Prior to camp my longest ride is about 70 miles with minimal gain. But overall I had been building up my cycling fitness culminating in that 70 mile ride followed by 30 mile ride the next day as a swift race. For those of you who haven't raced on Zwift, it was just an insane insanely hard hour of riding! 

Eighth Annual Blue Ridge Parkway Camp

Overall the Blue Ridge Parkway Camp was a total success. I was able to ride the long ride on the first three days. This gave me a total of just over 240 miles and 24,000 feet of climbing. It included our epic climb to the summit of Mount Mitchell, the highest point on the eastern seaboard. 

It was a blast being able to ride again with my friends and teammates, many of whom were gracious enough to wait for me only got to the top of every climb. And they ignored my multiple requests for additional SAG stops. :-) 

By the end of the second day, which is 100 miles, I knew my legs were in trouble. I got it out on Saturday but was still pretty tired. By the time I went to bed on Saturday night I was starting to feel sick which was just as well… My left knee/hamstring was already pretty tight. 

I ended up taking the fourth day off and I'm now gradually in recovery mode working back up to some basic training. T

At the present time it doesn't look like I'll be able to raise Rev3Quassy in June but I will certainly be there to support the Team. I'm going to continue my conscious build across the year with an eye towards Ironman Mont Tremblant as a return to racing event -- being competitive is a very distant goal. 

As always, thanks for reading and I wish you the best of luck in your endurance journey!

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1143873 2017-04-04T13:41:57Z 2017-04-04T13:41:57Z March 2017 Training Update

It's been a while since I last checked in, only because things have been pretty busy...including some training. I'm pretty pumped to say that I've been consistent over the last 12 weeks and even accumulating some training stress on my schedule. For those of you who have forgotten, my calendar includes two events for the season: Rev Three Quassy Half in June and Ironman at Mont Tremblant in August. 

Normally I like to show up at races ready to crush it, but this year is going to be different. Rather than focusing on peak fitness and race-based performance, I am using these events as a motivation to get myself back into shape. 

Baby Steps...

My body continues to hold up. I continue to stress to everyone that nothing is technically wrong. Something just isn't quite right. 

I have been running about 12 miles a week and cycling 80 to 100 miles a week for two months. I have found that I continue to need pretty good recovery time and patience with the harder efforts. My bike fit from Todd at TTbikefit.com continues to hold true. I feel great on the bike indoors and out which is a huge improvement. I do feel a little out of sorts at higher intensities, almost as if my left side is a little bit weaker than the right. So I will continue to monitor that.

The run training has been good at what I would consider to be steady-state paces. For comparison I'm running about 20 seconds per mile slower than what I used to run...but hell I am running! :-) My goal is to maintain that run consistency and continue to be super conservative with the run mileage. 

With the Blue Ridge Training Camp coming up at the end of this month, I am highly incentivized to get my bike fitness into order. I took the unusual step (for me) upgrading some components on my road bike to a compact crank and electronic shifting with the SRAM Red etap group. I think it's time to stop grinding up 45-minute climbs at 50 RPMs. 

Since we last checked in, I have added the VASA Ergometer (ANT+ model) to my training. You will be able hear a podcast interview with the CEO on our channel here as of April 5th. This has been a phenomenal addition to my training regimen. Even though I have simple access to a pool and a very flexible schedule, I have found myself "swimming" every day between 500 and 750 yards. That means I am putting in the equivalent of to two "full" swim sessions per week within the comfort of my own home in very short bursts. I have noticed improvements with my swim stroke when I do hit the pool because it's easier to compare how I felt on the VASA with the water. I am also seeing some increased speed as well. I feel very confident that this will continue to trickle down into the rest of my stroke and I look forward continue using the VASA over the rest of this season. 

Many of you have reached out to me about your own injuries and challenges and I want to thank you for sharing your story and wish you the best of luck! Now that I'm over the age of 40 I've learned that taking care of your body whether you're injured or not is simply mandatory if you have expectations around performance. This is new for me but I'm working on it and I hope you are enjoying working on it as well. 

I will check back in assuming that I survive our Blue Ridge Training Camp early next month!! 

Happy training,

~ Coach P

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1131009 2017-02-13T21:03:09Z 2017-02-13T21:03:10Z February 2017 Training Update

It's time for another monthly training update. I closed out January with a trip to my (new) orthopedist and got my first ever cortisone shot in my left knee. Since then, I have been training for about two weeks. 

It's hard to say how I really feel about it. I know my knee is not magically healed, but I don't necessarily feel any pain. I have been able to ride and run on a more consistent basis. The numbers are still ridiculously low and unimpressive, but it's nice to have a "where do I put my workout in today" problem once again.

On the Swim

I was consistent for a while but have dropped of now that running is back. I need to get in here as I was making some great gains!!

On the Bike

I also visited Todd Kenyon our sponsors TTbikefit.com. As you probably remember, he put a shim under my right foot, since my left femur is approximately 1 cm longer than the right. It is been interesting riding with the set up. I don't feel any more knee discomfort, as I have felt before, although I'm not riding at that same level of intensity. 

I also notice that I no longer have pain in the ball of my foot as I've had in the past. Part of me is wondering if I was actually applying more pressure to the footbed of my shoe on the left side because the seat was positioned such that that leg was "jammed." I won't really have good numbers until I get back out on the open road, but for now I am pretty excited about that change.

On the Run

I am running about 12 miles a week right now, and will stick there for a while. The knee still isn't 100%, so I am just going to sit back and see what the Training Stress brings. 

Moving Forward

Honestly, I'm not quite sure how to proceed. I do have an early-season camp and race on the schedule, but I am in no way interested in ramping up my training too aggressively. I need to get back to doing those basic exercises that will help me maintain hip strength and mobility.

Hard to believe it, but January was one of my more active months over the last half year. It's great to be back on track and I hope to keep my ego in check until I can get back on track was some more consistency. 

As always, thank you so much for reading!

~ P

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1120258 2017-01-03T20:48:00Z 2017-01-03T20:48:00Z January 2017 Not Training Update

January 2017, and I'm long overdue for another update. As always, I want to thank all of you for your support and continue it interest in my rehabilitation.

It is been a while, allow me to give you a brief recap. After time off to allow my hip to recover, I got back and exercise. I had a fantastic 8 to 10 weeks of good training. My bike and run levels were pretty comparable with what I've seen before in terms of high-end output. The endurance wasn't there, but overall I felt pretty good.

Towards the end of that, I began to notice that my left knee didn't feel so good. That continued to worsen to the point where it became uncomfortable and very stiff. I decided to shut my training down again, and return for another MRI. 

The MRI came back with a note that nothing was structurally wrong. The only thing present there was potentially a Baker's Cyst, which typically arises when there's some kind of friction or issue inside the knee joint. I am currently in the process of waiting to see a second opinion this month up in Boston. 

As you know, navigating the healthcare system is challenging and not everyone has the time or interest to give you 110% of their time when evaluating your stuff. My first opinion left a great deal to be desired. 

At the present time I am keeping myself seen by swimming and lifting weights. I am trying to get back on the bike with an updated fit appointment scheduled for mid January with Todd at TT Bike Fit. I think I found a way I can ride the bike relatively pain-free, but I need to confirm that my position is good on the road bike and I'm hundred percent.

Overall I'm pretty pumped with where I am in terms of an activity level, but I do miss all the training that kept me skinny. Winter has only taken its toll, but I'm making the most of this time to focus on work and family. I look forward to having a more detailed and hopefully much more inspiring update for you all in a couple weeks. 

I hope your new year was awesome and that you are excited to have a fantastic season. Endurance Nation has a great membership promotion going on right now and we are ready to help you be your best!

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1111915 2016-11-30T13:41:52Z 2016-11-30T13:41:52Z The 5 Love Languages of Children

Go to the Amazon Page for more info. 

Premise is that our kids have specific ways that they both feel and express love. In order to meet their needs, we as parents have to find a way to "fill their emotional tanks" using the type of love that resonates most with our children. 

This is a lifelong journey, ideally started with younger (ages 5-7) kids. But it's never too late to engage your kids where they are at, especially since the love they "need" will likely change over time as they age. 

Takeaway: It was helpful to have love defined in categories. I have definitely had moments of extreme love (and the opposite!) with my girls, and I intuitively I feel as though I know what they need. But reading this book opened my eyes to other types of love that my kids display. Most importantly, it helped me define ways in which I can better meet those needs. 

If it sounds like a massive project, it's not. Start with the first six chapters (total of 93 pages). By that time you'll have covered each of the five languages and will likely know where you are strong and where you can improve. 

For reference, the five love languages are:
  • Physical Touch
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Gifts
  • Acts of Service 

Note that there are strong religious undertones in the book -- they are values that complement the content of the book, but one doesn't depend upon the other. 

If you've got kids that you're trying to figure out, this is a great, quick read to help you up your game. I hope you enjoy it and welcome your comments below.  
tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1105178 2016-11-03T13:04:12Z 2016-11-03T13:04:12Z October 2016 Training Update

After a few weeks of consistency, I had built my bike and run fitness up to a pretty stable level. I was running approximately 12 to 15 miles a week and then cycling somewhere in the neighborhood of 4.5 to 5 hours a week. Overall very pleased with the results and excited to head into the fall/winter for the OutSeason®. But first, we had to head to the Big Island to support Endurance Nation!

Normally I'm going to race, but this year it was to work. I have to say, it's much easier to race there than it is to work for 10 straight days. We did get that one day of relaxation on the beach though. :-) 

From a training perspective I decided not to bring my bike so I wouldn't be tempted to disappear for hours every day. So instead I focused on running and swimming. The run felt okay, not great. The rolling terrain really made a challenging to run as smoothly as I wanted… Not to mention the heat! 

I was able to swim several times which was incredible, but I did feel a bit in my hip flexors / psoas area which still clearly needs some love. 

All in all I felt pretty good about staying consistent while I was there despite not having a sometimes extreme. 

When I came back, it was right back to work. 15 miles a week on the run, and back to my cycling routine while the weather lasted. 

I think I might've been a bit too aggressive in coming back, because after a week or so I started to notice my left knee had some tightness behind it. 

I normally have a click in the patella with no pain but all of a sudden there was some discomfort in keeping my knee bent. I first noticed this on the plane flying back from Hawaii. It was really hard to keep my legs just in a bent position without stretching them several times underneath the chair in front of me. 

After doing some self-care and research I decided to visit my good friend Mike Silva at Foundation Performance in Pawtucket Rhode Island. He definitely found some swelling under the kneecap. He advised me to shut it down for a while as we began a protocol of soft tissue work. 

Given that a week is such a small window of time in my overall career as an athlete, I have no problem shutting it down. I will complain about it though!!!! 

Today is my first training session "back," and I'm headed off to the pool to try and get some aerobic exercise as we continue Project Put Coach Patrick Back Together Again. 

On a macro level I guess I shouldn't be surprised that given how much time I took off – approximately five months – that it should take a long time to get back to healthy training. I am pleased that my cycling efforts and my run speed were almost equal to what I had had before I stop training…I was running sub-7s and pushing good watts on my road bike. 

A good reminder that my fitness is there when my body is ready to handle the work. 

Thanks for reading! I hope your training is going well and I hope you have a better update for you come December.

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1087217 2016-09-06T16:22:10Z 2016-09-06T18:34:47Z September Training Update

August was a big month for our family as we finished up supporting Maura through her Ironman Lake Placid (number seven!) With the house stuff complete and Lake Placid behind us we spent the better part of August enjoying the summer. Lots of good travel visiting friends and generally having a lot of fun! 

Hard to believe it's already gone and we're back in school. But I won't lie - I am enjoying the routine that school brings.

From a training perspective I feel like things have turned a corner. A small corner at that, but still we've made a turn. I have been able to create a basic schedule that keeps me moving forward. 

This is how I set it up:

First I established a run walk approach. What started off as 30 seconds of jogging and one minute of walking over the course of four weeks turned into a few consistent but short runs. At the present time I am running three times a week for a total of about 12 miles. Nothing like I used to do but light years ahead of where I once was. Progress is sweet. 

In addition to this run schedule I am staying consistent on the bike. While I have been conservative on the run, I have approach the bike is two hard weekday rides followed by a steadier endurance weekend session. This gets me above five hours a week cycling and I believe has complemented the work I have done on the run.

But What Does That Mean for My Body?

Well...this is a gray area. 

When I first started returning to exercise everything hurt. Not only did my hip feel out of whack my entire body did. My knees were sore, my calves were tight, the lower back is tight. Definitely a preview of how life will be in a decade or so! 

I kept the effort down though and remain consistent, and over time the basic aches and pains have faded away. What I'm left with the clear need to maintain the self-care routine that will protect my hip. 

I've been very consistent with my weekly core exercises as you can see from my tracker. I have also been doing some stretching in the evenings as a complementary effort to stay loose. I am no longer in physical therapy but I do get some ART work done on my psoas and my hip. I plan to keep that going as I continue a slow trajectory my return path. 

I have no illusions that I will suddenly be out running 30 mile weeks. However I'm excited enough with the prospect of training like a normal human being that I still need to focus on restraining myself.

What's Next?

As of right now I have no immediate goals for performance other than to remain healthy. As you'll see from my Strava Feed I am still nowhere near getting into a pool. This initially was because kicking and flip turning put my hip under some additional stress. 

At this point, the schedule is just so busy that I don't necessarily have the window. If I get my act together for September, I will begin doing some strengthening work with the same chords to get back in the groove of proper swim training. 

I'm excited to head to Hawaii later this month to support our teammates competing at the world championships. It's such a great venue and I'm really excited to hold our second annual Kona Training Camp there.

A New Camp in the Works...

In other news, I am outlining the training camp to happen in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts. Dates will be Wednesday July 5th (arrival) through Sunday July 9th (final ride and departure) 2017. 

This will be a first year camp that I will open to veterans first so we can see if it's viable. The riding out there is fantastic, the weather is perfect for the middle of the year, and it's incredibly accessible to both Boston (90 minute drive) and other major metropolitan areas. 

For a sample check out the epic ride day to Mount Greylock here -- 9500 feet of gain!

Bonus that there's tons of great breweries out there as well! If you're interested you should shoot me an email:  patrick (dot) mccrann (at) gmail (dot) com. Put the subject Berkshire Bike Bash in it. 

Thanks for reading...I hope your training is going well. I'll be in touch with you guys next month.

~ Coach P

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1078250 2016-08-02T17:53:14Z 2016-08-02T17:53:14Z Training Update - Ready Or Not

Last month was definitely crazy as we closed out the school year and moved back into our house. There was just so much to do between home and work that training was almost nonexistent for me. Bonus that my incredible wife was doing her sixth Ironman® in Lake Placid. That meant getting all the logistics ready for travel and for equipment and supporting her over those critical final weeks.

Background: For those of you who might not know / remember, I stopped running in February due to some quad and hip pain. After many visits and multiple MRIs, we decided that Physical Therapy was the way to go.

I was beyond not doing my exercises -- I was blatantly getting worse. But now that we are through to the other side I have started to carve out a basic schedule for myself. Talking with my physical therapist we feel like it's time that I gradually start a "Return to Running" program. 

After several sessions on the incredible Alter G treadmill, it's clear that I can't keep driving into the city just to run on this device. It kills my schedule and I'm not so injured that I'm unable to run. So this is where I'm at:

The (Not) Run

I'm running every other day for roughly 15 minutes. During that time I'm doing a run walk protocol where I will run for 20 to 30 seconds and then walk for a minute. The goal is to gradually increase the time spent running so that I am soon running 15 minutes. 

When I told my neighbor of the plan, he told me to hold on while he got his running shoes because this is the only time he could actually run. :-) It's a humble restart, but it's the best way to go. This way I don't do any unnecessary damage to my body and I can easily monitor how I progress. 

The Bike

Express on the days that I'm not running, I'm our riding my road bike. I am roughly in my fourth week of consistent riding. That means between three and five rides a week depending on the schedule. 

I have been riding tempo during the week and, if I can get out on the weekends, with friends a much easier pace. Many of my friends are training for this weekend's Pan Mass challenge. This is an incredible event fundraiser. You can check it out online here

I have watched each week as my power has slowly come around. At the same time my heart rate has also dropped. Is a very easy to see indication that I'm getting some basic fitness back. In fact, yesterday's ride was like one of the old days with numbers reminiscent of previous fitness. 

Not Swimming

I have not been anywhere near a pool. I have zero desire to swim right now and it doesn't help that camp schedule means extremely limited hours. It's on my radar, but it's not a priority right now.

Strength and Flexibility

Continued rehab – this is going to be a journey for me in terms of getting back up to some level of athletic health. A huge part of that is continuing the strength and flexibility work that my physical therapist originally prescribed. In true Coach Rich fashion, I have created a spreadsheet to track myself. I have set some goals for total reps as well as individual key exercise reps for each month. I have yet to come up with some kind of complementary reward structure, but I think just being able to get out and train without discomfort Is a reward in and of itself.

Body Composition

The big outlier is body composition. Pun intended. Until recently, I simply have not been burning enough calories. Even just eating baseline food was adding weight and it shows. 

While my watts my look good on the bike, that's mostly because I'm trying to get my big old but over the top of each hill. I am going to start making an effort to eat a little more cleanly as we head into the Fall. 

I also need to be better about eating more consistently. I have found that a regular training schedule encourages me to eat on a certain timeline. I either need to eat before work out or I need to eat afterwards because I'm hungry. But without that training stimulus my much more flexible in my calories and are more likely to make poor choices. 

As an example of poor choices I mean sitting down at 9 o'clock at night and eating a crap ton of M&Ms which apparently is a new staple food in my diet. Any tips or advice you have on that would be greatly appreciated. 

As always thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement. I love following your workouts and progress as it reminds me of what it will mean to be healthy once again. 

Talk to you guys next month!

~ Coach P

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1071106 2016-07-08T20:56:06Z 2016-07-08T20:56:06Z July Training Update from Coach Patrick (or Lack Thereof)

Time for another monthly update from the land of Coach Patrick. 

Well, I have to be honest and say that June was pretty much a wash. Just as I was getting back on the training train, I was hit with pneumonia. As a result, I was out for two weeks hard core. Although I did get in a great ride with my girls.

I have slowly been working my way back up to being able to exercise and breathe at the same time. :-) This really set me back in my rehab and physical therapy -- I literally couldn't leave my house. 

Now that I'm on the mend, another curveball. We actually just finished moving back into our house!!! 

That's right, the work our house is finally complete. A mere 4 1/2 months after ripping the inside out, our house is put back together and I can literally sit down on my own kitchen counter. I can't overstate the importance of just being back in our own house. I want to thank all of you for your patience this as I have been transitioning through this challenging time. 

Now I'm focusing back on getting into the bicycle and reestablishing my functional strength routine. In all honesty I haven't had a lot of discomfort in my hip because I haven't been active. I'm a little disappointed with losing roughly a month on the return to activity timeline, but have no idea how I could have sustained it all without literally imploding. 

I hope I have more to show you over the coming weeks as you follow me on Strava. But first, we are off to Lake Placid to support my wife as she completes Ironman number seven. It's been a couple years since I've been a Sherpa, but I'm super looking forward to it!

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1065246 2016-06-20T13:33:15Z 2016-06-20T13:42:01Z 2016 World Refugee Day

Today is World Refugee Day (#worldrefugeeday) and I am asking you to join me in making a small contribution to an organization (your choice) that is making a difference. 

For those of you who might not know, in a former life I worked for the International Rescue Committee in Azerbaijan on a Community Development Project. I worked with “Internally Displaced People” or IDPs. Why IDP? Because you aren’t technically a refugee unless you flee your own country, but there are millions of people who have to flee their towns, and villages around the world. 

I also travelled to Armenia and the Republic of Georgia during my time in the Caucasus. I will never forget how, despite what so many had lost, how resilient and strong these families were. 

Because these refugees aren’t Syrians. Or Sudanese. Or Iraqis. They are families. They are mothers, fathers and children. They are brothers and sisters. 

They don’t live in homes anymore. They live in camps. Or train cars. And those are the lucky ones. There are no schools to speak of. Employment is nonexistent. 

It’s easy to dismiss the flashing images on your smartphone or TV screen as not real, but they are. 

Imagine your town, your country torn apart. No medical care, no rule of law. You have to run, and only the fittest and most determined will survive. 

Take a look at your family. Who would you choose if only half could make it? 

Think that’s sick? 

It. Happens. Every. Day.

This isn’t a movie. It’s real. For the first time ever, the total number of Refugees and Displaced Peoples exceeded 60 million, according to the UNHCR.

There’s not a ton that we can do as onlookers, but one of the best ways to make a difference is to support organizations that are on the ground.

Here are some options for you.

1. You can donate directly to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) online here: http://bit.ly/28IVIXG   This body oversee almost all refugee efforts and is as apolitical as is possible, however it is the organization that funds other organizations…so it’s a step away.

2. Pick a specific organization on the ground using CharityWatch.org — here’s a quick shortcut for you: http://bit.ly/28IRPoS — then go to that organization's website to make a donation.  CharityWatch is independent and rates organizations on financial criteria as well as other facets such as transparency. 

Thanks for reading and for making a difference. 

~ Patrick

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1060859 2016-06-07T17:38:09Z 2016-06-08T17:44:12Z June 2016 Training Update

Back with another monthly training update. This time it's for May and heading into June 2016.

For those of you who have been supporting me over the last couple months I super appreciate it. There's nothing like knowing no matter which way I go I've got a group of great people at my back. 

Of course, some of you are comforting while others of you are more demanding in what I do. Honestly, I believe I need both! 

The Diagnosis Continues

In May I went back to the orthopedist and had an MRI arthrogram done. This is where they inject a contrast dye into my hip socket and then complete an MRI. This allows them to see the hip socket in full relief. In other words, if there is a tear or some other issue that is rendering the socket "un whole" the fluid will leak and it will show up on the scan.

The outcome of this test was the same as before: I have a clinically insignificant superior labral tear. 

So, what to do next? 

That's a really good question.

This is something I debated for some time as I wasn't really 100% sure what I should do. Thanks to the counsel of many of you, here is what I've decided.

(1) Three different tests have shown that I do not have a significant hip issue. 

(2) Significant physical therapy has shown that I have well documented imbalances that are affecting my ability to compete and train at a high level. 

(3) Without a specific diagnosis of a major issue, I have decided that doing the rehab is the best course of attack for me now. 

So I am all in with the rehab, with the understanding that the better I get with my flexibility in core the more my condition will approve. And it that doesn't work, or if it gets worse, then I have simply earned my way into a definite surgery.


All of this aside, I do because important but I'm 100% clear with everyone that I'm not out to set any world records. I have had an incredible run in our sport for the last 15 years. I have achieve things that I never thought I could possibly do. 

If you had told me 15 years ago that I will go to Kona seven times, or that I will Boston qualify, or break three hours for a marathon, or that I would win my Age Group, I would have laughed in your face. 

A tiny part of me still wants to. It just seems so ridiculous.

2016 coach Patrick just wants to be healthy. 

I'm looking to be more well-rounded (haha no pun intended). I want to be fit but I also want to have no pain. 

If I can create the conditions where I can be as active as I want and enjoy a dynamic lifestyle with my kids, then we will see about being competitive again. 

I have no higher-level incentive driving the me forward at this point in time.

As of this update I have completed six bike rides since February 14th 2016. I'm finally outside which is wonderful. 

I am still on the indoor treadmill and will be until early July when I begin a slow transition to "normal" running. I swim about three times a week and use it to keep myself same and as a complements to the core work that I'm doing. 

For now my top goal is to get fit enough to hang out with everyone coming to our race camps. 

I hope to have more information for you in the coming weeks with a full report on what it means to transition back to real running. 

Thanks again for all your support and I'll be in touch soon!

~ Patrick

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1047277 2016-05-05T14:57:30Z 2016-05-05T14:59:56Z May (Still Not Really Training) Update

Special thanks to everyone who's been so supportive for me as I continue on this journey of rehabilitation. 

I'll spare you the details but the latest version of the story is that I've had multiple people review my MRI. The outcome basically is that the labrum looks fine. There's no issues there, and structurally everything looks okay. The x-ray that I had also came back fine so I feel 95% confident that there's no issue there with the actual joint. 

That said, of course I still have discomfort and pain. 

The MRI did reveal that there is some mild tendonosis in the upper hamstrings while working on stretching that out. 

I am also on a pretty aggressive physical therapy program that has me currently on a slight return to exercise. You have seen the pictures of me on that special Alter G treadmill that allows me to run with reduced weight. (That's a good thing, because my weight trending upwards right now!) 

I'm creating a pretty hard-core core strength program to help get me back on track. I have also set a tentative date of July 1 as the time I get back to some form of normal exercise. 

For now I am swimming consistently, working on my technique, and also enjoying long walks pretending that it's running. For all of you reading out there, who are struggling with your health and wellness, keep it up! 

It’s the good fight. Whatever you do, make sure you have a good solid core and functional strength program that you can do to keep you healthy around…unlike your coach!

More info next month,

~ Coach P

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1025753 2016-04-05T13:49:39Z 2016-04-05T13:49:39Z April Training (Not Really) Update

Here we are in April and as I look out my window and stare at 5 inches of fresh snow on the ground, I have to admit that the part of me which was originally sad about not training is not THAT sad. 

As an update for everything that has happened over the past couple weeks I can sum it up with one simple word – frustration.

As I have navigated the process of learning more about what's going on with my hip I have simultaneously been trying to figure out our healthcare system. 

It's one thing to have a very simple injury that is specific and easy to identify. Creating an action plan around that is a no-brainer; many of you have probably even solved those kind of problems online. 

In my case, the hip pain is so non-specific that it's actually hard to pinpoint the true cause of the pain.

So here's where I'm at…

At the end of March I got a cortisone shot directly into the hip joint. The goal behind this strategy was to effectively numb him the joint, allowing us to determine whether or not the discomfort I was feeling was either internal or external to the joint. 

It is now been over a week since that shot and I still have pain. This is both a blessing and a curse. I now know that the joint is not the cause of my pain, but I'm still not any closer to figuring out what the actual source of the pain is.

The Ortho recommended I do physical therapy, but they can’t schedule me in for almost a month! Instead I have started physical therapy with my local team here at Foundation Performance (www.foundationperformance.com). Mike and his staff are world-class and will definitely help me get on the mend. 

In the meantime I still need to work with the Ortho to figure out what the issue is. I may well need a referral to get an MRA — that’s an MRI done with the dye injected into the hip which should hopefully show more detail as to what's happening.

In the meantime, I am just starting to get into a consistent swimming schedule. It's hard to tell if the swimming bothers my hips or not. But I can tell that it's clearly a critical part of keeping me sane!

Thanks to all of you for your continued support and advice as I navigate this complicated phase of my training life. I'm confident that there will be a good resolution at some point in time..however I'm not confident that it's going to happen any time soon!

Camp Update: I had a blast in Texas with the folks getting ready for the race. You can read the recaps here and here...and here

Race Update: For those of you who are asking, I did the defer my race entry from Ironman Texas to Ironman Mont Tremblant in August. It's wishful thinking that I'll be ready by then, but I do know that it's important for me to have a carrot out there as something to aim towards.

Life Update: For those of you who are asking about the status of our house things are on the mend. We are already building and hope to be halfway done with the project by the middle of April. It has been a trying time here at the McCrann household living in a rental house, but the support of our friends and the greater community has shown that what were dealing with is nothing to be truly concerned about. With friends, family, and our health we are truly blessed. 

I hope to come back to you next month with a better update as to where things are at.

Until then, happy training!

~ Patrick

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1004704 2016-03-01T16:26:27Z 2016-03-01T16:26:28Z February 2016 Training Update

Endurance Nation and Rev3

Hard to believe it’s already March 1st and time for another returning update. I know that February is a short month but really, this is ridiculous. So when I last left you in February I was transitioning to the OutSeason® with some intensity. The goals was to bring my higher-end fitness up from the aerobic run durability work I had completed...and get me ready before a bigger training block with more endurance work as I headed into Ironman® Texas.

As some of you know I've been struggling with my run and I've even been in run jail for a short while. Run Jail, for the uninitiated, is a period of time when you focus on other sports that don't involve impact. Typically this is cycling and swimming as you recover.

I was experiencing discomfort and pain in my left thigh and figured it was something like my quad (which is always tight), or perhaps my adductor. I did more physical therapy and reduced my running load, but when I returned to running the pain came back right away. Back to the therapist for a second for another diagnosis and we are fairly confident that I have some type of stress fracture in my femur.

Typically people get a stress fracture much lower in the kinetic chain, such as the tibia or fibula, before the femur. However in my case, I did have a bicycle accident in 2010 and where I cracked my acetabulum (aka pelvis). This means that most likely something is not quite right with the alignment which has predisposed me to injure my femur.

I have an MRI on March to fill picture of exactly was going on inside the hip area. Until then, I won't be able to make better judgment about the situation. Per my PT, I'm currently in two weeks of no exercise. Super challenging, from a mental perspective but it actually always works out okay.

Funny how, as a business owner, I always have more than enough work to fill my time. I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I will make the most of this period of time to get healthier and stronger. I'll seek balance in other areas of my life that I've been pushing off for my triathlon pursuits.

I want to thank all of you for your continued support I certainly hope I have a much better update for you come the end of March!

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/990570 2016-02-10T18:12:56Z 2016-02-10T18:12:56Z January 2016 Training Update

Believe it or not, but it's time for another training update! 

January was a solid one for me. I don't really have trouble getting motivated so there were no specific resolutions or occasions that made me dive any deeper into my training. I was coming off of a solid December and was looking forward to integrating cycling on top of the running baseline that I had established. 

By all accounts the month was a success. I was able to continue running – and even run a similar pace as I had during my Run Durability block – for most of the month. The biggest thing that took a hit was my swim training. I was getting into the pool almost every day while I wasn't on the bike, but returning to all three disciplines meant reducing my overall training load in the water. 

One of my focus points for February will be to get that number back up again above 10,000 yards a week. 

January also included our annual pilgrimage to Clermont Florida. This is our January Volume Camp; a chance for our members to kick off their new year in style and boost their endurance with a quality training block in warmer climates. This was our second camp and there was another great group and the fantastic four days. We did lots of training and even were able to fit in some fun as well. You can view the whole recap online here. We will be back in 2017 for our third camp which promises to be even bigger and better. Click here to use our early bird discount to lock in your spot — your 2017 self will thank you!

If anything was wrong in January it was my hips. The return to cycling, specifically cycling with intensity, in retrospect looks to have been a little too aggressive. I have had mild pain when running and even some hip flexor pain now and then on the bike. 

I am hoping got some rest massage/physical therapy will help get me back on track. I am well ahead of where was this time last year so I am certainly not complaining. Heading into February will see me maintain the bike as I work to reintegrate the run. I will most likely fill most of the missing one hours of additional swimming just to make myself stronger.

Thankfully I don't have any camps this month, but the Texas race specific camp this coming up quickly in mid-March. You can learn more about this National Champs Camp online here.

Thanks for reading!

~ Coach P

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/964288 2016-01-05T18:16:12Z 2016-01-05T18:16:17Z December 2015 Training Recap and Update Another month, another chance to recap my training. Those of you new to this series of posts, this is my attempt at keeping myself on track across the season. I'm doing this for myself as well as for others to show the importance of holding yourself accountable on a frequent basis. When I last updated you my focus was on kicking off the 2016 season. I set some lofty goals for myself that will require some significant work, you can read all about it here

So far, so good. Thanks to an incredibly mild winter through the end of December, I was able to stay consistent with my training despite transitioning down from Hawaii and dealing with the increased workload that comes was coaching in the OutSeason®.

My Swim Focus

One of my biggest lessons learned from the 2015 season was the impact of consistent, quality swimming on my race performance. I used to think of swimming as a discipline unto itself. I was looking for success within swim workouts and particularly within specific sets. That proved to be challenging for me simply because – as a not so great swimmer – progress is not linear for me in the pool. Some sessions are good, some sessions are bad. I honestly can't tell you why some are good and some are bad… They just are. But stepping back and looking at my season from a macro level, I was able to see where consistent swimming made me faster overall on race day regardless of the actual swim time that I had. My commitment was very simple, I was going to focus on swimming as much as possible in December and get some video work done. 

I'm pleased to say that I was able to get some video work done thanks to my good friend Peter Russo (www.r2tri.com) gave me some great feedback. Peter is not only a fast triathlete, he is an incredibly fast swimmer. Taking that feedback, I focused exclusively on technique and was able to swim almost 5 times a week during December. I'm fortunate in that I have multiple pools near me with options to swim during the day and my biggest obstacle was simply scheduling. I feel like I made some good progress in the pool in terms of defining my form as well as finding key areas where I was able to see improvement without a corresponding increase in effort/work. 

Of course it remains to be seen how much of that sticks because the holiday season is such a buzz kill for swimming. With pools closed, travel opportunities, and lots of yummy food, I have had a full two weeks off from the pool. January will be interesting to see how much, if anything, I have been able to retain.

Run Focus Block

My real early-season focus was on a run frequency block that would allow me to raise my chronic training load on the run up to levels that I normally only saw during my previous Ironman® race buildups. Much like the swim, I have found that consistent running is what allows me to be successful on race day. As I reviewed my 2015 season I had some solid performances, but I wasn't as fast as I had been in the past. When I went back to take a look at what those workouts were from previous years, the trend that I noticed was how consistently I ran from week to week. 

In 2015 I certainly ran well, but my runs were typically fewer in number and longer distance/time. Think four ten-mile runs to get 40 miles. There is a cost associated with that across the board, and I believe that that was reflected in my run times on race day. So my focus in December was to build a consistent running program that I could then ramp up to some solid numbers just before Christmas vacation week. I'm pleased to say that I was able to put in a great six week block that culminated in two big weeks: 55 miles in the first week, 60 miles in the second week. 

That may not sound like much, as many of you probably know runners who do those kind of weeks for "rest." But for a triathlete who last year averaged just over 30 miles a week, a 60 mile week is a massive increase. In terms of the actual data I was able to raise my running chronic training load to just below the peak values I saw in April 2015 for Ironman Texas. To give you perspective, it took me five months to raise my run to those levels last year and I did it this year in six weeks. Now the hard work begins in terms of consistently running to keep that training load high for the next two months as my focus in training begins to shift. With the cold weather officially here, it will be interesting to see how successful I can be in this endeavor!

Preparing for the January Volume Camp

I enjoyed a great holiday trip with my family and friends. It was a relaxing week where I stayed active but really had no serious exercise goals aside chasing a few Strava KOMs. Now as I return to proper training in January, I have the January Volume Camp in Clermont, Florida (online here). This is our second annual trip to the warmer weather down south where we can put in some critical swim bike and run volume as a boost for the remainder of our year. 

This type of training is an integral part to how I manage my trick my fitness across a year. I don't have the bandwidth or ability to sustain high levels of training volume across a year. I have no idea how elite age groupers and pro-triathletes alike can put in 25 to 40 hours a week of training consistently. Anything north of 18 hours for me given my life and work demands is completely unsustainable. So I use these shorter camps as an opportunity to raise my fitness levels. 

Of course I'm coming off of a period of time when I really didn't ride my bike at all after Hawaii! I literally did three bike rides between October in January 1st, so now I am on the bike on a daily basis just putting in some time trying to get my legs ready for the long rides at camp. I'm excited to see my teammates and myself in short sleeves and shorts outside on a bike. :-) More importantly I look forward to using this as an opportunity to really get back into my training groove. 

When I return home I will have a six-week block which covers the second half of January and the first part of February. I will be doing higher intensity workouts very similar to our out season training plans. This'll be my final high-intensity push before I transitioned into a more traditional race preparation phase as I build towards Ironman Texas 2016. Thanks so much for reading my update, I'd love to hear from you as well in the comments or online via twitter: www.twitter.com/pmccrann. 

Thanks, and good luck this month!
tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/927618 2015-11-04T20:44:11Z 2016-01-05T20:03:24Z Coach Patrick’s October Recap / November Planning

I spent the better part of October not training. I have to be honest and say that this is my favorite time of the year. :-) I am adamant about taking two weeks off from total exercise at the end of every season. It's all too easy to get back into training when my body is not ready; I consider this the price I pay for being active the other 50 weeks of the year.

Not all was lost however, as I continue to remain focused on my food and I was very active in my regular scheduled life. The sheer amount of house projects I have postponed have made for a fantastic transition training plan!!!

I also used this time to lay out a tentative plan for the 2016 season. This is a large part of why I enjoy this time of year: nothing motivates me like setting big goals in trying to figure out how to achieve them.

In 2016 I will be racing both Texas and Chattanooga. I chose Texas because I'm looking for a fast race, Chattanooga because it's a Team event. you're nicely into two parts that will give me plenty of opportunity to both train up but also recover between events.

The goal is a pretty audacious one – I am targeting the nine-hour barrier.

I have to be honest and say that it's hard for me even to look at that sentence on my screen. It's an incredible leap from where I am now, but certainly within reach. I have to be honest with myself – I have one or two more years of peak endurance performance before the tide begins to shift!

I feel like the past two years has seen a solid progression in both my fitness and my ability to execute. I have had two sub 9:30 minute races in Texas and a low 9:30 at Tremblant; my bike splits are consistently under five hours regardless of the course.

The biggest confidence booster however, is my most recent performance in Hawaii. I really feel like that race represents the pinnacle of my ability to plan – and execute! – a solid race.

All of that said, aiming for nine hours means making some significant changes to my program.

Most of all I need to get back on the swim train. I really need to have this close to one hour swim as possible. This will be challenging in Texas because it is a non-wetsuit legal swim; definitely attainable in Chattanooga given the currents of the river. Regardless, you will definitely see me swimming a lot more if you follow me on Strava!!!

The bike will be what it is. I will continue to work towards being able to hold closer to .74 versus .7 on race day. At Texas this “should” net me a 4:36 bike; in Chattanooga my time is predicted to be closer to 4:50 (this is where a faster swim time will help!).

Either way, the magic has to happen on the run. I am very pleased with my body composition work for the season. I'm going to do my best to maintain that heading into 2016. My run execution has been good, but not great. I have run a 3:15 in Texas before so there's hope for a faster run if I can speed up my transitions and stay cool while keeping the effort up. Chattanooga will be another story altogether, the run course there is LEGIT. I have run a 3:18 at Lake Placid, so I know I have the ability to run fast in the hills. Now we just have to see if it's possible on race day.

But enough of playing the time game. What am I actually doing?

My early-season focus has been exclusively on the run. I will be building up for approximately 10 weeks, my goal is to have two big run weeks north of 60 miles. I am also spending some good time in the pool. It's hard not to be on my bike right now, especially given the beautiful fall weather. But I have a much greater incentive to improve my runs and swim times… So I need to invest my time wisely.

I will transition from this one focus to a six-week high intensity block very similar to the else is to get rejuvenated. Then it's on to a more traditional Ironman training program into Texas. Along the way I will be doing my usual training events: the January volume camp in Clermont, Florida (slots still open, join me here) as well as some form of training weekend in Texas (mid-March). Of course, there will be the annual pilgrimage to North Carolina for our Blue Ridge Cycling Camp (waitlist open, info and sign up here).

Thanks for reading, and as always thanks for your continued support and daily motivation. I am going to need your expertise and advice more than ever as I embark on this journey.

Let's Crush 2016 Together!!!

~ Coach P

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/877864 2015-07-06T13:01:55Z 2015-07-06T15:33:44Z June Training Update (Hawaii Block 1)

A Transitional Month

What started off as a return to training plan, with lots of really good intent, quickly devolved into a month of just fun. As you can see from the photos above, I had a lot of catching up to do with the family, and with summer here there are no more excuses! Outside of the Lake Placid Training Camp in mid-June (an annual tradition!), it was a month focused on a few key areas. Training totals from Strava weren't very exciting:

  1. Swim - 11 total times.
  2. Bike - 15 total rides.
  3. Run - 19 total runs.

The Swim 

My focus for June was on technique. I know I need to swim better overall, and usually my swim training is just time in the water. More of an aerobic building exercise than a "How can I get faster?" exercise. I did some reading, and thinking and video seeking. I am a very visual learner, so I really enjoy cruising YouTube to find some quality stuff to watch.

  1. Super relaxed swimming with fixed head position: Jono Van Hazel
  2. Swimming with higher legs: Funny, but good instruction.
  3. Cross Over Kick: Reading, not watching.

I have been working on a relaxed stroke with better kick timing. A full stroke with my finish coming through my hip. Interestingly, my 100 times are easily sub 1:25 with this approach, where just working on faster turnover / cadence had me practically exhausted without the speed. I plan on continuing this focus as I build endurance. 

The Bike

I have been on my road bike all month and have really been loving it. Not a great machine for the longer rides, but in general I have kept things as short as I could. Many 30 mile / 1 hour 20 minute efforts. I also kicked off a concerted effort to ride as much Always Be Pushing / Zone 3 effort as possible. 

The result has been a consistent stretch of rides all over 300 watts Normalized Power, usually over 22 mph on my road bike.  Super excited about this, as it's been great to watch even though I spend most rides wanting to throw up. 

There was a volume pop at the Placid camp where I actually set some PBs on my road bike (not tri!), but it was tough riding the road bike for that long!

I am looking forward to returning to my P5 and getting some good aero time. 

The Run

Similar to the bike, I have been pushing the runs. Most of them have been sub-6:40 pace, with two 10 mile efforts at 6:32 and 6:34 pace as well. The running has been awesome; like the bike there's a sweet pace that's easy to fall into...even though it hurts like I am in a human vice. It's been fun to push, but the overall mileage has been pretty low, so I will need to begin to work on building that back up. 

The Cost of Intensity

My left knee has been feeling it...I guess if you never stop putting torque on the pedals your body is going to push back. It's nothing too serious, but I need to back off to allow it to heal and give myself time to recover between the super quality sessions. I believe it's Patellafemoral Syndrome, so lots of work on my hips and dorsiflexion as I hammer on that quad with self care. 

Next Steps

As I head into July, I plan to get back to a more basic schedule. Similar to my typical training build but not all in with the work. I am still getting back to the volume but I have to exit the short/intense training period that I just finished up. My goals are straightforward:

  • Continue working the swim, getting in 4 sessions a week. 
  • Get back on the TT bike and continue to push the rides fairly hard...no serious volume this time outside of the week I will be in Lake Placid to support the Team and give our free Four Keys Race Execution talk.
  • I will get back to 4 solid runs a week and build up to sitting on 30 miles a week...the intensity will have to drop a bit b/c of the volume (and summer heat) but I will see what I can do to keep some quality in there. 

 Thanks for reading and for all of your support!

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/863613 2015-06-01T00:30:34Z 2015-06-01T00:30:34Z Mapping Out the Rest of 2015 to Ironman Hawaii (A Rough Outline)

Kona 2015 Planning

Time to start practicing what I preach; I hope you find these notes useful for your training!  You can only have the race you prepare for, and preparation starts with a plan and some critical targets -- it's how we work inside Endurance Nation and it's how I plan each phase of my training. I simply don't do well without goals! 

The Rough Outline

Goal is to have a truly complete race. This is the first time I will be on the island to acclimate to the conditions (usually arrive just 2-3 days prior), so excited to see what that brings. Plus the family gets to go, and that’s what it’s all about. 

Experience has shown me that the run really matters in Kona…a good bike is nice but the run is where it’s at. I have done all kinds of bikes there, but my runs have always been sub-par. Much of this comes down to better execution, but that’s not something I need to focus on right now (although I am pumped to try the new aid station methodology you all helped me with and worked for me in TX). 

For my training I will start with run durability and return to the split long runs that have helped me in the past. I will continue to push the steady work as it’s good for me, but I will be incorporating some more run strides as I feel my overall form has fallen off a bit. The broader goal will be to prepare for a bigger run block in September heading in to the final weeks pre Kona. I was about 40 miles per week before TX and I’d like to be at 45 per week for HI including a peak week of 50 miles. 

To set up the run I will need excellent bike execution and swim fitness.  

First and foremost is the swim so I am in a better group. I typically swim a 1:10 which isn’t terrible there but it does put me in a big bike group (non-swimmers who seek revenge on the bike).  Without a doubt the biggest improvement I could possibly have is on the swim. Kona is a one-loop, non-wetsuit ocean swim with a mass start. Not only do I not swim well with others, but the ocean and non-wetsuit set up hurt me as well. I basically have 18 weeks to develop a solid open water swim stroke. I plan on revisiting Mike Robert’s swim thread to plan something out…in fact I might put him to work helping me out. :)

I have learned tons on the bike, and I think I can have a really good split out there (bike wise) with a couple of key changes as I continue to improve riding steady and managing my nutrition.  I think a critical aspect this year will be developing the ability to ride at 85% for key sections of a longer ride, and still recover. On the Kona course there is the climb to Hawi, the climb back to the Queen K, and then the Scenic Overlook…all three of these climbs are sustained and required a good effort (not too hard) but one that I can sustain. 

My real focus is on Hawi, and in particular being able to stay on the watts both up and down (this seems to separate most of the race). All in this is 14 miles…7 up and 7 down; call it about 45 minutes of solid work to be safe. I will be working this into my “HI Block 2” bike rides from the 1:45 to 2:30 marks. I also need to decide what to do with my gearing. I currently have a 54/42 on the front with an 11-28 in the rear….I can fly on the downs / flats and in the tailwind…but with the few critical climbs it might be nice to have an easier gear to spin with…not sure If I should go to a smaller front ring in general or just mess with the rear cluster. I kind of am used to the rear…but not sure I can mess with the QXL rings either…any input here welcome. 

HI Block 1 (June, 5 wks) = Run durability, Bike FTP, and Swim Re-Entry. Total volume per week will be approximately 12.25 hours outside of one bigger week at Placid Camp.

HI Block 2 (July, 4 wks) = Swim Volume / Focus (5x a week), Run 4x week @ 10miles per usual, Return to TriBike. Add Hawi Bike Focus to my longer rides, but long ride is still just 3 hours so I can keep intensity up (other than the volume of Placid week). Weekly volume will be about 16 hours a week.

HI Block 3 = (August, 4 wks) = Good time to train in the heat here in RI, so make the most of it. Swim sets will move to being slightly longer (hopefully I’ll be in a place to sustain it). My split runs will be consolidated into a few long runs and my long weekly bike ride of 5 hours returns. Weekly volume will remain about 16 hours a week as the time spent swimming will shift to the bike.

HI Block 4 (September to Race, 6 wks) = Total Tri Focus. Brick run it out. Longer swim sets. Consider a heat camp in Florida if stars align with family schedule. These will include some of my peak weeks. I estimate a few 20 hour weeks assuming I can recover enough. I rarely have this window for Kona training as I am usually coming off a July / August race and it’s more about getting my legs back vs building fitness. I am both excited and scared about these weeks. 

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/857273 2015-05-18T01:36:13Z 2015-05-18T01:36:13Z 2015 Ironman Texas Race Report

9:29:46 on a Wicked Windy and Hot Day...and headed back to Kona, baby!

For the speed readers, the full report is below. For the rest of you this was my 21st Ironman and I went 9:29:xx, good enough for 36th overall...26th male...5th age grouper...and 2nd in the M40-44 age group. My swim was baaaad. The bike was almost perfect and the run was a sufferfest...but my ticket is punched -- Kona #7, here I come!

The Build Up

Winter 2015 simply sucked. I wasn't able to ride outside in my town until mid-April...about. 5 weeks pre-race.  I did have a full winter of quality running and a modified OutSeason (see below), plus camps in Florida in January (January Volume Camp), a shortened Texas Camp and the Blue Ridge Cycling Camp (here) which all afforded me some good bike volume.

 Winter Long Running in Rhode Island

The Winter Training

I decided to keep my run pace pretty high at the outset of my training -- think just slower than Z3 / Half Marathon Pace and then add the bike/run workouts of the OutSeason in to the point where I could still run that quality tempo pace. I wanted to do this as the bike is my current strength and I wanted to target the run with more quality.

Well after one week of training and real winter weather I realized that things had to change. First, I couldn't run intervals in the snow (no treadmill for me thanks!) and second, increasing the bike interval duration each week really hurt my run.

So I settled on a "fixed" week of bike intervals -- Tuesday was 2x12' @ Z4, Thursday was 4x4' @ 110% FTP / Z5 and Saturday was 2x12' @ Z4 again. This allowed me to push the effort of the intervals up each week since the duration was fixed. I could also easily tell when I was tired as the numbers would drop.

I ran 60' to 70' at the sub-Z3 pace on both Wednesday and Sunday and then a few shorter runs during the week when possible. Monday and Friday were 2500y swim sessions.

Overall I was pretty pleased with the results. My run quality was pretty high -- not my fastest running but a lot of quality. My bike was super strong and my swim had been fairly consistent.

The Race Prep Training

Race Prep started right around mid-February. With about 10 weeks to go, I decided to use a modified version of the EN*Full Minimalist Plan as I knew I couldn't do 2 long rides a week with the weather (as we usually do) and I wanted to maintain my run.

Race Prep Phase One

This meant more Tempo (no real run intervals), more swimming and a three solid bikes. A HUGE shout out to the TriFit Lab (run by Todd and Lisbeth Kenyon of TTBikeFit fame -- www.ttbikefit.com) as I used their indoor CompuTrainer facility for a few loooooooooooong rides.

Race Prep Phase Two

After 4 weeks I transitioned to better weather and a "consolidated" long run, which you can see reflected in the schedule above.

Swim Training

This was about the time that Mike Roberts had posted on his year-long swim hack for IMNZ and how he dialed in his swim.  I read, learned, and did my best over the final 10-ish weeks to implement the knowledge. I was pleased with my swim progress in the pool but am bummed it didn't play out on the race. Regardless, I have a few more months to continue making progress!

Bike Training

Aside from some technical issues getting my TT bike back into workout shape , the transition from my road bike to the Tri bike at the end of the OutSeason was pretty uneventful. The indoor sessions made me mentally tough and the other sessions were short enough I could still get in some good intervals.

Given the long rides were indoors they were more at IM Race Pace / Z2 as I couldn't really ride sustained Z3 inside. I was happy when the weather turned so I could go back outside! Overall the numbers were good, combined with the Blue Ridge Camp work I did (back on the road bike) I had a high degree of confidence.

Run Training

While my "Tempo" pace fell from 6:30s to 6:45s as the training load increased, I was still pleased with my run. Durability was high and all my sessions were solid. I felt like another 3:15 here in TX was possible for sure. An unintended benefit of the running, I believe, was really good body composition. And I have to say I am a real fan of the Split Long Run to ramp up run volume safely.

Race Week

This is always fun! We had a smaller crew as this wasn't a "Key Race" for 2015, but what to we lacked in size we made up in AWESOME! Our Team Dinner was delish and filled with some great laughs. Mariah made the Four Keys Talk a success -- thanks to all who attended! -- and was my pre-race Sherpa. My amazing wife Maura arrived on Thursday just in time to keep me sane and help me get mentally ready.

Race Morning

Super simple using my checklists. The bike is all set, fueled and powered up. Shoes on the bike with a little rubber band trick for the left one so I can mount quickly. T2 and T1 bags are untied and prepped for the race. A quick drive to the swim start has me on the ground an hour before with plenty of time to do everything and make sure I am ready. A quick kiss to Maura and it's time the swim start!!

The Swim

The Swim -- 1:10:xx, 50th AG.

The swim was a rolling wave start -- like your local half marathon. Folks self seeded and when the gun went off we waded in and started swimming. No warm ups allowed. It was wetsuit optional, so those folks were in the back.

It was crowded at the start, and while I planned to to inside the buoys I saw the course curved right and so I headed for the final buoy. This meant solo swimming vs in the pack -- breaking my swim plan instantly.

And honestly it was really hard to tell if I was swimming well without the feedback of a clock. I feel like my swim has improved, but that my open water swim game sucks. I really need to solidify my stroke and get better at swimming with others for sure.

That said, aside from the top swimmers, times seemed slow. The water felt surprisingly choppy / angry for a lake; I think we all just sloshed it up. The canal, for the last 1300 just sucks. No two ways about it. It was really hard to maintain any good swim stroke in here.

 Leaving T1


I executed this perfectly. Removed the swim skin just out of the water; got my bag put on my helmet and walked top right thru the tent. Gave a volunteer my bag and cap, etc, and then used the GoBag to fill my pockets while I got sunscreened and sloshed to my bike.

Sloshed you say? Oh yes. Daily downpours had tuned the transition area into a Woodstock worthy experience...complete with the smell of raw sewage. Not awesome. Since my shoes were on the bike, however, I just rolled out and got on the bike.

The Bike -- 4:44:xx, 2nd AG

After 2012's sub-5 ride I knew I could really fly here. I had the bike dialed in, complete with race tires and latex tubes, and I was ready to rock. My goals were to ride about 245 Watts and to be strongest when it mattered in miles 60 to 80 -- the usual headwind area (plus some chip seal).

The start was crowded, given my swim time. I was in that place where every guy is riding like they might win....surging, swerving, cursing, etc. I tried to just stay in my mental box and get my fluids in while trying to get my HR down below 130.

I could tell by Mile 20 that things were going to be funky. That's a flat slightly downhill section where I was going to skip an aid station as I'd be going 28mph there. Except I was in a group fighting wind!!! Aargh!

Skipping the aid station and the surprise wind turned out to be a good thing, however, as it gave me the momentum to create a gap and leave those other guys behind. As a result of this group stuff, my power was all over -- I resolved to keep my HR in check around 130 to 132.

With the wind picking up I knew the return trip would be much harder, so I played it safe on the rollers, sitting up and spinning. Sure enough, at the highest point on the course, the winds were screaming. But I just put my head down and kept the pressure on the pedals. There was really no one for me to work with legally on the bike; from mile 65 onwards it was really a solo TT effort.

The wind wasn't terrible on the chip seal as it was a cross-head, but that only meant there would be wind all the way into the woodlands...which is why everyone's last split on the bike just stinks.  I focused on getting wet to stay cool and drinking up. It was overcast for almost the entire bike, but the heat was evident when the sun poked though and the humidity was in full effect.

By the time the bike wrapped I was feeling pretty solid about my placing on the day and physically as well.

Here is the data from Strava:

Ironman Texas Bike Data


Reverse slopfest here, and I struggled with my T2 bag as I left it tied b/c of the afternoon showers that were forecast (but never showed up). I tried to maximize my time in transition by peeing as I sat down putting on my shoes — it kept my feet try but I was a hot stinking mess for sure. Out the door with my GoBag, I finished my admin items as volunteers put sunscreen on my back and it was time to run.

The Run — 3:26:xx, 2nd AG

I made a few changes here to my usual set up. First I didn’t take my FuelBelt with me as I was trying to reduce all weight. Instead, I used a FuelBelt SuperStretch Race with a pouch, gel loops and race number toggles. All in one baby!  I also upgraded my trucker hat to a Zoot Ultra Icefil Cap, with the flaps secured around my neck with an arm cooler. I blatantly copied Ben Hoffman’s race set up for Ironman Hawaii last year, and it turned out to be total money.

Without a doubt, however, the biggest upgrade was once again due to the Team….Dave Tallo’s suggestion to take a ziplock bag for carrying ice was killer. This was part of my “run the aid stations” strategy — which I think was a massive success for 2/3 of the race!! — and it really help offset the heat and manage random aid station placements where things really got hot. I simply dumped ice in it as I ran. Then I sealed it and stuck in my top….or I could hold in my hand(s)…if my head got hot, I turned it upside down as I held the ice in a ball and the cold water fell on my head…and I could chomp ice or put in my arm coolers whenever I wanted. It. Was. Awesome!

I set out knowing my bike Average HR was 131…so my run target of 140 seemed right on. However I could tell within the first 1/2 mile that it was going to be a friggin tough run. The sun was out in full force and the heat was on. Legit, Kona-style heat. My HR popped right up over 140 and I had to really slow myself down as I found my legs.

I focused on nailing the aid stations per my plan and getting in the food and salt I needed. I took in 2 caffeinated gels in the first 1/2 marathon, as wells 3 tiny Clif Bloks (Margherita with 3x sodium, of course!) as well as plenty of Gatorade Endurance.

I was passed round Mile 3 by the eventual winner of my age group, and he looked super strong and smooth. No way I was moving my HR anywhere, so I continued trucking. Even though I didn’t feel like I was running well (no peeking at the mile splits, thank you!), I was passing 90% of folks. I think maybe 15 people passed me all day and I caught all but 4 of them by Mile 25.

The fan support was incredible; from the Moxie music-fest to the Crotch Catapult station to the bearded-garbage can bangers…and the normal people were great too. I really never said anything to anyone…I was just trying to stay in my zone. My stomach felt pretty good after some colorful bike burps, but I could tell my calves were borderline in terms of wanted to cramp. At about Mile 8 (of that 8.55-mile loop) there were two sets of stairs DOWN…which I nearly killed myself on as my quads were so tight. I oped to walk these on Lap Two (Lap Three you headed to the finish instead).

Lap Two was purgatory. You can see from my HRM file that I backed off a bit here. Reflecting with race friend and fellow coach Tim Snow of QT2 Multisport Systems, I think that this was really due to a lack of mental toughness. I visualized the final 4 miles, but neglected the middle…not next time.

I was basically biding my time to the third lap. On lap three I started to pull things back together and run the tangents. By this time the course was wicked crowded and it was hard to get what I needed at the aid stations without actually stopping as there were just too many other athletes in the way. Note to self, I need to yell at volunteers more for what I want.

By Mile 22 it was game on and I was running down the last two guys I could see who had passed me. Some solid work here, even if it’s not reflected in the pace. Then at Mile 24 turnaround I could see that there was at least one person close to me in bib numbers…I was about to get a banana for tingly fingers, but instead I had to suck it up. I really picked up the pace and I was surprised to see how good it felt to stretch out my stride and really run. The HR went up, for sure, but there is something here for me to learn from really running vs getting buried in a shuffle. I really pushed, running a 7:24 and 7:04 final two miles, making sure I was in the finishing chute by myself and safe from getting pipped at the line. Always good to finish strong.

Here is the data from Strava:

Ironman Texas Run File

Number One Fan

The Finish

I had enough time for a massive smile and the EN-gang sign.

It was great to be caught by teammate and good friend Vic Kaiser, who shepherded me to my wife and the finish area for much needed cold water, cooling towel and a massage. Interesting enough there were no chairs or table for athletes to sit at…that really stung as folks were left to sit on the concrete or go off in the bushes. Can’t imagine that’s a big line item that can’t be added back in.

I was able to see many of my teammates in the finishing area, and we also were able to meet up at The Goose’s Acre for some post race food and drink. A burger never tasted so good. After getting home and trying to sleep, Sunday brought the awards banquet and Kona slot allocation. It was a nice wrap to the weekend and a good chance to say hi to the folks I met on the run course. A lot of really tough and fit men and women out there. I took my slot to Hawaii, making this my seventh trip in my last seven tries. I am excited to rest, and plan our Hawaii Race Week Camp (for racers and just folks who want to train and experience the biggest week in our sport!).

2nd Place Age Group and Kona Bound

Massive Thanks

As always, to my understanding and amazing wife Maura for lifting me up more than she’ll ever know. To my daughters who inspire me and love me no matter how sweaty and tired I am. To my training partners Lisbeth (who also raced, won her Age Group and is headed to Hawaii!, Peter and Todd who push me when we connect. To my mentor, Vinu Malik whose wisdom on all things endurance could fill several encyclopedias..thank you for all your advice.  To my teammates on Endurance Nation who continue to push me athletically to be my best, you never cease to amaze me with you new perspectives, tips and strategies…that run was dedicated to you! If I forgot anyone else, please know I am sooooo thankful….and thanks for reading!

Random Lessons Learned

* Shoes on the bike is a gajillion times better than in a T1 bag; I hope IM continues this trend at other races.

* The best thing for your chafed parts post race is chamois cream. Who needs bike shorts for permission?

* Be ready for a scary post race pee if you have been beet juice loading.

* Chocolate milk is NOT a sponsor / at the finish line this year. BUMMER.

* Someone needs to make an “aid station volunteer” video manual that folks can watch. Simple things like how to hold bike bottles or two cups in one hand would make a massive difference.

* Yelling what you need at run aid stations really does help.

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/835129 2015-04-03T09:48:51Z 2015-04-03T09:48:52Z March 2015 Training Recap

March training highlight was the Texas Race Camp, even if the weather didn't cooperate! The hours continue to build up across all three disciplines. Fatigue is high but not unmanageable; then again ask my colleagues what my productivity has been and you'll probably get a different story. :)

Thanks to your input, Team, I have set minimum sleep to 7 hours vs 6 which has really helped. Also enjoying Mike Roberts swim project thread which has been super informative. Thank you! 

Also managed to go the whole month without a PT visit, and somehow survived the massive fundraiser 5k for the kids elementary school (we raised over $17k!). 

You can view all my details in Strava here: www.strava.com/athletes/291894

The Swim

Currently in a 4-swim week program with average yards around 10k. This is (hopefully) a good platform for the final swim push that I need to make a meaningful difference in my swim performance. Usually I don't do ^this^ part of the swim, waiting until now to get to 10k. 

Make no mistake about it, this is no year-long swim project, but it is a fair amount of focus for me given my history. 

Up Next -- looking to hit around 14,000 a week for the next 4 weeks if I can make it happen. 

The Bike

March saw the return of the #triathlon bike (P5). We also added long Friday rides come into effect, most of them indoors. This has not been easy, but the work has been really solid. Most of my long ride watts & HR have been consistent with past years -- good. :) 

I have seen the FTP and VO2 efforts fall as well. The focus has moved from hard number chasing to "best effort" and let the numbers fall where they may. 

Up Next -- two bigger rides a week are on the plan, hoping the weather plays along. I will work in some harder efforts within those sessions as well as keep one FTP session during the week. 

The Run

Built the run up to a consistent 40-ish miles a week, mostly at my low-Zone 3 effort. This has been across 4 x 10 milers a week, with two of those being a split long run on Saturday. 

Times have slowed a bit from Jan/Feb where I was more 6:30s than 6:40s, but the fatigue has gone up. I also initiated the transition to one long run on the weekend, with 13+ then a 15+. 

Up Next -- (1) a return to some FTP running as integrated into steady runs. (2) and two bigger run weeks closer to 50 miles/week, including a few 18 milers. This means more back-to-back running. I am a little concerned about this, will end to stay on top of the nutrition and recovery. 

Body Composition

Good but not great. I have been eating clean but not super lean. I am low 180s so need to stay smart to break 180. Still debating how badly I want to suffer here. 

Just about six weeks left to TX so time to make a solid push. Shiny side up!]]>
tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/817634 2015-03-02T18:17:51Z 2015-03-02T18:17:51Z February / Winter 2015 Training Recap It seems absurd to be recapping my winter training, what with record-setting snowfall blocking the roads and literally enclosing the windows of my subterranean Pain Cave. I feel a strange kinship with Rocky IV training in the Russian winter, only my enemy is winter itself. But I digress... Transitioning to March means moving on to the Race Preparation phase of my training for Ironman® Texas regardless of what it looks like outside.

January Highlights

An amazing week in Clermont, Florida, for our January Volume Camp. Full recap available online here, 2016 slots available here.

February Highlights

School Vacation Week: I closed out the OutSeason Training Block with a week of snowboarding with the family in New Hampshire. I brought the trainer with me to ride, and I even managed to get in a 10 mile run on one "non-mountain" day of the week. Both kids got the 24-hour flu on different days -- add in some great wine and friends and things were less than ideal for actual training. But it was a blast!
Got Sick with Hacking Cough: After a few weeks of fighting it off, I finally came down with the cough that my poor family has been incubating since December. I have high days and low days, and the medication has really messed with my Perceived Exertion...but I am doing my best to sleep a lot, stay hydrated and stay focused.

Overall OutSeason Training Thoughts

General: One of the bigger changes I made of for this winter was following a "fixed" week, both in terms of what was done each week and day, but also similarity in the type of training was done each day. I have found that it takes a few weeks of a particular plan for my body to adapt to the workload and then force improvement. 

I also decided to keep the intervals fixed as well -- rather than changing the workload in each weekly interval session, my focus was on seeing increased power within each session. 

The Swim: Averaged 2-3 Swims Per Week After having some shoulder trouble post Kona due to my aerobar placement and my weak shoulder / collarbone, I had to do some solid rehab back in December. The focus on Jan/Feb was to work in some more rotation in my stroke to engage the lats / back muscles more than simply using my shoulders / rotator cuff. 

While there hasn't been anything spectacular here, I do feel pretty good about my baseline swimming heading into the final 12 weeks. 

The Bike: Averaged 3 Rides, 3 Hours Per Week I followed the basic protocol of Tues/Sat FTP rides of 2 x 12 minutes at FTP, with Thurs being a VO2 / 110% FTP ride with 4 x 4 minute intervals. I started off with my 12' intervals in the mid-320s back in December and finished with them consistently in the 340s. 

The VO2 4' intervals went from the 350s to the upper 360s. I am pleased with being able to get the 12' intervals up to the 340s...that's a really solid place for me to be as I am usually locked in the 330s range. 

Interestingly, the week of vacation where I rode some 90% intervals -- vs 100% or 110% of my usual training -- actually had me return to some really strong FTP work. But that could have been some rest from that week as well. 

The Run: Averaged 5 Runs, 4 Hours Per Week, 30 miles-ish. My plan was essentially two longer runs on Tuesday / Saturday, with shorter runs of 4 to 6 miles on other days. These shorter days were areas for intensity if I felt good. When I started out running in this fixed plan, I was running most of my efforts at sub-6:45/mile pace -- even the "longer" runs of 10 miles. 

That said, I never really ran intervals. My plan was to do one day of FTP mile repeats, but after the first week I realized that I could do ^that^ work, plus keep my overall running a pace pretty fast, PLUS push the bike workouts. So I made the executive decision to keep the overall pace high vs the interval work. This was cemented by the insane winter we have had so far, where many of my runs have been outside in snow, slush and ice...not to mention the usual wind. 

While my average pace has slowed a bit, I think it's just as much a function of the conditions as of fatigue.

Pros of a Fixed OutSeason Week

  • Great for planning / scheduling. 
  • Easy to track progress. 
  • Improved odds for consistency.

Cons of a Fixed OutSeason Week

  • Lacked spontenaiety / Not so much fun. 
  • Possibly left bike fitness on table with rigid workouts. 
  • Schedule hard to tweak with multiple snow days / pool closures, etc.

Outlining A Race Preparation Block

Again, my best laid plans are really being challenged by the weather. Looking back on my 2012 training calendar, when I last did Ironman® Texas, I was riding outside in March!!! Since that's not an option I have outlined a schedule that gives me a family-friendly plan and will (hopefully) build my fitness up through Texas. 

My targets are about 12,000 yds swimming, 7 to 8 hours on the Bike and 40 miles of running. 

Here is the basic outline: 

  • Mon - Trainer Ride with FTP / Skill Swim 
  • Tues - Tempo 10 Mile Run / Swim Long 
  • Wed - Trainer Ride with VO2 
  • Thu - Tempo 10 Mile Run / Swim Long 
  • Fri - Long Trainer Ride 
  • Sat - Split Long Run (1:10 in AM / 1:10 in PM) 
  • Sun - Long Swim (Make up any missed yards.) 

Of course along the way I have the Texas Training Camp (http://www.endurancenation.us/camps/im-course-rallies/) to build in some miles and, if fate allows, perhaps one more warm weather expedition in April (TBD). 

Thanks for reading and for your support!

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/776605 2014-11-30T11:52:29Z 2014-11-30T11:52:29Z November Training Check In...

Overall my training is going really well. Pleased to report that I am over the head/chest cold that plagued me for the last month or so. I am now free to exercise without fear of choking to death as I cough...a huge plus. I have been very consistent for the last three weeks and my fitness is to the point where the numbers look good even if I don't feel like it's going to be a good workout. Pretty pumped to be here before December hits.

Sleep is okay, not great. I recently decided to pay closer attention to my caffeine intake, as I think that was hurting me. I need to focus on getting to bed at a consistent time now that my "getting up" time seems pretty locked in at 5am.

The body continues to make me aware of my desire to push my limits. Currently focused on caring for right hamstring and calf, especially after my long runs. I expect some of that fatigue to go, or shift, as my ability to run tempo for long periods of time will fade with the Fall weather (see below).

Body Composition is hovering at 185 right now, which is a good place to be. My goal is to get down to about 178 -- and really be there for race week! -- and I have a few months to do that which is nice.

The Swim -- Continue to swim about 3-4 kms a week, seeking pain-free and comfortable strokes. Still very early here so trying to get this right. My shoulder rehab continues. Current approach is that back (upper back) is really weak, and no longer holding my shoulders in position in contrast to all the aero / computer / swim "forward" positioning that I have enjoyed for many years. Have a suite of exercises I do daily, and am down to 1x PT a week right now. 

The Bike -- I continue to see progress here...shame on me for neglecting intervals during the season as much as I have. I am currently sitting on an estimated indoor FTP of about 330, and I look to keep moving that up over the next few weeks. I SWAG my indoor / outdoor FTP delta to be about 5%...so a 330 is "really" a 345 outside. Would like to get my indoor FTP up to 350 for a 365 outdoor FTP. That would put my .73 race day effort at about 265. That said, finding another 20 watts -- even though it's just 6% improvement -- won't come easily (lot of work to be done yet!). 

The Run -- I am enjoying some great long runs in the 10 to 13 mile range, running between 6:33 and 6:40, and my mid-week 2x1 mile repeat times seem to be dropping. I am going to continue pushing the long runs for the short term as I know the snow / ice will be here soon enough and I'll need to dial them back to a more pedestrian (read "safe" effort), or worse yet do the work on the treadmill. When that time comes I will most likely shift to more of a steady long run pace with either 2 x FTP runs or 1 x FTP and 1 x HILL run (both on a treadmill). Still plan on keeping the long run in the 75- to 90-minute range.

Right now my basic week looks like this:

  • Mon - FTP bike of 2x12', run later if possible. 
  • Tues - FTP run of 2 x 1 mile.
  • Wed - VO2 bike of 4x4', run later if possible.
  • Thu - Swim Day + Optional Yoga
  • Fri - FTP bike of 2x12' 
  • Sat - ABP long run of 10-13 miles.
  • Sun - Swim Day + Optional Yoga

I plan on sticking with this week through the New Year as long as I continue to see improvements in the individual workouts. The only change is a steady 60' spin before my long runs on the weekend as I need to start adding a bit of ride volume to prepare for the January Volume Camp.

My target for each discipline in December is:

Swim - To build up to 3 swims a week of 8,000 yards total with no pain.

Bike - To test at 340 just before Xmas. Ambitious but I am all in.

Run - Not sure what I am going to do here. My vDOT is pretty high and I am not sure it's worth jeopardizing my health to chase a number (and body comp losses will help). I will keep my current 4 runs a week schedule and aim to log about 35 miles per week.

Thanks for reading and your feedback is always welcome!!!

~ Patrick

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/764937 2014-11-04T11:45:25Z 2014-11-04T11:45:25Z Fall Kickoff to 2015 [Another Coach P Update]

In the tradition of telling you what I am up to (in case you aren’t stalking me on Strava!), here’s what I have been doing post Kona.

I spent the first two weeks doing nothing. Really. Well, I organized my pantry, garage and tupperware. Cleaned the bike. Set up the pain cave. Mowed the lawn like 8 times. You get the idea. My wife can’t wait for me to start training again. :)

I too am pretty excited. This time of year I work with a handful of athletes on crafting their Annual Plan as a target for Kona (see the Additional Services Tab on the Members site, TeamEN Members ONLY!). It’s a lot of fun and very useful for me as well. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, an in the Fall it is the Season of Steps!

Tentative Plan for 2015

  • 2 - Weeks Off = Total Rest
  • 8 - Weeks Run Durability = Shoulder Recovery, Consistent Long Run, Dating My Trainer, Solid Body Composition
  • 8 - Weeks of OutSeason = Focus on FTP and vDOT, Adding in 2 skill swims, Core work.
  • 1 - Week of Swim Camp / Transition = Need to rest here and be smart.
  • 12 - Weeks of IM Plan in to IM Texas = Not sure I will be able to handle a full 12 weeks…this is TBD.

The Run Durability Plan is on the agenda for a few reasons. First, I have a few critical things to focus on and it's hard to focus on them when I am also drilling myself to get crazy fast. Second, I know my ability to focus into a race is limited; this way I am reducing the "Work Time to Race" window. Third, I have experience crazy over achieving early in the OS then getting sick and adjusting...I am hoping to reduce / eliminate that pattern this year by putting it at a time when I am ready for the work. 

During this window I have several camps and events to keep me motivated and on track, including:

+ January Volume Camp [1/16 to 1/19 — (here) a nice break from the cold and a chance to keep the endurance fires burning. 

+ Birthday Run [3/8] — Don’t think I am going to run 41 this year, but I am going to start the annual tradition of a nice long long long run on this day as an early season target.

+ Texas Race Camp [3/19 - 3/22] — (here) a great chance to get dialed in to the course, my fit, nutrition and experience the “heat” on the ground. 

+ Blue Ridge Cycling Camp [4/29 to 5/3] — (hereFinal big push on the bike before the race.

As an Update

I have realized the shoulder pain that I have been dealing with wasn’t going away with rest. A trip to the PT has let me know that my back muscles on the left side are weak, such that my pec, combined with some serious “forward” rotation (think aerobats, swimming and…yes…excessive time at my laptop) has caused some issues. So it’s off to PT again albeit for a slightly lesser issue than normal. 

And my “light” focus on Run Durability has already paid off as I have my annual Fall Cold…so no pressure on me to crush the workouts…just have to be consistent. You can follow my daily progress over on Strava or on Twitter.  

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/759331 2014-10-23T13:48:31Z 2014-10-25T17:37:31Z How to Manage Injury Recovery Like a Professional Athlete Seems like more and more of my friends are taking a big injury hit these days, and not all of them are crazy triathletes who are used to it. Experiencing a fall or physical setback is no joke -- it impacts almost every facet of your life, some areas more visible than others (shower anyone?). But while it might feel like the end of life as you know it, thinking like a professional athlete can help you move beyond surviving this time, perhaps even thriving. Let's get to it.

Reframe the Setback

I learned many, many crashes ago to reframe my injury time as an opportunity than a problem. Could be my obsessive need for control. Could be I am crazy. Regardless of what you might think, know this -- I am not a victim in this situation. Save the pity party for someone else. Not being able to run means I can ride. Busted hip? Time to focus on my nutrition. Physical therapy? Time to build those abdominal muscles that everyone's talking about. You get the idea. But before we get all empowered, let's get the basics right.

Find the Right Support Team

No matter what happens, know this -- you are your number one advocate in this situation. You control the records. You ask the questions, you get the results. Healthcare isn't that different than the garage you take your car to these days -- you might take it in for an oil change, but unless you point out that the engine is making some strange noise, or the wheels are pulling to the right, the mechanic won't investigate. 

Triage -- The first step is stopping the pain / damage. This is what the emergency room is great for...but while you leave focused on getting better, they don't care. They only want to make sure you won't die until you see the next person. This is where your obsessive research should begin, immediately after fulfilling your pain med prescription, to find the right health care provider and notify your primary care. 

Diagnosis -- Make sure you are comfortable with the person you have selected, as they are the primary driver in your recovery process. Not only should you have rapport with them, you should either respect them, like them and ideally both. Ask around and find out who you know and if anyone has any recommendations. Literally interview these folks...you don't HAVE TO take the first person you meet. 

Rehab -- You don't want some namby-pamby person who shows you a new exercise each week, makes sure you can do it and sends you on your way. You want some sadistic sonuvabitch who will manipulate your injury side, massage it, force it to move, bang on you, cause pain...challenge you. 

Despite the messages your brain will be sending you in ALL CAPS during these sessions, your body will seriously respond. And faster. Sessions could be as frequent as 3x a week early on, diminishing to once a week or once every two weeks until you are done.

Do Your "Homework" Like an "A" Student

The hardest part of the process is doing the work to get better. Once you are triaged and diagnosed, you have Physical Therapy. The hardest part of physical therapy? Having the time in your life to actually get to / from all of the sessions you need to attend. 

After that? Finding the time and willpower to continue doing the exercises even though you are sick of your rubber bands, 1-pound weights and breathing drills. 

But you have to. You have to do this the professional baseball player who's lifetime income potential depends on his elbow. Because your life will suck if you wake up in five years to find out that your INSERT INJURED APPENDAGE means you can't climb Kilimanjaro. Or you can't take up sailing. Or you can't play catch with your kids.

Find a New Mental Challenge

We are all so maxed out across work, home, relationships, hobbies, etc., connected to the Internet 24/7, that this situation actually frees you up to do something different. In the case of an athlete, not working out for two hours a day means she has an extra 14 hours a week to do something else. You can get a ton of shit done in 14 hours, believe me I know. 

While you are physically limited, remember that we are a complete organism designed to adapt. Any time your body suffers, your brain becomes engaged...so instead of surfing Facebook at 2am, let's use this energy for a much better outcome. This is the perfect time to pick up something new that you have been meaning to do. 

For me, I cooked a new meal each night, adding those recipes to my cookbook. I also did a 30-day cleanse -- no caffeine! -- to get clean when my body was most likely to put on weight. I wrote a book. I even headed over to Coursera (www.coursera.org/) and browsed some lectures to get smarter. 

Ask yourself: if you aren't commuting to work, what can you do? If you can't drive to work, but are a passenger during rehab, how can you leverage that time? If you can't type, and have to dictate, what else can you record?

They Can Slow You Down but They Can't Stop You

This setback, as big as it is now, will be a distant memory in several months. But you don't get to that point by sitting on your broken ass lamenting your misfortune. Get to work...you have awesome things to achieve. 

As motivation, here is the video from me in 2010 when I cracked my pelvis in California in a bike crash. Since then I have completed 8 more Ironman races, 5 more marathons and remain -- for the time being -- one step ahead of my girls.

If you have a second, please be sure to check in and let me know what your recovery plans look like in the comments below...good luck!
tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/755486 2014-10-15T07:15:22Z 2014-10-20T18:13:46Z 2014 Ironman Hawaii Race Report

I arrived in Kona with my highest level of bike fitness and solid confidence in my run and my run execution plan. As I noted to several other athletes here during the week, Kona is one of those races where you can't really impose your will on the day. I take that back  -- I think you can but you need to be in excellent physical and mental condition, have a solid strategy and ultimately some great fortune as well. 

But first my gratitude. Obviously this race is special, and getting here was the result of many weeks, months, and years of hard work.  But there are a few folks who really have stepped above and beyond -- you know who you are! Most importantly this race was also our 10th wedding anniversary -- in 2004, a very young Maura and I traveled to Kona to watch the Ironman as newly wed tri geeks. 3 years before I would qualify for my first...but the start of the most incredible decade of my life (this far!). Thanks for EVERYTHING, baby. 

My plan to arrive on Tuesday AM was thwarted by Hawaiian Airlines and some bad luck. I lost 15 hours and all of my Tuesday, landing at 10pm. This made for a slightly more stressful start than I had hoped for, but not terrible. My Wednesday busy from 7am until 9pm with three workouts and lots of admin before the Team Dinner. I was exhausted. 

My strategy was to swim twice to get comfortable in the water  -- check. I also wanted to bike and run closer to race place with the goal of accelerating the heart adaptation. I rode 80' on Wednesday followed by a 20' run. Both were hot and windy but not terrible. I feel like the acclimatization was good but I didn't recovery enough after those sessions to really reap the rewards. NOTE: Factor in more recovery time. 

In the same thought, the Underwear Run proceed to be too much. It was my first time there and I had fun, but not a good idea to stand around for two hours in the heat that close to the race. 

The wind and the heat were both high all week, and it was on my mind but I wasn't particularly nervous. 

The Swim -- 1:12:xx

I decided to line up about 50 ft to the left of the pier. I was about 5 folks back and ready when the cannon sounded. It was about crowded at first but not too bad. I was able to swim the line quite well and was comfortable. But I think I was perhaps a little too comfortable -- I was swimming smoothly but was unable to swim at a race tempi. I think the fitness was there, I am chalking it up to intimidation of the swim and the chop. Because it was wavy and choppy and not fun. I generally breathe to my left and it took me a full mile on the return to realize that I was swallowing water and should have been breathing to my right. Dowh. 

I had also been working on a new breathing cycle of 2-3-2-3 count breathing and never really put that into play. Bottom line is that I just kind of cruised the swim. 

No idea lb the time here but I felt pretty solid. The swim skin came off and I put on my arm coolers and put the salt pill canister in my left hip pocket. I grabbed my shoes and began jogging to my bike. A quick stop for sunscreen and I was off. 

The Bike -- 5:16:xx

My goal here was to ride a steady, aggressive effort. Steady in terms of VI but also focusing on not picking up the effort in the final 1.5 hours when it's hotter and headwind-ier, which had her me in the past. Aggressive in terms of riding 260 watts, a target that I had trained at but never raced at. 

Everything started off as planned with a smooth transition and a clean first 7 miles thru the Hot Corner and Palani. Out on the Queen K I settled down to get to work. 

I was riding well, was on my hydration and very aero. It was crowded but no more than usual. Then suddenly I looked up from a quick glance at my computer and there was a racer right in front of me who was club 17mph to my 25mph. My only guess is that the group I was riding off the back of just went right around him -- both sides -- and he was spit out in front of me. In my aerobars I could only yell and serve to the right. I hit his derailleur and pushed him forward as I went down on my right side. Man, it hurt. Luckily I slid off to the shoulder where no one was riding. I popped up quickly and made sure the bike and I were OK before taking off again. For the first time in my life it appears as though I had crashed the right way. The Arm Coolers helped minimize the Arm damage so it was really just my right shoulder blade and right knee. After a few miles I felt the back of my right knee getting sticky and figured it was the blood. But after reading into my pocket for a gel I realized that all four of my gels had been sacrificed as mini airbags during my crash. :( Thankfully I had backups in my special needs bag out in Hawi. 

Once I was rolling again I was just out of it. I was not ready to get super aero sure to my fear and my hip was tight and the roads were crowded. I could tell my aura of invincibility was facing fast. And then the surprise headwinds started. 30-40mph where we usually have a tailwind or at least some calm. Suddenly the road was crowded again as few folks wanted to go it alone. This section alternated hard work with no work depending on your position relative to the group. Not fun and not very safe either. My biggest pet peeve was that no one wanted to pull over to the right after completing a pass -- they were riding like an echelon and there's only enough room for four folks to do that properly. The climb to Hawi certainly helped to sort things out. When I finally reached the turnaround I had to stop to grab more fuel. 

The return trip was work, as expected. But after the challenging outbound section Italy was lacking mojo here. The watts weren't bad but they weren't what I wanted. I was the one getting passed this time instead of doing the passing. I tried to stay aero and fueled up for the run. 


I had a clean dismount and enjoyed a nice pee (also peed once on the bike) before heading into the tent. My second transition had a lot of moving parts. I feel like I did the best I could but there's probably some solid free speed to be had there. 

The Run -- 3:33:xx

I had no idea what to expect when I started the run. After my pity party on the bike and then the subsequent 2.5 hours of suck,the run was going to be interesting.  I resolved to take it one mile at a time and see what happened. 

My race plan had me running my bike HR -- or as close as I could -- for the first ten miles along Ali'i Drive. After that I would ramp it up to start running. Things started just fine -- my HR was in a good place and I could run and eat. While I wasn't concerned about actually racing at this point, my pace seemed to put me right in the middle of those coming and going. I wasn't surprised to see more than a few walkers even this early. 

The out and back went by pretty quickly and it was great to see so many friends out there. By the mile 5 point I had settled on forcing my arm coolers and adjusted my tri top for maximum cooling. But I was running into another issue -- Aid station pacing.

I knew it was bad when Dave Tallo almost knocked me over at mile 7. Basically I was out running folks between aid stations but I was talking so long to get fluids and ice that they would put another 250m on me before I started running again. This was an issue that plagued me all day on the run. So I am super happy with how well Iran across the entire marathon...but I am bummed that I ran a 3:32(?) but stopped at 24 aid stations that added up to at least 10 minutes!

But back to the race... I ran up Palani for the first time ever and it was awesome. I continued rolling out the Queen K and while it was long, I was strong through the Energy Lab. There was a slight tailwind out -- making it very hot -- tapering nice cross in/out on the Lab and a slight headwind back. Combined with the cloud cover, it was hot but not mercilessly so. 

At the turn around there I used the Porta John to lay down some very-not-yellow pee...and proceeded to drop my FuelBelt three times. Ugh. 

The return to Kona was tough but I had no cramps or nausea or dizziness. I was able to eat at almost every aid station and could even put down two 7:30 minute miles at the end! 

The Finish 

Man, I was pumped to finish and it showed on my face! This race is something special and the finish vibe really captures it. I made my kit adjustments and planned out a few hand signs for the folks watching at home -- no gang sign this time. I took a few high five and crossed in just over 10:12. 

Not my fastest or my alway but certainly a race I am proud of. Afterwards I felt a little off and used a few minutes to walk around and chat people up. I felt surprisingly good given my crash because I was smart on the run and really are and drank well. In fact while I kept drinking all night, I only had two very small slices of pizza around 11p.  Contrast that with IMLP 2009 when I ate a while pizza at the finish!!!

Positive Lessons Learned 
Thanks to my teammates for helping me continue to question the status quo and improve. 

1) Arm Coolers Better on the Bike 

John With row mentioned it and I definitely felt this one the race. The Arm Coolers helped keep the sun off and held the water I sprayed. Super! On the run though, I didn't feel any positive effects. They were just heavy and warm so I dropped them at mile 9. 

2. Trucker Hat Too Hot?

I love having the shade and the ice depository, but I think that the heart cost here in Kona is too much. I ran with the hat thru mile 19 and then ditched it. 

3) Modified Tri Bibs

Given the heat and sun I was having doubts regarding my DeSoto tri bib shorts. Al Truscott recommended that I pull the bib shorts straps down our my arms but under my tri top -- this kept my shorts on but allowed me to pull the fabric down around my waist. Epic. 

Room to Improve

While I am not here to win anything, I am interested in having a great race. Here are my thoughts on improvement from easiest to most challenging:

1. Improved Body Composition -- I probably won't ever get two weeks to acclimate to the heat here, so the best way to reduce the effects of the heat is reducing the mass I carry. Target would be 175 lbs. 

2. Swim Fitness -- I was swimming better but not long enough to be ready. I needed some longer swim sets with mixed in intervals to help me maintain a complete swim focus. 

3. Serious Sunscreen -- Once again my right side is pretty fried. This despite the separate applications of sunscreen.  I think I'll go for the Bullfrog stuff next time and put it on with help before the swim start over my entire back before putting on my tri top. I might also consider a tanning booth for a few visits to prepare my skin for the sun. 

4. Kona Specific Gear -- I am not sure I can wear my tri bibs in the future; as I was warm under my swim skin as well as the rest of the day.  While it's my preferred gear, I think the heart rate cost might be too high. 

I am also curious about the thick headbands written by some of the Pros. Wonder if that would allow me to feel cooler VS a cap. 

In the same been as weight costs, I might consider ditching the FuelBelt with my sodium solution and just staying setting with salt pulls and the occasional packet of Gatorlytes as needed. I can carry all of that in my pockets and use a racebelt to hold my gels, for example. 

Finally, I think I might have to consider a return to the cooling towel. Perhaps not the full deal but even just a bandana around the neck. Might have to talk to Dave Tallo about his ice pack solution as well since my bibs, even if modified, have a rear pocket that could hold it. 

If you are still reading, thanks. I hope my report has she'd some light on the day as well as stage relentless quest for improvement that is my triathlon journey. Hope to see you on the island sometime soon!

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/730445 2014-08-21T12:29:28Z 2014-08-21T12:29:28Z 2014 Ironman Mont Tremblant Race Report -- 9:37, 3rd AG, 25th OA!

Short Version

For those of you who skip to the end of the book, here's your shortcut to save you from scrolling all the way down the page. I went 9:37 good enough for 3rd AG, 25th OA and earn my sixth trip to the World Championships.


This was an interesting year for me as I was returning from my not-so-great 2013 campaign of two collarbone surgeries -- August to put a plate in; November to take the infected plate out. From mid-August to essentially January I was under strict "no sweating!" guidelines to reduce the chance of infection. 4.5 months of minimal physical exertion when 96% of my body was 100% fine -- ugh.

Many of you reading this helped me make it through that tough time -- either directly or indirectly -- and I want you to know that I super appreciate it.

The Long Season

I skipped the OutSeason (Endurance Nation's winter training program) for the first time since I don't know when. Instead I went into a run-focused build-up as the Boston Marathon was on my calendar. Since I wasn't running with intensity, I turned it into a volume game and logged lots of long slow runs including a 40-miler on my 40th birthday.

It was off Texas to run another Endurance Nation PreRace Training Camp in The Woodlands. It was nice to get back on the bike for some long rides and to connect with teammates new and old.

Then it was off to Boston where I ran my slowest time ever, clearly feeling the effects of inconsistent training and getting carried away with my birthday.

Then a quick turnaround to the Blue Ridge Cycling Camp, Rev3Quassy, and our 12th consecutive Lake Placid Camp. Along the way my bike and run fitness were moving along and I was slowly working on the swim. Rev3Quassy was encouraging as I was 10 minutes faster than the prior year on less training -- and my shoulder didn't hurt in the swim.

Fast forward to July and it was all Tremblant time. We ran our first training camp up here, putting 20 folks through the bike course (twice!) and swimming once and doing one full loop of the run. It was really important for me to see the venue/course in order to put my race plan together. I thought both the bike and run courses were fair but challenging, and it was great to mentally prepare for the parts that we're going to be sneaky hard on race day.

Over the final 8 weeks I was actually training for a race again. It was exciting but nerve-wracking; I could only look at numbers from past years of training and things looked pretty solid. My run times were close, my bike fitness was better and swimming seemed equal. I targeted body composition (salad anyone?) for an additional edge and rolled into race week ready to go but as nervous as a newbie...not having raced since Kona 2012.

Race Week

I was really excited to see the Team here in Tremblant. Between racers and supporters, it was a veritable Who's Who of Endurance Nation -- veterans to newbies. Our Team Dinner saw 75+ people on hand and the Four Keys talk was also similarly well-attended. But the question on everyone's mind was the weather.

All week it was wet and cold. It's cooler here in the foothills of The Laurentians, so everyday starts in mid-fifties. But the clouds and rain were keeping the temps in the mid-sixties vs the typical mid-seventies. I had to adjust my T1 plan to allow for arm warmers instead of coolers and light gloves. I spent the rest of the week obsessing about my bike, my gear bags, etc.

Race Morning

It was dry and I didn't care about much else. :) Temps were good and it was a 3-minute walk from the room to transition. I was body marked and confirmed bike and bags were all set. It was off to swim start and Team picture at 5:45...perhaps my fastest pre-race check ever.

It was great to see the Team one last time and get some hi-fives and hugs with that knowing look in the eyes. Ironman means so much in different ways to everyone; and JT Thompson kept it real with some awesome energy.

I dropped off my Dry Clothes bag and headed to the warm up area. I had my final gel and then got in a nice 15-minute warm up swim...a first for me. Over to the start and lined up in my wave. As we waited for our turn we cheered on the folks who ran past us, having missed their start times. :)

The Swim - 1:03:4x

With the wave swim approach in effect, I "just" had 343 people to contend with. I was on the buoy line and second row. The gun goes off and we all wade in; after the first wave dove I gave it a second and then swam inside the buoy line. I was literally untouched until the 1,000 meter mark when a poor swimmer from Wave 2 hit me with some whip kick action.

With the wind from the NorthWest, we had a little headwind/chop to contend with. Nothing as bad as I usually have at home, but it was enough to be disruptive. The turns were a bit crowded but on the return I was right back inside the line for a free ride back. I only wandered a bit off course here, so I was pumped to hear Mike Reilly say that my group was swimming 1:07 to 1:10 -- as I was 6' behind Wave One that meant I was about a 1:04.

T1: Swim to Bike

This is a long run on the road, but I had plenty of shouts and didn't know that my calves (with EN tattoos of course). My bag was in the second row, 9th bag, and in line with the entrance to the changing area. Run. Grab. Run. Shoes. Helmet. Walk to bike.

I took a minute to put some food in my trishort pockets...probably lost 30" there as it wasn't easy...much easier when riding so I need to figure that out. Then again I lost food time by putting on arm warmers too. I did make the game time decision not to use my gloves as I didn’t feel that cold and I was concerned I might not be able to access my food / pockets with them on. Easy trip to my bike and a simple mount and I was off.

The Bike -- 5:08:xx

I got clipped in and started the computer. And...no powermeter. Tried searching...twice...no powermeter. Turned off Garmin and restarted...no powermeter. Then, after about three minutes of just coming to terms with no powermeter I tried again and success!  This was the first time I turned on my Garmin, synced it up and then left it on while I swam...so maybe that’s par for the course?

My goals for the bike were to ride about 250 watts, normalized power. I expected to see some higher numbers in the 275 range for steep hills, but I was confident I could do it. I ended up riding 244w NP, which is my best ever in an IM. And that included seven rolling pee breaks as it was pretty cool but I kept on drinking like a fool. My Variability Index was 1.05...so 5% of my watts into space, but all in I was happy with how I rode the day.

The course is beautiful, but early on there were NO MARSHALS. One of the pros had crashed and they were all there, it seemed, as I passed. So on the outbound section of 117 on lap one was crazy. I was passed on the right side at least ten times (!) but most of this was because the draft packs were terrible.

I don’t mean “race drafting” whereby there are groups together as in Kona, I mean straight up, two inches from the wheel in front of me, not using my aerobars, and coasting type drafting. I honestly didn’t think triathletes could draft _that_ well. It was about this time that John Withrow rolled up, pulling 5 guys that had just jumped off my wheel...we made a few jokes but quickly decided to just let them go. This allowed me to refocus on my pacing and nutrition as I could tell the headwind we had out was going to be much harder on the second lap.

The road quality was awesome; you could actually put your head down and ride super aero unlike many other courses. But the hills of Lac Superior were legit. It’s one thing to ride them in training or pre-race, it’s another after a swim and a solid first 48 miles. I did my best to hold the power down and be smart, and almost everyone around me was standing up and killing themselves which gave me consolation. I even saw my family on the start of the second lap, which was a huge emotional boost.

The second lap of the bike was still cloudy and the winds had totally picked up. I really got aero and passed a ton of folks out here, including several of the jokers doing the early race drafting. Things started to get really quiet, with no one passing me after mile 15 of the bike and me slowly eating up the faders. The second climb series was harder but I was able to stay in my box. I was really passing folks on the downhill sections now as they were shelled from climbing.

Overall I was really worried about the bike and my competition, but four plus hours at some solid watts really sorts everything out. I need to remember that. For the data geeks, here the “main” file on Strava -- it’s missing the first ½ mile due to no powermeter.

T2: Bike to Run

I had a solid dismount thanks to Tim Cronk’s previous race reports (thanks!) and hit the tent. Got my bag and got to work. With my socks, shoes, race number and FuelBelt on, I started walking out of the tent with my ziplock bag to put on my hat, arm coolers, watch and stock up on more food and salt while walking (thanks Al Truscott for this tip!). I saw my family and walked over to give them a kiss and check in.

The Run - 3:17:xx

I had no idea where I was in my AG when I started, but I figured I was doing fairly well given how quiet things were. My only target was to run with my heart rate between 140 and 145 beats per minute, after keeping it as low as possible in the first 2.5 miles due to the steep hills.

Outbound on the first lap was pretty darn quiet. I didn’t pass the first runner until mile four! Running back in I could see a lot of really really fit doodes near me. Somewhere in here I was passed by the second and third place female PROs as well, so another sign things were going pretty well. Returning over the hills to town my heart rate felt good low (sub-140) and I kept it there. I was drinking and using ice as the sun had come out...and I would go on to pee a total of five times on the run (yes, while running).

Just before the end of Lap One, super Endurance Nation athlete Tim Cronk let me know I was in sixth place in my AG. I figured there were seven slots based on Lake Placid so I knew there was work to be done. Ran through town to high five the family and start the second lap.

Lap Two was insanely crowded. Tons of folks were still running but the roads and especially the bike path were like the mall during a Black Friday sale. I had to run off the side, on the wrong side, everywhere but straight. It was here, about mile 15.5 where I was passed by another person in my AG, putting me into 7th place and on the bubble.

I worked hard to keep up with him but he was moving and eventually I lost him in the crowds. I just kept running at my pace and made a commitment to run the rest of the aid stations (no more walk breaks!) and keep the pressure on. No eye contact with the folks behind me after the turn around -- game face time!

In here I saw a motorcycle escorting the third place female PRO, so I started stalking her. That gave me a good carrot to follow and I was really in the zone. No more “HIs” or high fives for the Team or fans...I was hurting switching to mainly coke and keeping the pressure on. About mile 22.5 I saw sixth place in my AG again and he was coming back to me! I started doing the mental math on what it would take and planned to make the pass just before mile 26 as we climbed into town. Running un and downhill was really taking it’s toll, but mentally I was in the zone.

About mile 25, trying to pass a clump of walkers, I bumped someone and my Garmin 305 flew off -- so no splits or HR data for me, sorry! -- and right after on a very steep hill at mile 25 I made the pass. I ran as hard as I humanly could over the last mile, and could see at the Special Needs area loop that he was not on my heels. I did my best to enjoy the final crowds through the downtown area while I chased down the third place female PRO.

I realized I was going to crash her finish party in the last moment, but there was no way to stop my legs. I just flashed the EN gang sign and then went to congratulate her on a great race.

The Finish - 9:37:xx, 3rd AG and 25th OA

Imagine my surprise when I found out I was third in my AG. Turns out that fourth and fifth place had cracked on the second lap and were lost in the crowds of other runners. It was great to see my biggest fans right behind the finish; apparently they had no issue finding me with the massive EN billboard on my head and the other EN kit, EN tattoos and EN gang sign display. That had alone probably cost me 10” per mile in wind resistance! :)

Lessons Learned

Overall I was super pumped at how well I stayed in the game menally for the run, and reaped the reward of third place. In retrospect I also made a great decision to let the early drafters go and follow my own pacing on the bike.

It is also interesting to see that I am still so engaged in racing Ironman. This was my 19th Ironman, and I am still into it. Even crazier for me to think is that this was the sixth consecutive Ironman in which I have raced and qualified for Kona. I missed two years for my broken hip (2010) and my collarbone (2013), but otherwise my performances have kept me in contention in my age group regardless of my race choice. That is definitely NOT lost on me.

I think there are some places I could improve for my next race:

  • I need to work on flexibility of my hamstrings and lower back as I had some relatively early discomfort on the bike.

  • I have to do a better job of staying super aero. I spent a lot of time looking up the road for some reason and really caught myself in hour four just not being aero enough.

  • I really like the Freezer Ziplock transition trick and will keep that for the future.

  • I was a bit aggressive with my effort on the bike and will need to be careful on days that it’s not so cool / overcast.

  • I will take confidence in my running form / comfort in the early miles. I was lower than my goal HR (never looked at pace) and it paid off with the ability to really focus over the final 8 miles.

Finally, THANKS!

So many of you have supported me over the years. Some of you directly with advice, comfort and a kick in the pants. Others have been leaders for me; just by following your exploits and hard work I am educated and inspired to improve every year, every race.  

Some of you have really risen above and beyond as my journey continues -- my amazing wife Maura and my two girls who put up with my training and general geeking out.

My good friend and stalwart supporter, Vinu Malik who has given so much -- starting before my first Ironman in Florida back in 2001!!!! -- to make sure I am at my best for every event.

To my fellow teammates who continue to raise their own personal bars and make us all better by association..I am so proud of you all and can’t wait to hear about your races and support you in your next endeavor!

tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/698942 2014-06-02T13:10:31Z 2014-06-04T13:31:04Z Rev3 Quassy Half Iron [2014] -- Revenge Edition

The Swim

The swim was surprisingly uneventful. Nothing like a wave start -- and a split wave as well -- to make swim anxiety go away. I was a little worried about my should as I had only been swimming for a few weeks. The wetsuit actually seemed to support it a bit and while I didn't have the fitness to go any further, but I wasn't all over the place either. Net swim time was 32:xx, which was practically the same as last year before my crash and double-surgery debacle that was 2013. Win!!

The Bike 

4,100+ feet of climbing in 56 miles is just plain sadistic. I mean, there really isn't that much room in a half iron to do that. But it was done, and we rode it. 

Having an 11/28 with DI2 electronic shifters made this ride soooo much more manageable. Even when I made a shifting error, correcting it was super easy. My cadence was 86 on average and I held a pretty steady heart rate at about 139.

I was able to push the bike all day, finishing with an IF of .818 and an NP of 262 watts...both personal bests for me at the Half Iron distance. 

Knowing the course was huge -- I got out in front on my fluids and food; making me a much happier camper. I drank 4 bottles of Gatorade and at 1 PowerBar and 3 gels. I also had 3 Salt Stick capsules to help keep my gut happy.

The net time was 2:42:xx or about 8 minutes faster than last year. For you geeks out there, here is the strava file.

The Run

The run was going to be a challenge, even without the heat of last year. I felt really solid heading out of T2, and was running at a good clip. It wasn't until the hills at mile 3 that I started to suffer. My heart rate was happy between 145-150 bone, but hills had me much higher and I had to back off. I also had an issue with my shoes, as my Garmin footpod lace system had prevented me from properly tightening my left shoelace. Two stops (needed for high HR anyway) later, I finally took it off about mile 7 for good.

This was a bummer as I was running by cadence and HR, but my foot was on fire. Miles 8-11.5 were pretty solid as I was running well I the downs and flats...sub 7s...but the hills were crushing me.

I ate 4 gels and had either Gatorade or Cola at every aid station. All fluids were spiked with my Gatorlytes + Water solution.

The numbers were a 1:34:xx, or about 4 minutes faster than last year. Again for the geeks, here are the numbers on Strava.

Quick Analysis

If you are interested, here is a quick review of my bike and run data via a screencast.

The Finish

Final time was 4:53:xx which was good for 12th in M40-44, and 29th overall. Welcome to my new AG, I guess -- if I had raced M35-39 I would have been 2nd. :)

Always great to finish with my daughter Emma (Megan wanted to catch, not run). Went right over to the timing truck and instantly printed my splits -- gotta love Rev3.  We will definitely be back, the Rev3 Team made EN right at home and everyone loves a legitimate weekend of suffering!!!

Then it was time for rides and roller coasters and more...and cheering the rest of the Team. EN was everywhere this weekend, and it was awesome to not only meet so many friends and new faces, but to cheer them on in the race.  The East Coast vibe was strong, with many of our fellow teammates racing Raleigh 70.3 as well.
tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/680117 2014-04-22T02:51:20Z 2014-04-26T20:08:10Z 2014 Boston Marathon Report

In what was part of my comeback trail, the return to Boston was an event I've been looking forward to all year. I got it done, but it wasn't pretty. Note to self -- I definitely need to do a better job of learning to respect the marathon distance.

I ended up running a 3:21, which seems about fair on the day. In retrospect, I should've started off at 7:30s instead of running low sevens. While this is my slowest ever Boston finish, it is definitely one of my most satisfying races. Very excited to have this event by me and behind the city. Read on if you want more details.

The Training

In the past I have run Boston either off of a full season of triathlon, or with some serious run preparation. This time I did neither, as I'm on the recovery trail from my broken collarbone and double surgery of 2013. I also decided to kick off this year with my 40 miler on my 40th birthday which was great for my endurance...but not for race speed.

After a week of recovery, I roughly had five weeks to Boston. During this time I held my runs pretty steady and was looking to see some speed come back. Fortunately, things started to look pretty good in the last 7 to 10 days. I was finally getting my cadence back to where like to be.

However this is only the beginning of what I would call "race speed." Instead of spending several weeks honing my effort at this pace, I only just discovered it before the event. Unfortunately, I decided to follow those feelings vs what the numbers from my training told me when I decided upon my pacing plan for the day.

Race Morning

My favorite part about this race is how it's such a community factor for everyone who runs. The last couple weeks of training was great, connecting with my friends and doing some long runs together. Even the trip up to the race itself was fun, reminiscing about our workouts and last years event.

Part of the tradition involves heading up to the race start in Hopkinton. Our friend has a house there, and it's chock-full of runners of all ability levels. Again, great time to connect and reflect on the past year.

As I left the house, I realized quickly just how hot it was getting. I decided on the spot to get rid of my base layer as well as to not put on my calf compression sleeves. Both were excellent decisions, but neither would help stave off the true effect of the heat in the race.

I headed down to the race start about 9:20 and immediately it was clear that security was on high alert. I made sure to say thank you to as many of the first responders as possible. It was hard to do, because there were just so many of them. I've never seen so many police officers, National Guard, soldiers, you name it. But I've also never felt so safe as well.

After the national anthem they had a flyover from several helicopters...and then the race was underway.

My Race Plan

Knowing that the first 4 miles are pretty steep downhill, my plan was to go out at an easy pace..let the numbers be a little fast before settling into something comfortable. I was guessing that I would probably sit around 715. This is based on the past few workouts before the race.

Nutritionally, I was going to take three caffeinated gels the 30-minute marks before transitioning over to Cliff Bloks with sodium.

The Early Miles

Ever since my 40 mile run, I have noticed that it takes me about 20 to 25 minutes to really listen up. As such, I didn't put any pressure on myself early on. I just dialed in a take-it-easy pace and kind of stuck with it. Eventually the numbers started to point down around 710.

This all very manageable early on and as it was still relatively shaded -- I wasn't feeling the effects of the heat. I was very diligent with the nutrition making sure to drink Gatorade at every single a station. I never missed one.

I felt pretty easy going all the way through mile 10, and that's where things start to get a little wonky.

The Body of the Race

Just about mile 10 I started to realize how thirsty I was, and how the aid station seem to be further and further apart -- even though they clearly weren't. I also so it's a notice that my quads are tightening up, a phenomenon that I had felt last year around mile 15 was already having an effect on me. I'm not a very good downhill runner, and my quads get fatigued very easily. This year was no different, in fact I think it was actually worse than usual.

Rolling through the midpoint of the race on the way to see my family, things were quickly becoming work. I felt fine going uphill run the flat, but as soon as I started to go downhill things just didn't feel right. My pace was still relatively strong, it wasn't coming easy.

I virtually had no momentum, and almost had to push myself down the hill. When I saw my family at mile 15, I let my wife know that the rest of the race is going to be a little bit rougher than I'd hoped.

By this time I was hitting every aid station like it was my job, taking 2 cups and drinking as much as I could. It still didn't help that cottonmouth feeling which came back almost as soon as I left the aid station.

I did stop twice to pee -- once at about mile seven and the second time around mile 16. In both cases it was difficult and I could tell that I was already under the gun from my hydration despite consuming five bottles of fluid the day before and more race morning.

The Hills of Newton

For most runners, this is where the race begin. The hills and represent for the biggest challenges the marathoners will face in their career. For me, this is where my race ended. It was clear that whether I was running up, down, or on the flats, I was in trouble.

My quads were already toast, and this hilly section brought in from pain to my hip and abductors. There was some fine line of a stride that I could run that allow me to keep moving without cramping… But I'm really sure it wasn't pretty.

Looking at my splits, it appears that my average splits quickly drop to close to the eights due to the terrain and my legs.

Without a doubt the saving grace of the day where the incredible crowds. As exciting as the section of the course always is, this year's edition of the race had spectators at least 10 people on both sides and more energized than I'd ever seen before.

If any of you are reading this report, I hope my race to you. Thank you.

The Home Stretch

Before the race started, I was really excited about the final 10K. Historically I've had a really tough time here, and I was hoping that in 2014 will be my chance to break that curse. As you have probably guessed by now, it just wasn't meant to be.

I was forced to stop it ever eat station to drink as much Gatorade as I could, and walk several steps. I probably have never felt so sorry for myself as I did at this time during this race.

Thankfully I was able to use my experience on the course, and the amazing crowds to keep my motivation up. By this point in time I was really not able to digest anything else that I was taking in… So I simply focused on moving forward.

While the finish line was as spectacular as usual, the crowds were so insane all the way from Boston College -- there was almost no difference. The energy, cheering, and support was physically tangible.

I rode that wave as far as it would carry me through the final steps over the finishing line being my chance to close the book on the past year and everything that happened.

The Aftermath

Having crossed the line, I spent the next 10 minutes congratulating my fellow runners. The amazing energy that I felt on the course had bubbled over into the crowd of spectators and beyond. Leaving the finish line to meet my family I was stopped and thanked by more people that I can remember. It quickly became clear to me that this race, this year, was just as important to me as it was to the city and the people of Boston.

While there's no doubt that I earned the finishing time you see next to my name, those numbers don't tell the real story about how the day went down and what I experienced. To everyone who ran I say congratulations. To everyone who supported us, I say thank you. To everyone else, I say...I hope to see you in Boston next year.

The Details ]]>
tag:pmccrann.posthaven.com,2013:Post/662248 2014-03-10T01:23:59Z 2014-03-10T01:23:59Z Forty Miles Complete! A 40th Birthday Celebration and Fundraiser

March 8th, my 40th birthday has come and passed...but the pain and stiffness in my legs reminds me that yesterday wasn't a dream: I ran 40 miles. All of this was for charity:water to raise money for a clean water project -- we've raised enough to give clean water to more than 225 people -- but you can help us do more by donating something -- anything-- to the cause or by helping to spread the word: http://my.charitywater.org/all-i-want-for-my-40th-birthday-is-water  (Thanks!!)

The Day

Simply couldn't have asked for better weather! Despite freezing cold conditions all winter, it was sunny and eventually got up to 55-degrees. Unbelievable...clearly someone was smiling down on me.

The Route

This was a simple 5-mile loop that started from my house. While the roads weren't in great condition -- and the ice melt filled the roads with puddles -- I was generally really pleased. There were a few slight rolling hills in the first 2 miles. Then we transitioned to a 1/2-mile segment of dirt road running. Then it was onto the bike path for over 1.5 miles before turning to a false flat home.

Honestly the hardest part of the day was running on the snow and ice that filled a few of the shadier parts of the bike path. But the change in speed / terrain was worth it.

The Support Crew

I can't say enough to everyone who helped make this happen. What was a crazy idea over a year ago had turned into a distant dream after my multiple surgeries last year and extended layoff.  And then the comeback trail was more off road than straightforward. But I couldn't have done it without these folks:

* FuelBelt (www.fuelbelt.com)
The awesome folks at Fuelbelt HQ have been helping to fuel my workouts since my first Ironman in 2001. They have stuck with me through it all. With a surprise birthday burrito for pre-run fueling to enough race day nutrition to support a local 5k -- these guys get endurance sports and are just as focused on being an industry leader a they are with supporting the real grassroots of our sport and lifestyle. There is no completion in the hydration space -- FuelBelt all the way!

* Mike Silva & The Foundation Performance Team (www.foundationperformance.com)
Mike started 2013 with me planning on how to make "Patrick 2.0" -- bigger, faster, stronger. Then I crash my bike and we spend the next 5 months, before / after multiple surgeries, putting my pieces back together again. Mike is not only an excellent physical therapist, but his staff are very smart and capable as well and the facility is also top-notch. I hope you never need physical therapy, but if you do, there's only one place to go in RI (and now southern MA): Foundation Performance.

* Ellen McNally @ Chiropractic Performance Center (www.chiropracticperformance.com)
Ellen is my go-to check in person to make everything is in alignment...which it usually isn't.  In addition to helping me with ART and kinesiotaping, she recently added Mike to her staff to make sure I do all of my stretches properly. A fantastic resource for active people in RI!!!  (Side Note: She also works at Titleist for all you golf freaks out there.)

* Richard Johnson @ The Proper Fit (Fall River, MA -- 508) 672-0334)
Richard not only is one of the funnier guys you'll meet, he's a living walking breathing encyclopedia of running shoes. He has helped me transition to the right shoes for my feet after years of discomfort.

My Run Misfits

When I moved to Barrington almost three years ago, I jokingly referred to it as the "Boulder of the East" in reference to the famed endurance Mecca that is Boulder, Co. And technically we have some solid claims within the triathlon space. From FuelBelt and TTBikeFit to Endurance Nation, we have quite the industry gathering.  But it's not the brands but the people behind them that make this community so awesome.

My run kicked off with Vinu Malik of FuelBelt...a 38 time Ironman finisher with 7 Kona finishes and a race resume that dates back to 1986. He was injured since our last long run and he gutted it out for 10 miles before coming back on his mountain bike for the last two loops. Epic.

We linked up with Lisbeth and Todd Kenyon of TTBikeFit on Lap two. They snuck out of a CompuTrainer session to get in a short run with me. And then they came BACK to run the final lap with me when I was seriously hurting. They put in 17 miles with me and to/from the route -- their longest run since Lisbeth, a multiple Ironman AG world champion, raced in Kona last October!

I owe my biggest debt of gratitude to BJ Gumkowski who drove an hour from Newport to start the day with me. After promising to run with me on Twitter, he confessed during Lap One that he hadn't really been training for anything in particular! I can't imagine what he'll do when he does focus, because he put up 30 legit miles. I think the hardest lap was #7 when he threw in the towel...I was so used to his presence!

And there were several other folks who did a fly by, including Mark Searles, Ted Fischer, and Tom Meehan. Plus it was so nice out there was a ton of support out on the road itself!

The Execution

My plan was to not go out too fast, and given the multiple folks we had dropping in / checking out, the pace was perfect -- just around 8:00 to 8:10/mile. Once things quieted down, we were able to dial in 24 really solid miles (from 12 to 36) that were almost all sub-8s. It wasn't really until the last z3 miles of the day that the fatigue really seemed to impact my ability to keep the pace up.

My legs held up really well. I did have to change my left sock twice due to hot spots, and had to wring out my skull cap as it was full of sweat. I really only had one misstep all day on a frost heave. My left adductor was starting to bark at me a bit towards the end, but it was very manageable.

I managed to average 7:59s across the whole day -- sub 8 was the goal! -- and my pacing was pretty smart according to the file on Strava

If I were to change my plan moving forward, it would include some flavor of the following:

  • variety in drink flavors...too much orange
  • caffeinated food across the day instead of just coke at the final few pit stops.
  • way more lube...even minor chaffing quickly became a problem.
  • better dissemination of the RoadID tracker so others could follow / find me.

Again, Thanks!

A lot of people made this day possible, and I can't thank them all. But more importantly, we raised some money and awareness about the importance of potable water to the world. You can learn more about how you can help or give up your own birthday here: Charity:Water.