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March « 2010 « Brandon Marsh's Blog


Archive for March, 2010

4 Days in Austin…a Monster Bike ALREADY!!

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

After Krabi and then IM China, we spent a week in Singapore.  With Spring Break happening in the US at that time, all the flights to Austin were sold out so we kept our original flights that were booked before I knew I was going to have an IM China experience.

We got back into Austin, did some catching up, and did some training before we get back to real training today.

Anyway, one of the first things that Brett told me was that I need to get stronger on the bike.  My swim and run were o.k., but my bike was certainly not great…or even good…or even o.k.  I think that it was described as weak, and that is putting it mildly!!

I needed to become a bike monster or at least have a monster bike if I was going to race with the big boys.  It only took me 4 days, but I have a monster bike now.  All I had to do was go about 1.25 miles…yes, back to US measurements for now…that is 2km for the rest of the world.  I just had to ride 1.25 miles, and I had a monster bike.


So, if you want to know the secret, just go find a monster bike sale and get a monster bike.

SE Asia…Good-bye, Ahoj, Sayonara, Auf Wiedersehen, Zai Jian, Tot Ziens, LaaGan

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

I think that I got most of the languages on the team and Thai.  I may have missed one or two, and used the generic GoodBye for those englist speakers…so no Aussie slang or Afrikans or whatever.

Some images…just a few…

Krabi...our neighbors!

Krabi...our neighbors!

Krabi...riding home from the pool or track!

Krabi...riding home from the pool or track!

AoNang for a couple of relaxing days...after workouts of course!

AoNang for a couple of relaxing days...after workouts of course!

AoNang...how many triathletes can you fit into one Tuk-Tuk!?

AoNang...how many triathletes can you fit into one Tuk-Tuk!?

Rural China at its finest.

Rural China at its finest.

CrownSpa in China did not provide too much of a local experience.

CrownSpa in China did not provide too much of a local experience.

Singapore view of the Harbor.

Singapore view of the Harbor.

Singapore View of ECP at night...very cool at night!

Singapore View of ECP at night...very cool at night!

It has been a great 6 or so weeks…kind of lose track of time!  We are looking forward to the next adventure after we head back to Austin, eat some TexMex, do some more training and racing, and then get back at it at Swiss Camp.

Survivor: IM China

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Several weeks ago, Doc suggested that Amy do IM China.  And, if I wanted to have a “China Experience” as well as an “American Reality TV Show Type of Day” that I go as well and have a day in China.  So, we booked tix to leave Krabi and head to China with a few of our TeamMates for what has to be one of the more unpredictable and tougher IM races on the circuit.

I have not watched one single episode of the Survivor TV show, but I know that it involves competing against others for a prize, some different tests, voting members off the island, and whatever else goes in on “reality TV” shows because we all know that they are indeed real.

I will try to keep my reality show kind of brief.  My competitors were many, but I figured that in the end it would come down to who could just finish as opposed to who could race the fastest.  That was partly true.  I left the water behind my two fellow male teammates…and one of our female teammates.  Out on the bike, I set out to ride a long ride, and would face several tests.

The wind tested us all…headwind, crosswind, seemingly little tailwind.  I had the wrong front bottle set up b/c the bottles that were handed out were too small to fit into my bottle mount, and I ended up continuously refilling one of my screw top bottles.  I picked up my special needs bag with a couple of Nescafe coffe/milks and it worked like a charm.  I moved up through my competitors and several of them decided that today was not their day.

Out onto the run, and I was determined to not take a single hard step for 42k…just put one foot in front of the other and get to the finish.  I slowly moved up through the ranks and all systems were go.  I was 3rd at 28k…sorry no mile markers for my American Friends.  It was then that the island…Haikou Island…turned my closest allies…my legs…against me.  After working together for about 130 miles and doing quite well I might add, my legs voted.  They voted to stop.  Full stop.  I was determined to trick them into voting the other way…water, gatorade, EFS Liquid shot, bananas, race walking, everything.  I tried every trick in the book, but nothing worked.  For the next 14k almost EVERY step was hard, and not because I was gaining on 3rd.  Every step was hard because I was fighting an uphill battle with every muscle in my legs that was voting to stop.

I walked, jogged, straight leg walked, shuffled, and got to the finish line just before the Mrs. finished.  My reality show was a real one.  I ended up 9th again at my 3rd IM in 6 months.  So, if you could watch my Survivor: IM China reality show, you would see a real reality show.

Thanks to Louis Garneau, Cervelo, Blue Seventy, 3T, ISM Saddles, and the Bike Boutique for the sponsorship of the team this year.  Thanks to the rest of the team and doc for making Krabi training camp memorable.  Thanks to Amy for nearly catching me at the end and making me “run” that last 1k…

IM China Update #2

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

Well the race is tomorrow. I do not have any pictures to post as hoped and cannot access youtube here, so you get my typing! I will have some pictures after the race though…my camera memory was full.

Cultural lesson first. China, at least where we are, is as you see in pictures…
- A fair amount of small farm agriculture
- A lot of tractors carrying all sorts of things
- Small 3 wheeled people movers with 2-stroke engines
- People riding bikes that look like they are from the 60s
- Generally kind of primitive looking compared to most standards.

The race is tomorrow. It has cleared up, and will be hot. Maybe not 40c like last year, but it will be hot. The swim is 4 loops of just under 1k each. The bike is 2 loops on what are supposed to be smooth roads. The run is kind of a 2 loop affair as well.

I am number 17 and Amy is number 27.

Racing in a foreign country is always an experiences. We learned that the word for water is “sh-re” and the word for coke is “ku-la” with the emphasis on the last syllable. I will be asking for both tomorrow!

Stay tuned on IM Live. Representing TeamTBB will be me, Amy, Maki, Hiro, and Matt O’H. We also have a few age groupers here with Carmen, Emma, and Minsok…maybe others that I am not aware of. Good luck to all.

IM China Update

Friday, March 12th, 2010

This is a quick post as the battery on the netbook is running low. Amy and I are in China for our first ever international Ironman…Ironman China.

The pro field looks to be a good one with Macca racing on the men’s side as well as several others.

Anyhoo, as soon as I can get the battery charged up I will post a unique pre-race workout and interview that we did about a week or so ago.

Stay tuned!

Some More Questions…Training Related

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Here we are after 4 complete weeks in Krabi for our first Team TBB training camp.  We actually only have 1 week to go, after that we hop on a plane to China for Ironman China.  It has been a great experience…culturally and for triathlon.  My blogs have kind of been cultural so far.

But, I got a set of questions from a friend and fellow athlete that would make a good blog:

“I’ve been reading your blog.  You don’t talk much about the other athletes.  What is it like to train with the other pros?  Does it make you push harder than you normally would?  Are you still using your Quarq or does everyone use the exact same equipment?  Are you seeing how the others conduct themselves…food, habits, ect and changing some of yours to match?”

Actually, TeamTBB training camp is kind of like the movie “Fight Club”.  The first rule of Fight Club is that you DO NOT talk about Fight Club.  The second rule of Fight Club is that you DO NOT talk about Fight Club.  To some extent I would say that is true.  But, Sutto mentioned before we came out to camp that is was not going to be 100% triathlon training or the same type of training that we will do at home.  It is meant to allow him, as a coach, to see us work and operate and find out what our strengths and weaknesses are.  And, he definitely has an eye and mind for that.  So, regarding the training…it is somewhat like I have blogged at brandonmarsh.com before.  It really comes down to hard work.  Yeah, some sessions are not like any I have done before, but in the end you work hard.  And a good part of being successful as an athlete is to believe in your program…sometimes I think that athletes would do better even if they stick with a “bad” training program and believe in it rather than changing up theirs all the time!!

Here we go one at a time:

1.  What is it like to train with the other pros and does it make you push harder?  We have only had close to a full squad here for a little over a week as people come in and out.  For the most part we swim as a group even though we may use different equipment on the same sets.  The boys usually train together and then girls might train together.  Some athletes have done workouts on their own for a lot of the camp.

Training with other athletes will make you push harder, but at the same time, there are times when we are given instructions to NOT go hard or hit a certain pace, etc.  One of the best things that comes from training with other athletes is that once you do the workouts with others, you know what you are capable of doing and can do it on your own.  The other main benefit to having other athletes to train with is the accountability factor.  If you are running with the guys at 6:30am, then you know that they are going to be there waiting on you…so no sleeping in.

2.  Am I still using my Quarq (powermeter) or do we all use the same equipment?  We use a fair amount of sponsored equipment…bikes, shoes, handlebars, saddles, helmets, speedsuits, race wheels eventually.  But, some folks use different components.  And, regarding the sponsored equipment, obviously some athletes run in different shoes or ride in a different style of shoes of the same brank.  We also will had some choice of which race wheelset to ride, so some will be on deeper or shallower wheels or clinchers instead of tubulars.

I did not bring my powermeter for a couple of reasons.  The main one was not wanting to deal with downloading, watching numbers, etc and the fact that the Garmin is expensive, and I did not want to lose it.  The second reason is that historically Doc has not had athletes use them.  It can be argued both ways depending on the thoughts, but in some respects in a pro race…especially 70.3…it does not matter what the powermeter says on race day, you have to be with the front guys.  And, I knew that I was going to be so tired at times that I would not want to know what power I was NOT putting out…I just focused on the effort for that workout.

3. Have I changed some of my habits to match the other athletes like food, other habits, etc.?  The main thing that I have tried to look at are the way that our more successful teammates conduct themselves since several of them have been professional, or full time, athletes for a few years and have done well.  They tend to approach workouts as a job in that they start the first one pretty early, get to them on time, and make them count.  And, we are typically done by about 530 or so in the evening.  Making them count does not mean they are all “hard”.  The hardest workouts have been the easy rides because sometimes I would just rather not ride than spin around for 1.5 hours, but in this case it is helping the legs recover for the next session.

Regarding diet and food.  It seems that Coke is the preferred long ride fuel for many of my teammates.  That is one habit that I have not tried to adopt.  But, definitely, we have been eating a little differently than at home since our training volume is more and we are away from some of the conveniences of home…no protein smoothies here or almond milk.  But, we have tried to continue to eat “real” foods and minimize the junk food.  Diet is quite individual, and Doc has made recommendations based on individual body comp, etc.  But, no diet has not really changed much other than the fact that we are in a different country so have adapted that way.

So, quite long here at 1002 words according to wordpress, but there you go…some training specific questions.  I will post a few pictures again in the next couple of days.