22 February 2011

And The Planning Begins

It's that time of year. Well, it's actually 'that time of year' all year long, as I never halt consideration for a race schedule. After speaking with Kurt, he asked I get on top of what I plan for my feasible 2011 race schedule. Sorry to disappoint everyone - I ditched a couple 'focus' running races and currently have no Half Ironman distance event on there, as the focus is Olympic Distance. Early season triathlon out in Rochester is a bust...but there are a few duathlons, which I can't complain about as they can actually act as a very good icebreaker for my multisport season. In addition, with being on the cycling team here at the U of R, I will have a rather full schedule of spring cycling races. Such races that could begin as early as March 5th. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is two weeks from Saturday. Yep...I'm saying holy crap to myself too. I'm keeping the ol' multisport schedule unofficial at the moment - but it'll be posted pretty soon. As a note, I'll likely be making a special section of the blog for my Recent Results/Upcoming Races.

Now that I've got a good chunk of the logistical stuff out of the way, the "goal" race of the season is USAT Age Group (AG) Nationals: August 20th, 2011 in Burlington, VT. This is obviously a qualification based race: either a top 10% AG finish in any USAT Certified Olympic Distance event, or top 33% AG finish in one of two Special Qualifier Races (one in CT - 6/18, one in VT - 8/7).

Monday was a great training day. Despite only getting 5.5 hours of sleep due to a midterm group assignment that we handed in at noon, the training went well. Woke up at 6:15AM and trudged through the fresh snow for the 0.75 mile walk over to the athletic center (no bus before 7:30AM). Hit up the pool and got in a fairly easy 2000yd (1.14mi) swim with some drills thrown into the mix. Finished up the assignment, had a meeting, then hit the gym to run inside - as the footing outside would still be miserable and it was a somewhat hefty training day. On the treadmill did a progression run: one mile @ 8:00, two miles @ 7:30, three miles @ 6:58, then a warm down mile @ 7:15. Felt really sluggish to start (likely due to lack of sleep/energy), but got pretty comfortable as it progressed. Took a 1.5 hour nap to recover from low sleep, then hopped onto the bike after a post nap piece of lasagna! This is where it got good. Over the past 3 days I have raised the seat on my bike about 1.5cm (0.5 inches), almost definitely due to my increased flexibility since I began some Hatha Yoga. Cycling today on the trainer felt orders of magnitude better than it has for weeks despite some minor calf twinges. And the best part was that I finally got my HR up above 140 and into the 150's without my legs feeling fried, which is impressive considering that it was the third workout today.

It's been a bit crazy here at school with a big team project: big paper was due Monday and a bigger presentation Thursday, which still needs some work. So I'm signing out for the night. Tomorrow: going to test how a track workout feels (6x400m @ ~5:00 pace on Active Rest = 2:00, maybe followed by a few 200's) on the huge increase in training volume. As running right now is not a key focus, if I feel like the workout is causing more harm than good I'll make it an easy 7-9 miles instead. But I'm thinking I'll be fine, just more tired than expected.

18 February 2011

I'm a 'Triathlete', it's Official.

It's been a while coming, to be honest. What, you ask? Officially accepting triathlon as my sport, over running, is a critical step that I have not (fully) accepted. Up until this decision I was a runner who did a great deal of cross training, which might appear like a triathlete - but there is a key distinction: mentality. I relied on running as a comfort zone, as my event to fall back on. When cycling or, especially, swimming becomes a burden I turn to running to get the comfort that it provides to me. But that needs to fade: I have to put the work in where it is needed, which would be swimming and biking. Obviously I will still continue to run consistently and keep doing the work to improve, I will just be dedicating more focus to improvements on swimming and biking.

I wish I could have come to such a significant conclusion on my own thoughts and pondering, but obviously this is knowledge from someone who knows the ins and out of the sport very thoroughly and can see it from the eyes of a coach and athlete. After having a really good chat with Kurt Perham (Personal Best Multisport) on Thursday, I was able to get a broader and better perspective of the undertaking that is triathlon. I made a rather brief mention of "...the synergy of three very different events..." in my last post A Wonderful Fusion of Things... But in all honesty, I don't have much to say about incorporating the three events besides my own trial and error, meandering-based experience.

In that regard, I am officially taking the offer to be on the Personal Best Multisport Team and focusing on triathlon. After speaking with Kurt and hearing his thoughts about where I currently stand in triathlon and the major concepts I need to adapt in order to succeed, I know I'm ready to be competitive. Right now I am quite a ways ahead of where I was this summer, and have an introduction year to triathlon under my belt. My capacity for improvement is as great as it will ever be, and I am going to exploit that aspect to its fullest. The PBM Team is a somewhat low structure team with a core group of athletes that are aiming for top finishes, but also is completely open to all who are interested in racing with an affiliation to a very solid Multisport/Run/Cycling coaching group. The uniforms are SICK! But I'm in a dilemma: Tri Suit or Tri Tank/Shorts? I've only used a tri suit before, but think it'd be really nice to have the tank/shorts combo. Any thoughts?
The conversation with Kurt was quite extensive despite my rather short recount of the chat. Additionally, as I get into a more evenly distributed triathlon training schedule you'll definitely be seeing concepts that can't be my own ideas! Sadly I don't have the cash (right now) to hire Kurt as my coach, which would be the perfect case. However, as I will be racing on the team I'll be getting some pretty basic guidance that will be a major help in improving my ability to represent PBM both on and off the course. Speaking with someone as experienced as Kurt showed me that I really do know as little as I had suspected - and that just simple guidance is really going to provide a much stronger framework than I could have established independently. These recent developments have added to my excitement for the 2011 Tri Season and for all the years ahead. As Kurt said, developing ability at triathlon is not something that spontaneously happens...it takes years of time. Luckily I am at a point where I am young and have great capacity to rebound and recover from the most taxing of workouts; which is, to say, I can begin creating an excellent foundation for the future starting with this season.

*Noteworthy: UR Cycling Team season begins the first weekend of March! So there will be some intro training-based races to speak of shortly - not just 'boring' (not in my mind :) !!) training. Also, a lot more to come soon by means of concepts, mentality, and physical aspects that I will be developing in the next few weeks.

16 February 2011

A Wonderful Fusion of Things...

As homo sapiens in this world where we demand multitasking from a device as (not so) simple as our cell phones, we too strive for the ability to multi-task better and better with everything we do. It could be our own way of trying to get as much done as possible, but inevitably getting in our own way. Or maybe it really is the most efficient method of working. Either way, we all do it - and many of us do it quite well. A triathlon is fairly similar: it could be some little hidden ADD or just a desire for more and more excitement; more events to spark our too-often bored minds and bodies. Personally, I think a triathlon is a beautiful event; even a work of art. Just referring to the physical undertaking of race day would be a gross misconception, I am talking about the synergy of three very different events into the culmination of a single, fluid effort.

What I'm also talking about is how you can meld a variety of ideas and concepts into a single entity. Recently I discovered an alcoholic beverage: Pinnacle Whipped Cream (and Chocolate Whipped Cream) Vodka. Obviously something so fantastic could be only be created in such a place as Lewiston, ME. That's not humor in my voice (text), Lewiston is awesome - home of the Lewiston Auburn Duathlon! I love beer, I like some types of alcohol, but honestly vodka is one of those things I am just not much of a fan of (excluding the White Russian)....until now. For me, a major necessity (I know, that is redundant) of drinking is enjoyment: no "Natty Light" or Bud Heavies. I love a good beer, a glass of wine, various mixed drinks, and few straight hard alcohols. I don't tend to drink too much quantity - I prefer quality - as my beers of choice are around $8.00 as opposed to the $3.00 pints. So anyway, this Pinnacle Whipped Cream Vodka is great (!!). It goes with OJ amazingly well, even better with hot chocolate, and even is good with those Vitamin Water Zero's. However, back to all this fusion/multitasking blabber. This evening I had lifted and then came home and hit the rollers for a good half hour with some solid high cadence work. After finishing I had some dinner but was neither satisfied nor refueled. A great idea came into my mind: Hot Chocolate, Whipped Cream Vodka, and Protein Powder.

I know what you're thinking...to quote my roommate, "That's a failure waiting to happen". Luckily I had some support from my neighbor who lifts and is a regular protein powder user, as the powder was the big risk factor in my conception. I went for it: 1 Cup Vanilla SoyMilk, 1 envelope Swiss Miss, 1/2 Scoop EAS Vanilla Protein, 1 shot (1.5oz) Whipped Cream Vodka, and a little water. Heated up the Soymilk and water on the stove and added protein powder. The powder didn't mix in too great as I didn't want to stir so much that it spilled. I put the Hot Cocoa mix and Vodka into a cup and then added the heated mix and stirred. Some of the protein powder clumped up, which was at first a downfall. But my neighbor pointed out that it actually tasted like little marshmallows! Excellent. The drink was definitely a success: I created the greatest Recovery/Pre-Game Drink ever!

14 February 2011

The Transition...not T1, not T2

So what sort of transition could I possibly be talking about, since this is all about triathlons?

Well, it's about that other thing: Life: the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power ofadaptation to environment through changes originating internally. I am now a Senior at the University of Rochester and, with a pretty low-key semester at the moment, there is only one thing (in terms of school related topics) of which to be concerned. That 'thing' would be a J O B. To me, this point marks the second big phase of life. College is definitely a completely different experience from high school and before; and it is surely a large increase independence and self-dependence. However, you still have most of that comforting shelter that is always there to fall back on. Once you're 'out there' in the world, it's entirely different. How do I know? How does a turtle know where to go when it is born...it just does.

Here I am, on the prowl for a job. But merely having a job is not something that will be satisfactory to me. I need a job a can immerse myself in and a job to which I can feel connected. I think that this aspect of a job is why most people are unhappy with their current job, and I really don't want to dread work. Even this semester is pretty tough for me to bear. I'm only taking 12 credits as opposed to my normal 16-18. And my classes are: Piano, Yoga, Economic Statistics, and Senior Design. The only class that is academically stimulating are small parts of senior design; the project is excellent but it's not the nitty gritty engineering that I love. Econ. stat is just plain boring. I really like piano, but it doesn't offer all that much. And yoga has been phenomenal, mentally and physically - but it's in a completely different way than any sort of course work. I picked up a research position two weeks ago, but so far it is just reading the literature and picking out experimental set-ups and methods. It will get more interesting as the project begins and develops. The lab is doing research on Diffuse Optical techniques to improve the monitoring of breast cancer. It offers physiologically relevant metabolic data in addition to visual information, and is non-invasive...and cheap! So it's pretty obvious that the research could get to be very very interesting, it's only in its infancy right now as the professor is new to UR this semester.

Anyways, I've been filling up all my extra time with extra training, visiting home, and allowing myself proper sleep and sleep schedule. Early mornings are the way to go is what I've learned. Rather than rolling out of bed at 10:40 to catch the bus to my 11:05, I get up at 8:30 and bike. I've noticed my energy is much more consistent and I just feel better (minus the getting tired a bit earlier part).

Oh yeah, jobs. I have been looking pretty steadily since this semester started: getting recommendations, applications, etc. together and ready to roll. I've put in five or so applications, three of which were more just to get apps out there than anything else. My sights are focus on the Northeast due to my family, but if a job in San Diego or Colorado shows itself - I'll bite.

I'm definitely ready to be finished with undergrad and get out there to 'life' or the real world. But there are about 89 (okay, fine, exactly) days until I graduate: May 15th, 2011. Pretty crazy, but I'm excited for it and everything that comes with it. Bring it on world!

08 February 2011


I went back to Maine (home) and stole a long weekend to see my dad, bro, and pups. I was hoping to pick up Alexis on my way home, but apparently she has a job? She'll hopefully head home this coming weekend so it's all good. The weekend was excellent! The drive home went by fast and didn't crush me, and I got to enjoy the Superbowl with my dad and I can guarantee our food was far superior than at Rochester - no offense to anyone there.

If anyone knows me (or my Dad, or my brother, or my sister) at all, that individual knows that there is one constant: Starbucks. Ever since my early introduction in my pre-teen years, I have been hooked. It's not the caffeine addiction or, even, the need for the spike; although there have been times when each of those has taken control. It is the pleasure of it. I drink decaf just as happily as caffeinated, I just completely enjoy it. What I do not enjoy, however, is when Starbucks stores close at 9:00PM...all of them...when I'm driving 9 hours for the second time within 84 hours (that is just over 20% of my long weekend, for those of you who didn't waste your time calculating. This doesn't include many other hours driving around, back/forth, etc...probably making it about 25% plus of the weekend. Enough complaining. Basically I'm saying I'm awesome at driving). Speaking of which, I picked up the wonderful Taurus (victim of an accident on January 11th...negating being awesome at driving) and dropped off the Concorde.

The Starbucks stores on the thruway were closed, so I used my handy-dandy GPS to check for nearest 'Bucks' stores. I saw one nearby at a Target, bingo! I was sure it was set because I went to another Target where the Starbucks closed when the Target did (this Target was open until 10PM). At this point in the drive, 5 hours in, it started to snow pretty good - roads definitely a bit slick. So the Starbucks was going to be a perfect comforting addition to my drive. It was closed. I got 'pissed', bought a bag of Peanut Butter M&M's and a bag of Archer Farms Buffalo Wing Chips: the two of which totaled at 2880 Cal and 176g Fat (270%). Ouch. At my frustration with Starbucks I was on the phone with Rob and said "I am not going to Starbucks for two weeks". He called me out on not being able to go through with it and I said I was sticking to it. The difficult part is we have a Starbucks right on campus. Well anyways, here goes two weeks without Starbucks!

The kicker is, we brainstormed what my penalty would be if I violated said agreement. It came down to me having to miss a day of training. Now this may seem like more of a "favor" to myself, but that would be grossly incorrect. I have to first state that I am currently on a 229 day training streak, and more than anything I would go crazy taking time off for any reason (barring unforeseen injury). If I missed a day because I weakly gave in to buying a coffee based beverage at one specific store, it'd be really bad. Now the agreement was that I can drink tea/coffee elsewhere (although the other places on campus are flat out horrid), primarily due to the case in which I sometimes get withdrawal...and I have tea on occasion at my apartment. So there it is: two weeks without my comforting, wonderful Starbucks.

PS: I don't like the new logo as much either. Shame on them.

06 February 2011


The simplest and funnest (okay, I give in: most fun...but 'funnest' is way 'funner') method of feeling like you're back in triathlon training mode is to do a brick workout or two. The word "brick" itself is interesting: who came up with it or after whom was it named or...you get it. My best bet, and from looking around, is that it is a more phonetic form of BR (BikeRun). Although, in looking on SlowTwitch I came across this response: "It started back in 3000 BC, when the ancient Sumarians hastily crossed the Tiberius and fled to Larak. During that time the scrolls revealed the term 'Bricanuis', which loosely translated means, 'Do I really have to run now? I just swam the Tiberius'." Posted by furiousferret. I'm not sure if I like the absurd, epic origin or his/her name more, but I'll take it. So anyways, I did an easy swim-bike on Friday: just a 1 mile swim followed by a 21 mile ride (first 25K tempo). It added a little excitement to my normally quite lack-luster swimming sessions.
But the note-worthy brick was this morning: I went over to my friend Coreen's house to catch up and get a solid trainer ride. It worked out great - the trainer most definitely has it's benefits, like bringing together people who normally wouldn't cycle in a group, but each want a good workout. Had I done this solo, it would have been 75 minutes real easy on the bike and then a steady 8 miler at 7:00 pace. Coreen was gonna do some tempo work, and it definitely was a good motivator for me - so made it a much better workout. It's always good to have somebody pushing the tempo with you...it keeps you in check. We did 75 minutes on the trainer with some tempo, some cadence, and some big gear work, with a good sprint with a couple minutes to go. The sprint was to simply get a little bulk muscle soreness in before the run. The only problem with bricks in the winter is you sweat like crazy inside and have to entirely dry off and change in order to go outside. Our transition time was a little longer than 15 minutes, but it ensured we wouldn't freeze on the run so it was fair. I headed out on the run and didn't get any real initial shock of "oh crap here comes the rough part", but it felt fine. I did about 200m going from 8:00/mi to 7:00/mi, and then something hit me - like Ricky Bobby "I wanna go fast" is all that ran through my head. Without care of dodging puddles, slipping on ice, or the cars that were annoyed I wasn't all the way off the shoulder, I just ran!

I dropped it down to about 6:30 immediately, and my mile average was 6:30 so I was definitely well under 6:30 for most of it since the first quarter was slow. I saw the 6:30 (which was within 20 seconds of my mile split of every tri I've done), shrugged it off, and finished with a pair of 6:10's. The 5K was a comfortable 19:24, despite deciding to run on ice/slush/snow for the last 0.75mi. Alas, I am not miserably slow as I had thought after training for the 22 miler. I made it 4.0 miles and then headed back, meeting Coreen at about 4.4 miles. Having some minor leg cramps from the ice and snow, we took the road all the way back (thankfully). I slowed down upon meeting Coreen but realized she was going right about my pace, so it worked out great. Coreen hadn't done a brick since her Half Ironman this fall, so she killed it for it having been so long: she cranked good on the bike, then negative split the run by a decent amount too! Well done for sure. Rounded out the run feeling good at 59:10.

After the run we both took some Generation UCAN. I love the product, so much so that this fall I contacted UCAN and ended up being a small-scale sales rep for them out in Rochester (if you have any questions, feel free to comment, contact, or email me: travis.b.kroot@gmail.com). I really like to have someone "just try it out" and get the opinion from the test with it. Coreen has a lot of endurance work, much much more than I. It was a bonus that Coreen also had battled with other nutrition products' GI distress, to see if this reduced the effects. She said she felt great after taking it! Another happy athlete :).

I love bricks (if you couldn't tell). A lot of people really battle that first 400m to Mile of the run, but when I get off the bike I feel primed...even better than a good 2-3mi warm up for a tempo. The title "Brick.....House!" is for (obviously) doing the Brick workout and (more obviously) for eating like a house for the Superbowl! Definitely did my work to enjoy the game, food, and a wonderful Stone Brewing Company Double Bastard Ale (22oz). Yesss!

Here's to my official beginning of triathlon training. It went great and feels even better. Can't wait for everything ahead of me this season. A brick shouldn't be something to be afraid of, it's just way too fun.

03 February 2011

Week Zero: Update

As previously mentioned, I resumed my training for shorter distances (i.e.: Olympic/Sprint Tri) on Sunday. After excessively over-indulging following my birthday and through the weekend in both spirits and food, I decided to begin my reset on Sunday. This wasn't anything major, just get back on the right track with a real low-key week of training and making sure I'm eating both right and well. Weighing in Sunday morning I was 160.6, a high for quite some time. My racing weight is somewhere in the lower 140's, probably 143 or so. So I'm just looking for a steady drop to get back into that range by, say, April?

I've never had troubles getting into the mid-high 140's, but the low 140's is a bit challenging. If I'm going to be lifting more, I'll probably settle with about 145 as a race weight. It all depends on the PBM Elite Team and also what sort of training schedule (if any) comes from that. I'm really excited about the Elite Team, especially with the caliber of coaches over at PBMC. I know Kurt Perham personally and have seen him crush some races, one of which I was second place, but by a rough 3.5 minutes. I should be hearing back about the official aspects of the team in the next couple of weeks, which I am very anxiously awaiting.

Aside from that I set up my entire week's schedule including: classes, meetings, my newly added research position (to be touched on at a later date), and, most importantly :) , the training schedule. I haven't included possible lifting times, but you'll get the idea.

Workouts for the Week:
  • 5 Running: 1 Long, 1 Workout, 1 Tempo
  • 4-5 Cycling
  • 3-4 Rollers
  • 4 Swimming
  • 3 Yoga
  • 3 Core
  • Additional Possibilities: 2 Lifting, which would probably push core to be attached to one of the other workouts.
It may look like a lot, but given my relatively easy class schedule this semester it is actually quite feasible. Once I hear back on the PBM Elite Team, that will dictate the specifics of the workouts and may alter scheduling a little.

This week is going well and will end up being: ~3mi swim, ~25mi run, ~115mi bike. All at a very easy effort, so it is a pretty light workload overall. Looking forward to amping it up in the coming weeks!