Check out Zach Caldwell’s write up of yesterday’s workout.
Check out Zach Caldwell’s write up of yesterday’s workout.
I like the first month of my training year to be as unspecific as possible. I will begin roller skiing and strength work next month. The following is my first month of training for the 2015/2016 race season. AM is my morning workout and PM is my evening session.
May 28th AM 1:15 run, PM 1:45 kayak
May 27th AM 100 mile Road Bike (5 hours 20.2 mph)
May 26th AM 1:3o run with 4 x12 min Level 4 running intervals on hilly road (4×2 miles), PM 1:30 kayak,
May 25th 4:30 Hike and Telemark ski at MT Washington’s Tuckerman Ravine
May 24th 1:00 kayak
May 23rd – AM 2:00 run, 1:00 kayak
May 22nd – 100 mile Road Bike (5 hours 20.0 mph)
May 21st – AM Running track intervals 5 x 800 meters at 5 min mile pace with 400 meter recovery, 2:30, 2:30, 2:29, 2:30, 2:25, PM 1:45 kayak
May 20th – off
May 19th – 3:00 run
May 18th – AM 2:15 run (Franconia ridge up Falling Waters Trail and down Bridle Path), PM 1:00 kayak
May 17th – AM 1:45 kayak, PM 1:15 run
May 16th – Spoke at JDRF Summit SLC/travel home
May 15th – AM 3 hour run/ PM travel to Salt Lake City
May 14th – AM 1:45 kayak (got my new boat awesome Stellar surf ski), PM 1.:30 run
May 13th – 100 mile Road Bike (20 mph average)
May 12th – 1:00 run
May 11th – AM 1:00 run with track intervals 12 x 200 meters at 33 seconds (final interval 31 seconds),
PM 1:00 kayak
May 10th – AM 1:30 kayak, PM 1:30 run
May 9th – 4 hour hike/telemark ski at Tuckerman’s Ravine
May 8th – Slash concert (fantastic)
May 7th – AM 1:45 run with 1 x 15 min Level 3 and 1 x 12 minute L4 up Welsch and Dicky Mountains
May 6th – 4:15 road bike 88 miles at 20 mph
May 5th – AM 2:00 hike and telemark ski at Cannon, PM 1:00 kayak
May 4th – 3:00 run to Ragged Mt Bulkhead
May 3rd – 1:00 run, spoke at JDRF summit in New Orleans
May 2nd – travel
May 1st – AM 1:00 run, PM 3:00 road bike
Total Training Time = 75 Hours
I had a great fall of training and I headed out to West Yellowstone very confident in my fitness. I trained very little my first few days here and my energy felt great.
Things started going south on Tuesday evening. I woke up at 1:00 AM with a fever and severe nausea. I fought the urge to throw-up until 6:30 AM and then gave into a severe bout of regurgitation. I thought I had food poisoning as I felt much better afterwards. But I had a slight fever throughout the next day and my friend and roommate, Tad Elliot, came down with the same flu the following night. Our symptoms were identical and we were not eating the same food, so there was no doubt we had contracted a virus.
After 24 hours of recovery I felt well enough to test skis on Thursday in preparation for Friday’s sprint race. Predictably I felt drained. I slept 11 hours Thursday night and woke up to go race the sprint event. I felt asleep on my feet in the qualifier and just barely made the rounds. In the quarterfinal I was moving much better but was not sharp enough to progress to the semis.
The sickness in conjunction with racing and a lot of time being unconscious made my sugars very unstable. My basal insulin rate rose by 30% as did my overall daily intake of insulin. Before being sick I was using less than 30 units daily. Yesterday I used 55 units. Staying on top of my glucose has been stressful.
This morning the 15k event was held. I woke up with a glucose of 180 which was a little higher than I wanted and ate a low carb breakfast of eggs, soy sausage, cherry tomatoes and quinoa. I took three times the insulin I would have taken on Tuesday and my sugars still rose to 200 where they remained until I began my warm-up for the race.
After an hour of warm-up my glucose was at an ideal starting place of 150. I consumed no extra sugar and kept my basal rate at the 30% higher dose.
I felt good out of the start but after 5k I new I was still not 100%. I had to back off of my aggressive pace and start skiing more conservatively to avoid blowing up. I was frustrated but was still getting splits that winning the race was possible. I was 10 seconds down to the leader and in second place with 4k to go. I couldn’t up my pace though and two skiers passed me in the splits. I ended up in 4th place, 18 seconds down to the winner.
My sugar was 209 at the finish. I consider anything below 220 to be a success but below 180 is ideal. Given the circumstances my sugar control was very good. I am bummed by the result though. I was unable to ski as well as I should have and that is always frustrating. Skiing passively in a race is my least favorite thing in the world to do.
I wore my Suunto watch and heart rate monitor during the race and was able to download the data it recorded in graph form. The explanation for my subpar performance was pretty clear on the chart. My heart rate was within 10 beats 0f maximum for the entire race. When I am skiing well I get huge variation in my Heart rate when recovering on downhills. Swings of as many as 40 beats per minute are commonplace. With a variation of only 10 beats, the inability to really push hard makes a lot of sense.
I have a week to recover before the next super tour race in Bozeman Montana. I want to start training right away but I know that the combination of a flu and back to back races has left me very tired. Instead of focusing on training I will work to stockpile my energy for next weekend.
Classic Sprint Semi-Final in Canmore October 24th
I spent the last two weeks of October training in Canmore Alberta on the Frozen Thunder ski track. The early season training was great and I raced twice in the pre-season competitions there. I placed 4th in the sprint and 2nd in the distance freestyle race. I was happy with my pre-season form but with nearly a month between the last race and the first SuperTour event in West Yellowstone, I needed to make another race effort to stay sharp.
When I am home, the most reliable way to get pushed hard in intensity is to run head to head with my brother. I missed the annual Dartmouth Moosilaukee time trial this year so I decided to race it with my brother on our own.
Justin was a two time all american xc runner in college, Has won the last 3 Coosman Cups (fastest NH finisher) at the MT Washington Road Race, and won the overall New England Grand Prix running series two years ago. He also just set a new 10k PR of 31:18 less than a month ago. He has trounced me in every running intensity workout I have done with him this year and I have not managed to beat hime in a running race since I won the Coosman Cup in 2010.
On Sunday November 16th at 9:15 AM we started head to head at the famous crab apple tree starting line. I had never done this time trial this late in the year and for good reason. Winter starts earlier at higher elevation and there was an inch of snow on the ground. The inch grew to about 4 inch by the top and snow drifts near the summit were over a foot deep. There were icy patches near streams and bridges that required more caution then I prefer to use when racing but Justin and I have been running on slippery terrain like this since we could walk so the conditions did not worry us.
I took the lead from the start and only 4 minutes into the race I felt a little space forming between my brother and I. I was clearly stronger on the steep uneven terrain. However, after seven minutes of steep climbing the terrain flattened out and Justin closed the gap I had created. Eight minutes later we came to another steep section and I surged to see if I could break Justin. I pulled away quickly and had a 20 second lead at the half way point. But then then terrain leveled out again and Justin halved my lead. There was going to be no easy victory.
The snow got deeper the higher we went but it was never substantial enough to even out the rocky terrain, it just made it more slippery. I focused on my footing and finding a sustainable pace. I had loaded my legs with lactate more than I wanted to the second time I pulled away from Justin. He was only 10 seconds behind now but I allowed myself to slow a little bit because I would not have been able to sustain the current effort for another 15 minutes.
The relentless trail became steep again and despite having to re-adjust my pace my 10 second lead grew to 20 and then thanks to the switchbacks I broke the line of sight between Justin and I. There was about eight minutes left and my legs were getting unstable. I slipped on a rock staircase and fell. A few minutes later the trail flattens for about a quarter mile before a short steep rise to the summit. I tripped and face planted again on the fast section before post holing through snowdrifts to the summit. I leaned against a rock at the summit gasping for air in a foggy cloud. 32 seconds later Justin arrived.
My time was 37:57 which is far from my best, but given the conditions and the fact that it was the first time I had beaten Justin on foot in 4 years I was happy with the effort. The time was also 21 seconds faster than the winner from this year’s Dartmouth time trial.
The worst part of the moosilaukee race is always getting back down. I had over heated on the way up and threw my headband off and my tights and shirt were soaked with sweat. Needless to say Justin and I had a brisk jog back to our cars. I took the opportunity to gloat which is a time honored Freeman brothers tradition. Justin did not like losing and figured the best defense would be to belittle himself in order to make my win look less impressive. He pointed out that he was a nearly 38 year old full-time teacher with two kids and that he had been retired from pro skiing for eight years. I pointed out that he was also a loser.
Before driving home in separate cars, Justin admitted that he had run well and was still in good shape. Justin may consider himself washed up, but he is still the fastest runner in NH and hopefully being able to beat hime on foot will transfer to the ski trails later this month.
My brother and I went to the track to run 6 x the mile this morning. I wanted to target five minute miles with equal recovery between intervals. I knew the pace would be hard, especially since I have not done any running specific workouts in over a month.
Justin was there to pace the effort. He hits the track at least once a week and has had a good summer season of running. He ran a personal record in a 10k a few weeks ago with a time of 31:18. It isn’t much of a stretch to call him the best runner in New Hampshire.
It was pouring rain with occasional wind gusts when we started our warm-up. Fortunately it was almost 70 degrees out so we were never cold. After about a half hour of easy jogging we dove into the first mile. The pace felt fast but easy enough for the first 1200 meters but then I started working pretty hard. We finished the mile in 4:59 but I already knew that I may have bitten off more than I could chew.
Five minutes later we started the second mile. I started hurting half way through. With 200 meters to go I had to get on my toes to sprint in order to make pace. I ran 4:59 again but it had taken more effort than was sustainable for four more miles. As I jogged around the track I saw that I had hit a heart rate of 179 beats per minute. That was the highest heart rate I have seen all year. My previous high was 176 which I hit the week before during a roller-ski time trial with the Canadian National Team at Soldier Hollow. The fact that my heart rate was elevating easily is a good sign for my overall fitness. When I am tired or out of shape I cannot get my heart rate much over 170, However the fact that it was so high early in the workout did not bode well for the remaining four mile repeats.
I faded slightly on the third mile and crossed the finish in 5:01. Lactate was accumulating in my legs and I knew the arbitrary goal of running five minute pace for all six miles was probably out the window. Justin was annoyingly unaffected and chipper. He was clearly working pretty hard but as he happily pointed out, not as hard a me.
Justin accidentally took the first lap of the fourth mile out a few seconds ahead of pace. If I were a runner this would not have hurt me that bad, but because I don’t do speed with regularity my efficiency gets exponentially worse the faster I go. My legs were loaded. At the half mile mark I was falling apart and Justin gapped me. I ended up limping across the line in 5:08.
I had only completed four out of six miles and I had blown up. I asked Justin what I should do. He asked how bad I was willing to hurt. I responded that I was up for a lot of pain. He suggested that he pace me for another 5:08 mile. I agreed and away we went. It was amazing how much more efficient my running became simply by slowing down 2 seconds per lap. I was comfortable for the first 1200 meters and then had to enter the pain cave once again to hold pace to the finish. I ran 5:08.
For the last mile Justin agreed to pace me for the first half mile and then we would go as fast as we could to finish the workout. At 800 meters Justin took off and dropped me hard. I held on to finish the last mile in 5:09 though.
Despite falling short of my pacing goal, I had a good interval session. I blew up at the hallway point of the workout and was able to adjust pace to keep the workload high. Whenever Justin breaks me running I like to point out to him that I was the faster runner when we were both ski racers. Maybe I’ll focus on running someday but not today.
Every year that I have been in NH in early August, I have raced the Top Notch Triathlon. It is a unique event that starts with a six mile MT bike hill climb, transitions to a 1/2 mile swim across Echo Lake and finishes after a 2 mile run up Cannon Mountain. Last year I wrote about a great duel that I had with Ryan Kelly who is one of the best triathletes in NE. We pushed each other hard and I had to set a new course record to beat him. I was looking forward to another good race with Ryan but he informed via Facebook the day before the race that he had thrown his back out and would not be competing. I knew that it was unlikely that I could challenge my course record without being able to trade drafts in the bike and swim.
It rained hard for a few days before the race which made the MT bike Muddy and slow. It was foggy and overcast on race morning.
This picture was taken right after the bike exchange. I already have my goggles on and I entered the water about 10 seconds later.
There was a nasty headwind for the first two-thirds of the swim and I felt like I had been pummeled as I got out of the water.
I put my running shoes on just before this arrow and began my ascent of Cannon Mountain.
It was so foggy at the top that I couldn’t see the finish until it was right in front of me. I am crossing the finish matts in the picture. The run was slightly rerouted due to trail maintenance which added a little length to the course. The last half mile had also just been re-seaded so I had to contend with calve deep hay for the last several minutes of the race. Not surprisingly, I was no where near my record pace, but I still won the event by just over 10 minutes.
My glucose was 180 right before the start. I raced on my current basal insulin dose of .5 units per hour. At the start of the run I consumed 12 ounces of Gatorade and finished with a blood glucose of 126.
This year I decided to race again only one week later in another unique event called the Wildman Biathlon. The Wildman consists of a relatively flat 10k road run, followed by a 23 mile bike from Shelburne NH to Gorham and then up the Mt Washington Valley to the base of WildCat Mountain. The race concludes with a 3 mile run to the top of WildCat. All told the race climbs well over 3000 ft. I don’t believe anyone has ever won both races and definitely not in the same calendar year. I wanted to be the first.
Front and center at the start. Starting glucose was 165. I once again raced on my current basal insulin rate of .5 units of insulin per hour.
Finishing the 10k run in the lead.
Transitioning to the bike.
Finishing the bike at the base of WildCat. About halfway through the bike I was caught by two riders. One was competing in a team and the other was a fellow “ironman” racer. When the terrain got steeper I pulled away from the “ironman” racer but the team rider gapped me by about 45 seconds. I believe that his Mountain runner was his daughter who has type 1 diabetes. I thought that was pretty cool and I am psyched to see more diabetics out racing.
While I was on my bike I consumed two twenty four ounce bottles of my custom feed, which is 8 ounces of caffeinated energy drink mixed with 16 ounces of Gatorade. I had about 6 ounces of Gatorade at the final transition and consumed a single PowerGel with one mile to go. The Gel was overkill as I finished the race with a glucose of 250. This is too high for ideal performance but I am confident that I was only that high for about 15 minutes.
All alone at the top.
I was first to the top by about 6 minutes. I was tired.
Amber and She-Ra were my support crew. I took this picture while we took the Gondola back to the bottom of the mountain. Mt Washington is in the background. It was an awesome view.
Ok, so I said I was going to update this blog once a week. I have not lived up to that goal but starting now I am going to make a strong effort to blog regularly. Because I have not written anything in nearly two months I am going to write a timeline summary of what I have been up to.
Immediately upon my return from the Olympics I underwent two minor surgeries to take care of some nagging problems. The first operation was to remove a viral infection from my right foot. The photo below illustrates the aftermath, and yes it was extremely painful.
The day after having the virus removed I had a gum grafting procedure. I grind my teeth in my sleep which led to rapid gum recession. An oral surgeon took tissue from the roof of my mouth and grafted it onto three areas of my gum line. Here I am looking like a Chipmunk.
Recovery from the two surgeries was not fun and it took about three weeks until I could do anything. Fortunately there was still good Spring skiing in the east when I got back on my feet. I took this selfie after skinning to the top of Cannon Mountain
Amber took these Pictures of me skiing Tuckerman’s Ravine on Mt Washington.
In Early April I went to Washington DC to visit the White House and met the President and First Lady.
In late April I was the guest of honor at the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) Promise Gala in Washington DC. Here I am posing with a poster of myself.
In May I attended JDRF events in Phoenix, Albany and Detroit and also rode my bike 100 miles in the American Diabetes Association’s Tour De Cure in Minneapolis.
I also found time to take a quick four day vacation with Amber. We flew into Phoenix and drove to Sedona where I got in a few of the best mountain bike rides of my life.
Then we made a stopover at the Grand Canyon on our way to Las Vegas.
Then we saw Guns n Roses perform at the Hardrock Hotel. Use Your Illusion II was the first CD I ever bought and I have been a huge fan since. I was twelve years old when they toured Use Your Illusion so I have never had the chance to se them live. Axl was in top form and hit all his notes.
Amber and I aren’t really into cities but we walked the Vegas strip anyway and ate at a faux Venice restaurant.
When Amber and I returned home it was time to pick up our new Vizsla puppy. We have both always wanted to have a dog but could not adopt one because our schedules were far to busy. I am typically on the road five months a year. Now that Amber lives with me with can share the responsibilities. We named our puppy She-Ra after He-Man’s sister, the Princess of Power.
I have returned to training and my sensations have been good and predictable thus far. The Mt Washington Hill Climb will be my first race since the Olympics on June 22nd.
Over the Weekend I participated in my first ever pond skimming event at Waterville Valley. I was asked to judge the event alongside mogul skier Hannah Kearney.
After watching about 30 spectacular wipeouts and a handful of successful crossings it was my turn to make an attempt. I don’t own any traditional alpine equipment so I used my telemark skis. Use this link to see the video.
Afterwards my parents and I took a picture with the Executive Chief of Waterville Valley, Chris Sununu. He has been a great supporter of me.
Chris came up a few meters short in his skimming attempt but didn’t seem to mind to much.
This weekend I am flying to the JDRF Indiana Promise Ball Fundraiser to benefit Type 1 diabetes research. My girlfriend Amber is coming with me and it should be a lot of fun.
I have not been planning to race the 50k freestyle event tomorrow. However Eric Bjoernson got sick this morning and I was offered his race start. I am far from my best right now. Over the last week I have consulted with our team doctor and several physiologists who all told me that I needed at least three months of rest for my body to properly recover from it’s current state of fatigue. When I was offered the start I asked our doctor for his advice as I do not want to damage my body. He gave me the green light and said “Go for it, this is the Olympics!” So that is what I am going to do, “Go for it.”
I have been flattered and humbled by the supportive letters, emails, and texts that I have received over the last week. I have especially liked getting pictures and notes of Type 1 kids that tell me how my skiing inspires them.
Reading these letters has made my disappointing performances easier to swallow. I have not raced like myself this year. I kept my training volume and intensity very high right through December and expected a huge surge in energy and speed once I cut the training down. The surge never came and I have been increasingly tired as time has gone on. This phenomena is especially frustrating because I executed my training plan exactly as I wanted to. I was never sick, I always responded positively to training, but I was not getting it done on the race tracks.
I trained harder this year than at any other point in my life. Perhaps that is the problem. I am not 25 years old anymore and I will have to adjust my training to allow for more recovery in the future.
I probably skied my last race of this Olympics yesterday. I am clearly far from my best right now and it would be fair to give fresher teammates a chance in the later races.
I have been a hair’s breath from the podium several times in my career. I wish that the publicity surrounding me now had been there for those performances. I want the world to know that diabetes does not have to hinder your performance or dreams and I have always thought that a medal would be a great way to show that. A person with diabetes should look beyond just participating, they should know that they can win too. I want to be clear that I do not believe my subpar performances here were attributable to diabetes. They came from a training plan that did not work for me this season. Many athletes miscalculate their training and become too tired to compete.
Diabetes is part of who I am just as being a four time Olympian is just part of who I am. I will never let my diabetes stop me from pursuing my goals. Being here in Sochi is the experience of a lifetime but I am already looking towards next year’s World Championships in Falun Sweden. The Olympics is awesome but skiing at my best will always be better.