January 6, 2011

Coming Up

My new website is coming up. Keep your eye on PeterKotland.com. It's still in progress, but it's a big office goal to have it done soon.

March 12, 2010

Product Re-test - Optygen HP

I cherish my sponsors, why, because I love the products. Sometimes my athletes must hate me because I push some of the products so hard. I use them, they help me, so I must tell others. However, sometimes I get scared that I use the products to much or too consistently, especially supplements or sports drinks. So I had a conversation with Robert Kunz at First Endurance when I realized I had been taking Optygen HP for the last 4 years non-stop and didn’t know if there were any side effects. Well besides urine the color of green koolaid, that is normal for endurance athletes, right? Robert recommended that once (or twice) a year for a period of 3-4 weeks I not take Optygen HP. I am 10 days in one of those blocks, and WOW, I can tell the difference. For example, while swimming, my hypoxic 5 stroke breathing, is REALLY hard now!!! Also when I go to the TRACK now, I really see different results. I have been doing the same workout last 3 weeks, and I've done this workout in past years. I am seeing heart rates that are way above what I've seen in the past 5 years, on the average it seems to be 10-15 beats per minute difference.

Okay one more Optygen story for now, this is from an athlete who just set a new marathon PR, 2:46:33. Here is what he said, “I don’t remember but I think the morning of this race was the long race (marathon or ironman, and maybe half) that I actually took Optygen the morning of the race. I usually forget to pack it, or take it in the am because I am so nervous. Well I remembered, and it as well as Peter’s workouts seemed to be the secret ingredient to a great race. I stopped to go to the bathroom at mile 12 and I noticed that my legs didn’t feel like I had been running at pace for 12 miles. The biggest difference seemed to be the peaks and valleys you feel in a long race like that seemed to be flatter. I felt strong and fast when I felt good and if I started to feel rough I felt like it just a fence I had to jump not a wall I had to climb. Until my 24 these seemed to be easy to overcome, but nothing is easy to overcome in the last 2.2 of a marathon. Thanks First Endurance for good products.”

February 20, 2010

First Endurance

Slowtwitch.com recently ran a great story about one of my sponsors: FIRST ENDURANCE. An interview with one of the founders Robert Kunz. Personally I've been working w/Robert on developing, testing most of their products for the last 7 years. I got to know Robert personally - what a GREAT guy. Another good thing about their product - they believe in it themselves so. Here is the link: FIRST ENDURANCE.

January 13, 2010

Winter Blues

With crazy cold weather in SC, riding my Beyond road bike outside in freezing temperatures - I've trying to find any motivation I can. This brings old memories, from long time ago - yes over 20 years ago this was my sport.

January 11, 2010

Ultraman Recovery

Before Ultraman when I told people about the race they looked at me like I was crazy, but then again I guess I am crazy. I shared with you faithful readers about my prerace efforts and hopefully that was interesting. However not many people ask about how one feels 2-3 days or even 4 weeks after these kinds of races. People ask me what I wanted to eat when I finished and to be honestly my palette wasn’t craving any great foods, I just wanted to lay down and chase some more gnomes.

The day after the race we went to the awards ceremony, if you think people looks funny the day after an ironman or marathon, you should come to this awards ceremony. Everyone is so sore that people are scared to get close to others because they fear a touch may send their fellow competitors into cramps or spasms that would lead to death, its pretty funny to watch the athletes interact. It’s the fourth day of crewing for the crew as they must help keep the athlete upright while standing or even worse…walking. I think the debilitating factor of Ultraman is the double marathon, on pretty hard asphalt, after 2 days of racing. Also by the third day your body is already confused (I guess that’s what you call it) so you start the run extremely dehydrated. And then the 3rd Day of 6+ hours pounding on the roads makes your muscles flushed from liquid and pretty sore. Don’t you want to sign up now?

However, this year moving around was better than my first ever Ultraman. After that race I didn’t get out of the bed for a week, hell it might have been 2, I don’t remember. No matter what it still hurts really bad after each one. Now you definitely want to register! Of course the flight home didn't help much either. Last year I flew out right after the awards ceremony, not a smart move. This year was I stayed in Kona another 3 days after the race so my legs were not as bloated on the flight home. It took probably 2-3 more days before my walking stride became normal. Of course all this is to be expected after 3 days of pushing the limits during Ultraman.

Now comes the part that nobody talks about and few think about. The weeks after the race are where the recovery gets hard, the glow of the race begins to fade and the soreness declines but your body still isn’t back to 100%. For about 2 weeks all I wanted to do is to sleep. Not being able to focus on things is pretty hard especially since you have to rejoin the regular world. During this phase I really made sure I kept taking the usual supplements such as Multi-V, and Optygen to aid in my recovery. The stress on the body is hard enough that even walking into a room that some body was sick a month ago would put me under, so I had to be careful. The training was light, yes training, what you think I was gonna just do my work and sit around and watch T.V.! I trained to simply keep moving, to not let the body get stiff, to simply aid in blood flow. The problem is I really had no energy for anything, nothing at all, so it was more moving and not really training. My legs, and even cardio system returned to normal after about 3 weeks, but even as of now; 4 weeks later; there are days that my body is empty, and all I can think about is either sleep or a nap. I figure that 1 or 2 more weeks, and hopefully “Peter” will be back to normal the way everybody knows me.

After that – its time to start over again, with the preparation for the Ultraman Worlds 2010!

December 7, 2009

Post Ultraman Race (Editorial)

Last year the Kotland crew used this blog for more than just updating the world on Peter’s performance. In a backward spirit of Aloha they made sure that no ridiculous antics went unmentioned. I would hate to break tradition.
This year the antics started, predictably, with Shanna Armstrong and her crew. Sure she was the women’s world champion, again, and sure Peter has been coaching her for years, but that doesn’t make her exempt. (It probably puts her more in the line of fire really.) Despite the easy going and lighthearted atmosphere we kept around the condo this year, leading up to the race I saw the Ultraman as nothing but a serious endeavor that required nothing but serious attitudes where the race was involved. Johnny showing up in his grass skirt and coconut bra to the swim transition changed all that. Dean, catching sight of this serious looking man in a ridiculous outfit yelled, “Back in uniform again I see Johnny!” The resentful reply came back, “I had to be”. Shanna Armstrong is the best female ultra endurance athlete in the world, but if you want the privilege of crewing for her, you’ll have to put up with any music she wants blasting all day- likely Britney Spears; you’ll have to dance to said music, in your mandatory coconut bra of course. All of this on top of the already taxing job of supporting an Ultraman athlete. There is no shortage of color and character at the Ultraman Race.
At least Shanna’s antics are good natured and well intended. Rip Oldmeadow’s story on the other hand is almost too hot to touch, even here. Details are scarce and I would be walking in murky waters to speculate much, but what is known is that Rip did not seem to be in Hawaii to make new friends. For antics unknown, two of his team members left his support crew emotionally shaken, effectively tearing the lid off a twisted can of worms. After leaving, Rip’s support team confessed to Richard Roll (affectionately known by us as Mr. Hollywood for his glamour shots and impeccable sense of style)
that Rip had talked about, and I am paraphrasing here, emotionally destroying Rich during the race. Apparently Rip didn’t know that one of his disenchanted crew members is a friend of Rich’s, who also happens to be coached by him. I am not sure whether it was that sort of attitude, his series of technical infractions while racing or the cumulative picture of the two that led to his disqualification. Whatever the situation was, having completed all three days of the event and to then not be considered a finisher is certainly punishment enough.
It wasn’t all gloom of course. After all, the entire reason d’ĂȘtre of the Ultraman is to get together a group of people and give them an ultimate challenge while bringing them, in every way possible, to heart and nature of the sport they love. Of course, as is the case with anything that people are passionate about, there are some individuals who stand above all the rest when it comes to expressing their Aloha spirit for the Ultraman. Steve King is one of these people. There are unbelievable views of natural beauty around the island, the race itself is something on a scale illogical, unbelievable and entirely hard to comprehend, and of course I have already told you about Peter’s run in with the frantic garden gnomes. Yet, by far, the most surreal experience I had during this Ultraman weekend was listening to Steve diligently, highly professionally and entirely inexplicably commentating the race over a loud speaker, even though there was usually no one around to listen.

At the first marathon point, Steve had set himself up and was announcing the day’s progress. Dean and I knew that he was taking time splits so Dean decided to go up and ask him how far back Peter was from Miro and Alejandro. But ever the professional, Steve could not interrupt his announcing to answer us immediately- despite the fact that Dean and I were the only two people even close to being within ear shot. The entire scene was taking place in an incredibly remote, miles long straight stretch of desert along the Queen K highway. Sitting there in beautiful nowhere, Steve did eventually give us our answer over the loudspeaker, “And I now have Peter’s time split here, Peter’s crew will probably appreciate this information, he is currently four minutes and fifty seconds behind the leaders, Alexandre Ribeiro and Miro Kregar who are setting and incredible pace.” Nobody can say this race doesn’t have character.
Perhaps one of the most notable ways that the Ultraman goes back to the roots of triathlon, besides being held in the birthplace of the Ironman of course, is that the athletes really are more than just numbers. During the race, nobody even thought about numbers. While each athlete did have one, I don’t think anybody new anybody else’s number- in fact, I couldn’t even tell you Peter’s for sure. The down side to this is that you have to keep track of athletes by their names; the upside of this is that nobody could remember everybody’s name, so nicknames got to be developed on the fly- I have already introduced you to Mr. Hollywood. As another example, during most of stage two Peter was being pursued by a man whose only defining characteristic we knew was that he was from Germany. Thanks to our limited knowledge of him, Jochen Dembeck has been known as “die German” for the entire race. “Peter, you better get climbing, die German is gaining on you.” “Peter, ignore the gnomes, die German is behind you.” (If you find this in any way offensive you may want to know that my nickname is Pecker (a long story that doesn’t involve what you think), Peter’s, who is the ex-Pecker, is now Sparky (also a long inside story which can be summed up by the fact that Peter is definitively not a “Sparky”) and Dean’s is Scuba thanks to an never forgotten incident with some oversized swim goggles.) Of course we weren’t the only ones throwing around nicknames. A fact best explained in a whole different story.

When Peter got up to make his finishers speech at the post race dinner everyone was left reeling a little when he broke the trend of references to spiritual experiences by saying the weekend was a good excuse to act like an asshole to Dean and I and get away with it. Little did they know that Peter was just warming them up for the Ultraman World Champion Alexendre Ribeiro’s speech.

Of course Alexendre included the usual sentiments about it being a great race and he talked about the particular challenges he faced this year and so on. But this national hero of Brazil took it upon himself to elaborate when it came to the details of the third day’s double marathon. As he and Miro ran together he explained, they casually chatted about having to keep up their fast pace because Peter and “the desert guy” were chasing them. Apparently in the middle of their great effort, they had forgotten Mike Leroux’s name but still chose to consider him a serious threat because it was a hot day and Leroux was experienced at running in the desert, and “it’s hot there” as Alexendre liked to make known. So at one point he decided to announce to the crowd that “Miro needed to take a shit, so I thought, o.k good, I can stop to pee while he shits.” (Part of the beauty of this exclamation is the fact that he likely knew no other English word for defecating.) That was not then end of his story though, he still had purpose he was leading towards. Later in the day the tables turned and now Alexendre had to “take a shit.” Only now Miro was not willing to return the favor and wait up during the pit stop because “Peter and the desert guy are coming.” Likely a little distressed that his day’s partner had left him, he was now alone, squatting down next to the road “taking a shit” – a position he reenacted for us on stage – while a stream of cars and the media vans rolled by to watch.
Even though I think I am now completely gossiped out, I can’t end this blog without mentioning that beautiful a moment before the start of the third day during the Hawaiian conk shell ceremony. The Pu ceremony, as it is called here, involves the athletes standing in a circle holding hands while a lone Hawaiian sounds a conk shell and says a Hawaiian prayer. Except for perhaps working in the daycare of a cruise ship or returning to live in a communist country, I can think of nothing so perfectly not Peter than standing in a circle, holding hands around a ritual spiritual ceremony. It was beautiful moment of perfect awkwardness I am not likely to ever forget.
Congratulations to all the athletes and my apologies to anyone whose quirks and blunders failed to make it on this post. I will be back next year, so you’ll get your chance.

November 29, 2009

Stage 3 - Ultraman 52.4 Mile Run

Our morning started with a 4am wake up call at the Hapuna Beach Resort (about 20 miles from the start line for the double marathon). It was another great night of sleep, and after some coffee and cleaning up, we drove to the start line at the Hawi Inn. Peter started the day knowing that he would need to post a 6 hour double marathon to have any shot of winning the championship AND Ribiero would have to crash and burn on his run. BUT, with the world record in his reach, a crash was not out of the question for Ribeiro who might go out hard in order to "bask in the glory." Also, in 4th place, 2 minutes behind Peter was Miro Kregar, who won the double marathon in 2008. In an expected replay of last year, Kregar and Ribiero took off at a blistering pace from the start.It was Peter's plan to let them go and then, hopefully, rope them back in on the second marathon.

The morning temperature was rather warm at 67 degrees and quite humid in Hawi. The gun went off in the pitch dark and the boys went flying by as if they were being chased by the police. The 10k (6.2 mile split) was ridiculous! Kregar and Ribiero at 38 minutes and Peter at 40 minutes. The half marathon (13.1 mile) time for Kregar and Ribiero was 1hr26m and Peter was 2 minutes back at 1hr28min- on pace for a sub three hour marathon. An unbelievable pace when you consider this is a 52.4 mile race. Ryan and I were pacing Peter and providing him with an assortment of hydration including First Endurance EFS (an excellent sports powder), water, red bull, coke, water with NUUNS electrolytes, diluted grapefruit juice, and water with alka seltzer. Most of Peter's calories were liquid however we also had First Endurance gel. We would hand Peter 6oz. gel containers with his liquids in it and he would take down 6oz. at a time. We would run next to Peter (at 6:35 min/mile pace) until he finished and then drop back for a refill.

Peter posted his first marathon in 3hr4min, only 4 minutes behind our friends. A situation almost identical to last years race. The question was whether Peter could repeat his split knowing full well that Kregar and Ribiero would fall off on the 2nd marathon. As we made it through the next several splits, it became apparent that Ribiero and Kregar were pulling away and Peter was struggling and slowing his pace. Over the last 9 miles, we pulled the crew van 1-mile ahead of Peter and waited for him with an assortment of band-aids (i.e. First Endurance powders, gels, grapefruit juice, etc...) to get him enough hydration and energy to push to the finish line. When you run this fast for this long, when the tank goes empty, it goes EMPTY! Unlike last year though, where Peter was dehydrated and sick, this year was mostly leg pain and muscle tightening. The legs just wouldn't turnover like they did earlier. However, he was still running sub-8 minute miles. He was definitely in survival mode on the last 6 miles. However, Peter stuck to the plan, would run a mile, then take in fluids at the car and start back up again. But even stopping to hydrate couldn't keep away the gnomes. With two miles to go, the fast paced, back to back marathons had brought Peter to such levels of dehydration and exhaustion, he began vividly hallucinating a swarm of garden gnomes which scrambled out of the pavement and scurryed away from him.

3 miles remaining, I ran with Peter for most of the way into the finish line. We were pacing very comfortably and more importantly, not stopping. We made the turn with 1-mile to go and Peter found a new pair of legs and started pushing the pace back around 6min30sec pace. Peter teaches all of us to FINISH STRONG, and he practices what he preaches. It was a damned hard pace on fresh legs, no less after 51.2 miles of running. Ryan followed us in the van and then pulled into the airport and joined us for the last 1/2 mile run to the finish line. We all crossed together, and Peter finished the day with a run time of 6hr47min.

Two things we learned after finishing. Alexandre Ribiero started puking with 10 miles to go and Peter gained back 50% of the time on Ribiero in the last 10 miles. Anything can happen on a race this long. If our crash hadn't come first, and we had achieved the six hour double we were looking for, Peter would have won. That time was not in the cards today, but it was a possibility that Peter gave his all to pursue.

There was also one last bit of business waiting for us as Mike LeRoux, an Australian Ultra Athlete (who started the day in 2nd) was staying within range to steal 3rd place from Peter. He was 14 minutes up on Peter going into the run. He crossed 16 minutes later and Peter took 3rd place by only 2 minutes. Had we stopped a few extra times or had Peter not buried the course with everything he had in last few miles, third place would have slipped away to LeRoux. Thankfully, we did not leave with regrets about wasted minutes that could have been avoided in the race. Peter put it all out on the road today and showed why he is one of the elites in the world of ultra endurance sports. Peter was beaten by two men today; men that are national heros in their home countries; men who Peter will dedicate himself and his training to once again rival at the top of the sport.

We have tried to offer blogs to give our followers a real inside look at this sport, and more importantly this event (Ultraman Hawaii). This is one of the worlds toughest races, and those who compete at the level of a Kotland, Ribiero or Kregar are truly special athletes. We are very proud of Peter's performance and are honored to be a part of his team.

Run Results:

1. Miro Kregar (Slovenia) - 6hr20m
2. Alexandre Ribiero (Brazil) - 6hr39m
3. Peter Kotland (USA) - 6hr47m

Overall Race Results:

1. Alexandre Ribiero (Brazil) - 22hr10min12sec
2. Miro Kregar (Slovenia) - 22hr39min14sec
3. Peter Kotland (USA) - 23hr04min56sec