Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Beautiful Rain

So, after complaining about the heat and how miserable it's been I received a wonderful reprieve on Saturday in the form of rain. A lot of rain. The plan was to ride 50 and run 10, and to do them both at race pace. The overcast morning didn't give me too much hope as I had seen the same thing the prior week. The sun eventually had burned off any cloud cover that we'd had. We'll this week the clouds stuck around. I started to get rained on a little around mile 16. It was intermittent and really wasn't an issue. I was alone and could stay in my aerobars while I kept my planned pace. At mile 21, the clouds started looking a bit ominous so I decided to turn around and see if I couldn't avoid the storm. Nope. It hit quickly and hard. The streets quickly flooded and as I made it through a small downtown area, the water came in too fast to be drained so I found myself riding through 4-5 inches of water. My feet were in the water at the bottom of each peddle stroke. Cars slowly rolled by with their mouths open in disbelief that someone could be so stupid to be riding in this mess. I was just glad that they saw me which was my biggest concern. Despite the heavy rains I came in just under my planned pace goal. Legs still felt good and the rain had slowed to a more gentle shower. That was a good thing because it was time to run.
I'm not sure if it was the cooler temps or the slower paced bike, but I had legs unlike I'd had in a while. I cruised along the streets running through puddle after puddle. Looking for swollen streams and runoff from driveways. The cool waters felt great on my feet which were pretty comfortable in my water squeegeeing K-Onas. They absolutely rocked.
I ended the 10 mile run almost as strong as when I started. It was the best run I've had in a while.
It's recovery week time. I'm sleeping in a little later and resting up. Life is good.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Blam! It's Hot!

I've exhibited basically all of the characteristics of the absentee blogger this summer. Really I should only characterize myself as a blog reader rather than a blogger. My posts are basically crap compared to the well thought out works I read on a daily basis. So thanks to all of you for keeping up your end of the bargain while I soak in your words and your funny stories.
This is my last week of before a recovery week, which will kick off my final big push before race day (Sept 26th). I've stayed consistent in my training which I'm very proud of, but I'm still left wanting a big on the run. You need to note that I'm in Birmingham, AL where the heat index is 93 at midnight. So even though I'm starting my longer bricks at 5:30 in the morning, I'm working through some incredible temperatures that is draining every single ounce of liquid possible from my body. I've been on top of my hydration, and I've yet to experience cramping. My biggest issue has been fighting battle between being constantly thirsty and consuming more liquid than my stomach can process. I thought that it might be easily solved by cutting back on the gatorade and adding more water. Not so much. I'm still finding myself having a belly full of water on the run. While I don't feel sick, it feels like if I just threw up I'd feel a lot better. So what's a guy to do? HTFU? Underhydrate (NO!) Maybe a little fluid moderation combined with a little HTFU. Everyone could use a little HTFU anyway right?
So back to the run. I would say that with consistent focused training and on the right day, I can run well enough to qualify for Boston. Whether or not I could pull it off or not, I wanted to give you an indication of where I am at my best. Except for now. I seem to have wandered over into the "hey, I just completed my first 5K category." It really feels that slow. I went out for a hard 6 mile run the other day and to my horror discovered that I had only barely averaged a sub 8 minute mile. What the hell? While I wasn't killing it, I felt like I was pushing myself. Maybe it wasn't my day. Maybe I'm feeling the effects of tired legs. Or maybe I'm just that slow.
So this next week (rest week), I will rest. I will swim long and slow and rest. But! Come week 1 of the big push, speed will be the name of the game. I've worked to hard to finish this race satisfied with just finishing. I want to wake up in the med tent with a bust chin from hitting the asphalt at the finish line. I want to know that I worked as hard as I could and ran my race (as smartly and) as hard as I could.
No regrets.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Humidity: A study of things that suck

I love summer. I love it. I love the longer days, the sun tans, the outdoor activities, trips to the beach. You name it, but what is really taking it out of me right now is this God-awful humidity. Temps in B'ham have been relatively mild, upper 80's and low 90's. Not bad, but with the humidity being what it is, fall and winter don't look that bad any more. For example, I went home last night and took my wife and daughter out for a walk. It was around 5:45 or so. Temp was 88, but the heat index was 99! There was no wind to speak of either. Not even a warm breeze.
Now the walk was tolerable, but let's now take that to triathlon. Being one that sweats easily anyway, the humidity is drawing fluid out of my system faster than I can replace it. I run with a fuel belt that allows me to carry two small bottles of fluid with me to help, but these last around 5 miles. Either I'm going to have to HTFU and start running with 4 bottles or I'm going to have to keep running into convenience stores to buy a drink during my run. I never mind the break, but the last I checked, they don't allow breaks during a race.
So far, majority of my training is done pre-work during the week so the temps aren't so bad and I'm able to rehydrate through out the day thanks to the work-sponsored bottles of Powerade Zero. Between that and green tea, I'm keeping our supplier busy.
This week is the 1/2 IM training race. As mentioned before, I'll be going in with tired legs per the plan. I'm interested to see how I will do especially with pacing and race planning. It's always a good idea to have a well developed race plan for nutrition and pacing. This weekend will help me determine what my limiters are and where I need to do some work. I'm going to bet that it's on the run, but hopefully a smart pace on the bike, will enable me to finish strong.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Getting Stronger and Sweating

If you haven't noticed, it's hot outside. Being in Alabama I'm reminded of that every time that I crack open a window or look at my power bill. Running the A/C is expensive, but oh so worth it. I was served with a hot steamy notice of Alabama heat and humidity this morning at 4:50 when I stepped outside and started sweating immediately. I hadn't even begun to strap on my Sidi cycling shoes or even push the first pedal.
Thursday morning is my day for being on the trainer. It's the best option for me in getting in a good steady ride before work without having to waste a lot of time getting out to open roads. My trainer is set up in my garage which is separate from the house and without any climate control unless you count the two windows and a stationary fan that blows in my general direction. I'm currently watching Season 4 of the 24 series. Jack Bauer is at it again and this time, not THIS time, all gloves are off. It seems that every season Jack goes rogue and does something that is supposed to shock us all, but it's only par for the course for Agent Bauer at this point. Any way, it's a great series to watch while on the trainer because something is always happening.
I'm really starting to see some gains in strength since the beginning of the year. I've got to tell you my body has really adapted well to the LSD verses the short fast and hard work that I started out with. This morning's workout involved 30 minutes of steady work, 2 X 12 minutes of out of the saddle climbing with 5 minutes of rest between, and then another 25 minutes or so of steady work. The floor was totally drenched with sweat, and I was done. Jack Bauer couldn't have come up with a more grueling act of torture.
No crazy news of speak of other than that. Life right now is good. I'm getting good mileage in on all three sports and each are coming along nicely. I have a race simulation coming up in a week and a half. Looking forward to putting all three together to see how I'm progressing. Lots of work to do before then as this week's schedule seems to be grueling. I won't have the freshest of legs for the simulation, but that's not the real point of it all.
Tailwinds to all...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Great Training Weekend

This weekend Dr. Nitrous and The Zoomer and I took off at the way too early hour of 5:30 am for a 3 hour ride. The route would be fairly easy for the first 30 miles, but then the climbing would commence and continue for the next ten. Since coming off of the chest cold and trying to recover for the last 3-4 weeks I was a little anxious to see how my energy would hold up. While we didn't go out and try to kill ourselves on any part of the ride, we did keep it brisk. Being in Alabama, we did have the luxury of a very muggy and sticky weather forecast, but there was enough cloud cover to keep most of the heat off. Once we made it through the final climbs of the day, I was overjoyed in the fact that I still had good legs and felt like I could have kept going. This is a first in a long time. Zoomer and I took off for an easy 3 mile run afterwards to stretch out the legs. It feels so good to be going long again.
Today, the legs were a little heavy, but I was able to put in 11 miles on the run. The big goal for me was to keep the HR in the 150 range. I ended up averaging 155 which I think might be the perfect zone for racing. Now, I've got to work on dropping my pace while keeping my HR in that zone.
Also key for me this weekend was being able to recover well after each training session. I took in good calories and took ice baths to help the legs recover.
I'm not sure how I can explain it. Maybe the LSD (long slow distance) just suits me over the balls to the wall hypoxic training I'd been doing. 14 weeks to go until Augusta. Can't wait, but I don't want it to get here too soon. I'm having too much fun preparing for it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Race Planning - Going Long Again

I've had a change of heart. After a few months of training specifically for the shorter distance races, I discovered that my heart just isn't in it. There just doesn't seem to be a big drive for me to compete in the hour plus races. So, I decided this past week to scrap the season and pick up Augusta 70.3. It's my first sanctioned HIM since 2007. Last year was all about the IM with one training HIM thrown in for giggles, but it was completed at IM pace. I have 15 weeks to get my legs and lungs into shape. It shouldn't take too long, but I'm starting with a bit of a disadvantage. Three weeks ago I took on a massive chest cold that has seemed to zap my ability to maintain a high HR. I'm still dealing with some of those issues, so until I can right the ship in that area I'll be completing a lot of slow long distance workouts. I'm actually looking forward to that.
So I officially started 70.3 training yesterday with a 10 mile mid morning run. The plan was to incorporate the IM Talk/John Newsom plan which is the 9 minutes on and 1 minute off. The 9 minutes on are run at a faster pace than you normally would run your 1/2 Mary. The 1 minute rest is there to give your HR a chance to recover. Their studies have shown that you will actually run faster and have better legs toward the end than if you had set out at one consistent pace. The hardest thing about it for me was getting into a rhythm. I seemed to be too concerned with when my 9 minutes were going to be up. It did take a little of the enjoyment out of the run. I'll keep giving it a try and see if it improves.
This morning was my first 1.2 mile swim in several months. I was very pleased with the results and time. I was spot on for where I want to be come September. I was very encouraged by that. Going forward any extra fitness earned in the pool is just icing on the cake.

That's all for now. Tailwinds to all.