Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Back to the long swims

So at 3am I put my face in the water ... I did not stop until 4:30am. Such is the life I suppose. Swimming is my least favorite of the three. I do not think it is the exercise, or the difficulty I have. I think it is the surroundings.

Here I am trapped in a box filled with noxious gasses, questionable water and even people at such an early hour. I rather like swimming for the mental focus it requires. I like improving. I do NOT like itchy skin, turning at the wall every 25 meters, chlorine smell and boredom. An hour and a half in the pool is still a good workout.

I can't wait to get into some open water work. I am not complaining. Just voicing some thoughts. Ignore me.

The house deal is closed and we have the keys! We are excited. We are going to take it slow and move in gradually. We are going to try and finish up the last bit of "purging and organizing" that we need to do so that we can 'just live'.

I am going to spend this week meeting with contractors, working, teaching, and getting ready for the Desert Classic Duathlon that happens on March 10. Run, Bike, Run!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My 1st Triathlon of 2012

It was early. It was chilly. I wasn't as nervous as I thought.

I socialized a little in the first few minutes I was in transition. It was more than just idle chit chat ... it was fun hanging with a few of my new amigos.

Then I disappeared from the crew. I sank down into lawn chair next to the steamy pool and propped my legs up. It was on. Cold and lonely? Maybe. Focused? Definitely.

I got in the water about 30 minutes prior to my start. I swam, I focused on my stroke. I practiced a few turns at the wall. I watched the others swim. I watched the people who swim much better than I ... and watched the ones that struggled. I remember being the one that struggled. It was not that long ago.

Go time! I hit the water with too much pent-up energy. My stroke was a little short and off time. I settled in after a few lengths. Then the traffic started. I was passing people. People were passing me. The turns at the wall were like a crowded yard sale - sans the awkward pleasantries like "excuse me" "after you". 10:47 - time to bike.

The bike has both transition times attached to it. So I think I did the acctual 12.6 mile bike in about 31 minutes. I pushed pretty hard on the bike. I rode the same distance on this course in July and today I was 3 minutes faster. I will take it. I am not a big fan of the bike course. It is either slightly uphill or slightly downhill in each section of the 3 mile loop. I did NOT get passed on the bike today and passed more than several folks. Total bike time with transitions - 35:50. I get to run now.

I felt really strong on the run today. I usually have a tough time for the first mile. Not today. I attribute that to the fact I have been doing long runs on the brick workout days. I don't think I went as fast as my time shows on the run, but it is more official than my watch. I just kept turning over the legs and going faster. I was passing people everywhere. I think I may have been passed about 4 times total on the run. I usually get passed a bit more than that. Total time - 25:34 - (a 6:25/mile pace)

500 yard swim - 12.6 mile bike - 4 mile run - Total time 1:12:13. 1st place out of 10 in the 35-39 age group. I was 20th overall out of 95. It was fun to watch the ASU triathlon team, but they took up some space at the top of the overall.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Busy week ... good timing

So after three weeks of fairly intense mileage and hours ... I took this week a bit easier. It was good timing. Between teaching classes, running errands, working, training some and closing on the new house - I still had to choose my time wisely.

Monday and Tuesday were my typical output - training-wise. Wednesday I took my first day off in over 20 days. We went to the Suns game for Murray State alumni appreciation night. We learned that there are roughly 190 Murray State alums living in Phoenix. Only a few of us showed up for the game.

Thursday I had my second Lactate threshold test for the swim. I swam the 1000 meters in 20:54. Unlike the last time I did the swim test, I hopped out of the pool and jumped on the treadmill for a 4 mile sprint on an incline. I ran the 4 miler in 28 minutes. I held 10 miles an hour for a half mile and then 11.2 miles per hour for the last .25. I guess I almost did Lactate threshold for the run too. :-)

Last night I had a deep tissue massage. My back, neck and calves were all jacked up. I felt good this morning. I resisted the temptation to go the gym. This rest week will pay off for me as I slide into another 3 week build phase on Monday.

The new Kestrel bike frame is built up to the point where they need to me size the fork for me. I can't wait until it's built. I will post photos.

Tomorrow I will ride a quick sprint ride and maybe jog a bit just to do some system checks. I have chores, packing and work to catch up on.

I get to race Sunday! The first triathlon of the year - and the first one since December 3rd. I will be a little nervous.

Monday, February 20, 2012

New Personal Best over the weekend

I had a great weekend.

For 15 hours of it ... I slept. On Saturday - except for two brief bathroom breaks I slept hard! For all of my ability to recollect memories, I cannot recall a time in my entire life where I slept more. Even the dog made fun of me for sleeping so much and he sleeps almost all the time.

Saturday morning's riding session was great. 6000 feet of climbing on the simulated St George course. Thanks to Joe at Sonic Fitness, I had a great ride. I welcome the challenge of the 140.6 on that course. That said, I still have two more months to train. I just have to stay focused and free from injury.

Yesterday I did a 20 mile "sprintish" ride + an 8 mile run + a 5 mile walk to cool down. I had a "decent" run on Thursday which left me a little underwhelmed. Yesterday, my wheels returned and had a good solid run with declining splits throughout the 8 miles. I finished off the run with a 7:20 mile. 8 miles in 1:01ish. I will take that for a brick run.

This week. A little less time spent ... but a lot more intensity. Happiest of Monday's to you.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Faster in the water - energy reserves at about 3% this morning

Yeah sure, I had a fastish swim this morning despite the fact that I was running on almost empty. The third build week is about to close and while I have experienced much success it is time for a break.

I have two more training days to go this week. Tomorrow I am simulating the St George bike course on the CompuTrainer at Sonic Fitness. I am scheduled for a 95 miler for my long ride this week. We will see how it goes. I have committed to Carrie that she and I will ride tomorrow too. I NEED to do both of those rides. I need to "food up" today and tonight to make sure that I have maximum glycogen load for tomorrow. This is a good test of my fitness.

Another good test of my fitness comes early Sunday morning. I have my long run. I am going to get out at Oh Dark 30 and get it done. Then I can maximize some rest time prior to hitting it hard again on Monday evening.

My first triathlon of 2012 is on February 26th. The JCC sprint. 500yd swim, 12.6 mile bike and a 4 mile run. An ecclectic mix of distances. It will be a good test of my new swimming and running capabilities. Therefore, much of next week's adventures will be focused on shorter distance and speed ... so my total time of workout will be reduced. I also have a Lactate Threshold test of my swimming. I have not yet decided when I will do that work.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Working hard - efforts are paying dividends

Every week is a revelation. Every day is a revelation for that matter. I am learning to take things in stride - good, bad, or indifferent. I suspect many folks that train up for a 140.6 have "fits of metaphor" during the journey. For me, I think I have already accomplished what I want from the quest. I think I just wanted to grow up a little bit more and gain some perspectives on fitness, diet, routine, and individuality.

I have grown to respect situations of close friends and family that have much more to bear. It's not that I feel pity for their lot in life because both they and I would resent me for that stance. I think it is the strength I see in a few folks that drive me to lead my individual existence in a more "adult appropriate" fashion. I became somewhat of a grown-up around 2004. At 31, I think it may have taken me a little longer than most to become who I am. Now, nearly eight years later I can pinpoint life events that have instantiated change (good or bad). This Ironman journey is a GIANT yellow brick in my life road.

Speaking of bricks [applause for the segue] ... I had four workouts yesterday. I started the day at my friend and mentor Dan's spin class. It was tough. I have done five or six spin classes with Dan and yesterday was about the toughest. At lunch, I swam a 500m sprint with an 800m cooldown. Last night we hit the gym for a Penny Bailey spin session. It was also a tough ride. Immediately after that spin session, Carrie and I jumped back in the pool and each knocked out a good swim session. Carrie did the 2x drill while I worked on L1 and L2 endurance swimming for 1300m.

And yes, Killer Tuesday was indeed killer. I lifted weights, did spin and then yoga to follow up. I did not sleep well Wednesday morning ... so I was up from 1:30am on Wednesday until about 10:00pm. I slept fine last night. I guess I should have with all the training. :-)

What is on tap? A new day ... "Therapy Thursday". A weight lifting session, followed by yoga and then a 13.1 mile run. On Friday morning I have to do my long swim for the week. It is a full 4000m. It will take me forever ... I just need to work on staying focused.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Been a while - I'm still here

Wow! Those four days completely slipped by me. I am noticing a trend. Time is fast forwarded for me right now. At the same time, the movement around me is slow and methodical. My focus is high ... not just on training, but everything.

On Friday I had my longish swim. It went well. I believe it was my longest swim to date. We walked Friday evening. The weather is awesome in the desert this time of year.

On Saturday, I rode 40 miles and came back to the house. Then Carrie and I went back out for another 32 miles. We also walked that evening. In between workouts, we went to a "home show" facility. It was sort of neat.

On Sunday, I did a run/bike/run brick workout. I ran a 5k, then rode 32 miles, and then ran another 7.5 miles. Total time - 2hr 49min. I am content with that. It was a good workout. I had declining splits at each mile on the second run workout. A couple more of those bricks and I will be ready for the Desert Classic Duathlon on March 10th.

Enter Build Week #3. Let's do this.

Yesterday was a great start to the week. We hit the gym for spin class at 5:30. At 6:30 we did yoga. At 7:30 we hit the pool for a 2000m swim. A very good Monday indeed.

Today is killer Tuesday! I never know what I am going to get in spin class ... but I do know the effort I am going to give.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Volume and Intensity Increases

So "killer Tuesday" fit her moniker this week. 4+ hours of training. Two intense cycling classes ... nearly 2 miles in the pool ... 45 minutes of weight lifting and an hour of yoga. That used to be a good week of working out. It makes me smile.

In yesterday's morning session I swam a relaxed 1000m in about 21 minutes. Then I biked 12+ miles in 32 minutes and topped it off with a 1 mile treadmill test of my running. I cleared myself for take off. After work, Carrie, Baron, and I did some hiking over in the McDowell mountains. We arrived home around dark. Baron and I suited up for a run. I took him with me to about mile four and then Carrie met us at the park to retrieve him and they walked home. I ran another four miles and it felt good.

I had intentions of training this morning. I woke at a little before 4am. I did a few chores around the house (dishes, cleaning, etc.) and realized that my upper back and shoulders were a bit sore and constricted. I cancelled my morning swim. I will do the long swim in the morning. This is my first day off since January 27th ... so it is probably about due.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wow - time is flying by

It's February 7th? Wow. That means it is less than three months until St. George. I am in the phase where every workout MUST count. In fact, every workout must be the correct intensity level.

It is less about the mileage or time than it is about the practice and preparation. It is about building the muscle and tissue strength that I need to endure 140.6. It is about the nutrition. It is about the science. It is about the support from my family and close friends. I guess it is about everything and nothing at the same time. I mean, really? I am going to go out and "exercise" for half a day straight. Better still, I am PAYING a corporate machine a nice chunk of change to do it. Unless it is YOU doing it ... does anyone else really care? It's okay if people don't care. I care. It has brought me a much needed change in my life.

Looking back to January of 2011 and the decision to start this new push to "be in shape" I started the journey for the WRONG reasons. The good news is I did start the journey. Then about two months into it, I was hitting the infamous wall that I always hit. Timing is everything. The company health assessment happened in early March. I had been working out and eating better. I was still 210+ with a 42 inch waist and high blood pressure.

The definition of psychosis is NOT "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results" - but I do like this statement. I made a change. I buried the know-it-all and I asked for help. My two best decisions in that phase were to get a good nutritionist and to start a routine. As soon as I asked for assistance things began to change. I followed the rules very closely. So closely that I earned the nickname "robot" over the summer.

I still have MUCH more to learn. I am so open to trying new exercise and experimenting with fitness and nutritional ideas that everything is valid until I prove it otherwise via my own trials. This goes SO FAR beyond triathlon. This is a lifestyle that I will adapt for the remainder of my time.

Oh yeah - and this morning I was in the pool at Oh-dark:thirty. It makes me laugh to think that as recently as September of 2011 I could not really swim 100m in the pool without a long break. Today I swam for an hour with only one 60 second break to adjust my goggles and get a drink. Unbelievable. The best part of this workout was that I went into spin class where they were doing a sprint workout and got in about 50 minutes of cycling after nearly 3000m in the pool. SOLID!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Good week - better weekend

So Build week #1 went really well. I completed over 17 hours of training this week. I had four really productive swim workouts. I was on the bike six out of seven days. I walked a whole heap to try and recover more quickly from the 13.1 from last weekend. I did do a nice 8.5 mile trail run today after a spin session on the bike.

The walking is staying in the system. It is good for the dog. It is good for a cool down.

We also cleaned up around the house and continued to pack for the pending move. The excitement is building for the move. We are ready. Someone should warn the new neighbors.

Build week #2 promises to be even more work. I am ready for the challenge. I think I will be healthy and recovered completely by the end of the week.

I am also starting to build into my first sprint triathlon of the season ... and I also have an A race around the corner in the form of the Desert Classic Duathlon. One calendar year after the race that really ignited all this madness and I am ready to compare my performance. Granted - the distances of the Duathlon are different from last year, but I should be able to compare how I feel and the paces.

Friday, February 3, 2012

It is already February.

... and then I looked up and it was February.

What just happened? January disappeared. I didn't even get a chance to accidentally type or write "2011" on any forms.

I suppose being busy is a good thing. It keeps me out of trouble, right?

The training since the half marathon has gone surprisingly well. This week signified the beginning of my first build phase. I have taken the challenge. I have pushed the intensity this week in my swim and cycle workouts. This week will end up as the biggest training week since the weeks leading up to the 70.3 in October. The big difference now is that I am doing more mileage and while I am tired it is not an all out fatigue like I had in the last build week prior to the SOMA race.

I did do a brief jog on the treadmill this morning. It is true what they say ... (they being the triathlon training experts) it takes a little while to recover from a well-executed half marathon. My calves can attest to this recovery process. Funny enough, the first few days of soreness were in my quads and hamstrings. That soreness was mild. The calf soreness is a bit north of mild. I'll live.

I have an 85 mile bike ride tomorrow and an 8.5 mile trail run on Sunday. I will probably get in another longish swim too.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Happy Birthday to Carrie

How lucky am I to have a wife ... not to mention a wife that is awesome. In fact, one of my friends asked me the other day ..."What are you trying to prove? You have already won." He is correct and wise beyond his years.

Without Carrie and Baron I would be wandering around trying to figure out what to do and how to do it. At least I am willing to admit it.

I love my wife.


I have trained fairly hard since the half marathon ... logging over seven hours of workouts since Monday morning. I was wiped out this morning. It is a good thing that I had a planned rest day in the middle of the week.

I had a strong January despite the foot problem. I ran over 70 miles, swam over 14 miles and biked almost 500 miles. That totals a little over 50 hours of training for the month. It is a bit light from where I should be, but I did not want to increase the time so much from December that I would over train. February is a shorter month, but my mileage and training hours will be even greater. I admit that part of the fun of the triathlon journey is keeping track of the statistics and analyzing the trends.