Friday, March 30, 2012

I have chosen another goal and it requires completely different training,

I was sitting in traffic this morning on the way to work when a thought hit me.

After St. George, you will need another goal. You will need something else to accomplish. I want my post 140.6 endeavor to be a bit less time consuming.

This one seems really petty. Petty or not, it is something I have always wanted to be able to do. At 5'10", 185 lbs., and 38.5 years old I want to finally dunk a basketball on a 10' hoop with a normal size basketball. There are a ton of "guaranteed" workouts that I can buy that will increase my vertical leap and explosiveness. My challenge will not just be the dunking ... but also figuring out the training program I need to get there. Suffice to say this training will NOT involve endurance. It will be all out effort with short explosive movements. I think it will be a good compliment to the base I will maintain from triathlon. That's right. Time to work some fast twitch type 2b muscle fibers. There. I wrote it down. I will build the plan and then execute. I will have more on that later.

Bike maintenance Friday! I swam 1500m, biked a quick 12 and jogged a mile before I started working on the bikes. I am going to give the Spinergys one more try on the Kestrel. At last check they were the cause of the creaking. If it creaks on tomorrow's ride, I will have to send them back to Spinergy to figure out what is going on to cause the creaking. I moved the Speedfill from the TT bike to the Kestrel and added a new length of hose for better drinking access. Then I had to adjust the rear derailleur to account for the slightly different cassette on the Spinergy wheel. I also changed out two tires. At the end of this whole thing, I will be somewhat competent with bicycle maintenance, fitting and repair.

This weekend should be fun and probably a little tiring. Two longish bike rides, an open water swim and a long run are on the training plan. Couple those with house chores, grading student papers, two new web site releases, a Kentucky vs. Louisville basketball game and I'll have my hands full!


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ups and downs of training -

So yesterday I was a little spooked about my calf soreness during a treadmill jaunt. Rather than completely wig out ... I took a deep breath and did a very difficult thing for me. I shut the treadmill down at 3.1 miles. I had planned on a 7:30 pace 6.25 miles. I then walked over to the foam rollers and rolled the calves until I got bored with it.

This morning I woke at 3:30. I had intended to crush about 40 or 50 miles on the bike before work. I got out the door around 4:30 or so after a breakfast and some zombie-like pacing.

Things were going pretty well. It was a little chilly so I took care of that by pushing the pace. I was headed north, which is slightly uphill from the house but I was still rolling out at around 20mph. Around mile 8 or so I heard the famous pop and violent hiss. Yep, a flat on a training ride. This time, I stayed calm. Usually I fume and stomp around. I worked through the flat change, adjusted the bike back to normal and headed back toward the house. Since I was without a spare tube I did not think it wise to head off into the remote parts of the valley at such an hour. Carrie would not be a huge fan if I woke her to come get me. :-)

Am I growing up? Maybe a little. I rolled with the punches after a couple of BLAH workouts during a time where every workout counts.

I decided to take my training bag with me to work and see if I had time to do some training during lunch. It turns out that a meeting was cancelled! Perfect. I am outta here. The gym workout was a little under and hour, but the intensity was through the roof and the run on the treadmill was calf issue-free.

Frankie says Relax!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Feel strong - feeling more relaxed - egocentric monster?

I was more anxious a few months ago than I am now. I think the little angst I had was more about not knowing if I could manage to get through the training and get through it without major injury.

I don't really like how self-centered I sound right now. This whole endeavor is one of selfishness. This is not new information. It's just the fact that I am now staring that egocentric condition square in the eyeballs that it makes me hyper-aware. The good news is that I am a bit selfish by nature, so I am equipped to handle the load.

Am I a machine/robot? No. Am I an animal? Not anymore than anyone else that pursues this journey. Am I focused? You bet. Most of all, I have learned what it REALLY means to push myself.

I really anticipated that this past weekend would do me in for at least a day or two this week. Actually, the opposite happened. I went to spin last night and crushed about 25 miles in a little over an hour. At times, I was riding the spin bike with the maximum load while staying in the saddle ... for minutes at a time. This is not a big deal to some people, but year over year this is a vast improvement for me.

I can't say enough about Yoga. I am so rigid by nature that a Yoga practice will be part of my life going forward. It is so awesome.

This morning, I spent 1hr. 29min in the pool. Good enough for 4500 yards of swimming. Am I swimming at a blinding pace? Nope. Will I make the cut off at St. George? With that pace, most certainly.

Domo arigato from 'Mr. Roboto'

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Long, slow, and useful training

Good stuff. All systems are still go.

I zombied out of bed at 3:06am yesterday. I ate some breakfast, made some coffee and chased it with extra water. The weather was a bit chilly until sunup. I sat in the saddle and pedaled for 5hr and 20 min. 100 miles and between 5400 and 5600 feet of vertical climbing. I toured Phoenix, Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, Cave Creek and Carefree on my way back home. I saw countless critters including a cool looking spike buck. The sunrise over 4 Peaks was awesome (because I was already pedaling up the hills over there when the sun rose.)

Today was a bit different. I slept until 5:00am. About 5:45 I headed out on a 18 mile run with 6 GU packs and a water bottle. Well, it turns out that I actually brought 2 GU packs and ate one of them when I started. I figured that out at mile 7 when it was time to hit my next fuel. Crap! I have one GU pack and I am 11 miles from the end of the run. CONSERVE.

No worries. I felt good. My new Newtons (The Sir Issac Model) were protecting my feet quite nicely. I was a bit hesitant to take them on such a long run - but not anymore. These shoes are the best that I have felt in quite a few months. I will run in them at St. George.

At mile 11 - the plan was to run the two miles up to the park on Paradise Lane and refill my water. At mile 12 I realized that the park was not as close as I thought. In my defense, this was my first outdoor run since moving to the new place - but that is a really poor excuse. I kept going. I was almost out of water. The water stop still had to happen. At mile 14.5 I finally refilled the water. I was 6.5 miles from home. I had one GU. I ate it.

Remind me to tell the story about the hard candy.

So my 18 mile run with 6 GUs turned into a 21 mile run with 2 GUs. I made it. I kept my heart rate under control and worked through it. Turned out to be a good run. I was still about an 8:30 per mile average.

Have a great Monday.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Good training week - looking forward to the weekend for many reasons

Hello again.

Just a short update today. All systems are still "go". This is the first week I have felt "strong" in about a month. That is probably because I no longer have the sinus infection and I made a slight tweak to my food intake.

After Wednesday afternoon's outdoor cycle went so well, I decided to follow it up with two hours on the spin bike yesterday morning. Today I swam 3000yd in about an hour which is good output for me. Relaxing is the key.

Slight sidebar. I have been fortunate enough to swim next to this dude at the gym on several occasions this year. We have never spoken. We are both in the pool to get it done and get out. Although, it seems he swims as his only mode of exercise. Nothing wrong with that. What I have noticed though is: A) He is MUCH faster than me in the water. B) He uses all the gadgets (paddles, fins, buoy etc.) C) He has a very much "windmill" arm motion - with arms straight and vertical overhead during the stroke. D) He is super aggressive with the water. E) His flip turns are good F) He slaps and splashes like crazy. Since we have never spoken, I have named him "Splashy McSlapwater". He and I must look hilarious in the lanes next to one another due to our vastly differing styles. That and he laps me fairly frequently. In my defense, I am usually in the water 30 minutes before he arrives and am still there when he is done.

Anyway, happy Friday!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What a week ... and it's only Wednesday

Busy at work. Check.

Busy outside of work (still moving in). Check.

Busy teaching. Check.

Busy training. Check.

Enjoying all of these. Check.

What am I crazy? Check.

Swim, bike, run. Repeat. I have quite nearly simulated an Olympic distance triathlon three days in a row. That was not my intent. I was just training. It just sort of happened. I have not had this strong of a week in about three or four weeks.

Just. Be. Careful.

Do the training and stay injury free. Go into Ironman St. George (still fun to type the whole thing) as ready as possible without being beat-down, sick or otherwise hurt.

Here's to intensity coupled with mileage.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Crazy March weather in Arizona

I like the weather in Phoenix for about 7 months out of the year. This weekend was fun in a different sort of way. The winterish weather was a good change of pace. The high winds, the sleet, the rain and the training went together pretty well.

My first open water swim of the year was very nice. The current water temperature at Bartlett Lake is pretty similiar to the average May water temperature to St. George's Sand Hollow Resevoir. I swam a little over a mile in the choppy Bartlett water and then ran up to the parking lot and grabbed the bike for some steady and methodical hill climbing on the bike.

I must be rough on my bike equipment. I mean I always had to roll the heaviest mountain bikes due to my uncanny ability to break things. I am running into a similar issue with my road bikes now. Perhaps I expect too much. Perhaps I am riding incorrectly. I will figure it out.

As of last week, I had committed to the TT bike at St George. After this weekend in the wind and steeps at Bartlett lake, I realized I had better give the Kestrel one more shot.

I spent much of Sunday afternoon riding the Kestrel on the trainer. I managed to ride some intervals and get the bike dialed in to my liking all at the same time. Overall, it was a 2.5 hour effort for about 50ish miles - with ocassional stops to adjust a bar or seat position. I can now ride comfortably in aero on the Kestrel without figiditing for about an hour solid before I have to sit up. I have struggled to do more than 20 minutes on the TT bike while on the trainer. This is a promising step. Now I need to decide if I am going to move the SpeedFill water resevoir over to the roadie. I have gotten accustomed to not using the bottles.

This morning I hit the gym at 5am (because that is the opening time on Mondays). I swam a VERY comfortable and relaxed 1400m in about 29 minutes. This was one of my better swims to date. I rather like swimming now. I still strongly prefer open water swimming though.

After the swim I ran a very relaxed 5 miles on the treadmill. I wore the wrong socks ... I guess. I now own a wee bit of a hot spot on one of my smaller toes on my left foot. Time to ditch those socks. I can't roll thin socks. I need thicker - which sucks for heat. I will take hot feet over blistered feet any day though.

More later.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy Friday

I slept in this morning. 4:30am rather than 3:40! It was awesome. Then I sat on the TT bike and trainer for about two hours. Again, this was awesome. At lunch I swam and ran. I like doing that. It breaks up the work day.

I think I have fixed all my bike issues for the time being. I just need to fixate on getting fully integrated with the TT bike because she and I are riding St George. I would love to ride my roadie on that course, but there are too many issues to work out with that bike (fit and equipment). The bike is serving me well. I have adjusted to the positioning and have adjusted my riding style to its lack of nimbleness.

This weekend is a HUGE training weekend. I am beginning the final push into IM St. George. Big mileage. Bigger intensity. I am going to find out what I am made of over the next 5 or 6 weeks. I have said it before; time is literally flying by but the objects around me are in slow motion.

I have my one year anniversary meeting with my nutritionist Ben Brown this afternoon. My how things have changed. I do not care about the numbers. I know I am so much better off than I was a year ago health wise that numbers (while they are proof of the effort) are irrelevant.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Back in the drink ... with intent

So I swam quite a bit in January and February. In March I intend to double my swim frequency while working on form. I swam long swims in the prior months. I will still swim my long swim each week ... but will now just have one long session per week rather than two or three.

I have been fairly run-focused lately. I do not want to lose the run fitness I have built. In fact, I want to continue to build upon it. I rather enjoy running nowadays. I think the new level of run fitness is helping me in the swim.

I am headed up to Bartlett Lake this weekend for some open water goodness followed by some hill training on the bike. I will do a bike/run brick on Sunday afternoon.

Full steam ahead toward the maRquee Olympic distance race on April 15th.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Training, Racing, Moving Furniture - Shaking things up!

Thursday of last week was one of those workouts that I will remember for a while. The training was good. I was doing a bike/run/bike brick workout. 5 mile run, 20 mile bike, 5 mile run. The intensity level was exactly where it needed to be ... the Palo Verde limb that nailed me in the side of the head was NOT where it was supposed to be. A 2 inch diameter limb with blunt force at 22mph was darn near enough to take me off the bike. I have no cuts or bruises to prove it ... but the right side of my face was numb for about an hour afterwards and my eye is still a bit sore. It was about 4:45 am and my headlight and headlamp were not shining in the correct spot to catch the limb. I had zero warning. I guess it was a good thing that my helmet took some of the blow. I finished the ride - and then ran 5 miles afterwards.

I rested on Friday to prepare for the Desert Classic Duathlon.

3.75 mile trail run - 25:35 - (some climbing)
Transition - 51 seconds
30 mile bike - 1:31:27 (1500 feet of climbing)
Transition - 1:01
3.75 mile trail run - 34:25 (very steep in sections)

Total time ---- 2:32:16

I was 47th overall out of 227. 42nd amongst the fellows out of 150. 9th in the 35-39 age group out of 23. This race draws some very fast people.

I was targeting 2:15 to 2:26. I missed that target by a bit. Guess what? I am okay with it. In fact, I underestimated the course so much that I am THRILLED with my time. Fact - the overall non-pro winner was 2:11.

Yesterday we spent no less than 14 hours on our feet - moving things, cleaning things - making things dirty. All a part of getting back into home ownership. Baron the dog loves his new grassy back yard. Now if he would just learn to cut the grass.

This morning - I shook out the cob webs and hit the pool for a quick 1200 m swim. I actually felt pretty decent in the water. My shoulders were a bit tight from the duathlon (the trail run and the bike course are very rough) I think all of my 100 m splits were at or faster than 2:20 ... and my effort level was a bit lower than normal. After that I went and hit the spin bike for some sprint work. My goal was to ride 8 miles as fast as I could. 20 minutes and 32 seconds. My quads were a little sore before that bike ride. That soreness is gone.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mixing things up

So this week I am getting in good workout duration - while getting a different mix of activities. I really like taking heavy things and moving them back and forth to ultimately put them in the exact same place. (Sorry - weight lifting just sounded boring).

Along with some weight training, I am getting some work in the form of demolition. We are removing carpet and some built-in furniture in the new place. Tonight I get to pull about 400 linear feet of 1970s baseboard.

I had a great spin session last night. I went at it like it was my job and it felt good.

This morning I swam for 30 minutes and then ran for a little over an hour. All of my foot issues have all but disappeared ... which is odd to me because I am picking up mileage. I suppose my frame is adjusting to the work. It just took a while.

Tomorrow I will do brick work - run/bike/run to be exact.

More later.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sinus and upper respiratory GUNK

So I have managed to overcome a funk ... again. Back around New Years I had a small bout of this whole coughing and wheezing thing until I lost my voice completely on New Year's Eve. I honestly think I have been carrying that mess around since then and just fighting through it.

Wednesday and Thursday were awful. I felt marginally okay but I could not breathe very well and I had zero energy. I stopped being a moron and went to the doctor. So I am now on my fourth day of some strong antibiotics. I can tell a major difference in my breathing. I haven't felt this much oxygen coming in since November or so. Being able to breathe is sort of important. I am back on track.

So let me catch up a bit on my training notes. Friday morning I did a marginally fast 5 mile run (I actually ran the 5th mile in 6:40 - the first time I have had a regular training run dip down into the 6s) followed by a 25 mile bike ride. I was going to run another 3 miles afterwards, but the antibiotics said no thanks.

On Saturday I rode 75 miles with quite a bit of climbing. 50 on the new Kestrel and 25 on the TT bike. I am still trying to decide between the two. The new Kestrel is comfortable and everything is dialed in correctly. It is not as fast as the TT bike. I will decide over the next two weekends which bike will go to Utah with me. At this point I am leaning toward the TT bike.

Yesterday I got up around 5am and prepped for my long run. I was nervous about it. This is the first time I have gone 15 miles since last January with Sally at the Rock n Roll marathon. I had done 14 right before SOMA in the fall. The goal was to stay below 140 on the heart rate.

In the end, it really did not feel like I ran 15 miles. I did it in a little over 2 hours. It was about a 9min/mile pace and the average heart rate was 136.

Yesterday afternoon I headed out for a bike ride. I took the Kestrel again. I did the same route as I did on Saturday. I was much faster yesterday than I was on Saturday even though I had already run 15 miles earlier in the day. I ended up averaging a little over 19 miles per hour and again, I kept the heart rate super low - and there was over 1500 feet of climbing in about 24 of the 50 miles.

This week has to be one of extreme focus. We are planning things around the move to the new place. We are meeting with contractors to discuss some plans for the new house. I have a tremendous amount of work that is to be done this week AND I have to do my final preparation for the Desert Classic Duathlon. (3.5 mile trail run, 30 mile road bike, 3.75 mile trail run).

Stay tuned.

Answering the same question a little differently

So on more than one post in this self-centered blog I have tried to answer the question ... "Why Ironman?" I now have a better answer. I have an answer that goes eons beyond swimming, biking and running. It is an expression of a belief that I guess I have followed for some time now.

Core belief:

I believe in continual improvement with a desire to change through learning.

Based on this I can see two things very clearly. 1) I will always be a busy person. 2) I have already accomplished the important things related to the pursuit of Ironman.

This is bigger than target times. This is bigger than hours of exercise. This is bigger than mileage output. For that matter, this Ironman journey is much bigger than being a more efficient triathlete.

It is about the change. My mom said it during our visit to Kentucky over the holidays ...

She showed me a photo of myself from about 2001. I was down to about 235 pounds from a high of 260. "This is the best medal you won", she said as she pointed to a photo she had taken of me earlier that day. Athletic achievements aside, this was the best thing SHE was getting out of my triathlon experience. Sure, she has always been proud of my athletic endeavors ... but what she got from my change and effort is a healthier son.

Those people that REALLY know me know that I stay fairly busy in life. That is by design. What gets me sometimes is when I make new acquaintances and we start to get to know one another they are often surprised about all of my "jobs". I think this is a good thing. I guess that it means that I do not come across as wigged out or stressed. Either that or the fact that they are shocked that a slow-talking dude from Kentucky is allowed to do the type of work that I do.

What triathlon training has taught me is that I and everyone else on the ORB are capable of so many things. As busy as I am, I can do SO MUCH MORE. Here's the proof. I added 20 hours of exercise to my already busy work week and I am doing well in everything I do. It is not just a fluke either. I have been training like this for about 10 months now.

Thanks to everyone around me that make life worth conquering.