Monday, March 30, 2009

2009 ING Georgia Marathon

Race went nearly perfectly as planned. As mentioned below my super stretch goal was sub 3 hours. Well I went 3:00:16 officially. My watch had :09 faster, but still not under 3 hours. My pacing was nearly perfect as I was never more than 70 seconds off of the mile splits. I have a complete race report up on my training blog - race report section, which goes into further detail. In summary it was a tough course with lot's of hills late in the run. It is said, and I agree, that mile 20 marks the half way point physically and mentally in a marathon and to throw hill after hill in those miles is brutal. I was fully expecting the hills so I was prepared. The really long one at mile 19 that was 1.3 miles. That took me about 40 seconds longer in that mile than my pacing chart called for and wiped out my time advantage I had built up.

I placed 3rd in the Masters Division which was a nice surprise and 29th overall. I'm pleased with the placing for this race as it was a large regional race. All 50 states represented and I think 23 countries. 15,000 runners, including the 1/2 marathoners. A personal recond by over 24 minutes!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Georgia ING Marathon in 4 Day's

So I haven't run just a marathon (that wasn't the run part in an Ironman) in 5 years, nearly to the day (3/27/2004). That was my first endurance event and I won my age group, which I guess is what started all this madness. If I had taken last in my AG, who know, maybe I wouldn't have caught the "bug", but I have always been competitive so I am guessing the bug would have come sooner or later :) I ran 3:24:26 back in 2004.

I have set a super stretch goal for myself of 2:59:59 for ING Georgia marathon on 3/29/2009. :24:27 is a lifetime difference in time, let alone being 5 years older. ING is a tough course. A buddy on mine, who ran Boston, New York, and Georgia last year said Georgia is by far the most difficult. Hill's baby, Hill's, I believe were his words. We'll see how it goes. My calf still isn't healed as it was bothering me on my Monday long run. I'm staying off it as much as possible this week. I'll probably only run 5-6 miles on Thursday, then the marathon on Sunday. Overall it will be a pitiful run volume week, but it is probably best to rest it anyway and I'd rather rest it before a marathon then to just rest it during normal training.

For this race I need to average 6:52 / mile, which is only :08 / mile faster than my long training run pace. Simple right.....well the "real" hills start at mile 18 and don't let up until the end. I've read last years race reports from folks who ran it and the main theme is BRUTAL. I'm scared for sure. Fatigue really starts to set in about mile 18 and then to start climbing....should be a real suffer fest!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

March 3rd Week Summary

Well last week was eventful. Monday's run was hampered by what I've now diagnosed as a fatigued left calf. This is a condition of an over trained muscle and can be pretty common in Ironman training. A muscle gets very fatigued from a workout and the following workouts start to add up as recovery just isn't happening. This last week was a recovery week. Training gets progressively longer / harder each week, every 4th week the volume backs off so your body can recover. Ironically, the Monday run of a recovery week I feel has a high chance of injury. Your body doesn't know it is recovery week until the run ends (shorter than usual). Well this is exactly what happened, at mile 7, I fell the calf. I think it is pretty much recovered at this point, but will keep an eye on it. I missed some training this week, as well. I took Wednesday's bike and run off to recover the Calf, also, Thursday's ride was cut about 60 minutes short due to rain. Sunday's long brick (a bike and run workout), was a total bust. I had planned 112 mile bike and a 6 mile run. 8.5 miles into the bike I noticed something wrong with my bike. I decided it best to turn around rather than get 55 miles out and have a real problem and not be able to ride back. I bumped my run up to 10 miles. All told 6 hours on the bike lost, about 2 hours on the run lost.

Weekly totals:
Bike 102 miles
Run 60 miles
Swim 4800 yds

March to date
Bike 429 miles
Run 189 miles
Swim 15,544 yds
Strength 6:20

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What's a Good Weight?

As a triathlete, ounces matter! Think of it this way, drop a 10 pound weight into a backpack and put it on and leave it on all day long. By the end of the day you will be tired. Same concept for racing. Dragging even 1 extra pound up and down the mountains on the bike and up and down hills on the run for 140.6 miles will take it's toll. So the name of the game is to get lean....but it ain't that simple unfortunatly.

During the Winter I put 8-10 pounds to train from and to keep me warm. You can't believer how cold you get on a 6 hour bike ride at 40 degrees. Seriously, it can take me 4 or 5 hours to warm up after that. It's not fun at all and takes every oune of will power to get out there. In the Spring, right now, I take the weight back off. Now where it gets complicated. Muscle weight more than fat, quite a bit more. All Winter long I have been strength training and have put a bit of muscle on, so what should my racing weight be? I won't share my weight with you because it tends to produce some strange looks as I tend to be pretty lean already. The trick is to shed the fat not the muscle. The process of shedding the fat can, if not careful shed the muscle first. The human body is amazing at self preservation. It doesn't want to let go of that fat if it doesn't have to. It is kind of the last resort of survival. So the key is to do it slowly and to eat the right things which keep the muscle. The right things are LOT'S of lean protein and very little fat, and cetainly no saturated fat. I try to target >100 g of lean protein and <20g of fat (<4g of saturated fat). My baseline caloric level at this time of year is about 1875, which means if I eat 1875 calories a day I will maintain my theory. It doesn't really work that way though because a lot has to do with when you eat what. I've went over the different types of fuel your body uses and which it prefers (glycogen and fat). What most people don't realize is how your body's efficiency can turn a good thing into a bad thing. For instance, the best fat free - high carb food will be converted to fat if not used. It changes from person to person but if carbs are not burned ro used to top off your glycogen reserves your very efficient body will "save them for later", it's way of saving them is to convert them to fat. So you have to be carfull of not only what you eat, but when you eat it. The when you eat it is my biggest issue. When I am done training it is sometimes almost 9:00 at night and I am damn hungry and want to eat a horse. Certain you have to refuel after the workout to get your gycogen reserves back in place for the next workout, especially if it is in the morning, but it is so hard to stop at what most people would call a snack.

So back to the original issue of what is the right weight. I have raced as low as about 2% bodyfat before and was fast, but didn't feel like I had a lot of energy. I am targeting 2.5% for my Ironman races, which means I have about 6 pounds to loose in 93 day's. Works out to about 1/2 pound a week, which is definitely doable. To do this I have to log everything I eat and anayze the carbs - protein - fat percentages. It's really a pain in the arse and I hate doing it, but at least my training log has a very handy tool for recording and tracking it. So long story short

I'm Back on the Wagon Again!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What's the Difference Between Good and Bad Pain?

Once I told a friend the best training session is the one where you come oh so close to injury but don't. After a few moments of blanks stares of "are you nuts" I explained what I was talking about. A lot of workouts, the exception being a recovery type workout, are designed to push your body. It's this pushing which makes you stronger. Some workouts push you via higher intensity, such as an interval workout. Interval workouts are speed workouts where you are going fast for short periods, think a track workout where you are doing 800m repeats with just a minute or two rest between. Other workouts you push yourself by going long where the length of the workout is what is providing the "work". The intensity is pretty low, but the miles add up and you get tired. Understanding these two workout extremes helps breakdown the different types of pain experienced. Intervals usually generate cardiovascular pain...out of breath, heart beating out of your chest type pain. The long workouts generate a whole different type of pain, ranging from my muscles are sore, to my energy levels are gone. Where it gets tricky is being able to identify what should be hurting and what shouldn't been hurting. Years of experience helps you with this.

Last night I had a long slow distance run of 2:07, which should have been just over 18 miles at my training pace for this level of workout (7:00 / mile). About 7 miles in my left calf started to tighten up and become painful. This was the type of pain which shouldn't be hurting. I walked for about a minute, then stopped and stretched for about 3 minutes to no avail. Now a 7 mile gimpy walk is going to take me about 2 hours and I wasn't dressed for a walk. I VERY RARELY ever walk during training, like maybe once every couple months, and only for an injury diagnosis like this. I call it the walk of shame. I guess it's just something about me....don't walk in a race, why would you allow yourself to do it in training.

Faced with the possibility of a 2 hour walk I decided to try to run it out, hoping not to worsen the injury. So I started out running at about 9:00 / mile and got it up to about 8:15 / mile, then a guy passes me. Ummm, I haven't been passed on a training run in like 5 years, and he didn't look like anything special (like a collegiate athlete), so I decided to HTFU (harden the F up) and get moving. My second run on Friday, 10 miles in the morning follow by 20 miles at night, didn't go so well as I was hurting all over and my mental toughness was gone and I actually ended the second run at 16 miles. I couldn't let 2 runs within a week end like this, so I decided to push through the pain and passed the guy and was running 7:00 miles again. After another 4 - 5 miles my calf pain was manageable so I finished the entire 2:07 run.

I certainly identified the calf pain as "unusual" and now I am left with some atypical fatigue there. I have another workout schedule for tonight, bike and run, and I am trying to decide if I should just take the day off to be safe. It's beautiful outside and I want to run. Oh the guilt of missing a workout is unbelievable, seriously I feel very guilty even though I know I should rest.

Not sure what I'll do????? I mean what do you do after work in the middle of the week until 9:00 at night? Go to a movie, I guess I could do tomorrow morning's swim workout early :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March Week Two Update

Last weeks weather was typical I guess for Georgia this time of year. Started off Sunny and upper 70's on Monday and ended rainy and 40's on Sunday. The rain wrecked havoc in my training for the week. I was able to get my run in on Friday as the rain didn't start until early Sat. morning. My planned bike in the north GA mountains on Sat was cancelled and moved indoors for a 2 hour spin class. It's a good substitute, but not the same and for those who think spinning is the same, you are mistaken. Gearing up while on a bike to increase intensity (to go faster) is not the same load on your legs as increasing the resistance on a stationary bike to "simulate" it. It certainly is better than nothing and beats the heck out of catching pneumonia from riding in 38 degree pouring rain. Sunday I missed a 6 hour ride and substituted a 60 min. spin class and a 9.25 mile - 1 hour run on a treadmill at the gym. I don't care much for treadmill running, I think I described that before in a post...lots of looks like "why is that guy sweating so much and 'sprinting.'" 9.25 mph is my zone 1 pace and I'm not sprinting, but it is true I produce a lot of sweat and general soak my running shoes in an hour run, which is another reason I don't like it...they start stinking then...aewwwww. March to date numbers:

March's totals:
Bike: 16h 45m 09s - 326.65 Mi
Run: 16h 21m 04s - 138.23 Mi
Swim: 2h 57m - 10740 Yd
Strength: 4h

Monday, March 9, 2009

March Week 1 Totals

Ok so Feb is done and overall training was just "OK". Run is coming along good. Had a 1/2 marathon on Feb 14 and won the Masters Title. All races do it different but if they have a Masters Division, which is 40 years old and above, they figure out the over all 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers, then the Masters 1st, 2nd, and 3rd (this race they only had places for the Masters 1st place, which was me), then they name the individual Age Group Winners. So basically, they pull out the Overall and Masters winners first. I think I was 7th overall. All in all it was an ok race for me 1:24:07. It drizzled and then rained and there were more hills than I was trained for. Swim is still in dormant stage, swimming twice a week. March I'll start to bring the volume up. Bad weather in the later part of the month forced me inside and I missed a lot of mileage the last two Sunday's. Overall numbers were:

February's totals:
Bike: 30h 04m - 551.66 Mi
Run: 26h 00m 10s - 222.89 Mi
Swim: 3h 37m - 13531 Yd
Strength: 8h 00m

Week 1 in March off to a pretty good start, weather this past weekend was awesome with both day's in the mid 70's. Found a training partner for the bike who is a bit better than me. We are both from WI and actually went to the same University. Small world. I'll be MEGA painful to train long rides with him, but it is exactly what I need to improve on the bike. I have been throwing volume at it for 2 years and have seen some success, but to get to the next level, I need to PUSH, PUSH, PUSH. Yesterday was the first ride and we averaged a little over 20 mph with some good hills and LOT's of wind. That is probably 2 mph faster than I would have rode in those conditions, so it was tough. March to date numbers:

March's totals:
Bike: 9h 20m - 184.23 Mi
Run: 8h 12m 48s - 68.96 Mi
Swim: 56m - 3414 Yd
Strength: 1h 40m