Sunday, April 26, 2009

Putting it all Together

The biggest challenge, and frankly what makes triathlon a great sport in my mind, is putting all three sports together. What I mean by this is crafting your training to make sure one sport isn't lagging behind the others. I hear so many times at the end of races...."dude I had a personal record (that's called a PR) on the bike by 5 minutes." What they aren't talking about is that they had to start walking at mile 3 on the run because they had nothing left in their legs. All three sports have to progress at the same, or at least at race time you have to try to get your fitness as close as you can. This often means training your hardest on the sport you are the weakest in. Sounds easy, but for most this means they have to spend the most amount of time doing the sport they like the least. For me, I guess I'm lucky in that I like all 3 of the sports, but like running the best. For me they all are so different it is refreshing. Like yesterday I trained for 6.5 hours, doing a long bike, a short run, and a short swim later. It didn't feel like 6.5 hours of "training" because each sport is so different.

So speaking of training more on your weakest sport, which for me is biking. April and the first 1/2 of May are all about the bike, meaning biking is the focus. I hope to get 800 mils in on the bike in April and about that in May (I start racing in May so that impacts total miles by lowering them....which I know sounds funny). My calf injury has greatly reduced my run mileage in April to less than 1/2 of what it typically is, which is ok as I am in bike focus mode.

Speaking of the calf, I still haven't pinpointed exactly what is going on. I believe it is a strained muscle, but at times it has the characteristics of tendinitis. It is slowly healing and with any luck will be healed for my first Tri race mid May.

Yesterday's bike workout was in the mountains in North GA. and yes there are mountains in GA. 86 miles and 11,300 vertical ft of climbing. We did 6 gaps (mountains), think lot's of switchback and 7 miles of steady climbing and 2500 vertical ft. 40-42 mins to go 7 miles means you are just grinding. I am happy with my climbing ability and now believe it will be an advantage at IMCDA. I have been telling myself that for a couple months, because I have the perfect physical characteristics for a climber (very high strength to weight ratio). My lean build will wreck havoc on the big guys who are suited for pushing the big gears on the flats. I can get up the mountains faster with less effort. Hopefully this will all lead to less stress on my legs going into the marathon.

The biking is coming together! Need to do a little more work on the swim, which I am starting on today....4000 yd swim on the books for later today.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Epic Bike Weekend

A couple days ago a friend of mine who is also racing Ironman Coeur d'Alene called and suggested we do an epic bike weekend the first weekend in May. A century bike ride is a 100 mile ride. There is also something called a metric century, which is 100 km (about 62 miles). He suggested we do the 3 State - 3 Mountain Century (100 miles) in Chattanooga, TN (about 90 mins for Atlanta) on Saturday, and then the Cheaha Challenge in Piedmont, AL on Sunday. Both are major climbing century rides. Here are the profiles:

All told, 200 miles of riding and about 15,000 vertical ft (3 miles) of climbing. Oh, and yeah we plan on running after each ride. That outta do it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Love the New Bike Setup

Rode my first ride on the new and improved bike a couple days ago. I moved my Sunday long ride to Saturday on account of crappy weather forecasted for Sunday (which never really happened). From the start I couldn't believe how much more power I could produce. I have spent a bunch of time thinking weather my legs were just fresher due to no running (my calf has sidelined my running this past week), or whether it is the new bike set up. At any rate I was faster. At the one hour mark I was about where I was a couple weeks ago, 21.1 miles, but no tail wind this time, and I was solo. At the 40 mile mark I was about 15 mins faster than I have ever been, and at the 45.5 mark I was over 13 mins faster than my previous record. I know this spot well as it used to be the end of the trail until they finished the connecting 5 mile section. You can now go from Atlanta all the way to Birmingham, AL on the trail system. I haven't been all the way to Birmingham, but I have rode 12 miles into AL from Atlanta on a 140 mile ride last fall. So it took me 2:10 to get to the 45.5 mile mark, where I turned around. I continued at this pace until about mile 69, when I started to crack. I didn't bring enough food and my heart rate was much higher than usual, which means I am burning more fuel. I stopped at mile 20 for a bottle fill....fountains still not turned on, rats. So, out of food, extremely low on Gatorade and now I have to ration drinking for the next 20 miles. Well it all caught up to my with 6 miles to go. Complete BONK! A bonk is when you have emptied your glycogen store and you muscles have no fuel. Your only source of fuel is fat and it is harder for your body to break that down, which results in you slowing down. There is nothing you can do at that point. Physically, it is a limitation there is no work around for. The training is to teach your body how to avoid this. I've been over this before. Well I am not really sure how I made it back to the car those last 6 miles as it was all I could do to not pass out. I too about 30 minutes once at the car to try to eat something, but I just couldn't get anything down and even water was a chore. I felt this same way after each of my 3 Ironman's. The drive home was a blur as I was in a haze. I made sure not to set the cruise control as passing out with the cruise on wouldn't be good. Not that passing out while driving with the cruise off is all that great.

When I cycle it has been VERY difficult for me to get my Heart rate out of zone 1 and to hold it in zone 2 required such mental focus it was just mentally too exhaustive to do for more than 10 minutes at a time. This has puzzled the hell out of me for months and months. Why can I not push on the bike and get my heart rate up? Well with the new set up I realized within the first 15 mins of my ride Saturday I was able to get my heart rate into zone 4 and hold it there relatively effortlessly. I was able to push hard and keep pushing without it taking complete mental focus. I am amazed at what some small tweaks to my body position can do for my power output! Simply amazing. Oh, finished my ride at 20.25 mph average, even after my complete collapse on the last part of the ride. Up until mile 69, I was averaging over 21 mph, which is smokin' fast for me on that course with 4200 ft of climbing.

Friday, April 3, 2009

My Baby's Back

Got my bike back from "he who know's all things bike" today. Here's some bike porn for you, all be it a little blurry (probably because it is so shiny). :) New cassette, new chain rings, new chain, new aerobars, which I'm hoping will solve the speed wobble issue. New front and back wheel bearings when they arrive in the next couple weeks. Should be set for another 10,000 miles.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

March is in the Books

Overall March wasn't as big a month as it should have been. My calf injury, bike mechanical issues, and my marathon all reduced training in the last week of the month. Numbers were as follows:

March's totals:
Bike: 24h 15m 22s - 474.37 Mi
Run: 27h 36m 53s - 235.09 Mi
Swim: 6h 02m - 22218 Yd
Strength: 9h 05m

Run volume was pretty good, but the injury and race took about 15 miles off. A 250 mile month would have been amazing, but I"ll take 235. The bike miles were pretty pathetic, and should have been at least 150 miles more. April will be bike month for sure. I hope the weather holds out. If I have any chance to nail Ironman CDA, April has to be a big bike month, both quantity and quality. Swim volume is still way low, but planned that way. April will be about 12,000-17,000 more yds.

I've decided I'm not racing the Gulf Coast Half Ironman this Spring as my bike repairs cost a chunk of cash and the travel, registration fees, hotel for this race are pretty expensive (probably about $600). I may substitute a local Sprint distance race instead. I haven't raced a Sprint since 2005, so it should be interesting. They are usually like 600 meter swim, 12 mile bike, 3.1 mile run. I'd race it ALL OUT the who fast as you can go. Even though it's a short race, your HR is pegged for about an hour and it hurts for sure.