Friday, May 22, 2009

First Tri of the Season in the books

So my early season running has had some success this year. I started my Triathlon season with an International Distance race (basically the distance raced in the Olympics), .93 mile swim, 25 mile bike, and 6.2 mile run. I beat my time from last year at this race by about 6 minutes, which I am pleased with, but some pretty fast folks showed up this year. I was 10th overall (8th last year), and won my Age Group (Masters Champion last year). Funny how that works, 6 mins faster and placed lower. I was happy with my swim and actually a little surprised. I was 1st in AG and 6th fastest. I haven't done a lot of speed work in my swim so I was happy with this time. My bike was disappointing. I was faster than last year by missed my goal. The bike was hillier than I remember and I just didn't have any juice in the legs. I ran a 38:03 10k, which was the second fastest run, which I was very happy with. I ran a bunch of people down on the run. Overall a good race and pretty much where I had hoped to be at this point in the season. Bike was disappointing and will be the focus over the next 3 weeks leading into Ironman Couer d'Alene.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Peachtree International Distance Triathlon

First Tri of the season for me tomorrow. I raced this race last year and won the Masters Division (also would have been 1st place 30-34, 35-39, 40-44). I think I was 8th overall. This year may be a different story as I don't have any speed with all the of the Ironman training and the fact I haven't been able to do any speed work on the run due to my calf. This weeks training has been a bust. The past 2 weeks volume has finally caught up to me. Last week was 24 hours and the previous week was 25 hours. Wednesday's workout I cut short and didn't even do the run. Thursday's workout I cut about 30 mins short due to lack of daylight. I'm trying to get some rest on the legs as workouts where I am just pushing to "just get it done" are not quality workouts and lead to injury. You don't get faster that way. It's better to rest a little and get quality training in. The race on Saturday will be a good quality speed workout (2:10 speed workout). I am still hoping to beat last years time, always looking to improve. I plan on focusing on the bike. Last year I averaged 21.7 mph on the bike and am looking for 22.5 mph this year. I may fry my legs for the run, but I want to see where my bike legs are at. Yeah, I plan on being one of those guys who potentially leaves nothing left on the bike and suffers through the run. I normally avoid this like the plague because I see so many ppl go out too hard on the bike, but I want to test it out. I may find I can still run after a really tough bike. Don't know if you don't try right. We'll see how it goes. Oh, I am super nervous about how the calf is going to hold up on the run. I hope I don't have to stop and massage it. That would SUCK!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Another Soggy Day on the Bike

Got caught in the rain on the bike again this past Sunday. 4.5 hours in the rain just wears you down. If it weren't 41 day's until IMCDA I can guarntee I wouldn't have been out there, unless it was a mistake. See how lovely my bike looked.Grit and muck in the gears grinding away for 75 miles. What a lovely sound.

On a separate and awesome note, I opened the mail on Monday and noticed an envelope from The ING Marathon. In it was this certificate that I actually was 1st place in the 40-49 Age Group. I thought I was 3rd Masters, but who knows how they place Masters, sometime they only take the 1st place Masters, which has me puzzled because then were would the person I thought got 2nd place Masters have gone? He wasn't over 50 and the Masters Division is 40 and older? Oh well, I'll take 1st AG.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

what it Takes

Many of us, especially athlete's, ask ourselves "what does it take to be the best" say it all. Team Astana (the team Lance is now on) training for the Tour of Italy, called the Giro. A 3 week race in Italy starting today. GO ASTANA!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Why Ironman???

The other day someone at work asked me why I put myself through all this "Ironman stuff". It's certainly not the first time the question has been asked. It reminded me of these comments from Scott Tinley. Scott was one of the original pioneers of triathlon back in the early 90's and was a World Champion. Here are his thoughts.

"You ever wonder what regular people think when they hear that close to 20,000 people are trying to get an entry into Kona? They're thinking all those people must have a screw loose, that's what. Yet, I'd bet 1,000 sit-ups that more than a few of them dream about crossing the finish line, all tan and trim, the crowd screaming, their toothpaste commercial smiles caught and beamed out over the airwaves. And I bet that when they wake up in the morning, more than a few roll over and try to hide from the gnawing desire that they, too, could have that same screw loose. Maybe they are realizing that too many of us die too young or too late. Maybe they know that we pull ourselves up by making money, making the grade; all the while taking less and less time to face the fact that there are some things in life we need to do. Just because.
I think the Ironman is one of those things. For all those people, I can't pretend to know why. Hell, I barely have an idea why I did close to 50 of them myself. But I know people are changed by an Ironman. Ironman finishers leave a mark on the world.
Try to define that. Go ahead. The words will never come. It is enough to hear the stories, to watch the returning smiles. Witness the metamorphosis.
Yeah, there is a price--relationships, jobs, sunburns, missing toenails; there always is for the good stuff. But the call of the distant drum is too loud to ignore, too powerful to pawn off as some midlife crisis of the middle manager or desperate plea of a soccer mom. All they want is their one day. One day full of enough feeling and emotion to last an eternity.
But like war, marriage, tight jeans and stick shift cars, the Ironman isn't for everybody. As much as it can give, it can take. If it were easy, it wouldn't mean the same. Even dreams are fair game in the forecast of one's decisions.
I know there are ways to validate one's life. There has to be. The Pulitzer Prize winning author Katherine Anne Porter once said that salvation can only be found through religion and art. I believe that great feats of physical endurance include both those traits.
And in a world that tries its hardest to separate us from what matters, the Ironman helps us to reconnect with the pulse of our lives. As long as it does that, we will be happy to have made the decision to even attempt the dream."

Monday, May 4, 2009

Expanding the Capacity to Suffer

Tough training weekend on the bike. 188 miles and about 15,00 vertical feet. All in all, I handled the volume well. The climbing certainly expanded that area of my training but I think I got the biggest expansion from riding through Saturday's conditions. The ride was almost entirely in the rain. The ride started at 8:00 and literally it started raining at 7:57. Moderate rain for the first 10 miles (enough to feel the rain puddle inside your shoes from it running down your legs into them). We started the first climb at about mile 12 or so. Nothing to bad and actually I was looking forward to the climb to warm up. We lined up in the middle of the pack at the start....A big mistake. My HR wasn't even close to zone 1 until this climb (wasted time in my mind). We passed about 100 or more riders on this first climb. As we started to get to the top the rain really started coming down. I'm talking the really big drops which actually hurt when they hit. Water was gushing down the road surface like a river. Riders started to turn around in droves at this point as the decent down the other side was a steep one and there was a lot of nervous energy in the air. I started to push harder to keep my HR up to produce more heat to fight off the shivering. My skin looked like a lizard it had so many goose bumps on it. Once at the top the rain was still pouring down. We started coming down and it got really cold (55 degrees). Without pedaling my body temperature started to plummet and I started shaking uncontrollably. I was pulling as hard as I could on my brakes just to get enough grip on the wet rims to keep the speeds under 30 mph. My shaking was leading to "speed wobbles" on my bike where the bike shakes side to side. I couldn't help it. I thought for sure I was going to crash an any time. The decent took about 15 mins or so I guess. I didn't time it but it seemed to last forever. About 2/3 through the decent my upper body started to cramp up. My arms and chest just got tighter and tighter. Now I really thought I was going to go down.

Finally the road flattened out and there were EMT and police cars all over the place helping riders. Chris and I decided we couldn't stop because we would never get going again and decided to push hard for the next 10 miles to get produce some heat. We pushed pretty hard, zone 2 and some zone 3 for the next 20 or so minutes, passing tons of riders. It was a catch 22 situation, the faster you rode the more body heat you produced, but the more the rain and air cooled you down. I tried to stay in my aerobars and much as I could to shield my upper body from the rain and to try to use the heat my body was producing. It stated to work. Everything was warming up except the tips of my index fingers. I still couldn't feel them and wouldn't be able to for about another hour or so. We stopped at the 30 mile rest stop to get some food and refill bottles. A cup of coffee really would have hit the spot :)

The last climb of the day, Lookout Mtn. was the toughest of the weekend. The final 1/3 mile is a 20% grade, with the entire climb of 1200 ft coming over just about 2 miles or so.

As I said the climbing was good, but the mental toughness I got from suffering through the weather conditions will be worth it's weight in gold come race time. You see racing for me is all about "he who can suffer the most wins". It isn't natural to handle the suffering. You have to train yourself to do it. Once a co-worker asked me if my legs were burning when I went on my 5-6 hour bike rides. Seemed like a strange question to me, but I answered politely, yes they are on fire the entire time (in my mind I was thinking, what would be the point if they weren't...just wasting time). Long rides are all about training the body how to handle the suffering, although there a different levels of suffering and the long bike days are the least intense, but none the less still a lot of suffering. Oh, by the way you still have to run a marathon when you are done suffering on the bike, so you better manage that too :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

April's in the Book's

April all in all was a month plagued with my left calf injury. Run mileage was off over 100 miles. Mileage has just recently come back up in the >50 mpw range. I have been training with the pain, which gets mentally exhausting. I wish so badly this would heal up, but rest is the only thing which will do that, and frankly I don't have the time. 7 week's until race weekend. Big bike weekend starting today with >200 miles and ~16,000 verticle feet.

April's totals:
Bike: 37h 18m 26s - 736.76 Mi
Run: 17h 38m 10s - 148 Mi
Swim: 10h 03m 52s - 37883 Yd
Strength: 7h 10m

Hoping May will be >1,000 miles on the bike and >230 miles running. It will all depend on the calf. Also, I start racing in May which will take my mileage down some.