Sunday, February 27, 2011

NOLA goals (7 weeks to go)

This week was a recovery week.  Way less volume than the last three weeks and it was nice.  Cheryl was out of town and the lower volume allowed me time to clean the house and catch up on dishes (extra brownie points!).  I also decided that instead of trying to get my teenage boy to do something I like to do (to spend time together), I would do something he likes to do.  So I bought an Xbox and Call Of Duty Modern Warfare Two and spent some time learning it yesterday.  I really suck at it but hey, my son enjoyed helping me set it up, teaching me the basics, laughing at me, and picking my gamer tag "AN 0Ld Man z". So if you see me online, take it easy on an old man :-).

The next three weeks will be the biggest volume of my plan (and ever in my life) if all goes well.  It's time to talk about NOLA goals.  I've been thinking about them all along of course, but it's time to write them down.  I'm one of those multi-stage goal people.  I don't have a sub-six hour or I'm a failure attitude.  I like to have levels of success (at least for longer races).  So here they are.

1.  Enjoy myself.  I would love to avoid my usual pre-race funk, but even if that occurs, I want to have an overall positive experience.
2.  Finish.  Anything can happen, specially in a longer race.  A DNF (did not finish) is low probability, but not zero probability.  Horrible swim conditions, crash on the bike, bonk on the run, it happens.
3.  Time.  This is the tough one since I've only done sprint races until now.  My OWS swim times are typically 2:30/100 (slow I know, but considering I never swam until two years ago, I'll take it).  I should be able to do that at NOLA (unless there are 3 foot swells like last year).  My best 40k bike average was 20 mph.  A few months ago, I would have put 20% slower as my goal (and probably still should after this Sunday's ride).  After my long ride last weekend, I'm going with 10% lower.  High winds could make that impossible, but I have new tires (23 mm vs. 25 mm) and an aero helmet :-).  My goal is an 18 mph ave which may be a stretch.  For the run, my best half mary time is 1:55 and change.  No way I'm running that on less run volume and after biking for 3+ hours.  I'll go with 20% slower there.  Throw in some change for transitions and my time goal is: 

Swim = 52 minutes
T1 = 5 minutes
Bike = 3:06:00
T2 = 4 minutes
Run = 2:15:00

Total = 6:22

4.  I would love to go sub 6.  How do I take 22 minutes off of the previous goal?

2:20/100 swim saves 3 minutes.  I could save 2 minutes in T1 if I'm efficient.  If I average 18.7 I could save 6 minutes on the bike.  I could save 2 minutes on T2 if I'm efficient.  That leaves 8 on the run for a 2:07 half mary.  All that could happen, but it is a stretch.  I have done 2 minute T1's and 1 minute T2's in sprint races, but a sprint is quite different.  A sprint is almost done from the beginning.

A sub 6 is unlikely and I need to focus on goal number 1 for my first HIM.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

35 again (8 weeks until NOLA 70.3)

OK, I actually turned 45 this week but 35 sounds so much better.  I figure if I live to 80, I can start counting down, right?  Kind of like Benjamin Button.  When I hit zero, it's game over.

Anyway, this week has been busy.  Life just feels busy.  Busy at work, busy at home, busy training, busy at church, busy, busy, busy.  All good things, just busy.  I managed to get 6 of my 9 workouts in this week despite the busyness and a minor surgery.  I'll take it.  Plus the weather has been good, double bonus!

Monday was supposed to be a swim, but Josh had a science fair project due at the end of the week.  I gladly skipped the swim to help him out.  He worked hard and did a really good job on it.  The prior week he had the victim mentality and said he couldn't work on it because he didn't have a science fair packet.  I told him this was his project and not having a packet was his problem to solve.  I offered to help by picking up a the packet from his teammate and copying it.  He or his teammate asked for another packet at school the next day and the kids solved their own problem! 

Tuesday I actually managed a run before work.  First time in about three weeks and it was pretty decent.  I really struggle with morning runs, specially when it's pitch black and chilly out.  Tuesday afternoon, I had a squamous cell carcinoma taken off my arm.  It's a good cancer in that if it is caught early, you just cut it out and no other treatment is necessary.  It's my second good skin cancer, but I'm only 45 35.  Hopefully I can keep dodging bullets for another 35 years.  After they removed the skin (on my fore arm) they put a bandage on and said not to remove it for 24 hours and no shower for 24 hours.  Crap, I planned to ride after the procedure.  I'm not gonna do a bike workout, do a sponge bath then go to work the next day. Missed workout number 2 for the week.  Tri gear does come in handy though.  I woke up at 3 am that night and the dressing that wasn't to be removed had fallen off while I slept :-).  So, I cleaned it up, put a new dressing on it, then used an arm warmer to hold my dressing in place.

The straggler stitches look like bug antennae to me

Wednesday I usually swim at night.  I managed to get to the pool and do most of the workout.  I had a very odd thing happen.  I switched to a new deodorant (Gillette clear gel) and it seemed to react with the chlorine.  Weird, it was like it clumped my pit hair and it felt like they were being tugged on with every stroke.  Anyone else had this?  Maybe I should do a little trimming :-).

Thursday was my actually birthday.  I can say I don't look forward to them anymore and I'm glad it is over.  Between getting older, having another skin cancer, and managing my aches and pains from training, I can say getting older can be depressing.  On the bright side, I'm in the best shape of my life and I love passing people in triathlons with 20 something and 30 something on their calves and knowing that most people my age aren't in good enough shape to do them.  My cake wasn't perfect visually, but the taste was perfect.  My favorite cake is angle food cake with marshmallow frosting. 

Mal formed cake :-)

Friday is my day off.  I took it even though I didn't really need it.

Saturday I did my longest run so far for this race.  It was pretty slow, but I felt good for most of it.  Even my calf wasn't too bad for most of it.  The last two miles were interesting.  I had lots of twinges, aches, pains, etc in many areas of my legs, feet, calf, hip, hammie, etc but none got severe.  I think I should add a couple short easy run days to my training, but it is tough to do when I'm so busy.  Today, for instance, I ran 11 miles, had a lunch date with Cheryl, took down Christmas lights (1st weekend there wasn't snow or ice on the roof), ran sound at church, then had dinner and a movie with Cheryl.

Old grain silo on my running route.

Covered bridge on the same route.
Sunday I did my longest ride yet.  65.7 miles in 4 hours.  I'm pretty happy with that given I had to slow down a couple dozen times due to people walking, running, biking, etc plus it was extremely windy.  Like 20-30 mph winds and on one stretch I was going straight into it and slightly uphill (at 8 mph).  My goal was to keep my hr in zone 2 (under 155) like I plan to do at NOLA.  I went over 155 a few times and thought about an analogy I read somewhere.  When doing a half or a full, every time you go over your target zone, it's like burning a match from your match book and once they are gone, they are gone which means a miserable run.  At one point about. 40 miles in to my ride, I happened to be thinking about the analogy and right then a couple big dogs jumped out of a field right next to me, growled and took off after me.  Well, I lit the whole match book on fire because it was on like Donkeykong :-) (and I didn't want to get eaten).  Seriously, big dogs that want to eat me?  I have no idea what speed I accelerated to (whatever it was is top speed for me), but after looking over my shoulder and seeing they stopped gaining on me I glanced at my hr and it was 176.  I'm sure it peaked above 180.  I did run out of gas the last 20 minutes.  I wonder if it would have been better if I didn't have the dog chase.  I took in about 1200 calories on the ride.  That's about what I plan for NOLA but need to adjust the mix.  I was a little bloated and gassy at the end.

Saturday on my run, I did a sweat test on my run and came out with 35.8 ounces per hour sweat rate on a 45 degree breezy day running at a slow 10 min/mile pace.  Sunday on my ride, I did another sweat test and came out with 25 ounces per hour on a 70 degree very windy day. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Massage (9 weeks to go)

My left calf has been getting a harder and harder knot in it.  After my brick on Saturday, it was so tight I thought I wouldn't be able to do my three and a half hour ride Sunday.  So I went to a spa and got a leg massage.  I'm not a massage person and I was a little embarrassed to go, but I didn't have much of a choice.  It's tough to find an open slot on a Saturday so I started calling down the list in the Poynt application on my Blackberry.  On the 5th try, I got into Spa of Tranquility, drove over, left my man card in the car and went in.  It was a very foo foo place, as you could imagine, and very nice.  I got a message therapist named Melonie (sp?) and explained my dilemma.  She went to work on my quadriceps first, applying a lot of pressure.  It was kind of painful pushing on the muscles to the point I could feel them flipping from one side to the other of my femur.  I had to ask her to take it a little easier a couple times.  We made some small talk as she kept torturing messaging my legs.  She mentioned that she used to be a massage therapist in Utah and treated many more athletes out there than she does in the mid-west.  When she got to the knot on my calf, she worked on it pretty hard.  Overall the experience was painful, but got the job done.  I managed a 2 hour brick (1 hour ride, 1 hour run) Saturday and a three and a half hour trainer ride Sunday.

I also bought "The Stick" to massage my calf at home.  It is painful too, so it must be working.

The Stick
I'm still having trouble getting my morning runs in. I plan to rectify that this week by getting up early Tuesday and Thursday and if I don't, brick my run Tuesday and Thursday night. Bricking is not ideal, but I need to get my run volume up. Running once a week is not going to cut it.  At least the weather is a bit warmer so I should be able to run outside.

Another big training week this week, capped off with a 4 hour ride.  I hope I can do this one outside.

Monday, February 7, 2011

meh. (10 weeks to go to my first 70.3)

Meh, blah, yuck.  I'm glad this week is behind me.  I just wasn't into it at the beginning of the week.  Nothing seriously wrong, no health issues, nothing more sore than usual, I was just not into training.  It could have been a combination of winter, lack of sun, and generally being very busy, but I just didn't have any drive to train at the beginning of the week.  Monday night is usually a swim, I skipped.  Tuesday morning is usually a run, I skipped.  Tuesday we had a snow day and I did my scheduled trainer ride.  Wednesday evening I did do my swim.  Thursday morning is usually a run, I skipped.  I did get my trainer ride in Thursday night.  Friday is my day off and I took it (even though I didn't need it).  After Friday, I was out of my funk.  Thank goodness.

Friday night we got 4 inches of snow, surprise!  I had a 1:45 run on the schedule and the temperature was warm enough I could do it outside.  I ran some of it on the local trails.  They were treacherous with snow covering rutted ice.  I had to go slow and was worried about twisting my ankle.  I had to run slow but I was running outside (instead of the dreadmill), it was pretty outside, and I was out of my funk!  After some trail running, I ran through several neighborhoods.  It was tricky, slippery, but nice to be outside.  Then things got interesting.  I stepped in a couple ice cold puddles back to back.  Brrr!  That isn't good.  I turned to run home knowing my toes would be frozen by the time I made it back but a funny thing happened.  My Smartwool socks warmed my toes back up within a coupe minutes.  They were like magic!  I kept running.  I did stop about 45 minutes in to the run and bought a bottle of water and ate a Gu.  My run time was 1:50 and I felt decent.

The trail that runs past my house

A little further down the trail.

An old water tower in the older section of town.

A new tunnel they are building under a busy street.  We are lucky to have such a nice trail system.

My plan called for a 3 hour ride Sunday.  Not only is this the longest ride I've done to date, I did it on the trainer.  My plan was to watch a movie for the first 2 hours then TV after that.  I also planned to stand on the peddles and stretch my back and calves every 30 minutes, eat every 30 minutes (offset from my stretching by 15 minutes) and take a drink every 15 minutes.  I watched Arn, The Knight Templar.  It was pretty good.  I was worried at first because it wasn't in English at first and I didn't want to have to pay close attention to the movie.  It switched to English soon enough, so all was good.  Once the movie ended I switched over to Superbowl pre-game.  The last 30 minutes were a bit rough so I stretched a few extra times.Overall it was a really good ride.  I can't imagine doing it for six or seven hours like people training for Ironman do, but then again, last year I couldn't imagine doing three hour training rides.

I'm a big Steelers fan, so I was a bit disappointed about the game.  Congrats to all you Packer fans!