Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Training Log Entry #70: Some "Odd"servations

I'm in the middle of my break, which actually does not mean no activity. It means the emphasis is on enjoyment. No 3 or 4 workouts in 2 days. No speed work. You get the picture. So I ran at lunch today with a goal of observing the denizens of Providence. Does anyone else find middle-aged women in mini-skirts and Go-go boots disturbing? I also encountered a group of guys chatting about their work at lunchtime. Yeah I'm no fan of my job or field of endeavor, but I realized it could be worse. Thank god I'm not sitting on a bench swapping paint chipping stories at lunch! Then there was the woman who was making noises at me. I guess it was some form of verbal communication, likely intended to denegrate me in some fashion, but given that she was 5'4" 280 lbs, had to stop every block or two to catch her breath, and looked like a beauty school drop out, I didn't take it to heart. Hey, at least she was out there walking, so good for her. Now if she could just work on that diction...

On a different note, I've begun preparing for my return to serious training. To this end caffeine is largely out of the diet except for two cups of 1/2 caff. coffee in the morning. Also going bye-bye is "whitey", processed sugar. And for the most part products made with either high fructose corn syrup or white flour are also out. The net effect desired is a leveling out of my energy levels. Frankly it is astounding how quickly the benefit is realized. It's so nice to smooth out those peaks and valleys that I doubt I'll miss them too much (though a Coke would be tasty right about now!).

Next week begins the real prep. 4 weeks of base and strength building, and 6 weeks (2 x 3 week cycles) of speed and race prep. I'm hopeful it'll be enough, but not too much. Stay tuned to find out.

The numbers:

5 miles

Terrain: Asphalt

Run:
# of Runs: 70
YTD Mileage: 588.67
MTG (Miles to Goal): 411.33
M/R (Miles per run avg.): 8.41

Bike:
YTD Mileage: 699.50
# of Rides: 28
M/RD: 25

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Friday, August 25, 2006

Training Log Entry #69: A little activity in an otherwise quiet week

Jogged/Walked 4.3 miles. First bit of motion since the race. Sluggish and stiff. I'm in a mini off-season right now. Next week will also be limited activity, and then it's into a 10 week plan with an eye on peaking for the 70.3 Championships (November 11 in Clearwater, FL). I'm looking at a mini-season composed of a 4 week base period, 3 weeks of power/speed, and 3 weeks of tuning and race prep. We'll see how it goes. While I'm excited about competing, I'd also like to place well. I know I can be much faster than I showed Sunday. I'm looking forward to swimming in salt water for a change, because it freaks lots of people out, and I'm right at home in it, in fact more so than in fresh water.

The numbers:

4.3 miles

Terrain: Asphalt

Run:
# of Runs: 69
YTD Mileage: 583.67
MTG (Miles to Goal): 416.33
M/R (Miles per run avg.): 8.46

Bike:
YTD Mileage: 699.50
# of Rides: 28
M/RD: 25

Monday, August 21, 2006

Training Log Entry #68: There's a lesson in here somewhere

If you've read my posting "Bad Karma", you'll know how my race went, so I thought I'd just add in a few details pertaining to things few people would find interesting.

I opted to ride the race at a low cadence and in big gears (instead of my usual higher cadence) to see if I could eliminate the hamstring cramps I usually suffer on the run. Between that and making an effort to get out of the saddle for a minute or two every ten miles or so, the legs were really good for the run. While I understand there is no such thing as an "easy 1/2 Ironman," this race was about as easy as it could get for me. Specifically my legs got better as the run wore on, not worse. While overall my times were slowing, they were not slowing as significantly as others. I repassed most of the people who passed me during the first loop, and did so with authority. I began suffering legs cramps on one particularly nasty climb on the first loop, so I upped my fluid and electrolyte intake significantly and altered my running stride a bit to run more from my hips. The result was the elimination of any cramping by the second loop.

This detail is significant because it showed me that one of the changes that has occured physiologically in me, is the ability to rapidly absorb nutrition while exerting myself. Most newbies suffer the "sloshing belly" during long events. What happens is that during periods of high stress and exertion, the body stops absorbing nutrition altogether until you slow down. Overcoming this situation bodes well for any future Ironman attempts.

I knew I was on a special day when I saw my "replacement" on FastSplits, a person who had passed me at mile 10 on the bike, appear in my sites with two miles to go in the race. I stalked him with a purpose and passed him in a manner that left no question about his even attempting to hang with me. I even fought out a sprint with a young pup who had smoked passed me on the first loop, and then run out of gas. He had a number of fans cheering for him, but like a good competitor, I got right on his heels and lined him up for the sprint. He tried to go and over that last quarter I crushed the poor lad. Great days don't come around that often, so I was showing no mercy today.

So I'm headed to the 1/2 Ironman World Championships in November and damn excited...and only one person at work even knows! (see "Quietly off to the races")

The numbers:

1.2 miles(swim)/56 miles(bike)/13.1 miles(run) --> Also, 10 miles bike ridden in warm-up on Sat.

Terrain: Water/Asphalt/Mud/Grass/more Water....

Run:
# of Runs: 68
YTD Mileage: 579.37
MTG (Miles to Goal): 420.63
M/R (Miles per run avg.): 8.52

Bike:
YTD Mileage: 699.50
# of Rides: 28
M/RD: 25

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Bad Karma

It started on Friday. The day Leanna, Alexandra and I were scheduled to travel to NH for my race, Alexandra got sick. So we stayed in town Friday night and I planned to depart solo Saturday morning. Saturday morning I went to load my bike and found my front tire, on my race wheel, flat. So I changed it and came to find my spare tube also had a puncture in it. The next tube held, but now I had been delayed. So by the time I got on the road, there was traffic...and more traffic...and more traffic. I think people must go on vacation in NH.

The next few hours were uneventful. I made it to the race, registered, went for a warm-up bike ride to scout portions of the course, especially the run course. Then I changed and checked in my bike. It seemed things were starting to go okay, and then it hit...literally. A maroon Subaru from NJ rearended my new-to-me station wagon...twice. Apparently she was so stunned when her car hit my car she pushed wildly for the brake and hit the gas again. F--K!!!!!! So can you blame me for having no motivation left for racing?!

After wasting an hour on the phone getting the insurance claim worked out, I headed off to my motel. It was a dump. You know, that part didn't surprise me one bit. Nonetheless I checked in, paid the outrageous price for the room which smelled like an old ash tray, and the went and found the local pizza joint where young Heather (that's what her necklace said anyway), served me my large mushroom pizza. The rest of the night was uneventful, except for the arrival of the rain...

It poured overnight. It poured this morning. I had no rain clothes. I was freezing. Thank god for the wetsuit. By now I had taken the hint. Somewhere I had earned myself a dose of bad Karma. So, accepting my fate I took the race wheels off my bike and put on the training wheels. I was content with the concept of a training race. It seemed foolish to tempt fate any longer.

The race started a 1/2 hour late because of fog, and by the time it started (7:53 for my wave), the lake had gotten really rough. 35 minutes later I finished my 1.2 mile swim. Even for me that's really slow.

The bike leg was not as bad as I had expected, except for the rain. Hell at one point I was laughing to myself as I thought about Carl in Caddyshack, "I don't think the heavy stuff's gonna come down for quite a while." However, I do have pride and while I wasn't going that slowly, I don't like being passed a whole lot. Even worse than that, I don't like weasels drafting off me for the better part of 56 miles. And then there was the old guy who started bitching about my slowing down in a dangerous corner. I guess I should have just ridden over that woman in front of me. All this led to the decision to make the run, my best event, more than just a training run. I wanted to fly and put a hurting on these clowns. And thus my Karmic debt must have been repaid, because I believe what ensued qualifies as possibly my finest triathlon run ever. Out of 1368 finishers, including a sizable and distinguished pro field, I had the 58th fastest run. I out ran most of my old teammates. I put miles on the guy who drafted off me. I ran myself from a ho-hum mediocre training race, to the 10th qualifying spot for men 40-44 in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in November!

So was is Bad Karma after all? If the events had not unfolded as they had, Leanna and Alexandra might well have been with me, possibly been involved in the accident, been stuck in the rain or in the dump of a motel, and I would have felt terribly guilty for subjecting them to all that. Were the events possibly providence?

PS: Oh yeah, and thanks to my friend Randy, aka Lord Chubalot, I had that damn Spinners song ("I keep workin' my way back to you, babe...") stuck in my head the whole race.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Quietly off to the races

I'm off to the Timberman 70.3 (1/2 Ironman) Triathlon in a matter of minutes. It's a qualifier for the 70.3 World Championships in November and I think I have a shot at qualifying. I wasn't so sure because of distractions at work, lots of missed training sessions, etc... but then I took a look at last year's results. They told me that the competition is very tough, but so is the course, especially the run. I saw times of friends which were about 5 - 7 minutes slower than the times they normally run. I'm only confident in one discipline right now, but thankfully that's my running, especially on a tough course. I haven't done speedwork in a long time, so I'd get crushed in a flat "track meet". However, throw in the hills and I think I'm good. I could be wrong, though, and we'll find out tomorrow.

I've been reading Dean Karnazes "Ultramarathon Man," and I can relate to much of what he writes. It's as if we live dual lives. The vast majority of our co-workers have no idea what we do or how serious we are about it (that's surely changed for him now). When asked the question, "What are you doing this weekend?" I replied," Going to a race in NH." "Oh that's nice." I'm not into tooting my own horn, so I don't say "Going to the regional qualifier for the 1/2 Iron World Championships. Oh and I might actually make it." Frankly they would probably be more interested if I was taking on Kobayashi in a hot dog eating contest!

So now I'm quietly off to the races. Hopefully my 'A' and 'B' samples will be clean of synthetic hormones. I used large quantities of red wine as a masking agent for the testosterone and HGH found in my non-organic burrito. 8:30 AM Monday it will be back to turning out those TPS reports using the new cover sheet (I got the memo), and only I will know or care if I have travel plans to race against some of the world's best 40-44 year olds in November.

Cheers gang,

Joel

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Training Log Entry #67

Nothing special, just 4.3 miles at 5:30 this morning. ~26:30 for a run time. No need for coffee now either?!

The numbers:

4.3 miles

Terrain: Asphalt

Run:
# of Runs: 67
YTD Mileage: 566.27
MTG (Miles to Goal): 433.73
M/R (Miles per run avg.): 8.45

Bike:
YTD Mileage: 633.50
# of Rides: 26
M/RD: 24.37

Monday, August 14, 2006

Training Log Entry #66

I'm trying (or is it scrambling) to get ready for the Timberman Ironman 70.3 (1/2 Ironman) in NH this coming Sunday. So in the midst of installing a hardwood floor in my bedroom, I squeezed in a ride. None of the mileage I've been putting in lately comes close to what I'll be facing in NH, but I'm hoping the pain and fatigue part help. My back was killing me from hauling around sheets of underlayment and bundles of oak. It made me very uncomfortable in my TT position. Nonetheless I covered my 20 mile test course in a time equal to my best, ~55 minutes. I was riding my race wheels (including my disc) this time, but I figure that was at best a wash with the fatigue and muscle pain.
Sunday I was just plain tired as I went for my run. I went out easy and just stayed steady. The finishing time of 1:17 was as good as I could have hoped.
While I'd like to believe I'm doing all the right things I can to be peaked for Timberman, in reality I'm pretty aware of the fact that I'm trying to do just enough to keep from backsliding on my fitness, and hopefully my present level + some sleep will bring me in top 10 in my age group which means a trip to the 70.3 World Championships in November. Stay tuned.

The numbers:

20 mile ride (Sat)/11.5 mile run(Sun)

Terrain: Asphalt

Run:
# of Runs: 66
YTD Mileage: 561.97
MTG (Miles to Goal): 438.03
M/R (Miles per run avg.): 8.51

Bike:
YTD Mileage: 633.50
# of Rides: 26
M/RD: 24.37

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Training Log Entry #65: Two Moons Setting

Dawn patrol on consecutive mornings. Yesterday on the bike. Today on foot. 20 miles riding. 8.4 miles running. The first day I was a bit groggy and it was hard to get going, but today was much easier. That's not to say I want to go out again tomorrow! I do need to get some sleep. It's been a bad work week and I'm drained. So much for getting back in the groove before Timberman. I'll get out a couple of times this weekend because I have a three day weekend coming up, but we're also putting in hardwood floors, so I can't say as I'll be getting real quality workouts in.

Two things jump out at me with regards to these early morning workouts. The first is that I'm much slower. The body isn't awake let alone loose, so the first bit is slo-o-o-w. Even during the run, though my head was fairly clear, the body was not going. The second thing (a bit more philosophical) is the realization that there still is a whole big world out there. Take away cars and people, and add in animals and there is quite a bit going on out there. It gave me an entirely different perspective on the commute into work. All these people hurrying, cutting each other off, thinking they are moving towards something, when in reality they are moving away from what's important.

The numbers:

20 mile ride (Wed)/8.4 mile run(Thu)

Terrain: Asphalt/Trail

Run:
# of Runs: 65
YTD Mileage: 550.47
MTG (Miles to Goal): 449.53
M/R (Miles per run avg.): 8.47

Bike:
YTD Mileage: 613.50
# of Rides: 25
M/RD: 24.54

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Bye-Bye Vacation...

As stated in the previous post, I've just returned from vacation in Ogunquit, ME. There are stories, mostly of the adventures of Alexandra variety. I will spare you those (for now), and just brain dump some "odd"-servations.

There are lots of French Canadians who vacation in Maine.

Breast implants must be more affordable in Canada (Sacré Bleu!). My guess is the money not used on healthcare is used for boobs. Either that or they've figured out how to beat the system and the government is paying for lots of D cups under the guise of health related treatment. Hey why should the U.S. be the only place where people thrive off of government programs?!

Steamed hotdogs (as opposed to boiled, broiled, or grilled) are seen as a delicacy.

Apparently some people go on vacation for the sole purpose of sitting by the pool and getting stinking drunk everyday while their 4 year old swims on her own. Molly's mommy was last seen falling backward off her chaise into a shrubbery!

Here are some guidelines for selecting a restaurant when in an unfamiliar place:

You should avoid restaurants whose name is someone's idea of a clever play on words (e.g. Mainiax), even if they do toast s'mores at your table. Speaking of s'mores at the table, it's really not as cool as you'd think. In the great outdoors there's plenty of air available to clear the smog when junior ignites his marshmellow. Stuck indoors with no moving air because of the extreme heat outside, you might as well have set a pile of car tires ablaze.

You should avoid restaurants (and we did) who go above and beyond advertising their "Early Bird". It appears (according to the face made by the girl at the hotel when we asked her about the restaurant) to be the food service version of the "Manager's Special" at the grocery store.

You should avoid "outliers." Most crowded, longest wait, cheapest prices, shortest wait, no crowd, etc... They're either overrated or empty for a reason. Come on, in a huge tourist spot, what are the odds of being the only people to find "that hidden gem!"

Italian restaurants who overuse the colors red, white and green, restaurants with the word "Blue" in the name (Blue Elephant, Blue Star Grille) , or Southern BBQ in arguably the world's headquarters for Lobster and seafood are also places to skip if you have options.

I've got lots more, but I've also got work tomorrow, so Bonsoir!

Training Log Entry #64

Just back from vacation in Ogunquit, ME. It was a "no swimming, no biking, no running" vacation. Lots of walking with Alexandra in the backpack, just like last year. However, she weighs a little more now! While I felt "flat", clearly I'm no worse for the time off. I ran the same course as last week (8.5 miles with a big hill in Shelton, CT), and was quite a bit faster despite feeling like I was not going that quickly.

Vacation good.

The numbers:

8.5 mile run(Sat)

Terrain: Asphalt/Concrete

Run:
# of Runs: 64
YTD Mileage: 542.07
MTG (Miles to Goal): 457.93
M/R (Miles per run avg.): 8.47

Bike:
YTD Mileage: 593.50
# of Rides: 24
M/RD: 24.73