Sunday, October 29, 2006

Training Log Entry #85: Windy enough for you?

Call me cowardly, but I didn't ride my bike on the road today. Instead I put in 1:05 on the trainer before hitting the road for a 10k run. While I can easily rationalize my decision as the "sensible thing to do" for my race prep (the plan did call for race pace tempo riding), in truth I was scared off my the thought of downed branches, standing water, and gusts 40 - 60 mph. I'm not 20 any more, and I'd like to think I've learned a few smarts since then. A crash now would really put a damper on the whole race experience, if you know what I mean. So I put in a good solid effort on the trainer, which is no mean feat. Staring at the cellar walls is mentally quite taxing. It also puts a hurting on the major muscles because you don't get to move and shift position on the bike the way you do on the road. So all in all the ride was a proper effort for the plan, and the run was quite encouraging. 39:13.

The numbers

6.1 miles running/20 miles riding

Terrain: asphalt/trainer

# of Runs: 85
YTD Mileage: 694.67
MTG (Miles to Goal): 305.33
M/R (Miles per run avg.): 8.17

YTD Mileage: 1007.50
# of Rides: 45
M/RD: 22.38

If you think the "extra hour" today is so great... don't have a 2 year old.

That extra hour of sleep thing? Yeah, she traded it in for an extra hour of playtime. That gets her an extra hour tired and thus an extra hour of crankiness. No, I'll be glad next year when this whole silliness with the clocks is done.

Friday, October 27, 2006

What are we teaching people these days?

I'm stunned. A fellow at work had been waiting for some mailing labels to come in. The person who ordered them dropped by to say that they had finally arrived (after ~ 3 weeks). It's be almost comical how hard it's been to get "standard" address labels sent to us. So when they arrived I sent this fellow an e-mail with the subject line "The new phone books are here!" Then I told him the labels had arrived. Well he responded by saying that was great news about the labels, but the subject line didn't make sense to him. What? Are you kidding me?!! What's next, you've never heard that crossing the streams would be bad?!! Talk to me Goose! Maverick's buggin' out! Hey bud, what's your problem?

And I don't buy that Generation Gap crap. I wasn't alive in the 50s and early 60s and yet I still know that Ward was frequently hard on the Beaver. I know the professor didn't want to get off the damn island because he'd never be that close to two babes again in his life. And of course thought of having my own Jeannie made me want to be an astronaut too! I might have nothin', but sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.

We're talking about a piece of Americana, the essence of what it is to be an American. It's what lifts us above the French, dammit! You're a slacker McFly!

On the other hand, maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe it was a dream, you know, a very weird, bizzare, vivid, erotic, wet, detailed dream. Maybe (I) have malaria.

Well, got go. Princeton could use a man like Joel.

Training Log Entry #84: The week that was...

Okay I'm coping better with the pre-race anxiety and stress. I've dialed back on the training somewhat. Only a 5 mile run and an easy 30 min. on the trainer this week, along with 2 swims (~4000 yds total). So all in all a somewhat less intense week. I'm going to put in one what I hope will be competition level effort on Sunday (20 mile bike/4.3 mile run). It's shorter so I can keep the intensity high. It's also the same workout I did before Middleboro this summer (12th place overall), so I have good numbers for comparison. I'm interested to see how well I've preserved my speed. I feel pretty good, in fact the reduced workload has allowed me to get a couple of pounds back on, which is a good thing for these longer races. My energy levels and stamina are much better.

The highlight of the weekend will be passing the 1000 mile mark riding on Sunday.

The numbers

5 miles running/9 miles riding

Terrain: asphalt

# of Runs: 84
YTD Mileage: 688.57
MTG (Miles to Goal): 311.43
M/R (Miles per run avg.): 8.20

YTD Mileage: 987.50
# of Rides: 44
M/RD: 22.44

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Training Log Entry #83

Probably my last longish stuff before raceday. I had nothing in the tank, or so it seemed, when I went out for the run, but withing a couple of miles I relaxed, my energy levels picked up, and I started moving. Saturday was also the day of the Nifty 50 ultra in Middletown, the one I would have been running if not for the 70.3 Championships. There had been a marathon run earlier in the day as well, but the ultramarathon is something special. I was out first doing errands, and then running and I saw these few people out just doing it. The crowds were gone. The volunteers were mostly gone, the race officials were taking down parts of the course, and still these 27 people kept going. It's a lonely existence. I mean they weren't running with each other. Most of them were not even aware there were others like them still on the course. It moved me. I know that feeling. Despite being a fairly introverted person, I slowed (first in my truck and then on foot) and made eye contact with each one of them and told them with all sincerity that they were doing great. That they were inspirational, because they were.

The second 1/2 of my run overlapped the ultramarathon course and I came upon a few runners. One in particular I ran alongside for a couple of miles. She was clearly a fellow Ironman triathlete (the hat and fuelbelt were the giveaways), and when I asked seem in need of a little human contact, even if for a short way.

The bike ride today was fairly quick but hard. 48 miles in 2:12. The wind was stronger than I had expected and it was cold. As I sit here typing I'm pretty tapped out. I'm hitting the caffeine in an effort to get going and do some yard work and a couple of other lingering chores. I'm getting used to my new position and it does keep my upper body lower and steadier, so I'm hopeful for a good ride in Florida. Maybe not a PR for the distance, but better than I've done recently.

The numbers

11.8 miles running/48 miles riding

Terrain: asphalt

# of Runs: 83
YTD Mileage: 683.57
MTG (Miles to Goal): 316.43
M/R (Miles per run avg.): 8.24

YTD Mileage: 978.50
# of Rides: 43
M/RD: 22.76

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Training Log Entry #82

Ran thursday. Trainer and swim Friday. 6 mile run which went pretty well. I am tired but my legs were strong. I managed to catch up to some guys from work who had left a bit earlier. Good tempo work catching them and then I ran with them which got me to slow down and relax a bit. This is something that's hard to do running by myself, but is important considering my sore knee. Speaking of the knee it is not getting worse and is most likely a hamstring "pull", which might actually have happened getting out of the kayak in Vermont (it wasn't my most graceful disembarking ever!). I'm running again today, so we'll see how it holds up.

I'm getting pretty comfortable in my new position on my bike. The general cramping and soreness related to my lower upper body (and thus more weight on my elbows/shoulders) has gone away. This is key because this position is only faster if I can stay in it for 56 miles. If you end up sitting up too much, you quickly lose any gains you might have made.

Still struggling through the "lonely training" thing, but given that Nov. 11 now seems pretty close, it's getting easier to suck it up and do the work. Training during the week is easy and relaxing for the most part, with a little more effort on the weekends. I'm fit and fast, I just need to maintain things, race my ass off, and then enjoy the off-season!

The numbers

6 miles running/9 miles riding

Terrain: asphalt/trainer

# of Runs: 82
YTD Mileage: 672.77
MTG (Miles to Goal): 327.23
M/R (Miles per run avg.): 8.20

YTD Mileage: 930.50
# of Rides: 42
M/RD: 22.15

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

And if you are able to read...

Bowerman and the Men of Oregon.

It's a book about a legendary track coach and the birth of a company we all know: Nike. Even more, for me it has helped me remember a more innocent time in my life where amateur athletics and the Olympics were everything. It is a tour of 20th century history in the manner of Forrest Gump, but without the goofie bastard!

Sitting here I'm nostalgic for the days when the mile was king!

(That's right folks, the mile not the 100m steroid induced piss in a cup with laundry detergent to avoid detection dash.)

Downtime is Niiiiice....

I took a long weekend away in Vermont. My in-laws watched Alexandra while Leanna and I borrowed a cousin's condo. Our cell phones did not get a signal. I had no bike, no wetsuit, no lycra of any sort, only one pair of running shoes (old trainers just for walking around in), and most importantly NO PLAN. I was at the point where I was so tired and so sleep deprived that I didn't realize how tired and sleep deprived I was until the weekend was over and I was upgraded to merely exhausted. I've resumed some light training this week (2 x 30 min. on my trainer and 1500yds swimming) and feel pretty good. However I'm not really motivated. I know my base is good, but I'm worried about speed eroding (which it will do) if I don't show a little activity. I'll most likely run tomorrow, but I've got to be honest, it's been nice not running. Ever since that trip to the indoor track I've been nursing a sore left knee. It has been improving and regular running doesn't seem to bother it, but just the same it takes the wind out of my sails a bit. I don't see anyway I'll even hit 1000 miles. I think 750 might be more realistic because I don't see a ton of miles coming in after November 11th which is a mere 10 hard training days away. The finish line is near, but it is nice to relax. I'm going to get some real work in this weekend so I'll have a good idea where I stand after that.

The numbers

27 miles riding

Terrain: trainer

# of Runs: 81
YTD Mileage: 666.77
MTG (Miles to Goal): 333.23
M/R (Miles per run avg.): 8.23

YTD Mileage: 921.50
# of Rides: 41
M/RD: 22.48

Thursday, October 12, 2006

It's 5:30AM, have you hugged your bike yet?

Okay I'm feeling better than I was earlier in the week. Thanks for your concern. I got a new batch of my "secret" supplement yesterday, and I think that's helping. I'd been out all week. No it's nothing illegal. Basically I just jumped up my iron intake (heme-iron). It makes a difference during periods of high stress.

I'm taking the next 4 days off, except for sleeping and hiking. I'm looking forward to it. Until then, though, I've got one more swim to fit in at lunch today (I've already ridden my trainer for 30 minutes).

Good Day.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Choice and Sacrifice

Okay, so this not so original thought came to me after an extended "disagreement" with Leanna. My life is what I've made it through my choices, and for the most part it's all good. "So why you lookin' so down, Joel." No my monkey didn't die (name that reference), I've been reflecting on one of the statements that came out of the disagreement and it's totally true and I have nobody to blame but myself. I have no social life. None. I have a few friends, and those that I have I rate as close, but that doesn't mean we go out much or do things on the weekends. I've gone down a path which others can't really follow. It's my choice. I can sit here and be rational about it, but the truth and thus the emotional response is the same. I mean seriously, who is going to join me for 4 1/2 hours of suffering in the wind and rain?! It gets pretty damn lonely.

Why the reflection now? Well in an extended moment of self-pity I was considering withdrawing from the world championships. I mean really, I'm very likely pack filler. The real race is going to be 15 or 20 minutes up the road from me if I have a really good day. It seemed like I was just wasting our money on the trip.

Let's just say Leanna didn't see it the same way. In short, what were all the long hours for if I was going to drop out of the single biggest event of my life (so far). Okay I was thinking the lesson was family resources were more important than personal goals, but I was quickly reminded that I was just the person executing this race. Sacrifices for preparation were made by all, not just me. So my dropping out was discarding what all family members had sacrificed.

Yes I'm rambling but perhaps I can tie it all together again. In short, I'm racing because I'm not the only one who has made sacrifices. I'm racing because it gives some purpose to everything I've given up personally (like a social life). I'm racing because I want to.

Now if I can just convince myself of this I'll be all set.

Training Log Entry #81

11.5 miles of pure work. However it was reasonably fast. My time for the usual 10.8 mile time trial would have been in the 1:07 - 1:08 range which is near my fastest. That was yesterday. Today I'm tapped out...spent. My form and speed are good but, to borrow a cycling phrase, I'm on the razor. I think I'm dangerously close to peaking too early, so it's time to take a step back this week. One or two easy 30 minute ride(s) on the trainer and a swim or two. No runs. Leanna and I are heading up to Vermont for a few days. I'm guessing we'll hike a bit and that will cover the "running" part. I need to get these batteries recharged because the indicator that my fitness is on the edge is more than just physical. I've been tired and out of shape plenty. It's the emotional changes, the mood swings and depression that oddly accompany my best form. They are early indicators that I'm at a place I can't stay for too long. I'm counting on wisdom garnered by years of doing this, that I am properly diagnosing the situation. I do know I'm also perilously close to doing injuring myself. Time to be careful and recover.

The numbers

11.5 miles running

Terrain: Asphalt

# of Runs: 81
YTD Mileage: 666.77
MTG (Miles to Goal): 333.23
M/R (Miles per run avg.): 8.23

YTD Mileage: 894.50
# of Rides: 38
M/RD: 23.54

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Timeout from Pumpkin Shopping...

Always time for a little splishy-splash!

Dadda...Where ARE You?! Posted by Picasa

Oooh, too many choices! Posted by Picasa

This looks nice. Posted by Picasa

Big Pumpkin! Posted by Picasa

Training Log Entry #80

This was one of my shortest runs of the year. However, it was on the indoor track at Brown, so distance wassn't really the objective. 3.5 miles (on an 1/8th of a mile track) with 5 x 400m at faster than 5k pace with a 200m jog between repeats. You'd think a rubberized track would be easy on the joints. I find it just the opposite. Sure you aren't pounding as hard, but the increased grip of the surface combined with running tight corners at full speed always leave my knees and ankles in a funk. My left knee is a little tender now, but not so bad a few Advil won't take care of it.

The set itself went well, and overall I'm pretty pleased with the way my form is returning. My swimming is very efficient if not overly fast (I got in such a zone that I totally lost track of how many laps I had done, and went ~250 - 300 yds further than I had planned), my running form feels good with my turnover getting quicker again, and my legs feeling lively. And my cycling, as evidenced today, is as good if not better than it has been all year. I went hard for 51 miles today (same three loops as last week, but no breaks between), and completed the course in 2:21, much faster than last week. Yes a lack of wind helped (I was riding in a gale last week...literally), but it was more than that. I'm getting comfortable with my new lower/narrower position and the position is fast. I know my aerodynamics have improved because there is no longer any air getting onto my chest. With a starting temperature of 45 degrees this morning, it was very obvious by the cold chill when the air was getting through and when it wasn't.

I also put in 30 minutes (9 miles) of trainer time on Tuesday.

With one month until race day, I'm cautiously optimistic for a good race.

The numbers

3.5 miles running/60 miles riding

Terrain: Asphalt

# of Runs: 80
YTD Mileage: 655.27
MTG (Miles to Goal): 344.73
M/R (Miles per run avg.): 8.19

YTD Mileage: 894.50
# of Rides: 38
M/RD: 23.54

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Happy Gotcha Day!!!

October 7, 2004Posted by Picasa

October 7, 2006 Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Training Log Entry #79

Today it was all work. It was raining and windy as hell, and I had scheduled a big (4+ hour) workout. Add to that the fact that being only 6 weeks away from race day, there are no more mulligans on the workouts. It's get out there and do it as planned. The plan called for 3 x 17 miles (on one hour) on my Triathlon bike. That means the gap between when I finish and when I start riding the loop again is equal to the amount of time I finish before 1 hour is up. For the most part I was finishing in about 50 minutes, meaning I got a 10 minute bathroom/refill the water bottle break every lap. Let me tell you, the breaks don't make the workout easier. On the second lap it felt like there was hail coming down, stinging my face and really just sucking. The wind was off the charts as well.

As if those 51 miles weren't enough, I threw in the 10.8 mile run as well. It felt all right, but I was really exhausted. I think I ran 1:12 - 1:15, though, which is pretty good considering the effort of the ride.

So why? Even from a pure training standpoint this workout was probably too big. I think it's because mentally I needed some sort of affirmation that I was still good; still tough. Because of all the slack I've cut myself in the last couple of weeks, doubt had begun to creep in. I wasn't sure if I would be able to muster the drive to race hard in Clearwater, and frankly given the cost, it's not worth making the trip if I was just going to go through the motions. I needed to know I could still suffer, still push even when it hurt like hell. Today hurt like hell and I just kept going. Almost every part of me wanted to stop, wanted to at least walk a bit. Given the weather there was almost nobody else out there either so it was also lonely as hell. But I just kept hammering. At the end there was no elation, just simple relief.

The numbers

10.8 miles running/51 miles riding

Terrain: Asphalt

# of Runs: 79
YTD Mileage: 651.77
MTG (Miles to Goal): 348.23
M/R (Miles per run avg.): 8.25

YTD Mileage: 834.50
# of Rides: 36
M/RD: 23.18