Monday, November 27, 2006

Training Log Entry #87 - #92: Grading the season

Just catching up. I thought I'd take a second to grade my season as well. I'm thinking A- which could be generous. While I'm going to fall short on my mileage goals, I will likely end up with 2000 combined run/bike miles. Most importantly I feel better physically than I have in YEARS! My work reinventing my running has paid dividends. My ankle works. My Hammy works. My massage therapist said my muscles felt really good and supple. That is far better than last year's assessment when my ankle felt "funky" and the muscles under my IT bands were tight as bow strings.

I also hit my two "A" goals; A PR and sub 3 hour marathon at Boston, and breaking the 1 1/2 hour mark for the 1/2 iron run (in June at Mooseman). As a bonus I earned a trip to the Ironman World Championships 70.3, and set a PR at the 1/2 iron distance.

Here are my missing workouts:
19 mile bike/4.3 mile run (11/5)
2 mile run (11/10)
13.1 mile run (11/11)
56 mile bike (11/11)
6.5 mile run (11/21)
5 mile run (11/23)
6 mile run (11/27)

Terrain: Mostly Asphalt

# of Runs: 92
YTD Mileage: 737.57
MTG (Miles to Goal): 262.43
M/R (Miles per run avg.): 8.02

YTD Mileage: 1082.50
# of Rides: 47
M/RD: 23.03

Sit down. Sit Down. Pablo NO!!

I'm sure you have no idea what the title means. Well, it's one of those parenting moments. Alexandra the 2 1/2 year old queen of the realm, is a piece of work. Though it seems like she doesn't understand what we are saying, you realize she does and is "choosing" to ignore us when, in the still of the morning, you hear her in her room correcting her stuffed animal, Pablo.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Quick Update

I'm traveling for Thanksgiving right now so I haven't had a chance to finish Part 2 of my trip to Florida. I did want to get a quick update out which contains missed workout mileage. I have not added these into the running totals yet, and probably won't until next week. I also might be missing a 5 mile run somewhere. I know(think) I ran it, I just have top check the calendar to recall when.

19 mile bike/4.3 mile run (11/5)
2 mile run (11/10)
13.1 mile run (11/11)
56 mile bike (11/11)

Oh yeah. I'm really struggling with this concept of "downtime". I need to get moving again or I'll go nuts. I'm going out for a 6 - 8 miler today (easy pace) just to stay sane.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Running at Ironman World Championship 70.3 Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ironman World Championships 70.3: Part 1

I worked through lunch today, so I thought I'd get chapter 1 of 'Joel goes to Florida' out of the way. Before the reality of race day hit, I was able to exist in that utopian dream of a World Championship. If there were any doubts about whether or not this would be an event worthy of such a title, they were put to rest almost immediately. The venue (devoid of people), was the perfect setting. Warm Gulf of Mexico waters, clear skies, mid-70s to 80 degree temperatures were the norm. Despite being only 3 weeks removed from Hawaii, the top pros managed to make it out. As a wanna-be athlete all my life, I finally felt like I had made it. The town’s people (for the most part), kept the fantasy intact as well. I was a member of this swarm of really thin, really fit people who had descended on Clearwater Beach. Helped by the fact that most people couldn't pick a professional triathlete out of a lineup, and by the words "World Championship", and by the fact that the ability to race for 4 1/2 hours straight is well beyond the comprehension of the wait staff at IHOP, I gladly imparted my "wisdom" about life and the event to the delight of awestruck locals. If only they knew the truth!

After getting situated in my 70s era sea side motel, The Sea Stone Resort, (~3/4 of a mile from the race course), complete with a dead cucaracha on the 3rd floor stairwell landing, I made my way to the athlete event registration. It was now mid-afternoon on Thursday, and yet I was still one of the first people to arrive, so I got first dibs on all the free stuff. Let me tell you, because of the cost of these events, you go after all the free stuff you can get. I think whole eBay stores exist for the reselling of promotional giveaway items from races (Gatorade water bottle anyone?). One of the more interesting demonstrations (to me anyway), was the physiological work up. Egos are hungry beasts, and mine needs to be fed early and often. Tanita, the digital scale company, was demo'ing their latest product which not only did the usual body fat percentage, but percent of water, weight of lean muscle, "Basal Metabolic Rate" (how many calories you burn in a day just breathing), and metabolic age. I used to obsess on the fact that as a rower in college I was ~9% body fat, and that I was now no longer quite as lean.

Well here's my report card:

Body weight (clothed): 165.8
Body Fat: 7.9%
% of Water: 60% (which is fully hydrated)
Weight of Lean Muscle: 145.2 (that would be hydrated lean muscle, not desiccated)
Basal Metabolic Rate (my personal favorite): 1976 calories a day just breathing (Bring on the Chocolate Cake!!!)
Metabolic age: 12

Okay, now Leanna insists that I heard the last one incorrectly, and that they meant my emotional age was 12. Well, she might have a point. I was after all playing professional athlete in Clearwater Florida. No matter, as meaningless as that "free profile" really was, I left feeling a lot better about myself. I now really felt like I belonged.

That night I went trolling around looking for a place to eat. Clearwater Beach is divided into the older, 70s era section, and the newer more upscale areas. Despite money concerns, I went over to the nice section. I was playing professional athlete after all. I now even had my powder blue competitor's bracelet to prove it. So I made it over to the newer section across from the Marriot. After trying hard to find something worth my new found sense of self(!), I came across an Italian place, Forlini's. The prices were a little steep, but actually about what I pay at home (Newport is not cheap). A Steve Martin movie came to mind when the host asked how many would be dining tonight, "Uh, I'm alone." It was a slow night in the restaurant and he must have noticed all my Ironman gear, so I was placed at a booth in the window like some human billboard saying, hey everybody, triathletes eat here and you should too! The food was really good, and two glasses of Chianti always make a meal more pleasant, even when you are alone. An yes I entertained more questions about what the training for this event was like, how long had I been doing this, and did I think he (my waiter) could ever finish one. Good food, wine, and ego stroking beyond compare. Yes this was the dream. Then another group of athlete's entered and low and behold, not only were they in town for the championships, they were people I knew from New England! Buoyed by the wine I went over and said hello, and they invited me to join them. Despite being done eating I did so and spent the rest of the evening with them. After dinner we hit the local CVS for all those items we had forgotten and then made plans to do our pre-race workouts together the next morning, but that's a story for another time.

Coming soon: Part 2, Pre-race

I'm always looking to improve, but...

I really want to be a better athlete. I'm okay now, but I know I have plenty more upside. I'm pretty sure I need coaching help to move up, but the problem is finding a coach who can make it happen for me. The most fundamental element I don't have, which a coach would presume, is time. During peak times I can probably find 10 to 12 hours a week. Here's a sample plan (actually a former teammate of mine) which highlights the problem. True this sample is for an Ironman build-up, but still you get the idea:

The easy week before the race equals about what I can fit in for my peak week. The swim distances of 25000m per week equal about what I swim in two months! Is this really what I need to do? Well I can't do this and stay married, that's for sure. Frankly I think I can do it my way, but I need a guide who understands that and I just don't think any exist.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Reality check...

It's going to take a number of posts to recap this past weekend. Let me start at the end.

I flew from Tampa to Providence this morning at 10:40 am. While I was waiting to board Southwest flight 880, I saw a fellow triathlete enter the waiting area with his parents. He looked familiar. I thought I remembered seeing him on a telecast of the Hawaiian Ironman in 2005. Now here he was about to board the same flight as I. Out of lycra and bereft of bicycle it is possible to mistake someone, but not this time. His Ironman hat was the giveaway. So was his wheel chair. So was his Dad feeding him his Coca-Cola with Lime. His name is Johnny Blais. He has ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He is going to die.

I was pulled from a moment of self pity, yanked back to reality. Knowing I would never again have this opportunity, I went over and introduced myself and tried to say something that didn't sound too stupid. I'm not sure I succeeded. I did say that just seeing him reminded me that it's not all about splits and ranks and overall place. He looked at me and sort of smiled, "Yes it is." If I might be so bold as to interpret his response, other than his being a wise ass (which is probably how he intended it!), I think the point is that placing and ranking, measuring yourself against others is part of the experience. It was okay for me to be pissed off about the drafting debacle at the World Championships.

I don't want to overstate things here. I didn't meet Ghandi or the Dalai Lama. However I met a man who does have a perspective of life and competition that I don't have.

Incidentally, I also met a man who is trying to make a difference with the days he has left. Maybe I (we) can try the same. (You can learn more here.)

Blazeman Oct. 2005 Posted by Picasa

Me and Blazeman Nov. 2006 Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A good weekend

While Alexandra was upset on Friday when she woke up from her nap to find Mommy gone "on vacation", her mood soon improved (a trip to the park helped) and we had a really good time. She has clearly missed Mommy the whole time (we've watched the home movie of our vacation in Maine about 10 times!), but she has not been difficult. Quite the opposite, she's been much easier than I thought. Not to say I think this would be easy to do full time, I have the utmost respect for full time Mommies, but I was worried she'd be impossibly upset for much of the weekend. That's not the case. We've been able to do things, like go for a nature walk at the Norman bird sanctuary, see small animals (also at the bird sanctuary), go out to dinner a couple of times, go to the store twice and to Starbuck's (she loves Madeleines).

Mommy comes back today during nap time. I'm sure Alexandra will be thrilled to see her, as will I, but I'll miss the quality Daddy time I've had the last couple of days. I think we'll have to do this again sometime.

PS: Austin, at one point while we were driving to Portsmouth she said, "Go Austin's house? Go Austin's house?"

Friday, November 03, 2006

Training Log Entry #86

I'm ready for the end. Be that as it may, I'm still sticking to the plan and thankfully the plan this week called for a very easy week. Just one run, no riding (I might spin on my trainer tomorrow during Alexandra's nap), and 2 swims to keep my shoulders loose. I've been working on coming up with my race plan. I have found out what works in the pool. No rocket science, just start really slow and then pick it up a little after the first 500 yds. It's long enough to warm-up, stretch out, and get rid of the nerves, but not so far that I'm hopelessly far behind. Besides, even if I'm only 29 minutes or so in the water, if I come out more relaxed I could have two good legs coming up, and after all that is really "my race."

The numbers

6 miles running

Terrain: asphalt

# of Runs: 86
YTD Mileage: 700.67
MTG (Miles to Goal): 299.33
M/R (Miles per run avg.): 8.15

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

The training wheels are off!

For the first time, it's just me and Alexandra until Sunday afternoon.