Monday, March 29, 2010

I cracked tonight...

Tonight at masters swim the wheels completely came off! We had a tough set (at least I thought so) and towards the end of our 4500 yard workout I fell apart. Sorry Daryl I wanted to do my part leading the lane, it just wasn't happening tonight! It's wierd because I can push through bike workouts, suck it up for certain paces running...but swimming is a different story for me. Don't get me wrong the times I was doing when everything came apart tonight are far faster than I was a year ago so I know I'm getting better. I'm happy because everything that I swam tonight, including when my arms hurt like crazy, was at a 1:30 pace or faster. I don't know that I've hit the wall like this before which is a good thing...and a bad thing at the same time I guess. A good thing because I pushed myself to the limit, and next time I will just have to push a little harder. A bad thing because I need to crack while I'm riding and running at some point. I need to find the edge and then have to try to push past it. Tonight I pushed past the edge and things fell apart...fine, great, next time I'm going to take it farther.

The run training needs to start picking up, and it will tomorrow morning with a nice little jaunt around Waterfall Glen. Heck, maybe I'll make it a double day at Waterfall Glen tomorrow...once in the morning and once in the afternoon, who knows? My run pace has been solid lately, so running the "hills" at WFG should be interesting...these aren't huge hills by any means but it's what we have here in Chicago.

Time to get some steel cut oats started in the crock pot so that I can have them for breakfast tomorrow morning. This is a first time test so I'll have to see how it goes, I love them from Jamba Juice...hopefully I can mimic that at home! I have some big training planned for the next few days...need to make sure I'm fueled and ready to go.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Pups!!

Today my dogs turn 3 years old. So a big happy birthday to both Roxy and Winther. Now you ask how we are going to celebrate? That's a good question, we're going to head to the pet store to get some food, I'll let them pick out a new toy to play with, and maybe we'll even go for a short run tonight too. I can't believe that they are 3 already, and honestly don't know what I would do without them. They are the best running partners I could ask for, and have grown up quite a bit in the last 3 years. Sure Winther is still certifiably nuts, but he actually listens a lot better now than he used to. Yesterday I let them out to go to the bath room and there were a couple of dogs walking past the house. Much to my surprise Winther and Roxy stayed in the driveway and didn't take off after the dogs, not to hurt them of course...just to say hi. I'm sure Roxy is looking forward to a night on the she might have to get her wish, although the couch is going to have to be downstairs because I have to get some riding in tonight.

Monday, March 22, 2010

An Easy Weekend Update

At the end of last week I was feeling pretty fried, my energy was down and my workouts were just alright. I decided to take Thursday night off of swimming, and instead went and swam easy Friday morning which was a good decision. Getting a little extra sleep and then swimming easy was the right thing to do. Friday night I went to Lululemon and bought a few running shirts and a pair of running shorts. I know I've said it before, but I'm going to say it is the MOST comfortable running clothing that I have worn! Not only is it ridiculously comfortable, but it's also sweet looking.

Saturday I had to ride at Endure It at 10 because I had practice in the morning. The class wasn't very crowded...that doesn't mean it was any easier though. After the usual 15 minute progressive warm up which I hate we did the following:

8 x through the following:
5 minutes @ AT
2 minutes RI

It was a tough workout, but as always you will never regret a workout and I hit the numbers I was supposed to even when I wasn't feeling the best. After about 2 reps of the set my stomach felt pretty crappy, and I wasn't sure if I would be able to finish. I popped a Jet Blackberry GU and wanted to see if that would help. 2 more reps and I didn't feel any worse, so here I am half way through with the workout and I decided to pop one more GU. Sure enough that did the trick...I was able to finish up strong. I'm glad this happened because I learned something about myself and I learned something that could come in handy come race day. Thanks GU!!!

Yesterday I decided to head downtown to run the Shamrock Shuffle with Wanner. Besides the cold weather we had a great time. It was nice to run with 36,000 people knowing that the end was near.

We used a new toy at masters swimming yesterday. At least it is new to me...a tempo trainer. Definitely something different and fun.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Flushing it out

Part of my focus this year is on "recovery" from my workouts. I would love to be able to get a massage every couple of weeks, as I know that will help with recovery. I'm fortunate enough to have an awesome massage therapist! Nestor Battung is simply amazing. I started going to Nestor last year during the triathlon season and he was vital in keeping me fresh and always had my body ready to race. I met with Nestor last night and he flushed everything out for me. As I have pretty much led on to, Nestor is the man. He has a resume which is too long to list here, with some highlights being working with the United States National Soccer Teams, elite distance athletes who come to Chicago for races like the Chicago Marathon just to name a couple. In addition to his client list, he has an incredible educational background recently completing post graduate work earning his masters degree in clinical massage therapy. Here's a shout out to Nestor saying thanks!

It's another beautiful day today in Chicago, and we had practice this morning so I get to go home after school, which I'm pumped about. I'm going to hang out with the dogs and then hopefully get a quick trainer session in before heading to masters swimming tonight. I did enjoy the sun today and got a quick 4 mile run in. My legs felt great, but I kept it in check...the wind helped me do that! I'm looking forward to the fact that tomorrow is Friday, and I plan on doing some shopping at Lululemon tomorrow night. An awesome store in Oak Brook...make sure you check it out if you were thinking about getting some workout clothes for the summer...or spring break, or just because.

I read a quote recently and can't remember if I have posted it here or not. Sorry off of the top of my head I forget who the quote is from, but I like it none the less...

"He who suffers, remembers."
I have it printed out at my house and I get a constant reminder of why I'm doing the things I'm doing. Whatever works right?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I know this is a tease but...

I am going to enjoy this awesome weather while we have it! The past 2 days I have been able to run outside in shorts and a t-shirt. I've been rockin my new Lululemon running gear and let me tell you it's awesome! Not only does it look awesome (and me wearing it has to help too...just kidding of course) but it is by far the most comfortable gear that I have worn to run in!

Yesterday I ended up with 7 miles on the day total, 2 in the morning with the dogs and a speed session after work. This was my first "speed" session of the year. I didn't want to leave the dogs for too long, and knew they wouldn't have wanted to do the session that I had planned so I took them along for my warm up and cool down. My main set was 4 x 800 (which I just did as a .5 mile course in the neighborhood) and I wanted to do all of them in 2:45. I hit the workout (2:38; 2:35; 2:45; 2:43) and needless to say it wasn't easy! The first two were slightly downhill and with the wind at my back...the last two were slightly uphill into the wind, so I'm happy that I hit my times. I will continue to build these speed workouts as the year progresses and let's hope I get faster! I spun my legs out later last night on the trainer and actually felt much better at the end of the hour than I did at the start!

This morning I rode at Endure It for the usual computrainer class. It was a good solid set:

Warm Up

6 x through the following
3 @ 110%
3 RI

Cool Down

I've been trying to figure out my ideal cadence lately, and I feel like I'm right inbetween gears, one I am spinning too fast, and the other I'm grinding a bit too much...I need to figure that out. I had planned on just running an easy 5 today, well with the weather the way it is that easy 5 didn't turn out all that easy and ended up more like a tempo 5. Oh well, you win some you lose some, such is life. Looking forward to grilling out tonight and hanging out with the pups outside.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Here We Go Again...

Yesterday was the official start of training for Ironman Arizona. And seeing as it was the first "official" day you would think that I would have started off with a huge day of training. Well, I didn't...I'm going to try to follow a routine which can go something like this:

Monday - Swim
Tuesaday - Bike & Run
Wednesday - Bike & Run
Thursday - Bike & Swim
Friday - Bike & Run
Saturday - Bike & Run
Sunday - Swim & Bike & Run

Of course I'm going to deviate from that, and throw in weights and other things too...but that's the general outline. Yesterday was a relatively easy day though, I went out for a quick 2 mile run with the dogs and my Vibram 5 Fingers shoes (let's hope these work) and then went to masters swim where we ended up getting 4300 yards in. I'm happy with where my base is starting this Ironman build, and feel that I have learned a lot from the previous 2...and I'm sure I'll learn even more from this one. I think my main goal for this build is going to be CONSISTENCY. In both prior Ironman training cycles I would go for periods of time without, swimming or running...I usually get on my bike without a problem. This time through though I'm going to be consistent, and also smart with how I do things. I'm going to try to listen to my body and keep the intensity of the workouts in check, there is no need to hammer away all of the time!

On tap today is a speed workout for my run and an easy spin on the trainer. I already took the dogs on a 2 mile run this morning, which I think they really appreciate. Day 2 here we go!

I'll have to post about my freakin sweet dinner that I have cooking up in the crock pot right now, I'll have to see how it is tonight.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

And It Begins...

Well, tomorrow that is, and what's beginning is the start of something big. The "Official" start to the training program for Ironman Arizona starts tomorrow. Well what the heck have I been doing then you ask? I've been enjoying my workouts and building the biggest base that I have ever had to take into Ironman training. It's nice to know that my swimming is far beyond where it was last year at this time, my biking is about the same, if not slightly ahead, and my running is a little ahead of schedule from last year. This thing about this year is that it's going to be a long racing season which spans from May until the end of November. I'm excited about this, and am really happy that I decided to race in Arizona. I am going to be able to put some awesome training blocks through this build and I will be more than ready to go come November! I have a solid set of races spaced out nicely this summer, and it will help me race into shape.

I backed the training off this week as I knew what would be ahead of me. I did swim over 12,000 yards, and rode quite a bit, but I really trailed off on running only running 11 miles. I'm alright with that. I need to be more structured in my running, and not just go out and run.

Yesterday I rode for 2 hours at the Lululemon store in Oak Brook. Definitely fun, and it's a nice change of scenery from looking at a television screen in my basement. They also got some new clothes in, head on in there and check it out, it's pretty sweet!

I just got back from a ride on my single speed...26 miles nice and easy. It was chilly out there and windy! I love riding that single speed and can't wait to head out onto it more frequently this summer. Also my project bike is just about ready to go into the shop to get finished up...actually I have to go and put another clear coat on it now.

Remember...Make friends with pain, and you will never be alone.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Something New, But Not Really

Alright so a wierd title I know. I recently finished reading "Born to Run" which was an awesome book! I'm not going to get into it here, if you want to hear about it let me know, but basically it really made me think about running in a different light.

**time to step up onto my soap box**

In "Born to Run" there is some discussion about barefoot running, and about how mankind was built to run...and to run for a long time. Essentially we were built to hunt and to be able to out run our prey. Our prey being deer and things of that nature. There were some very interesting points brought up in the book about running, and being able to outrun those animals, and when I started to think about it I could see where it was coming from. You see we sweat...animals (for the most part I think) don't. Could you imagine running with your body covered in hair...I mean like wearing a fur coat. And no this is not a lame excuse to justify why triathletes shave their legs. It would suck to run with a fur coat the theory is that our ancient ancestors would just continue to run at a pace that they could keep the animal in sight, and eventually the animal would succumb to exhaustion and collapse...therefore man had dinner. They had tested this somewhere in Africa and it worked...or maybe they didn't, but I'm alright with it because in my head it makes sense.

**time to step off of the soapbox**

Alright back to my title, I had picked up a pair of the vibram 5 fingers shoes this weekend and took my first run in them yesterday. You see they are "new" but based off of something that is not really new...running barefoot. Basically they have a rubber sole that protects your feet from the harsh things that might be on the ground. You're supposed to slowly build up time with these since the odds are our feet are not as strong as they once were 100's of years ago. So I went out with the dogs for a quick jaunt through the neighborhood. It ended up being 2 miles at a 7 minute pace, and I had no problems with the shoes!

Last night I swam at masters and ended up getting another 4000 yards in. It was "sprint" night, and the interval times didn't seem too bad...but I tell you what it was tough. Oh well I hit all of my times, so there is improvement!

I ended up running again this morning with the vibram's and it felt great...another 2 miles at a little faster pace.

It's time to keep working and to stay strong!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pain...And I Love It!

The key word for the day is PAIN! My legs are screaming! Computrainer this morning was freakin hard...the kind of black out, puke up your cereal, see stars, light-headed kind of pain that I had. It's wierd though, because I felt that pain through the first set and a half...and then I settled in. Here was the set:

15 minute warm up

2 x through the following with a 5 minute break in the middle:

10 x
30 seconds @ 150% (450 watts)
1 minute recovery

Cool Down

I had seen the workout yesterday, and for some reason on paper it didn't look that tough, must have been a mental lapse on my part I guess...those things can happen. I discovered that if I spun up with a higher cadence, and then kept that cadence high it was easier to keep the power high. It was more taxing on my heart and lungs, although they can handle it much better than my muscles can. It was great to have an effort like that today, so thanks Ron!

Yesterday I went out for a run when I got home. It was beautiful outside, sunny, 50's, good as it gets in March. So the dogs and I headed out, I felt great! We ended up running 7 miles at a 6:35 pace, and the cool thing is that I could have gone harder! This seemed easy. Funny thing though is that Roxy decided to jump up on the grass to run behind Winther at some point...well Winther was kicking up a steady spray of Roxy was getting blasted in the face from the mud Winther was kicking up. I wish I would have had a camera on the run to take a picture of it. She also doesn't like to run that far, and it's no secret to me! At about the 5 mile mark she has had enough and starts to lag behind, where Winther decides that's time to push the pace...yea he's not right in the head, kind of like his owner. I also had an easy spin on the trainer last night, it was good to get the legs going, and lucky for me there was a hockey game on...not the Blackhawks but hockey none the less. I ran across this quote in one of the books I just finished, "He who suffers, remembers." I forget the book, but I like it...and thought of it this morning as I was suffering.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Goals and Structure

I find that I work well when I am working towards a goal. I also work well on a schedule, and I have realized what is too much (my body has told me that), and I realize what is too little (my mind has helped me there). So I have a new plan that I'm going to try to follow. My base is very solid right now, so I'm happy with that. Coaching starts today, so I need to be more useful with the time that I have, and in saying that I have a pretty good idea of the schedule that I want to keep which will have a nice mix of intensity/volume/recovery.

The weather has been getting a bit warmer, which I'm pumped about! I have done all of my running in March so far in shorts. At times during my runs I have hit some pretty quick paces as well, and the nice thing is that I feel as if I can hold that pace for longer than what I am. Since it's March and I race for the first time in a little over 2 months it's time to start hitting up the speed work. Once a week should suffice. And also seeing as that first race is Galena some hill work should be in order as well. I will probably need to drive to get to the hills that I want to run, but I am thinking that what I might do is to just tack on some hill work at the end of some runs I do on Fridays.

I picked up the Vibram Five Fingers yesterday, so I'm going to have to start breaking my feet in slowly. Probably 10 minutes a day for 2 weeks, then 15 minutes for 2 weeks, and so on and so forth. They feel pretty cool, and I would probably rock them around town if I wasn't concerned that people may try to convince me to admit myself to the crazy ward. Oh well, most people already know I'm least the people who read this know that.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Team Speed aka Winther

Yesterday was awesome! The sun was out, it was around 40 degrees, and did I mention that the sun was out? I led class at Endure It once again early yesterday morning, and the crew had a tough set to complete!

Warm Up

Main Set:
4 x 9 minutes as follows:
1' @ 80%
1' @ 90%
4' @ AT
1' @ 110%
2' @ 70%

Cool Down

I am proud because I actually used my brain and decided it would be better for me to ride at a tempo pace yesterday as opposed to doing the workout. I rode hard on Tuesday morning, so I just stayed in the 80%-85% range for the duration of the time yesterday as I tried to encourage everyone to hit their numbers. Everyone really did a great was a tough workout!!

Since it was so nice out yesterday I decided to run home from school, get the dogs, and run back to pick up the car. I hammered the run, didn't mean to, but it was nice out, I had shorts on and Winther decided to race a freight train from Clarendon Hills to Hinsdale. So Roxy and I were along for the ride. He took us through about a mile and a half at a ridiculously fast pace, but the good thing is that I felt good throughout! I felt like I was running a tempo pace, and I had more left in the tank to go faster. I'm going to have to keep this up for sure, I think a combination of things are helping this...consistency, proper recovery (thanks Zensah), rolling on the Grid from TP Therapy, and nutrition! I've been solid with my nutrition.

Anyway if you want an awesome tempo run let me know, maybe I'll let you borrow my coach...Winther...who sets a wicked pace!

This morning we had a good class at Endure It! I rode hard once again, and on paper it looked a lot harder than what it felt. Here was the set:

Warm Up

Main Set:
4 x 10 minutes as follows:
1' @ 110%
45 sec RI
1' @ 110%
45 sec RI
1' @ 110%
45 sec RI
1' @ 110%
45 sec RI
1' @ 110%
2' RI

Cool Down

I was over 110% for the duration of the workout, maybe my body is ready to jump up in numbers again...who knows.

I am getting a free Vitamin D test today, thanks to Brian Keating! I'm thinking I'm alright with where my levels are, but I'll also get a free Vitamin D supplement from USANA, which Keating says is just awesome. I'll give it a try to see what the results are. I have a quick 5 miles to do after getting tested and before swimming tonight. Masters could be interesting!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Staying Fresh...

...well I'm open to suggestions on how to feel fresh. Here is what I've been doing so far: compression gear from Zensah, staying hydrated with water and GU Brew, rolling on my "Grid" from Trigger Point Therapy, eating clean and organic (that's been going well), sleep (I need to work on that a bit), "refueling" immediately after workouts with either organic chocolate soy milk, GU Brew Recovery (which is awesome!), or a whey protein smoothie, which is then quickly followed up with a meal when I get home, or to school (depending on the time of my workout). I do need to take more ice baths...but as you can imagine it's not the easiest thing to talk yourself into! I have some gift cards to get a massage, which I need to use once or twice a month. What other ideas do you have? I feel like I'm hitting pretty much everything...and I even took Sunday off of training.

Since I had taken Sunday off I felt great yesterday! Not that I felt bad before that, but it was a good time for a day off and I'm glad I did. I finished February with some solid totals and I'm happy with that. I started March off with an hour and a half on the trainer and 4200 yards in the pool, oh yea and I hit the weights again! I'm going to be in the weight room 3 times per week from here out. I know this will pay off in the long run and I love the way I feel when I'm done. At masters last night the coach had us swim a "timed" mile. Since I was swimming with Daryl and Todd (and we're all triathletes) she let us "paceline" for the mile where we each pulled 200 yards hard and then drafted the rest of the time. The draft helped, but we only came in 10 seconds faster at the 1000 checkpoint than what I could swim on my own, and honestly the time fell off a bit from there. We ended up swimming a 24:45 for 1650 yards, which ends up being a 1:30 pace. I'm alright with this right now, but I do want to improve upon it! I want to be in the low 1:20's by July, that's going to mean a lot of swimming between now and then!

Due to the time we swam there I did come up with a new goal for my half ironman swim time. I want to break 29:59 for the swim portion of the race. I figure by putting it out there someone here (probably Hillard and Chad) will taunt me until I hit that time.

This morning I was lucky enough to lead the computrainer class at Endure It because most of the crew is out in California for a training camp in Solvang. I'm jealous, but seeing as I can't leave for a week during this time of the year I'll have to have my own "training camp" here in Chicago. We had a motivated crew this morning, and had a nice workout:

Warm Up

Main Set:

5' @ 80%

2' @ 70%

4' @ 90%

1' @ 70%

3' @ AT

1' @ 70%

1' @ 110%

1' @ 70%

3' @ AT

1' @ 70%

4' @ 90%

2' @ 70%

5' @ 80%

Cool Down

The workout was solid, and rolling on the Trigger Point Therapy Grid after did wonders for my legs! Tomorrow's workout is going to be brutal. I'll try to post it tomorrow, but looking at it on paper...brutal!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Lululemon Tri Clinic Recap & Training Update

I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at the Lululemon Oak Brook Store last night. On the window the awesome staff had written, "Will you be our new ambassador Rick?" I'm extremely excited to be working with Lululemon, and it was a really cool welcome!

We hosted a Triathlon 101 clinic last night and had a good time doing so. There were some great questions, and I think some people who are very excited about living a more active lifestyle.

On the training front February ended yesterday with my first day off in a long time. I was planning on getting some running in, but started working on things around the house, and before I knew it the hockey game was on. My body was feeling tired and worn down, so I decided to take the day off. I finished the month with over 52,000 yards swimming, over 21 hours biking, and I ran more than 120 miles. That's a solid base that I'm happy with right now. My swimming is coming along nicely, and most importantly I've been consistent with it! In terms of riding my numbers are there, although I don't feel like I'm where I should be. It's wierd because from a power stand point I'm beyond where I was last year, but I still am not satisfied. I'm thinking it's a good thing that I'm not satisfied though...hopefully that will help me to push more! My run is solid, I haven't done any speed work yet, but held a 5:40 pace for about a half of a mile on Saturday after a hard computrainer session. Holding that pace wasn't difficult either, I was just rolling, and didn't realize I was going that fast. I'm going to continue to base build for a couple of more weeks before hitting my first speed session of the year. It's not far off though, and I have to sit down to figure out some times to hit on the track.

March is the month of the bike challenge. This should give my cycling a good kick start, hopefully we'll be able to get outside some this month too!