Tuesday, June 29, 2010

So Close...Yet So Far

Way back on April 1st I had decided that I wanted to break an hour at Waterfall Glen.  I can't say that I have accomplished that, but I can say that I do think it's doable, and I do think that I will.  I went yesterday and as is typical felt like crap for the first 3 or so miles and wanted to turn back.  And again, as always I was happy I stayed the course and finished up the run.  I'm happy with the effort and ended up running a 1:01.39 which is just shy of where I wanted to be, and think with a little more run fitness my goal can be attained.  I need to set a date where I accomplish this goal...I was thinking before August 11th, any other suggestions, or anyone who wants to come out and pace me either on foot, or on a bike?  I know that my first few miles aren't the best, so maybe a little warm up would do me well...who knows.  I have to also remember that I swam 4400 meters yesterday morning which I'm sure took somewhat of a toll on my energy.

So I suppose that my first day on my "new" plan worked out pretty well...the new plan being what I had posted last week.  I tweaked it ever so slightly because of when I ride computrainer so the weeks should look like this:

Monday: 1 hour swim + 1 hour run
Tuesday: 1 hour ride + 1 hour swim
Wednesday: Computrainer + 40-60 minute run
Thursday: Long Run of 2 hours + 1 hour Swim
Friday: 1 hour swim + 1 hour bike w/ t-run
Saturday: 4 hour bike w/ short t-run
Sunday: 4 hour bike w/ brick 1 hour run

Today's swim is already in the books, and I'm about to head out for a ride.  I'm going to try to keep things in check with the ride and not to hammer too much, computrainer is in the morning and that's where I need to attempt to hammer out a good set.  I do need to start running off of the bike more frequently, so today might be a good opportunity to do so, not a long run, just a few miles.  I think I should eat first though...now the question is what to eat.

Big plans for the upcoming year, looking forward to it for sure!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mind Games

As I was swimming this morning I was thinking...I mean what the heck else is there to do while you're following a black line for 4700 meters?  The first thing I was thinking about was an excuse to get out of the water because I know when I get into the pool with this group it's just like jumping into the hurt locker for 2 hours.  So after a couple hundred meters of not coming up with any good excuses to get out I moved on to bigger and deeper thoughts, oh wait I was just getting to the deeper end of the pool, so maybe not deeper thoughts, and maybe not bigger...I mean how do you have a "big" thought.  Alright enough rambling, so what I came up with was the fact that workouts are just a mind game.  I could have gotten out of the pool after 2000 meters and said, "I have to ride and run today too, so I don't want to burn out in the pool..." but as I thought about it more what the heck is that crap?  I've said you will never regret a workout, and I do believe that, whether that's a 5000 meter swim workout or a 15 minute run or a set of push ups and sit ups because that's all you had time for.  Should I ride and run today?  Of course, but I don't want that to be an excuse to get out of the pool because it might be difficult.

Ironman Arizona is less than 5 months away and I don't want to have any regrets after that race.  I know what I'm capable of, and the only way to achieve that is to put the time and effort in now.  I have a great base going for me, so now it's time to continue to build the engine and to start to push things a bit.  I haven't been happy with my running lately, well besides Lake Mills and running specific races and I know why.  I have not put the time in running off of the bike.  Even if it's just 10 minutes because that's the time I have, I need to start getting those runs in.  I don't want to wait until mile 6-7 on the run in a half ironman to start feeling good...I want it to be at like mile 2-3 and then be able to push.  I haven't been a force on the run, and that needs to change.  I think it can with improved bike fitness, but transition and brick runs are going to be huge these next 5 months.

I have to send a shout out to Hillard to congratulate him on his first overall win in a mountain bike race!  That's huge, and to accomplish it out in Colorado is even better.  Nice work Ryan, you've been working your butt off...now get in the pool! 

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend in Buffalo Springs, wish I could join you, but someone has to be here to train so I guess I'll have the roads and trails to myself...yea right wishful thinking.  I'm thinking about adding a couple of races to my schedule, I'll have to wait and see about that but it might be fun.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Recovered...I Think So...

Something that is always interesting is this whole "recovery" thing.  Your mind gets kind of warped after you race Ironman, and you get a funky mindset that you don't need to recover for long after "shorter" races.  Since I had raced a half ironman (which is a long race...trust me!  I'm not trying to down play this distance, or any distance!!!) I am not sure how much recovery time I need.  So I have taken it easy, Sunday an hour spin on the trainer, Monday a 4 mile run, and yesterday 3400 meters swimming.  My body feels fine, and so I decided to test it this morning.  I rode computrainer at Endure It, and put up a set that would get progressively harder:

15 minute warm up
5 x 1 minute @ 125% (~380-400 watts)
2 minute rest interevals
5 x 1 minute @ 125% (~380-400 watts)
1:30 minute rest intervals
5 x 1 minute @ 125% (~380-400 watts)
1 minute rest interevals
Cool Down

After the first couple I wasn't sure that my legs were ready, but I was putting everyone through a lot of pain, and how could I not jump into the hurt locker with them?  I mean it's only the right thing to do.  I find it hard to try to push people if they don't see you pushing yourself, it just doesn't seem right to try to tell someone to ride harder when you're sitting there spinning your legs.  That helped to motivate me and it worked.  I was able to finish up the set, and felt pretty strong throughout.  Actually I felt better with the shorter rest intervals, not sure why but I did.

There is some funky weather right now, and hopefully it clears up before tonight.  I figure I might as well start to get on my schedule that I had posted a couple of days ago...so that means a longer run today (alright I traded the swim for a bike because I needed to help out).  So a "time consuming" run would be on tap for later tonight, I'm going to shoot for between an hour and a half and two hours...I think it might be cool to run as the sun goes down and to enjoy the evening.  The biggest thing for me is going to be to keep the pace in check...stupid me always runs too hard.  I'm going to head out tonight at a comfortable pace, and then see what happens.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Let's Do Work

Now since the first real "test" is done for the season I know where my fitness is.  I'm happy with my race from Saturday, especially since I haven't had any real "structured" training plan, and I've just been doing what I felt was necessary.  I've been reading quite a bit and am going to take a little different direction with training.  I've been going back and forth between doing what I've done and just sticking to it more strictly, to doing training blocks of 10 days where you overtrain a specific discipline (of course you're doing all three...just more of one for 10 days), and I have also been reading Chuckie V's blog and think he has an excellent take on training.  This is from his blog:

Monday: Run (1:00) + Swim (1:00)

Tuesday: Ride (1:00)

Wednesday: Time-consuming Run (2:00) + Swim (:45)

Thursday: Ride (1:00)

Friday: Run (1:00) + Swim (1:15)

Saturday: Time-consuming Ride (4:00)

Sunday: Time-consuming Ride (4:00) + Run (1:00)

And again, the three primary challenges within this are the midweek long run, and the weekend rides. (The real challenge, however, is in repeating such a week ad infinitum. Remember, constant dripping hollows out a stone.) The long run is (or should be) self-explanatory: get out and run for a long time. If you run it too hard (or you go too long), you'll know a couple days thereafter. Be in tune with this and be aware in advance of next week's long one. The bike rides are ideally set-up in a manner where the challenge comes on Saturday (i.e., a harder steady-state effort), with Sunday's ride simply done as a "Caveman day" or a "feeling based" ride, followed by a transition run (we are, after all, triathletes). If you feel (and are indeed performing) like crap on Saturday the two rides can easily be swapped…in hopes you won't feel poor again on Sunday.

Now, as to where the rest of the challenge should lay, that's up to the individual and the coach, assuming the individual has a coach. If not, this is what I advise…

But first a disclaimer! It's imperative in training that you don't become mired in protocol or in a specific code of conduct. Protocol simply cannot prepare you like an adaptive response to reality can. (Reality = events that unfold; life.) This adaptive-ness is essentially the "art of training" and is every bit as important (if not more so) than the "science of training". And though verified to generate desirable outcomes on a wide range of athletes, the following is merely a suggestion based on principles and fundamentals and can only work if you make it work. And alas, making it "work" is NOT entirely up to you but rather your body and its fickle, ever-irregular responses. Amend where needed, when needed, as needed.


Since the weekend is big enough Monday really ought to be recovery focused, a day free from the rigors of leg abuse. The hitch, however, is that we must continue to get the weekly load in, and starting the week with just a swim (regardless of what came the day prior) is a sure-fire way in which to fall short by the end of the week, and so Monday also includes an easy jog in the afternoon, preferably as late in the day as is feasible. And depending on how challenging the transition run was the day before, Monday's bout ideally ought to remain relaxed and slow, preferably on dirt or some other soft surface (rubber, pillows, babies butts, etc). As far as the swim goes, it's a good day for some "upper-body isolation" or "sport-specific strength work". Strap your feet together, throw on the paddles and a small pull-buoy and do a simple but challenging main set, like 10 x 250s @ 90% effort. With about two hour's training time in all, that leaves Monday a done deal.

As far as Tuesday is concerned, this is where the midweek bike challenge ideally fits in, at least on paper. (Keep in mind that everything is easy on paper, even an Ironman and even the Pacific Crest Trail, though you'll need that much more paper for the latter! And since everything is easy on paper, I plan to do my next long hike entirely atop the stuff.) In all truth, your body (and your drive) must always have the final say, but planning a hard strength-related ride here allows you to make the most of the restricted amount of time you have (or, more precisely, don't have). Warm-up approximately 10 or so minutes, then do 40-minutes at 95%-98% of FTP/UHOP in interval form (e.g., 5 x 8-minutes on 2-minute's rest), all the meanwhile seated in the aero-bars (not literally though, that'd be weird and hard to balance the bike) at slow, smooth cadences, roughly 65-70RPM. Cool-down for a minute or two and be done with it. Tuesday…check.

With regards to Wednesday, you'll need to find a way to squeeze the midweek long run here, particularly if your idea of a long run is two hours or so. If a long run to you is to the refrigerator and back, be sure to place the refrigerator in a town about 6-10 miles away. I advise waking up earlier than normal and setting out at 5am, before the rest of the lazy-ass world has even thought about waking; that way you'll feel pretty damn good about yourself (which is always an important consideration) when 7am rolls around, and the world still slumbers. The long run should be paced so that you could theoretically repeat it in 48-hours or so, without a hitch. If your recovery is compromised you went to hard. Later in the day (ideally at noon) a recovery swim is in order, to hasten recovery from the run (in a perfect world, you'd never finish the day with an abusive bout of exercise). This ought to be little more than a moderately challenging "flop" or gravity-removed movement. I usually have those I guide do more strength work with some light kicking (e.g., 20 x 75s pull {all gear} at 80-90% effort on a 5-second rest interval + 10 x 50s kick, alternating with kick-board and no kick-board. Include some backstroke and breaststroke to stretch things out.) Wednesday: done.

Thursday: If you're already a reasonably fit cyclist (relative to those you compete against), this ideally ought to be swapped for another swim or another run. If not, stick with the ride and go entirely by feel, ala the Caveman. Cavemen did not ride bikes (or their bikes had square wheels anyway) but it's important here that you do, or at least do something, whether easy or not (don't be afraid of easy; in training, it ALL adds up, even the easy stuff). I don't believe in taking a complete day off each week when time is of the essence, as it's doubtful your competition does. (Check this: One day off each week = two months off each year. Good luck goal-tending with that approach.)

As for Friday, this is where the hardest swim of the week comes, though your other swims should be tough too (recall that swimming is "easier" on the body, in terms of recovery). You needn't anything extravagant, just something challenging. My personal favorite was a 5,000-meter time-trial, but I'm known to suffer from a series of mental maladies, so I advocate something a little more stimulating, psychologically speaking. (The physical stimulus of a 5K TT is profound.) In general this means a workout that relates to your goal race: if it's an Ironman for example, then 20 x 200s on a paltry 10-second's rest will do the trick, so long as they're all paced faster than your intended race pace. (Remember: unlike this workout, an Ironman Day swim = extended warm-up; whereas here now you must present yourself with a challenge in order to set yourself up for fitness growth; development follows demand.) Today's run, however, is like most triathlon-related running and is simply about remaining consistent and strong; routine in running is perfectly fine (though sameness is not). Fast running is okay only if recovery isn't compromised and if injury/illness is averted. The 48-72 hours following a given run will tell you if you ran too hard; look back to look ahead.

So I think I'm going to try to use that as a basis for my training, obviously I'm going to tweek some things depending upon my strengths and weaknesses (i.e. swimming).  So with 5 weeks until my next race I'm going to give this a try to see what happens.

I did just head out to loosen up with a quick 4 mile run and things started to feel better as time went on.  My leg loosened up which I'm definitely happy with.  I think it's just going to take some rolling on the grid from TP Therapy, some extra stretching and me just H(ing)TFU.  I'm excited for what the summer has to bring, and I think that my base is coming along, and now the real work starts...can't wait!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

High Cliff Half Ironman

So I realize that I have fallen off of the blogging wagon for quite a while and I will try to be better...summer happened and I've been busy.  I mean who wants to sit on a computer when you can be outside?

Yesterday was my first real "test" of the season.  I raced a half ironman up in Sherwood, WI.  Training has been going alright, but I haven't been running at all...thank goodness for the base that I had put in this winter because it's carrying me through the current time.  My plan for the year is to race myself into shape, and so this was the first true test.  My mom and I drove up to Appleton on Friday afternoon, it's awesome having her at my races because I just know she'll find something to do while I'm out on the course, and that she'll fill the quiet voids leading up to the race when I'm kind of out of it with some sort of conversation.  Thanks Mom!!!

The race...the swim took place in Lake Winnebago (I think).  As we were driving in the water seemed calm in...however as soon as we arrived at the race site we found out otherwise.  There was some major chop and even white cap waves at times.  The only positive about the swim is the fact that they must have measured the distance wrong...there is no way I go from swimming a 37 minute half ironman swim in Kansas last year (which I think was marked long) to swimming a 26 minute half ironman swim this year.  Sure I have been swimming more, but not that much more.  Anyway I was glad to be out of the water.  When I arrived at my bike I was amazed to see that there were still a lot of bikes racked.

About .2 miles out of transition there is a huge hill, nothing too crazy, just long.  I had gone out to ride the hill the previous day, and earlier on race morning so I made the decision to let my heart rate stay high for the duration of the hill and then I would get things in check.  I think this was a good decision because I passed about 7 people on that first hill, and once I passed them there was no looking back.  I was on a mission to catch and pass whoever was in front of me.  The bike was more difficult than I was expecting because of the wind.  Either it was a head wind or a cross wind...where the heck was the tailwind?  Oh well I moved up in the field pretty well and ended up going under 2:20 with an average speed of 24.3 mph.  Here is the question I have, how do I average 25 mph during a sprint distance race of 16 miles and 24.3 mph for a half ironman with a distance of 56 miles?  Wierd huh?

The run, well let's try to forget this run.  I ran a 1:30 which is respectable, but this was the worst I have ever felt during a race.  First of all we had to run up that big freakin hill, so I just kept things in check and made my way up, once up top we headed out into the trails.  I would say more than 95% of the half marathon was on trails.  I rolled my ankle about a mile and half in, and after continuing to run for about a quarter mile I was able to run off the pain.  But that wasn't all...I got a nasty cramp in my right leg at mile 3.  The type of cramp where it comes on within seconds and paralyzes you from going further.  So I stopped briefly rubbed my leg and then said suck it up and run.  The mile 3 marker was also the mile 9 marker (2 loops) and I was soooo wishing I was at mile 9!  I figured that I needed to dig in and gut it out for 10 more miles.  As I got to about mile 6 I saw my mom, and she let me know (not at the time) that I looked like crap, that's good to know because I felt like crap!  It's funny though, right then is when I started to turn things around.  I started to get into my groove and I eneded up running the second loop 10 minutes faster than the first.  Now sure I didn't have to run up that hill, but wow.  The miles started clicking off faster, and I was feeling better.

I ended up finishing 9th overall with at time of 4:18.30.  I would have to say the brutal run made up for the short swim.  It was an awesome first "test" of my fitness and I definitely know where I need to improve...more biking and running needed.

Thanks to CycleOps my new powertap came in so that should definitely help with my training leading up to my next race 5 weeks away from today.  My nurtition was dead on, and the GU Roctane and GU Brew were a perfect mix for a great day.  My Brooks T6 Racers held up amazingly on some tough trails and I was blister free once again, I love those shoes!!!  Thanks to Kyle Zake of AXA Financial for the race entry, I appreciate it more than you know!  Also a special thanks to Lululemon, what an amazing store, and an incredible group of people to work with.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The LTTC Day 1 Update

Day one of the Lapinski Triathlon Training Camp went well and included a 5,000 meter swim as well as about an hour and twenty minutes on the single speed.  Not too bad considering I raced the day before.  Swimming with this new masters group is royally kicking my butt!  I mean 5,000 meters, really...who am I kidding?  These guys freakin hammer, so my goal is to make it a little longer without having to resort to paddles/pull buoy/fins or all of the above.  I know this will pay off in the long run, and it's great to be swimming in an outdoor pool first thing in the morning.  Wierd that the water is warmer than the air, that is motivation in itself to keep swimming.  As if I need motivation, you see there is really no rest for me during the swims because the intervals they go on are ridonkulous!  So basically it's me trying to swim for my life for two hours...good times.

I met up with Chad, Drew and Eric for the Monday night "Single Speed\Fixie Recovery Ride" and what an awesome night to ride!  At the start of the ride I could feel a bit of the race in my legs still, but after a few miles that was gone and I was feeling good once again.  It's nice riding with a group, it makes the time go by faster, and everyone can help to push one another too.

So I would have to say day 1 of the LTTC was a success.  I didn't want to over do it right off of the bat, especially since I had raced on Sunday.  Today is another story though, I'm looking to kill it!  I have 4700 meters swimming in already, and I'm looking to get some riding in on the rollers (yep it's raining) and I'm looking for longer run 8-10ish with the night closing with masters swim out in Naperville.  First things first though...nap time!

I had given the dogs some bones to chew on this morning, and put 4 bones out...Winther thought it was his job to take 3 of them, and I believe right now he has all 4.  I know that he can put 3 in his mouth...

Yep Roxy is chewing hers, and Winther is protecting all 3 of his...it's just what he does I guess.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Lake Mills Triathlon 2010

I went up and raced in Lake Mills Wisconsin this morning.  I've done this race the past few years and it's a great early season sprint.  Last year I was successful and ended up 7th, so I really didn't know what I would be able to do to improve upon that.  I was really worried about my run as I haven't been running at all lately.  So the race...

...well before I start in on the race thank you Mom for coming and cheering me on!  It was great to have you there letting me know where I stood and how many people I had to chase down.  Alright the race.  Lake Mills has an "elite" wave which goes off first thing in the morning so I registered for this wave.  It's just nice to be able to truly race against some solid athletes!  The swim sucked as it always does.  There was quite a bit of wind so the lake wasn't all that calm, and I would say I had an average swim at best.  My pace was excruciatingly slow, and I'm not sure why?  I guess that just means I have to swim more, and I will work on that all summer, at least 5 swims per week if not more!

T1 was uneventful and I think I did pretty well.  I had one of the faster T1's of the day which I'm happy with.

Bike...I have been riding more, and ended up with 50 miles on my single speed yesterday so I'm happy to say that I felt much better on the bike today.  I ended up with one of the fastest (3rd I think) bike splits of the day.  Right from the start of the race I started passing people and continued to do so until mile 10 when I rode into 4th place.  Not too bad when you pass 20+ people on the bike to ride towards the front.  I had 3rd place in my sight the whole bike ride but I just couldn't bring him back.

T2 - another solid transition.  I put some time into the 3rd place guy and headed off to run.

Run - 3rd place had about a 20 yard gap on me when we came out of T2.  I was working like mad to reel him back.  I was even alright with bringing it back little by little and then surprising him at the end of the race with a sprint finish.  Unfortunately I felt like I was racing a mirror of myself...every time I would surge, he would do the same.  My running legs were back today and I ended up running a PR for my 5k time...17:58.  That's 27 seconds faster than last year and I'm not as far into my training as I was at the same time as last year, so that's definitely something to celebrate.

Overall I took 4th place and I won my age group.  I'm happy with the race, and besides the swim I'm not sure what else I could have done to bring back time besides train more leading up to the race.  On that note I'm going to start a 10 day training block where I go and kill some workouts leading up to my next race in 2 weeks.  I'm excited to race, and I get to race a half ironman which will be a true test of fitness.

It was great to catch up with Grismer, one of my college soccer teammates and he crushed the race as well taking 2nd in his age group.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Weekend of Riding

So this weekend was dedicated to riding, and I was able to get 170 miles of riding in.  It was cool too because each ride was gradually more difficult.  Saturday started with an easy 25 miles with the Endure It group out of the Willowbrook store.  I'm really liking the frontage road loop and the hills are definitely better to run than to bike...more on that in a bit.  Sunday I met up with the "Red Lantern" crew as Wanner would call us and we did some riding out to Fermilab and back.  It was a perfect morning to ride.  No traffic, no wind, great company and we were on our bikes!  We put in some tougher efforts at times which were definitely fun.

Yesterday Chad had the great idea to head up to Madison to ride on the IM course.  So at 6 a.m. Chad, Keating, and I jumped in the car to head up to the course.  As we pulled in Louie and Tammy were pulling in as well to do some riding so it was nice to have a little group.  The plan was to ride two loops which would end up being between 85-86 miles.  We rolled out at about 8:45 to start riding, and although the sky looked a bit scary at times we didn't have any rain!  I could tell from the start that my legs were feeling good, but didn't want to let it all hang out until the second loop.  I am feeling better about where my riding is right now, as I could have kept riding, and if we had time I might have.  My legs felt fine the whole time, and when we were done I wasn't sore at all.  This morning my abs are a bit sore from riding in that position for so long, but other than that I'm fine.  I was able to knock out two loops on that course in under 4 hours averaging over 21mph...I think that's about what I did during the race so I'll take it, especially because I didn't have race wheels on, and this is my longest ride of the year so far.  I'm sure there will be many more in the future though!

Today is going to be dedicated to swimming, heck I might even swim twice today...that would be awesome!