Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Focused Effort

Today was the second day of threshold testing for the crew at Endure It!  I wasn't planning on testing, and took everyone through the warm up, explained some different ways to approach the test and then got them all started.  I jumped on my bike and wanted to get a solid tempo effort for the day.  What I found was that it was hard to hold a tempo pace.  About 5 minutes into the test I decided that I wanted to see what I could do, so I went for it.  I was sitting very comfortably over 300 watts, however it was still very early into the 30 minute test, so I wasn't sure what would happen.  I did start to feel stronger as time went on, where I also gained confidence.  It was just me and that number, nothing else.  I did stay focused and had my best test ever. 

Earlier in the season I had set a "lifetime" goal of where I wanted my threshold to be.  I can say that I smashed that today, so I guess it's time for a new goal.  I already have it in my head, and it's going to be tough to attain...but some hard work has never scared me.  My legs are screaming right now, and that's while I'm rockin my Zoot Sports Compression tights, I couldn't imagine not having these on.  Training is ramping up and I'm seeing some great results from the work that I've been doing.  It's nice when things come together.  I figured out my new numbers for upcoming workouts...I'm going to be put into some serious pain.  Bring it!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Power of Belief

Yesterday was a relatively large training day, computrainer in the morning, a 6 mile run, as well as 4000 yards in the pool.  Bike was a non-issue (it rarely is), running has been going well so a non-issue, swimming hasn't been going poorly but when the coach laid out my intervals I thought she was nuts.  I didn't believe that I could hit the times that she wanted me to least not at this point in the season.  I do want to swim at this pace come the end of June, but it is still March right?  I did agree to give the set a try at her prescribed pace.  She believed that I could do it.  I don't want to lead on to thinking this was a fast pace for a was a fast pace for me.  I was out of my comfort zone and I nailed each one of the times, completely surprising myself!  Needless to say I was pumped about this set.  I would be willing to say that this was the best set I've completed in the pool.  The cool thing was that my "recovery" pace was right at the pace I swam for my last Ironman.  I believe that I can swim faster than I ever have before.

I want to keep this rolling, therefore I think I need to keep swimming, the more I swim the better feel I'll have for the you better believe that I'll be back in the water today.  And I'll run, and probably some strength work too.  I have a challenge to prepare for, and I will win it!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It worked...

I feel as if I have a small weight lifted off of my shoulders.  I have been coaching computrainer classes at Endure It in Willowbrook since October and have been taking a group of athletes through a progression of workouts to improve their fitness.  We had the athletes take what we call a "threshold test" in November, January and again this week.  November was kind of like a base line, January was after the first bit of "base training" that we did so numbers shouldn't have gone up all that much, and today was the true test (well this week of testing that is).  Test results today were great, everyone increased their wattage at least 5 watts and we topped out today with an improvement of 37 watts.  That is absolutely incredible!  Everyone increased...EVERYONE!! 

We had a group of happy people this morning, and I do think we proved to people that the program really has worked.  The people who were on the fence now believe.  I think I believe in myself a little more as well.  I know that the workouts I was writing were effective, and not just for some people, but for everyone.  I haven't decided whether or not I'm going to test on Thursday, I tried to really encourage people the whole time to help guide them through the test, which believe it or not took a lot out of me.  Yes I was riding and still held an average of about 90% of my threshold while I was shouting out directions to people.  I am happy with how things turned out this morning, people have been dedicated to the program and it truly is paying off!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thinking, Adapting, Motivating

Before I went out for my run today I heard something that was kind of interesting.  It's not the first time I've heard it, but for some reason today I actually thought of the meaning.  Why do people say, "wish me luck"?  I mean what if that person doesn't want to "wish you luck"?  It's like they are fishing for compliments, or something like that.  This is not to say I don't appreciate when people do "wish me luck" however, I don't ask them to do so.  Isn't it something they should do on their own, not have you prompt them to do so?  Don't know why I thought of this, but just had to put it out there.

The past two weeks I've really picked up my running volume, and there were a few days where I thought I might be overdoing it, however as I pushed through those days I think I am now over the hump.  Running feels good again, and I think my body is starting to adapt to the higher volume.  I was actually smarter with how I built up, and slowly went up each week by a few miles instead of having a 15 mile week followed by a 45 mile week.  I'm feeling much more comfortable holding certain paces both on the road and on the track.  I guess that just means I'll have to change things up to make sure I keep progressing.  This week will end up being the biggest volume in quite a while which I'm happy about.  I have found that running 6 days a week is doable, and that I feel better as the week goes on, consistency is key. 

I have to send out a special thanks to Jake from Zoot.  Not only is the Zoot gear awesome, but he is amazing to work with!!  I absolutely love all of the gear and it has helped bring my training to a new level, can't wait to see what it does to my racing.  If you haven't checked out the Zoot gear you need to do so!  I have been running in the Zoot Ultra TT 4.0's for a while now and they are amazing!!  Light, comfortable and I just can't say enough about how impressed I am.  Check them out.

During my run today I was thinking about motivation.  Different people have different reasons for everything, so I was thinking about my journey through triathlon.  At first I thought it was fun (which I still do) and it was something to do, a goal to look forward to completing.  Completing being the key word there.  As I continued through the sport I started to challenge myself, I mean that's what it's about right?  Pushing yourself farther than you thought you could go right?  That continues to be a motivating factor for me today.  I do believe that there are other outside influences as well though.  I think last season I had something to prove, it was an escape, and I embraced it and my racing took me to a new level, a happier place.  I do believe that I am capable of much more, and because of that the motivation continues to be pushing myself further than I thought I could go.  The great thing about triathlon is that the only thing that can stop you from succeeding is you!  I have a great crew to support me from my amazing family and friends to my incredible sponsors, race season kicks off in less than 2 months.  Can't wait to get after it once again this year!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Building Up Once Again

I'm about 15 weeks out from Ironman Coeur 'd Alene.  Although it's been a while since my last Ironman (November) this is the "fastest" turn around that I've had between Ironman races.  I have always had more than a year in between races, and this will be about 7 months, only to follow up 3.5 months later with Kona. Because it hasn't been that long since my last race I don't think I really lost that much fitness.  Actually, as I look at things I would say that I'm putting up some better numbers right now than I was during my Arizona build.

It's also kind of nice to train for CDA without the questions of "are you going to qualify for Kona?"  Thankfully I have already done so.  Having done so I feel much more confident in training.  I know that I can go harder, and know that I have to!  There are definitely some big goals for CDA on June 26th, and the only way to get there is hard, smart work.  Although I don't have the same "volume" of swimming that I had last year at this time, I would say my swimming is better.  My stroke has changed, and I am holding the same times or slightly faster without the effort I was putting in before.  The way I figure is that even if I come in with the same time out of the water, I haven't wasted as much energy, which will leave more in the tank for the run.  I say the run because I am not that worried about the bike.  Idon't think I've had this many miles on my bike so early in the year ever.  Total for the year so far I have over 1500 miles on my bike.  I would say two-thirds of that is indoors on the computrainer, but a fair amount is outside on my belt drive 29er.  My power numbers are higher than they were last year, and I have some serious plans to get some even better riding in building up to CDA than I did for Arizona. 

Last week was my largest volume run week in...shoot I don't know how long.  I nailed my track workout with mile repeats, and have already done more "speed" work than all of 2010...2 track sessions.  Yep I only did one in 2010, so I already feel ahead of the game this year.  I have been consistent with my "long" runs and have been doing an alright job of holding back the pace.  I should probably dial it back a bit more, but when you feel good you want to go, and when you dont' feel good you still go so that it's over quicker.  I'm loving my new Zoot Ultra TT 4.0's, so light and comfortable!! 

I'm headed out to Cali in a couple of weeks, can't wait.  I plan on putting in some solid training time, along with some quality surf time on the beach.  Hopefully the beach time will even out the cycling tan lines that I'm sure will happen.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Welcome Back to the Pain Train...

This morning was a rude awakening, and a return to the pain train.  I hit up my first track workout of the year, and forgot how much that hurts.  That little 400M oval, which can come in various colors, could very well be the devil!  Today's workout wasn't all that crazy, 4 x 800 in 2:52 with 400M easy between.  I am pretty sure that I took it out way too hard, but sometimes that's what happens.

I did make it through the workout and ended up getting 7 miles in this morning, it was great watching the sun come up, and feels great to know I already have a solid workout in today.  Yesterday I hit up computrainer in the morning, and then ran a quick 5 miles before masters swimming last night.  Let me tell you my legs were not loving me during swimming!  Each and every time I pushed off of the wall I could feel the cramps.  Luckily I made it through and put on my Zoot Compression tights as soon as I got home.  They seemed to do the trick because I was able to get the track workout done without cramping.  Another swim is on tap for the day, hopefully things will loosen up for me.

Thanks to Jake from Zoot I've been running in my Zoot Ultra TT 4.0's for my past few runs and love them!  Super light and comfortable.  I'll be at the team camp in a month, and can't wait!