Saturday, February 28, 2009

Run Threshold test

This morning I did a Run Threshold test. The first of this season. Its the standard 30 minute field test, where you run easy 10 minutes, then do 20 minutes as hard as you can. The average HR during that last 20 minutes is a good approximation of your anaerobic threshold.

It was HARD! I have been sticking religiously to the base pace for the past 3 months. No faster than 9 min miles EVER ( except that one time I had maybe too much coffee before a 90 minute run and inadvertently kept throwing in fartleks whenever I had a burst of energy. LUV caffeine!!)

I was extremely happy with the results. Considering I had not done a drop of an interval anywhere in my training thus far. My ave pace for the 20 minutes was 7:30 which is good for me and normally seen only after a build period. which means I am already ahead of where I was speed wise from last year. and further analysis shows I actually had hit sub 6 speeds for a period of about 3-4 minutes early on in the run. but I recall pulling back because I did not think I could hold that pace for 20 minutes. Then I hit it again during the last 2 minutes of the run as I wanted to let the gas out of teh tank. Leavingh it all on the road.

The fact I could hit sub six at all was astounding to me. I have not done any intervals at all, no speed work, nothing. This crap really does work. Who KNEW!! John Hirsch knew thats who.

Anyhow my Ave HR during the last 20 minutes was 178 so that is until my next test my Anaerobic threshold. According to Joe Freil my aerobic threshold is about 20 BPM below that. so that would be 158. for aeorobic threshold.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Long week, sad times

Well this was a week of allot of long days , and the resulting missed workouts. I am now at a stage in my plan that I am in two workouts a day mostly. My morning workouts are the only ones I have been able to complete. Each day this week has been consumed from the start of the day to 6:30-7PM non stop, without break. It was a special project to investigate some funny happenings at my company, that are of interest to senior management. Its been a truly interesting project, so I cant complain on that end, but man these days have been sooo long. So you understand I have a two hour commute to work, and 2 hours back. So when I leave at 6:30 I will not get home until 8:30PM at earliest. At which point by the time I settle down and get out of work clothes I cannot be ready to workout until 9 - 9:30, if it happens to be a swim, well the local pool is already closed. If it’s a run I can do that but have to run slowly due to the cracks and potholes created by the brutal winter ice, that I cannot see in the dark. So the only regular option is trainer work, and slow runs.

Of course that is assuming I can get right to working out, I do have a home and have to say Hi to the fam, walk the dogs, oh So when I have these late days it really throws off my training.

To make matters worse I am going to be in Holland next week for business, so that takes out any swim workouts and cycling. Hotel gyms have at most stationary bikes, that I find do not really help. So what do I do? Suck it up and make it a run focus week. I will be shooting for a 40-50 mile week. Its also a great time to focus on core (grrrrr). So its not really a total loss, but it does keep me from being able to have a very focused training plan.

Now a funny ( or in hindsight not so funny) thing happened this week at work, that I think really shows the condition of the economy and its effect on people. As is well known there are quite a lot of layoffs going around. I think most people I know (including myself) know of someone (or two) who has been layed off. And I work for a bank, which has been hit possibly worse than most other industries.

Well last week the head of operations wanted to have an off site meeting for all of his direct reports and Their direct reports. In total about 30-40 people. The purpose was to motivate and discuss the way forward.

He had contacted HR to set this up. However since he did not know exactly what he was going to say HR could not provide too much info. So HR sent out an email and invitation to all of these folks stating that the COO wanted to have an offsite to discuss “the future”. Thats all.

Seems innocent enough, except it apparently did not go down that way. The woman in HR told me that right after sending out that invitation, she had no less than 6 people come into her office to ask her if they were going to get lay offs! It seems that these folks just assumed that this offsite about “the future” was a way to do a mass layoff of middle management, and to do it so that these people would be outside of the office.

At first this seemed like the most absurd idea and kind of funny in a way, but then I realized these people are truly panicked about their future and their job outlook. So much so that any activity outside the normal, even well meaning ones, is being interpreted as potentially disastrous news.

Just a year ago any mention of the future was viewed as hopeful and something to look forward too. I feel sad to know that so many people that I know are going to work everyday waiting for the axe to fall, terrified of the future. For me personally this is as big an indicator that these times are pretty bad than anything else I have seen. There will always be layoffs, but when people in such large numbers are losing not only jobs but also hope, then really how do you move forward.?

For me I still have not lost hope, I mean lets face it I do have more severe things to worry about like about my missed swim workouts :), and how this will impact my totally awesome ROYAL ASS wooping I will be laying down at IMLP!

Thank God for Triathlon

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Week of 2/23

Monday: off

Tuesday: swim: endurance. / run 60 minutes.

Wednesday: trainer workout , workout should be 45-60 minutes-do next in strength progression series / run easy hr 140 range 60 minutes

Thursday: run 90 minutes. hr 120-150 capped at 165 for uphills.

Friday: swim 60 minutes. base endurance.

Saturday: ride 2 hours (can move indoors with weather sucks) hr 120-145 easy easy easy , small ring. run 30-45 minutes

Sunday: Swim Endurance/ride 3 hours

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The "Oh $%#@ !!!" Moment

Yesterday the weather was pretty decent as compared to recent history, for winter. It was actually close to 40 degrees, ( I think it was like 36 but you know round up and all) So Phil came up with the idea of actually going for a ride outdoors. This is not an unusual thing for us. Last year we started riding pretty early also. But I was not really ready with my gear, in fact this would be my first ride back since my accident in July 08. So some things were just not available like a Helmet. I have not replaced my old one that had a crack that ran up the left side from the accident.

Phil offered to lend me one, so with no other reason really not too I did it!

After a 45 minutes rummaging around for my winter riding gear ( Booties, winter cycling jersey, long thermal tights, gloves etc), prepping the bike like switching the trainer flat bald tires with the less bald road tires ( and then changing the tube that I flattened during the process of putting on the new tire) I was FINALLY ready to go. After cursing myself out thinking this kind of stuff only happens to me, I threw everything into the back of the car and headed out to Phils. Once there I discover he was having similar problems. I got there just in time to see him put in a tube and then somehow rip the valve causing it to flat (which felt really familiar ;).

Anyhow we finally got all systems check and the green light at around 11:30. We headed out for a 2 hour Hilly Ride that we did plenty of times last year. Its a great early season ride because it short but Hilly, so you get a good workout. We were not really pushing too hard because we were just sorta shaking out the cobwebs so to speak.

I discovered early on that I a good strong core is extremely important for hill work. In my case I felt my lower back spasm badly after only 20 minutes. This is actually an after affect of my accident that broke my collarbone. Many months ago, I had in essence thrown my back out lifting a fairly light but oddly shaped box. But I had only one arm to do it with so I took an unusual angle that hurt my back. I had never ever had back problems in my life, but the doctor told me its not unusual for this to happen to people that have an injury over long periods of time, because the body sort of loses its "balance" so to speak. In my case my left arm and associated muscles are overcompensating for the lack of being able to use my right arm.

Anyhow I have my arm back, but my back muscles are still sore ( and sensitive), as was now clearly evident. But this really did point out how important the core is to cycling. This is the type of thing that is not really worked on in a trainer. The pedaling may be your legs, but stability and bike handling is all core. So now I have to put a lower back focus on my core work.

Anyhow the rest of the ride was beautiful. Riding around the reservoir and such the hills were a good workout. Generally the rode was uneventful. Which was a pleasant surprise. I was kind of expecting to be a bit shy on the bike after my accident but in reality I was quit comfortable. I had only one moment of minor panic. We were headed down a long hill with a gradual curve at the bottom. Just like the type of turn I went down on last year. I had picked up some speed down the hill and then when I saw the turn coming, I tensed up and my arms basically refused to turn the handlebars. I was steaming towards this curve and my mind was saying TURN!! but it was on a turn that my bike went out under me when I hit gravel, and part of me wanted nothing to do with any turns, so I had to literally force myself to turn. It was strange, I never encountered something like that. I really did feel like I was fighting myself.

My rational side was saying "TURN!!!"

My subconscious said "FUCK YOU!! I don't wanna!!"

My rational mind was saying "IDIOT!! YOU HAVE TOO!!!"

If you could look inside my head you see both me's fighting over the gears and cranks that keep me moving, sort of like one of those pirate movies where you see the Good guy and The Pirate fighting over the ships wheel.

Anyhow the rational side won, it really was a second, but it was an interesting second. After that there was no more issues during the ride. I really had to laugh at it.

Overall it was a great ride, and a good thing to do in order to gauge where I am at right now.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Check out this awesome post found on Pro triathlete Elizabeth Fedofsky Waaterstrat's Blog about recovery. Sometimes I like to reword things into my own words but really this was just a great post and just needs to be read as is. THE EDGE

Its about the critical importance of recovery. How lack of it sneaks up on you and can ruin a great season if not careful.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bits and bytes

Massive massive head cold. Chills head congestion and chills. Of course I cough mostly when I try to sleep. I skipped workouts yesterday and today due to feeling like Crap. Also to be honest I really do not go for the snot dripping from the nose look in the pool.

Speaking of Looks, OpIron athlete extraordinaire, HolisticGuru swimming was stopped while doing a massive swim workout, was asked if she was training for an IM, she responds no just a Half. Anyhow he says he could tell she was a TRIATHLETE.

Damn straight she is a triathlete!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Week of 2/16

Monday: off

Tuesday: swim: endurance. / run 60 minutes.

Wednesday: indoor trainer workout - Strength progression workout should be 45-60 minutes keep hr low 120-145 / run easy hr 140 range 60 minutes

Thursday: run 90 minutes. hr 120-150 capped at 165 for uphills.

Friday: swim 60 minutes. endurance.

Saturday: BRICK ride 2 hours (can move indoors with weather sucks) hr 120-145 easy easy easy , small ring. run 30-45 minutes

Sunday: ride 3 hours

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Funny response

Today I had the funniest response from someone at work, when I was explaining what is involved in doing an Ironman Triathlon. The picture below is the closest I could find to give you a visual.

Normally people sort of whistle or look at me like I lost my marbles, but this guy almost seemed to choke when I mentioned the "Marathon after all of that" part.

When you hang out with other Triathletes all this training seems normal. Its easy to forget that in truth we are kinda like freaks. Sometimes its good to talk to "civilians" to help keep the freak factor in check.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Plan for Week of Feb 9

Monday: off

Tuesday: swim: endurance. / run 60 minutes.

Wednesday: indoor trainer workout , workout should be 45-60 minutes-strength focus series keep hr low 120-145 / run easy hr 140 range 60 minutes

Thursday: run 90 minutes. hr 120-150 capped at 165 for uphills.

Friday: swim 60 minutes. Endurance from the book

Saturday: ride 2 hours (can move indoors with weather sucks) hr 120-145 easy easy easy , small ring. run 30-45 minutes

Sunday: ride 3 hours

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Proper Running form

Now early in the year I am always reminded of proper running form. Precisely because in the winter you deal with ice on the roads. This forces me to run properly because I naturally take a shorter stride in order to maintain control and not end up splayed out on the ground with a Brand spanking new injury to nurse.

Last year when coaching the Couch to Sprint program for Race with Purpose I realized that we as adults have often lost our ability to run properly. We have over time in our lives built in all kinds of bad habits in running that make us more prone to injury and less efficient.

Here are a few videos that I feel offer some good tips on proper running form. ( Sorry for the obvious commercial for Newtons. I don't use them myself so can't comment as to how good they are, but the first few minutes of the video is pretty good.)

The second is from Champ Dave Scott.

Newton Vid

Dave Scott

Friday, February 6, 2009

Strategy gets some support

So as some may know my racing of Half Ironman races has been plagued by recurring calf cramps. It would always strike me on the run. IF you never had one, they are horrible, making me sometimes almost trip over myself as my calf would seize up.

The interesting thing of it was they would ONLY strike during a Half IM.

Not in an Oly distance or sprint.
NOT when running long distances, or even when training for a Half.
ONLY during a race.

This was particularly frustrating because without being able to reproduce the problem I could not really figure it out. The first time this happened was in the Tupper Lake HIM a few years ago. AT that time I assumed it was due to my having missed a big portion of my nutrition during the bike, thanks to a combination of technical failure and bonehead moves.

This again happened in my HIM in Singapore. Again I assumed it was the Major heat and Humidity. So last year I raced Tupper Lake again and made sure to drink plenty of fluids and have all the nutrition I needed. My cramps were actually WORSE! As Christine ( AKA Holistic Guru) can attest ( due to her being a superior Sherpa and was a witness during parts of my run since she was running with me) I actually came to complete sudden stops during the run.

This has had me baffled and concerned really going into a year where my main focus was an Ironman. Can you imaging having to run a marathon like this?

So I have been concerned. BUT with some thinking I was able to come up with a clue, and it had to do with my training and how I handled the race. First off my training last year sucked. I was traveling allot and it really was inconsistent. Second, when I hit the race in Tupper I went at it with one thing in mind...I wanted to CRUSH the bike course. So I definitely pushed above and beyond my limits. I in fact started to feel the cramps coming on near the end of the Bike.

So I suspected it had to do with a combination of pushing too hard on the bike and my training being short of Bike fitness. BUT so far this has only been a theory. Because as I said I have not been able to reproduce this outside of a race. However now Thanks to pal Kellie ( of "Finding your Limits") she did a little research on my behalf and found this article. Look at what they said:

"Calf cramping can occur if you're pedaling hard on a bicycle for a prolonged period, exceeding the time that you normally spend pedaling."


So this is yet more evidence that points to my training. or actually my strategy. I suspect that my problem is that in Races I push much harder than I do in training. So when doing Halfs this begins to affect me. So what I am doing now is changing up my training this year. In the past I tended to put a BIG focus on running since to be honest its the discipline I feel most comfortable in. This year I am switching to Cycling. LOTS of miles on the bike this year. Also I will implement the "planned pace" during a race. During an Ironman and apparently during a Half you cannot just wing it or go by feel. What I will do is establish my race pace during one of my race simulators, and do my damned best to stick to it. In this first IM I am not going to try an kill the race, I want to finish strong. The racing part can come in future attempts.

So overall I feel pretty good about this. It was especially nice to get some outside confirmation of my theory.

Not to justup to me to implement.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lousy training week

This so far is a week I have managed not to have for quite awhile. It seems every time I am ready to do a workout something seems to come up. Work has been particularly good at this lately. I have had to stay late everyday and by the time I get home its too late to get to the pool and there are just things to do. Then morning comes and instead of being able to get a run out I have to shovel snow. Finally I managed to get a trainer session in this morning. But it just seems like everything gets in the way.

I guess the imortant thing to remember is that this happens at times. Its still incredibly early in the season and a few days truly does not hurt. I will just have to make up some of the workouts as best I can. This is just life training for an ironman and having a very full job.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

2/2 Training week

Monday: off

Tuesday: Run 60 minutes/ Swim Endurance 60 minutes

Wednesday: indoor trainer workout 60 minutes/ run 60 minutes

Thursday: run 90 minutes.

Friday: swim 30-60 minutes. Use early season workouts from data base/ Trainer workout 60 minutes

Saturday: ride 3 hours (can move indoors with weather sucks) hr 120-145 easy easy easy , small ring.

Sunday: run 2 hours