Sunday, September 4, 2011

Episode VII: Star Wars, the triathlon

S - 17,150 yards
B - 242.8 miles
R - 40.1 miles

Time - 21.74 hours

Before I go any further this week, I'd like to point the more intrepid reader to my first ever blog post on this here web log.  I think it's appropriate, given in part that it's now my 4 year anniversary - to show how ignorant and yet full of hope I was back in 2007.  I started running from August to September (a long period, I know!!) then stopped until January of 2008.  My endurance life was in it's infancy and I think it's pretty funny to look back and see this sort of stuff.  Who knows how long this will keep going, but wouldn't it be funny to be a blogging 40 year old and look back and see what your 22 year old self was thinking?? Scary.

This was a good week back at it for training.  I had such a fun ride on Sunday that I get to now raise my FTP by 15 watts, which will make every workout I do in the future that much harder!! Wooooo hooo!  I was scheduled to do some longer intervals (2x25mins and 2x8 mins) at threshold but near the end of the first one I just felt like continuing on with the pain.  I did it for several reasons:

  • It didn't change the overall intent/goal/focus/whatever of the workout
    • This is important to note as many people feel it is appropriate or a good idea to switch around what their coach suggests.  You pay the coach, why not just do what they say? That way you'll at least be able to hold someone other than yourself accountable! Just kidding Coach Brian, but not really.
  • I felt good 
    • This can be a double-edged sword.  A lot of people feel good and then over extend themselves.  In a race, they feel great due to their taper and feel like it might be *that* day where their normal numbers go out the window.  Those days don't really exist, if you haven't trained yourself to the right level, it ain't gonna happen.  Put in the work, you'll be rewarded.  I was rewarded today.  Well, that and some rest!!
  • I wanted to test myself
    • Not many coaches schedule 60 minutes of threshold for their athletes.  This is due not in small part to the fact that most athletes would rebel against such torture.  Guess what? The best way to raise your FTP is to do a LOT of riding at or just above FTP.  It's REALLY HARD to motivate yourself to push at that level for an hour when you're by yourself and it isn't a race.  I just kind of wanted to see if I had the balls to do it.  Luckily, I didn't write a check that my ass couldn't cash.  This time.
So, I ended up averaging about 43 more watts than I averaged for the bike portion of AG Nationals 2 weeks ago.  5 watts = .5 seconds/km, so that would roughly equate to 160 seconds or 2.5 minutes.  That would have been a 56:30 40k split.  While it's nice to do the calculations and dream big that's all that is, a dream.  The odds of me being able to hold that kind of power in a race that crowded and up and down is an idea worth as much as a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin getting it on (thank you Ricky Bobby).

A lot of athletes (myself included) fall into the trap of making excuses, which - in and of itself - isn't really a bad thing, that lead to absolutely preposterous claims of lost time.  My favorites revolve mainly around the swim.  Someone will say they went off course and add some totally random, made-up distance to their swim and thereby lost time.  There are a couple of things wrong with this:

  • It's part of the race; if you go off-course, that's your new swim course.  You didn't add time by aiming wrong, you just decided to create a new swim course and put yourself at a disadvantage!  Silly you.
  • I read a race report from someone that did AG Nationals that said they believed they added approximately (I loved they used "approximately," by the way...the irony slays me) 400 yards to the swim.  400 YARDS!!! That's so awesome.  To do that you'd be SO FAR OFF COURSE the kayakers would have pronounced you dead.  Haha, 400 yards.  I believe I stated I may have strayed (or, excuse me, created a new course) by about 50-75 yards.  Given what I saw people doing before my wave I'd say that was appropriate.  Still, now that I'm rational about it (and it's in hindsight, which is ALWAYS 20/20...) I can say it was a max of 50, but more likely 30-40.  It's hard to really add a lot of distance unless you go the wrong way.
  • Rule # 76.  No excuses, play like a champion.
Right now Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope is on TV and I can just picture Luke Skywalker's blog entry for the "alternate ending" where he didn't destroy the death star:

Dear Diary,

I was making the run into the little channel thingy and I had all these enemy TIE Fighters on my tail and stuff, which was really distracting.  My buddies that were flying wingman weren't really doing that great of a job, so that was kind of frustrating.  They kept dying and stuff and when you're trying to save the Rebel Alliance and destroy the Empire it doesn't help so much that the soldiers can't just weave and stuff and dodge the blasters.  I was totally set up to have this perfect run and fling those bombs right into the exhaust port, thereby destroying the greatest threat to democracy and a new dawn when BOOM, the sun got in my eyes and I went a bit off course.  Unfortunately, that momentary lapse added on about 1.5 star miles to my route and I ran out of time to get my bombs in the little tiny hole.  My bad.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.


Luke Skywanker

No comments: