Sunday, March 28, 2010

A little recovery and a little sprinting

S: 11450
B: 161
R: 14

T: 14

I surprised myself a little bit this week when I actually started to get excited about getting in the pool.  It's been awhile since I've had that feeling so it's nice to get it when I have my first two big races of the year in the next 3-4 weeks and since I've had the feeling before (and went overboard taking advantage of it...) I know what NOT to do.  What I WILL do is do mostly base/easy swims with 1 or 2 real workouts per week.

I would have biked more this week but the weather and the fact that I was recovering from the marathon slowed that down a little bit.  I did have a very good ride on Saturday of 3.5 hours where I got in a lot of work on the front on a very windy day.  I also forgot water bottles so my entire fluid system was 20oz of mountain dew at mile 50!  It's nice to know that I can rock the Dew whenever I want to.  I also had the 20k effort in the race on Sunday that was definitely affected by the ride the day before.  Regardless, I wouldn't have changed that because I can't "waste" a training weekend with NOLA 70.3 only 3 weeks away by just getting in a short ride.

Running was obviously limited this week; my first run after the marathon was on Friday and it definitely didn't feel great - I could tell my quads were still a little sore - but after that I felt MUCH better on Saturday and in the run portion of the race on Sunday.  Next week I'm going to throw in some workouts and get back up to my normal volume and see where it takes me.

Race Report: Cool Breeze Sprint Tri (250 yd pool swim, 12.4 mile bike, 3.1 mile run)

Swim: 3:21 (14th)
It was a little weird swimming with the tri top; I could definitely tell it slowed me down but I didn't want to wear a speedsuit for a 250 yard swim as I didn't think the time gained during the swim would negate having to take the time to remove it in transition (turns out I was wrong...).  Swim was pretty unremarkable.  I was out of the water in 3:10ish so my actual swimming pace was closer to 1:16/100 yds than 1:21.

T1: 1:05
This transition killed me.  Literally.  To find a slower T1 time than mine you have to go down to 13th place overall.  The average T1 time of the top 10 was around 40 seconds.  I had trouble getting my shoes on, getting my helmet on and zipping up my short sleeve jersey (it was really cold and windy).  This plus my T2 probably kept me from winning or at least being close to the win.  Oh well.

Bike: 31:31 (1st)
I didn't feel particularly good on this bike ride; my legs weren't all that fresh but I had no reason to be annoyed by that because I brought it on myself with the ride the day before.  I had Donny in my sights almost the whole ride but I could never bridge the gap between us.  I felt like I had zero power on all the hills so I was really pleasantly surprised to see that I had the fastest bike split.  Not by much (3 seconds) but every second counts in a race this short.

T2: 0:54
Had trouble getting my running shoes on this time.  Didn't lose quite as much time on this one but was still around 10 seconds behind the average of the top 5.

Run: 17:27 (2nd)
I felt pretty good right at the start; the first mile is a gradual uphill to mile 1, which I hit in roughly 5:40, followed by a flat section with a slight downhill then climb before the turnaround and mile 2.  I went through that mile in just over 5:40 so I managed to hold my pace pretty well.  The last mile was all downhill.  I could see Donny and Mason the whole time but like on the bike I just couldn't quite close the gap.  I definitely felt like I could have held this pace for a good while longer but I couldn't go any faster.  That being said, I was very pleased with this run time and it seemed that it was the correct distance (unlike last year, but that was a totally different course).

Total time:  54:17

just for fun without transitions the top 5 places were:

1) 52:19, 2) 52:43, 3) 52:45, 4) 52:18-me, 5) 54:24

so I was technically the fastest 'on the course' but that literally matters nada).  Oh well.

It was a fun day out there with Donny and Carrie and a good day for Triple Threat as well.

The next two weeks will be pretty big (12000, 200, 50) so hopefully I survive those and get stronger for New Orleans, which is 3 weeks from today!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Atlanta Marathon

S: 5500
B: 74
R: 39

Hrs: 10.2

Nothing much to report this week other than my first attempt at an open marathon down in Atlanta at the ING Georgia marathon on Sunday.  My running had been going very well up to this race so I was feeling confident that I could run with Behme come race day.  Our stated goal was to hold 6:50/mi pace and thereby come in at a hair under 3 hours.

Traveling down to the race with Carrie and John was a lot of fun and we arrived at the hotel without any issues, got checked in and met up with Scott, Jackie, Donny and Jen who would all be doing either the half or the full.  I managed to stay pretty relaxed and tried not to let myself get caught up in the marathon madness that can sometimes grip first-timers.

We woke up at 5:30 and Behme and I did a light warm-up; conditions seemed very good for running: cool and overcast.  Got back to the hotel room and ate a light breakfast then went with the gang to the start line.  We were almost late but managed to sneak in near the front and were literally two rows back from the top half marathoners and marathoners.  That was pretty sweet.  Definitely the only time we'd see them.

Mile splits:

2:58:55 chip time, 18th overall, 8th AG (talk about a tough AG...jeez)

1 - 6:15 - downhill and a big surge of adrenaline but as Behme said: "Slow down"
2 - 6:37 - that's more like it, feels pretty easy
3 - 6:47 - getting close to projected pace and there are still a lot of people around us, including one of the most attractive girls I have EVER seen
4 - 6:52 - doing this for 26.2 equates to a 3 hour marathon, I'm so glad this feels so easy.
5 - 6:44 - pretty happy about having a legal ipod, staying focused and strong through the easy rollers in the first half
6 - 6:34 - nice, that was a pleasant surprise.  Feels nice and relaxed.  That girl is only 50 meters ahead of us...
7 - 6:47 - thinking about taking my first Gu.  not yet, but i'm thinking about how good that tri-berry will be
8 - 6:47 - (actually had 13:35 for 2) encounter the first real hill on the course but manage it well
9 - 6:37 - got a lot of sticky Gu on my hands which takes me until the next water stop to clean
10 - 6:46 - hmm, stomach doesn't feel super excited.  Burp
11 - 6:45 - I actually feel as though I'm working at this point.  Not overly hard but this is just beyond 'comfortably hard.'  Let's call it '15 more? holy crap.'
12 - 6:33 - ahhh, a nice smooth section to put some more time in the bank.  actually, none of these roads are smooth.  feel like i'm at home in new orleans
13 - 6:37 - almost halfway there.  that's pretty much all i think about because that's pretty much all that matters at this point.  half in 1:27 roughly
14 - 6:29 - Wow, nice one.  didn't feel like too much work.  still feel pretty relaxed and smooth.  where are these hills that Behme talked about so much?
15 - 6:34 - another solid mile.  we're both holding a steady effort level so let's just keep moving.  probably had some bloodhound gang playing at this point
16 - 6:28 - awesome, another fast mile at the same effort level.  starting to feel a little tired but mostly just kind of bored.  where are all those hills??
17 - 6:50 - BAM.  there's a hill.  the next 9 miles are absolutely littered with them.  still, 6:50 is not bad.
18 - 6:50 - i just KNEW i was building bad karma by wondering about an even split 2:54 that felt easy. I just knew it.
19 - 6:44 - these hills really do not end.  long climbs with short, steep downhills that allow NO recovery and stab your quads like a bunch of knives.
20 - 7:11 - oh boy, the sh*t's really hitting the fan at this point.  10k to go but how many more hills can there possibly be?  bad question.
21 - 7:04 - ridiculous.
22 - 6:25 - FINALLY, a relatively flat section that is only a mirage in a desert of hurt.  thoughts of HTFU creep into the head.
23 -  8:16- at about mile 22.5 we turned right and i saw the most ridiculous thing i've ever seen: the hill that ended in mile 23.  i'm glad that kids weren't around and that i had an ipod on because i yelled pretty loud one particular phrase word that rhymes rather nicely with 'puck me'.
24 - 7:04 - behme stopped to stretch and motioned me to go on ahead and i was scared of having to slow down and subsequently speed back up so i maintained pace.  2.2 to go...
25 - 7:14 - running alongside many walking half-marathoners at this point.  i really wanted to puke just to show them that they could be working harder.  or because i just felt like puking.
26.2 - 9:02 (7:31 pace) - the last mile and a half were all into a headwind.  it was very demoralizing but i was heartened by the fact that my marathon journey would only last another mile or so.  it was nice to finish

Lots of PRs out there today.  Behme came in shortly after me in a 2:59:30ish for a 6 minute PR on the same course.  Carrie and Jackie both had awesome races in the half to PR.  Scott didn't PR but still dropped one on Behme and I.  Tough course but a fun experience.  I have little doubt that I will do another one but it will almost certainly, without many doubts be a flat one.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

So Close (to the marathon)

My first marathon that is.  Exciting.

S: 4100
B: 175
R: 53

17.1 hrs

Swimming took a back seat this week...big time.  Only managed to get in 2 swims due to lack of motivation and I also ran out of time.  Not really a big deal.  My goal is still 3 swims a week with a bonus 4th if I'm really feeling frisky.

3 bike rides this week, which was awesome.  The nicer weather is finally starting to hit Charlotte and that bodes very well for the next 6 months.  I cannot wait for it to get hot.

Running was again just a hair over 50 miles but with a twist this week: a nice 800s workout with Hudzik on Wednesday.  In short, I was VERY surprised at the times I was able to hit in this workout.  Very pleasantly surprised.  This also bodes well for my run fitness.  I'm definitely feeling a sub 1:30 half ironman run in me this year.  I've only got two chances so I better make them count...

Next week is my first marathon at the ING Atlanta Marathon.  Behme and I will be - barring any issues - clocking 6:50 miles to come in a hair under 3 hours.  It should be fun!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

First 1/2 Marathon

S: 7000
B: 176
R: 54.5

19.2 hours

3 swims keeping it nice and easy.  I figure I'll try to stick with the MWF and mayyybe a Sunday afternoon swim for a while.  My mind/body seem to like that schedule a lot so I'll go with what works.  I did a 500 yard time trial on Wednesday in 6:20 (3:13, 3:07) which is about two minutes faster than this time last year so that is good news.

I managed some good indoor saddle time during the week and a long ride on Sunday.  I've been feeling strong on the bike and this week was no exception.  Just having a year of consistent riding in my legs has really changed the game.  This time last year I was riding a lot but never really felt very 'strong.'  It's a different ballgame this year.

My 5th week of 50+ miles of running went well.  Kept it pretty easy - as has been the norm - during the week then ran the Corporate Cup half marathon on Saturday.  Behme and I were planning to do the race together at 6:20 pace so we started off smoothly and averaged about 6:17 pace through the first 8 miles until we got to the first major hill on Colony (it's a pretty hilly course but until that point I felt as though all of the hills were relatively easy) and we slowed down a bit.  I guess John could tell that I felt pretty good so he told me to go on ahead if I wanted to; I felt bad leaving but I figured if I had the legs why not give them a little test.  So at mile 9 I went ahead to forge my own way and ended up averaging 6 minute pace through the hardest section of the course to finish in 1:21:29.  Behme came in shortly thereafter with a 1:23:50, a big PR for him.  Obviously it's a PR for me since I've never done an open half-marathon before but I was very satisfied with how the first 8 miles felt.  6:20 pace felt very easy.  Well, easy isn't really the right word but it didn't feel like I was working very hard for that effort level.  I'd love to be able to run a half ironman at that pace.  Dream on.

Next weekend is a break from racing, woo hoo.  First real test of the season (triathlon that is) will be April 18th at the NOLA 70.3, which is only 5 weeks away.  Scary, but awesome.  I can't wait.