Thursday, July 29, 2010

Louisville: the swim!

So let's talk about the swim at Ironman Louisville, which takes place in the gorgeous Ohio River.  It is unique from other Ironmans in a couple of major ways: it is non-wetsuit legal and it is a time trial start.  Those factors combine to change the goals for the swim in a couple of ways.

Non wetsuit legal:
Not being able to wear a wetsuit will definitely affect me more than it will a "good" swimmer.  The wetsuit neutralizes those differences in abilities a little bit, especially over the course of 2.4 miles.  I believe the wetsuit also significantly helps ease lower back issues a lot, as I've found that during long open water swims with no wetsuit my lower back begins to get sore after about 2 miles.  Hopefully with all of the non wetsuit swims Fletch and I have been doing up in the Lake (as well as other random ones here and there) my body will be able to handle the long (time-wise) swim a little better.  I've definitely felt that these OWS with Fletch have helped close the gap a bit between my pool swim times and my open water swim times although I haven't had a race yet to determine whether or not that belief is true...

Time Trial start:
I think this is going to be part of the next "wave" (pun intended) in Ironmans: the wave start.  With the increasing participation numbers in each race (Lake Placid reportedly had 3000+ registrants), a time trial type start will soon be the only way to go.  I definitely think this format is MUCH better for a slightly above average IM swimmer like me as I won't get pummeled by people who will be going sub-hour swim (since I would line up near the front of a race like CdA/Florida/etc.  What it also means is that I won't really be able to "race" anybody during the race because I'll never know exactly how far ahead (or behind) me they are.  I may be ahead on the course but they may have started 15-20+ minutes behind me so they are actually crushing me!

Times:  I am looking for a 1:10 or better swim.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Peak Build Week numero UNO

S: 10,500 yds
B: 241 mi
R: 42 mi

Time: 20.2 hours

I was super stroked as far as my swimming went this week.  I had two great swim workouts on Monday and Thursday but on the flip side the great workout on Thursday caused me to be tired and unmotivated to swim 2+ miles in Lake Norman on Friday morning and therefore didn't meet up with Fletch as we usually do.  I was hoping to get in one more swim on Sunday afternoon but it didn't end up happening.

I got in some fantastic biking this week; not just volume wise but some good intensity on Tuesday afternoon at the Inside Out ride where Scott, Donny and I dropped everybody else and forged along on our own.  Fletch, Behme and I banged out a great long ride on Saturday in the 100+ degree temperatures but held a nice, steady pace and continued on our positive trend of great long rides during this IM build.

Running was a bit of a mixed bag this week; my legs felt fine but I've been getting absolutely sick of running in this heat.  Consequently I switched to running inside on the treadmill at the Y for most of my runs (with the exception of a medium long run and the long run) and that was a welcome change but it's tough to do more than 4 miles on the treadmill as it gets pretty boring.  My long run on Sunday with Behme went really well; my legs felt really good and not at all tired from the ride the day before but at mile 17 I got sick of dealing with the heat and I decided to call it quits while Behme forged on relentlessly.  I guess there's something to be said for being older and wiser as I guess it also makes you tougher!

Next week will be another big week (12-15k in the pool, 250+ bike, 45-50 run) if things go well and that'll be it for high volume training this year! Y

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Nice little week

S: 13,000
B: 154
R: 33

Time: 16 hrs

5 swims totaling my highest volume since Scott and I went a little crazy in the pool together back in January and February.  I definitely think the higher frequency (swimming 5 times versus 2-3 times per week) really helps me out in terms of feeling strong in the water.  Swam in the lake on Friday and then again on Sunday and I really feel like that helps close the gap between my pool swim times and my open water swim times (I, like many other triathletes, am much faster in the pool than in the open water...) and I look forward to continuing that as the year progresses.

Not a whole lot of biking this week other than a 105 miler on Saturday that didn't feel amazing but was still pretty solid.  My heart rate was much more in control on this ride than it was 2 weeks ago in Louisville but it was also 10-15 degrees cooler and a much "easier" effort.  Next two weeks will be back up over 200 miles but I still haven't decided by how much.

Runs were a little fast this week; I was usually averaging 7:20-7:30 pace on each run and I'm not really sure why that was but I'll just roll with it.  Next two weeks I'll be looking to get up over 40-45 miles but the long runs (last 2!!!) will make that a little easier.

Monday, July 12, 2010


S: 7000
B: 78
R: 28

Time: 10 hrs

Recovery was the name of the game this week.  Only 2 swims, 2 bikes and 3 runs.  Both of the swims were open water and very enjoyable; the bike rides were out in the open but were not especially enjoyable, and none of the runs felt particularly amazing.  I guess when you're used to working out 15-18 hours a week 10 hours will mess up your groove.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Louisville Recon

Swim: 12,100
Bike: 268
Run: 32

Time: 20.7

FINALLY managed to get in some solid swimming volume this week.  I ended up swimming five times so my average per sesh wasn't that high but still got in a nice long OWS with Fletch in the lake so that's a nice bonus.

I obviously spent the most time on the bike this week as that has been the focus the past two weeks.  Going into the weekend I already had just under 160 miles already in the legs so I was fatigued but still ready to put out a solid effort on Sunday.  Two very hard efforts on the bike this week so consequently I'm now very tired.

Not a whole lot of running this week but that was on purpose since I knew I'd be on the bike so much this week.

The real focus this weekend was on the Louisville trip with Fletch, Behme and Woody.  We drove to Louisville on Saturday morning and got in a nice swim at a local pool (actually ended up being long course which was nice) and a brief run around the race area a little while later.  The next day we biked the race course at a very hard effort level and everyone suffered a good bit on that ride.  It was probably the hottest bike ride I've ever done; combine that with it also being one of (if not THE) hardest bike rides as well meant that it left a special mark on me once it was over.  The course itself was mostly as we remembered it but we just confirmed that you cannot go too hard if it's a hot day and expect to run the marathon.  It's definitely NOT an easy bike course.

Here's my "synopsis" of the course:
Heading out of T1 you turn left and get on River Rd for appx 8-9 miles. This road is very flat and fast and for the most part well-paved. As the name suggests, you bike along the river before encountering a short (but pretty steep) hill at mile 9ish before turning left onto 42. 42 is a mostly uphill road during the busy (4 or 6 lanes of traffic) section until you get to the 2 lane highway-ish part where it's very rolling. At about mile 17ish you take the right turn to get on the out/back section that is mostly flat at first before a sharp and decently long downhill before bottoming out and making the climb to the turnaround. These are probably the two steepest climbs on the course. At least they're out of the way early. 

After the out/back you turn right to get back on 42 for about 2ish miles before turning right on 393 and beginning what is basically a gradual climb up to 146 (and the loop section of the course). 

It's a deceptively difficult section that can really wear you out if you go too hard on your first loop. Once you make the left hand turn it's a flat and fast road to La Grange. This section is well-paved and very fast. There is one decent climb at miles 40/70 but it's not long. Once you make the left hand turn onto Ballard School Rd it is a pretty difficult set of climbs that appear as though you can 'power' over them but they're actually pretty difficult. Definitely small chaingring climbs. After several decent uphill intervals on this narrow road you come to a dead end and turn right on Old Sligo Road. This road is rolling but fairly fast and you then make a right turn on L'esprit Highway which is more of the same. Rolling but fast. No sustained climbs on this section but still some hills. Then you turn left on 153 and I honestly don't remember much about this road but that tells me that there's nothing too crazy. Once past that (1-1.5 miles) you turn left on Hwy 42 (same road as before) to get back to the beginning of the loop. Very soon on this road you see a sign that says "Louisville - 32 miles" which can be a real skullf*** if you let it on the second loop. 42 is very rolling but pretty fast. It's between 8-10 rolling miles to get back to the beginning of the loop (393). During the second loop you just continue on back the way you came (no repetition of the out/back thank god). 

Here's the data from the ride:

Moving Time:04:59:44

Avg Speed:22.2 mph
Avg Moving Speed:22.3 mph
Max Speed:40.4 mph

Elevation Gain:3,622 ft
Elevation Loss:3,621 ft
Min Elevation:423 ft
Max Elevation:906 ft