Sunday, October 24, 2010

Week 42

S: 12,500 yards
B: 103 mi
R: 40 mi

Time: 14.4 hrs

I was going to write something insightful, witty, and amusing but felt a remarkable lack of creativity and motivation so decided to do nothing of the sort.

Swimming was consistent again this week; got in a little bonus yardage since I actually got to swim with other people a couple times (suhweet).  Didn't have any remarkable workouts and it was a lot of "junk" yardage but for me there really is no such thing.  The only junk yardage is when I fail to swim as that means that I'm junking my potential.  That was weak, I know.

Rode a couple of times this week but nothing remarkable with a long ride of a little over 60 on Saturday up in Davidson.  There were some real solid efforts in there and I managed to hold about 700 watts down Deal Rd into the wind.  How do I know it was 700 watts you may ask?  Well, my new powermeter told me's the brand new model and it's called my brain.  Another weak one, apologies.

Running was actually a bit different this week since I did a fartlek on Tuesday and a hill workout on Thursday.  I also did 10 miles (of 11) at 160 bpm (plus or minus a couple) on Sunday that felt fine but weren't as quick as I would like.  Onto next week!

Monday, October 18, 2010


S: 12,000 yards
B: 103 mi
R: 35 mi

Time: 13.9 hours

Switched into the next gear with swimming this week as each of the five swims added 2400 yards to the log.  That'll be the gold standard for the next two weeks as well before (hopefully) shifting another gear and making my way up to 14k/week for the month of November.  Long term goal is to be up around 20k/week before really getting into the triathlon season next spring (whenever it may start!).  I know it's a lot, but if I want to be competitive near the front of the amateur ranks I need to take it up another notch.

The only bike time I logged this week was in Sunday's Tour de el Amigo (verbose recap on its way for tomorrow!!).  This is an sort-of annual ride that works a lot like the Saturday shootout (sprint points, KOM points) but also adds the eating/drinking challenge at mile 70 when we get to El Amigo.  It was a fun time and a good ride and in all honesty I wasn't nearly as fatigued at the end of the ride as I thought I'd be.  I had been worried my bike fitness tailed off rather sharply post-Louisville but it appears to still be lingering.

Didn't do much in the way of workouts this week when it came to running since I wanted to recover from Triple-T as well as possible.  That being said, I ran 5 days in the week and that included one double so the 6 total runs meant this week was perfectly average.  Next week the mileage will bump up to 40 and by December I'd like to consistently be in the 50 miles/week range with a potential attempt to bump it up to 60-70 miles/week for a little bit just to see how it feels leading into an early half-marathon (Corporate Cup?).

Thursday, October 14, 2010

American Triple-T White Lake Part II

So, to continue this "race(s) report," let's move on to the tough races.  For each of these final two races, mental motivation became one of the most important aspects of a successful preparation.  To put it mildly, this was pretty difficult.  Once we finished the Saturday morning olympic race (at just before 10am) we had 5 hours to recover, re-energize, and refuel (sorry Gatorade) for the Saturday afternoon race.  The format was obviously a bit different than your traditional swim/bike/run triathlon as this one put the bike first.  It greatly changed the dynamics of the race itself, mainly because the shift from grinding it out hard on the bike (where your body is vertical-ish) to sputtering on the swim (where your body is horizontal) can really cause some serious cramping.

Saturday PM Olympic (40k, 1.5k, 10k)

Bike - 1:00:59 (2nd)

Leading into this race I (and I assume Fletch as well) had no real idea how my body was going to respond to this 40k (well, 25.2 miles actually) team time trial.  Since we were registered as a "team" we were allowed to draft on the bike course, which made for a much better experience.  We alternated long-ish pulls (8 minutes) for about the first half then shifted to shorter pulls (4 minutes) once we got closer to the finish.  This may sound like an overly long pull strategy but it felt right and we didn't want to kill ourselves on this bike ride by doing 1 or 2 minute pulls.  We had a couple of solo athletes (well, one in particular) that were drafting off of us for a portion of the ride until we put the hammer down and dropped him and this was just a singular example of a common theme at this race.  There was a lot of drafting due to limited enforcement (there were zero marshals unfortunately).  Nature of the beast.

T1 - 3:03

This took a lonnggg, long time because we both had to put on our wetsuits (difficult when you're sweaty) and then run (in a full sleeved wetsuit) about 200+ yards to the end of the dock to jump into the water...

Swim - 27:03 (12th)

Jumping into the water felt absolutely AMAZING.  I was pretty much just hoping to survive the swim without cramping; I managed to accomplish that, but barely.  I didn't cramp during the swim but I did cramp a little bit on the run into transition.  There really isn't much to report on the swim; I couldn't quite keep up with Fletch but that allowed him to do some backstroke and loosen up for Sunday!!  Once out of the water and up on the dock I ran slowly and then experienced some minor cramping in my adductors that I stretched out before getting into T2.

T2 - 1:32

Stripped off the wetsuit, put on the shoes, hat and sunglasses and headed out onto the run with Fletch.

Run - 43:18 (15th)

We started off pretty easy and progressed each mile.  Fletch was really working me over on this run as I think I went a little too hard earlier in the day and the swim might have taken a bit more out of me than it did him.  Suffice it to say, I was suffering quite a bit on this 10k.  Luckily enough, we managed to finish and place decently and be in a solid second place team by the end of 3 races (halfway done!).

Sunday AM Half Ironman (1.2, 56, 13.1)

Needless to say, waking up and getting going this morning was a little tough.  Since the race started at 7am, we knew it would be freezing at the start and waking at 5:30 was...miserable.  The motivation factor was pretty low, but we knew we only had one race to go - albeit a half ironman - so we gutted it out, got dressed and headed over to the start.

Swim - 35:49 (19th)

Well, the changed course made for a super long swim this morning.  I felt pretty normal throughout this swim and once again couldn't keep up with Fletch so I expected a slow time but dang!  This is my slowest half-ironman swim ever!  Interestingly enough, every time I've come to White Lake to do a half I've gotten slower: 31:59 '09, 32:08 '10, 35:49 '10!!!

T2 - 4:10

Take off wetsuit while freezing (my entire body was steaming), put on socks, shoes, helmet, gloves, arm warmers and grab gus before finally heading out; all the while Fletch was standing there shivering!  Out of T2 in 40 minutes, a new low!! (or high I guess)

Bike - 2:30:46 (5th)

I felt pretty terrible once we headed out onto the bike ride.  Fletch and I alternated 10 minute pulls through about 40 miles, so the rhythm of the first hour or so was well established and pretty slow.  I was pretty cold for a while even though I had the arm warmers and gloves on and took a long time to warm up (my toes never did).  We didn't see many people for a while on the glorious bike route and when we did finally catch people they stuck around us for a long time.  We got to the out/back and never even saw Kevin and Scott, which was a bit demoralizing as I didn't think we'd be losing THAT much time to them (the problem was my horrible swim time, so by the time we were to the out/back we were down 13 minutes - 7 out of T1 and 6 on the bike) and thereby had no chance of seeing those guys.  We picked up the pace a little bit the last 15 miles and I was actually feeling pretty decent by the time we made it to T2.  I wished the bike ride had been 80 miles (just kidding, sort of) because I think I would have continued to feel stronger.  I'm amazed I was able to bike a 2:16 and change on this course earlier in the year.  No idea how I managed that!

Run - 1:34:12 (11th)

Started off on the run nice and easy and felt surprisingly good.  At about mile 3, Fletch started picking up the pace a little bit and I fell in behind him as I was unsure of my ability to lift the pace this early on in the run.  I have had issues with blowing up and walking in my half-marathons and I didn't want that to happen today as I knew we would lose BIG amounts of time if that happened.  He asked me if I was ok (since I was running 5-7 feet behind him) and I said I was but I wasn't sure if it was the best idea to start cutting down so early (at this point, we had made it to about mile 5).  At this point we had seen Kevin and Scott running crazy fast (they ran a 1:24, which is just unbelievable!) the other way and figured we certainly had second place team locked up and we continued running with Fletch about 5 feet in front of me to the turnaround to start the second lap.  At this point I was feeling pretty good but was still nervous about lifting the pace and asked Fletch to take mile 7 a little bit easier.  I couldn't tell whether he was mad I wasn't willing to go any faster but slowly but surely we continued to drop the pace each mile.  I continued my rhythm of taking a little gu and a water cup or two at each aid station; sometimes alternating a cup of Heed in if I felt as though I could use the sodium.  As we made our way towards the last couple of miles I realized that we were finishing really strong.  In fact, this was shaping out to be my best half-ironman run ever (of the numerous ones I have completed...4!).  Not necessarily in terms of time (although it was close), but the fact that never once did I walk or even want to walk through an aid station.  We ran steady the entire time, getting faster with each passing mile, and made our way to the finish feeling stronger than when we started (maybe a tad bit of an exaggeration, but it was close!).  We crossed the line and I couldn't have been happier with the way that the weekend went.  We finished as second place team - a distant second to Lisska and Woodbury sadly - and held off third place by a fair margin.

I definitely underestimated the difficulty of this event.  I was quite sore after and have been for several days.  I would recommend it to almost anyone, although I'm not sure I'll be wanting to head to White Lake again anytime soon!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

American Triple-T White Lake

The unimportant week of the past two weeks (week before Triple T)

S: 10,000 yards
B: 175 miles
R: 35 miles
Time: 15.7 hours

Not much to report from this week; ended up riding more miles than I really meant to but my running and swimming stayed consistently sweet.

The week of Triple T looked a little like this:

S: 10,400 yards
B: 165 miles
R: 35.5 miles
Time: 15.1 hours

So the race format is something like this:

Friday 4pm: Super Sprint Prologue (250 meter swim, 7 mile bike, 1 mile run)
Saturday 7:30am: Olympic (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run)
Saturday 3pm: (40k bike, 1.5k swim, 10k run)
Sunday 7am: (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run)

Now, if you are competing as a "solo" athlete the format remains the same throughout all four race.  If you are racing with a teammate, however, the strategy for the second two races change and teammate are allowed to draft on the swim, run AND bike (unusual for triathlons, obviously) and must stay together and finish together in each of the last two races.  Scott, Fletch and I drove to White Lake on Friday morning and were staying in what was essentially a dressed up trailer about 2.5 miles from the race site (on the same road as the bike/run routes each day) so it was very convenient.  For each race we rode to and from the site (on Saturday this meant riding back and forth twice...tiring!), thereby saving the environment.  Also, every race started in a time trial format, meaning that based on submitted half-ironman time we received numbers and every racer went off after assembling in a double-wide line (Lisska was #1, Scott #11, Me #14, Fletch was #20) two at a time.

Friday Super-Sprint PM - 29:24 (5th place)

Swim - 5:43 (5th)
Wore the speedsuit and jumped into what was pretty chilly water at 70 degrees, although with the air temperature at 85 degrees it felt glorious.  Unfortunately, the singlets they issued all participants were very poor-fitting and I could feel it moving around underneath my speedsuit.  I wouldn't go so far as to say it slowed me down but I would go so far as to say that it felt decidedly uncomfortable and weird.  Swam hard but slowly and made my way to the dock.  Each swim includes the standard long run down the dock and all the way to the transition area...

T1 - 0:55
Not much to report.  My timing chip had come off when I removed my speedsuit and I had to remove it so I lost a good bit of time there.

Bike - 17:15 (3rd)
Rode hard but felt like I was going pretty slowly.  Never felt like I could truly push, although for a seven mile time trial it's hard to even feel settled in at all.  Came into T2 and a bus was blocking me so I coasted a little more than normal.  Got a sweet draft though, but don't tell anyone!!!

T2 - 0:26
Put on the shoes and took off the helmet.  Thought about how much I hated doing triathlons.  Got going again!

Run - 5:04 (7th)
The course was a simple out/back that ended up being a little less than 1/10th of a mile short so the times were super fast.  This didn't really feel particularly good but luckily it was over quickly.

Saturday AM Olympic - 2:08:58 (6th)

Swim - 23:01 (16th)
After riding to the site and freezing our butts off we got our transition area setup and headed over to the swim start with not much time to spare (5 minutes, tops).  Putting on the wetsuit in the cold morning air was a miserable experience.  We all lined up in the same format as the day before and jumped in when it was our turn.  The swim was a somewhat confusing two loop course (a theme to be repeated throughout the rest of the weekend) and I made my way through it pretty much on my own this morning.  The sun was just coming up and it made sighting extremely difficult.  Added to that was a layer of mist/fog that was sitting on top of the lake.  That being said, the swim felt pretty easy and I finished up after running across the mat (again, all the way down the dock and to transition area).

T1 - 1:19
A recurring note from my transitions throughout this year has been about how slow they are; that will not change here.

Bike - 1:05:01 (5th)
I took the time to put on socks while in transition and soon after mounting my bike I started the process of putting on gloves.  It took a pretty long time and I never really got them all the way on and I was freezing regardless.  I never really felt settled in on the bike ride and was astonished to see how far ahead of me some of the racers were; John Kenny had swam 18 minutes, Lisska 20 and several others were sub 22 and most were putting time into me on the bike.  To see them at the turnarounds was a bit depressing and I was confused because I couldn't see Scott ahead of me yet I knew he was out of T1 before me as I had seen him leaving T1 when I was getting to T1 (later found out he had a flat and I apparently looked right at him on the side of the road but I had no idea what had happened, weird!).  The bike finished up altogether way too slowly (not actually a 40k but a 25.2 mile course, still, I was going slow) and made my way back into transition.

T2 - 1:05
Another slow one.  Surprise!!!

Run - 38:30 (7th)
Started off on the run feeling pretty good and consequently clicked off the first 2 miles under 6 minute pace then quickly realized that I had a lot of work left to do over the weekend and slowed down a bit.  I felt pretty in control on this run once I slowed the pace down and ran well enough to finish just out of the top 5.  The run course (both this one and the afternoon course as they were the same) measured out almost a tenth of a mile long due to a weird route we had to take around transition area before getting to the finishing straight.

Part two of the race reports will be for another post!!! I bet you can't wait!!!!!!