Monday, March 28, 2011


S - 17,625 yards - 5:13:10 hrs
B - 218.8 miles - 10:56:08 hrs
R - 47.1 miles - 5:37:51 hrs

Total - 21.79 hours

Not much exciting to report on the swimming front this week.  Ashley and I swam together a couple of times and had good workouts on Thursday and Saturday but the rest was just a little of the same things I've been saying this year: consistent progression.  Saturday's main set consisted of an 8x400 and I was swimming those at a faster pace than my 500 yard TT from one year ago.  Not too shabby.  It's also important to note how up and down swimming has been for me lately. Two Saturdays ago I could barely manage 1:20/100 yd pace during some longer intervals and 2 weeks later boom goes the dynamite.  Lots of ups and downs with this sort of training volume.

The biking was the big "mental hurdle" this week.  Looking at my schedule when I received it last Sunday I saw several important things

Tuesday: anaerobic power test, 2 hours total ride
Thursday: 2.5 hrs aerobic
Friday: aerobic threshold power test (30 minute time trial), 2 hrs total ride
Saturday: 2.5 hrs aerobic
Sunday: Cool Breeze Triathlon

Ok, the whole week was "important."  That's a lot of hard riding.  So for about 25-30/220 miles this week I was riding pretty much as hard as I could.  I was quite happy with my 30min TT on Friday.  Not necessarily with the results (wattage numbers), but the fact that I put it more power throughout the 30 minutes and that I did it after 2 days of riding, a long run with a 30min progressive tempo on Wednesday and a run with a fartlek/interval workout on Friday morning.  It's also the first 30min TT I've done before so just making it through one of those is a mental butt-kicking.  Anyway, the short story of my cycling this week was that it was difficult.  I was pretty tired in the legs on Saturday so my expectations were quite low for the bike on Sunday.

Running was consistent again, not much different to report on that front.  The long run switched to being a longer, progressive effort in the middle so that was fun (it wasn't).  I executed pretty well though and managed to string together some good runs overall this week, including Cool Breeze's run split.

Without further ado

Cool Breeze Triathlon - 6th OA, 4th "open"

Swim (250 yards) - 3:10, 9th

Considering I was seeded 8th based on my submitted swim time (1:15), I'd say this wasn't too bad at all.  The fastest swim was 2:59 so the top 10 were only separated by 12 seconds.  The start was rather hectic and Setup really pulled up a botch in terms of the swim start.  There was virtually no warning for when the race started and I was just lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.  I started 10 seconds behind Mason and made up a bit of time on him in the first 50 yards and then held a steady gap the rest of the swim.  I figure the climb out and run to mat takes about 8-11 seconds so I was swimming at roughly 1:11-1:12/100 yard pace which makes sense.  I had set a long sleeve jersey on the bleachers so I began putting that out as I headed out the door, where I was greeted by a freezing cold blast of air (it was 38-39 degrees and misty at this point...) and ran across the mat into transition.

Transition - 1:02

I felt like I didn't waste any time going through here but it took me a little while standing still to get my jersey fully on; I had put the gloves in the pockets so I didn't bother with those just yet.  I put on my shoes and helmet and headed out onto the bike.

Bike 12.6mi - 34:08, 17th

Wow.  17th fastest bike split.  I would never have guessed that.  In all honesty going in, despite the fact that I knew I was tired, I expected to have a 30-31 minute bike split on this course (all else being equal, which of course it never is...).  Last year I was the fastest split (by 3 seconds over Capets) in 31:31 so the course was definitely slower this year (fastest this year was 32:31, Capets was 2nd in 32:32) although I wouldn't have guessed a full minute slower.  Be that as it may, I made my way out on the bike course just behind Mason and settled in for a cold, windy race on the bike.  I let Mason lead for a little while and at the 10 minute mark came around him to instigate a little back and forth action to motivate and speed up the both of us.  Just after I went around him we made a right turn into the wind and started a climb, so I shifted down into my little ring.  Unfortunately, the chain fell off to the inside.  Most of the time I can shift the chain back on but that was not the case today.  I messed around shifting for a bit then resigned myself to getting off the bike and manually putting the chain back in the big ring.  I also didn't realize until after the race but my derailleur cage was rubbing on the disc cover in my two largest rear sprockets (more drag, great).  I got back on my bike but at this point Mason was a long ways up the road and had become a black dot instead of a person.  I meandered on through the rest of the bike course, still putting out a decent effort but at this point my motivation was gone and I was starting to get cold from my time standing still in the cold wind.  As I made my way back toward the business park I dropped the chain again shifting into the small ring (didn't learn my lesson the first time) but luckily this time I was able to shift back into gear.  Coming back into transition I was contemplating just dropped out to save myself the embarrassment of a bad result so I got off my bike casually (I probably looked like a moron as I couldn't really decide what to do and crossed the timing mat. BLAH

Transition - 1:09

I definitely thought it was MUCH slower than this so I guess I can't complain about my own dumb-ness too much.  I trotted over to my bike (in my shoes, since I hadn't taken them off on the lead in to T2) and took off my cycling shoes to put on my running shoes, grabbed my number and took off my helmet before heading out onto the run course.

Run 5k - 17:51, 11th

So 11th might sound a little slow, but given that 5 guys only did 1 lap (and thereby took splits 1-5 to their disqualification), my run was actually the 6th fastest.  Sidenote, how is it that zero women did 1 lap but 5 men did?  Are they that much dumber than women?  Don't answer.  I made my way out onto Verhoeff rode and began the sharp descent to the turnaround (2 loop out/back course this year).  I was a good ways behind Mason at this point and figured some other people were technically ahead of me but I was running okay so at the turnaround I headed back up the sharp descent that had magically become a difficult uphill.  Made my way through the crowds and to the more gradual part of the road.  This whole section was a false flat and also into the wind.  I was trotting along pretty nicely and made my way to the next turnaround and started on the net downhill/tailwind section.  That felt MUCH nicer.  I was beginning to be able to feel my feet at this point so I was enjoying myself a little bit, convincing myself that I was probably running 4 minute miles but luckily, since I wasn't wearing a watch, didn't have to verify that assumption.  Went past the crowds to the sharp downhill, turned around and made my way back on the second loop.  Ran through the tough section to the last turnaround and then cut off the road to follow the course to the finish line.

I left before knowing the actual results so before I actually found out what they were I was pretty uninterested in the actual results.  I knew I had a good swim as I believed I closed the gap a bit on Mason, who is a very good swimmer.  I assumed my bike would be terrible, but I didn't feel that bad and my watts were good so I knew that the split would be a combination of my mishaps and the fact that I was on a borrowed bike and hadn't ridden a tri bike for more than 6 days in the past 5 months.  I was happy with my run as I feel like I held a good effort level and negative split the 2 loops.  Upon seeing the results, I was pretty accurate.  Not the best performance but considering I had ~19 hours of training including two bike power tests, 180+ miles on the bike, two run workouts, 40+ miles of running, and four swim workouts and 16k+ yards in me as of Saturday evening I was not surprised.

I expected to place better but expectations and reality are often quite different ;)

Also, Navy brought in a bunch of ringers.  That was kind of weird and random.  Good job to all who manned up and raced out there today.  Not a great day for racing (or being outside) at all!

Moving on!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Almost to race # 1

Swim - 14,200 yards - 4hrs 10mins
Bike - 253.8 miles -  12hrs 55mins 44sec
Run - 48.9 miles - 5hrs 55mins

Total - 23.01 hrs

So the first thing that strikes you when you look at this page on this blog is likely "wow, that guy is good looking;" of course referencing my sweet glamour shots that my brother put in my blog header.  True, true, but I try and stay humble.  It's tough sometimes, being around so many people that aren't really, really ridiculously good looking.  What can I say.

The very next thing that you notice that I suffered a 30% reduction in swim volume this week!!  Wow, you ARE perceptive.  Tough to get past the pics, but you managed.  I commend thee.  Ashley and I were planning on swimming in Lake Norman on Saturday after the bike ride, which we managed to do but with a much shorter than 4000+ yard swim that I normally would get in on a Saturday afternoon.  I'm hoping to get in several wetsuit swims before NOLA as I know that familiarity with the feelings that come with a wetsuit will help me out in the swim on race day.  Other than that, I had some good swims in there; with the most notable being on Wednesday.  I nailed a 30x100 set (last 5 on 1:20 in 1:10, :11, :10, :10, :09) so was pretty pleased with that.

I rode my bike a good bit this week; the most I have this year in fact.  My workout on Tuesday was the same as last week but it wasn't executed quite as well.  Part of the problem (for both weeks, in fact) was that I chose a poor location to do that type of workout.  The booty loop is very easy to get to and easy to get motivated to go around (at least for a while) because it's close, it's [relatively] safe, and - now that it's spring - lots of booty to check out!  But I think as my workouts increase in duration (and importance), it's important to choose function over form and go somewhere I can have the best workout, not just the place I have the best eye candy.

As evidenced by my overall time spent running these last 10 weeks, my time spent in running shoes has been quite consistent.  Every week my time generally goes up, but not by enough to make a big difference, especially as I run faster or slower some days/weeks.  I had a great long run on Wednesday with 2x10min tempo sections but my fartlek style interval run on Friday did not feel quite as good, mainly because it was early (for me) and a bit chilly as well.  Now that it has started to warm up just a bit the chilly days just feel that much chillier.

Next week brings with it the first race of the season in Cool Breeze Triathlons (250yd, 20k, 5k) that will essentially be a short workout since my week will be structured normally leading into the race (4 hour Saturday!), but as that's what is expected added to the fact that Cool Breeze does not matter (that much) in the grand scheme of things I'm ready.  The only issue has been getting my hands on MY P3.  The ship date has now been delayed 3 times and Cervelo says now that it will ship on the 30th. We shall see...  For this week, Andrew Fletcher has been kind enough to let me use his 56cm P3 so hopefully my borrowed bike will be able to have a fast split on Sunday!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bring me some Cat 3 action!

Swim 17,400 yards in 4:50:00 (interestingly, swim time has been the exact same for past 3 weeks)
Bike 229.3 miles in 11:48:06
Run 48.7 miles in 5:53:00

Total time 22.52 hours

If you had asked me on Friday what I thought about my swimming this week I would have said something really positive like: "Oh man I nailed those workouts this week!"  Or "I'm gonna have to start wearing a true speedo because I feel so much like a fish these days!"  Or maybe "The pool is my bitch and I ran it ragged!" (that last one was something I would have said as an immature 20 year old, orrrr maybe something I'd still say, can't lie).
If you asked me Saturday afternoon, however, my response would have likely been the opposite.  "You're only as good as your last workout" held true for me this week, as my stellar workouts Thurs/Fri left me feeling on top of the world but due to several contributing factors Saturday's performance was quite underwhelming.

On a related tangent, this week presented a situation I haven't yet dealt with in the 9 weeks or so that I've really been training.  Wednesday night, when our swim group usually meets at the MCAC, it was pouring down rain with the threat of thunderstorms so I decided not to try and hit the pool only to be kicked out after 1000 yards or less.  I concluded that I would make up the swim sometime on Friday.  Unfortunately for that decision making process I had yet to look at my schedule for this week and notice that my Fridays have become slightly higher volume than normal.  That, coupled with the fact that I had to be at the store from 10-3 meant I needed to act like a person with a more "normal" schedule and get my rear out of bed in the early AM hours to fit all my workouts in (1.5hr swim, 1hr run, 2.5hr bike) during my available time on Friday.  Consequently, I got up at 5am and headed into the pool where I had one of the best swim workouts ever (20x200 yards with changing intervals, averaged sub 2:30) with Melissa then I had a good fartlek run sesh before heading into work at 10.  After work I then got on the ol' road bike and headed out for 2.5 hours around the booty loop.   Compounding Friday's schedule (with not as much sleep as I'm used to) I woke up early on Saturday to meet the bike group and then also woke up early on Sunday to go race my bike.  So that was one night of very little sleep (5.5 hours or so) on Friday, one night of average sleep (7.5 hrs), and then another night of average sleep (7.5 hours).  While that may be a lot for some people, that is not a lot for me as I typically get 8-9 hours a night.  So the one night of bad sleep affected 3 consecutive days of workouts.  If I had to do it over again, I probably would have just missed the swim on Friday morning.  Word to the wise, if you have to choose between one workout and an extra 2+ hours of sleep, it might behoove you to choose the extra rest.  Your body probably needs it.

Cycling was as consistent as it always is this fine week.  Coming off a week in which the weather always seemed to be iffy (especially the weekend) I was glad to see that this week had mostly nice weather outlooks on the days I had to ride.  Only one day did I endure some rain showers.  I had a good workout on Tuesday that on paper looked like it was going to shell me (30 minutes of 15secs zone 6+, 15secs easy) but I managed to handle it pretty well.  Thurs/Fri/Sat got me up to 190ish miles for the week leading into the race on Sunday so I'm happy I was able to handle the race pretty well without too much trouble.  Short recap later!

Running, like biking, was also consistent this week.  Good long run on Wednesday with Ashley (1:31 half marathon split actually) and a pretty good fartlek on Friday.  My weekend runs had tired leg syndrome the first mile or two before smoothing out as they warmed up a bit.

Race Recap

Blythewood Omnium Road Race Category 4: 6 laps of a 5.1km course

So the first thing notable that happened at this race was the realization that I had forgotten my bike jersey at home.  Luckily, I had brought along my under armor long sleeve cold weather base layer (that I had also worn the day before...) since I was expecting it to be rather cold.  So rolling up to the start line I'm sure some of the elite Cat 4s thought I was a n00b triathlete that didn't know how to look cool at bike races.  Au contraire, mon frere.  I know how to look good with the best of them, I just didn't that day.

I lined up near the start line and the race got underway.  The course itself was a fast, rolling, technical journey through an undeveloped residential...development for the first 4k or so then there was a long-ish double climb up to the start/finish straight, which was about 500 meters long.  The first lap passed rather uneventfully; everyone was just kind of feeling out the course and their legs, which definitely burned up the climb.  The climb started off a 90 degree right hand turn so there was no carryover in speed, went up about 10 seconds then became a false flat incline for about 15-20 seconds and then climbed up to a 90 degree right hand turn for 45 seconds or so.  The right hand turn was the last (and most difficult) part of the climb and the flat/downwind start/finish straight immediately followed.  One guy broke away at the top and stayed away for another uneventful lap before being joined by two other guys on lap 3.  This group was always within sight and never more than 10-13 seconds ahead.  Towards the middle part of lap 5 I found myself near the front of the "peloton" and saw the group of 2 up ahead (one guy had dropped) and decided to bridge to the group and see if we could make something happen.  I crossed the 150-200 yard gap relatively quickly and when  I pulled up behind them they both turned around and sat up a bit, I assume thinking that I was the whole back.  This moment of confusion essentially allowed the pack to close and I - mostly unsurprised - settled in near the front of the group to make the climb and start the last lap.  Throughout the last lap I kept myself in the top 5-7 spots but never did any work.  At the start of the last climb up the hill I moved my way up to 3rd and on the flat section settled into my drops for the flat finish.  With about 300m to go I made my sprint, not quite realizing how far away the finish line was but luckily I had put enough of a gap on the other riders sprints that I didn't have to try and re-start mine.  Crossed the line in first place and since I only needed 3 points to submit my upgrade request I was well over my requisite point total!  Hooray
Not a picture from this week, I thought it necessary to add something to spice up what is yet another routine post about another routine training week.  There is nothing glamorous about me!  Except those sunglasses.

Monday, March 7, 2011


S - 16, 570 yds - 4:50:00 hrs
B - 212 miles - 11:11:30 hrs
R - 49.4 miles - 6:02:00 hrs

Time - 22.06 hrs

So one thing I forgot to mention in last week's review was the fact that I'd set a massive PR in a 500 yard time trial on Monday (of two weeks ago as you're reading this I guess).  I'd been wanting to do one for a while but was nervous because I was unsure how much faster I'd go.  The last time I did one was March of 2010 and I almost vomited on the way to a 6:20 (1:15/100 yard pace).  Trust me, puking in the pool is no fun.  Nor is puking in your mouth in the pool.  Best stay away from it if at all possible.  So needless to say, I was hesitant about the TT this more recent time.  Firstly, I was nervous I wasn't much faster than 1:15/100 pace.  That's pretty fast, considering how little time (relatively speaking) I've been in the pool in my life.  I was certainly pleased when I did it.  These days, I do 100 repeats much faster than that but there's a big difference between stringing together a bunch of 100s on 1:25/1:30 and 5 continuous 100s as hard as you can.  Anyway, I managed to squeeze in just under 6:00 for the TT, touching the wall and looking at the clock to see 5:58.  While in the back of my head I was hoping for sub-6, I wasn't sure I had it in me so to see 5:58 on the clock (1:11/100 yds pace) was pretty awesome.

To back that up, this Saturday (so now we're in the "current" week) I had a swim on my schedule that included "2x1000 with 60s rest, negative splitting the 2nd one."  No special instructions so I just took the first one out nice and steady (at what I'd generically call an "aerobic" pace) and ended up hitting the wall for a 12:50.  It didn't really register at first, but the last time I did a timed 1000 was a TT effort (admittedly, time trialling 1000 yards is pretty tough so experience plays a big part and I didn't have much when I did it last) and I believe it was 13:20.  It was either 13:15 or 13:20.  I'd never gone under 13 that's for sure.  So when I saw 12:50 I was pretty surprised (1:17/100yds).  So for the second one I got to negative split, going 6:28, 6:12 for a 12:40 (1:16/100 yds).  Considering that is only 1 second/100 yards slower than my TT effort of last year, I was quite happy.

Anywayyyy, after all that exciting talk, let's move on to the rest of the stuffz.

Biking was good this week; my Tues/Thurs/Friday rides were all pretty normal.  Nothing has changed on that front for a while.  Saturday was a slightly bigger group ride than normal and it was definitely more akin to the "shootout" style of Saturday rides we had at the end of last year.  I was trying to ride while keeping the fact that I had a planned bike race on Sunday in the back of my head.  The weather was pretty bad this weekend and it managed to affect both the Saturday ride (in which we got very wet) and the Sunday ride (which was supposed to be a race down in Greenville but turned into a 2:10:00 ride on the rollers at home...).

Running was consistent again this week, almost (but not quite) hitting 50 miles.  It's becoming easier and easier to get out the door and bang out the runs (not the bad kind...); I can tell that I'm very aerobically fit right now.  My tempo sections on the long runs is getting easier (in the sense that sub 6 or 6 minute pace is feeling more and more "controlled") and the Friday fartlek workouts are getting slightly longer but don't feel quite as "stressful."

Cool Breeze is only 3 weeks away and NOLA 70.3 is only 6 weeks away so it's getting close!  I don't really care that much about Cool Breeze (I mean, I'd like to do well but not at the sacrifice of a good workout that prepares me better for NOLA) and it's good because I'm not sure if I will have a triathlon bike by that point!  Unfortunately, Cervelo continues to drop the ball with actually shipping me my bike and it's getting quite frustrating.  It's slightly ironic to me that I'm supposed to sell these bikes but I cannot seem to get my hands on one for myself.  Do you hear that Cervelo?  Oh well...I've lined up a bike that I can borrow for Cool Breeze (a 56cm P3 actually) but I'd really like to get some solid hours in the aero position before NOLA.  Is that too much to ask?  Maybe, but I hope not.

Here's a sweet pic from the race last weekend.  Our breakaway has just come through the start/finish and I'm leading because I know that's who gets the best pictures: the guy in front.