Monday, April 25, 2011


S - 8600 yards
B - 199 miles
R - 24.5 miles

Time - 15.22 hours

So the name of the game this week - at least in the early part - was to make sure I was adequately recovered from the tough "workout" last Sunday.  Each time I've read race reports about the race (James McCurdy - fastest amateur and M25-29AJ Baucco - 3rd 25-29) from people that were/are faster than me I've gotten to relive the race and feel good about my performance.  While I wasn't as fast as those guys (although I was close), I did run faster than both and feel good about how close I was to the "top" after just 3 solid months of training. I think had the swim been included I would have moved up at least one, perhaps two spots in my AG (I did a little stalking of previous results for those ahead of me and saw some interesting swim times; obviously it's tough to get a true picture of a person's swimming ability but it gives you a decent idea) so that's encouraging.

I didn't swim until Wednesday and felt pretty rough (hadn't swam since last Wednesday since the swim was nixed at NOLA) and through the rest of my swims I felt slow.  The lack of frequency really seems to be manifested when I start swimming regularly so hopefully that will abate once I get back to my normal schedule.

Cycling was good this week; I felt like with the taper/race/recovery I got a little shot in the arm when it came to my bike fitness.  When I told this to Coach Brian he said it likely meant that my taper for future big races needed to be a bit longer, which makes sense.  It's all just one big learning experience.  I had a tough (and long) bike workout on Sunday but managed to get through it without any real issues.

Running was good, not a lot of mileage but the runs felt nice.  I definitely felt recovered by Wednesday and my first run of the week wasn't until Thursday so that was nice.

The biggest non-workout related thing I did this week was to go to the Jimmy Buffet concert on Thursday.  While something like that is definitely not part of my normal "schedule" it was the perfect week to tailgate/concert for 8+ hours and I got to go and try and be social, which is something I almost never do.  So I had a good time and while my workouts the next day were a bit of a drag I managed just fine.

Next weekend is the Morganton Biathlon which will, unintentionally of course, be my second "duathlon" of the year.  The drive is short and the race was suggested to me by Coach so I'm excited to partake!

Monday, April 18, 2011

New Orleans 69.1

S - 6,750 yards
B - 106.1 miles
R - 27.5 miles

Time - 9.89 hours

Whew, this week was easy!  Well, until you consider the pain that Sunday brought with it...

Monday and Tuesday were pretty normal days for me this week since my "taper" didn't start until Wednesday.  Normal (albeit shorter) swim with the group on Monday then a normal run Tuesday morning and a bike ride with some short (but sweet) intervals.  Starting Wednesday my volume reduced dramatically in prep for the race on Sunday.  Thursday was a (glorious) 11 hour travel day and Friday/Saturday workouts were very short and most of my accomplishments revolved around making sure I was race ready from a logistical standpoint.

New Orleans 70.3 Duathlon

Well, there's nothing quite like rolling into transition area to the first big "A" race of the year and hearing over the loudspeakers that "Due to high winds and inability to set up the course the swim has been canceled this year and we're doing a duathlon of bike + run!"  Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed.  But instead of whining about how much work I've done on the swim and how I was hoping to show some progress (wait, I did just whine...oh well) you've got to adapt to the new situation and move on; which is what I tried to do.  It seemed like a lot of people were getting bent out of shape, but from looking at the water and seeing how windy it was in transition I can't say I WANTED to jump in the water.

So the day really began with just sitting down and waiting.  Luckily I ran into Tara Flint in transition so I had someone to hang out with while we both waited for our wave starts.  She may be a member of the "evil" Triangle Multisports team but luckily (for her) we went to college and raced bikes together so it was ok to hang out and chit chat.

Bike 56 miles in 2:16:52 (24.55mph), 4th fastest 25-29
Relatively quickly the M25-29 wave was called to the "start" so I saddled up and joined the line.  It was actually relatively chilly since the sun hadn't really warmed things up yet and the wind was pretty stiff so I was eager to get on the bike and start working.  They were starting groups of two every two seconds so my turn came up and away I went.  The course started in a westerly direction down Lakeshore Dr (with the wind) so the first 3-4 miles were quite fast to the turnaround point.  It was EXCEPTIONALLY crowded and I was a little over my wattage goals for most of the ride as a consequence.  After the turnaround we headed back down Lakeshore and dead into the wind (this road is completely unprotected from the lake and the wind was really, really strong here), which would be a common theme for the next ~20+ miles or so.  The course was definitely more crowded this year and there were some definite "packs" that had formed.  It wasn't so much a drafting pack but at times there were maybe 6 passes happening at once so on several occasions I had to swing a little wider than I normally would deem "safe" to complete the pass.

Well, time went on and I continued my way towards the first turnaround spot (the course was shaped like a "Y") down in Venetian Isles.  At this point I was getting slightly uncomfortable in one specific area so I was looking forward to the opportunity to stand up on the pedals out of the 180 degree turn (since unless I have to I try to stay in aero position as much as possible...for better or for worse).  Made the turn and had a super awesome tailwind for the next bunch of miles.  Along this stretch I was averaging 26+ mph and I took the time to make sure I was caught up on gels and water.  Made the right turn onto the other part of the "Y" and unfortunately back into the wind.  This slog continued for a while before hitting the final turnaround and heading back with a tailwind for good.

At about mile 40 I began to feel a bit tired but knew I had it in me to finish off strong and so continued to push and raise my average speed all the way back down Haynes Blvd and closer to the Lakefront area.  Without much interesting to report I took my feet out of my bike shoes and headed into transition.

For the sake of showing how windy it was, here are my 7 mile bike split avg speeds:

23.9 (mph), 21.4, 23.4, 21.8, 26.0, 26.3, 27.1, 27.7

Transition "2" in 1:33

We had a slightly longer run into (or rather, around) transition this year.  I made my way around, put my bike back and grabbed one of my gel flasks.  Then put on my shoes, took my helmet off and grabbed my visor before heading out onto the run course.

Run 13.1 miles in 1:21:32 (6:13/mi), 4th fastest 25-29

Heading out onto the run I had mixed feelings.  Given my time and the wind, I figured I may have ridden too hard to run fast but I stayed (pretty closely) within my wattage targets so I was optimistic.  The weather was nice too, albeit a bit warm.  Lots of sun and a stiff breeze made it feel cooler than it was last year.  I had set my garmin to show "current lap time" and "current lap avg pace'' (on 1 mile laps) so I could properly pace myself or know if I was slowing down too much.  My first mile was a bit fast but I kept trying to slow down (and failing!).  The first couple of miles wound around the Lakeshore area before heading into City Park at mile 4ish.  The aid stations were incredible this year, with volunteers all over the place trying to pass out water/perform drink/coke/sponges etc.  At every aid station until my flask ran out I took a hit of gel and a ltitle water.  I actually carried the flask in my hand the whole time as opposed to in my pocket as in days gone by just so I'd be sure to take in the calories and not "forget."  I kept rattling off miles that were much faster than I thought I could run but I didn't feel like I was working overly hard and I felt I could maintain pace so I just kept going.  I went through 5k in just a hair over 18 minutes and through 7.5ish miles my pace was quite similar (a bit slower, but only because I didn't have that rogue first fast mile in there).  Once out of city park it became a mental game as at this point I was definitely working hard.  There weren't as many people out on the roads (spectators or participants) so it was a bit more of a lonely affair.  Once onto Esplanade I knew I was getting close but that road is so miserable (last real road but it's completely flat and straight so you can see ALL the way down! And the road surface is terrible) that I was starting to doubt.  I did slow down a little bit in the 2.5 miles on Esplanade but I was experiencing some minor cramping in my calves (where a muscle would fire like it was going to cramp but then subside) so I was a bit worried and when that happened I slowed down for a bit before picking it back up.

Once I turned onto Decatur I finally let myself realize that I was going to set a ridiculous PR for the 70.3 (errr, 69.2) half marathon.  Last year at New Orleans I ran just a hair over 1:32 so to run this fast was a revelation for me.  It just goes to show that all the work I've been putting in has been paying off!  Very exciting stuff.

Mile Splits
5:55 - 6:04 - 6:10 - 6:14 - 6:09 - 6:05 - 6:13 -
6:12 - 6:09 - 6:14 - 6:18 - 6:25 - 6:23 - 5:58 avg for .18 miles

To race like that and come in 5th place in my AG just goes to show how many fast people showed up to race today.  I can't be disappointed with that.  Not that I was, I was just surprised.  It's hard to even say how I feel about that run.  It was SUCH a huge breakthrough.  In the back of my head I dreamed about running 1:24-1:25 so to blow the doors off that was just incredibly surprising.  Not all races can go this well, of course, but knowing that adding on a relatively slow swim + t1 (31:30 ish) puts me in ~4:10 half ironman shape (on a similar course to NOLA of course) is very inspiring.

I'm very pleased with the direction Brian seems to be pointing me!

Monday, April 11, 2011

One week to go...

S - 19,200 yards
B - 253.8 miles
R - 52.1 miles

Time - 24.01 hrs

Swim sets were long and rather boring this week, I can't lie.  The swim workouts changed a bit in the past two weeks to longer, steadier intervals as opposed to the high-intensity intervals I had been doing.  I'm no expert, but  I believe the intention was more specific prep work for NOLA next Sunday.  As usual, I only swam 4 times this week so 19k+ yards is quite a good average swim distance for each workout.  3 of 5000+ this week.  Hooray swimming!

The best part about biking this week was the fact that most of it was on my new P3.  Having ridden a rickety old road bike for the past 3 months switching to a high-end tri bike was like a new epiphany.  It is the cat's meow, you might say.  It is close to being worth as much as my car (thankfully, vehicular depreciation hasn't gotten that far yet for the ol' Mazda).  Needless to say, I'm kind of into it.  Considering that in the past 12 or 13 weeks I've spent an average of 10+ hours/week on my bike I definitely spend more time with it than with any other person.  Don't you judge me!

Highest mileage totals so far this year on the run, which is nice.  I feel as though I knocked my two run workouts [relatively] out of the park this week, so that's nice.  The long run included some pretty serious quality, fast running in the middle of it so I feel pretty well prepared for New Orleans next Sunday.

So that begins the end, in which I talk about New Orleans 70.3 that is next Sunday.  A lot of people (myself included) are probably expecting me to go fairly quick since I've been training so much but the problem is that it takes a LONG time to get really fast.  There is no shortcut.  I'm certainly better across all three sports than I was last year.  There is no doubt about that.  Unfortunately, it's only been 3 months of solid training.  I've been extremely consistent; haven't missed hardly any workouts and have been doing (almost) everything right (let's not talk about my diet, just yet).  So, what happens Sunday will happen no matter what.  I'd certainly like to win my AG, but I know there's at least one very fast 25-29er that will be there on race day.  I'd love to PR, which would give me some positive reinforcements.  Most of all, I just want to run fast.  As opposed to people saying "damn" when I pass them on the bike, I'd like them to be impressed with how fast I'm running!

Dare to dream!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Another week bites the dust!

S - 16,100 yds
B - 259.9 mi
R - 50.9 mi

Time - 24.7 hours

The countdown has officially begun.  For what, I'm not sure but for the short-term countdown lets say that NOLA is the destination.  13 days from today I'll be toeing the line on the beach waiting to run into the gloriously green and used-to-be-gross-but-allegedly-isn't-anymore Lake Ponchartrain!  On that note, let's dive into this weekly recap!!

There was some super totally awesome consistency on the water front this week, something I like repeating just as much as you enjoy reading! (well, I probably enjoy repeating it more than you enjoy reading if I'm going to be perfectly honest...) The most "interesting" workout I had was Wednesday where the "main" set included 6x100 all out on 4 minutes.  So basically I'd do a 100 as fast as I could then wait on the wall for 10-15 seconds and then swim a nice, extremely easy, 50 yards before waiting for the 4 minutes to be up so I could do it again.  With a push off the wall for all but the last one (I dove but it wasn't the best dive...) I managed to sprint my way to 1:03, 1:02, 1:02, 1:02, 1:02, 1:00.  Obviously, speed is a limiter for me.  I just can't turn my arms over much faster to get below 1 minute!  Melissa was teaching me some "tricks of the trade" to use and those helped (stuff I had never known before like when pushing off the wall after a turn, wait to take a breath until the second stroke so you ride the "wake" created by your push) but I just can't go that much faster than 1:02!!  Alas

As you can tell from reading, lots of miles on the bike this week.  Unfortunately, I am still on the road bike (although this will be my last full week on the ol' steed!! Yay!) and I didn't put it back together properly after riding Andrew's bike for a week so it was making a lot of noise and was generally unhappy at me most of the week.  I didn't keep training logs in college, but they likely would have shown a lot of inconsistency.  I can't even take a rough guess of how many miles I put in during my 4 years (a good bit freshman year, more sophomore year, next to none junior year, and a good bit senior year) but considering that in the past 12 weeks I've logged 2,600 miles (all but 1 week on the road bike) I'd say my consistency has put those years to shame.  While it's been creaking and rattling and groaning a lot more than usual it's still going strong!  8 yeras of abuse and it can still hang with the best.  That being said, I cannot WAIT to get on my P3!

I finally managed to notch 50+ miles this week, which was due to a couple of factors.  One of those was that I had about 10 more minutes on my schedule this week and I also never had a day where I ran "slow."  I've been inching up towards 50 miles for a while now (very slight increases in time on the schedule but sometimes I run slower/faster) so it's nice to finally break that barrier.  I'm most proud of the fact that I did my long run (110 minutes and 15+ miles!) on the treadmill!  The weather was awful Wednesday morning and I had to put on my man shoes and take a big sip from my glass of Harden the F*** Up but I made my way through the run with relative ease.

Only 2 more weeks until NOLA!! Some key things to think about in terms of expectations that Brian told me:

  • I expect you to go out and race a smart race, make smart decisions, pace properly, make sure you are thinking 10-45min down the road when it comes to fueling, think about maintaining pace through the 5-10mile points on the run then letting it hang out on the last 5k on the run when it comes to pacing and realize that the bike ride no matter how fast isn't a good ride unless you run well off of it.  Other then that, I'm a big believer in controlling what you can control and at the end of the day the chips lie where they lie.
  • But really it's all about making smart decisions and controlling what you can that gives you the best chance for success, however you and I define it.
  • 8 weeks of solid training doesn't make one an uber fast guy.  See how it is in 80 weeks.
I placed the emphasis on the first bullet point.  After last year, I need to take it to heart! I think thoughts like that can help anyone, not just me.  Take heed readers.  But not too much if you're in my AG.