Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2 weeks at once!

5/16 - 5/22

S - 0 yards
B - 49 miles
R - 3.8 miles
Time - 3 hours!!! nice

Not a whole lot going on this week as I felt like absolute crap post-crash throughout the week.  One or two trainer rides and one treadmill run was all I managed to get in during this week of training.  Can't say much other than I felt really fat and slow.

5/23 - 5/29

S - 1000 yards
B - 135 miles
R - 36.8 miles
Time - 11.49 hours

This week was about a lot of travel and meeting new people and making new friends.  I got back to more normal bike (trainer) and run (treadmill) workouts this week but the volume was still quite low until the weekend.  On Wednesday I drove to Lexington, VA to see my brother graduate from Washington and Lee University.  While it made me nostalgic for college, it also made me appreciate how much (and in some ways, how little!!) I've changed since graduating.

After leaving Lexington on Friday morning I headed to Chapel Hill, NC as I was invited to the Fast Forward Triathlon team camp.  My day started with meeting one of the best collegiate triathletes in the country (and the best 18-24 year old in the world), Alex McDonald and Eric Bean before saddling up for a Computrainer LT sub max and max test and Inside Out Sports in Cary, NC.  Besides being a good workout, LT tests (done correctly) are extremely informative.  They're also pretty tough.  This particular one started out easy and then power ramped up every 3 minutes and a blood sample was taken to determine at what power level my body can no longer maintain the buffering of lactate and it begins to build.  After that goodness was over, there was 8 minutes of recovery then a "max" test.  That involved starting at a wattage just below threshold and increasing that by 20 watts every minute until failure.  That was tough.  My PT has my max wattage during that amazing session at ~470 watts, but the Computrainer readout didn't work quite the same so I'm gonna go with whatever number makes me look better.  I then got to watch Moose (Kathrine Warren) do her test, which was more fun then doing one yourself!  Later in the day Kristin Andrews arrived and did her test, which was pretty astonishing to watch.  Her LT was higher than most male triathletes; it'll be interesting to see how hard she hammers the comp in her upcoming races!  It may or may not have been higher than mine... :( haha

The rest of the day was doing some other stuff (I basically served as FFT Team Assistant for the weekend, along with Kristin's boyfriend Chris) before meeting up at Alex's house for dinner where Brian Duffy and Morgan Anderson met up and thusly the entire weekend crew was there.  After some general pow-wowing everyone went to their respective places to stay and met up the next morning for Brian and Morgan's LT test, which was fun (for me) and then we departed for the P (performance) Ride in Chapel Hill.  It was a group of ~25+ that was whittled down to 10-12 by the end of the 55 miles.  I felt just ok and since it was my first outdoor ride since the crash my hand was still quite achy and didn't work the brakes or pull on the bars particularly well.  Eric and Brian were laying the hammer down throughout the ride; I'm not sure what the roadies thought of the tri-geeks...

We finished the ride and went back to IOS where I went for a nice, easy, incredibly hot 40 minute run with Moose.  After some eating the team sat down and Eric and Alex basically laid out expectations and "guidelines" for the team members.  It was fun to see the "behind the scenes" of a team that will be popping out some pretty awesome triathletes in the coming years.  'Nuff said.

Sunday started with a long-ish run (1:10) that didn't cover a ton of distance but it was on some nice springy trail surface so it was good to get outside and log some time but not stress the legs too much.  My running has been sadly inconsistent for the past 2 weeks so I didn't want to over-do it by running too fast/too far with the rest of the crew so I trotted along with Moose.  She told me that she used to win Halo tournaments for money, which was a big mistake on her part.  Easily the highlight of the run, despite the fact that I thought it was funny/awesome I made sure to give her a lot of crap for it.  Deserved.

Sunday afternoon was a swim session that included some video and Alex (Dr) and Eric (Dr) both agreed that since my stitches had been in for 2 weeks I could get in the pool without fear of infection.  Hoping they were right I got in and farted around for a little bit but kept it easy and short.  I was just happy to get back in the water.  I love swimming THIS much!!  (a lot)  There was a BBQ at Eric's house for dinner that night so it was fun to meet some other local athletes and entertainers and eat some good food.  My level of fatigue was fairly high at this point so I was happy to be asleep by 9:30 that night...

Monday morning was a photo shoot session with the team in their race kits on their bikes as Chris and I drove around and played pro photographers for a little while before some of us headed out for a 2 hour ride.  The weather was warm and my legs felt medium well so luckily there were no crazy efforts in the ride.  Moose and I (feel like I'm saying this a lot over the weekend...) went for a short run with some strides after the ride and then headed to the pool where I managed to not embarrass myself too badly (like everyone else on the team it seems, flipper-ish swimmer) and my hand felt a little better than the day before.  I didn't feel rusty, but I couldn't hold a quick pace for nearly as long as I'd like to be able to.  Although I am positive now that barring some weird complication, I'll be able to duke it out at Tri Latta in 2 weeks.

The rest of the day Monday (yes I'm creeping into next week's blog, alas!) was spent eating/sitting/talking and in the early morning hours of Tuesday (4:30am, ugh) I drove Moose to the airport for her return trip to UCSB and then made my way back down to CLT.  Yay, a solid week and now I get to really start training again.  I've felt so inconsistent over the past 5 weeks (racing + crashing) that I'm just happy to get back to a regular schedule.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Recap of some training and some not training

S - 16000 yds
B - 200.4 mi
R - 4 mi

Time - 14.45 hrs

My blister began healing rapidly on Monday morning so that was awesome.  All of a sudden the bad stuff began dissappearing and the result was about 4 different layers of new skin.  So gross, but so spectacular!!
I also had some fantastic swim workouts; somehow I was swimming my little arms off in the pool.  Whatever magic juice I was on, I'll take it.  Since NOLA I'd been feeling a little stale so this was a nice rebound.

Biking was also good this week; got in a lot of miles despite not finishing my ride on Sunday and really nailed those workouts as well.

I didn't run until Sunday as I wanted to make sure my foot was 100% good to go and unfortunately didn't get the chance to run on Sunday afternoon like I had planned even though my legs felt good most of the week.

Now on to Sunday's recap: (warning, this is long as it's thoroughly cathartic)

Drove up to Davidson to ride with Carrie and Fletch on a fun ride that included 5x10mins threshold intervals in the middle of a 4 hour ride.  They were kind enough to let me sit on the front while I was pumping out threshold watts so at the beginning of the 3rd I was trucking along merrily at 280ish watts and started making a left turn onto Hart Rd off Cool Springs Rd, unaware that 2 days before they had begun the re-paving process so I was turning onto a road that was tarred and graveled and therefore extremely sketchy.  As soon as I hit the gravel - while turning left - at 30mph my wheels slid out from under me and I went down and my left fist basically took the full brunt of the impact.  I was very aware of what was happening as my head was up and eyes were open as I slid along the road.  If it doesn't sound pleasant, believe me it wasn't.

As I sat up I assessed what was going on; despite being in a mild state of shock (ok maybe it was moderate...) I could tell that my hand was in some deep shizzle.  I picked up my left hand and it was already covered in blood and upon flexing my fingers I also saw flashes of white and I assumed that was my knuckles.  I quickly put my head down and raised my hand up as Carrie and Andrew got on the phone and called 911.  I knew that there was a strong risk of passing out as I was both nauseous from seeing the injuries and the extremely high levels of pain.  A couple of guys in a truck pulled over and got out some paper towels and cold bottled water which was awesome.  It sort of sucks because it seems like the people that help you out are often only seen in emergency situations and then never seen again...  Carrie and Fletch were being super supportive and keeping me "alert"  as we waited for EMT's and the ambulance.  The first respondents arrived after 8-10 minutes and they applied some minimal bandaging since they knew the EMS people would take them off immediately.

The ambulance arrived and they quickly put me in there for the trip to a Salisbury hospital.  I didn't know it at the time but Carrie had hopped in the passenger seat and Fletch stayed behind with the bikes to wait for Shannon to come pick him up.  The EMT re-did the bandages and started an IV.  I was extremely cold and my pain level was steadily increasing.  The ambulance took about 20-25 minutes to get to the hospital and once there the doctor took a look and basically said she thought I'd have to go down to CLT to see a hand specialist and get surgery. She gave some sweet pain meds and Carrie had made it into the room at this so I'm hoping I didn't say anything too embarrassing...  After about 2 hours of back and forth doctors giving me shots, taking x-rays, etc Fletch made it up there and after a little more waiting we headed down to Charlotte.  I'd had another dose of pain medicine so I was a tiny bit loopy...

At the CMC Main we sat around in the waiting room for at least 1.5 hours before being brought into a non waiting room that still wasn't my final destination.  At this point Andrew had left to go back home (7:00ish?) so it was just me and Carrie fending for ourselves.  I'm not sure why I was in this particular room but before too long we were sent to the Diagnostic waiting room.  Carrie and I were both fading fast, as neither of us had eaten anything all day (literally: I had a bowl of cereal at 8am and a honey stinger waffle about 1hr into the ride and nothing else as the hospital wouldn't let me eat or drink since I might have to go to surgery) and while I had the mild pain to focus my energy Carrie had nothing but my boring dialogue... At around 9-9:30 Scott arrived and Carrie departed after a much longer day with me than originally planned...

We sat around a little while longer before finally being called into "the" room.  Various doctors/nurses came in and out and before too long I literally fell asleep while Scott was out getting some food (it was maybe 11:30 at this point).  I was awoken by a resident who said she'd be fixing me up at this late hour.  After cleaning and examining she said it didn't appear as bad as the previous hospital had made it sound (I quote: "they made it sound like you had de-gloved the back of your hand") and then proceeded to thoroughly clean my wounds.  It must be noted that Scott was watching this entire process while pacing back and forth and making painful sounding noises and providing commentary such as: "Dude she's got tweezers halfway up in your hand!!"  Fast forward to the end and I had some stitches, some prescriptions, and some instructions and at 1:30am Scott and I headed out of the hospital and home.

I can't thank Andrew, Carrie and Scott enough; if it weren't for them this day would have been far worse and much lonelier.  I am so glad they were there for me when I needed them the most!

Now I'll be taking some time off as I'm very sore and tired.  At least 2 weeks off from swimming, I haven't ridden (trainer) or run (treadmill) yet but probably will before the weekend.  I'll have to do some physical therapy to teach my tendons how to work properly again and hopefully will regain full motor control over my hands and 100% full function.  Time will tell!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

White Lake 69.2

S - 11,000 yards
B - 108.2 miles
R - 16.6 miles (23 miles ish in reality)

Time - 10.5 hours

Not a lot to report on this week as my volume was quite low, due mostly to the fact that I raced on Sunday and raced again on Saturday.  The blister issue that appeared after NOLA, then went away, then came back again after the Morganton Biathlon on Sunday was in full force this whole week, really limiting my running and even to a certain extent my biking.  It was quite painful all week and I was hesitant to even do White Lake on Saturday as I was worried it would worsen the situation considerably.  As race day approached, however, it became slightly more manageable and I figured if I got off the bike in the race and it hurt too much I could always stop.  Anyways, on to the good stuff...

White Lake Half (err, 69.2) Race Report

Andrew picked me up at Scott's house and away we headed to the magical land of White Lake, NC.  The drive was mostly uneventful and we arrived with more than enough time to pick up our packets and putz around in our luxurious accommodations, setting up the bikes and getting in a little swim in the lake.  After all was said and done and the German finally arrived we ate dinner and settled in for a good night's sleep.

Upon waking in the morning we noticed it was decidedly misty outside and looking at the Lake we saw that there was a TON of fog sitting over the water.   Not thinking much of it at the time (who thinks a lot at 6am, not me!) we got on our bikes and rode over to transition area to begin setting up for the day; put on the wetsuits and headed into the water to get warmed up for the race.  After a while it was clear that there was no way to see buoys if the race started on time and accordingly, the RD pushed the start back a bit to see if it would clear.  We continued to flop around in the water a bit before the RD came on and said they were going to delay the start until 8am and if the fog was still there the swim would likely be nixed.  So we got out of the water to stand around and then once they actually said they'd cancel the swim and it'd be a bike/run (oh joy!) we headed over to take off the wetsuits and get ready to ride.  At this point, everybody was blaming me for being a jinx and I can't say I blame them!

Transition 1 in :55

So they gathered us in wave order and let us run to transition from the Lake in groups of 10 or so.  I elbowed my way past John just to make sure he knew where he stood in the scheme of things and ran towards my bike, put on my shoes (we had already put on helmets/shades/etc), grab my bike and head onto the roads.

Bike 56 miles in 2:16:15 (4th), ~24.7 mph

As I headed out on the bike, I was thinking several things.  Those included but were not limited to:

"Why the F can't I get a swim in a race this year (Cool Breeze does not count)??!!"

"Blisters are stupid."

"This is going to be an interesting bike ride with all of us starting together."

The last was the most relevant during the bike portion as everyone headed out basically together.  I believe I started the bike in 3rd place (ish, since it was a TT start) and just started putting out my steady watt target for the day.  I eventually made my way up to the front of the race and "led" for a while before being passed by the various people I had started with.  I was rolling pretty fast through the first 10-15 miles (~25.5ish mph avg) and the "group" of 10 or so was all together.  The cool thing about started in this format was that it felt very much like what I imagine the Pros feel like at bigger races.  There was a legal draft paceline going on for most of the day on the bike and there is a definite benefit to legal drafting.  Benefit in the sense that if you're in the back end of the "train" your watts are lower (5-7%) but you're forced to ride other people's race.  I think I would have biked a little faster had I been solo the whole time as there was one long section (7-10) miles where I was below goal watts, but that's something I'm just saying and have no way of actually backing that up with any real truths.  Most of the things I say are like that actually...

We continued on our merry way and I continued to hydrate and stuff gels into my face and we eventually made it to the out and back section.  At this point, Tom Clifford had just passed me and at the turnaround I saw that our "group" was still very much intact.  It was also fun to see everyone behind us and see how everyone looked.  After a bit a passed Tom as he ate something to re-take the "lead" and we got back out on the main road and chugged along the bumpy, slightly uphill, headwind section of the bike route.  At some point, a guy on a road bike with clip ons passed me looking like he was riding as hard as he could.  He was going pretty fast and the first thing I thought was "there's no way this guy is for real!" (turns out I was wrong haha!)  So he took the effective "lead" for a while before Kit Phillips and another guy passed and put a slightly larger-than-normal gap on me.  They were riding pretty hard and I had been steadily raising my watts a hair so I let them go do their own thing.  As we approached the last 5ish miles of the bike I looked behind and realized there was a significant gap from me to the next racer.  As I rode in to transition I unstrapped my shoes and dismounted nice and smooth.

Transition 2 in 1:24

I had made the decision prior to the race to use "real" laces instead of Yankz and thereby sacrificed all the time I had gained on the bike while bent over tying my shoes.  I swapped out my gel flasks, put on my visor and headed out on the run course.

Run 13.1 miles in 1:25:52 (4th), 6:33/mi

As I started the run course, my foot was definitely uncomfortable.  My stride had a very slight hitch in it but it wasn't overwhelming so I felt like I could press on without any long-term damage.  Luckily I was correct as the pain level was "manageable" throughout the run and never got worse.  My first couple of miles were relatively quick and I felt...just ok.  At NOLA I was clicking off fast miles and felt like I was running along on a training run but at WL I was definitely working a little bit harder for similar paces.  Around mile 2 my left hamstring decided to seize up a bit so I stopped to stretch both of them out, slightly worried that my day would be over at that point but luckily my overly dramatic thoughts proved to be incorrect and I got back on the road but kept the pace a litttttle slower just to make sure my problems had been stretched out of the ol' legs.

My pace through the first half of the run stayed pretty decent but I could tell that my run time was not going to be nearly as surprising as NOLA's was; I definitely didn't feel at my best but had some good carrots in front of me in the form of Kit Phillips and Mark Carey.  I managed to catch Kit right after the turnaround and ran behind him for a while before passing him.  Unfortunately my lower quad muscles decided that the faster pace was not to their liking and started to give off some warning signs so I slowed and Kit returned the favor.  From this point on it was pretty much just about managing pace so as to not slow down too much but also not go so fast that my legs wouldn't cramp.  I also just couldn't go very fast period, so my excuse to prevent cramping is kind of silly.  At mile 12.5 the guy that came in second (road bike guy actually!! awesome) flew by me doing about 100mph and I tried to latch onto his pace since I had been slowly catching Kit/Mark in the hopes that he could drag me up to them but after about 2 or 300 yards it was just too much and I resigned myself to trotting in towards the finish line.

Finished 5th OA, which was both good and bad at the same time.

The race itself was sort of bittersweet.  Bitter in the sense that I didn't get to swim (AGAIN) and I think my placing would have been a bit higher as a consequence (I think I'm a better swimmer than a couple of the guys ahead of me and I'd be willing to bet a couple of them wouldn't have biked as fast had it been more of a solo venture) and because I didn't run as well as I did at NOLA.  Sweet in the sense that I still ran a 1:25:high despite being semi-injured and not feeling 100% and it shows continual improvement, which is all I'm really looking for right now.

At this point, I won't be racing again for another month (word to the wise: everyone doing Latta should start to get worried because since I'm signed up they will probably cancel the swim for some reason!!) so after I allow my foot to heal properly I can get back into the exciting daily grind of banging out some awesome training.  In a couple of weeks I also plan to do some of the NC State Cycling championship races (crit/TT/RR) so that will be a nice diversion.  Big thanks to Bob and Melissa (and Paul at Winskins) for getting my new kit ready in a short amount of time and just for being awesome!

Monday, May 2, 2011

May Day Biathlon-ing

S - 14,100 yards
B - 184.9 miles
R - 47.9 miles

Time - 18.78 hours

This week brought with it the first batch of real humidity and I definitely suffered a little bit consequently.  I had to bail halfway through a threshold run workout on Wednesday since my PRE was so much higher than my actual pace would suggest it just didn't seem worth it.  Once we moved into Thursday though the weather seemed to realize how annoying it was being and cooled off a bit.  Although it wasn't so much the heat, it was the humidity.  Every year this seems to come as some sort of surprise to me; it's going to get humid and hot and I asked for it all winter!

Not a lot to mention about the swims; I've been a little inconsistent lately but that's primarily due to racing (taper/race/recovery) and I did miss a swim on Saturday since the MAC was closed but made up for a bit with my first real OWS of the season on Sunday with the North Crew.  It was also my first longer swim in a wetsuit since Triple-T last year and with White Lake traditionally being wetsuit legal that's definitely good to get in a swim with your body condom on before actually racing!  Otherwise it can feel really terrible...

Cycling was good this week; not too many exciting things to report (which is so different than normal!!) but I felt a little flat all week for no good reason other than the fact that it was a little warm.  It worried me a bit heading into the race on Sunday since I knew the course would be fairly challenging.  Luckily it didn't seem to be an issue.

Besides the previously mentioned middle-of-the-run meltdown I felt pretty good most of the week.  A little sore and crampy but I think since I got hot I haven't been hydrating quite as well and that showed up a bit during a couple of runs.

Morganton May Day Biathlon Race Report
1st OA, no course record

Brian suggested I do this race back in January and it seemed like a great idea since it was close and cheap (only 30 bucks!) and they offered prize money for placing and a big prize if you broke the course record (set back in 1992 by one of the best duathletes/triathletes of the 90s Jay Curwen).

Woke up Sunday morning feeling super tired as I didn't get much sleep the night before but that was nothing a little Dunking Donuts couldn't fix.  Made the relatively quick drive to the race site where I signed up, set up my bike and went for a warm-up run with a couple of efforts at or around LT pace to activate that system and get the blood moving.  I felt pretty awesome on this run actually - however brief - and was exciting about trying to go run a fast 5k.

As an aside, my previous open 5k best (so not including sprint tris where the course is always in question!) was a 17:27 I believe, back in August of 2008 at the Greekfest 5k.  I consider this biathlon 5k to be an "open" 5k since it was first and since I didn't hold back (knowingly anyway).  I did notice that Sonni and Jay were both at the race, so that was two "known" competitors that I hoped would galvanize some fast times.

5k - 16:32 - 1st, 5:19 avg

Lined up on the front and started off pretty quick.  One guy jumped out really fast immediately with another guy chasing (the "other" guy was obviously out of his element...) so I settled in and temporarily led a "chase" pack about 10m behind the frontrunner.  Within a quarter mile I was passed by two guys and setttled in behind them to work on my already excellent drafting skillz.  Just before mile 1 a shorter guy (ended up coming in 2nd) created a gap in front of the dude in front of me so I decided to bridge and caught him at about mile 1, which we went through in 5:04.  There was a long, gradual downhill after that and I continued to sit behind 2nd place guy and felt very in control for the next 800m or so.  Just before mile 2 on a slight incline I decided to back off the pace a bit just to make sure I still felt "comfortable" and ended up losing my pacing buddy just at mile 2, which we passed in 5:13ish.  I tried to hold a steady effort level and mile 2-3 involved some effort level so my pace slowed a bit as a consequence.  I still felt strong and smooth and went through the mile about 100-150m behind 2nd place guy in 5:33ish.  At that point it was mostly flat to the finish and I held 5:11ish pace through the finish line for a 16:32.5 official time.  Obviously, huge PR in the 5k with no real speed-specific work.  Very encouraging stuff!

Transition - 1:02 (unofficial since I just hit my lap button and there were no mats to cross)

I was first across the line in terms of biathl(etes?) and made my way to my bike.  Unfortunately I had put my bike in an awkward place not knowing the layout of run in/bike out so that was a silly mistake.  Put on my helmet and bike shoes and made my way out of the parking lot

Bike 19.3 mi - 47:48 - 1st, 24.2 mph

Headed out on the bike hot on the tails of the police car and the first part of the bike was relatively flat.  I was definitely tired but not overly so and was pumped about how fast I had been able to run on a course that was actually a 5k (3.12 miles!) so I was riding pretty hard initially.  I eventually managed to settle in and put out some power over the rolling course.  There were several climbs where I shifted into the small ring and one big one up to a dam that was pretty awesome.  To the left was the water and 100ft down to the right was where I had just ridden.  Pretty cool.  The course was quite challenging but not in a way to disrupt the rhythm.  I was able to hold good speed over the top of hills and power over the shorter ones.  There were relatively few "flat" sections but I was moving well and pushing at the burn point without blowing up (yet).  There were never any other racers in sight behind me so it was somewhat hard to stay motivated to push hard.  I knew that, barring catastrophe or some ridiculous cyclist catching me, I was likely going to win but I still hoped to sniff the course record so I was able to mentally overcome my body telling me to slow down.  As I got closer to the finish I realized I wasn't going to be close to the CR (turns out, later in the same year he set the record Jay Curwen went 3:47ish at the Gulf Coast Half...disgusting!) but still rode strong and crossed the finish line with 1st place well in hand.

Full Results Here

All in all, this was a really fun event.  An interesting format that made for a great VO2 max workout and a chance to see how fast I could go off relatively little to no "go-fast" training.  I've now had a painful blister re-emerge after it went away post NOLA so I'm a little discouraged by that and hoping it doesn't affect White Lake on Saturday.

With the way the weather is looking for White Lake we may see some fast times, especially on the run.  While I can't hope to PB every time in my 70.3s, I'd love to this weekend for sure.  The swim is always slow there (at least for me) so if I swim 30mins I'll be (relatively) pleased; on the bike I'll be able to ride much steadier than NOLA and so hopefully that will net, if not a faster time, a smoother ride and therefore less strain on my legs.  I'm going to try and take the run out a bit slower than in New Orleans but depending on how the race shakes out I may not be able to do that.  This will certainly feel more like a "race" than New Orleans and we have a big, fun crowd heading over so it'll be a really fun weekend (as long as my stupid foot cooperates!!)