Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Training Totals update

Due to travel and general lack of awesome stuff happening on a daily basis (as is the norm with yours truly) the past two weeks have gone unnoticed on the blog front.  I find this generally unacceptable.

In two weeks I've roughly done this:

Swim - 38,000 yards
Bike - 100 something miles
Run - 45ish miles

The noteworthy item there is obviously the swimming.  Two weeks ago my total was 16k for the week (in 5 swims) and last week it was a hair under 22k in 5 swims.  I'm getting a feeling back for the water, which is good because Brian sent me an email last week with the innocent question:

Hey, for my own curiosity I was wonder how many days a week COULD you swim and which days you could swim twice?

Thank you,


I added the last line there for effect.  Hopefully bumping well over 20k/week for some time will help me bring the pain in swim workouts and races! One can only hope...

I also turned 28 last week, I drove home for Christmas and am about to eat dinner.

That pretty much sums it up; merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A few of my favorite things

Since I don't have anything else better to do and the swim this morning wore out my arms such that the only position in which they are comfortable is resting in my lap(top) I figured the best option would be to peruse music videos on youtube and post some of my recent favorites.  To be perfectly honest, I can't imagine that anyone else out there that reads this would want anything other than this.  My music tastes are generally regarded as the best in the entire world so I'm fairly confident in saying that everyone relies on me for where to get their music.  It's a burden that I'm willing to shoulder, despite its thankless nature, because I know that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.  And here I am, getting going.  There were no grammatical issues whatsoever in that last sentence.  Don't worry about it.

This is a guy I'd never heard of until he came on AltNation a couple of months ago.  When the song initially started playing I was thinking it was gonna be some Format-ish indie alt-rock or something.  Then, the electronic beauty washed over my ears and I decided that this was possibly the most interesting song I'd heard in a long time.  There's nothing really crazy special about it, just the fact that it's such an odd mix of music genres.  It's pretty rare to hear someone with DeLong's vocals (I assume that's who is singing, I could be wrong) singing along to a pretty funky electronic beat.  Anyway, I dig it.

I definitely dig this song a lot.  It's a little poppy but I really like the bass line.  That plus the lead singers vocals are really what got me into this one.  In the interest of full disclosure, there is  TON of making out in this video.  Chicks and dudes.  Chicks and chicks.  Dudes and dudes.  It's...interesting.

Alright, I'm gonna geek out big time.  The first time I heard this song was when watching the trailer for Assassin's Creed: Revelations.  The trailer itself is totally badass.  The main character of the game (Ezio) is this super awesome assassin and the video is all about him wreaking some havoc on some baddies.  It's pretty epic.  So despite the kind of slow-ness of this song it gets me jacked up because I imagine doing some damage to my enemies in a totally assassin-ish way.  Plus, the drum beat is sweet.

This is another one of those times where the music video seems to have no connection to the song itself.  Definitely a nod to my general fan of "pop-y" music but I really like the trumpet (?) in the background.  Plus, it's short.  If you've only got one good song (at least on this album, in my opinion), best to make it awesome and short. 'Nuff said.

I'm gonna be that guy and say that I liked Muse well before they got really big.  I believe it started my senior year of college when my roomie Seth (or maybe Jeremy? I don't remember) sent me the youtube video of "Knights of Cydonia."  Of subsequent Guitar Hero (III Legends of Rock, for the curious) fame, Knights of Cydonia is one of the most epic songs, ever.  Look up that video if you've never seen it because it is nothing short of spectacular.  Madness is another great Muse song: big, epic guitar riffs, huge vocals, epic-ness all over.  Slow and steady to a big, loud finish...

I think one of the Wurtele's used this song in a video they made earlier this year.  Cheerful, awesome, etc.

Now, none of these songs are necessarily "get me as jacked up as possible to crush this next interval or whatever," but they all have their purpose.  Maybe the get jacked up music list will be next...

Monday, December 10, 2012

2012 Year in Review

First I am going to go over my general feelings on the year.  For the obvious reason that everyone wants to know all about my feelings.  How can you possibly get enough? True or untrue: I am the most interesting man in the world...? Anyway, secondly I'm going to go over how much I worked out this year (compared to previous years).  Because I obviously like bragging about my sweet, sweet volume.  Who doesn't enjoy reading about my volume?!?! Honest answer: nobody.  Lastly I'm going to do a little brief overview of each race I did and a blurb or two about it.  Let's get it started!

The first thing that comes to mind is how pleased I am with how 2012 went.  There are obviously going to be ups and downs, but for the most part this year has gone very much as I'd like it to.  There was a steady progression from last year.  I did not have any "bad" races.

I was a faster runner (I don't have any metrics to really prove this like a 5k time or 13.1 time but I KNOW that I am faster and more consistent).  I was a stronger rider; my functional threshold was higher, my highest 20' power was higher, my bike splits were faster and this I can all prove because of the beauty that is a powermeter.  Swimming was a bit different; from January to late March I objectively sucked at swimming.  I could NOT get motivated.  I was slow, I was unhappy, and I generally disliked the sight of a pool.  Then, for whatever reason, in April everything changed.  I started liking swimming again.  Lo and behold, I was faster in almost every way versus last year, despite having accumulated fewer yards from Jan-Mar as I did in one month during the summer last year.  I swam faster and better in races, I swam faster and better in the pool, I just swam BETTER.  With 500k+ in the pool last year my body had that base to rely upon when it needed it.

I was a better racer in 2012 than in 2011.  It was a different dynamic this year racing guys like Doug and Matt (although it was tough to call it racing as I never saw them until the end of the bike or just never at all).  Playing catch up the entire race is pretty tough.  The only races I didn't win in the series (of the 7 I raced) were won by Matt or Doug.

I'd say my only "mediocre" races this year were the ones in which I raced in the pro field.  Just like when I did my first triathlon not all too long ago, there is a learning curve.  It's a different game, both in the actual competition and the "vibe" of the field.  Everyone probably feels more pressure to perform and those feelings are reflected in the atmosphere.  This isn't negative in any way, it's just different.  In the Setup races I feel much more casual and laid back.  I still want to perform well but I also know there aren't that many people that are going to finish in front of me.  With that comes confidence.  That confidence is not the same amongst the pros.  One day hopefully it will be, but in 2012 I knew I was in with the big fishes.

No injuries that reduced training or racing.  I did have the one mishap with the car but that wasn't too serious.  I also dealt with increasing PF pain manifested in heel discomfort as the year progressed but it never became debilitating.

I can't say too many negative things about my year.  I copped out of more workouts than I did in 2011 due to being a wuss more often but I also had a LOT more fun, both in training and racing.  A different crowd is starting to emerge in the front of Charlotte triathlon and it's refreshing to see all the positivity that is following in its footsteps.

2012 will have roughly these training #s (I'm estimating the last couple of weeks for blogging purposes)

Swimming - 500,000 yards
Biking - 8,500 miles
Running - 1,850 miles

2011 looked like this (actual #s, no estimation required yo!)

Swimming - 564,485 yards
Biking - 8,244 miles
Running - 1,772 miles

So it was actually pretty darn close and by some metrics better than 2011's totals.  Despite working full-time I became a (slightly) better time manager and fit in the training when I needed to. Roughly 835 training hours will be accumulated in 2012 by the time New Year's Eve rolls around town.  I don't have the motivation to go back and figure out how many hours I accumulated in 2011 but my guess is that it was pretty darn close to 835.  January to early March was filled with what basically amounted to full-time training in New Orleans, Gulf Shores, Charlotte and Tucson.  That was awesome but it was also a bit much at times.

On that note, just since January I've been to - in a rough chronological order:

Fort Morgan, AL
New Orleans, LA
Atlanta, GA
Tucson, AZ
Santa Barbara, CA
Tuscaloosa, AL
Santa Barbara, CA
Columbus, OH
New York, NY
Gulf Shores, AL
Andersen, SC
Wilmington, NC
Venice, FL

So that's a pretty sweet list of travel destinations for one year!

Now, off to the races!

04.11 - Lowe's Speedway TT - 22:18 - 1st AG

The only thing I remember about this TT was that it was cold, windy and slow.  It was one of my first rides back on the TT bike and I was definitely dissappointed with the time... Well below my perceived potential. 

04.14 - Belews Lake "International" - 3rd OA

I was happy with how Belews went.  I knew Matt would be tough to beat, and despite feeling like I should have been closer to him I was pleased with the race.  DVW was a bit of a surprise as I knew his talent as a swimmer but not how good of a runner he was.  I think, had I seeded myself more appropriately, I could have beaten Doug but hindsight is very generous.

04.15 - NODA Grand Prix (Cat 3/4) - 11th OA, 7th field sprint

Only bike race this year the day after a tough international race.  I was victim of a horrible starting position that basically required me to burn all my matches in the first half of the race and left nothing for the second.  No sprint whatsoever. 

04.29 - Huntersville Sprint Triathlon - 1st OA

I remember enjoying this race.  I swam surprisingly fast; pretty close to Derek Kidwell's time (although I did have a speedsuit and he did not).  Biked as close to 30' even as I've ever been on that course and ran fast enough to hold off for the win.

05.06 - White Lake Sprint - 2nd OA

In this race I remember getting crushed by Matt.  I had, admittedly, ridden 56miles the day before at 26mph so I was definitely fatigued.  That being said, I was well clear of third place so that was good.

06.06 - Lowe's Speedway TT - 20:45 - 1st AG, 6th OA, new 25-29 course record

Not huge watts at this TT, but they were well paced watts and the conditions were good to go much faster than I ever have before.  The cool part was how close to the overall top I was while setting a new CR for my age group.

06.09 - Tri Latta Sprint - 1st OA

Another race in which I surprised myself on the swim.  I came out of the water just seconds down from Jenny and Derek and never looked back once I left T1.  A solid race for the victory.

07.08 - NC State TT Champs - 55:35 - 2nd Cat 3, 8th OA

All I remember is this being extremely hot and very difficult.  I wasn't super pleased with my performance given that my watts were a bit lower than I'd like but given that 1st place Cat 3 should probably be a Cat 2 I take solace in the fact that I went pretty darn fast.

07.29 - Giant Eagle 5150 - DNF

Mediocre swim, good bike (actually a pretty darn good bike despite not having command of all the watts I wanted), was having a good run before a wrong turn.  Ooops.  I would've likely finished top 15 but top 10 was out of reach.  Maybe next year.  Pretty competitive field.

08.04 - Stumpy Creek International - 2nd OA

Since Doug was racing, I knew that I was going to have a significant gap to try and make up after the swim.  I was not wrong, and emerged well back (but another surprisingly good swim in terms of placement for me). I played all my cards on the bike, thinking I needed to catch Doug before the run started to have a chance.  Well, I caught him, but then he ran away from me.  Had I been able to run like I did in '11 then perhaps it would've been a race.

08.25 - Lake Norman YMCA Sprint - 1st OA

A good swim left me with a comfortable distance over the main competition before Donny reeled me in on the bike.  I was sad with my mediocre bike legs but stayed with him and out ran him for the win.  Old guy still has some serious game!

09.08 - Alabama Coastal Triathlon - 1st OA

This was a pleasant trip to the beach with a little racing.  I knew that Chad, another of Brian's athletes, would likely be the main competition but I felt that I should win the race.  With a good swim and a very fast bike I was able to suffer through an incredibly slow 10k run for the W.  Very hot at the beach in September.  Very sunny.

10.14 - Rev3 South Carolina - 16th Pro

This was a good race for me; a fast swim (sub 27' half is easily a PB), a ride-at-goal-watts (tough to ride watts and go super fast on a course as hilly as this), and a pretty darn good run on a hilly course.  Unfortunately, the time was not fast and I didn't place particularly well.  Still, the only pro race I've actually finished!

10.28 - Rev3 Florida - DNF

Was battling some stomach issues leading into this race and despite having a good first run and an ok bike (again, lacking on watts...~15-20 less than Andersen), the inability of my stomach to process anything caught up and manifested in big calf and hamstring cramps.  Oh well.

11.03 - Shipwreck Sprinternational - 1st OA

Fast swim, alright bike, trot run.  Goal was simply to have fun.  I'll also shy away from racing a speedo again.


So that's it in a nutshell.  I may have further thoughts on the year but this kind of encompasses everything I feel like I have to say.  I got back to training this week with ~11hrs of deliciousness.  5 swims, 3 bike rides, and 4 or 5 runs.  I rolled my left ankle pretty badly on Friday so missed out on some yardage Saturday and some running Sunday.  But other than that not too bad.  Plan is similar for next week so hopefully we'll see 15-20k in the pool!! Exciting!!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Freedom isn't free

Freedom is glorious.  Most of us take for granted our freedoms.  No, I don't mean our Amurrican freedoms we usually take for granted (except for on Veteran's day and another couple of days a year), I mean our freedom from constant training stress as endurance athletes.  January through October or November is a constant battle with warring emotions.  The desire to complete every workout as written, the desire to eat as much as possible, the fatigue that sets in and remains a constant presence, the desire to weigh as little as your body deems healthy, trying to be social and having a "life," eating, sleeping; I could go on and on I feel like.

Then comes something amazing.  Something every year brings with awesome anticipation.  The off-season.  I've surprised many a triathulete with how little I workout in November.  Not by choice, mind you.  My mind is always aghast at the amount of time I take off once racing is over, but luckily I have a coach that slaps me in the face (you know, metaphorically) and tells me to relax.  Once October 28th came and went (Rev3 FL) it was two weeks completely off from working out (no I do not count Shipwreck as "working out").  Then it was three weeks of next to nothing.  In those 5 weeks I ran 5 times, I biked 11 times, and swam 7 times.  That means in 35 days I worked out 23 times.  Pretty, effing, awesome.

What that means though is that as I write this I am drastically out of shape.  Riding the Tour de el Amigo was an incredibly shock to the system this past Sunday.  And by incredible, I mean it was horrible.  Amazing, but horrible.  Luckily, however, I was able to wrap up the sprint and KOM competition early on in the ride so I could completely fall apart on the back half.  Next week begins anew a regular training regime! I'm excited in some ways and scared in others.  It's gonna be a bit of a struggle at first but hopefully my swim, bike, and run comes along quickly.

I also recently ordered a waterproof case for my Contour camera, so hopefully I'll get to experiment with that in the future.  My first attempt was this morning; I wanted to put it on the ledge at the wall (under water) but the case floats! So I compromised and put it in the gutter just to see what it looked like. The set we were doing was 8x100 on 1:10, 50 on I was a bit tired haha.  Haven't swam that pace in a while!!