Friday, January 29, 2010

Doin Alright

The big question of the day... Would I, or would I not go for my evening run. I had every intention of doing so, and more often than not with me, intention is a force in motion. I hauled myself up off the couch at 8 PM and headed to the gym. I figgered that the treadmill would at least be softer on me than the pavement. I passed on temperatures in the high 50's.

There were more people at the gym than I thought there would be. Still, plenty of treadmills were open. I picked the one with ESPN on the TV right in front and proceeded to get my run on. I really like the warm up and cool down espoused in the training book. I walked for two minutes, walked briskly for two more minutes, then ran painfully slow for 1 minute before kicking it up to 5 mph. After a couple of minutes of that, I kicked it up to 5.5 and I was on my way.

I can definitely tell that my body is responding to my training. My HR stayed below 140 for the first 5-10 minutes. Then it settled in at 145, which was perfect. From there on out, I executed a run 10/walk 1 cycle. About half way through, the endorphins dulled the pain in my ankle. Well enough in fact to raise the speed to 5.8 mph. I didn't hold it there too long, as this caused my HR to shoot up out of my target zones, and if you know anything about me, I'm all about the digits ;-)

At the end of the day, my 45 minute run went well. The ankle held up well, and I was able to log the 3.5 to 4-ish miles I felt like I needed. My ankle, today, is letting me know that I did the right thing. We're gonna get through this week just fine.

Have a great weekend y'all!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Bit Overwhelmed

Back in olden days, I would have eaten everything I brought for lunch. Today, Dee Dee's steak soup filled me up, so I returned the chicken breast to my lunch box to save for later. I reached down and rubbed the joint where the top of my foot meets my leg. Sometime around New Year's, I got out of bed not realizing my foot was asleep. It refused to work at all. When I stepped, I basically stepped using the top of my foot and proceeded to bend it backwards. Not good at all.

This third week of Base 1 is proving tough. I am repeating my third week of 2 strength, 2 swims, 2 bikes, and 4 runs. I've been pretty pleased to get my base mileage up over 15 miles a week. Nothing really long mind you. My runs have been 2.x, 3.x, 2,x, and 6.something or another. Just pleased in general, and not too ass-whupped.

Until this week...

Integrating strength training into my plan has proven challenging. I want to build my strength without compromising the rest of my workouts. Last week and definitely this week, I overdid it a bit. The more you train, the more you should improve, right? I went up on nearly all my weights Monday, including 265lb per rep on the leg presses (up for 215 starting point). The rest of this week, I have felt like crap warmed over. I'm sure glad all of my runs have been AeT runs.

Yesterday, I could barely run, and my right foot joint was really aching. Nothing sharp. Just aching. It wasn't until I was almost home that I felt like I could actually run again. I'm listening to my body, and if I can get past my 45 minute run today, I believe I'll be able to make it through my long runs this weekend and into recovery week(!) next week.

Taking it one day at time....


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

10 Things That Make Me Happy

1. Beer
2. My life partner (Teh Bug)
3. My kids, who are some of the most laid back peeps I know
4. My animals, even if they exasperate me sometimes.
5. Triathlon (duh!)
6. A good book
7. Moments of peace, quiet, and serenity
8. Working at something I love to do every day.
9. Good food, good drink, good friends (socializing?)
10. My bloggy family

5 people at random are tagged...


Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Good Busy

Well... I would like to get back into blogging more. I rather enjoy it, and with the new job, and Facebook, it just seems like it is hard enough just keeping up with everybody else. You just don't realize how good you got it until something changes. Working from home two days a week for the last two years was HUGE for my ability to train effectively for my races. I don't have that option any more. Until it gets warmer, and the days longer, its going to continue to be a challenge to find time for all the things that I need to do.

Training is so far so good. I took my swim test last weekend. Rather than opting for the 10x100 TT that I have done in the past, I opted for the 3x300 swim test as recommended by Gale Bernhardt. My T-pace (100 yard best pace) came in at 1:34. I was pretty pleased with that. I really have to push myself to give these tests my all, and that's not to far off my best T-pace at my peak (1:31 per 100 meters).

This week, I discovered The Green Way in Forsyth County. It's about a mile or two from my office, and the path currenly runs for 8 miles, with plans to extend it. A lot of it is board walk. I think that this makes it unsuitable for cycling, but it is a great venue for running. I'll try to get a run in there once a week or so. The new office peeps told me that I can't use the fitness facilities. Hopefully, as it gets warmer, they'll change their mind.

I continue to hit all of my workout sessions, even if I play with the the days a bit. It would seem that Monday is a good day for strength training, and Friday is a good day off for me, as long as I can double up on Saturday. Until the weekends events get longer and longer, this seems to be working out pretty well for me!

Last week spoiled us pretty rotten with 60 degree weather! Then my friends up north left the window open and winter is BACK! LOL... I don't think I was ever this heavy into training this early in the season. Dee Dee should know by Feb 19th what her schedule for the year is going to be. That is DECISION day for my May half ironman. I am leaning heavily towards Rev3! I only hope it doesn't close before then!!

Have a great weekend, y'all!


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ding Ding Ding

We have a winner!!

After much pondering (this whole training plan thing had me in a tizzy), I did what any anal retentive geek/numbers type person would do. I started de-constructing plans. I did both of my coach's plans (2008, 2009). I did a plan off of, and I did one plan out of my book, Training Plans for Multisport Athletes. Some time during that process, I had an "ah ha" moment, and now, I understand.

Those little X(s) on the annual training plans are workouts of that type during that time period. Once we figure that out, its all about building a a progressive number of hours and identifying which workouts are on what days. I reworked the first two base periods of my annual training plans, and I am now satisfied. The rest is just details. LOL...

In reconciling my swim and bike with the running plan in my book, I further realized that SPIRIT of the plan is far more important than the specifics. By spirit, I mean the progression of time and intensity over the life of the plan. If you understand how to progress your training through the plan, the rest is rather easy. I'm sure the specific workouts I create for myself will not match the creativity of a USAT certified coach (Teh ELF, for example), but I'm pretty sure I know how to kick my own ass now.

Another thing I learned during this process (from the book, Triathlon Training) is that is important to establish major and minor goals during your training. I have my goals for the season. I am working on goals for the first half of this year. My goal for the first two weeks is to nail my training and get back to a consistent pattern. With that in mind, I hit all of my workouts this week: two bikes, two swims, four runs, two strength training sessions, including a swim test!

Let the fun begin...


Friday, January 08, 2010

Stepping (Up) to the Beat

My kids are growing up now. I've always seen it as my job to facilitate my children's lives, to be there when they need me and optimize their chances for success. I did all the normal "dad" stuff. Took them to their games, their events, and on vacations, when we had the time. My youngest son who just turned fourteen has said that I "never want to do anything with him". I listen. Unfortunately for Matthew, doing something with him, more often than not, means sitting with him and watching him while he plays video games. While this is fun for him, it's hardly fun for the "victim".

Despite all that, there is often truth from the mouth of a child (young man), and what it really comes down to is getting Matthew what he wants, more time with me, and what I want, to be a good husband and friend, a good father, a good triathlete and Ironman, and a most excellent computer nerd guy. It makes me wonder if my oldest son felt the same way, and whether or not I squandered my opportunities with him. I certainly hope not. All of my children make me so proud. I have my work cut out for me in the new year.

Yesterday, I had to meet a company representative to fill out the paper work on a new contract I am starting Monday(!). I am on a quest this year to find a permanent job AND improve myself in my career choice. As such, I was running late when I got home yesterday, after having to stop off at the grocery store. I threw the hot dogs on the counter (yup, we were eating good last night) and told the boys to feed themselves while I ran to the gym (5 minutes away) to do my 25 minute strength routine. When I got back, I ate then sat down at the kitchen table with Matthew and read my new book while I digested my food. Matthew was delighted to have me comment on his game play between the pages.

At about 8:30 PM, I decided I better get my buttocks on the trainer and knock out my ride. What better to spend more quality "Matthew time" then to haul the trainer into the kitchen and pedal away. My critique of Matthew's Xbox skillz were much much sharper on the trainer. Be careful what you ask for! I rode for forty-five minutes, fifteen warm up, then 5x1 minute 90+ RPMs, 2 minutes easy, then a fifteen minute cool down. It started to snow a little heavier outside. After my bike workout, I retired to the couch to read the rest of my book and drink lotsa water.

I woke up at 5:30 in the morning and waited for Dee Dee to come home. I knew the roads would be slick, and I was worried about her. About 6:40, she pulled into the driveway, and I was happy. She was about twenty minutes later than normal, but given the road conditions, I'll take it. Both Matthew and Jimmy were out of school for the day. The entire city shuts down with two inches of icy snow. I got to sleep in! Then, I headed to the gym to get in some quality workouts. I didn't have to be at my old job until after lunch today.

This is considered a recovery week. I hopped on the treadmill for an easy 5 minute walk, then proceeded to run/walk at a 10/1 interval, always keeping my heart rate before AeT. Near the end of my run, some peppy music came on over the loudspeaker, and I picked up my pace, but not my speed. I counted my right foot strikes and was surprised to see my cadence at 90, right where it should be. That made me smile, even if my HR drifted up into the 150s :-) A nice relaxing 1600 yard swim in the pool wrapped up my gym session, and then it was off to work.

I don't usually listen to music when I run, but I enjoyed stepping out (and up) to the beat on what should be an exciting new year for all us.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

#@!^&% Treadmill Test

If you are like me, and you lurve all things heart monitor, then you know that there are basically two ways to determine your heart rate zones. The first is to go to somebody that knows what the hell they are doing and get tested. The second is to take one of the many sub-maximal heart rate tests. I, being fairly stingy with my money, only opt for the latter.

Of the two types of tests that I have taken, both come straight out of the book by Gale Bernhardt, Training Plans for Multisport Athletes. The LT stress test involves warming up for ten minutes, then an all out steady max effort for twenty minutes. Your average HR for the twenty minutes is the bottom of your Zone 5. You can plug that into the handy dandy chart and extrapolate the rest of your Zones. Teh ELF utilizes this test only.

The second test is similar yet different. You warm up for ten minutes, then set the treadmill to an arbitrary speed (she recommends 6.0). Your assistant, if you are lovely enough to have one, then raises the speed every 2 minutes by 0.2 miles per hour. Repeat this process for as long as you can take it. During this process, your are looking for two things. The first is when the athlete's breath deepens. This is presumed to be the ventilatory threshold (AeT). The second is a sharp spike in HR after increasing speed. This is presumed to be your lactate threshold.

Being the curious fellow that I am and having a strong desire to HTFU and get over my love/hate for these tests, I headed to the gym last night to self administer the pain. I was sorta in a hurry cuz Biggest Loser was on TV, and no, I didn't get a speeding ticket. I hurried into the gym, found my treadmill, and proceeded to warm up at a slightly increasing pace to 5 mph.

The first thing I noticed was that my legs were tired from my 1200 yard swim that afternoon. The second thing I noticed was that my dinner still weighed heavily on my stomach. With that thought in mind, I paused to catch my breath. Changed the speed to 6 mph, and I was off.

I haven't run at 6 mph in two or three months. It was hard, but I was hanging in there. I figured I could make it at LEAST to 7.4 mph, maybe longer. As the minutes flew by, I peaked at my HRM and watched it incline steadily. No spike as of yet. At the upper range of lung capacity, I had to sweet talk myself into sticking to it. I managed 1 minute at a 7.4 mph pace before having to call it quits. I wrapped up the session with a five minute walk.

When I got home, I finished watching the end of The Biggest Loser. I understand the rationale behind it, but I deplore the fact that they send anybody home the first week. If it was up to me, I would give everybody a free pass for the first week. I downloaded the data from my Forerunner 50 into the computer and pulled up the graph of my run. Much to my dismay, there was NO SPIKE in my heart rate. It was a perfect incline from start to finish, with my max HR reaching 174 (old LT). JUST DAMN!! Either my LT is the same, or its moved up again this year. I guess I'm just gonna have to wait to find out.

I plan on taking many such tests this year, all part of the plan. I don't know if I'll repeat this test or go for the stress test. If I decide to do the stress test, I'm gonna wait until it warms up outside. Doing that test on the treadmill is a waste of time.

On to the next!


Monday, January 04, 2010

Humble Pie

Recently, I bought the book, Running Workouts for Runners and Triathletes. I freely admit it. I am a book ho. The way I see it, you can never have enough books. The vast majority of my motivation was to come up with some interesting running workouts for Dee Dee. She's doing a half Ironman this year, ya know. The rest of the motivation is that, well, I'm a book ho, and I figured there might be some good stuff in there for me.

As I kick off this triathlon training season (next week), I find myself without my coach, not out of choice, but out of necessity. Dee Dee has started her job. I have a new contract starting next week. Our oldest son is going to go off to college after the summer, and we (Dee Dee and I) have two huge races on our schedule. This basically means that I am managing my own plan for the first half of this year.

The afore mentioned book comes with 3 running plans for each triathlon distance. At first, I thought I'd pick the level 2 plan and go with that. After digging through the time requirements for it, I quickly realized that time alone would shoot that plan full of holes. It would be better to go with the level 1 plan. The only problem is that it is 14 weeks long. I laid out the fourteen week plan, then stretched it out to 17 weeks with what I thought was best. This, quite frankly, is what makes every bit of money Elizabeth earns totally worth it. Now, I have the first month laid out in detail, and I want to scrap it and start all over. I really need to understand the WHY of these training plans more than the what, and I see a level 1 USAT coaching license in my future.

I was reading Gordo's blog the other day, and he said that almost all of your base workouts need to be at or below your aerobic threshold. Strangely enough, this coincided almost exactly with what Bobby McGee sez in the book. Not surprising since Gordo trained under Bobby a bit. The way the two calculate AeT is a bit different, but I'm not sure that matters too much. Bobby's way is easier by the way.

Taking this to heart, I have been doing all of my riding and running in this preparatory phase of my training at or below my AeT. Gordo warns that this would be slow, and he was right. All of my miles have been coming in at over 12 minute miles. Since I am notorious for being a numbers guy, I've had to suck in my ego and do as I'm told, something else I'm rather good at by the way... The plan is, after all, the plan.