Monday, December 19, 2011

Dec12-18

S: 22,000 yds
B: 5h 3min
R: 3h 4min

Total: 13h 7min

Week number two is in the books, and so far, so good. The volume is still pretty low, but I had a really solid bike workout on Tuesday, and felt great on some tempo efforts while running on Thursday. Now if we could just keep the weekends a bit warmer, I wouldn't have to worry about not being able to feel my feet at the end of a ride...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude

So I might as well cut to the chase. The "big change" I alluded to in my previous post involves coaching. Paulo and I are parting ways, and this season I'm looking forward to working with Eric Bean of Fast Forward Triathlon.

I've been coached by Paulo since 2005 when I, after having only done two half IMs, decided it would be cool to go over to Hawaii and race in the Big Dance. Realizing I had no idea what I was getting myself into, I sought council (through the Internet, duh) and was fortunate enough that Paulo agreed to coach me. Less than a month after we started working together, I got a stress reaction and was not allowed to run any of August and September.  As we all know, Kona is in the middle October, so although I was cleared to run, I certainly wasnt ready for what would be my longest run ever.

Regardless, I got through the race in a respectable time thanks to Paulo's guidance. It was at this point that I was ready to go from a "runner who does triathlons" to a triathlete.

In 2006, Paulo and I decided that aiming for the newly created 70.3 World Championships would be a good idea. I got better at swimming and biking, and in August had a solid race at Steelhead 70.3, finishing second. My season culminated in November in Clearwater at the 70.3 World Champs, where I was the top amateur (and 12th overall). Needless to say, racing Clearwater was a good decision, and I couldn't have been happier with my performance.

2007 was my first year racing as an Elite and since then I've been focusing on 70.3s, competing in multiple races around the country. All in all I've been pleased with the consistency Paulo's training brought me. However, towards the end of 2010 and through 2011 completing workouts became more and more mentally taxing, likely compounded by frustrating stagnation. This, along with constant nagging injuries, made me take a step back and reevaluate triathlon and, more specifically, my coaching situation. I knew I loved racing, but it was a lot less fun when I wasn't getting faster. I also knew I shouldn't have to hate training. So, I realized it was time for a change.

As a member of the cross country and swim teams at the University of Virginia and the triathlon team at Stanford, Eric has been around some very knowledgeable coaches. I've also had numerous personal conversations with him regarding training, and have full belief in his approach and abilities as a coach. Although I contacted a few other candidates, I ultimately decided he would be a great choice.

I'm certainly incredibly grateful for all I've learned from Paulo and I would still strongly recommend him to Elites looking to pursue the sport as a full time profession, as he really knows his stuff and is passionate about triathlon. But I really enjoy going to work everyday at The Boeing Company where I get to design materials and processing solutions for the Space Launch System. Because of that, I realize I have no reason to be hating life because of triathlon. Certainly training won't always be fun, but the good days should far exceed the bad, and the net sum should be very much tilted to the positive, especially when racing is considered.

With all that having been said, lets bring on 2012!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dec5-11

S: 16,600 yds
B: 4h 32min
R: 4h 50min

Total: 12h 41min

Welcome to 2012! After the annual hiatus, its back to real training.

2011 was, admittedly, a tough year.  I started off with a little injury which kept me from New Orleans 70.3. Then, when I thought things were coming together through Florida 70.3 and the Rock & Roll Half, I was  ignoring another injury. Continuing on, I raced a couple more 70.3s which only worsened the situation to the point where I couldn't bike or run without pain. 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas was out of the question, as I was barely able to return to running by then, and therefore certainly wasnt in shape to race. By October I was finally back to running consistently without pain, but by then the tri season was all but over, and, well, that was that. I "raced" a couple of local running races for fun, but didn't have the time to get in the training required to get back to top form.

So, here we are. 2011 was disappointing, but that only makes me want to make up for it that much more in 2012. So in an effort to shake things up, I've got a pretty big change on the way, but that will have to wait for another post.....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Huntsville Half RR

So this is only about a week and a half overdue, but, hey, trips to New Orleans to start to figure out how to build a rocket happen. Regardless, the Saturday before last I raced the Huntsville Half Marathon.

Aside from some wind, the weather was pretty nice at the start, and I was hoping for a decent race. Most of the usual suspects from around town were there, including Mr. Speedy, Josh W, as well as a somewhat unexpected Brad S. Brad is a talented ex-collegiate runner with whom I've had some good races.  However, he is kind of inconsistent when it comes to training, so depending on the day I can beat him easily, or have little chance of beating him.  Fortunately, we chatted before the race and thought we'd be shooting for similar times, between 5:40 and 5:45 pace, so we hooked up about half a mile into the race.  This was great, as I really didnt expect to have any company.

So after the first 3 mile loop in the neighborhood, we were a bit over 17min as we headed out to start the out and back.  The next mile was a slight uphill into the wind that definitely took some of our momentum.  The course finally leveled off but we still had another mile and a half heading south into the wind before having a couple miles respite heading north before the turnaround. That stretch heading north was on a paved greenway, and even though we had the wind at our backs, it seemed to take forever.  Although running side by side, it seemed Brad and I were taking turns pulling each other along, and I was thankful for the company.  Finally we hit the turnaround headed started heading back south on the greenway.  The return trip felt a bit shorter, as we saw the bulk of the runners on their way out.  Soon enough we reached the end of the trail and passed the 10 mile mark before heading back north towards the finish.  During this long straightaway on a wide open road, Brad gapped me a bit and had a few seconds on me at Mile 11.  But sensing the finish I pulled him back in and passed him just before Mile 12.  From there I opened it up on the gradual downhill that is the 13th mile and kicked home to the finish, not wanting to give him any daylight.  I finished in 1:14:30 and, to my surprise, put a little over 20sec on Brad in the last mile.

Needless to say, the time is nothing stellar (~2:30 off a PR), but I'm not too upset with it, either.  2min faster than the half three weeks prior, and faster than the projected time from my 5k two weeks ago indicate that at least I'm on my way back after missing two months of running and cycling. So while the time wasnt close to a PR, it shouldnt have been, as I was slowly building my training load after the injury.  And after a frustrating summer, I'm really pleased to be back to running consistently pain free.

Next up (aka, now) is a bit of time off to reset before starting the prep for next year.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Oct31-Nov6

S: 26,200 yds
B: 6h 17min
R: 5h 33min

Total: 18h 43min

I had an awesome track workout on Tuesday and some really solid swims on Wednesday and Friday, but other than that things were pretty chill.  This weekend is the Huntsville Half Marathon where I'm looking forward to a flat course and hoping to have a decent time in my last race of the year.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Oct24-30

S: 22,600 yds
B: 5h 11min
R: 6h 15min


Total: 17h 23min


I raced a 5k!  Saturday morning was the Spooktacular 5k in downtown Huntsville and, not having raced a 5k in almost 2 years, I decided to sign up. I wasnt really sure what to expect, but I was hoping I could at least break 16:30.


It was a chilly (=> cold) morning as we went to warm up and although I had already gone for a swim, it still took a couple of miles of jogging in warm-ups before I started getting comfortable. With our jog of the course having been completed, I knocked out a few strides and it was game time!




Josh Whitehead took off out of the gate, as expected, and after the first half a mile or so I was leading "the others".  We came through the first mile in 5:15, and I felt great.  I knew I still had company, but wasnt sure how many were there. I pushed on and by the time I got to mile 2, at about 10:29, I felt like I had created a little gap and wanted to make sure it would stick. I was still feeling pretty good, so it was time to open it up as much as possible.  A sprint up the bridge saw me reach the 3 mile in 15:43, leaving a quick roll down the hill for a 16:15 finishing time.

A mere 15sec later, there was a mad dash for 3rd, as George H cruised in ahead of Eric C:

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Athens Half Marathon

No, I didnt fly to Athens, Greece, for a half marathon.  And, to my knowledge, there isnt even a half marathon competed in Athens, AL.  Rather, last weekend I drove to Athens, GA for the 2nd annual Athens Half Marathon.

Heading into the race I wasnt expecting much, as I was coming off an injury and had just started a new job. So the race report will come but the real reason for the trip was to meet up with some friends and family.  My sister, Katie, her roommate, Walker, and their friend, Mike, drove up from Orlando, while my friend, Hunter (who also happens to be Walker's brother), made a surprise visit from Houston.  Even more of a surprise was Hunter's entrance into the race, as he is most definitely not a runner... not yet, anyway.

But here he was, ready to travel 13 miles by foot!
Minutes before the start it is still dark and terribly cold
The race started in the dark at 7AM. Thankfully the first few miles wove through the relatively well-lit campus of the University of Georgia.  Although not being able to see the road was mildly disconcerting, it was probably just as well that I couldnt see the ubiquitous 'G' everywhere, as that certainly wouldve enticed fury if not projectile vomiting.  By about the third mile, two guys had moved up the road and I was running with two others.  Although we were still in the early stages of the race, this course was hilly.  The relentless changes in elevation made splits a bit of moot point, so I simply tried to stay focused on a good tempo and stick with the guys around me.  I did until a bit before mile 7 when they started slowly pulling away during a long uphill stretch.  I kept them in sight for the next few scenic miles, but couldnt seem to close the gap.  Mile 11 contained a brutally steep downhill during which I lost a bit more time, but then just couldnt get my legs moving any faster on the mostly flat 12th mile.  The last, then, was all uphill and simply survival mode... one of those "just keep moving forward so you dont roll backwards" type situations.  I finally made it across the finish line (which, incidentally, was noticeably higher in elevation than the start) in 1:15:59 and 5th place. 

Considering the difficulty of the course, I wasnt too upset with the time, as it is certainly a step in the right direction compared with where I was a month ago. Meanwhile, Hunter and Walker both finished, and even were in good enough spirits to enjoy a couple of spirits courtesy of America's Oldest Brewery after the race. 


Monday, October 17, 2011

Oct10-16

S: 20,200 yds
B: 5h 48min
R: 5h 44min

Total: 16h 51min

So last week I was in California for some supplier reviews.  While travel always interrupts training, I was fortunate enough to get to stay on the beach for this trip.  As a consequence, I swam in the Pacific on Tuesday and ran down the beach every day I was there.  We were staying on Huntington Beach, and there is a nice path that runs parallel to the beach for miles, easily allowing for long, uninterrupted running.

With that having been said, the highlight of the week was the ride to Nashville on Sunday.  DV and I left Huntsville Sunday morning a bit after 7, heading north on 431.  A quick jot on 271 over to 31 and before you knew it, we were in Brentwood, a suburb just south of Nashville.  A more thorough report is on the way, but the ride was just a hair under 100 miles and the weather couldnt have been better for it.  So how'd we get home?  We drove the Edge back! Needless to say it was well worth the trip, and now I'll be able to take it to Athens this weekend.

Oct3-9

S: 23,400 yds
B: 5h 2min
R: 7h 10min

Total: 18h 21min

We're running a little behind schedule around here thanks to a work trip out to California last week.  Catching back but, the week before last was another step in the right direction towards a decent race this coming weekend.

Saturday the 8th was the Monte Sano 15km up on, you guessed it, Monte Sano Mountain.  It was a great day for racing and I was looking forward to seeing what I could do.  At the start Antoine Batiste and I quickly separated ourselves from the field and came through the first mile at around 5:40. I was feeling OK, and wouldve been happy to continue at that pace.  The next couple of miles were about the same as we continued to run side by side, but then I began to drop back a bit as the hills began to take their toll.  Around mile 7 I had still kept Batiste in sight, so I wanted to give him a run for his money.  A bit after mile 8 I caught him and went past, but didnt get more than a step or two before he latched on.  I came out a turn just after mile 9 and tried to start "sprinting", but by that point I was already working pretty hard.  He easily covered my move and kicked it in to kick my butt. Results are here, but I finished in 53:58.  Nowhere near a PR, but something I'm pleased with for my first race back on a hilly course.      

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sept26-Oct2

S: 28,800 yds
B: 5h 9min
R: 7h 6min

Total: 19h 50min

I actually had a couple of decent running workouts this week, so all hope isnt lost for a respectable showing in the half in Athens (GA, not AL) in a few weeks.  Correspondingly, the weather here has been pretty epic for running, so that certainly hasn't hurt.  We'll see how the workouts go over the next couple of weeks, but preliminary evidence suggests that a sub-1:18 time is entirely out of the question.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

QOTD

Professional athletes use coaches to make sure they are as good as they can be. 

But doctors don’t. I’d paid to have a kid just out of college look at my serve. So why did I find it inconceivable to pay someone to come into my operating room and coach me on my surgical technique?...

Self-improvement has always found a ready market, and most of what’s on offer is simply one-on-one instruction to get amateurs through the essentials. It’s teaching with a trendier name. Coaching aimed at improving the performance of people who are already professionals is less usual. It’s also riskier: bad coaching can make people worse. -Atul Gwande, from this article in the New Yorker

As a practicing surgeon, Dr. Gwande has given many novel insights into the health care industry, effectively diagnosing big picture problems and suggesting practical, effective solutions. For this article, though, he speaks to professionals in all industries. His thesis simply states that if you want to get better at what you do, you need a coach.  This may come as a shock to those professionals in industries where coaching is traditionally not used (Gwande uses teachers and surgeons as examples), but is also a good reminder for professionals in traditionally "coached" industries (ie sports) who think they can be "self-coached". Simply put, if you are "self-coached" you're accepting the status quo and leaving potential improvements on the table.    

Article here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sept19-25

S: 28,400 yds
B: 6h 57min
R: 6h 2min

Total: 20h 27min

Its nice to be running again, but after an attempted tempo run on Thursday, I certainly still have a way to go to get back to being competitive.  So it looks like the triathlon season will pretty much be done for me, as it doesnt make much sense to go to Miami or Cancun if I'm not in shape. (EDIT: It makes plenty of sense to go to Miami or Cancun when not in shape, it just doesnt make sense to go there for a race...)  Meantime, I'll jump in a few local running races in hopes of making myself run faster.  Should be fun and painful.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sept12-18

S: 28,100yds
B: 9h 45min
R: 5h 16min

Total: 22h 25min

Last week was a little larger than previous weeks due to my lack of employment coupled with the century on Saturday.  The century was the Spring City Cycling Club's All You Can Eat (SCCC's AYCE) Century. It was a beautiful day for a ride, and the scenery didnt disappoint.  The pace was pretty chill for the first hour or so with me, Timo, and a couple other taking pulls.  In the second hour, things slowly started to heat up until over 2h into the ride, we hit a 3 mile long, 1000ft high climb which totally broke things up.  I made it up first, and stopped at the rest stop close to the top.

There was a bit of a regrouping at the top, and about 8 of us set out for the trip home.  We stayed together down the hill, but around mile 55 we turned onto a bumpy, hilly road. At this point I was wishing I had been on a mountain bike, as I'm not sure if the race directors couldve picked a worse paved road for us to ride.  Pretty soon, we were down to three as we all just wanted to get off that road.  The rest of ride was pretty steady, with Timo, me, and a guy from Nashville in an old school MaiPei kit just pushing to the finish.  Considering I couldnt remember the last time I had ridden longer than 3h, I was definitely hurting.  I was fine on the flats and gradual hills, even taking pulls, but the spikes in power required for the steep hills were killing me; I just didnt have an extra gear.  We finally rolled back into the parking lot at Madison County High School 101 miles and ~4h42min of riding.  

Then it was straight to the couch!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sept5-11

S: 26,900 yds
B: 10h 23min
R: 3h 52min (~33miles)

Total: 21h 20min

In my last post, my "long" run for the week before last was 40min, whereas this past week I went a solid 57min.  Additionally, I ended up with around 33 miles for the week, which although not spectacular is not trivial, either.  So while I'm pleased with how things are progressing, I realize there is still quite a bit of work to do before I'll be able to race.  I haven't even started thinking about pace yet, and I'll first need a couple more weeks of "just running" before I can (hopefully) start incorporating some faster stuff.  But, after watching all the great racing last weekend, especially the 70.3 World Championships, I'm definitely chomping at bit to get back to competing.

In other news, I start a new job this week! Beginning Friday, I'll be a MP&P Engineer at The Boeing Company. I'll be developing materials and processes for the Space Launch System (SLS), NASA's next heavy lift rocket. I'm excited to get started, but hopefully it won't get in the way of training too much...  

Monday, September 5, 2011

Aug29-Sept4

S: 24,700 yds
B: 9h 18min
R: 2h 36min

Total: 18h 26min


I'm in Orlando, so here is a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Mouse.

Happy Labor Day!  Updates may start to sound a bit Groundhog Day-ish, but in this case that is a good thing.  The slow build in running miles continues unabated, and I'm now able to handle a whopping 40min at a time. This is nothing to write home about, but at least it constitutes an actual run. 

Similarly, the new position hasnt gave me any issues thusfar.  I havent had any problems adjusting to the 165mm cranks, and in fact I think the shorter crank length was just what I needed to relieve some of the pressure on my lower back/upper leg area which led to the injury.   

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Aug22-28

S: 19,000 yds
B: 7h 58min
R: 3h 52min

Total: 16h 50min

Plenty of good news to report from last week. Most importantly, the running is coming along nicely.  I'm up to 30min at a time without any pain, so I'm hoping I'm in the clear on the injury.

Also, Saturday I drove up to Nashville for a bike fit from my coach, Dr. Paulo Sousa.  In the hope of opening up my hip angle a bit, I switched to 165mm cranks, which naturally required the fit on my bike to be adjusted.  Paulo used his unique state of the art tools and I was really pleased with the end result.  That afternoon I went for a ride with the new position and was very happy with how it felt. So after having been off the TT bike for the last six weeks, I'm really looking forward to getting back into some training.

So, hopefully I can put all the injury nonsense behind me and get back to training and (eventually) racing!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Aug15-21

S: 29,000 yds
B: 7h 29min
R: 3h 21min

Total: 18h 28min

On the road to recovery!  I ran four times last week and thus far havent had any issues, which I'm pretty excited about.  With that having been said, though, I'm still taking things slowly, as I certainly want to avoid a regression. I'm also trying not to think about a return to racing, yet, because that would clearly jinx matters...

This weekend is the Rocketman Triathlon, an Olympic distance race over on Redstone Arsenal, where I work and do most of my bike training.  I'm not racing because of the injury, but one of friends, Eric C, wanted to do a relay so I pulled my occasional cycling buddy, Dave Z, out of retirement to do the bike leg and I offered to swim.  Yes, relays are lame, but it should be fun.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Aug8-14

S: 30,600 yds
B: 5h 51min
R: 3h 13min => all in the pool

Total: 17h 7min

I got back to some kind of training, which is something, but if nothing else the week was informative.  I only rode once on the TT bike, for about 30min, and quickly discovered it was the source of the problems.  So, before getting back into any serious cycling training I'm going to need to change my position.

As usual, running will be the last activity to be phased back into the mix, a process which will begin this week with a bit of treadmill time. Fun times, indeed!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Aug1-7

On the mend! Well, the leg is finally, finally getting better.  With Dr. Houssain back in town, he was able to view my MRI and see that the hamstring was looking good.  This led to the recommendation of a couple of glut stretches/exercises as well as a foam wedge to sit on at work.  I realize this sounds a bit bizarre, but hey, it works!  And if sitting on a piece of foam is what it takes to keep my butt from hurting, then so be it!

So, looking forward, this week will start the reincorporation of some legs workouts, mainly water running and road biking. I'd say I'm looking further ahead, but considering how long this injury has lingered, I'm not ready to make any assumptions about it being totally gone. With that having been said, though, I dont think it is totally out of the question to rule out racing again this year.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jul25-31

S: 38,100 yds

More swimming, similar hamstring pain, and still no training. Things were trending better, but have now frustratingly seemed to stall. In response, I talked to a PT in the area who used to work on the training staff at USC (South Carolina, not Southern Cal).  He recommended a light warm up then light stretching then icing.  I am also trying Muscle Activation Technique (MAT) therapy, per a recommendation from a reader, Alan.  So although things are a bit stagnant at the moment, I'm cautiously optimistic that this time next week I'll have some better news!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

QOTD

"I wanted to do something that everyone thought was impossible. Since they banned those suits, everyone thought a world record would never get touched again. I just wanted to show everyone that can happen. That's why we have records -- they're meant to get broken." -Ryan Lochte after breaking the world record in the 200IM, the first world record to be set since polyurethane suits were banned.

I realize this is not only the second swimming post in a row, but also the second Lochte post in a row, but I really cant control these things.  Today's QOTD is just another example of the power of positive thinking.  If you dont believe you can do something great, you probably wont.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Go Gators!

And this, boys and girls, is how you swim freestyle:

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QOTD

"We use science, every bit that we can, on top of old-school training. We are going to train as hard as anybody else, and then we're going to train more by adding things that don't get us injured. And we're going to train smarter than anybody else." -Alberto Salazar

So its been a while since we've had a QOTD, but we like to go for quality over quantity here at the WWA and this is no exception.

This particular article is about Mo Farah, the British runner who's career had stagnated.  Sure, he was the best runner in Europe, having won Championship races in both Indoor and Outdoor Athletics as well as Cross Country, but he couldnt make a splash on the international stage, as he failed to reach the final of the 5k in the 2008 Olympics.  So, realizing he needed a change, Farah moved to Oregon to work with Salazar as part of Nike's Oregon Project.  Since then, his career has taken off with recent wins over top fields at the 10k at the Prefontaine Classic and 5k in Monaco.  In fact, after the 5k in Monaco, respected veteran and 2nd fastest 1500m runner in history, Bernard Lagat, said, "Today, Mo Farah laid out clearly that he is the favorite in the 5000m in Daegu." (Daegu is site of the World Championships this year.) Clearly then, he is now one of the top few 5k/10k runners in the world.

So while this is just a singular example, it exemplifies why Salazar is such a great coach.  No doubt Farah was training hard before.  But Salazar has taken his training to the next level, ensuring that every detail is covered. Many people like to talk about "old school" versus "new school" or high mileage versus high intensity but Salazar demonstrates that to reach your maximum potential, many of these decisions are not an "either/or" question, but rather what works?

July18-24

S: 43,900 yds

Once again no biking or running.  But, I did get an update on the leg.  Friday I had an MRI and result was the typical good news/bad news.  Good news?  No tear.  Bad news?  The diagnosis is tendinitis caused by (what else) "overuse".  So the prescription is to continue with the electostim and ice and start popping the advil like candy until it heals.  After that, I'll apparently have to start stretching and strengthening and all that good stuff.  Fun times, indeed.

But for more good news, and on a more qualitative note, the pain has subsided quite a bit in the last couple of days, so I should be able to start the strengthening pretty soon. It better, because I've had way too much water stuck in my ears lately.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July11-17

S: 38,100yds
B: 0h
R: 42min (in the pool)

Total: 10h 44min

So yeah, not much happening here, as the hamstring is still effed.  Everyone I talk to says something to the effect of, "Hamstrings are tricky..." which I translate to mean, "Dude, you're screwed." So needless to say racing is out of the picture for the foreseeable future, since, well, its kind of difficult to race when you're not even allowed to B or R in training.

On the bright side, at least the pool has been set up for long course.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jul4-10

S: 31,300 yds
B: 9h 31min
R: 1h 23min

Total: 19h 8min

First, the good news.  The pool has been long course which is always awesome. This is for the kids, who have their big summer meet, Southeasterns, coming up. Correspondingly, they've been having their main practice in the morning, so I had some pretty sweet workouts with them. Matt W, the coach, has recently started having a "Beast" group and a "Cheetah" group. Naturally, I've been in the "Beast" group due to my massive physique.  Or maybe I've just been there because its the distance group, but I prefer the former explanation....  For you swimmers out there, one of the sets last week went something like this:

800 pull + 6x100 @ 1500 race pace
600 pull + 4x100 @ 800 race pace
400 pull + 2x100 @ 400 race pace  
All @ 1:30/100m

The rest of the week was more "working out" than actually training as my hamstring is still not functioning properly.  I would appreciate it if that got better soon so that I can get back to RACING.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Hamsting FAIL.

Well, this should be a pre-race blog about taking the Timex Ford Edge to either Muncie for the 70.3 or Chattanooga for the Waterfront Tri.  But its not, because I'm not racing this weekend. Instead I'm getting ready to head home from work and maybe do some very light exercise followed by a little TP rolling.  All this courtesy of what is apparently a bum hamstring.

The problem started sometime before Eagleman 70.3 but naturally I ignored it.  Who doesnt have aches and pains in training?  At Eagleman, however, it flared up and limited my pace on the run.  Being the smart (read: stubborn) guy that I am, I tried to look the other way and hope it would get better in the recovery week after  the race and taper before BSLT 70.3, but needless to say that didnt happen.  After BSLT, I wasnt as sore as I usually am after a 70.3 (thanks to the flat...), but my hamstring was killing me.  Then, when after my first few recovery workouts it was still hurting, I decided something was definitely wrong, and the decision was made not to race this weekend.

The frustrating thing about this is I cant do much of anything in the biking and running departments until it heals, so hopefully that won't take too long. If that is the case, I should be able to be back for a few late season races.  Otherwise, well, lets just say we only focus on the positive, here...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Jun27-Jul3

S: 29,900yds
B: 5h 57min
R: 58min

Total: 14h 47min

First of all, hopefully everyone had a great long weekend. I certainly did, as it was nice to be home after being away for races 3 of the previous 4 weekends.  It was also pretty chill due to a slight change of plans on the racing front.

My hamstring has been giving me troubles since sometime before Eagleman.  Then during Eagleman it got progressively worse during the ride and limited my pace a bit during the run.  Subsequently it hasnt really got much better since.  The situation was similar at BSLT, but slightly mitigated by the fact I had a ~30min break in the middle of the ride. After the race, it was really sore even though otherwise my legs didnt feel too bad.  So rather than trying to limp through Muncie, I'm staying home this weekend to get better. I also took last week nice and easy to let my hamstring get better.  It was also kind of a mid-season rest week which will hopefully set me up for the rest of the year.  After all, if the hamstring doesnt get better, there wont be much racing to do regardless of fitness!  With all that having been said, I did have a few FAST swims with the kids to keep me honest.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

BSLT 70.3 RR

"That was such and epic fail" -Katy Perry

No, nothing especially bad happened Last Friday Night.*  Sunday morning, on the other hand, was a different story.

We (Denny M, Jackie A, Whitney G, and I) arrived (much to the ladies' chagrin) at Buffalo Spring Lake nice and early and after a surprisingly short wait to park were headed down the steep hill to transition.  This left plenty of time for warm-up, set-up, and all other imperative pre-race procedures.     

Despite recent high temps in upper 100s and an expected high of 110F on race day, the water temperature was only 74.  So with wetsuits allowed, I neoprened up and headed to the lake.  After a little warm up, we received a last minute clarification on the buoy rules and lined up for the start. No cannon, just a, "Ready, GO!" and we were off.

I had a pretty good sprint off the beach and was soon swimming full speed ahead. Within a minute, though, something was off and the pack was pulling away from me. Naturally I tried to pick up the pace as there was no reason for this to be happening.  All off the sudden, though, my shoulders were burning and I was close to hyperventilating. So yeah.... not exactly the best situation 2min into a 4h race! So I tried to mitigate the damage while also maintaining an honest pace.  I found some feet for a bit, passed that guy, but then saw what looked like quite a few people further ahead than they should've been only 1/3 of the way through the swim.  It was hard to tell the actual number, though, so I just tried to stay positive and hope it was only a small group.  Coming out of the water, there were more bikes missing than I wouldve liked, but with the Orca having saved my legs, I was looking forward to a strong ride.  

Out on the bike, wow... it was windy.  So the wind, combined with the flat farmland, made me feel right at home! (Well, couldve used some humidity...)  After a few miles, the two guys that followed me through the water joined me on the bike and the three of us were riding together. 20mph into the wind, 30mph with the wind, and somewhere in between when there was a crosswind.  Most of the time, though, I was focused on getting enough to drink and not falling over. Then..... it happened.  Somewhere around halfway through the ride, I heard a nice loud hiss, looked down, and saw the result of my front tire spewing air.  So I stopped, pulled over, and grabbed my...... oh, wait, there was nothing behind my seat where my saddle bag shouldve been!

So, I waited. A truck came by and he radioed the roaming mechanic and I waited. I saw Timex teammates Jackie A, Chris T, Tim H, Denny M, and Christine A all roll by and I waited.  Then I saw the front pro guys on their way back and I waited some more.  Finally, I got my new tube, and was back on my way.  With wind and looming hills and my place 30+ min behind the last pro guy I certainly was ready to call it a day.  But I didnt go all the way out to Texas just to splash around a bit and ride 30miles.  Plus, the RD decided, due to the heat, to shorten the cut-off times by 1h (he also condensed the start times) so I knew there would be plenty of others who wouldnt have the opportunity to finish.  I on the other hand, had no good excuse not to finsh.  

I finished the ride, and headed out onto the run.  Admittedly, motivation was waning, but I put on the shoes, and got my butt in gear.  Those first few miles were tough, as I was on pace for a PW, and dropping certainly wouldve been easy.  But I got some great encouragement from Jackie when I passed her around mile 4.5, as she seemed genuinely surprised I was still racing. Then, the worst part by far... the out and back from mile 5 to the turnaround which was wide open and straight into a headwind.  I was passing people, but really wasn't sure whether I was moving forward, or was just moving backwards slower than they were.  

I finally got to the turnaround and was loving the tailwind, which made the return trip so much easier.  Of course it also helped, mentally, to know that I "just" had to get back to the finish.  I did, and immediately headed to the lake to cool off.  

So yeah, I was DFL in a PW.  But it is what it is, and just gets me pumped for Muncie in a couple of weeks. 

*Friday night, on the contrary, was a huge success. After a quick post flight run, Denny, Whitney, Jackie, and I went to Freebird's World Burrito in Lubbock.  The food there was very similar to and almost as good as Chipotle, with a much more "indie" feel.  So if Chipotle is too "corporate" for you, definitely check out Freebirds, as it is easily a step above Moes, Qdoba, Salsaritas, etc.  

Monday, June 20, 2011

Jun13-19

S: 26,900 yds
B: 8h 8min
R: 4h 2min

Total: 19h 15min

Whoa, a week of training... go figure!  Well, a few days, anyway. The first part of the week was recovery from Eagleman, but then I did get in a few quality workouts on the back half.  After two weeks of traveling, it was certainly nice to be home for the weekend and to get some training done.  This weekend, though, I'm back at it at BSLT 70.3 next Sunday in Lubbock, TX.  Should be fun!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Eagleman 70.3 Race Report

Another week, another race. After two races the weekend before last, I was back in action on Sunday with Eagleman 70.3 in Cambridge, MD. When Paulo proposed adding this race to the calendar a couple of weeks ago, I was admittedly a bit apprehensive, as I thought two half IMs on back to back weekends might be a bit much. However, I was feeling pretty good by the middle of the week, so I was fired up to race by the time Friday rolled around.

Onto the race! A quick "GO!" and we were off on a beautiful morning in the warm water of the Choptank river. The water was relatively smooth, considering this is a notoriously choppy swim, and I got out to a good start.  Things settled down relatively quickly and I noticed I was swimming next to Richie C, so I figured I was in a pretty good position. As we approached the end of the swim, all I was thinking about was a fast transition so that I could get out, ride hard, and stay with the group.

Out on the bike however, the legs had other ideas. The guys I came out of the water with punched it hard.  I tried to maintain contact, but the legs just werent there.  I was riding what felt like hour TT pace, but only losing time. From there, things didnt exactly get much better, as I threw up a few minutes after every gel I took. I didnt think I had swallowed that much water during the swim, but I cant think of any other reason for the otherwise (seemingly) random vomiting.

Heading out onto the run, I wasnt really sure what place I was in, but was still hopeful I could pick some people off. I felt OK running 6:05-6:15 pace, but when I tried to dip under 6, my hamstring really started screaming. Then, around mile 8, I felt the blister under the ball of my left foot tear.  This wouldnt have been too big of a deal except I had already gone through a couple of layers of skin the previous week, so I was now tearing through a couple of more layers. For about a mile this was really painful, but then it thankfully subsided enough for me to keep running an even pass a guy in the last mile.

Crossing the finish line, I still had no idea about my place, but eventually determined I had ended up 10th.  So all in all, not too bad.  It wasnt a great performance, but at least I got some much needed points for 70.3 Worlds.

This is where I would link to the results, but they seem to be MIA...

PS After the race I was privileged enough to crash at Alyssa's house in Baltimer, after the obligatory post race hamburger and ice cream, of course.  AG is an epic ultra-runner/triathlete baller, and was even gracious enough to drag my sorry butt to the airport at 5AM on Monday morning so that I could make it into work on Monday. Thanks Alyssa!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Nashville Kids Triathlon

..........Picking up from yesterday, pretty soon after the Rock 'N RollMan Half, George and I were back in the Ford Edge heading north on I-75 towards Chattanooga before heading west on I-24 towards Nashville.  We arrived just in time for me to be introduced as a Celebrity Big Kid during the packet pick up for the race the following morning.

I awoke Sunday morning to some sore legs, but was ready for a fun day with the kids. Timex Teammate Bruce Gennari was there as a Big Kid as well and we started the day off by helping the not-so-big kids set up their transition areas, which was pretty entertaining because with kids from ages 6 through 15, some of the bikes didnt have either tire on the ground and were instead just hanging from the racks.  Additionally about half of the bikes were pink with white seats so it was a was pretty funny sight; certainly not the not your typical transition area!

The kids started according to their age group, with the 6-7 yr olds first, and 8-9 yr olds second.  I was helping at the swim start and then moved to the transition area, where it was great to see the unabashed excitement on their faces.  It was also pretty cool to see the competitiveness; some of these kids were really getting after it!

After the 8-9 yr olds went off, the Big Kids had to race. My feet torn up and my left glut/piriformis was still really tight courtesy of the half the day before, but how could I not race for the kids??  Thankfully I managed to pull out the victory while rocking the speedo the whole way.






After the "older" kids had their races, it was time for everyone's favorite part of the day... the awards!  I say this sarcastically as at most races, the only people who stick around are the people who are receiving awards and even they usually arent all that excited to be there, and then jet as soon as their names are called.  Not so with the kids!  They were genuinely thrilled to get to go up on stage and receive their awards.  In addition to trophies, Bruce and I were placing Timex hats on each of the award winner's heads, which really got them pumped!

All in all, I thought it was a really successful event.  Almost 300 kids raced and I didnt see a single one disappointed. Rounding out the day, Bruce, George, and I went to lunch at Chipotle... cant beat that!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Coliseum Rock 'N RollMan Half Race Report

I raced this weekend, but dont have too much to report.

Friday afternoon I headed down to Macon, GA for the Rock 'N RollMan Half.  Why Macon, you ask? Well, $1000 was up for grabs to the winner, so I was looking forward to a good race. This, however, this didnt quite pan out.

I arrived at the race site on the morning of the race and heard the announcer say the water temp was a balmy 86 degrees. This, combined with the predicted high air temperature of ~100F, meant it was going to be a warm day from start to finish. I was then thrown a bit of a curve when the valve on my tube in my rear tire broke, necessitating a tube change.  I switched out the tube without too much trouble, taking care to ensure the tube wasnt pinched as I certainly didnt want a pinch flat right after starting the ride. Finally, with the start fast approaching, I headed down to the lake.

I got a pretty good start and soon enough Nina Craft and I were swimming together with no one else in sight. I swam behind her for a while, then moved ahead after a little over the half way point, only to have her stick right on me.  I felt like were holding a solid pace, but nothing extraordinary.  Fortunately though it was strong enough to create some separation from everyone else, and we exited the water at almost the same time.

I had a pretty quick T1, and was out on the bike first. I was out on the road all alone and wanted to keep it that way. The bike course was challenging but fun with plenty of hills and decent road surfaces most of the way. I checked behind me a couple of times at the end of long straightaways, but never saw anyone so I just focused on pouring it on keeping up with calories and hydration. The miles ticked away and before I knew it I was rolling into T2.

Starting the run, I was feeling pretty good. The first half of a mile of the run course overlapped with the bike course, and I still didnt see anyone, so I figured I had a pretty decent cushion over 2nd. So I just wanted to stay comfortable and make sure to not blow up.  Of course "comfortable" is a relative term when you have to run 13 hilly miles in 90F heat after biking 56!  So it turned into a long run by myself, not counting the encouragement from my buddy George at miles 2, 6, and 11, but before I knew it I had made it to mile 11.  This was near the 2 mile mark on the way out, so when I turned back to the park I got to see people heading out on the run. I cruised in from there, crossed the finish line, and, just like in FL, went straight to the med tent for bandages on my blister- covered feet.

Results: http://www.setupevents.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=event_results&id=2407

Speaking of people heading out on the run... I have much respect for anyone who finished this race! With a smaller field and brutal conditions (tough course, hot weather) this was certainly one of the hardest half IM courses I've done.

Unfortunately I couldnt stick around for too long post race as that evening I was due in Nashville, TN for events for The Kids Triathlon where I was volunteering as a celebrity big kid, but that will have to wait for another day!  

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May23-29

S: 30,200 yds
B: 9h 35min
R: 5h 24min

Total: 23h 24min

OK, so I'm a little late on the update, but things have been a bit busy around here. Last week was rough, as I managed to fall asleep upon arriving home from work on not one but two occasions.  This is especially tricky on biking days because as soon as I wake up I have to rush around to get out the door to get the workout done before the sun sets.  Then on Friday my hamstring/piriformis acted up enough to necessitate a shortening of the tempo run.  Thankfully though after some serious Trigger Point rolling that evening, it didnt impede any other workouts the rest of the weekend.

This week will be starting and ending with travel, but at least the latter will involve a traversing of AL-GA-TN in the brand new Ford Edge.  Saturday I'll be racing Coliseum's Rock 'N Roll Man half iron and then Sunday I'll be helping out at the Nashville Kid's Triathlon.  Should be a fun weekend!

Monday, May 23, 2011

May16-22

S: 20,600 yds
B: 7h 52min
R: 5h 14min

Total: 18h 31min

And.... right back at it. After a couple of easy days at the beginning of the week, it was back to work on Wednesday, which allowed me a nice transition from "sore from the race" at the beginning of the week to "normal training fatigue" by the end. I'm not sure exactly when the transition was made, but I'm not sure it really matters, either.

In other news, the HHPTC hosted a number of high quality visitors over the weekend.  Kicking things off was pro triathlete Kevin Collington who stayed over Friday night to break up his trip back to Boulder.  Then my friends Philip and Katherine Thompson were here Saturday evening as Philip was racing his bike in town on Saturday and Sunday.  Fun times!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Familiar venue, bizarro occurrences: FL 70.3 RR

This was my sixth year racing either the Florida Half Ironman (2005) or Florida 70.3 (2007-2011) and while each race is a bit different, the 2011 edition had to be the out-lier.

Indications of a bizzare day were evident almost from the start.  Heading W (actually S) on I-4 from downtown Orlando towards Disney, Mark Vermeersch and I noticed flashes of lightning streaking across the sky off in the distance. Lightning is of course nothing new for Central Florida, undoubtedly the lightning capitol of the US (Rawanda, Africa tops it in the World listings for most strikes).  However, it is rare to see an aerial display in the morning, as most lightning is associated with thunderstorms that run across the state in the afternoon. Regardless, certainly not a normal occurance for the start of a race.

Upon arriving at Walt Disney World, lightning was still flashing pretty regularly but thankfully the rain was holding off.  Sure enough, though, the rain commenced by the time we reached transition.  Rain happens, but again, not usually in the morning, and not during any of the previous editions of the race. Despite the weather situation, though, the announcer continued informing us that the radar indicated the weather would clear and we should be ready for our regularly scheduled 6:20 AM start time. So I continued warming up, kept remarkably dry by my Timex Multisport Team Zorrel Whistler Jacket.  This thing looks sharp, is comfortable, and as a bonus repelled the water incredibly well.  Before I knew it, 6AM rolled around and I was heading out of transition and down to the swim start.

Once on the beach, the announcement was made that the race would be delayed 20 minutes.  This, I thought, was reasonable as the rain and lightning had finally stopped and the sky did appear to be clearing.  Of course this meant 20 more minutes of nervousness and a 6:40 start rather than the usual 6:20 start.  A little warm up in the water would've been appreciated, but it was too dark for that.  (Thus the perils of starting a race before sunrise...)

Finally the gun was off and the madness ensued. On approximately my 4th stride, my foot landed on a sharp object and I felt a slicing pain under my left big toe. It hurt, but I could still feel the toe, so I figured I'd survive. Coming into the first turn buoy, I was in a group with 3 other guys but was a bit worried that I was too far back.  I felt like our pace was strong, but it also looked like there were some others pretty far ahead. The water was choppier than it had been in previous versions of the race, so I was pleasantly surprised to be out of the water around 26:40.

Running through the long chute to the transition area, I looked down at my foot and sure enough, it was covered with blood.  I couldnt exactly do anything about it, so I proceeded to my beautiful Ordu and took off, hoping it wouldnt hurt too bad the rest of the race. I still wasnt sure of my position, but I did notice quite a few more bikes remaining on the pro men's rack than spots vacated, so that was a good sign.

Once I got moving on the bike I looked down at my PowerTap only to find that the computer was not picking up my wheel.  This was bad news. My coach, Paulo, had given me strict instructions for the ride, so I knew he'd be upset if I didnt have any data.  I tried remounting the computer and adjusting the wheel sensor, but nothing seemed to work. Without data, I just focused on riding hard and keeping people in sight.  I was passed by a couple of people early on, but also passed a couple of riders, so I hoped I was riding well.  Without a working computer, I wanted to keep my 5-mile splits right around 12 min. I did, for the most part, with a few under 12 and all under 12:30.  This left me confident that I was cruising towards a decent bike split.

Finally the bike was over, and I was off on the run.  Up to this point, the day had been one of unfamiliar occurrences, but the run was eerily similar to years past.  The theme for this race goes something like this: run fast while you can, and then hang on.  Florida in May is hot and humid, and sooner or later the heat will take its toll at which point you just have to fight as best you can to maintain whatever pace you can.

I believe I was around 12th or 13th coming off the bike, but after a strong first lap I was being told I was in the hunt for top 10.  The multiple out-and-backs allowed plenty of opportunity for the hunters to see their prey, and I was on the prowl.  I had moved into the top 10 by the start of the last lap when I was informed that Kevin Collington was about a minute up the road, so I was hoping I could reel him in as well.  By this time, though, the heat was really starting to take its toll and my 5:55s fell to 6:15-6:30.  Nevertheless, I caught him with 2 miles to go and he told me 8th place was "fading fast."  Once I got back out onto the asphalt, I just focused on keeping the tempo up as much as possible in order to maintain some semblance of a reasonable pace.  Finally, I moved into 8th with about a mile to go, and just wanted to cruise to the finish.  However, a few moments later I noticed a hard charging Brent Poulsen was closing rather quickly and I sure as hell was not about to get passed in the last half mile after racing for over 4 hours! So I redoubled my focus on turnover in an attempt to increase speed, as I was determined to hold him off.  Finally, I reached the barriers and hit the left turn for the chute. I started to think I was in clear when I heard someone say, rather nonchalantly,

"Nice job, almost there. You've got a guy coming up behind you"       

Not exactly what I wanted to hear!  I went into HS CC mode and began "sprinting." I was thoroughly wiped at this point, so I felt like I looked like a actor who is obiviously not a runner trying to run in a movie. All of his motions are exagerated, but he really not moving that fast at all.  So that was me... trying to sprint, but not really moving that fast. At that point, though, it was all I had. Indisputable photographic evidence, courtesy of Katie Hodges:







I crossed the timing mat and then continued through the banner before halting and hunching over to place my hands on my knees. A couple seconds later, there was Brent.  Although I had quite a few minutes of not being able to see anything, I did manage to stay upright and prevent collapse.

Summary (full results can found here):
S: 26:55
B: 2:16:52
R: 1:20:29

Total: 4:07:40, Good for 8th place.

In review, my swim start couldve been better, I was pleased with the bike ride, and I couldve used a little more at the end of the run. But there are always things to improve and I was happy with my effort in the first race of the season. Most of all, it was great to see my family and hang out with my Timex teammates.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Marathon runners train on the "Road of Death"

This video is a bit lengthy (10min) but a great piece:



And what was your excuse for not training, again?  Just something to think about the next time you have trouble getting out the door...

Monday, May 9, 2011

May2-8

S: 26,300 yds
B: 8h 1min
R: 6h

Total: 20h 56min

All in all it was a pretty good last week of training before FL 70.3 this Sunday.  It took a few days to get my "feel" back in the water after being out due to the tornadoes and subsequent extended power outage, but nothing too terribly bad.

The leg injury which kept me from racing in New Orleans has abated, and I was able to finish a couple of runs last week with some fast miles, so hopefully that was foreshadowing for the race this weekend.  Of course it'll all really come down to how hot it is.  Although we've had a couple of warm days, the temperates have been pretty moderate for the most part, so if it warms up on Sunday, I'll just have to rely on my HS CC training...  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day


This post may be a bit cliche, but that doesn't mean its also not totally appropriate.  After all, while some people may occasionally stumble here, we all know there is really only one person I can be sure is reading.

So today, I'm giving a huge Thank You to my Mom.  Not just for giving me at least one reader, of course, but for all she has done and continues to do. Highlights:
  • Birth.  This is obvious, but still needs to be stated since without it, I literally wouldn't be here! 
  • Unwavering support. Throughout middle school, high school, college, graduate school, and continuing all the way to my current job, Mom has been there offering guidance but above all proving unwavering support. This was true in all aspects of my life, academic, professional, and athletic, and is despite the fact that I'm pretty sure she seriously questions some of those decisions. So although I'm sure she would prefer I spent a little less time training (or "working out") and would've rather I lived closer to Orlando, she still has always and continues to fully support my decisions. 
  • Practical advice. I can't begin to list all of the advice I've received, but I definitely don't go more than a couple of days without thinking of something she told me. But because I should list at least one, here it is: wear your sunscreen! 
  • Work ethic. If there was one trait above all others which she impressed on me growing up, it was that hard work is necessary to achieve one's goals and become successful in life. Of course it wasn't just talk; she lead by example.  When she decided she wanted to go back to work when my siblings and I started to get older, she worked as a realtor's assistant while taking classes for the required certification course to become a Realtor.  During this time, she learned as much as she could from the successful Realtors in her office, so that when she finally got her license, she knew what she would have to do to attract clients.  And sure enough, she was soon one of the top sellers in her office. 
    So there it is; I owe at least a part of any successes I've had to her.  Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    Apr25-May1

    S: 15,200 yds
    B: 10h 22min
    R: 5h 56min

    Total: 20h 18min

    With so much destruction around training does seem a bit trivial. As I'm sure most of you have heard, the state of Alabama was hit with some fairly major tornadoes last Wednesday from which we are only now beginning to recover.  Thankfully my house, and most of my neighborhood, was spared from the worst of the damage but others close by were not so lucky.  While much of the media attention has focused on Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, a number of smaller towns in northern Alabama were particularly hard hit with some entire towns being wiped almost entirely off the map. The tragedy, of course, is that many of the residents of these towns were desperately poor before the storm and now have lost almost all of what little they had.

    I'll have another post on this later this week but for now if you are in the Huntsville area and want to help or have items to donate, this article on al.com has a nice round-up of places you can go to donate your time or goods.

    Of course you often here that cash donations are most effective, so go here, to the Salvation Army, to make an easy, safe, secure donation.  If you are too lazy to follow the link, you can simply text "REDCROSS" to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the Red Cross.  Its just that easy!

    Monday, April 25, 2011

    Apr18-24

    S: 25,600 yds
    B: 10h 49min
    R: 5h 15min

    Total: 22h 48min

    After struggling through the week, I was really pleased with the workouts on the weekend.  The power numbers were good on the long ride on Saturday, then I got off the bike and had a brisk transition run. It was certainly a hard workout, but I felt in control.  In contrast, during the same workout a couple of weeks earlier I felt like death. And generally not feeling like death is better than feeling like death.  Saturday afternoon's fun was followed up by a very solid run the next morning which included a 5:38 mile.  Not only is this fast for a Sunday morning, but also the fastest I've run since hurting my leg. Double bonus!

    This weekend I'm heading over to Rome, GA for the Tri For The Kids Olympic Distance Triathlon where I'm really looking forward to (finally) getting the season underway.  Additionally, it should be a nice "wake up" before FL70.3 in a few weeks.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Apr11-17

    S: 21,300 yds
    B: 10h 33min
    R: 5h 47min

    Total: 21h 56min

    Although I was pretty bummed about not being able to race, I still headed down to New Orleans for the weekend to watch the race, hang out with friends, and enjoy some warm weather. Of course the plethora of impeccable restaurants didn't hurt, either!  I was there three nights and enjoyed delicious fresh, local seafood each night washed down with Abita.

    As for training, I'm continuing to increase the running while maintaining plenty of swim/bike intensity. Allergies are frustrating but I'm definitely happy to be outside!

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Apr4-10

    S: 26,100 yds
    B: 9h 51min
    R: 5h 26min

    Total: 22h 9min

    Ouch. Back at it in a very real way. Well, all except for the running. I did get in almost three hours on the ground, but nothing too fast. I did have some very solid bike workouts (2x20, long Zn3, etc.), though, so I was pretty pleased, but also worn out, by the end of the week.

    Looking ahead, after talking with Paulo and my doctor, I decided racing this weekend wouldnt be the best idea.  Although my leg is feeling better, I've still been pretty sore even after my short, easy runs this week, so racing a half marathon in racing flats would likely tear me up pretty good.  Sure, I could most likely finish the race, but there would be a significant chance for re-injury, not to mention prolonged soreness.  So since this is only the first race of the year, I'm playing it safe and waiting until Florida. Its too bad because its been a long winter and I had really been looking forward to this race, but I'd rather have the rest of the season than this one.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    QOTD

    "It's so important to think positive. It's easy to get discouraged and be negative," she said. "It makes such a difference in how you feel and your outlook on everything." -Gladys Burrill, who at 92 years old completed the Honolulu Marathon, earning her a spot in the Guinness World Records as the oldest person to complete a marathon.

    If I'm alive when I'm 92, I'll be happy. If I'm still able to walk when I'm 80, I'll be ecstatic. If somehow I'm alive and can walk and can finish a marathon at 92, I'll consider myself very, very lucky!

    I'm a strong believer in the power of positive thinking, and Gladys is a clear example of its positive effects. But if you dont trust me or Gladys, The Mayo Clinic lists the following benefits of positive thinking:

    • Increased life span
    • Lower rates of depression
    • Lower levels of distress
    • Greater resistance to the common cold
    • Better psychological and physical well-being
    • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
    • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
    So on that note... Happy Wednesday!

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Mar28-Apr3

    S: 27,800 yds
    B: 9h 9min
    R: 3h 50min

    Total: 20h 18min

    Best news of the week: the leg is getting better.  Saturday I ran 20min and Sunday 30, both without any pain. I received some ART from Anthony Houssain at SpineCare, and it has significantly helped with the healing. My anterior tibialis is no longer "squeaking", which is always a good sign.  The only question now is ready I'll be able/ready to race in New Orleans in a couple of weeks...

    Friday, April 1, 2011

    QOTD

    "Most people will run better in their next race if they lose a pound of body fat." -Exercise immunology expert David Nieman

    Amby Burfoot has another great article up on the Peak Performance blog at RunnersWorld.com. I feel like I need this disclaimer every time I reference this blog, but believe it or not, Runners World does actually publish some decent information online. Anyway, in this blog Amby speaks with David Nieman, who he calls, "among the smartest and most impeccable of exercise scientists."

    With the introductions out of the way, the second half of the post contains the section on post workout glycogen re-stocking and the QOTD.  His words, with my emphasis added in bold:


    This is a pet peeve of mine. Runner's World and every other fitness publication is always talking about the importance of re-stocking "glycogen stores" shortly after you finish a workout. Chocolate milk is a current favorite choice, but you also read about energy bars, and peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches, or maybe tuna sandwiches.

    The research findings are valid enough. That's not the issue. The issue is that this finding doesn't apply to 99 percent of us. It's for Ironman triathletes and marathoners doing double workouts and 120 miles a day. These folks are never more than a few hours away from their next workout, and for them it's important to practice maximal re-stocking.

    For the 99 percent of us, it's smarter to practice maximal food restraint. We'd be better off losing a couple of pounds than re-stocking in world-record time. In my opinion, what most of us should eat after a typical workout is a glass of water and a banana. Or something equally light. Yes, we need fluids. Yes, we'll enjoy a few carbs. But the fewer the better, if you want to know the truth. Your next meal is only 3 to 4 hours off, and you'll pack away plenty of glycogen-restocking calories then.

    Nieman agreed with me. I wasn't taking notes, but he said something like: "I've looked at those studies, and the glycogen gain is very modest. Most people will run better in their next race if they lose a pound of body fat."





    Amby and I apparenly have similar pet peeves, as I have had similar thoughts.  This is especially prevalent among triathletes and ultrarunners, as they compete in long distance events which do require on course fueling.  However, just because a race may require the consumption of calories, doesnt mean immediately refueling is imperative after or during every workout. IOW, you really dont need a gel, or even some sports drink, to complete that 40 minute run. 

    So by all means, if you've got a multiple workout day planned, make sure to get some calories right after the first and/or second workout. Otherwise, drink some water and make some real food. It'll taste better which will allow you to eat less and race faster.

    BTW: I also love how Amby calls out, "Runners World and every other fitness publication" on a Runners World blog. Priceless.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011

    Group riding rant aka "educational moment"

    Last night I road the local edition of the Tuesday Night World Championships.  As the name indicates, this is a "race simulation" type ride, with no restrictions on pace, attacks, watts, or heartrate. With that having been said, there are still a few guidelines that should still be followed. Of course not swerving back and forth through the pack, following your line through turns, and (generally) obeying traffic signals are all given.  But last night there was something else that kept occurring  which really shouldn't have. So this might be a "rant" but I prefer to think of it as an "educational moment" for those not accustomed to riding in a large, fast group. 

    If you are sitting second wheel (that is, there is only one person in font of you), and the person in front of you (who is leading the pack) pulls off to the side, you have two options. You may 1) continue pedaling, slightly increasing your effort to maintain the same speed, and then continue to pull the pack along for a bit or 2) continue pedaling, slightly increasing your effort to maintain the same speed, and then immediately pull off in front of the person who had previously pulled off in front of you.  

    Note that neither of these options includes slowing down in order to stay behind the person who just attempted to pull off. This kind of action (doing everything possible NOT to go to the front) may be acceptable in last few kilometers before the final sprint, but otherwise, there is no excuse for it when sitting second wheel.  If, for some reason, you really dont want to pull through, you should simply not be riding second wheel. I dont know how many times this occured last night but it was pretty frustrating, and forced the same couple of guys up to have to go around multiple people to move back up to the front to keep the pace respectable. 

    Group rides can be great for training, especially when contain a large number of fast riders who force you outside your comfort zone.  But if that is the case, then by all means, let them drive the pace and stay out of the way. And if you are bored in the back? Great! But just be ready to move all the way to the front and do your share of the work.

       

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    Mar21-27

    S: 26,300 yds
    B: 9h 37min
    R: 3h 38min

    Total: 20h 10min

    First off, I had 10min of pain-free real running on Sunday, so the plan is to work in more of that this week.  I also started getting some Active Release Therapy (ART) from Dr. Houssain at SpineCare so hopefully that'll help loosen things up and get me back to running.  Aqua jogging is fun and all, except that it isn't and triathlons include real running, so I kind of need to be doing more of that...

    Meanwhile, the T-levels have recovered some but are still outside (lower) than the "normal" range, so we're sticking with a decreased training load for the another couple of weeks. The bright side of this, if there is one, is that I've had some great workouts in the pool and on the bike. So to recap... lower training load => more rest => higher T-levels => better performance.  Gee, who knew??

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Mar14-20

    S: 31,300 yds
    B: 9h 5min
    R: 3h 13min

    Total: 20h 32min

    When I went in to see Dr. Krichev a couple of weeks ago for the leg, I had some blood work done, as at the time I had been feeling a bit sluggish (more so than usual...).  As it turned out, I had an abnormally low white blood cell count and testosterone level. This was likely not that big of a deal, as low levels of both are common during periods of heavy training, but just in case Paulo decided we should back off the training load for a couple of weeks and have it checked again. So as a result, last week wasnt too bad, and I even did some pretty fast swimming in the pool.

    On a brighter note, spring is here, and riding outside after work is awesome!

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Mar7-13

    S: 29,300 yds
    B: 7h 45min
    R: 4h 1min => ALL IN THE POOL

    Total: 19h 29min

    Yep; it is a pretty sad state of affairs, indeed. As you can see, all of the "running" this week was done in the pool, back and forth and back and forth. Thankfully Timex gave everyone on the team an iPod shuffle, so Green Day and Sum 41 have helped to partially alleviate the boredom. On a brighter note, my leg is feeling better and ankle has improved flexibility, so hopefully the return to running is on the horizon.

    In other news, Saturday morning I "raced" the Cave Spring Time Trial out in Owens Cross Roads. I use the parentheses because it was a pretty pathetic performance on my part. It was pretty frustrating to lay an egg after hitting the trainer so hard for the last couple of months, so I'm just chalking it up to the cold weather on race morning.  In the meantime, I'll use it as motivation to work a little harder in the next month in my preparation for 70.3 New Orleans.    

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    An Open Letter to USA Triathlon

    To Whom It May Concern at USA Triathlon,

    One of your Core Programs, Sport Performance, is broke. The current decentralized system which allows individual athletes to choose individual coaches has not produced results relative to our country’s potential. The United States and Australia dominate the international swimming scene and, outside of Kenya and Ethiopia, the US produces the bulk of the world’s fastest long distance runners. So clearly there is untapped potential for excellence in triathlon.

    This is neither a new revelation nor a novel idea. Indeed others have made the same argument. Last year, triathlon coach Paulo Sousa wrote on his blog, The Triathlon Book,


    Even USA Triathlon’s own business plan for 2010 commented,


    Clearly then, if USA Triathlon wants its athletes to be competitive in ITU World Championships and, more importantly, the Olympics, it must make a change.  A head coach should be hired in the hopes of salvaging success in London 2012. While finding the right candidate may sound like a daunting task, it is actually a surprisingly simple one as a coach with success on the WCS and Olympic level has recently found himself unemployed.

    I don’t know the details behind Joel Filliol’s separation from British Triathlon. However, I do know he is without a doubt one the top triathlon coaches in the world. Between his work as the Head Coach for British Triathlon from 2009-2011, and Head Coach for Triathlon Canada from 2006-2008, his athletes have had a bevy of success, including the silver medal in the 2008 Olympics as well as multiple World Cup and World Championship Series wins.

    And as if his athletes’ successes didn’t speak for themselves, you could always heed the advice of a man, Simon Whitfield, who has two Olympic medals and is tied for second in career ITU World Series wins. In a recent article on Slowtwitch.com, Whitfield said,


    I’m not sure a triathlon coach can come better recommended than that.     

    So the question now is simple. Is USA Triathlon ready to truly make a commitment to high performance? Dishing out some money to a few elite athletes is nice, but it clearly hasn’t brought the results its members deserve. Is USA Triathlon ready to change its culture regarding high performance sport?

    One of your “key learnings” from 2009 was,

    “Culture – while we have increased communication between USA Triathlon and our individual athlete coaches, bringing them together to work as a team to achieve our goals is the next challenge. We need to create a culture throughout our high performance program of excellence and team work. With a decentralized program, this will be a significant challenge.”

    I can’t see a better way to overcome this challenge than to hire a man who is known for his commitment to excellence and hard work. And with a single head coach, communication and a unified focus on performance certainly will not be an issue. So I implore you; do everything you can to hire Joel Filliol.  



    Sincerely, 


    Andrew Hodges
    Member #994886



    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    Feb28-Mar6

    S: 26,600 yds
    B: 9h 52min
    R: 3h 36min

    Total: 20h 28min

    Well, things were rolling along nicely (aka I was training and desperately trying to get enough sleep) up through last Thursday when ummm, that happened....

    Wednesday evening I had the always delightful 3 x 2mile which I attacked with my running buddy, George H, out on the Rocket City Marathon course.  Although George is a bit slower, he stays close enough to keep me honest, which really helps to keep me from slacking on the first one. Towards the end of the run, my lower right shin was a little sore but I didnt think much of it as I had just run 6 hard miles and, well, something is always sore. I did some precautionary icing that evening and hoped it would be fine the next day.

    Thursday morning rolled around which meant the usual trainer puke fest.  I didnt have any soreness, and really kind of forgot about it, likely thanks largely to the pain that was imparted on my actual leg muscles as a result of the intervals. When lunchtime rolled around, I was looking forward to a nice easy run with friends in some beautiful weather.  Aside from the usual overall soreness, I didnt have any acute pain at the start of the run. Towards the end, though, the same lower leg pain from the previous day crept back. I didnt think it was too serious, but it was noticeable.

    Unfortunately the pain remained the rest of the day when lifting my foot up to walk. This meant no run on Friday and eventually led to no run (and certainly no race) Sunday as well as a trip to see Dr. Krichev on Monday. After some poking and prodding, he concluded that I likely have a strained anterior tibialis muscle (at least its not a SF!), the same issue I had almost the same time last year but (ironically enough) on the other leg. Causes are purely speculative at this point, other than, you know, training.

    Hopefully this will clear up relatively quickly.  In the meantime, I'll be brushing up on my water running, icing, and stretching in order to mitigate the damage to running fitness and get back to real running as quickly as possible.