Saturday, March 31, 2007

"Smooth and Steady" Olympic Triathlon Race Report

In the spirit of this year's mantra: "smooth and steady", today was the first of what I consider several "smooth and steady" race simulations. The goal of all "smooth and steady" races is to embrace the mantra. I'm not trying to crank it all out and go for broke in these races. These are merely an opportunity to simulate race situations at a moderate (smooth and steady) pace, as I train by myself.

Since this week is the end of exactly 2 months of training, I figured this would be good time to have a first race simulation as a test of where I am today. I have to admit however, that I was little concerned due to a recent hamstring injury after a breakthrough swim on Wednesday, in which a went for a record 2500 yards. The only problem was that I cramped up really bad as I was pulling myself out of the pool. So my hamstring has been a bit sore the past 2 days. I tried to take it easy in anticipation of today's workout, and also to give my hamstring a rest. I felt good when I woke up this morning, so I figured I'd be ok to push a little. Lets get to the results:

Swim: 1 mile - 37:00 (2:03/100 yards)
Bike: 24 miles - 1:29:40 (15.5 mph)
Run: 6.4 miles - 55:53 (8:48/mile)
Total Time: 3:02:33

Swim: The swim was done at my local pool. My focus was consistency this morning. I was hoping for consistent 500 yard splits and that is exactly what I got. I was right at 10:00 for all my splits. Unfortunately, I had to share my lane with 2 others, so I was not able to get as good a time as I would have liked. My comfortable swim pace is right at 2:00/100 yards. One of these days, I'll do a 1 mile time trial to see where I'm at. Again, today's focus was consistency.

Bike: I opted to do my bike course on my usual path. The benefits are that I know the course and where any nasty parts are. The bad part is that the ride out is all up hill. There are a few rollers, but the first 10 miles are all up hill. So I went about 12 miles out and turned around. Unfortunately, I had a head wind coming back, so any downhill benefits were negated by the winds. I really didn't want to push myself on the bike, because I wanted to see how consistent I could be transitioning off the bike and onto the run. At the pace I rode, I felt fine off the bike. Next time, I'll definitely push harder, but with the hamstring, I just wanted to play it safe.

Run: Similar to the bike, the last thing I wanted to do was the further injure my hamstring. I really took it easy the first couple of miles, just trying to get a consistent pace that was comfortable on my legs and lungs. I purposely made my run course a little more challenging. I was interested to see how my body would respond. The first half of my run was mostly downhill, but the 2nd half was back up the same hill I had just run down. So I kept it slow and controlled for the first half, just trying to get a good feel. Once I hit the turnaround, I picked up the pace quite a bit. Only problem was that it was all up hill, so it was a test of my endurance at that point. I felt strong as I pushed up hill the last few miles and finished strong.

Overall, I am happy my effort. There were certainly parts where I could have (and wanted to) push harder. After only 2 months of training, I can say that I am very comfortable at the Olympic distance. My average heart rate throughout today was 139, which puts me between zone 2 and zone 3. Last year, I was pushing into the 150-160 range as my average, so I am really happy to see that my average heart rate is much lower now.

It seems like the race season is so far away. Its not even April yet! So I certainly have a lot of time to continue to work and push harder. And I will...as I continue to be "smooth and steady"...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Searching for the Right Derailleur Hanger

As some of you off road riders might well know, the derailleur hanger is one of a cyclist's best and worst friends. The invention of the replaceable derailleur hanger was genius. Derailleur hangers are designed to be a bit more flexible in a crash than the bike frame itself. Reason being is that its much easier to replace a derailleur hanger than to replace a cracked frame. Makes sense right?

Well here's the problem. It sucks when you derailleur hanger breaks, because most bike shops don't maintain an active inventory of them. Again, reason being is because there are many different flavors of hangers. Some with one hole, some with two holes, some with three....you get the idea. The most challenging part is that each bike manufacturer has their own "number" associated with the hanger. To complicate it further, this number can vary depending on model and year. This past Sunday, when I snapped my derailleur hanger (for the 2nd time), you can imagine the frustration that I knew was ahead of me in order to get the replacement part.

Today, I went to the LBS to see if by chance they had any sitting around. As expected, the answer was no. Their recommendation was to buy it online and bring it in. The guy basically said its impossible to keep an inventory for them. He did offer to order one, but said that it would likely be faster to order it myself and bring it in. So that's just what I did. He referred me to the website derailleurhanger.com, which is an excellent site to match up what type of derailleur your model bike needs if/when you break it. Just to be safe and to save myself the same frustration, I ordered 2 of them. I'd note the site in case you ever break one on your bike and are scrambling to find a replacement part quickly.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Top reasons why I bonked today

Today was a first for me. I bonked. I usually push myself hard and find moments during most workouts where I can push myself harder. Today was no exception. I went for a 40 mile ride today. It started off fine, so I kept pushing. Only problem was that I had nothing left. So here you have it:

Top Reasons Why I Bonked
1) Weight session this morning focused on legs which made my legs feel like jello
2) Today's food intake was not nearly enough to accommodate 2+ hours of effort
3) Stupid cyclist that I passed decided he didn't want to get toasted by a triathlete, so he sped up and we took turns passing each other until he backed down after 5 miles of hard effort
4) It was hotter (84 degrees) than it has been all season
5) Headwinds that hit you on your way out AND on your way back suck

Lessons Learned
1) If leg weight sessions happen on same day as a ride, ride should be short and hard, versus long and hard
2) When planning 2 workouts throughout the day or 1 long (2+ hours) workout, make sure food intake is above average
3) Don't let idiot cyclists affect your workout. Throw a stick in their spokes and you will never see them again ;)
4) Continue long workouts when it is hot to get body used to warmer temps

Monday, March 26, 2007

My week in review - Week 7

Its time again for the week in review. First race is the books. It was nice to get a feel for a race situation and to start it off with a PR was a bonus. With the nice weather on Sunday, I really wanted to spend some time outside. I tired to go mountain biking, but about 10 minutes in and broke my derailleur hanger. Not so fun. So I drove back home and decided to go for a brick workout. Took the road bike out for an hour spin and then went on a 30 minute run. legs felt a bit tight, mainly due to the race from Saturday. It was nice to stretch it out though and I feel a lot better today because of it. So without further ado, lets get to the numbers for this week:

Swim: 4100 yards (Goal: 4000 yards)
Bike: 3 hours (Goal: 2 hours)
Run: 14.7 miles (Goal: 12 miles)
Weight Sessions: 1 (Goal: 2 sessions)
Time: 7 hours (Goal: 6 hours)

With more nice weather on tap for the week, I'd like to get some more time on the bike outside. Ideally, I'd mix in some mountain biking, but I need to take it to the shop and see how long they will take to fix it. Either way, I'm going to start a focus week with the bike. I also want to keep up the swimming, so this means less running. Goals for the week:

Swim: 4200 yards
Bike: 5 hours
Run: 5 miles
Weight Sessions: 2
Time: 8 hours

That's all for me. Have a great week!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Scope It Out 5k Race Report

Despite my concerns yesterday about the rough start, today's race was excellent. We had so many things to consider for this morning: what time to wake up, how to get to the race, whats the weather going to be like, what should we eat for breakfast. The funny thing about this race is that it was only 2 miles away from my apartment and we still had to get up at 5:30 am for a race that started at 8:30! The one problem: the National Marathon was also being run today, so most of the streets in DC were closed. It all seemed to work out though, except for the weather. Great running temps in the low 50s, but the misty rain didn't make for great splashing in the face.

We got to the race site with more than an hour to spare, so we did a small warm up and walked around until they were ready to start lining up. The race was nicely organized and made sure to stagger runners by pace, so that runners in the front were 5:00 min/mile pace, behind them were 6:00 min/mile pace, and so on. I decided to line up in the 6 min/mile pace group, since I'm somewhere between 6:00 - 7:00 mile pace for a 5k.

The gun went off and it was a quick start. Unfortunately, some of the people in the 5 min/mile group should not have been there and I had to weave my way through them. That has always been one of my pet peeves for race etiquette. Maybe its just me, but its a lot more encouraging to start a little back and pick people off one by one. After the first 1/2 mile I was part of larger group of about 15 runners, who were back from the 2 leaders way ahead. We all pretty much stayed close the rest of the race, which was nice to have. I kept my eyes on the people in front of me, knowing that I could easily pick them off at the end if I stayed with them. As a sprinter in my former life, I can kick it into high gear, if necessary. We hit the first mile marker and I read 6:20 on my watch. I was happy with that, knowing that I'd slow down a bit, but within my goal pace.

We hit the turnaround point and my legs felt a little heavy. Since we had to actually turn around, it took me out of my flow in the race and I needed a bunch of strides to get back to pace. Once we hit mile marker 2, I knew the end was near. A brief look down at my watch showed that I was a little off pace, but still on target for my goal time. We hit the long straight road back to the finish and I started to open it up. I picked off about 3-4 people. Within a couple hundred yards, I started my sprint and passed by 2 more people.

My official time was 20:06, but I got 20:00 on my watch. The irony, and I kid you not, was that my goal time was to break 20:00. So close! This wasn't really based on any goal miles per minute, but based on my previous experience running cross country in high school. Back in the day, I'd run in the high 18s to low 19s. I don't consider that a realistic goal, because I am not training for 5k races, just running a few of them for fun. So I set my goal for under 20:00. I will note that in my RECENT life (ie not high school), the fastest 5k I've run was 21:26, so my new time destroyed that. Here are the stats on the race:
Place Div/Tot  Num     Name       Age   Gun T Net T    Pace
36 13/169 1525 Adam Lesser 27 20:07 20:06 6:28

After I finished, I waited around for my TT to finish. As I watched the
official clock tick
toward her range, I started walking up the last stretch
to give her some
cheering. I spotted her with only a little to go and
encouraged her to pick off
a few people on the homestretch. As I ran
with her through her last steps she kicked it up a notch and passed one
more
right before the finish line. It was a great finish and she ended
with a great time of 28:28.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Tick, Tick, Tick....

I case it wasn't clear by the title, thats the countdown to my first race of the season. Yea, its just a 5k, but it is a race nonetheless. When I originally signed up for this race (paid for by my employer btw) I figured it would be a small race of a couple hundred people. After all, 5k races happen just about every weekend at Haines Point in DC, so why would this be any different from previous races that I have participated in? So yesterday, when I went to the website to see the number of people registered, I was astounded by the number. 1600 people! Now for anyone who has run a marathon or some of the more well known races, this isn't that large at all. But Haines Point does not have a wide road, so its going to be an interesting start. We had 35,000 to start the Army 10 Miler last year, but that started out on a 4 lane highway. This is barely 1 lane! Wish me luck trying to break free from the pack tomorrow....

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Putting Your Mind At Ease

You know those days when you just wish you could be someone else, or at least be somewhere else but where you are? I had one of those days today. No no, don't worry...this has nothing to do with questioning why I tri. Believe me, triathlon is one of the few things that keeps me sane right now...well aside from my loving girlfriend. Sometimes you have those days at work where you just really want to escape to another life or situation. And its always those days that tend to drag on and on. They seem like they will never end. All day long I kept repeating to myself, "Once the day is over, you can escape from it all by letting your mind go during the workout. There is a light at the end of the tunnel." And that is exactly what I have been doing.

You see, triathlon training is one of those things that gives me a break from the crap I have to deal with during the day. It brings relief to me in a way not many others things can. Yea sure I am working hard during my workout and the hard workouts hurt. But regardless of the workout, its the ability to release from all the worries of the day and focus on being one with your body and mind. During my hour long run today, the only thing I was thinking about was being smooth and steady. Smooth in form and steady in speed.

And this brings me to my discovery today. I have a new mantra. Last year, it was "one step at a time". When I would get tired, all I'd have to say to myself is, "Think about your next stroke, next revolution, or next stride" and that is what it took for me to get through anything. Take things one step at a time.

Now that last year is in the past, its time for a new mantra to drive me when I need mental motivation to keep pushing my limits. This year's mantra is "smooth and steady". So although my life at the office has been increasingly frustrating of late, once I leave, I can put my mind at ease and focus on being "smooth and steady".

So what's yours?

Another solid swim...but frustrating

Yesterday, TT and I went for our usual Tuesday swim. Tuesdays are typically drill work. So the focus today for me was on keeping with proper form on the pull, since I need to somewhat reinvent my stroke to eliminate my shoulder pain. Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to the day when I don't have to think about making sure my elbow is high and my pull goes down the line of my body. But the early going tweaks of a stroke result in slower swimming. It really isn't much of a drop in time and efficiency, but it is noticeable. My distances are maintaining the same, but I am a bit more winded as a result. I know I just need to keep plugging away, and eventually I will be swimming more efficiently and faster. Until then, it will continue to be frustrating...

Monday, March 19, 2007

My week in review - Week 6

Its about that time again. The weekly recap. This week started off a little shaky with the sore shoulder problem, had strong improvement, and then trailed off toward the end. St. Patricks Day took quite a bit out of me, since I don't go out drinking much. Sunday was a recovery day in every sense, so I could not get any closer to my goals for the week. Progress continues, despite the lighter week. I swam 2000 yards nonstop, the longest I've gone this season. I also had my first brick workout of the season (1 hr bike, 30 min run). So I still managed to do a lot of things I set out to do in my goals for the week. Its just the numbers that didn't add up. So here they are:

Swim: 4000 yards (Goal: 3750 yards)
Bike: 2 hours (Goal: 3 hours)
Run: 11.2 miles (Goal: 15 miles)
Weight Sessions: 1 session (Goal: 2 sessions)
Time: 6 hours (Goal: 8 hours)

I don't expect much of an increase this week, if any. TT and I have a fun 5k planned for Saturday, which means that a typical long day will become a LT workout in a race setting. It will be a nice time trial to see where I'm at, but building endurance is always good at this stage too. One of the nice things about working for a large company is that they sponsor a lot of activities. With a very active base, the running club for my company sponsors a variety of races throughout the area (free entry fees). This will be my first race of the season, so I'm pretty stoked. We've also got a triathlon club, and cycling club but the majority of sponsored events are for running only it seems. However, I'm always willing to sign up for an extra race or two if my company wants to foot the bill! A healthy employee is a happy employee I guess.

So the goals for this week are:

Swim: 4000 yards
Bike: 2 hours
Run: 12 miles
Weight Sessions: 2
Time: 6 hours

Good luck with your training and have a great week!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St Patricks Day

So its kinda late...well its been a long day. Started with Piper waking me up at 4:30, when he decided to lick my face. Thought I could go back asleep, but to no avail, I stayed awake. This morning, we went to spinning at the gym...the usual Saturday morning workout when weather gets in the way. After that, we made it a nice brick workout, and ran on the treadmill for a solid 30 minutes. I felt really good after the hour class and 30 minutes of running at 8:00 - 8:30 pace.

After our workout we moved on to the next step of our day...the triathlon road show. This week, the one tri store in the area had a big sale this weekend, with reps from major bike manufacturers and wheel specialists. Normally, a workout follows some time on the couch. But since in was St. Patricks Day, we had much to cover, in addition to the triathlon road show. So we went to the show, and both TT and I got shorts that were marked 50% off! What a great deal. If we had more time, it would have been nice, but drinking takes precedence.

We made it my coworkers party for some early drinks. After an hour or so, we headed back toward Arlington to another party. 4 hours later, we met up with the same friends at a local bar. And that is where I spent the rest of the afternoon. Good brews and a good band. Once it started getting late (7:30) we decided it was time to go home so we could eat.

Am I going to meet my goals for this week? Well, I need to run about 5 miles...given the weather, not so much. What about riding? Uh...nasty out there. NO! Not so high on the expectations for tomorrow either...

Friday, March 16, 2007

A Blessing in Disguise

I'd first like to thank Robin and Kyilie for their insight and advice for my shoulder issue. I went to this pool this morning (despite the AWFUL downpour..better than snow I guess) to test out their advice. Basically, I need to make sure the pull component of my stroke stayed along the line of my body and that I maintained a high elbow throughout the pull, so I don't use the "other" shoulder muscles. Sure enough, it worked! The only time I felt pain was when my form broke down and got lazy toward the end of my swim. Today's plan was an endurance swim and I managed to go the full 2000 yards, as I had hoped. The best part about this pain, is that it forces me to use proper form all the time, which only strengthens my swim ability (or lack thereof).

That is, unless I'm feeling sadistic and want to the feel pain...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Good and Bad News About Today's Workout

Which do you want first: the good or the bad? Since I prefer to smooth over the bad with the good, we'll go with the bad first.

The Bad: My shoulder started to bother me about 3/4 of the way into the workout. I'm hoping I didn't irritate an old shoulder injury from playing rugby for 5 years. Basically, I used to have some pretty bad joint pain in my rotator cuff. The result of lots of pounding...er...tackling. It really hasn't bothered me since I stopped playing rugby in college. I'm not sure why it was bothering me, but it was mainly on the pull component of the swim.

I'm open to any suggestions?

The Good: It was actually a really productive workout until the shoulder started to hurt. Today's workout was a pyramid of intervals: 100, 300, 500, 300, 100. Each one increasing in intensity and pace. Almost every set was done with excellent form and power (from my perspective) and I was really feeling the water. With warm up and drills, I got in 2000 yards. Would have gone more though, if I didn't have the shoulder pain. And if I wasn't so scatterbrained and in a rush to get out the door, I probably would have remembered to bring my watch. And I KNOW these sets were faster than any of my previous workouts.

I'll just have to take the good for now and look forward to the next workout, which will include my watch. I'm just hoping the pain recedes enough to let me continue to swim. I know...don't push it if it hurts. I won't mom...

Monday, March 12, 2007

My week in review - Week 5

Another great week of workouts. With more time from daylight now, the totals can only go up. I am seeing significant improvements in all aspects. My swim endurance is good, my cycling form is much more efficient, and I keep pushing myself to new limits on my runs. Stats for the week:
  • Swim: 3500 yards (goal: 3500 yards)
  • Bike: 2 hours (goal: 2 hours)
  • Run: 16.2 miles (goal: 15 miles)
  • Weight Sessions: 2 (goal: 2)
  • Time: 7 hours (goal: 8 hours)
This is the first week where I hit ALL my goals! Now let's take a look at the week ahead:
  • Swim: 3750 yards
  • Bike: 3 hours
  • Run: 15 miles
  • Weight Sessions: 2
  • Time: 8 hours
I'd like to start incorporating more brick workouts into my routine this week. I feel like I've developed a great base and brick workouts are the next level to build onto my base. It is also more efficient use of my workout time.

Have a great week and enjoy the extra daylight hours!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Scenic Morning Run

I sometimes take for granted the area I live in. When I think about where I should go on my runs and bike rides, I have a lot of options. Sure, I have my usual loop or two, but its the surroundings that I take for granted. Arlington, VA is just over the river from Washington DC. Specifically, the area I live in is about a mile jog into the city. So when I consider where I want to run or bike, I can ride trails in Virginia or in DC. In total, there's several hundred miles of dedicated trails (without having to compete with cars) for runners, cyclists, and the occasional roller blader (who do not seem to understand the rules of the road).

This morning, my intention was to go for a 10 mile run that consisted of heading into DC, around the Capitol building, and back. Instead, I stayed on the Virginia side and went along the Mount Vernon trail. The Mount Vernon trail is one of many trails in the DC area. It snakes along the Potomac River from Arlington, VA down to Mount Vernon, site of George Washington's estate. It's approximately 18 miles each way, through mostly asphalt paved trails. Unfortunately, its also one of the more congested trails in the country, especially once the tourist season begins in a few months. So that is why now is the best time to enjoy it. Nothing like seeing the early sun shine across the Potomac as a cool breeze keeps the sweat from dripping off your face. Notable sights along the way include: Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, the Potomac River, Arlington Cemetery, Iwo Jima Memorial, Navy-Marine Memorial, lush wetlands, and Reagan National Airport to name a few. If you enjoy taking in scenery with varying sights to keep your attention going, then the Mount Vernon trail is for you.

The result of my run included running down to the airport, where you can literally stand under planes as they take off, and back to Arlington. The majority of the first few miles are downhill as you head toward the Potomac, but after that, its rolling hills. However, the way back to Arlington is all up hill, so it makes for a nice last few miles of hills on tired legs.

Numbers for today's run:

Distance: 10 miles
Time: 1 hour 25 min
Pace: 8:35 min/mile

I was pretty satisfied with the results. I ran the Army 10 Miler last October at the end of the season and finished in about 1:20, only slightly faster than today's run. Given people to pace with and the mentality of a race, I'm sure I could hit that time relatively easily. I'm looking forward to the GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler coming up in April in hopes I can get under 1:20.

A meal to add to the rotation

In celebration of the earlier daylight savings, we decided to do a little grilling last night for dinner. The result: turkey burgers, topped with avocados and grilled onions. I will definitely be adding this to the items on my standard meal rotation!

Happy daylight savings and enjoy the extra hour!

Friday, March 9, 2007

The ultimate revenge

Last December, TT and I adopted a kitten...er...cat from a local animal rescue league. We were told Piper was a kitten (4 months old), but by the time we adopted him, his file stated he was 7 months old. We went to the vet to have his first check up, and we were told he was a year old. OK fine, so he's not a kitten, he's an adolescent male. Piper is one of those cats that is more dog than cat. He'll see you approaching from the window and he'll run to be right at the door the second you open it. He also is an attention snob. He constantly demands attention. If you are thinking about anything but him, he'll make sure you notice him. Take for example, picture A below:

Rather than allowing me to type on my computer, he enjoys sitting on it. Makes sense to me... Not only does he sit on it, but he sits on the keyboard, so I couldn't even type if I wanted to. Ever wonder what happens when you hit every key at once? It makes a noise that goes "Beep Beep Beep...". Go ahead, you know you want to try it. The best part is that he hears the noise when he steps on it, and just sits there because he knows that he is king of the moment.

When not grabbing the attention of those in the room, Piper is either eating, sleeping, or sitting on his perch where he can make sure he sees all that is going on. You see, if something gets out of hand, he'll be the first one to jump into the situation to say "Look at me! Remember me! What about me!". Here is example B, where Piper hears a noise and leaves his perch to go investigate.

And much like a dog, Piper enjoys a good game of ball. Whether its stalking a rolling golf ball, or chasing his toy mouse, if you throw it, he'll go after it. Picture this, only as a cat and the cat rarely catches the ball. The game only stops when one of us actually hits Piper in the head...by accident. Example C shows Piper stalking out the "crazy" golf ball that just seems to roll and roll.

Where was I....oh yea...back to the ultimate revenge. As much fun as Piper is, he seems to find it amusing to wake me up whenever he feels like it. And being the attention snob that he is, he has found new ways of getting my attention in the morning. It started with a simple meow. And if I didn't hear that one, he'd come closer to my face and it would be a bit louder. Then it escalated to pretending that my legs are mice and attacking them, even though they weren't moving. What else does Piper have up his sleeve, you ask? After he has tried ALL of these options, he will intentionally knock things off my night stand. For example, my tv remote, stereo remote, glasses, and anything else that happens to be on there. But its the way he does it that makes it so hilarious. He'll knock them off one at a time. After he taps one, he'll look back at me to see if I have moved yet. No movement...down goes the next item and so on. You get the idea.

So this morning, I had the ultimate revenge on Piper. I decided to go for an early morning swim before work. I woke up at 6 am, without the alarm clock (that's the key to my revenge). Got out of bed and noticed that Mr. Piper has not yet budged. I think to myself, "Now is the chance to get him back for all those mornings..." So I poked and prodded until HE woke up. He looked at me with disgust, I kid you not. I was getting stared down by a cat, who was surely saying "WTF was that! Its not time yet!"

So I got my revenge on him...but the question now is, will he respect my sleeping until the alarm goes off, or will he continue to pester me with his games? I might just have to go swimming in the morning more often ;)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

To run...or to bike...that is the question

I was faced with a difficult situation today. Realizing that I have neither run nor biked yet this week, I knew I'd have to do one or the other. And since we were lucky enough to be graced with some March snow (sarcasm), either one would be done inside. I have said it once and I'll say it again, I despise running on the treadmill. With a goal of 15 miles of running this week, I knew I'd have to log some miles today in order to get close to that goal. Spinning, on the other hand, is enjoyable. I've planned for 2 hours of biking this week, so a spin session would leave more time to hit the other areas the rest of the week. But which to choose?

This afternoon, as my luck would have it, I was able to end work early. I decided that I wanted to get a spin class in, since the instructor today was pretty good. But I also realized that I had about an hour till that class started. So I packed up my gear and headed to the gym. I spent about 45 minutes on the treadmill, but fortunately I brought my mp3 player, so the time went by a bit faster. In total, I logged 6.1 miles.

Shortly after I finished running, I noticed that the spin instructor was walking toward the room, so I jumped over there to make sure I got one of the good bikes. You never know what you are going to get at my gym, because it is so crowded and there are only about 10 good bikes out of about 75 total in the class. So I was happy to head right in as she opened the door. Nothing like getting a money spot for class. So I continued to ride once I got in and got in a solid 20 minutes of riding before the class started. When it was all said and done, I rode for about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

So today, it was a little bit from column A and a little bit from column B.
  • 6.1 miles run
  • 1:10 bike

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Its cold outside...let's go swimming!

With temps sinking into 20s, snow in the forecast, and the windchills below zero, what else can I do but go swimming today? I guess I wasn't the only one who had the same thoughts. I got the pool right around the same time as I normally do after work, which is around 5:30. Usually the only thing to watch out for are the high school teams that are practicing, but they only take up a few of the lanes. Today, the high schoolers had the right 3 lanes, little babies were taking up the left 2 lanes. In the middle were a total of 3 lanes for everyone else. Normally when my tri-trainee (TT) and I go swimming, we are able to get a lane together to share and carry out our workouts as planned. Today was the first day where we had to split up and do our own thing. I was able to jump into a lane with 2 other guys and she found another lane 2 over from me. I know some people have it way worse than us at their pools, so I shouldn't really complain that I had to share a lane with 2 other people. However, I've become a pool snob lately since nobody has been showing up, so I have every right to complain now that they decided all of the sudden to appear out of nowhere.

Alright, on to the workout. Today we had very limited in time because TT had to go to her quartet practice, so I decided to do an endurance swim today and see how far I could go in the 30 minutes we had. For me at this point, swim endurance workout = 30 minutes. What I need to work on is continuing my form and efficiency throughout extended length swims. It became very noticeable today, because one of the guys in my lane was super fast and blew by me pretty frequently. However, he was doing sets of 50 yard sprints and then taking breaks after each, so I don't feel so bad about it. Today was also the first time this season that I brought a watch with me into the pool. I was more curious of my splits than anything else, to give me some sort of measuring stick for where I am today, versus my splits in the future.

The result was an average split of 2:02/100 yards throughout the 1500 yard swim I managed. My splits were actually spot on for each 500 yard interval, which at least shows consistency even when I started to get tired. Last year, the furthest I swam in an endurance workout was 2000 yards, so I'm glad with where I am. So my takeaways from today are:

- Continue building up my endurance
- Keep working on my efficiency
- Don't forget to bring my watch, so I can monitor my progress

Its supposed to snow tomorrow...fun...so what should I do: spinning or run on the treadmill?

Monday, March 5, 2007

My week in review - Week 4

Time to look back at this past month's training and see how things went. Intensity picked up significantly and I'm happy to report that my body feels fine. I started with swim workouts in the 1200 yard range, rides of 20-30 miles, and runs of 5 miles. Highlights of my workouts this week include: a 2000 yard swim, 52.4 mile bike, and an 8 mile tempo run. Total numbers:

- Hours: 8.5 hours (8 planned)
- Swim: 3200 yards (goal: 3500)
- Bike: 3.5 hours - 3.5 hours (goal: 2 hours)
- Run: 13 miles (goal: 10 miles)
- Weight sessions: 1 (goal: 2)

Considering I was sick early in the week, my totals are impressive. I got an early week swim in, however it was shortened due to my cold. I hit 2000 yards for the first time this season in another workout later in the week. My big bike ride (couldn't spend Saturday any other way) was the longest ride I've done in more than a year and I felt pretty good (minus the pain the arse toward the end). I went on an 8+ mile tempo run, which is the best run I've had since the Army 10 Miler last October. Very excited about the week ahead to continue increasing my totals.

- Total hours: 8
- Swim: 3500 yards
- Bike: 2 hours
- Run: 15 miles
- Weight sessions: 2

Have a great week!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Outside at Last!

With the weather finally moderating all week, I figured this Saturday would be a great opportunity to get a good outside ride in. I haven't taken Blue outside since my final race last season. Although I rode my mountain bike (he needs a name too), spinning has been my sole source of riding time for the off season. So today was really an opportunity to see if all the inside work I have been doing would pay off. Although I still need some more time to get a better feel for the road, I'd say that my base is already there. I was consistent throughout and happily surprised that I was able to go as far as I could.

OK, so the numbers. Since precious doesn't have her speed/cadence sensor yet, I used the old trusty cyclocomputer that has been on Blue since I've had him.

Total distance: 52.3 miles
Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Avg HR: 139 bpm
Avg Speed: 20.92 mph

It was pretty windy today, but the wind didn't really start to kick up until later in my ride when it was at my back. I normally do not ride 20 mph, so was pretty shocked by the totals. I am usually in the 18-19 mph range. I'll take it, but I think the tailwind deserves the credit. Avg HR was right where it should be too. Check out the graph below to see the whole ride.

Friday, March 2, 2007

The Worst Workout Music

With so many discussions about the best songs that inspire the epic workouts everyone dreams of, I figured I'd look into the idea of the worst workout songs to listen to or have in your head. Why? Because this afternoon, I may have had the worst song ever in my head.

It all started with my drive home from work. Listening to the radio, I found some good hard rock songs that tend to get me going for my workouts. Normally, a little Linkin Park hits the spot, but I'm fine with most top 40 songs, as long as they have a good beat. So when I tuned into my normal radio station, they were playing Linkin Park. Perfect, right? Not so fast. Just as I was getting out of my car, the radio cut to a promo for a stupid show on tv. While advertising said stupid show, they played a quick clip of the song that the show is named after. So after listening to several great songs to have in my head and getting pumped up for my long run, what is ringing through my head as I begin my run? "Your the one that I want..." is all I can hear in my head and there is nothing I can do. No Linkin Park, no top 40 hits. Just that stupid Grease song. I tired singing over it, but it just wouldn't go away.

So that begs the question: What are the WORST workout songs to have in your head? I'll start the list:
  1. You're the one that I want - from Grease
Despite having that horrendous song in my head, I still managed to run just over 8 miles, averaging just under 8:30 pace. Of course, I forgot to hit start on my watch for the first half mile, so you will see a nice jump in the beginning of my run when I hit start mid jog. In all, the run felt great. Lots of rolling hills and what seemed to be a pretty stiff headwind for most of the run. The good news was that my heart rate held steady the whole time and I could have kept going. Now if I could only get that darn song out of my head...
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