Saturday, May 31, 2008

Trying to Acclimatize

You wouldn't think that you'd have to acclimatize for a race that is only a few hours away, but because of nature's ways, acclimatizing is the only way Eagleman is going to be a success for me. You see, we actually had a spring this year, unlike many of the previous years.
  • The good: great weather for getting outside and logging some serious hours.
  • The bad: Once summer hits, its a whole different ballgame.
Well, now that Memorial Day is past us, nature decided its time for summer. Today's forecast called for temps in the upper 80s, winds near 20 mph, and nothing but sun. Sound familiar to typical conditions somewhere? Thats more or less the forecast for next week's race. If its cooler, less windy, or more cloudy, all the better. But I'm not planning on it. So with only a week to go before my race, I decided I needed to get out and start acclimatizing to the heat, wind and sun so I can be as prepared as possible come race day.

The plan: Go for a hard 1.5k swim to have some fatigue in my legs and then go out for a 10 mile run. I didn't want to push too hard on the run, so I went out easy the first half at my realistic race pace for Eagleman and then picked it up to faster than race pace for the next 3 miles, before cooling down for the last 2 miles. It wasn't an easy run to say the least. The heat (heat index of 88) and humidity (about 70%) combined to make breathing a bit harder than anything I've been training in this season. Throw in relentless sun and wind, along with the added wind of running along the Potomac River, and it made for a challenging run.

I pulled through in the end, hitting right at my realistic race pace including my cool down, so I was definitely holding faster than race pace for the majority of the run. I really wanted to push the last 2 miles, but I didn't want to risk straining anything, so I threw my competitive mindset away in my fuel belt and comfortably made my way home. Over the next couple of days, I plan to try to get in some more hours in this weather, just so my body can adapt.

Leave it to nature to wait till a week out from the race before turning hot. Better late than never. I just hope its enough time.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Its Like I'm Stalking Him...

Which I'm not...but another Fenty article...and an opportunity to run with him...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/29/AR2008052901689.html?hpid=topnews

Sunday Morning Run

Keeping Up With the Fentys


Friday, May 30, 2008; Page WE05

For a lot of people, Sunday mornings are about sleeping in, reading the newspaper and hanging out with family. For others, like those who gather for a five-mile run at Fleet Feet in Adams Morgan, Sunday mornings are about getting outside, moving around and socializing.

"It's more fun to run with people," said Sandra Holmberg, 32, a teacher from Northwest Washington who joined the group one recent Sunday and said she was "not a big runner."

For 24 years, ever since Phil and Jan Fenty (that's D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's mom and dad) opened Fleet Feet, runners of all speeds have gathered Sunday mornings at 9.

"We emphasize social. Run at a speed you can talk," said store manager Shawn Fenty, 43, who has been running with the group regularly for about two years.

"Speed you can talk" varies from 6 1/2 - to 12 1/2 -minute miles. (Don't be intimidated if the mayor's older brother rolls up on his red Cervélo bike with aerobars. He welcomes all runners, but he may sprint by you.) "Spring hits, and a lot of people feel like they want to get out," Shawn Fenty said on a recent Sunday. The city's chief executive rarely comes, opting to make Sunday mornings "family time," his brother said.

Many people come with friends, but Jimmy Hrobowski, 40, a personal trainer, met his running buddy and fellow seven-minute-miler through the group. Every Sunday when he walks into the store, he looks for John Sharretts, 41, a researcher at Washington Hospital Center. "I need someone to run at a consistent pace," Hrobowski said. "I can't run by myself."

The route varies week to week, with about 10 five-mile courses. Sometimes route sheets are available, but even without them, it's not hard to keep someone ahead of you in your sights.

About 20 runners gathered recently, some stretching, some socializing. As everyone started the route (down Adams Mill Road, across the bridge and into Rock Creek Park, up to P Street, then 14th Street to Euclid Street and back to Columbia Road), natural groups formed, and most everyone found someone they could run and talk with.

One of the best reasons to run with a group is for the advice you can get. After the run, Shawn Fenty spoke with one runner about triathlons, while others chatted about races they have done or want to do. Fenty will also let you buy anything you might need. (The store doesn't open until noon.) "Everyone just convenes here. They're nice," said Kim Mitchell, 47, a management consultant from Silver Spring. She and friend Karen Stokes have been running Sundays with the Fleet Feet group for the past few years. She credits the group for "getting me back into running."

-- Moira E. McLaughlin

Where is it?1841 Columbia Rd. NW

What's it cost? Free.

If you have more time? Chances are you'll be done running by 10. That's a perfect time to throw on a sweatshirt and head to Perrys at 1811 Columbia Rd. NW for brunch and a drag queen show. (Don't worry, there's no dress code.) Get there between 10 and 10:15 to be in line when the doors open at 10:30. The buffet brunch is $22.95 but does not include mimosas or bloody marys. The crew performs starting at 11.

DC Mayor Fenty: A Model for Fitness

This was from an article in the Washington Post today. Just goes to show how a healthy lifestyle can be mixed into the lives of even the most busy people.

Fenty's Fitness for Office
The Discipline That D.C. Mayor Brings to Cycling, Running Also Marks Politics, Some Say

By David Nakamura
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 30, 2008; B01

It's a part of his routine that Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has tried to keep private from Washington.

Many know that Fenty (D), a triathlete, likes to start his mornings with an early run three times a week. But what's little known are his twice-weekly midday cycling and swimming sessions, reserved by his staff as two-hour blocks of personal time.

Racing across town yesterday from a news conference in Southeast Washington, Fenty guided his maroon Trailblazer to the curb of his brother's house in Northwest. It was shortly after noon, and Fenty was ready to join D.C. Velo, a competitive cycling team, for its training session through Rock Creek Park. The mayor rushed inside, shed his navy blue suit and emerged in a skintight, red-white-and-blue cycling uniform.

"You've got to squeeze it in. If it's a priority, you'll find the time," Fenty said of his workout after he had completed a 33.8-mile course in about 90 minutes. "To be honest, there are times I wish I could be out there longer."

Fenty regards these sessions as strictly private, although some of his critics might wonder what the city's top elected official is up to during those four hours each week.

According to mayoral aides, Fenty doesn't even tell them what he's up to when he heads off to cycle around Hains Point or swim laps at Yates Field House at Georgetown University. Occasionally, during afternoon staff meetings, some aides have noticed lines on Fenty's face left by tight swimming goggles, but no one had the guts to ask about them, they said.

Still, mayoral spokeswoman Carrie Brooks defended her boss's right to take some time off, considering that he often logs 12-hour days. Yesterday, for example, Fenty began his day with a 6:45 a.m. appearance on a television show and ended it with a 7 p.m. community meeting in Georgetown, she said.

If anything, the mayor's training partners said, his exercise regimen is a metaphor for his governing style: disciplined, relentless, willing to work hard. In his personal fitness campaign, the commitment is evident in the times he is clocking in weekend road races. This year, he ran his personal best for 10 miles (65 minutes) and the marathon (3 hours 40 minutes), and his triathlon times are better than ever.

"I connect that athletic discipline to his professional pursuits," said Charles Brodsky, founder of the Nation's Triathlon, who often trains with Fenty.

The mayor invites anyone who can keep up to join his morning runs. But the cycling group consists strictly of D.C. Velo teammates, and Fenty was initially reluctant to allow a reporter to observe.

The group yesterday consisted of his older brother Shawn Fenty, who manages their parents' athletic-shoe store; Sgt. Kenneth Young, the Marine Corps' 2008 male athlete of the year; semiprofessional triathlete Espen Kateraas (who has a Web site); lawyers Mark Sommers and Jeff Horowitz; health coach Lloyd Henry; and graduate student Michelle Harburg, the sole woman.

After departing from Shawn Fenty's house, the pack made its way across 13th Street, left on Arkansas Avenue, about seven miles through Rock Creek Park, then out to a three-mile loop around Hains Point, where it filed into a larger group of about 50 cyclists. Fenty, though a novice by competitive cycling standards, kept up with the pack, which traveled up to 30 mph.

Harburg, who began running and biking with Fenty after a mutual friend brought her to a training session, said Fenty rarely falls behind. "The only time I saw him get dropped was [the day] after he had run a marathon or had some really hard race," she said.

Fenty, 37, who has been running competitively since high school, took up cycling a few years ago after joining Shawn on a training ride during a family vacation.

"He had a ball," Shawn, 43, said. And he invested in an expensive, carbon-fiber Cannondale.

At 6 feet and 180 pounds, Fenty appears the picture of fit, but he hasn't always been that way. In 2000 -- the year his twin sons were born, he wrapped up a long campaign for a D.C. Council seat, and he and his wife renovated their kitchen -- Fenty did not run a single time. He also reached about 215 pounds, Shawn said.

By late 2001, however, Fenty was putting in the mileage again. He was in the midst of training for a marathon in 2003 when he fainted at a news conference held to announce anti-smoking legislation; that's why he is so often seen with a bottle of VitaminWater, colleagues said.

These days, Fenty's weekly training regimen includes one or two long-distance runs, a "speed workout" at the track at Gallaudet University, a couple of cycling sessions and a swim.

By the time Fenty was back at his brother's house yesterday it was almost 2 p.m. He dismounted, went inside for a shower and emerged in his suit, red tie carefully knotted. Aide Veronica Washington returned with the sport-utility vehicle.

Fenty then drove off to a news conference at a nearby firehouse to announce fireworks regulations. As the cameras rolled, beads of sweat glistened on his head.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Columbia Triathlon Race Pictures

These are the official pictures from the race. Some great shots, some not so great shots. Enjoy!

Why are these swim caps so tight! Worst. Picture. Ever.

Sweet, sub 30 minute swim!


Goggles: check, swim cap: check, time to start taking off the wetsuit

Roaring back toward transition at the end of the bike

Around mile 3 just before the big hills
Happy to finish and feelin good!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Race Report: Columbia Triathlon

First triathlon of the 2008 season is behind me. Really, it was a chance to kick all the cobwebs off, practice transitions, nutrition, and race day mental preparedness. As I begin to build for Eagleman, Columbia was a test of where I'm at.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Columbia Triathlon, it is one of the largest triathlons in the Mid Atlantic region and definitely attracts the most competitive field in this area. This year, it was a qualifing race for the Best of the US competition later this year. Competing in the mens Pro race this year were eventual mens winner and new course record holder Chris Lieto and Chris McCormack among others. In the womens Pro race, winner and new course record holder Rebecca Wassner and Desiree Ficker were among the strong field.

Pre Race
Because of the larger number of competitors (approx 2300), the race had a billion swim waves, starting with the pros at just after 6:45 am. This meant, we had to be all set up in the transition area by about that time, because they officially closed the transition area once the race began. Unfortunately, my swim wave didn't go off until 7:55, so not only did I have to watch an hour's worth of swim waves go before me, but it meant I had to be at the race site butt early so I could be set up before they closed transition. This translated to a 3:30 am wake up and I was at the race site by just before 5 am as they were opening up the transition area.

Seeing as this is a new year, I figured its time to start trying new things in my race day preparations. Over the past few years of competing in triathlons, I've discovered more about what doesn't work for me than what does work. So this year, I've started switching things up a bit. I recently discovered a new calorie intensive breakfast that is both a treat and seemed to sit easily with me (I tired it a few weeks ago before my open water swim clinic to make sure my stomach was ok in the water). The magic formula was Trader Joe's gluten free frozen pancakes (250 calories), topped with almost a tablespoon of reduced fat peanut butter on each of the 3 pancakes (approx 380 calories) and low sugar maple syrup (150 calories). After doing some basic math in my head, this works out to about 780 calories. Of course, this was eaten at 3:45 in the morning, almost 4 hours before my race, but I've had it as close as 2.5 hours before starting and it still seemed to sit well. Throughout the remainder of the morning, I sipped on 24 ounces of GU2O (200 calories), 24 ounces of water, ate a trail mix bar (140 calories) about an hour before my swim wave, and popped a gel (100 calories) about 20 minutes before my race started. In all, I topped myself off with about 1200 calories race morning.

Swim
I joined all the other neon green cappers in swim wave 9 (15-19, 25-29, and 50-54) out of 12 swim waves as we slowly waited in line to jump into Centennial Lake. A few days prior to the race, they to the first turn buoy. I have to admit, looking at the swim course in advance of the race, it seemed longer than 1.5k. However, based on my time and experience in the water, it felt just right. Prior to the race they advertised the water temperature to be about 68 degrees. Apparently, they claimed the race day temperature was 71 degrees. After the past week of flood causing rains, let me tell you that the water was NOT anywhere close to that. It was maybe 65 in a warm spot (which there were plenty of while treading water before the horn blasted;) ) I placed myself toward the right in the middle/back of what seemed like a huge swim wave, since the course curves to the right, with the buoys on the left. Once the horn went off, it was a jumble as usual to get into any kind of rhythm. I found myself catching feet and ankles for the first couple hundred yards as we headed out. At one point, someone grabbed my ankle and proceeded to pull down my ankle chip. Seeing as I prefer to have an official time for the race, as well as not be forced to pay $35 for a lost chip set, I had to stop and float on my back for a minute to re-fasten the velcro strap. Once I did that, it was back to swimming As swimmers get toward the end of the lake, the swim course does a u shaped turn back the other way past the swim entry, around a small island and toward another boat ramp on the other side of the lake. As usual, there was a lot of commotion at the buoys for each turn to head back the other way, and I got kicked, grabbed, and punched a few times, but nothing bad. By that point, I had enough of the contact, and swam wide right of the buoys to allow me to get into my flow and enjoy the swim. And thats exactly what I did....till I hit rock. I was swimming along with a few other people smart enough to stay a few yards away from the main pack of swimmers, and we got to a section right around the island, when I hit rock with my hand as I went into the pull phase of my stroke. Maybe thats why they stayed closer to the buoys? This lasted about 5-7 strokes before I got past it, but it threw me off the zone I was in. As I was breathing, I looked to my left and saw several people standing with almost their knees out of the water. Must have been about 2 feet deep or less in that section. The next couple of minutes were a struggle for me to get back into the zone I was in, so I slacked off a bit and was noticeably slower. Once I got to the last buoy around the island, I was able to sight the finish and picked up the pace for the last couple hundred yards. As I got out of the water, I looked down and saw 29 something and I was ecstatic. My swim goal this year was to go sub 30:00 in an Olympic distance swim and I did just that, with plenty of fuel left in the tank.

Time: 29:51

T1
The run out of the swim was a longish run through some grass (much better than any length run through gravel/rocks) and into the huge transition area. Although I heard Rebecca cheering for me, I apparently never smiled for the camera, as evidenced by my extreme focus in pulling down my wetsuit in the picture to the right. My transition spot was in a pretty good location, toward the back of the area along the perimeter, near the bike out and also close to the bike in. With my wetsuit down to my waist, I performed the magic wetsuit dance of pulling it down as far as I can with my arms and than stomping from leg to leg until it got close enough to my ankles to pull it off. Threw on my tri shoes sans socks and my new stylin Rudy Project sunglasses and helmet and was on my way up the steep hill toward the bike out. I saw some pros earlier in the morning who had their shoes clipped into their pedals already slipping on the hill in their bare feet, since it was wet from the morning dew. I was glad I put my shoes on in transition, because the cleats gave me some great traction to climb up the hill pushing my bike. On the way out, I spotted Rebecca again, this time smiling for the camera.

Time: 3:17

Bike
The Columbia bike course is a relentless series of rolling hills with a few good sized climbs. There weren't many crushing hills, but the constant changing of gears makes it a challenge to get in a solid rhythm and post a PR bike split. I did my best though to throw down with the new digs and do myself proud. The last thing I wanted to be was that guy on a nice bike with nice gear being passed my everyone. The one benefit of being in a really late swim wave was the added confidence of passing people left and right. I don't know how many total people I passed in the bike course, but I passed nearly 25% of my age group based on the results that were posted online.

I did start out with one problem. Less than a mile into my ride, my left hamstring started to cramp up for no reason on every single pedal stroke. I started thinking, here we go again. Me my hamstrings love to cramp in triathlons. And then I pulled out what has become my magic potion: Endurolytes. These things work like a charm. Instant gratification. Cramps...GONE. I need to get a giant pill bottle of them, since I only have a few trial samples. Unfortunately, they didn't have any the last time I went to the LBS. Hopefully, next time I go, they'll have them. But I digress. Once my legs were in full gear, I just pushed up each and every hill and hammered on the downhills. After I got through my bottle of GU2O, I filled up on my other secret potion today: Nuun. I broke a triathlon law. I'll be the first to admit that. I tried something new. I saw a tube of Nuun in the LBS on sale, when I went there looking for Endurolytes, and figured why not give it a try. The main reason I broke the triathlon law was because from what I've heard, the flavor is light enough (tri berry) and there are minimal calories that it won't do any funny business with your stomach. So instead of plain water, I had Nuun and my body loved every drop of it.

With all this good news, there has to be some bad. As I was approaching a difficult section on the course, there was a really nasty accident at the bottom of a steady downhill, just before a sharp left that goes up one of the longer climbs on the back loop. By the time I was there, they had the guy in a stretcher with a neck brace. I'll spare you any of the gory details, but it wasn't pretty. It was hard to tell if another cyclist or a vehicle was involved. We all really had to slow down because there was a Princeton Sports SAG van, 3 stopped cars, and an ambulance sprawled on both lanes of the road. I hope the guy is ok, but I only spoke to people who passed the accident around the same time as me and were all really shocked from what we saw. It was hard to get the image out of my mind and get back to focusing on the race, but since we were on a steep climb, I was forced to pay attention and spin my way up. Right around this time, it started to rain. The rain got steady for about 10 minutes and then began to let up. It was enough to make the streets all slick and force myself to take the downhills and turns a bit slower than I normally would, but seeing an accident first hand is enough to scare me into taking it easy at the loss of maybe a few seconds. As I raced back to Centennial Park, I looked at my watch for probably the first time on the whole ride and saw that it was getting close to 1:20 for the bike, which was what my goal was. Since it was such a hilly course, I didn't expect to average more than 20 mph (another Olympic distance goal), but I wanted to be close. As I pulled into the park, there was Rebecca again, as she caught this money shot of me on the bike. Soon after, I rolled to the bike dismount line, ran over the timing mats and hit my watch.

Time: 1:19:15 19.2 mph

T2
I raced down another steep hill into transition from the bike in entry and ran along side the fence toward my spot at the end of the rack. On the way to the rack, I unbuckled my helmet to save myself a second or two in transition. I racked my bike, threw off my shoes, slipped on my newish run shoes with my Yankz laces, grabbed my visor, race belt, 1 gel, and another trial pack of Endurolytes. Since it was such a large transition area, I knew I'd have plenty of time to put my visor and race belt on while I ran toward the run out. This also saved me a couple of seconds in transition.

Time: 1:18

Run

My biggest unknown going into this race was how my legs were going to hold up. Anyone who has paid attention to my blog knows I've been struggling with knee and IT band soreness since just before the National Marathon and the month following it. It has been a long road to where I am today, which is not 100% recovered, but much improved. As I came out of T2, my legs felt surprisingly fresh. Normally, the first 10 minutes or so off the bike is a struggle to get into any semblance of a running rhythm. Much like the bike course, the run course has hills. Only these hills are much worse. The course is notoriously known as one of the more difficult run courses in any Olympic distance triathlon. Most people tend to view the Columbia Triathlon as an event where you race the swim and bike, but you just survive the run. There are approximately 5 major hills, but I counted about 10-12 that I'd classify as hills that would make you sigh as you approached them. Oh yea, and the first major climb begins about 1/4 mile into the course. Its just their way of saying "Welcome to the pain train". The first hill has 2 switchbacks to it as you snake your way up a steep paved trail. With volunteers and spectators everywhere, there were plenty of people cheering us on, so it really helped. Then, its a nice flat-ish section for Mile 2 that snakes around the lake in a shaded tree filled trail. This was my fastest recorded split, around 7:15/mile pace. Toward the end of mile 2, you begin the climb known as the "Gatorade Wall". They serve Gatorade at the top if you couldn't figure that out. It was pretty brutual, but I kept pushing through. The hardest part was seeing people coming back down the same hill, where the volunteers were yelling "Less than a mile to go!". I remembered that, so that when I got there, I knew it was almost over. Mile 3 climbed up another hill that took you into "Dolly Hills". I didn't know what Dolly Hills was until I got there. From what I saw at first, it was just an ordinary residential neighborhood, with freakishly big hills. Well all thats true, except there is a reason for the sign that read Welcome to Dolly Hills. All the people handing out water and Gatorade were wearing blond wigs, with giant melons in their shirts. That got a good laugh out of me...until I got to the bottom of the hill to go up another steep climb. We snaked around the neighborhood hills for another mile, passing the Mile 4 marker and went back toward the Gatorade Wall past Mile 5. Unfortunately, the Gatorade Wall is on both sides. It was just as bad coming back up it from the other end, but knowing that there was only a mile to go helped. Once I got to the top, I pushed through the downhill and started picking up the pace, remembering that there was less than a mile to go. We reached the end of the woods, ran along the edge of the lake, where you could see the finish line mid way down the other side of the lake. As the course turned back down the other side of the lake about 1/4 mile from the finish, we were hit with another hill, only the trail was lined with tons of people on both sides letting us know that this was the last climb and the rest was all down hill. The finish was amazing, seeing all the people. As I neared the finish, I heard my name announced and I began sprinting the last 100 meters or so. Apparently, I caught Rebecca off guard, since she is used to seeing me limping from a hamstring cramp as I near the finish. Well this was not going to happen and I cruised through to the finish, feeling fresh and alive. Unfortunately, Rebecca didn't get the shot she had hoped for with her camera. Sorry! She had to settle for me after the finish.

Time: 49:55

FINAL NUMBERS
  • Swim: 29:51
  • T1: 3:17
  • Bike: 1:19:15
  • T2: 1:18
  • Run: 49:55
  • Total: 2:43:33 (PR by about 6 minutes!)
  • 509/2355 overall
  • 32/74 in Age Group
Two preseason goals this year were to break 30 minutes in an Olympic distance swim and break 50 minutes in an Olympic distance run. The other is to average greater than 20 mph on the bike. In just my first race of the season, I've accomplished 2 of those goals. There are still many things to improve on, but I am happy to have found a nutrition plan that works and allows me race the way I've always felt I should. This was the first time I crossed the finish line knowing I won my personal race. I left Columbia with only a few minor injuries that will take care of themselves over the next week.
  1. Running sans socks was great for fast transitions, but seemed to chafe my achilles a bit and cause some bleeding toward the middle of the run. By the end of the race, it kinda hurt. I think a 10k is the limit for myself for running without socks. I'll probably throw on some socks with lots of Body Glide at Eagleman.
  2. I got a wetsuit hickey...my first. I didn't feel anything on the back of my neck until after the race was over. It just looks like I've got a big scratch or something. I forgot to put Body Glide on the back of my neck, so I deserved that one. Next time, Body Glide everywhere.
  3. Several hours after the race, my IT band started tightening up. I consider this a victory, since I had no issues with it during the race. I'm back to lots of stretching and ice and should be running again in a few days. I think for the near future, I'm going to have residual soreness after races and runs. The point is that as long as it doesn't bother me during the race, I can deal with it.
Hopefully, all these successes will translate into longer distance races like Eagleman on my upcoming schedule. We'll find out soon enough. Until then, its back to my last real build week before I begin my official taper for Eagleman.

** Special thanks to Rebecca for her awesome pictures. She's become a pro at covering races.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Week Before

I hate the taper. Probably not for the same reasons as most. Most people hate the taper because it means they had to scale back their training. All these weeks of pushing and pushing and you find yourself having to give yourself a break. What do you do with the extra time? How do you adjust your nutrition habits with the lower volume? Did you do enough training to be ready for the race? These are all questions that are answered by the person who goes through a typical taper. That is not me.

Sunday is the Columbia Triathlon, my first triathlon of the season. In all reality, this race is just a pulse check of where I am in building toward Eagleman 70.3. It should be a race that I have a full week of solid training going into it, where it is just a longer workout as part of the week. But not in my world. For some reason the week before any race, whether it is a triathlon or a road race, I always slack off and lose the motivation to work hard. So far this week, I've gone on an 8 mile run and had a decent mile swim. Tomorrow morning, I'll take the bike out for one final spin to make sure all systems are in check. Thats it. I know I should do more, but I don't.

Twice this week I had planned to do brick workouts and I copped out at the end. I want to be rested, but I don't want to come out flat, so I need to do some stuff, just shorter and higher intensity to keep my body fresh. I guess its too late now. I know its better to be more rested than burned out prior to a race, so its not like I'm concerned about my preparations for Columbia. I'll do fine. I've done plenty of training. Its just the idea that I can't get off my a$$ the week of a race. Strange, I know.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Swimming and the Rain

One good thing nasty weather does for you is force you to do the things you probably wouldn't do quite as often if the weather were nice. In a non sport example, this would be reading, catching up on DVR'd shows, or cleaning the house. In the triathlon world for me, this is swimming. I've been doing a lot more swimming this year due to injury, but the nicer weather so far this season has me hitting the trails outside whenever its nice.

This week, things changed. The temperatures got colder, and the rain cometh and never stopped. Its still raining. Flood warning everywhere. Some schools are even canceled. A brief respite Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning provided only a slight opportunity to do other things, but my options became fewer just as quickly, due to other issues.

Saturday morning was a planned short swim, hilly bike workout. When I opened the front door Saturday morning, I could barely see outside because it was raining so hard. Scratch the bike, go for a longer swim. And of course, this weather didn't help to motivate Rebecca in her 10k race, which she rocked anyways with a PR of almost 2 minutes. I got in a few miles of running trying to follow around the course, so the day's workouts were not completely lost with a swim and a run.

Sunday, Rebecca and I had planned to attend a swim clinic in Luray, VA to get in some early season open water swimming in, and follow that with a good bike on the rolling hills of the Luray Triathlon course. Thankfully, they weather held out in the morning and we were able to get the swim in. The air temps at the time were about 51 degrees, however the water was about 68, so swimming wasn't too bad. I got in a good mile of swimming, and it was faster than my goal pace for this weekend, so hopefully I'll be able to repeat that performance. Once we got out of the water, things took a turn for the worse. The air felt really cold, since we had been in warmer water for a while and wind began to pick up. Soon after, rain started to fall. While some of the others there chose to stay around and hit the bike course, we decided to pack it up. With Columbia just around the corner, me recovering from a cold, Rebecca just starting to get a cold, it wasn't worth the risk of toughing it out.

I've swam 4 times this week for a record of just over 8000 yards. My shoulders are a bit sore from all the work and started to tire toward the end of yesterday's open water swim, but a great week of swimming is in the books. I guess that's what rainy weather will do for ya.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Another Step in the Right Direction

Yesterday, I managed to go for a trot outside for a 10k run. This was my first time running without cycling before and also the longest I've run since the marathon and my IT band injury. Without pushing too hard for the first 5 miles, I managed to squeak out a 50:08 10k for an 8:05/mile pace. I feel pretty good about that. I have minimal soreness today from the run, which is the best news. And I'm coming off a cold. Knowing that I can easily run a 10k without pain is a huge confidence builder going into the Columbia Triathlon. I'll just need to do that off the bike, which so far as acted as a great warm up for my IT band. We'll see. Gotta keep moving to get back my run mojo.

Next step: Pushing longer distances so I can get ready in time for the run for Eagleman 70.3.
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