Saturday, November 25, 2006
So now I'm forced into applying that same axiom - and I shouldn't complain as I have 2 other options for YMCAs within a 20 mile radius from my home. The one that closed, however, was just 3 miles away. After December 4th they all go to winter hours, which makes the goal even tougher. I've already planned to modify the goal slightly since a swim on Sunday, due to pool hours and my work schedule, is next to impossible. In keeping within the spirit of 30 in 30, I just have to double up one day during the week.
Even after 2 of these swims in a row, I'm already noticing a difference in my swimming. I seem to be finding a rhythm faster, and am able to keep it longer. My pace is purposefully slow and steady so that I can keep my HR and breathing under control, and to make sure that the workout is repeatable! I don't want to get fried 4 days into this. Don't laugh - day one's swim was 2100 yards continuous in 46:05 and tonight's was the same distance in 47:56. I honestly am not 100% on the distance - I noticed tonight especially that I lost count a few times and probably swam more than the 42 laps I was counting. I miss the long lanes of the pool 20 miles away - less counting!
Tonight I was vexed by a dude who shows up about 15 laps into my workout and jumps in the lane next to me - up until then I had the pool to myself (go figure on a Saturday night...). He proceeds to lap me continuously and soundly. Granted, he was long gone by the time I was finished, but I was tempted to pick up the pace, thus ruining my "base" type workout plan, thus proving the theory that base training is best conducted alone. Fighting that urge distracted my lap counting, but who really knows how many laps you swim?
I'll test that theory again tomorrow morning when I meet up with Greg for a casual 50 miler out at Flatwoods before work. Depending on how work goes, my plan is to finish out the week with a run of some distance, hopefully 8 miles or more. All base miles. All dreadfully dull. All according to the plan. Trust the plan.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
So this is a wish to everyone who reads my new blog - Happy Thanksgiving - and to all the folks on Team RaceAthlete - eat well and train hard and have a great Turkey Day - you deserve it!!!!
Monday, November 20, 2006
This morning's run was a lackluster, one-foot-in-front-of-the-other snoozefest for 6 miles and an hour and ten minutes. I averaged 141 for my HR - figuring my max HR is 184, that's 77% of max - which is still probably a bit high for the normally accepted "70% of max HR" consistent with base training. I set my Garmin to show current and average HR and not even display pace, so that was a nice surprise when the "run" was done. I think one of the things taken from the run is that I have to slow it down even more to get my average to 130. There may be some factor out there for big guy running that makes it impossible for a 245 lb guy to move without upping his HR to over 130, but if there is, I haven't found it yet.
So is it as simple as running for an hour and trying to stay steady and keep your HR down? Gosh I hope so. Tomorrow has a 60-mile bike ride on the schedule - and I'll have to really concentrate to keep the HR near 130 for the whole thing. Luckily the route is especially flat, so the HR spikes that come with hill work won't be a factor - now I just have to get lucky with the wind.
The plan is to put in a 3-week base period, then put in an easy week, followed by another 3-week base period. Its difficult to set a goal for where I want to be after those 6 - 8 weeks because staying strictly base, the goal has to be expressed in terms of pace at a base HR. I can wish for a drop in pace from the current 11:39 min/mile at 141 avgHR to, say, 10:00 min/mile at 135 avgHR, but since I'm in completely unknown territory here, it's any one's guess as to what's reasonable and to how my body will adapt to the training. All I can do is commit to the training, stay disciplined as to HR, and hope for the best.
If any of you have any base training advise or experience, I'd be happy to hear about it!
Friday, November 17, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
First, let’s reflect. Since my season ended with the Miami-Man ½ Iron race, lets go back to last year’s season ender, the Miami-Man International held on the same day. Between then and now was my ’06 Season. In those 52 weeks, I did this much training:
Swim: 168,416.4 yds
Bike: 2,984.2 miles
Run: 581.5 miles
This translates to an average weekly volume of 3,239 yards of swimming, 57 miles of biking and only 11 miles of running. That equates to about 1.1 hrs of swimming @ 2 min per 100 yds (ug…), 2.85 hrs of biking @ 20 mph, and 1.1 hrs of running @ 10 min/mile, for a total of 5 hrs a week. And there-in lies the focus – find ways to increase the volume and quality of my training.
So what’s reasonable? Doubling my mileage is certainly a lofty goal, but is it practical? Well, I think so.
Bike first: It wasn’t until May in my season this year when I finally felt strong enough on the bike to put in 100 mile weeks. I wasn’t real consistent with that – shoot; I only put in nine weeks that were at or over 100 miles. I bike on my days off – and for most of the season I thought that a 25 mile bike ride was a good ride. At some point I decided to become a better biker, and my minimum light ride became 25 miles, with most of my rides becoming 50 miles. I’ve got enough time on Sunday mornings to ride 50 to 60 miles before work, and with a long ride on Tuesdays (60 to 100 miles) and a easy ride on Thursday, all weeks should crest 100 miles. I will ride over 5,000 miles in ’07. I’ve come to enjoy biking a whole lot more, and with a disciplined base period, my time goals of rolling over 22mph for an Olympic race and longer can become a reality.
The swim next: just over 3,000 yards a week equates to 3 days of 1000 yards each. Pretty crummy. No wonder why I’m always coming out of the water towards the back of the pack. It truly is time to step it up. The day after Thanksgiving I’m starting the 30 day / 30 swim program – thanks Iron Pol (that’s, like, next week already…jees!) – and I’m planning on going for 2k swims each session. I’m going to start out easy, and figure that by the end of a month, I’ll have a solid aerobic swim base to kick it into high swim gear. I will swim 250,000 (a quarter million) yards in ’07. I flirted with 100m sprints this past season, and could really feel some gains after just a couple of workouts, but then gave up on them. After this base period, I’ll work those in as well.
The run: saving the best for last. Just looking at that 11 miles per week gives me “agida”. How in the heck can I hope to run sub 9 for 13 miles with an average run volume of 11 miles per week? I can’t. Now that I’ve started including a long run in each week of training, my recent averages have increased – from August until now I’ve had 6 weeks over 15 miles – a good trend that needs to continue to increase. I will run 1,100 miles in ’07. I know that increased run volume increases the risk of injury, so I’ll be careful not to go nuts, but I’ve got to work to get that number up over 20.
Reasonably, my ’07 season should have my average weekly volume at:
Swim: 5,000 yds.
Bike: 100 miles
Run: 20 miles
This would equate to about 3 hrs of swimming, 5 hrs of biking and 3.5 hrs (or less) of running, for a total of 11.5 hrs per week of training. So how do I more than double my average training time this season and still work and keep my bride happy? For one thing, add morning training to my schedule. That’s right, folks, I almost NEVER get up early to train. Waking up an hour early in the morning for a swim or run would net me 3 - 4 more hours of training a week. Only 3 you ask? I have the luxury of choosing my days off, working in retail sales like I do, so I generally take off on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then have Sunday morning for an additional workout, not having to be at work until noon. So I bike long on Tue, Thu, and Sunday (and remember, “long” for me has evolved considerably this season), I have Mon, Wed and Fri for an early run workout, and a long-lane lunch swim. Saturdays are always off days (except for the 30/30 swim challenge period). Fridays are my long run days, so I’ll get up extra early and put in the miles.
The weight: you know, I’ve always taken the stand that if I put in the time, the weight will come off. And so far it has, but lately it’s been coming off slower and slower. Which isn’t bad, mind you. I get into these plateaus where I’ll be at 260 for a while, then bam, drop another 5 and stay there, and so on. Now I’m at 245 or so, and have been there for almost a month. I’m sure that when I kick start the new plan, I’ll shock myself into shedding some lbs, but I also need to be much more mindful of what I’m feeding myself. I’m a crappy eater. That has to change. I will weigh 235 when I toe the line at St. Anthony’s.
I’m psyched – this is a doable plan. As if this weren’t enough, I’m also planning on lifting weights this season – starting tonight if I feel up to it. The good thing is I’ve got an awesome “home gym” and my wife seems motivated to join me, at some point, in this endeavor in the evenings. So there’s something we can do together that will have a training benefit for both of us. Win – Win. Yes this is a big commitment - this means I'll need to go to bed earlier if I'm planning on waking up earlier. This means fueling the body right to meet the demands of double the training volume. Somehow I've got to get from where I am now to where I want to be - IronFit. Here is where it starts.
Monday, November 13, 2006
What a great day for a 70.3 miles! We woke up to temps in the high 60's, almost no wind, very little humidity (for southern Florida) and just, I don't know, a feeling like it was going to be an awesome race. There were, however, a couple things that I just should have seen coming. My race number, for instance. 666. I mean, should they even give that number out? All morning, I had to endure the "shouldn't you have asked for a different number?" and the "hey, nice number!" and even folks that actually got out of my way and wouldn't shake my hand when they saw the big "666" on my arms. But, I kept on saying, "it's only a number". Our hotel room number was 616 - and of course my goal was to come in under 6 hrs - just way too many 6's for one race, if you ask me (six 6's in case you are counting...).
The day before, Registration was a breeze. There was no race day registration - a rule widely posted yet still unheeded on race morning - I heard of a couple folks that did not get to race. One of my pet peeves - an actual weigh-in - took place, and the person doing the weigh-in actually read the scale and recorded the weight (unlike at St. Anthony's where the dude asked me what the scale read....duh...). The expo was the right size - anything you would have needed was there for the buying. We found a neat T-shirt vending couple, Ryan and Katrina - their stuff is at http://www.tri3life.com/ and we were able to get 3 cool t-shirts for $30 - a great deal given the quality of the shirts.
Since this is my 14th race, set-up in the morning was easy and by the numbers...right. Wetsuit legal race, yes - but where was my suit? Left it in the truck - so I got a little more warm up running back to get it. Garmin on the bike and watch strap for it on my wrist, check. Did you power up the Garmin before leaving transition - oops (you have to give it time to find the satellites). I remembered that just after they shut down the transition area. Nice big bag of electrolyte pills in my tri-pack - awesome for staving off cramps - did I take any - nope, forgot that too (and I always take 3 before every race!!!).
I still love this race. The swim is absolutely pristine - the best water quality and temperature you could hope for. 76 degrees, and you can see clear to the bottom of the lake, no matter where you are swimming. It's cool seeing sunken row boats and the anchor lines for the turn buoys. For the first time (it would be a day of firsts) I had my goggles forcibly removed from my eyes by a Clydesdale elbow. I had to chuckle when it happened, since it was the first time and I'd always read about it and wondered when it would. I tried to correct them and still somewhat swim, but they kept filling up with water, so I had to stop and readjust them. I've noticed something in this race and in the last Olympic I did that's pretty cool - on the longer legs of the swim now I can get into a groove where the pace and stroke and the breathing all come together and seem effortless. Really! Granted, from my swim times, it practically is effortless, but all gone is the panic, the crummy feeling I always got once I started to get tired in the water. This was a 2 lap swim (again, a first for me) and it was cool getting a short break in between laps. I got to wave and smile to the wife before heading back out. The second lap was much like the first - getting off course in the first part of the swim route, so much so the guy on the kayak gave me a holler and said, "swim to your left". Obviously I still have that problem of pulling to my right. Another neat thing happened on the swim this time - a first for me. I got in a little pack where I swam on someones feet for probably 400 yards. There was a big Clydesdale next to me on my right, and a women on my left, and that's how we stayed just about till we exited. I say just about because the guy in front of me slowed to sight and did a weird kicking motion that whacked me right in the shoulder - I was lucky it missed my head, because he hit me pretty hard. He must have thought so too, because he turned and apologized, which was pretty cool. I got out of the water in 41:25 - below my goal and overall a pretty good start.
The run is long to T1, and unlike last year, there were no wetsuit strippers. So I struggled, tug and tore and finally got the suit off, threw on some socks (I tried riding 50 miles without socks once - for me a bad idea) and headed on out in 5 minutes flat. Other than struggling with my suit (and I did use plenty of Body Glide) I don't think I could have cut too much time off of it.
The Garmin got up and running pretty quickly and I immediately noticed a HR of 178. Now I wasn't winded and have a hard time getting my HR to that level so I new it was bogus and waited for it to come down. Mile after mile I waited. I wore my HR strap under my wetsuit (another first) and didn't' think it would be a problem, as lots of folks do that. But, for me, it was, and I proceeded to ignore my HR from then on out. I had decided to do what I could to make my average speed 20.5 and that was that. In the early part of the bike, I got it up to around 20.7 and backed off to maintain. After a turn put us into the wind that had developed, the effort started to rise as the speed went down. For some stretches, 21 - 21.5 was easy, for others, 20 was an effort - but looking at the trees and the grass, you would have thought it was dead calm wind-wise. This is Miami - it's flat as a pancake so I really can't explain it. An IBike would have been neat to see what the wind conditions really were.
Right around mile 40, that's when it hit. Subtle at first, the energy just seemed to go away. I had been drinking more than I usually do for a ride, and I had already done three gels, so I thought my "nutrition" was on schedule. At 45, the thigh cramp hit. There was the crack. 10 miles to go, and every left down stroke was painful. And all I could think of was that I had a 13 mile run after this! I had to slow down, just because I couldn't push as hard anymore, and was pedaling along at 18 - 19 in a lot of pain. I was about to crank it back another notch when Mr. Clydesdale on a nice Litespeed rolls by and says, "HA! I knew I'd reel you in!". Yea, I know! He actually said that, I mean, we think that all the time, but to actually taunt me like a linebacker - well, that was too much. I kept him in my sights for the last 3 or 4 miles and left him in T2 still getting his stuff together. My 2:44:45 was the fastest split for the 225+ Clyde's and 6th for the "skinny Clyde's" (200 - 225lbs), but I was very disappointed with my blowup. The 20.39mph speed is OK, but I know I have better in me. T2 was done in 3:10 - the fastest for all the 40+ Clydesdales, which means I'm getting better at changing my shoes.....
Ah, now for the fun part. The run. Like I said, looking forward to 13.1 miles of the hardest part of my tri-fecta, starting it off with my left quad on fire. But, what the heck. I ran a while, and walked when it really hurt. I knocked out most of the distance between aid stations, walking to get the hydration in, and loading on those electrolyte pills and Amino Vitals. One thing I would have liked would have been some good ol' fashioned Gatorade. Amino-vital is great for post workout muscle building, I understand, but I'm sceptical of it's "during" activity help. But what do I know. The folks at the aid stations were great. The run course, overall is great. The first trip through the Miami Metro Zoo was cool - very few "civilians" and all the animals were out - they made for a nice distraction. The last aid station at the 6 mile mark hosts the bikini-clad belly dancers - again, a nice distraction. They made promises of kisses for the first lap, and then the first 200 on the second lap would get laid. I didn't get kissed, and I had good suspicion I wasn't going to get laid either!
I hadn't seen my wife since the swim - the transition area is a ways from the swim, hence the 5 min T1, and she was uncharacteristically missing from my bike arrival. I thought she had probably taken the opportunity to go to the zoo - but I didn't see her in there either. Coming into the finish area, I heard the familiar, "go Taylor!!" (she says that when she uses my first name, I don't acknowledge her - probably an old "Captain Taylor-Army" thing....) which brought a smile. As I ran by her she explained that she was really worried because she had expected me earlier - and I could hear the worry in her voice. I don't know why, but that really got me thinking about finishing this thing, and finishing strong. I explained to her about my cramp, which seemed to upset her even more, so I just said "see ya" and put my head down to the second lap.
Looking at the clock - oh yea, I forgot to mention - I got a nice big, fat blue screen staring up at me from my Garmin upon leaving T2 - nice! No pace, no splits, nothing since all I had was a broken Garmin and no watch. So looking at the clock at the finishing line, I had almost exactly 1 hr to get in to break 6 hrs. For a fresh 10k, doable. I don't know what I was thinking, but I figured I had a shot at it....HA! I picked up the pace, read, increased the effort, and started picking people off. That's right, me. The Big Guy. I was running people down. Granted, they were hurting bad, just like me, but for once I was passing people on the run. I spotted a tall guy up ahead and thought he might be a fellow Clyde, so I set him in my sights. Now the run course has some areas that are "off road" and some parts that are on pavement. We happened to be off road at the time, and one of those rocks just jumped out and grabbed my foot - down I went like a big sack of bricks! I still had enough wits to do a good "airborne roll" and managed NOT to get hurt, which was all I was thinking about the whole way to the ground. As I got up and brushed the sand off me, I noticed something else I had forgotten - sun screen! Yea! So today, in addition to the achy muscles I have something else to remember Miami-Man by...
As I entered the Zoo I passed the fall-down guy - who explained that this was the stupidest thing he'd every volunteered for. I reminded him that he also paid to do it and ran on by. He had turned around when I fell and said nothing, so good riddance. The Zoo was a different animal this time around. There were people everywhere! Folks were driving these 4-wheel bike contraptions and motorized scooters - and no one, it seemed, gave a hoot that people were running in a triathlon! I had 2 very close calls with little kids running over to see the big gorillas or the cute elephants - and had to negotiate passing trolleys at one point - it was, well, a zoo! I was able to look back at one point and saw, probably half a mile, maybe more back, a pretty big guy making his way up. This guy was not going to catch me.
3-miles, shoot, it's just a 5k I told myself. No stops, no walking, just water up, and keep on moving. Nope. That didn't seem to fly for Mr. Legs. 10m to 11m were OK - I gutted that one out. Felt some nausea after that aid station, which had been coming on for a while, but really felt it after that one. Miles 11 - 12 were the hardest. I knew I had to keep it up, but still, I had to walk. I took a short break in there somewhere, just to know that I would finish strong. Rounding the bend to the mile 12 aid station, the adrenalin kicked in, and I really started to feel good. I threw some water on my head, and started running again - I didn't stop until the finish. My final mile was probably one of my fastest - this little 21-year-old and I were trading places for all of 3-miles and I wasn't going to just give her the win at the end. I made her sprint the final 50 yards, and while she apologized as she passed me, I was happy to see her final push. My run split as 2:49:15 for a whopping 12:55 pace. There's plenty of room for improvement there! Considering it took about 1:23 to do the second lap, I even negative-split the run - my wife's worry providing the extra motivation.
My final time - 6:23:35 - was 23:35 off my goal for the day. With all the adversity and dumb mistakes, I still managed to have a great time, and was thankful to have been able to be out there and race. I won the 225+ 40 and over Clydesdale category, beating out 4 other guys (the second place guy by only 2:33) , and I would have taken 8th in the "Skinny Clyde" group. The fun didn't stop there - we brought our stuff back to the truck and had plans on driving it back to check to see if I had placed. Sure enough, dead battery. I guess Diana had been reading her new Steven King novel and left a light on - easy mistake. So while we figured out a jump, they awarded the Clydesdale category and I missed it. My first tri-victory and I was jumping the truck. The plaque, finisher's medal and the free cap are all awesome, as were the 2 slices of pizza I finally manged long after the race was over. This was my second running of the Miami-man (last year I did the International distance) and this race was better run and more fun that last years' race. If you're looking for a warm season ender to put on your '07 calender, this would be a good one for ya.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
My goals for the race are these:
- swim at a 2:00/100 yd pace for a 43 minute leg. Since it's a 2-loop swim, I need to be at 20 minutes at the first loop or better. I'm thinking it will be a wetsuit swim (lows in the 60's now in Miami for a while; last year temps were the same and it was wetsuit-legal), so a 2:00 pace is very reasonable. I did a 1000 meter swim in the pool yesterday with baggy swim shorts in 22 min, taking it really easy.
- bike at a 20.5 mph pace for a 2:44 leg. This course is 13 miles out to a 2-lap loop of 15 miles each and then 13 back in again. I plan on taking a gel at the start of each phase of the course, and one at the end, giving me 6 gels, plus I'll drink my aero-bottle empty before reaching the aid station where the beginning of the loop is. So that will be about 600 calories of gels and 4 water bottles full of fluids.....you know what, I'll go ahead and bring one more bottle to fill, probably on the first leg, to wash the swim out of my mouth and "pre-load" some fluids during that first 13 miles.
- Run at an 11:00/mile pace for a 2:25 leg. Now I'm not planning on negative splitting this bad boy. I've tried that concept and it just doesn't work for me, not in the water, not on the bike and certainly not on the run! From past 'long" bricks, I know I can ride at 20.5 mph and get off and start running under 10:00. I'll fight for 13 miles and do what I can to come in under 11:00.
- It's all going to be about HR. I'll do my best to keep my HR on the bike under 150. That's the ticket. If the wind is right, and I'm feeling really good, and stars all align, I can ride 21mph at that HR, and that will give me that much more buffer room on the run.
- First transition under 4:30 minutes - there's a long run from the water to the transition area. Last year I did T1 in 4:46. I'm better at this than I was last year. Last year I did T2 in 4:21 - shameful! Other than it being a really big transition area, there's no reason for me to have had such a long T2 - a 2:00 T2 is typical, so I'll put the goal at 2:30 since there must be a set of Lineman from the Dolphins there making T1 and T2 times so long.
So that puts me at 5:59:00 - cutting it close for my ultimate goal of coming in under 6 hrs. There's a million things that could go right and wrong, so I'll do everything I can to remember to have fun, stay positive, and keep fighting for the finish line!