Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Hill Run

Man, it's FOGGY this morning! It's supposed to burn off, but the mornings are starting to look and feel like autumn already.
I ran my favorite little 1-mile hilly trail around a local park this morning, for a total of 5 miles (40:11). I didn't intend to, but I ran each lap (mile) increasingly faster:
  • 8:17
  • 8:07
  • 8:03
  • 8:00
  • 7:42
Finishing heart rate was 132. I felt surprisingly strong this morning, especially considering how horribly I slept last night. I felt like I was holding back, even on the last lap. I guess that's a good sign, given how wiped out I felt on Saturday after my 8-miler. This whole week will center around Friday's long run of 12 miles. I haven't run that far since 1991. I'm really looking forward to it!

EDIT: After posting this entry, I noticed in my "official running spreadsheet" that today's run put me at exactly 7,000 lifetime running miles. While that number isn't 100% accurate (I ran some modest miles during 7th and 8th grade track that weren't recorded, and about half of my '95 miles are estimated since I had a hard drive crash that year), it's what I'm officially recognizing. For someone who has run on and off for 26 years, that's a pretty paltry amount. Just goes to show how much time I've taken off during that time due either to injuries or disinterest (mostly the injuries). But it also means, hopefully, that I haven't beaten up my legs and joints that much, relatively speaking. Here's hoping for many thousands more miles of running to come!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thoughts on Recovery

Today is a scheduled day off for me - from both running AND work. I made note on my Facebook page that this month, I've worked more hours than the previous three months (May, June, July) COMBINED! Although I must admit that in May, I worked a grand total of 9 hours. I'm self-employed, and with the current economy, my business has taken a beating. Fortunately, things seem to be turning around, for now, anyway. I say all this to bring up the issue of recovery. This month, as my work has increased dramatically, I've also increased my running mileage and intensity quite a bit. I don't know if it's just me, but I don't seem to recover as quickly as I think I should. Granted, I'm in my 40's now, have a family and, as I mentioned, have the stress of self-employment. Yesterday morning, I ran 8 miles at a fairly easy pace. It started feeling harder as the run progressed. I wasn't actually struggling to finish it, but I could tell that fatigue was setting in - more so than in previous long runs. I'm pretty sure that Thursday's speed session took a lot out of me. Yesterday I ended up taking TWO naps during the day. I was wiped out. I'd like to do some strength training today, but I don't know if I have the energy.

What are your thoughts on recovery - particularly if you're in my age group? How do you deal with balancing an increase in mileage and/or intensity with the need to stay fresh enough to run effectively...and not get injured and/or sick?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Morning Long Run

This week's long run was shorter than last week's: 8 miles. Time was 1:06:47 (8:21/mile pace). I felt a little fatigued during this run. I didn't sleep well last night, and I think Thursday's speed session took more out of me than I expected. Still, I managed to log the miles today without any injuries or problems. Money in the bank, I guess.
Next week, I think I'll skip the speedwork and focus on an even longer run of either 11 or 12 miles. I feel the need to work more on my endurance at this point in my half marathon training. I'll likely do a hilly run early in the week, plus a couple of easy runs, then the long run on Friday.
Enjoy your weekend and run strong!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Week 34 Weigh-In

Here are this week's body comp stats, and the changes from last week:

Wt (lbs): 146.0 (-.4)
Waist (inches): 30.3 (+.3)
Bodyfat %: 9.9 (-.1)
Resting HR: 44 (+1)

Glad I'm not a betting man. After several days in Spokane, eating like there's no tomorrow, I was sure that I'd be up a pound or two. Instead, I lost nearly half a pound. My waist is up a bit, probably due to "pizza bloat" after last night's pizza. My resting HR has slowly crept up from 40 to 44 over the last few weeks. Not sure what to make of that. I keep saying this, but I need to get this weight loss issue under control. I think my "race weight window" is probably 145-150, which I'm within. But if I'm still dropping while eating plenty (and not running over 30 miles/week so far), then I'm not sure what to do. I hate to stuff myself or eat when I'm not hungry.

Oh well...I'm taking the day off from running today, then doing my long run tomorrow morning. Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Speedwork Thursday

At 10:00 this morning, I ran 6 miles on the Centennial Trail in Snohomish, where it was sunny and about 68 degrees F. Instead of doing speed work on a track this week, I decided to run them as part of this run. I ran the first mile as a warm-up (8:25), then ran 4 x 1/2 miles hard, 1/2 miles easy. Times were as follows:

3:23 hard, 4:13 easy
3:19 hard, 4:19 easy
3:20 hard, 4:13 easy
3:15 hard, 12:31 (1.5 mile cooldown)

These were HARD, but I was happy with how it all played out. First of all, these were true half miles (as opposed to the 800's on the track last week), and I didn't stop and rest in between each, as I did last week. I just slowed down and ran easy half miles until the next hard one. During the last hard segment, I had a nasty side stitch. I was surprised to have run it so fast, for me, anyway (6:30 mile pace). The total time for the run was 47:01 (7:50 mile pace). I'm not currently using a heart rate monitor, but my finishing HR was 150...but that was after the 1.5 mile cooldown. Still elevated above my usual finishing HR, but post-hard segments, it was likely much higher. Overall, this run was a confidence-builder.

My plan is to rest tomorrow, then run 8 miles on Saturday morning. Next week, I'll probably forgo the formal speed work. I may run some hills instead, then bump my long run up to either 11 or 12 miles.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rest Day

Well, I do feel a bit better this morning, but I can tell I definitely need a rest day. After spending several days out of town, not sleeping especially well and running a hilly course 3 times in 4 days, my body is sending me a message. After dinner last night, I laid on the couch to read and rest and quickly fell into a deep sleep. I ended up going to bed at 9pm. My throat isn't sore like it was last night, so I'm hoping it was just fatigue and not a cold. That soreness in my tendon behind my left knee is still there, so there's another reason to rest. Like I hinted at a few posts ago, the boost in running mileage after doing more cycling than running might take a more gradual effort on my part, given the injuries I've dealt with in the past.

If I feel up to it tomorrow, I'll do some sort of tempo/speed/fartlek workout, then maybe take Friday off, then do my long run on Saturday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Run in the Country, the Trifecta

This morning was our last in Spokane. I was on the road at 6:10am for the same 6-mile hilly run, which I ran in 48:27 (8:05 pace). I attacked the hills a little more than in the last two runs.
We just got home from the cross-state drive. I now have a troubling tickle in my throat and feel pretty fatigued. Hopefully this will pass with a good night's sleep. I also noticed that a tendon behind my left knee is tender. I'm guessing it could be from flying down the hills and probably pounding my legs too much. I need to work on my downhill running technique, I'm sure.
If I feel better tomorrow, I may do some trail running with my friend Arthur, who will be running his 4th Cascade Crest 100 mile trail race in the mountains this coming Saturday.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Run in the Country, Part Deux

At 6:15am this morning, I went for a 6-mile run on the same course as Saturday's run, with almost the same time (49:04 today; 49:11 Saturday). Perhaps my average pace is starting to speed up, but I wanted to run this slower than I did (around 8:30 per mile instead of the 8:11 I ran). The effort felt lower than some recent slower runs, so maybe this is a sign if my fitness improving. My finishing HR was 130, which I was happy with. I may run this route again before we head for home tomorrow. I'll be back over here in October to run the Spokane Half Marathon (my WWFOR race).

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Run in the Country

I'm here just northeast of Spokane, Washington. My dad and step-mom live on some acreage out here in the foothills, not far from Mt. Spokane. At 6:15 this morning, I headed out for a 6-mile run (49:11) over rolling hills through beautiful and peaceful farm country, with wheat fields all around.
About two miles into the run, 22 turkeys ran across the road in front of me. No, there wasn't a political convention taking place (ba-dum-bum. I'll be here all week, folks). No traffic, just the sun rising over the hills and a steady breeze undulating through the acres of wheat. There are several reason I run, and this morning was one of them. I could run forever out here.

This run gives me 30 miles for the week. It's the most weekly mileage I've run so far this year. In the past, that mark has usually been my "danger zone" - where my body starts breaking down. The difference between then and now, though, is that I have 8 months of moderate running and cycling behind me, whereas other times I'd ramp up to this mark much quicker. Still, I'm going to play it safe and back down just a bit next week. I'll shorten my long run and possibly substitute a run with a bike ride. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to do that every few weeks.

Going for a short family bike ride later this morning. It's beautiful over here! Sun and mid-80s. Time to enjoy the last bit of summer!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Recovery Run

Did a short and slow run this morning. 4.5 miles in 38:53 (8:38/mi pace). Finishing HR was 127. Kept it slow intentionally, but after yesterday's 10-mile run, I didn't have much juice in my legs, anyway. Felt pretty good, though. No aches and pains.
We're off to Spokane for a few days. I'll try to get in a run or two while we're there, along with a bike ride.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Weekly Long Run

Ran a nice 10-miler this morning. Time was 1:24:32 (8:27 per mile pace). It was an out-and-back course. I wanted to run negative splits and did: 43:13 out; 41:19 back. Took me a few miles to get into a groove. Got a little tired the last mile (which is a slight uphill), and I noticed that I need to work on stretching and strengthening my hip flexors, which got a bit sore and tired the last couple of miles. Afterward, I did some stretching and took an ice bath.

I was happy that the legs felt good enough to do a long run two days after my first interval workout in years. I guess I didn't overdo it on the track, fortunately.

I think 10 miles is about the max I want to run without carrying any fluid with me. Guess I better invest in some sort of hydration system pretty soon.

I'd like to build my long run up to an "overdistance" amount; i.e. over half-marathon distance. I want to have plenty of endurance built up for the race.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Weekly Weigh-In

Got an unusual schedule this week, so the weigh-in is one day early. Here are the ever-so-fascinating numbers (and changes from last week):

Weight (lbs): 146.4 (+.2 lbs)
Waist (inches): 30 (-.5")
Bodyfat%: 10.0 (+.3%)
Resting HR: 43 (+1)

The good news is that I didn't lose any more weight...and my waist is the smallest it's been since I started keeping track about 18 years ago. The "bad" news is that my foray into a sub-10% bodyfat measurement only lasted one week. That figure isn't exactly accurate, anyway, but my scale is pretty consistent with itself. And it's usually pretty close to my caliper measurements, which I don't often take. So...the carrot cake and ice cream indulgences this past week haven't done too much damage. Still need to focus on getting in some smaller meals in between the 3 main meals, especially with the long runs and mileage increases coming up.

Speaking of long runs, I'll be doing mine tomorrow instead of Saturday. Hopefully yesterday's track work won't detract from it. I've really been looking forward to the long runs!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

First Track Workout, Plus a Question

Well, I did it. I got back onto the track for a speed workout. First time in many years. It hurt a bit, but I really enjoyed it. After a 1.5 mile warmup, I ran 4 x 800 meters with 2 mins rest btwn each, followed by a 1.5 mile cooldown (5 miles total on the track). My splits for the 800s were:

3:20 (3:23.8 avg)

I wanted to run them in 3:30 (about a 7 min pace), but my track pacing skills are very rusty. As expected, my body was saying "what the heck are you doing? No lo comprendo!" (Yes, my body is often bi-lingual during times of stress). These weren't exactly "race pace" intervals, which they probably should be. There's no way I can currently sustain a 6:46 pace for anything over about 1.5 miles right now (my 5k race pace back in June was 7:12), so I'll probably have to back off the next time I do these. After my cooldown laps, my right IT band was barking a little - probably from the speed, as well as running 20 laps counterclockwise, which put more stress on the outside of that leg, so I stretched, used my foam roller and took an ice bath when I got home.

As my title suggested, I have a question for those of you who have done this: is it smart for me to start doing speedwork while I'm also trying to build up my mileage for a half marathon? Given my history of injuries, I'm a little nervous, but I really want to work on both, if it's realistic. Thoughts?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Beautiful Monday Morning!

Got out at 6:30am on a beautiful late summer morning for a little 4.5 mile run (8:21 pace; 128 finishing HR). Tomorrow morning I'll be doing a workout I haven't done in years - track intervals! I'm excited to do them! I'm planning on a 1.5 mile warmup, then 4x800 meters at around 3:30 each (with 2-min. rests), then a 1.5 mile cooldown. I don't necessarily need to do speedwork to train for my first half-marathon, but I'm really eager to do some. Not enough to be an injury risk (hopefully), but maybe enough to boost my threshold and average pace just a little. My current plan is to do this once a week, at most, and the rest of the week will be composed of a hill run, a long run (getting longer every other week), plus a couple of short, easy recovery runs. And if time (and energy) allows, I'll throw in an easy bike ride for cross-training purposes. This is all subject to change, of course.
Enjoy the rest of your Monday!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Morning Long Run

I hadn't run 8 miles or more since my 10-mile run on June 27th (aside from my run/hike in the mountains on 7/31), so I was very eager for this morning's run. It was 54 degrees F. and overcast - just right. I ran 8 miles in a very comfortable 1:07:21 (8:25/mi pace). My body felt good, but my hip flexors got a little tight toward the end.

This week was my highest run mileage week of the year so far (25.5), which also felt good. So week 1 of my official half marathon training is in the books. Now, I have a weekend full of work to contend with. Enjoy yours!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Official Race Photo

Just purchased my "official" race photo...

Friday Run

Ran an easy 3.5 miles this morning in 29:18 (8:22 pace), with an average heart rate of 123. I'm looking forward to a long run of 8 miles tomorrow morning.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Weigh-In Day

Once again, it's time to bore folks with my weekly weigh-in stats (and changes from last week). I do this more for my own "journaling" than anything else.

Weight: 146.2 (-1.0)
Waist: 30.5" (-.2")
Bodyfat%: 9.7 (-.4%)
Resting HR: 42 bpm (+2 bpm)

I'm currently at my lowest weight of the year. The blinking red "warning" light hasn't yet come on, but I need to watch it. Don't want to go much (if any) lower. Body fat is the lowest ever. I wanted to get under 10% and finally did it. It might be a challenge to keep my weight up, since I haven't even begun running decent weekly mileage, nor the string of bi-weekly long runs leading up to the half. Don't want to just stuff a bunch of junk down my pie-hole, so remembering to eat mini-meals between regular meals will be important.

I'm heading out a bit later for my first bike ride since the race. This one will be an easy cross-training ride of around 16 miles. It'll be nice to ride easy for a change!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Whisky Dick Triathlon Pics

Yours truly, applauding the first swimmers out of the water, waiting for Dave...who wasn't far behind the leaders.

Yes, I know I have a 1992 helmet. I'm a nerd.

Dave coming out of the water.

In T-1, getting ready to ride.

Over the timing mat, then on the bike and up the hill. And up. And up.

Coming into T-2.

I was very wobbly at this point. Both glutes had cramped and I had trouble running with the bike.

Arthur getting ready for the run leg.

I was in a bit of a daze here, so Arthur took off my timing chip himself and placed it on his leg before heading out for the run. And to further my nerdiness, I forgot to remove my rear light before the race (unnecessary added weight). Hey, you never know when a full-blown solar eclipse is going to hit.

Arthur with a strong finish.

3 in a Row

This morning was the first time I've run three days in a row in a long time. It was an easy 4.5-miler (8:34 pace), which finally put me over 300 miles for the year. Not much, but it's 300 more than I thought I'd ever run again. I'll take tomorrow off, then run short and easy on Friday, then do a long-ish run Saturday morning. I haven't yet decided if I want to do any specific speed work leading up to the half marathon on Oct. 11th. I want to make sure I re-build my base and endurance first and foremost. If I can meet that objective and still squeeze in some speed work, I will. Happy training!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Brooks Cascadias / Today's Run

Today I ran an easy 5 miles on a local trail (where I did my hill training for my 5k a couple of months ago). I wore a pair of 2008 Brooks Cascadias, given to me by my friend Arthur. They're still in pretty good shape, with little evidence of wear. Not sure how many miles he put on them before passing them on to me. They felt good on my feet, but my knees felt a little sore by the end of the run (the soreness subsided soon after I finished). The soreness may be due to back-to-back runs after not running much the last several weeks. Anyway, the shoes felt light, very neutral and more "minimal" than I expected. They didn't feel like they had as much cushioning as my regular training shoe (Brooks Defyance 2). Just one run in the Cascadias isn't enough to make a good judgment, but I think I'll end up wearing them at least once a week (probably only on trails), just to mix things up.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Official Race Results Posted

The official results from yesterday's Whisky Dick Triathlon have been posted. Here's the scoop:

Total finishers: 107
Our finish: 2:58:14; 23rd overall; 2 of 5 in Men's Team division
Swim leg (Dave): 24:09; 13 of 107 overall; 2 of 5 in Men's Team div.
Bike leg (me): 1:52:25; 49 of 107 overall; 3 of 5 in Men's Team div.
Run leg (Arthur): 40:26; 8 of 107 overall; 2 of 5 in Men's Team div.
Our transitions: T1 - 44 sec; T2 - 29 sec.

Here were the fastest times for the solo athletes (reminder: 1 mi swim, 28 mi bike, 10k run):
Overall: Ryan Brown (m, 34): 2:27:45
Swim: Alysia Hill (f, 21): 20:59
Bike: Ryan Brown (m, 34): 1:23:13
Run: Nick Johnson (m, 23): 38:53

This morning, I got out for my first run of August. Just an easy 4.5 miler at an 8:41 pace. It felt good to run again. My hams/glutes are still really sore, so I think I just strained them while biking up the hill yesterday. Fortunately, they weren't an issue while running.

I just realized that the Spokane Half Marathon is only two months from tomorrow! I've got my work cut out for me. I'm really looking forward to both training for it and running it, though.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Race Results

When you have a triathlon that has become legendary for the difficulty of its bike course, with the first 12 of its 28 miles being unrelentingly uphill, with a persistent headwind nearly the entire course, and you have a total noob who has never raced on a bicycle in his life, who happens to be a runner, volunteering to do the bike leg as a part of a team, you have to wonder about the guy's sanity. How's that for a run-on sentence?

Earlier today (August 9th) my teammates and I (dubbed "Three Dads-a-Sweatin') raced the Whisky Dick Triathlon in Ellensburg, WA. It was my first triathlon and first time racing on a bike. I'll give the final results first, then break down the individual legs, along with some detail.
Distances were: 1 mile swim, 28 mile bike, 10k run. We finished in 2:58:14, placing 2nd of 5 in the Men's Team division, and 23rd overall, among both teams and individuals, out of 107 finishers. Our splits were:
Swim (David): 24:09 (13th overall)
Bike (yours truly): 1:52:25 (49th overall)
Run (Arthur): 40:28 (8th overall)
T1 was 44 seconds, T2 was about 29

David (my brother-in-law) was amazing! He was out of the water much quicker than I expected. Not being a swimmer myself, I don't really have a reference for his time as it relates to a 1-mile open-water swim...but I know it's fast. He was a freestyle sprinter in high school and was a bit concerned about pacing himself. Obviously there was nothing to be concerned about!

After getting the timing chip from Dave and onto my ankle, I took off on the bike and tried to pace myself the first few miles. For some reason, I had trouble regulating my breathing. A little of it was probably adrenaline, a little was just the toughness of the hill (the first 12 miles are uphill).
At about mile 5.5, the grade became so steep that I had to drop into my bottom chain ring...which I NEVER used in my training rides. That was one flaw in my training. Since the hills I was training on during my repeats were relatively short, I could stay in the low gear of my middle chain ring and be fine. I did that as long as possible today, but if I hadn't dropped down, I knew I would have bonked big-time. So I shifted. The chain didn't budge. It just made a grinding noise as it rattled against the derailleur. I tried to force the issue and off came the chain. That smooth move cost me about 2-3 minutes. Had to hop off and get it back on the low ring THREE times before it finally stayed. Once that was done, my legs rebounded just a bit and my breathing came more under control, but the hill just kicked my butt. There were long sections where I could only average 9-10 mph. And once I finally crested the hill, the headwind kicked my butt some more. My rough goal was to crest the 12-mile hill in 60 minutes. It took me 63, for an ugly 11.4 mph average. I did manage an average of 19.6 mph the last 16 miles...but even then I was passed several times. For the last 10 miles or so, I fought an ever-tightening left glute muscle. I could tell I was losing some power on my left side as a result. Maybe it was caused by the hill climb, maybe from not ingesting enough electrolytes and sodium. Whatever the cause, I was truly humbled out there.

When I pulled into the transition and got off to run, I was incredibly wobbly. That's when BOTH glutes cramped up. Arthur took the timing chip off of me himself and got out of the transition quickly, while I racked my bike and fought my locked-up glutes. I went to high-school with Arthur and ran track and x-country with him. The last few years, he's gotten heavily into ultra-running, placing 7th in last year's Cascade Crest 100 mile trail race (which he'll be running in again later this month). A 10k is short for him, so to knock out a 40 minute split was impressive & my hat's off to him.

And with that said, I'll say this - our placing was really a credit to our swimmer and runner. I had a pretty rough go of it out on the bike. Yes, I can use the excuse that I've never raced on a bike, I'm really a runner, there was the hill, the wind, yadda yadda, but I know I could have trained more effectively. I got lured away from the bike back in June to train for and run a little 5k race...which I honestly enjoyed, but I know it set me back on the bike.

I almost feel a little guilty for saying this, but I'm glad to officially be "off the bike" and getting into my half marathon training. I've REALLY missed running the last few weeks.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Interesting Article...

...on some Oregon-based ultrarunners and the sport of ultrarunning. Thanks to @runningrelays on Twitter for the link.

Thursday Weigh-In

When I started this program back in January, my goal was to get in shape for the bike leg of the Whisky Dick triathlon. Along the way, I learned that I can run again. Even though I continued with the cycling training, I got in a good deal of running (not enough, though), and will do a LOT more after this race. Anyway, as part of this journey, I adjusted my diet and set out to get my "endurance body" back. I wasn't in terrible shape or grossly overweight, but I wasn't where I needed to be as an endurance athlete. So, for this morning's weekly weigh-in stats, I thought it would be interesting to post the comparisons to what my stats were when I started, back in January of this year:
  • Weight (lbs): Jan 163.8 Now 147.2 (-16.6)
  • Waist ": Jan 33.8" Now 30.7" (-3.1")
  • Bodyfat % Jan 14.1 Now 10.1 (-4%)
  • Lean weight: Jan 140.7 Now 132.3 (-8.4)
  • Fat weight: Jan 23.1 Now 14.9 (-8.2)
  • Resting HR: Jan 55 Now 40 (-15)

I find these number pretty interesting (yes, I'm probably the only one...) I lost a lot of muscle, along with the fat. I've lifted weights fairly regularly since 1992; sometimes in conjunction with running, sometimes more seriously to build bulk. So the amount I lost this year was probably a lot of upper body muscle. I hate to lose muscle, but if I'm going to run (or cycle) as efficiently as possible, losing some muscle was necessary. I also lost a good amount of fat, which I'm happy about. The waist, bodyfat and resting heart rate changes are all positive, too.
A funny little aside here. Last night, my mother-in-law told me I was too skinny, and my face looked too thin (true), and that she hoped I put weight back on after the triathlon. I told her, "sorry, but I'll be training for a half-marathon, so it's unlikely". Yes, my face gets really gaunt looking when I lose a lot of weight while training. I wish that wasn't the case, because I do get tired of friends and family asking me if I'm "okay". I know it's out of sincere concern, but I think as a culture, we get so used to seeing overweight people (Americans, in particular) that someone lean and fit can look ill by comparison. But that said, I can understand the concern when they may not have seen me for awhile. Maybe I'll just get a little Botox treatment in my cheeks to fill them out a little. ;-)
This is probably my last post until after the race on Sunday. See you then!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bike Training is Complete

Did an "easy" 20 mile ride today. "Easy" is in quotes because I can tell I'm right on the edge of overtraining and really need a break. Hopefully I didn't overstep so much that I'll still have dead legs by Sunday. I've got 3 days to rest up before the race. I totaled up my cycling mileage so far this year and here it is: 719 miles on the road, plus the equivalent of 366 on the trainer. Not that much by cycling standards, but a good bit of that was pretty hard training (and...hey...I'm a runner!). Now it's time to sit and wait...then leave it all out on the course on Sunday morning.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Last Hard Ride

This morning I did my final hard bike ride before the Whisky Dick triathlon next Sunday. 26.4 miles, including 16.5 miles of hard hill repeats (12 total). This is the third time I've done this ride in as many weeks, and I wish I could say it felt easier. Today, for some reason, it felt pretty frickin' hard! My legs might be a little spent after Friday's run/hike in the mountains and Saturday's hard interval ride...both of which felt great. I'm actually looking forward to an easy 20-miler (or so) on Wednesday, then nothing until the race. Right now, a taper sounds great, but I know I'll be getting antsy a couple of days before the race and second-guessing my preparation & fitness level. Don't most of us do that? Having never raced on a bike before, I have no real time goal. I can't really go by my training times, since this course starts off with a 12-mile uphill section. I guess my goal would be to survive the hill and race the rest. My teammates (David Dick and Arthur Martineau) will be well prepared, so unless I suck the gas pipe, we may have a shot at placing well in the team category. Should be fun.

Oh, one other bit of trivia - I finally hit 40 mph on my bike on this particular training route (downhill, of course). I always try to hit that every time on one particular hill, but before today I could only reach 39.5. So that was kind of cool.

Anyway, after the race, I'll (happily) transition back to running. I'll be training for a September 10k and an October half-marathon. I'm really itching to run again! It'll probably take a week or two to get my running legs back.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Post I Probably Shouldn't Make

What I'm going to write is me, anyway. It's risky on a couple of levels. Number 1 - it's going to sound cocky, and trust me, I know I have nothing to be cocky about. Number 2 - I may "jinx" myself. But damn the goes. I felt very strong during this morning's 35-mile bike ride. I did 5 x 1 mile hard, 1 mile easy during part of the ride and hardly breathed heavily. My legs felt like iron. There, I said it. Cocky and jinx-worthy. Seriously, I can tell I'm peaking right now. I still wouldn't consider myself a cyclist (and I know most "real" cyclists could ride circles around me), but just comparing myself now to myself 3 months ago, I can FINALLY feel the results of the training starting to pay off. After yesterday's run-hike, I thought I'd be struggling on this morning's ride, but when I finished, I felt like I could turn around and do the whole ride all over again. How will this translate to my race next weekend? I don't know. But I'm finally starting to feel pretty good about it.

I'll probably do my hill repeat ride on Monday (which, I believe, had been THE key workout in my bike training), then probably an easy ride on Wednesday, then stay off the bike until race morning (Sunday, Aug. 9th).

Lots of work to do today, so I'm out. Enjoy your training this weekend, folks!