Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday (mini) double

Just noting today's mini-swim:

3 x 150; 200 pull; 3 x 150; 200 pull; 3 x 150; 100 free; 100 pull; 100 CD = 2050 yards.

Tonight Cath and I are going to run a bit, but I'm not sure how much. Probably in the 30-45 minute range. Gotta love taper weeks.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Race week!

I probably shouldn't mention anything, considering that my track record with actually completing a race has been pretty abysmal of late, but we have a race set for this weekend!

Yes, we're heading out to Benton Harbor, MI, on Friday for the Steelhead 70.3 tri on Saturday morning. It will be my first 1/2 IM since the Muncie Endurathon in 2006 (!). Yikes, how time flies...

Anywho, I'm excited and nervous about the race itself, but mostly excited because it means that we don't have to ride long this weekend! Yay, Sunday rest day! Speaking of which, we were out in Palos yesterday pounding (read: cursing) the hills for four and 1/2 hours under beautifully sunny skies. We recorded somewhere between 75 and 80 miles total (naturally, three different watches measured three different distances), which felt pretty good - my legs were fatigued from the hill work, but I was strong on the flater sections at the end. The Training Committee decided to scrap the brick portion, so we spent a good 20 minutes or so stretching before hitting our favorite Mexican place for burritos and ice cold Diet Rite (don't laugh -the shit is good. And they don't have beer).

I'm going to kinda taper this week, but nothing too extreme, because Steelhead is really going to be just a long training day for me. I'll keep the distances short, but plan on doing the same workouts through Thursday. Friday is a travel day, and Saturday is race day. As of today, there's a 30 percent chance of rain/thunderstorms. Last year, they scrubbed the swim portion because of extreme water conditions, so we're hoping that doesn't happen again.

Fingers crossed.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Yeah, you can hate me - another three-day weekend

So, my mom is in town from the west coast, so this weekend is a little crammed, but I took advantage of the furlough today to get a nice OWS in with Drew. We did roughly 2400 meters (one and one-half miles) in 48 minutes, which seems kinda slow (especially since the water was almost perfectly flat). But, oh, well. I felt good, and I always prefer the lake to the pool, especially when the water is so nice.

I have been sorta free-forming the training plan of late, just doing what feels good during the week while maintaining the longer stuff on the weekends (excluding last weekend's travel, of course), which has brightened my mood and lifted the training funk I was in. It's actually been fun again. Not fun enough to foresee doing another IM any time soon, but fun enough to get me to the start line in Madison.

Like I said, mom is in town, but we're still running long tomorrow and riding long on Sunday. My hamstring has been a little grumpy ever since last Sunday's long run, so I'm not sure how "long" the long run will be, but Sunday's bike should be another intense session. We're running out of weekends to get quality rides in - next weekend is the Steelhead 70.3 and we have the Accenture relay in August, which will chew up a couple of Sundays, and we're hoping to get in at least three more 4-6 hour rides in the hills before the taper begins in late August/early September.

Can't believe that game day is that close! Gulp.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Terrific Tuesday (okay, I'm done now)

Had a great weekend - especially getting two rest days so close together (Thursday and Sunday). Not so much going on this week, but I wanted to jot down what I've been doing training-wise:
- Saturday Drew and I ran just a hair short of two hours at about an 8:45 - 9:00 pace and then went over to the lake for a 25-minute swim. There was a Swim Across America event going on, with a variety of different OWS events to benefit cancer research, which was cool to watch. It was nice having so many people out there in the lake (usually it's just a few random triathletes and one or two old school swimmers sans wetsuits). The water was pretty choppy and cool, but it was nice to get into the lake again. I'm going to try to go again on Friday.
- Sunday was a travel day.
- Monday I rode for 90 minutes (mostly) on the lake path, which was a bit of a nightmare. It never ceases to amaze me how people just DO NOT pay attention on the bike path, nor do they look after their children. Even on a very short ride, I was almost killed at least twice by people not paying attention and just wandering aimlessly across a busy path. Like, screeching brakes, bike going sideways-type near-crashes. But, whatever. That's the lake path, and I can't bitch too much because it has - and always will - be like this, especially at 5:30 on a summer evening. Anywho, I did a series of one-minute pick ups that (also) almost killed me, but somehow managed to limp home.
- Today I swam before work (2 x 200; 1 x 100 AN; 2 x 200; 1 x 100 AN; 2 x 300; 1 x 100 AN; 6 x 75 [easy 50, hard 25]; 100 CD = 2250 yards) and plan on doing a short run after work. Tomorrow I'll do a short brick at the gym, and Thursday Cath and I are contemplating a ride before work (!).

That's all for now. Hope your week is going well!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Phabulous Phriday!

Well, I was pretty good about easing back this week. It's weird how, even when you want to cut back on training - and know that you probably should - there's that little voice in the back of your head urging you to keep powering through. Which is funny for me, because I am definitely NOT one of those crazy, driven by demons, Type A athletes that drive themselves to exhaustion week after week in preparation for whatever race they're preparing for. No, I am usually perfectly content to bail on a planned ride when the rain is falling (or threatening to fall) or push today's swim into tomorrow (or next never). But that voice is still there - "don't slow up now, you'll never get back on track!" and "you're in the home-stretch, don't ease up now!" and "everybody else is going farther/doing it faster/putting in more than you!"

It's really annoying, and stressful, and counter-productive. Maybe that voice is what keeps me on task, forces to me get back out there every day, but sometimes I wish I could just switch it on and off. But you can't. Luckily, I was able to mostly ignore the voice this week, and just do what felt good. Which was really refreshing - just go out there and do whatever felt good, for as long as it felt good. And no more.

As such, despite the mental fatigue I complained of the other day, I had some really nice sessions - Tuesday evening I ran 80 minutes at about an 8:10 pace (thank you, Garmin!), with a faster section mid-way. I hadn't planned on going this long, but the weather was nice and my body felt good. Wednesday, I did 60 minutes on the Kaiser bike (including a series of 60-second standing climbs) and then bricked that for 15 minutes. I took the day off Thursday, and rode easy for two and one-half hours this morning (43 miles). Cath and I are planning an OWS this afternoon depending on the weather - it's plenty windy out there, which will mean plenty of swells. Yuck. If we don't go today, I'll try to convince Drew to swim after our run tomorrow. Sunday will our rest day this week, and Monday I'll be back in the pool.

That's all for now - have a great weekend, kids. Be safe.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday's swim and a little break

Just wanted to note this morning's swim before I forget what I did:

- 2300 yards: 2 x 200; 1 x 100 (AN); 2 x 200; 1 x 100 (AN); 2 x 300; 1 x 100 (AN); 1 x 300; 3 x 100, alternating aerobic and AN 50s.

Swim was fine - didn't really feel especially fast or slow. I plan on running this afternoon after work, although I'm not sure how far I'll go. It hit me last night that I'm really starting to hit the wall, mentally, and could use the remainder of this week as a step back. Physically, I'm still feeling pretty good, but the will is just not really there and I've been a touch grumpy lately. I've also noticed that I'm starting to dread the workouts, especially the longer stuff, which usually means that I need a few days to chill. So, given that we're traveling this weekend anyway, I may cut the training back and hope that this sets my head back straight.

As such, Wednesday is looking like a short brick and Thursday another short/medium swim. Friday I'd like to bike and Saturday I should be able to get a run in before we hit the road. Apart from Friday, I don't plan on doing anything lasting over one hour, and with no intervals.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Deep in the heart of it

The only problem with taking a Friday off from work, is that it makes Monday a bit of a clusterf&#%. There should be a rule that, when you're out of the office, no one can leave you messages/send e-mail/otherwise burden you with junk that will need addressing when you come back to work. Somebody make that happen, m'kay?

Anywho, the weekend was totally lovely - the wife and I had dinner at Frontera Grill (Rick Bayless' restaurant), which was good, but not worth the two-hour wait (they don't take reservations). We pooped around together on Friday after my swim (3000 yards; 5 x 600, with a few hundred being pull), and it was a nice day. Saturday I ran two hours at a pretty steady 8:00 - 8:05 pace, but it was harder than I expected. Maybe it was the high humidity, maybe it was the two bird attacks (!), but it felt much harder than it should have. My interval session earlier in the week actually felt easier, so go figure. Had lunch with my aunt who was visiting for the day from Milwaukee in the afternoon.

Sunday, Cath was feeling a bit worn out, so Drew and I went out to Palos for our weekly long bike. The weather was absolutely picture-perfect. The lack of extreme heat so far this summer has been such a blessing for our training. Couch potatoes are complaining up a storm that it's too cold, but I'm totally loving it. Especially when stuck in the saddle for 4+ hours. Drew and I put in our beefiest ride to date: 82 (hilly) miles in 4:45, followed by an unpleasantly difficult 28-minute run. The ride actually went by pretty quickly, or, rather, about as quickly as 4:45 can go, and I was much better with my nutrition this time out - religiously took my gels every 30/45 minutes, and had a granola bar about half-way through. I think I could still use some more food, though. I had another bar before running, but I think it was too little, too late, which contributed to the poopy brick. I really need to get this ironed-out before the Big Day. It's too important to ignore. But, fitness-wise, I think we're in really good shape - the training has been of much higher quality this year than before previous IMs, and I think all the hill work will make race day that much easier to take (* fingers crossed* ).

Cath and I are going to visit her mom this weekend in Indiana, so the training schedule will be a bit jumbled this week. Am considering an OWS after work tonight, and I'm taking Friday off again, so that should free up some time that will likley be lost to travel. We're deep into the hardest stretch of training, which is starting to wear on me mentally, but I just keep telling myself that it just for a few more weeks, and then we'll start to shorten things up again. I can't wait.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Long weekend and happy birthday!

Well, I've got tomorrow off, so this is my Friday - yay, Friday! It's my beautiful and talented wife's 34th birthday today (Happy Birthday, Pooh!), so I'm squeezing in a quick strength session at the gym this afternoon, and after work we're going out to dinner.

Tomorrow we're planning on an OWS in the morning, but they're predicting thunder storms in the am, so it may be (yet another) long pool session. Saturday, I'm running two hours and Sunday we're heading back out to the suburbs to brick (we're thinking 4.5 to 5 hours in the saddle, and then a 30 minute run). The weather is looking good for Sunday, so fingers crossed that it stays that way.

My workouts this week have been good, but sleep has not - dog issues have interupted our sleep a few times - so I'm dragging a bit today. I took Monday as a rest day, then swam on Tuesday morning (2200 yards - sorry, I don't remember the breakdown, but it included a bunch of 50 and 25-yard intervals) and ran in the evening (75 minutes, including three long intervals; 7:40 average). Last night I spent 90 minutes on the trainer, at a pretty steady pace (my legs were a bit fried, so no interval sets).

Probably no more updates until Monday, so everyone please stay safe over the weekend. Cheers!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Good times, good times

Well, I managed to put a pretty good training week in the books. This, despite the fact that I decided to trade in a long run for a strength session on Thursday (as a brief aside: all-in-all, I like the "Be Tri Fit" plan that I've been [mostly] following, but it is decidedly run-heavy. And he includes no strength sessions. In fact, if you elect to follow his "Competitive" program, you'll be running five times a week. Yes, I said five times a week. I didn't run five times a week when I was training for a stand-alone marathon, let alone an event with two other disciplines. Personally, I think all the running is a bit excessive, and potentially harmful, so I've cut down accordingly.).

Anywho, I had Friday off for the Independence Day holiday, and celebrated by riding for two hours along the Lakefront path and around Northerly Island. The ride was lovely, but I'd forgotten how crowded the path is and how poor the pavement can be - we've obviously been spoiled by riding out in the suburbs. The path around Northerly Island (the former Meigs Field) actually saved the ride for me - although it's only a little over a mile circuit, the pavement is pretty new and very few people are ever out there. And the City views are spectacular. If you can handle the monotony of one-mile loops, which I apparently can, it's like having your own personal velodrome. Very nice.

Saturday, Cath and I swam 3,000 yards at the pool (5 x 600) in about 55 minutes, and I took the rest of the day to relax.

Sunday, Cath and I returned to Palos and had a great ride. It was crazy foggy for about the first hour - droplets of water were attached to your arm hairs and dripped off your helmet - but the sun soon burned it all off and we were treated to largely windless and mild morning. We explored a little bit, and finally crafted a route that pretty much eliminates all the poor road surfaces that we've come to hate, but with all the crazy hills that we need to prepare our legs for IM. We did four hours on the bike (just over 70 miles), and then bricked that for 30 minutes on a hilly section of trail close to where we parked. By then, the sun was starting to bake, and the running was hard, but we felt great at the end.

After some recent concerns about low volume, this past week's efforts did a lot to ease my fears and get juiced for our final push to the start line. The poor economy should also help my training, as I have a few mandatory furlough days to take in the coming weeks. Although our bank account will be a bit lighter, at least I won't be forced to cram workouts in before and after work, and might actually get some open water swimming in.

Hope you all had a great holiday weekend, and your training is humming along.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The week so far...

...has been great. I think having a lighter load last week was a blessing - I feel better both mentally and physically, and have had some great sessions this week. The weather has been great for training, too - cool and (mostly) dry, which is a true blessing for this time of year.

- Monday: I did 100 minutes on der Keiser (alternating two-minute and one-minute intervals after a 15-minute warm up) and then bricked it for 15 minutes.
- Tuesday: Swam 2000 yards before work (6 x 150, 6 x 100, 6 x 50, 200 CD).
- Wednesday: Ran 75 minutes at an 8:00/mile pace, with two longish (10 minutes and 5 minutes)intervals at 7:00/mile pace.

Today I plan on riding after work (they're letting us leave early because of tomorrow's Holiday), and Friday will likely be a long OWS.

Oh, and I'll share an interesting anecdote from the pool this week:

Him, already in water, breaststroking toward me:
"You're not coming into this lane, are you?"

Me: "Umm, if that's okay with you..."

Him: "Well, this isn't really a lane for two people [it's the lane closest to the wall] - there's really not enough room."

Me: "I think all the lanes are the same width."

Him: "But the others have room underneath the lane dividers so you don't run into each other or hit the wall."

Me: "Would you rather I take the wall side? I'd be happy to take the wall side."

Him: "[Somewhat frustrated] No, I'll just get into another lane [which he does]."

Crazy, no?

(The goody below is a Garmin 405cx, which is essentially a 405 with an allegedly improved GPS antenna and some weird calorie consumption feature that I'll never use. Our running store didn't have the regular ol' 405, so I got this one in order to take advantage of a rebate that's expiring soon and a small discount we get at that shop. I used it last night on my run, and my initial thoughts are that it's awesome - so nice to have pace, distance, and time all at once. I'll try to provide a more thorough review after I figure out/try more of the features).