4/18/16

Galveston

One can't not know who Glen Campbell is!  I was shocked and horrified with the revelation that Mary did not know who Glen Campbell was!  So, thinking I was special for knowing something she didn't,  I pulled up Glen on youtube gave a listen to Glen's lovely Galveston song while walking the corridor of the Holiday Inn Resort, our home base.

As soon as we arrived I noticed we were situated right across the street from the open ocean which, to us, came in really handy for the very first wet suit try-on and dip in open water.  We did that on Saturday morning after coffee but before breakfast.

I stayed on track leading up the race as well as possible taking all of my usual precautions.  Drink lots, each well, rest as much as possible, get on the course.. I think I did pretty well.. We even watched a really crappy movie starring John Travolta. He played a mobster who lent money to a bunch of nerdy, dorky, guys. Mary seemed to like it.

Galveston is flat and windy. We road part of the course on Friday and to our surprise felt really awesome.....   on the way out.... on the way back was a different story entirely.   Head wind, cross wind, whatever you want to call it wind. There was just lots of wind.  I knew there would be wind but this wind was pretty strong on Friday.  I mentally prepared myself to really suffer on Sunday in at least one direction.  There was even the possibility that the wind could be a head wind in both directions. Holy crap!  I prayed to the Wind Gods for the best possible scenario -  a head wind in one direction.

We finally got to the race at 5:20ish which meant we were herded to the 2nd parking lot, a half mile walk to the start. For us this was not an issue because our bikes were already in transition with the help of TBT. Yay!  AND, while walking we caught up with a very nice man from somewhere else.... He said that the great winds had changed to a tail wind on the way back and a head wind on the way out.  I was EXTREMELY happily cautious with this new information lest I let my guard down and get blind-sided. 

The swim took place in a protected part of the Gulf of Mexico, a bayou. Sweet.  The website said white sandy beach start. Ummm they just forgot to mention the jump from the pier one must make before heading over to the start.  Beach start my ass!  I held my goggles to my face and jumped feet first.  No biggy really.  The swim was the usual thrashing that I try to avoid but never seem to avoid. My goggles came lose after a dude swam over me half way through the swim.  I mean seriously. At any rate I felt I had to stop too many times to see where the hell I was going. I need more practice with the swim.  

Swim split: 00:43:34 (1:51/100yds)..  That's about right for me but I wanted faster of course! 34th in my division

Even with the head-wind on the way out I did not feel right about pushing to my designated wattage. My legs were feeling the elements of the day the minute I got on the bike. I found the wattage I could push for 56 miles and stuck with that.  It was my first ride outdoors since October 2015 and never have I raced in these conditions before.  That said, I was loving being back out there racing in such an enormous competitive event!

Texas was windy but it was also flat as a pancake except for this one bridge that was really rough. I noticed several lost bottles and nutrition packets strewn about.  I was praying to GOD again that I would not lose my nutrition on this section of road for we needed every ounce of liquid and salt we could consume that day.  It was in the mid 80s after all.

I reached the turn-around with all fuel in tact in about 1:31:56 (18 mph).  Not too bad but not great! I can't say I wasn't really excited to reach that turnaround!  56 miles still seems a tab bit long to me. On the way back I had that tail wind so my time back was 1:25:14 (19.85 mph)

Bike Split:  2:57:10   12th in my division  

I ran out of T2 with my helmet on!  Thankfully a spectator noticed and yelled loud enough for me to hear him and for me to realize that he was yelling at me and not someone else.    After disposing of my helmet back in T2 I ran the 3 loop course as well as I could.   I never gave up the fight even when it became boiling hot and I could feel the energy slipping away.  The cement pavement had a way of sucking the daylights out of me on certain parts of the course. But then other parts were quite nice with a little downhill and shade.  I enjoyed the run course while consuming as much salt, water, gatorade, GU, and Red Bull as I could. The ice water felt delicious when poured over my head.

Run Split: 1:48:18 (8:22 pace)   place in division unknown

Total Race Time: 5:34:00

I believe I was 5th in my age group but my official race results are still not up.  Evidently my chip malfunctioned after the swim causing only my swim and T1 times to record. Thankfully, I had a great Garmin file with all of my splits to send IM and I'm waiting for their response.

I had a very enjoyable experience and am looking forward to Patriot in June.

3/29/16

Tri Brain

I have tri brain.  Tri brain develops over months of training.  You become clearly focused on training. So much so, that one morning you look in the mirror and your eyes are steady and straight and you have no expression.  You reach for your toothbrush as if you are in transition.  Calculated and thoughtful.  Quick but not out of control.  When you can see the tri brain written all over your face you are ready.

3/19/16

Timing


Anyone who has ever trained for a half or a full triathlon can attest to the fact that this tri-training thing can somewhat take over your life.  You are working and training most of the time. Or, if you have children and do not work then you are caring for the kiddos and training. That's pretty much it for a little while and hopefully you can hold it all together.  Maybe you can squeeze in some hobby time or a couple of dinners out or writing a blog post but the majority of the time you are planning your entire days around your next workout.  Maybe not everyone has a tight schedule with which they must balance but this age grouper sure does.

One day you wake up and suddenly these thoughts keep running through your mind over and over:  

How can I save more time?  Is it at all possible to get away with not showering after a workout?  I mean I could bring a washcloth to work and perform a mini scrub down.   I can get away with just blush and mascara today.  I can't wait for the weekend so I can have time to blowdry my hair for once.  I think I should start to run in my swim suit.. That'll save me 5-10 invaluable minutes when I have to run then swim..  I can't wait to have time to make my smoothie after a workout.  Drat! I have to set the alarm for 4:30 every day this week. Drat! 

I think that my training,  combined with me being a business owner working full-time, my life becomes temporarily narrow.  Like a tunnel.  It can be lonely during this time as I find myself having to decline events and going to bed earlier and earlier as sleep needs increase.   The other day I had a scheduled DAY OFF from training and it felt like a holiday.  OMG I can stay up till 9 PM???? This is AMAZING!!  Let's PARTY!

These days when I look around my immediate area I wonder where all the triathletes are!  I mean why do I have to do this by myself?  Luckily, Mary is still tri-ing and we train together on occasion but even that has diminished as workouts increase. Workouts are tailored, schedules are tight, and once again I find myself training on my own for the most part.

On the bright side of things I was able to set some lofty goals this year after taking most of last year off from triathlon.  I LIKE triathlon training. (most of the time)  It feels really good to finish a kiss-ass workout knowing I am getting stronger and fitter.  I feel healthier and happier when I can train. This time around  I have a new coach Ange.  Ange is amazing in her guidance.  I'm so grateful to have her in my corner.  Training is going very well and I'm managing the challenges that life throws at me on a regular basis.

I'm currently training for the Memorial Herman Half Iron the weekend of April 9th in Galveston TX. This will be an adventure.  I'm totally psyched and can't wait to see how I do.

10/23/15

Kick off to IM training

IM training starts with rest and a new strength program.  I personally do not use a gym with all that equipment and prefer to do my weights at home.  I have dumbbells, a bench, stretch cords, buso ball, and a yoga mat.  My  new strength routine consists of 8 exercises. Here they are and how I will do them at home:

1. Lat Pull downs.  Replacement for lat pulls downs is pull ups.  Here is how I will do pull ups with just dumbbells. 

2.  Leg Extensions:




3. Flat Dumbell bench press

4. Leg Curl on stability ball:

5. Dumbell pullover on stability ball:

6. Bicep curl:


7. Tricep Pushdown on stability ball:

8. Prone Raise:

9. Ab- curl up, reverse  & oblique curl, crunch, roman chair.








10/20/15

Mohawk Hudson Marathon RR



How often do you come home with a personal record or a perfectly executed race in your back pocket?  Probably not very often. Normal people might then ask, why then do you continue to train and race?  I have come to realize (finally) that, for me, it's because I love the training ritual as much as I  love the racing. 

It's was a blast of a weekend taking on the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon with 18 friends from GNRC and Kathy.  I've been wanting to try the Jack Daniel's VDot program for years and finally decided to purchase said VDot plan from the site: runsmart.com. On this site you simple enter a recent race result into their calculator viola you now have a plan based on your current abilities.  

The VDot plan uses a recent race result to calculate your paces to use during your quality sessions. Whether it be the long run, cruise intervals, tempo pace, or easy pace.  What's really different about Jack's training philosophy is that there is no more than ONE twenty miler.  There are two quality speed sessions per week that are aggressive.  The mileage, for me, did not exceed 48 miles per week, Ever.  Me likey.

I had my doubts along the way.  

I often worried that one twenty miler was not enough and wondered how this would all work out. Midstream I decided I had to believe in the plan, stop worrying, and go with it!   

With my 24 week training plan all said and done it was time to rest up and plan the strategy.  Almost everything I did to prepare for the marathon worked well.  Almost everything.  Here are the tactics I used that were within my control. 

  • I carb loaded two days prior rather than the day before. I find I get completely "backed -up" and cannot digest large quantities of food in a 12-24 hour period.  Finally doing what I feel is right for me, this approached worked extremely well. If you know what I mean.  Oh you don't? Well let me make it perfectly clear.  I hit the mega load race morning, I pooped big time! Carry on.
  • For the week leading up to the race I was diligent in eating well, resting, avoiding alcohol, visualizing a "steady Eddie, smooth operator" race, and making sure I had everything I needed. 
  • I had one gel 20 minutes before the race, I ate 5 gels on the course. I had pasta and shrimp for dinner.
  • I ate a half bagel with peanut butter for breakfast, one cup of coffee, Gatorade the day before and the morning of,  recovery drink twice during the week leading up to the race just to top things off.  I know - boring shit.

I did not take salt.

As I started to run I listened to how I was feeling.  My body said "today is a good day to run".  I felt fantastic. Strong. At ease.  I took the first mile out easy at  7:50. I was gunning and had trained hard for an average pace of 7:45.   During mile two  I found myself blocked by a huge pacing group and had to sprint 20 yards to get around them.  Risky but worth it.   For the next 10 miles or so I just cruised. Hitting my pace, enjoying the day.  I figured I might feel tire at the half way mark and braced for that feeling willing to dig in a little bit but at mile thirteen I was OK.  Not really tired yet.  So I kept it up. Cruising along.  I was sure I would make my goal of 3:25:00.

With 9 miles left I broke it down in my head to 3 miles, 3 miles, and 3 miles.

Mile 20 was an 8:02. This is when, of course, I started to feel fatigue.  Everyone knows the race begins at mile 20.  I was not deterred with an 8:02.  I figured this course is flat and if I can hang on for the last 6 miles to anything near an 8 I would still be within reach of my goal.  Still because I had a small cushion.   Unfortunately. miles 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26 went like this:

21  8:26
22  8:41
23 8:45
24 9:24
25 9:39
26 9:45

I'm OK with 21 - 23 being closer to 8:30s than 8:00 however I'm really pissed at miles 24,25, and 26.  
I'm pissed because I could not pick up my legs and I could not breath.  

I believe that my lack of salt (stupid error) played a role in my severe decline in the last 3 miles.  If you don't take the right steps to deal with the elements all that training and prepping you just did is not allowed to fully bloom.  I would have thought that BY NOW I would have learned. Memories of a certain CT marathon looked very similar during those last 6 miles in which I completely bonked due to lack of salt.  I will not make this mistake again.

That's what I think happened! 

Looking back now I do believe in the VDot plan and I want to try it again some day.  I haven't felt this good in a marathon in a long time.

I keep telling people I'm "OK" with 3;30 when they ask me but I was pretty disappointed. That was not what I set out to do.   I failed.  I like to set aggressive goals. But I also like to meet that goal.

This was a great learning experience!  I liked having a new kind of plan without the traditional three or more twenty milers.  And, despite not reaching the time I set for myself,  this race gave me confidence to race in my new "50" years young age group.  I know I could have done better with some adjustments. 

9/28/15

Monday - 7:24 PM - September 28th 2015

Life has been a tun of fun this past year.  After taking a lot of time off from triathlon, and I mean like over a year,  I'm feeling like a need a new goal.  I want to get back in the pool and back on the bike. I've been loving sleeping in, staying up late, and not being on a schedule. I have spent lots of time with all the special people in my life and am so grateful for that.  BUT!  As we all know, if you want to reach your goals you have to do the work. 

Because of my indulgences I'll be starting on the bottom rung in regard to swimming and biking.  Not for the running though!  I am running the Mohawk Hudson Marathon in two weeks! For this marathon I purchased the Jack Daniels VDot Program and am trying that on for the first time. I have held onto Jack's book for several years but found it difficult to devise a plan using the book even with all of the information provided to me. So, I just bought the plan at runsmart.com.  

I have really enjoyed this program since it allowed me to have 2 days off every week and a max mileage of only 47 miles.  It fit right in with my lackadaisical attitude towards life in general. My long runs were 1 twenty miler along with 1 eighteen miler.  There were no multiple 20 mile long runs to slog through.  Although mileage and long run were low in retrospect. the multiple speed sessions, quality session runs, and goal pace running was plentiful. The results will soon be revealed! 

11/16/14

My Balancing Act

In my 30s I used to run then go for a smoke.  I would tell myself - You CAN be a runner and STILL hang with the cool people. Being a healthy runner seemed boring to me.   Haha..  These were the days when I was not very competitive.  Running was a social joy and a tool to lose weight. I have always loved running but I have not always been so focused on racing and improving.

For the past five or six years I have been very focused.  Focused on improving on all aspects of triathloning. I have reached many goals, kicked smoking to the curb, reached a very satisfying level of fitness and have experienced many highs and lows. I love it.

At the end of this years racing season I was feeling burnt out and unmotivated.   The world Championship 70.3 in Canda was an uber flop in my mind.  I went up to race Canada with two fabulous halfirons under my belt being 5:23 at Timberman and 5:14 at Patriot. Can you say PR!   I was expecting to go approximately 5:23 since I was able to go 5:23 at Timberman.  That did not happen. Not even close.  I went 5:55 in Canada.  I grieved.  I had poured my heart and soul into training all summer long. Out on those hot, hilly roads of Ptown with no shade all by myself for the most part.   Whatever went wrong in CAN was not the result of under training.  I'm not exactly sure what happened. It just wasn't my day.

To recover mentally I decided to scale things back for this coming year 2015 in order to bring more balance into my life. I don't want to suffer all summer long.  I want to have some freedom from long training hours to socialize, feel less tired, work more at my business, connect more deeply with the wonderful people in my life.  And to also do my (shortish) workouts feeling fresh and happy rather than thinking  - I'm not really into this right now.

It's been a difficult decision to scale back because I am constantly tempted to sign up for another half iron or even a full.  You see, I'm already feeling rested and recovered.  It's difficult for me to back off for a lengthy balanced year of rest.

But alas - even with these temptations I am sticking to my plan to back off. This will be a year of balance.  Feeling rested - I have already noticed slight, subtle, changes to my routine. For instance when training for halfirons or IM one does not wear jeans on a Saturday or a Sunday! No way.  One finishes prescribed workout, showers, eats, then dresses in yoga pants, recovery socks, and a hoodie. It's all about recovery. This dress code ensures comfort for the rest of the day and reminds one that they completed a lengthy workout and should feel good about that. No need to impress with fancy clothes.  Nowadays I actually wear jeans after a weekend workout. I'm thinking differently. It's suble but it's there.

Today was one of my most balanced days thus far. So balanced that for a few seconds it felt boring! I hate to admit that but it's true.  I am the kind of person who likes things a little on the edge.  I get bored easily.  That may explain why I thought I could smoke and run at the same time.  Living on the edge. It's what keeps things fun.  That feeling that you are getting away with something.  Living a balanced life means no extreme workouts, no extreme celebrations, just being. Just being and letting the world revolve around you. Waiting for something to happen.  Some day I'm sure I will jump up and say ENOUGH OF THIS! Time so sign up for another IRONMAN! But not for a while. 

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