Sunday, August 29, 2010

Returning to Running

This morning marked my return to running after an August 10th knee injury. While I had done a couple short runs to test the knee since that injury, this really felt like a "real" run to me.

I set out with a 1 hour run time goal early this morning and got through with a slow, but successful run today. I started with a walk to make sure I was warmed up for ten minutes. Then I ran a couple miles utilizing the run walk method to make sure I did not strain anything, specifically I would alternate running 3 minutes and walking 2 minutes. Finally, I ran the last mile (plus a bit more) back home to see if I could really run without problem, which I did at an 11:08 pace. Finally, a cool down walk and I made my goal with 4.33 miles in 1:00:46.

Certainly, I have faster and better runs, but this run today gave me additional confidence that I will be able to complete next weekend's Olympic distance Austin Triathlon (assuming my shoulder injury is better as well!). I'd been training with high goals for the Austin Triathlon, but now feel like I am limping to the starting least I'll be ready to test the old adage about it being better to show up for a race under-trained versus over-trained.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

This and That

Just a few things to post about...

My knee is still injured, but is improving. I ran a mile today without major trouble and had limited discomfort during the day. Hopefully, I can try a run again later in the week and see where I am. Fortunately, I was able to bike a little over 40 miles in just under 2.5 hours Saturday, with almost no effects from the knee! Hopefully my training frustration will end this week.

Speaking of my bike, I added a rear-mounted bottle holder to help me carry more fluids for my longest rides (especially since it does not seem the hot weather will be letting up any time soon!). I can now carry 5 bottles (1 aero bottle on front, 2 on the frame and 2 in the rear-mounted bracket) to ensure I will have plenty of fluids for any ride in the next few months.

I replaced broken laptop computer last weekend, Fortunately all my data was intact, it was the computer that died, and there no issues getting all the data moved over to the new computer.

Finally, I realized earlier today that my diet was bad all week without my really paying attention to it. I think I was effictively trying to medicate my disappointment over my knee with food.

Hopefully, by next week I'll have a more upbeat post about resumption of all training...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Temporarily Out of Commission

I am temporarily out of commission for a bit.

No, not a training injury (well, I do have a slight knee issue that I am taking a few light-impact days to resolve...), but a computer issue. My laptop has died (motherboard issue) and is more expensive to repair than replace. I will be looking for a good replacement deal in the next few weeks, but until then my online time will be limited.

On the plus side I did a 2100 yard swim last night with my fastest time for that distance, so maybe a few personal and work frustrations were helped as I do feel less stressed this morning.

The following was added 08/15/2010.
Ironically, the title of this post is even more appropriate. I am back up and running with a new notebook computer, however I have slightly injured my knee and may need to take off some time from running. It does appear that I may be able to keep up my swimming and (probably) my biking at this time. I am hoping I'll just need a few more days off, however I tried to run earlier today after taking off Wed- Sat from running and I only got in a mile before discomfort set in. :-(

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bridgeland Sprint Triathlon

The Bridgeland Sprint Triathlon proved to be a well run event. The race organizers did a great job putting on a fun event.

The day before the race I attempted to get fully hydrated and consumed water all day, plus 96 ounces of Gatorade G2 as well. I was quite surprised that this did not force me to take additional bathroom breaks during the day or night, which I concluded to mean that I was already dehydrated and needed all this to catch up to where I needed to be. From Saturday morning to Sunday morning I gained about 5 pounds, which I concluded was pretty much the extra fluid my body needed to have that I had been missing. By the end of my race I will feel very happy about going through the extra effort to rehydrate my body.

The 500 meter swim was a point to point lake swim, ending in an area adjacent to the transition area. The water was warm but well marked with big orange and yellow buoys. Given the course layout, many early swimmers swam too the first buoy and then along the aligned buoys, which actually lengthened their swim. I started out far to the left and just swam straight towards to distant yellow buoy that marked a right turn to stay clear of the pack. Unfortunately, I twice got boxed in by swimmers that could not swim a straight line and wasted a bit of time getting away from them (although at one point I slowed a bit to let them clear me and saw them swim their heads into each other in an almost Three Stooges kind of way). For some unknown reason I felt a moment of slight panic during the middle of the race, but calmed myself by remembering that I have done longer swims under worse circumstances just fine. I've never felt that way before during a swim, but am glad I got past it...especially since I was out in the middle of the lake at the time! In the end I finished the 500 meter swim in 12:17.

While the transition are was well laid out, they had to cram some unfortunate people way up in the grass on a hill adjacent to the parking lot used for transition that was way out from the bike entry and exit. I was one of the unlucky that got that area. Still, I had a decent 2:18 T1 time.

I had a pretty strong bike ride, if you go by that I passed so many more people than passed me--and generally the ones that passed me were pretty awesome cyclists with awesome bikes. My average speed of 19.7 mph was right around where I hoped to be, and I think represented pretty much my best effort for the course. I worried a bit that going hard on the bike might negatively impact my run, but I felt I needed to put out my best effort to see how my body would react on the run to somewhat tired legs. I finished my bike ride in 42:37. Unfortunately, the posted race times did not show a record of my bike time (in fact around 1/3 or more racers lacked a bike split) and showed an excessively long T1 time instead, so I calculated my speed based upon my watch split and the 14 mile known distance.

Transition 2 was about as good as it was going to get for me as I had to cart my bike way across the transition area and past the run start, before trekking back to the exit...but I still managed a 1:56 T2 time, so I really should not complain much.

My run was looking to be my biggest question mark going into this race. I have never run the whole course as part of a triathlon before (though I have run all but the aid stations), but I planned to run every step of today's run. The biggest complication today was the early heat, which I expect was in the mid-80's by then and very sunny. Fortunately, once we got past the first half mile there was occasional shade from trees, and most of mile 2 was on a tree-covered path. I covered mile one in 10:08, which I consider to be a solid time for any mile for me in any race, then I covered miles 2 and 3 in a combined 20:30 (I did not see the mile 2 marker.) which surprised me even more. I was definitely pushing a pace that took real effort for me, but I felt good while doing it. As I passed the Mile 3 marker I knew that there was only a half mile to go and I had been running alongside another runner from my age group that I had been determined not to let get away from me, so I pushed the pace for the last bit and with about 150 yards to go I ran all-out. I figured if I was going to get passed, it would not be easy on anyone to do it. I held off my challenger and beat him by 6 seconds, so I have to guess he didn't have what it took to stay with me at the end. My time over the final half mile was an amazing 4:30, for a 35:08 total run time. I held on to a volunteer for support while they took my timing chip and gave me a cold water bottle and an ice-cold, wet towel, before finally walking off to stretch out and meet up with my coach at the finish.

My stated goal for this race was to finish in the low 1:40 range (1:40 to 1:45), but I really hoped to get into the 1:30's. In the end I finished in 1:34:16, which happily beat my goals. More important to me, though, was that I gave a hard effort the whole race, which is what gave me ability to surpass my goals.

My next race is The Austin Triathlon on Labor Day, where I intend to settle an old score with the Olympic distance that still bothers me from last year.

70 days until IM Longhorn 70.3!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Recapping July

After 3 months of incremental weight increases, I lost 5.4 lbs in July. This gets me back to where I was around a week into the month of March earlier this year weight-wise (and down 3.4 lbs for the year). It's good to see that 2.5 months of slow gain can be undone by a good month, just like I've seen the opposite where 3 months of weight loss is undone by one month of gain. In the end, this is still a long process where the important thing is to stay on-track in the long term and not worry about the short term.

This month of training proved to be a long one. I ended up logging in 2431 training minutes for the month easily my highest training time since I started running again back in late 2006. I ran 65.3 miles during the month for my second highest run mileage of the year (and above average for me). The 225.2 miles on the bike and 12.7 miles of swimming each represent a personal monthly high for me as well. In addition these represent an amount of training that I likely would not have pushed myself to attempt without the advice of coaching--at least not at this point in my training schedule. While there are too many variables to guarantee that I will beat my previous best in my coming Olympic and Half Ironman distance races, I am certainly going to be entering them much better prepared than I was for them last year.

With the Longhorn 70.3 and IM Texas on my longer horizon as my main events, and shorter "training" races such as the Bridgeland Sprint Tri (8/8) and The Austin Triathlon (Olympic Distance 9/6) along the way, I have been writing posts about some of my specific training experiences to record my training process for later review, and any constructive criticism anybody out there might have to offer to me. One thing is certain at this point, my training volumes will have to increase when I kick into IM Texas specific training late this year/early next year.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Continuing Longhorn 70.3 Preparation

As of this writing I am 11 weeks (77 days), less 7 some hours from the start of the Longhorn 70.3 race in Austin, Texas. As part of documenting my training from time to time, here is an overview of the last week of training. FWIW, this was not a "typical" week, but a week with some increased training time before entering this coming week. This coming week is a scheduled lighter recovery week, with a bit of a taper for next weekend's Bridgeland Sprint Tri.

Monday-Swim 2200 yards in 55:39. This workout included the full workout from warmup to cool down including associated rest between drills, with the primary element of this workout being 500 yard drills.

Tuesday-Ran 3.9 miles in 46:12. This was an organized track workout with my tri training group, OutRival Racing . The main element of this workout was 1600m-1200m-600m-300m tempo drills with a short, light jog in between running to allow for heart rate recovery. Also on this day was a 15 minute basic core workout.

Wednesday- Morning Workout Swim 2250 yards in 58:09. This workout included the full workout from warmup to cool down including associated rest between drills, with the primary element of this workout being a tempo ladder drill. Evening Workout An 11.8 mile bike ride around some local hills in 45:33. I had hoped to get in an hour of riding but called this ride a bit short due to darkness.

Thursday- Morning Workout 58:45 spin class at 24 Hour Fitness Gym.
Evening Workout Run 3.61 miles on local hills in 53:42. This includes about 15 minutes of walking to get my legs loose at the start of the workout before running up and down some hills in my neighborhood.

Friday- Morning Workout 2.4 miles in 37:17. This was an easy workout with a ten minute walk to start around the flatter roads of my neighborhood.
ALso today was a 15 minute basic core workout.

Saturday- I kicked off the weekend with the OutRival Racing group bike ride, covering 39.32 miles in 2:27:40 (16 mph avg pace), plus some good social time at Starbucks afterwards. The ride included about 15 miles that I anticipate has a good chance of being part of the IM Texas route.

Sunday- Long run day, 7.2 miles in 1:31:08, including a combined approximately 12 minutes and .6 miles of warmup and cooldown. After the run I got to sit around with my friends from The Woodlands Running Club for breakfast at the local bagel shop.

As I said before this was a high volume workout week for me, but it was good to see that I could hold up for nearly 10.5 hours of workouts in a week, at least once! This coming week will be a lot easier on me timewise, and I'll enjoy a bit of rest this coming week as well.