Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tapering in Boca

Sometimes my work plan and my training plan just doesn't line up...   this would be one of those times when real life gets in the way.  I'm in Boca Raton working on a rather large project.  On the plus side I'm not in charge of this one or really in any major position of responsibility.  I'm whats called an "L3" meaning I'm not the designer (L1), not the master electrician who oversees the entire installation of the rig (L2) I'm the guy underneath both of those positions.  So in that way its great...  but it means its a much more hands on position.  So I worked my but off the last couple of days.  Its also a somewhat new client for me so I'm going the extra mile to make a good impression and when the union crew slowed down yesterday I picked up the pace and did a lot more than I should have to keep us moving.  So my legs are BEAT!  To make things worse I worked under a 4' tall giant structure of truss all day which stayed at that height all day while we worked on it.  So I was constantly ducking under something and standing back up.  Thanks to all of that my quads and hamstrings were not happy this mornign!  Its sort of like doing many many many body weight squats over and over again all day long. 

Anyway...   I'm a little beat up this morning and not tapering quite as well as I could be.  Yesterday I worked a ten hour day of intense physical labor and then I got back to my hotel room around 7:15 and got almost immediately on the bike trainer for a 50 minute workout to replace my tapering run, showerd, ran to the grocery store, cooked dinner and finally got in bed at 11pm feeling pretty exhausted.  Sadly I then woke up at 430am this morning and wasn't able to get back to sleep.  Ugh!

Plan for today is pretty much the same...   work for ten, get on the trainer, eat, go to bed.  Fortunately after a couple of days the physical labor part of this gig will go way down and we'll go into just maintaining the rig which will give me a chance to recover and properly rest for the taper a bit.  Unfortunately though we have to take it all down on thursday right before I start the Disney Challenge so I'm going to have to be very carefull how much energy I use on that day.  That day is gonna hurt as I have to strike this whole giant rig, then drive to Orlando and check into my hotel and then race the 5K the next morning.  Should make for an interesting few days! 

On the plus side however unless things go poorly we are scheduled to take the 1st off down here so I'll be able to get a nice ride in to replace my 8 mile run although I think I'll ride for an hour and then run two miles or something like that.  We'll see how I feel that day.  I'm still debating how much running I'll do between now and the races.  I think some is in order but at this point it offers little training benefit so I want to give my legs the best chance they have to be strong and healthy going into the race so I don't want to run too much.  Just enough to feel ok mentally is all I really need.

Ok...  time for me to go to work!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Good Grief A Lot Has Happened...

....Since I last posted!  I need to stop updating only once a week as it leads to these marathon entries...  but life has been pretty damn hectic lately!  But enough about that and on with the update....

I did my last twenty miler in Newport on Saturday morning.  Sunday was supposed to be an off day / swim technique day.  In the end Sunday fell apart as a swim day as the girl and I were both super busy getting ready for our upcoming Christmas trip and dealing with her fabulous dog who was a bit under the weather.  So we never made it to the pool on Sunday.  Which really was all for the best as the rest was good for me.

Monday morning I was back at the pool at the Y for a great workout.  I won't bore you with the details but there were a bunch of intervals of varying lenghts and types and a great workout.  I went early on a Monday morning as I had loads to do that day and the pool was packed.  The best part though was it was packed with some pretty serious swimmers.  Lots of fast people and a great big pile of pool toys at the end of every lane.  I felt like an actual real swimmer for a change too which was great.

Once the workout was done I rushed home to pack up loads and loads of stuff to get ready for my trip southward.  Between packing clothes for the Disney marathon weekend, training while I'm away for several weeks, and the fact I was bringing my bike with me as well there was LOADS of tri-related stuff to pack.  So much so I took a picture when it was all laid out on the floor.  That pic should go here... but its in a memory card thats currently 1500 miles away from here sitting on my desk at home...   hmmm....    just imagine a giant pile of stuff as I like to overpack!

With all that done and accomplished I stuffed everything in the car but the bike and took a brief nap.

Tuesday morning at 3:30am the alarm went off and I was up and in the car and moving by 4AM.  I had decided I was going to try and make it to Charlotte.  Which I did...   in 14 hours of driving!  UGH!  I rolled into Charlotte at around 6pm and upacked the car and rolled my bike into my hotel room and then headed to the hotel gym to go run five miles.  The run didn't feel great, but not awful, and not bad considering it was the recovery run after the 20 miler.  Plus I'd just driven for 14 hours so I was beat!  After the run I passed out and went to bed.

Wednesday morning I got up and did 45 minutes on the bike trainer in my hotel room and then I was off for a lovely treat!  A quick visit to http://www.swimmersguide.com/ revealed a fantastic facility in Charlotte for me to swim at.  The Meckleberg Aquatic Center or something er other.  Its  giant city run pool with something like 25 lanes.  Three dollars bought me a day pass and I was in!  What a gorgeous facility!  I had a lane to myself despite the fact the place was PACKED with lots of tiny little kids three times as fast as I was.  I had a great swim with some fun new intervals that the girl had planned for me.  My favorite of which were the 4 x 75 Easy, Rest for ten seconds, 25 Sprint, rest for 15 seconds and repeat.  Fun stuff!  I also had a nice long 500 in there too.  Which felt ok...   I'm slowly getting the hang of this no wetsuit thing.  And the workouts the girl has been writing for me have been brilliant.  I feel so much more focused and productive in the water lately which is great.  I definitely feel like I'm making progress again and thats fantastic.

After my swim it was back in the car for a grueling 8 hour drive to Tallahassee to pick the girl up at the airport as she came down to Florida the smart way!  From there we drove up to GA to her parents home and crashed.

Thursday the girl and I got a nice easy five mile run in through her home town.  I wish I had taken a picture.  The tree covered streets of souther Georgia with spanish moss hanging from their branches were gorgeous.  It was a beautifull run.  Sadly though my legs didn't feel all that great again.  Later that day we went to a fun gathering of a lot of the girl's triathlete friends in the Albany, GA area and I had a great time listenting to all the tales of the recent Ironman Lousiville.

Friday was Christmas eve and a fun day with the girl's family.  I have to say they really know how to cook in the south.  I ate really well down there...    On Christmas Eve I ate what I think was my favorite thing of the trip though which was fresh wild duck that the girl's brother had recently brought back from a hunt done on the grill and wrapped in bacon. AMAZING!!!  So different than all the fatty duck stuff I've had in restaurants.  Great stuff!

Saturday was Christmas and we had a great time with the family again and then drove down to Jacksonville, Florida to meet up with some more of the girl's friends.

Sunday morning we all woke up and got ready for our long run.  We'd timed it so that we could run with some of the girl's friends.  Or at least she could, and I could run at the same place, but not in their group.  I was voted off that island under the pretense of being too fast.  But I know they just wanted to gossip.  ; )  Anyway...   I was really looking forward to a long run in the florida weather...    too bad the florida weather was sadly absent!  It was 32 degrees or so, with steady high winds putting the feels like temp at 26, and there was also a snow/freezing rain mix falling at the same time.  So not so great weather!  It wasn't fun but I slugged my way through a 12 miler at 9's.   It was here I decided my legs need to recover more and that I need to stop running until the Disney Challenge.  With only two weeks to go till race weekend I see no reason to keep running.  I've decided I'll have a better race if I let my legs heal up a bit.  So instead I'll swim and bike for the same duration as all my runs during the taper and let my legs recover while staying fit at the same time.  Heres a shot of the beach in Jacksonville during my run.

Monday was an off day for me and a travel day as well.  I sadly had to say goodbye to the girl as she headed north while I headed south to Boca Raton for work where I am writing this from. 

Tuesday (today) was a busy day at work but we managed to finish up by 3pm.  I was practically giddy at this as I knew I could get on my bike and get in a ride outside.  My plan was to replace my five mile run with a one hour bike.  So thats exactly what I did.  In gorgeous 60 degree temps and sunny weather I headed out for a ride on my tri bike.  The hotel is right near A1A which is the main road that runs up and down the beach here.  As a plus it also has a dedicated bike lane!  Bonus!  So I headed north, got aero and started cranking away.  This was the first time I've ridden Cannon on the roads since I've mucked about with the aero bar position a little bit.  I was really happy as for the first time my position felt fairly comfortable and dialed in and didnt feel like I was going to fall off the bars.  So that was great.  Also great were how many other serious cyclists there were out today.  Its a popular riding spot apparently.  Funny though was that almost all of them had very nice race wheels on their bikes.  I was suprised...  seemed like every road bike that went by had deep dished race wheels on it. 

Anyway...  I was only able to ride for an hour and I just squeeked twenty miles in during that time.  I had a nice ride and I was so happy to be out in the sun.  There were only two bad parts of the ride at all...    one being the stupid kid on the skateboard who cut me off and almost made me dump my bike (stupid kids!) and the other being this slight delay as the drawbridge was up!

The rest of the ride was uneventfull but fabulous.  It felt so good to ride outdoors again!  I also had a nice long stretch afterwards and a super hot shower that felt great.  I have one of those giant hotel showers here thats so big you can stretch in it which is fantastic. 

So thats the quickie update of all the craziness that has been the last week....

Next up...

For now I'm replacing my tapered runs with cycling to let my running muscles heal a bit.  I'm also still trying to figure out where to swim here in a Boca that fits my schedule.  Theres something like 8 pools here on property at the hotel and NONE of them are lap pools.  Theres one rectangular one but its not very long.  Annoying!  So I'm not sure when I will be able to swim.  There is a Y in town with a lap pool but I need to figure out when I can get in there.  I'm too tired to do the 5:30 swim tomorrow am right now so I'm hoping I'll finish work early enough to get a swim in tomorrow night after a ride and or trainer ride.

Ok...   hopefully my next posts will be far more interesting and less quickie catch ups!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

HOORAY FOR THE TAPER!!!!!

Hooray!  I made it to the taper for the marathon!  There was a large part of me that was starting to wonder if I was ever going to make it to this point intact.  I'm very happy to say that I did..   and here's how it went.

Friday morning I went to sleep feeling really nervous about my last twenty mile run before the Disney.  With all the issues I've been having and how unhappy my hamstring was on Thursday after my fast five miler I was really dreading it.  So already I wasn't going into it with the best mental attitude....   so I was just hoping for the best.

Saturday morning I woke up and the Girl suggested that we run together for her 15 miler and then I go on and do the rest of my miles after that.  First of all I was kind of shocked that she offered as were still learning to run together on short runs and she's never offered to let me join her on something this long.  And second of all she knows there was no way I was going to give up "The Joy Sucker" for my long run.  Whats "The Joy Sucker"?  Its my Garmin 310xt running watch that lets me see pace, heart rate, cadence, distance etc.  The Girl hates it.  She much prefers to run freely without worrying about pace or any measurement other than time.  But she also grooves ten minute miles perfectly so she only has to look at her watch to see how far she's gone.  In fact its uncanny how well she grooves that EXACT pace.  Anyway...  I put the joy sucker into super stealthy I don't vibrate or beep mode so she wouldn't hear it and it looked like we were actually going to get to run together.  There were a couple of last minute protests and maybe this isn't such a good idea moments but then we were out the door and running together. 

The Girl however stuck her headphones in right away and cranked her music and left me to follow her pace quietly.  Which I did happily.  In fact there's a part of me that thinks the reason I survived the 20 miler feeling as good as I did was that she paced me to such a nice manageable easy pace.  Without her just in front of me its likely I may have gone out too fast and although I would have finished the run I wouldn't have been a lot more sore and beat up by it.  The truth is that I am NOT 100% right now so running slow and easy is what my body needs to continue to recover.  So the Girl keeping me at such a great pace kept me feeling strong.

My head was a bit all over the place on my run.  I was really doubting myself in the first few miles.  I wasn't sure if I would be strong enough to get the whole run in and how it would feel and if I would be able to do it.  I had readied myself the day before for any possibility that I would have to cut the run short.  I wanted to be mentally prepared to call it quits early to save my legs if need be.  But all that did was make me question my ability to cover that distance in the condition my legs were in.  So the short version of all that was that it was not my strongest long run.

The first few miles of the run were the hardest for me.  I was just playing head games with myself and worrying a lot and struggling to distract myself.  Then I remembered I had brought a camera to caputure some winter running pictures.  So I tried to look for fun things to snap a photo of like this.....
Incidentally the weather was perfect early winter running weather.  Temps in the low 30's and sunny and little to no wind.  The Girl and I ran a great route through Middletown and Newport that took us past the beaches and down past some lovely views that always distract me and make me smile.  Its really amazing to live this close to the ocean and be able to walk out your door and run past the beach.
The skies were really pretty yesterday as well and I lucked into some nice photos considering I was carrying a tiny little not so good camera with me.  As we ran past Second Beach we headed up towards Sachuest point and came across this large herd of deer in the tall grass and we stopped to watch them for a bit.

Then some of them stopped to watch us a bit.

And then the girl took this very dorky looking photo of me in my winter long run gear looking pretty foolish if I do say so myself.  But if you can't laugh at yourself then who can you laugh at.  What the hec are you supposed to do with your arms in photos anyway?

And then we were off and running again.  Literally.  Our route took us back in towards Newport and then out onto the Cliff walk.  I love running on the Cliff Walk.  Its a shame its not longer.

And for those not from Rhode Island you run in between the low railing and the high railing and its a trail that runs between the back yards of the Mansions of Newport and the Ocean itself.  Its really breathtaking on most days.  Its even better with company and its a favorite spot for the Girl and I to run together on.
There are some great views from the Cliff walk too like this one of First Beach
So at this point we are about ten miles into our run and grooving a ten minute pace nicely.  The Girl was headed for a 15 miler and I had 20 to do.  Her marathon is a few weeks after mine.  Which incidentally is "The Donna" in Jacksonville which is the race I was hoping to do with her but as my legs keep getting beat up I think I'm going to rest and not run for six weeks or so after the Disney and instead just go and cheer her on.  So...   at this point I've distracted myself nicely with taking photos and I'm even starting to enjoy the run.  So we start chatting about how we are going to finish our routes.  The nice thing about running on the island is that you get a feel for how long various routes are and you can head out on your long run and figure out your exact route as you go.  Which is what we were both doing at this point.  So we decided we would head towards the ocean drive and the Girl would turn back towards home at a point to get her 15 in and I would continue around the ocean drive to get my 20 in.  In the end we parted ways at just shy of 13 miles together and it was time to head out on my own.

Once out on my own I was curious what would happen to my pace.  I did speed up a little initially but not too much and I ended up grooving 9:30s for the next few miles.  I think miles 13-17 were the hardest for me.  I was by myself, out of distractions and I could start to feel my plantar fasciatis and hamstring start to flare up.  But they would come and go and I would do my best to relax them and focus on relaxing them when they would show up.  There were definitely some tough hills to climb (actually not tough on a normal day but with a hamstring you are trying to baby they were tough!) and I fought my way up them and kept going. 

The Ocean Drive portion of my run was definitely a good mental excercise and I worked really hard to keep steady and stay relaxed.  Eventually I finally made it to mile 18 when I started to get into downtown Newport.  At this point the end was in sight and I no longer doubted that I would get the 20 miler in.  Knowing that gave me a bit of a boost and a smile and I cranked through the last two miles.  Although I did stop to get this one pic of the Newport Bridge as I ran past it.
In the end I ran 20.6 miles at an average pace of 9:30s.  The first 12 miles were at a 9:55 average or so with the Girl and I picked up the pace a lot on the back half.  Looking at the splits the first 12 miles were solid tens or just under and then my pace went to 9:30s and then slowly got faster with the last two miles at 8:30s.  Not terribly quick or anything but always a good sign to negative split a long run and accelerate at the end.  So that was good.  However I'd rather my average for the whole run be at 8:30s with some faster bits at the end.  Oh well...  next time around on fresher legs maybe.

The good thing to focus on here though is that I've made it to the taper!!!  So now I just need to run easy and get my miles in and do everything I can to stay relaxed and let my legs heal up.  Then the Disney plan is to enjoy the 5K at the slowest pace I can manage, do the same for the half marathon, and then see what happens for the full marathon and do my best to enjoy it and get through it.  Hopefully my legs will be fresher than they feel now after the taper and I'll have a fun enjoyable weekend of lots of running at a nice relaxed pace.  But only time will tell.  Still it feels great to have made it to the end of another marathon training cycle.  It always feels great to make it to the taper!

Next up...

A technique session in the pool this afternoon with the Girl to work on form and get some tips to work on in my workouts going forwards while I'm away.

Oh and one more thing....   

An open letter to someone....

Dear Crazy Arm Swinging Runner Guy In Newport...

The Girl and I keep running past you on our long runs on the weekends and we always wave and say hello and you never wave back or even smile or nod your head or even acknowledge us.  This is despite us running within inches of each other so you have no excuse.  This letter is to serve as notice that we have given up on saying hello to you and will now start ignoring you right back.

Thanks

Nick and The Girl

Friday, December 17, 2010

Swimming, Running, and Hurting...

Lets start with the bad news first shall we?

So I took 9 days off from running in order to let the various problems going on with my right leg heal up a bit (plantar fasciatis, which led to calf tightness, and my trusty tight hamstring which sometimes aggrevates my right glute).  The 9 days off were somewhat complicated by my slight bike crash which led to some other nagging annoying injuries such as forearm tenderness from all the road rash, but my right knee was tender for several days, and my left hip and shoulder weren't thrilled either.  So I got a little beat up.  But the important thin is I took some time off of running in order to get better.

So for my first run back I met up with Nancy to run an easy paced five miler which I wrote about here.  Nancy and I also ran together on Wednesday when we did a brutally cold five miler again.  Again we kept to a nice relaxed pace.  That was a chilly one...  14 degree temperature with a "feels like" temp of 4 degrees.  It was COLD!  But we got through it.  After that run I felt pretty good which was encouraging...

So then on Thursday I figured I'd run another five miler.  This one by myself.  I wanted to see how my legs felt and what sort of natural pace they would fall into.  So I set out on the run and let my legs do what they wanted to.  Nancy and I ran those last two five milers at ten minute miles.  Super easy and relaxed as Nancy had only just started running again after a bit of a break and I was coming back from injury.  So I figured I'd see how my legs really felt and just let them go.  At the two mile mark I was running a 7:30/mile average which I held all the way up until three miles.  I felt great, my legs felt good and I was really happy as my foot wasn't bothering me at all and life was good.  I relaxed a bit on the last two miles in and ended up running a 7:45 avg for the five miler.  Which is what that should be for me.  So that was great.  What wasn't great however was how sore and stiff my right hamstring was at the end of that run.  I'd pissed it off by running fast and it let me know it.  In retrospect I should have throttled way back again.  But I wanted to see how I felt.  So the good news is my foot/calf/shin wasn't bad, but my hammy/glute was NOT happy.  Its now friday and its still a bit ticked off, but not as bad as it was late yesterday.  Last night I literally couldn't job across the street to avoid being hit by a car it was so tight.  I had to limp across the road.  It just was NOT happy.  Today I'm happy to say its doing a lot better.

So whats next?  Theoretically I have one last twenty mile run tomorrow morning and then its taper time for the marathon.  So heres my plan....   since my leg is feeling much better today I'm going to try the twenty miler tomorrow.  I reserve the right to stop at any point if its bad, cut the run in half and make it a 10 miler, or do the full twenty.  Its going to come down to feel.  My leg has a habit of loosening up during a run and feeling fine, or it might not.  Only time will tell.  And then my plan going forward from that will depend on how my leg reacts to the twenty miler.  If I get the 20miler in without major issue then I will continue my run training and taper as usual and do the disney.  If tomorrow goes poorly I will consider not running until the week of the marathon and tapering with lots of swimming/biking.  If it goes REALLY badly I'll do nothing but swim for two weeks and then start running a tiny bit leading up the Disney and see what happens.  And if its REALLY REALLY bad I'll say screw it and take a three day vacation in Orlando and be really pissed off that I spent all that money on those races and can't do them.  But I don't think that will happen.

What else does it mean?  It means racing the Donna marathon in February is now off the table.  As soon as this Disney race is over I'm going to not run for at least six weeks.  Nothing but swim and bike.  My legs need time off from running and if they still don't feel great I'll do nothing but swim as much as I can for six weeks.

So thats the run side of things....

On the bike side of things....    theres nothing to report.  I haven't been on the bike since a brief trainer ride on Monday.  But I AM excited to be taking southward with me and hope to get some nice rides in down there in warm weather.

On the swim side of things there is some good news to report I'm happy to say.  So the Girl is now my official swim coach.  And I have to do what she says.  And here's what she said my first workout had to be...

200yd Warmup
500yd Easy Free
300 kick
200 cooldown

Hmmm....   I was pretty anxious about starting with a 200 and I was positve I'd NEVER survive the 500.  Every since I porked up my form lately I haven't been able to do anything longer than a 100 and those felt AWFUL.  So I was positive I'd never be able to start with a 200 and I'd never survive the 500.  But I made a commitment to do whatever she says (In the Pool!) and I planned on sticking to it.  So I was going to try my damndest or drown trying.

I got in the pool and messed with my goggles for an eternity to prolong the start of the 200.  How the hec was I going to do that when I've never done anyting beyond starting with a ton of 50's to warmup?  Oh well...   here goes.  I focused REALLY hard on trying to relax and go super slow and easy.  I tried to remember my mantra "swim like an old fat lady".  As I approached the wall for the end of lap 1 I tried desperately to relax.  My mind wanted me to stop, but I plowed onwards and made the turn and headed towards 75 yards.  Ok...   uncharted territory here.  So far so good.  I just kept trying to relax.  Then I passed 100yds and started to feel a tiny bit better.  Maybe I was actually going to be able to do this?  Then 150yds...  one more lap to go.  And then before I knew it I'd opened up with a 200.  Which to some may seem ridiculously easy.  To me seemed impossible.  I know... its ridiculous...   My longest continuos swim is 1.8 miles, I've done numerous 1.2 mile open water swims in all kinds of conditons and I was more scared standing at the end of the lane in the pool about to open with a 200 yd warmup that I am starting at six foot waves on the beach before and open water swim.  WEIRD...   but true.

Ok... did the 200!  That helped boost my confidence...  except now I have to do a 500.  Damn!  So time to muck about with my goggles some more.  Its amazing how much time you can kill doing that.  Two minutes later I started out for the 500.  10 laps.  They went kind of like this.

Lap 1:  I think I can't, I think I can't, I think I can't, I think I can't.
Lap 2:  shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up!
Lap 3:  ok...  we just did a 200.  This is less than that.  So shut up.
Lap 4:  ok...   we just did a 200.  This is the same as that.  Crap.  I'm not even halfway yet.
Lap 5:  if I can just get throug this lap I'll be halfway done.  Damn... this is lap five right?  or is it 4?
Lap 6:  Ok, back in uncharted territory.  But at least were beyond halfway.
Lap 7:  If this is what a 500yd set feels like those long workouts with 1000yd sets in them are going to be insanely dull.
Lap 8:  does this bathing suit make me look fat?
Lap 9:  Holy crap only two laps to go!  I hope I don't choke.  Shut up!  Shut Up!
Lap 10:  Don't screw up!  OMG I"M DONE!  I DID IT!!!!!!

Head out of the water and big smile on my face.  I needed that.  That was a confidence booster.  I lost a lot of confidence in the pool lately... and this set really got it back for me.  Maybe the Girl knows whats she's doing?

Ok...  now just an easy 300 yards of kicking.  How hard can that be?  It went like this....

Lap 1:  Ok... first time ever doing kick drills.  this has got to be easier than that 500.  OMG...   seriously?  What the hell is that muscle thats hurting already?  I've never even remotely felt that muscle before.  WOW.  These SUCK!
Lap 2-6  Wow... this is WAY harder than it looks.  I'd like to take pleasure in my head at least being out of the water but OW!  This sucks!

At the end of the set as I felt a serious pain in some muscles I've never felt before it occured to me that the reason I've never felt those muscles before is that they haven't been engaging which is my kick sucks which is why my body position sucks which is why I struggle. Maybe the Girl really does know what she's doing.

The truth is the Girl really does know what she's doing and she's going to be a great coach.  With her writing all my workouts and doing technique sessions with me I have high hopes and finally think I'm on the right path.

So...   with one workout completed I had a nice chat with the Girl, got some "I told you so" looks when I said she was right about a lot of things and she wrote me a workout for today which went like this...

200 Warmup
6 x 50 on 1:20
200 Easy
6x50 on 1:15
200yd Kick
200 Cooldown

So some of you who can actually swim properly are laughing at the 50yd intervals with all that rest time in there.  Some of you can probably do a 100 and get five seconds of rest in that amount of time.  What can I say...   I'm slow! 

So the first 200 didn't feel great.  I started the workout feeling confident but at the 100yd mark I desperately wanted to stop but I forced myself to get through the opening 200.  I desperately need to figure out why I feel so out of breath for an easy paced 200.  I'm doing something wrong...  just don't know what yet.

Then the 50yd intervals.  I thought those would be fun and familiar.  The first set was.  I wasn't really sure how to swim those.  As fast as I could and get lots of rest?  go easy on them and get less rest?  So I went somewhat hard on them and enjoyed the rest.  My best 50 takes me 50 seconds and I average 55.  So I got about 25 seconds of rest between sets which felt good but by the sixth interval I was a little tired but having fun.  Then a minute of rest and the 200 easy.  That 200 didnt' feel great either.  I again felt like I was struggling to get to the end of the 200 despite desperately trying to relax.  Oh well, the important thing was I did it and didn't give up or stop.

Then the second round of intervals with five seconds less rest this time.  Those were a bit harder.  Seems like you would finish the set and then the next one came around much faster.  Especially as these were about 55 seconds each per 50 so only 20 seconds rest this time.  Which is a lot for most, but for me its ten seconds less than I'm used to.  So that set was challenging and I was happy to get to the last one.  But I did it!  So that was good.  Ok...  time to kick again.

This time I did the kick sets as continuos 50's instead of 25s.  My average time was 1:20 per 50 of kicking.  So now I have a benchmark to look at down the road and see how I'm progressing with those.  I was definitely sore after that set as I tried really hard.  I need to talk to the Girl about kicking form though.  I tried some different things and noted how my speed increased/decreased but it would be good to get some technique notes.

Then it was cooldown time...   that 200 felt a little better but still a bit forced.  I couldn't get to the point of relaxtion I reached in that 500yd set the other day so I need to work on that. 

So that workout was 1400yds total so its nice to slowly be building back up to the 2500yd mark I'd reached in my best workout on my own.  More than that though its just nice to know I have a plan and that I'll make some progress.  I'm really thrilled the Girl is taking this on and she's written me a bunch of workouts to do on my monthlong road trip as well so I'm psyched to have those.  Plus I feel accountable to do them when they are written by my coach and my girlfriend.  I don't want to be the loser that doesn't do the whole workout.  So thats good too.  Sunday we're headed to the pool together for a technique session that I'm looking forward to!  Speaking of which...   I meant to try and practice more flip turns today but forgot.  I think I was just excited the workout was over and I could get out of the water so I forgot.  Ooops!  Anyway...  I won't keep writing about these pool workouts in such a detailed fashion but these first two are me back on the road to getting better again and I wanted to write about them. 

So here's hoping I continue to improve in the pool and don't do anything dumb to my legs out running!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cannon's Fixed! and its Time to Start Running Again....

Monday morning I drove up to Providence to drop Cannon off at Providence  Bicycle to see what the damage was like and have it properly inspected to make sure the frame was ok.  Thanks to Sean and the fine folks in the Providence Bicycle service department I got a phone call not long after I dropped the bike off with the verdict.  The GREAT news was that the frame was ok!!!  AWESOME!  and the just as good news was that I got lucky and most of the damage was purely cosmetic.  In the end I had them replace the brake handles with new Sram Carbon units as the original ones were pretty scratched up and looked crappy on a brand new bike and the Carbon brakes were shockingly cheap.  So that was an easy decision.  The bar end shifters were still functional and very expensive to replace so instead of replacing them I just sanded down all the jagged edges from where they scraped the ground and reshaped the tip of one of them and then took a sharpie to the metal bit that was all gaffed up.  The derailler was fine although scraped up which I fixed with a black sharpie and PB replaced the bent derailler hanger with a new one they had in stock (YAY!) and then that was as good as new!  They also had to retrue the rear training wheel as that got a bit gaffed up too.  All in all it was only 150 bucks to get out of there so I felt pretty great about that!  Could have been much much worse!  So now Cannon is back in working form and you'd never know we took a tumble.  Not only was it a fairly inexpensive fix but it was going to be ready by early afternoon!  Even better!

I was psyched thinking I'd pick it up right before spin and be able to "ride" it in the spin session.  And then my phone rang....    a longtime client and friend of mine called saying he was in town and wanted to have dinner.  So change of plans...    so I picked up Cannon at 4pm, rushed up, threw it on the trainer and got in a 50 minute trainer workout and then took a quick shower and was out the door for a dinner.

I was hoping to convince Nancy to meet me at spin so we could workout and catch up but since I skipped I checked in to see if I could convince her to run tuesday morning.  Success!  Fortunately for me she hasn't been running a lot lately either so it was a good easy paced run for both of us.  So this morning I got up early and we met up for a relaxed pace five miler.  It was COLD!  25 degrees out when I left.  Fortunately not really windy though, but it definitely made for a very brisk run.  We took it very easy and kept the pace somewhere between 9 and 10 minute miles.  Which was exactly what my legs needed.  I'm still not sure how my legs felt after the run today.  My right knee which I somewhat injured in my tumble the other day was a tiny bit sore afterwards and I was aware of my hamstring as well although it wasn't painfull or all that tight I don't think.  So hard to say if 9 days of no running was of much benefit.  I'll know more as the week goes on.  My plan is to run 5 on wednesday and again on thursday and see how I feel.  If all goes well I'll complete my last 20 miler on saturday morning and start the taper for the marathon.  I'm very nervous about my leg/foot/hamstring so i want to be very carefull with this marathon challenge.  At this point I'm willing to switch out all my runs for cycling efforts and just enjoy a nice long slow run that weekend.  I need to keep thinking that its all about the ironman and starting the season injury free.  The more I think about things the more I think the "Donna" marathon I'm considering in February might be off the table.  I might just hang on the sidelines and cheer and take a month off of running and just swim/bike and strength train as I start on my ironman training and 2011 race season.  A swim/bike focus would certainly be very beneficial to me so its a good plan.

Speaking of the Disney marathon and plans...  I booked my hotel today.  I have a certain ammount of hotel reward points from all my travelling which means I get to stay for free when I travel for personal reasons.  But I only had so many points left as I've used a bunch this year already.  So I was thinking I'd stay in a nice resort hotel with a huge pool and still be able to swim.  But that would have been points, plus about 400 bucks in cash to stay there.  Hmmm....   how can I do this cheaper.  So I started looking for lap pools in Orlando over at http://www.swimmersguide.com/ and discovered the Ymca Aquatic Center right on international drive.  Its HUGE!!!  23 25 yard lap lanes open all day!  NICE!  Seems like it would be a great YMCA to stay next to and have access to the pool to keep my swimming current as well as be a great way to loosen up stiff legs pre/post the various running events I'm doing that weekend.  Plus I'm sure they must have a hot tub/sauna stretching areas and other things that will come in handy while I'm there.  Perfect!  And the hotel next to that one costs me nothing as it costs less reward points.  So free hotel right next to tons of lap lanes and a fabulous YMCA that I can get into for free.  DONE and DONE!

And speaking of Florida...   I don't think I've mentioned it here...  but I'm headed south soon for a very long road trip.  I'm driving down to northern Florida for the holidays for a week with the Girl and her family, and then its down to Boca Raton for two weeks of work, and then up to Orlando for the marathon weekend, and then up to New Jersey for some time with my folks and then finally home almost a month later.  I decided to drive when all this stuff started to line up so I can take a bike and everything I'll need for the marathon with me and I can enjoy riding and training in the lovely winter florida weather and get some more outdoor time in on Cannon which is awesome.  So I'm very much looking forward to that.  Should be a great month of training and racing and recovering if all goes well.

Next up....

Another five miler tomorrow morning and then I plan on getting back in the pool with strict instructions from my now only swim coach (The Girl).  She seems to think I need to suck it up and get in the pool and swim a 200.  Then a 500, then 300 kick.  Thats the workout she gave me.  I told her I've never started a workout with anything more than a 50 and I'll never make it.  I also mentioned I haven't done anything longer than a 100 in over a month and that wasn't until I'd swam a TON of 50's and 100's that day to loosen up.  I think she's under the impression that I have some mental blocks and I need to push through them and no matter what just keep swimming until I get through the workout.  No stopping allowed.  So under our new rules of cooperation I have to do whatever she says pool workout wise so I'm going to try it and see what happens.  I'm definitely nervous about it....   so we'll see what happens.  If you see that a determined traithlete drowned in 4 feet of water in a Rhode Island YMCA you know I died trying!  : )

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Starting It Back Up... (When I Wish I Hadn't!)

Sometimes I actually do what I say I'm going to do.  I started out this week with every intention of resting and recovering and I did just that.  The week since my long run went like this....

Sunday...   Hobble around like an old man and laugh at myself, decide I need to shut things down for the week.

Monday...   Watched Harry Potter 1,2 and 3.  Layed on the Couch all day.

Tuesday...  Watched Harry Potter 4,5,6.  Layed on the Couch all day.  Updated Blog.

Wednesday...  Watched the rest of Harry Potter 6 (I fell asleep on the couch), went ot see a Matinee of Harry Potter 7, and then Watched some Matt Damn Informant movie that night.  Layed on the couch a lot.

Thursday...   Ran errands, cleaned house, started to pack for what I thought would be a trip to Vermont for the weekend to go skiing only to find out the girl's dog is sick and we're not going to go.  So I shifted gears and packed some workout clothes and headed down to Newport to help with the Girl's dog.

Friday...  Decided it was time to do something active again and the Girl and I went to get a swim in.  I knew I hand't swam in a while, and that I hadn't done anything active in some time so I didn't have high expectations.  I just wanted to start loosening things up again.  I think in the end I only swam 1000 yards.  It wasn't a very pretty 1000 yards either.  It was pretty much made up of 50's with lots of rest in the middle.  But it was a swim and a start to getting things moving again.  We spent the rest of that day tending to the Girl's girl and making fabulous pizzas for dinner.

At some point that day I decided the best thing for the continued recovery of my legs was to replace my rollback week long run (12 miler) with a two hour bike effort instead.  That way my legs can continue to recover via a lower impact bike workout but I can keep my cardio vascular base with a sustained effort for the same amount of time.  Seemed like a good plan.  And hec... lets chuck a swim in front of it and see if Chris wants to join me.  Chris said yes so were all set to go for an early Saturday AM start.  Even better is that the weather is supposed to be 40 degrees.  Practically balmy after the week we've had.  Perfect!  I figured I'd ride this week and start running again on tuesday and build up to my last twenty miler on that weekend.

Saturday...    Saturday AM a series of events happened that tragically combined into the start of an awful weekend of training.  It started with my friend Chris cancelling as he had been very ill the night before and wasn't up for it.  At this point I asked the girl if she wanted to swim with me on Sunday instead.  She said yes, so I figured great...  I'll just get on the bike and while the girl is out doing her long run I'll get my long ride in and be done at the same time so she's not waiting on me.  Perfect.  So a quick change out of swim clothes and into bike clothes and Cannon and I are out the door and ready to ride at 8AM.

Here's where it all goes to hell....

When I left it was already about 40 degrees out and sunny and low winds.  I was excited as I knew it was going to be a beautifull day to ride and I was looking forward to it.  Since I was now on my own I convinced myself a 50 mile ride was in order.  I've done a number of 32 mile rides lately and I figured it was time to up the mileage.  Especially since it was so nice out!  I started out heading out on the Ocean drive and figured I'd make the rest of the route up as I went and weave into Middletown and see what happened from there.  I also considered just doing the ten mile loop of the ocean drive 5 times and trying to negative split each lap over the one before which sounded like fun.  So I planned on a nice ten mile warmup to figure it out.  I rode down Bellevue avenue past the mansions and I remember noticing the roads were slick but I didn't think much of it.  Lots of loose debris on the roads too.  Had there been a storm the night before?  Anyway...  I rounded the turn at the end of Bellevue and slowed way down as I knew there was a hard right and quick left turn coming.  As I made the hard right I noted the road was slick and I should take the hard left slowly.  I slowed to 10-12mph or so and started a very much upright turn left.  I can't remember if I was in aero or not.  As soon as I started the left hander everything went wrong and before I knew it the bike was all over the place sliding and I was going over.  Next thing I knew I'm sideways on the pavement sliding towards the edge of the road for a good twenty feet or so.  Evenutally I stopped.  CRAP!  I can't beleive I dumped my bike!  Ok...   time to take inventory.  I'm ok.  Got one of my feet unclipped from the bike and stood up.  Checked my arms, legs, head, everything seems ok.  Shit....   I'm in the middle of the road!  Ooops!  So I grab my bike and get to the side of the road.  A runner behind me yells to me to ask if I'm ok.  I appreciatively say "Yes I'm good, Thanks!".  To which he replies...   "Its still really icy in the shade you have to watch out for that!".  My inner voice said "Thanks asshole...   howbout telling me something I don't know already".  My outer voice kept quiet and ignored him.

Now safely on the side of the road I took stock.  First of my body....  My left forearm hurt but not awfully.  My riding jacket was really torn up over that forearm but my arm bent in all the right ways and there was no pain as if I'd broken anything.  I checked my helmet and it wasn't even't scuffed meaning my head never hit pavement so that was good.  I was confused though.  I just remember trying to turn left and then being sideways.  Somehow I managed to dump the bike over on my right side while turning left.  Not sure how thats even possible... but I did.  Crap... thats the derailler side!  So I stopped with the body inventory to look at the bike.  Sadly I immediately noticed the derailler was bent inwards towards the wheel.  "F#$%!!!!!"  I noticed some other damage but that was the one that really had me bummed out.  The rest of me seemed ok.  My side hurt, but nothing awful.  So I mucked around with the bike a bit to see if it was rideable.  I managed to get it in a steady gear on the small ring and left it there to avoid any further damage to anything and very very slowly started to ride the three miles back to the house at an easy spin.  While riding back I almost dumped the bike again on another shady patch of black ice where the wheels went all over the place.  No matter how careful I was it was just super slick in some parts the sun hadn't warmed up yet.  So I limped home with the bike, carried it up the stairs and started to take inventory of my body again.

I started by removing bits of clothing one by one and taking stock of what was scuffed or scratched as an indication of what might be hurt underneath.  My helmet looked perfect which was a good indicator my head never hit pavement so that was good.  My jacket was all screwed up on the left arm which made NO sense to me as I went down on my right side which was clear by the damage to my bike.  Anyway after peeling the jacket off and two other baselayers off a nice patch of road rash was evidenced on my left forearm.  So I washed that up which stung like hell and moved on to check everything else.  My left thigh also had a small patch of road rash on it but that wasn't bad at all.  So I got in the shower and started to clean up.  Seemed like phsically I'd gotten off easy.  But as I was standing in the shower I started to wonder how it all went down.  I decided I needed to look at the bike first to figure it out. 

When I inspected the bike I was bumming.  My brand new bike was all scuffed up!  The right break hood is all scratched up, the tips of BOTH bar end shifters are all scuffed up and chipped, the aerobars took a good wack and were out of alignment, and one of the elbow pads was completely cracked in half.  The rear derailler hanger (I hope its only the hanger!) is bent so the derailler is not parallel with the cassette anymore, and the rear derailler has a huge scrape mark on it from the ground.  Ugh!

So heres my theory...   I think when I went round the turn the bike slipped initially the way you would think it would and I tried to correct and save it and then dumped the other way.  So me and the bike landed on my right side.  At which point I came unclipped?  (maybe?) and managed to land/slide/fall on my left side.  Or at least break my fall with my left forearm and side.  I also think the frame or some part of the bike hit my right knee pretty hard.




Ok....   thats enough about the fall...  for now....

So I was pissed at this point and my workout had lasted all of about 15 minutes.  Not the two hour effort I wanted so I threw on some tri shorts and a tshirt and proceeded to head to the Y to go sit on a spin bike for two hours.  Joy.  But I wasn't going to give up yet and I felt well enough to ride.  I wasn't going to let this fall screw up my day any more than it already had.

So I head to the Y and drove past the Girl in the middle of her long run.  She looked at me puzzled to see me in the car and not on a bike.  I just waved and smiled and kept driving.  At the Y I got on a spin bike and got to work.  I can do two hours indoors without too much trouble.  Theres no doubt it sucks and its challenging but I can do it.  The problem was where to put my left arm.  My forearm was so raw that it was really tender and I couldn't rest it on anything.  So finding a position to put my arms in that approximated an aero position was challenging.  I did about 50% of the ride upright and the rest by resting my elbows and hands on the bars and trying to keep my forearm protected.  Every now and then I'd slip and wince in pain as I hit something with it or it got sweat all over it from the bars which stung like hell.  So I suffered through a two hour ride and at least felt good about getting my workout in.  However when I went to walk back to the locker room my right knee was REALLY sore.  WTF!!!  So I took a long shower, stretched a little and headed back home.  I'd left a note for the girl saying something like "dumped my bike, I'm ok, went to the Y to finish on a spin bike".  So she would understand but she was super fabulous asking me if I was ok and saying sorry about my new bike taking a tumble which was great and I needed that.

Once home more aches and pains showed up.  My right knee hurt and felt swollen now, my left thigh was a bit sore, and my forearms of course hurt too.  Walking was fine, but going down or upstairs was a challenge.   Ugh!!!   Seriously this is supposed to be a recovery week for me not a make it worse week!

I went to bed and hoped for better things on Sunday.

Sunday...   woke up sunday morning and my knee felt a little better so the girl and I headed to the pool as planned.  And then the weekend continued to suck!  My first 50 was awful.  I felt really rough, out of breath, and not comfy in the water at all.  So I did another, and another.  Same.  Then five or so more.  Still the same.  I wasn't loosening up and they were getting worse.  I was getting grumpier and grumpier.  My rest intervals went from 20 seconds to thirty seconds to 40 seconds to a minute between 50's.  This was fricking ridiculous.  I got mad and on the inside I threw a tantrum just twenty minutes into my workout.  Then I did something I almost never ever do for any reason except injury and even thats rare.  I got out of the pool.  I waited for the girl to finish a lap and told her I was getting out, going for a walk and to call me when she was done.  She tried to get me to explain but I refused and left.  I was pissed and stormed out of the pool essentially.

I took a long shower and got dressed and went for a walk in the pouring rain to think.  I said a lot at the end of last season that I want to work on my swimming this winter and get a lot better and be able to swim long distances without a wetsuit.  I've had moments of progress this winter but also lots of frustration and also a lack of consistency in getting to the pool for a variety of reasons.  The other is that instead of getting a coach I agreed to let the girl help me and my friend Chris help me and I read a lot and watch a lot of videos.  The problem is I have this sort of coach by random committee approach and its not working.  In fact its failing horribly.  I'm trying whatever the last bit of info someone or something suggested I try and its not an organized approach to getting better.  Its failing horribly.  I've gone from being able to swim a 600 yard set with bad technique to somewhat better technique I struggle to do for 100 yards and I've lost the ability to go longer than that.  I'm a mess in the water and this morning I realized just how bad it was and got pissed off and stormed out.  Time for a new approach.  Time for ONE coach, one approach, focused practices with well laid out goals and no more bullshit!

As an aside I should say that I LOVE that everyone has been so willing to help me and kind enough to offer advice and I appreciate all of it.  Its just that I need one voice in my head instead of many.  So time for a new approach.  I also need to have clear well laid out goals in the pool.  Not just swim 50's till I'm relaxed and then try some 100's.  Thats not getting it done!

So the Girl and I had a nice long chat once we met up again.  Fortunately for me she wasn't upset that I'd left her in the pool and was kind enough to be more interested into finding the root cause of why I left.  So we agreed that she would stay on as my coach but that instead of swimming together and her offering me the occasional tip we'd go to a more traditional coach out of the water directing me for an entire practice type approach.  It just wasn't working for me to swim side by side sharing a lane and getting occasional advice.  I need a dedicated coach.  So in exchange for this I had to agree that I would follow her direction completely, not argue with her methods and stick to her workout routines without exception.  Whatever she says I have to do unconditionally.  She's convinced that if I'm willing to give myself over to this that I'll improve and that we'll be sure and make time to do this once a week without fail.  So thats the new plan.  So hopefully this works out.  We'll see what happens.  Anything has GOT to be better than what I'm doing now. 

So whats the wrap up to the week?  I screwed up my bike (I'll take it into the shop tomorrow and see how bad it really is), I banged up my knee,  my left shoulder is now hurting as well, my left side still hurts from the fall, my forearm is all screwed up and I'm not sure when I can run again STILL as right when I was starting to reover I go and wack my knee.  So not the most productive "recovery" week but I guess it could have been much worse.  I'm lucky there were no cars in that intersection and that I wasn't going faster or didn't break anything and that if I'm lucky I think the frame of my bike is fine.  But I will let the bike guys determine that one.  So yeah...   not the best week.  Here's hoping for better things next week.  I'm still holding out hope I'll get that last 20 mile run in at the end of the week.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Shutting It Down

Sometimes I have to hear something again, and again, and again before I actually listen to it.  I can be pretty stubborn when it comes to things like that.  When it comes to things that affect my training I am especially stubborn.  Well I've mentioned recently that I've been fighting hamstring issues, plantar fasciatis issues, and just a sense of being run down, exhausted, and feeling like I've constantly been fighting some illness or other without anything too specific for weeks now.  Its gotten so bad I've been going to bed as early as 8pm and sleeping loads trying to beat it but to no avail.  I've just been really low energy lately.  The girl keeps suggesting that its because I never took a break from training at the end of a busy triathlon season as I went right into marathon training.  And while all that was going on I went through a brutal stretch of work related trips that were back to back to back and extremely stressfull.  So all that added up to a very very tired, exhausted, somewhat injured and beat up me.  So after a period of rest being suggested by the girl, and several of my friends I decided to finally listen.

So I did my last long run on Saturday and I've shut everything down since.  No running, no swimming, no biking, no nothing.  I spent monday and tuesday on the couch or at the computer briefly.  Mostly on the couch.  Yesterday I watched three movies and today I'm about to start my second movie of the day.  I've totally stopped doing anything and done nothing but rest.  I just need my body to heal and my immune system to catch up and beat whatevers going on inside me.  I've also been taking a ton of supplements at the girls knowledgeable suggestions.  Nothing outrageous, just a mix of a multi, extra vitamin C, antioxidants, some sort of homeopathic root thing which i forget what it does and some fish oil.  The girl is very up on these things so I just swallow the pills she hands me.  She has lots of letters after her name and even the letters Dr at the beginning of it and all of the letters at the end are associated with science and excercise.  So she's a smartie.  And if she's reading this she is hopefully laughing at my oversimplification of her qualifications. 

So whats next?  Well I'm hoping to get my long run in (fortunately a rollback week) which is a 12 miler on Friday as my first run after the layoff and then I'm going away to go skiing this weekend with the girl.  So I'll ski Saturday and then do some long walks in the snow on Sunday and come home hopefully feeling well rested.  Neither of us have been skiing in some time so it could be pretty entertaining! 

I'm anxious to get my training volume up though.  I can't seem to stop gaining weight so I'm looking forward to getting my volume back up and my weight back down and under control.  I'm currently up to 150lbs over my season low of 138 last summer.  So I need to be carefull!

Ok... time for me to go watch Harry Potter number 5 (I watched 1-3 yesterday and number 4 this morning) and go lay down again.  Here's hoping this time off will help my hamstring heal up, and my foot feel a little better too!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Marathon Training, New Toys, and Other Bits of Fun

This is going to be another long post as I haven't updated in a while.  I'm still adjusting to life back at home and gettting back into full training swing and finding time to update my blog has been a challenge lately.  One that I'll hopefully get under control soon so I'm updating more regularly.  Lots of good things have happened this week so theres lots to tell!  So once again I'll break it down into categories and fire through it...

-Marathon Training...  

So last I updated I'd just finished my first twenty miler that was supposed to be a 19.  I have no idea what its like for other people but when I run for twenty miles my body goes through a similar recovery to that of when I run a marathon.  I'm pretty sore/stiff the rest of that day and stairs become a challenge.  I walk a lot slower than usual and random things tend to hurt.  Last weekend was no exception.  I did the old man walk and laughed at myself getting in and out of cars and making old man type grunts.  I was also exhausted.  I've been fighting something health wise lately.  I have no idea what it is.  I had a cold and I thought I'd kicked it...  but maybe not?  The last week I've been a mix of occasionally feverish, sometimes a sore throat, runny nose, but mostly just a general feeling of exhaustion.  I do not have the same level of energy that I'm used to.  Despite going to bed super early lately (as early as 8:30pm!) and sleeping PLENTY! I still wake up feeling really tired.  Its made training a constant challenge.  So last weekend after the twenty miler I wanted to do nothing but sleep.  I was USELESS on sunday.  Just totally dead and had zero energy.  So I didn't do much.  I know that I have to recover after long efforts but that was a bit much.  I don't know what it is... but I need to kick it! 

On tuesday I started my runs up again with a five miler to shake the cobwebs off.  The first mile of that felt awful but once I'd loosened up it wasn't bad and in the end I averaged something like 8 minute miles for a fiver.  Which is slow for me for a five, but still felt good which is all that matters.  My whole right leg has been a constant source of difficulty lately.  Its annoying that ALL of my running issues are on the same leg.  Fighting plantar fasciatis in that foot which has led to calf pain, and my hamstring having trouble and maybe even my glute on that side has meant that leg gets pretty tired when I'm into my long runs which SUCKS!  I can't wait to have that feel healthy again.  For now I'm just babying it when I can, trying to massage, roll, stretch it and hope for the best.  I'm keeping an eye on it though and don't plan on pushing it too too hard.

On wednesday night I decided to join up with the Rhode Runners running group for their 7 miler.  There was a large group of runners there of about maybe twenty people.  That group is prettly cleanly divided between the fast group and everyone else.  The core group of real runners there runs that seven at about 6:30 pace.  Which I could potentialy do for seven miles when I'm healthy in a race, but not weekly!  Impressive.  I ran with fellow club members CJ and Norine and we kept a much more reasonable 8:45 or so pace for the seven miles.  Which felt comfy for me and where I like to keep such a an effort the way my legs are feeling lately which has not been great.  The weather that night was AWFUL!  Fortunately temps were in the 50s but it was howling and gusting winds and driving rain for most of the run.  Made it kind of fun in a way.  On the way out we had a tailwind so as soon as we turned around we were right into wind driven rain in our faces.  Reminded me of the Amica marathon.  It was nuts and some of the gusts were so strong they would stop you in your tracks.  Made for a good laught and you felt good that you ran in those conditions when we were done.  So that was good fun.  I followed that up with another five miler on thursday here in Providence where I felt a little stiff but not too bad.

Saturday it was back to long run day again with another twenty miler.  I'd had a conversation with the girl about how my right leg has been feeling and whether or not it was smart to do another twenty miler when my leg and foot has been sore and I've been really low energy.  She correctly suggested I should just run 12 or 13 and call that good.  I should listen to her more often.  I'm too damn stubborn and too glued to my training plans sometimes.  I decided I'd run the ocean drive loop such that I had an option to bail on the run at 12 miles in and call it good or keep going and get in my twenty.  I started really slow and gave my body plenty of time to loosen up.  The first ten miles felt pretty good except for the cold winds!  But at least those were on the way out so they would be a tailwind on the way back.  At the ten mile point I had to decide what I was going to do.  I should have run the two miles back to the house and called it good but stubborn me wanted to get the twenty miler in.  So I turned around and retraced my route back.  By mile 14 I was not happy.  My right hamstring was tight and at times felt non responsive.  My calf was tightening.  My foot was cycling through going numb, feeling "hot", or otherwise tight.  Every step on my right leg was a challenge.  It was a pretty miserable six miles into home.  It was quite frankly a struggle and I pictured running the disney marathon the day after already running a half and what would happen if at mile 13 with 13 more miles to go that this happens again.  I'd never make it.  I can suck up a lot of difficulty but that would be a bit much.  So I need to reserve the right to bail...  or to walk, or to keep my best interests and my 2011 season in mind as I progress. 

I got back to the house at the end of the twenty miler feeling EXHAUSTED.  I ran it at a 9:08 average.  My laps showed a stead decrease in pace from 8:30s at the start to 9:30s at the end.  Ugh!  After eating a pile of food, showering and resting a bit I headed out to run errands with the girl.  Surprisingly although I felt stiff, made the old man sounds and whatnot I felt more mobile than last week.  And in fact I feel better today than I did last Sunday.  My leg feels better too as I sit here rolling my foot on a tennis ball as I type this.  I'm REALLY glad this is a rollback week mileage wise though.  I plan on running very little this week.  I may even reduce my plan even more to give myself some more recovery time.  The nice things about this Disney nonsense being an endurance challenge is that I feel like I can take a week off of running at this point and as long as I swim and cycle feel like I'll be ok.  So I may cut my tues-thursday runs down to very short efforts and I'm only running 10-12 this weekend.  I want to try and give my legs some recovery time before one last peak week with another twenty miler at the end and then its taper time!  Yeah!  So this was a long winded way to say my legs are surviving the training, but not without difficulty.  So we'll see what happens.  I have been spending some time thinking about my 2011 season going forwards and what I'll need to do to ensure my leg is healed going into it.  Definitely some swim only time or swim and bike only time is in my future to FULLY allow things in my legs to heal up properly.  Especially the hamstring.


-Its Official!!!:

Another highlight from last week is that I am now officially registered for the Beach to Battleship Ironman Length Traithlon on October 29th of 2011!!!  Wooohoooo!!!!  I can't wait!

-Dale's Gets a Brother!

So on Monday morning I woke up in Newport and got ready to ride with my friend Chris.  Chris and I have never trained together despite me doing my best to lure him into the sport of traithlon towards the end of last season.  Chris did great at two sprint tri's at the end of the summer and is now beginning training towards completing a half iron length race in 2011.  Chris and I always talk about training together but when he started training last season I was in full half iron length efforts and he was just getting started so they didn't line up well.  So we swam together once or twice but that was about it.  So on Monday Chris and I finally got a chance to ride together.  I wanted to do a nice 30 mile or so recovery ride at a super easy pace which worked for Chris too so we bundled up against the cold and met up to ride.  I think the temperature was around the high 30's mark but it was really sunny out and no wind which was great.  So it wasn't too bad and we were bundled up well so I wasn't cold at all.  We went for a great ride around Aquidneck Island and made a quick stop on the ocean drive for a photo.

We had a nice leisurely ride that day which was great for my legs.  A nice easy spin seems to help my recovery from long run efforts so I'm glad we got that in.

And as if that wasn't a great enough day already.....

I turned my cell phone on after the ride when I was getting cleaned up and theres a voicemail from the bike shop.  So I called them back.  Last week I ordered a Cannondale Slice 4 tri bike and put a deposit down on it.  I was told it would show up sometime in late January / Early February.  Which I knew would be the case which is why I ordered it so early.  When I called the shop back they told me my bike was THERE ALREADY!!!   Apparently the fine folks at Cannondale had rerouted another bike meant for showroom stock at another shop to my bike shop.  Cannondale apparently has a habit of getting bikes that are "Sold" into the hands of their new owners as fast as possible and prioritize that over showroom stock.  So yay Cannondale and YAY me!!!  I was so psyched!  So after a brief chat we agreed I'd meet them at the shop around 5pm to get a fit done on my new toy and then take it right over to the Providence Bicycle spin session starting at 6pm.  Needless to say I was pretty excited!

So I went over to the shop at five and we started to dial my fit in on the trainer.  Since they already have my fit on file from my road bike they had it pretty well setup for me before I was even there.  So we tweaked somet things further and decided that was a good starting point.  I'm really pleased to buy the bike from Providence Bicycle as they have given me great service.  Plus there are other perks... such as them offering to let me bring the bike in anytime on a monday afternoon before the spin session for fit updates.  We'll tweak it all winter long till I'm happy and then when I hit the roads next season I'll be dialed in! 

So after we got the fit dialed and I'd stared at my new shiny bike for a while I took it over to the PB spin to get its first trainer based ride in.  Murat led a fun spin session and it was great to see some friends from Tri-NE that I haven't seen in a long time too.  It was good fun and I was SUPER happy about the new bike.  Not so sure about the saddle yet though!  But meeting a new saddle for the first time wearing tri shorts was not the best idea I've ever had!  After the spin I went out for a great dinner and got caught up with training partner Nancy who I hadn't seen in forever and then headed home.

I brought the bike home and as soon as it was in the door I started bolting on my xlab stuff and swapped out the training wheels for the race wheels.  I wanted to see what my new bike was going to look like in all its race ready glory!  At that point its name occured to me...     World....  meet Dale's brother "Cannon"!
Man I love how great this bike looks!  I am VERY excited to race on a true tri bike in 2011 and see what I can do!  And speaking of that....

So at this point the only ride I'd done on "Cannon" was on a trainer on Monday night.  The rest of the week between weather and other training plans I had not had a chance to get out on the roads and see how it felt.  So on thursday night I emailed Chris to see if he could ride on Friday and we agreed we would do a swim/bike brick that day.  So we met up friday morning swam (more on that below) and then headed out on the bikes.

The first few minutes on Cannon were interesting...   the new style of bars, more responsive steering and new body positions, shifter locations etc took some getting used to.  I had a few nervous minutes riding through downtown newport towards the ocean drive but it wasn't too long before I started to feel dialed in and more comfortable.  Once we got out on the ocean drive I did a few accelerations to see how those felt and I got into the aero position for the first time.  I was definitely a little timid about it at first but once I settled in I really started to enjoy it.  Its definitely going to take some getting used to that position till I'm comfy and can stay aero for long periods of time but its going to be fun getting there!  Maybe this is all in my head but I swear this bike felt faster than my road bike.  In fact I'm sure thats in my head but it was a fun feeling anyway!  Seemed like I could reach 20mph with less effort.  I did several surges as we rode and they were all great fun.  We didn't come across any hills that were much of anything but I was pleased with the way it climbed and THRILLED with the way it descended!  Holy cow it goes down fast!  Much faster than Dale.  For the rest of the ride I stayed together with Chris with one or two exceptions when I would pick a place to really try and see how the bike felt and cranked away for a bit.  It was good silly fun and I was VERY pleased with my purchase.  Its definitely going to take some adjustment but the first indications are that I'll be very comfortable on this bike and that it will suit me well.  When we reached second beach in middletown theres a nice flat stretch or road there so we decided to do a nice interval there and race towards Sachuest point.  I didn't realize it at the the time but the wind was at our backs so we were flying down the straight road at 27mph.  Now that was FUN!  I was really enjoying the feeling of being aero and hammering away at the pedals.  Good stuff!

By the time we hit somewhere around mile 25 I was starting to get cold and my toes were pretty numb despite having liners on over my bike shoes.  It was only about 35 degrees out and pretty windy.  At this point we rounded a corner and were straight into a NASTY headwind for a mile or two that was pretty miserable.  It made progress difficult as you were super cold and fighting the wind resistance at the same time.  Not fun!  So I was happy when we turned inland for the five miles back to the house.  In the end we rode for thirty miles which is a nice distance for me at this point in the season and especially because I had to run twenty miles the next day.  I was so happy with Cannon though!

-Back To The Pool!:

So...    other than all of the above going on this week I finally got back in the pool.  Wednesday morning I went to the Y to get back in the groove of swimming some laps.  As soon as I was in the water I felt REALLY rusty!  So I just went for an easy thirty minute swim.  I have no idea how many laps I did.  I didn't do anything longer than a 50.  I just kept doing repeats till I reached thirty minutes.  I probably rested way too much between repeats too.  But it was a start. 

Friday morning Chris and I met to swim before our bike ride.  I wanted to swim for a little bit longer than thirty minutes.  So that was my only goal. As well as this Chris (a competitive swimmer in high school) gave me some great tips to work on.  So I worked on gliding more between strokes and proceeded to do a bunch of 50 yard repeats again.  I did however manage to get a few 100's in this time as well.  Not sure of my total yardage (i again rested too much and chatted swim tips with Chris a bit too much between repeats) but I did ok.  Maybe 800-1000 yards MAX if that.  But again...  the point here is to get into the habit of swimming regularly again and start to work on my stroke again. 

At the end of that session I asked Chris to start giving me some pointers on flip turns.  So we spent some time going over the basics of those and then put those things together and gave some a try.  Its definitely going to take some work but I will get it eventually.  Its good fun though.  Unfortunately for me on my last try at it I managed to pause just a little too long before pushing off the wall so I pushed off way too low on the wall and manage to drag the side of my body along the tile floor of the pool giving myself a nice case of "road rash".  It stung for a good couple of days afterwards!  Ooops!  Pretty funny really...    but at least I'm on the way to learning a flip turn which will hopefully help me get into a nice rhythm in the pool

So all in all a good week. I wish my right leg was healthier and I had more energy but it was still a great week.  I'm also LOVING the new bike. 

So whats next?   More swimming as I'm shooting to be in the pool Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.  And more regular biking as well.  I'm hoping to make the Monday night PB spin and wendesday night run regular additions to my training.  So those will be fun.  And I'm also working with the girl to overhaul my nutrition and supplementation plan as well as put a plan together to KICK this stupid whatever it is going on with my body thats leaving me so tired all the time.  So I'm taking loads of vitamin C and some other things in an effort to get rid of it once and for all.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Long Run Day

So today is my long run day in preparation for the Disney Goofy Challenge.  The girl convinced me to do my long runs on Saturdays and take Sundays as our off day together so we can sleep in and enjoy the day.  At first I was a bit resistant but now I'm quite enjoying that schedule.  So this morning we both set out for our long runs.  We run at different paces so we tend to run our long runs seperately but still do them at the same time.

This morning the girl had a 14 miler and I was supposed to run 19.  We tend to touch base about what our routes are and sometimes try and run into each other somewhere out there to say a quick hello as we pass each other.  Today I set out on an out and back around the ocean drive.  I planned to run 9.5 miles out and then turn around and head back.  The girl planned on running some distance towards Middletown and then winding back around the ocean drive in the opposite direction so we might run into each other.  So off we went. 

Somewhere around mile 5 of my run I started to think about 19 milers.  I hate running 19 miles.  I always feel like its one mile shy of 20 which feels like a better accomplishment to me than 19.  So inevitably everytime I set out to run 19, I run 20.  So I decided I'd run ten, and then turn around head back.  I felt pretty good for the first 9 miles.  Somewhere around 9.5 miles I ran into the girl.  She was heading out on the ocean drive in the same direction I would be once I turned around.  So I said hi and ran the extra half mile to my turnaround point.  I figured by the time I turned around and got back to where we had crossed paths that we were roughly two miles apart at that point.  Which meant I may not catch her before she gets to the house unless she were to stop for anything.  So I just pressed onward.  My right leg at this point started to protest.  Its just been really stiff lately.  I think really its a combination of things.  My right foot was also starting to feel tight.  So theres tightness in my foot from the plantar fasciatis, and in my hamstring.  And it all adds up to some discomfort.  Not so much I can't press onward, but its not fun.  But I just sucked it up and kept going.

Around mile 18 a woman with a fuel belt on as well passed me and we chatted briefly.  She was also out for her long run.  I was feeling pretty tired and she was running a nice pace for me so I let her get 15' or so out in front of me and then locked into her pace figuring she could pace me the rest of the way in.  Apparently this annoyed her as she changed sides of the street but kept going the same direction.  Personally I found this annoying and insulting.  But I suppose in these modern times women have to be careful when out running.  But its sad that two people wearing fuel belts and a guy in a tri club tshirt aren't safe enough to run near each other anymore.  Whatever...   I was annoyed when she crossed the street so I kicked it up a notch, passed her and accelerated till I was 50 feet in front of her and then crossed to the same side of the street as I needed to be on that side to make my turn.  I figured that way she knew I wasn't creepy and trying to follow her.  Whatever...   

As I rounded the corner onto the girl's street I saw her up ahead!  So I sprinted for half a mile to catch up to her and caught her within a quarter mile of the house.  Which at that point it occured to me how odd it was that I caught her considering she was running 14 miles and I was running 20.  I'm not THAT much faster than her and I was having a slow day as I ran my 20 at 9's.  Turns out she changed her mind and ran 17.5 miles.  She looked confused that I hadn't caught her already considering I was supposed to only be running 19.  So we had a nice chuckle about us both ignoring our training plans.  Apparently were very much alike in that regard.

So all in all a good run today except for the discomfort.  Which right now is not happy!  So I'll do some more stretching and then go lay down for a bit I think.  Hopefully it feels better soon.  I think I'll swim tomorrow wiht the girl too to try and loosen it up and get a swim lesson in.  I haven't swam in almost a month so this could be ugly!  Hopefully I don't drown!