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!

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