Thursday, March 24, 2011


Once again I find myself struggling to achieve balance...   in this case I'm referring to attempting to balance, work, training, love, life and everday responsibilities.  Travelling with work as much as I do the time you spend at home ends up being way too short to fit in all of the things you want to do.  I want to spend time with the girl, and train, and update my blog, and my training log, and ride/swim/run with friends and see my non triathlete friends and it all ends up being too much to cram into a 4 day span or however long I'm home for.  Which lately has been very little through a brutal stretch of gigs.

So what do you do?  Well the other day after a long discussion with the girl I deleted this blog.  Something had to give.  This seemed like the easiest thing to let go of.  At least at first it did.  It serves no purpose except to give me an outlet to think about my workouts and training out loud.  If someone else enjoys reading it all the better... but its main function is to help me process my workouts and training and life and how it all fits together.  And I'm afraid of losing that time when I think about it all again.  I don't want my training to turn into a bunch of workouts I crank through without thinking about and writing about the bigger picture.

So today I have undeleted this blog thanks to Google's policy of giving me 30 days to change my mind.  However I'm starting it up again under a new direction and thought process.  I'm only going to update it when time allows.  And I'm going to be more carefull with how I choose that time.  I'm not going to update this blog at the expense spending time with the people I care about or doing something else much more important.  So from now on this blog will only be updated while I'm on the road (which is often enough!) or during the course of my workday on a break.  No more nighttime blog updates, or any other time that could be or should be spent more wisely.  Whether thats spending it with a friend, or getting something done at home, or time with the girl, or stretching, or foam rolling, or seeing friends, or whatever better use of that time there may be.  I do enjoy this blog but I need to continue to keep in mind that time here is time not spent elsewhere... and there is a finite amount of time on this earth.  Sometimes I forget that...   I shouldn't. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Last Days in Florida...

My last days in Florida were quite hectic...    Here's how it went down...

Thursday was in fact a brutal day.  It was a long day of much physical labor and we worked from 7am till 8pm.  Once that wrapped up I spent the evening organizing all the stuff I'd brought with me so that I only had to handle one suitcase on the trip north. 

The next morning I was up early and orchestrating the dance to get the car loaded.  The hotel I was staying at charges 30 dollars a day for parking.  However since I've worked at this hotel for over ten years I know where the secret staff parking lot is.  So I parked my car there for the week for free.  : )  A quick call to the Bell desk has my things headed down toward the valet line while I go and fetch my car from its hiding place.

With that done it was time to head to the beach and get an open water swim in...  or so I thought!

I drove north to West Palm Beach where I'd swam last time as it was a great spot, has a nice level area thats only 8' deep not too far from shore and has lifeguards.  Perfect spot for an open water swim by yourself.  However once again the dreaded double purple/yellow flags were out.  For "Dangerous Wildlife" and "Dangerous Surf / Rip Currents".  UGH!  And since it was too early for lifeguards to be around I decided better safe than sorry and proceeded to drive further north up the coast.  I figured I had to head north anyway right? 

Once the odometer I'd set at my hotel read 30 miles I parked the car.  Turns out I was now in the Palm Beach area.  With the car parked I looked over to the lifeguard towers here and they had the double red flag out.  Which basically means no swimming allowed.  Great!  So onto the bike it is.

Weather was perfect temperature wise at around 72 degrees, however there was a serious crosswind coming in off the ocean at a steady 15-20mph.  Fun!  Especially with a deep rim front wheel.  Good practice right?  So off I went.  A lot of A1A is sheltered enough that the crosswinds were milder in some places.  I don't think they ever went away.  My plan was to ride thirty miles back the way I'd just driven, turn around and come back.  Turns out the crosswind on the way out felt more like a cross/slight tailwind, and on the way back was very much a cross/headwind.  There were several times I'd notice on the way out when I was effortlessly cruising at 22mph at 100-120watts.  Definite tailwind action there!

The way out went by nice and quickly.  I was having a blast out there, the weather was perfect, traffic was light and I was grooving a nice pace.  The crosswind made it fun and kept me on my toes too.  Once I hit the turnaround point the way back was a lot more interesting.  The way back had the headwind to deal with so I was working alot harder to maintain the same speed.  I pushed myself to go hard and not let up and try and maintain a 20mph average for the ride.  Interestingly if you compare the way out to the way back my average wattage on the way back was 40 watts higher than on the way out for the same distance.  But thats what it took to hold the average speed I wanted.

Now the interesting thing about rides like this is that now I have to think about power strategies in this situation.  If I was faced with this course as race...   would I ride it like I did focusing on speed?  or rather use the data from this ride to interpolate an average wattage as a goal and work harder on the way out, and less hard on the way back into the wind ending up at the same average power.  I'm guessing thats the better strategy... but I'm still reading and learning about power and figuring it out as I go.  I am enjoying having that data to look at though.

So on the way back the other interesting thing that happened is that I almost went right over the top of a convertible.  Some beach goers in a volvo convertible pulled out of a parking lot without looking and then when they saw me crusing right at them promptly stopped.  So I jammed on my brakes and prayed.  Couldn't swing into traffic as there was a car there....  so I just started braking and cursing.  Pretty sure the kids in the back seat learned some new words that day.  Mom look FREAKED that I was going to crash right into the side of her car.  Hec I was freaked too!  Luckily enough I stopped just a few inches shy of their door despite losing traction and my wheels sliding.  I even managed to clip out.  Definitely a little scary!

So here's a pic taken along the route.  Note the crosswinds in the palm trees.

So after my ride (which I did 60 miles right at 3 hours which was perfect) I thought I would go for a quick dip in the ocean to cool off.  Hmmm...   still the red flag saying no swimming.  Damn.  So I packed up the bike in the car and got changed into shorts.  In the time it took me to do that they went back to the yellow/purple flags again.  Sweet!  At least I can go for a quick dip to cool off / clean off before starting the long drive north.

Apparently here's what all the fuss was about.
The dreaded Man-O-War jellyfish!  So despite their presence swimming is allowed at your own risk.  So I decided rather than sit in the car for hours driving covered in sweat, I'd go for a quick dip despite the flags.  I did however decide not to do my open water swim in those conditions.  Plus at this beach you apparently can't go far when the lifeguards are around.

After a quick dip I called the girl and stood across the street from my car which was parked at a meter figuring I would stand in the sun and dry off for a minute.  In that amount of time a meter maid started to write me a ticket.  I ran across the street yelling I'm right here!  I'm leaving!  But that didn't stop them.  So my ride cost me the 20 dollars I already fed into the meter for 4 hours of parking, plus a 35 dollar ticket.  UGH!  that sucked.

So at that point I started the long drive north.  To make a long story short I drove for 8 hours on Friday and 16 on Saturday so I could get home to be with the girl.  Sunday we swam together and I had an awesome 2250 yard swim workout, spent the afternoon with the girl painting and prepping her appartment for me to move in shortly, and then passed out exhausted.  Monday ended up being a chaotic, but much needed off day.

Next up...   could it be?  A Tri Tuesday?  at Home!  NO WAY! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Catching Up From Boca

Once again work has taken over a bit and so its been hard to keep up with training and blogging.  I'm thrilled to say that I did great last week training wise however.  I had a great week last week considering I was on the road and managed a nice little load of early season training.  Here's the weekly summary cut and paste directly out of Training Peaks.

(A): 8:59:13

Calories burned: 4770
Swim(A)5500 yds
Bike(A)103.23 mi
Run(A)1.70 mi

Did I just say Training Peaks?  Why yes I did...   I've switched from using Sport Tracks to using Training Peaks.  Largely as it deals with Power data better than sports tracks does and it also has a great ipad and iphone app that I can very quickly and easily update my workouts on the go from which makes a big difference.  Even better than that is that the data is stored online, its free, and I can update a workout from any of many devices I own and any computer with a web browser.  So from now on its where I'll be tracking all my training.  So lets dig through last weeks data quickly...
The (A) = total hours of training.  Training Peaks uses and A because you have the option to differentiate between actual hours of training (A) versus Planned hour of training (P) a feature I don't use as you can't book workouts ahead of time in the free version.  I may upgrade soon, but I want to play with the free version first.
After that are hourly totals of each sport for the week as well as distance totals.  So a nice tidy little sum in all disciplines.  Not what I would have loved which would be 4 swims, three bikes, three runs, and two strength.  But I'm taking March off of running, and worked a gig all last week.  So getting that training load in was quite good.
This week however is not going quite as well.  I did get a nice hard 32 mile ride in today which was awesome.  I felt great and strong and I really pushed today which was fun.  I had my highest average power yet (still not great but a start!) and I enjoyed the ride and the workout as well.  However...   so far I've only swam 1100yds this week which was one swim that didn't go terribly well as my legs were completely dead from riding all weekend and just didn't want to kick all that well.  I think riding late on Sunday afternoon and then swimming early early Monday morning was not a great combo.  On top of that the hotel pool here is even warmer than the last one which made the swim not much fun at all.  Like swimming in bath water.
On top of that my work schedule has been tough...  The only time I can swim in the hotel pool is early early morning.  After that its full of people all day making lap swimming impossible.  I've had to be at work at 7am every day this week except Monday (when I did swim) and that means having to getup at 430am.  Given the fact we just rolled the clocks forward this feels like getting up at 330am and my body has simply refused to do this.  So my hope is to swim Friday and perhaps Sunday if I can and be happy with that.  Thats still three times in a week which is my minimum goal.  I will do a long bike on Friday as well before heading north back for home so I'll get another nice long hard effort in too.  So this week will be a bit shy, but its still along the lines of where I should be at this point in the season.  So I can't complain too much.
I have to say I love being able to ride outdoors in Florida in the 70 degree weather!  Its so gorgeous out!  The winds were a bit nuts today but that just made the ride that much more hard and enjoyable at the same time.  Lots of other cyclists and triathletes out on the road today too which made it fun as well.
So next up...   tomorrow is a brutally long 13 hour workday where we do a mix of running shows and taking it all down and stuffing it in a truck.  No training will be able to get done tomorrow sadly.  Friday AM will be a swim / long bike day and then Saturday and Sunday will be all about the drive home.  I can't wait to see the girl as I've been away for three weeks now just about and I miss her dearly!  So ready to get home! 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Whoever Said Florida Was Flat LIED!

I'm currently sitting here in my hotel room in Orlando, FL with a full belly and a big ol grin.  I had my first 56 mile ride on Cannon, and of the season today.  It was rough...   and I was rusty, but it was a great ride and a good indicator of what I need to work on with Cannon in terms of handling skills. 

The girl had mentioned to me that I consider riding in Clermont while I was out here.  So I filed that away and figured I'd try and look into it for my long ride on the weekend off between gigs down here.  So last night I went onto and looked up routes.  The nice thing about the Edge 800 bike computer is that you can go the garmin website and see routes that other people have uploaded.  If you like one, you simply download it right to the Edge 800 and voila!  Turn by turn navigation in your bike computer.  So I can be on the road travelling with work and look up routes from other cyclists and bingo!  Its go time.  No real research, no digging through maps and profiles and wondering if I've picked a major highway I have no business riding on or a dirt road.  Which lets face it when you look at a map blindly its hard to tell what the roads are actually going to be like to ride on.  But if someone else has ridden the course and felt compelled to upload it to Garmin its probably a good place to go and ride.

As I was looking around for routes in Clermont which is about 30 minutes north west of Orlando I came across the bike course for a half iron triathlon thats held in Clermont.  Bingo!  one 56 mile ride coming up!  So I downloaded that to the edge and drove myself to the starting point this morning.   As I was unpacking my car and getting ready to ride I saw three groups of about 4 triathletes each out riding and 2 good sized packs of roadies out riding.  It was clear this was a popular cycling area and it didn't take long for me to figure out why.

A couple quick thoughts on navigating with the Edge 800.  While the Edge is a very smart turn by turn navigation capable device with GPS in it (and a fully functional bike computer) it is a little bit different than a car style turn by turn navigation.  It displays a moving map with an arrow that represents you on it and lists your next turn on it.  It does not have voice that says "Turn Left" or anything like that but you quickly get used to it.  It beeps once to let you know theres a turn coming with plenty of time to look down at the Edge and see which way your turning and onto what road.  Then just before the turn it beeps twice to say almost time!  and then beeps when you should be turning.  (you can turn all the beeps off if you prefer).  It definitely took a little getting used to, but 20 miles into the ride it was second nature.  I had no problem staying on the route at all and never took a wrong turn.  I've uploaded routes to my 310xt before which is much harder to follow as its just a line drawing with no street names on it and doesn't show the other roads in the area.  The Edge was very easy to follow and fantastic for people like me who are so navigationally challenged.  On top of that it did some other handy things.  There was some event or other going on where I was supposed to park for the start of the route.  So I parked much further down the street.  The Edge also navigated me to the start of the bike route which was great.  The end of the bike route was of course pretty far from my car.  So to get back to my car I just put it in map mode.  The great thing about which is that it tells you the next cross street you are approaching so I just kept going till I saw my cross street in the display, turned onto it and voila!  There was the car.  Very handy!  Here's a quick pic of the display.  Sadly its not a great picture...  the display is very easy to read even in daylight.

If you are ever in central Florida looking to ride GO TO CLERMONT!  Gorgeous smooth pavement just about everywhere, cyclists everywhere, rolling hills and challenging terrain, plenty of room for bikes on the road, sun, great scenery, and a fabulous rural area with not a ton of traffic on it.  Other than the one stretch of "highway" I rode on for a while that had a couple of semis whip past me at 55mph traffic was minimal and not at all bad.  What a fantastic area to go out and ride.  Its extremely popular too as once out on the course I saw a ton of other cyclists.  I stopped twice to take pictures and both times I got passed by a bunch of riders who would always ask if you were ok or if you needed anything.  So they are even friendly too.  On top of that on the top of the giant climb of the day theres a house with two huge coolers full of water with a sign at the end of their driveway saying "Free Water, Please Help Yourself!"  How nice is that?

So yeah...  go ride in Clermont!  Its gorgeous!

Back to the ride...    the course for this triathlon is very challenging!  I would rate the FIRM half as a 2 out of 10 for being a hilly course with 10 being super hilly.  I'd rate this course as a 6.  Very challenging, always rolling, always going up or going down.  Many of the climbs were short, but they were quite steep!  There were several climbs between 7-9% grade.  Brutal stuff!  There was one section that was particularly challenging as you would climb, descend, climb, descend, climb, descend...   over and over again.  My legs were fried and I kept hoping there would be a break coming but it just never did till pretty close to the end when some flats showed up again.  It was pretty tiring.  I was pretty slow in the last 12 miles or so!  Here's a look at the profile and the course map and a picture of one of the many climbs on the course.  The profile is in green, and the red line is my heart rate.

Weather today was fabulous which just made for a great ride and made driving down here so worth it.  Today was so much better training wise than sitting on a spin bike for three hours would have been.  Temps at the start were around 50 degrees and it was up to 67 by the end.  There was a very cold breeze all day though so I rode in arm warmers the entire time and was very happy I brought them with me.  Almost as happy as I was to finally make it to the end of the ride!

All in all a great ride and I definitely learned some things about Cannon.  I definitely need to work on shifting and getting in and out of climbs.  My technique in that regard needs some improvment.  I also need to get better and getting in and out of the big ring as well.  Which was fine...   just has room for improvement.  I also need to get a little more comfortable descending at speed on Cannon.  All of this will come with time on the bike.  After all I haven't been able to log much in the way of outdoor miles on cannon and today was the first day I've really done much of any climbing on Cannon so far.

Still despite needing to work on a few things it was a great ride and I'm looking forward to a long season of tri's on the new bike.  I'm also looking forward to a new saddle.  I've tried the Cobb saddle at a wide variety of angles and there are some I like more than others but I still think that theres a better saddle out there for me.  Three hours was a long time on the this saddle and theres no way I'll survive six on it.  So next up I'll try out an adamo and see how that works out.

Speaking of which...   I have a bike fit scheduled soon with a professional fitter who is also an adamo dealer so were going to play with saddles then and hopefully find the right one.  I hope so as I was very comfy in the aero position, I just wasn't comfy on the saddle.  And by the way...   nothing wrong with the Cobb at all...  I just don't think its for me.

Next up....

Sunday's Long Swim hopefully at the YMCA aquatic center here in Orlando.  Here's hoping the big pool is open tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Another Good Day in the Pool

First up sorry for all the play by play on all these workouts.  Once I get into the season I'll stop writing about the day to day monotony of training so much and get into some other things....   but for now every workout is a step in the right direction and I like writing about and thinking about them....

Today I didn't have to be at work till 11am which gave me a great chance to get a double in.  I thought about riding today but Im trying to stick to my normal training schedule I laid out the other day as much as possible so I stuck to the plan which has today as a swim and strength day.  So I got up at 6am and headed to the hotel pool.

Today I shared my usually private hotel pool with two other swimmers.  All of us were doing laps though so it all worked out.  Theres nothing worse than trying to do laps when you have leisure swimmers about.  I should note they have every right to be in the pool too...  it is a vacation destination after all.  Its just they accidentally get in the way a lot and it makes serious lap swimming tricky...  which is why super early is the best time to do it.  Anyway...   three of us trying to do laps was interesting as there are no lane lines in the pool.  There are also these funky cutouts in the corners you have to avoid with steps and railings.  So three of us had to sort of create our own lap lanes in the middle of the pool.  I think we were all a little guilty of drifting a little bit but we managed to avoid each other for the most part.

When I first started my swim today my arms were pretty tired from yesterday's swim.  I was unsure how it was going to feel and wondered if trying to swim this year on back to back days was a good plan or not.  But I really want 4 days of swimming in my plan in order to improve so I did my best to stick to it.

I started with a 200 warmup that felt like an enternity.  Hmmm....   this was going to be a tough workout!  And then from there went into a ladder that went like this...  25..50..75..100..125..150..125..100..75..50..25.  This ladder was only supposed to have ten seconds rest between each leg but I rested much longer than that between the longer sets.  I was beat!  But I figure 20-25 seconds rest was better than stopping swimming and starting any sooner than that on my current level of swim fitness just wasn't happening today.  Once I finished that the workout had 700 yards left in it.  I was feeling pretty tired and since my sunday endurance swim was a joke I decided to just do the 700 in one go.  So I did the 700 in one shot and called it a day.  1800 yards done!  I felt pretty good about the workout and especially the 700.  I'm starting to feel my body position get better again and I think I'm finally getting my legs under control to the point I'm not out of breath all the time.  So things are slowly improving in the water.  Its definitely going to be about consistency, consistency, consistency!  Thats the biggest key.  I can let anything else go during the week for my schedule or whatever but I HAVE to keep swimming.  Besides...   I've decided to set a reward for myself.

The first time I can swim 1.2 miles without a wetsuit on in a continuos swim (pool or open water) I'm allowed to buy myself a swimsense swimming watch that I've had my eye on for keeping track of my pool workouts.  No 1.2 mile swim sans wetsuit...   no swimsense.  This swim can't have any rests in it whatsoever.  Nor can it have any stroke changes in it.  It has to be freestyle all the way.

So...   with my swim done I towelled off and went upstairs to start my strength training workout.  Normally I'd take a rest and swim in the morning and do TRX at lunch or in the afternoon or evening.  But today I had to do it back to back.  So I went pretty much right into it.  Today instead of using the dvd that comes with the TRX I used the "fit deck" I bought with the trx.  A Fit Deck is a stack of playing cards with TRX Excercises on them.  You can shuffle the deck, use some cards but not all, or use all of them.  Today I decided what the hec and used all of them.
The nice part about this was that there were some new excercises in there which were great.  So it was nice to change it up a bit.  The not so nice part is some of them were damn hard!  By the time I got to the core section that I put at the end I was toast!  I barely managed it through the crunches.  I was struggling!  My arms were so tired from swimming on back to back days and already doing all the sets of arm excercises.  So when I got to core and had to do planks and crunches I was dying!  Then I saved the hardest for last which are called "Atomic Pushups".  These are evil, evil things!  You susped yourself in the plan position like seen in the crunch card in the photo.  And then you do a crunch just like in that photo and go back to plank, and then do a pushup.  Thats one rep.  Each set is 10 reps.  Twenty of those at the end of the workout after two days of back to back swims will destroy your arms.  I'm sore just typing this!  But sore is good!  Its only going to get easier if I keep up with it which will only make me stronger!

So all in all a great day of training today.  And now time for a long day of work.  Show starts in about thirty minutes and we go till 6pm, then take it all down and reset it in a smaller configuration for tomorrows show in the same venue using only half the room.  Fun!  Gonna be a LONG day!  Still I'm psyched about the 700.  I could have gone longer too.  I know I have a 1000 yard set in me that I'm saving to do on Sunday I think.  Hopefully my arms will be up to it after sitting in the aero position for a few hours on Saturday.  I'll have to do my best to keep them good and relaxed.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm.....

Sometimes things happen in my training that make me stop and wonder whats going on, what happened, and how can I make sure it does or doesn't happen again.  Today was one of those days.

My work schedule today was such I could sleep in till 6 and then head into work by 7.  I worked till 9am and then had 2.5 hours off.  I had all my clothes laid out in my hotel room so a quick change later I was headed for a swim/bike/run brick.  It is tri tuesday where I try and swim in the AM and do a bike/run brick in the PM.  But since I'm away...   I tried to do it all in one go.  Here's how it went...

As I was riding down the elevator the pool I wondered how my swim was going to go.  Would it suck as much as last time?  Would I be able to do the workout I wanted to do but failed to do the other day?  Would my arms hurt, would the heated pool be too annoying?  would I crash into the stupid walls you can't see coming?  I'm pretty good at worrying and psyching myself out before a pool workout.  Something that I think will only get better with time.

So I got in the pool, put my goggles on and said...  ok...   were starting with a 500.  No stopping, no screwing around, no getting all out of breath.  RELAX and just swim 500 yards.  And with that I started to swim.  First 50 felt ok.  Actually it felt worlds better than Sunday's swim.  (amazing what a day off does isn't it?)  So I kept going... finished the first 100 and kept going.  I FINALLY managed to get into a rhythm I felt like I could sustain for a 500 yard set.  I just kept thinking, kick from the hip, relax, small small small flutter kick at a slow pace!  Pretend my feet are in a bucket!  This may be my new mantra.  I read it somewhere the other day and it makes sense.  My kick is out of control and it costs me the energy I need to swim.  So it screws me all up and makes me super tired really quickly.  So getting it under control seems to help me do better.  So I just tried to focus on that for the 500.  That and making sure I could feel the top of the water on the tops of my feet so I knew my legs weren't dragging.  Before I knew it I had the first 500 done in 11 minutes.  Which is just confirmation for me that this pool is longer than 25 yards.  A 500 should take me ten minutes...  not 11.  I swim 2 minute 100s pretty damn consistently.  Faster with flip turns or in a real pool where I can see the wall coming and turn faster.  Anyway...  it was a great start to the workout and gave me confidence to get through the rest of it. 

My workout today was:

1 x 500 WU
20x50 on 15 seconds rest
1 x 200 Cool Down

1700 Yards total.

So I knocked that out in 45 minutes (Actual yardage is probably 1800 or more based on the pool being longer) and then I moved on to the hotel gym and got on a spin bike.

Here's a picture of my "private" (I always seem to have it to myself) lap pool at the hotel.

Based on the time I had left before having to go back to work I biked for 40 mintues at moderate effort and then jumped on over to the treadmill.  I know I said I wasn't going to run till April but I wanted to test it out.  My PT had me run the other day so I have been cleared to run again.  Anyway...  it felt fine and I was able to get my pace up to 7:30/mile but my glute area on my right side was still sore and tender.  So still no more running for a while.  I'll keep focusing on strengthening that area. 

What was hysterical was that I haven't done a brick in forever.  My calves were in absolute shock when I started running!  They didn't know what hit em!  I totally started to cramp up and spasm and I had to slow my pace to get them under control.  Which is fine...   certainly to be expected from the first brick of the season.

What was still troubling is how weird and tight my right leg still feels coming off the bike.  It loosens up on the run but it just feels wrong and not the way I want it to feel.  I'm still not sure what to do about it.  PT doesn't seem to be doing anything for me and the stretches they give me and only about 50% effective.  Some of them I just find really difficult to execute under anything but ideal conditions such as having access to the tables like they have at PT.  Doing them on hotel beds as they suggest just doesn't work very well.  I'll keep up with the PT and hope I see some results.  But I just feel like neither the orthopedist nor the physical therapist have figured out whats going on.  I think its either just tight muscles that need to be loosened and strengthened or theres something going on in the knee or hamstring or glute thats causing this.  I may head for second opinion if things don't improve soon.  But since I the docs say I can swim/bike/run I'm going to keep doing just that.  However I seriously think doing more yoga and getting rid of the PT may be the real answer here.  That and massage from a specialist.  Time will tell...   I just hope by the time the Patriot comes along my right leg is feeling much better.

Oh and to go back to the post title for second...   what made me go "Hmmmmm" today?

Why does one pool workout end up being so much better than another?  what was different?  why don't they all feel the same?

Why is my right leg feel wonky and tight off the bike and during the run?  is this cause for concern?  whats the real way to address it?  is PT working?

I wish I had the answers to those!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Me + Pool = Suck

Sunday morning the alarm in my hotel room went off at 5AM. I got up and headed down to the hotel pool. I paced off the pool at roughly 30 yards. My time for a lap indicates its longer than 50 yards but not by much. So 27-30 yards is probably about right. I got in the water and started to get to work. I have to say this was a pretty frustrating swim. My last swim in a pool was at the Y in Newport and it went pretty well and I was able to get an 1800 yard workout in. This one was pathetic. I’m not sure why. Here are my guesses.

-the pool was super warm… way too hot for lap swimming. More like a giant hot tub.

-the way the floor of the pool is shaped with a curve you have no idea where the wall is. There are no visual cues… the walls and bottom are the same color and with the curve theres no edge to see. So you just sort of tentatively approach it and all of sudden your hand hits it. Disconcerting…

-My arms were pretty sore from being in aero for 2.5 hours the day before. I need to work on relaxing my shoulders more on my tri bike.

-I was pretty tired from a pretty crazy 72 hours of driving and riding and changing hotels three times and everything else going on.

-I‘m not a great swimmer, and I didn’t have a strong mental day so I got frustrated quickly.

None of those are really acceptable excuses though… but this is the frustration I face every time I swim in a pool. I know I’ll overcome it… but its really kicks my ass some days. Part of me wants to be coddled by a coach until I get it right and part of me thinks I just need to suck it up and swim swim swim till I have it right. The girl says my form is decent enough to do that and persevere… so that’s what I do. Its just so insanely frustrating. I just need to once again continue to fight my way through it.

In the end I only managed around 600 yards. Pathetic… but it just wasn’t going well at all and I didn’t see the point in continueing as I was getting worse as the swim went on. So I got ready for work instead.

Work went really well… in fact we were done much earlier than expected. We finished at 330pm so I rushed up to my room and grabbed my tri bike and packed it in the car and headed off to a local bike path in Orlando. I’d heard that there are many paths here and that they can be quite good in terms of width and whatnot. The problem is theres no real info of which ones have more stops and intersections in them than others. So I randomly picked one off the website that was closest. I chose poorly!

This particular path was 20 miles long and had a stop sign or intersection every 12 feet! Ok… I’m exaggerating but there was one at least every mile, and sometimes 3 per mile. Hard to get a good groove going. But really my goal was just to enjoy riding outside and log some miles. To put it bluntly my groin area was still a bit sore from yesterday so that was a little tender. I’m still getting used to that saddle and that body position when riding. So I wasn’t looking to ride for very long and I only had an hour of daylight anyway. So I rode ten miles out, turned around and rode ten back. That took me a little over an hour as with all the stop signs and high winds I wasn’t going very fast for any length of time. I did however hit one descent that had me tickling 40mph for the first time on my tri bike. That was fun and a little odd. I’m not used to feeling that far out over the front wheel at that speed!

That night I had a long chat with the girl as we do every night we can while I’m on the road. She suggested I consider taking today off instead of swimming again so I did. Monday is going to be my off day anyway going forwards so it made sense to take it. Tomorrow my plan is to get up stupid early and hit the pool again. I think I’ll have to be in the water by 5am if I want to get a swim in. Its going to make for a long day as we don’t end tonight at work till 10pm or so. (I’m writing this while working). So hopefully that goes well. Its looking like Wednesday morning I’ll have off though so I’ll be able to ride then which is great.


So today on my off day I spent a few minutes thinking about what my weekly regimen is going to be like going forwards.  Once I finish this obnoxious string of gigs (early April) I can finally start to log some regular training.  (although I also have to move that week too!).  So I figured I should probably put together the framework my training week will take.  Here's my rough outline.  Volume will change but the framework will stay the same...

Monday - Off Day, Try and Stretch, Foam Roll, Super Light Yoga.
Tuesday - Swim in AM,  Bike/Run brick on TT course in PM
Wednesday - Swim in AM, Strength Train w/ TRX
Thursday - Bike 1hr (Intervals),  Yoga / Stretch Session
Friday - Swim in AM, Strength Train w/ TRX
Saturday - Long Bike/Run Brick
Sunday - Long Endurance Swim / Long Run

It may be ambitions swimming 4 days a week but I really need to get my pool form into shape.  I don't even care about the speed improvement at this point.  I just need to be able to swim very comfortably without a westuit on as the open water isn't going to warm up in time for me to log some regular distance in a wetsuit before the patriot half and I need to fix my form anyway as it will only benefit me in a wetsuit.  Theres also a very real possibility that the Providence 70.3 won't be wetsuit legal so I'd better be able to swim 1.2 miles without a wetsuit on by then!

So thats the plan going forwards....   obviously while I'm on the road those goals change as its just not possible to get much in the way of doubles done, or triples.  So my basic weekly goals are...

Swim minimum three times a week
Strength train twice a week
Bike three times a week
Run three times a week (only as part of bricks)

For now I'm not doing any running till April to give my legs as much recovery time as possible from a long season of marathons, tris, and more marathons.  I'm so not worried about the run though...  the intial part of this season is all about the swim and building bike volume and power.

So there you have it...   here's hoping I can finally get some good swims going...

And here's a couple of quick pics from my ride yesterday...  sorry for the poor quality!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

72 Hours

The last 72 hours have been rather nuts, and quite busy...   here's how I spent them.

Thursday morning I woke up, had breakfast with the girl, kissed her goobye, loaded the car and started the long drive south to Orlando.  After the deboccle that the last car trip northbound from Florida was when I hit 4 winter storms and took 4 days to get home I added an extra day to the drive in case I got stuck in traffic/weather or whatnot.  Especially as I have to report to work on Sunday morning and if I'm late there will be trucks full of equipment and several crew people standing around wondering what to do and where I am.  So being late is not an option!

So thursday at 8am I started the drive south.  My plan was to try and get to the halway point, but to have no expectations considering the first day goes through Connecticut, New York City, Baltimore, and Washington DC.  So traffic is a crapshoot.  In the end I didn't really meet up with any traffic so I manged to make it into North Carolina after about 11 hours of driving.  At that point I called it quits and unloaded the car into my hotel room.

Its time to get serious about the tri season so there was no resting about to be had even after 11 hours of driving.  So I setup the bike on the trainer and set about doing an hour on the bike with 15x1 minute intervals with a goal of holding each minute over 200 Watts.  So I spun for 10 easy, 10 moderate, then 15x1 and then a ten minute cooldown.

Then...   after that workout I went through my physical therapy stretching routine which takes about thirty minutes, and then after skypeing with the girl (our new favorite way of staying in touch when I travel) I collapsed in bed exhausted...   but not until I'd set the alarm for 530AM.

Friday...   530AM the alarm goes off.  I got up, found some coffee and then fired up the TRX dvd on the ipad and did a 50 minute long TRX strength training session.  Once that was done, and I'd showered and packed up the car again it was back on the road south.  Plan for day 2 was to try and make it all the way to Orlando so I could take advantage of the day off on Saturday to ride.  So another 11 hours in the car and I'd finally made it all the way to Orlando.  I spent that evening prepping to swim and bike the next day and then went to bed feeling pretty darn exhausted!

Saturday...   530AM again and the alarm goes off...    this time mostly just to keep myself on that schedule as I'm going to have to getup at least that early all week to keep training before work as most of my workdays this week will go into the late evening.  That and I hate training at night.

This time I had a leisurely morning and I spent some more time going over my planned bike route and getting everything ready and then headed off to the Orlando YMCA Aquatic center.  All 30 25 yard lanes of it to get a swim in.  When I walked in they said that 26 of the lanes were closed (UGH!) but that 4 were open in the dive pool and they would try to add more.  Well within seconds there were 20 or so young kids in those 4 lanes in the dive pool.  All way way faster than me and about 4-5 per lane.  I looked around and said screw it.  And left.  Had there been a lane remotely close to my speed I would have joined in, but I just can't keep that pace so I would have been in the way, and they would have been in mine...  so I decided to just go bike instead.

So back to the hotel, packed up and checkout, and then head off to the Orlando Airport area to check out this road that supposedly has a bike lane, is very flat, makes up a 13 mile loop, and is a favorite amongst local triathletes.  I found the area without too much trouble and drove it once to check it out.  Looked boring, but good enough.  Orlando doesn't have a lot of roads that aren't full of cars with no shoulder.  So this area looked great considering it had a bike lane and was pretty empty.

So I got setup in the parking lot of a KFC and then headed out to get my ride in.  My plan was to ride just over two hours and do either 40 miles, or 56 depending on how I felt.  I set out on the first loop.  My first impressions were this...

-WOW Its AWESOME to ride in bike shorts and jersey again in 75 degree weather! YEAH!!!!
-Holy cow its windy!  (a steady 15-20mph crosswind the entire ride)
-Maybe this new Cobb saddle and I can be friends.
-I love my tri bike.

The first lap was pretty uneventfull.  I didn't push too hard and mostly stayed around zone 2.5 by hearrate which worked out to about 150 Watts.  This was my first long outdoor ride of the season so no need to go do anything stupid.  I just enjoyed the fact the road was flat, tried to stay aero for the entire ride (I did!) and get used to my bike.  I've spent more time on Cannon in a trainer than on the road so we still have some getting to know each other to do.  I have to say though that the more time I spend on it the more I like it!

The course was right next to the Orlando Airport.  In fact technically it is directly between the two major runways.  Theres a road that the course goes under that is in fact a taxiway for the airplanes to get from one runway to the other.  So it was kind of fun to watch the planes takeoff and land as I went back and forth along the route.  Definitely a not very scenic and quite dull ride.  But it was more about getting used to Cannon and keeping an eye on power and other numbers on the Garmin.  Speaking of that this was only my second ride with the Garmin 800 and I'm really pleased with it.  I'm looking forward to playing with it more.  And speaking of Garmin...  I got a chance to bust out my new Garmin bike Jersey I got on clearance at the Pearl Izumi outlet here in Orlando.  You gotta love an argyle bike jersey!

As the winds were surging (there were some brutal headwind/crosswing moments!) I started staring at the watts display.  Every time the headwind flared up I stared at my watts and tried to keep them constant.  So instead of fighting the wind I just slowed down to keep my watts steady.  I also kept an eye on cadence and shifter according to keep myself around 85 which seems to be the sweet spot for Cannon and I.  It quickly became apparent that this is going to be the key to my Ironman.  Pacing by wattage just had me feeling  a LOT fresher!  No big surges in power that weren't necessary.  I think for me the trick is going to be maininting a steady wattage for the whole race.  My focus in training is going to be on making that average wattage number higher and higher but sticking to it.  And from that will come the speed.  I have to say my legs felt really fresh today because I didn't punish them when the wind kicked up.  My effort was constant, and accordingly my legs weren't thrashed.  Definitely an intereseting excercise today and one I'll keep playing with as time goes on and I get used to training with wattage.  That and I have a lot more reading on that subject to do.

As I neared the end of the third lap of the course (mile 40) I decided that there was no need to do another lap.  Its only the first ride of the season.  I felt like I could go another 13 miles but figured I should instead focus on slowly increasing my mileage each weekend on my long ride.

After the ride I felt pretty fresh.  My right leg was a little sore as it often is whenever I do anything lately...   annoying.  But it wasn't bad, and certainly wasn't painfull at all...   but that was troubling none the less.  The doc and my PT have said its fine though...    it just doesn't feel that way.  I just keep hoping it will get stronger as I keep strength training and stop feeling weaker than my left leg as the season goes on.  Time will tell.

So now I'm at the hotel I'll be at for the next week.  Theres a pool here thats just about 25 yards long so I'll get some swimming in starting tomorrow morning before work.  It supposedly doesn't open till 6am but theres no lifeguard anyway so I'm going to try and get in at 5AM tomorrow and see what happens.  Doesn't look like they will care...   most hotels often don't.

And speaking of hotels...   here's Cannon white its wheels locked to each other throught he frame, and the frame locked to the frame of the bed.  Certainly not enough to stop a determined thief, but enough to stop a casual one...   that plus the do not disturb sign on the door all week should hopefully keeps us both safe!

So...   a very long few days and some quality training in there too.  Here's hoping I can get some serious swimming done this week and sneak a few rides in too.  I went out and bought some little cheap clip on lights at target for Cannon so I'm hoping I can get some early morning rides in this week too.  That could be fun.  This weekend I'm off between shows so I also plan to get some nice long rides in then too.  Should be a great week of work and training!  I'm PSYCHED that the tri season is finally starting and its time to get serious! 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pit Stop In RI

I'm currently in the middle of a 48 hour pit stop in RI.  Which means that time is very precious so I have to keep this post short.  Its incredibly difficult to balance life and everything that entails when you are only in your home base for such short intervals.  Usually my work schedule is a lot kinder that this but I am in the middle of a particularly brutal stretch of gigs.  Add to this the size of some of the shows, the fact that I am moving in with the girl soon, trying to go to regular physical therapy to continue my leg rehab, AND trying to start training in earnest for the tri season and it all get out of hand quickly!  But I persevere!

So time for a quick catchup...

at last post I was going to try and swim in the ocean on Monday morning  before flying home to RI....

Heres how that crazy day went...

Up at 530AM and out the door by 6AM after a quick breakfast.

2.5 mile walk to the beach.

During the walk the wind was howling so I was wondering what ocean conditions were going to be.  When I got over the rise of the dunes when I got to the beach it was ugly!  Waves around 4' or so which wasn't bad, but they were really moving in fast and they went out in a series of breaking waves and chop for at least a 1/2 mile or so.  There was TONS of wind driven chop everywhere.  Now I'm not afraid to swim in this at all.  However I am afraid to swim in it by myself.  It just didn't seem like a good idea to go out and swim in that with nobody around.  The beach was deserted and I'm just not a strong enough swimmer to be confident enough to go out in those conditions by myself.  So I erred on the side of caution.  So instead I went for a walk.

Along the beach there were jellyfish washed up everywhere.  I don't know what kind they are but they were pretty big (about 8" across in the bubble part) and looked liked they would sting.  There was one washed up on the beach at least every 3 feet or so.  There were hundreds of them.  Made me wonder what swimming would be like.  In total I walked about a mile on the beach.  When I got back to my starting point the lifeguards were starting to show up and they had raised the flags for the day.  They were yellow and purple.  So I read the sign below them...

Yellow = Medium Caution, Strong Currents, Medium Sized Waves and Dangerous Surf or something like that.  There is only one more level of flag worse than that.  Hmm....   maybe it was for the best I didn't chance it. 

Purple = "Dangerous Wildlife" which I'm guessing had to do with all the jellyfish everywhere.

So lets see...   rough seas and dangerous wildlife.  Not a great recipe to swim alone.  What if I swam out and got stung while all by myself?  Yeah didn't seem like a good idea.

So discouraged and bummed to not swim again I walked the 2.5 miles back to my hotel.  So now I've walked 6 miles but no swim.  So instead I got in a TRX workout and then called the training for the day done and showered and headed for the airport.

To make a long story short bad weather meant I didn't get home till 3:15AM.  UGH!  That sucked and the flights were insanely turbulent and scary.  Not my favorite.

Tuesday I woke up feeling like hell between my cold and lack of sleep and started to rush about and get work done.  At 11am I said screw it I'm going swimming!  And I headed to the Y.

When I got to the Y the pool was EMPTY!  I had the whole thing to myself at first which rocked.  So I said hello to the lifeguard and set about my workout.  I decided it was time to get a real swim workout in and I wasn't leaving till I'd put a respectable number of yards in.

In the end I did this...

200 Warmup
Then a ladder consisting of 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, 125, 100, 75, 50, 25.
Then a series of 100s and 200s till my total yardage hit 1800.

What a great swim!  I think the confidence boost of swimming in open water really gave me the push I needed to have a good pool swim.  I was thrilled to get that kind of yardage in.  I was tired, and the 200s were tough as its been a while but it was a good swim.  I was also psyched to get at least 10 or so succesful flip turns in.  Some of them were ugly, but I'm still getting used to them.  So a great swim.  Now I just need to consistently get some swimming in!  This week thats going to be tough considering today I'm slammed and tomorrow I start the drive south to Florida.  So I may not get a swim in for the next couple of days but once I get down to Florida I should be able to swim regularly without too much trouble.  At least thats the hope!

So today I went to phsycial therapy this morning and that went well.  I ran a mile on the treadmill as well for my PT and she seemed pleased.  She said I was fast because I ran an 8 minute mile.  I said I was slow becuase I only ran an 8 minute mile.  Funny how perspective works.

After that the day was a whirlwind of getting things ready for the drive down to florida, work stuff, oil change and other such excitement.  But somewhere around 3pm I realized it was 40+ degrees outside and I was almost wrapped up for the day workwise and there was still daylight left.  Time to sneak a workout in and go for a ride!  After dumping my tri bike "Cannon" on an ice patch not that long ago I figured I'd play it safe and take my road bike out.  Thats one cheaper if I break it!  So I took "Dale" out for an easy spin today.  In the end it was around 40 degrees out and crazy windy!  One of those put it in the granny gear and fight your way into the wind on ocean drive kind of days.  I rode for an hour and only covered 15 miles.  Thats how windy out there it is today.  That and I wasn't pushing myself all that hard but I would normally cover much closer to 20 miles in a quick hour long jaunt around the island.  The island by the way being Aquidneck Island where Newport, RI (my new homebase) is located.

Anyway...  it was pretty cold out and I got a chance to try out the Pearl Izumi windstop tights I bought that showed up right as the temperatures dropped to "stupid cold" and I refused to ride outside anymore.  Very glad I got those as they were really warm in the wind!  Way better than wearing running tights to ride in as these did a much better job blocking the winds. 

It was funny but it felt a little strange to ride on a road bike again.  Amazing what a difference there is between the two positions on my tri bike and road bike.  Very different feel to riding each way.  I don't think I like one more than the other or anything, but it was nice to ride in the road position again.  I think I'll definitely mix it up throughout the summer and keep both bikes in rotation.

Anyway...   the ride was pretty uneventfull.  Just a nice spin.  It felt great to be outside and its good for my brain to relax on a bike for a bit when I'm all stressed out with work like I am now.  I even managed to catch a quick sunset pic on my way back to the house.  This lovely vista is on the ocean drive just a few miles from the house.
So next up...

Tommorrow moring I start the drive south to Orlando where I'll be for a week or so before I get a weekend off to ride and then its down to Boca Raton for a week and then the two day drive north again.  Should be a good work trip with hopefully lots of training and riding snuck in too!  We'll see though..   early looks at the schedule look like its gonna be hard to cram it all in.  But I'll find a way as usual.