Monday, May 30, 2011

Once a runner always a runner

The 3rd discipline of triathlon, the run.  Since last year's entire run focus, the run has been going well plus on top of that, I've finally got a plan to stay as injury free as possible.  I don't do any speed work at all.  My body just can't handle the speed anymore.  I keep my miles in high 20s to mid 30s per week and just go easy if I feel like it or sometimes I just get some tempo miles in if I feel good.

As the cycling increases, I'll ease back on the run a little bit knowing I brought a decent base from the winter.  The miles and miles in sub 30 degree weather with snow on ground this winter are paying off.  The legs continue to feel fine as I tick off the miles.  I can tell the legs aren't ready yet for the 26.2 but I felt the same last May in the preparation for Baltimore.  Soon enough as the training continues, 10 milers will seem easy and not even a warmup.  I wonder how long before that conditioning starts to deteriorate with age where it's always tough no matter what.  At least as I approach 40, that's not happening.

This summer on July 31st all my running PRs reset.  That's my plan I get to set new PRs since I don't think I'll ever see my 10k or 5k PRs again.  The saddest thing about my 10k PR is back in late 90s there really wasn't a lot of 10ks to compete in and now there are tons.  I only got about 2 10ks per season to lower my PR and never could quite get a perfect day on a perfect course to break 34.  I really wanted a sub 34 10k PR but oh well I'll get a new one next year.

I've been trying to figure out a goal for the Ironman marathon split.  At Canada in 08, I ran a 3:25 and didn't feel in peak marathon shape.  I had battled a bunch of injuries in the lead up.  The Arizona course is an easier run course so that with more experience and even more run base, I came up with a good number.  3:05 which would put my split in past couple of years, right there close to best in the over 40 men splits.  In last years, an ex-pro ran a sub 3 split being over 40.  So assuming no ex-pros, I'm shooting to have the fastest run split.  A 3:05 is just right around 7 minute mile the training commences where if I'm completely dead 7 minute pace should still feel easy.

Stay tuned for the last discipline of the Ironman, nutrition.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

It's not about the Bike

Well that's definitely right.  The engine on top of it is out of shape.  I'm a fair weather cyclist so during DC winters I don't get any miles on the tri bike at all.  The last outdoor ride was in October and the first outdoor ride this year was in March.  I was also just a bum knowing that the Ironman wasn't until November so I didn't even hook the bike up to the indoor trainer but perhaps 3 times.

The one thing I do ride is the spin bike.  I ride it like 2 or 3 times a week but it's really not the same.  That first outdoor ride is a total shock to the legs.  No heavy flywheel momentum to keep things rolling sucks.  The position is totally different and so the back is sacrificed early on and even the ass is telling this seat is pretty hard and uncomfortable.

The bike is plan is just to do a gradual build until August.  In August, start doing more structured workouts and using all the base from the early summer to really speed up.  I'm struggling on just maintaining a nice easy slow workout pace when the weather is so nice.  Going fast on the bike is so much fun especially when you can keep up with cars in 25mph zones.  Patience is key or I will be totally burnt out by November.

The other key is to get the body ready to handle constant aero position for 5 plus hours.  The Arizona course is almost pancake flat so most race reports talk about struggling to stay aero for that long.  In normal, riding through town and stuff you're always stopping, standing, etc with hills and lights.  I've been scouring Google maps looking for a smooth, safe stretch of road that I can do loops or out-n-backs on.

I thought I had found one, the Clara Barton Parkway.  It's a 4 lane road with not much traffic early morning on the weekends and it's flat with 8 miles out and back.  The speed limit is 50mph but the cars have a whole lane to pass and plus there's shoulder here and there.  Well I had successfully put in two 50 mile plus rides on the parkway when I was ending my 3rd 50 miler last weekend, I was stopped.  Not totally stopped but enough of a police stop to tell me bikes aren't allowed on the parkway.  Luckily, I didn't have to play the I just moved here card which so far has been successful in getting out of a "blowing through a stop sign in a park" ticket.  Sure it's been over 3 years since coming out to DC but technically, I moved here just 3 years ago.

Anyway, back to Google for so more searching and then scouting on the bike.  My back has definitely been a problem but hopefully it will get it's act together by November.  Now the legs are slowly getting used to some outside miles and are coming around.  My pace on the bike is getting a little easier but I still haven't done any intervals or tempos just yet.

In the back of mind, I think I can average 21mph for the Ironman bike portion with race wheels and aero helmet.  It won't be a walk in the park but it won't be redline.  This puts my goal bike time at 5:15.  So the plan is do some serious bike training as the months close in to make 21mph feel like a ho-hum pace.

Stay tuned..

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Let's talk swim

I figure why not just go discipline by discipline until it's all caught up.  The Achilles' heel.  It was reason it took me so long in the first to even attempt to do triathlons.

Sometime early in 2010, I finally figured out what all the swimmers meant when they said "high elbows".  I applied this "ah-ha moment"(in memory of the Oprah show) and immediately my swim started getting faster.  It's still been a slow process but my times keep getting slightly faster.

Just last week I swam my fastest 2400 yards ever in the pool and a month before that I swam 3000 yards in the pool at my 2008 Ironman wetsuit pace.  Both these were big time for me.  Perhaps, if I can slowly keep improving I can get out of the water at Arizona and not have to deal with the massive crush of swimmers in the transition area and to start the bike.  At Canada, there was so many people in transition after my swim my toe got stepped on by someone's cycling shoe.  It was one big bloody mess post marathon.

Today was a different story.  I struggle to even come within 3 minutes of my PR in the pool.  I just felt blah.  When you feel blah on the run or bike, you can basically just trundle along but swimming it feels like you're a steel anchor just wanting to sink to the bottom of the pool.  I was going so slow my flip turn timing was off and a couple of times was barely able to get any push from the wall.  That's another part of my swimming improvement, I started doing flip-turns post Baltimore marathon and have been doing them ever since.  I was surprised at how easy they were.  I wish I had tried them before because they really help you keep some momentum.

Overall, I've made my goal at Arizona to be a 65 minute swim.  This is 1:32 per 100yards.  It will be a wetsuit swim which is good for at least 5-10 seconds per 100.  You take away that and add sighting and battling the mass start swim with 2100 other folks and it's about right.

Coming soon the bike and who doesn't want to hear about my diet or as I call it Dorito-less.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Time to get back to it

I figured it's a good time to update the old blog.  The blog definitely helped me document all things Ironman training the last go around so I better get back at it even though Facebook has really made spouting off thoughts easier.  No history though and it's good to have a detailed training blog. I'm super analyzing person so having a detail of how and what really lets me dial in the preparation for this upcoming Ironman.  For example, I remember the Ironman marathon wall coming at mile 18 in my head.  I went back to my race report and it read, "Mile 14 and the wall, WTF!".  It's amazing on how my brain had already made the Ironman not so bad and why not do another one.  Crap.  See now I know that I got do a better job on my running training than last time and hey being 3 years older isn't going to matter, right.

The background is after last year's resounding success at welcoming my best friend Eric into old age(he turned 40), I knew my 40th was bearing down on me like a pre-teen wanting a Bieber autograph.  What should I do to celebrate my 40th birthday and then it came to me, I'll run the prestigious Boston marathon and do an Ironman as well when I'm 40.  It will show even old guys can still get stuff done.

The Boston marathon required some planning since you just can't sign up, you have to use another marathon time to qualify.  So last March, I started training for the local Baltimore marathon in October.  This way I could get my qualifying marathon out of way and use all of 2011 as training for an Ironman once I turn 40 in July.  Luckily, I was successful last October and qualified for Boston.  Now I just have to fight the internet hordes on sign-up day and hope I get in for April 2012.

The 2nd part was finding an Ironman post July 30th 2011.  Ironman Arizona seemed perfect.  The temperature is usually warm and Elena's grandpa(Amber's dad) lives in Arizona. The Ironman is right before Thanksgiving so the whole family could come and cheer me on and then we'd stay and celebrate Thanksgiving with grandpa.  In order to guarantee myself an entry, I decided to travel out to the race for signup.  Elena hadn't seen her grandpa in awhile so I brought Elena with me to sign-up and celebrate Thanksgiving with her grandpa.  Elena had a blast and I got to sign up for an Ironman.

So 2011, I'll turn 40 and hopefully if all the training goes well I'll complete my 2nd Ironman.  Stay tuned...