Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sept 20 - 26

Monday - 2000m swim (No major back or neck pain this time, but did need heating pad to relax back muscles afterwards)

Tuesday -

Bike: 20mi (noon)


Goal: 1 mi WU, 5x 1000 @ 6:12, 1 mi CD

Achieved: Nailed it. I ran this one at the track. Garmin data was lost, but I was very happy with this run. I started out planning to punk out on the last couple 1000's, and the first 1000m was very tough, and my legs felt like lead. And somehow, they got easier and easier. I ran my mile CD at a comfortable pace, with the first lap at 7:45, and finishing at 7:15. I felt strong. It's amazing the degree to which speedwork reinforces your body's ability to comfortably run fast(er).

Wednesday - 2200m swim. Felt pretty good; didn't overdo it. Swam 10x 100yd on 1:35 (finished each around 1:25).


Goal: 1 Mi WU, 5mi @ 6:26, 1mi CD
Achieved: 1mi wu, 5mi @ 6:53, .5mi cd. First 2 miles were @ 6:35; after that the wheels came off. I stopped for water 3 miles in, and finished off the tempo feeling noticeably slower. The effort was there; it was just a tough morning.

Friday: 2200m swim. 10x 100yd on 1:35, finished each at/under 1:25. Felt pretty good.

Goal: 13-15 miles @ 7:25-8:25
Achieved: 2mi wu, 11mi @ 7:33, cd. Total: 14.75
This run begins my taper for next week's Halfmax Championship. I wanted to prove to myself that I could sustain sub-7:45 pace (my goal pace for the race). Had a great run- felt great and finished strong! I ran into a guy training to run a 2:30 marathon, and ran a couple of miles with him, chatting it up. It was nice to have some company, and good to get some confidence running comfortably at 7:20 pace. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Long ride- dry run for Halfmax

Sunday, Sept 19.
The ride I planned for today was a 56 mile ride in the hills of Montgomery, in conjunction with an organized ride sponsored by my tri club, HRTC.  I had decided to use this race to test the pacing strategy for my upcoming half ironman.
I started out riding with a couple other guys, and I faced the typical group-riding challenges that are generated by my refusal to ride pace-line or draft.  I'm found myself out front pulling until we hit an uphill, when I would be passed by the entire pace-line (which I would then re-pass on the next downhill).  My goal for the day was to ride at 170-180 W (assuming 213W for my threshold power, which I admittedly haven't tested in half a year), and keeping my HR below 160.  I rode the first half of the ride with this goal in mind, but somehow ended up averaging 190W through the first half (avg HR ~155).  I made a pit-stop at the halfway point and rode the rest of the ride by myself.  I continued the second half with the same goal in mind, but my wattage for the second half was much lower relative to my HR.  I struggled a bit through the second half, and my average wattage for this section was closer to 155W.  This ride was not really a perfect dry run for my upcoming race, since this ride was quite hilly, and my upcoming race will be flat and windy.
Conclusions:  For this distance, I should probably lower my wattage target (165 - 175W) and try to hold it consistently throughout the ride.  I definitely should not exceed a HR of 155 in my race (with no hills, there should be no reason for such surges). 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Week 2 on the wagon

Tuesday, Sept 14
Goal: 1mi WU, 4x 1000m @ 6:12, 1mi CD
Achieved: 6:11, 6:15, 6:14, 6:14
Apparently the speed is still there; I just have to use it.  I am pumped to come so close to hitting my targets!  I've definitely been a little sore after the last week of speedwork, but I'm gratified to find myself coming up to speed so quickly.  Hopefully I can find some speed to take with me to the Halfmax Nat'l Championships (1/2 Iron distance) on Oct 2.

Thursday, Sept 16
Goal: 1mi WU, 4.5 mi @ 6:26, 1mi CD
Achieved 1mi WU, 4.5 @ 6:34, walking CD (with friends)
I was pumped to be able to maintain this tempo run through the entire distance.  The cooler weather helped, as did the presence of my friend Stuart, who is on the same plan with the same target pace and the same target race (CIM), and who is a machine- he surged ahead of me early, and was my rabbit for the rest of the run

Saturday, Sept 18
Goal: 16 mi @ 7:35-8:25
Achieved: 16 mi @ 7:55
I pushed the pace a little today, and was surprised to find that I had the speed in my legs.  I'm can tell that just by expecting my body to run faster, it's responding and I'm pulling it off.  It's interesting that the last few months of lowered pace expectations actually resulted in my getting slower, and gratifying that the converse actually works.

Back on the speedwork wagon

I'm training for the California International Marathon, and have put together a run-training plan culminating in that race.  First week back:

Tuesday, September 7
Goal: 1 mi WU, 3x 1000m @ 6:12, 1 mi CD
Achieved: 6:08, 6:24, 6:22, and 800m @ 6:20 (I was confused and thought I was supposed to do 4x 1000m, and I punked out on the last one and only ran 800m, but it turned out I was only supposed to run 3)
I ran these at 8pm in a driving rainstorm (coolest run in Houston in ages), and really struggled to maintain the pace.  I could feel, however, the difference in my stride when running fast versus the "base" pace I've been running for the past several months.

Thursday, September 9
Goal: 1 mi WU, 4mi @ 6:26, 1 mi CD
Achieved: I broke the 4mi up into smaller bits: 2mi @ 6:42, 1.5mi @ 6:35, .5mi @ 6:41
This was a tough run.  Hopefully next week I'll come closer to hitting my goals

Friday, September 10
Long run in 98 degree heat of afternoon.
13.5mi @ 8:42 pace

Post-Ironman epiphany

After wallowing in funk for several days, I went for a recovery run after work, and suddenly realized that my Ironman result was directly a product of the training I had done.  I had hoped to maintain my speed from the Houston marathon all the way into the Ironman, but found that as the weather got hotter and hotter (and my training volume got higher and higher), it became increasingly difficult to hit my pace targets when doing my run speedwork.  At some point (I think it was in June), I stopped doing any structured workout at all, and just did general "tempo" workouts with no pace goal, no obvious progression, and no accountability.  This is where I lost my speed.  Without realizing it, I slipped into a training complacency where training distance began to trump intensity (this happened to me in 2006, as well, with IM Florida).

The structure and accountability of the run training that I did leading up to the Houston Marathon were directly responsible for the speed gains that I made during that period, and I would definitely want to incorporate that (and stick to it) in training for my next IM.

When I do my next IM, I want to be prepared to race at my goal paces, not to just idly hope that I can hit them.  Where I failed in this IM was in my preparation- I was prepared to complete the distance, just not at the pace that I wanted.  Next time I'll know better.

Post-Ironman funk

I spent the first week and a half after the Ironman in kind of a funk.  It's really difficult to structure your life around a goal day-in and day-out for a year, and then to suddenly find yourself wandering aimlessly.  This post-Ironman funk was maybe a little more pronounced than the others I've experienced, since I was somewhat disappointed in my performance.  I'm not sure that this disappointment is reasonable, or rational, but I spent the last year planning (and training) to obliterate my PR, even on a much tougher course.  I did execute my race plan flawlessly, but the fact that I didn't blow up on the run has left me wondering if I couldn't/shouldn't have taken more risks and pushed a little harder on the bike.

The funk was exacerbated by the fact that I have gotten so much slower over the last several months.  Where I once was running my long runs at paces in the low 7's, a comfortable long run pace for me has turned into a pace in the high 8's and low 9's.  Even aggressively paced long runs lately have yielded at best an 8:30 average pace.  What the heck?!

Quick Update

So what's happened since February?  Good question!  Leading up to Worlds, here were this year's races:
My next "A" race after the Houston Marathon was to be the Cooper River Run 10k, where I wanted to break 40 minutes.  I built a run training plan easing me into the tri season, with this goal in mind.
Feb 27: Rodeo Run 10k:  I ran this race with A and her mother, and finished in 40:52, well short of my sub-40 goal with one month to go...
Mar 27: Cooper River Bridge Run 10k:  I went home to SC to run this race with my family, with the goal of breaking 40 minutes firmly in mind.  We got dropped off a little later than usual, and a little further away than usual, so we had to run a mile or so to get into our start corral, and got there just before the start.  This had two results; 1) we were nice and warmed up when the race started, and 2) we had a lot more people in front of us than usual.  Since this race has 30,000+ participant, even being at the back of a seeded start corral can mean quite a few people to pass at race start.  My brother and I started out pretty fast, dodging, bobbing, and weaving around the slower people in front of us, and probably running 20% farther in the process.  A mile or so into the race we got separated, and I pounded the mile or so up the bridge, trying to keep from pushing too hard, and surging past all of the people who had overextended themselves.  I lost a lot of time off my target pace on the uphill, and heading over the crest I feared my chances of breaking 40 minutes were already gone.  Regardless, I pushed the downhill (just like my brother taught me the first year I ran it with him), and my pace went down to a minute or more below target pace.  I was flying!  A guy pulled in behind me and made a remark about me looking fresh, still running on my toes.  I lost track of my time in the second half of the race, but pushed as hard as I could and finished strong.  Result: 40:00.  That's right- I missed breaking 40 minutes by one second.  I still felt pretty good about my finish, since I don't think I left any extra seconds on the course- that was all I had.

Apr 24: Lone Star Olympic Triathlon (Galveston, TX):  I was really looking forward to this race, as I thought I had a pretty good chance of placing (and I was excited about my cycling improvements).  It was an insanely windy day, and they ended up canceling the swim.  My enthusiasm for the race waned somewhat with my best event removed, and I found myself struggling to get any sort of push on the run.  I felt like I let up quite a bit from miles 3-5, and then still finished pretty strong.  I finished a disappointing 11/92 in my AG, knowing that a swim leg would probably have put me on the podium.
May 16: TexasMan 1/2 Ironman (near Dallas, TX):  This race was hilly and hot!  A and I drove the course the day before and were amazed at how hilly it was!  This was my first race wearing a HR monitor, and I set some target ranges to maintain on the bike (140-145 bpm).  I finished the swim 1st in my AG, and headed out on the bike course.  I went slower and slower on the bike, but couldn't seem to go slowly enough to get my HR to come down.  It stayed over 160bpm for the first 10 miles of the race.  The bike was challenging, but went pretty well, and I think I could have pushed a little harder (though the best measure of a good bike leg is in how the run leg goes).  I had a good run, and stayed strong despite a hilly run course and blistering conditions.  There was no Gatorade on most of the run course, so I used the "emergency" electrolyte tabs that I had tucked in my jersey pocket.  I finished strong, in 5:12 (short of the 5:00 to which I had idly aspired), good for 4th place in my AG.

Jun 12: Corporate Track Meet:  This was easily my most fun event of the first half of 2010!  My company competes with a number of other major companies in the Houston area, and this race was a full-fledged track meet.  I'd never run a short distance race, and it was fantastic!  This race deserves a post of its own, but I did run a 5:20 mile (good for silver in the Team Mile), and ran about the same time or faster as the mile anchor of a mixed-distance relay, pulling my relay team from 3rd to 1st (GOLD!), and winning by over 30 seconds.  I also ran some ridiculously fast 800's in a few other relays, pulling my team from ignominy into contention.  Ah, the glory!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I'm back!

OK, the blog is back after more than a 6 month hiatus.  If I don't write race reports for the Long Course World Championships and Ironman Canada now, then I never will (or I'll end up with a cop out report like the one I did for IM Coeur d'Alene last year).  There are actually quite a few things that I want to remember, so reporting is back.  I'm also going to try to ramp up my reporting on my training progress to re-introduce a measure of accountability, but we'll have to see how that works out.