Thursday, June 26, 2008

Getting Trashed (No, not like that)

You'll have to ask Amber if I looked like this when I got back from my ride last night, but I can assure you this is how I felt. I decided I'd ride with the fellas after commuting to and from work. Maybe not the best idea, but a good way to grind out some endurance nonetheless. I tried to take it easy on my work commutes, and still ended up averaging right around 18+ mph. In retrospect, I should be setting my MHR a little lower when I know I have a long day, just to stay fresher longer.

So everything was going great and we were cruising along (rather quickly, I might add) when I hear a shewwwww coming from my tires. Thankfully, I had realized I'd forgotten a spare tube on my commute and with my luck riding with the fellas (numerous mechanical/bike issues), I wanted to have it just in case.

Jeff and Casey were contending for county line and bridge sprints throughout the four counties we rode in yesterday. I usually attempt to do this when I'm fresh, but I just let them go today. I believe the score was Jeff 4, Casey 3, with Jeff pulling out a nice acceleration to take the last sprint.

Anyhow, around mile 55, Sam popped. The 20+ mph pace became too much and climbing became a thing of pain. We returned to Lexington (around mile 75), and I was a little scared I was going to pass out on my bike. For the first time since training for my half last year, I just wanted to lay down on the side of the road and take a nap. No questions asked. After I split off to head home, I decided I need to stop and infuse my body with some sugar. 44 oz. real sprite anyone? I got a couple of powerades as well, just to make sure I could ride the last mile home.

I was pretty much a zombie the rest of the evening, and thankfully my wife is pretty awesome, as she rubbed my legs for me (while reminding me that she didn't feel bad for me because I decided to ride "a billion miles" :D )

The main point is this: when you're riding off the back of the pack as much as I was yesterday, you have two choices. You can quit, pack it in, pull out the cell phone and get a ride (which is not always a bad decision), or you can fight the voice inside that's calling you stupid for trying to do more than you have before, for trying to keep up with people who are "better" than you, etc., etc., etc. I think everybody has it. You hear it often when people are worried about not feeling in control during a workout. I've learned from riding with these two ,who have much better fitness than myself, that simply accepting where you're at and not worrying about it is key to success. If you constantly beat yourself down about not being fast enough, bla bla bla, you'll never have the motivation to get out and do it the next day. Just know that in whatever area you might be working, playing, you're out there extending yourself, and it's a good deal better than sitting on the bench. I would also advise riding with some people who are weaker than you on a semi-regular basis to keep self-confidence high.

By the way, a link to an article about the pool in the last post can be found here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

In A Perfect World...

Every town would have one of these:

Even if it was only two lap lanes wide...

No more worries about flip-turns or open turns, and imagine how many people could share a lane...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Forced (by) Gas furnace

It seems like this happens regularly now, but the spring months are often tough for me to get consistent training in. Subsequently, it is the first day of Summer, and I just had the first good week in a long time. Saturday and Sunday are still available, and I've gotten in two runs, a swim, and 3 bikes. Riding the bike is becoming a bit more desirable now that fuel costs are growing. Both Amber and myself are embracing this a bit more. My goal is to grow into commuting an average of 2-3x/week and carpooling the other days. I have a nice 16-18 mi trip (depending on route) each way. It's good and hilly, so it forces fitness in pretty well.

I'm currently trying to set up a little race schedule and a training schedule that's realistic for every week. I also need to get off my arse and go to master's swimming. The wife seems to be warming up to the idea.

The author realizes this isn't much of a post, but starting to write again is kind of like recovery. Just a little bit at a time before you get back into full swing. I'm saving better stuff for later.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

St. Leo Tri-umph

WOW- what a way to celebrate my 53rd birthday! I stayed calm and stuck with my game plan, passed at least one person in each portion of the race, AND finished each segment of the race faster than I had in training this past month!

I had hoped, if all went well, to come in under 2:30, with my "absolute best case scenario" sitting about 2:10. My official time was 1:38:11 - yaaay! I know that is slow to the young bucks, but I am thrilled with it!

Notes from a first-time tri-er:

  • David endured a couple weeks of listening to me ruminate on how I would handle the race challenges and spent a sleep-deprived night on a too-soft mattress, but still good naturedly rode the bike course with me on Memorial Day and chauffered me back and forth to the race site this weekend and cheered me on at transition and the finish. Thanks, David.

  • Pre-race intake: water, gatorade, black tea, banana, kashi bar, allergy med, glucosamine chondroitin for the joints and ginseng (to help maintain energy for the duration and lessen muscle soreness after).

  • Our "first-timers" bike rack was right next to the transition entrance, so finding my bike was cake - that and the fact that very few bikes were left by the time I arrived from the swim - a fact my beloved had pointed out to me one time I was obsessing about being able to find my bike without my glasses on.

  • The comraderie of the "first-timers" group of men around me while we waited for our swim wave to start was great - talk of how much training we'd had in preparation, which race segment gave us the most concern (swim) and which the most pleasure (bike), along with encouragement, smiles, and well-wishing.

  • My warm-up swim informed me that SEEING the red triangular balloon course markers would be a challenge with tinted goggles replacing my "coke-bottle glasses". Thankfully the sun had come up enough by the time my wave entered the water, that I was able to stay reasonably on course except for the last leg where I wasted some strokes getting back on course.

  • Checked my watch coming up the long hill after exiting the swim - 19:30 hooray!

  • Running barefoot over parking lot - not fun but not as bad as I'd anticipated.

  • My transition to bike? slower than 3 people who came in after me :-)

  • Having biked the bike course 2 weeks ago helped alot in knowing where I could take advantage of those downhills and where I couldn't, but I was surprised a bit how much I struggled to keep a steady pace. I passed 4 women on the bike portion, 2 early on, and two in the last mile or two.

  • My watch said 1 hour 4 minutes when I dismounted, which put my bike about 40 minutes for 10 miles

  • The run was mostly on grass or dirt paths, which was great for me, but it was also very hilly - not so great for me. I hadn't been able to work in any steep incline work on the treadmill in prep as I had hoped. I had to walk alot of intervals.

  • Just a few runners finished behind me, but that didn't mar my elation one bit as I chugged up the final hill to the finish chute at the top and looked at my watch.

  • Post-race photo op with a giant inflated cow, picnic of delicious chocolate milk, turkey wrap, and fruit, and a VERY satisfied ride back to the hotel to shower and head home.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sweat and Swimming


While menopausal sweat that wakens me at 11:30 and 1:00 and 1:20 and 2:40 and 3:30 and 4:00 and 4:30 (yep, 6 times a night is about right) is NOT a thing to feel good about, watching my sweat drip onto my bicycle pedaling legs or onto the mat when I'm doing push-ups is an mmmm....mmmm.....GOOD feeling of achievement.

Living here in Florida we learn to develop a higher tolerance for and appreciation of sweat. Since we're going to be doing it anytime we're outside in the summer for more than about 10 minutes, we might as well get our money's worth and sweat a bucketful while we're running so we can feel good when we're peeling off and wringing out our running shorts & shirts. Its the price we pay for the sunshine instead of gloomy grey and year round warmth instead of biting cold winters.

Today I swam 40 laps/1000 yards/909 meters without stopping at the pool - my 14th swim work-out in prep for my first triathlon this weekend. I had to know that I could swim for 600 meters (the lenght in the sprint tri) plus a good bit more to accomodate a zig zag or outer perimeter course on race day. I expect to do 25-50% of the swim on my back, trying to avoid collisions and swim along a relatively expedient course. Survival with enough energy to do the bike and run is my goal for this one. Even today, after this many swim sessions, I had to fight back moments of panic once or twice when I felt I couldn't in enough air in the first 200 yards. But I did, I kept swimming and can now see myself completing a half mile swim in the future.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Breaking It Down Brings a Question

This first part is minutae probably no one but me finds interesting. The question is at the end.

As part of my mental preparation for this first triathlon, I have tried to break down into manageable bits all the parts of the challenge I know to be new to me, and experience or simulate them as much as possible before the race, so I can hopefully sleep better the night before the race and thoroughly enjoy the event. So here are some of my "little bits of NEW".

  • David and I rode the St. Leo bicycle course on Memorial Day morning. No blazing speed, but now I know I don't need to fear the hills -riding the overpasses on the Pinellas trail have been decent prep. Making the 90 degree turns at a high speed at the bottom of at least one of those hills is a challenge that will have to wait until race day.

  • I've learned to shift into and out of the largest/greatest resistance front sprocket - something I had no need/desire for until I wanted to maximize the "flying-down-the-hill" energy.

  • I've practiced riding most of my 15 mile prep bike course using the low hand grips on this first road bike I've ever owned.

  • I've practiced drinking while pedaling - another thing I hadn't done at all on this bike prior to tri training.

  • I got and have been wearing a pair of swim goggles to swim laps.

  • I did an open water swim with Kyle in the Gulf of Mexico, staying in a depth where I had to swim or tread water for about 50 minutes. While the salt water made for a great bouyancy I won't have on race day, the wave swells made breathing air instead of water a challenge - I shouldn't panic at the beginning of the swim now when flailing feet and arms make the water churn. Thanks, Kyle and Michelle!

I also want to wear a cap for at least one of my swims and run later in the morning than I've been going, so I can give a "you've already done this, you can do it today" response to any negative self talk complaining about the heat and sun when I'm running. I also want to do one or two days of swim/bike/run in the order I'll be facing them.

So here's my question for the experienced triathletes, posed as I pushed the pedals on the return portion of my ride this morning, bypassing the bathroom in favor of an accurate time assessment: Have you ever peed while pedaling (after checking aft traffic, of course)? Did you regret it?

photo c.1997 Whetstone Photography Paul Jarrio 864-647-6500 (my first whitewater rafting experience)