Saturday, February 28, 2009

Way Too Deep

Today I went too deep in my training. I've never really hit a wall like I did. Last night I finally went to bed at midnight. I woke up at 6AM and headed to the pool. The workout was long (4000 yards) with lots of sprinting. Afterwards I hurried home to join the team for a ride put on by our sponsors. I had 30 minutes to eat and get dressed and get out the door. I crammed a cream cheese/almond butter bagel and a Naked Juice puree down and hurried off to the ride. An hour later we were at the Embassy Suite meeting Saul Raisin, Mike Creed, and the riders of the Johan Bruyneel Development Team for a big group ride. The ride started out tame enough with upwards of 50-60 riders taking up the asphault thoroghfares of Albuquerque. We headed north. Once we got outside Albuquerque, the freidly parade ended and the pace picked up. Soon we were in Algodones. The pace then picked up even more and riders started dropping off. We then headed uphill to Placitas. The pace stayed hard and fast. My legs started to feel soft. I slowly drifted off the back. I began to feel just how tired my swim made me. I continued on knowing the group would double back once they reached the top giving me the opportunity to catch back on.

The group finally did come and I caught on. We hurried down hill and headed back to Albuquerque. The pace was now fairly brisk, and I was starting to hit The wall. I'd been eating and drinking but this was a bit different. I was just empty. We turned uphill again making our way up Tramway. This is where I finally blew up. By this point, I'd been riding for 4:45 and 75 miles. I was 10 miles and more than 1000 feet of elevation gain from home. I let the group go and put it in the smallest gear I had and just took my time getting home. All I wanted to do was go home, eat, take a shower, and go to bed.

The whole way home I kept trying to figure out why I was so flat...so empty. I hardly ate 500 calories for breakfast. I only got 6 hours of sleep following a night that I couldn't sleep because of work related stress. I killed myself swimming. I'm trying too hard to keep up with riders with a completely different focus/skill set. I'm sure all of these factors contribute to me crumbling.

I finally got home, had an Odwalla Protien shake, which marginally tasted good--that's bad when you're desperately hungry. I drank nearly a half gallon of water, then I took a nice warm shower.

After the shower I met the family for my son's end of season basketball party. I crammed down a bunch of Little Ceaser's Pizza and cake (no comment). And now, I'm at home with the kids (and 4 of their friends), cleaning and washing and folding laundry while my wife goes grocery shopping for the week. This is pretty much our Saturday routine.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Will To Live

I recently read a quote from Jack London, author of White Fang. He said he once swam out to sea starting at the opening of the San Francisco Bay (currently known as Ocean Beach). He said he swam out so far he could no longer see land. When asked why he did this, he said he wanted to test his will to live. His design was to swim so far out that he couldn't concevably have enough strength to swim back. By doing so, he could find out just how much he wanted to live. He said when he finally reached the shore, he was so exhausted he could hardly move.

When I was younger, I surfed at Ocean Beach a couple of times. I wore a wetsuit and it was still freezing. Ocean Beach seems to have a few too many great whites. And, it's always overcast there. I'm guessing Jack London didn't have a wetsuit. I don't know weather write this guy off as a nut job or be in awe of his feat. But, oddly, it seems the nut jobs, who do unfathomable tasks, leave some sort of legacy.

These days, bucking convention is a hard thing to do--there's so many people doing it. It would be nice to do something that my great-great-great-great grandkids would hear about and say, "Whoa!" What is it though that would do that? Someone's walked on the moon. Many people have swam the English Channel. Someone has circumnavigated the globe in an helium ballooon. Many people have summitted Mt. Everest. Many people have rode their bikes accross the Untited States. Shoot, people have ran accross the United States. What's left to do anymore?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It Shouldn't Be This Warm

Yesterday on my bike ride home from work, it was nearly 70 degrees outside. It was the first time I rode with just shorts and a jersey. I didn't have to suit up with shoe covers, leg warmers, arm warmers, jacket, hat, or gloves. It was great. It was also the first time my legs got to see the sun in 2009. Gosh are they white!

Oddly, it's still February and, based on Weather.Com, the average temparature for February is 55 degrees. It's unseasonably warm now, and the forecast call for more of the same for the next week.

Now many may be suprised at Albuquerque's cooler average historical temps because they think were part of the Southwest (i.e. Phoenix, Tucson, or San Diego). But, we're at 5,700 feet above sea level. We're as high up as Denver. So why is it so warm right now. I don't know, but I'll take it. I also know warmer winters mean hot and dry summers. At any rate, I can't complain about the warmer temps. It's great to be able to train year round at altitude.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Coming Around

After the double ear ache/infection set back, I was able to get it back a little bit. I wrangled up 14 hours of training; all bike and running. I'm now getting back to the running pace I was at, which feels great. I really have to listen to my body though and not over do it. Other wise, I'll be back to square one.

The ear infections are nearly gone. I still have a bit of ringing in my ears and my hearing is at 70%. I can't hear wispers or low tones and high frequency noises turn into a single irritating vibration. This should go away in a couple of weeks.

I did swim yesterday morning. We swam 3,500 yards. They turned the heater off in the pool and the temp was in the low 70s. Everyone was reluctant to get in. I jumped in and it felt really good. I don't know if its the infection that making my body temp a bit higher but the cooler water temp felt really good. I've also noticed that when I'm on the bike, and it's cold outside, it feels really good.

Yesterday after swimming, I rode my bike to work. When I checked the outside temp, it was already 48 degrees at 7AM. When I rode home, it was almost 70 degrees. Is it possible winter is nearly over? Day light savings is in two weeks. Have I weathered another winter? Albuquerque is a big tease. It will generally warm up for a bit...just like it's doing now. Then, just when you get used to it, a really cold front comes in and makes you think it's going to be a long winter. At any rate, I'll take all the good weather I can get.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A right and a left...and I'm down for the count!

Tuesday night I rode my trainer for an hour and a half doing a specific workout. It was the first time doing the workout and I felt alot of stress...in my head. I got off the bike and realized what the pressure was. I had a building pressure in my right ear...an impending ear ache! I've had ear aches/infections all my life. As a child they were a regular occurance, so I know when I'm going to get one. Right away, I had Tanya give me an ear candle. This sometimes staves off the ache. I went to bed. At 1:00AM, the ear ache reached its peak and my eardrum blew. I frantically took some Ibuprofen and sought the heating pad. After about 30 mintues of not finding the heating pad, I decided to go to bed. My ear sounded like someone was beating a metal garbage can outside our window. Slowly but surely, the Ibuprofen began to kick in and the pain abaited. In the interim, I remembered all the ear infections I'd had as a child. This should be old hat now. There were times when I had puss and blood oozing from my ears. As a child we didn't have healthcare, and so my only recourse was asprin and a heating pad. I'd lay on the heating pad hearing the cracklings, which incidentally was my eardrum (tampanic membrane) rupturing. I as a really young child I had tubes put in my ears; maybe that helped for a while. But I still had lots of ear infections growing up.

I lay in bed cursing my estachian tubes and their inability to drain properly. Then it dawned on me that there were some pretty good side effects to being prone to ear infections. I think, through my ear infections, I've built up a high pain tolerance. I probably wouldn't be the endurance athelete I am without the ear infections. Running, biking and swimming over long periods at high intensities is painful. You ignore the pain, much like an ear ache, and carry on.

Because of my common ear infections as a child, I learned to read lips. I was always near-deaf, so I learned to watch people's mouths when they spoke to me. That's a habit I have even now. I also really learn to listen when people spoke to me to fully understand what they were saying because I couldn't hear them. I'd follow non-verbal cues, facial expressions, emotions, and situations to fully grasp what was being said. If I didn't catch the full gist of what was said to me, I'd synthesize in my mind the few words I did hear until I did understand. To this day, I can say I'm a great listener because of having to accomodate frequent ear infections.

When I woke up in the morning, I felt the very same pressure building on my left side. A double ear infection. I went to the doctor, who after looking at both, gave a perscription for an anti-biotic and some steriod drops. She told me to stay out of the pool for a while too.

I filled the perscription and took the day off at work and watched a bunch of movies I rented. The volume was turned way up though.

So much for hitting 20 hours of training this week. Oh well, it's still only February.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Rest Week's Over and Week 1 Begins

Rest week is over and all that I wanted to accomplish during the week, I did. I slept a lot, I rested a lot, I hung out with the family a lot, and I did my bike TT. Saturday morning, I did my base line TT effort, which ended up with a 12.1 mile course being covered in 31:40, which is an average of just under 23 MPH. I was pleasantly suprised with this time considering I've only done base and speed drills. I started the TT with a brisk tailwind. I was zooming along at 27 MPH. I focused on holding my position and maintaining a fast cadence. The course I chose is a relatively flat out-and-back ride. So, when I turned around it was directly into the headwind. I put my head down and tried to maintain a consistant effort. The average speed back was 20 MPH. Towards the end, the headwind got really stiff. This is when I noticed my longer crankarms really giving me the ability maintain a strong pace. After the TT, I warmed down for an hour.

This morning, the first workout of my block was a 3,800 yard swim. Welcome back! At lunch, I ran for 30 minutes at 6.5MPH. This was a good workout because I'm moving closer to where I need to be. I just increased my run times by five minutes per run. I'm increasing every two weeks. I'm hopeful this will give me plenty of time to build up.

It's offical: I signed up for Buffalo Springs for June 28th. I figured I'd sign up in advance so I don't lose out when the event ultimately fills up.

Friday, February 13, 2009

What A Difference Rest Week Makes

This week I've spent alot of time catching up with sleep and doing fun family activities. Monday, I took my oldest daughter shopping for clothes. I gave her a few options of places we could go...she chose Target. That's not what I would have picked but whatever. She was excited. She picked out a couple pair of pants and a couple of shirts. I also grabbed some socks and underwear for her. When folding the laundry a few days ago, I realized my oldest didn't have much in terms of clothes. She never complains and is always reliable around the house. She's really a good kid. During the big party we had at the house a couple of weeks ago, she did so much to help. She needed some type of reward. So, I decided to take her clothes shopping. Incidentally, the very next day, her mother took her to the Optomotrist and got her some contacts--something she'd been asking for for weeks.

I caught a little bug a couple of days ago...nothing to really fret about. But it made me sleep a lot more, which is good. The timing couldn't have been better--recovery week. This morning, I went to my Masters swim and was just killing it. I swam 3,500 yards and didn't feel tired at all. A couple of people in my lane kept complaining about how hard the workout was (one ultimately packed it in early); I didn't feel like it was overly hard. Then it dawned on me. Wow, I'm rested. No wonder I feel so good. Usually I go to my swim workouts with a lot of accumulated activity and not enough hours of sleep and spend the first half-hour just getting my body up to speed. It was a pleasant change.

I have a TT on Saturday to establish my fitness baseline as a standard to measure against for the rest of the year. Every month, I'll go back to the same TT course and compare my times to see how I'm improving. It's not an absolute in terms of fitness standard. Many things could come into play. For example, this time of year is windy and cold. I will be bundled up and knocked around by the wind. Those factors can definitely slow me down. Come July when the wind is gone and it's warm, I may have to offset my time improvements for these factors. At any rate, it has been a low key week (10 hours of training), which is just what I've needed. The next three weeks will be significantly more challenging (20hours, 24hours, and 26hours).

We got our tax return today, so I'm going to register for Buffalo Springs.

Have a good one!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Final Week of Block 1

This week didn't go as planned. I worked three nights until 8PM and worked Saturday. Needless to say, I was well under my targeted training hours. I ended the week with 16.5 hours. The good news is I broke into the double digits for running miles. The running is starting to progress.

It's now recovery week and I really fired up about it. I've been missing spending good time with the kids. Last night I took the kids swimming. We had our own family swim practice. I worked with the kids to teach them freestyle. Elise has great potential with swimming. Afterwards I made the family hamburgers. I taught Ethan how to cook burgers; when he gets older, I'll teach him how to cook brauts. I told him when he gets older, he'll need to know how to use a grill when I come over.

I went on a date with my wife on Saturday night and saw Clint Eastwood's Grand Torino. It was good but the end didn't live up to the Eastwood standard. All in all, the movie was very funny and riddled with enthnic slurs that the older generation seem to be fond of using.

Sunday morning I rode out to San Felipe alone on my Tri bike. The weather was nice (55 degrees) with a slight tailwind. When I got to San Felipe, I turned around and the wind shifted. I had another slight tailwind. Then, when I got to Bernilillo, a huge storm rolled in. I rode into an extremely gusty headwind all the way back to Albuquerque. My average speed, while riding into the storm, was 11 mph. I started to rain/hail about 100 yards before I got home. Weather in New Mexico can be really skitish at times. We're quickly approaching windy season. It seems from March-Early May, it's really windy here. You get used to it, but spending an hour or so fighting a gusty wind will really take it out of you both physically and mentally.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Another Week Closer To Doom

Another week in the books and I'm trashed. You pobably get tired of me saying this, but it was intense. On a non-training side, I did the taxes, worked 50 hours, worked with my son to make sure he's finishing his home work on time and correctly, hosted a joint birthday party for my middle two children whose birthdays are a couple weeks apart (37 people attended), dealt with some financial surprises, refinanced my car, resolved my long-standing PayPayl issue, attended a superbowl party, taught a sunday school class, and fed my dog and my daughter's rabbit. On the training side, I spent 23.5 hours either swimming, biking, running, or working out. I ended the week with 13,500 yards in the pool, 250 miles on the bike and 6 miles of running--still lopsided. By Saturday afternoon, I was exhaused--walking dead exhausted. I struggled through the ride Saturday morning. The first hour I wanted to call it a day but was too tired to fight the wind back by myself. After a while my legs came around and I was feeling really randy. The group ended up pushing a fairly hard pace up Tramway and the first half of the Fingers, I was feeling really good climbing and hung with the lead group. I ran for 25 mintutes aftwards and it felt like my legs were at 90%; good improvement. Sunday, I missed the early morning ride because I slept in, so I did the Lobo ride. There were 4 flats in all; the first half was way too slow. I wasn't complaining though because I felt like I had wooden legs. The second half of the Lobo ride was like moto-pacing. It was all I could do to hang on. People were being dropped and I just focused on the wheel in front of me to hang on. It wasn't pretty. But I finished it up.
I slept in again Monday morning and missed Masters and didn't commute on my bike to work. My body was telling me it needed to rest. Today, I feel much better ready to finish off my last hard week of the block. I'm getting excited because my run is really starting to feel better.

Use the force!