Monday, June 29, 2009

Buffalo Springs

It's the day after Buffalo Springs IronMan 70.3, and I'm back at work. I'm not nearly as sore as previous events, in fact I'm walking around fine...just a bit sore. My time was 14 minutes slower than previous personal best times. My swim improved, which was huge considering how choppy the water was. The weather was rainy and windy. My T1 time went from 5:30 to 1:45. My bike was 3:40, 5 minutes slower than my best, which is also awesome considering how windy and rainy the conditions were. The last 20 miles I was rained on and was drenched. My T2 was 1 minute slower than the past because I took a brief potty break. My run was slow. I'm not disappointed though with the results...if you would have asked me 2 months ago, I didn't even think I would be able to do this race due to injuries. So, results wise, it was respectable. Mentally this was a really tough race. Perhaps I'm just tired from all of my training this year or something, but this race was more difficult than my full distance IranMan. It was such a mental struggle the whole time. I fought the urge to let up all the way until the last mile of the run, then I couldn't anymore. I walk most of the last mile. My legs were tired, my feet hurt from the pounding in wet shoes. The only thing that got me running again was hearing the announcer and crowd up the road...I didn't want to finish softly by walking, so I jogged in the last half-mile.

To be honest, I don't think I'll do Buffalo Springs again or at least in a long long time. I got really lucky that it rained rather than deal with the Lubbock heat during the race. Friday and Saturday were blistering, and it frankly scared me that I'd have to push myself in such temp extremes. I don't want to tempt fate and return when Lubbock is back to the norm: hot and humid. Additionally, I don't think the event was organized nearly as well as what it cost to enter. Transition set up wasn't until the morning of, parking was sparse and traffic was extreme. I left earlier than I have for previous events, yet just barely got to the beach in time for my wave start. Others missed their waves. It was a bit disappointing in that sense.

Afterwards, we went back to the hotel, and took a warm bath and relaxed my muscles. That refreshed me enough to be able to drive home.

I'm in a very weird spot right now. I'm tired and an emotional wreck. I can't think about my next event or even my next training session. As soon as I got home, I unpacked the car and went to bed. I slept nearly 12 hours. I think that might have helped, but I still want to put this weekend behind me. I'm not yet sure what that means.

On the drive home, I told my wife I feel like I'm a donkey racing with horses. I may be a fast donkey, but I'm not a horse...and never will be. I'm stubborn like a donkey too! I want to be as fast as the fast horses. I train tirelessly like a donkey pulls a cart. But, a donkey can't really be fast like a horse. I'm also so stubborn. I make up my mind and there's no undoing it. Right now I have my mind made up that I'm a horse; I train like I'm a horse. Yet, perhaps I'd be much happier accepting I'm a donkey. A donkey plods along at its own pace, which it can maintain for a long distance. A donkey can carry large loads. But a donkey doesn't like to do things it doesn't want to. I feel this way not only with my racing but with my personal life (i.e. family, religion, work).

Saturday, June 20, 2009

One Week Until Buffalo Springs

I've been pouring on the training hoping to make up for my injury down time. I've had one solid month of training, and I've finally hit a wall. This morning I did a killer swim workout, and when I was done...I was done. I had scheduled a follow up 4.5 hour bike ride, but that didn't happen. The main set of my swim workout was 20X100 meters leaving at 1:50. Before that set, I did a easy 400 and pulled 1000. Then, I did my intense set. When I was done, I was gasping for energy, my skin was burning, and I was totally wiped out.

Afterwards I went to my kids' Swim Meet, which was in the rain. Elise killed it again. Then I spent the rest of the day trying to recover. If all goes well I'll still hit 20 hours by weeks' end. Then next week it's a fairly easy week and my first event of the year. My longest run yet has been 1 hour at 7 miles. I'm a bit nervouse about that, but it's better than being injured and pulling out after the bike, which was my original plan. Fingers crossed, I'm hopping for a good race and at the least a good measure for where I stand fitness wise.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Week Is Progressing

Things are going well on the training front. I'm targeting 10K for swimming, 200+ miles on the bike and 15 miles running. I'm really not sure why but I've been really sore while riding and can't seem to pick up any high-end speed. Wednesday, I did three tempo intevals up Tramway, which were 15 minutes each. Yesterday I rode easy and spun my legs for an hour-and-a-half. This morning I got up and rode 30 miles on an extra-extended commute to work. By the time I got to work I was tired and hungry. I don't usually eat before I workout in the mornings, so I was in need of something when I got to my office. During the entire ride this morning, I felt like I was dragging. It was all I could do to hold 20MPH.

On another note, I've decided I'm not going to swim Masters on Friday mornings. Saturday Masters tend to be longer distance swims, and I don't want to show up tired. Because the number of swimmers showing up on Saturday is much less, you generally don't have to swim more than 2 to a lane. So rather than swimming circles, you can split the lane. I'm going to do my own workout tomorrow: 400 warm up, 2000 pull, and 15X100 @ 1:50, 600 warm down. Afterwards, I'm going to ride with a guy that swims in my lane. I'd like to ride 4.5 hours.

2 weeks from this weekend I have my first half-ironman of the season: Buffalo Springs. Because of prior injuries, I'm not at my top end. So, I'm going to train through the race hoping to peak (again) later for Lake Stevens or another event. It would be great to qualify for Clearwater. We'll see.

Monday, June 8, 2009

First Week of Real Training-I've heard that One Before!

Since I gave myself the green light to start training again, I hit the bike fairly hard this week. I ended the week with 180 miles, and some semblance of the form I had a month or so ago. I swam sans kicking. I only swam twice this week for a total of 7800 meters. But my workout Saturday was quality. I warmed up with a 400 then pulled for 2000 meters straight. Then I finished the workout off with 10X100 meters at 1:50. Had I swam Monday and Friday too, I wouldn't have been able to do the workout. I'm thinking about bailing on my Friday Masters workouts to be rested for my longer Saturday brick workouts. And....drum roll please...I ran a total of 10 miles! I did 3 20 minute runs at a really easy pace without any issues. Sunday I decided to take the show outside on the bike trail. It felt so good to run outside I just kept going. I ended up running for 40 minutes at 4.5 miles. I've been a bit sore since. That probably wasn't very smart.

My body is having a tough time adapting to training again. I've been making it a point to train in the heat to get my body acclimated to the sun. I think that takes a little out of you as well. By Sunday eve, I was worn out and ready to sleep.

Saturday morning was the kids' first swim meet. Elise, Ethan and Grace all swam in 3 events. All of them got 1st place ribbons--other placings too but that's OK too. I really didn't want them to swim in meets this year, but Elise wanted to. So, we let them. They were terrified at first, but after thier first event, they were confident for the rest of the meet. Elise did the 25 free and totally smoked the field. Her form was beautiful and she's shaped like a dart. She just cruised to an easy first place. It was very cool. She's only been on the swim team for 2 weeks and she already has good form.

Tanya had her first test of the summer session this week also, which was in biology. This is going to be a tough semester because the time is so compact and she has challenging classes: biology, chemestry and chemstry lab. She'll have a major test each week. I had to make the dinners this week...nothing exotic though. The kids favor hot dogs, hamburgers, corn dogs and pasta over anything with real substance. I don't mind. One night I did make tuna steaks, jasmine rice, and brocoli. The tuna steaks were pre-marinated by Mr. Trader Joe, so I just had to make sure I didn't burn them. Easy breezy...right?

The kids' summer is packed with events. They have early morning swim team, Day camp during the day, optional evening swim team, and piano on Thursdays. Ethan had cub scout camp last week. He also goes to a sports camp twice a week his basketball coach is putting on. They come home each day, eat dinner and make their lunch for the next day and pass out. Tomorrow their day camp is going to watch the local minor league baseball team: the Isotopes. I'm very excited about all the fun opportunities they'll have this summer. I really want them to experience life and be exposed to many things--hopefully that doesn't include camping though because I hate sleeping outside on the ground. Hopefully they don't get burned out.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Break Through!

"Break Through" is usually a term used when you hit a new personal best time or your training has hit the next level. For me, the "Break Through" was finally figuring out what's been causing my injury. After a month long detour from running and biking, the culprit is swimming...more specifically, kicking drills. DOH! Saturday morning, I shared a lane with some dude who swam for UofA. He's swam all his life. I stopped him and asked him if he'd seen anything like my ailment. He laughed and send it was the second most common swimming injury next to shoulder related over-use injuries. He, then, showed me a stretch to eliminate it. He told me to lay off kicking for a week or so and it'll go away. I did just that.

After swimming, I jumped on my bike and rode for 3 hours. After 3 weeks of not riding and 4 weeks of not running, my fitness was greatly diminished. Throughout the entire ride, my HR was >155 BPM and I was hardly moving. Last time I rode, I was putting out 5X20 minute intervals fairly effortlessly and a very fast pace. Sure, I'm a bit frustrated, but I'm also glad I can ride again. Sunday, I ran on the treadmill for 20 pain-free minutes. It was at a very slow pace. And, again, last time I ran, I did a 10K in 40 minutes flat, but now I'm plodding along at 5 MPH for 20 minutes. At the end of the day, I'm just glad to be back again doing the things I love. The fitness will come back soon enough. I'm hoping to salvage the rest of this year in terms of racing. I still have Buffalo Springs at the end of this month that I'm registered for. I'm now putting that back on the table as a practice race. I won't even look at my time...I'll just go and take in the event. Why not?

On other news, I met with an individual who teaches at the University of New Mexico's Physical Therapy program who has a side business making orthodics. He assessed my feet, posture, and gait while walking and running, and made me some in-sole for my work, work-out, and running shoes. He had some very interesting insight about my body. He was great. He had the in-soles done the very next day. I ran on them for the first time yesterday. One thing he did say was thay with my current posture and body structure, I have to work a lot harder to run, which can lead to earlier fatigue and potential injury because of gait imbalances. The orthodics are supposed to relax my feet and allow for a more supple gait, which will better absorb shock/impact. I'm hopeful. I'll keep you posted.