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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Raining in the mountains

It's raining here today but hopefully it will stop long enough to climb Cesear's Head

Monday, February 23, 2009

Feb 16-22 week review

Total: 15 hrs11 min
Swim: 11 Km
Bike: 7 hrs 20 min
Run: 2 hrs 56 min
Strength: 1 hr 55 min

Last week didn’t have all that much volume but sitting here on Monday morning I can tell you that I’ll still feel the effects, specifically from the running. Although it was low in volume, the 8k race on Saturday was definitely high intensity! And running hard on hilly cantered asphalt and brick roads took its toll on my lower legs. I’m sure I gained some fitness from racing as I haven’t done much speed work lately and I was pleased with my time and 2nd place result. You can read about the race here.

Should I really be pleased with 2nd though?

I was talking about this with a friend recently … when it comes down to the end of race and if you have a shot at winning … do you feel yourself worthy of the win and therefore willing to REALLY suffer for it, or is coming in 2nd good enough? For me age-group or division winning is something different entirely; but when it is the overall race, I wonder if I have that confidence to go for the win or if 2nd place will always be good enough. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to have that experience in triathlon this year. I’m not really much of a straight-up runner (and probably won’t do anymore run races this year - correction ... I will run Zebras Do Exist!) so I doubt I’ll be in that position on the running side of things. Even yesterday … while I came in second, the winner had me by a lot, there was no chance of winning. But triathlon is the great equalizer … I LOVE IT!!!!! BUT …while this approach works in the AG ranks, these guys in the Open division (with the exception of a few) are very consistent across the disciplines. They don’t leave you any room for weakness even if you are exceptional in one area. This is why I have the stipulation I put on myself for racing in this division this year was that I gain speed in the water and with my running. I’ve done these things so now I have to be true to myself and step up (can you tell I’m second guessing and lacking confidence?). Good grief I just need to race and get it over with!!!!

A BIG congrats to our puppy Bailey for graduating from Beginner Level training at PetSmart this week!! Such a smart dog we have!

It's officially official

His graduating class. Can you tell who is the honor student?

Proud mom and her graduate

This week won’t have all that much volume but will be interesting in other ways. Yay! While I do enjoy routine and consistency, especially in training, I’m ready to get out of my comfort zone, break the routine, and get inspired. A that’s just what I’m hoping for this weekend as my wife, son and I travel to Table-Rock State Park to spend the weekend at the 1st ever FCA-Endurance training camp. While the focus will be growing in faith, there will also be a solid dose of training to be done in the mountains. I’m hoping for warm temps so I don’t get too cold on the bike coming down the mountain. The trail running should be awesome and Jonathan has a double run day scheduled which is certainly not the norm for me.

Train well!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Quick cleanup

Since I'm going to be on the 08 Plasma for at least some of my races this season I decided I better start getting her race ready. Took her to the beauty shop to get her hair tied back nice and neat, ready for action. Evidently the Cd0 of cylindrical objects such as cables is expensive ... and I need every watt I can get. Looking at the front of the bike there is a big difference in the width of the surface area. I didn't take a before picture so you'll just have to take my word for it!

Tied back in a nice pony tail routed between the Garmin cradle and the other computer

From the front it is nice and clean - no cables increasing the surface area.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Run For Books 8k

It took me awhile this morning to get enthused about heading out for this race. I'd never run an 8k before and wasn't exactly sure of the exact distance in miles (and didn't bother to look it up). Turns out it is 5 miles, well 4.97 miles. This race was to be and a two lap route, each being 4k. It was in the mid-20s, dark and cold, and I was flat-out tired! I got myself to the race site with plenty of time before the start, picked up the packed and headed out for an easy warm up run. I got a little turned around trying to find my way back to the State Library but made it back in time to catch the procession of runners walking to the start line on Senate Street.

1-2-3 and we were off. I guess I started off a little fast because I had the lead for good half mile at which time a guy with the Ritz/Hall Olympic trials look came alongside me. We ran shoulder to shoulder for for the rest of the first mile and then he began pulling away. My Garmin confirmed it, 5:40 for the first mile (didn't feel like it), and the results show that this is the pace he kept for the entire race ... not so much for me! So I guess I started out too fast, but in my defense it was mostly downhill.

Mile two had most of climbing including one short and steep brick-road hill that had you wondering if this was some kind of a sick joke. By the top of this thing there were two thoughts going through my head 1) can't breathe - need more oxygen 2) THIS HURTS!!! Second mile split was 6:17, which would turn out to be my average pace overall.

By the end of mile two the leader had a sizable gap on me and any thoughts of a courageous fight for the win were long gone. Mile 3 was more rollers and brought us back by the start line at 2.5 to start the second lap and then into some of the downhill section. This was a hard mile! The split for this one was 6:22.

Mile 4 included more ofthe downhill section but also the brutal uphill part. This time I knew the hill was coming and knew the recovery section I would have after it, which gave me the confidence to attack it pretty hard. Overall it was a fast mile at 6:12.

Bringing it home I knew I had 2nd place in the bag as no one was in sight behind me. I think this knowledge was a bit of a hinderance as I am one to race off fear instead of fight. This was my slowest mile at 6:26. In the end I came accross the line in 31:14 for an average pace of 6:17. This is the same pace I ran for the 5k last month (which shared much of this course) but I held it out for 3k longer.

After reading Scott and Paul blog about vDot scores I got interested in where I stood on the scale. I don't currently subscribe to pace-based training philosophy but having a quantifiable "score" to mark progress and also the projected races times for given distances (especially marathon) is very intriguing! So before this race I was a 51 and now I'm a 52, so that is progress!

After getting home I let my kids work out who got to keep the trophy and the rest of the swag. They really wanted to be there this morning but it was just too cold. They would have been miserable. Once it warmed up my wife and I took them out for a healthy lunch and then to Finlay park to enjoy the beautiful sunshine.

Friday, February 20, 2009

New and newer

Paul Harrell (shop/team owner) contacted me earlier in the week and said that Hindcapie had sent over some samples of tri kits for us to try out as the baseline for our team kits and that he would like me to come try on the apparel and give him feedback. A few teammates have decided to move over to the ranks of the banana sack wearing tri world (common stereotype it seems – not that I’m opposed to Speedos per say) so I’m no longer the sole tri guy on the team. This (along with my nagging for a kit) may or may not have played into the decision to produce the tri kit. Regardless, I am eager to represent Harrell’s on the race course as I believe they are hands-down the best shop in town and have been integral in progression as a triathlete. I wouldn’t even flinch at wearing a blue Speedo with the Harrell’s logo stamped on the arse … but thankfully this is not the route we’re headed with the kits. So here’s the sample kit. This one is size Medium top and bottom. The Large was a little too large and the Medium is nice and snug.

One of the things I really like about the top was that it was full zip. At first I was unsure about this but once I put it on I was digging it. For one it was WAY easier to get on and off then a half zip. And when it’s in the mid 90s with 95% humidity and we’re out on the run at FoF along that stretch with no shade, that zipper will be my new best friend. It’s hard to tell in the picture but the fabric on either side of the center the fabric is a mesh material to allow for max ventilation. While the sample may look rather hot in black (the custom kit will be blue and white I presume), this thing was made for keeping the racer cool. Another aspect of the jersey that I really liked was the design and location of the pockets. They were located on the back of the jersey but not in the center of the back. Instead they were rather narrow and placed on either side of the lower back in the indention area above the hip. This would seem to be an ideal location when thinking about body position in the water and accessibility on the bike. Of all the jerseys I’ve worn, I can honestly say this one felt the best and seemed as if it would be the fastest.

The shorts had an equal amount of emphasis placed on keeping the athlete cool … more so by far than any short I’ve tried. Again hard to see in the picture, but the entire section along the outer quad is a mesh material. The chamois was there but not-there if you know what I mean. And the inside of the front of the chamois was void of seams close to center, which is an absolute must in my book. I once only discovered an “injury” that I sustained during a race to the head honcho after a beam of water made a direct hit in my after-race shower. This left me instantly breathless while dancing around in little circles with tears coming to my eyes. Never again I say … never again. Now the first thing I look for in a short is solid dose of design and engineering around the front of the chamois. Every else about the short seem very good in my opinion. I like a low hip line and full support for the quad seemed perfectly adequate for a long day of racing.
I also tried the skinsuit/trisuit which was almost identical to the separates except it was a single piece. I don’t have any experience racing in these and therefore had nothing to which to compare. It seemed nice, although I personally prefer the two piece setup. Can you really go wrong with something from Big George?

The other new item that showed up yesterday was my new pair of Nike Zoom Skylon II’s. I went with the black and white color scheme instead of the red/silver/white of my other pair. My wife then informed me I am indeed a fashionista dude since black and gray are the in-colors right now (I elegantly paired the back and white shoes with a pair of dark gray speed laces not show here).

On the newer side of things, unfortunately Scott has delayed (yet again) the shipment of Plasma 2 based tri bikes until April. In the words of Paul …

“On the Plasma-----------Scott keeps pushing the bike out so instead of playing the waiting game, I suggest we (or you really), plan on racing the current plasma for the remainder of this year and if and when they come out with the new one we can make the change. I don’t want you to invest too much thought into your bike; you need to stay focused on the training! The current Plasma is a great bike and I think you can have a great season on it. I’ll stay in touch about the new one when I get any new info about it. They are currently saying sometime in April but with the previous push backs I’m a little reluctant to believe them.”

This is one of the reasons I love riding for Paul so much … his main goal is for me to be able to focus on my overall race without having to put a lot of time and worry into my bike setup, mechanical issues, etc. I’m in 100% agreement … the 2008 Plasma served me quite well last season helping me get many age-group podiums and wins and I’m positive it will continue to serve me well this year. No more age-group podiums since I’m racing Open, but maybe I can sneak on the overall podium once or twice :-)
Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

More on consistency

Snagged from the TBB forum (Sutto talking) ...

"Well like the newcomers ,they are seeing the truth every day sometimes 3 times a day , and after the intitial depression , they indeed are seeing the positive .If i can train like this ,i too might become a winner .What is the big difference ?,what seperates the old hands from the newbies?The answer is simple CONSISTANCY evry day they have their routine , both at training but in their life style , its clock work and its day in day out "

Kindzia may enjoy this next excerpt given his latest post ...

"I have also observed how frustrated the newbies get when i say yur going to be flying in 18months , instead of being so happy that i see them becoming very good , it seems like a let down as they all want it in 18 days ,some understand a little more and want it in 18weeks .there again is the difference , between the older members and the newbies,they were prepared to put the 18 months in ,indeed i ask for 3 yrs , this type of talk sorts out those that really want it and thosewho want the quick fix , again if we" hurry slowly " we will get a quicker fix .So it not so easy to motivate people for a 3yr outcome ,"whats in it for them" sort of filters thru, why so long?i then point out ,that some of the older members used to start on this pace and could not do more ,they seem incredulous as they watch them hammer around like a swiss watch , not just in the pool or track but on the bike as well ."they could not be that slow ,and blow up that early at that speed , i can do that now"the answer from ole doc , is standard EXACTLYthats my point . its not ability you lack but consistancy to work to a plan that allows you to lap at the same pace as these do now .In triathlon at any level , its just the same as keeping physically active .The more consistant , the better you are !"

Read the whole thing here. There is a ton of wisdom here that even I can recongnize!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Feb 9 – 15

Total: 16 hrs 40 min.
Swim: 11k
Bike: 7 hrs. 2 min.
Run: 5 hrs. 5 min.
Strength: 1 hr 40 min.

You guessed it … another solid week of training … boring to read I’m sure. I feel like a broken record, but consistency IS one of the focus points. Some comments from Jonathan on this, “what i know is that we have reach some very good consistency with you, that is the most important factor to improvement...”

As I mentioned in an earlier post, running was at the forefront of this week’s training. I reached 40+ miles with relative ease, which is big, big volume for me.

Work was CRAZY this week and made getting in all my workouts a real challenge. Hopefully things will settle back down into a routine at work soon so I can get back to managing my training without so much stress and rearranging!

This week has much less running volume and a fun low-key 8k race on the weekend so it should be a fairly easy week. I’m feeling a bit heavy after eating anything and everything I pleased last week. For the next few weeks my goal is to bring back the discipline and shed a percentage point or two … second quarter body comp will be here before I know it.

CONGRATS to all my friends who raced this weekend at the Myrtle Beach Half!

18 5 1104 Randall Finn 32 M Columbia SC 52:17 1:20:19 1:20:21 6:08
39 6 1696 Steven Johnson 34 M Columbia SC 54:38 1:24:23 1:24:25 6:27
42 3 914 Amos Disasa 29 M Columbia SC 54:39 1:25:21 1:25:22 6:31
44 6 438 Jeff Brandenburg 42 M Columbia SC 55:49 1:25:47 1:25:49 6:33

Father and son (how awesome is this?)

136 12 3374 Erik Wendt 13 M Lexington SC 1:02:10 1:35:57 1:35:59 7:20
137 13 3375 Michael Wendt 46 M Lexington SC 1:02:11 1:35:55 1:35:59 7:20

Train well!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

For all you coffee lovers

The weather here has been unseasonably warm for February and I’m loving every minute of it.

In blatant disregard for typical February temperatures at 5:00 AM in SC, one of my mid-week workouts on the bike this week said the following “… 30min of hill repeat at under 50rpm...find a hill!” I took this as a very subtle hint that I needed get off the trainer and go ride some hills. Thankfully nature made it easy on me with a balmy 50 degree morning.

So I loaded some French Roast on my road bike (fitting, no?) and proceeded to ride hills for 90 minutes by moonlight.

I really did ride a lot of hills. See ...

You can see the repeats at the beginning of the ride. After a few of those on a long hill, I just a cruised a hilly 1 hour loop and kept it in the biggest gear. There was a full moon and I had the roads to myself. It was very peaceful.

After 85 minutes dawn broke and I was treated to a sunrise for my last 5 minutes of the ride.

It was a great way to start the day. I miss the summer!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Feb 2 – 8 Back to the grind

Total: 17 hrs
Swim: 11km
Bike: 6 hr 50 min
Run: 4 hr 30 min
Strength: 2 hr 50 min

Another week of training under the belt! Consistency seems to be my middle name these days as I’ve continued hitting all my sessions without having a day off training since Nov 26. I’ve heard that the work you put in during Jan/Feb is what you race on later in the year. We’ll see how this works out for me. In years past I’ve never put in this kind of volume week-in / week-out during this time of year.

Running continues to come along well with the focus of establishing good rhythm. With my long run this past week of 1 hour 40 minutes I felt like I could go on forever (e.g. RPE zone 2) running a nice mid-7 min pace … in the end my HR numbers backed that feeling up as I was well within my aerobic zone throughout. It feels like my running form is coming back together, I just need to make sure I take care of my lower legs. This week will be another one with plenty of volume and a little bit of intensity sprinkled in here and there. The long run will grow again, this week swelling up to 1 hour and 50 minutes.

It looks like my running race schedule for February will change a little as I have a FCA-E training camp at Table Rock Mountain on the weekend of the 10k I was supposed to do. I was a little bummed about missing this race since I’ve done it the past two years and it is nice to be able to see your progression as a runner but also because it is the corporate division SHOWDOWN between us (Colonial Life), Westing House, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. We’ve won the last 3 years in a row (I think) and they were counting on me to put up some good numbers. Also this was the only running race around for the month, but then I just received an email that there is a new 8k race on the 21st. This may actually suit the coach better because he preferred a 5k race for this month since I have so many sprint triathlons coming soon. I’ve never run this distance so it should be a learning experience. I supposed you just pretend you are running a 5k and then just suffer through the remaining 3k.

The highlight of last week came in the form of a surprising warm up set in the pool. I had a standard 400 meter warm up before the main set which I generally take pretty easy to get the arms and shoulders firing and find a good rhythm. Well on this particular warm up when I was done my watch said 5:51. Nice … I usually swim these warm ups around 6:03. The only difference was that there was a pretty fast swimmer two lanes over that thought I could be challenged. I didn’t go hard as it was my warm up, but I did enough to let them know that there was no chance for hanging with me even for 25 meters :-p

Paul K, from A Ticket to Kona, asked me this question sometime back:

“How much do you think your training will change now that your coach is TBB? Do you think there will be knowledge trickle down? Those guys (and gals) train hard.”

My response was that I hoped so and then I received this from my coach this weekend:

“this week, you will notice some TBB swimming workout flavor.... it s been interesting week and i know you will also get some good out of those workout...i adapted them a bit...”

The weather has been soooo awesome this weekend and is supposed to continue. I’m chomping at the bit to get out and do some long rides in the hills. I hope to make that happen sometime this week!

If you get a chance, check out the video my coach put on his blog of riding in the Philippines, if it wasn't so warm here right now I would be terribly jealous.

Happy training!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Jan 26 – Feb 1: Recovery Week

Total Volume: 14 hours
Swim: 10,500 meters
Bike: 6.5 hours
Run: 2 hours 54 min.
Strength: 1 hour 45 min

I had quite a bit less volume this week with the goal of absorbing the previous 8 weeks worth of work. The timing for a recovery week was perfect since Jennifer and I went back home to Savannah to celebrate my Dad’s retirement this weekend. It was a nice break from the work of parenting and fun to get together with the family. Garibaldi’s did a wonderful job with the party, food, wine and service. I highly recommend it if you’re every down that way.

A BIG congratulations to Dad who has work 36 year in Information Technology, starting as a programmer (on punch cards) and working his way to Chief Information Officer. It is very apparent that he will be sorely missed by his coworkers, some of who have worked for Dad for 30+ years. In his tenure he has seen the full evolution of technology and directed his company’s adoption of everything from PCs, the Internet, and 3G networks. If I have half the career of his I will have done well!

The upcoming week is back grindstone for me, although it looks like we’re building back into the volume and intensity somewhat. I would say that running will be the focus again this week with the monster long run of 1 hour 40 minutes in the hills. It feels good to be putting in a consistent set of 30+ mile weeks (with the exception of last week). I would suspect that my typical week will soon be 40+ of running. So far I don’t ask too many questions about where the training is going, I just take it week by week as it comes. I know the big picture which is increase my run and swim volume of previous years and to peak in June and November. Beyond that I’m just enjoying the unraveling of the mystery.

I’ve heard mention from my coach and others such as Gordo Byrn and Peter Reid of a concept that is intriguing me. It is the concept of being patient with training and the accumulation of large volumes of deliberate, varied and focused training (not mono-speed) resulting in a rather sudden increase in speed and endurance. In other words the concept of “all the sudden, one day I was fast” … but this doesn’t happen by accident. It is as if there is a tipping point in the scales of one’s athletic abilities which can only be reached by carefully subtracting weight from one side and depositing it on the other. In my mind things such as an injury would be a deposit on the “limiter” side (although the forced rest may provide benefits for an overly fatigued person). This point of excellence is achieved because a specific course of action was taken to coax it out of the athlete. In my mind this means something like a low 9 hour ironman, or a near 4 hour half. I would love to explore this concept more on this if it actually becomes evident in my life.

Train well!