Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ludlow Sprint Race report

Well, this was the first triathlon of the season for me. I was not really certain what to expect other than I would give it my all. I am going to use the times and relative placement as a guideline to my fitness going forward this year. Full results are as follows:

Event Time Overall place
Swim .5 m 13:31 118/283
T1 2:09
Bike 14m 37:06 107/283
T2 1:12
Run 4m 34:49 188/283

I'm not real satisfied with the swim, but considering it was to the first open water swim of the season I'm just going to use it as a learning experience. I am fairly certain I could have picked up some time here - I went out too slow and had plenty left at the end. This was not my first mass start event, but it was probably one of the most chaotic that I can remember. People trying to swim right over you, bumping on the left and the right, someone in front swimming slightly slower than my pace (I was boxed in). Everytime I tried to find open water there was someone next to me preventing me from moving. The second half of the swim was better, but I kept almost bumping into people from the first wave that were swimming sidestroke or just not going very fast.

The first transition went pretty well. The wet suit came off with little trouble, probably the best I ever got it off. My positioning in transition was phenomonal - front row! I ran out of transition, mounted my bike and I was off. I pushed hard on the bike. There were a few hills on the course and I mostly stayed seated, but stood on a couple of the steep sections. I stayed aero as much as possible & I just pushed. The one thing I realized is that I do very well on the slight inclines but not necessarily the steep climbs. I did most of my passing on the slight inclines.

I decided not to race with a heart rate monitor. I figured it was more of an impediment than a useful tool in short race like this. I feel positive that I pushed as hard as I could on the bike and the run.

The run still seems to be my achilles heal. Although my overall run result was not great, I feel it was a good run for me. I pushed hard for the whole 4 miles. I had absolutely nothing left at the end (I emptied the tank). My pace was 8:42 which I believe is an improvement over where I was last year. I am confident that it will continue to drop as between the workouts and the diet I am seeing phenomonal gains in fitness.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's Thursday!

I have not written anything since Sunday. It's been busy at work - blah, blah, blah. Monday was a short intense episode. I especially enjoyed it because I did not even have to leave the house. Pushups are getting better - had to do 50, did 30 and 20.

Tuesday's gym workout was not as good as the week before as the gym was packed again. Started with abs as there were no squat racks available. Was able to start the leg sets after the abs were cooked. Decent workout, just not as good as the week before.

Wed - Aerobic bike - rode indoors on trainer as it was pretty gloomy out. I don't like the trainer, but it serves a purpose.

Today - o.k., I will admit I did not get the whole workout in - there were time constraints and I just plain ol can't do 100 pull-ups (I did a few). The first mile run was done in 7:20 and amazingly the second one was done in 7:18. These may not be phenomonal times, but they are for me especially since the last time I ran miles I was completing them at around 8:11 pace.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I struggled with a title and therefore did not use one. A few came to mind, "Good news/bad news," "smoked again," and "the Difference a Day Makes" all came to mind.

Saturday was a relatively easy day after a day off on Friday. Although it was an easy day I could still feel the effects of Thursdays workout in the legs. I felt pretty comfortable on the run other than the little rollers I ran up. The bike was an easy pace and the only issue was that I was thinking about the next day's ride (today) as they felt far from recovered.

I rode with Dave today, or should I say we started at the same time. A day made a big difference as my legs felt strong, probably the best they have since I started this program. As we started riding Dave mentioned that he did not have any zip in his legs and I put a little gap on him on the first hill we climbed. I know now that he was just playing possum as when we got to the "real" hill he smoked me. My legs felt pretty good but I know better than to ride a long hill at someone else's pace. There was one point on the hill where I actually thought I was gaining, but I think it was an optical illusion because as we got closer to the top it was clear that there was a fairly large gap (but not as large as the last two times we climbed this hill - I'm coming for you!). I never saw Dave again after he crested the hill. When I crested the hill I downed a gel, took a pull of water, put my head down and pedeled my heart out. I had two ways I could have ended the ride - either fairly flat or up a hill (Highland Road). I opted for the Hill thinking ahead to Litchfield Hills - you pretty much climb a hill right before you transition to the run. Max tells me that speed is irrelevant - its time and effort, but I could not help but to take a peak after the ride. My average was well over 1 mile per hour more than the last time I did this ride (three weeks ago I think). I will probably get chastised for saying this, but I think that's relevant.

The run was an easy out and back for 30 minutes. Transition felt fairly comfortable.

Tomorrow's workout is only 30 minutes - that means ouch!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This one hurt/running on rubber legs

I will start with yesterday's workout. Yesterday was one of those days that the plan almost did not come to fruition. I could not roll out of bed in the morning - probably because I was up too late (working!) the night before. I got home a little later than planned - again, busy at work. As soon as I got home my wife wanted to go to the store and wanted me and our daughter to go with her. I could not with good conscience say no as she was going to pick up a shower gift for a co-worker of mine. I'm trying not to be grouchy, but its really hard as we are burining daylight and I'm bound and determined to get my ride in. As soon as we got home I changed and hopped on the bike. The sun was already starting to go down so I chose a shorter route than I originally planned. I rode for about 45 minutes and the workout out portion of the ride was done, but now it was dark and I wanted to get off the roads. I got home and immediately brought the bike into the basement, put it on the trainer and finished my ride. It was rather enjoyable as I hadn't had a really good sweat in a while. The pushups went well - did two sets of 25. I'll be happy when I can do one set of fifty, but this is definately progress.

Now for today's workout. Like the blog is titled - This one Hurt!

I guess I should get nervous when I see 30 minute workouts. My first reaction is cool, only thirty minutes of running and 30 minutes of swimming - I'll be done in an hour. The workout was 5 x 400s with fifty squats after each 400 'for time." I took the "for time" to mean that there is no rest between sets. The first 400 went fairly smooth - I ran it hard but kept in mind that there were four more after this so it was not an all out sprint. I felt that I could easily run each 400 as fast as I ran the first one. I was quickly corrected on that assumption after I did my first set of 50 squats. I felt like I was running on rubber legs and there was no way that the second 400 was as fast as the first one. So now instead of thinking not bad, only three left, I'm thinking "oh crap, there's three left!" I pushed on - I'm no quitter! My warm down after the fifth set of 50 squats was a walk around the track - that's pretty much all I had left in me.

After talking to Max yesterday I tried something new for my swim workout. I warmed up with a 200 and then went to doing 50's all out. I rested for about 1:15 for the first two 50's and then went to two minutes rest as I was still fatigued when I started the next set. I did not count - just kept going until I was in the pool for 25 minutes - then I did my warm down and picked up my daugher at gymnastics. We went out for ice cream - is that in the zone?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Finally getting into a groove

I don't quite have the work/life workout balance going yet, but I am managing to get all of my workouts in (except that one that I groused about May 11th). My car is a mess and I have not been all that tidy around the house, but my workouts are getting done. Well, I'm somewhat tidy - my workout clothes get laundered regularly, and my bike is cleaned and lubed.

I dropped my daughter off at gymnastics and immediately headed to LAF to get my workout in. This is the same workout that I did last week except the run was 15 minutes instead of 30. LAF was less crowded this week so there was absolutely no waiting. I worked this session really hard - did the whole circuit with no interruptions and no rest. The last set up step-ups were hard, but I kept the pace up and really pushed through. I rested about three minutes and then did the lunges. I used weights for the first time. It added a different dimension to the lunges.

Abs - I was able to do 10 knees to elbows on my first set, but only 4 and 5 on the next two sets - regardless it's an improvement. This was probably my best ab workout since I started the program.

Bike and run easy - nothing to report here.

Swim - I felt much smoother in the water today. Warmed up with a 500, did 6 100s and warmed down with a 200. The 500 felt really smooth and I was convinced that I would get to 8 100s before it was time to warm-down. This was a little bit of a letdown, but I will try again on Thursday - may add 5 minutes to workout to get a couple more 100s in unless Max tells me I can't.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm a sneaky bastard

Training is not always easy when you have a job and a family. Lately my wife has been a little resentful of the amount of time I spend training (which I personally consider minimal). I believe the biggest reason that she is feeling resentful is because she has been having a bout of vertigo and it has impacted her passion in life which is ice skating. We believe we may have found the cause of this which is an allergy medication that she has been taking. She stopped taking it and will try skating in a couple of days. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I did not get up to workout in the morning as I was feeling unusually weary (due to prior day race?). As my wife was leaving for work she asked me if I was going to be working late. I immediately jumped on this opportunity and said yes. Well, I did work late, but I snuck out and did a spinning class at 5:30 and then returned to the office.

O.k. for those of you (Dave and Max) wondering why I would do a spinning class after race day, let me explain. LAF will let you use the spinning bikes when there is no class going on. I initially intended to go in and use a bike to do my aerobic bike for an hour. When I got there a class was forming up. I could have rode a lifecycle, but the spinning bikes are a much more realistic feeling bike ride than the lifecycles. I went in and tried to get a bike in the back (corner would have been even better) so that I could just do my own thing and enjoy the music. Unfortunately, all the bikes in the back were taken so it was either in the front or in the middle. I opted for the middle. I'm sure most people don't pay attention to what anyone else is doing, but I felt like a real slacker as everyone else is doing what the instructor tells them to (standing, cranking up the intensity, sprinting, etc.) and I'm just humming along at a decent cadence going at an aerobic pace just killing an hour. I stood up with the class a few times, but it was just to get the pressure off for a few minutes. I spun up a few times just to change it up a little, but I kept it in my mind at all times that this was an aerobic ride, not a hard workout. Tomorrow is a hard workout and I wanted to make sure I am going to be ready for it. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the instructor was a lunatic. He likes to get loud and and really tried to push the class. Man, it was hard to resist getting into it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

5/17/09 - Race Report, Shamrock Duathlon

Well, today was my first race of the season. Overall, I'm satisfied with the results considering that I have only been training for a month after a two month lay-off.

I eased into the first run and got my HR up to about 155 and kept it there - or at least tried. I looked at my HR monitor a couple of times and my HR was around 150 which is unusual for me - I 'm usually high on the run. The effort was definately there.

Biking is generally my best leg, but I'm not feeling overly satisified with my bike result in this race. The course was different and it felt more difficult to me, but I'm not 100% sure it was. I also had trouble keeping my HR up on the ride as well - I got it up to 160 on the hills (which there were a lot of), but other than that it was probably between 150 and 155. The course was wet, but that is not my excuse - the corners were slower, but the rest of the ride was at race pace. The good news is that I am already starting to feel more comfortable on the new aero bars.

I came off the bike and started the second run and was very surprised at how comfortable I was running coming off the bike. I ran for about a mile and looked at my HR monitor and it was again lower than I expected it to be. I kicked myself in the butt as I train harder than I was racing. I kicked it up a notch and was able to keep the HR up around 160, 162 for the rest of the run.

My average HR was 154 and my maximum HR was 168. I'm starting to believe that my maximum HR is not as high as I thought it was. According to my HR monitor my average HR was 87% of my max and my max HR was 95% of my max. I'm not sure how the monitor would know this - I do not recall programming it in.

This race was really a test of how the training is coming along rather than a quest for a specific result; however I was secretly hoping I could finish it in less than two hours. My official result is 1:58:35, so I reached this goal. The course was different this year so it is not possible to compare this year's result with last year's result; however, my self assessment tells me that I am running better but I have some improvements to make on the bike. Both runs were better than the times I had last year for this event. 27:01 and 29:40 compared to 28:00 and 30:48 last year.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

05/14/09 - ouch! I got a cramp

Today was a fun workout - until the end. Today called for a 30 minute swim and a 5k for time followed by 1 mile for time. I generally try to break up my swim and run workouts, but was unable to do so today due to work committments. I ran first. After a 10 minute warm-up, I ran the 5k hard. I was basically running by feel but snuck a couple of looks at the HR monitor. HR was between 160-165. Time for the 5k was 27:11. I realize that time is irrelevant, but I wanted to put this in here so I have something to look back to. After a 15 minute rest I ran 1 mile for time. I ran on a bike path that has mile markers marking every 10th of a mile. I started at the 4.5 mile marker meaning I should stop at the 5.5 mile marker. Unfortunately there was no 5.5 mile marker - the next marker was at 5.65 (I know, a strange distance). The one mile felt better than the 5K, probably because I was looser. I felt like I was really moving (I wasn't). I gave it everything I had - there was no way I could have possible gone faster. I actually tried to pick up the pace at the 5.3 mile marker, but I was already flooring it. The strange thing is that I felt I could keep going. Probably not for long, but definately another half mile.

I swam right after the run - well after I cooled down a little first. I started with a 500 to warm-up and then went to swimming 100s with 20 seconds rest between each 100. I lost count, but I believe I did 6 or 7 100's before my foot started to cramp. I planned on doing 10. At first I massaged it out and then just started swimming easy as it was getting close to time to cool down anyway. I swam about 6 laps and then the cramping started bad. Good thing there's no deep end in the pool at LA Fitness. This one would not be easily rubbed out. I limped to the shower hoping that some hot water would help - it didn't. It finally started to ease up while I was getting dressed. I guess I know why they don't put the swim last in Triathlons. There would be too many drownings. I would like to get to where I am swimming 2000 yards in a half hour workout. I would have made it to 1700 today if I could have finished the workout. Well, I have something to shoot for next week anyway.


Today I got my bike back from the shop. There were a couple of things that had to be changed out due to the bike fit. The stem is shorter and has a rise, the handlebars are wider and there are new aero bars on the bike. The old aero bars were too long, plus they would not have fit on the new handlebars (wider tubing).

The workout for today was an aerobic ride for 75 minutes. It was hard to guage whether or not I am getting more power or if I am more efficient due to the bike fit as I am fatigued from yesterdays workout (yes, it effected me more than I thought it would). The new aero bars are going to take some getting used to. I liked the Syntace bars that I had been using - they were comfortable from day one. I do not feel as stable with the new bars, but I do believe that I will pump out more power in the aero position now as my position is much better on the bike than it was before.

I still want a new bike, but that will have to wait for now.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

5/12/09 - Part II

Today was much better. I was bound and determined to get my workout in. I did a workout that I have done a couple of times before with a twist. The weight came off the bar, but the exercises had to be done "for time" and no rest in between sets. The workout was to superset squats, box jumps and steps-ups (three sets of 12), then three sets of 12 reps of lunges and then 9 sets of 15 ab exercises. A 15 minute easy bike, 30 minute run and 30 minutes in the pool.

Now, the gym was very crowded when I got there, but there was a squat rack available, but no bench. I decided to get started and hope that equipment frees up as I go or that I can jump in with someone. I did the first 12 reps of squats and was thinking this is easy, Max must be going soft. I lucked out and was able to get right on a bench to do box jumps and then I used the same bench to do the step ups (bar, no added weights). I'm still thinking this is pretty easy. I turned to go back to the squat rack and someone was using it to do something other than squats (would have been hard to jump in). The squat rack next to it had the same weights on it that were there when I walked in so I immediately racked those weights and started my next set - again still feeling no pain. Box jumps on set two were going o.k. but I started feeling it on the step-ups. I turned around to go back to the squat rack and it was being used (the perils of not having weight on the bar). I jumped in right after he finished his set and finished the third set - I could definately feel that the legs were worked.

A note on the ab workouts - I am actually starting to be able to see my abs again - not a six pack - I think I only have a two pack right now, but that's better than where I started from. I have been doing an exercise called knees to elbows that Max showed me. I was not able to do these when I first started, but I can do five on each set now and I expect this will continue to improve (I will be pumped when I can get 15).

Bike and run went well. Run felt better than the last two times I did this workout. Not sure if that is due to not putting weight on the bars or to me getting in better shape. Swim - I felt the need to do a long-distance non-stop swim so after my warm-up I swam a 1000. It felt pretty good. I don't feel I am quite where I left off last year, but I am coming along. Muscles feel looser and I still had a little power at the end of the 1000.


Well, it finally happened. I missed a workout. The feeling is one of extreme letdown. I realize that sometimes life gets in the way, but it still does not feel good. Work was a busy day, I had to bring my bike into the shop to finish the bike fit which blew the luchtime hour which is when I usually swim and the family likes to see me at least a little each day. I got the swim in after work hours and thought I might be able to get my mountain bike out for some hill repeats after I got home (would have been doing them in the dark, but that's o.k.). I had to spend a little time with my daughter and, well, fell asleep while watching t.v. with her. That was it for the day.

I hope to make up for it today by having an awesome workout.

Sunday I rode hills with my sometimes training partner Dave. He is still kicking my butt up the hills, but I was not as far behind him as the last time we rode. Progress is good! Dave liked one of the hills on the modified hill course that I introduced him to so we rode it three times. I'm still sore from the 75 pushups I did on Sunday, but it's a good sore. I had to break it up - can't do 75 straight yet - I did 20, 15, 20 & 20. I don't think I was able to do even 10 straight when I started less than a month ago so I am making progress.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

5/6/09 - It's getting harder

I had actually written a pretty long narration here, but it bombed out when I went to save it. I plan to update it in a day or two. I'm pretty bummed - it was some of my best writing yet (or most boring yet).

Saturday, May 2, 2009

5/2/09 The pain is not over

Wednesday was a new type of workout for me. Run a 200, do 10 squats, 10 pushups and then immediately do your next set of the same thing. Five sets total. The good thing about this workout is it is over pretty quick. The bad thing is that it is extremely intense. Well anyway, I survived it and ran my 10k Thursday with no ill effects from Wedneday's workout. O.k. - My triceps were sore on Thursday, but Friday they were screaming! I did not have full motion of my arms friday and still don't today, though its improved. I will admit that I have been lazy about working my upper body and have mainly concentrated on running and biking, but I have done some upper body and have never felt this type of after workout pain. I have a theory that doing pushups after running all out for 200 meters and then doing air squats totally confuses your body. It does not know where to send the blood with the much needed oxygen therefore causing the muscles needed for pushups to work totally anerobically thereby producing more lactic acid than they would otherwise. My recollection is that Max referred to this workout as a total body assault and I now know what he was talking about. I think he chuckled when he discribed the workout. As much as I sound like I'm complaining, I know this workout and others scheduled are going to improve my overall conditioning and race results. Thanks Max!!!