Thursday, October 29, 2009

Angie # 2

This time I completed the entire workout. Time was 1:07:41 - I'm guessing this is not good as the time alloted on my ATP is 30 minutes. Once again the vast majority of the time allocated to this workout was spent on the pull-ups - over thirty minutes (probably close to 40 minutes). I was taking long rests as I was trying to knock out as many as possible in each set. My first set was 10 pull-ups - this is the first time since I started this program that I was able to get 10 in a row. After that I went to 7, short rest, then 3, longer rest then 6 or 7, then 3-4 following short rest - I think you can see the pattern.

Push-ups were broken down as follows - 30, 15, 30, 25. The 15 was due to a short rest taken.

Situps and squats were done as one set each.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I am starting to get more organized about keeping times for my workouts - I added a tab in my ATP to keep track of them. Don't know why I didn't think of it sooner - it's a pain going back in the blog looking for the information. I did fran today - I believe it is the second time it has hit the plan. 21-15-9 thrusters and pull-ups for time. I tried putting 80 lbs on the bar for the thrusters but had to back it off to 70. Total workout time was 15:37.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Relearning to run

I'll start with yesterday. I had a workout called Eva to do - five rounds of 800 meter runs followed up with 30 swings and 30 pullups. I got through all of the first set and most of the second set and decided that I was through. I really can't explain it, but I just felt that the workout needed to end. I was practicing running "correct" on the treadmill and it felt really funny. Almost like I was running on my tip toes - I think this is where being supple comes in. I did a couple of drills (bunny hops and wall drill) and called it a night.

Today called for a workout named Michael. More 800 meter runs with back extensions and sit ups. As important as these workouts are, I am focused on becoming a better runner. I decided that running hard is not going to work for improving my form in the short run. I decided to go for a decent run and focus on form. I focused on keeping my hips forward and having my foot land under me rather than in front of me. I focused on the hips and pulling rather than pushing for the entire run and at times during the run I focused on other aspects such as having supple ankles and head position. I did not clock the run until I was done - 6.2 miles in 53:08. That's not that bad considering going fast was the least of my concerns. There were times during the run that the running form felt good and other times that it felt awkward. A couple of times I felt my hips relax and I could tell instantly that my form was falling apart and quickly corrected.

It's going to take a little bit to get my brain and my body in synch on this one, but I am commited to conquering this.

I finished up with 150 sit-ups and called it a night.

P.s I can't wait to ride my bike again!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I don't run correctly

First - I checked back to my Tavern Trot results and I ran it faster than my 5K time trial yesterday - not much though. I suspect racing always gets you to kick it up a notch.

I had my running analyzed today. I suspected that there were improvements to be made, but it sounds like my running needs to be totally revamped. I did get some drills to do and I believe I understand the concepts, but I have to break 30 plus years of habits. Minor tweaks are one thing - but what we are talking about is pretty major.

I rode my new bike today. I wish I could say, man this bike is fast, or wow, what a comfortable ride, but I can't. A tri bike is set up so different from a road bike that it is going to take some time to get used to it. I was looking to get in the drops on the descents, but there aren't any. I did get used to the shifting right away. The aero position is different than the aero position on my road bike (got tt bars on road bike) and I have the sense of riding more "on top" of the bike and further forward than I am used to. It was a wierd sensation being right over the front wheel. To top it off, it was a windy day so I did not feel overly confident in the sections where there was a cross wind. I also found it hard to stand going up hill - the cockpit seems much smaller than the cockpit of my road bike. When I stood my knees were hitting the aero bar pads. Perhaps you're not supposed to be up so far when you are out of the saddle, but that is where I feel comfortable. I will ride it a couple of more times and then report back to the bike fit specialist.

On the positive side, the bike feels really responsive - it seems like every bit of energy applied to the cranks results in forward motion - nothing seems to be getting absorbed by the frame.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I'm weak

Thursday I did five rounds of bench press body weight and pull-ups maximum reps. I could only manage three reps for the first four sets of bench press and four reps on the last set. In my defense I have not bench pressed in about twenty years - back when I was in the Air Force and for a couple of years after that I was a real muscle head - spent a lot of time in the gym. Body weight bench presses would have been my warm-up - now I can barely squeeze out three or four (might have gotten five with a spot, but I was working out in my basement alone and did not want to tempt fate). The pull-ups are actually getting better. I did eight on the first set and then I think eight on the second set and then sevens and sixes thereafter. When I get to ten I will be a happy camper.

Today I ran a 5k for time. I warmed up for a mile, stretched and then went for it. I finished in 24:45. I need to check back to my Tavern Trot results, but this may have been my fastest run yet. I just need to shave a little more off to reach my goal of 24:00 for a 5k. I took it out too hard - I wonder if I would have finished a little faster if I took the first mile out a little slower (took it out at 7:30 - finishing pace was just under 8:oo).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mon, Tue & Wed

I'm really starting to enjoy the Crossfit workouts. They are short and intense. Monday was rowing 2000 meters for time. I figured I better pace this a little better than the 1000 meters done the day before - going twice the difference after all. I thought I started easy, but when I got to the 500 split the computer indicated that I was actually rowing faster than the day before. I distincly remembered how I felt when I finished the 1000 and decided to back off a little to make sure that I could last the 2000. When I got to the 1000 the computer still indicated that I would break 8:00 for the 2000. I expected to be between 8:15 and 8:30. I think my 1000 split might have been equal to or faster than the day befores 1000, but I did not note it. When I got to 1500 meters there was still a good indication that I would break 8 so I increased my focus and worked really hard to keep the pace up. I worked the last 200 meters real hard - total time was 7:53. I'm not sure what a good 2000 meter rowing time is, but this was an achievement in my mind.

Tuesday I did little Barbara - 3 rounds for time of 20 pull-ups, 30 pushups, 40 sit ups and 50 squats. I finished in about 30 minutes. The pull ups are what add to the time component for me as I have to split them up into 4 - 5 sets to complete them all. My abs are still sore from this workout.

Wed was supposed to be Lynne, but I got my workouts mixed up and did Nocole instead. 400 meter run followed by as many pull-ups as possible - repeat as many times as you can in 20 minutes. I did seven rounds of 400 meters and six rounds of pull-ups. Pull-up counts are as follows: 7-6-7-6-5-4.

I will do Lynne today - five rounds for max reps of body weight bench press followed by pull-ups.

I'm looking forward to the weekend - 5k for time on Saturday and a 60 minute bike ride on Sunday. Hopefully its nice Sunday - I want to ride my new bike.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The pain begins anew

I took the week after the marathon off in order to concentrate on work commitments. The planned workouts were all recovery workouts and I really should have done them, but it's hard to convince yourself to go down into the basement and ride the trainer after a 14-15 hour workday.

Well, work is pretty much back to normal and I renewed my training efforts. I did a recovery trainer ride followed-up with deep slow squats. This was a good way to ease back into things. Saturday was a little more intense - 100 burpees for time. I had to break it up into two sets of 50. Total workout time was 18:55. The funny thing is I remember doing these in the military over 20 years ago - I'm not sure I would have been able to do 100 back then, but maybe I would have. I once did 85 pushups in a minute (ahhhh, the good ol' days) in basic training so I guess it was not out of the realm of possibilities.

Today was another short and sweet workout. The workout was named Jackie - 1000 meter row, 50 thrusters and 30 pull-ups for time. I got off to a roaring start - I finished the 1000 meters in 3:53 which if I can remember my past days as a college rower (I got around) that is a pretty good time especially for a lightweight. As usual, I had no regard or respect for the things to come after as the thusters were very hard coming off the rowing machine. I had to break it up into sets of 15-15-10-10 to get the 50. I'm not quite sure how many sets the pull-ups were broken down into - I know there were a couple of sets that I only managed to squeeze out two. Total time 26:30.

I'm sore already from this workout. So it begins again! Bring it on!!

P.s. I picked up my new bike today. It is sweet! Too bad it was raining, I would have liked to take it for a ride.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hartford Marathon results

I should probably wait a few days before typing this one to let things sink in and put them into perspective. I will start with why I should be happy. I took 34 minutes and 12 seconds off of my previous (and only other) marathon which was in February of this year. I went from 4:54:37 to 4:20:25. I also beat my half marathon stand alone time at the half way point by five minutes and ten seconds (2:03:10 vs. 2:08:19) and felt pretty good at the halfway point.

So why am I bummed? Perhaps I just had too high of expectations. My goal was to hit four hours and I told myself I would be happy with anything under 4:15. Well, I knew that goal was dashed (or at least had a pretty good idea) when I saw that 4:15 pace setter run by at about mile 23. I tried to hang on, but with my right leg cramping, it just was not going to happen.

Here's the race in review - with the boring details leading up to the start even. I arrived at about 7:00 a.m. I actually do not recall so many people being there this early last year. The portolet lines were humungous. I seem to remember walking right up the John, no wait last year - this year, no lie, it took me a half hour to get to the John. By the time I had releived myself it was time to head to the start. I actually did not have much time to get my bag checked in before heading to the start. When I got to the start I did a few stretches, but not a very good stretching routine (did this haunt me in the race).

I lined up between the 3:45 and 4:00 pace signs. A little more forward from where I was last year, but probably still not far enough up - there are a lot of people who are just fooling themselves or plain ol' rude who line up near the front who have no business being there. The start of a massive race like this is chaotic enough without having to weave through all sorts of people who should have lined up behind you rather than in front of you. This is a pet peave of mine as it slows down the beginning pace which is hard if not impossible to make up during the race.

I felt pretty good at the start and monitored my HR as it is pretty easy to get caught up in the moment and overcook the first few miles. I feel I maintained a fairly even pace throughout the first half of the marathon. I even had a few people tell me they were pacing off of me - I told them to be careful as although I was fairly certain that I would hold an even pace through mile 20, I did not know what would happen after that.

My sister lives at about mile 6.25 - she handed a water bottle off to me. I have friends at mile 8.25 and 14 and had stashed some powergels with them for a handoff at mile 14. Unfortunately they almost missed me and I was going to have to count on the aid stations and roving bike patrols for my nutrition, but they got me. I like having my own nutrition because I know what's in it.

I use powergels, not because I like them over any of the other gels, but because they are the gels handed out at Lake Placid - I feel it is important to be consistent. They have 110 calories and 220 mg of sodium per packet. I was taking three an hour so I figured I was getting enough eloctrolytes (it was not too hot out), but considering that I started cramping around mile 21 I think I may have missed on this aspect of nutrition. As soon as I felt the first cramp coming on (right calf muscle) I took a salt capsule. I know it was probably too little too late, but I did not know what else to do - I certainly was not going to stop. I changed my gait a little to avoid pushing the muscle that had started to cramp. I thought about stopping to stretch it out, but stopping was the last thing that I wanted to do. I took another salt capsule about twenty minutes later. The muscle started to cramp again at I think mile 24 - I stretched it a little (without stopping) and kept going. There was no way I was going to stop at this point. At mile 26 (i.e. only 385 yards to go) my calf cramped and I thought my leg was going to collapse beneath me. Two tenths of a mile to go - no way was I going down! Somehow I made it to the finish without my leg knotting up.

I lost 14 minutes in the second half of the marathon and I am fairly confident that most of that was lost in the last five miles. I plan to test my sweat rate soon and figure out what I am losing from my system on an hourly basis so that I can get more scientific in my approach to fueling. In retrospect, I probably should have popped a salt tab every hour regardless - I have ingested these in both races and training and they have never bothered my stomache - I doubt it would do any harm to slightly overload on the electrolytes.

This is it for my major goals for this year - I plan to do a 5K in three weeks (local event) and am thinking about doing the Manchester Road Race if I can get a time seeding card - no way am I lining up at the back of a 10,000 field race for a 5 mile course. Other than that, it is time to reflect on this year and start planning for next year (starting with Hyannis - my next shot at a 4 hour marathon).

I've had good races and some not so good - all learning experiences.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I hope I didn't make a mistake

The training week went pretty well. I did not get either swim in this week, but I hit all of the other workouts as planned. Well, kind of. Today was supposed to be a 2 hour hilly bike ride. Dave, who's training for his second ironman of the season, was riding three hours. I mostly ride/workout alone so I looked forward to the opportunity to ride with someone. We started off together and rode the first hill together. Dave said that he thought I was riding strong and that he might have trouble staying with me on the hills. I figured he was just playing possum (he does that sometimes). When we got to the first real hill of the ride I rode away from Dave. Dave caught me at the top of the hill while I was eating (I need to find a more efficient way to fuel - perhaps a flask). I caught Dave on the downhill and then put the hammer down. Apparently Dave was feeling a little competitive as he caught me and passed me on the second set of hills. I caught back up to him and we rode together for a while. When we got to the rollers after Route 30 I was feeling frisky again so I went hard all in the big chainring. I opened a fairly large gap but did not want to ride alone for the entire ride so I eased up when we started our second loop. I decided though that if Dave did not catch up be the end of the hill on Reeves Road I would put the hammer down again and see if I could stay away from him for the rest of the ride. Thanks to a car he caught me at a stop sign. I'm not sure where I started putting a cap on him again, but I found out later that he stopped to take his leg warmers off. Almost feels like I cheated a little. I rode the big hill almost as well as I rode it the first time, perhaps a little better. I fueled for the last time at the top of that hill but did so more efficiently and kept going. I rode the flats tempo and as I was starting the second set of hills I caught a glimpse of Dave behind me. The bastard just wouldn't give up!! As soon as I saw him I started riding the hills much harder. I climbed standing a lot more and just plain ol' shred my legs. I did the rollers in the big chainring again and the last hill of the rollers is a small chainring hill - I dropped my chain the first time around so I gently shifted down so that I would not lose any time to a dropped chain and rode that hill hard as well. I rode the last part standing - I could really feel the burn. It was all downhill and flat from there. I rode the downhill hard and gave it everything I had left on the flats. I turned down Broad Brook Road and as I was turning saw Dave behind me (not right behind me but closer than I thought he would be). I thought he would follow me but he went straight and took the next turn. We hooked up on the way in and Dave said I kicked his ass. I don't quite see it that way - I think if the ride was much longer the tide would have turned in Dave's favor, but it was fun anyway.

I'm running the Hartford Marathon in six days. I hope I did not go too long and hard today. I will adhere to the plan exactly for the rest of the week. Personally, I don't think today will negatively effect me and its the most fun I had on the bike in a while so it was worth it.