Monday, January 31, 2011

Recovery Week is a Goodness

Swim Day

1 x 150 Warm-up
4 x 100- Pull
4 x 100- 50-5, 7, 9/50-fingertip drag
1 x 100 Cool down

Total- 1050yds

I feel silly going to the pool for just over twenty minutes in the water and barely 1000yds, but it's gotta be done. The swim felt good though. In the lane next to me was a very pregnant lady doing sets of fly/free 50s and she was killing it. None of this "I have a giant belly so my stroke is crap" stuff either. Real fly. If she wasn't full of baby she'd have been kicking my ass. I have no ego left.
I know that it's very early in the training program so it seems strange that I'm in a recovery week already, but I'm following a plan that has them built in every four weeks to so. So even though I don't need it now, I'm going to be feeling it over the next few weeks and will be glad for the rest. Recovery is just as important to preventing injury as stretching and proper form. So this week ill feel weak-sauce, but it's supposed to.

Ride Day

time- 30min
dist- 10mi

I know, I know. 10 miles is nothing. Not my fault! I hold my training plan up to deflect recriminations.
It was a good ride, solid. Felt yesterday in my quads for the first few miles but that worked itself out. Every mile is one more step to Strong and Fast. Even recovery week miles.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Taking of Pineapple Hill

Cycle Day

time- 1:56
distance- 29.7mi

First of all, I'm pretty sure this is equal or nearly equal to my longest ride of the last training cycle. I don't know if I'm encouraged by my performance or scared to look ahead. A little of both.
I sped down Pineapple Hill to start my ride, watching my newly installed bike computer to see how fast I was going (with little effort). 40! If this thing is calibrated right, and I think it is, I hit 40mph on the way down. Course, that means its nice and steep, which means coming back will be fuuuun. (I forgot to take a picture of the computer so next time. Bike is already put away.) I rode arouns Haleiwa, including a modified lap of the Haleiwa Tri course. Then its back up that hill. Oof.
Having a bike computer helps set goals. I get real time speed and distance information. So setting off up Pineapple Hill for this first time in months I thought to myself, "Ok, I'll keep the speed in the double digits. No? Ok, I'll keep it above 8mph. What? What the hell? Stupid hill." Not so encouraging, but as I get stronger I'll be able to see gains right away. That will help.
Oh, a funny thing that happened on the way to Haleiwa (theater joke!). I passed four guys on Harleys parked on the side of the road. It would be funnier if they were broke down, but they were just waiting for friends who got caught at a light. You know what? This is my story. They were riding and I zoomed by them! Yeah...that's the ticket. And I waved when I passed them.
Legs are sore, stretching and shower felt wonderful. And as soon as I got home it started pouring rain. The cycling gods were warning me for taunting Cycle Dirtbag in Portland about how nice the weather is here compared to there. Message received.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Video Games vs. Working Out

Run Day

time- 40 minutes
distance- at least 4 miles

Again, not running with my JogTracker yet. Its a guess. But it was a good, smooth run. Aided, I think, by my triathlon books. You see, dear reader, one of those books pointed something out to me about running which I've never thought of before. Running if a hamstring exercise. I know some of you are thinking, "What the hell? Really?" Others of you are thinking, "You didn't know that?" And perhaps a small few of you are thinking, "I wonder what's on Fox right now. I like pudding." But it's true! Running is a pulling exercise. The quads pull the leg straight, while the hammys pull it back. When running your leg goes, wait for it...BACK! OMG! Like, wow!
Thusly, I am spending mental time focusing on feeling that contraction. Concentrating on the very muscle group that is doing most of the, pardon the pun, leg work. And I think its helping. Just like thinking about the lats and tris in swimming and the quads on the bike, a mental focus on the muscles doing the work, I think, helps those muscles work better.
Abruptly switching topics, I am a gamer. Have been for little over a year and a half now. We own a PS3 and it is the awesome. I'm a huge God of War fan, have all three for the console and both the PSP games. But today I was pondering my gaming relationship to triathlon. You see, last summer I played Red Dead Redemption. Played it all the time. Game of the Year, easily. Loved it. After it ended was when I started getting interested in triathlon. Gaming during training dropped off, though it didn't go away. There have been games I've enjoyed, but nothing I've been super-uber-I-gotta-get-home excited about.
Until now.
Mass Effect 2 just came to PS3. I resisted as long as I could, nearly a whole week, but I gave in. It arrived yesterday. Rest day. Perfect. And it is pretty excellent. I think it could eat my life the same way RDR did. So now I have training every day, school, wife time, and ME2 to juggle. Its obvious the video game places last on the list of priorities, but for the first time since I started training a game is captivating my attention. So while the wife is doing homework after I've gotten back from a long ride or run the debate will no longer be nap or tv, with tv + nap winning out, but nap or ME2. And you can't game and nap.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

To Swim and Run is Divine

Swim Day

1 x 150 Warm-up
3 x 200 100-5,7,9/100-swim
4 x 100 Pull
1 x 500
1 x 100 cool down

total- 1750yds

The stroke is coming, slowly but surely its coming. It's not all that fast yet, but it will be.
I like the 5, 7, 9 drill, have I mentioned that? It forces a mental toughness for fight through, "5, 6, 7, wall, flip turn, glide, 8, BREATHE." It helps create stroke efficiency once the panic, "oh no, I can't breathe," is passed (which comes the first time or two through the set but goes away) because the body learns to use oxygen more wisely and you find the smoother stroke that allows that, given the time.
Course, then I did the pull set and found all those holes and hitches in my stroke that need to be patched. Time is our friend.

Run Day
time-25 minutes
distance- ? 3mi?

I'll start keeping distance week after next. Next week according to my training calendar is a rest week, so no need to keep distance then. I ran slightly faster today, feeling out my form with a quicker stride. Feels fine. Foot is sore, but no more than normal. I think I might be living with that now for the rest of my life. Or until I mention it to a doctor, they force an x-ray and say, "Uh, you do realize you gave yourself a hairline fracture years ago and it healed funny, right?" And I say, "mumblemumble triathlon training mumble no time mumble ice."Seriously, I'm sure its fine.
Legs are sore for the first time. Yesterday's ride included a real climb and two inclines that, while not steep, are enough of an angle to notice. Sore is good. Sore means I'm getting stronger. Yay for tomorrow being a rest day.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

When the Sun Goes Down on Me

Ride Day
time- 1:15
dist.- 18.5mi

I hate having to ride after meetings. I think I said something along those same lines yesterday. So reread that post then come back here. I'll wait.
Ok, rides are already getting longer. For some of you cyclists out there (are any of you out there?) 18.5mi isn't "long". Well it's as long as I was riding regularly during the last cycle so right now it's long-ish. I'm getting used to it. Adjusting. This is good.
Today wasn't fast, I don't think I'll be finding my fast for a few weeks yet, but it still felt good in the legs. I'm noticing the swim/ride, swim/run, ride start to the week after a ride and run weekend. Not too bad yet, that'll come, but I can feel it. I'm not sore or walking funny, but I bet I could play with my diet and decrease snackage to give the energy levels a more consistent boost. Meetings, like I said, don't help. Having heartburn or something today while climbing didn't help either. But I fought my way up that hill and got it done. In the second lightest gear, no less. Chain is still clicking and jumping so its back to the LBS Saturday after my run to have them look at it again. Everyone repeat after me: "This will be an easy, quick, and cheap fix." If you said it loud enough (especially if you're at work or in a public place) the bike gods will have heard you and will come to my aid.
Early morning swim tomorrow. Bring it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Swim in the AM, Run from the Meeting

Swim Day

1 x 150 Warm-up
4 x 150 50-5,7,9/50-catch-up/50-fingertip drag
2 x 200 100-count strokes/100-swim
1 x 100 Cool down

total- 1250yd

Again, nothing strenuous, just getting my stroke back and experimenting with some of the drills I'll be using over the coming months. I'm especially going to be looking at my stroke count and trying to get that down. I'm thinking 12-15 strokes per lap give me 48-60 strokes per 100m and that should be nice and strong and long.


time- 20 min
dist- ?2mi

Again, I'm cruising these early runs, looking for stride and form. Feels good right now, no pain, no issues. Some soreness afterwards, but that's to be expected of course. It's hard to run so slow, I spend time thinking about how this isn't helping and I'm reverting back to my ten-minute miles that I started with. But I know that's not true because it feels slow and because I can feel the energy to go faster in my legs and my lungs. Right now form is more important, that's all. It'll be good for me later.
I hate sitting in meetings (where there is food) before I have to go run. And tomorrow it's going to happen again before my ride. Bleh to meetings. Bleh I say!

Starting the Two-a-Days

Swim Day

1 x 150 warm-up
5 x 100 (50- 5, 7, 9/50-swim)
2 x 200

total yardage- 1050yds

It was dark and my stroke felt like a million pieces. That's how it always is first swim back. Well, the million pieces part at least. I haven't been out of the water too long but it still takes some time to make the freestyle smooth and easy again.
One of the mental toughness aspects of the next 17 weeks will be the swims. You see, my plan has no pure swim days. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday involve a swim and either a bike (M) or run (Tu/Th). The plan also says to alternate am workouts between swimming and the other discipline, but I'm not sure how often that's going to happen. I'd rather swim in the morning. It's easier and safer than running around my neighborhood in the dark early morn. So three days a week I'll be getting up early and hitting the pool before school. This will teach my body to get up and go tired, which comes in handy at Oh Dark Hundred on race day.

Ride Day

time- 1hr and a few minutes
distance- 17mi

Great ride today. My normal lap for this distance will be up to the base, up Kolekole (Big Climb #1 for me from the first training cycle), then a loop back to the house. Not too challenging, but not super easy. I'm looking forward to getting it under an hour, which I think is do-able. My climb felt good and quick. I'm having gear change issues with my rear ring, which I had adjusted last weekend but is still acting up. When I stopped at the LBS on Saturday I told them about it but then the bike wouldn't do it! Don't you hate it when that happens? "No, really, the chain tries to click off the big ring on to the next one! I swear!"So this weekend I'll take it in again and ask them to look at it. Wednesday I'll just avoid that gear.
I'm already feeling stronger on the bike. I'm looking for an 18mph average come race day, and I think I can put in the work to get there.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fixin' Tires and Runnin' Careful

Ride Day
time- 1:30
dist.- 25mi

Yesterday was my first Here to There ride. What that means is I started at home and rode to a destination, in this case a friend's house on Hickam. Normally I plan out a lap, so this was new. It feels more like working without a net going Here to There because for a while I'm not really close to home, or anything home-like. So if I get a flat or have a mechanical difficulty I better be able to fix it or it's a long wait or a longer walk. With this in mind I pumped up my tires and threw a spare tube in to my seat bag.
And my rear tire promptly went flat 20 minutes out. Which led to my first realization about my new bike: I don't know how to release the brakes to get the tire out. It's difference than Sandra B. (Obi Tri's bike). So first I had to figure that out, then get the tire off and switch out the tube, all of which is easy but time-consuming and no fun in the sun with cars whizzing by. Then pump it up as far as I can with my small hand pump and I'm back on the road.
It was a pretty nice ride. Felt slow to me, and I accidentally reset my JogTracker when I stopped at a Local Bike Shop (LBS) to have them fill the tire the rest of the way, so I have no idea what my average speed was. Not quick. But that's ok, we're base building here. Just getting miles on the legs, getting the engine strong. I predicted about 90 minutes before I left the house and that's what it took me ride time. Took over two hours with the tire fix and the quick LBS stop.

Run Day
time- 35min
dist- approx 3 mi

I'm still on my slow and steady running kick. I'm worried about form and my second toe (which didn't hurt all week or during my run, but is kind of sore now. To the Ice!). So I was not running fast at all, just nice and easy, trying to run with proper form so that later I can kick it up and I won't lose it.
The run felt great. Mentally, its easier to go for a run when you know the challenge won't be going all out. And by the end of the run my stride felt locked in, it felt more right. So I'm going to keep this up for a few weeks, hoping that the locked-in feeling starts happening earlier and earlier in the runs until I can get it right away. Then I'll start thinking about picking up the pace. I still have 17 (or is it 16?) weeks before the race. That's plenty of time. I need to run smart.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Getting My Run (Calmly) On

Run Day
time- 20 minutes
distance- ? 2 miles?

Today I really tried to focus on conversational breathing and good form. I did not run fast. I did not try to. I tried to be good at being slow. My foot didn't hurt and still doesn't, so that went well. My books all say this is the way to base train and I've gotta go with that. That and this blog from The Fit Life about "putting your fast before your far". Basically getting that form down, then trying to make it go. And I know this. I just have to live it.
It seems crazy to me sometimes that I still have to work on running form. I've been running like this for months. It should be he most natural thing in the world, especially how I do it. But it's not, it has to be learned and relearned. Practiced and fixed and practiced some more. I think my swimming has something to do with that. I have a pretty good stroke, when I'm in shape and have lots of yards under me I have a great stroke (I think). It's down to fixing tiny things to get tiny improvements as far as technique goes once my strength is where it should be to hold that for distances. So I don't worry about my big form so much. I do drill to correct problem spots that I can tell are problems because I've been doing it for so long little things stand out. I haven't been running properly for long enough for the same to be true. Thus the slow build, easy runs, getting my feet together.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Up That Hill

Ride Day
distance- 16.91mi

Decent ride today. I'm trying not to push too hard right now. My books all say this phase of base training should be done at a conversational effort level. That feels really low to me, but I guess it should. So I'm a little bit too high for that, but not much.
I did the Kolekole climb on base today for the first time this cycle. Wasn't too bad. Obviously I didn't fly up the hill like I was doing at the end of my last cycle, but I didn't feel like I was going to die either. No death is good. Cycling should be coming right along.
On the on-going saga of my right foot, it's sore again. Stupid foot. Not the dreaded Top of Foot Pain that I inflicted on myself last time, but the base of the second toe over, the piggy that stays home, is sore. I'm thinking I might have run too fast yesterday, though I can't really see that. I pay so much attention to my form and I'm so nervy about every little twinge and ache. Back to the ice regimen. I really though three weeks in toe shoes and barefoot in New Zealand would have strengthened my feet to the pain where this wouldn't be an issue any more. Guess tomorrow I will pay close attention to running slow and easy. Dear toe, stop it. Love, the management.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Go Run in Traffic

Run Day
time- 20 minutes
distance- 2.45mi

This run was at an 8.5 min/mi pace, which is a good place for me to kick off my run training. I would like to be running eight minute miles come race day. I know thats a big drop from where I am now, especially following a swim and ride, but baring injury I think I can get there. Or I can get close. Better to set the goal a leeetle too high than too low. Reach for the moon and land among the stars and all that.
Today's run felt great. I'm still sensitive about my right foot. There is no pain and no soreness, but I can't hurt it again, it'll drive me nuts. So I think I'm holding back some on the runs, which is ok right now. This is early base training. I shouldn't be pushing too hard anyway, as hard as that is. Strengthen feet. Be confident. Caveman run. Speaking of, I think I'm going to be dialing back the barefoot running to only a few times a month. I like running in my VFFs better, but BFR will keep me on top of my form. So it won't go all the way away, but some.
Today was also supposed to start weight training, but I was feeling a little crappy at school and after and the wife thinks she might have caught something from one of her little darlings so I'd rather put off totally shocking my body and ease into big time training instead. My three triathlon books I got for Christmas will be a big help with that. Time to bust out the highlighter and sticky notes I may have stolen from my classroom.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Back At It

Ride Day
time- 1 hour
distance- 14.9mi

It begins anew, the triathlon training cycle. This cycle's goal: Honolulu Olympic Tri on May 15. We have 17 week to get it all together, sports fans. Which should be plenty of time. People use 12 week cycles for this distance. But not me, I want a long plan, that way I know what I need to be doing and I feel as prepared as I can be come race day.
Today felt, well, slow. Of course it did. I haven't been on a bike in over a month. It will take some time to feel like I was feeling when I stopped. But as today's ride was twice as long as my first ride all those months ago, and it was the shortest ride in the plan, I should get strong fast. It was also my first real ride on Kratos, my black and red and all my own bike. I think it's going to be just fine for my purposes. It's not the fastest or most aero bike in the world, but that's not important at the level I'm racing at. The engine is what makes the bike go, and that's what I'm working on. Some day, when someone passes a law saying teachers get paid what they are worth, I'll have the money to buy a super-quick, ultra-light speed machine. Until then my trusty Felt F1X will have to do. And, if I ever the the itch to do cyclecross this will be great for that too. It's built for it.
So Dirtbag Fitness is back and Team Dirtbag is ready to get some. And have some fun doing it.