Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thus Endeth Recovery Week

Swim Day

1 x 1500- 24 minutes

Run Day

time- 35 minutes

Long swim today, 60 laps straight through. This isn't as hard as it may sound, I just set it on cruise control and keep the count. Like the rest of the week I wasn't trying very hard. I missed a 1:30/100yd pace but that's no worry. I'll be back to hitting it hard Monday.
Same with the run. Easy jog, not worrying about getting my feet up. I'm having slight soreness in one foot and ankle, so its good that I'll be taking the weekend off to be in Kauai. I know I could run there, but I don't think I will. Think I'll chill, recover, and think about how hard I'm going to get after it come Monday.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's About the Bike

Ride Day- RW

time- 1:15
distance- 18.2mi

Today's ride felt great. The weather was perfect and my attitude was a simple "I'm gonna cruise home from school, no real work going on." I felt smooth, even during the small climbs that roll my route. Averaged around 15mph, which isn't very fast but I wasn't trying very hard. Frankly, part of me is just happy my seat stayed where it was supposed to after I fixed it Monday.
Also, today was a productive day with bike upgrades (hopefully!). Super Awesome Wife and I spent about a half hour getting my new Profile Design T2+ aerobars set up. I'm pretty excited about having these on, but honestly, I'm not sure I saved myself any time. You see, the point of aerobars is to reach a more aerodynamic position, decreasing drag and therefor increasing the effectiveness of the power output. Aerobars will/should allow me to get my chest and head lower, making my back flatter, and getting my arms and elbows in closer. Closer elbows mean more aero, but it also means less control and, because I have wider shoulders, a closing off of chest area making it harder for me to breathe deeply. So my bars are set up about shoulder width apart, as suggested by the below book. Viewed from the front, this presents a much smaller face to block wind. But every tri bike set up I've seen or read about (including in Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes, which Super-Awesome Sexy Wife bought for me a few weeks ago and which was very helpful in getting the aerobars properly placed) has the seat height much higher than the bars, that way the rider gets the proper drop and angles. Well, my seat is already as high as it's going to get before I can't reach the bottom of the downstroke and my bars are as low as the current hardware will allow. So while the aerobars might make me feel faster, I'm not sure how much time I just saved. Feeling faster is good though. Mental improvements often lead to actual ones. Hopefully I haven't sacrificed too much comfort, which is also important, but less so over the shorter distances I'll be racing. More on the whole aerobar issue as I ride. It was too late tonight once they were on.
And finally, I have something I have to admit. I...I just need to get it off my chest. I think...I think I'm becoming something of a cycling nerd. You see, I've been a swim nerd for years and year. Simple goggles or a new kind of suit will have me all excited. And for over a year now I've been becoming a run nerd, starting with my discovery of minimalist running and the wonders of VFFs. But a cycling nerd...this is you. You see, yesterday I was on the internet watching, oh its hard to say, Lance Armstrong videos. That's right, I spent a good half hour yesterday watching YouTube clips of a man from Texas riding a bicycle! And Ohhh-ing and Ahh-ing. In this video he attacks while climbing. So he rides faster than the other skinny guys up a mountain. And I'm totally blown away. And now if you ask me what I think of The Look I can tell you I think it was a pretty badass thing to do and I think he's lying when he says that he was, "just checking to see what the field looks like." It totally was. And you can't watch this without being impressed. He should have crashed and burned four times.
I am now a Total Tri Nerd. I feel complete.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

KSOh No!

Swim Day- Recovery Week

1 x 150- Warm-up
4 x 200
1 x 500

total- 1450yds

My biggest problem during recovery weeks is my brain shuts off the hardcore part of itself resulting in underwhelming workouts. I know they should be easy, I know my heart rate should stay down, and I know its important to have workouts like this. But a swim when there is no drive to push is kind of boring. Then it's just laps. So this was an ok, unmotivated, uninspired swim.

Run Day

My Vibram KSOs are wearing out in the toes! Oh no! I love these shoes and I can't believe I've worn through them. This says nothing about the make of the shoe, they are as sturdy as they come. But I've been wearing them a minimal of two times a week for over a year, running, teaching, and just being out and about. These shoes have earned their wear marks. In fact, as soon as I get a good look at the Dirtbag FundBox I'll be heading over to and grabbing myself a brand new pair. I can't not have my Vibrams.
If you remember, for Christmas I was given a nice new pair of VFF TrekSports. I wear these hiking and to school for the most part. Any trail runs I go on, these will get me through. They were one of the two pairs of shoes that did New Zealand with me, my KSOs being the other. So why not just use these? Because they aren't built for road running and while they would work I don't want to use them for that. It would wear out the tread which makes them trail-worthy and (and this is a minimalist shoe-person gripe) the ground feel isn't as good in them. It's still better than your average pair of, well, anything else, but not as good as the KSOs. I don't think I'll be going with the VFF Bikila either, even though that's the company's "running" shoe. I run just fine in my KSOs, thank you. The Bikila's are on my list, but not at the top.
What about looking outside Vibram, you ask. Excellent question. Normally I am not a whore for one company. But its hard to do better than what I've got. The only thing that looks like it comes close is the Merrell Glove series. Every review I've read has had nothing but positive things to say about these shoes. Unfortunately, Hawaii is just barely part of the United States and as such it takes forever for us to get nifty new shoes. So, while the wife and I have look and looked for a running store that carries them (she's interested too) we have yet to find one. Lame. When I do get to try a pair I see them being on my Christmas list as well.
As for my run today, it was an easy 2.4 mile recovery week run. What made it fun was I did the second half barefoot. I forgot how nice it is to run naked, with nothing between my feet and the ground. Freeing. Can't recommend it enough. If you pay any attention at all to the running scene you plenty of people are doing that for me anyway. ("Running scene?" I'm such a dork.) Right nor my feet are a little tender since I haven't barefooted in a while, but its ok. Barefoot is a form correction mechanism. I feel good.

Monday, March 28, 2011

At Least Its Recovery Week

Today was supposed to be a swim/cycle day. Not so much.
First, my alarm clock decided not to go off, just like last Monday. So I woke up in time to get ready for my doctor's appointment instead of in time to swim and then get ready. Lame. Lame lame lame. I like swimming.
Then, this afternoon, I set out on an easy 12 mile recovery ride and noticed that my seat was slightly crooked, causing discomfort. So I stopped and tried to fix it. This, naturally, made it worse and somehow lowered the seat height all the way. So instead of finishing my ride I got to ride home feeling like my knees were pounding my chest. Easy fix with an Allen wrench, and I got the sizing right on the first try, but still irritating. At least it is recovery week.
Also, on the doctor visit: I get kidney stones. My body is a quarry. My last one was in December on Christmas day camping in New Zealand. Needless to say, any time I get a lower back twinge I get paranoid. Also, I have regular check-ups with the urologist to check me out. This was a follow-up to look at a ultrasound they took Friday to see what was going on in there. Let me tell you, you do not want to hear your urologist say, "The ultrasound picture, if you'll look right here, says there is a 16mm stone in your right kidney. I'm going to send you up to x-ray to get a better look." For comparison, the one I passed in NZ was about 4mm. 16 is much more. There is no passing this, this is surgery. Luckily, the x-ray revealed nothing of the sort and my doctor said he chalks it up to the ultrasound not being very exact. He also said that the x-ray was hard to read because of "stomach gases". I swear I thought I got those out in the car on the way there. Ask my wife. She knows. So, while I'm sure there are still tiny little time bombs floating around in my kidneys there is no massive boulder waiting to make like an Indiana Jones movie. This is a good thing. Mostly.
Tomorrow will be a better recovery day. I have set two alarms.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

An LSD Heavy Weekend

Run Day

time- 1:14
distance- 8mi

Great run for Team Dirtbag today. Felt pretty strong the whole time and paced it out well. My turn around was at 35 minutes, predicting a 1:10 finish baring a fade. 1:14 is a finish time I can live with. When I did eight miles a few weeks ago at the Great Aloha Run I finished in 1:24. Needless to say, this is better. I'm feeling more and more confident as I get closer to race day. After the recovery week next week (yay!) I leave the base building portion of my training and enter the speedwork and quality phase. This is where fartlek runs will start showing up on a weekly basis and I'll be trying to break my Fast down some more.
Good LSD (Long Slow Distance) pace run. Dirtbag Pleased.

Ride Day

time- 3:20
distance- 50.2mi

Longest ride I've ever been on today. I was very much inside of the LSD mindset, not trying to push, not setting speed records, not looking too much at my bike computer. I had the course planned out, and at the last minute I switched the order of things. You see, I planned on going down Pineapple Hill and doing my Haleiwa route first, then back up the hill, past home, and on to school and back. Those two rides put together are nearly 50, and I'd make up the difference going up the two mile side road by the house.
Instead I decided to put Pineapple Hill at the end and ride to school first. Why? Because I'm a masochist and if one way will hurt the other way will hurt way more. And hurt way more means make me stronger mentally and physically. I saw much suck in my future but I did it anyway.
You know what? It hurt. I was slow as hell getting up that Hill today. Talk about grinding it out. But I got it done. Wasn't happy during it, but now I've gone 50 miles on a bicycle. You know what 50 miles is? Its about how far the ride portion of a Half Ironman is. Hmmmm...
Anyway, looking forward to a recovery week, letting my muscles and joints take a little break. Then, like I said, I'm on to speedwork. This will be harder for my to plan on the bike because I've never done. So some research is in order. Also, a nap may be in order.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dirtbag Chafing

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
2 x 400- 6:00
1 x 50- easy
1 x 500- 7:30
1 x 50- easy
2 x 400- 6:00
1 x 50- easy
2 x 200- 3:00 (Hard)
1 x 100- Cool down
total- 2900yds

Lots of yards today. According to the plan I'm following today should be my longest swim day of the training cycle. That is probably going to be true. Heavy days like this are good, but now I need to start trimming the sets down and focusing on getting my Strong, Smooth, and Sustainable stroke a little faster. I made all my sets with at least ten seconds rest. And mentally I was in a good place, thinking that 400s really aren't very far. This is good.
My stroke felt good, quick, solid. Even felt like I was swimming downhill for some of the sets. And I was working the kick which, as I've mentioned, has been a weak point. I forgot how helpful a good kick is. And the exertion is pretty low so it shouldn't burn my legs for the ride or run. Put it this way, if the kick burns my legs then I deserve to crash and fail.
So positive swim day today. Good distance, good stroke, felt strong. Now we hope the weather stays nice for the rest of the weekend.

Run Day

time- 50min
distance- 5.93mi

Good run again today. I might be getting greedy now because last week I was happy with this pace but now I think I can go faster. I need to listen to my body though and take it slow. My right need was sore by the end of the run. Will ice later to be safe.
Hit my turn around at 24 minutes, made it back in 26, that's an acceptable fade.
Ran without socks today to start the toughening up process for my feet in the VFF KSOs. Like I expected, I rubbed a section of my foot raw. I'll care for it, let it heal, and then do it again until I get a rough spot. Also, my thighs chafed today. I don't know what that's about but its a pain in the general ass region.
Tomorrow's a rest day, yay for that. And then a long run and a really long ride planned for this weekend. The weather was great today but its raining now. I need it to be nice-ish. That would be great, thanks.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Grumpy Dirtbag

Cycle Day

Bloody weather ruined riding outside so I went to the gym. And I wish I had just taken the day off. The stationary bike sucked my will to live and after 40 boring, awful, lame-ass minutes and only 11 miles I gave up, raced a half mile on the treadmill, and came home. Working out like this is worse than just missing a workout. I feel frustrated and lame and weak. I'm shopping online for a rain jacket now. I don't want to talk about this anymore. Lets pretend it never happened.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dirtbag Works Hard and Gets Strong

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
4 x 300- 100-5, 7, 9/100- Stroke count/100- swim w/ kick focus
4 x 250- Pull
4 x 25- decrease stroke count by 2 each (17/14/12/10)
1 x 100-Cool down

This was supposed to be yesterday's workout and normally I would have thrown it out and written a new one but it seemed like some valuable sets and I didn't want to lose them. Combo-ing three 100s into a 300 makes those 12 laps fly by much easier because I'm always thinking about something different. Mirco-goals. The 5, 7, 9 sets are getting easier, which should mean I'm getting more efficient with my O2 and my strokes. The stroke count hovered around12-14/lap, and then I tried to fire the flutter kick. My pull set was all about rotating on a strong horizontal axis and finding the sweet spot in the water. It was shaky, but I fought through and got some quality laps in. As for the decreasing stroke count 25s, lets just say that by ten strokes a lap my strokes are pretty goofy looking, but there is a ton of power going on in that pull through.

Run Day

time- 40 minutes
distance- approx. 5mi?

My Dirtbag Distance Determining Device was again out of power prior to my run due to a boring meeting and WordFeud. So I'm guessing. MapMyRide's hybrid mode doesn't really help because I don't know what the place I turned around at looks like from space. So based on how I felt and how other runs have been going I think I went around five miles. Maybe a little shorter, but not by much.
I turned around at 19 minutes and got home at 39:47, so while I didn't negative split I was pretty close to a nil fade. Pleased Dirtbag. Felt quick again today, felt strong up both small hills. Some strong gusts of wind and dark clouds threatened, but no rain again. Its nice to avoid that. Running in the rain is wet and cold. Dirtbag dislikes. I hope I can keep these runs up, it feels good to not feel too slow. Feels like progress.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A No Rain Ride

Cycle Day

time- 1:23
distance- 23.8mi

I feel like I'm having trouble going fast on the bike. I think I need to do a few fartlek rides and really spin it up on a flatter road, get the heart pumping, get some good and painful burn going. I realize that the kind of racing I'm training for is not that kind of race, but it will make me stronger mentally. Hey, it seems to have worked for my running.
Avoided the rain today too. Thought I was going to get soaked, went in the other direction, only some sprinkles. Good times. And yes, today should have been a swim day but my stupid alarm didn't go off and when I did wake up it was just early enough to know that if I did drag my tired ass to the pool I would have time for a too-short, unsatisfying workout. So instead I sucked it up and snuggled with the wife for another thirty minutes. Damned alarm better work tomorrow.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Breaking Down a Wall

Run Day

time- 52 minutes
distance- 6.07mi
pace- 8.6min/mi

I have trouble running quickly. Its been in my head for as long as I've been running. But I've been chipping away at that wall over the course of my last few runs, starting with the last tri. I laid down a decent time for myself, especially since I didn't taper leading up the the race. And I started to believe that I might be faster than my head said I am.
The last few runs have been a process of learning to pace. I keep going out too hard and struggling to come back at an agreeable pace. But I've been going further than I've ever run before, and quicker than I thought I could. My last few longer runs have felt good, strong. And the run section of the brick on Friday was as fast as any race I've run. Maybe I am faster.
Today I didn't plan on going out too hard, I wanted a steady run. I also didn't plan a fartlek, though I should through another one of those in soon. Instead of a run time, which is how I've been planning, I decided to run just past the Dole Plantation, three miles away. That would give me a six mile run, the longest of my training cycle so far. And I would only check my watch at the turn around and and the end of my street going and coming to check pace. It was not to be about time.
Nothing feels better than getting to the turn around and checking the watch, only to find you're way ahead of what you were expecting. I was at 25 minutes. I know for a lot of runners a 25 minute 5k is nothing, but I'm just getting to the point where this is good. It made the run back lighter. Even the slight hill felt smaller. Finished my six miles in 53 minutes, quicker than I would have guessed when I left. And I feel good. I think I could have gone faster. Now that the six strong miles wall is broken I can start focusing on doing it faster, on making it hurt and trusting my lungs and my legs to get me home.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Dirtbag Hammers Out a Brick

Brick Day
time- 1:27
distance- 23.68
time- 30 minutes
distance- 3.48

After missing yesterday's planned long run I knew I had no choice but to get a brick in today. Then it started raining. It rained all night. It was still raining this morning. Damnit. I was whining in my head about having to go to the gym and do a stationary brick. This would have blown goats. But the Triathlon Gods did smile upon me and the clouds did part. If I hurry, I thought, I can get my workout in before the next downpour. Well, close enough.
I planned to head down Pineapple Hill to Haleiwa, do my normal ride through town and back up the hill, then run. This was not to be as the rain clouds were faster than I was. It sure looked like I was in for a world of wet if I continued that way. I checked my six, it looked clearerish, so around I went. I hadn't done the Kolekole climb on base in a while so that was the new plan. No rain.
I feel strong about the climb. I got to the top in about 14 minutes, which is solid for me. The rest of the ride, to be honest, wasn't as fast I would like. Check the time. It took me an hour thirty to go just over twenty miles? Unacceptable. Must get faster.
I got home, quick changed for the brick in to running shorts and my VFFs, popped on my Dirtbag Distance Determining Device (aka: my cell phone with JogTracker) and, for a change of pace, my new mp3 player set to Megadeth, and I was off and running. Felt like I was again toking it out too hard but today I was more conscious of it and dialed my pace back some. This paid off in the end, but not as much as I would have liked. I was hoping for a zero-fade run, so I went out for 14:50, leaving myself only ten seconds to slow on the way back. Not quite. But not bad. I'd really like to negative split these runs, but we'll see how that goes. Overall though, I'm not going to complain about an 8.7min/mile after a 23 mile ride. I'm feeling slightly more optimistic about my training thus far and how prepared I am for Honolulu.
Taking the next two days off because the wife and I will be spending them in Waikiki celebrating our one year anniversary.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Am A Rude Swimmer

Swim Day

1 x 200- Warm-up
200- 3:00
300- 4:30
400- 6:00
500- 7:30
400- 6:00
300- 4:30
200- 3:00
1 x 150- Cool Down
total- 2650yds

I know I'm adjusting to distance when it doesn't take much to convince myself this set really isn't all that long. I mean, really, its only two 200s, two 300s, two 400s, and a 500. That's not so bad.
Ok, it kind of is a long set. But not awful. I made all of my time standards by at least ten seconds, and kept true to my mantra for the day, "Strong, Smooth, Sustainable." I was able to push at least part of every one of the swims, breaking down mental walls in the process. A lot of distance swimming (endurance anything, really) is all about knowing that you can get there at this pace, even if it doesn't feel like it. I'm closer to that mindset in the water than anywhere else because I've been there before.
As for being rude, after my 500 a nice lady leaned over my set list and said, "I'm a swimmer as well, what are you doing there?" I had about fifteen seconds to prepare for my next 400, so I gasped out, "Building by 100s on the 1:30. See?" Then I glanced at my watch and swam away. She was not there next time I came up. If she really was a swimmer then she understood. After my 400 an older gentleman sharing my lane asked me, "How much more?" gesturing back and forth. I had ten seconds to pant, "A lot." This was vague because I wasn't thinking well by then and didn't feel like counting. I made it up to him by telling him I had eight more laps after the 300.
I was supposed to run today but we went out and then got stuck in the wonderful Hawaii traffic on the way home. Now it is dark and late and I'm irritated I didn't get to run. I know people run at night but where I live is not well lit and there are not good sidewalks and I don't have night running gear. So I grumble and instead plan on doing a heavy brick tomorrow. I'll do a big ride and then run at least 30 minutes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Not As Fast As I Feel

Cycle Day

time- 1:41
distance- 27.4mi

Today's route was almost identical to Monday's, except I started out by doing the super short ride to Dole, which added the four miles. And I felt slow. Or rather, I was slow, but didn't feel like I was riding slow. I felt like I was working pretty hard but my watch disagreed. The whole front half of the ride took longer than I think it should have.
Determined, I set off for the second, harder, half with the words, "This is where we get stronger," in my head. Ok, I said it out loud. A few times. It helps. And I do think I went faster today than Monday on that second half. I tried, I pulled with my hamstrings, using being clipped in to my advantage. I was down in the drops for nearly all of it. Two reasons for that. One, its faster. Two, it was windier than usual today I being lower helped keep me from getting too pushed around. I blame the wind for some of my slowness. Also, I blame a bug. Not sure what it was, but something got in to my jersey on the way back and bit the crap out of me. There I was, riding along, trying not to get clipped by a passing car, when suddenly, "Ow what the mother of gaaa!" To a passerby I now look insane, slapping and grabbing at my side. I felt something crunch and I shook shook shook my jersey to be sure I got it out of there. Judging from the still sore red welt right at the tip of my shark's nose it was a good-sized insect. Sent, no doubt, from some competitor scared of my
blazing speed and trying to get in my head. Not gonna happen, sucka.
So I tried hard today, which earns me a gold star, but don't feel like I worked hard, if that makes any sense at all. Tomorrow will be a longer than planned run because the wife and I are spending the weekend in Waikiki for our anniversary and I'll be killed if I try to work out. So swim/run tomorrow and then instead of Friday rest I'll go for a long ride.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Finding Fear

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
5 x 200- 3:00
5 x 50- Flutter kick
4 x 200- Build by 50
1 x 100- Cool down
total- 2300yds

Ok swim. I'm happy with how I was able to work the main set of 5 200s. Kick sets are boring but I should throw one in every week from here on out. I've seriously neglected that aspect of my swims because I'm an upper body swimmer and the other two parts of a triathlon are all legs. But I'll need my legs come Honolulu so I should get on that. As for the last set, I would start at a cruise and build each 50 faster and faster until the last 50 was a full-on sprint. This is hard because the body resists speeding up mid-set. Its easier to start fast and fade than it is to build. Which is why its a good set. Because its hard mentally and physically to go like that.

Run Day
time- 35:15
distance- 4.2mi

Overall, pretty happy with this time/distance. I still pace like a moron. Went out really hard and dragged back in. Must get better at that. Work work work.
I looked at the Honolulu Tri race map today and succeeded in making myself nervous. I forgot that the swim was a mile, which is three times longer than a sprint distance swim. Not that 1500yds is a huge distance for me, I'm plenty strong enough a swimmer to deal with it, but mentally that sounds like a long way to go before getting on the bike and then going for a run. When the big races in your sport are the Half and Full Ironman you forget than the second distance level is still a major challenge. So most of my run today was motivated by Fear of crashing during the race. My Embarrassed To Mention It Goal for the race is to not walk during the run portion. I know I can finish one way or another. But that's my smallest goal. If I can run, jog, or shuffle through six miles after a mile swim and a 20 mile ride I'll feel accomplished. Not happy, but accomplished. The bigger goal for the run is an 8:30 pace (which helps the Fear because that'll probably hurt a lot). I know my training and I know how hard I'm working. I have to depend on that and trust I've done what I can come race day.
Doesn't stop the Fear though.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Trying to Race Focus

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
4 x 200- Pull- 3:15
4 x 300- 100-5, 7, 9/100- fingertip drag/100- swim w/ kick focus
1 x 100- IM
1 x 100- Cool down

No time standards on anything but the 200s because I forgot my watch at home. D'oh!
Spring break started today and it's strange. Normally, I get up in the pre-light of morning, hit the pool, then go teach. After school I come home and immediately change for go back out for my ride or run. Its a system. A tired-making system, but a system none the less. But on breaks my system is disrupted. I slept in (BONUS!) until about 8:30, got up, got my gear together, and hit the pool. Very different people at the pool at 9am than at 5am. I think that I just missed a Silver Shoes old people aqua aerobics class because by the time I was done I was the youngest person in the water by decades. Yes, decades. At least they didn't get in my way. I would hate to crush 80-year old ribs against the wall during a flip turn. Then I'd have to dodge the body every lap. What a pain.
Swim felt pretty strong if not especially fast. Monday swims aren't about speed, and I do think the pull set and the 300s helped stroke development. I really tried to focus on finishing past my hip and getting a good rotation through the stroke. I'm thinking a lot about what I learned during the Guard Dog Tri swim and how I can apply that to the much longer Honolulu Tri swim. There will be no sprinting, except maybe right at the start to find a hole. I need to develop a long, strong stroke that is quick enough to keep me with the front group but efficient enough that I'm not gassed for the first few miles of the bike, until I an get my heart rate back under control. Lots of long swims in my future. Should probably find time for an open water or two as well, get used the waves and the modified heads-up freestyle I need to use to spot buoys and the swim exit.
Now I have breakfast, which is another spring break bonus. Then I need to mow the lawn, a non-bonus, then chill for a little while before my 25 mile ride this afternoon. See? It's easier to organize when there is work in the middle.

Cycle Day

time- approx. 1:20
distance- 23.77mi

I forget to restart my watch after one of the last red lights so that last time it says is 1:11 and I know that's not right but I'm not sure how not right. So I figured I'd guess a little high tha was if I'm wrong I'll feel quicker next time I do this route.
Rode to school and back today, a ride full of rollers. This ride messes with your head. There is an elevation loss from my house to my school, but it is very subtle. Just small enough that I feel like I'm going nice and fast on my own. It's, for the most part, a big ring ride. I know that helps at least two people understand. The ride back, then, is a very subtle elevation gain. And when put up against the first half of the ride it made me feel very slow. It's a small ring ride. If you look at the road at a lot of points, where there aren't big rollers, you can't see the angle. Its hard to tell until you're actually zipping down it one way thinking, "Hell yeah, if I can keep this pace during the race I'll be fiiiiine," and then slogging up it the other way thinking, "What the hell?"
So that's how the ride went. I tried to push for the entire thing but I think I lost some focus during the second half and my effort level suffered for that. Part of getting my body ready for the Olympic tri is stacking miles and miles on to my legs so they are strong enough to handle th 20 of the race without blowing up. But the other part is stacking fast, hard miles in smaller intervals so that not only will I survive the cycle leg, I'll be able to work it and be competitive in my own head. I have no illusions about hanging with the pack, but I think I can get to a point where not every single person I swim by passes me during the ride. Ride my own race. Must build that intensity and focus now.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Nice Ride And Newness

Ride Day
time- 2:19
distance- 39mi

Today was a beautiful day for a ride. Not a rain cloud was a-looming and the sun was a-shining. Got out and hit it moderately hard, I do need to pace myself on these long rides after all. The most exciting part of the ride was getting to check out how Kratos 2.0 was going to handle.
For those of you just tuning in, where have you been? You're late by like 150 posts. Go to the beginning and catch up. And for those of you with less-than-amazing memories, let us remember what happened a few weeks ago. The bike continued to act up, leading to me take the drastic action of taking it in to The Bike Shop. No really, that's the place's name. Clever, right? "What should we call the bike shop we want to open?" "I dunno, but we should choose a name that lets people know what it is." Yeah..."
Anyway, took it in Thursday and Friday it was ready. They had to replace the chain and along with it the cassette. That's the gears in the back for those of you not up on the lingo (like I was up until a few days ago). When they replaced the cassette they switched the old one, which was geared more for cyclecross, my bike's original purpose, for a new one geared for road racing. And Cycle Dirtbag, Official Mainland Parts Supplier for Team Dirtbag, mailed me a new crankset (that's the gears in the front and the pedal cranks) that was also more race-centric, the original having the same problem as the cassette. I'd give you all the numbers and tooth-count details but you don't care that much, do you? These switches mean that the bike should go faster under the same number of rpms. For me, it means that the lighter gears, the ones easier to pedal, now feel a little bit heavier. So climbing is slightly more effort but on the level I should be quicker and I no longer spin-out, run out of heavy gears and no matter how fast I pedal I'm not actually helping, when descending. All in all, I am now superduper fast!
Ok, not really.
Also, the guys at The Bike Shop removed my top brakes, which means that the only things that make my bike a cyclecross bike are the decals and the frame shape. It also means that I now have room to install my aerobars, which will happen some time this week. And then I'll be superduper fast with Kratos 3.0!
Or not.
BUT I still have skinnier tires I've been saving for the Honolulu Tri, which I'll put on after my Lanikai Sprint. Those are much lighter than the ones currently on the bike and should be faster. THEN I'll be superduper fast.
For sure.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Should Run This Far More Often

Run Day

time- 50 minutes
distance- 5.9mi

Not a bad run today. I'm pleased with the time/distance. But my race is six miles and this is the first time aside from the Great Aloha Run that I've gotten near that distance. This tells me that my middle of the week run should be at least 45 minutes and closer to 50 or an hour and my long weekend run should be over an hour. This will be implemented toot sweet.
Pace felt good until the hill on the way back, where I slowed way down and had trouble getting it back to where I wanted. No fartlek or intervals today, just a straight ahead run. Sometimes you need long runs like that.
The whole previous workout week felt off, Monday was spoiled by rain, Wednesday I rode in the gym, and then Thursday I took off an purpose and yesterday I took off on accident. I hope this week is better but it could be funky. Spring break means no school so I have to wake up, go swim, hang out, then do the other workout. That plus the wife and I are probably going to get a hotel in Waikiki for a night or two for our anniversary means that this week could be a little off as well. Guess I need to work as hard as I can every chance I get, and get strong and mentally tough.

Friday, March 11, 2011

What a Tsunami Warning is Like

Here's the best way to explain a tsunami warning for those of you who haven't been through one, my dear mainland friends, using a natural disaster I expect you might be more familiar with except under different circumstances:
Your drive home is interrupted by the wailing of the earthquake alarms. Normally you only here these for a minute at the beginning of each month as the state tests the system. But this is not then. Your stomach knots just a little, whether you want it to or not. Nothing on the radio yet so you turn on the news as soon as you get home. Doesn't matter which station, all of them have made the all-call to anchors and all of them have the exact same information. No scoops to worry about.
The harried-looking anchor on the screen tells you that the Earthquake Detection Station located in the Pacific ocean registered a large disturbance. From their models and previous experience, this means that and earthquake will hit where you live. In about six hours. And it will be at least a magnitude 7 quake. Well, it could be at least a magnitude 7. It might be less, but better not to worry about that. Be prepared. Here are areas near where you live which are most earthquake-prone. If you live there, move. Grab some stuff and get to one of these safe areas, which are also marked in your Yellow Pages. Remember, this earthquake will probably be here in about six hours.
The anchor will then say that if you do not live in one of the earthquake-prone danger zones on the map you should stay put. Leave the roads clear for evacuating people. This statement is accompanied by on-the-scene footage of grocery stores and gas stations being suddenly slammed with customers ignoring what anchor-guy just said. Target sells out of bottled water and Shell runs out of Regular. You know, because after the earthquake you'll be doing a lot of driving. Footage like this will run all night, along with video of the guys heading towards the earthquake-prone areas, planning to climb the high buildings and either have themselves a serious End of the World party or measure their dicks and see how tough and unafraid they are in the face of possible tragedy.
At home you try to keep calm and relaxed. Chances are good this will be nothing, just like the last time they issued an earthquake warning and nothing happened. Barely shook the chandelier. But its hard to do with the news on, giving the same information over and over, anchors tossing desperately to the traffic guy for the sixth time like maybe now he'll have something insightful to say on live tv. Anchors announcing that in ten minutes they'll be going back to another live interview with one of the experts at the Earthquake Detection Center, who will be asked the same questions and will try not to look annoyed as he give the same answers, the only answers he has. This isn't an exact science. You check the Facebook a lot because the social network seems to have as much information as the news, its how you're keeping tabs on your friends in the area and what their plans are, and because this is how your friends in Hawaii are contacting you to make sure you're ok. Which is nice. But you kind of wonder how they all found out about it so quickly. The earthquake happened at night on Thursday. Your friends are at home watching the news? Or Facebook is the news and one person posted something about the earthquake warning and it spread like ripples in a pond?
Over and over you get the same information. The earthquake will hit at about 3:07am (about 3:07? That awful exact for an "about".). It will be a 7.0, unless its not. From now on, even if you try to sleep, try to relax, there is still that anticipation. You know earthquakes, you know 7.0, and you know that there is a chance that number is way too high. The third know doesn't help keep the first two knows from making your wife nervous enough to pace and clean the house for something to do. Finally, you fill a bunch of water bottle, charge your cell phones, pull out the futon, and switch between Doctor Who on Netflix and the news and eventually fall in to a fitful sleep, broken by earthquake warning sirens and your brain waking itself up to check the news.
You actually manage to sleep through the quake they have been promoting like its Charlie Sheen's latest tweet or Stephanie Meyers latest excretion. It was bigger than the last one, but not big enough to rattle your shelves or move your picture frames.
Better to be safe than sorry, but that night of waiting for an earthquake sucked, didn't it? Ruined your sleep, which impacts the whole next day.
Which brings me to why this is on my workout blog. I'm exhausted and will be skipping my planned swim and run today. The tsunami adventure was compounded for me by the fact that I spent the whole night feeling like I was going to and wanting to puke, before I was finally able to puke at about 5:30am. This, I'm sure, was unrelated to tsunami stress, I think I ate something weird. So sick all night plus tsunami equals missing a day of workout. Yes, this pisses me off.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Stationary Ride

Cycle Day

time- 58 minutes
distance- 25mi

Bloody weather. It looked horrible out today when I got home from school and I expected that any minute the sky would burst and a downpour would pour down. So instead of hoping and riding anyway I went with Sucky Choice #2 and hit the gym for some stationary biking. This is lame. Wish I had a trainer but those things ain't cheap. Yet another addition to the Dirtbag Wishlist of Things That Won't Fit in the House and I Can't Afford. (Except that I'm a teacher and, according to the news, I should be rolling in dough. But I digress.)
So I decided to take advantage of begin held upright and did some single-leg work. Four rotations of two minutes on each leg spread out over the middle 35 minutes of the ride. That kind of hurts. I might have to try it out on the road.
Moving my rest day to tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Lack of Expected Misery

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
4 x 200- 3:00
1 x 50- easy
3 x 250- 3:45
1 x 50- easy
5 x 100- 1:30
1 x 100- Cool down

total- 2400yds

Felt sore today. Not sure if its from the swim yesterday, or from throwing a football at a tree trying to dislodge a ball for fifteen minutes at school. (If I'm honest, dislodge two balls. One the students had gotten wedged up there, and one I got wedged up there trying to knock the first down.) Probably a little of both. Either way, felt sore and the stroke wasn't coming together as nicely as I'd like this am.
Made all my time standards except the second 250. Well, I made it, but right at the time and instead of turning and going like a hardcore swimmer I took fifteen seconds to adjust my cap, which was riding funny all morning. Think its stretching out. Less than comfortable now. Might be time to switch it out. I never used to have this problem.
I never felt fast this morning, but I got a few quick laps in. Need to be more consistent. Sets are going to get longer because I don't feel like I'm preparing myself properly for the race distance. I realize that according to the training plan I'm over-preparing, but I know my swimmer body and I know what I'm doing.

Run Day
time- 25 minutes
distance- approx 3mi

Today was one of those runs that begins with the brain saying, "Oh yeah, this is gonna suck." But that went away rather quickly. Frankly, I was shocked. I very much expected to be hating life and dragging ass for the entire run. I was exhausted after school. So much so that I avoided the couch and bed like they were infected with Tea Party lest I drop in to them and my will to live is drained from my soul. I had to fight through it and get it done.
Set a good pace to start with, decided to try and hold it. I was surprised at my time at the end of my block because it didn't feel like I was running as quickly as that time would suggest. I tried to keep my previous race run in my mind. That time was, for me, really good. Overall it kind of sucked, I don't run fast compared to most triathletes, but for me it was a good quick pace at a lower effort level than I expected. Positive thinking gets me through. (That and a little drug called Charlie Sheen. [I think those jokes have juuuust about worn themselves out now.])
I'm still displeased with my run pace overall and I don't think my training plan is properly preparing me for six miles after a swim and bike, so I'll be modifying it and making my runs longer to suit my slightly slower-than-they-think pace. Not today, of course. But I will. I will! Gotta be stronger. Gotta be quicker.
Also, I'm approximating the distance because my Dirtbag Distance Determining Device (aka my phone) was dead after school. So, like Blinkin on guard duty, I had to guess.

Monday, March 7, 2011

To The Bone

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
5 x 200- (100-5, 7, 9/100- stroke focus)
3 x 300- 4:30
4 x 25- Stroke count reduce by 2 each 25
1 x 100- Cool down
total- 2250yds

The race has refocused me in the water. I realize I was tenth out of the water overall, but my pace was 1:27/100. This is unacceptable to my swim alter-ego, The Tattooed Wake. Must hold a faster pace, even in the mosh-pit traffic of a mass start. I have to get out in the front group, where there is space, and then I need to hold that position. You can't win a triathlon in the water, but you can make the people behind you earn that pass on the bike. And if I can keep improving my bike, well, that puts me that much further ahead of the fast runners.
I meant to make the 300 set a Pull set, but I forgot my paddles at home. So instead I tried to focus on pumping it. And the stroke count 25s went 15, 13, 11, 9. That first one is really high, too high, and the last is fun to do but not fast. Good exercise in stroke lengthening though. Should be around 13 strokes per lap.

Cycle Day
distance- 15.5mi

This ride started out so nice. The clouds were there, but on the horizon. I got on base, chugged around, kept a decent cadence, and was on my way home when they started. The droplets. Oh no. I cast my eyes to the sky and those clouds off on the horizon are now hovering about 100 yards down the road. I stop, take my bike computer off and stick it in the plastic bag I keep in my back pocket for just such an occasion, and get to it. BAM! Soaked. Pouring as hard as I've ever been rained on. Sucks. Speed drops because the road is slick, visibility has dropped, and I don't trust drivers. The ride goes from a nice paced workout to I want to get home now. It was supposed to be 18.5 miles but I cut that last three miles off. Wasn't worth the hammering rain.
Hope it doesn't rain during the run.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Slow Up The Hill

Ride Day- Recovery Week
time- 2:04
distance- 30mi

Pineapple Hill might suck more when I'm not trying to race up it. Cruising and taking my time just means that damn climb feels like it takes forever.
Decent ride today, nothing special. Didn't pump at all, kept a nice, easy, steady pace. Think my cadence is coming along nicely. Yesterday during the race I stayed on the small front ring the whole time and spun fairly quickly. I think this is a good thing.
Tomorrow restarts the pain. The race has helped me reassess what I need to be doing and where focus should be. Swimming needs work. More distance. Must make Tattooed Wake faster and steadier. Need to be able to get in front of the pack and find space.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Guard Dog Tri- The Pictures

Guard Dog Triathlon 3/5/11

The orange knew to fear me
Dirtbag tough guy

Love the shirt

Checking out the swim course

Goodbye! Have good mosh-pitting!

Beach run = Less than Fun

I had no idea I was so reflective

*cue Top Gear theme*

I have tiger's blood!

I will not slip and fall. I will not slip and fall...

And we're off...again!

Tangent Warning: If you look closely at the bike in this picture, you will see a dog in the basket on the back. The lady swam with the dog, put in on her bike, then ran with it. People are crazy.

It's blurry because I'm so fast. (And because of the weather)

Look past the tubby guy in yellow that seems to have beaten me and you can see me coming in for a finish. You can see the clock over the guy in white's shoulder


*(3rd place, 32nd overall)

Triathlon, t-shirt, mug, and water bottle- Priceless*

*plus registration fee

Guard Dog Tri Race Report (AKA: Tiger Blood Race)

Guard Dog Sprint Triathlon
400yd Swim- 5:41
10mi Ride- 24:22
3mi Run- 24:44
Total Time- 59:19
Overall place- 32/93
Division place- 3/6

Today was planned as a training day triathlon. I thought it would be a good idea to get as many races under my trisuit as possible before the Honolulu Olympic Tri in May, so thanks to a generous donation from Dirtbag Best Friend and Dirtbag Best Friend's Wife Who Still Needs A Better Nickname, I was able to register for this North Shore series triathlon. I have to stress, my goal for today was not to race, but only to get some more experience and see where my training was taking me. And I think that worked out rather well.

This was, I think, the smallest event I've been a part of so far. Only 93 participants is a very small field. However, it does not feel all that small when everyone is trying to swim in the same direction at the same time. Mass ocean starts are a mosh pit. It was in the Haleiwa Tri and it was today. Good to do it again and get used to it. The weather wasn't very nice either, so while it wasn't raining yet visibility was limited. Hard to spot those big orange buoys with everyone thrashing about. Eventually I found a little pocket for myself and was able to more or less stay on track and in a straight line. Some dummy behind my kept slapping my ankles, but I think he was just jealous of my Dirtbag Awesomeness.
Long beach run from the swim exit to the transition area. The race organizers originally wanted half the run portion to be a beach run but Nature decided otherwise, flooding a river we would have had to cross. To make up for that, the long transition run. Which is why my T1 time was 3:19. Because running on the beach kind of sucks.
Up and on to the grass, with little time to wash the sand from my feet (so I didn't) and I was off on the bike. Actually, considering I didn't do any transition practice at all leading up to today, I'm quite happy with how quickly I was in and out both times.
By the time the bike portion started it was drizzling-to-raining. This is not as bad as you would think. It wasn't cold (to me, Stitches, Official Super-Awesome Wife of Team Dirtbag, may feel differently) because I was working out and my Tiger Blood was pumping. This, by the way, was the first of many many Charlie Sheen joke I made to myself over the next 24 minutes. His crazy is both motivational and amusing, perfect for a fun little race like this. Which means, I have to admit, I was using a performance enhancing drug: Charlie Sheen. I may have melted someone's face. I passed exactly one person on the ride. A teenager who gave me a dirty look and promptly passed me back. He was on a mountain bike and riding with his head bouncing all over the place, which is not the best way to go fast. So I passed him back. Sucka! And, like normal, I was passed many times by people obviously jealous of my superior swimming skills. I could tell.
This also seems like as good a time as any to mention my wardrobe choice to today's event. I went with a one-piece trisuit I picked up on discount at REI. I planned on wearing either the one-piece or my two-piece but with the top because I figured it would be cold and a little covering would be better than nothing. After consulting with Sister Dirtbag, Official Trainer of Team Dirtbag, and looking at myself in the mirror, I went with the single. Good choice. Nice and tight in th water, helped keep me warm on the bike, through by the end of the run I was working a full Doctor Rockso. Ga-ga-ga-yeah!
T2 went smoothly and I was off on my run. Here is where all that sand on my feet from T1 became a concern. I was worried that I would sandblast my feet and stagger to the finish on bloody stumps. Not so. Actually, the only problem was that I haven't been running in my VFFs without socks so my feet get rubbed raw in some spots. Didn't have that problem during my first two races because I started running without socks during training to get all the rawness out of the way. So I have two pretty good scrapes on my feet, but they'll be fine.
The run was kind of fun, actually. A built dude came out of the transition area right behind my and went by, but then settled in to a perfect pace for me. So I hung out on his hip all the way to the turn-around. I kept expecting him to take off but he never did. He was my run buddy for a while. After the turn one of the race organizers or sponsors (not sure) caught up to me, a tall woman who spent her entire run encouraging people as we passed them. Mostly the women. "Come on, girlfriend! You got it ladies!" So I gasped to her, "Hey, what about the guys?" She told me she would cheer for the girls and I could cheer for the guys. Around the same time I passed my run buddy, he came up on my hip for a minute and I thought we were going to have a fun little footrace to the end, but then he dropped back. I passed a runner! Holy crap. So the cheer lady and I ran right next to each other for around a mile, encouraging each other and other runners. Once the finish came in to view I quickened my stride and finished hard. Not sprint hard, but at a decent clip. If my time is real and it really was a 5k, then I'm plenty pleased with a 24:44. Training is working.
So a good race in the rain, fun time, AND I took third in the Men's 25-29 age group, winning myself a mug. That's pretty badass to me. Never placed in a race before. It was even legit because there were six guys in the division.
I'll post a Pictures blog next. Tomorrow is the end of Recovery Week and then its back to the grind Monday.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Nothing To See Here, Move Along

Swim Day- Recovery Week

1 x 150- Warm-up
2 x 400
1 x 300
1 x 500

total- 1750yds

Again, total aqua cruise this morning. I didn't even pay much attention to the time standards. Stretched the strokes out, tried to keep it clean and nice. Like the ride yesterday there was little to no heart rate raising. It was raining the entire time, which is fun. I could feel the droplets on my back and arms while I was swimming. Feels silly to get my hair wet in the pool shower so I can put my cap on while I'm getting rained on.

Run Day- RW

time- 25 minutes

Didn't track distance today. Didn't run very hard. Ankle twinged a few times, nothing real. Basically healed. It wasn't raining, which was nice. Didn't rain all day after my swim. Started raining again right after I got home from my run. The Workout Gods hath smiled upon me.
Today was the last workout before Saturday's race/workout. Relax tomorrow, then hit it moderately hard Saturday.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Ride Day- Recovery Week

distance- 18.3mi
time- 1:16

Total cruise today. I don't think my heart rate rose any real significant amount the entire ride. Felt kind of vurpy the whole ride too. For those of you not in the know, a vurp is a vomit-burp. You know, when stuff feels backed up juuuust to the top of the throat and any little burp is tasty. Kind of felt like that today during my ride home for some reason. Probably ate too much at lunch.
Anyway, ride felt great, the bike is shifting very clean after getting looked at, and I'm looking forward to stretching my legs Saturday.
Been icing the ankle, its down to the occasional 2, but mostly is completely painless now. Yay.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Wuss Out

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
4 x 100- 1:30
1 x 50- Easy
3 x 200- 3:00
1 x 100- Cool down
total- 1300yds

Such a weak sauce looking workout up there. I have to keep telling myself its recovery week. I don't have a lot to say about it (Shock!). It wasn't great, but my head wasn't in it. The words Recovery Week get in to my head and make it hard to pump. I need to be bumping up the set distances. 200s and 300s aren't going to cut it come Big Race day. More on that on distance and stroke days.
*Injury-ish Update*
Ankle is still tender-ish. Iced a lot yesterday, will today too. Pain isn't that bad, at its highest its probably only a three. But you see, I'm Dirtbag Injury Paranoid. Ankles have given me problems in the past. I have the race this weekend and while it is a training day more than an A race, its still a lot of punishment on that joint. Decided to skip my run today and err on the side of caution. Still no swelling or odd coloration in the area, so I could have run on it. But if its a small problem I'd rather give it another 24 hours to get better. (If you listen closely, right now you can hear Sister Dirtbag, Official Trainer of Team Dirtbag, muttering to her computer, "You puff. Don't be such a wuss. I thought I was supposed to be the girl in the family.") The heel is tender, too.
I hate skipping workouts. At least its only a 20 minute recovery jog. Back at it for real tomorrow.