Monthly Archives: March 2014

Snow Day

I am barely clinging onto consciousness right now, so I am going to keep this short. I can honestly say that this has been pretty much the busiest week of my career. And no, I wasn’t in jail. This is good news in a business sense, but painful in a living life sense. Work early, work late, work at home: this has been the rhythm of life lately.

While the grind has been endless, the busy schedule has helped me stay on track with training…for the most part. This is a phenomenon I experienced during grad school: a lack of respite can sometimes create normality out of typical tests of endurance. I’ll take what I can get.

Training is going full steam ahead. It’s week 2 of the half-ironman prep and things seem easier than last week. For runs, I got my usual mix of VO2, threshold, tempo, and long runs in. VO2 came in easier Monday. Thresholds were pretty miserable on Wed, but I blame fatigue on that. Highlight of the week was my long run. I started off on the treadmill with 6 miles at about 8:25. Then I moved on to pace alterations up to 8:00. Finally, I finished off the last four miles on the track with pace down to 7:40 ish. It felt great.

Swim is also picking up. Form is a lot different: finally kicking routinely and I’m getting a better hip rotation in. Put in about 7000y for the week. 1000y TTs are down some to about 15:40. It is fun to once again to smell like the pool; a sure sign that I am a crazy triathlete.

Anyone see the latest episode of Hannibal. That episode again is that you should never trust that person in the next lane, especially when they are trying to race you.

Anyone see the latest episode of Hannibal? That episode is yet more proof that you should never trust the person in the next lane, especially when they are trying to race you. 

As for riding, my legs are feeling great. And by great, I mean I am hurting good with the jump in the volume. Unfortunately, things are much simpler for my groin: my ride today felt like a three hour vasectomy. I might need to invest in some more comfortable shorts, you know…like something with a memory foam pillow built in.

Frank and beans!!!!

Frank and beans!!!!

Once again, I missed the recovery ride this week. I am pretty okay with that. However, I also missed one of my long rides this weekend. Normally, I would find this as devastating as waking up in the morning with my face sewn to the carpet. But not this time.

All winter long I have spent my Saturdays shuttling kids around for their ski lessons. Typically, this is an all-day adventure in frustration and personal sacrifice with moments of utter joy peppered in. However, with such a winter schedule for the last four years, I have never had the energy or opportunity to actually ski with my two oldest children. Thanks to some puppy dog eyes, I was determined to finally ready to end my routine and take the kids out for a day to remember.

 

Spring in Montana.

Spring in Montana.

 

As you can see, we have plenty of snow and winter left here in Montana. Chasing my kids down the slopes, I learned three very important things. First, my kids will be way better skiers than I ever was. Second, my feet and rental ski boots are about as compatible as oil and water. OUCH. Third, my kids need me more than ever in their lives. Despite the pain in my feet and wallet, watching my kids ski (and intermittently perform some epic falls) was some of the most fun I have had in ages. I had planned to get my long ride in after skiing, but the fun of the morning quickly led me to trading my bike and gels for a movie seat and popcorn. Skiing and then Lego movie: now that is a great brick workout.

My legs could use a double couch right now.

My legs could use a double couch right now.

My time on Saturday was another drop in a steadily rising bucket of realization about my triathlon life. The endurance world has taught me a lot and given me a great outlook on work and life. At the same time, the racing experience has become more and more pain and rather than pleasure. That has been a tough pill to swallow for a something I do as I hobby and not as a job. I am considering taking some time away from racing next year, especially as go back to school again. I am going to just play this year out and see how things go. Rest assured, I am never going to stop training. I just may give the racing bib collecting a break for a year.

Sunday was a different day entirely. With a relatively rest day in the bank, I decided to try a new brick workout for me. Starting at 0430 am, I hit the road running, guided only by my headlamp and the stars peeking through the clouds.  My plan was to warm up with three miles. By warm up I mean go faster and faster. Here is how the day started:

Run 1

Run 1

Right after this, I jumped on the bike for a 2:45 ride. The dips in the ride are stretching periods and moments where it felt like I was being kicked in the groin by a velociraptor.

Capture3

To finish off, it was right back to running, again as fast as I could without hitting interval speed. After three miles of that, I finished off with a two mile walk/run with the wife.

Capture1

Despite doing most of a half ironman, I felt great for the rest of the day. I was even able to start and finish a new raised garden box for my family, all while consuming low amounts of caffeine. Of course, I am still passing in and out of consciousness while typing this on the couch.

Despite the pain, this was a very rewarding week. If the trend continues, next week will be only more rewarding.

Long Time

I think this has been the longest hiatus my blog has had. The reason for this is that I have not had a reliable computer for typing at home, but now I am plinking away on my new Yoga 2 with much pleasure. Let the blogging recommence!

Fortunately, my training has been the polar opposite of my blogging. I can’t possibly recount the past month in detail, so I’ll just stick to the highlights. First, I finally finished up the sweet spot base training program from Trainer Road last weekend. That 12 weeks of base has left me feeling better than ever on the bike, which is good because I just started up the half ironman Trainer Road plan. Let’s just say the mascot for training this week is Christian Slater:

pump

I was riding about 3.5 hours total last week, and like my credit card APR, I have tripled that this week. Despite the sore groin, I am loving the longer rides. Today was a 2.5 hour adventure of caffeine starting at 4:45 am. Tomorrow, it’s another similar ride for three hours. And yeah, I am still rocking the Amazon Instant Video like there is no tomorrow. One surprisingly entertaining movie was Escape Plan. The Arnold + Sly combo is like Vodka + Olives: old fashioned and guaranteed to leave your head aching.

Today's prescription.

Today’s prescription.

Running is coming along as well. I’m averaging about 30 miles a week at this point and progress is being made. I did a repeat 5k treadmill by again converting a treadmill at work into an homage to sticky notes. It was painful, but I was able to bump my vdot up back to 44 from 41. My new paces are already feeling good so I eager for my next test. I still haven’t passed my “fastest” running yet, but I am getting a sense of improvement that I haven’t had before.

I’m putting out at least one 13 miler a week. For this week’s long run I decided try a negative split on the treadmill. I started out with 6 miles at my goal race pace (8:30) and then pumped up the speed until I finished 14 at my threshold pace (7:30). Despite doing this on a hotel treadmill that looked more like a Wii fitness accessory than something I wanted to pound on, it felt great. In addition to the long run, I get one session of 400s at VO2, a session of tempo for 30 minutes, and some threshold repeats.

My post long run recovery drink. A warm winter ale from Blackfoot brewery.

My post long run recovery drink. A warm winter ale from Blackfoot brewery.

One workout I have been loving is a treadmill hill repeat I randomly made up. Each interval starts with half a mile at threshold pace with a 2% grade. Then I dial it down to 7 mph but increase the grade to 5% for one minute. Then the grade goes to 6-7% for another minute to simulate the pain on the top of a hill. Finally, I keep the speed and set the grade to zero (or even -2% if the treadmill can do it) for one minute. Then the interval restarts. I hope this gives me a little more speed when I tackle the hills this year. In any case, it’s a fun challenge and a great way to pass the time……that is until I end up falling off the mill someday.

Finally, swimming is perking up. Still slow, but not as slow. Getting out only about 7000y a week, but I am about to pump that up as well. My 1000y time trials are already at last year’s pace, so hopefully I’ll see some improvement with a big swim month.

Now for the new shiny! I did indeed get some new kicks, and I am loving them!

Contrasts

Contrasts

My first ride in them was something like getting a pedicure from Freddy Kruger, but they quickly broke in. The only thing I have noticed is that those fancy carbon soles with the anti-slip pad do squeak something fierce when I pedal. So, while I may sound like a Petsmart coming down the road, at least my feet will look pretty fancy!

The other exciting change in the air is, well, the change in the air. The other day ago, I saw this strange glowing orb in the sky. After a few minutes on Wikipedia, I realized that it was the sun. Indeed, like a Black Sea peninsula, winter is slowly being taken over by spring. Check out the glorious scenery along the Missouri River I enjoyed on Wed this week:

Along the Missouri River outside of Great Falls, MT.

Along the Missouri River outside of Great Falls, MT.

Of course, the Montana spring is one of contrasts. Here is the scenery from Thursday as I drove….no survived is a better word, McDonald Pass on the continental divide outside of Helena, MT.

Snow plus wind is this.

Snow plus wind is this.

But I have about four more weeks before my first sprint, so the weather will certainly be better by then. Oh wait…….

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