Monday, November 30, 2009

Up and down weekend

Well, mostly up.

The (sort of) down was Turkey Burnoff. Ran the 5-miler. It was windy (18mph winds) and hilly. I started out too fast. Again. Got passed around mile 3 and couldn't hang onto 1st place. 2nd overall, around 28:15 (5:39 pace and a 5-mile PR, which shows how poorly I ran Vet's Day). Need to find my own pace on these road races. I never seem to have this problem at cross country races. I guess the excitement of running fast overtakes my senses. I need to control that. I'm not sure how many times I've told myself that in the past month...

Biking was good this weekend. Biked around 2 hours on the trainer at HR zones 2-3 and did a long brick on Sunday with Michelle, who is just on fire right now, getting PRs left and right. I hope once I take my break from racing I can come back and dominate at the level she's at right now.

Frozen Slopes 6K is this weekend. I'm excited as I haven't done an XC race for a while... not since September.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Injury fright

Had my first real injury scare since I started training seriously over the last year. Was doing my usual seated rows at half my max weight when on the second set, 4th rep, my back suddenly seized up in pain. For a moment I couldn't breathe without pain and had to stop what I was doing. After 2 minutes the pain lessened and I finished my workout slowly and with lighter weights. Spent the rest of the day icing, stretching and popping Aleves. It feels much better today and seems centered on the right side of the lats, so I think I'm out of the woods in terms of a true back injury. Thank goodness I didn't really screw anything up. It now feels like just a pull and I did the right thing by backing (pardon the pun) off.

I skipped bike spin-ups yesterday because of my back issues. No point in making it worse.

Ran 10 miles with Jordan on the Millenium Trail today. We kept a good recovery pace, with strong winds going against us for more than half the run. I'm getting better at staying strong for longer distances. I hope this means I'm becoming a more balanced long distance runner. I would like to do marathons at some point in my career, but not yet.

Turkey Burnoff 5-miler tomorrow. Was going to do the 10, but I don't feel like running 2 loops of the Seneca course. I train there and have seen enough of it!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wet runnings

Yesterday was a tough day... brutal swim in the AM, very long run in the PM.

The swim was nothing out of the ordinary, distance-wise, but was very intense, with a lot of drills and t-paced 100s and 50s (on 1:30 and :45). My arms felt dead afterward, but a protein bar and recoverite soon brought me back to my normal, stiff self. My form is getting better. I find myself touching my hips with my thumbs, which is a good sign that I'm not keeping my arms straight under the water. Any progress is fantastic the swim!

The run wasn't bad at all. I went for 8 miles at a 6:30 pace, got a little wet in the drizzle, and met up with Jordan and Scott for another 7 miles through Seneca at an easier pace. So I ran 15 miles yesterday... that's a LOT for a Monday workout, at least for me.

Chicken tenders at Famous Dave's. They weren't seasoned as well as usual and were served with spilt honey mustard sauce on 2 of them. I wasn't pleased. But they hit the spot after 15 miles of running!!

Bike tempo intervals tonight. Looking to stay in better control of my heart rate.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Training weekend

A race-less weekend means plenty of time for training.

Saturday I ran long (between 9-10 miles) and at a good pace. Ran with the GRC guys for the first time. Good group, got to know a couple of the guys. Hopefully as I develop I can help the team at races and in training. Biked hills for 1:40:00 on the trainer and got a flat tire (how many people get flats on the trainer?!). I assume it happened because I pinched the resistant wheel too tight against the bike wheel, causing the inner tube to take on too much pressure. Oh well. 100 minutes on the trainer is more than long enough.

Today, ran 6 miles at 6:45 pace for the first 3, 6:30 pace for the final 3. Followed with a 2 hour brick (26 mile bike, 3 mile run). Despite some major problems keeping my handlebars in place, I was able to put forth some good effort on the hills. The run was very fast. Probably could have toned it down a little.

Looking forward to a tough week ahead, lots of swimming and running, as well as the Turkey Burnoff at Seneca.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Track to Columbia

Had my first full track workout last night since probably mid-October, and it was great. So good to be back on the track. I don't remember having that much fun or feeling that awesome at a speed workout. But I'm glad to be back. Did a ladder (4-8-12-16-12-8-4) and maintained a balanced pace throughout (around 5:00-5:05 mile pace). Had Jordan and Stefan to push me too. That helps a lot.

I also had visions in my head during each interval. Images of Jingle All the Way 10K... images of Duathlon Nationals... images of Columbia Tri... all of which I fed off of and pushed the pace even harder. This is how I was before the past few weeks, being able to focus on what is most important. I saw the finish lines, the transition areas, other competitors, and it all motivates me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A day of repair

After the Veterans Day 10K, I was in an ample amount of pain in my toes, calves, quads and hips... not to mention my shoulders and neck. I didn't recover correctly after the race because I was frustrated with my time. Big mistake. Monday was a day of hurt.

But yesterday, Tuesday, was a great day! I lifted in the morning and that seemed to help stretch out the sore muscles. I do a lot of leg and back work in the gym, so that worked well for me. I did a ride in the afternoon... tempo intervals. 5 by 6-minute intervals at zone-3 / tempo pace. Pedaled strong and was able to balance out my heart rate to the appropriate zone. I'm getting better at controlling my pace. That should help me out in longer races. Averaged about 21-21.5 mph for each of the reps.

My evening run was awesome. One of the best in a long time. The bike and weights helped stretch out my legs enough so I had little or no soreness. As a result I was able to push the pace and glide up the hills at Seneca for about 8 miles. Definitely helped my confidence, which was pretty low after Sunday's race.

I feel a renewed sense of dedication to running, in due part to last night's run... it's been a while since I've had one that felt so good. I am excited for track tonight.

Tender Thoughts, vol. 1

This section will be dedicated to chicken tenders and will be updated weekly.

It's been a great week for chicken tenders. Tough race over the weekend means a need for comfort. I find comfort in chicken tenders.

Monday featured Famous Dave's chicken tenders. I like these. They're well-seasoned and crispy on the outside, and the honey mustard dipping sauce is great. Jordan again screwed up the art of chicken tender eating, and he doesn't seem to care to rectify his errors. We got tooted on by a waiter too. That was odd, but it did not take away from the joy my chicken tenders brought me.

Last night was Glory Days tenders. No seasoning, but the chicken itself tastes better, although the honey mustard leaves plenty to be desired. I still prefer Famous Dave's currently. Steve and Jordan even attempted the blasphemous act of stealing a tender from my plate. I will not stand for it. Don't do it again.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Veterans Day 10K

Well, not many ways to classify this race... it was pretty much a fail... sort of. Missed out on my goal by a minute, but PR'ed by a minute.

Overall time -- 35:16. A minute faster than my Pike's Peek time, but I ran such a spectacularly dumb race, it almost feels like I didn't get any faster. I had positive splits, starting out way too fast with a 16:40 first 5K. That's not the way to do it.

I initially told myself that I would follow my Garmin and stick with 5:30/mile. But I got anxious and decided to hang onto some guys who were probably a little too fast for me. I told myself and others I wouldn't do that. I did anyway. I need to wear blinders or something so I have nothing to see but my watch.

And then I had to take a dump around mile 4. That didn't help. At all. Miles 4-6 were pure hell. I suddenly dropped to 6 min/mile after running a pretty even race, when my bowels told me that they weren't pleased. I totally lost confidence but was able to speed up for the last half mile out of desperation. Lesson learned.

So overall, a disappointment but something to build off of. Despite a bad race I still PR'ed by a minute. As a friend noted, this is setting me up for another PR. Looking forward to Jingle All The Way. I feel I'm going to come back in a big way...

Friday, November 13, 2009


This Sunday is the Veteran's Day 10K at Hain's Point in Washington, DC. I generally haven't considered running races to be really key races for myself this year, as I'm mainly training for triathlons. But this race is going to be an exception. I've been eyeing it for some time now.

My aim is to reduce my 10K PR by about 2 minutes. That's 2 minutes in 7 months. Granted, I've gotten a heck of a lot better since April of this year, what with track workouts, fast training partners, a triathlon coach, and a general renewed dedication to being the best I can be.

Going for a 34 minute 10K. My current PR is 36:12. I know I can do it, I just need to run smooth and smart. The nerves will be strong, but this time I'll conquer them and get it done.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Yesterday, Tuesday, was my first bike time trial in about 2 months. 3 miles, keeping my heart rate around 163-165 bpm, at the Germantown Rec Park. In early September I did this in about 8:29, same location, same conditions, same bike.

Started out the TT a little hot, with my HR jumping to 170-175 bpm. Had to cut that down a bit and finally got into a good groove at around the 1/2 mile mark. Pedaled hard and kept it going until mile 3. Ended up with a time of 8:05, a good 24 seconds faster than last time... All the strength training and isolated leg training on the trainer are really starting to pay off. My legs felt stronger, and they can pump faster and harder under the same conditions as my last time trial. Definitely great motivation to keep up the hard work.

Followed it up with a 5.5-mile "run" which entailed Jordan and Steve running 7.5 miles and me stopping several times to shake out my legs and look at the unlit Seneca Creek light show.

Followed of course by chicken tenders. Famous Dave's chicken tenders. They're pretty good. Better than average. Seasoned with spicy salts... Had to teach Jordan how to eat them. He tried to simply eat the tenders. I taught him the fine art of sectioning the tender and enjoying it.

There really is an art to chicken tenders. And I still have much to learn, I'm sure.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lots of biking

Right after the Candy Cane City 5K, I embarked on the longest bike ride I've ever attempted in my life... 3 hours on Beach Drive. It's part of my current base-building phase in my tri training, and I was excited about it. It was what I thought it would be... cold, long, slightly tedious, but smooth. I've been doing shorter stuff, longest rides being no more than 2 hours or so, but this felt good despite the neck pain and sore quads that accompany it.

Kept up a good 19-20 mph clip for about 56 miles. That's half-iron distance there! Also discovered that my handlebars were about 3-4 degrees downturned... no wonder my neck hurt.

Killed a hornet by accident and saw a biker decked out in full triathlon racing gear... Spiuk helmet, Zipp 1080s and all. Overkill for a training ride, I think.

These rides are teaching me to enjoy the biking more. I'm looking forward to the next long ride.

Candy Cane City 5K

I was anticipating this race for quite some time, as it was the first really flat 5K that I had a chance to participate in. My goal was to get under 16:30, with a pipe-dream of sub 16:15. I figured that if I could pull off a 16:33 at the Autism Speaks 5K with all of its rolling hills, I can certainly do better with all the improvements I've made since.

Got to the race, found out that it was going to be pretty competitive, which is good for knocking down one's time. First really cold race that I have run in in a while, around 35 degrees at the start, but I wasn't feeling like my breathing was compromised in any way.

Got off to a rather slow first mile at the front with #1 and #2, first mile was probably around 5:18. Mile 2 felt possibly a little slower even, maybe 5:20. By mile 2, I wasn't feeling really tired... not a good thing more than halfway through a fast race. I felt like I could have kept that pace for 2 more miles. But I was right behind the leader the whole time. We finally picked it up for the last mile and I came through with a 16:25.

I met my goal for the day, but to tell you the truth, I'm not satisfied. I know I'm faster than that and I had no courage to lead the race and set the pace. I recovered quickly and felt I had more to give. All in all, a rather disappointing feeling, despite achieving my 2009 goal of sub 16:30 in 5K. I really need to keep working on my mental game...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

First entry

This will be my introduction. I am using this blog as a way to share my training/racing with those who are curious and also to get in touch with other endurance athletes interested in the same bottom line as me: victory and glory.

I'll attempt to update my training for each day and give observations of triathlon/running related matters pertaining to me or of interest to others.

I hope I can stay committed to this. It seems like it will be fun.