Sunday, January 31, 2010

4-hour brick

Michelle and I conquered a 4 hour brick today that was looming over us like Godzilla looms over Monster Island and it's giant praying manti.

3 hour ride with 40+ minutes of hill surges, taking turns on the Kinetic and working up a general appetite for victory and food. Indoors, of course. The weather wouldn't have my bricks be any other way. Hips tired and sore afterward.

1 hour treadmill run at the gym. On adjacent treadmills, we pushed each other after the first half hour. Starting with medium paces, we picked it up to finish the last 5-10 minutes a tempo pace and faster. By the time I was finished, my stomach felt like it had sucked itself into a tightly knit ball and I raged for replenishment. Powerbar and sushi were soon to follow.

Wonderfully done, Michelle (and me), the dreaded 4-hour brick has been beaten.

That 4 hour workout ends my 18 hour build week, the longest weeks-worth of workouts I've ever done in my life. Legs are weary but stronger, and this coming week will be a well-deserved rest. Mr. Chris Sloane valiantly sold me a foam roller which I have used and will continue to use until my hamstring and quads are in just-like-new form.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Almost there!

3 weeks of build is ALMOST over. Only today and tomorrow left!

Friday evening I did a bike super-workout. 2 workouts in one sitting, 40 minutes of trainer hills followed by 40 minutes of dominant leg. The new bike trainer works GREAT, and makes the hills feel almost like real hills. Was really pushing my heart rate into the 5A zone on the hills and was breathing and sweating hard. Even when followed by an easier dominant leg workout, I still felt intense burn and it gave me all I could handle. I had a clean towel before the ride and a towel that smelled like rotten cheetos afterward (evidently sweat from my head smells like bad cheese snacks?).

This AM had a 12 degree Fahrenheit, long tempo interval run with Scott. 11 miles on the Millenium trail, same as last week, but did the trail in reverse to do tempos uphill instead of downhill. Averaged my normal tempo pace of 5:45 and pushed the HR to the zone 3 limits. I really like this run as my long run of the weekend. The tempos make it interesting and quite a bit more difficult. Followed the run with a 90 minute trainer ride, and will do an hour when I get back from the Mustang show this afternoon.

Friday, January 29, 2010


After Wednesday's track workout, I was feeling it in my hamstrings... approaching 3 weeks of little recovery is catching up to my legs, and my hammies and quads are sore. Gotta keep pushing... only 3 more days of effort until the recovery week!

Yesterday was weights in the AM, where I added in some new ab/core work on the medicine ball. I still feel it! Ran a quick mile to loosen up the legs prior to lifting and that helped quite a bit. Made sure I ate lean, high-protein foods throughout the day so I would be ready for another hills explosion-blast-fest in the afternoon.

So, afternoon was a hill workout with Michelle! Same place, in a cornfield near the Germantown Rec Center. And it turned out to be another leg-ripping, lung-squeezing, death-inducing slugfest in the land of corn. 10 hill climbs at all-out effort, preceded and followed by a not-so-easy trail run. I love this workout. I actually hate it... but I love it. Michelle was solid also... we truly RAN FURIOUSLY!

Fantastic swim this AM. 12x100 at 1:26 pace. That is huge. I had been stuck on 1:30 pace until the last few weeks, when my time started decreasing by about a second a week, so now I'm keeping a 1:26-27 pace consistently, as opposed to before when I wavered between 1:25 and 1:30. PROGRESS!

Hills on the bike this afternoon.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Forgive me, hamstrings and quads.

Yesterday I met up with my MCRRC pals for track. I originally wanted to do 800s or 1000s, but having done mile repeats the week before and two longer runs in the past 4 days, I decided to go with the scheduled 10x400 workout. I wanted to make it tougher though. As per Michelle's suggestion, I cut the recoveries in half, from 400 to 200. MCRRC workouts usually have at least 400 recoveries, but I proposed the 200s to Scott, Steve and Jamie and they agreed, setting up a tough workout. I want to do what the top runners in GRC or college runners do. That will make me faster.

I aimed to run 72s and did the first two in 72 and 71, but that felt a little slow, so I cut it down to 69s for the last 8. That speed plus the shorter than usual recoveries (for me) definitely created a burn in my hamstrings and quads and they complained vehemently. GOOD! I was hoping for that. And I was still able to keep the 4:36 pace despite the pain. And despite colliding with stubborn lane 1 users.

The other guys ran well too and Scott upstaged me with some extra 200s at the end!

Today and Friday have lots of hills on tap and a t-pace swim workout. I accept the challenge. I hope my quads do as well.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I accept the challenge.

In the immortal words of rock warrier Jon Mikl Thor, I accept the challenge. Watch this video to understand.

The challenge of an 18 hour training week.

Today started with a t-pace 1-2-3-4-4-3-2-1 pyramid swim. I kept the pace around 1:28-1:30 pace, right on target for longer distances. Workout was tough but I kept images of rivals and wise words from training partners in my mind as I pushed through it. I'm feeling comfortable in the water again. I have my feel for the water back.

Ran this afternoon, and intended to go out easy and back around tempo pace. Legs were shot from the brick yesterday though so I went out easy and came back maybe at zone 2 pace, but far from tempo. I still picked up the pace as planned, so not all was lost. Ran about an hour, which is a little short for the workout, but tonight I'll recover well so I can ATTACK the cruise intervals on the bike on my new trainer.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Gloomy Sunday

I came into today pumped about a 3 hour brick with Michelle that was to include lots of hills and strain on the Germantown loop. The weather forecast was holding strong, with rain not starting until the afternoon...

And that was where the weathermen were WRONG! Even The Chicken Tender Runner did a better job of predicting the weather. I stepped outside with my bike at 8:20 and looked at the clouds... they certainly didn't look like pre-rain clouds... they looked pregnant with rain. So I stuffed my bike in my car, sighed audibly, and walked back into the apartment to grab the bike trainer... just in case, as I had a bad feeling about the weather conditions. Got to Germantown Rec park and my suspicions were quickly realized... rain! DAMNATION! That is the 5th straight Sunday brick that I have had to miss because of weather. I sank deep into unholy rage and fury. Michelle showed up with similar feelings and we realized that another indoor brick was what it had to come to. 2:15 bike with isolated leg workout mixed in (wore my road pants instead of my "training" pants so my bony rear hurt), and a solid :45 run with hill attacks (as The Red Fox would say).

So, another brick, another incomplete feeling inside. I just need to get on the road for both the bike and run, not just the run. The road has a different feel. I hope my new trainer will feel more road-like so these indoor bricks, while fun, stop causing me to feel like I didn't do a full workout.

Or maybe the weather can put up and shut up.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hills and Saturday Triathlon

It has been and will end up being a tough last half of the week.

Thursday, after weights in the AM, met up with Michelle for hill work on the Schaefer Farm bike trails. Found a steep hill with good length and POUNDED it ten times. First good hill workout for me since high school! It burned so good. Michelle did great too, keeping me within reach and gave me a run for my money on the last one (although she had a head start... sorry!). Was REALLY pleased with the workout. Looking forward to the next one.

Friday, did bike trainer hills in the evening, but was feeling a little fatigued from the Thursday hills, so cut the workout about 20 minutes short. Am getting to the point where I don't worry/feel ashamed if I need to skip or cut a workout short. I'm in good enough shape to be smart and take care of my body.

Saturday was another drawn-out triathlon! I love these days! Started with a great run in the AM with Scott and Alex Booth, who I recently met. We ran Millenium Trail, cruise intervals (4x6 minute tempo pace) within the 10.7 mile run. I got my tempo pace to under 5:45, and I was pretty tight from the hill workouts the previous days. That's good enough for me now though. Alex stayed close and Scott regularly ran under 6 minutes. Good run for all. Biked for 100 minutes around noon, and was able to do 40K in 1:18 on a very hilly course (Germantown loop). Need to be on the road more, it's much tougher than the trainer. Finished the day with an EXCELLENT swim, t-paced 100s, and was able to consistently swim better than 1:30, more around 1:26. That's a breakthrough for me as I have had trouble consistently swimming any single pace between 1:30 and 1:25. My feel for the water is improving!

Tomorrow is a difficult brick with Michelle followed by an endurance swim. 2 triathlons in 2 days again!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mile intervals

I met with GRC for a mile repeat workout the B-CC track. Good-sized group, split into two... the sub-5 pace milers and the sub 5:15 pace milers. I of course slotted into the 5:15 group, with Charlie Ban, Dave and Mike Cotterell(sp?). We did descending miles in 5:18, 5:12, 5:08, and I felt awesome. I haven't done that fast of a mile interval workout in... well... ever! So it might have been a bit of a shock on the body at the time, but it was certainly within my current physical capabilities.

However on the 4th mile, I followed Dave out at a 4:55(?) / Jake Klim clip, which proved to be a major mistake, as I had to drop out at the 800 mark... it was just too fast for a 4th interval, and my breathing wasn't keeping up. I felt and still feel embarassed for dropping out, but I've come to terms with the fact that the pace was indeed too fast at the time and I should have kept it at 5:08 or just slightly faster... not over 10 seconds faster! Inexperience. I should have at least finished the mile, but what's done is done... I'm happy with the workout overall, though, but it would have been nice if it ended on a higher note.

Did weights this AM with Michelle, have been inspired by her to do more core strengthening exercises. Hill run this afternoon!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Back to it

I took yesterday off from biking and strenuous training due to a minor illness, which I believe was caused by an intense weekend of training. I think it helped out, as today I feel much better. I can probably resume my increased training workload.

I ran last night with the boys from Glory Days for about 7.5 miles at a 7:30 pace (picked it up at the end). Free wings on Steve's vocal lady-friend and chicken tenders sealed the deal on a good run.

Did a dominant-leg bike workout this AM instead of swimming. I have a tough GRC mile repeat track workout tonight, so it's best to get the bike out of the way in the AM so I have time to recover for this evening.

Riding with Dirk this past weekend really has made me think again about my biking. While I have improved, I clearly have a ways to go before I can match up with an elite multisport athlete. Hopefully my new trainer purchase will help me out.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

3rd Triathlon!

I completed another day-spanning triathlon, but this was a much lower intensity one. Swam 1800m in the morning, pyramid style, but cut out a 400 due to time constraints. Still t-paced it through and felt pretty good considering I had a sore throat in the morning (probably due to my intense weekend... will watch my effort this week...). Ran 8 miles mid-day on Schaefer bike trail, the out-back workout that I did last week with Chris Sloane. I ran the easy half with Steve and the hard half on my own. I ran without music, which allowed me to expand my mind... and focus on more than just the run. I thought of rivals, training partners, successes and failures, past, present and future. It motivated me...

Finished the day with a leisurely and death-defying ride with Michelle around the Germantown rec area. Approx. 20 miles or so.

So that finishes the third triathlon in three days.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Saturday and Sunday Triathlons

Yes, I completed two "triathlons" in two days!

Saturday began with the Shooting Starr 4-miler, where I raced with GRCers Dirk and Patrick Murphy, and the usual MCRRC gang. Dirk took first (edged out Robbie Wade although both definitely took it easy!), I took 3rd and Patrick 4th. Jordan ran well for 5th and Scott again kept improving, with another top 10 finish. Michelle, goes without saying, won the women's side by almost 2 minutes. Beastly performances by all. I got a cramp with half a mile left but was able to not slow up too much. I felt I ran even, which is what I'm trying to practice in these races, along with trying to negative split. Finish time was 22:15 (5:33/mile, just a bit slower than my JAW10K pace), about a 4 minute improvement from last year!!!

I knew it was going to be a Chicken Tender Runner type of race when the race director gave out rubber chickens to runners...

Swam immediately afterward for about 2000m at the Wilson long course pool with Dirk. Fantastic pool, love the long course. Followed that with a 42K and (for me, at least) hard bike ride, where Dirk pulled me along. He wasn't even close to trying and I was reaching my limit at several points on the ride. I have a ways to go on the bike, but have improved a lot. Was able to do the ride in 1:12-:13, which is only 5-6 minutes slower than my race pace on a flatter course. That ended the Saturday triathlon.

Sunday started with an indoor brick with Michelle, we did bike trainer hills for 90 minutes and an hour treadmill run (poor weather) at 7:00 pace, slight grade. Bike was tough for both of us, but we pushed hard. Swam later in the day to complete the Sunday triathlon.

I was dead tired Sunday night. This week is going to be another tough one, full of speed/power/endurance workouts.

Run Furiously!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Chicken Tender Runner = Speedy? Not so fast.

I met up with Dirk and Murat for a FAST track workout last night. We did a 2-4-6-8-6-4-2 pyramid, with the 200s being a distance that I have not run in a long time. My main goal of the night was to stay within shouting distance of Dirk and Murat, no small task when Dirk is uncatchable in 10K and Murat ran a 4:18 mile last week.

And no doubt, I couldn't catch them for the first 3 intervals... would have been embarassing if I didn't know how fast they are. But by the time we got to the 800 and the last 6-4-2, I was beginning to feel a second wind... and to my surprise, I was able to keep Dirk close. And I kept getting faster for the last 3 intervals. I improved my 600 by 3 seconds, my 400 by 5 seconds and my 200 by 5 seconds as well. I got 29 seconds for the last 200! Probably my fastest 200m ever, including high school. The longer the better for me, distance-wise, but these sprint workouts definitely have a purpose and I'm glad I did better than I expected.

So I was feeling all high and mighty until this morning, when my training amiga Michelle pointed out that she ran a 26-second 200. Are you kidding me??

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The build begins

Monday marked the first day of my build phase of my tri training. Essentially, I'm starting to do more intense speed and power based workouts. My runs will incorporate pickups and tempo intervals, bike workouts will be greater in intensity, and swim workouts will have longer t-paced intervals. I've been greatly anticipating this phase, as my endurance has gone way up in swimming and biking during the previous base-building phase. This is when I get faster.

Monday had a tough pyramid swim, 100-200-300-400-400-300-200-100 all at 1:26-30 t-pace. I haven't done many t-pace intervals over 200m, so doing the 300 and 400 sequentially was new and difficult. But it all went better than I planned. Afternoon run with Scott was about 80 minutes, with 4x6min tempo intervals in the middle.

Tuesday had the usual weights in the morning, and a new bike interval workout in the afternoon. My previous interval workouts called for 5x6min at HR zone 3/tempo pace. These started getting easy to maintain toward the end of the base-building period. So I'm now doing my intervals at zone 4-5a pace, which is sub-threshold and threshold, more around race pace. And it was HARD! I was begging, pleading with my watch to hit 6:00:00 and my body was yearning to quit. I ignored it all and focused on my heart rate and THE MASTER OF THE FLYING GUILLOTINE on television. Good kung fu movie. Finished the workout, felt strong and tired, great combination. Went on an "easy" 6-7 mile run with Jordan and Jamie afterward.

Followed by, of course, chicken tenders. Fantastic!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Couldn't think of a better title for this weekend because it was such a hodgepodge of activity. Jordan Snyder will appreciate my use of hodgepodge when he reads this.

Went on a rare morning run with Jordan, Scott and The Red Fox. It had just snowed mere hours earlier, so the snow was light and fluffy, which was cool, except for the fact that it covered sheets of thick, unforgiving ice on the trails we were to run on. We ran parts of Beach Drive, through Kensington, previously unknown (to me) neighborhoods and back to Jordan's place. I had my first officially recorded fall, when I was going through a turn on the path and announced "oh no you guys, a turn," and fell right on my backside, nearly achieving another first... the splits. Ouch, close call. Finished with 9 miles. Need to do more morning runs.

Saturday had a moderately tough swim, possibly the last "easy" workout in a while as I start my speed/power work this week. Descending 100s, nothing terrible. Bike trainer spinups in the evening.

And then along came Sunday. Met up with the GRC guys, got to finally reunite with former MAC-conference rival and now GRC celebrity Towpath. Thought I would go around 10 miles at a 7:30 clip. Ended up running the longest I have run in the past 6-7 months, 14.5 miles at 6:45 (give and take) clip. And, well, it didn't feel so bad. Aside from achy hips and ankles and blistery toes (all of which are to be expected), I felt pretty good that I was able to keep that pace the entire time... through a not-totally-flat route. It helps having a bunch of really fast people in the group. I felt motivated the entire time. I feel more confident about doing these longer runs. Should help my mileage totals improve this year.

The Chicken Tender Runner eagerly anticipates Thursday's and Friday's 40+ degree highs.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A fine track attack

I joined up with my usual running mates for my first track workouts in 3 weeks (or since my car accident) and I was a little nervous about how out of shape I was. Jordan, Scott and I did 4xmile and I pretty much surprised myself. I did the first one slower as planned, and the next three were quite a bit faster, running 5:20, 5:16 and 5:12 for the last three. And I definitely felt like I was holding back... which is pretty sweet, I like to know I can get those times without exerting great effort. I'm excited to be starting up my track workouts again, now that I know I'm in pretty good shape still.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


This is.

Man, it's still cold.

I had to bike indoors AGAIN yesterday, a day that I was supposed to do a 3-mile time trial (and was looking forward to it). So instead I did a 50 min. spin around 20-20.5 mph. I worry that I'll lose my feel for the road if I don't get back out there soon. I ought to just bite the bullet and get out there. The cold wind is just so discouraging on the bike.

Had a fine swim this AM, long and easy sets (400-400-800-400-400) and I feel like I'm regaining my "feel" for the water, I wasn't struggling to keep a consistent pace like I've been the past few weeks.

But, dang, I'm awfully tired of this freeze!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Long weekend, poor swim.

Saturday I went for a 9 mile run with Jordan and a group of GRCers from the Georgetown store. Good run, we picked it up for the second half and finished with a really tough uphill. It felt like I was biking up Schaefer Road, with no more gears to switch to... nothing but searing quads and a pounding heart. Finished the day with a 2 hour trainer ride.

Sunday was a 4 hour training day. Started out the day with a three hour brick, 2:30 on the bike and :30 on the run. Biked indoors and ran outdoors. I'm feeling like I could up the intensity on the long rides, as I can bike longer and not feel as tired as before. No hip pain or quad fatigue. I'm getting stronger! I had an afternoon 4-mile run followed by a swim. I don't really ever swim in the afternoon, and the fatigue from my previous workouts caught up to me. I had variable 200s on the schedule but really labored through them. I stopped about 600 meters short as I didn't want to force myself and risk injury. I have a swim tomorrow and if I can't have a good workout today, I might as well recover and have a great workout tomorrow. I'm trying to be smarter about this whole multisport thing.