Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chicken Tender vs. Beastman

Workouts since Friday:

Friday 10/22 -- Hill workout at Black Hills Regional park with Michelle. Long winding uphills, about .21 miles long, something like that. Ran around 10k pace for each, and it was really hard. By the last one, my legs were wobbling like bowling pins that were struck lightly by a heavy ball.

Saturday 10/23 -- Swam with Michelle and Dirk, around 3000y with a main set of 4x300 descend (4:25, 4:18, 4:10, 4:05), didn't feel great but it got better as the swim progressed. Michelle had her longest swim since starting up again. Biked with Dirk afterward for about 40k in the hilly farmy-lands, shakeout ride with some hill power climbs.

Sunday 10/24 -- Ran long in the morning with Michelle at a very memorable place for me... Greenway trail heading south after Riffleford Road. Way back when, I ran a marathon (28.5 miles) on this trail, after a month of "training". I finished the dang thing and got 9th, but that's a testament to the lack of competition more than anything else! Anyway, in this portion of trail, my good pal Scotty Koonce tore away from me as I struggled to keep up. That's where I met that flannel-wearing goon. And had the most sufferfestacular run/race of my life. Ah, memories. And a primary reason I am boycotting marathon racing. For a long time. Michelle and I ran there, 90 minutes, and it went much better this time. She fell down like 503 times though. In the afternoon I rode a 40k MacArthur/Falls/Oaklyn route with Dirk, going hard and heavy, averaging nearly 23.5 mph, while outputting around 250 watts average during each lead (paceline with alternating 2 mile leads, the usual). I was a little tired at first but woke up halfway through and averaged over 25 mph for the last 10k. We reminisced on how just earlier this year, I was amazed that I could average 22 mph barely hanging onto Dirk's wheel. It's nice to improve.

Monday 10/25 -- Lifted some weights and biked nice and easy with Michelle. Had a good Columbia chat. Met Dirk later for a Prep CUBU masters swim. Main sets of 8x125 and a block of 4x100 on 1:35, 4x100 descend (starting at 1:20) and 2x100 VO2 max effort. We did the descends in under 1:16 for the last 3. On the 2x100, I hit 1:09 and 1:09!! That must be my fastest 100y swim ever. No blocks or flipturns either. Not bad. Dirk hit 1:12 and 1:12 for both, leading to disappointment on his part for not beating me and my colorful swim suit -- maybe next time, Beastman. We both swam pretty darn fast though (for us). Total of 3700y or so.

Our battle in the water. I was Godzilla this time. Dirk was the crab. Accurate representation.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I just discovered Megadeth and I wonder why I never discovered it before. I remember renting an album from the library when I was a mere Nugget but wasn't pleased. I don't know why. But I by chance listened to Symphony of Destruction this morning, and I was thoroughly impressed. I started listening to it and I instantly thought of my next workout, hills this afternoon. Any song that brings out the fury or makes me look forward to PAIN is what I put on my music player. Welcome, Megadeth.

I had a good track workout Wednesday evening... one that a wise Fox assigned to me, 6x1600 (4 at 10k pace, 2 at cutdown). It sounded tough and boy, wow, it was. I ran with new teammate Ryan Hanson, who is getting back into the swing of things (and blast it, another guy whose "getting back into it" pace is my race pace... BLAST!!), and he hung onto my shoulder for the miles. I was supposed to start cutting down at mile 5, but my legs weren't listening... I cut down by 3 seconds on #3. I wasn't thinking of it... just letting my legs do the work. They wanted to go faster and I couldn't stop them! Thanks to that I was pretty tired after #5, so Jake had me barrel through the last one as an 800, starting with a 70-second 400. Splits were 5:17, 5:16, 5:13, 5:11, 5:09, 2:22.

I'm happy enough with those splits, and pleased I stuck to pace for the first two. I felt after the first one that if I had not stopped, I could have kept that pace for a long time. 6.2 miles? Maybe! It felt good though and I hit it on the first try, which is what I need to master. Nice to see I could cut down to 5:09 at mile 5, and put in 71s for the last 800 (that seemed to simulate the pain I'll feel at mile 6).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wow, I really like swimming

Yeah, I do. I look forward to both masters workouts with Dirk and GISC swims with Michelle. It's better to be able to swim with friends/training partners, but I'm finding a ton of enjoyment in swimming in general. I view it as a sport by itself now, not just a part of a triathlon... I now want to become a good swimmer, not simply a good triathlete. That can only help my triathlon training and racing... respecting each leg as an individual sport, and putting them together on race day.

Past few swim workouts have been indicators of my swimming fitness. At the last masters workout on Monday, Dirk and I without fail broke 1:20/100y pace on every rep. On a set of 10x125s with me leading, we hit 1:18-1:20, with Dirk getting 1:16 and faster on the last couple. When Dirk led a later set with 100s, we again went sub 1:20, with me hitting 1:16s toward the end. To be able to do this consistently is huge. That used to be my fastest pace, 1:20.

That's a sub-22 1500m pace. If I can hit 21:30 or better at Columbia, it'll put me in a great position to keep with the leaders on the bike, setting me up nicely for a run that favors a hill lover like myself. I'm keeping this scenario in mind as I swim. I'd really like to make it happen.

My top-end speed is getting up there too, as I sprinted sub-:35 on a 6x50 set for all 6 (hit :32 on the last one) on Tuesday, 10 hours after the aforementioned Masters swim.

I'm a little surprised at my development, because I stalled for several months in my development over the late spring and summer. Getting one little hint about my form however seemed to make a GIGANTIC difference, as my stroke count has dropped by 4+ strokes per 25y, thanks to Frank with Curl Burke. Since then my times have dropped and swimming suddenly is fun and RELAXING, even when I'm pushing hard.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

800s and more 800s

I checked my Krazy for Kittens calendar (that I'm using for my 10k training schedule) yesterday morning and I saw something I sort of dreaded. 10x800 w/ 300m recoveries as the track workout for Wednesday evening. That dastardly Red Fox was either trying to kill me or committed an act of running genius. I decided to accept both as reasons why he scheduled me to do this workout, he has mentioned before he wants to beat me up and he has extended help in trying to get me to 32:45 for Vet's Day 10k. Workout called for a cutdown, with the first 5 800s at 10k pace or so (2:38-40) and cut down the last 5. Start easier, get faster. 300m recoveries, which is a change from my usual 400m.

Mile warmup, started out behind Jordan to get in the 10k pace. We ran the first one a little slow, in the low 2:40s, and I broke off as I had shorter recoveries than the group. I ran pretty balanced, considering I was doing it alone!

My splits were 2:42, 2:35, 2:36, 2:37, 2:36, 2:32, 2:33, 2:30, 2:30, 2:28. So I stayed right on target, more or less, with the first 5 and cut down well with the last 5. I probably went a little fast on the last one, but I had to cut down... not cut up!

Anyway, a big confidence builder, as I felt very strong, and the last 3, although my stomach felt a little funny, did not feel forced. It felt almost as if my legs were carrying me to those times. I just went with it, and it turned out all right! A 32:45 at Vet's Day doesn't seem too unfathomable now.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cape Henlopen Duathlon

Michelle and I bombed laterally to Lewes, DE to compete in both of our last multisport race of the year, the Cape Henlopen Duathlon. I did the triathlon last year with typical 2009 results... mediocre swim, mediocre bike, satisfactory run. What would a 2010 foray at Cape Henlopen bring?!?! Well, I hope better results!

Note, night before Michelle and I stayed at the house of one of the most powerful cyclists I know, Paul, and we had quite possibly the best pre-race meal ever: A huge steaming pot of slop. It had brown rice, potatoes, chicken, different kinds of beans, spinach and mushrooms, and probably more stuff that I don't remember. It was an awesome meal.

Race morning, good weather, a little chilly, which is good for a duathlon. Don't want to get too hot, right? Right. Porta-potty evacuation went well, except for the one potty that everyone avoided because someone went all over the seat. Come on, people. I lined up with Michelle and Erik Reitinger, who finished a spot in front of me at that weird Doylestown Duathlon. Pleasantries exchanged and memories conjured, it was time to race!

Run 1 had me out in front, running 5:15 average for 1.5 miles, and it felt comfortable. Had Erik and James Braconnier right behind me, but I took an extra step to get into T1 first and have the fastest Run 1 on the day.

I also had the fastest T1, so I was out on the bike first. That didn't last. Erik, a far superior biker, charged ahead and I fumbled with my shoes on the bike. I let him get about 50 metersahead and that was a mistake. I ended up getting further and further behind as the ride went on. However, I was getting further and further AHEAD of everyone else. From 2 miles in, I never saw anyone behind me. I did see Erik in front of me until the last 3 miles, when he built up his 2 minute lead into T2. I averaged 23.5 mph and 4th fastest split, decent pace considering I was alone and there was a noticeable headwind. Racked 002 and started the run.

However, it was a weird run. Erik was 2 minutes ahead of me, and I knew he wasn't much slower than me... at the same time I was at least 90 seconds ahead of the guy behind me. I decided to put in a hard run but not kill myself and risk injury... I'd have to kill myself to catch Erik, so I put in 5:45 pace for 5k and finished 2nd overall (fastest 5k run time also)! In the money too, $100, my first multisport cash prize. Cool!

Michelle flatted out of T1 and took way too long to change her tire, but she put in a mighty 22 mph (effortless, she says) and passed Leslie Randall, who was leading thanks to Michelle's bike mishap, at mile 1 of the run... and CRUSHED her, along with many male souls as she cruised past them on the run to put in the 4th best run split in the race, coming in at an (inaccurate) 18th overall... if she had those 5-7 minutes back she'd be top 6. Scary. 1st female and $150 to the lady with the pigtails.

I think that was a great way to end the season for both of us. For me, I am incredibly anxious to pound away on the bike this winter and not get bashed on the bike anymore as I was by Erik at this race. I'm looking to make 24.5-25 mph a reality during this offseason.

FURIOUS FIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

One more race

This weekend is my last multisport race of the year and a venue I raced at last year, at Cape Henlopen in Delaware. I did the triathlon last year but I'm doing the duathlon this year, as I didn't really like the way the tri is set up and I just want to get in one last duathlon before the year is over.

So Saturday, Michelle and I will BOMB down to Lewes and attempt to go for the double win. I'll have stiff competition in Erik Reitinger, who beat me at Doylestown. This time though I'll make it a closer race by NOT falling off my bike (yeah... that wasn't pretty). It'll be a fun and quick race, and hopefully I'll come out with a win or podium! We accept the challenge!!!!!!!

Good luck to my teammates at Chicago. They've been working really hard for this and I'm sure they'll all be able to really show the fruits of their training.

It'll be a weekend of storming the roads of Lewes and Chicago. Sort of like this:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Time to run!

I made a return to the track for my first hard running workout since a week out from Nation's in early September. For those who've had to hear my complaining, my running has NOT been in form for a little while now. On all my easy runs I've felt stiff and overall not relaxed. I've been running like Godzilla:

I do fine after tapering, but unlike my biking and swimming, my running just hasn't been great. I want to consistently feel happy with my running. However, last night on a run with THA BOYZ, I felt amazingly loose and limber... I haven't felt that good in a while. I hoped it would continue into the workout tonight, 4x1600 at MCRRC's practice.

My goal was cutting down, 5:20, 5:17, 5:14, 5:10 -- my first step toward my goal of 32:45 at Veteran's Day 10k in November. Jordan and the rest were doing 10x400, so I was pretty much alone, save for one lap with them each rep.

I ended up having one of my best mile repeat workouts ever!! I didn't quite follow the cutdown plan as I ran 5:10, 5:15, 5:07, 5:05! I wish I had been a little more consistent and didn't drop to 5:15 on the second, but I had no one in front of me for any of that one. Still, finishing sub-5:10 on the last two and still feeling VERY strong, definitely made me feel pretty good. I don't think I've run that well, being in that much control, in a good while.

I felt neither stiff nor tired. Just the opposite. I'm feeling in surprisingly great running shape, and the confidence in my running has returned. I'm ready to push my limits again in my quest for 32:45.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Myrtle Beach race report

My 2nd racing season of 2010 is coming to a close... a strong success at Nation's, a more-or-less fail at Philly (which reminds me, I'm way overdue with a race report), what would Myrtle Beach bring?

Not much, actually. Turned out to be a really weird race. The water was FULL of E. Coli so the race director cancelled the swim on race morning, replacing it with a 100m dash from the swim exit to transition, with racers starting randomly in line 5 seconds apart. I was really mad about the swim being cancelled. I've gotten faster and really wanted to show it.

So it became... hmm... not a duathlon... er.... uh, I don't know what to call it. It was a bike and run in time trial style. For now, until USAT decides on a name for this kind of race, we'll just call it a TTathlon.

Uh oh, time trial. My last time trial at Church Creek was a disaster. Hopefully I can produce something better on the bike this time around. Myself, Dirk, Andy Blatecky and Patrick Serfass started together near the back of the line so that we could try to stick together on the bike. I got out there with Blatecky and Serfass caught up soon after and they started riding away from
me. Where's Dirk? Turns out he had a minor problem and had to delay his bike leg for 15 seconds to repair the headset on his bike. I only saw him at turn-arounds, meaning that I was pretty much alone for the duration of the bike. Too bad, I bet both Dirk and I could have gone faster if we were riding side by side.

It was a tough ride. 12-15 mph headwind with gusts, along highway with very few hills, but a ton of false flats. Not ideal for a non-power cyclist like myself. The tailwinds were on the slight downhills and the headwinds were on the slight ups, which isn't ideal either. Still, I sallied forth, passing a ton of people who started in front of me, and didn't get passed, save by Blatecky and Serfass at the beginning. I decided early on I needed to really pedal hard to keep up and at the same time I wanted to see what kind of speed I could produce on a difficult course like that, so I went for it. Averaged 24.2 mph, 8th overall bike, only 3 seconds slower than Dirk, which is a benchmark for me.

I hopped off the bike in transition and CRAP, my legs were tired. Too much exerted on the bike. I struggled through the first 2 miles and wasn't able to take down water... I could have if I aimed the cups toward my mouth. Oops. Dehydration set in... and my pace slowed. 4 miles in I was suffering. I managed to pick up the pace for the last mile, but too little, too slow, too late. I put forth a MISERABLE time averaging over 6:30/mile, and the 5th overall run split. Ugh. How shameful!

I came in 5th overall, 4th male. Cool thing is that Dirk won and DC Tri swept the podium... Dirk 1st, Serfass 2nd, Blatecky 3rd, myself 4th! Great day for the club. Not sure who that girl is who beat me, but she was a force on the bike. I'm still shocked about that. I've never seen a female be that powerful in those conditions. It was something else.

What do I take from this race? Well I'm REALLY happy with my bike. I felt pretty good and my speed was great in the conditions... being on the same level as Dirk has been a goal of mine. I just need to work on my muscular endurance this winter and make that speed feel easier for the run. My run was awful, but I can fix that with more bricks and biking. This wasn't my peak race, but I expect better of myself on the run. A lot better.

But I'm done with TTathlons. No more, please.

This weekend is Cape Henlopen duathlon. A good fun race to end the season. Then it's back to training for Columbia.