Friday, November 26, 2010

Farewell for now, running!

With Veteran's Day behind me, I have no more peak races or anything immediate that I am training for. That means I can ease off the running and really work on continuing to progress in my swimming and biking. My running schedule for the next month or so will look something like 1-2 recovery runs, .5-1 track workout, 1 long run (10+ miles). The half track workout will accommodate Wednesday PM masters swim practice. This should hold through the end of December, when I still start incorporating more tempo/fartlek work.

I'm inspired by Dirk's new method of workout logging...

Friday, Nov. 19 - Friday, Nov. 26 (20.5k yards swim, 150km cycle, 16 miles run)

SWIMMING: 20,500y total
Saturday -- Endurance solo, main set of 2x200 tempo, 100 sprint, 2x300 tempo, 100 sprint, 2x400 tempo, 100 sprint (1:15-1:20 pace between sprints tempo), 3400y total.
Sunday -- Endurance w/ Michelle, main set of 8x150 2-2-2-2 descend, 8x100 2-2-2-2 descend, 8x50 2-2-2-2 descend (1:25/1:19, 1:25/1:18, 1:19/1:14 paces), 3200y total.
Monday -- Masters w/ Dirk, main set of 6x (100 on 1:20 {1:12 avg. pace}, 50 kick on 1:20 {:50 avg}), 500 (50 easy, 75 build), 3600y total.
Tuesday -- Endurance (form) w/ Michelle, main set of 4x50 R/L arms, 1x300 neg. split, 4x50 fingertip, 1x300 neg. split, 4x50 catchup, 2x300 neg. split, 3400y total.
Wednesday -- Masters w/ Dirk, main set of 500 all out (1:13 avg. pace), 200 easy, 400 all out (1:12 avg. pace), 200 easy, 300 all out (1:10 avg. pace), 200 easy, 200 all out (1:08 avg. pace!!), 3400y total. This was probably the toughest and fastest workout I've ever done. Dirk and I really pushed each other hard in this workout and swam some fast times between us.
Friday -- Endurance w/ Michelle, main set of 4x150 easy (1:26 pace), 200 kick fast, 4x150 moderate (1:22 pace), 200 kick moderate, 4x150 fast (1:18 pace), 200 kick easy, 3500y total.

Biking: 150km total
Friday -- Power test on the trainer. I averaged 240 watts over 30 minutes. Not great, but it's a good starting point, considering I wasn't in great bike shape at this point. Needed a guide for my training, though.
Saturday -- 40k with Dirk on the MacArthur loop. Was tired from power test and relaxed. Didn't keep track of time.
Sunday -- 24 miles with Dirk on Beach Drive. Was supposed to be an easy ride, but me on road bike, Dirk on TT bike, add in a challenger in full racing gear along the way, and that easy ride turned into a tempo ride. 216 watt avg, including a 700 watt surge up a hill.
Thursday -- Didn't cycle after Sunday because of fatigue from busy weekend and trying to get into some sort of shape for Turkey Chase 10k. Just cycled 53 minutes on the trainer at zone 2, 142 watt avg.

Running: 16 miles total
Tuesday -- Trails w/ Scott. Easy, around 8 miles, a sort of tuneup for Turkey Chase since I hadn't run since the previous Wednesday's track workout.
Thursday -- Turkey Chase 10k. 21st place, 34:48. Race report coming.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Belated: Veteran's Day 10k race report

This is VERY late, but I finally brought myself to writing a race report for what I expected to be my grand finale of a solid/breakthrough year of racing.

Well, that didn't happen! I came in with a goal of sub-33:00, and thanks to RED FOX Jake T. Klim (the T stands for "The), I had developed some good speed that should have translated to a sub-33. I felt pretty good on race morning, and on the warmup my legs felt pretty fresh! I had tapered a little for this, so I thought I was good to go.

The race started and I stuck around Chris Sloane, who is in better shape than me, but was going for a similar goal... sub-33, but a little faster. I felt great for the first 3.15 miles, right on 16:30 pace, right where I wanted to be.

Then quickly, VERY quickly, things fell apart. I felt a strong ache suddenly in my back going through the turnaround, and suddenly I had trouble breathing. I felt a big knot form in my upper-left back and it hurt like heck! I had to adjust my stride and arm movement to make up for it, and couldn't find a comfortable way to stand... I sort of arched my back and held my head back, but that got painful too, and was reduced to wiggling my body in different ways to try and
find the most comfortable position. The breathing was the worst part, as I started wheezing and only taking in half-lungfuls of air. My time started slipping, as each mile got slower and my per-mile average fell to 5:29 by the 6 mile marker.

Nothing I could do... I felt pretty helpless. My legs begged to go FASTER but my lungs and upper body wanted none of it. I essentially tempoed to the finish in 34:06, a second SLOWER than my PR, which I achieved on the same course last year.

I was pretty dejected for some time after this race. I trained hard and the training went well. The back problem is no longer bothering me, as I found the way I sit up at work may be behind it (I had similar but less painful aches at work in the same area leading up to the race). But I feel I wasted weeks of good training, and missed my chance at a 10k PR in 2011.

2 weeks later, I've been able to put it into perspective and realize that it's JUST a PR. I put in the work and was on the right track. I just need to re-rail myself and focus on my training. I've been swimming a lot and it's going very well, same with biking. I'll just keep that up and focus on the future... namely Cherry Blossom 10-miler and Columbia!


Ouch! When is this over?

Photos courtesy of Charlie Ban, who has a sweet bike.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cardinal 5k and Weekend

I ran the Cardinal 5k as a tuneup for this Sunday's race, and it went all right. I went out a bit fast, 4:50, as it was downhill and flat for the whole first mile. It felt fine then, but it was too fast. I died off a bit on the hills for the second half and lost my 3rd place position to Jason Dwyer, a former GRCer, late in the race. I felt like I had plenty left in the tank... but this wasn't the time to utilize those resources. Finished 4th overall, 16:32. Time wasn't pretty, but I've run slower on flat courses and this was actually quite a bit hillier than I expected. Most of all, I left the race without soreness or fatigue... I felt like I put in a workout and realized again my thirst for competition. I also ended up beating a guy by 15 seconds who is a mid-15 road 5ker and a low-33 10ker. I think that indicates my fitness is not an issue! I just need to be smart on race day and BE CONTROLLED!!! As Jake said, the best times at Hain's Point come to those who go out conservative. That'll be the name of the game on Sunday... go out in 16:30 or 16:35 and work hard the second 5k for a sub-33.

Later in the day I rode with Michelle for about 21.5 miles, half easy, half tempo effort (with a tough hilly portion). It was cold but the hills warmed us up.

Sunday I swam 2000y with Michelle at GISC with a 1000 @ tempo effort, followed by some drills and easy strokes. I headed to Silver Spring to meet up with Dirk for a ride, but a broken spoke and fear of cold (kidding!) was enough for Dirk to suggest we watch the NY Marathon instead. After watching my favorite, Tatyana Pushkareva, fall back, I stopped really caring. After the leaders finished, we went to Wilson, where I swam 3200m (1000m total warmup, 10x100 (1:40), 5x100 (1:35), 700 total cooldown). My arms felt tired and sore afterward, but I can attribute that to taking a break between swims that was probably too short. Or maybe it's from swimming about 5000m on the day....

This week is about tapering. Last real race of the year for me and one I've been waiting for since December 13th of last year, so I'll be sure to be rested.

The cookies are in the jar (corn in the silo too...) and it's time to eat.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Focusing on running

Tomorrow is the Cardinal 5K, and I'll be racing in it. I'm viewing it as a tune-up race that I have a chance to win. I'll of course go for a PR if possible, but I'm not sure what I can do at this point on a hilly 5k... so my focus will be going hard but NOT emptying the tanks. That time will come next weekend. For now I'll just enjoy the race and competition and get my mind in the right place for Veteran's Day 10k. My left hamstring is a little TENDER so I'll listen to it carefully.

Training the past 2 weeks haven't been much to write home (or blog) about, as it's mainly maintaining swim fitness while trying to get faster for the 10k next weekend. Biking has taken a backsaddle and is mostly consists of isolated leg, spinups and 60-90 minute easy (one tempo) rides with Michelle mainly as a recovery mechanism for my running. But yeah, it's been mainly about the run. I've done a long run every weekend for the past 4 weeks, a Wednesday track attack and a Friday hill or tempo/progression run. These are my last couple of weeks of hard run training before I back off a la Dirk and pound the bike and swim for the coming several months.

My track workouts have been awesome. I have to thank Jake for coming out to each workout just to shout out times and go over strategy with me, that kind of help can't be appreciated enough. And except for my first workout in early October (4xmile), my workouts have gone nearly flawlessly. So his workouts + encouragement have helped me reach a pretty good level of fitness that I think will push me to a sub-33 10k. I'm confident in that!

Last week I did 6x1200, negative splits (cutting from 3:56 down to 3:48, all under my expected 10k pace), and it felt solid. This week I did 12x400 (:75, :74, :73, :72, :71, :71, :70, :70, :69, :68, :66, :67), starting at 5:00 pace and ending around 4:24 pace. It's nice to see I have speed... that'll help me when I need to pick up the pace or am getting tired.

I guess most of all, I'm finding that my pacing is really coming along well. I can race smart, but I often go out too fast, both in races and workouts, as Dirk is quick to remind me. But the past several track workouts I've started out slower and ended up with negative splits. That's really encouraging to me! It's how I want to race. Jake's wisdom plus being able to get back out there with the team at B-CC has been a key to my most recent growth spurt as a runner. Now I just need to show what I've learned on race day.