Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Biking the Berkshires

Over Memorial Day weekend, I attended Chad and KDOG's wedding up in Massachusetts. Other DC Tri Club members were in attendance and everyone brought their bikes, of course. We rode on Friday and Saturday through the Berkshires. Lots of climbing over hills that never seemed to end. I got in 45 miles on Friday and 44 on Saturday. I gained some good confidence through the rolling hills and long, steep climbs. We stayed at a place called Bucksteep Manor which was at the top of Washington Mountain Road. I am certain that though Ironman Florida is a flat course, this training will be good for me as it is helping make my legs stronger. I felt a lot of power when I was on the flat road around Hains Point yesterday morning.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Taper Week?

If you asked me on Friday what my Sunday post would be about, I would have said, "Definitely about my *taper* week." Then Saturday and Sunday happened. I did a brick down in the Annapolis area on Saturday. It rained like the dickens in the morning so we (my sister Jessica Ann rode along, too) got started late. Rain was just tailing off when we got out there. So, it made for a messy ride. Took me about 30 minutes to clean my bike. I got in 37 miles and then ran right off the bike for about 20 minutes. I had to cut it short as we got started so late and I had to do some stuff with Jessica Rose.

Today, however, was the big kahuna. Chad, KDOG, Kip and I went out for a little Sunday ride. Ha! Kip had the great idea of riding all the way out to Sugarloaf Mountain. Ummm... from Capitol Hill Then when we got there, he suggested that we ride to the top... which Kip and I did. Chad was not interested as he did a long run yesterday so he stayed at the base. KDOG had to head back home after 30 miles. Great view at the summit. However, I think the ride up toasted my legs because from about mile 60 to mile 80 of the ride I was in bad shape. No power at all on the hills. Serious suffering. I had also eaten a $.99 bag of potato chips during our food break at around mile 55. That didn't sit well in my stomach and I learned a little lesson there. Altogether, 102 miles in about six hours and twenty minutes.

Something I'll observe about my experience with long rides... it always seems like that at 60% to 80% of the mileage (like, miles 60 to 80 on a 100 mile ride... or miles 48 to 60 on a 78 mile ride) are "times of darkness". It's hardest at that point of the ride. My mind goes to strange places and my legs tell me to "quit now and never ride again". I have to mentally prepare myself for this fact as in an Ironman... that 112 mile ride is followed by a marathon. I need to be tough and not "get out of the light".

So, this past week, I lifted weights once... on Monday. I took two days off of tri exercises... Monday AND Thursday. And I didn't swim at all. But, getting a century under my belt, with over 7000 feet of climbing... the day after a brick... kind of balances it out, what do you think?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Triathlon: Why be good at 1 sport when you can be mediocre at 3?

Interesting take on tri training courtesy of the New York Times.

The variety of exercises is one of the main appeals to me of triathlon. It's not the same thing every day. I like the variety.

A positive thing about my inability to workout yesterday is that I did get some stuff done around the house and I did get closer to completing one of my projects for work.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What Happens to you when you don't Sleep or Eat? That is how I feel When I don't Workout

It's 8:58 pm on a Thursday. In May. I haven't worked out today. And I don't feel good about it. I have two big projects happening at work. I got up early this morning, 4:15 am, but worked on one of the projects for a couple of hours. Then, during the day, the weather was off again on again rain which raised some questions whether my daughter would have lacrosse practice this afternoon. Practice did occur as planned but I wasn't able to get away for a workout. Then, I cooked dinner for my wife who got home late from work.

So, here I am... posting in my blog about my angst at not getting a workout in. I ate some pasta for dinner but am too full to get in a session. I probably could make it in to the gym and lift some weights as it is open until 11 pm, but I'm meeting my cousin tomorrow after work for a weightlifting session... so I'm going to hold off until then.

As a triathlete, it is hard to express how it feels to miss a workout. Or, to want to be doing workout... but not being able to do so because I'm doing something else in my life... like work or family time. I can certainly get pissy when I haven't gotten the session in. In fact, if it is later in the day, and I am on my way to the workout, those are times when I can feel road rage. Doesn't happen on my way to work or to a family outing. But, trying to get that bike ride started at 5:30 pm and you're driving slow in my lane at 5:15 pm... BEEP BEEP... MOVE IT BUDDY!

So, my mind the past 20 minutes has been calculating how I'm going to get time in tomorrow for workouts as these projects will both spill into Monday. Plus, there is more rain in the forecast. I don't mind working out in rain, as long as it is warm, but it can complicate matters somewhat. Training in the rain really does a number on your running or bike shoes.

Typically, I've been swimming on Friday's and I'm going to try and do that tomorrow night. I have this weightlifting session at 5 pm. And, I'll run six miles in the morning. Rain or no rain.

Saturday... supposed to do open water swim with my sister but all this rain will cause me to skip that. I'll do a bike/run brick from her house as we are using her house as Triathlon Central on Saturday. Then, Sunday... another bike/swim brick.

There... now I feel better. A little better. Would rather have knocked out a workout.

As I've ramped up the mileage here as of late, the weightlifting has taken lower priority. I need to get these last few weeks of heavy weightlifting done and then dial it back for good for the two sessions a week.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Peaceful Easy Feeling

Sunrise at West Potomac Park, Washington, DC

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Early Morning Bike Rides

It's early, it's dark and I'm ready to leave the house on a bike ride. Riding early in the morning is a much different experience than riding after work. My pace of preparation is a lot more relaxed. I loaded the bike last night, I've prepared some oatmeal and coffee and have caught up on the news of the day via Internet. I even have cracked open a couple of daily meditation books to center myself spiritually. Of course, I've gone to the bathroom twice already and it's not even 5:15 am. When I get to where I'm riding (Hains Point), there will be a lot less foot and road traffic than the afternoon/evening rides of last week.

I really love that peaceful feeling of the first couple of loops. Gradually the day starts to crank up. The first planes don't start leaving Reagan National Airport until about 6:30 am. The trains start rolling across the bridge. You can see and hear the rowing crews do their training on the Potomac. Cars start to back up on the bridges leading into DC. More cyclists arrive, some with their backpacks stuffed with work clothes. Another hour or so of hard riding, hopefully with not too much wind coming south down the river. Then the ride is over and it's time to get to the office. The best part of the day has ended, leaving me with a satisfaction that is hard to describe in words.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Brick by Brick

The brick workout. A triathlon staple. It consists of doing two triathlon-disciplines in essentially one workout. Typically, a bike/run it can also consist of swim with a run or bike. This past weekend, I got in two bricks.

The DC Tri Club put on a "BrickNic" on Saturday on the Columbia Triathlon course. We rode the course and then followed that by running the course. The Columbia Tri is known as the "Beast of the East" as it consists of many hills. I've been on the course probably a hundred times so I know it pretty well. I rode/ran with a training buddy and we did very well, I thought. The wind was behind us on the way out on the bike. I felt great. On the run, the sun had come out and heated things up but we managed to run the whole course without stopping or walking. This was followed by the cookout, my favorite part of the workout.

On Sunday, KDOG and I did a trail run and then a group of us went over to Takoma and swam laps. My legs didn't cramp although they pinched up a few times like they would. It was a beautiful day and Rock Creek Park is really stunning this time of year. The workout was again followed by food. Chad and I had quite a spread at the Parkway Deli in Silver Spring, MD.

Today will be pretty much a rest day although I will lift weights after work. I only lifted twice last week and as the training volume has increased somewhat, my weightlifting has tailed off some. I need to stick to the heavy routine through this month and then I can fall back into twice a week with light weights/high reps.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Bike Week

Now that the weather has warmed up, it has enabled me to get outside and bike. I wore out Hains Point last week. Four times in one week I went round and round and round. On the heels of my 78 mile ride down at the beach, I've managed to get in about two hundred miles in a week. I'm really digging the Cervelo and feel that it is likely I'll have improved bike times this year.

The DC Tri Club is doing a brick workout today on the Columbia Triathlon course and I'm prepping for today's activities.

As noted earlier this week, there are now less than six months to go until Ironman Florida. The first six months of training broke down like this:

38 miles

1066 miles

311 miles

In preparation for Ironman Florida 2006, I swam 100 miles, biked 4052 and ran 879 miles. That includes the four races I did that year leading up to IM FL. Looking at where I was at in 2006 at this time of the year, my training numbers aren't that far off. I had done less swimming (30 miles) but 1279 miles on the bike and 340 miles of running. And, I was training for Columbia and Eagleman that year... two early season races.

My diet has been very different and I have been much stricter with my core workouts. I still weigh in at 202 lbs. but this is good as I've been lifting heavy for over a month now. In June when I start drop the heavy weights and increase my mileage, I anticipate being able to drop more weight rather quickly. Hot weather helps with that, too.

All in all... I'm right on target. OK... gotta go and do the hills of Columbia.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Six Months to Go

Ironman Florida 2008 is six months from today. PLENTY of time to train but the clock really starts ticking now.