Friday, May 15, 2009

Gulf Coast Triathlon 2009

Gulf Coast this year was one of those races that serves as a giant lesson learned, and not much else. I went into this race feeling as good as I ever have, and came out the other end feeling as bad as I ever have, Ironman included.

As I stood on the beach watching the waves crash in, I knew the swim was going to be a challenge, and it was. Holy Crap it was. I came out of the water feeling like I’d gone 10 rounds with Iron Mike, and felt a bit sea sick. 38:54.
I made my way up to and through T1 in 4:46.
Heading out on the bike I started feeling a bit better and soon felt like a supa star as I looked down and saw 25+mph on my computer. All was good until I had to turn around into the wind that’d been pushing me along. The next 20 miles kicked my butt. Worst headwind I’ve ever raced in. As I got close to town, I knew the run was gonna suck.
I finished the bike with not much left in the tank 2:54:15 (19.0avg)
I hit T1 and made it through in 2:45. Once out on the run course, the heat and humidity felt like stepping into a sauna. By a ¼ mile in, I knew this was going to be a “just make it to the finish line” kind of run. I walked the aid stations, took in cola, Gatorade and water, and dumped ice everywhere I could get it - - under my hat, down my shirt, in my shorts.
I managed to keep moving and finally made it to the finish in 2:28:14 (11:19) for a total time of 6:11:53.

I was ruined at the finish. I honestly have never felt worse at the end of a race. It would have been easier to tolerate if I had set a new PR (which I thought I could going in), but I almost set a new slowest time (only missed it by 3 minutes). I went 5:45 in 2007, and felt great afterwards.

Looking back, objectively, it’s easy to see the mistakes.
I went into this race as unfit as I ever have. I suppose I thought I could somehow overcome the lack of fitness since I “felt” so good. Dooooh! Being sick early in the year caused me to miss 6+ weeks of crucial training. I failed to take that into account when setting my goals. I’d only done one 50+ mile ride and one 10+ mile run, all year.
My swim fitness was the one area that was on track. But, when faced with the rough seas, instead of backing off, I went hard to try to make up time. Not too smart.
When planning my race, I’d planned to go hard early on the bike and try to chip a little extra time off that PR. Even after the rough swim, I hammered early when I should have backed off (way off) and let my heart rate settle. Later when I faced the headwinds and should have backed off, I just hammered harder to try to make up for the slowing speed. Totally lost my good judgment “in the moment” and made one bad decision after another. By the time I made it to the run, my day was over. I had nothing left and was in survival mode. Not a good place to be with 13.1 miles left to go.

Lessons learned. Hopefully I’ll be able to make better decisions next time around.
I’ll get another shot in September at Augusta. Hope to catch up with some of you there.

Happy Training.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Water water everywhere....

It's rained so much lately (it's raining now) that it seems like we're in Seattle instead of Albany (Ga). Lot's of indoor training during the last couple of weeks due to the rain.

So, what's been going on?.....
Not much blogging, obviously. Facebook and Twitter are just so much easier.
I've been working a ton of overtime lately. It's manageable right now, but as the year rolls on, training will require me to back off and work less. I'm thinking Memorial Day will be it for overtime -- at least on Saturdays.

Training is coming along pretty well. Working the Endurance Corner plan. It's a bit different than what I would have been doing on my own. More recovery and more bricks. Running off the bike is currently NOT a problem.

Gulf Coast is coming up in a few short weeks. I have NO idea what to expect. Honestly! I'm just coming back into decent fitness after being sick earlier in the year and haven't really tested myself. Just being able to line up at the start will be a success after the way my year started. I've got a little more time to cram a bit more fitness in the tank though.

KJ will be turning 11 this month and we're taking her down to Disney on her birthday. We haven't been for a few years and we're all looking forward to it. The only thing I'm not looking forward to is the drive.

Cruising Youtube today and came across this band. Wow! What a powerful voice from such a tiny little woman. Check them out. Not what I would expect from a band from Tennessee.

And that about raps it up.

Hope yall have a great week!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's coming....

Fitness that is.
Coach G said the fitness would quickly return, but it sure didn't feel like it the first couple of weeks back. I had a solid week of training this week and feel great. I'll finish up with about 11 hours total for the week after an easy run tomorrow. I also managed to fit in 60 hours of work between swim bike and run sessions.
Gulf Coast Triathlon is getting closer and I'm looking forward to seeing how my fitness develops between now and then. Should be fun.

Happy Training,

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Quick Check In

Not really much to report, but I thought I'd better give my vast readership an update...both of you can now breathe easy.

Daylight saving time has arrived and I'm looking forward to the extra time in the sun. The older I get, the less I enjoy winter, and we have fairly mild winters here. The temps are creeping up every day and the azalea blooms are starting to open. Spring will be at full tilt in no time.

Training is ticking along nicely -- not at pre-pneumonia levels -- but I hope to be there soon. It's amazing, and sad, how quickly fitness fades. Paces that used to have my heart rate at around 150 now drive it up in the 170s. But I'm recovering well and the heart rates are headed in the right direction -- just not getting there as quickly as I'd like.

Months ago, I opened a Twitter account but never posted an update. I'd kinda forgotten about it, until the other day. I'll be posting there if either of the two of you want to keep up with me there.
You can find me as: Todd Johnson or user id tj1406.

Happy Training,

Monday, February 09, 2009

Coming back to life

When I initially sat down at the keyboard to write this post, I typed out a very...VERY... long drawn out detailed rehash of the downward spiral and eventual upturn of my health during the past month. When I finished typing, I sat back, read through it, and thought, ... That is WAY too long and WAY too depressing….nobody wants to read that crap!

So, I set about rewriting an account that might be a bit more digestible.
Here’s the revised, abbreviated version:

I got sick with a respiratory infection in early January. Felt terrible. Couldn’t train. Went to the doctor. Didn’t respond to the first round of meds. Still couldn't train. Didn’t respond to the second round of meds. Got pretty bummed with the whole situation. Went back to the doc. Chest x-ray performed. Diagnosed with pneumonia. Prescribed stronger meds. Wondered if I'd ever get well. Lost 8 pounds. Missed a good bit of work and a ton of training. Eventually started feeling better.
January was a mother of a month.
The end.
I just saved you at least 20 more minutes of reading. Really!

I started back with some very easy training today. I’ll keep it light for the remainder of this week, and probably most of next week before returning to “regular” training.
The half marathon in early March is out... no biggie. I intend to be back fit enough to do Gulf Coast Triathlon in May.

I've done a bunch of reading during the down time. One of the things I read was that Cam Brown takes an entire month off from training at the end of his season every year. So, I'm telling myself that this has been the month long break I never took at the end of the season. :-)

One thing I will take away from this whole month long ordeal is that I will not take my health for granted in the future. It's easy to get caught up in the daily grind of training and forget that just being able to be out there training is a blessing.

Needless to say, I'm glad to be on the road to returning to training.
Spring is not far away and I'm looking forward to soaking up the warm weather that's coming.

Happy Training,

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Facebook Help

Facebook experts, open the picture below and take a look. See the banner running across the middle of the page?
HOW DO I GET RID OF IT!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Nothing happening on the training front for me. I've got a really bad cold (KJ had it last week) and I haven't trained since Monday. I started feeling it coming on Saturday and it got a little worse every day -- congestion, sinus pressure, burning eyes, sore throat, coughing, fever, aches, the whole bit. I left work at 9am yesterday and went to the doc. I'm now on antibiotics and hope to be back at it soon. My fever finally broke last night and I feel a good bit better today. It's tough laying around knowing fitness is melting away. I just keep telling myself it's early in the year and I have plenty of time to make up for it.
One good thing about being home is I don't have to get out in this crazy cold weather.

Happy Training,

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Strapple Pie

I've been craving pie (mind out of the gutter) and thought I'd try my hand at baking one. I got the basics of what I thought I'd need from the grocery store a couple nights ago and figured I'd give it a shot this coming weekend.
KJ has been under the weather and we decided she needed a day at home today to rest and get well. So, after I'd done everything to make her as comfortable as possible this morning, I commenced to making pie. I will admit I jumped online before I started to get a few tips...I didn't go in completely blind.

Two of my favorite fruits are apples and strawberries, so I decided I'd combine them into one pie. Here's how it went:

Granny Smiths

Sliced Fresh Strawberries

Lemons (for juice)

Diced apples


Strawberries mixed with Lemon Juice and Sugar

Apples mixed with Lemon Juice and Sugar


Layer of Apples

Then Strawberries

And more Apples

Some Butter and a bit of the Strawberry Juice

Then the top Crust (with vents sliced in -- web tip)

Foil to protect the crust edge (another tip from web)

About an hour later.

Time to burn off the calories....
Happy Training,