Monday, February 26, 2007

The Value of Keeping a Training Log

As mentioned in a previous post, my energy levels have been running a bit low lately.
I decided to take a look back in my training log from February of last year. Interesting stuff. Here’s the entry from today a year ago:

02-28-06 (Tues): K started running fever last Tuesday at school and D took her home early. I did my long run (10 miles) Tuesday after work. I stayed home with K Wednesday with the intention of doing my workouts when I could. I didn’t get any workouts in Wednesday, or Thursday. I biked and ran Friday. I started feeling bad Friday night and knew I was getting sick also. I’d been feeling a bit sluggish, but didn’t want to even think about getting sick, but it happened. So, now I’ve got two weeks behind me with very few workouts having been done…. zero swims. I’ll be heading into March feeling about as fit as a wet noodle. I’m just going to do the best I can. Today is my first day back at work in a week. I doubt I’ll workout today and hopefully will be able to do something tomorrow.

And from about the same time in 2005:

02-24-05 (Thurs): Went to the doc yesterday. He said it looked like allergies. He gave me some flonase spray to try. I wasn’t feeling all that great last night, so I skipped the workout. I guess I’ll call it part of the taper for the half marathon next week. We are going to Jekyll Island next week for spring break. My training will be reduced then as well. I should be well rested come race day. I just hope I’m not sluggish. Today is a scheduled rest day. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow and decide if I run. I’d like to do an hour easy at least.
I ended up having to go on antibiotics a couple of weeks after this doctor’s visit. The Zpack quickly cleared up whatever illness I had.

For whatever reason, February is not a good time of the year for me as far as health goes. Maybe it’s the weather, or doing too much too early (but I don't think so), or an allergy of some kind that appears at this point in the year. I don’t really know. But me thinks maybe I should try to avoid digging the hole any deeper this year.
So…’s my plan for the next couple of weeks. Instead of plowing through every workout because it has to be done….because it’s on the schedule….I’m gonna try dropping the long stuff and keeping the frequency normal. I’ll drop the planned speed work and one strength session. I’m going to rest as much as possible. I’m going to eat as well as I can and lay off some of the stuff that may be contributing to my lack of energy……after I finish the Red Velvet Cake. Hopefully things will come around after these two weeks and I’ll be able to ramp things back up to get ready for Gulf Coast half in May.


Red Velvelicious

Oh man it was good. I’m talkin eyes-rolled-back-in-your-head kinda good. Sick good. Allllmost as good as the Triple Chocolate Meltdown I recently discovered…but not quite.
This red velvet wonder was brought into my presence by a coworker. His wife made it and sent it in for us to try. Needless to say, I raved about it. When word got back to her of my ravingness, she promptly baked ME one…a whole damn cake….just for me.
Being the gentleman I am, I took it upon myself to do the right thing and pay her the ultimate compliment of devouring the whole red velvet wonderfulness that was this cake all by myself. My plan, however, was foiled when the gang here at the office got wind of the existence of cake #2 and persuaded me to part with a portion of it….about 2/3 to be exact. Otherwise, I would have eaten myself into a sugar induced comma.

My much anticipated ride in the 75 degree sunshine Saturday did not happen. Turned out DJ had a conference to attend Saturday that I’d totally forgotten. So I hung out with KJ Saturday and took the day off from training. I could’ve ridden on the trainer, but to be honest, my energy has been running a bit low lately…even with the high octane red velvet jet fuel. Hopefully the day off and a couple of easy days this week will do the trick.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

It's Coming......

Warm weather that is. Spring. I know it’s coming. The robins are everywhere around here. Everything will be green and blooming and coming back to life soon.
The picture below is one of my all time favorites of my daughter. It was taken out on our patio during spring a few years ago. When the weather gets too cold and nasty to train outside, I pull up this picture as a reminder of what’s coming....bare feet, warm weather and time in the sun.

Day light saving time is just around the corner (March 11…also DJ’s birthday), which means weekday group rides with the roadies will be firing back up soon. I’m looking forward to a bit of fast riding that’s always a part of riding with that gang. I’ll be scraping the salt from my chinstrap in no time.

My training has been steady lately. I road three hours last Saturday. The temps weren’t too bad, but the sun didn't shine much and the winds were howling.
Sunday is my day off from training and I enjoyed a little afternoon road trip with the family.
Monday was a federal holiday, which meant a day off of work for me. I skipped swimming Monday morning and slept in….or at least tried to. My internal clock didn’t seem to want to recognize the holiday. I did my long run of ten miles Monday evening.
I did about 40 minutes of strength work Tuesday morning. I hit the trainer Tuesday evening for 1.5 hours.
I got in a mile of swimming Wednesday morning. I had to get home earlier than normal Wednesday evening, so I decided to do a 5k test run to get an idea of were my fitness is. I warmed up during the first 3-4 minutes at a moderate pace. I then built my speed up over the next half mile until I was at what felt like 5k pace. I did the last 200 yards flat out and ended up with a time of 22:31. Not bad for me at this time of year. I haven’t done any speed work to speak of since fall. I think I’ve done one “speed” session and one tempo run. I’ll be doing one speed session per week for a while and I’ll use this time to gauge my progress.
I was back in the gym this morning for more strength work. I’ll be back on the trainer tonight for and hour and I’ll do a short run on the treadmill afterwards.
Tomorrow is my long swim day. I’ll probably do an hour or thereabouts of straight swimming in the morning. I’ll get in about an hour of running tomorrow afternoon.
I’m looking forward to a nice long ride in the sun Saturday. The forecast is looking good……


Monday, February 19, 2007

On The Road

The J gang decided to hit the road Sunday afternoon. We left with no particular destination in mind and ended up at Bagby State Park about 70 miles away. We had lots of sunshine, but the temps were a bit cool and the winds were strong. There were lots of hills that would be cool to ride. I think I'll bring my bike along next time and stay a few days.

Somewhere on the road heading West.

DJ and Ceaser

KJ and Ceasar at the Park

KJ and Me

KJ and Ceasar at the marina

Caught coming out of the shop at the Marina.

You can't see it in the picture, but the waves were crashing into the rocks on the point.

A shot of the lake.


KJ having fun.

KJ, DJ, and Ceasar

A roadside shot somewhere heading back home.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Back in the ring

Last week at this time, I was in the middle of a gnarly stomach bug. Thankfully I’m all better now. I don’t do sick well. Thanks for all the get-well vibes and messages you sent my way.

I had a surprisingly good mile swim Monday morning. However, I had to cut the long run I had planned for Monday afternoon in half. My body just wasn’t ready for it.
I’m in the sixth week of my return to strength training and began adding some heavier weight and cutting the reps during my strength workout Tuesday morning. I did my normal three sets and it went well. I started developing a little soreness later in the day, so I may have overdone it a bit. I did an hour on the trainer Tuesday night, keeping my effort aerobic the entire ride.
I added in some “pickups” to my swim Wednesday morning. After warming up, I did one lap at near max effort, recovered for two laps and repeated. I did 5 sets and finished out the set with easy laps. I ended up with just over a mile. I did my first tempo run of the year Wednesday afternoon. I warmed up for about 5 minutes and then maintained 8:30 miles for four miles. It felt good to hold a decent pace. My effort was about 6 or 7 on a scale of 1-10. I felt great afterwards.
I was back in the gym Thursday morning for more strength work. I didn’t add as much extra weight this time and didn’t have the soreness that followed Tuesday’s workout. I did a cadence workout on the trainer Thursday night in which I held my cadence above 130rpm for 1 minute, lowered it to 100 for two minutes to recover and then lowered it to below 70rpm for 1 minute. I’d then go back to 100 to recover for 2 minutes and repeat. I adjusted my gearing to accommodate each cadence. I did about 5 sets and ended up with an hour total, including warm up and cool down.
I didn’t sleep well last night (work stress) and had a less than stellar swim this morning. I made it through 1.3 miles and called it a day. I’ll do a 45-60 minute aerobic run this afternoon.
Tomorrow’s ride is up in the air right now. D.J. may be going out of town shopping with some friends. If so, K.J. will be with me, which means no outside riding. Oh how I loathe long rides on the drainer. If D.J. doesn’t go out of town, I’ll probably go in to work during the morning (forecast says low 20s Saturday morning) and ride 2-3 hours after lunch.

In other news, I made my lodging reservations yesterday for Ironman Florida. We’ve stayed at this condo before and have been very pleased with it. It’s about 1.5 miles from the race, has a full kitchen, living room, 1 bedroom, washer, dryer, private parking area…..all the comforts of home. I reserved Wednesday before the race through Tuesday after the race.
All that’s left to do now is show up trained and rested…..


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Throw in the towel

This week was to be my first official recovery week of the year. I wasn’t carrying a lot of fatigue, but was looking forward to an easy week and a little more time with D and K. Monday through Thursday morning went great. All workouts were done at very easy efforts and I was feeling great. I finished up my last strength session of the week Thursday morning and was really looking forward to the weekend. The local bike club buys breakfast for all members once each month and it just so happened that Saturday was “breakfast ride” day. I was looking forward to an easy club ride, partaking in a little free food and catching up with friends.

Well…..things began to change mid-morning Thursday. I started to have a “twinge” in my stomach and began to feel a bit tired. I thought it might’ve been a little indigestion and tried to ignore it. It worsened through the day until I knew things were not going to get better. I left work at 3pm and headed straight home. Not long after getting home I….um…well…..kinda….lost my lunch. And did so several more times throughout the afternoon. I was down for the count. Big time. With fever and chills and the whole bit.
I crawled into bed about 8pm Thursday night and stayed there for the next 12 hours. I woke up Friday morning feeling much better. I was able to eat Friday and started getting some strength back. I feel much better this morning. Not good enough to do the club ride, but good enough to go for a walk with the D and K later today.

Oddly enough, one of the thoughts that came to mind while I was feeling my worst was…”What if this happens during the week of Ironman”. To go from feeling fit to only wanting to lay motionless in bed would not be a good thing come race week. I suppose it just goes to show that we really can only control what we can control. I can only prepare my body and mind to the best of my ability and have to let those things which are out of my reach take care of themselves. A tough pill to swallow sometimes.

In other news, I finally got around to ordering the movie What It Takes. It came in last week and I’ve had plenty of time to watch it… a few times…. the last couple of days. For a trigeek, it’s a must see movie. The main thing I took from the movie was these people are very much “regular” people…beyond the fact that they get to train all day, get massage whenever they want, make a living at sport, blah, blah, yada, yada.
Heather Fuhr comes across as one of the coolest, nicest, most down to earth people. She seems like she’d be a lot of fun to hang out with. Actually they all do. Peter Reid is the most open and revealing. He pretty much lays it all out concerning his personal life.
There's some cool music in the movie also. "Broken" by Complete has already made it's way onto my mp3 player.
I’m pretty sure I was the last person who hadn’t seen the movie, but if you haven’t seen it, and you’re into endurance sports, you should give it a look.

That's it for now. I'm heading back to the couch.


Monday, February 05, 2007

WIR #5

I started out the week with a 1 mile swim Monday morning. I did my long run of 11.5 miles Monday afternoon/night. This was a great run, much better than last week. The weather was 100% better as well.

Tuesday morning I did a 40 minute strength session. I did 45 minutes on the trainer Tuesday afternoon, but with a twist. I added the first intensity of the year. Actually, it’s the first intensity I’ve done in three months. It felt great to go hard. I did about 15 minutes of core work after the ride.

I did another mile in the pool Wednesday morning. This swim was tough for some reason. My pace was a bit faster than normal, but not by much. I guess it was just one of “those” workouts. I decided I’d add some intensity to my run Wednesday afternoon. I ended up with about 5 miles and was pretty tired afterwards. Even though it felt hard, I really wasn’t going very fast. But, it was nice to get going after tooling around at 10-12 minute miles for the last three months. I did 20 minutes of core afterwards.

I was back in the gym Thursday morning for about 38 minutes of strength training. I did an hour on the trainer Thursday evening and did a bit of core work afterwards.

Now for the big news of the week…..big to me. I did a 4450 yard (2.5 mile) straight swim Friday morning. I realize this is a normal swim for some folks, but it was a big deal for me. I knew I could do it before, but now I KNOW I can. Best of all, I felt great during the whole swim. That’s a huge confidence boost for me. My pace was slow; it took me an hour and 30 minutes….and 9 seconds. But doing it fast wasn’t the point. I’ve got a long time before race day to work on getting faster. Doing it non-stop and not feeling like I needed a nap afterwards was the point. One of the things in the back of my mind during these long dark base months has been the fear of coming out of the water at Ironman Florida, being totally shelled, and having a bad day as a result. Not to say that won’t happen on race day, but now I know it’s possible for me to complete the swim and feel good afterwards.
I had a great 4.2 mile run Friday afternoon.

Saturday morning was predicted to be a little on the cold side (for us warm climate types anyway). I decided to go into work Saturday morning, do a little catching up, and wait for the temps to rise before starting my ride. The forecast was for high 20s/low 30s starting out, warming to low 50s. Trusting the forecast, I brought clothes for riding in 50-degree temps. Noon quickly rolled around and I did a quick check of the temperature before leaving. 37 degrees with a “feels-like” temp of 30. Not good! When I walked out the door I knew immediately that I should’ve brought warmer clothing. Oh well, I’ll be ok once I get going, I though. So I suited up, loaded up with bars, gels, and drink, and headed out.

Wow. It’s freakin cold, was all I could think the first couple of miles. But I’ll be ok once I get the blood flowing, I thought……
The ride was planned to be three hours. I was doing a 13-mile loop and figured it’d take me about four loops to complete the ride. About half way through the first loop, my fingers were numb, my toes were aching, and I was thinking, screw this, I’m going home, this ain’t fun. I’d almost decided to scrap the ride, but as I neared the end of the first loop, I decided I’d dig around in my truck and see if I could find more clothes. I found a long sleeved t-shirt and another pair of gloves. I put on the extra layer and decided I’d try one more loop. I made it through the second loop and felt a little better. Still cold, fingers and toes still hurting, but not as bad. I decided I’d keep going.

I hadn’t eaten lunch at noon before starting and I’d been so preoccupied with getting warm that I’d totally forgotten to eat or drink while riding up until this point. Doooooh! I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat on the go with my double-gloved cold hands. I’d have to stop, take off the gloves and a layer of clothing, eat, re-layer, and proceed. I’ll get around to it in a bit when I warm up a little more, I thought. I completed the third loop and was starting to feel the effects of not eating or drinking. But, I figured, what’s the use in eating now, I only have one loop to go. Not far into the fourth and final loop, my heart rate began to rise, though my pace was steady. I started to feel my energy begin to fade. My thoughts during the final half of the loop were, JUST FINISH.

I stepped off my bike back at the parking lot, glad to be finished, but feeling a little dizzy. I think I was beginning to bonk. A pretty dumb mistake on my part to not eat for the entire three hours. I was not feeling good at all.
I loaded up my bike, changed clothes and headed home. I turned the heat on full blast and soon felt the needles in my fingers and toes as the numbness started to fade. As I headed home, I noticed a Burger King up ahead. You know what comes next…. “I’ll have a number one with coke please”. Nothing like a whopper, fries and a coke to replenish the stores. I scarfed it down. Soon…….. all was right with the world again.
Hard lesson #453 learned…No matter how many layers have to be removed, EAT during long workouts. Though this was far from my most stellar ride, I was glad to have gutted it out and completed it.

This week is a recovery week for me. I’m going with a 3:1 train/recovery ratio and see how it works for me. In other words, I’ll train normally for three weeks and then take the fourth week as a recovery week. During the recovery week (this week), I’ll basically cut the duration of my long sessions in half, knock the upper heart rate limit of workouts down by 10 bpm (yep, it’s gonna be really slow), cut about a quarter of the duration off of my normal runs and rides, cut out one of the three sets of my strength sessions, and do no hard intensity. I’ll keep the core work the same. I want to feel like I’m not doing nearly enough during this week and be chomping at the bits when next Monday morning rolls around.
Bring on the recovery!


Thursday, February 01, 2007

One down, ten to go…..

Wow! January is in the books. Seems like just yesterday my wife was waking me up to wish me Happy New Year. If the next ten months go as quickly as January, IMFL will be here in no time.
I added some intensity to one bike workout and one run this week. If all goes well (i.e., I don’t start getting sore or injured), I’ll keep one hard session in each sport per week. One thing is for sure, I’ve lost all the “speed” I had at the end of the summer. It’s hard to believe I ran a 20 minute 5k a few months back. 8 minute miles feel hard right now. I know it’ll come back soon enough.
My first race of the year will be Gulf Coast Triathlon (half) in May, so I have plenty of time to get it back. My main goal is to arrive healthy and fit, which will be very much unlike how I arrived last year.