Thursday, September 30, 2010

Back on Track

Today marks day two of my getting back to my training plan and doing the work outs prescribed for me.  The past week or so has been a bit chaotic and unpredictable.  I have struggled to find the right times to fit in the right training.  Yesterday and today have been different, I have been able to follow my training plan verbatim and it feels good to be back on track.

A few words about non-triathlon stuff, family in particular.  My wife seems to be doing a lot better, she is sleeping through the night now, with no real pain in her ankle (although she just might not be telling me).  She has a appointment with her doctor on Monday to see how soon she might be able to drive.  My daughters are being great.  My little one (hence forth to be called "The Angel") is simply perfect, such a good listener and helper.  Granted she does have her moments, but honestly she is a great kid.  My oldest (hence forth to be called "The Diva") can be superstar when she wants to be, it is just a matter of her wanting to be.  On the other hand, she is so strong willed and determined that I admire her for just that.  She is a lot like me which is why we probably clash heads sometimes....and she is only 7 years old (I don't even want to think about the years to come).

This weekend is going to be crazy.  On Saturday, I have to take our dog to the vet at 8:30AM, then "The Angel" has dance at 9:30AM, then we have soccer pictures at 1:15PM for "The Diva's" team, and from 11:00AM - 3:00PM we have "Fall Fest" at the elementary school.  I am going to have to find a two and a half hour window in there to get in my long run (probably at 5:30AM) as well as time for a one hour spin on the bike (after Fall Fest I am thinking).  Then on Sunday I am going to have to get up well before dawn (leave the house by 5:00AM) to get in my six hour BRICK (five hour ride followed immediately by a one hour run).  Why so early?  I have "The Diva's" soccer game at 1:00PM.  Yes, it is going to be a busy weekend.

I really wanted to get in my two hour run that I missed on Sunday, but the vibe in my house wasn't to friendly.  So after I got home from work and made dinner for the girls I went out for my run, what ended up being 1:28:30, about 10.5 miles.  I thought that it would be best to cut it short and get home to help get the girls into bed.  Sometimes you have to do what is best for your family.  I think this was the right choice as smiles greeted me following my post-run shower.  I was able to sit on the couch with the family and chill before the girls bedtime.

I was able to work from home and went out at lunch to do my swim.  Again, I had to cut it short because time was not on my side.  I still made it count, putting in 2,500m in ~49:00.  Event though it was 1,000m short, I swim hard and posted some good splits.  I considered it a good quality workout.

Around 6:00PM I went out for my run, my legs were still a bit sore from Monday which had been my first run in five days.  I opted to go for 45 minutes and sprinkle in 6 x 2 minutes (1 min jog).  I was really happy with my run, my splits during the intervals were all around 6:30/mile pace which was solid.  I ended up running 6 miles in 46:30, 7:45/mile.

What a busy day, literally from the moment I woke up until I shut my eyes, here is what it looked like:
  • 7:00AM - 8:15AM - Start work (from home again, thank God!)
  • 8:15AM - 8:25AM - Get girls on the bus
  • 8:25AM - 1:00PM - Work, work, work
  • 1:00PM - 2:30PM - BRICK work out (Ride: 17 miles, 1:00:00 on trainer; Run: 3.8 miles, 30:00, 7:53/mile pace)
  • 2:30PM - 4:00PM - Work
  • 4:00PM - 4:45PM - Pre-make dinner and work.
  • 4:45PM - 6:00PM - Take "The Diva" to gymnastics, work while there.
  • 6:15PM - 7:00PM - Eat dinner and quiz daughter on vocabulary
  • 7:00PM - 8:15PM - Clean up and then get girls ready for bed (including shower for oldest daughter)
  • 8:30PM - 9:30PM - Fold laundry, check on girls, help out my wife when asked, etc., watched "Modern Family"
  • 9:45PM - I fell fast asleep while my wife watched "Cougar Town"
I was up at 4:20AM, my throat was feeling really sore and I was congested.  I wasn't looking forward to swimming, but though, heck, the pool will probably clean out my sinuses.  I was in the water swimming by 5:15AM.  I did my full swim workout this morning (woo hoo!) for the first time in a week.  Total swim time:  1:09:00 (all of my sets were done under 2:00/100m...yeah!)

3,400m - 500m wu, 4 x 100m drills, 6 x (50m + 100m + 150m) @20 sec, 8 x 50m drills, 300m cd

As I thought, the swim pretty much cleared my sinuses...FYI, I do not blow snot into the pool, I have a towel on the deck into which I take care of my nasal business.

The rest of the day is going to be work, work, work.  Then when I get home I will make dinner and then run "The Diva" to her Brownie Meeting.  Once I return home I will be heading to the basement to do my 1.5 hour ride while catching up on some unwatched TV shows.  That is all for now....peace out!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Juggling Workouts

Yesterday was a difficult day for me, but not in the emotional or physical sense.  I mean it was difficult because I had to accept that I wasn't going to be able to get in my two hour long run or my 45 minute bike.  Why was I unable to get my long run in?  Well, I had agreed about a month ago to volunteer for a somewhat local Olympic distance triathlon in exchange for a discounted entry to the the half iron distance tri I am doing on October 10th.  I left my house around 5:00AM and made it to the race site by 6:00AM to help them set up the finish line and post-race buffet.  After that I was out on the bike course handing out water and Gatorade to the racers.

I ended up staying at the race site until around 11:15AM and didn't get home until around 12:30PM.  Once home I made lunch for everyone, then promised my wife I would stick around and take care of the girls since they had been coop-ed up all day while I was gone.  My wife asked if I would take them out and get my oldest some new shoes, so off I went to endure one of my least favorite activities....shoe shopping for children. 

Once home from that we had a BBQ at my neighbors house that lasted until around 8:15PM, which was then followed by me getting my girls in the shower and then finally in bed by 9:00PM.  I considered going out for my run then, but thought better of it.  It was raining, pitch black and I was just plum tuckered out from being up since 4:30AM.  I fell asleep by 10:00PM.

So, that leaves me with having to use yesterday as my rest day and packing in a two hour run when I get home tonight and then a 45 minute ride.  I feel really badly for my wife, she has this boot on her foot and she isn't really allowed to do anything.  Even though she has crutches, she isn't supposed to be going out all that much.  Add to that the fact that she can't drive and she is just miserable. 

Oh, I should write about Saturday.  I had initially intended to go for my five hour bike ride before my daughters soccer game; that is until my wife reminded me that I had to take my youngest to dance class at 9:30AM.  Bike scrapped until the afternoon.  After dance, I had to get home and go to my oldest daughters soccer game at noon.  A little side note:  the girls played AWESOME!  They played better than I have ever seen them play.  My daughter scored a goal (she shot the ball, it hit the post, then hit the goalie, then went in).  Just a really good day for all of the girls on my team. 

After the game I had to run my oldest to a birthday party before I could head out for my ride.  Thank God my wife's parents came over to watch the soccer game and see the girls!  They were able to pick up my daughter from the birthday party so that I could get a jump start on my ride.  So at 2:10PM I headed out for my ride and it was a good one.  I ended up riding to Martinsville, NJ, where I lived from the time I was 5 years old up until my mid-20's.  I stopped in front of my old house (I think it is still the same mailbox and post in the picture to the right), about the halfway point of my ride.  I was amazed to see all of the evergreen trees that had been in front of the house no longer there.  It was really sad to see.  it was a great house and I know that my parents were really sad when they sold it.  I remember thinking when I was much younger that I would one day like to buy that house and raise my family in it.  It was a nice "ride" down memory lane. 

A couple notes about the ride:
  • It was HOT, like 90F HOT.  I went through three 24 oz bottles of Gatorade in two hours and 15 minutes.  I stopped and refilled them all and they lasted me another two hours.
  • I had to stop at HealthQuest to fill up my bottles with water because I had nothing left for the last hour of my ride.
  • I packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my ride.  I ate half around three hours in and it tasted so good and helped a ton.
  • I felt like I finished really strong.  I think my average speed for the entire ride was around 19 MPH.  It was super hilly and the last six miles was in the dark so I was taking it easy.
  • Total ride stats (from memory):  91 miles, 4:50, HR - way too high!
I opted to bag the 45 minute run off the bike because it was close to 8:00PM, my family was going to be home soon and I really needed to help my wife out. 

So, this past week was definitely a tough one from a trying to fit in workout perspective.  I anticipate this week being a bit easier as I am going to work from home for a few days.  There are eight weeks left until Ironman Arizona and this week was really my only abnormal week.  Someone reminded me the other day that most of us are not a professional athletes, we all have responsibilities outside of training (i.e. work, family, etc.) that sometimes come first.  This week taught me that.  With that said, I have spend the past nine months preparing for a race that is two months away.  The next five weeks is the when my training is going to ramp up significantly (18 to 20 hours of training each week), so I really need to stick to my training as closely as possible and make every session count.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Crazy Week

Where do I start...probably at the beginning. It has been a crazy week,everything has been turned upside down in my household. Wednesday afternoon I received a call from my wife telling me that she had fallen. Flash forward to later that night and we find out she has a fractured ankle. She was hurting really bad. I felt/feel so bad for her; it is her right ankle so that means no driving for a while. It also means that everything just got tougher in our house, e.g. school mornings, dance class, dinner, etc. All those things that my wife typically does now become drastically more complicated.

Now for my completely and totally selfish and self-centered angle. My training this week has suffered, I have missed a few key runs and rides, I have had to cut two of my swims really short, and I just feel like everything is off kilter. OK, I am not trying to be a drama queen here, I understand that many people have to suffer through much more difficult situations than mine. I am simply saying that what had felt like a very smooth and consistent training program leading up to Ironman Arizona has now hit a bit of a speed bump.

Today will be the first day that things get slightly back to normal. After my youngest daughters dance class, I have my oldest daughters soccer game, and then I will be able to get my five hour bike ride in (followed by a 45 minute run).

What I don't want to get lost in what I have written above is that I feel horrible for what my wife is having to deal with. I will do everything to help out until she is a bit more mobile. I how she has a speedy recovery and starts to feels a bit better, with the pain her ankle subsiding soon.

That is about it for now. No weekly recap, just a little "woe is me" session. Peace out!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bad Luck, Good Fortune

I mentioned in my last post that I had snapped my rear derailleur cable on my bike and that I had to bring it in to get repaired on Monday evening.  Well, I brought it in and asked them to replace all of my cables, with the thinking that if one goes, there is a good chance that some others might go as well.  It was then that I found out it was going to be friggin' expensive!  After getting over the shock of the price, I realized that I was long overdue for some routine maintenance and I ended up having a tune up added onto the total.

I was standing in the bike shop thinking how it was horrible that I was going to have to spend all this money on cables and a bike tune up.  What bad luck!  Then I started to ponder the ramifications had the cable snapped on a long ride out in Central NJ or worse yet, during my half iron distance race in a few weeks......or even worse, during Ironman Arizona.  So even thought the cost was a bummer, the timing really couldn't have been better.  You could say I was very least that is how I choose to view it.

I was up early and in the pool by 5:15AM, as usual.  I had a really good swim, like really happy, smooth and things going really well swim.  I have said it before that I am not a fish, I am more of a sea turtle; however, during my swim on this day, I had flashes of fish-like behavior.  I recall my 400m splits being:  7:59, 8:07, 8:07, 7:58, 7:49 - really happy with the last one!  Total swim time:  1:13:00

3,600m = 500m wu, 4 x 100 drills, 5 x 400m @45sec, 8 x 50m drills, 300m cd

I wanted to get my run in at lunch, but I had meetings all morning and right through lunch.  So frustrating!  After work I had Daddy-duty, pick the girls up, make sure homework was done, make dinner, etc.  Finally around 9:30PM I was able to get out and go running.  I was supposed to do an hour and 15 minutes, but I cut it short, going 6 miles in 49:15 (8:13/mile).  It was close to 10:30PM and I needed to shower and get to bed.

I slept until almost 7:00AM, so nice to get up so "late".  I opted to push off my standard Wednesday BRICK to later on tonight since I got done so late last night.  In fact, I am probably going to run 4 - 6 miles at lunch today and just do my bike on the trainer tonight when I get home.  Granted it isn't a BRICK, but I am still getting the miles/time in.  I have a long-ish BRICK planned for Saturday (5 hour ride, 45 min run), so I am not overly concerned about not getting in a mini-BRICK today.

That is all for now.  Sayonara!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekend Recap...Quick

It's Monday morning and I really have a busy day ahead of me, so here is a quick recap of my weekend:

I was up and out of the house by 5:25AM for my long ride.  It was dark, I mean really dark when I left.  Thank goodness for my Petzl Myo headlamp.  It was cold.  Glad I picked up a that Zoot jacket last year, it was the perfect choice for the early morning start.  It was a slow first 6 - 10 miles, my legs were a little tired and honestly I was tired as well.  I basically rode the Hunterdon Half bike course, the half iron distance triathlon I am doing on October 10th.  It is a very tough course, a lot of hills....tough hills.  I did not set any speed records today, I simply got the time and miles in and worked my ass off.  Total ride stats:  74 miles, 4:06:00, 18MPH

I followed my ride with a quick change into my running gear and did a 45 minute run in my new shoes (K-Swiss Blade-Light Run).  First off, the shoes were awesome, so much lighter than my old shoes.  They don't have as much cushioning, so I'll have to see how that plays out going forward.  As for the actual run, I felt really good, I did 5.7 miles in 45 minutes, good for a 7:54/mile pace.

After my workouts were over it was soccer time.  The girls played phenomenal, so proud of how they spread out, passed the ball, and just played well.  I think we won 3 - 2, but not positive.  Great day for everyone.  After soccer it was a lot of chilling out because I was beat.  I think I was in bed and asleep by 10:00PM

Whew, I slept in....7:30AM!!!  A solid nights sleep, around 9.5 hours of much needed sleep!!!  I had an hour and 45 minute run on tap, so around 9:15AM I was out the door and running.  Not much to really report except that I think I got my fueling down for the run, I didn't bonk or fade really at all.  I was very consistent with my pace, right around 8:25/mile.  There were slow miles and fast miles, but those were dictated by the terrain, not by how I was feeling.  Total run stats:  1:46:00, 12.4 miles, 8:24/mile pace.

After the run, I rinsed off and then headed out to cut the lawn and do some chores.  Then I was able to sit down and watch some football for a long while.  Oh, my oldest daughter had a play date with a friend in her class.  I have to say "Thank you" to my wife for taking care of that, simply making sure they were doing "stuff" and also leading them on a nature hike.  That allowed me to chill out for a while and then to give my bike a good scrubbing.  Ah, it was during my bike cleaning that I discovered that my rear derailleur cable had actually snapped right there.  I was pissed, but then realized that I should be happy that it didn't happen during my 74 mile ride the day before.  So, that left me not able to get in my hour and 15 minute spin I planned to do that night.  Instead I ate a ton of pasta and meatballs and was asleep by 9:30AM.

It is a day of rest!  There are a couple of things that I do have to do though.  After work I will be coaching my daughters soccer practice from 5:30PM to 6:30PM.  Then immediately following that I need to get my bike over to High Road Cycles to have them replace all of my cables (if one went, they should all probably be changed).  Then I will be getting to bed early again. 

That is it for now.  Ciao!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Me = Idiot

I am an idiot.  That seems to be the trend for me over the past seven days or so.  I am just not making good choices with my nutrition and time.  I have heard it many times from many people who have done Ironmans, that your life inevitably will revolve around training right up until race day and do the race.  Many wanna-be Ironmen/women put their social life on hold, they put off big home projects until after the race, they eat smart and get plenty of rest.  Yeah, I am pretty much doing everything that I shouldn't be doing.  I have been staying up too late (yes, 10:00PM is too late when you have to get up at 4:15AM), doing too much work around the house (painting projects), staying up late with friends (damn you FIFA 2010), and cap it off just flat out eating very stupidly (near fasting one day, gorging on fast food the next).

The race is only about 66 days away and I really need to focus from now until race day.  I need to:
  • Minimize the amount of social events that could lead to late nights
  • Get 7 - 8 hours of sleep at a minimum
  • Put home projects put on hold until after Thanksgiving
  • Stop eating fast food with the girls
OK, now that I have said what I had to say, here is my recap:

Thursday - Afternoon & Evening
I had the intention of heading out at lunch for a long-ish bike ride, 1.5 hours or ~28 miles.  The first eight miles of it is very uphill, upwards of 10% grade for a mile stretch at one point.  It was a good challenge and I really worked hard during it.  Around mile 10 as I was flying down a hill at around 40 MPH I hit a rock with both my front and rear wheel and immediately dropped a couple "F" bombs.  Within seconds I could feel my rear wheel start to bounce a bit and then came the "thwap" sound that signalled I had flatted.  In hindsight I was fortunate not to crash out getting a flat at a pretty high speed.  It has been about a year since I last flatted and it seemed to take me that long to change it (actually it took ~10 min).  I then realized that I didn't have the time to complete the route I wanted and had to head back to the office.  Total ride:  1:07:00, 21 miles (18MPH...skewed because of flat and major climbs early in the ride).

After work it was a bit of Daddy-duty as my oldest had a Brownie meeting (Girls Scouts), my wife was stuck in traffic and the girls had to eat.  Basically from 4:45PM until 6:45 I was running round crazy trying to keep everything running smoothly.  Phew, it all worked out.  While my wife was at my oldest daughters Brownie meeting, I did get to spend an hour or so with my youngest daughter.  After her bath, we played "Guess Who" for about 20 minutes and had a great time, just  laughing and carrying on.  I had a phenomenal time with her.

I finished up the night by playing some FIFA 2010 on my PS3 with my friend in Florida (yes, I am a 13 year old boy in the body of a 39 year old man).  I swore I would quit at 10:30PM at the absolute latest....translation, 11:15 I bailed and didn't fall asleep until 11:30PM.

This Morning
What a horrible night of sleep.  My youngest came into our room around 2:00AM.  I woke up at 3:30AM thinking it was time to get up.  My alarm went off at 4:25AM (I pushed it back 10 min) and I was really not looking forward to my swim.  BUT....I did get up and get to the pool!  The result?  A woefully slow straight 3,500m outing in the fish bowl (1:13:00).  Everything was sore, every lap was different, everything was out of whack.  That will teach me to stay up late least I hope it does.

This Afternoon
I have no clue what the heck is going on with my runs lately.  I headed out at lunchtime today with my friend Bill, the first mile was OK, right around 8:15 pace, mile two was slower, but OK 8:40 pace.  Then Bill had to head back while I finished my run. About 1/2 mile later I had to stop for a minute and gather myself.  I was feeling really tired and a bit dizzy.  Could it be from lack of sleep?  Maybe.  Anyway, I kept going and slowly my pace quickened, my ill feelings subsided and everything went back to normal.  I ran for an hour with an average of around 8:12/mile pace (negative splits for the most part), then did 10 minutes in Z4 (~6:58/mile pace) with a 6 minute cool down.  By the time I was finished I felt great, not sure what the deal was for the first 20 minutes.  Total run stats:  1:16:30, 9.35 miles, 8:10/mile pace (might have gone a touch longer than 9.35).

Oh, I am expecting a new pair of running shoes to arrive today....I am so EXCITED!!!  NOTE:  Just saw that they were delivered!!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Under 10 Weeks...Aquaman?

I keep looking at my training plan/calendar and I see that I am in Week 21 of 30....meaning that I have less than ten weeks until IMAZ.  I can't believe how quickly the past few weeks have flown by, in fact even this week is just shooting by.  It is already Thursday and I have put in 7,000m in the pool already, a number that used to take me a good week and a half to reach.  I feel like I say this all the time, but if anyone had asked me even 18 months ago if I would ever do an Ironman I would have told them there was no way in hell I was ever going to swim 2.4 miles!  Well, here I am less than ten weeks out from my first Ironman and putting in 3,500m (~2.2 mile) swim workouts three days a week.  I'm not saying that I am Mark Spitz or Michael Phelps....or Aquaman for that fact, but I am definitely not the near-drowning-mess of a swimmer I was five years ago when I started in this sport. 

So, is my recap of the past few days:

4:15AM alarm goes off, I hit snooze....4:20AM alarm goes off again, I get up and curse this stupid idea of doing an Ironman.  4:30AM I leave the house barely conscious and somehow arrive at HealthQuest alive and well.  The pool is packed, 5:15AM and every lane is full with a couple doubled up already.  WTF?!  I jump in and start swimming, within about 20 minutes there are only three of us still in the pool.  I do my 3,500m workout, er make that 3,400m since I cut my cool down a bit short (by 100m).

3,400m - 500 wu, 4 x 100 drills, 5 x 200 @430sec, 5 x 100 @20sec, 5 x 50 @10sec, 6 x 25 @5sec, 8 x 50 drills, 200 cd

I managed to get out at lunch for a run, but not the 1.25 hour run that was on my training schedule.  The first 15 minutes of the run was horrible, I felt like absolute crap.  I couldn't figure it out, just so tired and heavy feeling.  I managed to turn it around for the last 30 minutes and did negative splits on the way back to the office.  Even though it wasn't what was on my training plan, it was a good work out and I realized that I am in really good shape.  My average heart rate for the run was 141 BPM, and that is for ~8:10/mile pace (the last two miles were under 7:45/mile pace).  This is a really good sign!

My wife was out with a good friend of hers for the night so it was just me and my girls.  We had a good night, although there was a bit of typical 7 year old female drama that had to be dealt with.  No worries though, everyone went to bed happy.

I like Wednesday's because it means I am doing my sunrise BRICK workout at my house.  After I am done I get to shower there, I see my wife and kids for a bit, I actually feel like I am a part of the family on these mornings.  I also get my girls on the school bus which is just awesome to do.  Not too much to say about the work out, 45 min. on the bike watching Jersey Shore (awesome show!!!!), then outside for a 30 minute run.  I did run really well actually:  30:00, 3.93 miles, 7:38/mile pace.

Not a lot going on the rest of the day, just work.  Oh, I did meet with someone about a possible new job opportunity.  I had a very good conversation with the person and we'll see where it goes from here.

My very first thought this morning at 4:15AM, "If I miss one swim workout it isn't going to be an issue come November 21st.  I could just stay in bed and get another hour or two of sleep."  I fought off the evil thoughts and made it to the pool to get in my swim workout.

3,500m = 500m wu, 8 x 50 drills, 3 x 150 @20sec, 4 x 250 @30 sec, 3 x 150 @20 sec, 4 x 100 drills, 300m cd

It was a pretty good swim for me today, all of my splits for my main set were under 1:58/100m, which for me is stellar considering the distance I am now swimming.

As for the rest of today, I have a 1.5 hour ride that I am going to squeeze in at lunch time.  My plan calls for "@ 15 min, insert 4 x 7 min Z4 @ 4min spin", but I am looking at doing a very hill ride that will definitely get my heart rate up, so I'm not too worried about sticking to the numbers exactly.  With that said, I do realize that I can probably work a lot harder on the bike than I have been.  I take for granted that I am a decent cyclist without really having to train like I do for the swim and the run.  I could probably make significant improvements on the bike if I focused a bit more during each training session.  I guess it starts today!


Monday, September 13, 2010

How Not to Train for an Ironman (Nutritionally)

It is Monday morning and I am exhausted.  It was a long weekend of activity and I don't necessarily mean with regards to my training.  There was just a lot of stuff going on and I can't believe I am about to say this....I am happy that it is Monday.  REST DAY!!!!  Let me recap....

Friday - Awesome Training Day
Great training day for me! was great.  I got my swim in early as usual, done and out of the water by 6:40AM.  3,400m in around was the absolute best I have ever felt swimming, everything is starting to come together, at least I hope that is the case. 

3,400m = 500m wu, 8x50 drills, 6 x (50 + 100 + 150) @20sec, 8 x 50 drills, 300m cd

At lunch I slipped out a bit early and did a very solid 1:14:33 run, the first hour in Z2 at 8:00/mile pace, then 10 min in Z4 at 6:56/mile pace, and 5 min cool down.  That adds up to around 9.4 miles and I felt really good afterwards, like I put in a solid effort.

Saturday - Soccer, Running, Spinning
I knew that I wasn't going to be able to get my bike in on Saturday because of my daughters soccer game (10AM) so I swapped days, ergo it was a long run day with a spin on the bike.  I was able to sleep in until 6:45AM, when my oldest daughter decided to wake my wife and I up.  I think I actually stayed in bed until around 7:30AM though (yee haw!).  I didn't have enough time to get my run in so I made break fast for everyone, then got ready for my daughters soccer game, while my wife took our little one to her first dance class (she was super psyched).  Soccer went well, we won 2 - 0 and the girls played really well even though we only had one practice a two weeks ago.  My daughter played well, a little rusty, but she had fun which is the most important.

After all of that we headed home, did some work around the house, washed my filthy car and waited to go for my run.  Finally around 3:00PM I made it out the door.  I felt great for the first hour and 15 minutes, running around 8:15/mile pace.  Then I started to crash a bit, I think the result of my not having enough fluids on me.  In hindsight I should have done a two loop run and refilled my water bottles.  I ended up running two really slow miles before picking it up for the last one.  Total run:  2:00:00, 14 miles, 8:34/mile pace

After that it was dinner time, my wife made an awesome lasagna and I ate a lot.  My night was not over though, I still had to get in an hour spin, 100+ RPMs in Z1.  So it was off to the basement for me at 8:15PM.  Not much to say about this except that I got it done.   For whatever reason I was up until around midnight, not smart!

Sunday - The Trainer, Fasting, Painting
What a crappy day.  My daughters soccer was supposed to be at 2:00PM, which meant I had to get my bike ride in early, but it was pouring outside and they were calling for thunderstorms.  I made a very tough call, one that took me a long time to decide on....I would have to do my four hour ride indoors on my trainer in the basement.  In preparation I set up my laptop in front of my bike with live coverage of Ironman Wisconsin streaming from, had the TV on and ready to go for when the Liverpool soccer match kicked off at 11:00AM and I started my ride to nowhere.  The ride had little to no variation, no "climbing", no fast downhills, it was pretty much straight ahead "riding" for four hours (aside from my one potty break), remember I was on my trainer.  However, I still feel like I got something out of it, I kept my cadence high for the entire ride, right around 95 RPMs and my heart rate right around Z2.  I picked up the effort a few times while listening to "Closer to the Edge" by 30 Seconds to Mars (great song).

After my ride, I immediately headed out the door for my 45 minute run (actually 45:30).  I started out a bit slow, at around 8:15/mile pace and gradually picked it up and finished 5.6 miles at 8:08/mile pace.

Side note:  The only thing I had to eat prior to my ride were Pop-Tarts.  During my ride I downed four 20 oz. bottles of Gatorade and three sleeves of Clif Shot Bloks.  During my run I took in 20 oz of water.  When I returned from my run I chugged two glasses of chocolate mile an immediately hit the showers.

I promised my wife that I would help her paint the kitchen and adjoining hallway after my workout (since soccer was cancelled due to the rain).  So at 3PM we started to prep the area....and as a result I kind of forgot to eat.  Flash forward to 7:30PM and all I had eaten was another batch of Pop-Tarts and downed some Dr. Pepper, as I was trying my best to get all of the painting done.  It was at this point that I delved into an apple pie that my wife had made.  I was so hungry, lightheaded and generally feeling like crap, but I didn't want to stop because I promised my wife we would get it done.

Finally at 9:30AM we finished!  I took a shower and then drove over to Wendy's to get a double cheeseburger, large fries and large soda.  I was starving so why not eat one of the least healthy meals possible right before going to bed.  The way my night was going I figured it was the right call, and by "right" call I mean the complete and utterly wrong call.  I felt like crap after eating it.

So, I learned a very valuable lesson from yesterday, after sleeping horribly and waking up this morning feeling equally horrible.  After a tough workout, i.e. ~5 hours of training, take the time to refuel properly otherwise you are going to pay for it on more than one level.  I made a lot of mistakes Saturday yesterday:
  • I didn't eat a solid breakfast either day
  • I didn't fuel properly on my long run or long bike (more gels/shot bloks and more fluids)
  • My post-workout meals were lacking big time.  The only think I did right was down some chocolate milk.
  • I stayed up way to late each night....but I did mange to sleep in each morning.
So, here I am, 69 days out from Ironman Arizona, ready to start week 21 of my training program.  I have made some really great strides with my training, I feel stronger and faster.  However, with regards to my nutrition, I have a lot of room for improvement.  I have ten weeks to figure it all out....just being smarter will probably take care of most of my issues though, eh?


Thursday, September 9, 2010

2.23693629 Miles

This morning started like many Ironman Training Program mornings.  My alarm went off at 4:15AM, then again at 4:20AM.  I stared at the ceiling for a minute, asked myself, "Why am I doing this?", then made my way to the bathroom to do, yada yada yada, then get dressed.  I arrived at HealthQuest a bit earlier than normal, right at 5:00AM, made my to the pool and was able to get into a lane around 5:20AM (it was packed this morning).  This all sounds very mundane I am sure....who the heck cares about what time I woke up, what I did when I woke up, and what time I got into the pool?  But wait, this morning, albeit a very normal Thursday for me, was in fact very different for what happened next.  Today is the first time that I have every swam over TWO MILES!!!  It was actually 2.23693629 miles to be exact, in the pool you see below (although it is much darker when I am swimming there). 

I didn't realize it until last night when I was looking over my training program that I was moving up to the next set of swim workouts, the ~3,500m sets.  I was not a happy camper when I saw this, I thought I had another week before the move up.  Oh well, nothing I could do to change that. 

3,600m = 500M wu, 4 x 100m drills, 5 x 400m @45sec, 8 x 50m drills, 300m cd

What can I say about the swim workout?  It took forever!  I am sitting here tired and hungry.  The two bowls of Rice Crispies with a banana just isn't  cutting it and I am craving some additional nourishment.

Oh, yesterday, I should probably mention that I did my normal Wednesday BRICK in the early AM.  45 minutes on my trainer, just slogging along trying to get my legs moving.  It was not a good ride what so ever.  Then immediately after I did my 30 minute run which started out really well and then slowly went downhill.  I was happy to get home and into the shower, knowing that I was done for the day with my workouts.  It was also my turn to get the girls onto the school bus, which meant it was a pancakes-for-breakfast morning!!!  Yes, me and the girls were really happy about this and we ate like champs!

I still have an hour and a half ride (@ 15 min, insert 8 x 4 min Z4 @ 2 min spin) I have to do after work today.  It should be a good ride, at least I am hoping that it will be.

Have a great day and peace out!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Holy Hard Holiday Training

It is Tuesday morning and I am tired and I am sore.  It was a long weekend down at the Jersey Shore, with many activities going on and and many of them not conducive to Ironman training.  I suppose now is the time to start spilling the beans.

Saturday - The Long Bike, The Short Run, The Late Night
Instead of driving down to my 'rents house in Lavallette on Friday night, I suggested to my wife that I just ride my bike down and she could sleep in a bit and drive down a bit later, ideally coordinating our arrival for around the same time.  So I was up around 5:10AM and after my normal dilly-dallying around I finally hit the road at 5:50AM.  It was still dark out so I wore my headlamp for the first 30 minutes or so...I should have left a bit earlier to maximize the headlamp usage. 

I could go into all of the dynamics of my ride, but that would just be boring because there wasn't a whole lot going on.  It was a beautiful day, perfect weather, and no mechanical issues.  I would say up until around mile 70, everything was going according to plan.  Then, as I made my way over the Mantloking Bridge, my stomach started to get a bit queasy and I wasn't sure what I should do to make it go away.  My ride up to that point had been so solid, fast and smooth.  I kept drinking, but that didn't help.  I sucked it up and just toughed out the last 11 miles, grateful that I made it to my parents house without vomiting or succumbing to any other intestinal issues.  Ride stats:  82.15 miles, 4:02:00. 20.4MPH (had been up to 20.7MPH but slowed during the last 10 miles)

I had to hang around for about 30 minutes before I could head out for my run (my wife got down a bit later than planned) which had a negative impact on my performance.  I should have eaten something in the interim, Shot Bloks, bagel, something.  Instead I just sat around and waited.  When I finally headed out for my run I was toast.  The first mile was solid, then I ran out of gas.  I did a lot of walking and ended up only putting in 40 of my planned 45 minutes.  Live and learn I suppose, eh?

The rest of the day was spent at the beach and what a day it was.  My sister was there with her family (visiting from Utah), my cousin and their kids, and a bunch of others.  Me and my family had a really good time.  There was a bit of a drawback in that Hurricane Earl had kicked up the surf pretty good, so they weren't letting anyone in the water past their waist.  So what I had to do was wait until 6PM when the lifeguards left and head back up to get in some body boarding (it was too big for me to surf).  I was in the water for about an hour and had a blast, just getting barreled and worked all over the place.  Awesome way to end an epic day.

That night the party was on at my 'rents house and to quickly summarize the events:
  • Played some games for a few hours (washers, etc.)
  • I headed to bed at 1:15AM
  • I was convinced to drive a bunch of inebriated individuals (5 total) to Seaside Heights to find "The Situation", Snooki, and the rest of the cast of Jersey Shore 
  • Arrived at "Bamboo" at 1:45AM, lost my wife and other friend immediately, there was an incident, someone left with a black eye, we were on our way home by 2:45AM.
  • Finally managed to get into bed at 3:15AM
Sunday - Long Run, Body Surfing, Sore Ride
Ugh, was I ever tired.  I dragged my sore and tired butt out of bed at 8:00AM.  I thought to myself that this is not the way one should be training for an Ironman, no, not at all.  I was recruited by all of the kids in the house to go on a donut run, so I took my youngest and my niece.  After the donut run I need to get in a my hour and a half run, so I rallied and made it happen.  All in all it didn't go all that badly, I started out easy and gradually increased my pace over the entire run.  Run stats:  10.88 miles, 1:31:30 (8:24/mile pace)

Another day spend at the beach and on this day we were able to get in and actually go body surfing!  I probably spent about two or three hours out in the water riding waves.  They were perfect, 3 - 5', hollow and breaking left to right (a lot of closeouts though).  Absolutely perfect day.

Later on that night I knew that I had to get in a ride, an easy one hour ride at 100+RPM.  I wasn't looking forward to it, especially when you consider everything I had done over the past 36 hours (long bike, short run, body boarding, late night, long run, body surfing, etc.).  Despite all of this I put my helmet and shoes on and got it done.  1:00:00, 17.0MPH.

Bedtime came early that night, I was asleep by 9:30PM

Monday - A Day of Rest
I did not thing on Labor Day, just slept in until 7:30AM, took my dog for a short walk, ate a good breakfast and then just chilled.  We did go out for a ride in my father's boat, heading down to the Barnegat Lighthouse.  Other than that we just chilled on the beach all day before eating dinner and then heading home at 8:00PM.  It was a really good weekend, I was able to spend some time my sister and her family (my nephew and two nieces), spend a lot of time at the beach (that last time until next year), and also spend some quality time with my wife and daughters. 

Not it is back to the normal routine, training every day, soccer Saturday's/Sunday's, dance Saturday's, and everything else that comes out way.  Cheers!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Kissing Hand

Last night was "Back to School Night" for my 2nd grade daughter.  My wife and I went and listened to her very pregnant teacher tell us about how the classroom is run and what we should expect from our respective children.  At the end of the session she read us all a story that she had read to the students earlier that day, "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn.  After reading the story she had us look into our child's desk and there we found a cut out paper hand that each child had made for their parents.  We were then asked to do that same for them as a surprise for when they got to class today. 

Why this long winded explanation about my daughters Back to School Night that apparently has nothing to do with triathlon and training?  This may take a few sentences to explain so just hold on.  The book is about the fears that most children have before beginning school.  As a way to alleviate some of those fears, the mother raccoon kisses the little raccoon's hand as a way of giving the little guys a sense of security when she isn't around.  Then by putting the hand that his mother had kissed up to his cheek, he will know that she is there with him and he need not be scared (at least that is how I remember it).  Here is where I draw the keep reading.

While training for Ironman Arizona I have pretty much spent every training session alone, whether it be in a pool at 5:15AM, on the road biking for 4 hours or running solo for 1.5 hours.  There have been many times that I have thought to myself, "Why am I doing this?  I should have never signed up to this race."  I fear the race, I fear not finishing, I fear failure.  I always manage to talk myself down from the ledge and keep my arms and legs moving.  I guess where I am going with this is that maybe I need to be able to put a hand to my face that has been kissed by my wife and daughters to remind me that they are always with me and supporting me.  Whether it is out training or racing, we all need a little help, emotional assistance to get us through the tough times where our minds tell us it is easier to just quit.  I just hope my girls don't think it is gross that I am going to ask them to kiss my hand tonight, better make sure I wash it, eh?

Now for my training....

I was up at 4:25AM, ugh I am starting to hate that time of the morning, and in the water swimming at 5:20AM.  Would have been in sooner had my body wash bottle not opened up and saturated my swim suit and goggles with soap.  After that minor inconvenience I started my swim, a straight 3,000yd, no rest, not sets, just keep moving until I was done.  The first couple 200s were slow, but then I refocused, concentrated on my body position and stoke and was able to pick up the pace a bit.  All in all it took me 57:15 (1:54/100yd), not as fast as I would have liked but it will do.  I would say that the last 1,000yd was fastest part of my swim, averaging around 1:45/100yd.

I wasn't able to fit in my bike ride at lunch so I just worked, worked, worked though it.  After work I wasn't able to ride right away either because of Back to School Night.  Oh, I did get to talk to one of my daughters friends father, he did IM Florida back in 2006 (10:33:00).  I could have hung out with him for hours talking about triathlon stuff.  He is a sick triathlete, any advice I can get from him is much needed.

Finally at 8:40PM, and after half a meatball parm sandwich, I was able to get on my bike and get my 75 minute ride in on the trainer.  I watched the IM St. George race, wow that is a tough and lonely course, beautiful but it looked very desolate.  Depending on how IMAZ goes, that might be one that I would like to do in 2012.  I finished up the night watching the new episode of "Jersey Shore" with my wife, yes, I know it is sad, but I do love the show.

I slept in until 5:20AM, yes, that is now sleeping in for me.  Since we have an early dismissal from work, I wasn't going to get into the office at 7:00AM like I normally do.  It was my last swim in my gyms outdoor salt water pool.  I am going to miss swimming out there, it is such a nice change from the stuffy, warm pool that I normally swim in.

3,000yd - 500yd wu, 4 x 100 drills, 4 x 200 @:20sec, 6 x 100 @:15sec, 4 x 50 drills, 300cd

It was a good swim and I managed to do negative splits for all of the 200 and 100 sets.

Instead of my planned 75 minute run this afternoon, I ended up doing a 58 minute run with my buddy Chris, which turned out to be quite the workout.  I felt awesome for the first mile, then everything kind of went downhill, which I suspect was the result of the following:
  • Nutrition - I rode my bike last night late and only ate a meatball parm sandwich for dinner.  Following my swim this morning, breakfast was only a bagle and a drink.  In hindsight, I should have had a lot more at dinner and a much heartier breakfast along with a lot more water to drink.  A pre-run snack would have been ideal as well.
  • Rest - I finished my 75 minute ride at 9:45last night, didn't get to sleep until after 11:00PM, woke at 5:20AM, did 3,000yd in the pool starting at 6:00AM and did my run at 12:30PM.  Needed more than the ~6 hours of sleep that I got.
The run was much more bearable then my runs earlier in the week now that the achy remnants of last Sunday's triathlon have left my body.  However, I should have felt a lot better than I did and I obviously screwed up on my nutrition and rest.  Tonight I am going to have to eat a lot for dinner and get a solid 7 - 8 hours of sleep since I have a four hour bike ride scheduled for tomorrow.  I am going to be riding from my house in PA down to my 'rents house in Lavallette.

Peace out!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Recovery is Not Fun

I am three days removed from my Olympic distance triathlon on Sunday and I am just now getting over the soreness.  My runs have been really slow and painful, hopefully my next one on Friday will be OK.

Vacation is over which means back to the 4:20AM alarm...ugh!  I traded my nice comfortable bed for a Speedo and a salt water pool at my gym.  The indoor pool is undergoing some renovation so they are letting us use the outdoor salt water pool which is a nice change of pace. 

500yd wu, 4 x 100 drills, 7 x 125yd @:20sec,  7 x 75 yd @:15sec, 4 x 50 drills, 500 yd cool down

It was a good swim and being able to do it as the sun was just starting to rise was a nice treat as well.  The only bad part of the morning was the initial plunge in and the cold walk back to the locker room.  Two more days (Thursday & Friday) to possibly swim there, then it is back indoors.

At lunch I had an hour run which as I already stated was tough.  95F and 50% humidity...neither is a good number to have to run during.  I simply got the run done and was happy to take a nice cool shower afterwards.

I was up at 5:15AM, headed to the basement to put in 45 minutes on the trainer and then followed that immediately with a 26 minute run (should have been 30 but time was getting short).  It was my day to get the girls on the bus (yes, already back in school, day 3 actually) and I had the pleasure of dealing with all of the morning drama that one would expect with two young girls who don't want to wear the clothes that are put out for them.  They are only 5 & 7 years old....I fear the teen year!!!

That is about it for now.  Oh on a side note I have posted for a couple new jobs at my current employer.  I am not all that happy with my job at the present time and I am not a big fan of my new boss.  I hope that something can come out of the jobs I applied for.  Fingers are crossed!