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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The (er, another) Bonk

I've bonked enough times now to know how to eat before/during a workout. Yet, I still make dumb mistakes. I had the Whole Foods equivalent of a bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats for breakfast and took a bottle of my endurance formula drink on my ride. Sadly, it was not enough calories to prevent some bonking on the run. Approximately 4 miles into the run, it happened. The slow welling up of the combination of dizziness and fatigue with an increasingly light-headed feeling that signifies your body saying "Ok, I'm done."

More Snow Fallout - The 5-hour Trainer Ride

When it snows here in Colorado, typically, the weather that follows is clear, sunny skies with a balmy temperature of 60+ degrees. While Friday turned into this and melted a significant portion of the snow, I was not really looking forward to a 100-mile ride on roads that I now clue as to their condition. Additionally, even if some local loops proved clean enough, the prospect of doing said loops 3 or 4 times to reach 100 miles was also not very appealing. Thus, the 5-hour trainer ride was born.

In all honesty, it wasn't as bad as it sounds. I threw in the extended version of LOTR: The Two Towers, watched it all the way through (3 hours, 40 minutes) and then threw in it's successor, The Return of the King. Fast forwarding through all the Gollumy parts, i.e., slow plot parts w/ Gollum, the last 1:20 went as quickly.

Thus, at least for me, I think I've found the solution to the boredom of trainer riding: Find an epicly long movie that has stuff you really like, e.g., action sequences and before you know it, you'll be stretching, and your wife will yell down that it's 6:30 and you're meeting your sister for dinner in 30 minutes.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Two Feet of Snow - The Aftermath

After shoveling our sidewalk and driveway 3 times in 18 hours and nursing a VERY sore shoulder/neck for the last 24 hours, the sun came out today and teased us with typical gorgeous CO weather right after a hellacious snow storm.

The garage door is now fixed so we have the use of our cars back. As the repair guy left, his final words were "That's about as bad of a crashed door as I've seen in a long time."

Ha, nice.

It was bad enough that I totally blew off my workouts for Thursday but we also ordered Pizza Hut for dinner...yikes...but OH so good.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Two Feet of Snow

That's how much snow is surrounding our house. I've shoveled the sidewalk and driveway twice today and the wall of snow lining the driveway would serve any child as a solid snow fort or barricade as protection against snowballs.

But alas, there were no children or snowball fights. Just a solid day of working in front of the computer from the home office and blowing off both scheduled workouts. I can handle several hours on the trainer. I cannot, however, stand more than a few minutes on the treadmill. Even with the TV on.

It really sucks too because overall, this week had been going rather well training-wise. I will do some sort of workout or workouts tomorrow, but I was supposed to do a 100-mile ride on Saturday. There's no way in hell, well, maybe only in hell, all this snow will disappear from the roads by Saturday. I don't care how great the plows are.

On top of all this, our garage door is broken. It is currently at a very odd angle and is mostly no longer on either of its tracks. A repair person is supposed to come by tomorrow but with this weather - I wonder if he'll show up. I hope so because both our cars are trapped inside.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Live @ Altitude, Train @ Sea Level

It's awesome. 'Nuff said.

I'm in San Diego on vacation and as anyone who lives at altitude will tell you, going to sea level and training is a huge treat. You have to workout a lot harder to get your heart rate in the proper zones. E.g., today's run had mile Z4 intervals in it. I was able to do 6:40s in low Z4 whereas at altitude, if I could even do 6:40s they'd either be in high Z4 or in Z5. The difference? At altitude, that's above my LT which means there are side effects, namely lactic acid.

Additionally, this was the first real run on my new orthotics and my feet felt weird at first but after a mile or two, they felt great.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I'm now the proud owner of custom running and cycling orthotics! Yes, two separate pair - one for running and one for cycling. I had a chance to use the cycling ones on a 25-mile ride today with Z3 intervals and they were AWESOME! No stress on my fascia at all. Dr. Andy Pruitt is a god...and he is ALL business during a session. I swear, I think they keep him so fully booked at the BCSM it must be why he doesn't do chit-chat.

I tried out my running inserts but it was only for a shorter run and on a treadmill at that. I'll have to wait until Friday before I can give them a good test.

Training vs. Blogging

The desire to blog starts like that feeling of getting a new toy - exuberance and excitement at first as you play with it all the time but it inevitably fades as more important things make you forget. And when you remember that you forgot, you're not in a place to mitigate the issue.

It was not my intention to wait over a week before blogging, life and training invariably get in the way. Thus, I have an enormous amount of respect for folks who blog daily on their own. Those that blog for a living get somewhat less respect because hell, if I had to do it for a living, I'd find something to write about too.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bad Run, Good Run

Still tired from yesterday's ride and LATE night post-JJ Dinner festivities (we got home after midnight) I wasn't ├╝ber excited or ready for today's interval run. I finally got to the gym after noon and as I turned on my Garmin I immediately received a low battery warning meaning I'd have to wing it on the distance. I swapped my dead GPS for a watch from the lost and found and away I went.

The run got better as it went on. My intervals got progressively faster. The way out was slightly uphill and into a gusting headwind (of course). But this time, when I turned around, I had a nice tailwind.

When I got back to the gym I wrote down my splits from the borrowed watch and exchanged it back for my Garmin. Earlier this evening I manually entered the split data into my training log and realized that something was wrong. I was only supposed to run 7 miles but with my splits, that meant my penultimate split meant I was running 30-minute miles. I don't even think I can walk that slow. After mapping my run on, I realized that I wound up running 8 miles instead of 7.


More Wind

It seems to be a recurring theme doesn't it? This week has seen more windy days than I can remember in a long time and while it may be good training, it sure is tiring. Saturday's Z3 ride became more of a race to get back to Boulder before it started snowing. It turns out, while the fog in the foothills looked foreboding snow never actually materialized. The wind, however, never stopped materializing. In fact, it materialized in several different directions.

My ride out was in a headwind but I was going easy because I knew that I'd be able to fly when I turned around. After all, headwind going out = tailwind coming back right? I turned around about 5 miles North of 75th where it crosses 66 and prepared myself for the awesome tailwind in which I was about to ride. Any minute now, it'll kick in...any minute now...

Much to my dismay, the tailwind was not to be found and the only solace I had was that it was essentially all downhill to Hygiene and flat to Gunbarrel. My speed increased significantly from my first hour to my second hour but I don't believe it was due to any wind assistance since a large portion of that hour was in some form of head/crosswind. Riding into Gunbarrel I became rather frustrated at how difficult riding had become in the past 10-15 minutes and why I didn't seem to have any power. Riding by the fire station in Gunbarrel revealed why. There, on a flag pole, was the American flag rippling proudly in the breeze. Indicating that I was riding head on into the wind. So much for my previous equation: headwind out = tailwind back.

The Wheelsucker

As a rule triathletes, well, many of them anyway, don't draft. In competition (save for ITU events) it's illegal and in training it's not really conducive to effective training (though I'm sure there are those out there who will beg to differ). As such, I don't draft when training, even when I'm on my road bike.

For drafters out there, proper drafting etiquette when it comes to a total stranger is to make sure the person you're drafting off of 1) knows you're there, and 2) is ok with you sucking wheel. For me, I don't like drafters...period. And if you don't ask and just magically show up on my wheel, well, I'm either going to make you pay, or make you pass. Friday's ride saw a very windy day (as appears to be becoming the norm here these days) with the headwind coming on the ride back to my office. About 5-6 miles from the office I rode past a park where a guy was walking his bike down towards the path from what I assume to have been the port-a-potty located there. About 5-10 minutes later, I happened to turn and see him sucking my wheel and I have no idea how long he'd been there.

When he finally passed me, he never said a word to and parked himself right in front of me, I assume to return the drafting favor. I dropped back outside the draft zone and just let him hang out there. After about 4 minutes he dropped back behind me again because it must have really sucked to have to sit in the wind like that for SO long. We did this back and forth for a few cycles, him pulling for a few minutes with me hanging back and then dropping behind me. Finally we hit a "hill" while he was pulling and slowed down considerably forcing me to draft because I couldn't pass due to oncoming path traffic. After the traffic went by, being really annoyed, I passed him, kicked it up to Z4, and dropped him.

I guess it shouldn't bother me as much as I let it, but the dude NEVER SAID A WORD. Sure, I could have said something, but then, I wasn't drafting.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Slow Recovery Week

Up until yesterday my recovery week wasn't anything to write home about, other than my tempo ride on Monday. Tuesday was a rest day and Wednesday was a bunk workout day because I had a meeting at work from 10:30-1:00 and 5 minutes into my run I felt dizzy. I managed to slog through 2.5 miles mixing walking and running because I really just had no energy and bailed on the swim I was supposed to do.

Today, however, was different. Much different. And much better. My mile intervals in my 6-mile run at lunch were awesome even with the gusty wind blowing debris and dust everywhere. My trainer ride was fine on the new saddle but I'll withhold judgment until I can get more rides/time in the new saddle before I declare victory.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Shitty News

I had several appointments at the BCSM today to get fit for running and cycling orthodics. I'd been waiting for my new FSA to kick in which it did at the beginning of February. I procrastinated an entire month. My reason for obtaining orthodics was because in between last year's Vineman 70.3 and the 5430 Long Course (3 weeks) I managed to do something to my left foot which turned out to be acute Plantar Fasciitis.

If you Google Plantar Fasciitis, you'll get well over 600K hits. It's a common problem and there's a lot of gimmicky devices out there to supposedly help you get rid of it.

My solution at the time was to stop training for the season (after all of the 5430 Long Course, well, up to the first mile marker on the run), take a month off, and start training again, but using the elliptical machine in lieu of running. Additionally, I took to massaging my foot twice a day with whatever I could find. It turns out that the shaft of a long screwdriver works really well. After another few months of that, I started running again in late November (I think) starting my runs at a mile and upping by a half mile every other day (or so) until I got to 7-8 miles. I then got back into my regular running regimen for training. All that worked great....until a few weeks ago when I managed to tweak my foot in the pool, of all places, from pushing off the wall.

I've not been as good about massaging it as much as I did before but will be after today's appointment. It turns out, that I now have a bone spur on my left heel. Bones can only do one thing under trauma...grow. My fascia either partially tore, or partially detached and the bone grew to try and fill the gap.

It was a very sobering moment, looking at those X-rays.

An Exhausing Weekend

Saturday saw a 100-mile ride that took over 6 hours because of a 10+ mile headwind the entire way back from Ft. Collins to Boulder. And while I'll be the first to admit I bitch about headwinds (and wind in general) it wasn't the wind that made the ride bad. I was actually mostly ok with the wind. The problem was with my gloves and my seat (and thus, my ass). The weather, overall, was nice. It was bright and sunny but a cold 40 degrees. And windy.

My gloves had no padding in the palms so after trying to ride the first 50+ miles in the aero position as much as practical my palms became really sore. I have padded gloves - one day I'll actually remember to use them.

I had on two layers on my legs which was, in hindsight, too much and made for some stiff riding. Up top, I was fine, but my undershirt, actually a rash guard from Quicksilver meant for surfing, had a seam that ran the length of my arm and somehow managed to position itself right in line with where my forearms rested on my aerobar pads making for some more uncomfortableness when trying to ride in the aero position.

The worst thing, though, had to be my ass. I have a fi'zi:k Arione saddle which is not technically a triathlon saddle. Because it's not a triathlon saddle, one's seat bones slide forward on the saddle and force your crotch to bear the full weight of your torso. After 50-60 miles, this becomes too much (especially if you're a guy) and it starts hurting and makes the last 40 miles of the ride really suck.

I found out today that the Arione was the defacto standard for a while because there were really no triathlon specific saddles out there for the longest time. Times have changed. There's a plethora of saddles out on the market now and I wound up with the Specialized Phenom which is actually a mountain bike saddle according to Specialized's website. I don't care, it was the most comfortable and while it almost never turns out this way, was the most inexpensive.

After Saturday's 100-mile ride, Sunday brought forth another ride, 23 miles, and a swim (I bailed on the 1-mile run I was supposed to do after the ride on Saturday). I thought I'd be tired for the 23-mile ride, and I was, but I didn't suffer through it. I did it on the trainer watching a movie (Blade II) so maybe that helped. I was pretty thoroughly tired by the swim and ended it after 2500m.

The ride, however, turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because my tempo ride on Monday, when I thought my legs would be totally shot (like they were 4 weeks ago when I did my last century) but I'm convinced the 23-mile ride on Sunday really helped flush out the legs and I was able to do 35 minutes in Z4 despite the massive headwind on the last 8-miles of an 11-mile Z4 TT. Speed was good, cadence was good. Workout was good.