Thursday, March 31, 2011

Committment captured on video

As Frances and Melanie head to Yakima, WA today in preparation for the marathon on Saturday I decided to post today with this video I saw on a friends Facebook update. I can only say I hope I can have this level of commitment.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A 30 year odyssey to Kona

How time passes...

It was about 258 or so days ago when I started this real attempt at my quest for Kona. Sure I had talked and planned about this since I was about 13 or 14 years old when triathlon was a brand new thing. I'm not sure if it was a 1981 ABC sports special or the fact I was in Hawaii just after Ironman moved to Kona or the fact my grandparents showed me how the course went in front of their condo on Alii Dr. Either way a dream began. In 1983 I convinced my grade 10 Phys Ed teacher to have a school triathlon, she organized it and I won my debut race which was 800m swim, 17 km bike and 5 km run. She quit teaching the next year and went pro as a triathlete and I switched schools.

Afterwards I got more involved doing a winter tri the next year consisting of xc skiing, skating and running in Banff and in my new school convinced them to have a tri in my grade 12 year, which I also won. After that over the next 24 years to now I did Ironman Canada in 1989, and 4 more Ironmans, and many Half-IM and Olympic and sprint tris later here I am.

It's not that I haven't trained, but never this hard. My previous 20 triathlons never saw me really be consistent. I've either skipped multiple whole years from racing or just plodded along doing Ironman on less than 6 hours a week average training.

So this journey starts to come full circle as the passion I now have burns as fiercely as it did 30 years ago. Over the last 258 days I've focused all on a few basic principles.

1. Build a base worthy of a real attempt to get to worlds.
2. Strengthen my body so I can put in the absolute strongest 21 day peak cycle I've ever done in my life.
3. Develop power on the bike that changes my bike from a weakness to a strength.
4. Learn to run fatigued so I can run an Ironman without walk breaks.

In a mere 39 days Ironman St. George will be history. The last 258 are what they are, and the next 18 days of hard work and 21 days of taper is all the is left in my control. No regrets over the last 7 months. I lost less than 5 training days due to illness and skipped less than 7 days without a rationale reason to not train. Every other day was intentional and planned.

It would be easy to change my goal to just having a best time. I've earned that but there needs to be no mental doubt going to St. George. I'm going there to get a world champs qualifying spot. I need to be strategic and focused and use every tool and technique at my disposal to finish this journey.

So what was the last week like? I took four days off from Thursday to Sunday to recover from the months of effort and to prepare for the final stretch. Monday I was eager to resume, the energy and focus and my knee felt great for the first time in months, perhaps since September. I started the 21 day load with an easy spin at lunch for 30 minutes with a 10 min cardio core rotation of 100 crunches, 25 tricep dips and 40 pushups. Then after work was the second last long run I will do until the race. I ran 23 miles knee pain free at 140 average heart rate and did 8 min mile pace over my mock St George course plus 0.5%. That was so awesome to see my knee hold out. I ran it in my tri suit to ensure I could be comfortable enough to run in it at the race for that long. Then on Tuesday night I did a moderate 3 hour ride focusing the last hour on impeccable profile position. I need to make sure now I am riding technically clean so it's all habit race day. Today was a split day with early morning water run, lunch swim ( did a solid 20 x 50 m set averaging 41 secs on a 1 minute cycle) and a post work spin and blogging session.

Goal is to get 21 hours this week.

So in a nutshell the first 3 days of the key 21 are solid and on May 7 at dinner I will celebrate with some chocolate ice cream my Kona qualification.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

45 days, another IM swim PB and EKG anomalies for athletes

As time gets closer to the race more obstacles keep on showing up, or at the very least, distractions. Did a EKG screening way back in November and some anomalies showed up so another EKG screening in march and either I have athletes / runners heart or an impending MI or heart attack. My GP and I both think the former but protocol is to screen for the latter so referral to cardiology clinic and echo cardiogram are now both scheduled.

At this rate they may give me a kona spot as a human interest story before I even run IMSG as a qualifier. I'm stacking up stories faster than miles logged it seems. So Monday when they made the referral and I got the Dr office calling I confirmed with the GP that I'm good to continue training and she said yes and this will likely end up a wild goose chase. I can't wait to be referred to do a treadmill stress test. You can see it now, Sir please tell us when you feel near your limit. Hopefully the test treadmill can go above 10 mph.

So after taking the extra day off on Monday I celebrated my failing body (sarcasm intended) with an ironman swim at lunch in a personal best 63:10 and felt really controlled with splits consistent between 8:15 and 8:20 per 500m all the way through. A 30 min water run at mod rate intensity after work and a 2 hr indoor trainer ride at 175 watts resistance to finish the day. Wednesday was a 45 min water run at lunch, blogging and work emails after work on the reclined bike for 75 min and an intended ride for an hour later tonight.

Did some more research and found 3 really good options for my taper that I am choosing from and decided to go 20 hrs this week, next week a rest week with 2 hard weeks after that before the three week taper.

Weeks ago I posted no excuses, no regrets. Holding to that cause.

WTC here I come!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Under 50 days to IMSG and How much to push in this final build cycle?

Last week was very busy at work as expected but I did get in a decent interval session on Thursday running 10 X 1 mile repeats averaging 6:45 overall per mile. Saturday was a massive brick run doing a 6 hour ride followed by a 19.5km run at about 5:20/km averaging under 140 HR. Both of these I feel were good solid workouts. Finished the week at just over 19 hours.

For the first time in my life I am finding it hard to be willing to schedule in a rest week. Race is 7 weeks away and I am planning a three week taper. I have two more long runs to build on in the next 4 weeks (36.5 and 39 km) but I have met the target for a long brick and have done three 5h 20m plus rides. So the real test now is to properly plan this last 4 week cycle before the taper.

The last 7 weeks have been a scale up order (13.7, 12.4, 15.3, 13.1, 18.4, 16.1, 19.2 hours respectively). I am thinking I should drop down to 16-17 hours this week, 21 the week after, then 16-17, then 24ish and then taper. I am also really watching my knee as well. After all these years of self coaching I need some seasoned advice going down the stretch. Usually I don't have this much base at this stage. Time to call a friend.

Monday, March 14, 2011

No substitute for work, great need for motivation, great example of a first time marathoners preparation and a video

After a hard run last Thursday I did an easy 70 minutes bike ride on Friday, working out soreness and all, and to recover the knee. I had hoped to do a long brick Saturday but knee was still very tender so I decided a long base bike ride on the computrainer would have to do. So after getting back from my Saturday morning dental appointment I did a six hour ride at easy effort. Sunday rest day. Monday morning 35 minute up tempo water run and a moderate steady state ride indoor bike late Monday night of a couple hours.

Still crazy busy at work and will be for at least two more days but hopefully will hit my goal of 20 hrs this week. However, no long run of 20+ miles this week. Frances and Melanie both starting to taper down for the Yakima marathon in just under 3 weeks. I wish my leg was solid enough to go with them but need to keep it rested for IMSG. It will be Frances' first full and I think she is ready with a peak 41km long run, a 13 X 1 mile long intervals session with 3 min rest between each and a 92km total in her max week. Way more than I did for my first.

Aryana is training hard for her 1st half marathon also, its in Ontario in late April. See her blog here >> Wear Sunscreen

Finally, the video clip of the day for triathlon motivation

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Wall revisted, great long run and cool video

Last Saturday I ended up not only doing a 5h 20m bike (albeit at an easy pace) but I decided to run off the bike outside. It was cold, and it was my first hard surface and outdoor run since we got back from Hawaii in early December. Three layers on my legs, three on torso, double gloves and a warm toque. Ran it averaging about 8:15 per mile and was happy with that off the bike.

Took the Sunday rest day and then decided to make my bike ride a Richard vs the Wall round 5 or 6. It had been months (mid November) since I had done a time trial on the IMSG computrainer course. Got all my food ready, drink ready and mentally prepped for a hard workout. End result was I was absolutely ecstatic probably riding faster than ever in my life averaging 32 km/hr over a hilly 108 km course (over 3000 ft climbing) and a big increase 212 average watts compared to the 186 watts back in November. Did an easy water run as well on Monday. Tuesday was a busy work day and only got in a 84 minute ride and Wednesday was even busier at work and then at church so ended up not getting in a workout.

The URD (unscheduled rest day) was put to good use as I did a long run today. The last two long runs were less than stellar so I took lots of energy bars, plus 3 bottles Gatorade and ran 34 km of the IMSG run course on the treadmill plus an extra 0.5 % grade throughout for good measure. Ended up running 2:55 for the 34 km which is about 8:15 per mile pace and was much happier with that over the previous weeks. Last 30 minutes were tough but I just promised myself that if I did the full 34 km at pace I would give myself a rest week next week from a long run. So between mental chanting of "K O N A" and "earn the rest" and "train like Kona depends on this effort, because it does" I pushed my way through the final stages of the workout.

Tonight when I decided to blog I skimmed through the updates from friends on Facebook and found this video below. Makes my piddly Ironman effort seem, well, piddly.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Making Ironman training fit into the available time

The value of time. I wish that I had more in a few ways.

First, more days in a week. I like my job, and really don't mind doing it, I just wish I had an 8th day of the week in the middle for a longer training day. That would be really useful.

Second, more hours in a day. I would love to get more sleep and have an extra 30 minutes from when I drop off Leah to seminary and when my work day starts. It would help me get in that morning workout without being as rushed, and 15 more minutes at lunch for the same reason.

Third, more weeks before IMSG maybe just 4 or 5 so I could get some outdoor rides in. It's march and not even close to riding outside with ice, snow and -15 C temps, thank goodness I have a computrainer.

However, none of those things are going to happen so I need to maximize the time I do have. Like right now, riding an easy long ride and blogging at the same time not only dulls some of the monotony but allows me to take care of multiple things. Awesome having the wireless keyboard and mouse, although the keyboard occasionally flakes out.

Busy life tasks at the start of this last week got me off to a slow start. After Mondays easy spin I got in a second easy spin on the bike on Tuesday for just over an hour and a half. Really making sure I get the time on the bike in. It wasn't that easy though as I did a set of single leg drills that I sure felt on Wednesday. Wednesday was a water run and swim. Did the warm up and cool down with a main swim set of 6 x 100 x 3 for 1800m averaging 1:27 on a 1:45 min cycle with 2 minutes between each subset of 6. I was pleased with that. Thursday was long run day, and again it was tougher than I wanted. Only got in 17.5 miles at 8:30 pace on the IMSG course. the knee was wonky at the start but settled down and heart rate stayed reasonably solid but legs were generally fatigued.

Is it just the fact I am in a heavy volume block or am I over traing? Who knows but I did three workouts Friday with them being an easy bike (85 minutes), easy water run (40 minutes) and moderate swim (3200m steady with pull buoy and paddles in 51 minutes). That went pretty good for the day after a long run.

This morning I decided to switch my 4 hr hard ride with an easy 5 hr ride and take advantage of tomorrows Sunday rest day to ride hard on Monday. Just over 90 minutes into the long ride now. Should finish the week at about 17 hours.

After I finish the blog I will read a pile of emails I have to catch up on. 9 weeks to race day as of today.