Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekly Weigh-in and Report

Week of August 22nd - August 28th
It has been an eventful week. I decided to add a couple of races to my end of the year schedule. I hit all of my new higher running targets and made a new milestone distance on the bike. However, my swim slacking continues.

The Numbers:
Average Weight: 238.97 lbs (down 0.2 lbs)
Swimming: 1 hour 2 minutes 23 seconds for 2250 meters
Biking: 5 hours 14 minutes 42 seconds for 89.52 miles
Running: 2 hours 7 minutes 41 seconds for 13.01 miles
Strength: 2 core workouts 10 and 15 minutes
Total: about 8 and 1/2 hours

This is not a stellar week according to the numbers. My hope is that by tracking my progress, my overall effort level will increase and my gains will improve. I plan to track weekly and monthly, in an attempt to quantify improvements.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My first 50 mile ride

Urgh. That pretty much sums up how I feel right now. I just got back from my first 50 mile bike ride. I whipped up a smoothie, settled into my favorite chair, and uploaded my workout data from my Garmin 305. Now I can share my pain with all of you, my faithful blog followers, and yes I know who both of you are.

I rode over 40 miles once, a couple of weeks ago. It was nice, but I rode on the Swamp Rabbit trail and the trail is flat, well as flat as you can find in upstate South Carolina. Even then, I could tell my bike endurance significantly weakened after about 35 miles. Well today's ride was more challenging. I have a 20-25 mile loop that I have been riding for the last year. When I used to do the Saturday morning group rides from the Carolina Triathlon Shop on Woodruff road, this was basically the loop we took. I like it as it is scenic and mostly on rural, low-traffic roads.

So my brilliant idea was to simply do two of those loops or some derivation thereof to get in my mileage goal for today. I knew that it would be tougher than the Swamp Rabbit trail ride because this loop is all rolling hills with some short steep climbs. Nothing that a seasoned rider would have any trouble with, but still tough for this 240lb newbie.

So I knew it was going to be challenging going into it, but I made it more challenging than it needed to be. First I did not eat anything this morning before going for the ride. I usually don't eat before my morning workouts, unless they are over an hour and a half, and since this was a 3 hour ride, I should have eaten something before starting. Also, I have been pushing my legs harder this week than normal, so they legs were already tired.

Well I must have looked pretty rough around mile 46 because a bicyclist going the opposite direction asked me if I was going to be OK, with a serious look of concern on his face. I said yeah, and that I was just tired. I think he wasn't used to seeing someone on a road bike riding up a hill at 5 mph, but at that point in the ride that was what I was doing. I tried to not push too hard on the first loop, because I wanted to ensure that I would finish the ride, and not decide to cut it short. I was determined to get in 50 miles today. I have planned on getting that mile stone for some weeks now, but I kept cutting the previous rides short. I did not really care how slow I was today, as long as I got in all of the miles, not stopping at 33, or 47, but to do a full 50. Now I can work on making that 50 faster.

Well, my wife is heading to the mall to get more maternity clothes, and my daughter just laid down for her daily nap. I think it is the perfect time for me to take a nice recovery nap as well.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I am in for the Spinx Runfest

Well, I decided to race the 2010 Spinx Runfest Half Marathon. My early season plan was to run the Spinx Runfest Full Marathon with my wife, Karina. It was going the first full marathon for each of us. Alas, we were also trying to get pregnant, and the full marathon was a backup plan in case we had not gotten pregnant by then. Well, she is due to have our second baby in early February, so us racing the full will have to wait. I plan on doing a full marathon, but I think it is best if I wait until I can run one with Karina.

After last week's break through race I have been reevaluating my race schedule for the fall. I still have the Beach2Battleship HIM race as my 'A' race, but I also want to see how well I can do in the half marathon. The Half Ironman is on November 13th, and the Half Marathon is on October 30th. So I don't think the events are too close together or that the Runfest race will hurt my performance in the HIM.

I found a nice training plan in Runner's World, and it fits perfectly with the time I have left before Runfest. The plan was a 10 week plan and the first workout was the day I decided to use that plan. So basically I replaced all of the run workouts in my half Ironman training plan with the run workouts from the Runner's world plan.

The runner's world plan is to help a runner finish the half in less than 2 hours, but my goal for the race is to finish in less than 2 hours and 10 minutes. I am trying to do the workouts, and so far (three workouts) I have been able to do the work. The Runners World plan has 2-3 days of rest or cross training each week. I don't think the plan writer envisioned the plan to be used as the run portion of a triathlon training plan, but who cares. I think it will work. I enjoy the running most of all three sports anyway.

The work outs I have done so far have been an "easy" 4 miles at 10:30 pace on Monday, a 5 mile tempo run on Wednesday, and another "easy" 4 miles at 10:30 pace today. Monday and Wednesday workouts were done on the treadmill, where as today's run was done outside. Fortunately I already have a 4 mile out and back route from work, so that was easy. I struggle to maintain a consistent pace on the road, especially with hills. I guess as I loose weight the hills will become less of an issue. I think I will use the treadmill for the speed work though because it is easier to set targeted pace on the treadmill.

I am enjoying the running for time now. Though my legs were significantly tired after my tempo run, this perspective will help me to get faster and make me run harder, and the running harder will help me to lose weight. I will keep everyone informed as the training plan progresses as to how well the 240lb triathlete can keep up with the sub-2-hour-half-marathon training plan.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

New PR for 5K Road Race!!!

This morning I ran the Michelin 5K road race.

Previous Personal Record for the 5K distance: 32 minutes 31 seconds (10 minutes 18 seconds per mile)

The time goal of this race: 31 minutes 00 seconds (9 minutes 58 seconds per mile)

The actual results of this race: 26 minutes 44 seconds (8 minutes 36 seconds per mile)

I could not believe it. If I had not been wearing my Garmin 305, I would have thought that the course was short, but the GPS doesn't lie. I am surprised and very happy. This race was not even planned or anything, Karina just asked if I wanted to run it because it was cheap ($5 entry) and it was part of the corporate shield race series, so her company gets some kind of points or something for the people that run for the company. I did think anything about it, but it just so happens that this week was a recovery week in my half Ironman training plan, so I had a lot of short easy sessions this week to give my body a chance to recover. I did a couple of short (30 minute) runs on the treadmill this week, instead of knocking out the mileage on the road. I wanted to take a break from all of the hills. I was fun to turn up the speed and run "fast" on the treadmill. All week I had been thinking about this morning's race. I knew that I had a chance to set a PR, and I had been thinking about running hard for this race. Hard running is not something that I have been doing at all. So I knew that I would have to be prepared to experience more effort than I am used to during this race.

I woke up this morning, took a shower, and had an Accel Gel as my breakfast. It is 90 calories with simple sugars, protein and caffeine. I like to have them on race morning because it is light and easy to digest and it gets the blood loaded and ready to rock. I was in the zone this morning, just focusing on the race. I have not been that intense about a race yet. Not sense high school, have I taken an athletic event that seriously. On the way to the race, Karina kept asking if I was ok, and if I was grumpy. I told her know, and later I explained that I was just really focusing on the task of running this race as hard as I could. I did not know what the experience was going to be like, but I knew that I was going to push it as hard as I could.

During the race I kept checking my Garmin, and I was really surprised to see the pace! When I passed the first mile marker, the time person yelled out 8:05 and my garmin said 8:06 pace for the first mile. I could not believe it. I was not hurting like I assumed I would be running a pace that is 2 minutes per mile faster than what I am used to (and 4 minutes faster per mile than I did at last weeks trail run). There were some hills on the run, but since I had not been running the hills I normally do all week, my legs were fresh and the hills were not that big of a deal.

The temperature was great this morning as well. I was 83 degrees and the humidity was 78%. It was overcast and looked like it might rain on us during the race. The weather was a welcome reprieve from the recent killer heat we have all had to run in sometimes. Over all I think that the conditions were favorable for me this morning, and I had a great race! The rest of the day involves a 50-60 mile bike ride and rest. You can check out the details of my race here.

This is me pushing hard (trying to run fast, not trying to poop) for a strong finish:

Monday, August 16, 2010

Paris Mountain 7K Trail Run

Saturday morning was the Xterra Trail Run Series - Paris Mountain 7k Trail Run. It started at 8am, and the temperature was not that bad. The humidity was 100% though because it was raining all night. The trail was a little muddy and had some standing water in places, but hey this is a trail run. There was only 357 feet of elevation gain according to my Garmin, but this was a tough run. My weight for this race was 238lbs. I did not "train" for this race though; instead, I have been working on my Half IM training instead. I have added in a Friday Night Trail Run on this trail though, so that counts as race specific training I guess. I wanted to try to hit 50" on this race, and I barely missed it, finishing with 50 minutes and 30 seconds. This gave me a average pace of 12 minutes per mile.

Later that day, my 1/2 IM training plan called for a 2 hour ride. My legs were pretty shot after the race, so I only did 1 hour 37 minutes of easy riding for a total of about 25 miles.

Here are a few photos of me from the race:

and one of me finishing:

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lions, and Cows, and Bears. Oh my!

Here is today's lunch time ride. I stayed in easy gear most of the ride per my training plan, but still got in about 18 miles. I am pleased with that distance for a lunch ride.

During the ride I saw some of the biggest cows I have ever seen. I mean they were huge! I see cows all of the time on my rides and runs, but these were really impressive. Since Karina and Sophie both love cows I wanted to take them to see the creatures this evening. After we had our good luck, night-before-a-race dinner at Chic-fil-a, we drove over to the farm where I saw the cows. My plan was to drive up to the farm house and ask the man if he minded if I let my daughter look at his cattle, as she was really fond of cows. I was counting on my daughters adorableness to help minimize the freak factor that I was really showing by knocking on this strangers door asking if I could look at his cattle. As we drove down the long driveway to the farm house I thought that this was a little strange, but I just knew it would be ok. I park the car and Karina tells me that her and Sophie will wait in the car while I go ask for visitation time with the bovine giants, so much for playing off Sophies cuteness. As I walk toward the front door, I see large dog chew toys laying around near the porch, and I realize there could be a grumpy 200lbs Rottweiler somewhere nearby that would not be happy about a strange man approaching the front door. I then wished that I thought things through a little more before I acted sometimes. Well, if I was going to be Cujo's evening snack, at least Sophie would get to see the Kings of Cattle. I rang the bell, and I heard dogs barking, and a man yelling "Watch out! Watch out!" from inside the house, and I could tell the yelling man was getting closer to the door quickly. I then was sure that I was going to turn around to see a frothy toothed canine preparing for a fat boy sandwich. I spin around to find no trace of my feared carnivorous companion. I then turn around to an opening door to see a hefty golden retriever, and a small schnauzer pushing past the resistance of their owner to get to the front porch and deliver sniffs and licks to their surprise visitor. I explained to the farmer, Larry, that my wife and daughter share a fascination with cows and I asked if he would mind if I let my daughter look at his cattle. I explained that I had seen his cattle during my lunch time bicycle ride and that his cows were the largest that I had ever seen. Larry beamed with the satisfaction that comes with unsolicited admiration for one's hard work. He said that he didn't mind at all if we looked at his cattle. I thanked him and went to fetch the girls from the car. As I walked back to the Kia, the schnauzer ran up to me and almost jumped into my arms. Both of the dogs were as kind and gentle as one could ever hope for, and Sophie seemed to really enjoy walking with the affection canine crew along the fence where the bovine giants were grazing. As we walked along the fence, Larry called to us to come back down the end of the fenced pasture nearest his house. As he did he opened a new bag of sweet feed and emptied it just inside the fence. He then called to the bovine giants and the they came running like stampeding titans to the area of the pasture that Karina, Sophie, and I had now moved to, near the fresh pile of sweet feed. Larry explained that they were Limousin cows originally bread in France, and that his biggest was just over 1700lbs. He stated that the bull he had just put into the freezer weighed in at over 2500lbs before slaughter. These impressive creatures devoured the pile of feed while Karina and Sophie delighted in their up close encounter with their favorite species.

It turns out Larry is quite the hunter and he was eager to show off his trophy room, and I can't blame him for a second. Even though I am not a hunter, his collection of taxidermal trophies is amazing - elk and moose from Saskatchewan, oryx, kudus, and buffalo from Tanzania. Even a black bear and a full-bodied lion were on beautiful display in the two large adjoining rooms made floor to ceiling of hand finished hardwood. As we marveled at his Hemmingway-like decoration, Larry graciously entertained us with stories ranging from African safaris to gun safety classes with his grandchildren. Eventually Sophie got naked as she often does and that was our signal it was time to get home, but the evening with the Titans of Tenderloins and the Great White Hunter was memorable to say the least.

Tomorrow is the Xterra 7K Trail Run at Paris Mountain State Park. This will be my first trail race, and based on what I saw at the previous events in this series, it should be a blast. Though as I right this I hear thunderclaps outside which could mean that tomorrows race could turn into an uphill mud run. Let's hope for the best.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

July's Totals and Hickory Knob 2010

Bike: 7h 28m 49s - 133.84 Mi
Run: 22h 22m 30s - 116.07 Mi
Swim: 22m 26s - 1000 M

I really skipped out on swimming in July. I only went to the pool once.

I just signed up for the Hickory Knob Sprint Triathlon today! I am very excited about that. Last year the Hickory Knob Sprint was my first triathlon, my first race of any kind. Thought we are attempting to minimize expenses in preparation for the upcoming baby, we found the funds to cover the expenses of participating in this race. This really helps focus my training. I want to see how much of an improvement I can make over last years time. You can find my full race report from last years race here.

Summary of last years race:
Race day weight: about 252 lbs
Swim: 546.81 yards (500 Meters) in 20 minutes 37 seconds (pace = 03m 46s / 100yards)
Transistion 1: 3 minutes 59 seconds
Bike: 10 miles in 38 minutes and 36 seconds (speed = 15.54 mile/hr)
Transistion 2: 1 minute 26 seconds
Run: 3.11 miles (5Km) in 33 minutes and 58 seconds (pace = 10m 55s min/mile)

Today's Hot Tempo Run

Here is a link to today's 2 mile tempo run followed by a jog back to the office. It was so hot today but not as hot as it has been. It is currently 91 degrees with a heat index of 98. Almost all of this run is not shaded, so it gets a little brutal this time of year.