Monday, July 26, 2010

Tri-ing for Childrens Race report

Sunday the saga continued with another race. I have to say, I am looking forward to a bit of a break from racing. My training has really suffered with all this racing interrupting my training plan.

And while my race at Racine went about perfect, I continued my streak of bad luck at Tri-ing For Childrens. So I'll get into the report...I'm going to try to keep the humor as I go through things starting earlier in the week.

So Sunday was the Racine 70.3. Monday I had my bike fit. I was pretty sore after Racine but John got me warmed up and stretched out. I was on the bike that day for about an hour. Almost all zone 1. Tuesday I was still really sore. But I wanted to ride the new fit. I stayed on the trainer to make sure I stayed aero the entire time...but got interupted and only rode about 30 minutes. Wednesday I ran for an hour, it was burning hot. I was still a little sore but pretty much better. I swam that morning too. My neck and shoulder had been giving me a lot of trouble so I wasn't in the water much all week. I haven't done real intervals in quite some time.

Thursday afternoon I was going to run but the storms and tornado's put that thought to an end. I was busy manually starting my sump pump every few minutes with all the cats in the basement.
Friday I was a zombie from not sleeping. Did nothing. Saturday morning I did a 1 hour ride while watching the tour. My diet all week consisted of going out to eat a lot. Really crappy.

Onto the race:
So for those of you who were at the race, some of this you will know, some of this you won't. I don't like to make excuses for at the end of the day I went as fast as I could that day.

I woke up and things were already wrong. I had a splitting headache and my guts were a mess. I suspected my stomach would be a problem as I had a larger meal later in the evening than i would have liked. But I rarely ever get headaches. So I went down stairs and took a couple tylonol and a bunch of digestive enzymes to get things moving.
Normally I would have had some cereal, but I wasn't feeling good enough for that. So I grabbed some water and got in the car as it is a 45 minute drive. I started to feel a bit least my headache was going away. But my guts were giving me some trouble and I was worried about the race.
I got to the race sight and was hoping to go to the bathroom as I normally do before a race. Alas, it was not meant to be. At that point the thought of a race-time crohns attack started going through my mind. Afterall, there are only a couple things that can prevent me from going to the bathroom!

Anyway...I tried to go through my pre-race rituals. I went for a little warmup run and finished getting my gear together in transition. Said high to a bunch of grinders. Got into my wetsuit and went down for a warmup swim. Things felt pretty decent other than the water being very warm. Fortunately the air was cool. As race time approached all my other issues seemed to fade away. Competition does that for me.

My goal for the swim was to stay with Will and Scott who were going to be the lead swimmers. From the start everything was going fine. The horn went off, we started running and Will, Scott, and I took off. They were side by side and I was drafting of the two of them as I had planned. The pace was fast, but not ridiculous. I knew I'd be breathing hard after this swim. We made the first turn and i was still with them, and right before the 2nd turn they were gone. I still don't know exactly what happened. Either I slowed or they hit an acceleration. Maybe I went off course a little and just lost the draft long enough to lose them. I'm not sure. But as I took a sighting they were about 30-40 feet in front of me. I briefly thought about putting in a hard effort to catch up, and then did. Took a sighting after a bit and wasn't any closer. They were gone. UGH!! I apparently led a pack of 8 into the finish after that.

My biggest question right now...what is happening to my swimming. At Elkhart I swam a low 19. At Pleasant Prairie I was in the 20's. At Racine I swam a 30. And at this race I swam a 20:40. I've been getting slower and slower. Perhaps Childrens was a bit long. It was certainly longer than last year. But in any case Scott only swam a low 19, something I know I am capable of. I suspect my race schedule is a big part of the problem. I've been taking rest prior to races and recover after races. I also hurt my knee. As a result my training has not been consistent at all...and I need to correct that.
The other issue is my neck and shoulder. For the last 3 weeks they've been aweful. Fortunately I think I may have this resolved. My old bike fit had me a bit cock-eyed and putting a lot of pressure on my right side. funny thing, my shoulder has been slowly getting better and better since the new fit.
Prior to Elkhart when I went for Nationals I was working out a TON and loving it. But in the last 7 weeks I've had 5 races including a half iron. While it's been a lot of fun and I've had great results compared to last's also been very disruptive to my training and I think i've slowed down in all three disciplines as a result.

However I feel I must say something. Scott B, damn nice swim. Even though you went to Point and I just can't stomach the thought of a Pointer beating me, especially slacking lazy sprinter, its obvious you're the better swimmer (at the moment). You and Matt have both been good enough to answer all my questions, no matter how stupid. So when the season is done I figure I owe you both a beer.

Anyway, onto the bike.
T1 went pretty well. The trick to getting out of my wetsuit is putting lube on my leg and the inside of my suit. done it twice now, beautiful.
So I come running out of T1 and just based on not feeling 100% I decide to not do a flying start...thank god!!!!! I run past the mount line get on the bike, kick the pedal to the front to clip in...and my chain drops. I felt like Andy Schleck!!
According to eye-witness accounts I said, "Oh shit"! Dismounted the bike, put the chaing back on, sliced my thumb open, got on the bike and off I went. By that time I think I was laughing with a volunteer about it.
Seriously!? I check my gearing when I rack my bike in T1. But some wonderful person in transition must have hit the shifter because instead of being in the big ring, it was geared into the small. So in 5 races I've crashed twice, hyperextended my knee once, and had my chain drop out of T1. At least they are getting less severe!

Off I went and hit the course. For the first 5 miles or so my power felt fine and I was looking pretty good. After that things started to fall apart. My power started to steadily decline from about 310 watts. My legs were burning and aching in places they had not hurt before. At that point I realized I was going to pay for that new bike fit.
I knew it was going to take time to get used to, I was warned it would take 3 weeks...and that after only one week my legs would possibly revolt a bit. What I wasn't prepared for was how much they would revolt.
In my pea brain I figured 5-10 watts lower, no big deal. I'm tough, I'll puch through. Oh no. I wanted 300-305 watts...295 would have been a dream at that point. At the mid-way point of the ride I had dropped down to 280. By the end of the ride I was sitting at abot 278. My speed at the Racine 70.3 was higher than at this Oly race. I was not pleased.

In my defense I will add two things.
#1 it was a bit windy. Nothing horrible, but it felt like the wind was in my face the entire way.
#2 the course is not flat. Don't get me wrong, it is a fast course. But not nearly as fast as Racine. While there are no real climbs at Childrens, there are several areas of rollers and I found it difficult to really maintain a steady power output. It just felt like a constant barrage of ups and downs. Nothing big, but enough to disrupt a steady power output.

Got into T2 and was tired. I spoke with Nate who said I looked wasted already. For the most part I was. My legs were not there...and I was happy to be off the bike. Normally I love the bike.
T2 was pleasanly uneventful. I didn't trip and fall or do anything equally stupid to embarrass myself. That's not really a high standard to live by, but hey...beggers can't be choosers.

Hit the run and was doing okay. I started off running 7:05's. Considering how I felt I was pretty happy with that. My stomach was giving me some trouble, but not serious. The first lap was uneventful, however I didn't take any liquids or calories. I just couldn't stomach anything at that point. By the second loop I was just tired. My legs were aching, probably from that ride and I just wasn't holding my pace. At that poing my stomach started getting more and more bloated. I took a cup of water and took a sip, spit it out and put the rest on my head. It was around then I felt the first hint of a cramp and knew my crohns was acting up. Not the best of timing.

At around mile 5 Larry Lanza ran me down. As he went by I told him he wouldn't be running me down like this next season. There will be lots of running for me in the off season. He'll probably still beat me overall...but this running me down like I'm standing still has to stop.

Anyway, I finished with a 2:14 and change. 13th overall. The swim was longer than last year and the run was challenging due to several muddy sections that slowed everyone down. W/out those two changes I was probably closer to a 2:12+. But everyone gets the same course.

After the race I started to get progressively worse. My stomach was hurting. I had a sandwich and coke hoping that would settle things a bit. It helped for a little while, but not much. I stuck around at the GG tent for a while and chatted with a few GG's. But there came a point in time when my guts were giving me a lot of trouble and I had to leave. So I did, no good-byes or anything...I just had to go.

Started driving and things got progressively worse and worse. The waves of cramping had begun in earnest. I finally made it home and unpacked a little bit. Went to the bathroom and threw up the sandwich and coke. So much for getting in a few calories. I decided to risk taking some prednisone hoping I'd keep it down. Thankfully it did stay down as I went to bed with a heating pad after I took them. I fell asleep for an hour or so and stayed in bed most of the afternoon. By the end of the day I was feeling good enough to eat some solids and went guessed it...McDonalds. Double cheeseburger, fries, shake. To this day it boggles my mind that when my Crohns flares like this that the crappiest food on the planet is what makes it feel better.

Fortunately by the end of the day I was actually able to go to the bathroom. I won't get into any details, however it was glorious in a way which only another Crohns patient can understand. :-)

Now I have to do a little thinking. Over the course of this racing season i've had four or five seperate crohns attacks. That is more than I have ever had for a given time period. Thankfully none have been serious, but they've all caused a certain amount of rest/recovery disrupting my training and life. They've all required prednisone too. My original plan was to call my doctor and get in to see him earlier, but I have an appointment in 3-4 weeks and he's got nothing sooner. So I'll have to deal with it until then.

There are only a couple things I can think of causing this trouble.
First is my job. I don't like what I'm doing or the company and it is causing a lot of unnecessary stress. Stress is a killer for me. I work hard to keep it under control. That is tough in my current position.
Second is my race schedule. All of the fluctuations in my plan coupled with the rest/recovery and then racing hard could be causing trouble. Last season I kept my races to a max of two per month. They were also spaced out. This year I did 3 in June and now 2 in July.
Third is diet, but realistically my diet has not changed enough to cause this. I've actually stayed away from things like peanuts, popcorn, and raw veggies which are the most likely culprits.
So we'll see what the doc says in a month. I'd rather not go on any more long term medications.

Anyway, that as they say, is the rest of the story. So for those of you that saw me on Sunday and thought I was acting a bit odd, (massaging my stomach a lot) now you know why.

I skipped my swim this morning due to the attack. Cold water and crohns do not mix for me. I plan to make it up tomorrow. Beyond that I have a nice normal training schedule planned. I am feeling good enough to bike tonight, and I obviously need to. I may try a short run depending on my guts.
I'm happy to be done racing for a little while and will hopefully get some solid training under my belt. My plan is to focus on biking for the next two weeks. I want to make sure I get my bike fit really dialed in and my power back up to par. After that I am going to really focus on swimming and running in preparations for nationals.

Unfortunately Nationals is the same weekend as the GG end of year i won't be there to accept the jackass of the year award which I so obviously deserve.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Bike fit

So I had been tossing the idea of getting re-fitted to my bike for quite a while. I've been getting a lot of hotspots, saddle sores, and shoulder tightness. The last time I was fit to the bike was 3 years ago when I bought the bike. I was about 60 pounds heavier and riding at 17mph.

What finally made the decision for me was a couple comments on slowtwitch. I was asking about pacing on hilly vs flat courses last week and someone mentioned my fit being poor due to slower speeds compared to my wattage output. I posted a picture and everyone thought my head was way to high and that I resembled a barn door. So i bit the bullet and went to John at the Bike Dr.

Prior to Racine I made a couple changes to my cockpit. I don't really know if they helped or not, but I know they were not the most comfortable. However my speed at Racine was fairly close to my speed at Pleasant Praire despite a 40+ watt difference. So I suspect I did something right by bringing my arms closer and tilting my bars least for the short term.

Anyway, after meeting with John we made a lot of changes. He took measurements of my flexibility and range of motion and did the following:
  • Brought the seat up almost a cm.
  • Moved seat forward a couple cm.
  • Added small riser under stem to bring it up a notch.
  • Leveled aero bars.
  • Moved aero pads back and out a hair.
  • Tilted base bar upward.
  • Moved cleats on shoes back and center.

None of these changes were horribly significant on their own, but the effect overall should be pretty dramatic. And it will take some time to get used to this. The overall impact is this.

  • By raising my seat and moving it forward I should be able to generate more power while aero. So in this case, instead of losing power by becoming more aero, this may help me at least maintain current power or possibly increase my power a bit.
  • By moving my base bar, aero bars and pads I am now a little more stretched out on the bike, thus flatter and lower. My back is straighter. My shoulders and neck are much more relaxed as my elbows are now sitting on the pads properly. This should help me be both more aero and more relaxed and comfortable. My aero helmet fits to my back much better with this new position.
  • Because we raised my seat he raised my stem just a hair to match. This keeps my hips within their functional flexibility helping me maintain power. Apparently I am about as low as my flexibility will allow without losing power.
  • By changing my cleat position I don't feel discomfort in my toes any more. It should also help me apply more power without losing any due to poor pedal placement.
  • I've noticed that even with the aero bars level instead of tilted up, my head and shoulders are about as close as they were. So I am as aerodynamic if not moreso as compared to the changes I made for Racine, and I should be better able to maintain higher wattages. However that may take some getting used to.

After the fitting John had me do a .5 mile time trial. I believe it took me 1:08. My wattage was up in the 400's. However I was tired from racine and have never been a sprinter. Now that I am not sore and have ridden a couple times I plan to do it again tonight after I am warmed up. I want to make sure I have a real baseline from before I've gotten used to this fit.

I do have Tri-ing for Children's coming on Sunday. That will provde me with good testing grounds as well. Hopefully the new position does not cause any major discomfort or problems during the race. It is typically not wise to make changes like this prior to racing, but the race is short and I won't be resting for it anyway. We'll see.

I have a few goals:

  • I'm starting in the elite wave so I want to be with the lead pack of swimmers. There is no doubt that with my pool times I should be out of the water with Scott Bowe. No slacking.
  • Lets give the swim an even 19 minutes.
  • On the bike I want to try and hit 300 watts. I've done 2 Oly races with an increase in power at each, I'd like to continue that trend. 300 watts should put me right on the edge of 24mph in good conditions. This puts me under a 1:03.
  • We'll give the bike a flat 1:03.00
  • T1 = 1:30; T2 = 1:00
  • On the run I want to break 7min/mile. It is a milestone for me and I know I can do it. I did 7:10's at Pleasant Prairie after spraining my knee and had very little motivation to push after that. Here I really want to do it. so for the run we'll call it a 43:00.
  • That gives me a final time of roughly 2:07. That's a 9 minute improvement from last season and would have placed me 14th overall at a very competitive race.

I'd also add that my buddy Brian may be at this race. If he is I suspect it will take this kind of race to beat him. I beat him by 7 seconds at Elkhart Lake and I know he's looking for a little payback. He'll more than likely beat me by 3-4 minutes on the run, so I will need to take that out of him in the swim, bike, and transitions. If I hit these splits, I should do exactly that. Either way it should be a good time.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Racine 70.3 Results

So I've gotten enough facebook comments and people texting to get this piece out here a little quicker.

Racine 70.3 was this weekend and everyone can read my last couple postings to get my thoughts going into the race. I'll post my Saturday and Sunday events.

As with all IM races and many bigger races I had to check my bike in the day before. I really hate that. In this case athlete checkin and bike checkin were in two different locations. I didn't care for that as I first went to the race site not realizing I had to go to festival park. Oh well.

I had been watching the weather a lot due to potential storms/heat/wind. I wanted to know what to expect and properly hit my nutrition/hydration based on the day. All in all the weather was pretty good.

Race Day:
Got up at 4am to get some food in me. I had one small bowl of coco crispies, one ensure shake, one banana, and 2 scoops of heed through the morning.
As we drove in I took in some more fluids...but was pretty full. Aimee dropped me off at tranisition so I could get set up and then I had a long wait before my wave started.

I took some time to hang out with fellow GG's. Jeremy, Beth, and Dan were all nearby and we talked for a while. All of us were in later waves. Then we started our walk down the beach to the swim start. I took another saltstick and the last of my Heed.

I started in the front of my group. However this wasn't the entire age group as we started in 3 waves. I hit the water pretty fast and was in a lead group of about four people. Right at the first turn one guy made a break and I tried to stay with him. But he had gotten a jump on me and I wasn't in any of his draft. And at that point we started running into the crowds from the previous wave. At that point I lost him as it got very crowded. I swam over to the right in cleanest water I could find. Then it got even more congested. I ran several people over as they were swerving all over the place.
I think I passed the majority of the 3 waves in front of me and actually felt like I was moving pretty good. I could tell by looking at the course prior to the start that it was going to be pretty accurate and certainly not short.
I made the final turn to come to the beach and it was pretty clear. I got out of the water in a little over 28 minutes. However the timing mat was way up the beach near the transition so it took about 90 seconds to get there. Final swim time 30:01. At that point I knew breaking 4:45 was a long-shot.
Looking at all the times I suspect the course was actually a hair long and I should have been swimming harder. Both Lanzas beat me and I should have been closer to them. However they also started very early and didn't have to deal with the mass of slow people I did.

Got through transition okay...took my time to get situated.

Nutrition - 1 bottle of 600 calories Heed and Perpeteum. 2 gu's with caffeine. 6 electrolyte tabs. about 5 bottles of water.

Everything started really well during the ride with one problem. Apparently I hit the lap button on my garmin twice and as I started it showed me in T2. So as I was riding I had to reset it into multisport mode/bike mode to get power readings. No big deal as I could do that while aero. But I lost all my swim/T1 time on the watch. So I had to mentally add about 35 minutes every time I looked at my elapsed time. No big deal.

The goal was to be at 250 watts at the halfway mark. As I got to mile 15 I was sitting at about 255 and could tell I was going a bit hard. So I dialed it back and was a little above 250 at halfway. I do not have average speed on my main screen, so I quickly took a look and was shocked to see a speed of 22.5. I knew Racine was a fast course, but 22.5 was way faster than my predictions. I can't help but think that some of my position tweaks helped as there was some wind on the bike course and I was still going fast. My last flat Oly course I hit 295 watts and only went 23.3mph...but today I dropped a full 45 watts and was not that far off.

At that point based on my power, speed, and legs I decided to dial it back just a hair. It was pretty warm out and I really wanted to have a solid run. I really kept up on my fluids and calories. As I started to feel a touch tired I took a gu with caffine as a pick-me-up.

As I approached town I took another look and was right at 248 watts and my speed had actually bumped up to 22.7mph. I was surprised and very pleased. To finish my ride I came in at about a 2:28. I don't know my exact splits.
Looking back I know a few more long tempo rides would have helped me stay near 260 watts and possibly gotten me over 23mph. Either way I was very pleased with my split and still felt pretty good.

T2 was pretty quick as I only needed to get my running shoes and visor on. I was shocked to see Jeremy Angle in T2 with me. We rode once together and he was very strong. Between my pacing with power, better position on the bike, and better nutrition/hydration I stayed with him the entire way. In fact we finished with the exact same bike splits.

Coming out of T2 it was pretty hot and there was no shade. But I ran out and was feeling good. The first mile has 2 hills and they are the only two hills on the entire course. I hit a 7:50 even with the hills and felt strong...but had to pee. I quickly stopped at the aid station to go. I'm just not able to pee on the bike or while running. Call it a mental block, I just don't think its going to happen. In any case it was quick 20-30 seconds and I was on my way. I figured it was better to do it early rather than disrupt my rythm later.

Miles 2-6 were all held at 8:00 - 8:10 pace and I was still doing well. I was taking an electolyte tab every 2 miles and a gu every 2-3 miles. No problems.

As I hit mile 3 a storm rolled in. The temperature felt great...but it was short-lived. After about 20 minutes the sun came back and where it had rained (not on me) it started to evaporate and get hot and REALLY humid. It was just nasty. I don't know the actual temperatures but it had to have been 85+ degrees and it felt like 95 with the humidity.

Mile 7 - slower due to the heat and hills... 8:20.
Mile 8-11 were all around 8:30 as I started to get a bit tired and the heat took its toll. But hell...8:30's for me is still pretty good overall. Especially since my focus has been all on Oly's and not the 1/2 iron distance.

Approaching mile 10's aid station I could see jeremy in the distance. I was shocked because he ran in school and should have been much faster than me. At that point I knew he was having a tough day and had thoughts of beating him since I was still feeling pretty well, although tired.
Coming into mile 11's aid station he walked through and I passed him. I really wanted to stay behind him until the end so he wouldn't see me. But as he stopped and walked I slipped past and hoped he'd miss me in the crowd.
Alas it wasn't meant to be. He saw me and caught me in seconds. We chatted for a few and were both feeling the effects of the heat. He picked up the pace and was probably going 7:45's or so. I tried to stay with him for that mile but he was pulling ahead.
At mile 12 the increased pace really took its toll and I had to walk through that aid station and dump water and ice all over myself. I had been the entire way already, but I was really suffering at mile 12. I started running again and couldn't get a rythm going...and had to walk for another 45 seconds or so.
At that point I was really pissed at walking this late in a race so I started running again and just forced myself to keep going. there was no shade so walking would only prolong the agony.

I finished up with a run split of 1:49. As I look at my results, that is where everyone beat me. So despite a really solid run for me, it remains a very significant weakness. I was actually with Justin Henkel the entire way...until the run. I think I know where my focus will be for the remainder of this season and the off season.

My finish time was a 4:53:13. So I was very happy to break 5 hours. After the ride I had hopes of breaking 4:45 but would have had to run a 1:40ish. That is awefully fast for me considering where I was last season.

All in all a very successful race.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Solid training - new plan

So last week I was thinking I'd take Racine pretty easy and just not worry about the results.
What a difference a week makes.

This weekend I did a pretty tough training day just to determine where I was in my fitness and how Racine could go for me.

Saturday I did an hour interval run, no issues. I followed it up with a 90 minute masters swim of about 4,500 yards. Mostly hard and fast.
Sunday was the real day as I did a 63 mile hilly ride at race pace followed by a 1-hour, (7 mile) run also at race pace.

I could tell right away I was a little tired starting the ride, but I ignored that and did my best to maintain 240 watts for the whole thing. I also tried to maintain pace on hills, however some were too big and I had to grind a bit. I also worked out the nutrition.

At the end of the ride I finished off with 242 watts as an average. I should add - it was 85 degrees by the time I finished.
I started the run and had planned on hitting an 8:30 pace. that was my plan for the race as well. When I looked at the garmin I was hitting 8's flat. The way out was flat to downhill, the way back was slightly uphill. So the way back I was hitting 8:20's.

That workout plus some conversations have given me the confidence I need to try and race this thing. My overall goals are still similar, but speed targets have changed.

The primary goal is to finish strong, no walking. At least not due to pacing issues. I want to hold it together on the run.
Goal #2 is to break 5 hours.
If my times hold up - 27:00 - 2:00 - 2:38:30 - 2:00 - 1:48:00 I will finish with a 4:57:40.

However there is also the possibility of breaking 4:45. Maybe.

I've made a small change to my bike position to increase aerodynamics. It has not effected my power. Assuming really good conditions - I plan to hold 250 watts. that is a small bump but realistic considering the course and my Sunday ride. At the halfway point I'll evaluate how I feel and either bump up or down depending on conditions.
the course is really flat and 250 watts should realistically have me going at 22 mph. I've been using 21.0 mph as my benchmark. that may be conservative. either way I am pacing off power and that isn't impacted by conditions. My ride on the hills at 240 watts with stop signs, etc was at 19.5 mph. Often times you can add 3mph from training to racing. We'll see.

That is a 6 minute savings.

On the run I really felt like I could push harder in training. So I've changed my plan just a hair. Instead of holding 8:30's for the first half I am going to drop that down to 8:00's for the first 5k. At that point if I feel good I am going to bump it up a notch and see if I can't go around 7:45's.

For me it was never a question if I can hold these paces. I've done it in training. I just didn't have the confidence. But there were many times in that training run where I intentionally slowed down. And at the end of the 7 miles I almost kept going to get in 13. I felt that good. My legs were only just starting to get a little tight.

So, my stretch target is 250w = 22+mph = 3:32:45 with a run averaging 7:50's.
That puts me at 4:46:26.
I suspect I'll shave time off the swim (especially if it is short like ususal) as well as transitions. 2 minutes per is a bit high. Plus if I am close to breaking it in the last half of the run, I really think I'll be able to pick it up to get under. I'd have to be pretty close though. The good news is that 250 watts may still be a touch conservative. My normal power for that training ride was 248 and I felt great coming off the bike. So my power deviation is pretty small and should set me up for a good run.

We'll see. Conditions will dictate a LOT. I can handle 85 degrees, above that and I'll have to slow down.

As always I'll have to evaluate that morning based on current conditions and the weather report...and then see how I'm feeling at certain check points.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Training Update

Hello all,

So things seem to be getting back to normal. Last week was pretty tough with all the time off. I quickly regress into depression when I feel like I can't train. Often when one sport is compromised, the others suffer. Last week was especially tough since my pool was closed for maintenance, I couldn't quite run yet, and I couldn't bike hard either. I spent some time doing light stuff on the trainer, but that was it.
On Thursday or Friday I started ramping it up a bit as the soreness in my knee went away. I had originally planned two long rides and a long run over my 4-day weekend figuring I'd be able to take naps and recover. Trying to prep for Racine. That just didn't happen as I didn't want to risk the knee for a race I don't really seem to care about.

But starting this week everything has been back to normal. Got in some solid rides on Tuesday/Thursday and even ran for 1:15 on wednesday. I hadn't planned to do a long run, but the temperature was as mild as it was going to be. It started at about 83 degrees with the typical sweltering humidity. But it dropped during my run and started to rain a bit. It felt so good I kept running. The knee held up just fine.

I've noticed that I hurt my knee doing the dumbest things. I dove into the water Tuesday morning and just about started to cry. The snapping motion from my jump must have hyper extended it. That hurt. But other stuff that you'd think would hurt, like running, doesn't at all. So I am fortunate in that regard.

This weekend I'm going to do a pretty heavy load to make sure I am prepped for the Racine 70.3. But in all reality, I just don't care about this race. I am questioning why I even signed up. Perhaps it is nerves as I have not done a 1/2 Iron in 7 years or so. In that race I pretty much died and it wasn't pretty. And for this race I just don't feel like I am prepared. I think I would have been better off doing an August 1/2 Iron to give myself more time to build up my mileage. I have been so focused on interval sets and building speed and power that I just didn't do the long rides I need. And the times I did, they really wiped me out. So I am pretty sure I'll struggle during this race.
Originally I wanted to break 5 hours...possibly go as fast as 4:30 on a great day. I don't see that happening.

Assuming an accurate swim with good conditions I can do 25 minutes. Say 27 to be safe.

The bike is where I am not sure of myself. I can hold 290 watts at the OLY level and still run well. So my thought is to hold about 240 watts for this race, at least for the first half. At which point we'll see how I feel and maybe pick it up to 250. But I want to be conservative on this ride so I don't walk the damn run. Big goal is to run the whole thing.
At about 240 watts I'm cruising at 21.7 mph according to the calculator. That seems too fast to me, even with Racine being a fast course. So let's knock that speed down to 21.0mph. That's a rough time of 2:40. In any case if I hydrate and my nutrition is good, I should be able to run well after 240 watts on a flat course with very few power spikes.

Then comes the running. I'v done several 1:45 runs and been fine. I've done a lot of 90 minute runs and been fine. I have not gone beyone 1:45 yet. But I've gotten in a LOT of miles compared to what I am used to. So realistically pacing is the question here. I have the fitness to run the whole way, maybe not the confidence.
At the 10k level I am running 7:10's or so. In training I've held 8min/mile pretty consistently on long runs when I am having a good run. In a stand alone half marathon I believe I can hold quite a bit faster than 8's, but have not tried.
So my thought is to hold 8:30's for the first half, and then evaluate how I feel. For now I'll assume 8:30's the entire way. That's about a 1:52 run time.

That leaves me with a grand total of:
Sw: 00:27
Bk: 02:40
Run 01:52
Transitions: 00:04 (never seen racine's transition area, just guessing)
Total: 5:03

All of that seems perfectly reasonable as I sit here and look at it. But this assumes a decent day, little wind, lower temperatures...and of course, me not falling on my face or causing other bodily harm to myself.
I guess I just find some of this pacing hard to believe, especially the bike. When I rode the course with Jeremy we averaged near 20.7mph...but my average power was 260. Plus I was drafting the whole way and was wasted after that ride. Granted we had to stop and made some wrong turns, but the garmin tracks that too. So while I really do think I can hold 240 watts and be able to run. I am not convinced 240 watts = 21mph.
We'll see, I am racing by wattage, not mph. My suspicion is that my bike split will be closer to 2:50, possibly 3:00 depending on conditions. Wind and heat will slow it down quite a bit. If it is 85 and humid I'll possibly back my wattage down to 235 to be safe. Better to lose a few minutes on the bike than walk the run. Realistically I think I'll be happy if I am under 5:15, especially if it is hot. If things go well perhaps I can run faster and get 10-15 minutes back that way and possibly break 5 hours. If I walk through a couple aid stations, so be it. But I refuse to walk more than that.

I plan to follow a simple nutrition plan. One bottle of 700 calories, Heed and Perpeteum. Plus several gu packs with caffine. The bottle is for the bike. Towards the end of the ride I'll take a gu for a pickmeup. So that's about 900 calories. I am going to take a 16-oz bottle of water with me on the run and use it with gu. My tendency on the run is to not take enough fluids/calories. I hate carrying a bottle while running, so I think that will serve as a good reminder to get the fluids down. I probably won't take calries on the run until mile 2 just to be sure the stomach is okay. Obviously this can change depending on any problems. I'll using course nutrition for most of the run, but want to make sure I get in fluids prior to running. That was a big mistake in my previous 1/2 and last year at IMWI.

I'll be doing tri-ing for Childrens the weekend after Racine. So I'll have to recover quick. Lots of GG's will be I'll place like crap. There will be NO flying mounts or dismounts there. I've embarrassed myself enough and want to be sure my knee can take it before I try that again. I'll set some goals for that race soon. But ideally I'll be more motivated for that than I was for Pleasant Prairie. I'd like to break 7min/miles on the run. Both bike and run are flat.

I had two good training rides this week. Not sure how to interpret the results.
A while ago I noticed that I lose a lot of power while aero vs sitting up. So I set out to do a lot of trainer riding in the aero tuck to make sure I got that form back. Tuesday I did an hour interval ride.
1x20 @295 watts.
1x5 @ 306 watts.
1x5 @ 306 watts, 5 min rest between all the sets.
Overall I was pleased with that.

Yesterday I went outside. It was pretty hot, and I had done my long run the day before. I hit my favorite little TT area which is about 3 miles and wanted to see what I could hit for average power over that time...I managed 345-335 for the two attempts. (roughly 5 minute intervals)
I was extremely happy with those splits as it is way above my previous attempts. However it is more in line with what I was able to do on the trainer while doing a lot of intervals (sitting up).
What I don't understand is how I could hold that high a wattage outside, but not on the trainer. I'd expect higher numbers outside...but not 40 watts higher.

Perhaps this isn't just about being in the proper aero position and holding power. Maybe it is also about bike handling outside and gaining confidence while really working well as focus. I have noticed that I lose focus on the trainer more, lowering my wattage. But outside, I lose wattage due to bumps, potholes, hills, etc. I have to work through those things.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Good News!

So I just got the results of the MRI.

I did strain some ligamint. I honestly can't remembter the name of it. It is on the outside of my left knee and runs down into my calf. It is still fairly sore to the touch.
There was a minor meniscus tear towards the back of the knee, he doesn't feel that will interfere with anything. is not necessary.
Full recovery will take 4-6 weeks. However I can resume activity immediately so long as I can handle it. And I should wear a brace running for the first couple weeks to help support the strain as I will be more prone to hyper extensions for a while.
This really is the best possible prognosis.

So my plan is simple.
I did not withdraw from Racine 70.3. I'll go in a bit undertrained and just be conservative. It isnt' an A race anyway.
I suspect I will try to blow up the swim a bit, since I can.
I'll then be conservative on the bike. Where I might normally try for 260 on the bike, I'll probably stick with 245-250 since I really havent' posted enough long rides/runs.
And then I'll do the best I can running. Hopefully I won't need the brace then, but I am not going to kill my transitions anyway. It will be a good race and training day.

If gear grinder covers Triing for Childrens I'll do that.
Depending on what a couple friends do, I may go to the Manitowoc sprint.
Otherwise I will do one August race and otherwise train for nationals.

I'd love to qualify for worlds. Not sure I can or will. Nor am I sure I'd go if I did. But I want to be competitive. And since I can resume running very soon, I'll be able to get in a solid 2.5 months of running and biking.