Sunday, January 31, 2010

Week/Month Stats

Finished up a pretty decent week. I would have liked more volume coming off my easy week last week but with one day chewed up by travel back from Sundance and another with an 7 am to 10 pm work day I'm happy with where it ended up. Also, I'm still a little cautious of my knee but it definitely felt better this week coming off the low volume week last week. Stats for the week:

175 miles on the bike
31 miles running
13,000 yards swimming
a bunch of weights/EFX
21.3 hours

For the month, I was up slightly (except for the run) vs. December but I was short of my volume objective. The knee problems mid-month are the cause. Basically, I expected to run 4-6 more hours than i did this month (and two of those were to be speed sessions) and I would have expected another 30-40 miles for the month. In any event, here are the totals for January with a comparison to December:

Bike: 882 (January) vs. 824 (December)
Run: 127 vs. 152
Swim: 44,000 vs. 40,000
Time: 94 vs. 93 hours

Looking ahead, I'm now a day short of 8 weeks out from Oceanside so the next few weeks will be critical to securing the tools I'll need to be successful there. I'd really like the next 10 days to be a big heavy training block before I take a few days off to snowboard with Alex. It will be especially important for me to get some big runs in and with my injections coming up I plan to roll the dice there a bit....we'll see!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Aerobic Power Day

It's Saturday and today was aerobic power day! After an easy 75 minute spin on my bike trainer I hit the tready for my first aerobic power set. In the case of the Run, my "Aerobic Power Sets" are very much like a "fartlek" run except that the variable running speeds/distances are much more structured. The speeds are designed to cover my full competitive range from slightly faster than 5K pace to 1/2 marathon pace. The speed sessions are kept short enough to not make it an anaerobic suffer-fest and all the recovery is on the run--in other words the whole workout is one continuous run albeit at variable speed. i also kept the fast stuff short as I'm just trying to introduce faster than 5K pace running into the mix for the first time. Here's what it looked like:

10 min warm-up @ 6.2-6.5 mph
10 min as 2 X (3 min @ 8.0 mph (7:30/mile)/2 min @ 6.2 mph)...1.5 to 1 speed/easy ratio
10 min as 2 X (2 @ 8.5 (7:03/mile)/3 at 6.2)...1 to 1.5
10 min as 5 X (40 sec @ 9.2 (6:31/mile)/80 sec @ 6.2)...1 to 2
10 min as 5 X (30 sec @ 9.5 (6:19/mile)/90 sec @ 6.2)...1 to 3
10 min as 10 X (15 sec @ 10.0 (6:00/mile)/45 sec @ 6.2)...1 to 3
10 min warm-down

The fast stuff works out to be 2.7 miles at an average pace of 6:47/mile

In the pool, an aerobic power set is less structured than my standard interval set. There is less rest time so it's more aerobic but still faster than a continuous swim. I swim at 3 speeds: Fast which is my sprint race pace, Moderate which is my Olympic/half IM distance race pace, and Easy which works out to be 0:48-0:50/50 yards. Here is what it lookes like:

250 WU
5 X 100 F/0:10 rest
5 X 50 E/0:10
400 M/0:45
4 X 100 F/0:10
4 X 50 E/0:10
200 M/ 0:30
2 X 100 F/0:10
4 X 50 F/ 0:20
1 X 100 M/0:30
1 X 100 F/0:10
4 X 50 E/0:10
250 WD

Total: 3250 yards with 2100 yards (1/2 IM distance) at or faster than 1/2 IM race pace.

The great thing about Aerobic Power Sets is that they are high quality wotkouts that don't punish you anaerobically and as such are real confidence builders that you can wake up the day after and have another great work-out day!

Onward and upward.

Friday, January 29, 2010

today's workouts

On the computrainer today:

70 min spinning
10 min high cadence (110-115 rpm)
10 min spin-ups (10 X (15 spin-up/45 easy))
40 min main set: 2 X (4 X 3 min @ 260-280 watts/2 min easy; 5 min easy at end of each set)
10 min high cadence
10 min warm down

2:30 duration and 47 miles

In the pool--4000 yards with an ascending broken 1500: 100/200/300/400/500 going on multiples of 2 min/100 yd. Ended up doing the 1500 in 22:44 which is 1:31/100. This is my all-time best broken 1500 and the ascending versioni s the hardest as you "lose" the 500 rest segment which is about 1/3rd of the rest time vs in the descending broken 1500 you lose the 100 rest segment which is about 7% of the rest period....

Really gaining confidence in the pool.

On the run side took a day-off as I continue to protect my knee. Got my injections scheduled and tomorrow is a tready speed work-out....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

so, does an easy week, work?

Yesterday was travelling back from Utah.

Today was myriad life and work tasks to tackle. Including a trip down to NYC where I sit in my bleak hotel room tonight....scuffling for sure right now.

Did get a chance, and was excited to see how my bod responded to the bit of R&R last week. I didn't get a chance to find out on the bike as that requires a time commitment--just a short spin (but I felt good).

Due to the knee I wanted to be cautious with my run but the 6 miles I did run I ran with some nice zip. I (of course) felt my knee here and there throughout but I'm psyched to say it's not bad. I may try to squeeze a harder/longer run in tomorrow if I can finagle. Knee injections soon will hopefully liberate me from my present constraints.

In the pool I did have the aforementioned chance to see. I hadn't swam in 6 days so it's a bit like a taper effect (of course in a real taper i'd swim enough to keep my feel). I did a lot of warm-up and drills and then went at it with 200s going on 4. I averaged 2:54 (!!!!!) with the last being 2:52. Then I did some 50s and finally two 25s which I brought home both in less than 14 seconds (wow).

while I know the above times suck from a fish point of view, i'm thrilled. Last week my 200s were 3:02-3:06 and I've NEVER been under 15 seconds for a 25.

If my knee continues to limit me on the run then I'll put an extra effort into my swim as I now firmly believe that I'm on the verge of my best swim season ever.....

Guess it's good to take an easy week every now and then...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sundance and the Easy Week

Stats for the week: 16 hours/162 miles on the bike/6000 swim yards/16 miles running/weights and other stuff.

Nursing my knee untill i get my next cycle of injections.

Spent the last 4 days at Sundance with Judy, Kara, and Anders. Absolutely awesome experience! We saw 6-7 movies (we saw most all together but for a couple we just had 2 tickets) each. Favorites and absolute must sees are: Catfish And Burried. We also liked Get Low and Cyrus. We saw The Killer Inside Me last night and the violence was just too much.

A great thing about the festival is seeing, meeting the actors and directors. There were Q&As post movies that were fascinating. Hightlights were Bill Murray, sissy Spacek and Robert Duvall after Get Low--Murray stole the show! John C Reiley and Jonah Hill were very funny as well after Cyrus. The highlight there was Kara and Judy meeting Bradley Cooper and getting a hug and photo shoot with him--I'm sure it will make Kara's facebook page...

We had a lot of fun as a family dashing around Park City just focusing on the movie making. some nice meals, lots of wine and a nice mental vacation from the IM life.

The week ahead will be mixed with a travel day today (I write this on the plane) and some heavy work sessions this week. Next week will be as big as my knee will let me go for....

Back to work!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

synovial psychology

Well we are having a truly AWESOME time out here at the Sundance Film Festival. I'll update you when we are back on civilian duty in Delaware but we have some special memories to share for sure! I especially want to tell you about a movie called "Catfish"--incredible experience and relevant to my blog and you my loyal readers (few as you may be). But that is a post for next week.

This evening's missive is focused on that 5 square mm area of my body that is the focus of much more attention than it should get. I'm talking about the left medial (inside) interface between the bones of my leg that meet in my knee. And of course the lack of meniscal and articular cartilage that currently resides there.

The last three months as I have bridged upward from slothville to need-to-be-IM-ville I have caught the fire that comes from a positive training feedback loop. I've focused on the run and have (given my limitations) agressively pushed my body to get into long-course shape as quickly as possible. And it really worked (once again). As I dropped 24 pounds and I upped my mileage from 15 mpw to 30-45 mpw and increased my pace (and thus efficiency) I began to think that I could really train like a real triathlete (run-wise) once again. Visions of 50-60 mpw danced in my head. All the above changes were dramatically reducing the stress on my damaged knee (or so I assumed) and it was awesome that I was pushing 6 months with no injections to deal with the lack of cushioning in my left knee.

Party's over now. I'm calling Dr. Gallinat and getting another (will be my 40th-42nd injections) cycle of knee lube. I'm (tri)depressed right know. I have bad knee kharma. I'm just running 3 or so miles 4-5 times this week but it's not pain free. Worse is when I walk around it hurts a lot. without the endorphins from running I'm forced to deal directly with a knee joint that is structurally toast and now beyond the efficacious period of the drugs that I need to function at the level I'd like to function at (or at least within a few zip codes of the level I'd like to function at). As we go forwrd, I hope with 3 injections over 15 days and another 15 days of residence time I'll be able to run again relatively pain free and approach the miles I need to pursue my objectives this season.

But it's difficult to not be a bit sad and feeling sorry for myself right now. I'm super motivated to run a lot. I've committed to focusing on the run. I'd absolutely run 60 miles a week if I could and let the rest of the chips fall as they may. But I CAN'T. Periodic illusions fool me into thinking I can once again be the runner i was (hardcore) but the reality is my knee is f'ed up. right now it's hard to walk. When i run on the treadmill I have to be careful to not trip when I get these knife like shots of pain when my bones meet each other. Out on the trails its not unusual for me to get a blast of pain and fall to the ground---very embarrassing.

It's really hard not to worry with this going on. It's also hard to not feel a bit bummed and sorry for myself. If only I could run as much as I wanted to I could actually achieve....

Now the deal for me is to remember that the last 13 cycles of knee injections have all worked pretty well and I've always been able to get a few months of reprieve from the chronic pain. I'm trying to tell myself that it will happen again. Of-course I'll lose 30+ days of high quality training during which I'll struggle to get as much training fitness as I can while fighting the "what's the point" feeling. Brooding in a larger sense is the knowledge that my knee is dying (and me too ultimately) and I don't have much longer to do what i want to do athletically.

So psychology is important now. I know that I am bummed by what I have lost and am now losing. But I also know that I am blessed and with any luck my next cycle of injections will bring me back--at least for a little while longer....

I'm thankful but it is hard and scary once again....

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

3000 progression

another 3000 yd TT in the pool today. I did a 48:09. Here is how my 4 3000 TTs have gone:

12/3 51:23
12/9 50:55
12/31 48:41
1/19 49:09

Today's 3000 was very hard work for me. My three 1000 yd splits were: 15:55, 16:05, and 16:09. the first 1000 was relatively easy--call it a 5 or 6 on a 10 point RPE but the last was a 9+. Certainly worked harder than I would like to in a race. This works out to 1:36 per 100.

Using the standard human athletic performance degragation equation I can use today's TT to predict equivalent HIM and IM swim times (average time increases in a logarithmic relationship with the degragation exponent equal to 1.06--in other words if you double the distance the time slightly more than doubles....I'm not sure what my pool exponent is--I haven't tested for it yet--but 1.06 is probably pretty close and good enough for these purposes). These predicted splits turn out to be 33:12 (HIM) and 69:12 (IM).

These are within shouting distance of my PRs and in the race I'll have a wetsuit, frequently will be salt water, will be able to draft, will have tapered so potential to go faster than this even today. Of-course, currents, waves, cold-water, poor sighting, etc. could also cause me to be slower.

As I've mentioned before I'd like to do a 3000 TT in 45 minutes but based on today that might be tough--I really had to work it to do 48:09....still swim is looking good for 2010--at least at this point.

Monday, January 18, 2010

2009 Review

Ok--this is a little overdue but I thought I'd get it out of the way tonight.

2009 was the first year since I started triathlon in 2001 where I wasn't trying to do as well as I possibly could. I have to admit that it grated on me at times. Especially when guys who have no business beating me do so. It's really hard when that happens to hang your hat on the "well I need to just chill out this year and regain my passion and then get back into it and then I'll kill you so don't get used to beating me now" excuse. I tried it once and hated it and just decided to do the best I could, even though i was way off my potential.

But I really needed to back off in 2009. After IM Canada 2008 I was totally fried. 2 IMs in 6 weeks. 5 in 45 months. all the sacrifice. In the med tent at IM Canada....I needed to chill for a year.

and so I did! I decided to train easy. Eat and drink what I wanted to. Do Sunday Fundays! Race sprints only when I wanted to. Especially try to race new races. and try something fundamentally different--and so the mountain climbing...

How did it work out? Well as I intimated above, there was a lot that really bothered me but at the end of the day i have to judge it a huge success. why? Not because of my results during 2009 (which were pretty damn good despite everything) but because I have the passion now. Because i am burning to be a very good long-course triathlete again and I'm clearly well on my way as I post this in mid January 2010!

But what of 2009 results?

OK--I raced 14 sprint/olympic triathlons. I finished in the AG money in all 14. I enjoyed 8 firsts, 5 seconds and 1 third. Of these 14 races, 9 were races I had never raced in before. I won my first Oly race and my first off-road triathlon. The most wins I had ever enjoyed in a season before were 4. Before the season started I had won 16 of 72 triathlons (22%) and after this season my career record had improved to 24/86 (28%). that's really not that shabby.

More-over, Anders and I purused our dreams and climbed some real deal mountains. In my case, Kosioucko, Rainier and Shasta and in Anders' case Whitney, shasta and Rainier and not Kozi.

I had an awesome time with my friends last year and really enjoyed backing off a bit from the IM grind.

Most importantly, I guess, is that I'm hungry again and very optimistic about my chances.

I have to declare 2009 a true success even though I was not that good of a triathlete--from a true IM perspective....but you really need to look out for me in 2010!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A man has to know his limitations

Well intended this to be a big week and in a sense it was. However, I woke up on Saturday with both knees very sore. this is standard fare the left but a relatively rare thing for the right. The 11 miler on thursday after everything else over the last 10 days may have been a bridge just a bit too far.

On Saturday, Judy and I were going to the beach to check on our place and she let me out and I rode 55 miles to our house--knees felt fine cycling but I decided to cancel my scheduled run. Today was more of the same--very achey even with a lot of ice. so just did a short trainer ride and cancelled today's long run. I will probably have to cut back a bit on M-W as well just to be safe and not sorry. Then sundance so it looks like I'll be getting a good easy week in whether I like it or not!

Anyways, the numbers for the week were:

26 hours training
246 miles biking including 2 solid long rides
34 miles running
12,000 yards swimming
some weights/EFX

The knee pain reminds me that it's been five months now since I last visited my ortho--probably time to get my knee "lubed" up again....

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"nice" outside--time to get out and play!

Today was the beginning of a "warm" spell here in the mid-atlantic. For the first time this year we were supposed to get above 40 degrees! Yeee-hoooo!

So got up at 5 am and cruised a 45 minute tready run and then after dropping alex off at school headed over to NJ to take advantage of ice/snow free roads. It was 28 degrees when I started--positively balmy! but nice and sunny with only 10-15 mph winds. Warmed up during the ride which was slow but my longest since IM Canada back in august of 2008. ended up a little over 87 miles in a little over 5'll do!

I'm tired tonight but happy to get a nice easy half-IM "overdistance base ride" in the bank.....

Hope to play some more outside before I head to sundance next week....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Into an "overreach" week. Ground through:
-4000 yards timed at 67:20 (70:36 IM pace)
-9 "recovery" miles on the run
-2 and half hour trainer ride....

Cranked up my hypoxic tent and passed out in it for 2 hours at 11,000 feet....

Hope to get outside and put some bike miles in the next couple of days...

Trying to put together 10 hard days and then kick back at sundance...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A little sunshine before Sundance!

Today was a modest but in my view important test of my running progress. Loyal readers will recall how horribly my 5k went last week. Today was the 5th time that I ventured forth to run the Icicle 10 miler here in Wilmington.

This is a pretty tough 10 miler with google telling us that it has 552 feet of climbing during the 10 miles. Frequently it is also cold and windy. I've never posted impressive times here (yes I know that I don't post impressive running times as a rule) but because of my prior history I thought this would be a good indicator race for me. I wanted to see if I was as bad as last weeks 5k seemed to indicate. I'll admit I was pretty nervous the night before--I haven't run longer than a 5k in a race situation since August of 2008 (IM Canada). Frankly, I had a lot of doubts. Judy asked me the night before what my objective was and I said all I wanted to do was just go 1 second faster than I ever have before on this course but that I doubted I'd be able to. I also told her I wasn't going to beat myself up if I didn't get it done today.

Times in this race are relatively slow (January, hilly, bad weather). However, I have the history and can compare to subsequent races to get a sense of where my season is going. Let's review the history:

2003: 79:16 157th overall and 19th in my AG. 2003 was early in my career and I don't have much to report about the rest of that season although I did run a sub 21 5k the following weekend.

2005: 77:08 145th overall and 20th in my AG. I was just coming off of IMFL (11:31) and subsequently ran a 1:38 open half-marathon at Caesar Rodney (which is a tough course) and then ran a 20:33 5k a month latter.

2007: 77:15 141st OA and 18th in my AG. This was my great year as Pete Reid was my coach. In March I did the B&A open half-marathon in 1:38; in April the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in 69 minutes (!); in May I did a 1:38 half in the White Lake half-Ironman; and in September I did a 1:33 at the Philly Half-Ironman. Set my IM PR at IMFL.

2008: 77:16 150th OA and 13th in my AG. I did a 1:40 at the B&A latter that year.

So, given my 2007 times and my similar level of commitment to that year, setting a PR on this course would be a very good sign.

Race morning, I left my hourse and the temp was 14 degrees, wind at 10-13 mph and a wind-chill of 4 degrees. This was the coldest Icicle Run that I have faced. My strategy was to "ease" through the relatively easy first 2 miles and then try to keep my HR under 168 on the very challenging 3-5 mile section. The rollers from 5-7.5 I wanted to recover and then hammer the downhills from 7.5-9.5. Then I wanted to just try to survive the difficult Adams Hill and then try to kick it home in under 77:08. Here's how it went:

Mile 1: 7:04 with a 163 avr HR. Might appear fast but I thought it was a good first mile--very easy being downhill and with the wind.

2: 7:37/14:41 cummulative with 163 HR. Good HR control but I was worried--wanted a sub 7:30

3: 7:56/22:37 @ 165. I was still under control but beginning to worry about my pace.

4: 8:01/30:38 @ 167. Brutal mile. Real slow yet my HR alarm was going a lot. Began to think I wasn't going to get it done.

5: 8:02/38:40 @ 166. Backed-off a bit to make sure I wasn't going into the red. At aid station the water was a frozen slush. At this point I realized that I had done a pretty good job of dressing (not much).

6: 7:44/46:24 @ 166. Decided to go for it over this rolling mile. I knew that I needed decidedly negative splits to reach my objective and thought that it wasn't likely (despite the course profile I'd never negative split this course before). In the latter parts of this mile I began to get my "sea-legs" and began to think that I might be able to give it a go down the stretch.

7: 7:28/53:52 @ 167. Feeling it and going for it. Not an easy mile and yet I posted my second fastest. I became convinced that I had a real shot. I knew that I had to make the next two miles happen to give myself enough cushion on the tough last mile.

8: 7:36/61:28 @ 168. I was pushing it but seemed to have a bad spell. I wanted a sub 7:30 here. Worried now!

9: 7:24/68:52 @ 168. Yes! Knew I had a great chance! Loved feeling the spring and attack of this mile. Committed!

10: 7:52/76:44 @ 170. Brutal hill but I was confident. I sealed the deal and took 24 seconds off of my PR! Finished 97th OA and 5th (!!!!) in my AG (out of 29). 3rd and 4th were in the two spots right in front of me.

Awesome! I'm thrilled.

Must put it perspective of-course. I'm probably not as bad as that guy that stunk up the 5k last week and I'm probably not the guy that's going to set run PRs all year (but hey--you never know!).

For the week I did 22:20 (so a pretty hard week to race off of) with 207 miles on the bike, 35 miles running, and 10.5k on the swim.

Looking ahead I won't race again for 6 weeks. Time to do the home work! On the 21st, Judy, Kara, Anders and I are going to the Sundance Film Festival for 4 days. Over the next 10 days its HARDCORE baby. Close to 30 hours in the week ahead.

I still believe!!!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

pluggin away

Lots of work/travel but trying to plug away. Good set of w/os today:

3 hours on computrainer with core set of 12 x 3 min @ 250+ watts/2 min @ around 180 watts. The core averaged 223 watts for the hour. I probably could have handled 270+ watts for the hard part of the w/o as I'm guessing my FTP is around there but I'm cpmmitted to not frying my brain early in the year so that I'm still motivated in November. In any event 223 watts at the rear cassette is equivalent to 228 watts at the pedals and given the quantum nature of the w/o my normalized power was certainly north of 230 watts. I'd like to be in the 230-240 watt range at Ocenaside so this was a fine effort.

Hopped off the bike for an extended (45 min) transition run on the tready then went to the Y for a solid swim w/o including a set of 200s which were all comfortably in the 2:55-2:57 range.

Then a nice run double of 30 minutes.

This doesn't exactly set me up for lots of energy at sunday's 10-miler but as much as I'd like to go fast on sunday I need to train through these early season road races...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bad news/good news from the front

Raced my first 5k of the season and quite a while today.

I did really poorly. I ran a 23:32 when I expected to easily manage a 21:30. My splits/HR were: 6:53/159; 7:10/172; 7:38/172 and for the last 0.1: 0:52/171.

The course was relatively easy except for the last 0.1 which was straight up a steep hill for some reason.

In my defense, it was 19 degrees with 30-45 mph winds and wind-chills of 2-5 degrees. The wind was a factor and I'll give the benefit of the doubt as a result. but I am quite disappointed. I'm 20 pounds lighter with a lot of good running work in and I',m as slow as I've ever been.

It is what it is. I guess I'm the 22:30 5k guy with the most potential! we'll see. I need to get under 21 in an open race to really be a factor....

On the good news front. I did get a 56 mile ride in outside (hard to do with all the snow and cold/wind) this week and I did my Saturday swim 100s all in the 1:18-1:23 range with the last 7 all under 1:20.

I would have been a happy clam with a 21:30 today (modest a number as it is!)

ended the week with 19:26 of training/172 miles on the bike/38 miles running/7.5k in the pool.

Need to work hard and create the capacity to do hard work without working so hard!