Tuesday, February 18, 2014

the once and future triathlete

OK--enough of this mountaineering stuff--at least for now.  Time to see if I can become a triathlete again.  I thought I might share with you where things are at and an early look at the 2014 season....

The biggest thing I'm dealing with right now is the Aconcagua "hang-over".  There is no two ways about it...when you invest a ton of montaineering training time (which is equivalent to not investing in triathlon training) over the last three months of 2013 and then head off to "just" climb for 24 days--ending on Feb 2nd, you'll find yourself considerably behind the eight ball in the middle of February!  Consider the following:

I thought it might be instructive to look at my January 2014 training and compare it to January 2013 (which is arguably a similar situation as I also went to Argentina to climb--albeit two weeks earlier), January 2012 (which was an "ordinary" triathlon training year although one where I was implementing the less is more approach) and January 2007 (when I was working hard with my new coach Peter "the great" Reid).

First the swim totals:

2007: 52.9k yards
2012: 30.6
2013: 8.0
2014: 0.0

Yes that's right campers--no swimming in January of 2014.  This is a lot less than the 53,000 yards of 2007 and even the more relaxed pool investment of 31,000 yards in 2012.  I don't need to tell you that on Feb 1, 2007, I was much more prepared to swim fast than I was on Feb 1, 2014....

The bike totals:

2007: 796 miles
2012: 748
2013: 315
2014: 147

Here you can see the impact of the later mountain climb in 2014.  When I returned from my failed climb in 2013 I was very motivated and immediately jumped back in on the bike....

The run:

2007: 122 miles
2012: 166
2013: 30
2014: 0

Yes, that's zero run miles in Jan 2014....you know my run is a problem.  Probably not running in January didn't make it better....

And then there is the total time I invested in training--SBR and mountain climbing:

2007: 98 hours
2012: 81
2013: 85
2014: 97

And there's the rub.  While I have dramatically underinvested in SBR training in Jan 2014, my body still had to absorb a very big load--virtually the same as in 2007, which was my peak training year.  Now for sure mountaineering is very different than SBR--for example, it does nothing to help you swim better--it still extracts a pretty significant toll on your body.

When I returned on Feb 2 I have to admit I was exhausted from my expedition to Aconcagua.  Still, I felt I needed to start SBRing to begin the get back into it.  So I did try to jump back in that first week back.  I found that I had "dead-legs".  Surprisingly so to me and in fact this pretty much persisted through that first week on February.  Here were my totals for the week beginning Feb 3rd:

Swim: 3,000 yds
Bike: 166 miles
Run: 10.6 miles
Time: 14:14

Last week things improved a bit.  I could feel a bit of "spark" returning to my body and I was even able to throw some higher quality efforts in all three disciplines.  My volume increased modestly:

Swim: 6,000 yds
Bike: 184 miles
Run: 17.0 miles
Time: 16:59

Even with this progress, I am quite a ways away from my "standard" early season week of say 13,000 yds swim/225 miles bike/30 miles run.  Still, I need to carefully adhere to the "First Law of Triathlon"--the Conservation of Motivation.  I had a day last week when I went to run outside and nearly slipped and fell 2-3 times in the first minute on the frozen, uneven trail so I said "screw it" and just went to Wawa for a nice hoagie....

On that point, the 2014 weather in Delaware has been horrendous (although admittedly I was "enjoying" different weather down in Argentina for half of it so far).  We are in the midst of the second most snowfall in New Castle County since they started keeping track back in the early 1800s.  there is no way to ride outside and the running sucks as well.  this does not help on the motivation front....

The good news is that tonight finds us at our beach house in NJ and with 50+ degree temps.  No snow on the ground which is certainly a relevation!  I went for a fantastic 66-minute run on the beach and I felt pretty decent (all things are relative--in absolute terms I was as slow as a turtle).  I brought my bike with me and tomorrow with any luck will see me both riding and running outside--this does a ton for my mental state....note to self--time to move somewhere warmer....

Anyways, looking ahead: on 3/24 (believe it or not) I have my first triathlon and just three weeks later (after doing another triathlon the next weekend) I'm scheduled to do IMNOLA70.3, which certainly should be an eye-opener.  I'm not going to worry about it as my focus for the balance of this year will be on getting ready for Kona in October.  That said, in these next few weeks it will be interesting to see how my body and mind holds up....

All par for the course....it's good to be back!

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