Thursday, December 31, 2015

December Totals and January Objectives

Here are the totals for December:

Swim: 13,700 yards
Bike: 563 miles
Run: 48 miles
Trek: 27.7 miles
Stretch/Weights: 9:50 elapsed time
Total time: 75:44

I'm very satisfied with these totals given where I started from and the struggles I've had with my knee.  I'm in the midst of a very encouraging week and with the completion of my latest Eflexa cycle my knee seems to be holding up pretty well.

I'm pretty confident I can have a solid month and in considering my plan for January I reviewed my last nine Januarys.  consider these totals:

A little background can help you interpret.  2007 was my strongest year.  I worked with Peter Reid as my coach that year and by November I was definitely fit enough to qualify for Kona, but I didn't.

2008 I was self coached and once again fell short.  In 2009, I decided to take break from long-course and had a mental health year so January was way down.

In 2010 and 2011 I was back at it and managed to qualify in both years for Kona 2010 and 2012.

2012 was biz as usual but I fell short Kona wise.

In 2013 and 2014 (Aconcagua) and 2015 (Vinson) my mountaineering expeditions cut my SBR training way back (2013 did lead to another Kona qualification for 2014).  and 2015 led to my surgeries and other procedures and my year off from triathlon.

So what to do about January 2016 given my modest goals and still fledgling comeback?

Swim:  I'm thinking 30,000 yards plus--I'm ready to start a pretty rigorous 3-month swim block.

Bike:  600-700 miles--I'm going to be cautious here and emphasize a lot of quality computrainer time.

Run: 60+ miles--If I can do more I will but while I've had a nice 5-6 day run and I don't want to get carried away with things--it's quite possible that I'll never run 100 miles in a month again.

Trekking: 2-3 big days in SNP

Weights/stretch: 1-2X/week

Physical therapy: 2X/week

If I get reasonably close to these standards I'll be well on my way for 2016....

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas week totals

As i mentioned in my prior post, I took it really easy this week:

Swim: 0 yards
Bike: 132 miles
Run: 6 miles
Stretch/Weights: 90 minutes
Total time: 11:58

This week i intend to work quite a bit harder as I roll into what i hope will be a Long course like month in january.  Good start today with 3;30 in workouts....

Monday, December 21, 2015

Last week--on the flight path

so last week's totals were a bit impacted by a pretty bothersome cold I came down with a week ago Sunday.  The net effect was I missed one run and 1 swim.  Otherwise, a pretty solid mid December training week:

Swim: 4,000 yards
Bike: 161 miles
Run: 11.5 miles
Stretch/Weights: 2 hours
Total Time: 16:25

I went to my ortho today and last Monday.  i continue to have fluid build-up.  Last Monday I had 27cc and this morning 21cc.  We are both at a loss for why this keeps happening.  On the positive side of the ledger I had a pretty solid Computrainer FTP session.  I'd guess my FTP is around 265 watts now.  Not great, but not bad--lot's of work ahead of course.

This coming week is going to be an easy week given the holidays.  And then we'll roll into 2016 and begin to ramp it up heading towards Oceanside....

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Week totals

As i mentioned in the post about last week's efforts, this week was quite similar to last.  I had 5 days up in Boston and on Monday, I had the 2nd day of my latest Shenandoah trip.  Hard to get any major workouts in with the work and social things of the past week (we went to a christmas party last night with tony Bennett!).  Anyways, still a reasonable December week, especially given the early stages of my comeback efforts:

Swim: 4,000 yards
Bike: 114 miles
Run: 11.5 miles
Climb/Trek: 13.8 miles
Stretch/Weights: 70 minutes
Total Time: 18:49

Should be a more triathlon balanced week this week--I should be able to hit a little bit more of SBR and probably won't trek much.

Onward and upward

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Shenandoah Dec 2015 Trip

I had the great fortune to take a 2-day solo sojourn to SNP this past Sunday/Monday.

As is my MO, I hit the road at 3:51 a.m. and arrived at Panorama at 7:20.  I was surprised to see the gates to Skyline open (usually this time of year they open at 8) and proceeded North to Elkwallow, the start of my first day's hike.  I had elected to do the Knob Mountain/Jeremy's Run hike.  I've done Jeremy's--a 14 crossing ascent adjacent to the Run a couple of times before but I took the slightly shorter, but more vertical Neighbor Mountain approach.  The weather was absolutely perfect.  It was 40 degrees at the outset and rose to about 52/53.  No clouds and very little breeze--as good as it gets!

After about 7 miles of delightful hiking I found myself down to the bottom of Jeremy's Run and soon realized that it was a good deal higher than in my prior trips.  I searched and searched for a way across and discovered that there really wasn't one.  The water was a good two feet deep (much deeper than my boots) and so off came the boots and up rolled the pants.  Because I was coming from the west of the Run, I actually had to cross the stream 15 times and had to remove my boots for 5 of them.  The other 10 times had a variety of challenging problems to solve--very stimulating ascent!

The water was very cold, the current pretty swift in places and the rocks quite slick but i was fortunate enough to avoid any mishaps and stayed pleasantly dry and warm!

This next picture shows the tree that I "cowboyed" across (it was a good 3-4 feet above the waterline):

I (carefully) walked across this tree:

This accumulation of stuff was my ticket across the stream here:

In total it took me 7:12 minutes to complete the 13.9 mile/2700+ vertical ascent circuit.  I probably used a good 45 minutes looking for crossings and taking my boots and socks off and on.  A great and rewarding day in the woods.

Here is the data on the hike:

After the traditional night at the Speakeasy (nice Jazz quartet) and the Best Western in Luray, VA, I was once again at the Thornton Gap entrance before scheduled opening and entered just as the gates opened at 7:15.  By 7:55, I was on my way for the second hike of this trip.  For this trek, I entered the AT near Jenkins Gap between MP 12/13 about 2/3 rds up into the Northern section of SNP.  The first 5.5 miles were on the AT and featured summits of Northern and Southern Marshall--the later being the more prominent peak.  There was a 3rd peak as well but its probably a subsidiary peak of South Marshall.  The hike along the AT was very pleasant as once again the conditions were simply perfect--a repeat of yesterday!

At one point I passed this old house foundation--an unintended monument to the time the NPS kicked some 2,500 people out of SNP to open up the land that is Shenandoah today:

I soon came upon the Gravel Springs Hut area, a place that I've penciled for our first night camping when we go for a thru-hike of the AT in SNP (107 miles) next year:

The final 8 miles of this trek were along the Bluff and Mt. Marshall trails.  I saw on my topo map that these two trails seemed to follow along between 2000 and 2500 feet so I anticipated relatively easy hiking.  This proved to be true--mostly gentle rolling terrain for the most part and this led to a beautiful, and relatively quick hike on a spectacular December day.  I had a couple of little pitches and a stream or two but the last part of this trek was quite mellow:

Here's the data (13.8 miles/6:17/2,300 feet of vertical):

Two fun solo days--very grateful to be able to do this!  The knee and legs held up pretty well (although I was very stiff when I tried to get out of the car back in DE on Monday night!).  My new Hoka boots are awesome--the cushion is a real plus!

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Last week's numbers

OK--first week back in the saddle--here is what I did:

Swim: 2000 yards
Bike: 99 miles
Run:  11.5 miles
Weights/stretch: 2:20
Trekking: 13.9 miles
Totaal time: 19:37

Tough week to fit everything in with a 3 day trip up to Boston and a trip to Shenandoah.  biggest casualty was my swim--just one session this week.  Modest run week was impacted by big hike on sunday.

All-in-all, not a bad way to spend the first week on December.

This current week will be a bit wacky as well as I only have one full day in DE this week (today).  4 nights in boston and yesterday was the 2nd long hike down in shennandoah.  I'll post data and pics from the hikes shortly.

Expect a similar week this week....

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Resumption of "Standard Triathlon Operations"

Continuing to progress--although, we took a slight detour with a fun week with the family down in Costa Rica.

Specifically, I've begun planning and logging my workouts with the current focus on building my fitness up in front of IM70.3 Oceanside in early april.

The upshot of this is I'll once again be providing weekly (at least) up dates on my training activity.  It also symbolizes my return to the world of "working triathletes" as I follow a more focused and coherent training approach designed to yield at least a modest level of triathlon racing competence in 2015.

I'm looking for some where around 20 hours this week as I have a rather long trek scheduled for Sunday....more on that latter.

It's good to be back!

Friday, November 20, 2015

My comeback--2 months in--miscellaneous musings

Hey folks--the comeback seems to be working.  I more or less started about 2 months ago to recover from my various (elbow, knee, calf, and back) issues and to attempt to return to reasonable long-distance triathlon and high altitude mountaineering fitness.  so far so good.

Frequent visitors to this blog know I'm currently trying to just get back to a fitness level that lets me attempt to do longer triathlons (HIM and IM) and climb bigger mountains and trek lengthy hikes....

I've left this first couple of months purposefully unstructured as I wasn't sure if my back et al would allow me to come back but so far so good:

-I had a couple of 6+ hour days down in SNP hiking away--albeit at a leisurely pace

-I'm back in the pool and know hitting 5000 yards plus for a week and 2000 for my bigger swims

-I'll probably get about 18 miles of running this week and today happily completed my first back-to-back run sessions--a very long way to go but I'm ambitious with low expectations!

-I haven't really spiked up on my biking yet but my computrainer sessions are getting better...

All this is to say I think I'm ready to really return to a rigorous training schedule.  I'm going to take the next week a bit easy and enjoy T-day with the fam and then starting Dec 1 I'm going to plan and record my workouts in my historical fashion.  I'll be reporting them here and I'm hopeful that they will chronicle a continued upward ark back to a semblance of my historical capabilities.

I've begun to think about my multi-sport schedule for 2016.  Several highlights:

- I'd like to do two HIMs and one IM--I've signed up for challenge Roth and IMCA70.3 already

-I want to do one of the seven summits--first prize is Kili with Alex but if that falls through, I'd like to do Elbrus with Anders

-I plan to do a thru hike of SNP on the AT in early May--all 108 miles of it

-plus--hopefully, a lot of local sprint kinda tris commencing out in Cali in the late winter....and a few other fun things that present themselves

I think this is going to happen--life's rich tapestry 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Back from LA

Back in DE after a nice visit with Kara and Anders out in LA.  I ran with Anders and did a nice trek/hike with Kara.  also got in the water for a mini-bodyboarding session and threw in a couple of rides.

Had to take it a little easy because my knee acted up a bit.  Back in DE now and settling back into my routine.  Knee fees better and going for a 50+ minute run today. (plus trainer ride, pool and some weights)  Onward and upward.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Training Plan, Update and the PT news

First off, a quick update on the state of my bod and what I'm doing about it.  2-3 months ago I had a return of pretty significant upper, outer left calf pain and inflexibility.  It was quite bad and addition to making it difficult to run, the lack of flexibility/pain even began to impact my bike stroke (notably painful when my left leg was at the top of the pedal stroke).

I was convinced that this was driven by my chronic left knee problems and with the blessing of my orthodoc I went to see a local PT for an evaluation.  He concurred it was a knee problem at the source.  He found massive imbalance between my left and right legs.  For example, my left calf was 2.2 cm smaller in circumference.  I had substantially less strength in all the major muscle groups of my left leg.  Clearly, my stride adjustments driven by my knee pain where now beginning to catch up with me.  My PT also offered that perhaps it was time to think about pulling the trigger on the knee replacement.

I put that suggestion aside and begin seeing the PT twice a week and was able to get some quick improvement in flexibility and pain reduction in the calf.  My fibula head was manipulated (was possibly putting pressure on my sciatic nerve) and a lot of deep tissue work seemed to help quite a bit.  I was also given a regime of strengthening/flexibility exercises all focused on my left leg to address my imbalance.

We also noted how swollen my knee looked and i returned to the orthodoc and he extracted 22 cc of clear fluid from the knee.  He then injected the first of my knee Eflexa injections.  I returned the next week and he took another 29 cc out of the knee (almost 2 fluid oz in total!).  He also decided to suspend my Euflexxa injections in favor of a cortisone injection.  This had an immediate and dramatic impact.  The swelling has not returned and while I don't have full range of motion it is now much closer to that on my right side.

I had re-eval yesterday and I have graduated to home care.  I'm much closer in strength on my left side as compared to the right as well.  My left calf is now just 1.2 cm smaller--more work to do but moving in the right direction.

More importantly, I easily handled two big days down in Shenandoah and have now had 3 50 minute runs where, while not fast, actually felt like I was running again--its been a very long time since that has happened!

Let me turn now to my overall approach to training and how things are going.  My principal focus between now and the end of the year is to get my body's baseline fitness back to the point where I can begin training as a long-distance triathlete again.  The key elements of my typical week look like this now:

- 3 days per week in the gym doing about 80 minutes of weights and flexibility work
- 6-7 days per week on the bike--most of it Z1 but 1 hard computrainer session per week focused at this point on VO2 max intervals (for example: 8 X 2 minutes @280-300 watts w/ 3 min spin)
- 3-4 runs per week (two 50 min and two 30 min)--some light fartlek
- 3 days swimming a week (now at 1500 yds/session)
- 1-2 sessions of trekking per week (2-7 hours per session)

I'll gradually build on this through the end of 2015.  I'll start adding longer AT intervals on the bike and begin to through in a longer (3 hour) ride every week.  I won't start speed work on the run until I get to California in February but hope to gradually increase my longer runs up to 90 minutes.  When the new year starts, I hope to be at around 10,000 yds/week and in the pool 4 times most weeks.

I intend to race a couple of sprints out in California in Feb/March to get back in the swing of things and then my first significant race in 2016 will be the IM70.3 at Oceanside.  I'm not super focused on going fast there but want to be able to comfortably and masterfully execute and complete the race.  Frankly, anything under 6 hours would be just fine.

At that point I will do a 12-14 week IM-specific training block and prepare myself to complete Challenge Roth on July 17th.  Again, my mission will be to comfortably complete the race--I won't be that concerned with my finishing time.  I'll sprinkle some other races in before and after the IM and see how competitive I can be in my local AG races.

I also will probably do a major climb in June (Kilimanjaro) and no doubt do a number 2-3 day trekking blocks down in the mountains of Virginia.

If all goes well and my body can tolerate the training and racing load I hope to position myself to try to qualify for Kona 2018 at an IM in 2017.  I'll be up in the 60-64 AG in 2017 and that will probably be my last realistic chance to qualify as I probably don't have too many more IMs left in me.

That's a long ways off and for now, I'm trying to get back into the habits of a structured triathlon training regime and so far so good.  It feels great to begin to feel fitness returning to my body after a full year away from the triathlon world!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Shenandoah Fall 2015

The wilmington crew undertook a foray down to SNP for two days of hiking/climbing.  The first day was a traverse from Panorama to Skyland--about 10.6 miles.  it was a fantastic day and the colors were superb.  Here are some of the stats from that effort:

Day two put us on Old Rag for a challenging summit climb in wet and slippery conditions:

I put together a little slideshow of the event that you can check out here:

Great trip and lots of fun with good friends.  My body feels very good and is responding to all of the PT and training work.  an update on that will follow in the next day or so....

Friday, October 16, 2015

Vinson Massif Vid

At long last here is the link to a little vid I put together of Anders and my summit of the Vinson Massif in early January:

One of our guides on the trip, Mike Hamil and I have been exchanging e-mails talking through a climb of Elbrus--the highest continent in Europe....

It's great to get back into the swing of things--lots to talk about.....

enjoy the vid!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I'm back!

Sorry for being AWOL from my little blog here.  You should expect much more frequent missives in the future.  First let me bring you up to speed on where I'm at:

-In early August it became clear to me that work and other conflicts were going to prohibit me from participating in the 508 and I accepted that all of 2015 was going to be an off-year.

-In early September it became clear the start-up I was leading was not likely to reach its objectives and i went through a period of reflection on what i should do next.

-I concluded that I missed the Triathlon life and despite my many physical issues (more on that below) that I would make a commitment to getting back into it as best I could.

-Judy and I did a 7-day "detox" program, which basically is a food elimination diet that has you basically eating rice, beans and veggies and drinking these nasty shakes.  I followed that up with a much more focused effort to eat a more healthy diet.  Happily, I shed 15 pounds to bring it down to 183 pounds and I'm eager to more slowly drop to around 170-175 pounds by the first of the year.

-I decided to pick an "A" race to focus on for 2016 and have entered Challenge Roth--which I'M VERY EXCITED TO DO.  Since I put an IM on the schedule, I also signed up for Oceanside (my 3rd 70.3 at Oceanside--and where I first qualified for Kona) for the end of March.

-Judy and i decided once again to spend more time in Cali next spring and I'm now in the process on planning out my 2016 Triathlon and Adventure plan.

-I've begun a complete physical review and was pleased to see that my bloodwork returned all normal values--although i was less than happy to see my hematocrit at a lowly 41% (man, what i could do with some EPO!)

-I began training in an unstructured way and immediately encountered some significant pain and swelling in my left knee (the bad one) and calf.

-I've started a PT program and will see my Ortho tomorrow for my next round of lube-job injections. I'll report more on this in future posts but clearly my body's tolerance for running on my mangled left knee is declining and the day of reckoning (knee replacement) is beginning to draw near.

So, where do we go from here?

-Clearly, if I want to do anything more in the triathlon world (and I do), I need to get on it, and straight away.

-My plan for 2016 is to try to do as much as I can triathlon-wise, more from a participation stand-point than from a competitive stand-point.  I'm not sure what my back and knee (and elbow) will allow me but I plan to be pretty ambitious (Roth), have low expectations, and be really grateful for whatever transpires.

-Between now and the end of 2015 my plan is simply to re-establish a reasonable 3-sport endurance base.  I've been running somewhat more regularly and while I'm comically slow, I do see some modest progress (although the near-term knee issues need to get fixed or I will stall out).  I jumped back in the pool yesterday and will soon establish a regular 3/4 day per week swim pattern.

-I've blow the dust off my computrainer and begun the process to reclaiming my competitive Ace in the Hole on the bike.

Excited by this!

-On the Adventure side, I'm going with a group of folks down to SNP for 3 days of long-distance trekking--can't wait!  I plan to incorporate regular trekking/climbing training into my plan throughout 2015/2016 going forward and we are in the early phases of planning two 7-summit expos, one with each of my sons!

-I've also committed to really focusing on the weight room and stretching (yoga?) to address some of my real strength/flexibility issues.

Lots to do for sure, but I'm pursuing it in a reasonable way (I think).  Come back regularly and I'll provide more details on the path ahead.

Also, I've begun to consolidate both my historical data and media files and I'll be posting some of those shortly.  If you come back tomorrow, you'll find a nifty video documenting Anders and my ascent of the Vinson Massif in Antarctica.

OK, let's do this!


Monday, July 27, 2015

159.6 miles--longest ride of my life (so far)

Continuing the long rides in preparation for the 508.  last thursday's was the longest of my life.  Unfortunately the power meter didn't talk to my Garmin so no power data--too bad, because i felt pretty strong and averaged 16.4 mph for the ride....

Monday, July 20, 2015

7/16 Long ride

Continuing to build my long rides for the 508.  I went 138 miles last Thursday--which I believe is my longest ever training ride (I've raced longer):

It was a pleasant ride and I averaged 16 mph/138 watts, which seems to be my sweet zone for the 508.  I had a pretty strong (15-20 mph NNE wind throughout and I generally rode NE on the way out):

Not surprisingly, my speed trended up given the wind:

 My power was steady and with a variability index of 1.06 quite smooth--definitely grooving it for the 508--at least at this short of a distance...

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Today's ride--starting to get serious!

Today's ride was 7:15 in duration and a bit over 120 miles.  My avg power was 139 watts and NP was 150 watts, which increasingly I feel will be reasonable targets for the 508.  We'll see how my power holds up when I start riding 200+ miles....

Todays' ride took me down first to Cape  May and then North and West (hard to go the other way) up into cumberland county:

My power output was very comfortable and if anything increased slightly as the ride progressed

 I left above 5:25 am and the temp was in thigh 60s.  by the finish it was fitting with 90.  Humid as well but i did a pretty good job of hydrating so felt good and strong the whole way!

Next week I will push up over 8 hours and start pushing 140 miles or try to back-to-back rides of around 6 hours (100 miles) on consecutive days.

Racing the 508 will obviously cause me to have to be able to ride around 36 hours over a 48 hour period so I'm thinking mixing in ever longer single shot rides with some slightly shorter back-to-back efforts may be beneficial....

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

508 update

Today's ride was 6:15 in duration.  Just over 100 miles so a little slow but it was 94 degrees and quite windy when I finished.  I'm basically trying to find the kind of effort that will allow me to cover 508 miles in essentially one shot.  Seems to be in the 120-150 watt range.  I'm going to start posting my power files now that rides are starting to get significant.  next week 7 hours!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Tracking true

sorry for not posting for awhile!  I'm very busy and without races every couple of weeks to post about I'm not that interesting to this audience right now (well, probably I never am).

My long ride this week was 4 hours.  Next week 5, then 6, and 7 and....this is the way I'm building my fitness for the 508.  I'm doing a lot of other riding of course and running 3-4 times a week.  Sadly, I haven't had time or a real impetus to swim, but after next week I'm going to start doing so because I miss it dearly.

I'm obsessing about the Iron cowboy and his quest to do 50 IM in 50 days in 50 Sates   .  it reminds me that I'm still a triathlete at heart and I'm feeling the pull to get back it.  Maybe a little this year, but a lot next year for sure.

Eight of us also had a couple of days of trekking/climbing down in Shenandoah--about 22 miles and 7,000 feet of vertical.  here is the vid:

Ever upward!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Work in Progress--today's surprising ride!

I'm now turning my attention to dedicating the next 110 days to getting my bike fitness in enough shape to be competent when I tackle the Silver State 508 in September.  today was the 5th Wilmington Grand Fondo--a metric century, which is quite hilly--relentlessly so.  I rode with the 450 or so other riders and really enjoyed all those feelings that come when one pushes out towards the limits on a bike.

My numbers came in quite strong--I was very surprised, given how little I've ridden, compared to my normal program.  The total ride was 62.32 miles and it took me 4:06:08--just 15.2 mph.  However, I averaged 204 watts with a normalized power of 221 watts--those are the type of numbers I'd expect to through down in reasonably good Half-Ironman bike!  If you had asked me before hand i would have guessed i could do somewhere between 160-180 watts--these extra 40 watts or so tell me that I have a very good base to start layering in the bike mileage I'll need to tackle the 508--yeah!!!!

I still have in my Garmin that my FTP is 265 watts and if that is still true (I need to test it) then my intensity factor was .834--right in the .80-.85 sweet spot for a half-Ironman ride.  My TSS was 227.4 (so you can imagine I feel a little worked over tonight--a good IM ride would have a TSS around 280 or so).  I burned 2404 calories and hit a top speed of 38 mph.

Here is map of the ride (and yes it was confusing):

Below are also charts of my power, the elevation and my speed over time:

Tough ride for sure, but very encouraging.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't publish some pics from the boy's fishing trip this week as well:

The trip was a real blast.  Great company, good food at the end of the day and a good test of my surgically repaired left elbow.

Onward and upward!