Back in the Saddle Again – QC Tri Race Recap

It has been two years since I have raced a triathlon and worked to get back into shape. I have a long way to go to where I want to be, but the QC Tri was a great checkpoint to gauge where I am at fitness wise.

Two years ago I made my sprint triathlon debut at the QC Tri. I had one triathlon under my belt at that time in 2012. As I have shared many times on this blog after a bit of a health scare last year I fell off the training system and for 1.5 years did close to nothing in terms of taking care of my health and body. I was in a rut.

A few months ago I started back into training. It has been a long process and a hard balance. It is hard because I know where I once was and often think where I could be. It is hard because knocking the rust of the body and preparing for it to perform at high levels takes a great deal of commitment(something that still needs a lot of work). It is hard because I have a wife and three kids and have to be careful not to neglect them in all the pursuits that I have.

Summertime is great to shift gears. I can somewhat put the education pursuits aside, clear my mind and focus on other things like triathlons. I find it very important to step back from education and let the brain just forget it all and see the world in a new lens for a few weeks. I still have to be pursuing something because that is just who I am so training for races allows me to keep that boundary pushing aspect in check.

Heading back to the reflection of the race I will admit that this was probably the most nervous I have been. I slept terrible the night before only getting about 2.5 hours of sleep. I was hit with a major head cold that is still hitting me hard as I type this. I could not breathe, could not fall asleep, so I was getting mad and next you know it was time to get up and prepare.

I packed everything that I thought I needed. It was weird trying to remember routine. I ate my same old chocolate chip waffles, had my coffee, and double checked all supplies. I made my way towards West Lake around 4:30 to make sure I could park within the park.

DCIM100GOPRO

I found my spot and worked to get everything set up and ready to go. I really wanted to swim because I had not done any open water swimming since my Pigman 70.3 in August of 2012. They were a bit behind schedule with the swim so I headed out for a run, made a few pit stops while scoping the scene and just tried to relax my mind and body.

What I love about races is the community. It was so great to see so many people who I have not seen in a long time. This helped to put my mind at ease.

After a mile run, stretching, and final nourishment, I attempted to put my wetsuit on. Let me just say this was a bit snug being that I am 25+ lbs overweight. I did add a few snags to the suit, but was able to get it on and swim a bit before the race. It felt good to be in the open water again.

Finally race time

Swim – 600 yards

In 2012 I swam this race in 9:29. My goal this year was to be under 10:30. I have been doing a few swims a week. Nothing too major, but pushing hard on intervals so I figured at this distance I would be okay if I could stay relaxed. I ended up swimming 9:54 so just 25 second slower than when I was cut, in prime shape, and killing the training.

I was very happy with this time. I was surprised to be honest. I though this would be weak for me. I had to stop two times for people swimming the completely wrong way. I forgot about how hard it is to swim straight and navigate the people. I got stuck on the turnaround as people were everywhere and I spent at least 30 seconds doing more of a wade stroke to find a place to swim again.

I felt good coming out of the water. Typically I cramp when I get out of the water. This did not help. Thanks Phil for the picture.

10479149_868548836492611_5612182348244559180_n(1)Reading my reflection from 2012 I remembered not to take my goggles off until my arms were out of my wetsuit.

T1

Things went smooth. Suit came off and I was off. As I ran to the mount my bike I was feeling really good.

Bike

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Right away I slipped on my pedals and crammed my goodies on the mainframe of my bike. I was in shock and just sat there. I was feeling so stupid. I finally got clipped in and headed out. I wanted to get relaxed and in good flow so I could take my nutrients. Being a short race it is probably not needed as much, but I need to practice nutrition because for the 70.3 I need to consume more after hitting walls back in 2012.

I felt great on the bike. I was cruising and riding out was great! I was cruising at a wonderful pace and much faster than I thought. I was not sure I could average 20+ mph being that only have a few rides under my belt. This has been the one aspect I have not trained very much and am mad at myself because this is also my strength of the three disciplines.

In 2012 I completed the course in 38:12 for a 23.6 pace. This time I was 41:58 for 21.4 pace. Not too bad, but it makes me mad because if I could pull this off with my little bike training where could I have been?

Riding back sucked. The wind was tough and a couple hills killed my legs. I had to just drive and learn to fight through. I passed a ton of people and was only passed once on the bike.

 

T2

Was smooth and easy. I actually had the exact same time as 2012. Slipped my Newton shoes on and headed out with jelly legs.

Run

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I was a bit nervous for this because my right hamstring was tight on the bike and was tightening up during the run. I was not sure how to push for the run. I have learned the hard way not to push too hard early on because when you bonk that is it and you don’t recover.

I tried to keep it easy, but the beginning course is grass, rocks, trails and little hills so it is not easy for me. I ran 7:36 the first mile and felt good so I decided to pick up the pace a bit more. The second mile I was 7:06 or right around there and still was feeling good. I decided to kick it into high gear. I thought I was flying, but really I wasn’t and ran a 7:16 or something like that. I finished in 23:09 for a 7:29 pace. I finished and was mad because I was not that tired afterwards which told me I should have pushed harder on the run. In 2012 I ran 20:34 for a 6:37 pace.

Overall

I finished in 1:18:32. Not too bad. I was about 7 minutes slower than two years ago so I have some work to do. This week I need to add some endurance runs and rides along with sprint workouts. It is a checkpoint. I knew I would not be amazing. I was satisfied with the results. Looking at the pictures I have some serious weight to drop to get to race weight and optimal conditions for future races. It is good to look at the good and the bad. The good is that I loved it. It felt so good to challenge my mind and body and to see where I was fitness wise two months ago and where I am right now. I have to remember that two years ago I was training all the time and Amanda is great at reminding me that I was doing nothing but training. I need to work to find balances. It has been helpful getting up at 4 am so I can get 2-3 hours of training in before any wakes up now that my kids are a bit older and sleep in a bit longer.

Today(one day after) my body is very sore. I was not sore at all yesterday, but today my body is sore. I am also battling a serious cold that is not helping the recovery. I have not felt this bad in a long time. Hopefully I can kick both elements of sickness and fatigue to get out for some serious training Monday – Thursday before I leave for Dave Matthews concerts this weekend. I have to get four days of quality training in.

It feels good to be back! Now off to the next checkpoint. Another tri race? Bix7? Time to make a decision.

Thank you to everyone who was there cheering and supporting. What a great group of people. LiveUncommon was everywhere and it is so good to see so many out doing great things. Thanks to Phil for taking pictures. All the support does not go unnoticed.

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Hottest and Longest Run of Year To Date

After a weekend spent back in Indiana with family which pretty means eating around the clock, I woke up this morning and knew I had to get some mileage in early this week. I head to Dave Matthews Band concerts this weekend for the annual guy trip and therefore I need to get my mileage in before leaving because I doubt any running will be had while tailgating and dancing to the shows!

This morning I slept in a bit and around 9:30 I headed out. It was already a bit hot and very little breeze. I had not hydrated well all weekend so I knew I had to be careful, but also I knew I needed to get out for a longer run.

I did not feel too bad at first taking things nice and easy. My goal right now is not pace, but just getting back to enjoying running again. I have been in a year slump of hating running. I have decided to tackle the challenge of enjoying the run again and therefore I am running several times a week to get back in the flow.

As the miles went on I became hot. I soon remembered how this body does not take heat well. Around mile 5 I was able to stop at a water fountain and splash water on my face and head to cool down. This felt great. At this point I did not feel terrible.

Around mile 6 I stopped sweating which is never a good sign. I made myself finish up that mile and mile 7 I forced myself to walk .2 miles to just cool down a bit and not push too hard. I was able to finish up strong.

This was not an easy run. This is actually the longest run I have done all year. How sad is that? Here it is June already and this is my first 8 miler. Looking back on my training plans from 2011 when I ran my first marathon did help me. I was looking at things and noticed that I was not too far off in terms of training and point in the year compared to 2011 and actually this was when I started riding my bike for the first time. I was riding a Schwinn bike and only riding 4-10 miles. Despite my frustrations of not being in the shape I wanted to be in this year I have to take a step back and remember that I cannot burn myself out and was right in this spot two years ago. Baby steps is what I have take and I will slowly get myself back to where I want to be. I have to remember to keep pushing, but not to the point where I burn out and put myself back in the position I am in.

After water, smoothies, and a good lunch I will get my legs and mind ready to keep running for the next three days to get my mileage in for the week. I need to get to 26 miles. A nice easy run tomorrow and another long run Wednesday.

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Midweek Exercise Update

To help hold myself accountable I am back to sharing my exercise in the quest to get back into the shape I was once in this time last year.

Monday – I started back to running. I need to find the joy I once had with running. I think I burned myself out from running by worrying about pace and time and splits all the time. I need to get back to just remembering the simple joy of running. One foot in front of the other.

I am jumping into a marathon plan, but not worry about pace, time, or actually even running a marathon. I needed a basic structure to follow to give me some guidance.

I ran 4 miles which was a great starting distance to get back into the swing of things. It helps to have Chad running with me so we can keep things easy and allow us to just chat about stuff. This really helps pass the time and keeps you out of your own head.

Tuesday – After an open water swim Sunday I knew I had some more work to do in the pool. Swimming is probably my strongest sport right now as I  have not missed a swim workout in a while.
Today I decided to mix it up and did a workout I saw in Triathlon magazine to do something completely different from what I have been doing. This was a tough workout. I have not crossed the 3000 yard swim barrier in a very, very long time.

800 warm up – 200 free, 200 kick x2
12 x 25 on :30 working on descent of stroke count – My stroke count was high hovering at 15-16. I was able to get that down to 13-14 by the end. This is way too high.
500 – 25 fast/75 normal – This was a gasser
4 x 150 on 3:00 – I did one set free, one kick, one free, one kick to work on swimming with tired legs
500 pull with 3/5/7 breathing – I did 50 at 3 breath, 50 at 5, 50 at 7, etc. 7 was a tough. I hate that panic feeling of not having oxygen. It was good for me to work on this.
8 x 50 – 3 fast at every :50 and 4th one easy at 1:10 – It is amazing how fast the time goes between sets. I would finish roughly around 40 seconds so the 10 seconds flies by.
100 cool down kick

Wednesday – Today was another 4 mile run. Felt much better despite more humidity and heat. Feels good to get out and run. I don’t always want to do the run in the morning, but feel really good afterwards.

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Finding the joy in exercise, creating routine, and taking a break from school

This summer I have found myself all over the place. I have a long list of things to do and just seem to be in an unorganized mess. After a week of doing nothing, I have slowly turned things around. A lot of new things developing and a fresh look on my future as things have come my way.

The last two weeks I have found myself at the highs and lows of life and just trying to make sense of it all. Amanda and I have been decluttering our house and despite being a bit tense as we do things a bit differently it feels good to get rid of stuff.

I have also found the joy in exercise again. I have been off and on lately starting up with training plans for this race or that. I hit a wall. Hard for me to admit, but I lost the love of training. I still felt the benefit of exercise, but was not excited.

Over the weekend I swam at Lake G for the first open water swim and really enjoyed that. I ran the other morning nice and easy with a great friend and this morning had a killer swim workout in the pool. I just need to get back to enjoying these things because my life seems much more in harmony that when I am being active.

I have not posted much on the blog this summer and have just a few random things online here and there. It has felt good to step back a bit and just get away from it all. I still lurk and still bookmark things of interest. I am not going completely nomad style, but just recharging my batteries to get ready for another round of awesomeness.

I hope that others are enjoying their summers and time off. So much to do, but don’t forget to take that time for yourself.

Things I plan on doing.

1. Recording my exercise here on the blog again to help with accountability.
2. Continue to downsize all the stuff I have
3. Plan out the next round of #coffeechugPLN chats
4. Get ready to start sharing out new projects and ideas
5. Enjoy the summer!

The goal is to do more with less

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Thursday Run and Friday Rest

Below you find my track run session that I did Thursday morning.

Last night I fell asleep at 8 pm. I was exhausted. I woke up this morning and instead of training like I needed to do I had to get a video all prepped for my 5th grade students that I did not get done due to falling asleep so early.

Perhaps a day of rest my first week back is a smart thing. I look forward to getting out for a longer run this weekend and hopefully getting my bike back so I can ride.

MS: 2 x 800 (2′), 1 x 1 mile (2′) @ z4/TP/Hard.
Coach Notes: WU and Main Set only. Can extend to 60′ if you feel good.

!. 800 @ 7:35
2. 800 @ 7:31
3. 1600 @ 7:33 

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My Blog Won A Award! Yahoo!!!!!

Yesterday I received a wonderful email from the website Pace Per Mile.

They emailed me to let me know that they have chosen my blog for providing great content, frequent updates, and more. They are going to list my blog on their website and tweet out my posts to all of their followers in which they have a large following of 28,000+

How cool is this!

Beyond cool, like super AWESOMESAUCE!

And it will also be featured on their Facebook page of 17,000+ fans

This just made my day. After a long week of of some ups and downs, battling illness in my family, and trying to get back into training mode after finding many excuses this was exactly what I needed.

Some good old positive reinforcement is so nice. This is a great reminder to spread positive vibes to other people, students, family, and friends.

What an excellent way to end my week. I am working to getting back into training for triathlons as well as the daunting task of my second marathon. I will pledge to continue to work harder than ever to provide quality content on my blog for people.

Please check out Pace Per Mile on their website, Twitter, and Facebook. They are doing something right with all of their fans and followers. I feel very honored to be recognized by them.

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Training Day 6&7: Get Faster Block, Rest, Food, and Cycling

Saturday I was to get in an interval run, but with the late night of attending Green Day the night before and preparations for Easter at our house I did not get the run in. To be honest I was okay with it because my body was sore from the first week back into training. I cannot get in the habit of skipping workouts, but at the same time talking with my coach I have to ease back into routine and training to get back on the bus.

Today, I attempted the bike and run workout. The bike workout called for the following over a two hour period. I was not able to ride for two hours, but I was not expecting to be able to hold the bike for 120 minutes the first week back. I also did not get the run in. It just did not work in the schedule. I typically workout early in the morning, but today being Easter I did not want to be out running or riding when the kids woke up for their Easter egg hunt.

Here is what I knocked out in the bike workout. I hit all my marks to day which felt good. My legs were twitching by the end.

WU: 10-15′, then 3 x 1′ (1′) @ Zone4/Hard, to open up your legs.
MS1: 2 x 15′ (4′) @ 95-100%/Zone4/Hard.
MS2: 8′ of “”ON”” time This set is a Vo2Max set — ride equal parts of “”ON”” and “”OFF”” time. ON is at 120%/Zone5/Hard. OFF is at 65%/Zone1/Easy.

So for my first week back after a six week block on grossness I feel pretty good. I missed two workouts which happened to both be running. I still hate running. I don’t know why I hate it so bad, but I do. I have hated it for about 1.5 years now. The nice weather will hopefully bring me back. Overall, a good week. I completed all tests to see how much I lost and how much I need to work to get back on track. I hit up a few more good workouts this week with this 90 minute ride.
Below are my test results. Nothing amazing, but by sharing I am hoping it will keep me fueled to improve all my times. This week is a huge week of training. I am hoping to get everything in and not miss any workouts. I am out of town for two days this week so that will be a bit challenging, but I will hopefully make it all work.
I really dread stepping on the scale tomorrow. The numbers won’t be as good as all the eating I have done, but this was a great weekend with family and friends and well worth it. Off to bed to get ready for a big swim workout, first day back after spring break to teaching and night run.

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Training Day 2: Get Faster Block, Bike Test

Well, I knew going into this bike test that I was not going to be happy with my numbers. My lack of doing pretty much anything the last six weeks is showing up. However, it is an incentive to get back on track.

I was planning on riding this morning, but I was tired so I slept in a bit. I am on Spring Break so I knew I had time to get it done during the day.

After finally getting Ava down for a nap I jumped on the bike. It did not take long for my butt to get sore. I lost my tolerance for the little bike seat. Being a tad overweight is just adding more pressure to the good old boys.

Here is my data from the end of my out season back in February

Out Season Week 14 Bike Test 2/4/13 – http://coffeeforthebrain.blogspot.com/2013/02/out-season-week14-bike-test-go-boom.html

Here are my previous results

Week 1: 24.9 mph 40 minute test @ 149 HR

Week 5: I converted to Power and tested again
VO2: 245
FTP: 202

Week 8:
VO2: 270
FTP: 215

February 4th (end of out season block) Week 14
VO2: 288
FTP: 95% of 252 = 239

Today was a bit discouraging, but I have nobody to blame but myself

Get Faster Week 1
VO2: 274

This is not terrible. A bit of a drop from February, but higher than my week 8 results when in full training mode.

FTP: 95% of 233 = 221.35

My conditioning is terrible and I just could not hold on. I gradually got faster when you check the chart, but you can see to many ups and downs throughout. This can only get better.

I am in a alright place. I have my work cut out for myself if I want to hit my goals of new PR’s this year. This has been another wake up call!

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Training Day 1: Get Faster Block, Swim T-Test and Preparing for the Season

I am back. I thought I was a back a few weeks ago, but just did not have the mojo to be real about things. I have been off the beaten path for about 6 weeks now getting in a few runs here and there, but basically I have lost everything I worked so hard at during my 14 week outseason.

Today I return. Today I have things mapped out. I have a vision. I have goals. I will share my season soon once I finalize the plans, but I think I will be ready.

Today despite being my spring break I was up at 4 am getting ready for the first day back. I have to establish all my base lines to figure out my training zones for the future workouts. Today was the swim test. I have only swam maybe 3 times this year so my hopes were not great. Before jumping in the pool I did weigh in and take a few snapshots of my body. I always find it useful to do this so as the season progresses and I have those times when I don’t feel like things are paying off I can see my progress and remind myself that it works.

It felt good to be in the pool. Using my new Garmin watch is awesome because I no longer have to count laps. My watch does it all. The only thing it does not do is record when I kick with a board. The workout states 1600, but it was really 1800.

I warmed up doing: 100 free, 100 pull, 100 kick, 100 free, 100 pull. I then did the test which is a 1000 yard swim. This will establish my T-Pace which is my time per 100. This will drive my swim workouts in terms of what pace I should swim for the structured aspects of training and trying to become faster. Technique is everything in swimming. However, my technique work days are behind me and now it is more about fitness. Race season is right around the corner.

I am pretty happy with these results. I did this test in February and swam 17:05. 
My time this test was 17:30 so I lost about 25 seconds which is not terrible considering how disgusting I have eaten and how poorly I have treated my body.

I won’t lie, looking back at where I was this time of year last year is frustrating. I have blog posts where I was crushing goals and setting new PR’s in the pool and the bike and run. I was swimming 3000 yards a workout in March last year. I cannot let the past bother me.

In some respects I think I might be better off in the situation I am in. Last year I felt like I had peaked too early in the season and by the time my races came around I was burning out and on my way down the mountain. Perhaps by starting later in the season I will be peak when needed. Who knows. I am excited to push my limits and mind. I am excited to continue to learn and grow in my fitness and training. I learned a lot last year and suffered from some serious mistakes. I am sure I will have these moments again, but in then I hope to be fitter, faster, stronger, and creating some new PR’s.

Now the real test begins. Being home and not eating garbage food all day!

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Ironman Training Slump: What is going on?

I am currently in week 3 of a 6 week bike focused block of training. This comes after my 14 week out season where I made huge strides in the bike and run. However, I have fallen apart big time the last three weeks only working out a few times, battling an injury, and having zero desire to train and workout.

What is going on?

I honestly don’t know. I have a lot on my plate, but so does everyone else. I have been incredibly tired lately. Actually, fatigued is more like. I feel exhausted all the time feeling tired down to my bones. Amanda suggested seeing a doctor. That might be in the cards if I don’t shake this soon. Not sure what is going on, but it needs to change.

It will change. We have our ups and downs. I have plans for a big season this year, but right now I am struggling just to find energy to make it through the day.

So, that is where I am. It is where I have been and the reason my training updates have not been around.

Time to find myself and resolve some issues and hopefully get back on track.

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