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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Run Focus Block: Week 1, Day 2 Run

Today is the second day of the 6 week run focused block of my training. I did not need to do the 5K run test as I just tested last week to end my NOS. Instead I had a 2 x 1 workout at Zone 4. My new Zone 4 pace is 6:43.

5k test for vDOT. WU: 15′ including 4 x 30″ at 5k pace.
MS: Run a 5k Time Trial. Find a relatively flat course (or track) for your test. Goal is to hold a pace you can sustain for the full duration of the test without blowing up and without having a lot left to kick at the end. The ideal course is one you can test on repeatedly. CD: Walking, jogging as needed, etc.

Note: If you don’t NEED to test, do 2 x 1 mile (4′) as your workout. 

I decided to finally suck it up and run outside. I have not ran outside this year so I thought it was time to get outdoors. IT was not too bad out. I was cold the first 10-15 minutes, but as I continued to run I warmed up just fine. I started off nice and easy running a 8:16 pace to get loose for about 11 minutes. I then moved to a stretch of road perfect to start the mile interval. I was spot on running the mile in 6:42.

I took the four minute rest going nice and easy to recover. My legs were heavy after this point, but it was soon time for the second mile interval. You can see below I ran that one in 6:36 so a bit faster. This was due to being properly warmed up and also probably a bit of small downhill descent to start the run. This helped to set the pace. I felt really good during this mile and actually overran a bit to run 1.17.

I was pretty tired and my legs were fatigued. I decided to run two more miles nice and easy to begin to build up some base and slowly expand my time on my feet. I have not ran long in a long time due to the focus being on speed. It is time to begin to slowly build.

I love my new watch! Look at all this cool data and this is not even all of it! So worth the purchase. Very happy I splurged. I hit my groove and realized I need to to work on my run. I am glad I chose the run focus because it is needed.

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6 Week Run Focus Block: Day 1 Swim Test

I decided to get the swim test out of the way first thing this morning. I was not in the mood for the treadmill or the high winds outside. I needed to get a swim test done as I already have my run and bike data from the November Out Season. And I was anxious to test out my new watch. I broke down and despite not having the money for it I purchased the Garmin 910XT.

Today I had to do the following:

T-Pace Swim Test This test will establish your “T-pace,” which we will use as a reference for future interval work. This is also your initial swim test, to gauge your improvement across this plan.

WU: Start slow and gradually build pace/effort. 100 swim, 100 kick, 100 swim, 100 kick, 100 swim.

MS: After the warm-up, swim 1000 yards/meters at a constant pace and good effort—as if racing.

Record your average pace per 100. This pace is your “T-pace,” will be used as a reference for future interval work. 

I tested out my watch and it was amazing! It is worth every penny to have a watch monitor my swim stroke count and how far I swim. I no longer have to think about laps, but just technique. That is a game changer right there. I felt pretty good in the pool. I have to back and look at my swim times from last season to see how I compare, but I don’t think I was too far off from last season despite only swimming 3-4 times since August.

When I got home I synced up my watch and my brain turned to ooze when I saw all this data recorded. I did not have time to process it all, but being the nerd I am I cannot wait to sift through it all. All the more for me to look at and analyze. I love it!

I swam the 1000 yard test in 17:05 for a T-100 test time of 1:42/100. Not the fastest by any means, but at least it is a start towards a new plan and goal to being faster this year.

Here is more info! Gotta love it!

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Out Season: Week 12 Wednesday Night Run

I had to dig deep to get this run done. I really did not think it was going to happen. After getting the kids to bed we had to figure out the next phase in the AdvoCare 24 day challenge and what we can and cannot eat. I finally made it down to the treadmill around 8:30 and took some time to get set up and took off.

My treadmill is struggling lately. It kept jerking as I ran. It hurt my knee by the end of the run, but after about 30 minutes it finally stopped the sudden stop motions. I started off watching the pilot episode of American Horror Story, but had to change because that opening sequence was too much for me handle before bed. I hate scary movies and shows so this was not a wise choice. I went back to Breaking Bad and knocked out the workout.

The workout was a 60 minute run consisting of

MS: 1 x 200, 1 x 400, 3 x 800 all at @ IP/6:39/Very Hard with full recoveries between each.

Tip: Build your pace across each repeat here so that your final set is your strongest.

 My 800’s were 6:17, 6:18, 5:58. I was way below my 6:39 pace, but it felt easy and for some reason my watch was not showing these numbers. It kept bouncing around at an above 6:39 pace. This was a blessing to see for me personally to see that numbers this low. I have not seen numbers this low in training ever!

I felt good to get this workout done. I know this weekend will be tough to get both workouts in as I am out of town with my robotics team competing at state. Trying to manage and coach ten 5th – 8th graders is a workout itself.

My knee was sore and I hope a rest day will do it some good.

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Out Season: Week 11 – Rest Day Turns Into Run Workout Makeup

I know that today is a rest day. I know that rest days are vital to training. I know that we are not to make up workouts…..

BUT

For my own sake of mind I had to get a run in today. I felt like crap after the bike Sunday and knew that I had done perhaps too much too soon. So I did not run. I have been slacking in the run department lately. This frustrates me as this was my key event at one point in time. I have come to loathe running, but need to get my passion for it back.

This morning I started my AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge. I did my weigh in and all the goodies that come with trying to knock off this excessive weight. I felt good. I felt really good after a good night sleep. So I ran. I had to do it. I had to bring peace of mind back to my brain.

I went for the Sunday run workout. I did not go 60 minutes, but did enough to get the intervals done.

MS: 2 x 1/2 mile (3′), 1 x 1 mile (3′), 2 x 1/2 mile (3′) all @ TP/Z4/Hard. Remainder of run is how you feel, but try to accumulate more HMP/Z3/Mod-Hard time.

Creating a 75 to 90 minute run from this run, where personal and physical bandwidth allows, is recommended. Simply settle into a pace between LRP/Zone 1/Easy and MP/Zone 2/Steady.

I hit my strides. I felt good running and was so happy I did. I need to start to get back to doing all the run workouts and then get back to building up some endurance. I know it is only January, but I know how my mind operates. I cannot afford to slack or it all goes away quickly.
Here is to not listening to my coach and others and running. I don’t think it was too much, but just enough to get me back to where I belong mentally.
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OS Week 9: After Christmas Workout Begins! Bike FTP Ride

I took 4 days off. I did not do any training from the 23rd to the 26th. I had plans to train, but while in Indiana the time never really presented itself to slip away for a bit. On the 26th I had total intentions of getting back on track with my training, but I was hit with the flu or something as I felt terrible.

Finally on the 27th I started from the beginning of the week to get all the workouts done. I refused to miss out on anymore workouts. Being on holiday break there is no excuses.

Here is my TR data = Rides – TrainerRoad http://www.trainerroad.com/cycling/rides/137552

I made two new goals on both my 30 minute and 60 minute power zones

The plan called for

MS: 2 x 18′ (4′) @ 95-100%/Zone4/Hard.

Remainder of any time you have available (if any, not required) @ 80-85%/Zone3/Mod-Hard.

I could tell that I was not feeling 100% yet because this was a struggle of a workout. My legs did not have it in them. Also, the binge eating of the three prior days did not help. It will be amazing when I get back to healthy eating and the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge. This was a good start to getting back on track.

Info on the 24 DC

http://www.advocare.com/canyou24/

Check it out! We have a team ready to change lives starting on January 7th.

Go to this website and contact me if you have any questions about getting started. Simply Google Advocare 24 Day Challenge to see results from all over the world.

DM if you have questions and to get you started.

We have over 10 people on our GETTING IT DONE! team and would love to have more join us as we all work towards our personal goals.

Here is our team page – https://www.facebook.com/groups/304516902982290/

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Out Season: Week 8 VO2 Bike Workout with new numbers

Yesterday morning I just could not get out of bed. I was not mentally or physically ready to tackle a VO2 max workout with the new numbers from the bike test. So, I planned to just use Thursday as the rest day and do the workout Friday. Well, due to the snowstorm that arrived school was cancelled and I realized that I really had no excuse to not train.

Later in the morning when Ava fell asleep I jumped on the bike and took off. I had to use my new numbers from the recent bike test which you can see off to the side. I was nervous!

My training plan called for

MS: 3 x (4 x 45/45) @ Vo2/Zone5/Very Hard. Take 2′ easy between each set of 5 x 45/45’s. Remainder of any time you have available (if any, not required) @ 80-85%/Zone3/Mod-Hard.

You can see from the data below that I nailed it. I rode pretty well and stayed above the 259 for the 45 second intervals. I felt good about this.

I was going to run right after, but life got in the way with three children home for  a snow day and a to do list a mile long before leaving for holiday travels. The plan was to run outside later in the day when the wind died down.

I was supposed to get in the following run as well

MS: 40′ @ EP/Z1/Easy + 5 x uphill 20 Strides

Well, the run never got done. Perhaps it is okay. I don’t know. My body was tired from the tests this week and this workout so maybe the weather was an indication to not run. I refuse to run 40 minutes on a treadmill. I planned on going outside, but when I drove out in the storm to pick up a pizza I realized that this was not a smart choice.

After shoveling the driveway, have a snowball fight with my children, eating Christmas cookies, calling my daughter crazy for walking home barefoot in the snow, and cleaning up bath water that my youngest decided to poop in, I called it a day and laid in bed to watch Charlie Brown.

Today is a rest day. Tomorrow is another day back at it and I will hit the roads Sunday before driving to Indiana.

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Out Season: Week 7 – Wednesday Ride

This post is a bit late coming, but I have not had time to get everything recorded like I wanted. I had to do this Tuesday workout on Wednesday after a rough start to the week. I was not feeling the greatest this morning at all not sure if I was going to barf, or something else, or both. I opted to skip the outdoor run and say indoors close to a bathroom. I had the hot sweats with the chills and knew I had to battle through and sweat it out. I felt much better afterwards, but boy I did not lose the hot sweats all day.

Here is the workout

MS: 2 x 15′ (4′) @ 95-100%/Zone4/Hard. Remainder of any time you have available (if any, not required) @ 80-85%/Zone3/Mod-Hard.

Tip: reflect on the changes you’ve seen in your physical and mental fitness and maybe share those with the teams? Have you learned and observed that work WORKS?

Rides – TrainerRoad http://www.trainerroad.com/cycling/rides/124962

I was pretty tired the rest of the day, but at least I go this workout in.

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Out Season: Week 7 – Friday VO2 Bike Workout

This week has been a bad week in terms of training, eating, stress, and just life of teaching and parenting. I am not going into all the details because nobody cares except my own family, but needless to say I feel out of sorts and working my way back. It is that time of year when there are a million things going on with multiple deadlines.

I missed the run workout on Wednesday as I did the Tuesday bike workout that day. I opted to skip the run because I was feeling a little under the weather and run outside I felt would send me over the edge and I needed to be close to a bathroom in case of an emergency. I had planned on doing this workout on Thursday with the run workout today, but after a long day yesterday I skipped the workout and chose just to let the run workout go.

This morning I got up and took care of business and completed this VO2 workout from yesterday. I felt good on the bike. I pushed hard and actually recovered very easily with not even feeling like I worked out. I always feel better after a good workout.

The plan today was

MS: 3 x (4 x 45/45) @ Vo2/Zone5/Very Hard. Take 2′ easy between each set of 5 x 45/45’s.

Remainder of any time you have available (if any, not required) @ 80-85%/Zone3/Mod-Hard.

These are Vo2 sets, as equal parts “ON” and “OFF” time, where ON is done at your Vo2 power, Z5 heart rate, or Very Hard effort, and OFF is at 65% power, Z1 heart rate, or Easy effort. For example, for the 45/45’s, you will do 45″ ON, then 45″ OFF, repeating this for the specificied set.

Rides – TrainerRoad http://www.trainerroad.com/cycling/rides/126724

My Zone 5 is 243 or above and you can see I hit those spot on today with 244 being my lowest and even having a couple in the 250 range. I am feeling much stronger on the bike each week.

Tomorrow I will get up super early for the bike workout and brick run as I have a full day of robotics competition with my robotics team. By the time I get home from that long 10 hour day I know I will not want to do anything.

Here is to a good Friday and weekend.

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Out Season: Week 6 – Sunday Interval Long Run….BLAH!

Once again did not get a chance to run in the darkness(I prefer early runs in the dark). All my kids were up super early so I ran this afternoon in the rain. At first I thought I would hate it, but I enjoyed the weather and running today. Unfortunately, my legs were just not feeling it as they were tired from the brick workout yesterday.

Here is the plan for the run today

MS: 2 x 1/2 mile (3′), 2 x 1 mile (5′) all @ TP/Z4/Hard. Remainder of run is how you feel, but try to accumulate more HMP/Z3/Mod-Hard time.

Creating a 75 to 90 minute run from this run, where personal and physical bandwidth allows, is recommended. Simply settle into a pace between LRP/Zone 1/Easy and MP/Zone 2/Steady.

I have been building up these runs the last few weeks getting up to about 80 minutes of running. I will be honest and state that I had missed a workout here or there leading up to these runs.

This week I was spot on with my training and I could feel it in the run today.

I ran a new course today and it felt like I was running a long slow uphill battle the whole time. I will have to run this course in the opposite direction next time to make it easier. I started off with a 2 mile warm up to get on the bike path where it was fairly flat for the first .5 interval. I hit that with a 7:09 pace. My pace for all intervals is 7:12 so I was good with that pace, but I knew it was not going to feel easy like the previous runs. Set 2 of the .5 interval I was stronger at 7:02. I must have felt good, but I don’t remember.

From there I moved on to the two mile intervals. The first one I fell short at 7:13, but you can see my HR was pumping. I had some serious hills to tackle. About the halfway point I had a .25 hill climb that just wiped me clean. But it was a good mental challenge. I made it to the top of the hill and saw my mile pace past 7:20 and thought I could make an excuse for the hill or challenge myself. I challenged myself and got it down to 7:13. I felt really good about that. From there I took a longer break to get to a stretch of road that was not hilly so I had to run easy a bit longer which maybe was a good thing from the hills I just tackled. I finished up the last mile interval in 7:07. I finished strong which is good. I then was going to cut it at 60 minutes, but I knew I would be mad at myself for doing this so I ran a tad longer getting in three more miles to work on endurance a bit.

Overall, I was pleased to get the run done and accomplished. Rest day tomorrow is much needed.

I just signed up for a triathlon in January so I need to figure out how to get some swimming involved in my workouts. I was also looking at Crossfit and seeing if that is something I could add throughout the winter as well. I don’t want to overdo it and risk injury, but I always like trying something new and have never done Crossfit. Maybe for now I won’t do anything, but it is capturing my interest.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday! Another great week of training in the books.

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