Sunday, August 24, 2008

Better now then on race day....

The assignment from my coach seemed easy enough. It's taper time, go out Saturday and do a 3hr ride at 'just riding around pace'. After weekend upon weekend of rides from 4-6.5 hrs, sometimes on two consecutive days, all at a decent pace or with a specific goal, this was going to be fun. Just riding around for 3 hrs. I remembered the same type of ride last year before IMWI and I remember how much I enjoyed being able to look at the scenery, wildlife, creeks, streams etc... on that ride and to enjoy everything knowing that I had put months of hard work in and was able to do what a lot of 'normal' people can't do or wouldn't call easy, and that was to go out and do 50-60 miles on a bike without putting out a lot of effort. Also, I guess most normal people would not consider a 3hr ride short either, but then again I'm learning there's not a lot of 'normal' people that do Ironman.

For this ride I decided to ride with the local roadies. They leave every Saturday at 8 am for a longish ride at a relatively moderate to easy pace. The group can vary between 4 to 8 people. My plan was to sit in, not push any climbs and just hang out and enjoy the ride and day. About 8 of us showed up, some wanted to go long (4 to 4.5 hrs is their idea of long, I silently chuckled) and a couple were limited to 3 hrs which was perfect. We started out at an easy pace, I sat at the back and talked with two other triathletes for the first 20 minutes. We came to the first hill, a good 2-3 mile climb that has a pretty steep section for the first 100 or so yards so I put it in the easiest gear and started spinning. Unintentionally I ended up leading the group up the whole climb as I sat up and spun comfortably. Nobody was really pushing it, however the other two riders on my wheel seemed to be breathing a lot harder than me and we dropped the rest of the group. We reached the top of the climb and the two roadies sprinted the last few yards for bragging rights then we waited for the rest of the group while they struggled for breath and I chatted to them about what a nice day it was. The rest of the group caught up and we continued on, again I was enjoying the day until I felt my front tire going down.

This was the 4th or 5th flat this year. Different wheels, different tires, some in training, 2 in races. I went all of 2007 with no flats. Pulled over and the group stopped with me. Tire off, tube out, checked tire for glass or punctures, didn't find anything, new tube in, tire on and
3-4 minutes later I'm ready to inflate. Hook up CO2, and hissssss large 1/4 tear in the tire with glass in it that I somehow missed. OK, now I've used my one and only spare tube but I get one given to me, borrow some CO2, put a dollar inside the tire to cover the rip after removing the glass and go to re-inflate and hisssss now air is coming out from another missed cut on the opposite side of the wheel. Repeat above steps again, by now it's been 15 minutes and the group is getting antsy, tell eveyone if this doesn't work to go on and I'll call for a ride. Ready to inflate for the third time and hisssss another leak, this time it's a faulty tube an it's leaking from the base of the valve stem. Defeated, I tell the group to carry on. They wait until I get confirmation that my wife is on her way and then head down the road on a beautiful Saturday morning while I am left to wait for a ride in the middle of nowhere in a church parking lot.

I then proceed to e-mail my coach telling him that despite his guidance and training me for the last 9 months I am not worthy and can't even finish a 3 hr ride. Following is evidence of the events described above.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The final push to IMWI

Since I am too tired to blog, thanks for pointing that out Coach, I will simply reflect on the last 2 weeks. Also in looking back over the last several weeks I have not had a weekend off since I can remember and have done at least one 4-6 hour ride every weekend with several back to back long bike days. The numbers look like this:

Week of 8/4
Monday: Off.
Tuesday: Swam 2,200 in the am, rode 36 miles of hill repeats with a group in 2:14.
Wednesday: Ran 16.5 miles in 2:15. Legs were tired from hills.
Thursday: Went to swim, pool was packed, felt like crap, bagged it after 1,500.
Friday: Swam 2,700 at noon, ran 9.9 mile in 1:19 in the evening, felt tired.
Saturday: Went to swim 4,000 time trial, felt dead, only made it to about 2,500. Had no legs.
Sunday: Race simulator. Planned on 120 mile ride at race effort with 3-5 mile brick. Was going along good on new ride, got rained out at mile 106. Felt good to that point, took just over 5-1/2 hours to get to 106 miles.

Week of 8/11
Monay: Instead of off day, ran since I didn't run day before. 6.5 miles in about 49 minutes.
Tuesday: Swam 3,000 in the am, felt better. Rode 39 miles on hilly course in 1:58. Felt pretty good.
Wednseday: Ran 17 miles in 2:23. Not fast but it was a HILLY route. Made sure I didn't walk any hills. Miles 10-17 were all basically up hill with a couple of short steep climbs. I was more focused on maintaining form and running up hills than overall pace of run. Tough run though.
Thursday: Swam 3,200. Feeling better on the swim. Still no legs to kick though.
Friday: Swam 3,800 in the am. Felt pretty good. Went for my 90 minute run in the pm. Legs felt like toast for the first 1-2 miles, then next thing I know I set a pb on a hilly run that has some steep trails, short steep hills, grass paths and a good climb 2 miles from home. Time was 1:32 for 11.6 miles.
Saturday: Swam 3,500 steady. Legs a little tired (wonder why?).
Sunday: Planned for 4 hr ride/2 hr run. Ride went well, very hilly and very windy. I was trying to save for the run but still managed 75 miles in just under 4 hours. Run started out and, yep, legs felt tired after the last two weeks. Made it to 5 mile mark and was surprised I was cruising along at just under 8 minute miles. At 7 mile mark ran into two triathletes that were trying a potential 10k course for a race we are putting on next year. Decided to run with them although they were headed the wrong direction. They were running a 10k pace but I was keeping up with them just fine. Got to the end of their run that put me further from home than I cared to be so I called it a day and hitched a ride home with them. 9.5 miles in 1:14 and it felt EASY, which is a huge confidence builder.

#'s for the year to date (last 8 months, not including last years time spent in October-December):
300 hours training.
151,500 yds swam.
2,600 miles ridden.
610 miles ran.
16 miles x-country skiing.
320 miles raced.
Three colds, one stomach bug, one case mild pneumonia.
Two crashes (on same ride)

Finally, some comparisons between last year and this year in prep for IMWI.

Longest run:
2007- 16 miles (1 time)
2008- 20 miles (2 times in March), 6 runs over 17 miles last 8 weeks.

Most miles ran per week:
2007-34 about 6 weeks out.
2008-45 about 3 weeks out.

30 + mile run weeks:
2007-2 total.
2008-7 total (4 over 40).

Longest bike:
2007-115 miles.
2008-120 miles.

100 + mile rides:
2007-4 total.
2008-6 (all in last 8 weeks).

200+ mile bike weeks:
2008-5 total.

Largest bike week:

Finally, this is the first race I feel ready for. Going back to IMWI last year something seemed to happen that hindered my last week or two of training before the taper for IMWI '07, the shamrock marathon this spring and the Mountaineer earlier this year. Each time I ended up not meeting the last week or two of training and inadvertently started my taper a week or two early. This time I nailed every workout up until the end and reached my taper having hit my plan as best I could.

IMWI 2008, bring it on!