Sunday, July 26, 2009

Big Bertha.

So, in central florida, there are not so many hills. I don't know if you knew that. Saturday, I had to wake up at 4:20 AM to drive to an area that has hills to find one to run up and down. Runners in the area call it Big Bertha. I picked up Kate, and headed for the hills. We arrived at just before 6, and since Google Map directions said we were supposed to make a u-turn at the Diamond Players Club, we spend an extra 5 minutes looking for a strip club in a residential neighborhood.
We finally found the correct parking lot, and found the group we were training with - the TNT Nike Women's Marathon team. We ran around the parking lot, then stretched, then we started running to the hill that would allow the TNT team to experience what it is like to run in San Francisco. The one request for getting to the hill was for everyone to run together.
We got to the base of Big Bertha, and chatted for a bit while we waited for the rest of the team to get there. It was truly a hill that looked like San Francisco. Coach said we were going to go up and down 4 times.
First Climb: I headed up, just like I was supposed to, small quick steps. at about 3/4 to the top I glanced at the HR monitor and noticed that I was at 95% of my max heart rate. I also noticed that my breathing was doing something that had never happened before. I normally start out breathing in 3 steps, and breathing out 3 steps, then lower it to 2 when i get into running. This time when I got to where I would normally lower it to 2 steps, my body said "NO" and kept it at three. My lungs were filling up like a bizzare overfilled balloon. I thought as I crested the top that I would not be too happy if my lungs did what I saw most overfilled balloons do. Then I supressed that thought and went to get my paper shot glass of PowerBar exercise drink. Mmmmm. Tastes like bubblegum.? WTF? Then I clomped down the hill and got ready for climb two.
Second Climb: I headed up, just like before. This is when the coach found me and told me that I was doing my arms wrong. "Forward, not up and down!" Ok. Lungs filling, heart racing, arms pumping, I made it to the top. Headed to the Power-?Bar? for my Power-?Shot? of bubblegum tasting liquid. Man, my mouth is dry. On the way to clomping down the hill again I was teased about my fist pounding. "You look like you are milking a cow! - You are pounding the ground!" ok, i get it. No more fist pounding. Clomp down the hill and try again.
Third Climb: I started out thinking about how my arms should go, and about how my legs are starting to feel a little weird. Maybe my arms should be like a train, back and forth, back and forth. About 3/4ths up the hill, I hit my max HR, and walked about a minute, then finished up the hill, heart pumping, lungs filling, arms chug-chug-chugging, legs burning. Go get my shot. Clumping down the hill. (Clomping is a spry way of descent, Clumping is the step before falling.)
Fourth Climb: Wheeze, Wheeze. Chug-Chug. Thump, Thump. Burn Burn. I made it up to just over half way, and then had to slow to walking fast. I walked to the Power-bar to get my Power-shot, and then I started stretching and waiting for the rest of the group to finish. It was a nice rest. I felt good, but a bit beaten. The mountain wins again.
Now we have to run back to the parking lot. about 1.5 miles. I clumped down the hill, and started a regular pace back to the car. As I am running, I notice that Hope - TNT Miami Tri team-mate - is keeping pace, so I decide to run with her back to the car. We chat about life, and training, and stuff, and about 3/4 of the way back I think to myself, "This is great, if it hadn't been for her running, I probably would have walked a bit." I don't know if you know this, but your body likes to tell you to stop running and walk before you really need to stop running and walk. I felt the urge to walk, but kept running because she was running. Then she turned to me and said, "I would have stopped running a while back if you weren't running with me, thank you." Cool. Between the two of us, we made a pretty good time running back to the cars. We waited there for a bit for the rest of the group, then everyone packed up and went home. Training success. Next step, drive home and ice bath - per coaches orders. By orders I mean she said, "If you do not let me know you have taken an ice bath, I will call you and yell at you."
Kate and I went to publix on the way back to dropping her off, and picked up a bag of ice for each of us. The 10lb bags looked small, based on the fact that both of us have garden tubs, so we opted for the 20lb bag of ice.
Ice bath: ok, it takes 10 minutes to get the tub filled up to my waist to cover my legs. Then I dump the ice in. brrr. BRRRR. so, after a sec, it doesn't seem so cold. then i adjust my position, and the cold hits me again, BRRR. so, i make a point to wiggle my legs so that the cold water gets mixed up and it is cold all the time. good idea? i am not sure, but why should I sit in a tub with icewater if the water that is contacting my legs has been warmed up? 10 minutes in the ice-tub, then a quick shower to get the stink off the rest of my body.
Then dress, and off to help my son with his Basketball moves. It seems the coach has taught my son to shoot from the knees. my 6'2 13 year old. 6 inches taller than most everyone else in the league. Ugh. Time to retrain.
Now it is Sunday, and my muscles are sore, but tollerable. My ankles are stiff, and stepping over the piles of laundry (it is laundry day) make them pop and twinge, but I like it. Can't help but make them pop when they feel like they want to pop. Like picking a scab. can't help but do it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Race Report in the post-race funk.

Moss Park Tri - Complete. I am writing this note to you in my post-race funk, and boy, let-me-tell-ya, I have not had a funk like this since my first big workout back in February. I am way dehydrated, and so I have a headache, and I woke up at 4:20 this morning so I could eat something, so I am tired. I also had two pieces of peanut-butter toast for breakfast at 4:30, and did not eat anything else until I was done with the race at 10:00. Then I had a banana and a piece of pizza at the race, then waited until I got cleaned up at home before eating anything else. Then, I also raced as hard as I freaking could for 3 straight hours. That alone is enough to put someone in a hurt locker, and coupled with the other stuff gives me a race-hangover. Enough on that, I have to let you know something important.

My family is the most friggin awesome-est family in the WORLD!. I told them that they did not have to get up this morning to come watch, but they insisted that they wanted to. They proceeded to come, cheer me on, and also to cheer on all of my friends!
I have suspicions that my wife is the main reason Kate completed the race today! (She had a really bad day, flat tire, accident on corner caused by said flat tire, then she had to replace the tire and get back into into it. Enough to make a lesser man throw in the towel, but she is not a lesser man!) After the race, I found out that once she was able to make it back, Josy helped her focus through transition 2 and get back out on the course for the run. She got goal C instead of D! ( I think C was finishing with a smile, and D was finishing.) And you can't not smile when everyone is cheering for you at the end! Brandi and Rick went out and paced her to the finish. We were proud to do it. She is an awesome person.
On to the race info! Moss Park is a great place to have a race. It is very pretty in the morning, just as the sun peaks out over the trees, 3, 2, 1, GO! My swim goal was to split the difference between what I think really good swimmers can do, and what I swam in May at Miami. I was looking for about a 30 minute swim. I am going to call 30 minutes and one second ACHIEVED! Especially since they were talking about the swim being a little long. It sure did seem like a long way, but honestly, every leg seems longer when you string them all together. There was my family, cheering me on. Chokes me up a little bit... hold on....
T1 was alright. Not great. I decided for this race to wear my hot weather UnderArmour full sleeved top. That was kinda tough to get into wet, but I am glad I wore it. I was cool the entire time, and I am not talking cool Fonzi cool, I am talking cool blood not boiling like MAGMA cool. So, even though that took a second, I put on all my stuff, and took off. I thought it was a good transition, but it was still a little long. I need to work on the OCD thang so I don't check off my checklists so much during the race, once is enough.
Today was my first flying mount onto the bike. That was a good time. I was on the bike in a jiffy. I was not necessarily flying when I got on, but it was pretty quick. It was more like a quick horse mount, but not the kind where you see them bounce. Only problem I had was getting the friggin shoes on my feet afterwards. I had some of this problem last night when I was practicing, but I did not realize how long it would take to get my stupid shoes on! So, after struggling to get the tongues not stuck under my foot, and trying to get them fastened. Pain in the butt! Anyway, I finally got them situated, and rode the bike, FOREVER! I was trying to keep between 18 and 20 the entire time, and since there were no hills or obstacles the only time I went slower was turning the corners. Goal of 1:15, guess what my time was? 1 hour 15 minutes! Goal: ACHIEVED!
I am better at dismount than at the mount, so I looked pretty cool (if I do say so myself) coming in to the transition area at a few miles an hour and passing people who were struggling to get off the bike or running in their bike shoes. Anyway, this transition was not a hard one, since all i really had to do was drop off the bike, take off my helmet, and put on my running shoes. Still slow, but not horrible. Then I started the run. This is about where the race stretched to eternity.
Running for me is not so easy. During my practices running is uncomfortable at best, and I can not go very fast, even when I do not do other things like biking or swimming before. When I do a BRICK, (Bike-Run-Ick) Running is not so good, so a race speed bike, and a race speed swim (both of which I got a PR in by the way...) does not a recipe for a successful run make. (Ever notice how old sayings sound like they are spoken by Yoda?) I started out slow and out of breath, and I really never caught my stride. The first water stop was 1 mile in, and I was carrying a bottle of electolyte drinks because I know I get overheated and run out of water, so my plan was to drink a whole sportsbottle of electrolytes and get water at every stop. First stop, got a water, took a nice drink, it was a full cup of COOL water. I thought how nice it would be to dump it on my head. That is what people do! I dumped on my head, and could not breathe for a few. It was COLD! So, running, running, running, running. Finally, I got to the second lap. I heard some footsteps behind me, and on a whim I said, "Does this trail ever end??" It was Kate, and I think I surprised her out of a run induced stupor, cause she said " ACK! ". I learned a little about her problems, and we ran most of my second lap together. Unfortunately, it was still her first lap, and she was not in the groove with the run either, so at about 1 mile from finish, I kept running while she took a break. This is probably a good thing, since this is when my shoes started to squeek. If it isn't one thing it is another. At one point in the run half of my right foot went numb, and somewhere in there my HR monitor went haywire and started beeping at me like mad. Kinda disconcerting to look down and see you are doing 103% of your max heart rate! I hope that the monitor was just mis-firing. It did that twice during the race. 222 beats per minute. Max heart rate should be 220- your age, so mine should be like 185. Anyway, I finished to loud yells from family and friends. Enough so that the announcer mentioned, "Ryan, it sounds like you have a lot of fans." or something of that nature. I do not know what she said. I was exhausted. 1 hour 7 minutes for the run. I beat my last run by a bit, but the distances were skewed. Miami was a 12:48 minute mile which I know is snail slow. Today was an 11:55 minute mile average, which is about a minute per mile faster. I did not hit my goal of sub 50 minute run, but I did improve substantially over last time, which I appreciate. So I am curious what I was thinking setting a goal of 8.5 minute miles after all that other stuff. I don't even run that fast when I am running by itself.. Goal: WHAT WAS I THINKING!
And my total time was good - figuring that I pooched my goal for the run. Get this total time 2 hours 58 minutes 23 seconds, and Second place in the Super-Clydesdale division. The other guy beat me by a half hour. I think he was 225lbs of more muscle than I have. I am not too concerned. I will either beat him at the next race, OR will not be able to register for this division. Honestly, I hope it is both.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Freaking out.

Tomorrow is my third tri. I am way nervous.I am especially worried that my tires will not hold air for the entire race. I just changed the tubes in both on my thursday 25 mile ride. They should be good, but I am pulling a Stephen King here and maybe if I type out my fears they will not happen.
I would also like to make a good showing at the race. It is not enough to finish. I am also going to go sockless tomorrow, and that should be interesting. The bike should not be a problem. I have done that a couple times with no issues. The run on the other hand may or may not be an issue. First time I tried it I got about a thumbprint sized blister on my instep. That was only 2 miles. I double lubed it and then did not have any problems after that. Unfortunately, that was only 8 days ago. My tuesday run went well, and there was some flopping, but no chaffing. Hope for the best, and I will lube for the worst. My other concern is the swim. Not as much, but my new stroke really messes with my shoulders. Hopefully they don't pop out, cause believe it or not, I have that problem. That image is kind of funny image though, running out of the water on the second lap with a dislocated shoulder. "You did that SWIMMING???"
I also wonder if I will be the only one with a green cap, or if everyone in the first stage has a green cap, and I am just paranoid. I AM the only one in the Super-Clydesdale division for the Olympic distance. I wonder why that is... Are there just no 225+ pound men besides me who do this? or do they get good enough and just race in the age grouper division. My wife wants to find a really big bell like the ones they put on Clydesdales and ring it for me at my 70.3 in September. It is a good thing I am not self concious or anything. People are always doing that type of thing. CB wants our team jerseys to be white with orange. A team-mate wants me to put mange-butt on my backside for the race. Still it is nothing to worry about. I am pretty sure that most race designers and tri clothing designers try as hard as they can to make us look funny anyway. Who else designs these skin-tight uniforms? Have you ever seen someone in transition 1 who has lost it? running around in a funny colored swim cap, skin tight clothing, and bike shoes, which are like high-heels only backwards. Not that much different from college basketball, where the guys on my team gave me the knee high school socks with the school logo on them, but they were designed for a much taller player, so they went half way up my thighs. Couple that with a super small jersey from the 70's and you have the basketball equivalent of a tri outfit. Skin-tight, and funny to look at. I was 50 pounds lighter then, but the effect is the same. Anyway, enough worrying, I am going to try to get some sleep before my race.

I will post my report, should be interesting.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

5 miles prep run

My 5 mile run yesterday was better and worse than I wanted it to be. I ran the whole thing. That is good. I ran slow-fast-slow-fast-slow, just like I supposed to, which was good. The whole thing was done in 54 minutes. That was not so good. My shoulders are sore still, and that is also not so good. The shoulders have nothing to do with me running, but with the swim stroke we are experementing with. So, tomorrow is a quick 25 miles to find a new saddle, and friday is a slow 1000M swim and a really short run to keep my blood moving. Saturday is another quick 15 mile bike ride to make sure things are copesthetic.

Then, Sunday, 1500M swim, 40k bike, and 5.15 mile run. I am starting to like the abbreviated run. That is my weakest part, and so a race that has a minimal run is right up my alley. I just hope I can stay cool and hydrated.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Prepping for Moss Park by taking a vacation.

This week I have been absorbing my workouts. I went to see a movie. I went kayaking with the family at a local lake which may have been strategic... (Moss Park). And we went to SeaWorld for two days in a row. The first day at SeaWorld, I was able to ride on the Atlantis ride with my son and daughter, but my wife and eldest son got to the front of the Manta ride when they closed it for inclement weather. We spent the rest of the time that day trying to see some more animals, but when we went to the After Dark show the whales were not cooperating. They false started twice before calling it a night. We called it a night also, and skipped the fireworks. It was an hour and a half wait, and we were all tired. I figure we will go to the After Dark show some-other-time in the next couple weeks.
The next day we tried again, earlier in the morning. Manta had a 120 minute wait, but the entire familly was able to go on the Atlantis ride. This was my 4th time on that ride, but I have not yet gotten onto the Kraken, or the Manta. I guess that is what being a dad is all about. I will get them eventually. We also saw the dolphin show, which seemed a little abbreviated, and an acrobat show which had no animals in it. Day two was a success.
Today I worked out again. After missing 3 days it felt really good to get back into the groove. I really need it, since i have a 70.3 race in a couple months. 25 miles in a nice paceline was a good re-entry. we started at about 17-18 mph, and Laz got us up to a nice 23-24mph towards the end.
Because I skipped my swim yesterday, I get to go tomorrow and swim two crossings at Lucky's. My goals for swimming need to have some modification, I think. Lucky's is 500M across, and we normally go across and back either 1 or 2 times. I have been doing these crossings at between 13min for the fast ones, and 16 minutes for slow crossings with bad sighting or drills involved. At an average of 14min for a 500M crossing, I would be finished with the swim at 42 minutes. This is about what my swim was at Miami, so that would be not so much improvement over the course of the last 2-3 months. Olympic times for the Wildman were in the 20 minute zone, so this would make me the last man out of the pool. My competative nature makes this unacceptable. I think one part of my bad swim is my form. Without looking at an underwater camera or having someone look for me, I can not know for sure, but I am pretty sure my core is not staying stable, and i am pooching my midsection out which does not do much for streamlining. This is what I plan to work on tomorrow at Lucky's, along with checking my times.
Speaking of Moss Park, I registered for the race as a Super-Clydesdale. From the looks of it, there are no other Supers registered for the olympic distance at this point, much less 39 and under. It looks like there are two Clydes registered so far, but no other Supers. I was going to register as a Age Grouper, or a Clyde, but then I thought about it. I have been working on this for about 6 months now, and I am still in the 240 lbs range. My shape is changing, but not much has been reduced as far as my total weight. I would have to be 15 pounds lighter to make the regular clyde range, and I think I want people to know my achievements in light of what they really are. In my last race, I was 30th out of 31 in my age group, but they do not know that I was 245 lbs, and have only started training for triathlons since the end of January.
Regarding the Bike, it is what it is, I need to make sure that I do not burn it out so my run royally sucks. 40km, 24.85 miles. The course is flat, but I do not think that I can sustain 25mph for an hour yet and still have energy left for a run. I am hoping for a 1:15.
Run 5.15 miles. This is going to be tough. I am doing about a 10-11 minute mile after a brick. This puts me between 50 and 60 minutes for this portion. Again, we will see what I have left after the bike, and how well I do on the swim. Since I have been ramping up the distance lately, I have no idea how my times have improved. Miami tri was :41 for swim, 1:28 for bike, and 1:19 for the run, with Total of 3:37. Distance is less on the run for this one, so I am hoping for sub :35 on the swim, sub 1:15 on the bike, and sub 50 on the run. This would put total time less transition at 2:40. Add transitions, call it 2:45?
Tomorrow's swim, and Saturday's brick will give us a better idea. Until then....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Two days swimming 2000+ meters, must be time to write about swimming. My shoulders hurt, but not in a bad way. They used to hurt in a bad way after my 10 years off from playing basketball consistantly, then picking it up again. I went to the doctor and the doctors told me there was nothing wrong, get some exercise. Well, I took that advice, folded it up and put it in the drawer and stopped playing basketball again. Two years later, started playing basketball again, shoulders started hurting again, went to the doctor again, doctor said nothing wrong again, but when I told him, "Dammit, there has to be something wrong, my SHOULDERS FRIGGIN HURT!!", so he looked some more. Eventually he let me know I have multi-directional destabilized shoulder joints. Basically, when I do something fast, or with pressure with my arms, my shoulders pop out of the socket and then pop back in. It usually happens with someone who has a dislocated joint for a bit, and the tendons are all stretched out. Solution: Exercise. I did some stability exercises in physical therapy, then folded that up and put it in the drawer again. A year later and very fat (260 lbs for a 6'1") I decided to change my life and get fit. Swimming has been the best exercise for my shoulders because I can go as fast as I want, while not pushing hard enough to pop my shoulders. I get sore from doing big workouts, but have not popped them enough to be more than a little uncomfortable for more than 24 hours. Anyway, here I am, doing 500+ (because i am not sighting so well) in about 15-16 minutes apiece, 4 times in a row with about 60sec rest between. I am hoping to get them down closer to 10 minutes by the end of the summer.
I commented on another blog about reasons to do an Ironman race, and I thought I might mention it here as well, in case you missed the other post. I had a poster on my wall when i was in high school, of one of the IM Kona starts from the 80's. It had all the IM distances, and I looked at the poster and wondered what those people must be thinking. I wonder now what they did to get to where they were. They did not have fancy drinks or gels or gu or anything. I ran 4 miles last night in 37 minutes. That is 9:15 per mile. I do not think I could string 6.5 of those together to make a marathon at this point, much less do that after swimming over 2 miles, and biking 100+ miles. I am having troubles thinking I can put my 56 mile bike after a 1.2 mile swim and then running 13 miles. - in September! The swim I can do now. I will not struggle with that one. The bike is going to be hard, but not impossible. Volume on my long ride this week is 40 miles. 2 day volume for thursday and Friday of this week is a total of 65 miles. I think at the end of Friday's 40 mile ride I will have a good idea what my time will be. If I am riding at my pace for the 40 then that should be my average time for the 70.3 distance at this point. I may be able to improve it some, but that may give me an idea.