2006-05-30 Swim

The normal masters workout (3000ish yards, nearly all free). Did a lot of catchup drills, which I haven't been doing lately. That drill really helps my stroke. No videocamera tonight.



2006-05-29 Run

Treadmill run. It was hotter than hell in the workout room. Why is it that every apartment complex in which I live has a great workout room... with a lousy air conditioner? It was like this at my last crib, too. Oh well, we'll call this one "heat training" and try to find value in that.

10 minute WU, then 6.5mph, 2% grade, 1 mile, walked @ 3.5mph for 0.25 mile, repeat of run/walk, then 0.7 mile run. I stoppped a bit early because my form was breaking down and I didn't want to injure myself. HR was climbing the entire workout, ending at 150 or so.

2006-05-29 Bike

Picked up GP, then met MH for a ride in the valley south/east of Peter's Mountain... so, as always, I managed to get in an A.T. crossing :-). Lovely ride. Out/back on 325, which meant we were riding through PA State Game Land the entire way. The terrain was genuinely rolling... it reminded me a lot of the rollers in NC. I felt really strong the entire time. I tend to do worse when the hills are longer or steeper, but on these I could build/hold enough speed on the downs and flats that I could just roll up an over the other side. I was able to pedal smooth and with more or less constant power. 37 miles, 2261' climbing, 19.0mph. I think I could ride this thing over 20mph if I pushed.

I went for a run after, GP climbed Peter's Mountain. MH had to get home to the wife & kids.


2006-05-27 Treadmill Run

'K. My piriformis syndrome appears to be gone, so it's time for me to try and crank up my running again. I don't think I've had enough variety in my run training in the past, so I bought a book (Daniel's Running Formula) which seems to do a good job explaining how to structure a running program to target certain goals. I think I'm going to need to start doing hills, intervals, strides, etc..

Tonight was pretty straightforward. WU, 1 mile @ 6.5mph @ 2.0% grade, then I wanted to know what it felt like to go fast, so I dropped the grade to 0% and upped the speed to 9.0mph. I didn't think I would be able to hold 9.0mph, but after 1/4 mile I thought "hrmm... let's see where this goes" and I kept it going. I actually managed a full mile, which was a pleasant surprise. 9.0mph is 6:40/mile, which is right around my fastest mile ever. (the 0% grade generally makes treadmill mileage easier, though). Last mile was 6.5mph @ 1.5% grade. Then I walked and stretched for a mile to warm down.

I'll probably regret going for a hard mile. But then again, I should have had a hard 3.1 miles in my triathlon earlier today :-).

2006-05-27 Zzzzz...

Alarm went off at 5:00am. Opened my eyelids, thought about things for about 0.0001 seconds, then turned off the alarm and went back to bed. Didn't open my eyes again until 8:15 :-).

The triathlon I was supposed to do today was called the "Got the Nerve?" triathlon. Clearly, I didn't have the nerve.


2006-05-25 Swim

I'm sure glad I videotaped myself swimming the other night, because it appears to have had absolutely ZERO effect on my form :-). I videotaped again tonight, and spent the entire swim focusing on the four biggest errors spotted the other night. The result? I looked even worse :-).

For added benefit, I managed to get muscle cramps for only the 3rd time in my life. I was making an effort to point my toes more, but eventually the bottoms of my feet totally seized. The bottoms of my feet? I didn't even know a person *could* cramp there!

Then, this morning (friday), I had to get up at 5:00AM for a business trip to the NYC area (nothing like driving 3 hours each way for a 2 hour face-to-face.) I woke up, stretched, and immediately got a massive cramp in my left calf. As I type this entry (5:30PM), the calf still hurts a bit. I have a race in 14 hours. I do not expect good results :-).


2006-05-23 Swim

Swim. Got some video footage, which was quite useful. I uploaded some video from late in the workout (when I was tired), and the good folks on slowtwitch confirmed what I saw myself: My kick is horrid, and my left arm (my right, too, but not as much) is straight and drops. I suspect some of my arm issues are tied to balance while breathing, and the balance while breathing is tied to my kick. I've always ignored the kick, but I can see how a terrible kick would start a chain of events that leads to bad arm/head form as well. Short term focus list, all of which have been known issues for a while now:
  • Breath out instead of holding my breath!
  • All things kicking (narrower, and point toes)
  • High elbows, particularly on the arm opposite the breath

Was on the outside lane, and there was no lane divider between my lane and the lane next to me. Wave action was horrible. I actually got queasy at one point.

WU = various stuff, while futzing with the camera :)
Main set = ladder of 4x25,4x50,4x75,4x100,4x75,4x50,4x25
100 hard
I forget what else.


2006-05-22 Swim

Quick swim, in both time (15 minutes) and speed (broke my 100 yard PR... twice!)

I was testing my fancy new underwater videocamera housing. And by "fancy" I mean "ziploc bag on steroids, for which I paid $100.00." It kept the camera 100% dry as a whistle, but I got no useful footage, because:
  1. The pool was FILTHY with construction dust, so visibility was less than 10 feet, and
  2. A lady in the next lane bumped the carefully aligned camera on her way to the ladder (which was in my lane), so the last 12 minutes of film are of the pool wall instead of my PR-breaking sets of 100 yard freestyle. [sigh]


2006-05-21 Bike

Mt. Gretna triathlon course recon. Only did one lap instead the planned two because a) I hadn't had lunch and was starving, and b) I was bored out of my mind. Not in a proper mental place at all. Might have been becuase I was hungry, but was probably just because I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning :).

The last three miles of this course were covered in the 71 mile ride I did a few weeks ago (but this time in the opposite direction). The rest of the roads were new to me. It was VERY windy today, and I wasn't going hard, so I don't know if the hills were more-than-rollers or not. I supsect this course will ride differently in the race than it did today.

Short (very) run after.


2006-05-20 (urban) MTB

Poked around Harrisburg with JL and E. Nothing that was sustained aerobic, but it was a ton of fun to just goof around riding on the streets. We took Market St. over to City Island, spent some time looking at the military expo, then worked our way north up to HACC, then back to the capital (nice building! I looks kindda ghetto from the front, but from the back and from the center area, it actually looks rather nice. The masonry is awesome. Then we took Harvey Tailor bridge back to the West Shore, and up to a park for some light trail riding, then home. 20something miles total.

Skipped my planned evening workout to go up to my fathers and eat waffles+chicken, ice cream, etc., etc. :-). Got some good pics of Dreyfus playing fetchies in the back yard.

2006-05-20 Racquetball

AM racquetball with BK. Damn fine games. We're both playing well these days.


2006-05-18 Swim

As always, I can't remember the specifics of the workout tonight. WU = 4x[50 one arm, 100 swim], 4x[100 swim, 50 kick]. My right shoulder was still a bit sore from last weekend... nothing serious but I decided not to push it. So I moved to the outside lane and did a mix of one arm (left), breast, and drills.

During the 4x[100 swim, 50 kick], I did the 100's hard. I did three of them in 1:23-1:25 each, which is equal to the fastest I've ever done 100's. Go me! I think the time gain is due in large part to my new flipturn technique. When I was off by half a stroke, I did a catchup + double-pull into the flip, and when I was on my normal timing I forced myself to leave both arms behind me when starting the flip. This made a big difference. Probably a second per turn. I also decided to sacrifice my normally long strokes and go for some slightly higher turnover. This took me up to 15-16 strokes per length, but also gave me another breath or two. I ended these 100's feeling better than normal after a hard 100. Now I just have to figure out how to start increasing the length. My goal since I started swimming was to be able to do 100's on 1:30 (say, a 15 minute 1000). I've been stuck for a long time, but I feel like I might actually be on the edge of a breakthrough. Masters is really helping.

A bunch of folks from the group are doing an Olympic distance race in Columbia, MD this weekend, and a few of them are doing the Mt. Gretna race that I'm doing next weekend. D said it will be her first race ever.


2006-05-16 Swim

A bunch of folks from the Masters class are doing a triathlon this weekend, so it was a light day... which was fine with me. I've been hobbling around work the last two days because I can hardly walk. WU = 400 pull / 200 kick / 400 swim, then 3x100 descending and 3x200 descending (I did 200/150/150). Then I forget what. Then we worked on flipturns. G showed me a better technique for my arm movement during the turn, and someone else showed me yet again another technique which will help when I arrive at the wall with an off-time stroke. With some practice at both of these techniques, I think I can start throwing down some better flipturns, which will save a few seconds per lap, which will give me longer rests, etc., etc.

For the descending sets, I was splitting a lane with Tex (from work) and AG (the winner of my age group... by nine minutes... in last weekend's race). Holy crap those dudes are fast!


2006-05-14 Pinchot Park Triathlon

HARDWARE, BABY! (Ok, 3rd in age group... and it was a very light age group... but hey, 3rd place gets a medal, and I haven't won a medal for anything in over two decades!)

This race went way better than I had any right to expect. I haven't been running *at all*, so my general race plan was "find some feet and draft on the swim, hammer the bike like crazy, then pretend I'm just doing a long brick workout." That plan more or less went off without a hitch. My prerace diet was, for perhaps the first time in history, excellent. I woke up 20 minutes before my alarm this morning, fully rested and in good spirits.

All of my previous races were run by a company called SetUp, Inc.. These races have been huge and highly organized. The White Lake Sprint triathlon, which I've used as my season kickoff the last two years, usually has 80something people in my age group. Today's race had 100 people total. The flavor of the whole event was entirely different from what I'm used to. For instance, there were no assigned rack spaces. You just sort of picked a spot and tried not to interfere with your neighbors. And there was only one wave for all 100 racers. And the start was the race director yelling "ready, set, go!" Quite the laid back affair, actually. They did use chip timing, so my splits will be 100% accurate.

The swim was uneventful. The water wasn't nearly as cold as I feared it would be. It started to rain just before the swim, but I never really noticed. I never found a good draft, but I found several crappy drafts in serial, which is almost as good :-). Final swim time was 13:??, which I think was fairly good. AG from my Masters swim group (who won my age group by NINE MINUTES) came out of the water in 12:??, so my swim must have been really good to lose less than two minutes to him... he is much faster than me in practice.

T1 was uneventful.

I hammered the entire bike. I think I was only passed by one person, and that person was Josh Beck, who WON the national duathlon (run/bike/run... triathlon with a run in place of the swim) championships back in 2002, and is now a professional duathlete. If I were to complain about him passing me on the bike, I would have to be the world's biggest ass :-). He ended up winning the entire race, fully 18 minutes ahead of me. Freak. Two other dudes passed me at one point, but I think I pulled them back late in the bike.

T2 was a bit slow. I didn't get my right foot out of my shoe in time, so I had a weird bike dismount. My legs were also quivering as I put on my running shoes. Did I mention I hammered the entire bike?

...then, as always, I gave back a ton of time on the run :-). But considering that I've only had a handful of runs longer than 5K this year, I honestly can't complain about today's run. My quads, hamstrings, and calves were all borderline crampish the entire run, but my stomach felt fine and I was able to keep my HR at just under 170. If my stomach is ok, my HR is at 170, and my legs are almost cramping... there isn't much more I can do. I'm not sure of my run split, but if my swim was 13:?? and my bike was 57:??, my run was probably 25-ish, which is slow by triathlete standards and about average for me :-).

Final time was 1:38:03, 3rd in my age group (of, I think, 9 total... hehehe...). 2nd place was only 34 seconds ahead of me. 1st was AG at 1:28:??.

On a related note, I think I would have been out of the hardware in just about any other age group. The 35-39, 40-44, and 45-50 groups are loaded with some really speedy dudes. My "just keep doing triathlons until I win" plan isn't going to work. I'm actually going to have to get faster someday.

Stuff to remember later:

  • Watch electrolytes. I've only had two muscle cramps in my life (both times, calve cramps while swimming), but I think I came close today. I forgot to take an electrolyte tab before I started. Has my diet been low in salt? (NOTE: Review log) Was it the hard bike, at lower-than-normal cadence?
  • Prerace diet was great. (Slimfast + banana smoothie before bed, only liquids in the morning... hot chocholate, gatorade endurance, gel)
  • Gas-X before and after swim helped. No stomach bloat at all today.
  • Run more, you lazy freak!!!
  • The female 20-24 age group is populated entirely by stunningly beautiful women.


2006-05-13 Racquetball

Racquetball with BK. Four games, with the loser in at least three of them (Hrmm... can't remember the 4th) scoring 13+ points. Close games!

Registered for tomorrow's race at Pinchot park. The other folks at the race (I saw Andy from my masters swim group) all looked quite fit... Should be a good race! The water temp was in the low 60's, which will make for a bracingly cold swim. Let's hope my wetsuit is up to the task!

I've been doing very short/easy spins on the bike trainer all week, but nothing more than that. I'm hoping that I'm "properly tapered" and not just "a massive slacker" :-). I feel approximately the same as I felt this time last year, and I totally lucked out on my race then... let's hope lightning strikes twice! (I'll still get clobbered on the run, but that will be nothing new.)

I think I'm gonna shave my legs to get me in race mode. I noticed during the registration today that shaved legs are part of "The Look" that every aspiring badass wannabe triathlete needs. I might never be fast, but at least I can look fast and have a fast bike :-). The problem is that I've shaved my legs before, and I always hate the maintenance work. How do women keep their legs shaved all the time?


2006-05-07 Brick

37.25 miles, 3900' of climbing. Nice day for a ride. I was at work for a while, and GP mentioned he was thinking about a ride that started/ended at work. That played nicely with my schedule, so we rode from work, over Sterrit's Gap (HR never went above 165 until I pushed it!), down into the next valley, then west for a while over some non-trivial rollers, then we took 74 up and over Waggoner's gap. Waggoner's gap is a wonderful climb... long and steady with two switchbacks. We were passed on the way up by two riders from a group of six (GP caught back up to one of the guys by the top, I stayed back). As we started our descent on the south side of the gap, we saw three more folks coming up. Looks like Waggoner's Gap was the party spot today! After Waggoner's gap, I declared "Big Chainring In the Front All The Way Back", and we really picked up the pace. After we got back, GP joined me for a quick transition run. In true "Ex 400 meter runner in high school" fashion, he took off at 11 mph (according to his GPS.) That's 5:27/mile, folks. My fastest mile ever was 6:30. I started peppering him with questions like "[gasp] do you [gasp] always [gasp... gasp...] run [gasp] this [gasp] fast? damn" Thankfully, he lost some steam after... about 400 meters (high school flashback, G?) and we finished off the run at a more reasonable pace.

Good training ride. If I had about three dozen more like this under my belt, I would probably be almost ready for my race next week :-).


2005-05-06 AM Racquetball

Racquetball with BK. Five good games. The general level of competition was pretty darn high. The series came all the way down to the wire, with the deciding game being 15-12.


2006-05-05 Brick

I told GP about the time I knocked out on the TT route yesterday, so naturally he wanted to go out today and beat it. I intended to ride the warmup with him, then let him go, but Debra demanded that I ride her hard and long. That's not the kind of demand I want to get in the habit of denying, so I threw down a hard one. GP and I leapfrogged a few times before I finally got away from him. Final time 31:22.75, which makes for 20.05mph (10.5 mile route with 1000' of climbing.) Sadly, this time can't be official, because I drafted off G for a few minutes during the climb just before crossing 114.

Short run after. Went better than yesterday, but still not good enough to make me feel confident going into my race season.

2005-05-04 Masters Swim

I was bit short on most of the "official" distances, but it was a pretty standard workout. 60 minutes. My form was horrid all evening.

Final set was 2x6x[25 swim, get out, move to next lane, jump in] getting out and moving over is more tiring than you might imagine. I found myself being a bit disoriented the entire time.



2006-05-04 Afternoon Ride

Did Gerrit's original TT route. Debra is feeling really, really dialed-in. I'm weak, but my position feels wonderful.

I started my watch at the start of the route, but on the first hill decided that it wasn't my day to go hard... then I noticed about half way through that my time was ahead of my last time on this ride, so I decided to do the last half mod-hard instead of moderate. Finished in 32:15, which is a hefty improvement over my former time of 34:53. I wonder how fast I could have gone if I was really nailing it the entire way?

Short run after, but my HR spiked WAY the heck up, and I was sluggish as all get-out. I'm gonna get killed in my upcoming triathlons!


2006-05-02 Masters Swim

Can't remember the whole thing. 300x[pull/kick/swim] warmup, then 6x150, then 2x[100/100/200]. I forget the other sets. I was very, very tired after.

I noticed that, if rested, I have no problems starting at 1:30/100 or faster, but I'm really slowing down fast after that. Not sure why. I used to be able to cruise at 1:40/100 endlessly. My 100/100/200's went something like 1:30/1:40/1:50-1:50. This is a bigger slowdown than I would expect.

My right knee and glute have both been hurting the last two days, but I don't know why. I took a nap after work yesterday, and when I woke up, they were both tweaked... they felt fine before the nap. Strange.