Sunday, April 26, 2009

A good ride ruined...almost

Training and racing is a great escape from the rest of the world. Typically, it's no problem leaving it all behind and focusing on the ride and the races ahead. Today was different. I returned from vacation to learn of an "unfortunate event" at work. Admittedly, I'm still seething, so I may not be thinking clearly. However my perception is that, while no guidelines or rules were broken, a moral code was. And that burns me up. Even though I learned about it four days ago, the feelings are strong enough that I could think of little else on my ride. It was hard to appreciate the warm temps, 5:30 daylight, lack of traffic, and first long ride of the year on my TT bike. Shit, shit, shit.

After two hours, and ending with a good effort, I had a very quick transition to a run. It felt good to put on the racing shoes for the first time. I ran hard for the first mile to get that "race" feeling for the first time this year. And oh, did I feel it. We all know that feeling...heavy and huge quads, shakey legs, tight upper body, etc. I didn't look at my watch until I hit the mile marker, and thought I was probably around 7:00. I came in at 6:16. I WIN. Not the events at work, but ME. I WIN.

While I can't expand on the events any more, suffice it to say a certain individual is signed up for Polarbear on Saturday. Toast.

Speaking of Polarbear, it's the season opening sprint at Bowdoin College. 525 yd pool swim, 11 bike, 5k run on road and trails. Last year at this time I was just coming back from "daddy prevention surgery," and did well. This year I'm coming off a great 8 day, but far from relaxing, vacation. I did some running in Florida, including a 9 miler. And thanks to a stomach issue, I didn't stuff or drink myself silly. So I think things are falling in line.

My races this year are sprints and olympic distances, so every one of them is intense. No better way to improve than to go to the mat every time. A long winter, big end of the year goals and lots of training with a lack of racing have me keyed up. Oh, yeah...and there's that other issue.

Bring it on!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


For those of you with families and a few years of triathlon under your belt, you'll understand. We get so friggin' wrapped up in ourselves that we cheat the really important things and people in our lives. Every year or two I need to "get my suspenders snapped" to get back to the way things should be. That happened about 10 days ago, and it was very appropriate. Sure, I've learned and improved over the years, but it's still an issue. I spend so much time and mental energy doing and planning for workouts and races that even when I'm home, I'm on the road.

So something(s) had to change. For training, I'm cutting back to a maximum of 10 hours per week. [Keep in mind my target race is USAT Nationals, an Olympic distance, not an IM.] Think about that. 10 hours. How can you pack in three sports, varying distances and intensities, plus lifting, and do it all in 10 hours? It's actually a facinating exercise. It forces you to focus on making every workout have a specific purpose. It gets rid of the empty miles and yards. It gives you more rest during the week, allowing for a higher intensity. The big risk with this is the possibility of injury due to fewer recovery miles. I'll just have to be careful with that. My default schedule is to have Wednesday mornings and all day Sunday off. Tuesdays and Thursdays only have one workout. I'm sure that my best coach ever, Tufts Swimming Coach Don Megerle, would approve. He believes in quality, not quantity.

This was my second week of track intervals. Last week was 6 x 1/2 mile, then this week was 10 x 1/4 mile. If you have a chance, read Running With the Legends: Training and Racing Insights from 21 Great Runners by Michael Sandrock. The two big takeaways are track intervals and trail running.

Today I had a great brick, and I could feel the benefit of the track intervals, even if it's mental at this point and not physiological. I started with a 1:45 bike on the trainer (I'm getting tired of this.........). The last hour was supposed to be race pace-ish. I averaged 246 watts, a hair better than Mooseman last year, and a whole lot better than any workouts before mid June. Cool. After a long transition, about 8 minutes, I hit the road. I have a 6.2 mile loop from the house, and know right where 3 miles is. To be fair, it's an overall decline of about 150 feet. I pegged it from the start, and hit 3 miles at 19:09. Double cool.

While I still occasionally feel my rib injury, I can swim hard without a problem. This week went much better, so there's hope. On Wednesday we head to Orlando to visit Mickey and then we go on the cruise ship. No biking or swimming for nine days. Just a few laps around Seven Seas Lagoon- in 70 degrees! I'm not too concerned about the missed time, as long as I don't eat and drink twelve times the calories I burn.

For those of you in the Portland area, we discovered a great restaurant in Freeport- Buck's Naked BBQ in Freeport. Great food, quantities, beer and prices. It's also very friendly for kids. Maybe we should have lunch there after Polarbear.