Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Catching Up

Oh it feels to good to run fast again.  The two weeks prior to the TDC I ran one time.  It was a seven mile loop up to Whatcom Falls and back.  I felt pretty good after putting down a 19:11 for the first 5k and cruising through the park.  Then I slammed on the mileage and elevation on the bike in those two weeks in preparation for the century.  333 miles to be exact.  Let's just say I haven't been on it much since.  The focus lately has been on my run.  The week after the ride I was able to get four days and 25 miles in.  One day I ran two comfortable laps around Lake Padden for 5 miles.  The next day I ran from my house, through the Sehome trails, to the school gym for a swim.  On the way back I followed the waterfront back home for 7 miles total.  Two days later I went back to Padden for some fartlek work and managed 10 miles of hard/easy laps based on time and HR.  Since this location is where my first triathlon of the season will be on June 22.  I felt it necessary to feel out the course.  I was surprised how well me legs felt during the week and even got a 7 mile hike in with my friend up to Fragrance Lake.  But as I tend to do, it was probably too much too soon.
San Juan Islands
Last week my legs felt lethargic and unresponsive.  I took three days off completely before I felt some energy pour back in them.  Thursday I went up the Cedar & Pine Lakes trail in the Chuckanut area.  It was so steep in the first two mile I found myself power hiking most of it and even that wasn't easy.

Cedar Lake is the first flat spot.  1,400 ft in 2 miles.  That's an average 26% grade. 
Once I got up there I looped the lake and headed back down the trail to intercept Lost Lake Tr so I could get up to Raptor Ridge.  I read this was a nice viewpoint and it did not disappoint.  I eventually made my way down for 10 miles and 2,800 ft in a little over two hours.
Raptor Ridge Viewpoint

For a brief moment on Sunday the rain stopped falling.  I drove to the gym for a swim workout followed by 6 miles of trail running on Sehome.  It was a blast moving through the wet ferns and hearing my shoes squelch in the mud.  There was only a few people rustling through the woods like myself that day because the popular Ski to Sea was going on.  Last week was only 16 miles but it was necessary for that time off to let my legs fully heal.  I need to remember this for when the race season really kicks in because even though I felt great those two days.  The rest of the week they were a little tired.

What I'm really the most excited about was my track workout this morning.  It was not a beautiful day for running intervals.  The rain was coming from all directions and the backstretch on the track felt like a wind tunnel.  But hitting my splits boosted my confidence and has me excited for racing.  After a mile warm up with some high knees, butt kicks, dynamic stretching and strides, I got into the meat and potatoes of the workout.  400m, 800m, 800m, 1200m, 800m, 400m, 400m, 100m, 100m.  The 400s and 800s were at a targeted 18min 5K pace, the 1200 was 38min 10K pace and the 100s were all out.  Let me tell you that was some hard work but I hit every split.  I'm pretty excited about my progression so far and that it's early in the year.  My goals for training are to stay healthy and to not over-train.  Which means a little more core work and continuing my daily yoga/stretching routine.  I put a race schedule up earlier this year but due to being a broke college student again, I've had to prioritize the most important.  As of right now this is how it should unfold.

June 22  Lake Padden Triathlon Bellingham, WA
              -Hilly bike and run
July 13  Ocean Shores 70.3 Ocean Shores, WA       
              -Flat as a pancake but with winds
August 11 USAT National Championship Milwaukee, WI
             -Urban waterfront on Lake Michigan
September 8 Tri Turtle Tri Seabeck, WA
             -West Sound Tri Club local sprint
September 15 Kirkland Triathlon Kirkland, WA
             -Hilly bike
September 22 Portland Triathlon Portland, OR
             -Flat bike and hilly run

Until then I'm going to keep working on my run, get in the pool more often and set the bike trainer up so I won't have an excuse to not ride when its raining.  I do live in WA and should not use it as an excuse to run in glorious trails instead of mind-numbing trainer intervals.  We'll see what happens.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Tour de Cure Report

It's been almost a week since I rode my first century for Tour de Cure in Redmond, Washington.  Not only was it my first crack at 100 miles but prior to the ride, my longest day was 68 miles in 4 hours.  Let's just say I was a little bit nervous.  I knew there would be some serious climbs and I had my concerns if they would put me into survival mode.

Not once did I suffer during the ride.  There were aid stations every 15 miles, give or take, and each one had super supportive volunteers handing out a variety of snacks.  There were bagels spread with PB or jelly, energy bars, gels, gatorade, water and lots of bananas.  I think I ate four or five during the ride and that's not including the one at breakfast with my oat bran at 5am.  Having a few minutes to get off the bike did wonders for my feet, saddle and spirit.  Each volunteer was cheerful and light hearted.  It went a long way on a long day.  Thanks volunteers, your presence was fully appreciated.

My expectations prior to the ride were that I would meet some folks either before the ride or during that I could ride with for a significant time.  Though I did ride a few miles with a single rider or a small group here and there.  Overall it was mostly a solo effort.  Which wasn't so bad because of rest stops and the glorious weather.  I found myself thinking about all sorts of random thoughts.  Normally during a race, I'm tuned into listening to my body.  This time, images of my family kept popping into my head.  Without them this wouldn't have been possible.  They supported me last summer in Boulder at my first half-ironman.  It was 98 degrees out there.  To this day I have never felt so terrible while running (I ran a 2:30 half-marathon, when my PB is 1:33, yeah, it was bad), but knowing my parents, sister, and Denver cousins were out there cheering, gave me the motivation to push back my pain and finish what I started.  Thanks Pops for the work ethic.  Once I get started, it's hard to stop.  Getting started is another thing.

This isn't much of a report, I just felt like babbling I guess.  Back to the subject at hand.  I ended up finishing in a little over 6 hours 15 minutes.  Which was on the fast end of my predictions before the ride.  Though my computer later told me it was 5 hours 37 minutes of moving time.   Did I really stop to talk that much?  I have been known to hold a good conversation.  Overall it was really fun and I'll think about doing it again.  A group effort would be a lot of fun.  I kept seeing all these bike clubs and I have to admit I was a tad jealous.  Maybe that can be motivation to join a team or two.    

Well being Friday evening, I might as well pack my wetsuit up and go get my first outdoor swim of the year in.  So what if it's raining, I'll already be wet.  Plus I'm going to drive there.  Ooooooh.  Good luck to all those this weekend at their first race of the year. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Make Some Vitamins

The bike is all shiny, the chain is sparkling, the tubes and nutrition is packed and my gear is laid out. Tomorrow I'm helping those dealing with diabetes by riding 100 miles for Tour de Cure. I should be sleeping (4:15 wake-up call) but I'm excited to ride with a great bunch of people.  Diabetes is tough because it's chronic.  Once someone finds out they have diabetes or are pre-diabetic the damage has been done.  But, and that's a big but because the body knows how to heal itself.  If we give it the right medicine, damage can be halted and even reversed.  This my friends is why the Tour de Cure exists, because it brings attention to the disease.  The more eyes and microscopes, the better chance we have of understanding it better.  So tomorrow for me is a challenge of my body and my spirit.  I could have chosen a shorter route, raised the same amount and had no problem with the distance.  But it's important for me make this bigger than a just a ride.  It's a ride for awareness and understanding.  I'll be thinking about my family and those dealing with this disease.  I've found there is an endless well to gather strength from in everything we care for.   

It's been almost a year since I've ridden within a group.  My handling skills have gotten better with the daily rides to campus.  The long rides in aero work my core where I'm sore the next day and I'm stable in all the hand positions though I will miss resting on my aero bars.  I took them off because it's not safe to use them in groups due to the reduced handling.  I'm aiming for somewhere between six and seven hours, though a part of me wants sub-six.  I crunched some numbers earlier;
14.1mph = 7 hours
16.5 mph = 6 hours
19.8 mph = 5 hours

My last ride was 67 miles with an average pace of 17 mph.  Tomorrow there will be introductions and inquiries on speeds and goals for the ride.  It would be fun to find a group to work with.  Drafting is great for recuperating after hard efforts while maintaining a decent speed sitting in the middle or back of a pack.  Around mile 62 there starts a 20 mile flat section until the next big climb.  I'm predicting this will be the most challenging part of the course.  At this point three serious climbs and four hours will have gone by.  It would be nice to have someone to pass the time with.  Either way it will be a big nutrition test.  The stomach cannot digest enough calories to replace the ones being used.  The goal is to ride at a level where fat is primarily being utilized so as to not fully deplete glycogen stores.  In this case it means I'll probably put down about 1,000 calories from bananas, gels, Heed/Gatorade mix and PB&J sandwiches.  And whatever the aid stations have.  It will be a glorious feast. 

It'll be fun getting down with my buds Saturday night.  A celebratory IPA will be high on the agenda list post-ride.  And of course a trip back to the folks house for some Mother's Day brunch.  Gotta give mom the love she deserves.  Get on out there and make some Vitamin D this weekend.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Checking In

It's been a week since I last posted and for good reason.  I've been riding my bike like a madman (at least for me.)  A week from tomorrow I'll be riding 100 miles in one day (well 98.8, but who's counting?) for the Tour de Cure in Redmond, Wash.  It will be my first century ride and all for a great cause.  Speaking of that, I received an email this morning from the organization stating that in order to participate in the ride I need to raise a total of 200 dollars.  I found this notice a bit concerning because I've raised just over a hundred and I'm not sure how to ask for more. 

Social media and emails have been utilized, but it doesn't seem to be enough.  Now, I understand this economy isn't conducive for fundraising, but I really want to participate and any amount should be enough.  So, if any of you have some spare change lying around, I would really appreciate if you could follow the link below and donate.  It's become common knowledge in this country that Diabetes is becoming more prevalent.  Donations would fund research and clinical trials aimed at finding a cure, hence the name. 

This is the ride.  There's about 5,000 feet of elevation.

Now on to the good stuff.  First off, running and swimming are on the backburner because I had some concern about my ability to ride in the saddle that long.  I write "had" because I'm stoked right now on my bicycle fitness.  This week has been a huge ramp up in mileage.  Here's a quick recap of the differences between last week and this week.

Mon. 4/22: 20 miles (hill specific to build some strength)
Tues. 4/23: 11 mile Run (tempo)
Wed. 4/24: 20 miles (steady effort on flat ground, mostly)
Thur. 4/25: 20 miles (with a 2.5mile run after)
Sat. 4/27: 9 mile Run (long and slow)
Bike mileage: 62 miles      Bike time: 3hr 50min      Bike elevation: 3,653 feet
Run mileage: 23 miles        Run time: 3hr 17min      Run elevation: 1,228 feet
Total mileage: 85 miles      Total time: 8hr 11min     Total elevation: 4,881 feet

Mon. 4/29: 2 hours (on a trainer, watching "The Untouchables", it was raining)
Tues. 4/30: 7 mile Run (started with a tough, uphill 5k at race pace, then eased back for the rest)
Wed. 5/1: 60 miles (a heart rate ride in Zone 2 except for a monster hill)   
Thur. 5/2: 18 miles (hill specific on fatigued legs)
Fri. 5/3: 31 miles (long and slow with hills mixed in)

Bike mileage: 148 miles      Bike time: 8hr 13 min     Bike elevation: 5,325 feet
Run mileage: 7 miles            Run time: 55min             Run elevation:   367 feet
Total mileage: 155 miles      Total time: 9hr 8min      Total elevation: 5,692 feet

Tomorrow is a rest day but Sunday my plan is to do 75 to 85 miles with 3,000 feet.  Currently this week is my heaviest in terms of mileage and time ever, but I feel great.  Processed foods are out the window and most of my carbohydrates are coming from a variety of fruits, legumes, and potatoes.  It's really quite amazing what the body is capable of, if fueled correctly.  

Next week will be a lot less intense.  My plan is to run Monday and Wednesday and ride Tuesday and Thursday.  I'll rest Friday, so I should be nice and fresh for the "Big Ride."  

Have a great weekend everyone!