Friday, October 7, 2011

Ironman Training Day 7: Bonk!

My friend Jill has a 5 year old son named Liam. When Liam was very small, probably less than 2, we started playing a silly little game. I'd tap his nose with my finger and say "Bonk!". He'd erupt in giggles. We would do this over and over until one of us (usually me) tired of the game.

As he got older, he learned to bonk me back. He'd tap my nose and cry "Bonk! Sometimes we would tap noses instead. Bonk! As he's gotten bigger and stronger, he now occasionally raps his (hard!) skull against my forehead and cries "BONK!". We both laugh and usually things devolve into a massive tickle fight. I'm big enough that I usually win that game. :-)

This morning found me in the pool again at 5:30am. I had a great first 500 yard swim (10:58) and was midway through the 2nd 500 when ... BONK!! Holy crap! Startled, I stood straight up in my lane, to discover that a man had SWUM RIGHT INTO ME, crashing into my head!

Likely embarrassed, he started laughing hysterically. In hindsight, I suppose it *was* funny, but at the time I was irritated and more than a little thrown off kilter. He apologized and I asked him to be more careful paying attention to where he was swimming. He'd apparently just entered the pool, and didn't look to see the circle pattern of the lanes before charging ahead the wrong way down my lane.

As I made my way to the end of the lane, I realized my head and the bridge of my nose hurt. I rested for a bit, and the lifeguard came over to make sure I was OK. After a while, I resumed my swim.

My second 500yards of the day was 11:20. Total distance for the day: 1600 yards.

Ironman Training Day 6: Day late and a dollar short

Yeah, I should have posted this yesterday. I suspect this won't be the last time I'm late!

Another run/walk day. R3W2x10. (Run 3, walk 2, 10 sets). I'm really liking the run/walk strategy as a means of getting back into run shape without overly stressing my knee. I also feel like I run faster on each run segment because I give the run muscles a break during the walks (as opposed to slogging along on a constant, slow run without any breaks). I'm thinking about getting myself a GPS watch so that I can more accurately record the distances I'm going, and to track my progress on building speed.

I'm currently running the Brooks Ghost. They are very comfortable, and have plenty of room in the forefoot for my extra-wide flippers (er, feet.). I also have a pair of Saucony Kinvara shoes (minimalist) that I wear when I want to feel fast. They weigh nothing!

Brooks Ghost

Saucony Kinvara

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ironman Training Day 5: Riding with Robbie

Robbie Ventura, that is.

This morning's cycling class featured hill climbing intervals. Low cadences (55-60rpm) at threshold or higher (180-200watts). Our coach, Rick, has installed an excellent projection/sound system at the studio. Today we utilized a Robbie Ventura RealRides video for motivation. These videos have some definite pros and cons.

Pro: Beautiful scenery to look at
Con: Robbie can talk in full sentences at 400 watts, making *my* power #s looks totally puny
Pro: Robbie's beautiful legs to look at
Con: It's always sunny in the videos, which makes me jealous of those Californians
Pro: Did I mention Robbie's beautiful legs?

We did 4 big hill intervals of 11, 9, 5 & 4 minutes. Hard work! I was absolutely soaked by the end of the class. But my legs felt great. Very fresh. I think my month of rest did me a lot of good.

Left knee: mostly OK until the end of the 3rd interval. I opted to do the last (4th) one at 70-80rpm to avoid overtaxing it.

Today's motivation:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ironman Training, Day 4: It's a Miracle

It's a miracle: my bathing suit still fits.

I was in the pool at 5:20am, delayed from my 5am goal by hitting the snooze button a few too many times (must break that habit.) Getting re-accustomed to going to bed at 8:30 or 9:00 pm is going to take some adjustment. 8:30 would be better, but I was happy to be in bed with lights out at 9pm last night.

Today's goals were:
1) Swim 1600 yards (1 mile)
2) Swim 1 continuous 500 yard set, to set my "baseline" time for that distance.
3) Reacquaint myself with the water, and try to swim smoothly, not quickly.

I'm fortunate to be able to swim at Tualatin Hills Parks and Rec's facility at 158th & Walker. It's a 1st class swim center, with a true Olympic-sized pool. 25 yards x 50 meters. This time of year, the 5am-7am lap swim has the lanes arranged in the 25 yard direction. In the spring, they will be switched to the 50 meters direction.

The pool is never crowded at this time of day. Half the pool is taken up by the swim team and masters groups that are coached there, while the other half is reserved for open lap swim. I've been going to this facility for years, and the same dozen or so people always turn up at 5am. This morning I shared a slow lane with a gal named Li, who as far as I can recall, has *always* been there every time I go swimming. Li is a slow, metronomic (is that a word?) swimmer. I can usually judge how well I'm swimming on any given day by whether I gain on her, or she gains on me!

After a 500 yard warmup broken into 50 to 100 meters, I swam a 500 yard "TT". "TT" being in quotes because my only goal was to swim the whole thing without a break, with the best form I could muster. I think setting a baseline of where I started from will be motivating as I progress through the season. Sooooo, I ended up swimming TWO 500s in a row. The first at 11:33, the second at 11:52.

I can't decide if I'm happy or disappointed. On the one hand, I'm happy that I'm even ABLE to swim 500 yards continuously without needing to stop for air. OTOH, those times mean I have a loooong way to go to simply get back to my former snail-like fitness, when I managed to swim 500 yards at just under 10 minutes. I'd *like* to get my 500 yard times down to 9:00 or less, so clearly I have oodles of work to do.

I finished off with a final 100 yards, bringing my distance for the day to 1600 yards (a nice neat mile).

Today's inspiration:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ironman Training, Day 3

So, I'm signed up for Ironman Canada on August 26th, 2012! After spending September doing not much other than loafing around and eating (a.k.a. recovering from Paris-Brest-Paris), Saturday October 1st was the my first "official" day of training for Ironman Canada.

Ironman is one of those "bucket list" things that up until last year I doubted I would ever accomplish. But after putting in the time and training to do the half-iron distance event at Pacific Crest in June 2010, I realized I could train for and complete an Ironman if I really wanted to.

I've spent 2011 mostly on my bike, preparing for Paris-Brest-Paris. After the Canby Gator Grinder Triathlon in May, I completely quit swimming. In June, with some tendonitis developing in my ankles, I decided to quit running as well. That left me with plenty of time to train on my bike. By July 31st, I'd logged 5220 miles, and by the end of August, post PBP, I was well over 6000.

Taking September as a recovery month was something I'd planned on. But ultimately, I was forced to do it. PBP did a number on my knees. I've never had knee trouble before, but the combination of the big miles I've ridden all year, the SIR 1000K in June, as well as PBP in August ultimately proved too much on my formerly healthy knees. I'm fighting some kind of tendonitis in my left knee and rehabbing it needs to be a top priority.

My goals during training are as follows:

1) Start off easily, to allow my knee to continue to recover.
2) Shed some weight. I'm starting at 145 (how embarrassing!) and want to get back to 130 by May (130 was my original WW goal, which I achieved in June 2009) and 125 by August (I was 126.5 in the summer of 2009. Lean but not skinny.) This will require a fair bit more discipline on my part than I've displayed this year.
3) Work on swimming. Swimming is my weakest link. My technique is poor, and I've never swum more than 3000 meters in one go. Plus, I tend to panic in cold water. So, lots of pool time is going to be necessary. I'll start with 2 days a week this month, but need to build to 3-4 days per week fairly soon. I may look into a swim coach.
4) Build power on the bike. 2011 was all about endurance. 2012 needs to be about building power and speed. Current threshold power is 181 watts. Would love to build that to over 200 by race day.
5) Run faster. I did lots of distance training in 2010 training for the half. Got my LSD runs up to 15 miles last year. And though I got faster, I didn't get *much* faster. I'll need to focus more on speed work in 2012.

I hope to use this blog to record my training and keep myself accountable. I'll also share what I learn along the way.

Day 1: Saturday, October 1st. - Easy 20 mile bike ride. Left knee felt OK. Not great, but OK.
Day 2: Sunday, October 2nd. - Easy run - R3 W2 x10 plus warmup and cool down. 54 minutes, 4.4 miles. Left knee felt OK. Felt some pain over the patella, but it faded during the workout. No post-workout knee pain or visible swelling.

Day 3: Today - One hour cycling class at C-Velo. Threshold Power testing. Avg 220 watts in 5min TT, 191 watts in 20min TT. --> Threshold Power = 181 watts. ZERO knee pain! I attribute that to concentrating on maintaining a high cadence, instead of powering through, which is what I usually do.