Another low mileage month but with a couple of valid reasons, Injury and Ironman 70.3 Vineman.
I started the month with an injury to my knee; I dug in deep getting it treated and despite seeing my Chiro 7 times in 16 days it really wasn’t until halfway through the week before Vineman that it felt like it was behind me. It’s still not 100% right but now it’s a case of rolling out the scar tissue that built up and getting it stronger again.
Vineman turned out far better that I hoped for on the Swim front and all things considered the Bike went well with just a tough Run that I managed to finish with a fair bit of walking. After the race I took 4 days off and then hit the pool and the bike with training officially starting a full week after.
The focus for August is building back a stronger running base and working “as always” on my form in the pool with one eye to endurance, my swims, right now, have an average of 2500 yards and that’s only going to get longer. I am heading off to Canada for the second week which coincides with a down week but I’ll be taking my bike and hope to spend some time on the IM Canada course as well as meet up with some folks who I have known forever but never met in person! Lots of fun times ahead!
Well Week 1 of IMAZ training is in the bag, very tidily given my Virgo tendencies it was an exact 10 hours! This is the training times/distances, the rest was made up of foam rolling and stretching…yeah I am actually doing it, yay me! An easy start to a plan and looking a couple of weeks out things soon ramp up. A couple of highlights was the second swim of the week which went really well, here is the Garmin data; there are a few phantom laps which is usually a sign of poor form, although drills can mess with it too.I also had a great mid week long run of 11 miles, which is probably the second longest run this year after the Half Marathon I ran in January and the Half I ran at Vineman! My running has a long way to go but I was pleased with the consistency of my pace.I am thinking about my nutrition planning and trying some new things as the rides and runs get longer; I recently received some free samples of an electrolyte called Hi5 worked really well so I have ordered some of that. For fueling I am going to try Carbo Pro and see how it sits, I have heard a lot of good things about it and now is the time to start trying these things out
Also for the shorter duration runs I am trying to get back onto the local trails for the short term to build up all those little stabilizer muscles that are ignored when running on the road. I hope this will help with my knee long term which is still not quite right.
There’s 16 more weeks to go, but this is a good start.
Training for IMAZ started on Monday. That’s not really true, if I was honest I suppose it actually started last November when I plonked down $650, but specifically the past 9 months have led me to this start line and the next 17 weeks will lead me to the start line in Tempe Town Lake. I vacillated, procrastinated and deliberated over what plan to follow, trust me there are a lot to choose from in the end I went for one I feel I can actually execute…the best plan in the world is useless if you can’t follow it! I actually settled on two plans; the Beginner Triatlete (RPE) plan which is 20 weeks long so I am cutting three weeks and from that I am also substituting the swim plan for one found in the Swim Workouts for Triatletes book, which is 13 weeks long so I am repeating four weeks. The volume seem reasonable and with some shuffling I should fit things all in the course of the week also I am adding into the mix proactive stretching and some strength training, these are two areas which are woefully ignored at my own peril. I am still struggling with a knee thing but I am hoping that proactive care, ice, foam rolling and using my Compex will help resolve that and I have managed to have a couple of good runs this week already, this morning’s 90 minutes went by without issue so fingers crossed that continues!
Of course I will be updating weekly, cos’ I know you are dying to know what goes on! In the meantime here is something to whet your whistle!
I would normally spare you the pre race blurb, but some of this is good stuff and I summarize my thoughts at the end. I got to Sonoma, which is about 400 miles North of where I live, Thursday afternoon, checked in and unloaded the car etc. The next day, after a slow start shaking off driving legs, was spent driving the course with fellow local Triathlete; Becca who raced here last year and was a font of knowledge. We drove the entire course with the bikes on her minivan and spent some time riding up the two hills, neither of which was steep. It was good to get on the bike and see what they felt like, knowing that on race day I would have more mileage on my legs and I got to see the landmarks, although the unfortunate squirrel that marked the bottom of Chalk Hill had been removed!
Afterwards we donned our wetsuits and went off to the river to get a feel for the water and a look at the swim in and out areas. I was very surprised at the warmth of the water and even more so at the depth, there were parts of it where I could stand up very easily and it would barely reach my waist, other areas were higher but overall there was very little that was deep, it was pretty clear and my comfort level and confidence was significantly boosted. As a side note I think the swim experience at the Desert Tri back in March where the water was shockingly cold somewhat scarred me and at each event my confidence is being boosted…hopefully this is not pride before a fall!
The next day, Saturday, we met up with Sheila, another local and friend from Daily Mile and headed off the Expo for the compulsory briefing and to collect our numbers etc. One error was to forget our shoes as the same location was to be T2; the race is actually a point-to-point, which meant we would have to go back later, not a real drama but something to remember for the future. The briefing was…err brief and I lingered to ask a question about the road closures, of which there was none but was a assured that at the time on a Sunday it was pretty “Sleepy Hollow” but without the headless horseman.
The rest of the day was spent relaxing and going over kit etc. followed by an early dinner and early night. Meanwhile down at the beach they were building the Swim out and T1
The morning came soon enough after an on/off night’s sleep as you would expect. If you have been following my training you will know that the last couple of months have been a bit lackluster; a small bout of over-training followed by a couple of injuries had diminished my expectations for this race to one of “complete” rather than compete, along with learn, smile and remember it’s my first and so with those in mind I stood in T1 peeling my wetsuit on not nerve free but significantly less nervous that I have done in the past.
I was in the third wave after the Pro Men and Pro Women so it was an early start with the alarm ringing at 4:30am, ablutioned and out the door by 5:30am, one huge benefit of the hotel was the walk to the start line. I set up my T1 on my newly acquired “prayer transition mat”, wished Becca good luck; she was two rows down from me and even had a chance to meet Ron (PunkRockRunner) and have a chat. At 6:30am I entered the water and started getting wet, sounds silly right but one thing I have learned is to get the water in your suit, down your back in your ears and up your nose. While not as warm as the day before it was fine. And I found a rock to perch on towards the end of the group away from the “washing machine” and waited…3, 2, 1 and we were off and I hit start on my Garmin. The course was a counter clockwise out-and-back, as expected it took a while to get into my stride, my left goggle filled on one side and so I simply stood and emptied it, afterwhich it was fine, I seem to have an issue double capping as that has happened in the past too…something to remember for the future. I was playing an Avril Lavigne song in my head and I stuck to that for a good while. One problem I had was that I am only a one sided breather and a counter clockwise direction means I cannot see the buoys, it does mean I could follow the riverbank which wasn’t so great as when I did look up to sight I had gone off course and was adding unnecessary distance, I course corrected and was off again. My one confession on the swim was at the turn around where it was less than 2 feet deep and so I simply stood and walked. The return leg had me going off course again but again I corrected and without too much time I could see the Swim Exit. With 20 yards to go I stood up and ran out into T1.
T1 was in a dusty parking lot and so adding 200 wet swimmers to the mix it didn’t take to long for it to turn into a dusty/pasty muck fest. There were a lot of folks looking more like trail runners than triatletes at the end of the day! I got my wet suit off and my bike kit on. My transition zone was one of the closest to the swim and therefore almost the longest to the bike mount line, with that in mind I had clipped my shoes onto the pedals and used rubber bands to hold them off the floor this worked great getting to the mount line which was at the exit to the parking lot and at the bottom of a short sharp hill. I ran straight through it and up the 150 yards or so to the top of the hill.
I had never planned to do a flying mount so I swung one leg over to put my foot in the shoe and found that the band was too long and would not break. I reached down and pulled it up till it snapped and with my foot on the other shoe I was off, carefully staying to one side until both feet were in the shoes and I pedaling, it still took another half mile to get fully comfortable but then I was on my way proper.
The ride uses a mix of main and back roads, the most noticeable features are a nasty turn at Mile 5 followed by a short sharp hill, a climb at Mile 24 and a second bigger climb “Chalk Hill” at Mile 44, other than that it is mostly rolling countryside, alongside vineyards. Conscious of the turn at Mile 5 I worked hard to get past a group of riders only to be overtaking by an idiot 10 meters before the turn, he had no idea what was coming up and was going too fast, had to unclip, dab both sides and generally wobble all over the road and get in my way, I just stayed out of his way and passed him later; that was the last I saw of him. I settled into the ride and was very conscious of my knee which has been an issue for a couple of weeks. I started doing mental math. My target was for a 2:45 ride which is 20mph. The first 20 miles clicked my in 2:45:30 so I was within touch but the reality was with the two climbs and tiredness to come my time would trail off which it did. Adding into the mix a lack of saddle time in the new position post refit back in June and my backside was starting to make itself known around the 40 mile mark. The climb gave me some relief as I like to stand and while not as efficient as sitting it just works.
I was starting to feel a bit uncomfortable and my right forearm and shoulder was going a bit numb, I think this is due to not having enough time in the refit aero position since having my bike rebuilt in June. I was also feeling hungry and I had not eaten the Bonk Bar that my nutrition plan called for, in addition I know that when I feel hungry it’s not a good sign but it was too late to have solid food and then run. By 50 miles my backside was really kinda done too, another refit issue, and I was counting down the miles on my Garmin looking for that last turn. Within the last mile I started my last Gu which I would start the run with.
I hit the dismount line and in a similar way to the swim had a long way to run to my rack, it was a pseudo flying dismount, one foot out then a quick check to make sure the cranks were level so as to drag my shoes the entire way. I reached my rack and started to change. I had left my CEP sleeves off until now and so I plonked myself down on the floor to pull them on…OMG what a timesuck! Once they were on socks and shoes followed. I grabbed my Fuelbelt and headed out. Critical decision time…to pee or not to, there was one person in line and 4 porta johns. I was 10 yards from them he went in, the odds were in my favor and I really needed to go…and had tried on the bike but clearly I need to practice finding my relaxed place as nothing was forthcoming (FYI it took a couple of years and several bad trys to figure out how to pee and run on the trails at the same time!) I decided to wait as I had no idea when the next opportunity would be before the first mile marker and a minute or so later one came free and I was good to go…so to speak! Of course this all added to my transition time but it had to be added somewhere.
The run was an out and back with a loop around a vineyard, not very scenic and to be honest my head was down most of the way. It was really a case of gutting it out, there was never any thought about not finishing but it was a race against the clock. My running has been pretty crappy and I have not run anything longer than 7 miles in months, but I had been reminded that if I could run 8 I could run 13 so I did. Strategically I walked some of the hills although these breaks became more frequent towards the end. As I was hungry I grabbed half a banana off of each of the first 5 aid stations which were at every mile, from there it was water, ice and appropriately enough grapes!
Despite a gloomy cloudy start the sun had come out about 90 minutes into the bike and while there was a fair amount of shade this was reduced on the run and it was warming up as the clock approached noon. Despite a liberal smear of Factor 50 my shoulders still caught the sun. I was still fighting the clock and my pace was tailing off, I was doing math to get me a sub 6 hour finish and as I ran into the finish chute I saw the clock with 6:0X, then I remembered the clock started with the Pros and I was going to just sneak under my target . With a quickened pace I crossed the finish line, which even had tape across it! I heard my nom de bloge yelled and turned to see a friend Layla from Twitter holding it! While lining up for a finisher photo I met another DM friend Lauren…it was a total DM/Twitter meet up weekend!
So in a nutshell, a great swim, a good bike and a poor run, based on my original goals this came in as a B/B/C race but given my recent training tribulations I am very happy.
The key takeaways:
Getting there a day early gives you buffer to decompress and get everything together, including your mind
Bike course recon is a must; this is something I am trying to do as much as possible for IMAZ
A Pre-race swim is also a must; comfort in the water is a real confidence booster
Taping gels to my cross bar; easy to reach but scratch your legs to hell
I need to eat per my plan, no surprise there, just do it dummy!
If I am going to get to the start of IMAZ strong and flexible, to stop me from breaking in training and to help me be aero for 6 hours, I need to work on my strength and flexibility…go figure!
The best news is that it was all injury pain free and so hopefully that is behind me and I can move forward with the next round of training
Some thoughts on new kit etc:
The straw on my Torhans aero bottle bounces out which is a pain and I have written to them to see if it is a known issue
My new Hammer kits chaffs; but that could be because it’s new and because I do not have the saddle time post refit
Disc/Deep Dish wheels are under serious consideration
As is another go at finding an aero helmet…I tried one and it did not fit
I managed to get a my 910XT to do as it was told and it worked very well for me, you can see all the data below
Finally while this is only one more step closer to IMAZ it’s a good time to say a big thanks to everyone who has helped me get here so far, knowing I am supported far and wide goes a long way to getting me to the start and the finish line!
With the best will in the world I really can’t say I am tapered, a whole not of lot of training has been going on over the last month! A jacked up back and hips followed by a vacation and a messed up knee for the last two weeks has resulted in more of a falling of a cliff than a taper proper!
So this weekend’s word of the day is complete and not compete…to be honest this is a stepping stone to IMAZ in November and while I did have some prior aspirations of performance this is a good opportunity to dial in some new race day things; it’s the first opportunity to race test the new drive train on the bike and the new wheels. Ironically for a runner the run will be the tricky thing this weekend, not surprising given the aforementioned knee and the complete lack of running miles this year!
If you want to track me this weekend you can follow me on Ironman.com live tracking my number is 93. If you have a smart phone you can download the IronTrac app and plug in my number as it will bring my splits etc to you where ever you may be! Lucky lucky you!
Just a quick note…I had two entries for the Clif Panforte contest; MUN and Alex, so what the hell you both win, email me your addresses (quadrathon at gmail dot com) and I will get them in the mail to you, prolly next week after Vineman!
In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Clif Bar & Company Founder and Co-CEO Gary Erickson created GARY’s PANFORTE, a limited-edition CLIF® Bar full of fruits, nuts and spices that was inspired by his early cycling adventures over Northern Italy’s Passo di Gàvia.
In case you are wondering what Panforte is it is a traditional Italian dessert containing fruits and nuts, and resembling fruitcake or Lebkuchen.
It really is like a nice thick slice of fruit cake and reminds me of sitting in quiet café in San Gigimignano with an espresso in hand watching the wind whisper through the the cypress trees. Perhaps not the best for running given it’s density but perfect for a post run refuel. Even better I found after an hour in the sun tucked into the back of your cycling shirt it’s nicely warmed up soft and chewy. It’s so tasty in fact that I would go as far as to say it’s their best yet!
GARY’s PANFORTE will debut on store shelves nationwide beginning in June and remain available while supplies last…to that end I have five bars to giveaway to one lucky reader who can answer this question…I will draw a winner on Sunday.
I had every expectation that June would be a good month; an easy couple of weeks in May, a solid Olympic race at the end of the month followed by a new PR in the 10k looked to set me up to get to the half year point with some serious miles behind me. Then I put my back out and twisted my knee and before I knew it the month was over.
So here are the deets;
Swim; 13,640 yards (7.75 miles) 6:40 hours
Bike; 242 miles 14:06 hours
Core/PT 4:00 hours
Walking; 15 miles (Seaworld, San Diego Zoo and Safari Park) 11:00 hours
Running; 35.55 miles 4:50
Total; 300.3 miles 16:36 hours
I need to remind myself that it’s not all gloom and doom here are the numbers for the first 6 months or the year, it leaves just under 400 miles short of where I wanted to be but that was an arbitrary target. I expect these will double and more over the coming 5 months.
Swim; 158,400 yards (90 miles) 73:23 hours
Bike; 2141 miles 130:41 hours
Running; 358 miles 51:52
Other; 32 miles
Total; 2621 miles 275:16 hours
As you can tell I am having my own little pity party in Miseryville; population one. I am sure once my knee clears up and I start a new training program everything including my mood will pick up. I have pretty much decided on a plan that will get me to IMAZ, it’s a 20 week plan that I will cut 3 weeks out off, one thing that it does include specifically which appeals is strength and core work. It should be no surprise that both of these things are needed to to maintain form over a long day and hopefully they will also help keep me from falling apart on they way.
UGH! This is not the post I was hoping to write, after basically taking 10 days off other than a bit of swimming to get my back and hip straightened out and parking any real notion of training while taking my boys on a weeks vacation including 15 hours spent walking around Seaworld and San Diego Zoo and Safari Park over 3 days I throw out my knee while messing about with my boys in the swimming pool. Nothing major but major enough to mean I skipped this Sunday’s scheduled 4 hour brick and spent several hours wrapping it in ice, thank you Moji!
With Vineman in two weeks, the fitness is seeping out of me and the weight creeping on, not the solid month of training that I hoped June would be and not a good start to July.
Post Vineman I have a week’s downtime after which I start a 17 week plan to get me to the start of Ironman Arizona.