Saturday, October 01, 2005
Another time trial
On Sept. 23 I cycled 17.9 miles in 60 minutes.
Today I repeated the sixty-minute time trial, full of inspiration from witnessing the start of the Chesapeakeman ultra-distance triathlon this morning.
New hour distance record for me today! 18.1 miles in 60:00 on the same course!
I love improving. :-) Especially since it's 1.9 mph faster than I rode in my last duathlon, two months ago in July, on similar roads. Thanks for the inspiring boost, triathletes!
I'm still waiting anxiously to hear how the rest of Ellie's day went - if she hasn't already, she will soon be crossing that line to become an IRONMAN!
Have you bought Hallowe'en candy yet? Yeah? Is any of it left?
Here's a fun review of some of the new varieties offered this year.
Chesapeakeman volunteer report
It's perhaps the most beautiful weather they could have gotten for this event: zero wind, zero waves on the Choptank, a rare day of low humidity (no fog like last year), 68 degree water temperatures (warmer than the air this morning), and right now the temperatures are climbing to their high for the day of 73-75*F. The full sun might be a little hot and tiring on the bike, I imagine, but that's the only weather complaint the triathletes should have for the day.
I was really surprised to see that there were only about 120 people participating in today's event. Triathletes are really missing out on a gem of an iron-distance event, on a flat PR course!
I arrived at 5AM on site at the huge luxurious Hyatt resort in Cambridge. I hadn't been there, but it's a fabulous place. I found RD Bob Vigorito and a few early arrivals in a big pavilion starting the day with Starbucks on tap. I got to work doing the best volunteer job of all - body marking - which kept me fairly busy up until the start. It was a friendly, low-key atmosphere.
I think there were only about 10-15 women in the entire event, and Ellie was the oldest female competitor. I saw her at the start and helped mark her up and smear her bare arms with Vaseline against the sea nettles in the Choptank. She seemed reasonably calm and in positive good spirits.
The sun came up just about 2 minutes before the mass start in the Choptank - the rosy sky reflected off the water was lovely. There was a long pier that the spectators could walk out on to follow the swimmers on foot as they headed out for the first few hundred yards.
As the swimmers proceeded down the river with a favorable current in the point-to-point swim, I got in the minivan and drove to T1 - the waterfront park where Eagleman is staged. Not long after I arrived the swimmers started coming out of the water - I believe the first finisher was a woman who came out at about 45 minutes. That current helped everyone!
I stationed myself at the swim exit and directed the swimmers up the ramp and helped steady them as they regained their land legs, if they needed it, while shouting numbers up to the timing crew.
Everybody had a PR swim! Ellie was expecting to swim about a 1:45, and she came out at 1:25, with only 3 remaining men emerging shortly thereafter. All were very happy with their times! Most people seemed relatively relaxed and not too exhausted coming out of the water. One guy stopped as he came out of the water and jokingly demanded his money back, because he had been told this would be a challenging swim. :-) A couple people with sleeveless wetsuits mentioned getting hit by the sea nettles, but they didn't seem too severely affected by them. Mostly they just itch, and aren't too bad when treated promptly.
After everyone was on their way from T1 I drove over to the high school where T2 was located. It was quiet and fairly empty and would remain so for several hours, and suddenly fatigue from the early morning was catching up with me. I had thought about taking a long run on the triathlon run course, but then realized that the aid stations weren't even set up yet, so I thought better of it and headed home for my nap instead.
Best wishes to everyone out there on the course, and to everyone else racing this weekend!
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Quote of the day
-- Felix Berman, in GeezerJock (which, by the way, is a great new magazine and is still being distributed FREE - get your copy!)
Special good wishes
First (in chronological order by eldest first and event first) is Ellie, my adventurous RV-traveling friend and an inspiration to me, who is taking on her first iron-distance event on Saturday at Chesapeakeman, in Cambridge, Maryland. I hope to see her briefly before the 7AM swim start to wish her well and send her on her way to becoming an IRONMAN!
She's been training hard for this for a long time and while she always expresses worries, I know that she's ready to conquer that course. She will probably be the oldest female competitor on the course! Isn't that cool?
The woman who will cross the finish line is a different one from the one who started that morning!
Secondly, equally an inspiration to me but for different reasons, is my friend Holly who is toeing the starting line at the Army Ten Miler on Sunday. Holly has been battling melanoma for a long time now, as described by her fellow melanoma survivor Oldman. Not having had that experience (knock on wood) of being on extended interferon treatments myself, I can only imagine what a challenge it is for Holly to force herself get out and train while feeling like crap. I truly admire her positive spirit. She has my respect and good wishes! I'm looking forward to running with her for part of the Marine Corps Marathon in a few weeks, and I'm sorry I can't join her this weekend, since the Army Ten is one of my favorite road races in the whole world!
There are some great photos of Holly with her sister on her sister's blog. What a hoot!
Funny, isn't it? I never would have met either of these remarkable women if I hadn't started running, but I feel that I have a lot in common with both of them that has nothing to do with our athletic pursuits. I'm proud to know them.
YOU ROCK, ELLIE AND HOLLY!
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
PSA: Deep vein thrombosis
Often there are no symptoms until several days after the flight, and the DVT may be mistaken for a cramp. Symptoms may include:
- Sudden swelling in one leg (a little swelling in both legs is usually
- Cramp or tenderness in one lower leg
- Bruise or swelling behind a knee
If you're thinking this doesn't happen to healthy road warriors, you'd be wrong. Being athletic is a major risk factor, because the slower pulse and resting blood flow rate may lead to increased stasis.
Conversation with Catherine in the park
"Yes, you hid the leaf in your hand."
"No, not in your mouth."
"No, it's not like lettuce, it's not good to eat. It's a leaf from a tree."
[signing 'leaf', running back and replacing leaf exactly where she found it]
"Good girl, taking it back where you found it."
"Yes, that's a helicopter."
"Na-na ah-pah ah-pah." [shaking head]
"Yes, you're right, it's not an airplane. It's a helicopter."
"No, I'm sorry, I can't make the helicopter fly back here."
Then I got treated to underwater views of ugly pendulous objects floating out from underneath the baggy swim trunks of the elderly men in the aqua aerobics class. Ew.
There is no picture available to post with this entry sufficient to convey the horror of the scene.
I couldn't take it. I quit early before I did something I might regret.
Call me a wimp.
Recommended reading list
I've only read twelve of the books on the list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000 by the American Library Association (you know, that group that Dr. Laura rants about?). I'll have to scan their list carefully for some more good reading material and a selection of the most objectionable and seditious children's literature to provide for my girls.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Good luck present for Shelley
She's raised thousands of dollars for charity, she bought her new Hawaiian suitcase, she's done her last long ride, all that remains is to finish her taper and get on the plane!
I wanted to wish her well and send her off to Hawaii with a big going-away present that won' t take up any room at all in the suitcase:
Does anyone else have anything they would like to send along with Shelley!?
Time for some workout flipflops this week! I may do a long run on Friday, and then bring my bike along to my Chesapeakeman volunteer gig on Saturday. Arrive at 5AM on site (ouch), work the swim start, drive across town to help at the swim exit (2.4-mile point-to-point swim down the Choptank River), then head out on my bike for 3 or 4 hours (some other roads than the actual bike course - I don't think they'll appreciate a non-competitor getting in the way of their event). Then towel off and head over to one of the run aid stations to help out there, and watch Ellie rock that course! That should work! Sounds like a plan to me!
Monday, September 26, 2005
Right now I think my limiters (where I'll have to spend most of my training time and attention in the next year) are:
- Body composition: BAH! Of course, I'm hauling around way way too much body fat. This seems to change very slowly for me. :-( But it would cause the greatest improvement in my speed in all legs of a triathlon if it did.
- Swimming: everything about it - technique, endurance, and confidence. Training will ensure I finish within the swim cutoff, make me more comfortable in the water, and help me not finish the swim leg exhausted, but won't affect my overall time much. If I can stay on course and swim freestyle most of the swim leg, I'll do fine. Every open water swim I can do in the next year is money in the bank.
- Cycling: both endurance and speed. This is where in training I can make the greatest improvement in finishing time and also be less fatigued for the run. I need to extend dramatically the time I can stay in aero position comfortably, at the same speeds or faster than I'm cycling now. That's quite possible to achieve in a year's time. I could use more practice changing flats, certainly.
- Running: progress in a year will probably mostly be due to any changes in body composition, not a lot from any additional training. No great gains expected there. I've done four marathons at well under 7 hours, with hopefully 2 or 3 more coming up soon. For this event I just need to maintain my running fitness.
I think my strong points right now are:
- Hydration, electrolytes, and nutrition: A question mark on the swim, good in transitions, solid on the run, improving on the bike. I'm still working on a solid eat-drink routine and schedule for the bike, and I'm still working on finding a solid food I can eat when I'm hot and working without giving me stomach cramps in aero position.
- Pacing: I think I have a good grasp on my limits and the effects of going out too fast, and generally don't make that mistake. The trick is picking a pace where it feels easy the first third, comfortable but brisk the second third, and you can just hang on by your fingernails the final third.
- Experience: I can always use more triathlon practice, but I think the large number of road races that I've done (including ~20 half marathons) is helpful in teaching me to keep going under adverse conditions and to think on my feet during an event.
- Knowledge: I know the science behind training and performance enhancement. I've taught graduate-level courses and done research in exercise physiology, sports nutrition, and sports biomechanics.
- Mental toughness: I think I've got that aspect covered. Not just in theory, but in lots and lots of races where I've proven it to myself repeatedly in the line of fire. I won't stop until they make me. I don't DNF unless I'm hurt really badly.
IMFL by the numbers
Sunday, November 7, 2005, 9:00 AM CST/10:00 AM EST: Online entries open. That's exactly ten minutes before I'll be starting the New York City Marathon. Sheesh!
Wednesday, November 1, 2006: Ironman village opens. Panic will be setting in.
Sunday, November 5, 2006, 6:00 AM CST: Sunrise. At least we won't have to swim in the dark.
Sunday, November 5, 2006, 7:00 AM CST: Mass swim start of ~2300 triathletes. Will that include me?
Sunday, November 5, 2006, 9:20 AM CST: Be done with the swim, or be done for the day. 140 minutes to swim 2.4 miles. That's 3862 meters. 78 laps in the pool. That's less than 3:37 per 100m pace, repeated 39 times, in seawater, and I'll need to come out of the water feeling fresh, not exhausted. Without any missing pieces carried off by sharks.
Sunday, November 5, 2006, 9:30 AM CST: If I'm not out of T1 by this time and heading out on the bike leg feeling strong, I'm in trouble. Once I get out of T1, I'll be relieved and I'll feel like I have a fresh start, after conquering the swim leg.
Sunday, November 5, 2006, 4:53 PM CST: Sunset. It's going to be a long evening. I'll have to be off the bike well before sunset.
Sunday, November 5, 2006, 5:00 PM CST*: Be done with the bike leg and out of transition, or be done for the day. (Yes, I've heard of triathletes being stopped by officials coming OUT of T2 late even though they finished the bike leg within the cutoff time). Allowing another 10 minutes (hopefully that's generous) for T2 or problems on the bike route, that's 7:20 for 112 miles on the bike. That's a minimum average of 15.2 mph for 7 1/3 hours, all stops and refueling and bathroom breaks and changing flats included. Or if I allow 10 minutes time off the bike for any reason, that's a 15.6 mph minimum average speed. And finish fresh enough to start a marathon. Once I get out of T2, I'll be relieved, because I'll know that I don't have to depend on my swimming ability or on my bike - it's just up to my own two legs.
Sunday, November 5, 2006, 5:18 PM CST: End civil twilight. This means most of the run is going to be in the dark.
Sunday, November 5, 2006, 8:00 PM CST: If I can make it to the halfway point of the run leg by this time, and I'm uninjured, I will heave a great sigh of relief, because I'll positively know in my heart I can finish. I can walk it in if I have to.
Sunday, November 5, 2006, 8:30 PM CST: If I can make it to the halfway point of the run leg by this time, and I'm uninjured, I will be in good spirits, because I still can finish on time if I keep going strong.
Sunday, November 5, 2006, midnight: The course closes and I need to be over the finish line by now in order to become an Ironman. That's 7 hours to complete a marathon, or a pace no slower than 16:01 minutes per mile. My walking pace when I'm tired is about 20:00 minutes per mile, so I have to be ready to run a significant portion of the course. If I run 12:00 minutes per mile, at least half of the time on the course has to be completed running to finish on time.
But if I finish after the time cutoff - there's no shame in that, either.
Can I do it? None of the times for any one segment sound terribly intimidating to me. It's just that little feature of doing the whole 140.6 miles in one day that makes it a challenge.
But I keep thinking of this quote that Linda posted on her blog:
TAKE A CHANCE
"If you think there’s a 50/50 chance of success or better, then go for it."
--Mira Kirshenbaum, Psychotherapist
*Subsequent note: IMFL website now says a 10:15 cutoff for the bike leg, which takes us up to 5:15 PM to start the run.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
1. Swim: 5280 yards (3 miles): 7416 yards (4.2 miles), month to date, more this week.
2. Cycle: 120 miles: 137 miles, month to date, more this week.
3. Run: 80 miles: 81 miles, month to date, more this week.
4. Other training: complete 1000 crunches: 1005 crunches, month to date, more this week.
5. Events: complete 1 cycling metric century (100 km/62.1 miles): Didn't finish. Made one ride of 52 miles, another ride of 47. The 62-mile ride isn't going to happen this month because there's just not enough time left for a long rides in daylight hours! Well, except possibly this Friday.... hmmm.
I'll give this month an overall grade of A-. While my goals weren't huge totals in any one discipline or tremendously ambitious, it's a big improvement in consistency for me. This marked improvement over the past couple of months is, just like I said last month, directly attributable to:
1. Being accountable to my online coach, Simon Hayes, aka Yurtie. Thank you, Yurtie!
2. Being accountable to post my workouts publicly on my blog. Thank you, readers!
I really hate posting it on my blog when I didn't accomplish what I set out to do for the week, so that has pushed me to get it done on many occasions when I would otherwise have preferred to just be lazy and stay home. I have had to flipflop workouts around a lot, but for the most part I've been getting in most of what I had planned each week by the end of the week.
The big boost that two months of consistency in my workouts has given me is not just improved fitness, but the teensy little thought in the back of my head that if I sign up for Ironman Florida in November, and I'm able to keep up something close to this consistency for most of the next year, I *might* actually be able to cross that line on my own two feet before midnight on that night in November of 2006. I might hear those incredible words of the announcer ringing in my ears.
You know the words. The ones that give any aspiring triathlete the goosebumps.
"___________, you are an Ironman!"
When I was good and ready and awake, I went to the track for an alternative workout. Mile repeats at a comfortably brisk pace with quarter-mile walk segments in between:
Looking back (keeping this blog is helpful for that!): I haven't been on the track for a while! I did some mile repeats at the track on July 16 in 11:16, 12:03, and 12:45, but that was battling heat stroke. On June 19 I did some mile repeats with the first three at 10:28, 10:36, and 10:53. I think those felt a lot harder than these. Today I was running at a strong pace for me, but not pushing hard, and my repeats were getting faster, not slowing down. So I think this looks like progress.
The weather is changing into fall mode, dipping toward the fifties overnight but still the seventies during the day - a great time of year! When I returned from the track I loaded up the girls in the jogstroller for their baby workout at the playground. They're developing great athletic skills on the slides, the balance beam, and the climbing apparatus!