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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Long HOT running

I was meeting Jim again on Sunday at Jackson Station for a long run session. Jackson Station is about a mile and a half from my house. I was not sure about running to the station and back with a long run in between. I grabbed my old road bike and puffed up the tires. This bike happens to have flat regular pedals so I could just ride the little bit down to the station and not have to mess with any cycling gear. This bike was my first road bike and it has racked up a ton of miles. The chain is spent, the cassette is worn – but it still looks nice. I had a wreck on this bike last summer when the chain bounced off of the sprocket and got sucked in between the crank and frame. I went down hard (got a dent in my helmet) and got lots of rash on my arms and back. The chain would pop off from time to time – especially when starting up a hill and having to apply a lot of force to the pedals.

Well, leaving my driveway the chain popped off and I got a deep sprocket bite on my leg. It looked like a whole tooth went into my leg about an inch above my ankle bone. I laid the bike down and ran into the house and put my foot in the sink – peroxide, ointment and a big adhesive bandage and I was on my way again. In retrospect, I am happy that the gouge was not on my ankle or on any part of my foot that contacts the shoe – this will not slow me. I only lost about 3 minutes.

I was more careful mounting the bike this time and arrived at Jackson Station just as Jim was pulling up. I threw my bike in the back of his truck (and locked it). We headed towards Clyde Station at a comfortable pace. This was early morning but it was hot already. Jim and I talked some more about Ironman strategies – nutrition, pacing, etc and just generally enjoyed the run. Jim is a faster runner than I am but I may have just a little better conditioning at this point in the year. At the 2 ½ mile mark – about 3/4ths of a mile from Clyde Jim said he was going to walk for just a bit and that I could go ahead and catch back up. I do not do enough tempo runs so I took advantage of the situation. I turned the run up a notch, a big notch, and settled into what is my LT pace – high 160’s / low 170’s on the heart rate monitor. It seemed like forever to cover the distance between Jim and I. He had started running back the way that we had come and I think that I ran at the accelerated pace for about 1 ½ miles. Once I caught back up with Jim I took a drink of water from the fuel belt. With 1 mile to go back to Jackson Station (this would be at nearly mile 6 for me) I decided to pick up the pace again. This time Jim came with me. I could hear his footsteps just behind me. I surged and sprinted even faster but I could not shake Jim. I had one more last ditch effort with ¼ mile to go – I could not hold Jim off. We arrived at Jackson Station and took a breather and a drink. Footsteps gaining on you would be an excellent addition to some of my tempo run music! We saw Chris on the bike and chewed the fat for a few minutes.

It was time to repeat the effort. The pace was about the same but it was hotter and I was more tired. At the same point Jim decided to walk. I told him that I did not think that I would be able to catch him as quick this time. Sure enough – it took me about 2 miles at high intensity to draw even with Jim. Once caught up again I dropped to a more comfortable pace. With about one mile to go – we picked up the pace. In these flat out foot races Jim just has the advantage over me. We rested a little bit more at Jackson Station and talked with Chris and Becky (Robin’s mom and Coach extraordinaire). The total for the day was 13.5 miles in 2:12 (with a big rest in the middle) and this was with incredibly hot and humid weather.

Monday would be a leg rest day and I only swam during lunch. I practiced bilateral breathing again and used the paddles a lot to build strength. I did 10 x 300 yards in about an hour.

In a previous post – Ron over at the blog should i tri asked me about my swim pace goal for my next races. This is an area I have not given much thought. I am just now becoming comfortable in the open water on race day. I swam twice a week last year in open water and once a week this year. This practice is just now starting to transfer to race day – I guess it is has been the excitement and the thrashing around that has caused me to panic a little bit during races. Looking at my heart rate data for some of my races – I am redlining during the swim. In some races I have not had ANY extra aerobic capacity and it I get swam over or jostled then panic has taken over – by panic I mean I am not able to get my breathing under control – I can’t catch a breath – I do not mean panic like I am going to die or anything – it is just the breathing thing but that is scary in and of itself. For me, I firmly believe that I will not win any races with the swim but I sure can lose them. I am just trying to finish the swim in the fastest time possible without getting into the red zone and compromising my bike and run times. At my last 2 races I was able to accomplish these goals. In fact, my swims were ranked pretty high in these sprint and Olympic races and I was comfortable during the swim and at T1. My biggest success in the water has just been from slowing down – by doing this I have actually completed the swim portion faster and fresher. Maybe after I completely drown these swim demons I can work on pacing goals.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Trifecta Saturday

On Saturday, I met Jim at the lake at 6:15. The water was not quite as warm in the morning as it has been in the afternoons – It was still warm though. I wasn’t going to break any speed records today so I worked on form - bilateral breathing, weak side swimming and breath control. This was a very good technique swim for me. I’m guessing the distance was about 2500 yards (maybe a little less) in 51 minutes.

We took a slow transition to the bike. I ate a peanut and jelly sandwich and changed into cycling shorts and jersey – this was not a transition training day – just all three disciplines. I was sweating just standing there – it was not even 7AM yet. We headed out of the lake area and onto an old highway.

The traffic was light this time of morning. The route that we were taking involves some rolling hills – something that you just do not get on the trace. We travelled around the country side and were planning on winding around to Sumrall. A wrong turn along the way and we ended up making a loop. It was unexpected. We had discovered a very nice loop that was lightly travelled with rolling hills. Sure I felt a little sheepish getting all turned around. I wish I was a better boy scout and then I would have realized that my shadow on the ground had changed directions. With the heat and the rolling hills we did not get as many miles as we had intended. The bike was slow and hot. I was practicing nutrition and now I know that large amounts of PowerAde / Gatorade really bloat me out. I might need to stick to gels and real food and just plain water.

By the time we got off the bike the sun was out in all of its glory. During this transition Jim went and jumped in the lake to cool off. I passed on the lake remembering how warm it can get – I did not think that it would be very refreshing.

No clouds and just intense heat. Jim had a 2.5 mile route around the lake and we took off on foot at a comfortable pace. Jim dropped back a little bit at the 1 mile mark and I went ahead. I did not know where the turn was for the loop and I just kept running. The road that I was on is the hilliest I have ever been on in Mississippi – that might just be the brick talking – but it was a challenging route. The road ended at a T intersection at right at three miles. I was not sure of the way back to the lake so I just turned around to retrace my steps. At about mile 4 Jim drove up – I did not make it back to the lake and he was checking on me. I told him I was doing okay and I would meet him back at the lake. He drove back and then ran out again. I ended up with a tough, challenging 6 mile brick.

Nothing about this training day was over the top – everything was controlled and comfortable. These training days are good for me – you cannot hammer it every day and expect good gains. Jim and I ended up with close to 5 hours of HEAT training and it felt good.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Distance pool swimming

Friday was a scheduled day off but I had a swim to get in – and I decided to make it a good long endurance swim. I got it into my mind to test my 1000 yard speed. I’m not sure why but my swim has been clicking and I have felt a little bit faster and the swim has felt a little bit easier. That is what I want it to feel like. I planned on doing 4 x 1000 yard repeats with about 30 seconds rest.

Well the rest intervals just didn’t work out. Most were about 45 seconds and one was 3 ½ minutes – I got to chatting with Chris. Chris is taking a class this summer and we got to talking about a test. Don’t get me wrong - I am pretty social but the chatting cost me on the last interval. I was trying to finish but the 1000 yards while they were pulling the lane lines. Lap swim was over and they were about to but the pool splitter line in cutting off the deep end from the shallow end. I had to pull up short on the swim and the last set was only 800 yards. Still – one of my sets was a personal record by several seconds (previous best was 15:57) – and they were pretty easy.

1000 - 15:52 (1:35/100)
1000 - 15:49 (1:35/100)
1000 - 16:05 (1:36/100)
0800 - 13:15 (1:39/100)

I ran into Jim while leaving the Payne Center and we discussed plans for a Saturday mini triathlon. Not race intensity but all three disciplines. We had worked out the logistics and I was pleased to tag along.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hard days night -

The Thursday group ride consisted of just Robin and me. Lance and JD were tapering for a race this weekend – JD talked Lance into it at the last minute – that better be why Lance missed the morning ride. Robin and I had a conversational pace ride and I enjoyed the training talk. When it comes to training Robin is a little smarter - he does not hammer the bike every day. This was my fourth morning ride this week – I guess I was making up for the missed rides over the travel weekend. This gives me just over 100 miles for the week days and I am sure I will stack a few more on this weekend.

I only got 30 minutes of my swim in at lunch and cut it short by 1000 yards. I got to lunch late and lap swim ends at 1:00 PM. It was still a solid swim and I felt fast – and my times were fast. I consistently clocked 250 yard sets at less than 4 minutes without pushing it. I am excited to see what my 1000 yard time trial time will be – previous best was just a hair under 16:00. In addition the lake swim on Wednesday was a bonus swim and I will get another today at lunch – the swim mileage is not suffering.

However, my run has been totally off – I ran twice last weekend but not much since then – a hilly treadmill run on Monday – that’s it! I was planning on doing some speed work on Thursday night with Robin and the cross-country team but some work commitments ran longer than I had planned. In fact, Thursday was a long day. I left the house on bike at 5:30 AM – got my ride in and then drove to work. I did not leave campus and get home until after midnight. I am glad that I pay myself first with my morning workouts – nothing else can come up!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I climb buoys

I had another nice early morning ride on Wednesday. For some reason I thought it was possible to get a 2 hour ride in before work. I guess it is possible if everything just clicks off just right – that would mean leave the house at 5:30 and arrive at the university at 7:30. Damn, I guess it is possible!

Anyway I got a nice 90 minute bike ride in before work on Wednesday but because I would be swimming after work I had to drive. I just took it at a very easy pace and put some miles under me. It still amazes me that you see the same people on the trace day after day. I know a lot of these people and we are all working our own plans but many others I just know by their running gait or their position on the bike. No names but similar goals I am sure.

I went to the gym at lunch and I thought about running outside. I thought that this could help with heat acclimation. I changed my mind on the walk to the gym. I don’t think an easy run in the heat would actually accomplish anything. I decided to jump on the treadmill for an easy 30 minutes run (that is all the plan called for) – but then decided for something faster. I dialed the treadmill up to a 7 minute / mile pace and was going to churn out a nice tempo run – I don’t think I do enough of these. After about a ¼ mile I turned it back down to a very easy run. After another ¼ mile I called it quits on the running. I was just not feeling it – I usually embrace these runs. Having 86’ed the cardio I thought I would do some weight training. I have missed most weight training sessions for the past 6 weeks – they have been few and far between. A couple of sets on the bench press and a lot of abs finished off lunch period.

Out at the lake after work the water just looked hot. I let the group take off towards the last buoy and I just soaked in the warm water for a few minutes. I took off slowly but tried to swim long and strong. There was a little chop in the water and quite a few swells from a boat and a few jet skies on the other side of the buoys. When I reached the last buoy (about 0.2x miles from shore) I was hot. I lifted my arms one at a time in the air to cool down. I wanted to climb on top of the buoy to cool off. I thought that it was funny that the 95+ degree heat was cool and refreshing. We stewed in the water for a little bit longer and Robin suggested a little bit longer interval than we have been doing– swim to the first buoy and back to the third buoy – this would be a touch over a ¼ mile. I think Robin or Ben was on my feet most of the way out and we separated after rounding the buoy. We all got back to the starting point close to the same time. I felt like I was in a cauldron. I had a lot of trouble cooling off. We all headed back to shore. The HOT oven like air in the intense sunlight felt refreshing. I was glad to be out of the water. It was a good swim and the effort was not too high but it was draining. We really need some rain to cool off the lake swimming.

This swim felt like it took a lot out of me – I am glad I did not do the outside run at lunch.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Morning group ride 2 times per week?

I met up with some of the group on Tuesday morning. Last summer we met up on Tuesday and Thursday and I hope that this can continue. It was a small group just Lance, Robin, Keith and me. Keith wanted to do an individual time trial. The rest of us just wanted a ride. We went east to warm up with Keith and rode to the university. On the way back to towards the time trial starting point Keith dropped back to gather his thoughts and prepare for the challenge that lay ahead. He previous best, late last summer, was 30:05 – and by my calculations is 23.63 MPH for the 11.85 mile out and back. Remember, my best at the same TT was 32:10 – Keith was 2 minutes faster and on a road bike and with a normal helmet. My new best time from a few weeks ago – with race wheels, ROCKET helmet and the works I was 30:26 (23.36 MPH) – I’m still proud of that number but Keith is on fire.

At the TT start point I decided to do a tempo ride for the remainder of the session. I wanted to keep my heart rate in the 150 – 155 range for the 30 + minutes – I should have hit lap on my heart rate monitor – it would be a nice bench mark. It was a good ride. I crossed Keith’s path while I was going back towards the starting point – I was sure that he would have already passed me. He looked relaxed and not particularly fast.

Back at Jackson Station, Robin and Lance were each going to run a couple of miles. I wanted to join them but I was running late on time. They ran towards the university and I followed on the bike. I spoke briefly with Keith and he said that he beat his previous best by 11 seconds – 29:54 (23.78). We have another TT scheduled for the group on July 7th – 4 days prior to the Sunfish – also my birthday. It will be a good shake down for the race – or as Lance would say – ‘Establish the peaking order’.

At lunch I had a challenging swim session with lots of 100 yard repeats 16 of them) with diminishing rest intervals. Jim was in the pool and did the sets with me. Total swim was 2600 yards – I was actually scheduled for 3150 but cut it short.

WU: 400
MS: 6x50 builds (each one gets faster) on 30" rest.
Then 4x (4x100):
#1 RI = 20"
#2 RI = 15"
#3 RI = 10"
#4 RI = 5"
Swim 300 easy swim

The commute home was HOT !

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Travel complete – back in the groove -

Three weekends of travelling! Two were for races and one was for holiday – I went to visit my Dad and Sister in Texas last weekend. Although I did exercise on these weekends I have missed some key long endurance sessions (5 hour bike ride on Sunday). I have a sprint triathlon that is a big deal to me during the second weekend of July. The Sunfish in Meridian was my first ever triathlon two years ago and even though it has changed locations (for the better) I want to continue to do this race. There are lots of people from Hattiesburg doing this race – bragging rights you know.

Yesterday, I did a light 20 mile bike ride before work – no heart rate monitor, no GPS, no watch. I just did the ride. I have started to stand out of the saddle for the Sumrall hill – this used to be a real challenge but I am always successful now. I finished the ride at just over an hour – not sure how just over but not much.

The training plan called for a hill run at lunch. I debated this session. I did two hill runs at my Dad’s house this past weekend. Rather than change up the training plan I just went ahead and did the hill run. I am going to try to stick to the plan as much as possible for the duration – 67 days until my ironman. So I dialed up the Alpine Trail on the treadmill. I used to try to spin the machine up until it would nearly spit me off but I have tried to temper that mentality. I set the max speed at 7:30 minutes /mile (8 MPH) and the max slope at 6 (whatever that means). This was a good workout. Not too taxing or challenging but obtainable. It was not my intension but my heart rate stayed in zone 1 / zone 2 (HR ave 141 / HR Max 156) for the entire 50 minutes (there are few minutes warm up and cool down). I completed 5.8 miles for the hill run. When I went all out in the past I would do a lot more work but sometimes I would fail on the session. Once again, for the long run, I am trying to keep all workouts challenging but obtainable!

Training SMART and HARD…

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hot hill running.


I was travelling to Texas for the weekend for Father’s day. I was meeting my sister and her family. I took Friday off from work as a travel day and had intended to get a 50 mile bike ride in prior to hitting the road. That just didn’t work out. I mean, I got up in time and saddled up – it is just that my legs did not feel up to an early morning 50 mile ride. I turned back and only completed a 10 mile ride. I normally would have been greatly discouraged but I was glad to be hitting the road.

The drive was uneventful – a little bit of construction but nothing major. I told my brother-in-law, Joe to bring his swim trunks and he said that he would also bring his running shoes. Joe and I got up early Saturday morning and did a good 5 mile run – there are some pretty good hills at my father’s house. After the run we went and picked blue berries. That afternoon we made it out to the lake for a mile swim - the shallow end was very warm.

The next morning Joe and I increased our run to 7 miles and the run was a little quicker than the previous day.

My training plan had called for a 5 hour bike ride on Sunday – I hate to miss something like that but there will be plenty more rides before my ironman at the end of August.

The heat has come to Mississippi – it was 100+ last week and this week looks the same!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Travel Day

I arrived at Jackson Station at 5:45 AM. JD and Ben were unloading their bikes. Robin showed up on bike. Lance was a no show for this ride. It looked like we all had some trouble getting out of bed! I had just rolled out of bed – no coffee or anything. Not much talking this morning but we started out. I was following JD and Ben.

JD took us out at a good pace and I took over at Clyde. I patted my butt at the Beaver Pond to indicate that I was ready for someone else to take a pull. JD rode up next to me and it was just us. He took over the pull until Epley. I circled around at Epley for the Robin and Ben for just a minute or so – and then Robin was there. JD and I followed Robin out towards Sumrall. JD and I had been trading pulls at a fast pace and having fun. At the turn around we headed back up the Sumrall hill. To work on strength I decided to stand out of the saddle for the 1 ¼ up the hill. I dropped into my hardest gear and just churned out the distance. This was tough work. I paced JD going up the hill and saw Ben turn around a little bit in front of me. I then passed Ben and continued up the hill. At the top of the hill I was spent. JD and Ben stormed past me and I just tried to hang on.

We all traded pulls the rest of the way back to Jackson Station – it was one heck of an early morning ride. It was also the only exercise I got for the day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hot tub swimming

Yesterday was a good workout day even though it was tough to fit everything in. I did a quick 20 mile bike ride in the AM before work. I really didn’t feel like getting out of bed and my legs felt tired. After about 10 minutes everything started to click and I started to push the pace a little bit. I do an out and back and the back is always a little quicker but this time I was pushing harder. The ride was nothing super special but a good effort. – 20 miles in 56:22 (out HR AVE – 136 / back HR AVE 149) – average speed 21.29 MPH (training wheels and regular helmet).

Work has been busy and I was not sure if I would get a lunch workout in – but anything is better than nothing. I grabbed Vic and we headed to the gym for a quick 30 minutes on the treadmill. My training plan called for a hilly run so I dialed up the ‘Alpine Trail’. I fast and hard 3.75 miles of hilly treadmill – there is no downhill on these treadmills!

After work was another OWS swim at the lake. Nice and easy but it felt like a bath tub – or rather a hot tub. The water would have been okay for sitting around and throwing a football or drinking a beer but we were all just about overheating while swimming. I only swam for about 20 minutes and 1000 yards.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fast swimming intervals and even faster running intervals

Monday was an off day – that is right Friday was off and Monday was off. That is what the scheduled called for – it also called for a long bike on Saturday but I did the race instead. There was another race I wanted to do at the end of this month but I have decided to pass. Even though I really enjoy the races they just take too much away from the long endurance days. I think a 4 – 5 hour bike is going to help me more than a 1:30 hour sprint triathlon. If the races were closer I might be able to do them but with the travel it is just not possible.

I got a good swim in on Tuesday morning at the gym. The plan called for a lot of shorter intervals with decreasing rest. The session wrapped up with all out 25 yard sprints with a long rest interval. This started out pretty easy but by the time I got to the last few it was challenging – I did a total of 16 of these sprints.

At lunch I did some treadmill intervals. I was scheduled for only 30 minutes so I wanted it to be intense. Intense it was – I have felt that I have not been going fast enough on the intervals and since I was only going to be able to do 4 x ½ mile I adjusted the pace. I did an easy ½ mile warm up and then dialed in the treadmill to a 6 minute / mile pace for the intervals. Recovery was for 1 minute (0.1 miles). I still had a little bit of time so I tried to do a 5th interval and I failed. It was not on the plan and I was not mentally prepared. I gave up.

INTERVALS 4 x ½ mile at 6:00 minute /mile pace.
01 – 2:59 – HEART RATE AVE – 157
02 – 2:56 – HEART RATE AVE – 165
03 – 3:01 – HEART RATE AVE – 170
04 – 2:59 – HEART RATE AVE – 176
05 – FAIL

Monday, June 15, 2009

DragonFly Race Report


It was a rough start to the DragonFly. There had been some interesting weather up near Memphis. Apparently much of the area was without power. As we got closer to the Greater Sardis area the wind picked up and these clouds were moving east at a rapid pace.

We arrived at the cabin – really more like a house – located at Lake Enid. There were trees downed and debris was all over the place. The cabin was without power. The storm had lowered the air temperature dramatically. As night neared we all sat on the screened in front porch and had a beer or two. Later it was noticed that we did not have power or water. The water for the area is pump driven. Not the best preparation for a race with no water or Gatorade or anything. We would manage.

Thankfully the temperature was nice because it could have been miserable without power. Early the next morning I was waken by thunder and lightning. There was no way that this race was going to take place.

We still prepped our bikes and took of towards the race site. There was less debris as we drove north. We arrived at the race site and it was a go even though there was no power in this area also. They also anounced that the race would be wet suit legal. With the Heat Wave the previous week I was would not be burned again - I had brought my wetsuit.

I lubed my ankles with body glide to help me exit my wet suit. I had another good swim! The wet suit helped. I swam my won race and just – not sure how to describe it – but swan without any of the panic or over heating issues – the wet suit helped. The swim was a horseshoe shape and I took one of the buoys pretty wide. I felt like I was way out in the lake. I finished the ½ mile swim in 13:34 (about 4 minutes faster than the Heat Wave swim last weekend – the Heat Wave swim was a little long and I did not have my wet suit). My swim was 5th in my age group of 31 - I never rank that high!

I had to sit down in the grass to get the wet suit off of my ankles – even with the body glide. T1 took 1:26. Everything still went smooth in the transition. Off on the bike I was pushing pretty hard. I had my heart rate monitor on but the heart rate portion of the watch was taped over (I would peak a few times during the race). I was slowly picking off riders and no one was passing me. I did get passed by two riders at about mile 5 – they looked like they were working as a team. I’m sure that they were in a legal draft some of time but other times it looked pretty bad. Just before the turnaround is where you hit the two hills – the only hills on the course. They were daunting – not long but steep . I dropped into my lowest crank and my lowest gear – I was not going to take any chances. I spun up the hills and I did get passed by one person. It took me two minutes to crest both hills.

After the turn around I was flying on the decents and passed the one person that had passed going up the hills. I was still pushing a hard effort and managed to slowly pass a few more people. I clocked a 49:55 for the bike with an average of 21.9 for the 18.x miles. I am sure that the hills factored into the slower MPH. I pulled into transition and grabbed my running gear. T2 was just under a minute at 59 seconds.

Off to the run. I got passed by someone shortly out of T2. I was already running at a hard effort. This is where I was going to really try and step it up. We ran out of T2 along a paved road – the same road that we biked out of. I was running at a hard effort and I took a peak at my heart rate monitor to prove it – my heart rate was where it needed to be. There was a water stop at the 1 mile mark and even though I did not want to I slowed to a walk and took a drink – it was only a few steps but it cost me time. The run then turned off of the road onto the trail. It was wet and slick. The trail was like single track straight up muddy hills. On several occasions I thought that I would fall. It was a precarious run. I was running hard but careful up the hills and I was not able to fully exploit the downhills for fear of falling – and losing lots of time. Back off of the trail in this out and back run I pushed the intensity on the pavement. I clocked the 4ish mile run in 30:55 with an indicated 7:21 pace. That was faster than the Heat Wave the previous week with a much more challenging run. I would have liked for it to be faster but I was pleased with the effort. In addition I knew that I had pushed harder because I was sore that night and the next day.

On Sunday I did get a long slow easy run – well, everything except the easy part. As soon as I started to run my legs were aching. I just started slow and kept it slow – there was no going fast. My heart rate was in a recovery zone and I just SLOWLY churned out the miles. I ran 7 miles out and had to walk a little bit after mile 10. It was HOT. I did the 14 miles in 2:14 – much slower than normal!

I had a good friend in for Sunday and we wandered around the Pine Belt looking for geo caches – it was a lot of fun and the Beer Club met that evening. It was a full weekend.

Friday, June 12, 2009

DragonFly prep

I did a slow group ride on Thursday morning. Once again it was slow because I ‘front loaded’ my training for the week and this was acting as a taper for this weekend's race. I will be heading up to Sardis for the DragonFly with Shawn and Stephen. The distance for the race is ½ mile swim, 18.5 mile bike and a 4 mile run. Checking the race website it indicates that the water temperature was 77.5 degrees yesterday. Wet suits in Mississippi at this time of year are absurd. I might have to pack mine even though I am not very good at exiting it. I could have used it last weekend at the Heat Wave. I was shivering in the water before the race. Of course, I warmed up soon enough and the wet suit might have been too warm.

I was reading an old Triathlete (June 2008 – the swimsuit issue) and I came across an article called “Crank it Up – Inject some intensity to avoid the one-speed blues” by Matt Fitzgerald. To sum it up I have felt that while my endurance is definitely building my absolute top speed is not present. The article states –

There’s a funny phenomenon in endurance sports that I like to call “becoming a one-speed athlete.” It happens to long-distance runners, cyclists and triathletes whose training becomes so focused on sustained efforts at race intensity and below that their ability to work at higher intensity levels atrophies.

The article states that this phenomenon is due to your body getting used to a set rating of perceived exertion (RPE). That limiting training to the longer endurance makes it more difficult for you to reach a higher RPE in shorter distances. I experienced this last weekend at the Heat Wave. I had plenty of cardiovascular overhead during my run but the effort seemed too hard - I wanted to run faster but I just could not pick up the pace to where I wanted it to be. Sure I ran faster than last year but my heart rate average for last year was much higher – like 10 beats per minute higher. This my fitness is improving (a good thing) but I would also like to be able to find the top gear on these shorter races. The article continues with technics to help limit this ‘one speed’ pony. One such workout is a moderate 50 – 60 mile bike followed by a maximal-effort 10 - 15 mile Time Trial (ouch) or a sustained bike workout at a set wattage about 10 – 15 % higher than your race wattage until exhaustion (45 - 60 minutes for ironman).

I’m thinking that for me I will incorporate some hard tempo runs (5k - 10k pace) and rides at higher than normal pace – more of those TT's.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Double the swim

I missed my swim on Tuesday due to a luncheon at work and I would not be able to swim after work. Right now, there are no lap swim evening hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So I hit the pool early on Wednesday – this would be as long as my longest pool workout ever – 4000 yards. That might not be a big deal to some of you fish out there but that is a lot of laps to me. The workout called for a reverse ladder with increasing intensities. I really do not have very many speeds. Fast or drowning used to be the only ones – I have added an additional speed to the lineup - slow. I found that the only real way to alter my speed by sets was to pick up the pace with about 4 or 5 laps to go – this would maybe allow my times to fall as the distances decreased – probably not the best way but the steady even speeds are elusive to me right now.

1x each with 1 minute RI
1000 - 16:03 (1:36/100)
0800 - 12:46 (1:35/100)
0600 - 09:39 (1:36/100)
0400 - 06:18 (1:34/100)
0200 - 03:04 (1:32/100)
0100 - 01:27 (1:27/100)


So, with the exception of the 800 and 600 yard sets being flipped the times did get faster.

During lunch I did not have anything on the plan (well – 15 minute run) – I could have always swum again but 3 in one day is too much for me – just too much time in the water. I did an easy jog out to the stadium with Vic, Chad and Adam. I was not going to be EPIC today – not even try – but I did do 4 or 5 sets of the stadium stairs and then some pretty easy 100 yard dashes on the field. It was hot and I was feeling it. I called it a day at about 20 minutes and Adam and I headed back to the gym. I have not been doing much strength training lately so I thought I would hit all of the compound movements – with the exception of the legs – I did multiple easy sets of chest, back, abs and some calf raises. Nothing major.

I headed to the lake after work. There was some confusion between the security guard and the swimmers – it all got worked out but it was touch and go for a few minutes. The disagreement took about 20 – 30 minutes so we all ended up cutting this swim session a little short. I still had a good swim and on the last sprint I was trying to practice catching someone’s feet and letting them carry me in – well – Ben is just a little bit faster than me. I really tried to grab a hold of him but I just could not – every time I looked up we were not lined up. I am not sure if I was tacking off line or if Ben was (I’m sure that it was both). Anyway, this got me tired in the swim and I had to settle down a little and find my own groove. This was better race practice than if I had actually managed to grab his feet and draft in. I’m not there yet – but I’m working on it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A new TT PB - on the bike

I had a bike TT on the dockets for Tuesday morning. I had a lunch engagement at work and the gym does have lap swim right after work – this would be the only workout of the day. I will double up the swim tomorrow.

Cycling TT’s are tough! The first TT that I did was last July. There were 6 of us and we started 30 seconds apart. I finished in third place – 4 seconds behind Lance and even further behind Keith. My time was 32:10 (22.1 MPH). In February I tested myself again (same bike – same rocket helmet – same wheels) and managed a 32:00 (22.22 MPH). For the upcoming season I purchased some used HED 3 wheels used off of eBay. I did another TT and only got in the mid-32’s – I was pretty disappointed – after all I had ‘new’ super fast race wheels and I was slower.

So I donned the rocket helmet, the unitard and the race wheels again. I was not feeling strong about this ride – I did not want to be disappointed but my legs still had last weekend’s race in them and hard running intervals from Monday. I rode the course at an easy pace to warm up and then I toed the start line. I took a deep breath and clipped in. I watched my heart rate monitor – I can go out too hard sometimes. I kept it nice and steady and allowed it to build slowly. I clocked a respectable time at the turn around and started to really hit it on the return. With two miles left I let everything fly. My heart rate neared my cycling max. I was pedaling hard but I did not want to see the time on the watch. I just kept the pace up and hit stop as I crossed the line. I checked my watch and I knew that I had a PERSONAL BEST. Not sure of my very best time for the course I was not sure if I had simply killed the TT or that I had destroyed it. Upon further review – yes – my prior PB was destroyed and called names by 1:34 seconds. Total time of the TT was 30:26 (23.36 MPH). In addition, my average heart rate was a bit lower for the ride 162 compared to the February ride at 166. I know I have more speed.

Heat Wave Analysis - 2009

On Monday I completed a good swim in the pool at the university. A reverse ladder ( 600/500/400/300/200/100 ) with increasing intensity. I also swam 200 yards in between sets as a cool down - 3000 yards including warm up and cool down.

Lunch called for another 8 x 1/2 mile intervals with 60 seconds recovery. Two weeks ago I did this work out at 9.2 MPH on the treadmill - I upped it to 9.3 MPH - just a tiny bit faster. On the last interval my heart rate average was about 4 beats less than 2 weeks ago. I am seeing progress.

So yesterday was the race report - today is the stats - the nitty gritty.


******SWIM**T1***BIKE***AVE***T2***RUN**AVE**TOTAL
2008 14:33 1:20 1:10:31 21.1 0:52 47:24 7:47 2:14:39
2009 17:31 1:02 1:04:31 23.1 1:16 45:26 7:27 2:09:44


I improved by 3.8% including the 3 minutes for the swim. I did, infact improve in the swim - just the distances were not the same. Last year I was about 2 1/2 minutes behind my friend Mike - this year only 30 seconds. And I was 4 minutes behind my friend Chris and this year only 2 minutes - Chris is very fast - like 24.9 MPH on the bike fast.

Mike was 16% faster than me last year and only 2.6% faster this year while Chris was 38% faster than me last year and only 12% faster this year. My swim was much improved.

If you remove the swim than the inprovment for the bike, run and transitions was 7%.

On to the bike - well 6 minutes improvement on the dot - a 9.3% improvement from last year - 2 MPH!!! - and I did not feel drained or spent when I dismounted. On the contrary I wished that I could have pushed harder.

On the run I was 1:58 minutes faster - this was a 4.3% improvement. This is also where I lost the most ground. I really need to work on the mental side of this equation and push myself harder. I have never had trouble in this area - I am not sure what gives. I get to test myself again this weekend!

Speaking of Chris - here is a picture of him from a race last year - You do not want to get in his way - he is an animal!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Heat Wave 2009 - Race Report

In the picture - Robin, Ben, Me and Lance (the instigator).


Heat Wave Race Report – 2009

PRE-RACE

They announced that the water temperature was 75 degrees and the race would be wet suit legal. No one was prepared. I did not even think to pack my wet suit. I have been swimming in open water here in Mississippi for the past 6 weeks and it has been too warm for a wet suit. I jumped in the lake for a little warm up and the water was cool but nothing bad. It was warmer than the air temperature. After I got out of the water I was shivering for 20 minute waiting for the race to start – the air temperature was cool. I feared that the bike would be cold after the swim.

SWIM –

This was my best swim ever – by far. In the first 100 yards or so I was having trouble catching my breath. I was swimming and not exhaling in the water and when I turned to breathe I could not get any air. This has happened to me before. After just a few swim strokes I was starting to feel hypoxic. For the first time I mentally took charge of the situation and started to glide my swim strokes out longer and further. I forced myself to exhale and take deep breaths. I quickly found my rhythm and before I knew it I was passing the first buoy. Then a corner buoy and soon enough heading back to shore. I was swimming strong and easy like I do in practice. This was a huge success in and of itself. Like I said – this was my best swim but the time did not reflect it – I was 3 ½ minutes slower than last year. The consensus is that the course was really short last year and it may have been long this year.

T1 –

Out of the water feeling fine. Helmet on, shoes on, sunglasses on – good to go.

BIKE –

I was not cold on the bike at all. I had two gels taped to the top tube. I took one during the bike. I took it easy for a mile or two heading out and then picked up the pace. I was afraid that I would not be able to bring the intensity but it came with ease. I was passing quite a few of the bikers from the first wave. The out section seemed like it was mostly down hill (I thought the same last year but others thought differently). There were big bunches of riders. You would come up on groups and it would be hard to pass. It was hard not to technically draft but it was slowing me down. Everything got much worse at the turn around point. I guess it was from losing the momentum and then heading back up a long gradual hill. This just bunched everyone up. You would come up on a group and the nearly blow up having to pass 20 or so people. I did this repeatedly. Leaving the trace and getting back on Rice road it, unbelievably, got even worse. There was a group of about 30 cyclists – 5 wide in some places. More riders were just piling up at the back – there was no way around this ball of confusion. My heart rate was way down and I was just cruising. Some of the faster racers were starting the run and one yelled – “Could you draft anymore” to the group. No I don’t think you could – however, I do believe that drafting implies that you are riding faster than you normally could – not slower. This large group all pulled into transition at the same time – it looked like an ITU race – just slower. Major frustration.

T2 –

I was a little slower than normal on my transition. There was a bike in my slot and I was a little confused. I racked my bike in the next slot and moved over and put my shoes on, grabbed my running hat and race belt.

RUN -

I was feeling pretty good starting the run. My legs were heavy but I was running strong. My heart rate was lower than I wanted it to be – I was having trouble picking up the pace. The temperature was much nicer this year than last – not a heat wave in the least. I was pacing with someone and just running. I was not pushing the pace. At the turn around point, something changed, maybe my resolve or attitude and I was able to increase my heart rate – the second half of the run was faster and harder. I was passing people in the last two miles. During the last mile I came up on someone with compression socks on their calves – I could not tell what age group they were in – I passed them but I could tell that they were trying to hold onto me. During the last half mile I heard someone trying to mount a last minute pass. I picked up the pace hard and sprinted towards the finish. Whoever was trying to pass me gave up the effort quickly. There was one last turn and just a charge up a hill to the finish. I was sprint all out and hard, however, someone was coming up quick. I was running as fast as I could and I got passed in the last 10 feet. They were flying – they were running like it was a quarter mile sprint! I looked at their leg and there was a 22 on the calf. That age group wave started 4 to 5 minutes before my wave.

Post Race –

I did not feel totally worn out after this race. I think that the ironman training has increased my endurance. A 2 hour effort is not quite what it used to be. I need to work on the intensity. Still, I improved my bike by 5 minutes and my run by 2 minutes – I also had a really good swim even though the time did not reflect it.


Not totally spent - I did a 5 mile run on Saturday afternoon when I got home. On Sunday I got a nice easy 50 mile recovery ride. It looks like my training plan will work well this week also with a scheduled day off on Friday - a nice taper day rpior to the DragonFly Triathlon on Saturday.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pre- Race Dinner and stuff – Heat Wave 2009


The race report will follow on Monday – but I survived the Heat Wave again – this time without the heat. I bested my time from last year and had a good race.

Mike picked me up at my house Friday afternoon and drove us up to Brandon, Mississippi. Ted and Linda live on the reservoir in a beautiful house. They were gracious hosts and extremely hospitalible. I have seen Ted at every triathlon that I have done – all of them – he told me that he has done over 300 races. Chris was already at their house and Ben was trying to help Chris put a new cassette and chain on his race bike. We soon took off to Indian Cycle for race package pickup. Indian cycle is a very nice bike shop / fitness shop in Ridgeland. They had tables of appetizers out and there was even wine. Package pick up was up stairs and they had all of their tri bikes lined up – very impressive – Specialized, Orbea, Trek – all decked out! We also ran into Steve and John from Hattiesburg and they would be coming over to Ted’s house for dinner. Linda had prepared a huge dinner – spaghetti, chicken, two kinds of salad and of course numerous cookies and other goodies.

The weather was spectacular – most of us ate outside under a pergola that Ted had build. Ted is a specialty build and makes wonder constructions (even featured in Southern Living magazine) – he said that right now the ‘Outside Kitchens’ are huge. This outside area at Ted’s house was very nice – it had a beautiful brick fire place and a wonderful view over looking the reservoir and marina.

I had a really good time just talking race strategies with all of the athletes. We all swapped stories about past successes and failures. I ate a little too much - Chris told me that I really didn’t need to carbo load – but I wasn’t – I was just enjoying the food.

I was fading fast just after 9PM and soon headed up stairs for bed. I read a little bit and drifted off. We would be getting up at 4:30 for the race. I woke up at about 4:00 and waited until I heard others stirring.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Race weather - Heat Wave



Uncharacteristic for the Heat Wave - race start is at 7AM.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Pre-Race - HEAT WAVE

There were just a few of us for the Thursday morning ride. Out of the five of us only Robin and I were racing this weekend. I had set up my race bike with my race wheels. This was just going to be a shake down run – nothing fast – nothing major. We headed out and the pace was fine. I had my heart rate monitor on I was keeping everything low. The ride was still a little high for my super duper easy ride. Robin had dropped back a little bit and was riding smart. Robin knows what to do – he is a coach. I decided to drop back and take it easy with him – this also gave me a chance to pick is brain. Robin raced Ironman Lake Placid last year (in the rain) and had a great race. I had a few questions for him. I got my nice easy ride and a lot of good information – Robin stressed to EAT / EAT / EAT and EAT some more during my ironman – and not just gels and drink. Robin was right on – as he peeled away at Clyde Station he said that I didn’t need to take off and catch the guys ahead of us – I think he must have read my mind. I did catch them, they were riding slow, but I did not let my heart rate climb – I kept it low.

Jodie is cake decorating up a storm – a couple of weeks now. Thankfully she has not allowed the cakes to stay in the house. Most have gone to her office. However, she brought a beautiful cake into my office. Coffee and cake in the morning is awesome. We all had a piece and then we ditched (gave) the cake to Julie’s office. The cake would not have lasted long in my area – I have very little discipline – it has to be out of sight to be out of mind. Later in the morning, for fun and games, Vic wanted to see how long we could hold 1 gallon jugs of water straight out at our sides. As always, the person that goes first is the loser – it is the competitive nature. I beat him by a few seconds. Anything heavier than that and I think Vic would have killed me.

At lunch I just played around in the gym – a little of this a little of that – worked the chest and abs. It is hard for me to take easy days, but I was okay with it – I front loaded this week so much to allow for this little bit of taper and I did not want to screw it up.

I dug up my race report from last year’s Heat Wave (2008)
Time – 2:14:39 (swim - 14:33 / bike - 1:10:31 / run - 47:24)

Pre-race routine:
Woke up at 4AM and ate 2 serving of oatmeal and 2 cups of
coffee.

Event warm-up:
Jumped in water.

Swim - Best / worst swim ever. The first half of swim was good but breathing broke down during second half. Could not get breathing under control. Flipped over on back twice to try to calm down. Just toughed it out.

What would you do differently?
More practice in open water swimming. Try to remain calm and
collected. I have been practicing alot this year - should be much better!


T1 - Took a second or two to calm down after swim. I had planned on biking / running without socks but decided to take the time to put some on anyway (I had already put them out in transition just in case.)

What would you do differently?
Pretty good transition considering. Need to practice a running bike mount. Still have not done this - it is one of my resolutions - just have not done it.

Bike - Happy with bike. Wanted to go harder.

What would you do differently?
Ride a little harder

T2 - Good transition. Stopped bike. Hopped off. Ran to bike rack and very end of transition. Bike shoes off. Running shoes on. Hat on. Race belt on.

What would you do differently?
My socks were soaked. Try to go sock less next race. Check - no socks. Need to practice flying dismount.

Run - Some rolling hills took it out of me. I was being paced early on by someone. I slowed a little and someone in my age group passed. I stuck to there hills. I passed him at the next water station and we continued to trade positions. I passed him at the last mile mark and took off hard. I ended up having to walk twice in that last mile but had enough distance on him to finish nearly a minute ahead. This was a slow pace for me. I sprinted the last little bit by the bike transition and then someone yelled - "the finish is just up the hill." That was a hard charge up the hill.

What would you do differently?
Pace my self a little better. Do some hill training. Just run hard - this was hard last year!

Post race

Warm down:
Looked for water

What limited your ability to perform faster?
Need to open water swim better, give a little more on the bike, and perform better on the run.

Event comments:
This is a great race. Nice shirt, nice hat, great organization!!! A well run event

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Swimming, swimming, running, cycling and a taper – hard to do in just a couple of days.

To make up for the missed lunch workout I went to the pool on Wednesday morning even though I knew I would be swimming after work at the lake. I enjoy the lake swimming more than the pool swimming but the pool is convenient and it allows me to work on drills and speed. I swam for 3000 yards in various sets (6 x 200 / 1 x 500 / 6 x 200 / 1 x 100). A nice comfortable swim.

Lunch called for some longer intervals. I was going to do these on the trace with Chris, however, it had started to sprinkle outside and I did not see Chris anywhere. Well, up to the treadmills for some forced speed work. I should not do this but I altered the intervals a little bit. The plan called for 5 x 5:00 minutes at LT with 60 seconds RI. Last week it was 8 x ½ mile at the same level. Well I increased the duration but decreased the number of sets. I did a 10 minute warm up followed by 4 x 1 mile repeats at a 6:30 pace - (60 second RI) with a 10 minute cool down. Towards the end of each interval my heart rate would get well above LT but the average for the interval was much lower. The entire workout consisted of 6.3 miles in 49:06 for a 7:47 pace (take out the WU and CD and that is a 6:46 pace with the rest). Not too bad on tired legs.

TREADMILL INTERVALS (10 WU / 10 CD)
4 x 1 mile (6:30 pace) with 0.1 mile (1 minute) RI

1. 6:32 - HR AVE 157
2. 6:28 - HR AVE 156
3. 6:34 - HR AVE 157
4. 6:31 - HR AVE 164

The OWS after work felt great. JD measured the distance to the buoys with a GPS in his boat. It is pretty close to 0.2 mile to the second buoy so that an out and back would be 0.4 mile. To simulate my race this weekend I decided to do this distance twice with a small rest in between. No warm up – just like a race (except for all of the anxiety, tension, elevated heart rate, etc). I took off and settled into a rhythm – Robin was off to my right and I was using him to sight. I tend to lose so much momentum when I have to sight. We drifted apart a little and I was off course to the left so I corrected. I think most of the swimmers stopped at the buoys but I just rounded it and headed to the shore. I waited to see if anyone had followed me but they were all bobbing around at the buoys. I ended up waiting 90 seconds and headed out for another loop. This was a slower, easier pace – mainly because I was now warmed up. I just cruised this loop and the swim felt great. The second loop ended up being about a minute slower.

OWS -
0.4 miles - 12:06
90 RI
0.4 miles - 13:04


After the swim, I was last out of the water; we talked about the upcoming race. The Heat Wave is pretty big in Mississippi and everyone wants to do well. Lance was saying that JD was going to kill the bike and damn the run. This would give him bragging rights - he has really become a strong cyclist this year. Lance is determined to not allow JD to beat him on the bike. I just want to do well in the race and beat my times from last year. After most everyone had left Lance told me that Robin was gunning for me and that I was marked. Again, I told Lance that I was just going to run my own race – let the cards do the talking so to speak. Lance called me out – he said that he reads my blog and that what I said was bull – he said that he knew that I wanted to beat everyone. SMACK!!!

Later, I found out that he called Robin and told him that I said that I would beat him by 5 minute. Lance is such an instigator – I love it – game on.


I really am treating this race as a training day – just a very intense training day!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

That is a bargain – that is a bargain for me!

I went for an early morning trace run before work. I had a lunch engagement so that would prevent me from getting a workout. I kept my heart rate low – below 150 – and just enjoyed the run. It is funny when you see people out on the trace in the early morning – it is such a small group of people that have the same commitment. I only saw about 5 people in the 45 minutes that I was out – three were Shawn, Stephen and Terry - these happen to be guys that I have been swimming with on Wednesday nights. It is a small group of people indeed. I finished the 6 miles at a hair over 8 minutes per mile.

At lunch I attended a focus group at the Payne Center (the fitness center here at the campus). They wanted feedback on what the center does both good and bad. I truly believe that I am adaptable and the Payne Center meets all of my needs – and I am at the center 10 + times each week. In addition to the center being very convenient in location it also has the trace very close by. For me, this extends the use of any fitness center by having a 42 mile rails to trails for biking, running or whatever. The center also allows for me to commute to work via the trace and then use the facilities to clean up before work. I know that I have it lucky – all of this plus an indoor 1/8 mile track, workout room with free weights and machines, cardio area with treadmills, ellipticals and exercise bikes, yoga and other classes, an indoor pool, racquetball courts, basketball courts, sauna and an outdoor hilly walking track – for – get this about $15 a month. I don’t think that there is much more you could ask for!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hyper-compensating

My weight was up a little bit on Monday morning after the long ride on Sunday. I think I put on water weight because I deplete my glycogen stores and then with post recovery my muscles hyper-compensate (like they should). I am sure that my weight will drop again by mid-week.

I am trying to load the front part of this week with my cycling and running because I have a near Olympic race this weekend (Olympic except the swim is ½ mile) and I want my legs to be fresh. The Heat Wave is up in Ridgeland (near Jackson). The bike is on the Natchez Trace – super smooth and the run is a tough 10k. I was looking at my results from last year and I hope to improve upon them (2:14 – swim 1:39 / 100 – I think the swim was a little short – bike 20.85 MPH – run 7:39 min/mile ).

The training plan called for even more cycling. Two hours of biking were in store for the day. During the week it is really hard for me to get a 2 hour block in – I have no problems getting in several 1 hour blocks but more than that and it gets hard. So I decided to split the workout – I usually would not do this believing that a solid 1 workout (if the workout is for endurance purposes) is better than 2 shorter workouts. I headed out on the trace at 6AM and did my 20 mile out and back to Sumrall. No watch, no heart rate monitor, no GPS - just a nice early morning ride. My legs were tired but the ride was good.

I got a good swim in at lunch – I am still working on my bilateral breathing. This is something that I do not think I will be able to utilize in a race but the breath control and stroke refinement should prove helpful. 3000 yards total.

I was proud of myself for finishing up the additional hour on the bike. I got home and really did not want to mount up but gathered my resolve and did it. It was a nice afternoon – it did not feel hot like it should have. Once again, no watch or heart rate monitor but this time I was pushing it pretty hard. On the return trip I started to feel drips of water in the air. It was not raining - blue skies and dry air. This is an out and back and I never got rained on but on the return I crossed a stretch of the trace that had evidently been poured on while I was out. For about 3 miles the trace was soaked. There were pools of water all on the road. The spray got me wet but I was now refreshing. There was no sign of rain back at the house.

I came home to a delicious and health dinner. This is getting easy!

Monday, June 1, 2009

New weight challenge.



My weight fluctuates WILDLY! I’m not sure what it is – I have been weighing daily for about 7 years and it never falls – the weight is all over the place. I have learned to only be concerned with the trends. However, it does baffle me that it still fluctuates even when you are doing everything right. We have been having a little weight loss challenge at work for the past month. It was really just a motivational exercise for me. Going into the home stretch I was doing well and I was determined to follow through for the last weekend (the first weigh in was on a Friday and the last on a Monday – talk about challenging).

Well, I had a night out last Thursday and got the requisite 4 pound spike. That was okay because I knew it would fall – and it did – bam 4.4 pounds right off again. So this weekend I had a lot of riding to do and I was not going to splurge and kill the diet. I followed the plan (diet and workout). Saturday I did a fast 50 miler - I headed out and rode into Tony at Clyde Station and we rode together for the first 10 miles and then I just churned it out for a just under 20 MPH average (take out the water stop and it was better than 20 MPH). I immediately followed this up with a hard (read – really hard) BRICK. 4 fast miles. My legs were aching, it was hot out – it was just plain tough and painful. My nutrition on the bike was my usual Gatorade and a couple of gels. In the past I did not take many calories on the rides and I found that my performance really suffered and I would get bonky for the rest of the day – irritable and loopy. I had about 600 calories for the 3 hours of intense exercise. After the session there was a quick ice bath. The legs felt fine – a little achy but nothing much. I ate a health lunch and dinner of lean protein and steamed vegetables. All within the plan.

My weight jumped 3.6 pounds the next morning. I know that I drink a lot when on longer bike rides. I also know that the sodium and other ions in sports drink can cause me to hold water but come on. Sunday would be another long day in the saddle. The legs still felt fine. Jodie and I headed out at the same time and would ride together for the first 10 miles. This was an easy 70 miler and I would keep my heart rate low – like zone 1 low. I wanted to evaluate where my ironman pace might be. I had no problems just churning out the miles. Being silly I decided to not take any Gatorade or gels with me. I wanted to see if this was the cause for the water retention. However, I did take food for the ride. I grabbed 4 fruit and nut bars and an emergency gel. The fruit bars are like rice crispy treats with almonds and cranberries sprinkled throughout. They were good. My oatmeal breakfast was gone by the time I hit Bassfield (25 miles). I stopped and refilled water bottles and had the first bar. Back on the trial I was already feeling a little tired and I was actually hungry. I stopped at Prentiss (the trail end – just over 10 miles from Bassfield) and had another bar. I could not believe it but I needed to stop again and have a bar just 10 miles later back at Bassfield – and I would stop again 15 miles later at Sumrall for the last bar. The previous day I stopped once in 50 miles and I was riding at a much higher intensity. I consumed just over 800 calories for the ride. The 72 miles ended up taking 4:10 – much longer than I would have thought. I did not have an ice bath following this ride – I did not think that the legs were pushed to far – just too long. I don’t know if it would have helped but my legs were sore that night.

So what is the take away from all of this – not much really - I think the easily digestible nature of sports drink and gels really allow for my body to take calories in more easily than solid food. I cannot make any assessment to the performance of the ride - after all I was exercising on tired legs from the previous day.

In the long run the weight does not matter – just putting the time in and eating health. That is working out well!