Sunday, January 25, 2009

Race Report Try Melon Tri - Week 12 Summary

On Sunday, January 25th I made the drive to Muscatine, Iowa to compete in an indoor triathlon called the Try Melon Tri. I did this race 3 years ago but haven't been in any kind of shape this time of year to do it the last couple. The race consists of 9 waves of 9 people in each entering the pool every 30 minutes. The distances are 900 yards swimming, 7 miles biking (on the legendary Schwinn Aerodyne), and 2.5 miles running on the 100 meter banked turn track. When I arrived I saw they had posted the winners from every year they have had the event. My time in 2006 was 46:31 which was a record until it was broken by 2 seconds last year. This was the 15th year of the race. I thought with a good race I could go 45 minutes. The waves enter the water based on swim seed times and since the day gets really long I seeded myself slower than I knew I could swim so I wouldn't have to be there all day. As it was I was scheduled to enter in wave 3. I watched the first wave of the swim and knew I would have trouble winning. The swim in this event is pretty long compared to most sprint triathlons and that is my weakest part. I watched Chris Mann, a good triathlete from Muscatine who now competes for Iowa State's Triathlon club and Chris Scott, a great triathlete from Morrison, IL both swim really fast. Chris Mann exited the water around 10:40, and Chris Scott around 11:20. My swim goal was 12:20 so I knew I would have trouble catching them. I was able to see them get off the bike while I was warming up and I knew they were both going to break the course record. They were competing really well. Chris Scott had the lead entering the run and I knew he was a great runner. I didn't see their run since I had to move toward the start.

I started the swim at the far edge of the pool where my wife Jen and daughter Payton couldn't see me from behind the spectator glass. I was trying to stay relaxed and swim with good technique. It was a pretty uneventful swim except for being plowed into by the guy in the lane next to me about 300 yards in. I glanced at my watch at the 500 mark and saw 6:50 which was right on my goal time. I exited the water at 12:30 which was nearly a minute faster than last time I competed in this race but I knew that put me down almost 2 minutes to Chris Mann and over a minute to Chris Scott. After a quick transition I adjusted my seat and mounted the Schwinn Aerodyne bike which I wasn't looking foward to. I enjoy riding in time trial position, not sitting straight up moving my arms with my legs. I started off riding hard and it was TOUGH! I glanced down after I could see my RPM's were dropping and saw I had only ridden 1/2 mile! This was going to be torture. I kept looking at Payton and she had this look of "What is that crazy thing dad is doing with his arms...and why does he look like he's dying??" I continued to pursue through this pain for what felt like an eternity. I was watching the mileage add up but it couldn't hit 7.0 soon enough. Finally...7.0! I could now get off this thing and I won't get on another one until this race again next year! The time ended up being about a minute and a half faster than last time I raced here (possibly the longest 16:38 of my life). I made my way to the track with my glutes on fire due to my seat being too low on the bike. I started out not very fast around the 100 meter track but after about 3 laps my legs were in running mode and I started clicking off 20-21 second laps until the end. I tried to speed up the last 8 laps but probably just stayed the same pace. I finished the run and saw my time was 43:56, much faster than I thought I would go. It hurt a lot. As I made my way off the track I heard that my time was the exact same as Chris Scott's. Yes, we had tied! We both had great races and both beat the course record by over two and a half minutes! Chris Mann also finished well under the course record and had a great race. Overall I was very pleased with how it went. I didn't think I was capable of going that fast yet. My run split was a 5:33 mile average which was solid. I held pretty even pace for the entire run after the first few laps.

For the week I totaled 17.75 hours of training with 40 miles running, 100 biking, and 9,400 yards swimming. I lifted weights, did speed drills, and strides all three times, did lunges and plyometrics twice, and core work 6 times. My favorite workouts of the week were on Wednesday when I ran 8x 400 meter and 4x 200 meter hills. This was tough because I did it alone and it was very cold. I had never done 8 of the long hills. My other favorite workout was a long run of 13 miles. I was alone again and it was along the bike path in Rock Island and the wind was blowing 25-30 mph and I was FREEZING! My face burned from the cold. I ran the first 45 minutes right into it and kept reciting George Washington's quote from when his soldiers crossed the icy Delaware River..."These are the times that try men's soles." I wanted to turn back but didn't. The only other runner I saw out was Rock Island Alleman's state champion cross country runner Tim Hird so I knew I was being pretty dedicated. The next two weeks I plan to increase volume on the bike and run before racing 3000 meters at Augustana on Feb. 14th. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Week 11 Training Summary

Week 11 was my highest volume yet to be achieved in a week. My total training time was 21 hours. I hit my highest running mileage week yet with 55 miles. Looking back through my running logs that was my highest running week since July of 04' when I hit 60 miles. I also had my highest biking week so far with 110 miles which actually isn't a lot at all once the weather is nice. Last summer I averaged 150 miles per week on the bike topping out at 220. It's much more boring indoors and I don't have that kind of time right now with school in session. For swimming I hit the pool 3 days for a total of 12,100 yards. In addition to that work I also lifted weights, did speed drill, and strides all three times, did plyometrics and lunges twice, and core work six times.
After last week's race at Augustana I was feeling some discomfort in the middle of my lower back. I iced and massaged last weekend a lot but it was still hurting through my workouts on Sunday and Monday so I called Dr. Kaminski's office and they got me in on Tuesday. Wow! He really does incredible work. I was in his office for 15 minutes to get Active Release treatment and I haven't had a bit of pain since. I felt great the rest of the week. I'm thankful to have a sponsor that can help keep me healthy so I can continue to put in all this hard work. If you have an injury consider Kaminski Pain and Performance Care. He will take great care of you and get you back to working out fast!
I had a few great workouts this week. One was a tempo run brick workout off the bike where I did 3x 2 miles tempo running following 15 minutes of cycling before each run. I averaged sub-6 mile pace and it felt easy. Another was a bike workout with 5x 5 minutes very hard followed by 5 minutes easy. A good swimming one included 3x 500's on 10:00 at a tempo pace where I went 7:08, 6:57, and 6:49. My favorite one...a track workout at Augustana. On Friday afternoon I warmed up 3 miles and then did 3x the following...800, 1 min. rest, 400, 2 min. rest, 800, 30 seconds rest, 200, 2 minutes rest before starting the set over. My first five 800's were 2:37, the last 2:36, my 400's were 74, 73, 74, and my 200's were 33, 34, 33. I really liked the workout because it made me change pace after short periods of rest to run the faster 400's or 200's. The best part about it though was that my wife Jen was running it too! With Payton it's been tough for us to do workouts together but this one was fun even if she says she's not in good shape.
This upcoming Sunday I'll be competing in an indoor triathlon in Muscatine, IA. It is a 900 yard swim, 7 mile bike ride on the legendary Schwinn Aerodyne (yes, the old bikes where you use your arms along with the pedals), and then a 2.5 mile run on the even more legendary 100 meter track with banked turns ('re right again if you did the math that's 40 laps). I'm looking forward to all of it except the bike ride. I did this race 3 years ago when I was in good shape and won it in 46:30. I'm still having nightmares about the aerodyne bike part of it but the rest was fun. I'm hoping to go under 45 minutes this year. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Week 10 Summary- Race Report

For week 10 I hit a total of 16 hours training with 42 miles running, 50 miles biking, and 12,100 yards swimming. I had planned to back down this week after two big weeks over break. In addition to the miles and yards I lifted, did speed drills and strides three times, lunges and plyometrics twice, and core work five times. On Friday, January 9 I raced for the first time since Thanksgiving. I ran the 2,000 meters at a track meet at Augustana College. The 2,000 is a rare racing distance. That is 1.25 miles. I hoped to be about 5:00 through the mile with a finish time around 6:15. When the gun went off I settled in behind 4 Augie runners and what felt like a pretty comfortable pace was probably too fast for me. We hit the 1/2 mile mark at 2:23. I slowed down a bit the next half and came through the mile just under my goal time at 4:56. I thought I was tired but in the last 400 I was able to pick the pace back up and finish it off with a 73 second last 400 for a finishing time of 6:09. I was very pleased with this first race. I hope to continue to lose weight and increase my fitness over the next couple weeks when I will be racing an indoor triathlon at the Muscatine YMCA. On February 14th I'll hit the track again for another race at Augustana. This time I will run the 3,000 meters and hope to run around 9:20 which would be equivilant to just under 10:00 for two miles.

My favorite workout of the week was my weekly long run on Sunday. I was joined by Austin O'Brien, who I coached at PV, and by my summer training partner Stephan Marsh who I've enjoyed training with through his law school break. This was supposed to be my first run of 75 minutes. I've been increasing the long run by 5 minutes every two weeks. We did last week's 70 minute route but found a spot where we thought we would be adding on 5 minutes. It turned out our detour was much longer and the run went on for 90 minutes. Surprisingly it still felt good despite being nearly 13 miles and the longest run I think I've done in over six years. This week I hope to increase my weekly running mileage to 55 and get more interval training on the bike which I have neglected the past couple weeks. In evaluating the first race I know I'm well on my way to running the kind of times I'll need to in order to place high at the Elite Amateur races this summer. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year! Resolution- Week 9 Summary

Happy New Year 2009 to everyone! What a year for the Paul's, highlighted by the birth of our daughter Payton on June 1. She's trying to crawl but from the looks of it she'll make a great swimmer!

Week 9 was another good one for me with a small bump in the middle of the week. For training time I hit just under 22 hours. As designed this week was almost a mirror in totals of last week. 50 miles running, 105 biking, and 16,100 yards of swimming which was my most swim yards in 8 years for a week total. I also lifted weights, did speed drills, and strides three times, lunges and plyometrics twice, and core work six times. I had a good track workout Wednesday thanks to some help from a couple guys I used to coach. I was glad they could do the workout with me to help me push the pace. Unfortunately, I had lifted too much weight the day prior to the workout and afterwards my calf muscles were slightly strained and I had to skp my run on Thursday. I had the best swim workout I can remember ever having on Friday. In the main set I swam 7x 200's holding a 2:36 average with only about a 30 second rest. To put that in perspective we did 5x 200's all out with 5 minutes of rest a month ago and I had the same average time. I was excited to swim the same times with nothing near the same rest. The set wasn't over...We then did 7x 100's (4 on 1:35, 3 on 1:30). I averaged 1:17 for those. This set made me realize for the second straight week that my swimming is coming around fast. The gap between swimming (my weakness) and my cycling and running is closing. I'm excited to race! At the end of the week I looked back at last year's workouts and yes...just 9 weeks into training I surpassed my swim total for the entire year by 200 yards. I had another workout I was really excited about. I ran a 4 mile progressive tempo run Saturday night on the treadmill after a mile warm-up. I was hoping to average 6:10 pace. My mile splits were 6:13, 6:02, 5:50, and 5:30 to close it off. 23:35 total. It was faster than expected and until the last mile it felt very easy. This week I'll back the training volume down a bit with school resuming. I'm planning on racing 2000 meters at Augustana on the indoor track Friday to test my running fitness. I hope to be just under 5:00 for the mile and then close it out well.

Resolution: I have been asked by a number of people about the reality of this dream...becoming a professional triathlete. I have been asked if it's something I was close to last year. My response: "No, actually I am not close at all." The reality is that my 2:05 time in Chicago was ab0ut 7 minutes slower than the time needed from the Elite Age division to obtain the pro license. How can I drop 7 minutes? That's longer than it will take to write this blog entry...I've been asked if I really think I can become a professional triathlete. My response to that question is my resolution for this year..."I intend to find out." What this means is that I will continue this great journey by doing everything I think it will take to become a professional triathlete. The little things are important. To me the little things are spending time in the weight room becoming stronger. By the weight I'm lifting my legs are already stronger than they were at the end of last summer. Little things are strides and speed drills. Those will improve my running efficiency and help me to develop speed which will allow the 5:35 10k pace I hope to run off the bike to feel more comfortable. The plyometrics and lunges I do twice a week would be easy to leave out but they are helping to give my legs the power I will need to average 26.1 miles per hour on a bike course like Chicago. Losing weight will allow me to race 15 lbs. lighter than I did last year. Doing swim drills until I'm bored out of my mind will allow me to become more efficient in the water. I intend to find out how good I can be. The journey in that is worth more than the professional license. Most people would look at the workouts and think I'm crazy but the journey so far has been more fun than I could have imagined. It has allowed me to dream every day. It has given me more confidence and as I grow fitter I believe so much is possible. I had the privilage of coaching so many kids at Pleasant Valley who became so much more than anyone would have ever believed. Watching so many of them achieve more than even I (as their coach) imagine they could have forces me to believe in great stories of success. 7 minutes...that's only 8 seconds faster per 100 yards swimming than last year (my workout times are already that much faster)...that's only 1.4 miles per hour faster on the bike than last year...and only 20 seconds per mile running. Here's a quote I attached to a mirror in my bedroom for me to see every day.

The road less traveled...
This journey may be more important than any medal, title or rank...this journey is the road to greatness. So don't look back, don't look around, just look ahead...the time is NOW. Take the risk to be great. If this were easy, everyone would do it. It's the ones who take the risk of failure that ever experience the thrill of living life to it's full extent in the pursuit of their dreams. Go for it and remember... THE TIME IS NOW. -E.O.

If you're still reading you must be a great supporter. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!