Sunday, March 29, 2009

Week 21 Summary was bound to happen. After 20 weeks I missed my first training with an injury. I write this blog entry in frustration. I had a very easy and restful week while on the cruise and expected that down time would have me ready to go for some big weeks. The week started out great but this weekend my left achilles tendon started hurting. I've been lucky so far. Anytime something has hurt it's gone away with ice and massage right away. Achilles injuries scare the crap out of me to be quite honest. In college I missed 10 weeks of a track season with achilles tendonitis. I remember literally icing 10 times a day, taking iburopfin, and getting regular ultrasound treatment. It just wouldn't go away. This is not near to that extent yet of course but it scares me. I'm in the best shape of my life and am 4 weeks away from my first race. I'm going to try to get into Dr. Kaminski at Kaminski Pain and Performance Care ASAP. I've had GREAT results with him every time I've had something bothering me. The overall training was still pretty solid despite not doing much on Sunday. For the week my total training time was 18.5 hours. I ran 48 miles, biked 110, and swam 10,000 yards. I lifted weights, did strides, and running drills all three times, core work six times, lunges twice, and plyometrics once. I had two very good workouts to speak of. On Wednesday I ran 8x800's on the track as 1 set with 90 seconds rest between each one. I was hoping to run 2:40's. I ran the first two in 2:40 and then began to cut down. By the end of the workout my average time was 2:37. On Saturday I did a bike workout I've done quite a few times. It was 5x 5 minutes hard followed by 5 minutes easy. My average watts (which is power put into the pedals for those who don't cycle) was 317. Comparitvely last time I did this workout 18 days ago my average watts were only 285. I'm no doubt stronger on the bike than I've ever been and that is without the higher mileage I will get in the summer.
For this week my focus will be on getting healthy again so I can resume regular training. My achilles doesn't feel very good biking either so if I do have to miss some time running and cycling I'll spend more time in the pool. Extra time in the pool working on my weakness won't be a bad thing. As athletes we take it for granted when we're in shape and workouts are going well. The last thing on an athlete's mind is an injury until one occurs. Then it's the only thing they think about. I've got ice on my leg as I type this.
Injuries are part of training hard. I know this. I'm sure there are people who think I train too much. I don't want to be good...I want to be great. I've always believed there are too many people that never achieve greatness because they are afraid to do the training necessary to be great. I don't want to be an average triathlete. I want to be race as a professional. I know that requires taking risks and pushing myself to the envelope. I've known since I began training back in November there was a risk of injury by doing the training I am. It's a risk I am willing to take. I coached a runner in high school named Charlie Paul. Charlie is a great story. He was an average runner at best when he began. Before his junior year he chose to take a risk of training at a very high level. With that training also came the risk of injury. Charlie suffered two stress fractures in two years but managed to come back on three weeks of training and place 3rd in the state 3200 meters his senior year running a personal best time. Without taking that risk of high volume training he probably never would have gotten hurt...but he wouldn't have been 3rd at state and earned his way onto a division 1 cross country and track program either...I'll be back soon. The rest will be good in the long run. I still can't wait to race on April 26th. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Week 19 and 20 Training Summary- Cruise Week

I apologize for not posting last week so I'll combine week's 19 and 20. My entire family took a caribbean cruise to part of Mexico and I did not have internet access while we were gone. The cruise lasted through the end of week 19 and the beginning of week 20. It's hard for me to believe I have already been training for 20 weeks. The time has gone by very quickly and the race season is rapidly approaching. My training time for these two weeks was down considerably with the cruise but that will probably benefit me greatly in the long run. It has me rested up for some big weeks to come. For week 19 my total training time was 14.5 hours. I ran 40 miles, swam 7,300 yards, and biked 70 miles. Early in the week I got some great training in with my summer training partner Stephan Marsh who was home from law school for spring break. We did a tough track workout together at Augustana's indoor track on Wednesday. It was 4 sets of (1200 with a 45 second rest and then a faster 400 before taking 3 minutes rest and repeating the set). My times were pretty good. 3:59, 75, 3:56, 75, 3:56, 74, 3:53, 72. It felt good to get faster as the workout went. That averaged out to 5:15 mile pace for the 1200's and 4:56 mile pace for the 400's. We left for the cruise on Friday flying to Pensacola, FL and then driving to Mobile, AL where the ship left on Saturday afternoon. It was nice spending time with Jen, Payton, and my entire family on the cruise. My parents gave all of us this cruise as a Christmas gift. It had been a long time since we had all taken a vacation together and it was great to spend time with everyone. Payton was up past her bedtime every night and the food on the ship was amazing...probably too amazing for me so I'll be working extra hard the next couple weeks to work that off. While we were gone I only averaged working out about 1 hour each day. I tried to make the most of the workouts getting in some quality in about every run and bike session. I had one good open water swim in the ocean of about 3,000 yards. I did some workouts on the treadmills that they had. Those were tough because of the ship moving. I was doing a tempo run that I planned on being 5 miles of running after a mile warm up. My mile splits were 5:55 and 5:52 but due to the rocking of the ship I almost got thrown off the treadmill on numerous occasions so I decided to go just one more mile and I increased the pace to 5:32. I also was able to get a nice 6 mile run in while we were ported in Cozumel. The temperature was about 85 degrees. In addition to the training I was able to win a small ping-pong tournament on the ship and also had fun taking Payton swimming. She is going to be a better swimmer than I am! Upon returning from the cruise I had some great workouts to finish the week up. On Friday I got my longest bike ride yet this year in. I went with Jared Dammann, a former student of mine and school record holding swimmer from Pleasant Valley who now competes for the Drake University triathlon team. Jared and I rode out to McCausland, IA where we went up a 1.1 mile hill 6 times hard. It was extremely tough with a big wind in our face. Using the Power Tap I was able to get my average watts up the hill at 360. It was taking me about 4 minutes to get up the hill and every second of it was painful. We then rode easy for the remainder of the ride which totalled 54 miles. On Saturday Jared helped me with some technique issues in the pool. I'm greatful for any help I can get swimming and look forward to training more with Jared this summer. Sunday my long run was 95 minutes or about 13.5 miles. It was the 3rd time I've done the long run at this distance and it was very easy. Next week I'll bump up to 100 minutes. Sunday night I did a tempo bike ride of 30 miles and it was very windy. Through 15 miles with the wind at my back I averaged 24.4 mph. Coming back was tough and I only averaged 19.8. For the ride I averaged 21.6 mph but my average watts were 258. I felt good about this effort since it was on my training bike and my legs were a bit tired from the long run this morning. I feel very rested and recovered after the easy week on the cruise and I hope to put in high volume the next two weeks before backing down a week to recover and then moving up again. I can't wait for my first race on April 26th in Sullivan, IL. It will be a tune-up for Memphis. I'm in the best shape I've ever been in. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

"All In" Week 18 Summary

As I was driving to Bettendorf to begin my long run Sunday morning my car read that it was 41 degrees and it was raining out with no end to that in sight. I could have put off the 95 minute run for later in the day when the rain was finally expected to come to an end this weekend. I reminded myself (to steal the poker phrase) that I'm "all in" this year. By that I mean I am doing everything in my power to reach my potential in triathlons. All the little things that I check off each week on a goal sheet are done for a reason. I'm not leaving anything out that I think can help me. I'm "all in" this year. I gave up coaching, which I was very passionate about so that I can do this. I'm not going to leave any doubts when I get done. I'll either know I was good enough to race professionally or I wasn't. I won't be thinking I should have done more of this or that. I'm all in! I just hope my results are better for this sport than they are for poker! I got the 95 minute run in and it felt great despite being soaked and cold!

Week 18 was a very solid week of training. I accumulated 21 hours of training time. I backed my run miles down to 51 for the week but increased my bike miles to 140 for the second time in three weeks. I swam three times for 10,500 yards and I actually felt like I made progress in the pool this week. In addition to those totals I did the small things once again...lifting weights and doing speed drills and strides three times, lunges and plyometrics twice, and core work five times. I had a couple great workouts that have increased my confidence tremendously. On Wednesday I did a track workout by myself with 3 sets of 4x400's with 1 minute rest right into 4x200's with a 200 jog recovery. I was hoping to run 78's on the 400's but ended up averaging 75.5 for those. On the 200's I averaged 34.0. The workout was faster than I've been running but I handled it well. On Friday I did my toughest workout of the week. I biked 10 miles to a road where I like doing intervals. It has lots of rolling hills but nothing too difficult. I did 2x 5 miles hard and averaged 23.05 mph on the first one into the wind and 27.1 mph average coming back with the wind. This averaged out to 25.0 mph which was faster than I raced in Chicago last August. I had my training bike with training wheels so I was very excited to go that fast. I also started using my new Power Tap and was excited to be able to hold 309 and 305 watts on each of them. I'll be using this power tap to get more data on future workouts. This one wasn't finished...upon returning to my house and completing the 33 mile ride I got off and did a 4 mile brick run hard. My time was 23:08 (5:47/mile average) which was faster than I ever raced last year. I believe I am ready to race at 5:40 pace for a 10k with racing flats on. This workout proved to me I'm in the best shape I've ever been in. Some would argue that it's too early and I'm in too good of shape too soon. I won't be able to hold it all year. Remember...I'm all in. I'll do all the work I can and keep trying to get a little bit better each day. I can't wait to race on April 26 in Sullivan, IL as a tune-up for Memphis. DREAM BIG!

On a side note, I'm looking forward to taking a cruise with my family next Friday. I'm not sure about internet connection on the ship so if I don't post that's why. I also have to thank my wife more than ever for being SUPER MOM this week with a tough work schedule. She was able to do it all once again to allow me to train. I can't thank you enough for this. I'm looking forward to getting some relaxation with you, Payton, and the rest of the family this week. I'm putting a limit on my training of 2 hours each day. Should be a good rest week.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Week 17 Summary

Week 17 was my 2nd week in a row at high volume. My total training time was 22 hours. For the week I ran 63.5 miles which again was my highest since competing in cross country for Augustana College in 2002. On the bike I hit 111 miles. I had planned to ride 30 more Sunday but the volume had me worn down and I decided it best to rest up Sunday night so I could get some good quality this week. In the pool I had my most yards since week 9 when I was on winter break. I swam 13,000 yards this week over four swims. In addition to those totals I lifted three times, did strides and speed drills three times, plyometrics and lunges twice and core work 5 times. I had a few great workouts that really helped me gain confidence this week especially considering the volume.

On Wednesday I was able to ride outside with the slightly warmer temperatures. I went 40 miles from my house through the hilly roads past McCausland and back home. For the 40 miles I averaged 21.3 mph. After looking back at last summer's workouts that was faster than I ever rode 40+ miles. Upon returning to the house I did what they call a "brick" run. This is a run immediately following the ride. They call it this because your legs feel like bricks. I went 9 miles and averaged 6:09 per mile. I was REALLY excited about this to say the least. To put this in perspective...last year at the QC Triathlon in June I averaged 6:15 pace in the race that was only 3 miles. This 9 mile brick run was in training shoes as opposed to lightweight racing flats and half of this run was on gravel which slowed my pace. This workout made me think I should be focusing more to the 1/2 Ironman distance which ends with a 13.1 mile run. I feel like I could run 6 minute pace for that distance in a race. The workout reinforced to me that my fitness level is higher than it has ever been for triathlons.

On Friday I was able to get two runs in. The first was 5 miles easy. The second was a workout with a 3 mile warm-up, then 5x 1 mile fast with 3 minutes rest between each. My times were 5:34, 5:27, 5:22, 5:18, and 5:12. I was hoping for 5:40's so needless to say I was really pumped about this workout. I did it all alone which also makes it tougher. I hate running workouts where I get slower because it is a sign of not running smart and not being strong. Being able to get faster as I went was another sign of how good my mental and physical conditioning are right now. On Sunday I had my longest run so far, 13.5 miles and it was about 10 degrees out. I originally planned to do 1 more week at high volume but I have a very busy week planned outside of training so I think I will cut back the volume but get some very quality workouts in. I'm hoping to ride outdoors more with the weather warming.

When I began this journey I wasn't sure if it would be possible to place top 3 at the Pro-Qualifying races which is what I need to do to turn professional. Each week I look at those results from last year and they appear more attainable. I'll find out in 11 weeks in Memphis where I stack up. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!