I had some great quality work this week. I did a really tough 40 minute tempo bike ride on Tuesday which was great because it allowed me to get a sustained effort in at slightly higher than 1/2 Ironman pace which should make the pace in San Juan less of a shock to my system. On Wednesday I did my toughest running workout of the week. I ran 6x 1 mile repeats with a 400 slow jog (2 min.) between each one. Most of the workouts I've been doing have been much faster than 1/2 Ironman pace so I wanted to get one in geared specifically for the 1/2 distance. I began the 1st mile at my goal race pace minus 5 seconds. My goal pace is 5:45 for the 1/2 marathon at the end of the 70.3. After the first one I cut each one down a little bit until the last one which I ran pretty hard. My times were 5:40, 5:36, 5:33, 5:29, 5:28, and 5:12. My best workout of the week was a race simulation that I did after school on Friday.
I had planned this race simulation about 3 weeks ago. The idea behind it is pretty simple. The first race of the year is rarely ever as good as the 2nd or 3rd races even if fitness is not increased between them. The reason is that it takes race efforts to get the body ready to race faster. You can do all the training in the world and all the hard intervals but it's tough to ever get to race intensity during workouts and the body is normally always thrown into a little bit of shock during the 1st race of the year. My hope was to simulate a sprint triathlon minus the swim by doing 30 minutes at time trial effort on the bike and then running 3 miles immediately afterwards as fast as possible. With my cycleops Powerbeam Pro I was able to set a wattage range of 250-280 for 30 minutes. I hoped to be able to average right in the middle of that at 265 for the 30 minutes. I got a great warm up in and put my jersey on and set my racing flats next to the bike. I was nervous like I would be before a race because I knew it was going to hurt. I also didn't know if I'd be able to maintain a 265 watt average for 30 minutes. When I began my wattage was closer to the 280 level so I bumped my range up to 260-290 with the press of a button. The first 10 minutes were the toughest. My legs were not used to sustaining that kind of effort for more than 5 minutes since that is the longest interval I've done yet this winter. After 10 minutes I settled into a pretty good rhythm as the sweat dripped constantly to my towel on the handlebars. The last 10 minutes were actually my best in terms of power output. Immediately after getting to 30 minutes I transitioned to the run by putting on the racing flats. My transition time was less than 30 seconds before I jumped on the treadmill. The simulation was working to perfection as my legs felt exactly like they do getting off the bike in a race. I began the run at 5:45 pace and quickly began to increase the speed. My legs were trashed until about seven-tenths of a mile in when it began to feel like normal running. I went through the first mile in 5:36 which was a good first mile but now that I was feeling good I could begin to speed up quickly. My 2nd mile was 5:24. I was feeling great and I really increased the effort over the last mile and finished it in 5:11 for a total time of 16:12 which is faster than I've ever run 3 or more miles off the bike. It was a huge confidence booster. I was especially excited when I downloaded the data from the ride and found out I averaged 277 watts for the 30 minutes. I've never raced with power so I don't know how that compares to my normal sprint triathlon races but it was 12 watts higher than my goal and I think I can go even faster next time. I was spinning at a higher cadence than I probably should have...around 100. I will drop that to about 90 next time and see if I can push a tougher gear.
Over the weekend I had a great time training with Adam Bohach. We are both getting ready for St. George together. We rode for 2.5 hours Saturday morning and then ran 9 miles at what must have been about 6:15 pace/mile. Sunday we ran 1 hr. 45 minutes covering nearly 16 miles and then went to the pool for a great swim workout. It's awesome to have someone around who can help push me through these tough workouts. After running with Adam I really believe he is going to post the fastest marathon ever run on the St. George course...pros included. I feel like I'm slowing him down on these long runs. Following our run and swim I met Jen at the Chili Chase. We signed up a few weeks ago when I expected to race the event. Having already run 16 miles my plans had changed. I would just run the race at about marathon pace and get myself to 20 miles for the day. My legs were trashed when I started but felt better as I went and 6:20 pace didn't feel difficult. Jen won the women's race again! She's off to a great start in 2011 and is running more than she has in years. It was great seeing a lot of people at the race despite the cold weather. Fitness in the community is definitely on the rise. I love it! This week I'll back down the running mileage and will only be able to get in 4 swims but I will pick up the bike mileage. I can't wait to race in just a few short weeks! I have no fears of lining up with some of the world's best. It's going to be great. I've been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish in this race. Experience is one thing and that will be a given by just showing up and racing. Performance wise I'd feel great if I can crack into the top 1/2 of the pro field. There are 27 on the start list as of now. I don't know that this big week would have happened without my my legs being tuned up with a great massage by Laurel Darren on Monday. It had me feeling awesome the rest of the week. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!