Week 5 was my best one yet this year. I made it through the first 4 feeling very healthy and my hamstrings which were really tight when I began my training this year have gotten stronger and are feeling better every week. For the week my total training time was 22 hrs. 30 minutes. I had 51 miles running, 170 miles biking, and 15,200 yards swimming. I also did the normal additional exercises and drills along with those totals. I had a great track workout that was extremely tough and fast over at Augustana with their track team on Wednesday. I weighed in a bit early this week and was my lowest of this season at 162 so I have lost a total of 10 lbs. in my 5 weeks of training. On Sunday I went to Muscatine, Iowa for the annual indoor Try Melon Tri race. I have done this race for the past 4 or 5 years I believe and I was planning not to do it this year since I began training so much later in the year. My brother Justin signed up for it and got me thinking about doing it and then my training buddy Adam Bohach signed up and told me if I did it we could go for a run afterwards so I could still get some good training in. I decided to do it and Adam and I put down the same swim seed time so we could race it together. I was not expecting anything good for results and approached it as a hard workout. I even put in my biggest training day of the year on Saturday of 4 hrs. 45 minutes time with 50 bike miles, 7.5 run miles, and 3,500 swim yards. I really surpised myself with a good race on Sunday leaving me confident that I'm way ahead of where I thought I would be only 5 weeks into the young 2012 season.
SWIM: I was hoping to better my swim time from last year of 12:26. The swim is 900 yards in a pool. I have never been a great swimmer but based on results from outdoor races my indoor swimming is even worse than my outdoor swimming. This year I have averaged far more yards/week than ever before but I was still 8 weeks behind where I was last year so I thought any time drop would be a big positive. For the first 300-400 yards I breathed every 3 but as I grew more fatigued I switched and breathed every 2. In my workouts I feel like when I breath only to my left side I have a much better rhythm with my kick and stroke. I almost always train to both sides to even out my stroke and my back muscles but know full well on race day I will not be able to maintain my breathing pattern every 3 so I switch and breath to my left (preferrably). I exited the water in 12:15 and was pretty excited to be faster than last year on so much less overall training.
BIKE: I got on the bike next to Adam. Adam actually had one of the fastest swims in the race at 11:13 but he took his time drying off his back and head while most people brushed themselves with the towel and went to the bikes...that is the only reason I was even remotely close to him as I began the bike ride. The bike portion is on a spin bike and the resistance level is the same for everyone. It was on level 8 which is incredibly easy. They warned us that when your cadence exceeded 140 RPM's the monitor would be blank except the total distance would continue to accumulate. I got into a great rhythm and within about 15 seconds my monitor was off and it didn't come back on the entire ride so I know I stayed above 140 cadence for the duration. The bike is 10 mile (or whatever units they measure...certainly not real miles). I was clicking off the miles in 1 min. 20 seconds so there is no way it is anything like real outdoor miles. When I got to 9.0 I was really surprised no one was off the bike yet since it is easy for everyone to pedal and it's more about how fast you can get your legs moving than how much power you can put into the pedals. I got to 9.5 and still no one was off the bike. I hit 10.0 and was the first one off the bike. Adam was right behind me...3 seconds behind according to one of the spectators. My bike time was around 13:30.
RUN: We hit the legendary indoor 100 meter track with banked turns for 40 laps. My legs felt pretty good from the beginning. My pace early was really fast...something about having a beast like Adam chasing you down does that to you. I went through the mile just under 5:20 and Adam was right behind me. He passed me around mile 20 and slowly pulled away. By the time we were done he was almost lapping me. He finished in around 40:08...I can't remember the exact time. I was 40:25 I think. My run time was 13:28. I was thrilled with that effort. My run time was 10 seconds slower than last year but my swim time was 12 seconds faster. Overall I was about 30 seconds faster than last year. My average run pace was 5:24/mile and I was feeling pretty tired the last half of the run. It was a nice bid of confidence to know that only 5 weeks into training I'm about right where I was 13 weeks into training last year and I'm still about 8 lbs. heavier than I was at that time.
After the race Adam and I got outside for a nice 7 mile run. It has made a big difference for me to train with him. It was one year ago at this event that I met Adam. The highlight of the day for me was watching my friend Aaron Maurer and my brother Justin compete after we got done with our run. Aaron just took up this endurance stuff about a year and a half ago. Today was his first triathlon. He's been working his butt off to prepare for a half-ironman later this summer. Aaron barely knew how to swim 4 months ago but he has been coming to Stacey Zapolski's swim clinic the past 4 months and he has become a very strong swimmer. 6 weeks ago he did his own 900 yard swim to get a seed time and he was 19 minutes. Today he swam the 900 yards in 15:05. I watched his entire swim and was just in awe of how much his stroke efficiency has increased in a short period of time. I saw another guy from our clinic, Brian Garrels after the race and Brian told me he dropped 1 minute 20 seconds from last year. I'm really excited by the gains the clinic attendees have been making. Aaron had a great bike ride keeping his cadence high and then went on to run the 2.5 miles at nearly a 6:30/mile pace!! He finished the race in under 50:00. It is awesome to see him doing this. He writes a great blog about his training that I have linked to my blog. Aaron is a full-time middle school teacher, is married, has 3 kids, coaches junior high basketball, leads his school's lego robotics club (which just placed 1st in the state out of over 300 schools competing), and still manages to work out a lot. He is certainly living Uncommon! Read more about Live Uncommon at www.liveuncommon.org and see how you can join the movement to encourage others to live healthy and active lifestyles.
After Aaron I had the privilege of watching my older brother Justin. Justin was a collegiate lineman on the football team at St. Ambrose back in his college days. Last year he began working out a lot and has taken up the sport of triathlon. It is so gratifying for me to watch his improvements. Since January 1st Justin has lost 25 lbs. Today he had a great swim, and then I watched him keep a super high cadence on the bike but what impressed me the most was watching him run. Justin completed the 2.5 miles in under 20 minutes...7:59 mile pace. I told him afterwards I would have been surprised if he could have run one mile under 8:00 a year ago without swimming and biking first. Now he is doing that at the end of a triathlon! A
s you can tell I'm really proud of him. He also has two children, is married, and works more than full-time with all the overtime he puts in as a lieutenant for the Bettendorf Police Department. He is a great example of what Live Uncommon hopes to create in our world.
After increasing my volume for 5 straight weeks I think week 6 is a good time to back things down and have a "rest" week. I have managed to stay healthy which is my #1 goal at this point in time. I've gotten fit much faster than I could have imagined. I still have some weight to lose but need to be careful not to get too greedy with the volume so early. I still have over 4 months until my first real outdoor triathlon. Great job to all the people who went to Muscatine for this event. They do a tremendous job of organizing this and it was fun to see so many people competing and enjoying their winter fitness! Next Sunday Stacey and Tara are hosting the next monthly session of the triathlon swim clinic at Augustana College. It begins at 1:00 at the Augustana pool. They will analyze technique, show drills and give feedback and then give workouts for the month if you want workout guidance. We had 11 last month as the clinic continues to grow and it would be great to see an even bigger crowd this month. The cost for the monthly clinic is $30.00. Let me know if you have any questions and if I can't answer them I'll get you Stacey's contact info. I'll get some pictures from the race posted later this week when I'm not so tired. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!