Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back in business... I hope.

We fared rather well with Hurricane Irene because of a bit of luck. Our power never went out. Had our power gone out, we would have had to pull the floor drain in the basement and mop the water towards it all night. With power, we were up all night running the Wet Vac just keeping everything in check.

It’s been awhile since I’ve pulled an all nighter. You then face the decision of how to handle Sunday. I think I took two one hour naps. So Sunday wasn’t very productive for me.

I woke up Monday planning to go to our NJ recording stage. Only I heard on the radio some of the key highways to get there were still problematic. Going to the city wasn’t an option because the trains were not running at all. So I got a couple extra hours of sleep. It still didn’t feel like enough, but I’ve been feeling tired for weeks now because of the shingles.

I really wanted to start workouts again tho’. It’s been over 5 weeks now. There are times I can still feel the nerve through my right shoulder blade. It just keeps everything more tense than it should be and I have a faint feeling that I want to itch it. Then there is my right shoulder that I fell on during the tango race. It still feels bruised and has bad range of motion. During Timberman weekend I found out that it seemed to feel better after a few days of swimming. So I went over to the pool after lunch, only to find that I had everything in my swim bag but a swimsuit.

I ended up going to the pool that evening with Genine. I didn’t follow a workout. I just wanted to get that shoulder moving. I did time myself on a couple of 100’s with the pull buoy and without. I’ve regressed to being faster with the pull buoy again. Why would I even bother looking at the clock? Well my pace at Timberman was disturbing to me. I was relieved to see my pace with a pull buoy was :20+ faster per 100 than what I did at Timberman. So it’s just a matter of building up endurance again.

On the way home from the pool, we found out just how lucky we were the night of the Hurricane. Starting on the other side of Main Street (half a block from our house). The entire neighborhood was still without power. (Time to buy a Generator).

Tuesday I had to start my Marathon training schedule. I was hoping to be starting this schedule with Half Iron fitness. Instead I’m probably going to modify the schedule to allow for a slower build in the distance of the long runs. Although it can’t be too slow, I’ve got an 18 mile “race” in just over 4 weeks.

Part of me doesn’t really want to do the Marathon at this point. Once again, it’s a race I’m going to be at the start line with less preparation than I would like. Also I may have to consider dropping out partway through the race. So why bother? Well I find that having something on the schedule, that is going to be a big challenge, helps keep me focused on my training schedule. So it stays on the schedule. Who knows? Maybe it will turn out better than I think.

So I ran 4 miles last night with Genine. Initially I started out watching my HR making sure I stayed aerobic. On the way back, there is a long steady climb. Well I was kind of tired of jogging this section because my HR would never stay in zone otherwise. So I just kept pushing. My stride feels so much better running the faster pace anyhow. It was a decent run but I should have iced my right foot when I finished. That right foot is still striking oddly or something. It doesn’t bother me while I’m running, it hurts the next day.

I’m planning on getting massages frequently this fall in an attempt to get to the marathon start line and maybe it will also help this foot problem. (I think it starts in the calf muscles).

I know it sounds like I complain about all sorts of aches and pains. I know one thing for sure. I’d rather have the aches and pains from workouts, than the aches and pains from not being active.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Matt's Race Report Timberman 2011

Go to this post to read about my dealing with shingles and my training for the last 4 weeks.

Night before the race: I just can’t fall asleep and when I do, I’m sleeping so lightly that every bump is waking me up. That was annoying.

We wake up in the middle of the night to drive to the park. I recline the seat and fall asleep. Which was a huge bonus for me. I probably didn’t wake up quite soon enough to really get through all my pre-race stuff very well. I felt a bit rushed and I had forgotten a few things. I guess the fact that I had extra things on the list. I was trying to decide how/where to keep camera stuff so that I could switch to photographer mode if I’m unable to finish the race. Or if I finish ahead of Genine, I can get some pictures of her finish.

Swim: We were not at the water early enough to get a warmup swim. My fault for sleeping too long. I prefer a warm up I if I can get one.

I really didn’t know where to line up for this start. I had a feeling I would start out strong but would lose power mid-swim and be pretty average from there on out. Of course if my shoulder hurts from that fall, then it’s going to be ugly from start to finish.

I decide middle of the pack to the right side. Starting on the right kept me corralled in so I didn’t drift left but it was a bit of a brawl in terms of contact. I was watching very carefully in front of me to avoid being kicked in the face. When I would slow to avoid the feet, I would be climbed over from behind. I need to get back into swim shape so I can get up on the front line, that was a mess.

Eventually everything settled. Water clarity was excellent and my goggles never fogged. I drafted off of at least 3 different people for a considerable time. Unfortunately, it was 3 people because as I lost power, I was dropped. I didn’t allow this to frustrate me. I knew it was going to be a tough go. The funny thing is, I actually enjoyed this swim much more than my Mooseman swim even tho’ I was considerably slower than my time 2 years ago.

Finished 1.2 miles in 38:53

Wetsuit strippers: My advice is to always go to an adult. Or to someone you may have seen just successfully remove another’s wetsuit. To not have it done right is a waste of time. The guy that pulled my wetsuit from me had it off so quickly, I’m surprised the momentum of the suit didn’t carry him out into transition. (would probably make for some funny high speed camera / slo-mo videos)

Bike: Alright, here we go. 4 weeks ago, I biked this course in 95+ degree heat and humidity and it was great. It’s in the 70’s but warming up today. Should be a great morning to ride.

I head out of the park. There is a long easy incline to start the ride. I was in the 8th swim wave of 17 waves. So there is going to be plenty of action out on the course and it started right away. I didn’t even reach the top of the first hill and the woman that had passed me like I was standing still a moment ago is down on the pavement with 3 other bikers. I ended up riding through the middle of the 4 of them. Wasn’t what I wanted to do but given the other bikers and cars beside me and behind me, it was the safest route.

Once I was passed that, I got my HR watch moved around so I could see how my HR was doing. High 150’s to 160. Umm. Higher that I expected it to be. I focused on my 90 RPM and finding a comfortable gear. When I got to the big hill, I was thinking about how well I climbed this a month ago. Then just sat back and eased my way up. The downhill after that climb is the safest “bomb the downhill” on the course. I didn’t push it tho’. I really wanted to keep out of the way for the people that were really ready to race today. So if there was a pass to be made and someone was somewhat close to passing me. I’d hit the brakes and wait.

As I made the left onto the connecting road to 107, the super fast girl passed me again and she kept looking at her left elbow, which had a good bit of road rash on it.

Then I saw a woman off her bike, I slowed to ask if she needed help. I guess she wasn’t ready for someone to offer help because I was by her before she responded and I had slowed wayyyy down, expecting to stop. (Channeling Craig’s goodwill here). She said something about her chain dropping to the inside. That sounds like an easy fix, so I didn’t feel too badly for not stopping.

I completely forgot that the first aid station was right after getting onto 107. I didn’t stop for anything.

On to the climb up 107, I was feeling good but stayed right more often than I should have, again to keep out of the way of the speedsters.

The connecting roads to 106 are some good roller hills. Not having to stop for the stop sign makes it a much easier ride because you can carry your momentum.

Then finally onto 106, the first (mile?) has some sketchy pavement but there was very little traffic, so it was very simple to avoid. It just required riding further out into the road than what is necessary for the majority of 106.

Before I knew it, there was the 2nd aid station. I’m not sure why (too many others already there? Or too short of a zone?) but I decided I was going to swing wide of this aid station.

It was probably just after this that I started to wonder if I was going to catch up with Genine today. She had a 10 minute lead with her swim wave. I expected she would open up another 3-5 minutes on my swim time. So I had to make up 15 minutes over 56 miles. 4 weeks ago, no problem. Today, I was thinking it was going to take the majority of the 56 miles. Which could be cool. Maybe we could run together!

I was thinking I had 2 things really going well for me on the outbound stretch of 106. First I was surprised at how well I was staying in aero. Second, I had been eating, taking in electrolyte capsules and drinking water and my stomach felt very agreeable. That was until I ran out of water. Which meant I had consumed 35oz or so and I wasn’t too far from the turn around, so really not a big deal.

I had started to watch the inbound bikers trying to spot Genine. If we are going to cross paths, it should happen soon. Sure enough, as I was approaching the turn off of 106 at the far end before the turn around, there was a bunch of traffic. Yet Genine spotted me and started cheering for me. I shouted back (she didn’t hear me). It could be because I was approaching my 2nd bike crash of the day. Right at that turn off. It must have been a bad one. There were ambulances, never a good sign. I kept my eyes on the turn and got by without a problem.

I’ll admit I went back to thinking about Genine almost immediately. The fact that I hadn’t caught up with her by the turn around meant that she was way ahead of her expectations. I knew she wasn’t going to be on the bike for 3:30-3:45. I even got a little choked up thinking about how psyched she was going to be with her ride time.

I then went back to thinking about when I was going to catch her. I didn’t think to look at my watch to see how many minutes behind I was from when she yelled at me. Not that it mattered, I’m not going to push any harder than I already am.

I get to the aid station at the turn around. I slow down enough to make sure I get all of the water into my speedfil. Then toss the bottle before leaving the zone. Back onto 106 inbound, first thing is a pretty rough bump on/near the bridge. I wonder how many people flatted out right there. I wonder if they should have had bike support set up shop right there. Made me think about my choice of not riding the HED 3 tubulars today. (I didn’t ride them because I couldn’t imagine having that kind of gear with the slow bike split I was going to turn in today, stupid? Maybe.) Anyhow, I’d have been bummed to have to deal with a tubular change this year, I feel like I’ve had enough troubles already.

So I’m on the way back, things are looking good. The only thing that’s starting to bug me are my shoulders from being in areo for so long. Not a big deal tho’. Then a light blue jersey goes flying by me. That would be Chad from team Ballou Skies passing me like I’m standing still. Seriously. No chance of saying hey as he went by.

Then I got to a place where some people were not staying to the right and I was really concerned about passing them safely. They weren’t even holding their line well. I checked over my shoulder and saw that I had time to make the pass but more speed was approaching. So I put a bit of a burst into my pass and as I was doing that, the insides of both quads got so so close to cramping up really badly on me. That, has never happened to me on the bike. Calf cramps I expect, this was not a good sign. I had to really reduce my effort immediately. So the people I just passed were going to go right back by me. As they went by they asked if I was okay. I assured them I was fine, just leg cramps. I checked the mileage. 37. 19 to go.

Alright, this is not a lack of electrolyte. This is because I’ve obviously pushed myself too hard after doing nearly nothing for 4 weeks. I have a few more “easy” miles on 106. Maybe this isn’t such a big deal, I just have to keep an easy effort and I’ll be alright.

I’m being passed by so many people, that I just put myself as far right on the pavement as I can. Eventually, I reach the juke off of 106 that when it turns back towards 106 has a short climb but it’s steep. I am very concerned about how this is going to turn out. (I now really wish I would have swapped to my 12-26 cassette).

I tried to move as slowly and evenly up that hill as I could. My quads were ready to lock up at any given moment under this effort. (I really didn’t want to be lying on the road clipped onto my bike with my legs cramped up). I was thrilled when I made it but I knew there were more hills on the way.

Finally off of 106, the rollers back to 107…. Yeah, I was pedaling so cautiously. Oddly enough there was someone right on my back wheel on that climb. My legs were going to go at any second. I called out “I’m going to stop!”. The guy said “thanks for the warning”, as I successfully clipped out and just stood. Then I decided I’d walk the bike to the top of the hill. There was no way I was going to be able to start on an incline. When I reached the top. I leaned on my bike and watched for an opening to try and get rolling again. So many people asked if everything was alright.

Finally, I see a gap and I hop onto my bike and give it a go. I manage to get to 107. Now this can be a very fast downhill but the pavement isn’t great and there are turns, so you can’t be certain you’ve got a clear roadway. This is where I see accident #3 and a person is on a stretcher. Oh man. I’m having a bad day but this puts it into perspective. I sit up in the saddle completely and focus on just making it down safely.

Now to climb back over to Rt 11, I just went really easy. The pavement here is not so good, I rolled though a bunch of it because I didn’t want to be on the better pavement moving so slowly.

One big climb left. Again super easy effort, but it’s a long climb and I finally had to get off and stand to keep my quads from locking up. Not much room here, so I stepped off the road with my bike and watched people roll by again. Eventually I watched for a gap to jump back in.

When I made it to the top, I knew I should be able to manage the rest of the way back in. Starting with the big downhill, but again, it’s not the safest place to fly, it ends in a no passing zone for bikers.

2 more turns and I’m rolling along the road to the entrance to the park. I know I’m not even going to try and run. If I allow my legs to actually cramp as hard as they are wanting to right now. It would take days for them to feel better again. I’d rather go get some pictures of Genine racing. So I look at my watch. I realize I might have a chance to get a picture of Chrissie finishing her race, it’s going to be soon tho’. I say to the woman ahead of me that if we hurry, we can make it onto the run course before Chrissie finishes her run. She laughs and said something back. Then as I got to the next incline, she passes me back and says “come on, we can do this”. I told her this is everything I’ve got and wished her luck.

I went into transition. Handed my chip to the person there. They asked if I needed to get my stuff out of transition. I said there was no need.

BIKE: 18.05mph on the way out, 16.8mph on the way back. 3:13:15 total time. 17.39mph Avg.

I racked my bike. Went back to the car. Grabbed my camera and went into photographer mode. Unfortunately by the time I made it over to the finish line. I think all the pros were in.

I then realized I had better call Genine’s family to tell them that Genine was going to be finishing much earlier than what she had told them. (almost an hour faster). I also called and texted friends/family to let them know I wasn’t going to run. So they didn’t have to worry about me.

Typically I take photos of almost everyone when I’m at a race. Well, today I was a little tired. I took some practice shots shortly before I figured Genine would be finishing her first lap. I also took some pictures for people standing around me that were only going to get a photo using their cell phone. (I hope they remember how to find my flickr site).

Genine came running in finishing her first lap right about when I thought she would. She was looking good. I’m going to let Genine cover the details of her race in her own report which will be posted here soon. Her post will have the pictures I took of her.

I’m glad that I tried to race. This was the A race after all. I would have always been wondering what I had in me if I decided to just photograph Genine’s day instead. Obviously my race wasn’t anything special but I was having fun up until mile 37 of the bike. Sometimes you have to take what you can get and be happy with it.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Going into a 70.3 with an extreme taper

I got shingles 4 weeks ago. Am I over it? The last day and a half, that nerve through my back has been pretty good, so I'm going to race Timberman tomorrow.

I've swam 3 times this week for about 20-30 min each. Only swim workouts in last 4 weeks.
Bike: 1 hour ride 2 days ago. 15 minute ride today. Only bike workouts in last 4 weeks.
Run: Tango prep hike. The Tango 7 mile run. 10 minute jog today. Only runs in last 4 weeks.

I'm carrying an extra 5 pound around the middle. Tough to turn off the eating habit when you get sick during the biggest two weeks of training all year. Then to not exercise at all.

I'm wondering if I can race smartly enough so that I can actually finish the run. That is the challenge tomorrow. I may be over estimating what I'm going to be able to do. Guess I'll find out soon.

I'm really looking forward to seeing Genine out there. Her Wave starts 10 minutes ahead of me. It will be interesting to see if/when I catch her.
This is her first half iron. She was looking forward to buying a Timberman 70.3 bike jersey today, unfortunately there weren't any to buy. What's up with that?

I'd better ZZZ..

Oh Genine is #500
I'm #816 (I think)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kinzua Country Tango 2011 Race Report

Genine and I arrived in Warren a few days before the event. I have been dealing with shingles for about 2 weeks. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to race on Saturday. I did hike around on Thursday and I felt pretty good. I kept thinking about recovering for Timberman 70.3 tho’. Would running for 90+ minutes set me back in my recovery? I really wanted to participate with this team. Everyone had been training consistently and was ready to go.

I think what made my decision to race was this. My Timberman race is already going to be much less than it should have been because of the shingles. I might end up only doing the swim leg at Timberman. The tango has suddenly become my A race for the year. I haven’t had a really good orienteering split yet. This was my best chance to post a good time, as I was only doing the one event.

13.1: We all arrived at the Y in the morning to see Jim start the day off with the 13.1 mile run. It had been raining and there is more rain on the way. Jim had sent a note earlier in the week that his hip flexor had been giving him trouble. He had been hoping to break his previous time of 1:32:00 but now he was telling us he would take what he would get, but he was hopeful.

The rest of us drove up to the dam to wait for him. At the 9 mile mark he was the 9th runner to pass. I wasn’t sure what divisions the other people were in, but he was on pace and looking strong. We then headed to the beach.

Jim arrived at the beach in 1:32:xx tying his run from last year. We were off to a good start. (Turned out to be 4th of 42 in our division)

Bike 20 miles: Craig started his ride and we all knew he had work to do. It had been raining and more was on the way. Craig wanted some revenge on this course and got a really rough day of weather to try and make it happen in. The rest of us traveled over to the boat launch to wait for Craig and to get Genine and Michelle ready for the swim. It really started to rain hard towards the end of Craig’s ride. Craig rolled in with a time of 1:34:xx. He wasn’t happy with it but I had a feeling he wouldn’t be the only one unhappy with their ride today. (Turned out to be 29th of 42 in our division. I’d be curious how many of those ahead of him were on cyclocross bikes. The percentage of Cyclocross vs Mountain bikes has gone way up in the last couple years)

Swim 2.5 miles: The first trick for Genine, was to not fall on the slippery stairs leading down to the docks as it was pouring down rain. Michelle was already in the kayak. She said the rain was rolling off her visor like a waterfall. The rest of us head back to the beach, I had a feeling that Genine might go under the hour mark for this swim and I wanted to jog around a bit before having to run up the hill.

Genine finished the swim in 1:04:xx. One minute slower than my best time, but 5 minutes faster than my time last year. (16 people were faster and one person tied her time in our division of 42)

Orienteering 7 miles 5 points: Genine tags us and they hand us the map. We had seen many people run out towards the road to start their run. Now I know why. The first point was on the other side of Rt 59. After seeing where the other points were, we decided not to go in order. So we went into the woods instead of onto the road.

As we were running up the hillside, we passed a group of 20-30 kids with supervision. Many of them cheered us on as we ran by which was cool. It’s not often you get spectators during the orienteering! I was just glad that they weren’t on the narrow stairway when we were trying to go up! (There is only room for one).

As we were heading towards our 2nd point, there was a team directly behind us. I was hoping to put some distance between us as I didn’t want to lead them to the next point. We reached the open field and I was hoping to make it into the trees on the far side before they got to the clearing. Unfortunately that field had some rather large holes in it. I saw the first two and had warned Jerry about them. I didn’t see the third one tho’! I fell over hard but managed to land on my right shoulder. Thankfully there wasn’t a rock where my head hit, or else I probably would have been knocked out cold. Instead I hopped back up, Jerry picked up the bottles that fell out of my fuel belt and kept going. When I looked back, we didn’t get to the woods before the other team could see where we entered. Ah well…

We got to our 2nd point and then we were off to the races. We were now trail running to find the next couple points. I’m guessing we ran 2 miles or so along the trails. I felt pretty good about this section seeing how we were either leading or keeping up with a couple of kids that were obvious runners from college or High School. Unfortunately that changed when they got onto the pavement, they dropped us quickly. After we found the last point all that was left to do was run down 59 back to the beach. Running downhill is never fun for me. I had trail shoes one that were feeling like 5 pound weights on each foot and then my left calf started to cramp. (why didn’t I take salt tabs before the run?). Jerry wanted to catch the group ahead of us, I did too but I had to shorten my stride because of the impending cramp. We were still making decent time tho’. By the time we reached transition. Jerry tagged Todd before the other team. Todd had to wait a couple more seconds for me to tag up. We finished in 1:18:xx. (This turned out to be 2nd of 42 in our division, 5th overall) Obviously, I’m more than satisfied with this result. I’m so glad I raced today, despite dealing with shingles.

4.5 mile run: Todd has been ready to run this for at least a month. We have all been waiting to see all his hard work pay off. There were people out on the road ahead of him and he was on a mission. I hopped into the car and pulled out the camera. I turned on the hazard lights a few times as I slowed to snap some pictures along the way. I was fortunate enough to catch up to him just as he was passing 2 people and another one was just ahead. He was definitely having fun.

I got to the next transition and waited with the rest of the team. Todd came blazing down the trail and finished the run in 31:xx. (4 people beat him, 3 people tied him of 42 in our division) About a 6:53 pace. Awesome.

Canoe 8.5 miles: Craig and Jerry got into the canoe 6 hours into our race. I know some of us had been hoping to break 7 hours. The longer orienteering leg this year kind of stole that possibility for us I think. They had people out on the river to catch tho. Every minute still counted and they were digging.

They finished in 1:18:xx (This is the 7th fastest canoe split in our division of 42) Which put our team at the finish line 6th in the open relay division 8th place overall.

I have to say I’m really proud to have been part of this team. Not many people will know our story of the Class of 88 and how well we did last weekend, but I will never forget it.

Full Results can be found here

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Some Tango Photos

Never sure when we will get the full tango results. I'd like to have those before writing my race report. Having the dry erase board at the finish is great. I wish they would do that at the finish of each event. Even if it's just the finish time of each team. Then at the end of the day they could take a picture of all of the boards and post them to the facebook group so we have an idea of how everyone did in their events.
I know when I go to work tomorrow people will ask how I did. I'll have to say that I have no idea. They probably won't ask a second time.... Anyhow.

Jim Running the 13.1

Craig starting the bike:

Genine tagged to start the swim:

Genine finishing the swim:

Jerry and I finishing the Orienteering, Michelle telling us to hurry it up!

Todd knocking out the competition:

Craig and Jerry finish the day out with the canoe:

Team R-143. AKA "WAHS '88"

Monday, August 8, 2011

Kinzua Country Tango '11 Photos

Here is the link to the photos that we took of other people during the race.

I hope to write up a race report sooner than later. I put photo editing ahead of writing. Sadly there were probably a 1000 bad pictures that I left out because it was such a dark and rainy day.

The good news is that our team had a terrific day of racing. Results aren't posted yet but it looks like our team (R-143) took 8th overall and 6th in our division. (Outside our division, One High School Relay beat us and one College Complete team beat us).

I'm more than impressed with my teammates' dedication to training. The hard work paid off.
I never look too closely at our competition but I'm not sure that I would have guessed we'd have climbed 4 spots from last year's team.
I'm looking forward to seeing the full results.

Race Report with our pictures from our team will be posted... soon?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tango Time

I know, the posts have been very sparse. It's just that nothing has been happening. Once I was told I had shingles, I stayed home and did nothing for 3 days.
Then I did 2 half days of work, I've got to keep the place going.
Then we packed up and headed for PA. It was an easy trip.
I still can't go to the pool because of the blisters on my skin. So I haven't had a swim in 11 days.
I don't think I've biked for 10 days.
9 days since my last run.

So the big question is will I do the Tango orienteering on Saturday or not? I had this afternoon entirely to myself today, so I figured I'd better just head up to Kinzua Beach and see how I'd feel if I hiked up and around rim rock. I took it really easy and walked most of the time but my hike ended up being about two and half hours. I had the place to myself and it was amazing all the birds I flushed along the trails.
I had put this capsaicin cream on the shingles blisters on my ankles. Initially it was kind of warm but once I started to break a sweat. WOW! I can't believe anything survived the fire, I couldn't wait to wash that stuff off.
Anyhow, if I get good rest the next two nights, I think I'll be fine to do the orienteering on Saturday. The good rest thing can be tricky. Last night around 3:30 AM I woke up because that nerve in my back was so itchy I couldn't sleep. Itching it doesn't really satisfy the situation. Fortunately we've found that putting an ice pack on that area seems to work for awhile. Then I wake up again when that ice pack is warm and I go get another one. Doesn't make for a very restful night. Hopefully this stuff goes away soon.