Sunday, April 29, 2012

NYRR Run as One 4 miler 2012

As I mentioned in the previous post, I was concerned about my left leg / IT Band during my bike yesterday. Well this morning, it really let me know that something has to change. I had more than a few painful steps this morning as we walked to the corrals. I think I was tight because of the cold.

So I decided to take it easy and see how it was going to go. Big race so I was in the 3rd corral. Got to the first mile mark in 7:42 at which point I decided I was feeling alright. So I turned it up. 2nd mile mark in 7:12. (I believe this has a downhill as well). 3rd mile climbing, back to about a 7:36. Final mile I worked the downhill as best I could. (still not great at this). Then I also had a kick to the finish as I wanted to make sure I finished under 30 minutes. 4th mile 7:15. Total time 29:47.

Looking at my earlier races. This is 1 second faster than my Feb 4 miler and I know I didn't bike 50 miles of hills the day before that run.

I definitely would like to feel fast again. To do that. I've got to drop weight. Stay injury free. Continue with the speed work. And wait for all this 70.3 training to finish. That way I might actually arrive at the start line feeling rested.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Odd Week

Monday started off with a morning swim. Then I decided I was looking pretty tired at the end of the day. So I decided to take the evening off.

Tuesday morning I sleep in (6:45 rather than 4:50AM wakeup). Midday our friend Bob posts that he's got extra tickets to Game 6 of the Devils vs Panthers hockey game. I send him a note saying of nobody else asks. I'd love to go, even tho' I had a 2 hour run scheduled. Turns out I get to go to the game, which was great. It went into overtime and the Devils won it about 5 or 6 minutes in. Fantastic!
Fortunately, I don't have to drive to these games. The train I take stops a couple blocks from the arena. I got home just after midnight.

Waking up for a morning swim was out of the question. Looking at the weather, it looked like tonight was going to be the best night for me to run. (It was going to get colder as the week went on). I got myself out the door quickly once I got home. I figured 1:15:00 or 2 hours. We will see how it goes.
Well my legs felt tight from step one. The first hour wasn't so bad. Really great night to be running. I stopped at the house. Got a drink, switched shirts, put on reflective vest, back out the door. 5 minutes from the house, I realized I didn't grab a GU or anything. Well, I'll know by mile 2 if I've got another hour in me.
I had to stop and walk 40 steps a few times during the second hour, which probably saved myself from tweaking something. It wasn't an amazing 2 hours but I got it done.

Thursday I decided to rest again. 2 hour runs are still a big deal for me and I'm trying to make sure I don't injure myself at this point.

Friday morning I forgot to move my alarm across the room. I hit snooze 4 times before I realized I've been doing it. So much for the morning swim... Genine ran after work then we both went to the pool. I could use the late train as a reason why I didn't run but it was more that I was curious to see how my long Saturday bike would feel well rested. It was a short swim Friday night. 1950m.

Saturday Long bike. I loaded the race wheels into the car. On the way over, I went back and forth as to what I was going to do. Initially, I thought it would be cool to start with my regular wheels. Then switch to the Hed3's for the 2nd and 3rd lap. But swapping out the brake pads takes a few minutes. So I just put them on to start with and did the entire ride with them. The first lap I played it pretty safe. The braking on this set of wheels is just goofy enough that I've got to build up my confidence in how it feels. The 2nd and 3rd hour went well. Although my left foot felt completely out of place. I felt like I was pedaling on the outside of my foot. I hadn't noticed this the last few weeks. I thought it might go away but it never did. I've got to take a look at my cleat position again. I didn't feel balanced at all today. Oh to have a proper bike fit! I may have to go in again to have someone offer some suggestions. I'm worried that it's bad enough that I'm going to injure that left leg.

The good news of the day was that the bike chain I installed didn't break.

The purchase of the day was calve compression sleeves. My long runs really beat me up. I finally decided I should give them a try. I'll be thrilled if they help. I couldn't help but think about the NYC marathon after my 2 hour run. I was thinking, 2 more hours after this. I'm not sure how that's going to happen. Fortunately, I've got a few months to work on that.

4 mile race in the morning. Biking 50 miles today isn't going to help that finish time. You never know tho. I'll wait to see how I feel in the morning.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Biking in NJ

I'm sure many people out there would think that biking in New Jersey would be terrible. (as NJ is the butt of so many jokes about industrial pollution and such). My biking experience is pretty limited but I think we've got it pretty nice here in Central Jersey.
Sure there are plenty of roads with fast traffic on them but those are easily avoided. There are tons of side roads that have slower local traffic and the road quality is above average. Because there are so many cyclists in the area, I think many drivers are expecting to see us out there, especially on the weekends. I'd say their patience/respect for us is higher than I've experienced elsewhere.
The other nice part of where we happen to live is that you can choose to go flat, rollers or hills. Riding south of us is quite flat. Going north/north-west you can choose how challenging your hill climbs are going to be. This is one of the rides I'd like to tackle before heading up to Mont-Tremblant.
Check it out.

So we did another 50 mile ride yesterday. I'm definitely encouraged by the fact that I'm covering this distance often. I can't say that I'm feeling powerful or fast on the bike tho'. It could just be the volume of training I suppose. Although there is part of me that wants to adjust my position on the bike. I guess if I find the time to have someone take a look at my position, I'll take it. All in all, I'm feeling like I'm ahead of last year in terms of bike fitness at this point in the season. But as I've said, I'm not sure that equates to speed.

After our ride yesterday, I swapped out the chain on my bike. I bought the bike used so I'm not sure how old it is. I do know that last fall when I was not doing anything, when I started biking on the trainer, I had some frozen links. So this is long overdue. I just wanted to do this myself. So I bought the Chain Tool and an Ultegra Chain and got it done. I had my old stretched chain from my road bike lying around, so I was able to try it once on a bad chain before I went to work on the new one. The whole procedure was very simple. The only thing I didn't think of was that I use a dry lube on the chain. I should have simple greened and scrubbed the new chain before putting it on the bike. Ah well. I'll just ride it as is for a bit. Then when it's time to apply the lube, I'll scrub it clean then.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

More Speed Track Workout 2

Genine, Todd and I actually made it to the track Friday night after work. Last week's speed run was on a treadmill. The treadmill is plenty effective but not quite real.
The main set was 4x400, 2x800, 4x400. Unfortunately, neither Todd or I remembered a watch and Genine did her own thing. So I really don't know how it went by comparison of other years.

On the drive home, I was remembering the track work build back in 2009. I'm hopeful that this build works out the same way. Because tonight, even tho' I was running faster than I would normally run, there was no power behind it. I also didn't feel like my run stride was right either. I'm not sure how to describe this other than I felt too upright and wasn't driving my legs as powerfully as I should be. I seem to remember this all fell into place over the course of about 6 weeks of track work. Maybe that will happen again this year.

I know I've posted this before but it's been awhile. Here is the link that helps give you an idea of how fast you should be running for your track intervals.
McMillan Running
Plug in a recent race result and it will put together an estimation for just about every distance. I took my times with me tonight but without a watch it was useless. Next time, I won't be in so much of a rush. Because there wasn't much sun left in the day, there was no turning back to get it. Fortunately, the days are getting longer.

Track workouts are tough. I was glad Todd was there with me because I might have stopped early otherwise. But this is how to get faster. So get out on the track and start tearing it up!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Putting in the time

Last week was a really good training week. Saturday's "long" 80 minute run didn't feel long. Then the 4500m swim felt like forever but I got it done. Then a 4 hour ride + 30 min run on Sunday topped it off. I even had a massage scheduled for Sunday evening.

Monday morning I get to the pool to swim 4000 and just had nothing. I stopped at 3000 even tho' I had time to keep going. It was ugly. Monday evening was to be an easy 1:45:00 bike. I wasn't able to get onto the bike until 8. Got a movie rolling and I made it all of 45 minutes.
I guess this is why most people take Monday off. I get it. Monday morning is just one of the better times for me to get to the pool.

So this week, I decided I'd break up the long run and the long bike. So my long run was tonight(Tuesday). 100 min. I felt a million times better than Monday night. Until my right calf and heel decided to chime in. Ugh! I cut it to 90 min and got my foot into the ice.

The good news is that there isn't much more volume to be added. It's just mixing in some intensity here and there. Hopefully I can manage may way through and avoid injury. I was really getting optimistic for a couple weeks.

I guess it's a bit of a roller coaster ride. As long as I'm at the top for a couple of the races this summer, I'll be satisfied.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Just a reminder that it's important to take a good look at what you have been doing and decide if you would benefit from some changes.

The pool is the first place I really started to feel like I was stuck. Once I got my swim endurance back into place. I no longer had the endurance improvement to be happy with. The focus then shifts to speed. That's when I decided to pay for the coaching. My technique is far from perfect and I've had success with the coach in the past. Currently, I feel like I'm thinking a lot while I'm swimming and I'm still questioning whether I'm doing everything right. I've got 4 more lessons before Columbia. I'm sure I'll be swimming more confidently by then.

Running: I've been following a 70.3 training schedule to get me to our June 24th race. Last year we were following a 70.3 schedule to get us to an August race. We are definitely deeper into the schedule this year compared to last year. Last year I remember thinking I had done no speed workouts heading into the Olympic distance races of Columbia and Mooseman, and I felt like I short changed myself in terms of race results. So this year I've modified my schedule. I've added speed workouts into the build leading to those shorter races. Last night was the first of them. I couldn't get myself motivated to go to the track alone in the fading sunlight, so I fired up the dreadmill. (It's not too dreadful for speed work). It was a good workout. I probably should have run faster on the 400s. Or maybe it was a safe place to start.

Biking: The event I feel I haven't a clue about. Give me a flat, non-technical ride and I'll probably do well. (I think I've only raced one flat event, DC in 2009). Again, I'd like to make an improvement over last year's Olympic races. So it's time to add the speed work. I've got a Spinervals DVD or 2 and some interval workouts. That will have to do. I'd like to see 1:15:00 at the end of the bike leg at Columbia. Last year I was close, but flatted near the end. Ugh! I don't feel fast on the bike at all yet. I'm hoping that changes in the next few weeks.

There are many other things I wish I could add to my training but I just don't have time. I'm not complaining tho'. The fact that my foot is cooperating with me has really changed my perspective on the entire race season. I'm going to make the most of it and hope that it keeps getting better.

I'm also looking forward to the start of the Tango discussions. I can tell people are starting to think about it. There is a stat meter on my pictures posted on Flickr and people have been looking through them again. The Buzz has begun!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

NYRR Scotland 10K Race Report

Another great morning for running. 42 degrees and Sunny.

We cut it kind of close this morning. Parking took longer than expected. Got our race numbers and didn't make it to the corrals until the were already compressing them and the National Anthem was being sung.
This was a busy race. I knew as soon as I saw my number 2112 (how cool is that?). That meant that I'd be in the 3rd corral today. Seeing how our warmup was the jog from the car to the number pickup, I had lowered my expectations somewhat for the start of this race.
As it turned out, my lowered expectations didn't matter much. I felt like I was running with the crowd for over a mile. It wasn't awful tho'. First mile was a 7:46. (I wore my watch this week). After that there was room to move, so mile 2 was 7:35, mile 3 7:36. Then we got to the hills, they slowed me down to a 7:46 for mile 4. I was feeling alright. I had some people around me that were having issues. It's funny how hearing someone suffer can make the course feel harder to you. I had to get away from those people.
I think the final 2 miles is largely downhill. Again, I'm feeling that I'm losing ground in these sections. I'm sure some speed workouts would fix this problem. My pace for mile 5 and 6 was 7:31. Slightly faster but as I've said. I feel like I'm missing the free speed from gravity.
Once again, no big push to the finish. I feel like I ran the event in Zone 4 HR. Solid Effort but no suffering really.
My finish time was 47:33 or a 7:41 pace. I had 7:35 in mind. Not too bad, seeing how this is my 3rd race in 3 weeks. Also the 2 hour run, each of the last 2 weeks have been tough. I've got some work ahead of me in terms of getting back into peak shape.

Which got me thinking. What has been my best 10K time? Oddly enough my best 15K pace (7:23) is much faster than my 10K best pace in a run only event (7:36). Both Central Park Full Loop Runs. But I actually ran a 7:28 pace for the 10K at the end of the DC Dextro Energy Olympic Distance Triathlon back in 2009. Go figure. I guess I need to set a goal of running a hard 10K some time when I'm in good shape. Should be an easy PR.

Time to go swim 4500m...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

NYRR CCC 4 miler

44 degrees and no rain.

I'm not going into this run on fresh legs. Did an hour speed bike workout Saturday, followed by a trip to the pool. At the pool I knocked out the longest swim I've done in quite some time, 4500m. I ended up using the pull buoy more than I wanted to, but right now it's a very helpful tool as I work on my stroke. It was nice to see 1:40/100m on the clock towards the end of that set. Without the buoy, it was drastically slower. 15-20 sec. I was cooked.

Back to the 4 miler. My right foot been much improved lately, so I decided I would really focus on my running form. I kept thinking quick cadence, light on your feet. I got to the first mile mark at 8:00, I'm not exactly sure when I reached the start line. I guessed at 30 seconds but it was probably more like 10-15 at most.

Even tho' I wasn't going to go all out. I wasn't looking for an easy run either. I wanted to see 7:30 or less for my pace at the end of this. Which means I'd better stay focused and pick it up a bit.
Mile 2 I got there at 15:30. Guess I dialed in the 7:30 perfectly.

But there is trouble ahead, it's time to do some climbing. I felt pretty good about mile 3. I felt there was a chance that I had held pace. I didn't. 7:38. Downhills ahead.

I had a couple people near me that had been running with me for quite some time. I had it in my head that I wasn't going to let them beat me to the finish. Unfortunately, I don't think any of our group were excellent descenders. We had plenty of people sneaking by us here.
Once we were out of the descent, I decided to turn it up. Last week I had no kick, I ran easier today, I should have a bit of a kick. There was one guy that went with me and we finished out the final 400(?) within a couple steps of each other. I stayed ahead.

I looked at the clock and figured I should have been just under a 7:30 pace for the run. Have to say I was a bit disappointed to see 7:35 when the results came out. 30:19 for 4 miles. That may have ended my  "no watch or HR monitor during my runs" phase. I've found the watch to be helpful in the past. It's time to get it back into my training.

Todd had a good run considering he ran 12 miles yesterday in a cold rain. 27:54, so 6:59 pace.

As soon as I got home. I switched to bike clothes and headed over to Ed's and we rode for just over 90 minutes. 50 degrees and overcast. My first outdoor ride of the year. It was nice to have some momentum on the bike. I still don't have good gear to ride in this type of weather but what I put together worked well enough for today.

Next weekend is a 10K in Central Park. I'm going to try to work my schedule so I have a day off leading into it. I'd like to get an idea of where I am for 10k's.

It's been a good week. Hoping I can string an number of these together. It would do wonders for my psyche.