Monthly Archives: June 2011

Desire conviction and knowledge

Feeling a bit under the weather this week (week 2 of a 3 week taper). It started off with a cough last week and despite copious amounts of rest last weekend, it’s not gotten much better. The fact that it’s taper time makes it a bit more difficult to rest too. Now I feel like there’s no impetus to get to sleep early for morning swims, so it’s very easy to not get enough rest during the week.

Since the first few days of taper, I haven’t really freaked out or gotten nervous about the race at all. Part of this is because its not my first rodeo. Another part is because I have the utmost faith that what I’ve done is enough to get me closer to where I want to be1. I’ve had a few moments of stupidity: for instance, I looked at last year’s times for the 25-29AG. As for why that’s stupid? Well, in a sense it takes me out of racing my race and trying to match the times of others, even though I have no idea what the conditions were last year or what the quality of the competitors was. I do have some idea of what I would consider a disappointing finish (provided that nothing I can control (e.g., pacing) goes wrong), but I don’t really want to think about what I’ll do if that happens.

Desire, conviction and knowledge have played a huge role in my training this year, especially since I returned from Wildflower:

  • The desire to be better (however you define better). In this case, the desire to be competitive at a higher level, and the desire to put in the work to get there
  • The conviction that the path you are following is correct, and the choices you have made are right. Boiling it down, I’ve got a firm belief that I’m doing the things that are making me better and I’m trying not to second guess myself on them
  • The knowledge that what you are doing is making you better. This is really an after the fact thing, but it’s the affirmation that you are getting better through race results, key workouts, etc. I look at my 1/2 Mary PR and 5K PR happening in the same week during a normal training load with a 20 miler thrown between the two. I must be doing something right. I’m not cracking the top 1% yet, but I’m continuing to get closer.

Anytime I wish or think that I should have been doing this during college, I stop myself. Yes, I might be faster if I had been a competitive swimmer/cyclist/runner in HS/College, but I might have also gotten burnt out on them. And the fact of the matter is I wasn’t, but I’m here now. I can either regret that I didn’t know this would be a large part of my life (and yeah, sometimes I do, I’m human), or I can accept that everything I’ve done, everyone I’ve met has put me in this position. So I’m going to keep on doing what I enjoy doing now, keep on moving forward, hopefully at a bit faster pace than before.

Taper madness and other thoughts

During my first ironman, the only taper madness I had was whether I was sick/hurt as the race approached. This year, the taper madness started as soon as my training block ended. Not about whether I was trained enough for the race (I trust my coach), but rather whether the race fits how I want it to in my life or whether I will be competitive enough at the race to satisfy myself.  I’ve been having such success with my training of late (or at least feeling like I have as evidenced by running PRs while in the middle of training blocks). It’s a bit of a change to go from trying to get faster to resting up for a long distance race. And then… I have to recover from that race. I want to do well, but Kona is still out of reach for me… and beyond that, I’m not sure what the measure is. Is it enough to beat my time from Canada? There’s so much that can impact the time on race day. There are power files and HR and paces but at the end of the day we are measured by the times reported. There is no way for me to say “I want a 10:30:00 so I will make it happen”. I can run the pace I can run, ride with the power that I can hold, and I can swim without sinking (I hope). If I do all of those and everything goes well, I can finish proudly and happily. If I do all of those and things don’t go well, I can finish proudly. If I don’t finish… I’ll finish.

I had dinner with my old coach this week. He asked what had happened to my arms (I’m a lot leaner than I used to be). We talked briefly about what it takes to get sponsored as that’s been on my mind a bit lately. Discussed how I think that finishing CDA is very different from my first IM. He reminded me that despite coaching myself, I still have a great support network. And it’s true. The people around me are incredibly supportive, and it’s fantastic for me. At the same time, this is the first time I’ve attempted something this big on my own (I suppose Masters is a cop out) and I’m putting far more pressure on myself to succeed and do well (a lot of that is being around/competitive with people who do the same). A not so subtle shift from big but now probable goals (finishing an ironman) to unknowns (racing an ironman). Fairly certain I won’t finish top 10 in my age group, but I’d like to finish proud.

And the best cure for getting rid of taper madness? Rocking your 4 month old nephew to sleep twice in one afternoon. Answering your 3 year old nephew’s questions of why with interesting answers that stop him from asking why again while you carry him home from lunch.

And now, one last ride on the bike before it starts the journey to Idaho.

A little bit (gee/frea)ked out…

This came in the mail today

Final race rehearsal was this past Saturday. I woke up feeling much healthier than I did last time. A local cycling club, the Charles River Wheelmen, has a number of routes where they’ve painted arrows on the road and there’s a course out in Newton (and a bunch of other towns WSW of Boston) that has multiple distances. Back in May I did 42-42-28 as the 3 loops, and I knew this time I didn’t want to do the exact same thing. The plan was to do 50-42-19 and get close to the 112 I needed.

The first two loops were pretty uneventful, except for the fact that I hit just about every pothole on the route on both loops. Two or three times I launched one or both of my bottles. Not ideal, and something I’ll need to remember at CDA. I was riding decently, but from time to time I was just getting really stupid and angry and just not focusing on riding consistently or in my IM power zones, so I decided to bag the ride at 92 miles. I’ve done the 112 already a number of times and didn’t think I’d be missing out on much after already having been out for 5 hours. Other things from the ride:

  • I finally “taught”/convinced myself to pee while on the bike. Kind of.
  • My aeropads keep dropping outwards. This is incredibly annoying.
  • This will probably be my last long distance tri on the Condiment Machine. A new cockpit is expensive… I can come up with a ton of reasons…

Got off the bike and did 6 miles of slightly rolling terrain. Pace was a bit too fast (7:20) for an IM marathon. As time went on I had a bit of a twinge in my calves, so I know that I can’t go out that fast at CDA. Thinking 8 minute miles is the way to go.

I took Sunday off and got a massage, then had drinks with the siblings of mine that live in Boston. Monday started the taper, which really didn’t mean anything (it means more as time goes on, but I’ll be less crazed by it as time goes by too). Ran and swam on Monday, biked Tuesday, ran 7 miles today (no threshold work, just some easy pace and marathon pace work).

Built for the Long Run

This week has and hasn’t been a great week for training for me. In general I’ve been exhausted; I’ve taken two rest days this week (my first rest days in a few weeks). On Wednesday, I actually tried to swim, but it just wasn’t happening. Got out of the water after 400m as I just couldn’t get my body to cooperate. So why was I so tired?

Sunday was the Race to Remember and on Monday I woke up, decided it was too muggy to ride solo at that point and I had other things that I was focusing on, so I bagged my 28-42 mile ride.

Tuesday I had to get in my last long run before CDA. I didn’t really have to, but I wanted to actually get a long run in for once. And get a long run in I did. 20 miles at 7:43 pace. Slightly negative split it, but was trying to be as consistent with my miles as possible. The hardest part of the run was turning away from the office at mile 17 and adding on the last 3 miles.

Wednesday I woke up for morning masters, but I was still exhausted. I hadn’t been able to sleep well Tuesday night and neither my arms nor my legs were really working well. As a result I got out of the water after 400m and then went to my sister’s apartment for a dinner cooked by her husband. Noms.

Thursday was a stupid stupid race. I have a problem with racing. Not that I can’t race. I can’t NOT race. Anyhow, the race was the JPMorgan corporate challenge: 3.5 miles from Boston Commons down to Kenmore Square and back. My plan was just to run at threshold and use the run as a mix between a track workout and a tempo run. Turns out I’m incapable of following a simple plan like that; once the horn went, I was off like someone was trying to kill me. Quite pleased with my pacing again as I slightly negatively split the race. Mile splits (pace for the last bit) were:

  1. 6:04
  2. 5:59
  3. 6:00
  4. 5:53

3.525 miles on the Garmin in 21:06. PRed the 5K that finished the race in 18:34. Not bad for a “distance runner” who had already put 37 miles in his legs in the previous 4 days or so. I’ll remove the quotes once I do something legit as a distance runner, like qualifying for NYC (1:23 half or 2:55 full) or a rim-to-rim-to-rim run of the Grand Canyon. For now though, I could probably do well at a distance race in a small town, but I need to keep getting faster.

Tomorrow is the last big workout before taper begins for IM CDA. 112 miles on the bike followed by a 6-8 mile run. It’s not going to be fun, but it’s necessary to get my body ready. Also, today’s weight was a 162 before swim practice, so I’m almost where I want to be for CDA.