Monday, January 19, 2009

Placid Trainer Games

Temperatures on Saturday morning foiled our planned ride with RABA in Urbanna and were far to frigid to venture outside on the bike. My temperature low for outside riding, particularly when it lasts over an hour, is 30 degrees. So in order to break the monotony of a 2 hr and 40 minute planned trainer ride, Bart and I invited two fellow Placid peeps TG40 and DL and our ham sponsored rider GG over for the inaugural Troy Jacobsen Lake Placid Training Video viewing.

The video was entertaining, challenging (one of the toughest trainer rides I've ever ridden) and very informative. It was great to see the Ironman course and hear Coach Troy's helpful hints on where to save up, where to hydrate and make sure you eat and where the tough parts will be. Parts seemed counter intuitive - while Troy was cruising down the hill towards Keene in his big gears, we were in our small ring with a very high (over 100) cadence. When he was spinning up hills, we were grinding in our big gears trying to simulate climbing those big hills. I managed to make it through the entire 2 hrs and 53 minutes of the video, but not without a bunch of moaning and with some more relaxed gearing than what Troy calls for in the video. It was a great baseline ride for January though and it will be interesting to see when I ride it again if my gearing/cadence ratios improve as my fitness and hopefully my strength improves with the season.

On another note, my suspected plantar fascitis, is just that. I went and had ART done again on Friday morning and visited the orthopedist on Friday afternoon. Both Saturday and Sunday mornings were free from pain and my foot felt great. That is, until post long run last night and this morning. So, I'm back to the iced water bottle and lots of stretching this week and maybe a trip for some new shoes.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Training Again

In addition to it being day 9 of my 28 day cleanse, I am finally back to official training. I received my plan yesterday via my own new website on TrainingPeaks. So far, the software looks pretty awesome. Lots of cool ways to share feedback information with Coach Michael like workout heart rates, mileage and Garmin stuff plus extras like perceived effort, sleep the night before, nutrition, etc.

My plan apparently is focused on "the run" for the first 8 weeks. Coach was excited by my technique session and believes that if I can fix the glitch in my recovery technique then I should be able to make great improvements in my run times. As any of you who read this know, the run is my least favorite, so a plan focused on it is not my ideal, but like the cleanse, I'm just going to listen, stick to it and have faith.

Today's workout was my bike VO2 test and technique analysis on the spin scan. I'm always amazed how quickly the VO2 test can suck the life out of your legs while you pedal. One minute I feel great and am working a great cadence, and then less than a minute later, my legs feel like they have been on a 60 mile bike ride. Don't know the results, but I would have liked to have pushed a few more watts. Oh well. That's what strength training is for right? Like the other technique sessions, my bike technique session revealed a few things to work on and possibly a fix to my shoe issue.

As for the cleanse, I'm still on plan. Still no red meat, wine, coffee, tomatoes, dairy, etc. I'm feeling pretty good and the headache and stomach issues I had on day 4 last week, have completely disappeared. Surprisingly, my craving for coffee has dissipated some but in its place, my desire for something red - red sauce, ketchup, salsa - you name it. The worst part now is trying to gag down the new protein powder geared towards reducing inflammation in my gut twice a day. The supposed pineapple banana flavor tastes more like a heavy dose of ginger, cinnamon and cardamon. This morning's smoothie with blueberry juice was so far the best at masking the strong spice flavor. Hopefully in the next 20 days I'll figure out the perfect smoothie concoction.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day 3

Day three of my "nutrition cleanse" is almost to a close. So far, I haven't been particularly hungry or craved anything with the exception of COFFEE! Normally, I don't drink more than about a cup and a half of good coffee each day and so I didn't think I would miss it at all when relegated to tea . . . but, alas, it is the thing I miss most. Both Monday morning and Wednesday mornings when I came home from my pre-work swim to shower and change and breathed in that wonderful smelling fresh brewed pot of Southern Pecan coffee Bart had just brewed, I had to conjure up all of my strength not to cave. But then I reminded myself it was only 28 days and that I could do anything for 28 days and started to get ready for work.

Other than craving coffee and trying to get back in the swing of things at work, I've been getting back on plan this week with retesting for both VO2 and technique. I managed to survive Monday's run VO2 max test (my least favorite) and while I don't know exact scores, I don't think I lost too much during the off-season and am certainly starting better than last year. The run technique assessment which followed Tuesday morning was far more interesting. I learned I don't bend my legs very well when on the recovery part of my run which leads to very little knee drive and sort of a "chicken run." It gets slightly better as my pace increases, but not by much. We worked on some drills to fix the problem, but it doesn't flow naturally for me so this will definitely be an area to work on. Its odd to see yourself run on video, but very informative. Thankfully, I wasn't youtubed for either, but there are lots of great VO2 videos out there if you have some web surfing time.

Last night I got to goof off with cycling class at EF. I still struggle with the one legged drills at 90 rpms, but am starting to get the hang of them and can hold on for a few seconds at that pace before my form deteriorates. I've at least got the 70 rpm and 50 rpm drills conquered. We did another fun set this week that I loved - 9 minutes tempo alternating every 30 seconds between 110 rpm high cadence, 50 rpm hard gear and standing. Definitely got my heart rate going but also kept my mind engaged focusing on different muscles and aspects of form.

This morning's workout was a swim in the Endless Pool. I was excited to check it out and see if my form has improved after a few months of guppies with Karen Holloway. Swimming in the Endless Pool is different than swimming in a regular pool and much more like open water swimming. Because of the current, you can't take breaks and loaf and you also have to keep a fairly constant pace. The current moves you around a bit and accentuates any weaknesses in your stroke, just like real current. That said, I think I'll return - its a good workout and would be a good place to do a constant swim or even intervals. If I can do it in my wetsuit, even better. I learned that my technique has improved but that I still have a dead left pull when I breathe to my right and could stand to improve my catch on both sides. Coach Harlow walked me through some drills that I hope will improve it (including my favorite breathe away drill, aka the drowning drill from guppies) and introduced me to the VASA trainer to work on the strength and muscle memory of my catch.

All good things to work on this spring. Tomorrow. . . the bike VO2 test and time on the spin scan. 25 days from now. . . a good cup of coffee.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year!

Although January 1 was a few days ago, tomorrow starts the beginning of my new year. Tonight I took some time to finalize some of my race plans for 2009, study my guidelines for my 28 day cleanse and think of all of the wonderful things that 2008 brought. And... of course, play a little bit on a facebook. I find it totally amazing that in the two short days since I've joined, I've reconnected with people from my hometown I haven't seen in over a decade, old college friends and, of course, the triathlon community.

As for 2009 goals, they are still a work in progress, much like the design of my Blog site. As you may have noticed, its starting to look a little different. IM Lake Placid is still at the forefront but there are many smaller goals, training and non-training along that need to fall into place. I don't do well with large overarching goals. I need smaller, specific tasks that I can check off in my planner at the end of the month.

So for now, a little brainstorming over January's goals and challenges. . .

Successfully complete my 28 day cleanse
Switch from the off-season to IM training
Finish stripping wallpaper in and paint my last guest bedroom
Pack lunch 2 times a week
Pep up my lesson plans for my spring law school class
Finish my blog redesign
Take at least three pictures each week.

These are mine... what are the rest of you up to?