Thursday, January 29, 2009

Getting back on the horse

Today I got out for a run after 3 days of recovering from a cold.  It felt good to be back on the road again.  My goal was to run for 30 minutes.  I often use a .92 mi loop in my neighborhood to make sure my pacing is on.  I did for loops in just over 32 minutes.

Here are the splits:
Lap 1: 8:00 (8:41/mi) 
Lap 2: 8:18 (9:01/mi) 
Lap 3: 8:12 (8:54/mi) 
Lap 4: 7:49 (8:29/mi)

I was pleased with the splits. Good pace, and steady.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Novara Tempest Bike Tights [Gear Wednesday]

Cold legs is a problem when they are your engine.  These Novara Tempest Bike Tights were just what I needed.

Back when I ran cross country we would often wear tights when the temps dipped below 30 or 40 degrees.  They'd protect your legs from the elements, but wouldn't offer much warmth as they would get cold after a while.  

I didn't have that problem with these.  They have a stiffer and thicker front panel that blocks winds and the material traps just enough heat while dissipating sweat.  Another added benefit these have is the added compression which helps keep blood circulating through the legs.  I've even taken these out on runs and they work well.  Even though they are stiffer in the front they offer plenty of flexibility for both biking and running.

While the size was a good fit overall, I found them to be a bit short.  But then again, I find a lot of things to fit me that way as my legs are pretty long.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cabin fever

No workouts again today.  The cold feels like it is on its way out and tomorrow I just may be feeling better.

2009 Issaquah Triathlon

The Issaquah Tri is the event that got me started back on the road to fitness and to finally do a triathlon.  It is held the Saturday after Memorial Day.  It turns out I know a number of people who have done it before, and there are a more still who might be doing it this year.

It's a sprint tri.  So 400m swim, 14 mi bike, and 3 mi run.  I have no doubt that I can do it, if I can just get my swimming down by then.

Overall it isn't a difficult course.  The swim portion is in the south end of Lake Sammamish.  It's a U course with the transition area in the big grassy section of the park.  The bike is relatively flat out and back with 1 small hill that you hit on both directions.  The run happens in the park and is almost a cross country type course, being mainly grass and dirt that you run on.

I have no expectations of winning this race or even my age group.  Last year over 700 people finished the race and I expect there to be even more this year.  This will be the first time I have raced anything since 1997 (man that's a long time ago!).  My goal in doing all of this is to get back into shape. But... I don't want to come in last or merely finish.  So here are my goals on the splits and overall time.

Swim:    13:00
T1:       2:30
Bike:    42:00
T2:       1:30
Run:     21:00
Total: 1:20:00

Registration isn't open yet, but I'll post here when it is.

So, how am I getting ready?  To be honest, I have no specific training plan just for the triathlon.  Soon after deciding to do this race I also decided to do a marathon and a 200 mile bike ride within a month and a half of the triathlon.  I do have specific training plans for those events, which I'll share in other posts.  I figure that if I can stick to the plans for those events I'll do well in the triathlon.  For the swim, I plan on being in the water 3 times a week for the next four months for around 30 minutes a day to begin with and working up to an hour.  Each day I want to increase the total distance I swim with an increase each week in the total distance without stopping.  My hope is that I can swim 800 meters in the pool without stopping by race time, and also have gotten in some open water swimming before the race.

I'm really looking forward to this, and hope that it's the beginning of longer triathlons in the future.

Anyone else planning on being there?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cold case

So today was a bust.  I had planned on an early morning 3 mile run then a swim in the afternoon.  But over the weekend I ended up with quite the head cold.  Somehow running in 18 degree weather didn't seem like a good idea.  Plus, I don't want to think about what would happen if I tried to breath out of my nose at the pool.

Here's hoping tomorrow's better.

Sometimes, Ignorance is Bliss

On last Saturday's ride I thought I would go up a hill that I've driven up numerous times.  I'd planned out my route and looked at the elevation chart.  There was a hill but it was short and only 8% grade (that's the purple part).
So I headed out.  I tried to take the first half of the ride fairly slow so I could get home okay, and
 because all of the climbing was at the beginning.  When i got to the hill, it looked a lot bigger than it ever did in a car.  But, I'd committed myself at that point, and besides, it was only a mere 8%.  The internet doesn't lie!

So climb I did.  There were parts that were so steep that I felt that if I didn't lean forward enough I would fall off the back of the bike.  After struggling 1/3 of the way there was a flat side street that I pulled into to regain my breath and legs.  After about 3 minutes of rest I went at it again, only to pull into another side street another 1/3 of the way up.  One last push after the
 rest and I made it. 

By the time I made it all the way up, I was convinced that this beast was steeper than 8%.  After making it home I looked it up and this is what I found.
Not only was the hill steeper (20%!!!) but the smallest incline was 7%.  I made it home okay, in fact I averaged 22 mph over the last 15 miles of the ride, but it did take me at least 3 miles to recover from that climb.

Would I have done the ride if I'd really known how steep the hill was?  Probably.  Will I do it again?  Yep.  Was the hill easier not knowing how steep it was?  Absolutely.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Playing catch up

The good news is that I've been getting some good workouts in this week.  The bad news is that no one knows.  So let's do a bit of time travelling and see what I've been up to this week.

Saturday, January 17th
During my girl's naps today I got out for a 30-mile bike ride.  It was good to get out on the road for the first time in a while.  It was also a good test of my new cold weather gear that I got.  When I left the house, it was 46 degrees.  Before I got a block I turned around and got one extra top layer, but then I was ready to go.

The first 6 miles were all city streets.  After that I spent a few miles on a trail that follows Lake Washington.  Then, I went up the hill.  (I'll spare you the gory details here, but look for them in another post.)  After 3 miles of recovering from the hill, then riding through some construction zones I got a cramp in my calf.  After a brief break to stretch I got back on the road as it was starting to cool down.  15 miles in I was 1hr 10mins.

Now it was downhill the rest of the way.  I did the next 15 miles in 40 mins (22.5 mph average! cool!) and tried to get home before my feet went completely numb.  By the time I rolled in my driveway it was 37 degrees.  The cold weather gear worked great.  The only part of me that was cold, was my feet.  It looks like some shoe covers will be purchased in the near future.

Monday, January 19th
This was a short run.  I have been focusing more on biking and swimming the last few weeks and haven't gotten the mileage in that I should.  This was the only run I did this week.  With the marathon training program coming starting in two weeks, I've got to get running some more.

In all it was 2.76 miles in 24:51.

I did a total of 450m over 25 minutes.  Other than one 50m stretch, it was all 25m then rest.  It's a start at least...

Tuesday, January 20th
Trainer time.  33 minutes total and just shy of 11 miles.  It's not realistic, but it gives me a chance to work on pedal speed and leg strength.

Wednesday, January 21st
This was a good day for me in the pool.  I did 3x50m, 3x100m, then 2x25m.  500m total in 25min.  The same time it took me to do 450m 2 days earlier.  I mix a bunch of strokes still as I'm still gaining confidence in the water.

Saturday, January 24th
It's that time of year again when I have to work on Saturdays.  So, I commuted in.  On my way in I met Wes.  He's got some big races and events coming up this year, including a 6-day mountain bike stage race and a road race that crosses the continental divide 3 times in one day!  He was a nice guy.  I had planned on riding in nice and easy, but instead picked up the pace a little to keep up.  He wasn't going terribly fast as he had at least another 50 miles to go, but it was faster than I had planned.  All in all, it was 8 miles in 35 minutes.

Today I had a hard time in the pool.  I went 600m in 25 minutes, which is more than I've ever done, but was having a hard time breathing which is probably due to the cold I'm coming down with.  I did 3x50m, 3x100m, and 2x75m.  I still haven't successfully swam freestyle for more than 50m.  With four more months to go, I hope I still have time.

I took a slightly different route home that ended up being 8.8 miles and took just under 40 minutes.  It's always fun to look back and see where I started.  Last summer I was struggling to make it home on that same route in 40 minutes and now I can take it slow in that amount of time.

Week in review - Total distance
Run: 2.76 miles
Bike: 27.54 miles
Swim: 1,550 meters

Next week's goals
Run: 15 miles
Bike: 30 miles
Swim: 2,100 meters

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pearl Izumi Cyclone Gloves [Gear Wednesdays]

I recently picked up some cold weather gear, and included was a pair of Pearl Izumi Cyclone bicycle gloves.  I'd been out once before in 40 degree weather and my fingers were quite numb. 

So last Saturday I got a chance to test these out.  It was a beautiful day, but it was cold.  When I started the ride it was 42 degrees, 2 hours later it was down to 37.  These gloves kept my hands warm but not clammy.  The fingers have sufficient grip on them for the brakes and shifter.  The palms have excellent padding for long rides.  I was so pleased that I'm going to try some Pearl Izumi AmFib shoe covers as my feet were the only part of me that were uncomfortable.

I've heard that the gloves are great for riding in the rain.  I haven't had the chance to test the water resistance out, but now I've got one less excuse to get out and ride!

*** 1/25/09 UPDATE:  I took the bike out yesterday and when I started out it was 26 degrees.  It was a short ride into work (not 2 hours like the week before), but I didn't feel any cold at all.  Great gloves!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My first encounter with the pool...

If I were to say that I've never been very good at swimming, that would be a huge understatement. I've never really taken the time to swim before. Sure, when I was a kid we'd go to the pool and play. I even took lessons for a while, but none of it really seemed to stick.

I can hack my way through the water for 50, maybe 75 meters, but then I'm heaving at the end of the pool gasping for breath.

So today it started.  Armed with my brand spanking new gym membership and swim goggles I decided to get a little wet during lunch.  I ended up managing 400m over the 30 minutes I was there.  Basically at this point I swim one length catch my breath and then swim another.  It's time consuming, but I really haven't gotten used to the breathing thing yet.

I did 50 meters to start off with then 12 25m lengths, then 50m to close it out.  I'd say about 70% of the length was freestyle and the rest was backstroke.

I don't think I realized how much of a struggle the swim portion of the tri was going to be for me. I've got about 4 months until I toe the line.  I'm hoping 3 times a week will get me at least able to swim 800m without stopping by the time May rolls around. 

Here's hoping...

Gear Wednesdays

Every Wednesday I'll show you what gear I'm using and other tri gear I feel like talking about. From what I hear, half the fun of triathlons is the gear that goes with them!

As I'm new to the sport, I've assembled a pretty long wish list.  Luckily, my birthday just passed and I got some good gift cards that will satisfy my gear hunger for a while.

Here are some items on my list:
-fenders for the bike
-waterproof cycling jacket
-another water bottle cage
-bike saddle
-cycling jersey
-waterproof bike pants
-long fingered gloves
I'm pretty sure I could go look on the website and find a ton of other stuff I need!

So to kick off gear Wednesdays, let's hear what your favorite piece of gear is in the comments.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

1/12 and 1/13 workout summaries

Monday I got up and got a run in before as planned. Sounds easy enough, except for me that means getting up at 4:30.  (I'm a bit of an early bird.) I got 3 miles in at a very slow pace. Over the weekend I came down with something. Sunday it hit hard. Every part of me hurt, it was really kind of bizarre. But, I'm glad I got out to get the week started.

Last night I was up pretty late, so I opted to pass on the run this morning and get a bit more sleep. Tonight though, I got a half hour in on the trainer.  Nothing spectacular, but a few 2 minute intervals to get my heart rate up to 175.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

You're what?!?

That would be a typical reaction I get when I tell most people I'm training for a triathlon.  You should see their face when I tell them that I'm also going to run a marathon and bike 200 miles!

What you are reading will be my way of keeping myself on track to get myself motivated.

Since I was a teenager I've thought it would be cool to do a triathlon.  I ran cross country for a few years, and got around town by bike.  Swimming will be my crutch.  I can't seem to swim for more than 25 meters at a time.  So for the sprint tri coming up in May 400m will be a challenge. For Christmas, though, my excellent wife got me a year membership to a gym with a pool. Combine that with the goggles from my parents and i'm set.  So this week I start the laps.  Wish me luck!

So, to get started, how was last week?  The week started off really good.  I felt great while running and even ran a crazy hill on Monday.  By Thursday the workouts just weren't happening.  By Saturday my legs felt like lead and I just couldn't get moving.  I did about 2 miles of my planned 6 miles and had to stop.

Total miles for the week:
Run: 9.45 miles
Bike: 6 miles

Goals for this week:
Run: 15 miles
Bike: 30 miles
Swim: 1 hour