Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Trainer ride w/ data + swim

June 29
Well, between the wedding, work, and training, I wasn't able to post the last week and a half of training. I should be able to post more regularly for the next several weeks. On with today's workouts...

(1) Trainer ride. 1:05. Data:
First set
8 min. at 235 W and 65 rpm -- 136 bpm avg., 140 bpm max, 6 PE
6 min. at 245 W and 70 rpm -- 141 bpm avg., 144 bpm max, 6 PE
4 min. at 255 W and 75 rpm -- 144 bpm avg., 150 bpm max, 6.5 PE
2 min. at 265 W and 85 rpm -- 142 bpm avg., 153 bpm max, 6.5 PE
1 min. at 275 W and 95 rpm -- 138 bpm avg., 144 bpm max, 7 PE

Secont set
8 min. at 235 W and 65 rpm -- 142 bpm avg., 144 bpm max, 7 PE
6 min. at 245 W and 70 rpm -- 145 bpm avg., 149 bpm max, 7 PE
4 min. at 255 W and 75 rpm -- 148 bpm avg., 153 bpm max, 7.5 PE
2 min. at 265 W and 85 rpm -- 143 bpm avg., 156 bpm max, 7.5 PE
1 min. at 275 W and 95 rpm -- 134 bpm avg., 151 bpm max, 7.5 PE

One minute easy between all sets, and with a 10 min. w/u and 5 min c/d

(2) Swim
I'm off to the pool right now for a 1:10 swim. The main set is a 21 hard 100's on 10 sec. rest with additional rest after sets of 6, then 5, then 4, then 3, then 2, then 1. Once again due to business, I neglected to update my swim yardage for the month. It's not great, though. I'd estimate 40,000 y.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Picture dump

Heading up to Raymond from Lyons.

The always flattering self-portrait.

I think that's Longs Peak in the background of the above two images.

This shot is cool because you can see where the road goes in a half mile or so. The climb basically continues like that for 25 miles!

The trash can at the general store in Ward. Hmm, wonder who has been shopping there today?

My trusty steed (with a slightly tipped up saddle...oops).

A bunch of shots at Brainard Lake (10,300 ft. -- holding 230 W there is not easy!).

Flatirons, Boulder's most prominent geological feature.

Several shots along the climb up Flagstaff. I did the climb 4 times on this ride (plus a bit of Sunshine Canyon).

Two shots from the Artist's Point atop Flagstaff.

My makeshift computer mount after my computer flew off my bike while going downhill at 35 mph. Fortunately, the computer still works fine.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Swim times

A very quick write up...

June 16
(1) 30 minute run in the AM with 15 minutes at about 6:00/mile

(2) 1:45 run, all by feel but starting easy and then picking up the pace in the middle...never too hard but moving decently

June 17
(1) 45 minute power swim in the AM (power meaning plenty of hard 25s)

(2) 1 hour spin in the evening

June 18
(1) Here are the swim times I referred to:
500m all-out: 8:05
400m all-out: 6:25 (good here...though I should compare to my prior efforts)
200m all-out: 3:10 (hmm...not great here)

(2) Spin with one-leg drills. 30 minutes.

I've got some great rides from the weekend with photos and power files to share, and I hope I can get them up tomorrow. However, I'm getting married in Michigan on Saturday, and I need to get packed to fly home Thursday evening. Between the wedding and a new job, my blog is not exactly a high priority right now.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Workouts w/ power

First up, I got a nice letter in the mail yesterday:

Apparently I won the 20-29 age group at the Colfax Half Marathon a few weeks back, and I didn't even realize it. When I opened the package, I thought, "Great, another little plaque." (Note the sarcasm.) Packaged with the plaque, however, was a piece of paper. The paper said I won a free pair of Native sunglasses, a $150 value, for my effort. Awesome. Native, I discovered, is a Denver-based company, so that's cool. I ordered up a pair of these:

So, thank you Native Eyewear for supporting local races and providing nice prizes.

June 12 continued
Okay, on with the show. I left off last post with a duathlon race report. After the race I got in a 3.5 hour ride in a nice drizzle. I rode by feel but went easy. Since my goals were (1) time in the saddle and (2) promote recovery (or not get more rundown from the race), I made sure to dress in warm clothes. Stressing my body more with exposure to the cold, wet weather wouldn't have been smart.

June 13
First up was a 2:00 trainer ride with 1:45 of it at 140 bpm and 80ish rpm. My stats were very impressive, for me anyhow. CV has noticed a similar phenomenon in the past, where a workout the day after a really hard effort can start off extremely well. Here's the stats:
1- 243 W, 137 bpm, 83 rpm
2- 234 W, 140 bpm, 82 rpm
3- 229 W, 141 bpm, 80 rpm
4- 227 W, 141 bpm, 79 rpm
5- 223 W, 141 bpm, 78 rpm
6- 224 W, 141 bpm, 78 rpm
7- 221 W, 142 bpm, 76 rpm

Now if I can just hold 243 W at 137 bpm for 112 miles, and I'll cut 30 mintues off my IM time. While the stats are good, I need to repeat them (over and over, really) before I can consider them to be indicative of my ability.

Afterwards I did a super secret workout that I am not allowed to share, and then an easy swim. A solid day, all in all.

June 14
(1) 45 minute swim
Up at 5:38 AM, out the door at 5:55 AM, in the pool by 6:10 AM, out of the pool at 6:55 AM, out the gym door to work at 7:15 AM, at work by 7:45 AM. That's going to be very normal for me for the next several weeks. I love the early morning swim, though, as it allows me to do just an hour or 1.5 hrs in the evening and still get in a pretty solid day.

Plus, I am now swimming outside. Starting the day off with a bit of time in the sun (well, the sun is barely up, but still...) is always nice.

(2) 40 minute run planned, but I ran 1:00 because the This American Life podcast I was listening to was still going. All by feel, moderately-easy, but not too easy.

June 15
(1) Another morning swim. 45 minute, once more.

(2) 1:00 trainer ride w/ intervals. Again, my stats were pretty good. I've got two 8 minute efforts highlighted in the photo:

The first was at an average HR of 137 bpm (max 142 bpm) and 241 W at 67 RPM. My perceived exertion was low, about 6 out of 10, for the first half of the ride.

For the second half my stats got a bit worse, but were still solid. The 8 minute effort, for comparison's sake, now had an avg HR of 141 bpm (max of 149, but it was mostly in the 142-43 range) for 239 W. Perceived exertion was up to 7.5 out of 10.

I'm really happy with these stats, and I hope my power meter is still accurate! I'm calibrating my SRM with the zero function, but I should do the weight hanging again soon just to make sure it's correct.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Uncomfortably Numb -- A Big Sky Duathlon Race Report

June 11
Today's schedule called for a 1:15 run, all easy. I misread the schedule before going to sleep the night before and awoke thinking I had a 45 minute run. I didn't have time to do 1:15 in the morning, so I did 50 min in the morning and another 30 in the evening.

June 12

(Yes, I picked this photo for the quad definition. At least I admit it.)

Big Sky Duathlon: I prefer to overdress for cold weather, and I'm usually about the warmest dressed person in any race I enter. For whatever reason, I didn't bring my normal suitcase of clothing to this race, so I was stuck wearing a tri singlet with a short sleeve base layer underneath and a pair of shorts. Well, it turned out to be 45 degrees and raining for the race.

The run was interested because it included a 1/4 to 1/2 mile section on a dirt road that had become slick with mud following a day of rain. I had to run in the grass and slipped several times. I'm surprised my time is as fast as it was given the poor running surface, though maybe the organizers mis-measured the run distance.

While I was fine temperature-wise during the first run, I froze on the bike and could not get going. First my hands went numb, then my arms, and finally my feet. I came into T2 and had a slow transition because it took me a while to get my helmet undone and my shoes on due to barely functioning hands. The first mile of the second run was tough, too, but once I warmed up I felt better.

5:44/mile for the first run (14:19 ... a bit under 3 miles)
24.8 mph (off a not so great 240 W average power ... 37:27 for 15 miles)
6:11/mile for the second run (15:25 ... I should have pushed myself harder here)
9th overall out of 200 or so

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Good and Bad

June 10 -- The Bad
Today's plan called for a swim and, if I could fit it in, I'd also do an hour or so trainer ride with 30 minutes of intervals at 250 W. I wanted to do the ride since I haven't been on the bike in a few days.

The swim looked tough: w/u, a quick golf set, 1000m TT, 10 x 100m all out, and 10 x 50m all out. I got in the water and felt awful. I was off balance and I couldn't pull catch any water. I did the golf sets and my scores were pathetic. E.G.: 49 seconds for a 50m, plus 22 strokes on the way down and 24 on the way back! I'm pretty sure that's an all-time worst for me! I bailed on the planned workout because my motivation to push myself for the 1000TT was gone. I was very discouraged. My stroke felt all messed up and I didn't think my effort would be representative of my ability. Instead, I did a bunch of 200s focusing on body position on odds and catch/pull on evens. Even going easy I felt bad. I realized that to make the stroke corrections that I need to make I need to be in the pool almost every day.

A quick backstory: I'm switching pools because DU is closing for two months starting in July. I'm going to be very busy for the next four weeks, so switching to a closer pool would also be nice. I checked out one nearby place that has an indoor and outdoor pool, but the indoor pool is only 20m. Also, that club's price structure strongly discourages month-by-month memberships, so I'd have to join for a year and spend my winter in a hotel sized pool.

Being not thrilled at the idea of swimming in the 20m pool all winter, I did today's swim in another pool that I was considering joining. However, after today's horrible and realization that swimming frequency is going to be important for me, I'm joining the nearby gym tomorrow and I'll suffer the winter in the tiny pool.

By the time I got home it was 9pm and I didn't do the ride either. Bad training days happen, and I'll just come back tomorrow and get the work done.

June 9 -- The Good
Starting with the good, on Wed. I did a 2 hour run. If I felt good, I was allowed to do some alactic sprints (4 x 8 seconds all out with plenty of recovery between) and some time at 155 bpm. I spent the first hour building to 150 bpm, and I felt great so I did the sprints. I also threw in 3 x 12 jump-ups, and then cranked out 45 minutes at 155-160 bpm before a cool-down. Even I the end I was feeling good.

June 8
4100y swim. Not too bad.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tough, moderately long ride

First up, any suggestions for breakfast that can easily be eaten in a car? I'm thinking maybe granola (Whole Foods' best kind, or homemade when Stacey has the time to make it for me...she makes the best granola!) in whole-fat plain yogurt. I want a fair number of calories to hold me over for 5 hours or so, and convenience may outweigh nutritiousness for the next few weeks.

June 6
(1) 4:40 ride. Out of Boulder on Hwy 36, left on Lefthand Canyon up to Ward (17 miles or so of climbing), back down to Hwy 36, another 17 miles of climbing back to Ward, and back to Boulder via Lee Hill. The temperature was pretty warm, 85-89 degrees on my CPU. In graphic form:

I road the climbs at IM intensity based on perceived exertion. The first time up I didn't look at HR or power. My legs weren't feeling great following the prior day's two hour track run, but I made it up at an average of 225 W. HR didn't record properly the first time up, and cadence averaged 80 rpm. Climbing in the aero position uses slightly different muscles, and that resulted in a bit of abnormal muscular fatigue.

The second time up was a bit tougher and felt more like the end of an IM ride where I just hang on and keep riding. I wasn't hurting bad, but I wasn't fresh. It was nice to have someone about my speed to ride with. I stopped to grab some bananas from Chuckie, and Angela went on by. For once I had a rabbit to chase, which is nice when tiredness is setting in. I lost a few watts on the second climb, averaging 221 W. Cadence was 79 rpm and HR averaged 153 bpm.

(2) 30 minute transition jog. HR was high relative to pace, and perhaps I was dehydrated. Staying hydrating will prove challenging in Colorado's warm and sunny weather. I may need to add a third cage to my bike.

June 7
(1) One hour run, all easy and all by feel. I felt weak at the start and great by the end.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Long track workout w/ MAF test

June 3
(1) Moderately long, but very easy, run. 1:30 at 132 bpm. Running tip: If you suspect that your refrigerator is broken because all the food stored inside is warm, do not continue eating said food for two days and then going for a long run. Fortunately, Wash Park is well stocked with porta-johns, and that's all I'll say about that...other than that my refrigerator is now working properly once again.

(2) I was supposed to do a 4k swim today, but wasn't feeling too hot (see above). I bumped the swim a day.

June 4
(1) Easy 1:50 ride, except with Tabata sprints. I find Tabatas so much easier to do on the trainer than on the open road, so I started the ride on the trainer. After a 15 minute warm-up with several short pick-ups building in intensity toward 400 W or so, I commenced the Tabatas. Here's the data:
1 - 571 W
2 - 510 W
3 - 474 W
4 - 428 W
5 - 433 W
6 - 432 W
7 - 426 W
8 - 425 W
My max HR was 173 bpm. Painful stuff.

After the sprints, I pedaled very easy for a few minutes, then jumped on the cross-bike to finish the rest of the ride outside.

(2) A 4k swim, originally scheduled for yesterday. Lots of hard 25s, then 2100y straight. I had to break up the 2100y straight because I couldn't hold my form. Still, I got it all in. At the end I tried paddles w/o the wrist strap, and on my first pull the paddle flew off. Hmm... After putting the paddle back on, I was able to complete a quick 200y without any issue, and it seemed like an effective way to ensure my hand position is correct at the end of my stroke.

June 5
(1) 2 hour, 16.5 mile track workout. After a 2 mile warm-up, I began a 6 mile, 145 bpm MAF test. Here's the data:
Mile 1 - 7:24, 145 bpm
Mile 2 - 7:41, 146 bpm
Mile 3 - 7:51, 146 bpm
Mile 4 - 7:46, 147 bpm
Mile 5 - 7:47, 147 bpm
Mile 6 - 7:41, 146 bpm
I ran on a dirt track at Harvard Gulch, as my usual track is under construction at the moment. The conditions were hot -- 89 degrees at the start of the test and 85 degrees at the end. Fortunately, it was overcast for most of the run. Perceived exertion was very low, about 5/10. I felt like I was barely working, and if I wasn't very diligent about watching the HR monitor my HR would be up to the high 140s. Odd that my pace started improving toward the end of the test. Perhaps that's a result of cooling off a bit.

After the MAF test, I ran 8 x 800m (target time: 3:05 to 3:10) with 400m easy between. Here were my times: (i) 3:07, (ii) 3:04, (iii) 3:04, (iv) 3:05, (v) 3:00, (vi) 3:02, (vii) 3:00, and (viii) 3:02. PE was about 8/10. My legs started to tire a bit toward the end. A graph of HR is shown below.

After the 800s, I ran 4 x 400m (target time: 1:25) with 200m easy between. My times were: (i) 1:22, (ii) 1:23, (iii) 1:24, and (iv) 1:23. I tried to slow a bit while still hitting 1:25, but I erred on the side of too fast. PE was 9/10, maybe 9.5.

Here's a graph with HR for both the 800s and 400s:

(2) Workout two for day was supposed to be a swim. Alas, my pool closes pretty early, and because of commitments earlier in the day (yes, on a Saturday!) I couldn't start my run until after 4:00pm. Instead, I'll head for a recovery ride as soon as I finish eating two burritos I just picked up from Whole Foods. I'll likely ride an hour or so at a very easy pace just to promote recovery.

Tomorrow is a big day: very easy swim in the AM, up to Boulder for a 5.5 hr ride (I may ride with Angela Naeth, so I've got my work cut out for me to not get dropped), and then finally a short transition run.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Two days, one w/ FTP intervals

Training continues:

June 1:
(1) 3,600 yards of masters swimming, during which I focused on form even during hard efforts. Chuckie said to work on form during the warm-up and recovery sets, and to just swim hard during hard efforts. However, I couldn't help worrying about form the whole time, which is only bad if it prevents me from working hard...and I probably only worked a tiny bit less than normal.

(2) Easy run: 30 minute prescribed, but I was allowed to go longer if I felt good. I ran very easy (less than 135 bpm average) and went for 45 minutes.

June 2:
(1) One hour ride with 30 minutes of FTP intervals at 265-275 W. However, if HR was lower than 155 bpm I could add 5-10 W. All intervals were followed by one minute easy:
4 x 2 min:
1 - 269 W, 154 max HR, 94 rpm (decided to go a gear harder for the next one given the low max HR; also, I am reporting max HR here because it's more relevant than average HR for these short efforts)
2 - 285 W, 155 max HR, 87 rpm
3 - 284 W, 157 max HR, 87 rpm
4 - 284 W, 158 max HR, 87 rpm
3 x 3 min:
1 - 273 W, 159 max HR, 86 rpm
2 - 271 W, 159 max HR, 86 rpm
3 - 269 W, 160 max HR, 86 rpm
2 x 4 min:
1 - 267 W, 161 max HR, 85 rpm
2 - 269 W, 163 max HR, 86 rpm
1 x 5 min:
1 - 271 W, 166 max bpm (I pushed 300+ W the final 30 seconds, which drove up the HR), 86 rpm

My effort wasn't too high, even though my HR passed 160 bpm toward the end. I did this ride on the trainer and it was pretty warm inside, which doesn't help. I kept my cadence higher than 85 rpm most of the time, though one issue was that shifting up a gear required a cadence of 95+ rpm to hit 270 W.

(2) One hour run: Prescribed as easy, but I was allowed to go harder if I felt good. This song came on my iPod Shuffle --

-- and then I started running fast. Other good tunes followed, and I ended up running much of the hour fast. It was just one of those rare days where my Shuffle was a great DJ. Average HR excluding w/u and c/d was about 155.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

FTP Test + Critique My Position

May 28:
(1) 1 hour swim - 3000 yards with several 300s as 75 hard, 75 easy, 50 hard, 50 easy, 25 hard, 25 easy.
(2) 1 hour run + 3 x 12 jump-ups - Run was easy, circa 135 bpm

May 29: FTP Test
The ride started with an hour long warm up ride out to a bit east of Lyons and then one loop around the course that I'd conduct the FTP test on. The course was a loop: N on 75th St, E on Woodland Rd, S on 95th St, and back W to 75th St along Ute Hwy.

After the warm up, my plan was to begin the test by holding 270 W and then hopefully build from there. The conditions were pretty good, although it was a bit on the warm side. An additional note about the course is that there is a slight downhill leading to the corner of Woodland and 95th and a more significant downhill leading to the corner of 95th and Ute Hwy, and slowing to take these turns result in my avg. wattage dropping about 5 W and 10 W, respectively. I don't have much experience with normalized power, so I'm not sure how well that value handles these power drops.

Anyhow, here's the data:

(Power is yellow, HR is red, and the numbers on the image are incorrect.)

Lap 1: 16:20 (time); 161 bpm avg. (168 max); 258 W avg./263 W norm; 84 rpm
Lap 2: 16:16; 166 bpm avg.; 251 W avg./257 W norm; 83 rpm
Lap 3: 16:35; 166 bpm avg.; 244 W avg./250 W norm; 82 rpm
Lap 4: 10:30 (partial);167 bpm avg.; 242 W avg./245 W norm; 80 rpm

Average power for whole hour = 249 W
Normalized power for whole hour = 255 W
Average HR for whole hour = 165 bpm

I also graphed my cadence over the warm up and FTP test, and there is no discernible difference between these two distinct portions of the ride -- the entire ride is at about 83 rpm until the very end. I need to work on increasing my cadence as my effort increases, and I should ride at perhaps 90-95 during a hour FTP test.

Perceived exertion: umm, as high as it can be for an hour. 9.5, 10 at times.

After the test I rode another hour back to Boulder at a very easy pace.

Conclusion: Waiting to hear Chuckie's take on the data before establishing my FTP, though it's probably 255 W or thereabout. That's much lower than I'd expect, but one thing to take into account is that elevation can lower one's FTP by around 10% according to CV. Since my A race is at a much lower elevation, I need to do at least some training based on an elevation adjusted FTP.

Critique my position:
Here's some footage from my FTP ride (and my high effort explains my spastic head movement):

I'm going to try to keep my heel a bit higher at the bottom of my pedal stroke. Even though my leg appears to be nearly straight, which would indicate my seat being too high, the fact that my heel is very low is an indication that my seat is in fact not too high. If I'm unsuccessful raising my heel a bit, I'll probably (1) say, "oh well" and consider myself to have some slightly odd biomechanics or (2) raise my seat a tad bit and see what my heel does.

Regarding the angled-up forearms, that's something I just decided to try out. I noticed on the trainer that raising my hands a bit relieved some tension in my lower back. During IM races, my lower back has gotten a bit sore around 4:30 into the ride. That feeling is hard to replicate during training because I think the soreness is the result of rarely leaving the aero position and of working pretty hard the whole ride, and I rarely combine both those aspects into a single training ride. Overall, I like the hand position and imagine it is aerodynamically beneficial since I can lower my head right against my hands to create a nice point to slice through wind.

Finally, I've got to keep my head a bit more relaxed so that it stays still. This isn't an issue when riding at lower efforts, but I should still be aware of it.

May 30:
(1) 2 hour run w/ 1 hour at 7:00/mile if I was feeling up to it.
I ended up running the middle hour of the run at 6:50/mile at an average HR of 162 bpm. That's a pretty comfortable pace for me -- I'm working a bit, but am always very comfortable. The weather was comfortable as well, with the high being 70-75 degrees.

2 hours is still a tough run for me, and I felt okay but not great at the end. I covered 16.8 miles in all...not bad.

(2) 2 hour spin.
Just an easy ride about town to promote recovery and increase my time in the saddle.

May 31:
(1) Super easy swim
Stacey and I headed up to Boulder and met up with CV and Angela to swim and then watch a bit of the Bolder Boulder. Chuckie gave me some swimming tips, which I appreciate because now I can be confident of what a good stroke feels like. Here's what I'm working on:
(i) head down so that my feet are high and as a result my body is nicely aligned and streamlined;
(ii) keeping the shoulder of my stroking arm high as I initiate the catch, as this promotes and early vertical forearm/high elbow;
(iii) avoiding a wide pull by keeping my hand vertically aligned with or just slightly wider than its shoulder, as pulling with a wide hand creates a moment that I have in the past corrected with a scissor kick; and
(iv) kicking quickly with small motions and close together feet by thinking of keeping my "feet in a bucket" as I kick -- a wide kick, as explained in tip (iii), is an indication of bad balancing.

It's tough to keep my shoulders high as I initiate my stroke. I'll work on this during easy efforts like warm ups and easy 100s between tougher sets at masters, and then I will just swim hard during harder efforts so that I maintain swim fitness.

(2) 2.5 hour spin
Another very easy effort. The tough workouts of Sat and Sun require some recovery, and that's what I was shooting for with this ride.