Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Aspen Photos

July 25
Spin with Stacey up to Maroon Bells. They're definitely over-rated, and I'd recommend the Electric Pass hike as having superior scenery.

July 24
Stacey and I went on a 6 hour hike from the end of Castle Creek Rd (~10,000 ft.) to Electric Pass at 13,500 ft. This was a great hike and left my legs very sore for two days. I carried about 25 lbs of stuff, but that's not that much.

July 23
Stacey and I rode over Independence Pass. Stacey allowed me to ride ahead and turn around occasionally. The ride goes from 7,800 feet to 12,200 feet in 25 miles. The altitude doesn't bother me much, though I didn't have my power meter to check power:HR. After Independence Pass, we went back through town then up to 10,000 feet again to the end of Castle Creek Rd. After eating a selection of breads and spreads at the Pine Creek Restaurant (amazing views, btw), we cruised back into town. This ride was 5+ hours.

July 22
I got in a quick run along a trail above town. Nice views of the town along the way.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Nearly Eight Hour Day

July 21
Today was scheduled to be about 6 hours. However, I got in some extra curricular swimming in the morning. I shot some video during the swim, and I'll post it in my next update after I've had a chance to review the footage. The underwater camera is a great (and surprisingly inexpensive) tool that I need to use more often. So, ~40 minutes of swimming.

Next, I drove up to Boulder to ride with Chuckie's whole CO-based gang (Angela, Michelle, and Sonja). My instructions were to take it easy and ride around 110-115 bpm. This basically allowed me to hang in behind Sonja and Michelle. After about 4 hours, I did an hour at IM effort and averaged 230 W at 146 bpm, although that effort was predominantly uphill. A storm cut the ride short, and I think we got in 5:30.

Post-ride we all headed out for a transition run. I did 10 minutes at HIM pace (~6:00/mile) and then turned around and jogged home. Total time was about 25 minutes.

All that put me at 6:35 of training for the day. However, Stacey wanted to get out for a ride so I got my road bike out and rode another hour or so with her.

A long day, but none of the efforts were too tough. Tomorrow Stacey and I are off to Aspen for a few days for a quick honeymoon. I'll try to post a few updates while we're there. (<--Joke)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

MAF Run + 2:20 at IM bike intensity

July 20
Today was supposed to be a double swim day that turned into a single swim day. I helped Stacey get set up on her road bike and we ended up making an unexpected bike shop trip. By the time I finished I didn't have the motivation to go swim in the 20m pool (a thunderstorm meant the outdoor 25m pool is closed). Anyhow, I'll do the second swim tomorrow morning, bright and early. More motivation to get to bed early.

(1) ~4000m swim. Lots of 250s pulling and then more 100s free. I did the 250s in 4:06 to 4:10, which is okay for me. But then I could only manage 1:38-1:40 for the hundreds, which isn't too great given my effort level (hard!).

(2) 1:25 run. All easy and by feel. Nice day, good songs on the iPod.

July 19
(1) 2:45 ride with 2:20 at IM intensity based on PE. I did two laps of Hwy 36 (starting at Nelson Rd) --> Hygiene Rd. --> 75th St --> Nelson --> back to start, and then one 50 minute effort on the way home zig-zagging to dodge some approaching lightning. Here's the data:

Lap 1 - 15.6 miles; 41:25; 22.7 mph; 135 bpm average; 210 average W; 215 W normalized; 83 rpm avg
Lap 2 - 15.6 miles; 42:16; 22.2 mph; 133 bpm; 210 average W; 216 W normalized; 83 rpm avg
Quasi Lap 3 - 20.3 miles; 55:32; 22 mph; 137 bpm; 205 average W; 212 W normalized 84 rpm avg

Loops 1 and 2 each have about 660 ft of ascending according to my Garmin, which is comparable to the amount of climbing I'll face in Louisville. Also, it was warm again at 95 degrees.

Throw on some Zipps and my aero helmet and I'll be moving pretty well. Of course, at 5600 feet the air offers less resistance.

(2) Flop. 35 minutes, if I recall correctly.

July 18
(1) MAF test + intervals for a total of about 1:35 of running.

MAF data:
Mile 1 - 6:38; 146 bpm average (my HR stayed in the low 140s for the first 3/4 mile)
Mile 2 - 6:41; 151 bpm
Mile 3 - 6:45; 154 bpm
Mile 4 - 6:58; 154 bpm
Mile 5 - 6:58; 154 bpm
Mile 6 - 6:58; 155 bpm

PE was 6/10 for the MAF test. Conditions were hot -- I ran from 1 to 3 o'clock and it was 95 degrees with the sun out almost the whole time. There was a bit of wind, but it felt great when running into the wind so i didn't mind. Oh, and I ran on the dirt track at Harvard Gulch.

After the MAF test, it was interval time. Between each interval I ran an easy 200, which typically took 1:20. These efforts weren't all out, but they were hard.
400 - 81 sec (targeting 80 sec)
800 - 3:00 (targeting 3:00)
1200 - 4:36 (targeting 4:40)
1600 - 6:12 (targeting 6:15)
1200 - 4:39 (targeting 4:45)
800 - 2:59 (targeting 3:05)
400 - um, made it halfway before stopping to avoid puking up the sports drink that I had just chugged way too much of, especially given the drink's tea-like temperature resulting from having sat in the sun for an hour and a half.

Stacey was pretty impressed by my workout. She was doing her own MAF test, and let's just say the heat was winning. All these workouts in hot weather have given me some confidence for a good result in Louisville even if it's a scorcher. I welcome that confidence because I did two Chicago Marathons in I think 2007 and 2008 that were both very hot, and I withered in each of them (e.g., 1:18 at half feeling great to a 2:48 finish in 2008).

(2) Flop. 30 minutes.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Big Week - Days 2-5

July 17
(1) 6 hour ride - I rode my road bike, so I didn't capture power data. I spent a lot of time at ~130 bpm, which for me feels like a good balance between working and being able to ride all day. Oh, and the high temp during the ride according to my Garmin was 111.8 degrees. That's one hundred and eleven and eight tenths degrees. When I looked down and air blew over my sunglasses and across my eyes, it felt like someone was blow drying my face. It was 100 degrees or over for about four hours of the ride. At one point some clouds moved in, and I could see a rain storm nearby. The temperature dropped 20 degrees in 15 minutes. 92 degrees has never felt so cool. Once the storm passed, however, the temp went right back up over 100 degrees. I drank about two 24 oz bottles of water per hour, though I was a bit worried about sodium intake because other than a few GUs, most of my calories were from "real" foods like Fig Newtons, nut bars, and other things without much salt. Still, I felt very good at the end of the ride.

I did one climb -- Lookout Mountain -- and spent about 30 mintues at 150 bpm during the climb.

(About 5 miles are missing during a portion of the ride where I left my computer off accidentally.)

(2) 20 minute jog. My legs were tired, but had enough energy that I could have run strong. However, I ate a ton of food after my ride and my stomach was too stuffed to get the HR up. Still, mission accomplished with just 20 minutes of running.

(3) Extra credit: 20 minute flop. I didn't swim the prior day, and I didn't want to go two days without getting in the water.

July 16
Just one workout today: a 7 hour ride with a 2 hour climb and then another 2 hours at circa 8000 ft. My route was Denver --> Golden --> up Golden Gate Canyon to Peak to Peak --> Rollinsville --> Nederland --> Ward --> Boulder --> an hour and a half cruising around outside of Boulder. Piece of cake...

Actually, this was one hard ride. I had a viscous headwind the entire climb from Golden to Peak to Peak. Keeping my HR down for this stretch was tough. Then, once I got to Peak to Peak there's still a fair amount of climbing to be done. Still, this is an awesome ride. Peak to Peak is one of the best routes for riding, perhaps only second behind the climb out of Lyons to Raymond.

Giant thanks to Stacey for coming to pick me up in Boulder to make my ride possible!

Jul 15
(1) 1:15 swim -- 4000+ m. 5 x 500m descending and then some strength work.

(2) 1 hour run. I felt horrible during my 10 minute warm-up, but decided to attempt the main set of 40 minutes at 150-155 bpm anyhow. After a minute and a half, I stopped to walk. During the walk I regrouped for a minute or two, then decided to give the main set another go. This time I felt much better, and sub 7 minute miles felt like a fast shuffle. I ended up averaged 6:49/mile at 155 bpm.

July 14
(1) 4:30 ride in Boulder w/ Chuckie, Angela, and Michelle. Boulder --> Ward --> Allenspark --> Lyons --> Hygiene --> Boulder. Looking at the data for my climb on Lefthand Canyon, I averaged 228 W at 145 bpm for one hour and ten minutes (I started the timer at Old Stage Coach and stopped it at the waterin' hole just before Ward). That's right around IM effort, I'd wager.

(2) 30 minute jog.

(3) 20 minute "flop" at the pool.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Big Week - Day 1

Additional Boulder Peak Comments
One thing I forgot to mention is how great the race organizers handled the pro race. Instead of having pros start early so that they're never seen by the target audience -- i.e., other racers -- at Boulder Peak the pros started so most AGers were done by the time the pros started their run. Then, the organizers altered the pro run so that they did 3 spectator friendly loops. This was a great way to make the pro race add value for AG racers, as the format allowed viewers to actually watch the pros' run unfold. More races should adopt this type of format.

July 13
The goal for the next 6 days is almost 30 hours of training. I started today with an hour swim, a three hour ride, and a half hour run. The swim included twelve broken 250s. I performed better on the first six than the last six even though the last six were with paddles. I was about 5 second slower per 100 with paddles than without!

The ride went alright. I still have some fatigue from the Boulder Peak this past weekend. The ride was all up and down and always turning. Take a look at a Google Earth image of the ride and compare it with the elevation profile shown in green in the data image. Also, you can see in the data that I spent a fair amount of time at about 225 W, mostly when climbing. Maintaining power on the downhills was tough. Had there been flats, I think my fatigue would have prevented me from putting out IM levels of power. Oh, and it was also 99 degrees at times today...

Finally, in the evening I ran a half hour with Stacey. Nice and easy.

July 12
A recovery day. One hour of easy swimming in the morning and a 1:45 spin around Denver with my cousin Gavin in the evening. I got dropped whenever we hit a hill.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Boulder Peak Race Report

July 11
(1) Boulder Peak Triathlon
The Boulder Peak was my best olympic distance tri to date. I finished 3rd in my age group -- my fourth podium at an Ironman-owned event in a row -- at a competitive race over a distance that doesn't fully utilize my strengths.

Here's how it went:

My wave started over an hour after transition closed. Since my shoes were stuck in transition, my 10 minute run warm-up took place long before my race started. Fortunately, the race organizers allowed athletes to warm-up in a roped off swim area. I did some easy laps and a bit of aqua-jogging, and I was ready to go.

In the future if I had a sherpa I'd bring a second pair of shoes so that I could do a run warm-up closer to my race time.

The good: I completed the swim in 25:25, which I'm pretty sure is a new PR for me. I was only four minutes -- not the typical 7 or 8 minutes -- down on most of the tops guys in my AG. I also felt strong exiting the water, like the swim didn't take much out of me.

The bad: I am still coming out 4 minutes down on my competitors. That's a huge difference to make up in a 2 hour race. I finished as the 8th amateur overall, yet if I swam just 3 minutes faster I would have been 3rd amateur and would have beat some well-respected guys. Still, my swim was in the top 10% overall and I'm making progress.

Also in the "bad" category is my spotting. I breathe to my left, and fortunately for me most triathlon swims are counter-clockwise. I like that because I can spot while breathing and also because my tendency is to drift to the left, which isn't bad when the drifting just takes me closer to the buoys. At the Boulder Peak, however, the swim is clockwise and my drifting took me off course. Here is the route I believe I traveled:

I kept looking up and seeing that I wasn't where I wanted to be, and I'd make an effort to take an optimal line from my location back to the pack of swimmers. Yet the next time I'd look up I'd still be off course. I need to practice spotting more! I will try to get into the 2 mile swims at Cherry Creek reservoir tomorrow and next week. Anyhow, at least I'm aware of this and I will make sure not to make the same mistake in Louisville.

The Boulder Peak bike course is awesome. I really like the course's climb and descent. My plan was to go nearly all-out on the first uphill section (designated by the first green line in the diagrams below), then get some rest on the middle downhill section (designated by the red line) while still putting in some power where possible, and then to pick the effort back up for the flat section at the end (designated by the second green line).

This strategy worked well because knowing I'd get a little break in the middle allowed me to really push the effort at the beginning and end. Also, it's not so much that I tried to go easy in the middle -- I didn't, and my cadence was 110+ rpm on the downhills in my 53x12 so that I could put out some power -- but that the terrain makes it tough to put out 270 W at some points.

Anyhow, my bike split was a very respectable 1:04 (and four seconds) for the 25+ mile course. This was the 7th fastest amateur bike split, although a few AGers went 1:01!

Stats: 247 W avg (although a 60 minute average of 256 W -- I had to coast for a while at the end as explained below), 266 W normalized, 20 minute max power of 282 W, 29 minutes of the rider were at 270+ watts. No HR data. A solid ride for me.

Other notes about the bike:
- I could have pushed a bit harder during a few sections at the start of the ride. For example, on Hwy 36 I noticed I was riding at 240 W for a while and made myself pick up the effort.
- Going off in the last wave is annoying. Example: Near the top of Old Stage coach, I was rapidly approaching a rider that was making a pass. The rider making the pass was all the way to the left of the lane, basically straddling the double yellow line. Not wanting to break the rules, I said, "on your left," as I approached. The rider didn't budge. I repeated, "on your left," this time louder. The rider still didn't budge. Finally, I shouted, "ON YOUR LEFT!" as I'm right on the guy's tail. He turned and said, "I heard you!" "Yeah? Then MOVE TO THE RIGHT! When passing it is not necessary to take up the entire lane," I attempted to explain. I could have easily fit between this rider and the person he was passing, but alas that'd also be against the rules.
- The roads were open to vehicular traffic. While I passed a few cars on the right coming down Nelson without any hassle, the open roads caused a long delay entering the reservoir. Traffic was going in both directions on 51st St., and a strip of pavement only about 8 feet wide was alloted for riders. I had to cruise easily for a quarter mile or more as a result. This is why I averaged 256 W for the first hour, and then the next three and a half minutes dropped my average by almost 10 W.

My bread and butter. I was aiming for a third straight IM-branded race with the fastest amateur run, though I knew it'd be a challenge with the race in Boulder (I make the IM-branded distinction just because IM-branded races usually bring out quality fields.) I felt good despite the hard effort on the bike, but ran to the 3rd fastest amateur run at 5:48/mile. My turnover could be a bit quicker for a race this short, and that's what I'll focus on during the 5430 Half. Still, a solid run to cap off the day.

(2) This week may be my biggest training week ever. I did a 15 minute flop at the Res and an hour spin later in the evening to hasten recovery.

July 10
(1) 45 minute run in the morning with a few short race-paced efforts.
(2) A short ride to loosen the legs for the next day's race. I only did 15 minutes or so because I forgot my bike shoes and had to ride in my Zoot running shoes.
(3) A short swim in the evening just to keep my feel for the water going and to stay loose.

July 9
(1) 1:20 run in the morning. More of a jog than a run, running 8:00-8:30/mile.
(2) 3800m Swim. I got booted from the gym at closing time before I could finish the other 900m! The main set was 42 x 100m, alternating seven 100s pulling and then seven 100s with no gear. I nailed the first twenty one 100s in 1:33-1:35, leaving on a pretty long interval of 1:50. However, I slowed to ~1:40 for the next fourteen hundreds.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Double Ride Day

July 8
Two, one hour long trainer rides, both with some intervals around FTP level. PE was 7.5 out of 10 for each ride. The morning ride was probably a bit tougher, and my legs had a dead feeling for a few hours afterward.

For this second ride I bumped up the wattages by 5-10 W for each interval because my HR was staying low.

When looking at both rides I think the max HR (when accurate) is the best indicator of effort. My average HRs are too influenced by my low HR heading into each effort. Regardless, still some solid power/HR data for me.

July 7
(1) 1:15 spin on the trainer. I rode by feel, which ended up being not too hard. My HR was typically in the 110-115 range, and I averaged a bit over 160 W.

(2) Swim. I did a trial with the masters group at my new pool and got some useful tips. There workout was already well under way by the time I was invited in, so I only got 25 minutes or so of swimming with the group.

(i) My ankle flexibility is so limited that my feet are at a nearly 90 degree angle to my legs. The instructor recommended some fins that attack to one's feet with a strap behind the heel instead of the stiff rubber heel cup found on Zoomers. Also, I should do some foot flexibility focused stretches.

(ii) My head position is a bit too low, the instructor said, to the point where my head doesn't break water for my shoulders and instead just presents additional frontal area.

(iii) When I begin to tire I have a tendency to cross over a bit.

(iv) My right arm doesn't follow through. My opinion is that this is because I tend to pull with my elbow behind my hand, which allows my whole arm to slip through the water without much resistance. I'm working on this, though. I think my feel for the water is improving because I'm aware of this issue. It's still hit or miss whether or not I actually pull water with each stroke, but I try to keep the feeling of a successful stroke in mind so that I can execute a successful stroke with increasing frequency.

I will have Stacey shoot some video during our swim this evening. Taping myself is valuable, and I haven't done it in a while.

July 6
(1) 1:00 swim in the morning. I wasn't able to fit in CV's full workout -- I only made it 2700m out of 3900m! During the day I was a bit exhausted from the weekend's ride, so I expect that my fatigue was holding me back a bit in the pool, too.

(2) 1:00 run. Nice an easy -- 125 bpm. I included five 10 second sprints and 2 x 12 jump-ups. My legs were dead.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Yet Another Long Ride

July 5
(1) 4:45 ride. Data (once again, note that my ride time is not as long as the graph shows -- I only rode 4:45 but stops are for some reason included in the data):

The route was Boulder -- Lyons -- Ward -- Boulder via 36. I circled back downhill plenty of times to make sure Stacey was alright, so I got extra climbing in. I felt pretty good on the ride and didn't have much trouble holding IM like efforts on the climb. I paced myself based on feel and didn't look at the CPU much. I shut things down with about 45 minutes left and just cruised pretty easy for that time. Wattage to HR seemed good when wattage was in IM range.

(2) 30 minute jog w/ 120 bpm HR cap. I can now actually jog (say, 10:00/mile) at about 105 bpm, so staying under the cap was no problem. The effort was so easy that fatigue wasn't too evident. I guess that means my legs aren't totally shot despite almost 14 hours of riding in the past three days.

Other notes from the ride: (1) I was briefly trapped between Chrissie Wellington and her riding partner. Chrissie is thin and tan, but she isn't so thin that she doesn't look powerful. (2) In Raymond Stacey and I talked to a guy that's doing IM Louisville. He and his buddy were doing the same ride as we were, and they left the general store there at the same time as we did, too. Turns out one of the guys lived about one mile from us back in Birmingham, MI last year.


Another long ride

July 4
(1) 4 hour ride. Stacey and I rode from Boulder to Carter Lake and back. Total ride time was 4:10 or thereabout. During the middle 3:45 that wasn't a warm up or cool down, I averaged 21.0 mph at 126 bpm. My average power, zeros including, was only 190 W. The ride wasn't entirely flat, either, with over 3500 feet of climbing according to my Garmin.

As the graph below shows, however, I spent a fair amount of time around 215 W. My legs were still quite fatigued from yesterday, and this was most noticeable on climbs. When going uphill I had a hard time getting my power up, which is the opposite of normal but probably the result of my climbing muscles being exhausted.

Again, the time on the x-axis in the graphs is wrong. Garmin should update their software...

(2) 2.5 mile run. The plan was to run 1 hour immediately after my ride with the first 40 minutes at 6:30 or so per mile. I started out feeling great and was running 6:15/mile when on flat terrain at 157 bpm. However, I forgot socks and was running in a pair of shoes I haven't used sockless before. The shoe quickly tore through the skin on my heel and I called the run a day. Too bad, as I was feeling great (other than the feeling of sandpaper against my flesh, of course).

(3) 30 minute recovery swim. Well, make that 25 minutes of swimming and 5 minutes of aqua-jogging.

Now I'm off for another 5 hour ride. I'm thinking Boulder to Lyons to Raymond to Brainard Lake to Ward over Lee Hill back to Boulder. Stacey will dictate our ride time, as I turn around for her every few miles, and I have no idea how long this one will take her. The climb into Brainard Lake is tough after all the climbing that precedes it.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

All Tuckered Out

July 3
(1) 5 hour ride
Lots of climbing with a focus on IM effort. Lots of time in the 220-250 W range, typically at a HR of 140-150 bpm. Not the best route for a really constant effort, but Stacey had to work this morning so I saved my flat terrain ride for tomorrow when she'll join me. Oh, and the graphs below are a bit distorted along the x-axis -- my ride was 4:52 but my stoppage time (yeah, I've been watching the World Cup) is shown on the graphs below for some reason. I stopped to refill my bottles several times, I stopped to take some guy's picture for his blog, and I stopped to try to help a lady change her flat. Those stops are why the ride looks longer than 4:52 and partly why there are so many low wattage times. I made sure to drink a ton of water and had to "use it" multiple times - always a good sign. Oh, and for the last half hour or so I was riding through Boulder to get back to my car. Hence the sporadic wattage for that period.

(2) 20 minute transition run. Really easy and all by feel. My legs took a while to get moving, which is abnormal for me.

(3) 20 minute swim a couple hours after the ride and run. I also got in a nice nap before the swim. I was pretty tired after the ride/run and feel asleep right when I got on the couch. Stacey had to vacuum around me for a while before I woke up.

Now it's time to eat some good stuff so that I'm fueled up to work hard again tomorrow and then again on Monday.

Friday, July 2, 2010


July 2
(1) FTP focused trainer ride. 1 hour with 34 minutes of intervals at around 270 W. Here's the data:

I like the 5 minute interval at 278 W with an average HR of 158 bpm and a max of 164 bpm. Perceived exertion was 8 out of 10. I was dripping sweat -- the stream dripping down my nose onto a towel resting on my aerobars was like a leaky faucet all by itself.

(2) Easy run. Here's where the title of this post came from: an easy one hour run with an average HR of 131 bpm and an average pace of 8:07/mile. I don't remember what my stats were around the time I started running, but I think I'd have been over 160 bpm to run circa 8 min/mile.

July 1
(1) 1:05 swim. 3,000m. I couldn't make it through the whole 3600m of the plan in the time I had. I felt alright in the water, though. My stroke at times feels good. Maybe in another week it'll my improved stroke will feel natural.

My trip over to the pool is nice:

I timed myself getting home a few days ago while driving and made it from the edge of the pool to my kitchen in under 8 minutes. Nice.

(2) 50 minute ride, easy except for Tabata sprints (8 of them, 20 seconds each with 10 sec between). Sprint data:
553 W,
455 W,
408 W,
402 W,
418 W,
410 W,
411 W, and
414 W.
My legs weren't feeling it.

June 30
Instead of one long run, I did two short runs today because I had to pick Stacey up at the airport. In the morning I did 1:10 including 3 x 2 miles at 6:30/mile (no HR data), and my PE ended fairly high for the pace at 8.5 out of 10.

In the evening I did another 40 minutes with 20 minutes at 160 bpm. I had to push really hard to get my HR up that high, though I didn't record pace data this time.