Monday, March 30, 2009

Party's Still Bumpin

Back to back weeks of 77 miles, to me, have felt like weeks of 200 miles. Over the course of 12 days (Wed 3/18-Sun 3/29) I have run 147 miles. Until this year, I would have accepted that as a good month. This was 12 days. Needless to say, to unaccustomed legs, this was hard. I haven't ran this much since 2000 when I was only running. I even had stretches of 90 miles over 7 days, which was most certainly the most I've ever done in a week's time, and it was all in single runs. I remember running 85 miles in 6 days back in 2000, with 2-3 of the days doing a morning run.

The first week of 77 culminated with the 21 mile long run in DC followed by an easy 15 miles at Patapsco on Sunday. I was pretty tired at that point, but wanted to make this past week voluptuous. That's right, I said voluptuous. OJ had big plans last week to average 50 miles on the bike, 8 miles running and 5000m in the pool for the week. I wanted to latch on for as much as I could handle, but knowing how much I was really trying to run, I knew I wouldn't be able to do it all.

The statistics for the week show the following:

Swim: 8000m
Bike: 150 miles
Run: 77 miles

Weekly total was about 23.5 hours, and it is pretty balanced. Definitely the most miles I've ever run alongside any amount of bike/swim mileage.

The highlight of the week was the 22 mile long run on Sunday with Ben, Kris, Arjun and Zero. Ben has been following the Jack Daniels' formula for running things fast. As evidenced by his 1:10:36 last weekend in the half, it's working quite well. Arjun and Brennan have also been following the leader, like little Ass-Man shadows. It has similarly paid off for them. Further evidence that if you don't have a plan, GET ONE!

I scooped up the crew and we discovered that me, Ben and Arjun were all wearing the same shirt. Awesome. We had to have looked like idiots all strung out along the roads. The workout was a tough one, definitely the hardest I've ever done in my life. Asides from the marathon, this was the longest run I've ever done, and it took place on unforgiving, undulating roads, and mixed in close to 8 miles of tempo running.

After a 2ish mile warmup, we got into our set of 4x5:30 w/:60 rest. These were hard. Lots of long uphills. It was during this session that Arjun and I discovered we can't do a race like Boston anywhere near each other. Two completely different styles of running.

Tempo over, we retreated into our 10 miles easy. Which really wasn't even that easy, because we were either going UP, or down an equally long, punishing downhill. I felt great on the ups, but my body does not like downhill running. Might be a problem for a race like Boston. After a quick water stop at the gas station on Bellona, we made our way up that climb and then descended into Robert E. Lee Park. This is where I started to have some problems - namely a stitch underneath my rib cage. It was painful and run-limiting.

Stopped again at the Royal Farms on Falls Road, and after some Gatorade I felt a little better. NUTRITION. Gotta do a better job at that on a long, hard run like that. We then had to climb out of Mt. Washington, which is a long, long way, and Ben had increased the tempo a bit. As this served as our re-warmup into the second set of 4x5:30, I was pretty tired by the time we started those. And the way back is a little more downhill than up, so I struggled. It was the same part of the run where Ben and Brennan toasted me the last time we ran that way home.

2 of the tempo sections were on the road, and the last 2 were within the confines of the dreaded Druid Hills. I was moving, but not very fast, and it was all I could do to keep going. After a short cooldown, we were at or over 22 miles and I was wiped. We spent the rest of the day - which had become unexpectedly nice - people watching at Chipotle in the Harbor and watching some of the Elite 8 game at the ESPNZone.

Not that I've been training in the same way as the other guys for Boston, but this was my last big workout before the race. And even though I would have liked to have gotten in a little more on the bike and in the pool last week, I listened to my body and when it was tired, I tried to give it a little break. Now is the crucial time - recovery. I've got to recover well this week, as Sunday is the Cherry Blossom 10 miler.

It's a good opportunity to run fast, but more importantly I'm hoping it can give me some indication of a manageable pace at Boston in 3 weeks from today. At this point in the season I still train through races, because I have a few months until the important ones. Last year at Broad Street I ran 58:12. I'm shooting for 57:30 this weekend.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Upon completion of my run today, I am at 77 miles for the week, with a staggering 70 of those coming since Wednesday. I figure by Tuesday of this week I may be near 88, which would probably be the most I've ever put in over any 7 day period. Of course, it's all cumulative so week-over-week and best-in-7 don't mean a whole lot.

As a result of the increased mileage, I didn't do a whole lot of anything else this week. I also really abused my body during the week, with way too many late nights and a St. Patrick's Day celebration that would have rivaled any of my alcoholic relatives' best efforts.

My legs did not feel good at all this week following last Sunday's 5k. I was considering running Ben's workout on Tuesday but knew it would have done me absolutely no good. Instead, I waited until Thursday to run with Justin. We were going to run at 11am so I could get back for the first tip-off, and while the morning was nice, right around 10:15 the weather took a turn for the worse. It was cold, windy and rainy, and I was not happy running the workout of 3x2 miles with 2:00 rest. My times were lackluster and I was disappointed, but very happily watched the 16 Tournament games on Thursday, including the Terps dismantling of Cal, and then went over to Ben's to watch Michigan take out Clemson.

I felt less-than-stellar on Friday, but muddled through a 10 miler before heading to DC with Arjun and Melissa. I was concerned with how bad my body felt, but figured I was just tired. We met up with Brennan and his family for a pre-race meal in DuPont Circle, and then me/Arj/Mel met up with my friends Kootman and Lauren to eat again and watch some of the Friday night Madness (and boy was I mad). A late night and an early wakeup made for a quiet Metro ride from Silver Spring to Chingachong-Chinatown, but once we got off the train we were made alert by the cold air (32ish degrees).

As much as I don't care for a lot of things about DC, I love running there. It stems from all the adventures we had in college, and I wouldn't mind running there every weekend. Riding, well, that's better up here, but I do love me some Beach Drive and Mormon/Ross repeats.

Arjun and I ran down to mile 3, met up with some friends and prepared to cheer for Ben and Brennan, who were running the National Half and Full, respectively. Ben came through and looked unreal (26:50 through 5) and Brennan didn't even seem to be running but rather floating along the course. We were able to see them pass at 3, 6, 10 and 12, and then at 14 the three of us (Arjun, Zero and me) jumped in with Brennan for a minute. His pace was absurd, and I could only handle a little over 4 miles of it before slowing.

The nice first half of the course is replaced with the utterly silent and boring 2nd half on the other side of the Anacostia. He was still killing it, and I had to put in another big effort to get to the finish line in time to see him after the 23rd mile. The result was Brennan negative splitting his first marathon (1:21:52-1:20:09) and finishing 17th in 2:42:01. That is unbelievable.

Meanwhile Ben had picked up 6th with a 1:10:36, another unbelievable race. Really good day down in DC.

Arjun and I then had to run back to Chinatown, so it was a 21 mile run for me, with about 6 miles of pretty decent tempo running. When we got back, and after I ate a ton of food, a few of us gathered to watch the miserable Terps game and then the Michigan game. Then we went out to celebrate Brennan (and his sister's) great days. Another 2am arrival at home meant I needed to sleep in, so I woke up at 8 today.

Met Kris, Justin and Kip at Patapsco to run, but didn't run with them. Instead I just did the most chill 15 miles of my life. It was really nice in the Park, so I didn't mind running slow, and really needed to do that.

I've got another week of volume lined up for this week, except I actually plan on riding and swimming (I only got in the pool once this week and didn't ride at all, boo). I will probably be around 80 miles running for the week, and then it will be time to start chilling out with the volume for a little bit.

The good news is that as of today I'm at about 650 miles of running for the year. My three months leading up to NYC Marathon last fall were 340 miles. By the time Boston comes around, I'll have close to twice as much under my legs, which I believe will help me during the race, and after as I try to recover and get my triathlon legs back. Last four weeks of running have been 44, 51, 60 and 77. One more high week and back down to 40s.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

CRAM Session

When you are as naturally gifted and talented as I am, you don't have to study much.

In grammar school.

Then it starts to get a little more challenging. Well, not really until college. Some people seemingly float through while others struggle. I wasn't on either end of the spectrum, but fell somewhere in the middle. I was okay with it, and usually went about things with a chip on my shoulder as I typically do. Maryland didn't recognize + or - in your grade, so whether you had an 80 or an 89, you had a B. I quickly learned that I could do minimal work to get an 85, but the extra effort to get a 90 was more than I was willing to do to get the A. Crazy, I know, but in my current state of existence, my 3.0 GPA is the least of my concerns.

I'd always know when we had a test based on the attendance in the lecture hall. The 500 people that showed up to class on Day 1 would shrink to 250 by Week 2, and meanwhile I would just roll up with my Diamondback crossword puzzle and knock that out. Either that or write down rhymes for our rap battles that we had. Test day would come and the class population would balloon, and I'd see the #2 pencils and the little blue books being handed out and think "awww sheeeiiiiittt" - because I never studied. Shoot, half the time I didn't even own the book TO study.

I'd be the first one done and never reviewed my work for accuracy. I accepted whatever grade I got (except the time I got an F in a history class and went to the prof to find out the deal and his input error led to a B, phew!) and was pleased because I knew that whatever grade I received was what I knew. I hadn't crammed for it, which meant that I consistently did well on all exams, because I knew that much material. Others would forget it, then cram, do marginally better than I did, then forget it again.

I have a point to all of this - really.

The point is that we tend to feel pressured or rushed when exams come around, only exams these days are in the form of races. These judgment days expose our flaws and inadequacies, and since we're competitive people, we want to be the curvebreakers, not the kid scraping by. Most of these races are too long and painful to just get through them. Remember, the faster you go, the quicker you're done.

It's tough to realize sometimes that we have a finite amount of time each day, and to a further extent, a finite amount of available resources to expend over the course of the day. What complicates our training the most is feeling like you've "missed" something and need to make it up. There is no make-up exam, though, so whatever you bring with you to the test will determine how well you can do. If you didn't have the book, you're probably in trouble. Forget your calculator? Uh-oh. Your pencil also doesn't have an eraser, so you can't review your work.

If a weekend didn't turn out like you planned, oh well, it's over and you can't get it back. And cramming stuff into one day or evening, while fun and helpful (if done properly) doesn't serve much good if it means taking the next bunch of days off, or worse, getting hurt.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge proponent of big weeks and big weekends, like a stress overload, then recovering, but not at this time of year. It's still early and you're not really in shape to do it yet. And in the scheme of cumulative fitness, it's not as if your body resets on Mondays - so it probably doesn't matter if you get it in over three days or seven, but as I continue to say, a little bit everyday goes a long way.

With that in mind, I'm preparing for a big 10 day stretch from this Friday through next Sunday. OJ has issued a challenge of some ridiculous amount of training, and I think I'm at the right level of fitness and the right time of the training calendar to fit it in. Then I'll take some recovery leading up to Cherry Blossom, and make one last little push before bringing it down for Boston.

I also went out last night to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Man, did I drink quite a bit. I'm still on my Stoli O and Sprite kick, so I consumed about 10 of those, a shot of whiskey and then two pretzel dogs. God I love the Square.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

40oz to Freedom

Pretty routine week here. Started feeling under the weather on Wednesday, and as such I took most of the week out of the pool. Whenever I have a head cold I try and stay out of the chlorine.

I did manage to get out on the bike on Thursday, and I overestimated the temperature because halfway through the ride I was freezing. Completely my fault, I rode with just arm warmers - no leg warmers, no booties or toe warmers, short gloves. I was real cold, and was praying for hills just to stay warm. I made it to the Falls Road store and hung out inside for a few minutes to regain some heat before continuing on my way.

Friday was a good day in the trails with Kris, glad to see he's back on the road to recovery following his appendectomy. When we hit Gun Road, we put in a solid effort up it in 6:50. Just marginally quicker than last week but it felt a lot easier.

Most importantly, the Terps were playing themselves into the Tournament. There was a time when I never had to worry about whether the Terps would be playing or not, but these days you're never sure until they announce our name on Selection Sunday. More on that later, but they beat NC State on Thursday and then did work on Wake on Friday.

It's obviously my favorite time of year, and I go through a deep depression for like, ten, twelve minutes after the season's over.

Then comes the weekend. Saturday we were all doing the St. Patrick's Day Pub Run put on by Falls Road. This non-competitive, fun event has never been something I've been able to do so I was glad to get to do it this year. The turnout was amazing and it was a blast. A big group of us just jogging around town, early in the morning, and watching everyone get drunk - can't go wrong.

After that I had a 60 mile ride on tap with OJ, and by the time I made it back to the party, everyone was passed out. Ridiculous - it was only 4pm! I watched the Terps play valiantly against Duke, but it was a losing effort. Then we all went out for a little bit, and I had a sweet 4 mile walk home.

Sunday. Ugh. I woke up and heard rain so I opted to not ride. I slept for a while longer and then leisurely made my way down to Arjun's, where I did a 4.5 mile warmup for the Shamrock 5k. I wasn't feeling great, but as always, I try to put my best foot forward. Last year was a good day for me, finishing in 16:48 - the fastest time since college. The course is conducive to running very quick, but the early season nature still has everyone showing some rust.

Today it felt like I had been left out in the rain for months. The downhill start is very fast, but I was getting smoked by everyone and their mother. It finally settled down and I worked back up to a few groups, and could see I was going to be up against my boy Charles Powell III. Chuck is in his 40s but still gets after it. He beat me by 5 seconds at Club Challenge this year and I was determined to get him today.

The first mile I hit somewhere in 5:10, which was a little slower than last year. Unusual for me, because normally I love going out super quick and dying. The result was that I felt a little better in the 2nd mile, and hit mile 2 in 10:47. I think I hit 2 miles in 10:40 last year. Now the throngs of people are coming towards us, so I'm hearing quite a bit of shoutouts from the adoring fans. This helped me make sure I held off these two high school boners. I saw my squad chilling at the intersection of Light and Key, and I just tried to not slow down in the last 3/4. Hitting Pratt St was cool, I had a few seconds on Charles and was nowhere near the guy in front of me.

Crossed the line in 16:55 which became a 16:56, for 14th place. I was pleased. I barely avoided getting girled, as Melissa Tanner was coming up fast, getting the W in 17:03. My friend Chrissie was 2nd female in 17:10 - a huge PR for her as well. Best ladies' competition I've seen here in my years. On the dude's side it was a runaway victory for Jake Klim who also set a PR and got under the elusive 15 minute barrier. Most of my other friends ran great, too, including a 50 second PR for Zero, 2.5 minutes PR for Stanford (although his PR was soft) and post-collegiate PRs by Orla and Claire, and then another real PR for Jen. Pretty awesome day.

For the week, I ended with 60 miles, and a respectable 120+ miles on the bike. Just 3000m in the pool. Total was 16 hours. Meh, good enough.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Exact Opposite

Just read this interesting little coaching article on VeloNews. The first letter to the coach is the one in reference, and it preaches the exact opposite of what I normally do.

That's not to say it's wrong, just weird to hear people advocating that type of training.

At the same time, it's directed toward a different type of athlete - aimed more at the cyclist, and in particular, those with limited time. You can suffer through some short bike races with less fitness, and race yourself into shape. It's the "short-sale" way to get fit. When you race enough, it almost makes sense to do this rather than do hard workouts on no base, and then try to race.

The whole tone of the article uses a lot of the same words I used in my previous two posts, just in the exact opposite manner.

All I know is that in running and triathlon you stand to benefit from a solid base. More running, as demonstrated by everyone of us this year, does provide increased fitness.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Death Pool 100

100 is a magic number. If you live to 99, no big deal. 100, however, kind of a big deal.

Run 99 miles in a week, you're a lazy bitch. But 100, whoa - baller.

$100 million is the magic number for box office gross to determine how good of a movie you were. 100 points by a single player in basketball game: it's only happened once, and that was a super-pro against basically a high school team. TV shows get psyched for their 100th episode, not 83rd (in fact, Death Pool 100 is the name of CSI: Miami's 100th episode).

And for el Presidente, it's all about the first 100 days in office.

What is our fixation on this number? It's just a number.

It's got a good aura I suppose, and we use it as a milestone for many of our most important achievements.

So when I realized last night that I had just passed 100 days since my "new training cycle" (started Dec 1 and haven't taken a day off since) I figured I should note the passing of the milestone and offer a report.

I've rambled about a lot lately, calling people out and making fun of others. This goes against my own reasons for training, and I've got to stop. I don't let what others do influence what I do. I have always found it interesting that people care so much about other people's training. I saw this a lot more when I used to train with Tri Guy Tommy. This, of course, was before the days of the interweb as a source of information to stalk others and know what they were doing at all times. Paper logs ruled the world, and the only way you knew about others' training was to talk to them directly, or indirectly through mutual friends.

OJ is a fan of stealth training. I am too, because I don't care for everybody to know everything I'm doing - it takes the fun out of competition. As a competitor, you have to assume that your rivals are at least as prepared as you, if not more, for any race. Trying to predict outcomes of events before they happen becomes plain tiresome.

The benefit I can see from following others' training is seeing what works for others and what doesn't. Again, as competitors, we all stand to learn from one another. What works for me won't necessarily work for you, and vice versa. I am a big fan of volume, not a big fan of super hard workouts or recovery. If I could point out my deficiencies, it would be that my workouts occasionally lack focus, and there are others who make more efficient use of their workout time.

You find what works for you and stick to it. For instance, I rarely ride hard. Ever. I put in little hard efforts, or ride in Frederick, which is hard even when it's easy. But I don't do long, sustained efforts, or any drills. Still, in triathlon, I'm one of the faster people on the bike. I rely on long rides and aerobic fitness, and think I also benefit from good cycling physiology (the only sport my body seems to have been "built" for).

My speed certainly isn't fixed, but I also realize that in running, there's only so much faster I can get. I still run close to my short distance PRs, on much less mileage and fewer workouts, but I know that I'll never break 16 in a 5k unless I take a different approach and focus on that for a while. When you're seeing stagnant results in triathlon, a single-sport focus can help bust the slump.

What have I learned in the last 100 days?

Slow and steady wins the race. Last year I raced early and often. In 2007 I think I had 3 or 4 events leading up to Columbia, and they were short. I then did about my usual at Columbia, which was not good. In 2008 I switched it up, raced more (I think Columbia was my 10th race) and did longer races, but also a few very short races. I used them as workouts, and had a great day at Columbia. But then I got complacent. I thought that because of my great race there, easier OLY distance races would be a piece of cake. They weren't. I was placing well, but not performing as well as I would have expected. I didn't feel tired, but I know I was not recovering. I raced way too much, way too frequently and clearly did not recover well. This led to another injury in August, and ultimately in a poor showing at NYC Marathon, which was supposed to have been my big 2008 event.

For 2009, the goals are even more ambitious. Longer races. Harder races. If I do too much now, I'll be done before the summer, and will not see the starting line on November 22nd. So while I've been doing more volume, it's been easier. I've only done one hard non-race effort and plan on keeping it that way for a little bit longer. The aerobic base period is a fine line. You can always race on aerobic fitness, and for some this time can last as little as a few weeks to as much as a few months. At some point, though, without more focused efforts and recovery, you'll just get stale. I'll start some workouts soon.

I've also learned that, for me, giving yourself an out is the beginning of the end. I don't think taking days off is a bad thing. I don't even think walking in a race is a bad thing (well, at least not anymore). But I know that once you've done those things, it is 100 times (100) easier to do it again. And then you think it's okay to drop out of races, and your world comes crumbling down. So until I really need a day off, I'm not taking one.

I've improved quite a bit over the last 100 days. I built up running 25 miles the first week of December to over 50 by the end of that month, and January was a great month for me of running. With the weather getting marginally better, or so we hope, I've also found my riding legs again. In the pool, I've made 4000m my standard of excellence for a workout, but still find myself being a little slow. I'm going to make a few adjustments and work on my speed for a little.

Where will the next 100 days take me?

The next 100 days are BUSY. I've still got a few weeks in March to work out some bigger volume, but I also need to slyly work in some efforts. Boston is less than 6 weeks away, and then tri season starts. Coming off a marathon, I'll have to pay close attention to recovery for the following two weeks. Then the trifecta of Kinetic, Columbia and Eagleman take top billing. Goals for each will be: remember how to race (Kinetic), improve/fine tune (Columbia) and not die (Eagleman).

Seriously though, with slots to Kona on the line at Eagleman (and now at Providence, which I plan on doing), I'll always get after it. It's too important to me not to, and if I didn't believe wholly that I could achieve it, I wouldn't even try. That's been the only goal for me since I learned about the event in 8th grade, and because life is unpredictable, I want to get there before something shifts.

Ultimately you just do what you do, and don't worry about what others say.

Let's have an adventure.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I read other people's training blogs these days, and while there are some I like (Red Fox, Ben) for their attention to detail in training and racing, there are others (not to be named) that are pretty gay.

Here's a quick newsflash:

Training hurts.

So does racing. It's like the old adage says "it's supposed to be hard - if it was easy everyone would do it" or maybe my other favorite, "if it doesn't hurt, you're not doing it right."

That second one was in reference to banging. But really, your training and my training and her training and his training - they're no different. We all go through the same things. Anguish, fatigue, laziness, excitement, sometimes even depression. One can only hope that there is some benefit to the cost, some reward to the risk. I just want to know that what I'm doing is going to make sense, even if just to me, in the end.

Which is why I try not to be gay about stuff. Don't make excuses when things aren't going well, don't complain about training. Everyone I know is training for something, and I get annoyed when I hear them complain, so I don't want to be a whiny little baby.

I picked this excerpt up from a blog I occasionally read. The guy appears to be a fairly legit, quick dude. He is also not a rookie, so my expectations are higher for him to be "in the know." I had to laugh when I read it, so here are my thoughts as I was reading it (in red).

I rode 3 hours on sat, even though I was sick. (then don't ride if you're sick, otherwise stop complaining) It was close to my record pace - which was nice since I wasn't going that hard and I thought it would be fun to do 3 hours on 2 gels. (just ride. and 2 gels in 3 hours? try eating nothing for 5 hours, then you'd have my Sunday ride. not trying to be more hardcore, just am)

I survived but barely and I was sort of hungry but I wanted to see how many calories I could put into my drink and how few gels I'd need. I probably need to race with 3-4 gels on the bike and 2 bottles of water/drink.

In the 2nd half of the ride my butt hurt. Like I had a splinter in it. But not IN my rear, but sort of where you sit which isn't really anywhere you can ask someone about.
(how long have you been riding for? I presume at least a couple of years. it's a saddle sore, nimrod, and that area is called your taint, use its proper name)

So I finished with a few grimaces and then got home and took a shower.

But of course I had to see what was hurting. (saddle sore)

Without posting any pictures, I sort of had to go all yoga style in the bathroom trying too see where it hurt - which is impossible without smoke or mirrors. (it's a saddle sore! just squeeze the general vicinity, clean it out and keep going!)

But enough deep breathing I was able to see what hurt and it was a saddle sore and it hurt and it was angry.

Saddle sores happen, ask my cousin, I let her know when I have them. It means you haven't ridden in a while, and now you're trying to ride a lot. It's a good thing. A badge of honor.

The beautiful thing about training is that only you are accountable for what you do, or for what you don't do. Here are a couple of ideas to get you going:

1) If you have a plan, stick to it. Unless your body is telling you otherwise, then be willing to adapt from time to time. Ask yourself: "would an idiot do this?" And if the answer is yes, don't do that thing.

2) If you don't have a plan, get one. Even if you just scribble some notes down on a piece of paper. Have an idea of where you're going, and how you want to get there. You don't necessarily need a coach, but you've got to have a clue.

3) Don't smoke. It's bad for you.

4) Have some goals. No matter how big or small, they'll help you have an idea of where you want to go.

5) It's your fault. Seriously, it is. If you go out hard on a Saturday night, and don't do anything Sunday - that's your fault. I didn't make you drink that goldfish.

6) Make deposits early and often. Not those kind of deposits, but deposits into the bank. You know, the training bank. Get it in as early as you can. That way if life interferes later in the day, you've already done something. And even if life does get in the way, find a way to do something - even if it's not much.

Monday, March 09, 2009


Balance - as a multisport athlete, it's the one thing most of us strive for, but few of us are able to actually pin down. Case in point:

Run too many miles one week, too tired to ride. Ride too many miles, no time or energy to get in solid runs. Try and put too much in one day, knock yourself out for the next couple.

I try and remember this as I go about my seemingly haphazard training, but winter is really tough to perform tasks with consistency. For instance, the beginning of this week was cold and we had a fair bit of snow. By Friday it was over 70. Armed with this information by midweek, I was able to plan the weekend to be big. Not super ambitious, but definitely not easy.

21 hours

Swim: 12,200m
Bike: 170+ miles
Run: 51 miles

I'm pretty pleased with the week's results. 3 solid swims, each session at least 4000m with Friday's extended swim of 3200m going really well. Felt comfortable, negative split each 1000, and only fatigued a little towards the end.

Runs were good - with 3 runs over 12, including 12 on Friday (right before my evening swim) at Patapsco with Kris and Justin. At the end of our run we hit Gun Road and I felt very good, running 6:51 (previous best 7:08) for the uphill mile.

My weekend plans were centered around riding, but I had a desire to run enough to make a 65 mile run week. Those plans were put on hold after my 90+ mile ride of death on Saturday. I rolled out of the house at 7:30 for the 20ish miles up to the Saturday morning ride at TriSpeed. It was comfortably cool out, but was getting warmer. I made it up to Timonium, where I met Stanford and Zero, and a small but competent group of riders made their way out. I felt good for an hour, but then they ratcheted up the pace to beyond what I was comfortable riding at for 6 hours. I wouldn't classify myself as "dead" but rather, "life support" or "coma" or any combination of the words shredded, worked, punched out.

We made it back to TriSpeed after what seemed like an eternity (and it was only 43 miles from the store) and I still had, at minimum, 20 miles to go. I was aided by having a predominantly downhill ride home, but it was into the wind and let's be honest, net downhill still means you have to go up a few. I made it to the Falls Road Running Store and took the opportunity to grab some water and ate a few of Pete's Odwalla bars. That perked me right up and I felt better again - so when I got back into town I rode a few laps in Patterson Park to crank the ride over 90. I got a little color, and I was pretty beat by the time I finally crawled in the door.

I was not going to run then, just didn't seem to be prudent. Sometimes you have to think "is this going to help or hurt me" and I think had I run, I probably wouldn't have gotten out to ride on Sunday.

A moderately late night on Saturday (due in part to the time change) meant I needed to sleep in a little before I could ride. Plus it was dark at 7:30 I think so I wasn't going out. Unfortunately I waited until 11:15 to ride, and I wanted to be back by 4 for the UNC-Duke game. My legs felt better than yesterday, but my taint hurt pretty bad. The temp was good though, and there was no sun to speak of so it was comfortable. I made my way out Route 40 to Edgewood, and then turned up Mountain Rd to Route 1 into Bel Air. I descended into Rocks State Park and then put in an effort climbing out of it, and rolled along that terrible gravity-sucking road for like 16 miles back into Baldwin and Loch Raven Park.

I made it home okay but I was definitely tired, what I thought was a 75 mile ride turned into 82, so the two day total was pretty big. 11 hours on the bike in 2 days accounted for over half my week's hours. My bike also was riding like garbage, I don't know what was up - it was creaking a lot when I was out of the saddle. Maybe it's time to clean it.

Another lesson from this week is to not eat Powerbar Protein bars while riding. Protein is a terrible source of energy, as I've found out, because you can't access it quickly. I knew this, just didn't have anything else to take with me. Not to mention it's chocolate, so it melts. Don't bring things that can melt easily on your rides when it's warm out!

I was glad I got out to ride though, because a lot of times I'm an all-or-nothing rider. Since I had no excuse NOT to ride a lot this weekend, I had to do it. If I didn't plan on riding long, I'm not the type of person to just go out for 2 hours. I don't even know where you can really ride for just 2 hours around here anyway, other than my crappy Gunpowder loop.

So then to cap my week, I ran last night. I love running at night around Baltimore. As potentially dangerous as I'm sure running in any city after dark can be, I have come to enjoy my evening jogs around the Harbor. So much neon it's crazy. Last night was cool and windy, and I ran up to Fed Hill Park. Definitely the best view of Baltimore. I sat and contemplated for a minute before continuing on my way through the Harbor. 10:30 at night and the Harbor is jam packed. On a Sunday. Couldn't figure it out. I slowly crawled through Fells and then onto Boston and through the Square - which also was surprisingly bumping for a Sunday night. I ran crazy slow, but didn't care as I just need to shake the legs out.

Hoping for a good week this week, and now I've got to readjust to running in daylight during our evening runs.

Monday, March 02, 2009

In Like a Lion

At the beginning of last week I had ambitions of running somewhere between 60 and 70 miles, with a 20-21 mile run on Saturday at home in New Jersey. I had heard the weather for Thursday and Friday was supposed to be decent, and I expected some decent riding.

Well, none of that happened, and more frustrating is how wrecked my body feels.

Following the 10 miler last weekend I was feeling great. Monday's run was easy, and then I hopped into the BrenJunGram workout on Tuesday, which was the week's highlight. Wednesday and Thursday I was too beat up to run, so I just hit the pool. Too miserable still to ride outside.

Friday came and my plan was to run about 12 miles when I got back to New Jersey. I stopped on the way home at Manasquan Reservoir, a 5ish mile cinder loop around a big body of water. I haven't run here in a few years and my return was not kind to me. Granted I had just been in a car for 2.5 hours, but there was no way I had run a 7:17 first mile. I picked it up marginally and was running 7:00, and then just a little under. It felt way too hard.

On the second lap I was still working way harder to run 6:46s than I should have. I didn't get it. To make sure I wasn't crazy, when I got back to the start again (now after 10 miles) I went after it for a mile. The effort was harder than Tuesday's run, and it only yielded a 6:16. Not possible. At worst it should have been 5:50. I mean, I was absolutely tearing along the trail.

So the end result is that I don't believe their mile markers, but whatever. If I ran that slow then I just suck.

Saturday's plan to run long was stymied by a) how incredibly, brutally cold and windy it was and b) how bad I felt. Instead, I just ran an unbelievably slow 7.5 miles at Hartshorne, my favorite park and site of my August 1, 2003 ankle breakage. After the run my dad and I headed up to the Prudential Center to watch Seton Hall take on incumbent #1 Pitt. Unfortunately for The Hall, Pitt showed that it's a contender for a National Championship.

On to Sunday. I realized upon my arrival in NJ that the E Murray Todd Half Marathon was on Sunday. This was the first half marathon I ever participated in. It was also the first time I had to stop during a race to take a dump. But it would not be the last. I thought hmm, maybe I'll jump in and try and use it as a solid long run, starting around 6:20 and working down to the low 6:00 range. That is, only if it wasn't snowing.

And guess what - it was snowing. I didn't want to run in that, since I had forgotten to bring pants or tights. So I didn't run. Instead I spent a few hours at home with the family, and then drove back to Baltimore to watch 10 minutes worth of track spread over 2 hours. I still hadn't run. Finally went running at 11:30pm in the snow. It was obnoxious but I didn't care. All I care about is how ER will finally come to an end...

Week Totals:

swim - 8000m
bike - 0
run - 44 miles (lowest in 2 months)