Monday, June 08, 2009

7 Days

Today felt like a long day. I had intended on running about 10 miles up in hilly Mt. Washington while watching the Race For Our Kids 10k, followed by a 3 hour ride. The day eventually turned into a reverse half Ironman.

I slowly woke up at 6am and got a donut, bagel and Gatorade at Dunkin Donuts before heading up to meet OJ and Kris. Kris forgot his shoes so we told him to run the course backwards and meet us. OJ and I headed up towards the race start, starting our run up the nastiest hill possible. It set the tone for the day. We caught up with Kris and just went up and down one hill after another, before finally hitting 1:10 and making it back to watch the start of the super competitive 10k. We walked over to mile 6 and cheered on our friends who all did pretty awesome. The highlight of the morning was some girl coming up the finishing hill (actually it's a mile long climb) and she was in BAD shape. The cops were clearly not going to go to her aid so OJ and I ran over. She was falling down with or without us, we just helped soften the fall by leading her to the grass. Her HR was sky high and she was cold, which is never a good sign. She wanted to finish the race and I was like yo bitch, it's a 10k, not a race that really matters if you finish or not. Besides, she couldn't even stand up.

Then she doesn't want an ambulance to take her because she says she doesn't have health insurance. I can empathize, but it's like if you're in trouble, you gotta get help. Her weiner boyfriend comes over (he had finished 4th I think) and hands her a bottle of water with the cap on like "here you go" - what a boner.

So we left her and continued on our way, somehow managing to get lost and tacking on some unnecessary time to our already pretty long run. 13 for the day, and after a quick wardrobe change OJ and I were off on our bikes.

It felt good to sit down after a while on our feet, but my legs were not feeling fresh. We rode out to Owings Mills, which I haven't done in a while so that was cool. Picked up my Thursday Night Ride route and threw in the usual efforts. It was hard. We actually put in quite a few intervals. Nothing longer than 8 or so minutes, but a lot of them. We made it back to Falls Road and headed up the hill - but the road was grooved. It was really annoying. Then we came upon a fresh car crash. Actually multiple cars, all over the hill, it was one of the worst looking accidents I've seen in a while. We were getting sick of the grooved road so we diverted and put in 3x5min intervals. I was cooked at this point but just tried to put in an honest effort. Made it all the way back to Old Court, which was sweet because the ride was basically over. 50 miles.

Now I haven't eaten anything since 6:30's breakfast and it's now 1:30 and I've put in 4.5 hours of training. I had spotted a hot dog cart chilling on Falls Road by Robert E Lee so I grabbed two dogs from there and dispatched them quickly. I got home, killed some ants (another story) and then headed down to the pool. Weekends at the pool are pretty gay. Tons of douchebags strutting around drinking beers and stuff because my gym doesn't value athletes. I hopped in the pool for a quick 2000m and felt much looser after it.

I then walked over to Pasta Mista and ordered a pizza, of which I consumed 6 slices.

Now I'm a week out from Eagleman, the first really big event of the year for me. In the past two weeks I've finally started to feel really good - strong, quick off the bike. This time last year I was in a completely different frame of mind. I was excited and nervous, and had no idea how the day was going to turn out. And we all know how it turned out. The important thing to me was that I was in really good shape, and I knew it. I had come off a nearly 9 minute PR at Columbia, and Eagleman was actually this weekend last year so there were just 3 weeks in between races. I felt good on every ride I was doing back then and my runs were going well.

This year has been a lot different, as I've mentioned before. I put about 16 eggs of my 18 that I usually buy at the food store into one basket for Boston, and that didn't really pan out. I neglected the bike and the swim until after April 20. The weekend after Boston I did a little too much on the bike and struggled through some pretty severe knee pain for a few weeks - then it just disappeared. I had been struggling on my runs, and not swimming much.

But then Columbia came, and I showed that my fitness wasn't much off last year, and I had an extra week leading up to Eagleman. I put in a huge Memorial Day Weekend, and since that time I've started to bring the volume down a little but have thrown in a few precise efforts. My excitement for triathlon has been renewed; a big part of it is OJ being back in serious shape, physically and mentally, as well as the freshness of having Zero, Stanford and Alyssa really ramping up for triathlons.

I feel a little tired after this week, which was admittedly hard. I ran 43 miles in just 4 runs, and 3 of them took place in the hills of Mt. Wash, while the other was a quicker-than-usual Monday night run. I rode 150 miles in 3 rides, with good efforts thrown into each one. I swam (not that much) and seem to be in respectable form. But now the work has been done and my efforts this week will be limited.

I'm excited again for the race, mostly so I can prove to myself that I'm not a completely boner at this distance. I've thought for a long time that the half is my distance, with its mix of a long ride (over half the time of the race) and a long but potentially fast run. I'm also excited because as I'm still largely building up for Eagleman, I think Providence is going to be a great race this year. It's on a course that suits my skills a little better than Eagleman, and with another 4 weeks until race day (from Eagleman) I've got a lot of time to put finishing touches on the sharpness.

It's still very tough to gauge your fitness when you're just training. I have been more specific about my racing this year and don't really know what I can expect from myself. I try and put reasonable goals out there, so a 30 minute swim is my bar. If I'm faster, awesome. Slower, eh, hopefully not by much. On the bike, I physically got off my bike last year and still rode 2:28. I'm pretty sure 2:20 is the worst I would ride, with 2:18 the goal and 2:15 as my reach. Those 3 minutes, however, could cause a 10 minute slower run, so I won't push to hit 2:15 if I feel like it will compromise the run. And the run, well, this is tough because this is where I lose it. Assuming proper hydration/nutrition, I'd like to think 1:25 is the slowest I'd go, with 1:22 as a more likely and 1:20 as a reach.

You prepare for everything, but you never really know what can happen on race day. I'm sure I'll make a post (or two) again this week, but it's good for me to communicate, even if just to myself, my goals.

The times I've been at my worst allow me to appreciate the times I am at my best.


THE KRIS said...

that closing sentence is the truth.

if it makes you feel any better about how hard yesterday was, d & i went to eat after i got back from the run and managed to lock ourselves out of the house. i spent like 7 hours walking around the mall, grocery shopping, and going to lowes instead of sleeping. it sucked. finally got in around 7.

RM said...

NO WAY! How did you eventually get back in? First you forget your shoes, then your keys. That's a rough day.

Yeah, I obviously embrace suffering and enjoy it enough to keep doing it. I'm always optimistic though and figure if I have a great race this year I can appreciate it more after last year.

fbg said...

Nice job... you got the goal times spot on except for a few minutes in the run. That's a hell of an improvement over last year. What did you do differently?

I have to say it: you managed to get Miss Ficker (though I would have thought you'd rather be directly behind her) though it looks like you got pimped at the line by everyone's favorite wiener dog owner.

RM said...

BG - I almost missed this comment you left! I rarely check the comments on my posts, mostly the older ones. I guess I can get it so I get emailed when one comes in.

To answer your question, yes, I was pretty spot on with my estimations of time, save the run. And that wasn't a matter of not being fast enough, obviously, just still dealt with cramping.

I think the weather difference was a pretty big factor. I planned for it to be hot, and I'm sure I would have struggled if it was warmer even with the amendments in my race day nutrition. I felt more comfortable from the gun this year over last, and so the swim went much better. Last year I set a bad tone when I was not comfortable in the water.

When I got on the bike, I felt good so I rode what felt comfortable. My general rule is if I can hold a conversation for the first half, it's too hard. By 40 miles in, where the headwind really started hitting us, it became harder so I adjusted my gear ratio so I kept a more constant cadence and didn't worry about speed.

On the bike I took 3 Endurolytes and drank Gatorade. I did neither of these things last year.

On the run I still need to figure something out. Perhaps I need to take more on the bike, because obviously that's why my legs are worked going onto the run. Or I just need to do more workouts that simulate this effort.

Desiree started an hour before me so I only saw her when I was coming in on the bike and she was on the run.

And yes, I was disappointed to get nipped by 1 second on chip time to a certain someone. Obviously had we been in the same wave I would have had a lead off the bike and would have had Arjun and Alex feed me splits so that I kept ahead of him by at least 2 seconds.