Go Crit Racer Go

I am wrecked right now, but I'll do my best to pull it together enough to write a decent post. I've been meaning to blog for the past two weeks, but I kept forgetting. Blame the holidays.

Right now, I'm blaming the holidays for a lot...mainly how I'm feeling right now. As has already been said...I am wrecked right now.

Last week was officially week one of Ironman training. I know, I know. You
thought it started a few weeks ago. It did...kind of. Those were my prep weeks, but last week was my first official week of base training. Base 1 Week 1. And it was a bust. I tweaked my knee a few weeks ago (the left one, as always) and re-aggravated it last week to the point I was hobbling around for a day and couldn't get my workouts in. That was a day I was supposed to put in some big volume so I fell way behind right there. Then came x-mas, and I got lazy and decided I'd rather eat candy than workout. There's a price to pay for that, and I paid it tonight.

Today was supposed to be a rest day, but since I didn't get much accomplished last week I decided to ride tonight. I did my Race Day workout. It's a crit race, and it's absolutely brutal.

For those who don't know what a crit race is, it's a circuit type race. It's on a short course, maybe one or two miles long, and you do multiple laps. It's typically timed - maybe 40 minutes - so you know how long you'll have to suffer.

The video is pretty cool, and as far as indoor riding goes I recommend this one. It's kind of fun and time goes pretty quickly. It is, however, brutal. And my lazy, candy-eatin' ways punished me tonight. I suffered through this, but never felt good. I hit my peak power in the first minute and that upset my stomach so I had 40 minutes of regretting eating junk food for the past few weeks. Then I started to fade so I added fatigue to my stomach problems. I finished, but it wasn't without a price.

Here are a few screen shots of the video:

This is about 25 minutes into the workout, and you have to catch the breakaway by holding an intensity of 10 for more than a minute. It's tough because you're pretty spent by this point.

Here is my power data from the ride. Yellow is power. Red is heart rate. You can see how my power trends downward throughout the workout. I really struggled to hit the same numbers I was hitting early in the workout. A "9" in the last ten minutes wasn't the same as a "9" in the first ten minutes.

I need to get my motivation back and get into shape. The holidays are tough for working out, but they're almost over and then I can focus on getting back into ironman shape.


Speaking of the holidays, even though they weren't good for training, they were good overall. Sometimes you gotta let the training slide a bit and enjoy life...or so they tell me.

I don't typically decorate for the holidays, but I figured why not go all out this year. By all out, I mean a two foot tree and nothing else.

Overall, it was a great x-mas. Pretty mellow, but that's the way I like it. I hung out with the fam, ran 5 miles in a 33 degree rain on Christmas Eve (which was actually really fun), did some yoga, watched a few movies and spent the majority of the weekend with Courtney.


That ain't no cat tracker

I remember, as a little kid, my dad looking out the window the morning after a light snowfall saying, "Looks like a cat tracker."

"What's a cat tracker?"

He explained to me that it's when you get just enough snow to see the cat's tracks. Now we can see whe
re the cat goes when we let her out, he said. It hadn't occurred to me until then to question where she went, but as I thought about it I realized I never did see her in our yard when she was outside (years later I was at a neighbor's house when I noticed my cat peeking in their patio door and was told she did that every night...our cat was indeed a curious cat - aka A Peeping Fluffy). I also wondered where the term came from. Why would you track a cat? Who, other than our dog, was hunting cats?

But other than that, I never questioned the phrase. Nor did I ever hear it used by anyone other than my father. This morning when I looked out the window and saw the pummeling Mother Nature gave us last night, I thought: That ain't no cat tracker. It's funny how phrases from a long time ago sneak up on you sometimes.

I've heard everything from 13-17 inches of snow. I'm not a good judge so
I can't say which is correct. My classification system of 'cat tracker' and 'ain't a cat tracker' isn't complex enough to include precise measurements, but I think it's safe to say we got more than a foot of snow overnight.

Unlike the majority of the city, I went to work.
As usual, my running schedule lined up with blizzard schedule so I took my running gear with me. People think I'm crazy for running in weather like this, but I don't think it's crazy at all. They plow the bike path so it's typically not that bad, and it's really peaceful out there. Just me and the crunching of the snow under my feet.

I run on the bike path so much I've figured out the plowing schedule. They plow early in the morning, and again around 11 am...maybe again later in the afternoon if needed. So if I head out about 11:30 I get out there right after they plow, and today was no exception. They were still plowing, but it was clear enough to run on.

It was truly a winter wonderland out there. I'm not a big fan of winter - I prefer summer - but I really enjoy my blizzard runs. It's peaceful and ve
ry scenic. I sometimes run with my Ipod, but not on blizzard runs. I just run and enjoy how quiet and empty the city is. And with most people opting to stay home from work today, crossing the roads was easy. I never had to stop for a car.

Near the halfway point of my run, I noticed some people up ahead on the bike path. As I got closer, I realized it was some kids enjoying their snow day with a snowball fight. They
had built forts on either side of the path so I had to run right through the fight. A constant stream of snowballs crossed the path as I drew nearer. This was quite a snowball fight, maybe even a snowball war. I was impressed. I figured I'd get hit with a snowball and was going to do my best not to take one right in the face. Just as I entered the combat zone, one of the kids stood up and yelled, "I hate socialism," as he launched a snowball over my head at the fort on the other side of the path.


And all these people say kids these days do nothing but sit around and play video games. While their parent's were using a few inches of snow as an excuse to stay home from work
and sit on the couch (or shovel), these kids were out on the front lines fighting the good fight, keeping the socialists from taking advantage of a moment of weakness and advancing into enemy territory. I thought about what I might have yelled as a kid in a snowball fight. I couldn't remember, but I suspect I was much more likely to yell, "this ain't no cat tracker" than "I hate socialism!"

Post run. Frosty, but not too bad. I ran in a blizzard two years ago where the snow/ice buildup on my face got so bad the chunks of ice on my eyebrows were bothering me. I pulled one off and it hurt a little and I spent the rest of the run wondering if I just pulled my eyebrow off.

The path where they had just started plowing. This was the worst section so it only got better from here.

Winter Wonderland.


Annual Training Plan

My annual training plan is coming together. Here's the weekly hours and training phases:

At first glance, yes, it's a lot. It's almost 700 hours of training in 10 months. It averages out to around 16 hours per week. But, it's not all swim, bike and run so it might not be too bad. I'll be doing some lifting and yoga in there.

The two red weeks are race weeks: the Door County Half Ironman in July and Ironman Wisconsin in September.

The plan always looks so neat and organized when you graph it out like this, but it's really hard to make the black bars (the actual hours) look so perfect after months of training. There's always a week here and there that gets derailed by something. But I figure it's wise to start with a good plan, and then stay flexible and adjust it as needed.


Week one is done

Week one of training is in the books, or to be more precise, in Trainingpeaks.com. The week went well, but it wasn't quite the easy first week I'd planned on.

My first run after nearly a month off was a little rough. I ran at night in the snow and didn't see a hole and rolled my ankle. Surprisingly, my ankle felt fine, but I think I tweaked a muscle in my quad because it has been hurting since. Running aggravates it so I'm taking today and tomorrow off running to see if that helps the pain go away.

Other than that, the week went well. I got 8900 yards of swimming, which is a great first week. Training for Florida I only had 7 weeks with higher volume than that, and topped out at less than 15,000 yards on my biggest week. So I'm ahead of last year with my swimming.

Running and cycling will come around. My fitness is low right now so I'm working on getting it back, which shouldn't take long, and then I'll focus on building strength and endurance.

If you notice, the chart has 30 minutes of 'other.' What's 'other?' Yoga. I'm adding yoga to my routine this time around to increase flexibility and strength. I'm not flexible so yoga is pretty tough for me, but I'm not going to give up on it this time around. I'm determined to keep at it until I improve enough that it's more enjoyable.

I'm also going to begin strength training this week, which will include some weightlifting but mainly core work. A strong core helps prevent injuries so that's going to be crucial if I'm going to survive another year of ironman training without an injury.

Swam with my H2O Audio again Sunday, and I love that thing. I got it set up in the locker room before getting in the pool and that worked out much better. From that point on, I didn't notice it. The ear phones stayed put and the music sounded good. A great b-day gift. Thanks mom and dad.


Facebook. What can I say about Facebook? Sometimes it's fun. Sometimes it's funny. Sometimes it's cool to keep up with people you don't see often. Sometimes it's a little creepy. And sometimes you see things that make you wonder why you friended some of the people you did....

If this had been one of my male friends, I may find it funny. But a female friend? It's a little disturbing. I figure later tonight she'll become a fan of dutch ovens. I mean, why not? If you're a fan of farts, you surely must be a fan of being trapped under the covers with one. *sigh*


The Olympics are coming!

Some great pics of the torch:



'Tis the season

'Tis the season to decorate for x-mas. Now that that's done (see pic), back to training. 'Tis the season for that too.

But first, a fun fact: 'Tis...I never thought about it until
I started writing this post but I had to stop and think: is it 'Tis or T'is? I wasn't sure if it was short for it is or this is. So I looked it up, and it's short for it is (so is it's, by the way).

So Ironman training officially started this week. I like to compare my training to what I did the year before so I can see if I'm making progress and/or doing more volume. Unfortunately, I lost my training log when my computer melted down a few weeks ago so I cannot compare. I can only go by memory, which at my advanced age is fuzzy at best. Ah, the twilight years.

But, 'tis not too hard to remember how much I swam in December. Ze
ro. Nada. I stopped swimming right after Ironman (September) and didn't get back in the pool until January 10, and even then I only swam a few times in January. They say your swimming fitness comes back the quickest, and I let that thinking go to my head. I'll get back to where I was really fast and then build on that, I thought. So the end result was a swim time in Florida that was almost identical to my swim time in Madison one year before. Not bad, but not what my original goal was.

This year, that won't cut it. I'm approaching things differently. I want to train like a swimmer, focus on all aspects of swimming - freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, flip turns, dolphin kicks.... you name it. It's not that I would use most of those things in the Iron
man, but they'll make me a better/stronger swimmer and that's what I need if I'm going to come out of the water in an hour next September. To be a better swimmer, train like a swimmer. Makes sense.

To go with my new swimming approach, I'm going to sign up for a masters swim meet in January or February (or both). To get Matt to join our relay team, I agreed to swim the 100 butterfly. Right now I can barely do 25 yards of very ugly butterfly so I have tons of work to do in the coming weeks. There is no way I can learn the butterfly well enough to be competitive. Last place is a guarantee. But I don't care. That's not what it's about. I need something to focus on to keep
me motivated to swim, so if making a fool of myself at a local masters meet is what it takes, so be it. I'm willing to come in last (by a lot) if that's going to help me meet my end goal.

So, for the winter, my main goals are to improve my swimming, get in a lot of running miles and maintain my bike fitness the best I can. Then next spring and summer, I'll try to continue with the swim improvement, but mainly I'll be trying to take the speed I gained ov
er the winter and add endurance to it. I'll continue with lots of running miles and hit the bike really hard. Lots of bricks too.

So this week and next week are my "prep" phase of training, which means I'm more or less just getting back into it. These weeks are pretty easy. My volume is low and I'm not working too hard. Just getting in some base miles and trying to get some fitness back. Then it's 'Base 1 - Week 1.' That's when the volume picks up and things get a little more intense.

Complaint: I tried changing the font on this post after publishing it because the font I chose was pretty small. For some reason, Blogger is horrible at things like that. For what is more or less just a word processor, it's a horrible word processor. I feel like I'm working with an Apple IIe over here. Real floppies and grounding myself before touching the computer. Step it up, Blogger!