Busy Bee

Although it might seem like it lately, I have not been ignoring my blog.  I've been pretty busy the past week or so.  Work has been busy, and I still had quite a bit of training to get in.  It's been hectic, but I hit all of my goal numbers on my big workouts so I'm very happy about that.  My fitness is better than last year despite being injured early in the year.  My training isn't over yet, but it's winding down.  

I'll write more about that in the next week or so.  In the meantime, I'm busy packing.  I leave for Kona Thursday morning.

On a different note, the Brewers finally.....finally....don't suck.  Conference Champs.  Unfortunately, we had tickets to the game right after they clinched the division so we missed seeing the celebration by one game.  But it was a fun game any way, and they won.

Courtney's first Brewer game.


Ironman Wisconsin 2012

Yesterday I got up early and registered for Ironman Wisconsin 2012. This will be my third time doing this race.  It's a fun race, and living a mile off the bike course makes this race very easy for me logistically.  I get to train on the course any time I want, and I can sleep in my own bed the night before the race.  

I've been thinking a lot about my 2012 schedule lately, and I think I want to do an early season half ironman to kickstart the season and give me some winter motivation.  I'm undecided on which one to do, but right now I'm leaning toward the 70.3 in Galveston, TX in early April.  I'll do the Liberty Half Ironman in MN in June again, partially because I got a partial refund (in the form of a credit toward 2012) for dropping out this year due to injury, so I can register for pretty cheap. It was a well-run race and I had fun so I'd like to do it again....and MN owes me some decent race weather.  I'm counting on a beautiful day.

As for a July half, I'm undecided.  I really like the July half ironman when training for IMWI so I'll keep that in my schedule, but I can't decide which race I want to do.  Door County is a great race, and I'd like to go back but I'd also like to mix things up a bit.  I'm tempted to do the 70.3 in Racine.  I haven't done that race since Ironman bought it, so it might be fun to return....although I remember the bike course being total crap (bad roads).  I'd like to do the Rhode Island 70.3 in July, but we'll see.  I can only afford so much travel in one year, so if I do Galveston I probably won't do Rhode Island as well.   

I'm also considering doing two iron-distance races next year...meaning, I'm thinking about taking a second shot at The Great Floridian.  I feel like that race got the best of me last time.  But that would mean two iron-distance races within 5 or 6 weeks.  It would be tough, but it's a tempting challenge.  Can I do well in two iron-distance races that close together?  Only one way to find out.

In the meantime, I've got two more big weeks training for Kona and then it's taper time.  I fly out on the 29th of September.  I can't believe it.  Even though I've been training for this race for a full year now, I still can't believe I'm actually going to race the Ironman World Championships.  It doesn't seem real.

When I raced motocross, I spent years dreaming of and trying to qualify for the Amateur National Championships at Loretta Lynn's Dude Ranch in TN and I never came close.  I didn't have it. I wasn't fast enough. So while I've only been dreaming of going to Kona for a few years, I feel like it's been a lifetime.  

I guess some dreams do come true....just not in their original form.  


No Labor Day

Labor Day was a rest day for me, a rare rest day that fell on a day off from work.  Days like that should be filled with laziness and relaxation, but they always end up being errand-running days.  But, Courtney and I did get out for a short walk to enjoy the weather and see if we could get some good pictures with the GoPro.  Here are some of our better shots...

We started on the Military Ridge and then headed down the Ice Age Trail a ways.

Good thing we play with cameras and not guns.  The consequences of accidentally shooting yourself aren't nearly as bad.

This picture says summer, but the temperature said fall - 67 degrees.

The Ice Age Trail.  This makes me want to go for a trail run.

Wetlands along the trail.

Another shot of the Ice Age Trail.  It's starting to look like fall. 

Even though I wanted warmer weather, it was a beautiful day. 


Share a Build Week: Recap

I thought I'd post a quick recap of my build week.  It was a good week.  My priority going into the week was nailing my long ride on Saturday and my long run on Sunday.  The other workouts were important, but I was willing to give a little on those if that's what it took to hit my numbers on the weekend.

I didn't really have a good swim workout, so that was lacking.  I got in decent volume (for me), but didn't have a really strong workout so I'll try to get one or two in this week to make up for it.  Otherwise, I'm really happy with how the week went.  Here are the totals:

Breakdown by hours.

Breakdown by distance.

Swim: 4 hours.  13,300 yards
Bike:  12 hours.  229 miles
Run:  6 hours.  47 miles

Today was a rest day. 


Share a Build Week: Day 7

Workout 1: Run.  2:46:36. 22.25 miles.  7:28 pace.  Ave HR: 135.

Unlike riding indoors for 6 hours...

Hour 6.

I love the long runs, especially 19+ milers.

Before my run on the IMWI course.

For those doing Ironman Wisconsin next weekend, you'll be swimming here....

Lake Monona from the Terrace.

Today's run was great.  I expected my legs to be pretty stiff and sore from my ride, but they weren't really.  A little, but not bad.  They loosened up right away and I felt great the whole time. I did my run/walk so I ran for 9:30 and walked for 30 seconds.  So my average run pace was 7:18.  With walking, I averaged a 7:28 pace.  I'm very happy with that.  

As always, I started conservative and stepped up the pace throughout the run.  I averaged a 7:39 pace for the first hour, picked it up a little in hour two and averaged a 7:17 pace for the final 45 minutes finishing the final mile at a 6:45 pace.  It feels really good to have the energy to step it up and run fast at the end of a long run.  

This was my last really long run before Kona.  I absolutely love these long runs, and I'm very disappointed I won't get the chance to get up early and do a 20 miler again for a while.

Workout 2:  Swim.  1 hour.  3100 yards.

6x100 easy warm up - 20s rest
4x150 pull/paddles on 2:20
4x300 on 5:00
4x150 pull/paddles on 2:20
100 cool down

I felt really good after my long run.  My legs felt good (considering) and I still had plenty of energy so I thought I was going to have a good swim.  It wasn't a bad swim, but it certainly wasn't a good swim.  It turns out it takes more than 5 hours to recover from a 22 mile run.  I felt like I was swimming okay and should have been swimming faster than I was, but I just didn't have any get-up-and-go.  My legs were anchors.  I expected to swim about a 1:25-1:28 pace for my 300s but only managed a 1:30-1:32 pace.  Not horrible, but not good either.  

I slogged my way through and got it done.  More yards in the bank and my last workout of the week.

Daily Total:  3 hours 49 minutes
Weekly Total:  22 hours 6 minutes

Tomorrow:  Rest Day.   


Share a Build Week: Day 6

Workout:  Bike.  6 hour bike followed by a 15 minute run.  

2 hours @ 10w below IM power
2 hours @ IM power
2 hours @ 10w above IM power

Once again, the radar didn't look good:

I hate the trainer, but it does have some benefits and one of those benefits is avoiding thunderstorms. I guess I'm getting soft because a year ago I wouldn't have considered riding indoors.  I would have dug out my rain coat and ridden outside.

But this is one of my key rides, and I didn't want it ruined.  I also wanted to do a sweat rate test and I drive to a route for this ride because it's supposed to be a flat route with no stops so you get no chances to rest.  That makes the trainer good for this ride, but 6 hours on the trainer is tough to do.

It's a great test to see if your Ironman goal power makes sense.  If you can't complete this workout, you might want to reconsider your goal power.

Since I was riding indoors, I figured I'd try to do a little heat training.  I set up my own little heat/torture chamber.

The heat chamber.  My space heater died so I only got it up to 79.
I moved the TV, set up the fan, dug out the space heater and found the humidifier.  Then I dug up some old motocross tapes for entertainment.

This is only one of the boxes.  I have a lot of motocross on tape.

My space heater died on me so I couldn't get the temp up where I wanted (mid 80s) so I was stuck in the upper 70s.  Much better than outdoors where it was only 69 today, but I'm going to need to look into ways to get that little room a few degrees hotter.

79 degrees, 60% humidity.  I got it up to 65%, but couldn't get the temp above 79.

This workout was great.  I absolutely nailed it.  I'm aiming for around 210 watts in Kona so I needed 200 for the first two hours, 210 for the second two, and 220 for the final two.  My numbers were spot on:  199, 210, 221.  The final two hours weren't easy, but I never really struggled.  I held my power steady the whole time and was able to step it up if I needed to.  Very encouraging.

One thing I hate about the trainer is how far off the speed is.  I got in 112.9 miles today.  Last year when I did this workout I got in about 135 miles.  Big difference when you do this outdoors.  But it's not really about that.  It's about the power and the total work and training stress....but I do like to see the high mileage numbers.

Run:  15 minutes.  1.92 miles.  7:51 pace.

The run was good.  I felt strong the whole time and my running legs came around quickly.  I ran the first half at an 8:06 pace and the second half at a 7:37 pace.  It always feels good to negative split.

Daily Total:  6 hours 15 minutes
Weekly Total:  18 hours 17 minutes

Tomorrow:  Long run and a swim.

Share a Build Week: Day 5

Workout 1:  Recovery Run.  45:36.  5.27 miles. 8:39 pace.  Ave HR: 120

This is what the radar looked like before my run.  Hard to believe I missed the rain.

I actually enjoy running in the rain, but not at lunch time when I have to head back into the office soaking wet.  But I don't skip my lunch runs because of the rain either.  It was sprinkling and the radar was ugly.  I headed out anyway and, other than a few sprinkles in the beginning of the run, didn't get rained on.  

There's not much to say about the run.  It was easy.  Just cruising at a comfortable pace.  My legs were a little tired and sluggish from Thursday's brick so it took a little while for them to loosen up.  

Personally, I don't like recovery runs that much.  They're kind of boring and my legs are usually tired when I do them so they're more difficult than they should be.

Blue is speed, red is heart rate, green is elevation. When I look at the elevation I see a rock concert.  Most people are sitting, but the two in the middle are standing - one with his right arm raised, one with her left arm raised.  Rock on.

Workout 2:  Swim.  1:00  3700 yards.

The plan was an open water swim at Devil's Lake, but that got cancelled due to thunderstorms.  I should have gone to the pool immediately after work, but I opted to eat dinner and swim later.  Then I lost motivation.  I was planning my long ride and doing some more research on Ironman fueling and hydration (it's an obsession lately).  I looked at the clock and it was getting close to 8 o'clock.  I said, "I don't think I'm going to make it to the pool tonight."

"What?" Courtney said.  "Yes, you are.  In fact...start getting ready because you're leaving right now.  It's too close to Kona.  You can't afford to let your volume drop."

See what I'm dealing with here?  A little sympathy, please?*

So I grabbed my gear and went to the Y (I'm not the smartest guy you'll ever meet, but I am smart enough to know when to do what I'm told).  I had a bunch of workouts in my gear bag but wasn't in the mood for them so I just hopped in the water and swam easy for an hour.  I actually enjoyed it, and might do more workouts like this.  Swimming easy isn't easy.  When you slow the pace down you start to notice form flaws.  You feel your legs sinking or your hand dropping or your leg kick to the side because your balance is off.  

Daily Total:  1 hour 45 minutes.
Weekly Total:  11 hours 59 minutes

Next up:  Long ride followed by a t-run (that's transition run - meaning very short run to practice transitioning to the run - for those unfamiliar with the term)

* None needed.  I'm very lucky to have someone who not only understands my desire to train for these crazy events, but actually pushes me to put in the work and strive to be the best I can. 


Share a Build Week: Day 4

Today was a brick workout - tempo bike, easy run.  Thursdays are my hard bike workouts so I do tempo, threshold, hills, etc.  A lot of times it's just a bike day and I go out and crush it.  But as races draw near, it becomes a brick day.  Today's plan was for an "easy" tempo ride followed by a fairly easy run.  I put tempo in quotes because tempo is never really easy.  

The plan for the bike was to ride at the bottom of my tempo zone.  I wanted to get in some good, hard work on the bike but not wear myself out too much for the weekend.  It gets tough when my volume is high and I have key workouts on the weekends.  I like to still get in the hard work, but I have to dial it back a bit sometimes so I don't beat myself into the ground.

Bike:  2:55.  61 miles

15 minute warm up @ 165 watts
2 hours 45 minutes @ 226 watts.

I tried uploading my workout and it appears the file may be corrupt.  Garmin, you continue to disappoint me.  A $500 bike computer and you can't even count on it.  I've been let down by Garmin so many times it doesn't even upset me anymore.  It's business as usual.  I should have gotten a Joule....or maybe I should go back to the little yellow computer.  I never once had a corrupt file with that computer.  I still have it.

Another corrupt file.  It's always tempo rides or centuries.  The short, easy ride files are always good.

Luckily, I watch my power meter closely so I knew my numbers before I hopped off the bike.

I felt decent on the bike, but the heat (90 degrees and humid) got to me a little toward the end.  I'm not used to it.  But other than that, it was a good ride.  Not too hard, not too easy.

Edit:  I managed to get my file to upload this morning.  It turns out the history stopped saving halfway and this morning it saved completely when I plugged in my Garmin.  The numbers didn't change for my warm up and tempo.  Here are the numbers for the overall ride:

Ave watts: 221
Norm watts: 225
VI: 1.02
KJ: 2342 (that's also how many calories I burned)
Elevation Gain:  1861
Ave HR: 137
Cadence: 86
Distance: 61.03
Ave Speed:  20.8 
TSS: 171.4

Much better.

I used this workout as a sweat rate test, so I'll be blogging about that in the near future.  I've been doing some testing with my nutrition and hydration lately - it turns out I sweat a lot more than I thought and haven't done a good job with hydration the past 36 years.  Live and learn. 

After the bike, I headed out for a quick run.  The plan was to start slow and build the pace on the second half if I felt good.  

Run:   30  minutes.  3.75 miles.  8:03 pace.

I started easy and ran an 8:15 pace for the first 15 minutes.  By then I had settled in and had my running legs under me (I have two sets of legs - cycling and running....if swimming legs exist, I'm pretty sure I don't have them) so I stepped it up and ran a 7:50 pace for the second half.  

Overall, it was a decent workout.  I'm happy with it.  I hit my goals and got in some hard work without beating myself into the ground.  My legs feel pretty good post-workout. 

Daily Total:  3 hours 25 minutes
Weekly Total:  10 hours 13 minutes

Tomorrow:  Easy lunch run, open water swim.