Thursday, May 29, 2008

Swim Times

So I finally remembered to grab my HRM watch and figure out my 100 yd and 450 yd times this morning. I'm looking at:

100 yd (not fresh, after the 450 yd swim) - 2:11
450 yd (projected from 100 yd time) - 9:50
450 yd (fresh, actual) - 10:31

Comparing my sprint triathlon time to today's 450 yard time, I see:

Sprint Tri - 33.3 m/min (36.5 yd/min)
Pool Workout - 39.1 m/min (42.8 yd/min)

If I used my 100 yd time, I would have 41.9 m/min and 45.8 yd/min, but that's more indicative of a sprint rather than a longer endurance swim which is why I went with the 450 yd time.

Nonetheless, what I see is that I'm faster than my triathlon time. I don't remember doing any swim workouts at that distance before the triathlon and I was nervous and excited and all those race-day emotions so I was a hair panicked in the pool. A small victory.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Doubts Setting In

Today is May 28th. My goal race is September 7th - 14 weeks, 4 days away. I'm beginning to have doubts that I'm going to make it. Take a training plan, insert life, and you end up with a haphazard arrangement of workouts that create some improvement in distance/efficiency/endurance/strength, but not enough to make it to race day.

At what point do I admit defeat? Do I throw in the towel now and find another race? Do I hold on to what hope I have and continue to train, only to break down in tears the night before the race when I'm in the arms of defeat? I can't tell yet. I need to look at my training plan and see where I am, then make projections of where I'll be nearing the race. The golden rule is no more than a 10% increase in distance/intensity/speed in a week. If I can't make the necessary distances by race day staying within that rule, I think I'm done.

The one glaring problem with my training plan is not training for intermediate goals. As I heard on the radio, setting general goals sets one up for failure; setting specific goals allows one to measure progress against a tangible effort. Back in November I said I would do this race, but didn't pick any intermediate races to allow me to gauge my progress. Sure, I had the 5k, but that was just after "life" got in the way and I performed poorly. What if it had been a few weeks earlier, or later? I've added the Hagerstown sprint triathlon to my race schedule, but that's a sprint towards the end of July; I should be doing sprints now and Olympic distances then.

Is it too much too late? Have I learned my lesson too late this season to make a full recovery?

2005 South Carroll Swim Club Sprint

The only triathlon I've completed was the South Carroll Swim Club triathlon held Father's Day weekend in 2005 (June 19th). It was a 400m outdoor pool swim, a 14 mile ride through the hills of Mount Airy/Westminster, and a 5k out-and-back run. While they didn't calculate the splits, I think I have my numbers pretty close to right, and they looked something like this:

0:12 Swim (33 m/min)
0:04 T1
0:57 Bike (14.7 mi/hr)
0:05 T2
0:36 Run (12:00 mi pace)

For a grand total of 1:54 (1:53:55 chip time), 9.14 mph. This put me 7/8 in my age group (20 - 24) and 218/243 overall. Considering I was under trained for this event, I was hoping only to not come in last. I did even better though - I pretty much hit my marks for biking and running, with my swim time about 2 minutes slow. The event is now closed for this year, but I really wasn't looking forward to riding the big hill again, although with my triple on my road bike I may have actually done all right. Maybe next year.

The Road to Hell...

I meant to write this entry two weeks ago but I didn't make the time to type it out. So here it is, two weeks late.

May 16th was the annual Bike to Work day. I participated in 2005 and 2007, so it was no surprise that I registered for it this year. Typically that ride has been my first of the season, for whatever season I was participating in that year (rock climbing, completing a century, doing a triathlon). Flash back now to October 6th, 2007.

I completed my first century that day. I told myself that I would take one month off to let everything heal, then it was back on the bike (and probably on the trainer) for the winter. Well, flash forward to May 10th. That day was my first bike ride since the century. All winter long I said "I'll pull out the trainer and ride today" or "It's a nice day, I'll ride outside today". A proverb comes to mind: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." I had good intentions of riding during the winter, but alas my butt didn't hit the seat until the spring.

During the May 10th and 16th rides, I felt pretty good, unlike previous years where my first ride wiped me out. I kept at least some of my conditioning it seems, or else the gym time over the winter, helped me out. Whatever the reason, I'm in okay bike shape.

Monday, May 05, 2008

More Like A Survival, 5K Recap

Saturday morning brought a not-so-sick feeling and hopes for the race that night (Frederick Twilight 5K). I decided about mid-afternoon that I felt good enough to compete, so Jeff and I made our preparations for the 7p race and headed over there with time to pick up our packets, chips, and shirts and get to the start line.

It's funny the differences in our race preps. Considering this is Jeff's first organized race in a while, and he is hardly the believer in a structured sequence of events to prepare oneself for the best possible race (in due time), I'm not really surprised. His prep: nap until 6:00p (when I woke him up), eat a bowl of granola with 2% milk, chow down a whole wheat bagel and lite cream cheese during the 10 minute trip to the fairgrounds, race. My prep: small bowl of basmati rice with a small pat of butter at 6:00p, race. I have a very sensitive stomach and if I eat something with too much flavor, I hear about it. Jeff, on the other hand, appears to have an iron stomach because he suffered no gastrointestinal distress from his heavy, diary-containing meal. If he gets serious about training, I'm not sure how long he'll be able to keep up his rebel eating style. I suppose this may be a case of trying to help out before he finds out the hard way, but if he doesn't listen, helping him out after he's prayed to the porcelain gods (or to the neighbor's mailbox). Who knows - he may even surprise me and be able to keep this up.

Jeff stayed with me the entire race. Well, not really a race for me, more like a survival. We finished with exactly the same time (aww, how cute). Some how I ended up below him in the rankings, though... ;O) Alphabetical, maybe? Anyway, it all broke down like this:

Weather: Hazy, 69ºF, wind N 6mph

Chip Time --> 34:52.75
Total Pace --> 11:15/mile
Overall Place --> 447/637
Gender Place --> 217/359
Division Place --> 37/58

Half Rank --> 423
Half Time --> 18:21
Half Pace --> 11:50/mile

Finish Rank --> 481
Finish Time --> 35:20
Finish Pace --> 11:15/mile

I'm not sure what the finish rank is reflecting since it doesn't match my overall place. I know the finish time is gun time and my finish pace matches my total pace. I'm not really worried though; I understand what everything else means, especially the NEGATIVE split. I ran an 18:21 then a 16:32; a -1:49 split. Jeff and I picked it up towards the end, but I don't think it had that much of an impact. Looking at my watch, this is how my race went:

10:23 run
2:00 walk
6:24 run
4:02 walk
2:57 run
4:09 walk
5:11 run

I walked following the half-way point (also a water stop), so the 4:02 walk is about the start of the second half. I marked time from my first running step (after the gun but before the chip pad) so my final time of 35:06 is between my finish time and gun time. I just about split walking and running in the second half, and ran about half as much as the first half, so what the heck was I doing in the first half?? I doesn't make sense, but it all adds up. Trim off the extra 0:13 (difference of watch and chip time) from the first run portion, and I'm still questioning my watch-operating skills, even though I know I'm within a few seconds of when I started running or walking. I'll have to check this out more closely at home tonight.

So there's my new PR for the season. It's a bit of a cheat since it's my first 5K in ages, but a PR is a PR. I'll take it - another first.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Perfect Storm

I'm not sure that I'll be running in the Frederick Twilight 5K this Saturday evening. For the past three weeks I've been working 12 hour 12a - 12p night shifts, which with a 45 minute commute and needing to eat something right after leaving work adds up to no time to workout. So, I haven't worked out in three weeks. That didn't bother me as much as what started up on April 29th - a cold.

I felt the gunk materialize in my throat as I drove home after eating "dinner" on the 29th. When I woke up for my Wednesday overnight shift, I was a goner - my throat was rough and my nose had taken off for a long run that the rest of my body wasn't invited to. I survived my shift, but was severely congested, had treated a sinus headache, and my neck was very sore. I made it home fine, and after filling my tummy with food, I passed out.

I've moved mostly past the runny nose stage and am now in the coughing stage. The crap in my throat is starting to loosen up, which is good. I mowed the lawn yesterday, a 20 minute affair, and my lungs were burning when I was finished. Not good.

I've never had a cold "attack" my neck musculature like this one. I'm typing one-handed because my other hand is holding a heating pad around my neck. Depending upon what I've been doing, my whole neck could be mildly sore, or part of it could be severely sore. I'm suffering the latter since I slept on one side last night. I had to get up because my coughing and sneezing was starting up and I didn't want to wake up Jeff. At least it was later than the 2a that I got up yesterday.

I'm trying to hold onto a little hope that I'll be able to run Saturday night, but I'm also trying to be reasonable. I need a small miracle to overcome this perfect storm that is spinning around me.