Thursday, September 26, 2013

Two Training Updates

I've been meaning to blog for awhile now; here's a quick update on two training fronts.

As most of you know, I'm in upgrade training at my airline to be a captain.  Things on this front are going well.  I'm done with Indoc training, and just recently finished systems training.  I pulled a 99% on my systems test which felt really good to do.  This week is an off week for me, then tomorrow I start what they call Graphic Flight Simulation.  It's a 3 day session, each 4 hours, and what we do is essentially sit in a computer mock-up of the Q-400 and practice procedures.  I've been reviewing my procedures this week and feel very good about where I am with the flows, profiles, checklists, and emergency procedures.  My sim partner is a sharp guy and I really look forward to working with him.  After the GFS is done, I'll have two days off and then be in the simulator.  Woohoo.

On the other front, the Ironman front, I've been having a bit of a rough time.  We crashed our bikes together on the 16th of August, and a couple weeks later, I was out on a solo 60 mile ride which was going really well until I took a turn too fast and crashed.  I landed on my wrist and got a fair bit of road rash.  I healed up pretty fast, but still had to take a week off from the bike.

Last Sunday, T and I had a discussion about where we're at in training.  While we've had some great weeks, and overall we're feeling pretty good, we have had some rough weeks in training too.  And we both agreed that last week (week 12) would have to be a huge week.  A week that would utterly define our training.  If it was a failure, or a bad week, we would have to revisit our plan for Ironman.  We both know that Ironman is a lot of will, a lot of desire, and a lot of mental, but at the same point, you cannot toe the line without being in prime physical condition either.  Otherwise, you won't be crossing that finish line; you'll be in the med tent or worse.

Well, putting my money where my mouth is, I hit every workout goal last week.  Nearly 11 hours of training in the bag, I now have renewed hope for Ironman.  With focus and mental discipline, this dream will happen.

Finally, I'd like to thank Dr. J for sending me a video that I previously sent him back in 2009.  This video was myself flying into Aspen and somehow got lost.  It's pretty special to me and demonstrates the awesomeness of both the airplane I am going back to fly and the special flying I did while at Lynx Aviation.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Week Thirty-Eight: 9/16-9/22

Also week 12 of IM training. Getting closer ...

Monday, September 16: Swim: 2900m in 1:11:44 - 2:28/100m
- MX12 - ACS
- may have cut the cool down short - a little confusing
Bike: 1.86 mi in 8:09; avg cad 79; 13.69 mph
- 29.7 mph max
- aborted MX12 over-unders
- left shifter won't work!
- First really good swim in a month. Bike was disappointing - got through the warm-up and one interval before the bike spazzed. Guess I'm getting that checked out tomorrow ...

Tuesday, September 17: Run: 4.44 mi in 40:35 - 9:08/mi
- MX12 - treadmill - beginner
- probably could have managed intermediate, but it wouldn't have been pretty
- Simple speed work. May mix it up next week. Also! Bike not dead ... apparently it'll seize up on the trainer ...? No clue. But it works now and that's all that matters.

Wednesday, September 18: Swim: 3400m in 1:24:45 - 2:30/100m
- 12x50m, 3x(24x25, 2e, 1h, +200), 4x100m
- long, but good
Bike: 21.38 mi in 1:33:02; avg cad 91; 13.79 mph
- 18.8 mph max
- MX12 - mediums
- long stretches aren't as boring when structured
- This day held a lot, but it wasn't super intense. It almost felt like I didn't do enough - almost forgot about my early am swim! This is what training has done to me ...

Thursday, September 19: Run: 6.75 mi in 1:04:28 - 9:33/mi
- around Boulder
- 1/2 with Skirt Sports founder Nicole DeBoom
- strides at end
- Ran a little more than I had planned, but I have no issue with that. Fun being able to keep up with an Ironman champion on the run!

Friday, September 20: Swim: 4000m in 1:43:28 - 2:35/100m
- 40x100m
- goal was dead arms. achieved that one ...
- 1:22 at 3200; 1:38 at 3800. That gets me out of the water.
- It hit me on this swim that I've swam more this week than I have in some months ... and I still have one more swim to go! I better rock the damn IMAZ swim with all this stupid pool work ...

Saturday, September 21: Run: 12.1 mi in 2:13:42 - 11:02/mi
- Run CO Saturday run from the store
- 1st half felt great; fell apart around mile 9
- major foot pain :( stupid toes
- no nutrition and sugar at 9.5 only - felt fine
- Really nice to know that I don't need food on a long run. Salt (electrolytes) may have been helpful, but other than that, I was fine. Now if I can figure out my stupid feet ...

Sunday, September 22: Bike: 31.06 mi in 2:00:10; avg cad 77; 15.5 mph
- 26.9 mph max
- cut this short - legs had nothing left
- busy, busy trail
- Totally learned today why long runs are scheduled the day after a long ride and not the other way around. Dead, dead legs.

Well, wanted a big week to keep on track and, well, success!

Weekly training time: 12:00:03
Weekly training mileage: 83.99 mi
Yearly training time: 189:04:35
Yearly training mileage: 1577.72 mi

Friday, September 20, 2013

On Getting Back Up

This is a post I've been meaning to write for a few weeks now, but just haven't sat down to do it. Until now ... I'd also like to say that pro triathlete Jordan Rapp wrote similarly on this same topic a few weeks ago and probably a lot more eloquently than I.

As you may remember me posting in the recap of weeks 33 and 34, Brandon and I crashed at the end of week 33. I badly bruised apparently broke my elbow and that put me out of commission for several days and kept me out of the water in a serious capacity for about a month.

The crash was my second "serious" crash in 16 months. As such, it prompted a lot of people to ask me why.

Why do you still want to do triathlon if all you do is crash?
Why are you still riding your bike after two bad crashes?
Why haven't you come to your senses? After all, this has to be a sign that you need to quit, right?

It is a fair question, I suppose. But what is a crash but essentially falling down? And when you fall down, what else is there to do but get back up? Never mind those whys; I ask, why should I stay down? Why shouldn't I get back up again? If I stayed down every time I fell, I'd never be here, writing this blog, training for Ironman.

A good friend of ours from Run Colorado, Norm, is a rockstar runner. We're talking A wave BolderBOULDER rockstar. Also one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. He also has, tattooed on him, a saying - "Fall down seven times, get up eight." I kept thinking of that when people were asking me why. I kept thinking of my own history.

Fall down.

New Year's Eve day, 1989 or 1990: I'm in Tucson with my parents, learning how to ride a two-wheeler. I'm riding around and around the parking lot of the church up the street from our house, asking for one more loop, one more time. Dad looks away for a second to talk to my brother; I'm sprawled out on the pavement. Lost a fingernail, fractured my orbital bone, undoubtedly had a concussion.

Get back up.

I don't remember exactly when I got back on a bike again, but obviously I did. What if I had quit then? Maybe my parents wished I had; maybe I should be thankful for the fearlessness of youth (and my inherent stubbornness) for wanting to keep riding. Or maybe it was the bike, one that I kept for the next seven years and still wish I had to this day.

Fall down.

February/March, 1999: I'm a few weeks into learning how to ice skate so I can ideally learn how to play hockey (this was right at the beginning of my hockey fandom craziness). My high school had class field trips; ours was to Big Bear Ice Arena for some ice skating and then lazer tag after lunch. In my excitement, I was one of the first to get my skates and one of the first on the ice. I don't make it an entire loop around when the next thing I know, I'm on my hands and knees trying to get up. Diagnosis? Concussion (complete with puking and nausea and everything).

Get back up.

I got back on the ice as soon as I could, continued on with lessons, started learning how to play hockey and then played club hockey all throughout college. Hockey took me to Germany and to the Czech Republic. I don't technically still play (silly triathlon and especially silly IM training), but I'm hoping to get back into it this offseason.

Fall down.

Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012: I'm out on a bike ride, tired as hell, and I crash. Thanks to the guys at Treads, I have a general sense of how I crashed, but I don't remember it at all. My best guess is I tried to avoid a runner and went down. Bruised the hell out of my legs, got bad road rash on my hands and right shoulder (still there!), fractured my other orbital bone (right side this time), split open my eyebrow (first ever stitches!) and undoubtedly got another concussion. I still thank the ambulance guys for giving Bob the bike a ride to the hospital with me.

Get back up.

I took the time to heal (and replace my helmet) and I was back on my bike two weeks later. I had thought that my tri season may have been over that year, but thankfully it wasn't. I got back in the swing of things and barely had anything get derailed. I don't ride tired anymore, and it took almost the whole summer to get over my post-crash PTSD (cornering at speed in particular was tricky), but I kept at it.

Fall down.

Friday, August 16, 2013: Brandon and I are out on a ride, collide and go down. I land primarily on my left elbow, apparently breaking it. It happens mid-ride, and we have nowhere to go but home, so we continue on, riding the 20 miles home.

Get back up.

Since the crash, I'm in the midst of my first full scheduled week of workouts (swims and all) and it's going fantastically well. Some stupidity led to our crash, so more vigilance is key. We're also going to now avoid the trail it happened on - South Platte River trail - since Brandon crashed on it two weeks later. Obviously it is not meant to be for us to ride on it this year.

Fall down.

Those are just the big ones. While in theory I've really only crashed once this year, it's really been more like three or four times. On 303 day (March 3rd), I stopped for a second, lost balance and toppled over, getting a bit of road rash for my trouble. On the Boulder Peak course pre-ride, I stopped, fell over and cartwheeled my bike, bruising nothing but my ego. I have countless stories like this from over the years. Back in 2007, I went on a ride, skidded out on a curve and got gravel all in me. I washed myself off as best I could, rode back home, bandaged myself up and went back out to finish my ride. I have a few running, too, from tripping, falling, skinning my knees.

Get back up.

Every time, I get back up. Not for any deep philosophical reason, but merely because it's what you do. Watch a young kid learning how to walk or even stand up. They'll try, fall down and get back up to try again. They don't try a few times, say "screw this noise," and decide to just crawl the rest of their lives. They keep at it until they can stand and then keep at it until they can walk and, if lucky, keep at it until they can run.

Same thing for me. So I've crashed my bike. So what? It happens. As long as I'm physically capable to do so and I still enjoy riding, I'll keep getting back on it. Unlike Rapp, I do tend to do a lot more of my rides on the trainer - right now, I'm only doing the weekly long ride outside, but that's also a safety thing; if the vast majority of my rides are going to be just me, I prefer to do it on the trainer.

(I can also get more structured workouts in, but that's neither here nor there.)

Since I've had so many severe concussions (at least three that we know of), I may need to take that into consideration if I get another one next time I crash, since I don't want to seriously damage myself. I also dread that possibility, since I don't want to think of a world where I can no longer fly, whether it be on skates, two wheels or my own two feet. Who knows what I'll do to keep my competitive fire alive then.

But until then, I'll keep in mind one of my favorite sayings. I got it from my sports journalism professor, the late Jack Falla and I keep it with me to this day as the motivational saying on my RoadID - The only way out is through. Quitting mid-way through something isn't an option. Finishing what you started is the only way to get through.

Fall down seven times; get back up eight.

I'm sure I'll keep falling down, but I also know that I will never stop getting back up, either.

My only other major injury over the years was a broken foot; happened in summer workouts right before senior year softball season started. I didn't add it here because of how it occurred - fell asleep on the floor; woke up; foot was asleep; stepped on it wrong and it broke. The only way to not get up from that one was to a.) stop sleeping; b.) stop moving at all or c.) stop existing, because really, stupid injury. However, I no longer walk if I feel an appendage asleep; I wait for it to wake back up before I begin moving again, so there's that.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Weeks Thirty-Six and Thirty-Seven: 9/2-9/15

And if you're following along at home, these would also be weeks 10 and 11 of IM training.

In which things get better, and then infinitely worse. Read on ...

Monday, September 2: Off: exhausted
- Don't know what it was, but I was so tired. Started falling asleep on the couch, which is never good. So, listened to my body and rested.

Tuesday, September 3: Run: 3.37 in 31:04 - 9:13/mi
- Run CO pub run
- hot, humid, spitting rain
- Probably should have done something else today as well, but eh. Glad I ran and glad I pushed it and pushed it hard.

Wednesday, September 4: Swim: 800m in 18:57.05 - 2:22/100m
- 8x100m
- any semblance of form went to hell in that last 100m
Bike: 12.9 mi in 41:06; avg cad 91; 18.8 mph
- 31.9 mph max
- MX12 over-unders
- iced a little bit
- So my elbow hurts, but not the outside - it's more like the inside, like where it bends. No idea. Still, glad I got in a "decent" swim workout as well as over-unders!

Thursday, September 5: Run: 5.34 mi in 48:55 - 9:09/mi
- MX12 - treadmill set - intermediate
- very, very rough
- had to rest some in final interval
- With how I felt in the third interval, I should have just stopped at beginner, but I'm stubborn. So I kept going ... which meant I couldn't properly finish the whole set. Not sure which was better ...

Friday, September 6: Bike: 23.35 mi in 1:22:48; avg cad 88; 16.9 mph
- 26.8 mph max
- Spinervals 22.0 - TimeTrialPalooza
- forced this to happen; glad it did
- Should have done this as soon as I got off work; didn't ... but made myself do it before Brandon got home. Really glad I made that decision ... especially because we didn't go swim.

Saturday, September 7: Run: 9.69 mi in 1:43:11 - 10:38/mi
- to Run CO and back
- OMG hot
- this sucked a lot
- ate part of a waffle mid-run
- Stupid work forcing to do this in the afternoon.

Sunday, September 8: Bike: 62.43 mi in 4:17:43; avg cad 76; 14.53 mph
- 39.3 mph max
- Wacky W ride
- hot, hard, hilly and horrible - cruel, cruel course
- Had a swim scheduled too, but if Nicole DeBoom says I don't have to swim (explained the injury return), I'm going to listen.

Monday, September 9: Off: planned
- Well, sort of. Thought about a workout, but chose not to. Wacky W did kind of kill me ...

Tuesday, September 10: Swim: 1200m in 28:01.68 - 2:20/100m
- 12x100m
- so ... tired ...
- arm held up fine
- Good news is, I think I'm healed. Bad news is, I was up way too late and am so exhausted. Not sure how I even got this in ...

Wednesday, September 11: Off: exhausted
- 3 hours of sleep Monday night and then up for near 22 hours yesterday means I have ZERO energy today. I can't even begin to pry myself off the couch.

Thursday, September 12: Off: exhausted
- Signs I'm getting old - up late two nights in a row and I'm destroyed for a week. Plus the constant rain helps not at all.

Friday, September 13: Off: depressed
- Depressed is the best way to put this. The rain destroying and flooding my state makes everything gloomy and me depressed and not wanting to do anything except sit on twitter and watch flood coverage.

Saturday, September 14: Run: 2.93 mi in 29:05 - 9:55/mi
- kind of old Dayton loop
- long run cut short due to weather
- Didn't mind the rain. Didn't even mind the hail. But the lightning? That means stopping to live to fight another day.

Sunday, September 15: Off: defeat
- A long ride in the rain with most of the trails we would have taken underwater and with lower visibility for cars just didn't sound appealing. We also decided that if next week's bad ... no IMAZ.

That last statement hurts, but it's true. Since Boulder 70.3, training has been shit. Bad week. Good week until I crashed and hurt my arm. Bad week. Two decent weeks (without swimming) and then now one awful week. This can't continue if I want a chance at finishing IMAZ and finishing somewhat well. Given that extremely bitter pill, I scheduled us one hell of a week this week, and it's already off to a good start. I've already swam more today than I have in the past month, so that's a plus.

A few other notes:
- Initially, I was very disappointed with my average speed for the Wacky W because that average will NOT get me through IMAZ. However ... the bike course is flat. The Wacky W ... was not. Can we say 3 miles of straight climbing from miles 55-58? STRAIGHT CLIMBING. No breaks. First few miles were also pretty much all uphill. I won't have to deal with that in Arizona, so I think I'll be okay.
- Running in the hail? Makes you feel like a badass.
- I need to have a job or win the lottery so when depressing things are going on in my state, I can fly far away so I don't feel them so acutely. My heart broke every day last week, seeing more flood coverage, seeing places five miles from me underwater, seeing roads I've driven on multiple times no longer exist, seeing places I've ridden my bike underwater/washed away. It's gotten to the point that I'm actively avoiding Twitter for the most part since that's where I see most of the coverage.
- While I loved having my cousin in town and seeing the Carnival of Madness (Shinedown and Papa Roach; my cousin does sound for the latter), the lack of sleep I got as a result was disastrous. Can't do that when I'm attempting to train for an Ironman ...

Weekly combined training times: 10:40:51
Weekly combined training mileage: 123.35 mi
Yearly training time: 177:04:32
Yearly training mileage: 1493.73 mi

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Week Thirty-Five: 8/26-9/1

Also week #9 of IM training. In which things get better. Mostly.

Monday, August 26: Bike: 11.59 mi in 41:02; avg cad 89; 16.95 mph
- 29.8 mph max
- MX12 over-unders
- a little painful on the arm
- Couldn't shift with my left hand - had to bring my right over. Also got off and grabbed ice pack for final set - pain a bit much. Other than that, felt good to sweat again.

Tuesday, August 27: Run: 3.37 mi in 31:21 - 9:18/mi
- Run CO pub run
- not expecting this
- arm didn't hurt! yay!
- I think the reason I ran so well is I am so used to this course. I could probably do this with my eyes closed and get the same pace. Granted, I had nothing left when I got back, but still.

Wednesday, August 28: Bike: 23.61 mi in 1:23:36; avg cad 86; 16.9 mph
- 26.2 mph max
- Spinervals 22.0 - TimeTrialPalooza
- iced arm through first set; took advil
- Arm was a little achy starting this one off. Delayed this one a lot later than I would have liked, but still got it in and got it done.

Thursday, August 29: Run: 5.1 mi in 56:15 - 11:01/mi
- trails
- so, so hot ... lungs toast; did not have it
Swim: 100m in 2:39.16 - 2:39/100m
- 2x50m
- arm was not making this easy
- horrible, horrible struggle
- Forced it to make the run 5 miles. Totally wanted to bail it in earlier. Glad I didn't, though, ultimately. I tried getting in the water - didn't work too well. Form went all wonky trying to compensate for the injured arm. Got out before I risked further damage. Will try again Saturday ...

Friday, August 30: Bike: 9.12 mi in 32:51; avg cad 82; 16.7 mph
- 26.9 mph max; 134 max cad
- Spinervals 23.0 Time Saver I: Workout A: technique
- high cadence, where have you gone?
- Delayed this one, but got it in. Few more miles; plus I knew my pedal stroke needed the technique help. Yup.

Saturday, August 31: Bike: 47.26 mi in 3:05:30; avg cad 77; 15.3 mph
- 27.5 mph max
- CC trail and Highline Canal
Run: .84 mi in 10:45 - 12:47/mi
- off the bike
- ugh
- Bike was slower than it should have been - met an IM and chatted for about 12 mi, which kept the pace down. Run was brutal.

Sunday, September 1: Swim: 300m in 7:08.83 - 2:23/100m
- 6x50m
- pushed that more than I should have
Run: 2 mi in 20:21 - 10:10/mi
- treadmill. blah.
Stretching: 10:00
- mostly legs and sides; silly arm
- Still trying to swim. Finding improvement. Treadmills without a set workout are impossible. Stretching felt awesome.

For my first true week back ... well, with the exception of swimming, this wasn't bad. Could have easily been a 10 hour week or more had it not been for my lack of a fully functional arm. Still, though, I got in the water to test myself and I'm really happy at my almost 100 miles on the bike.

Weekly training time: 8:31:28
Weekly training mileage: 103.14 mi
Yearly training time: 166:23:41
Yearly training mileage: 1370.48 mi

Sunday, September 1, 2013

August Round-Up

It's a new month, so it's time for a recap post!

Running: 42.56 mi
Swimming: 6731.21m (4.18 mi)
Cycling: 247.92 mi
Lifting: nada
Other: nope

This was a fairly down month. I had a lot of off days - pre-70.3 taper, post-70.3 recovery ... and then I got hurt. This is the first month in probably over a year that Brandon out-swam me. I'm hoping I can get back to my usual swimming self shortly ... because with Brandon in training, I know that I can rack up some huge miles. Which I need to do - swimming is my weakness. By far.

Running and cycling, well, those ended up being not bad for taking essentially a week, two weeks off this month.

Training ramps up shortly; September should be ginormous.