Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Week Forty-Two: 10/14-10/20

Also week 16 of IM training.

Monday, October 14: Bike: 12.81 mi in 41:01; avg cad 91; 18.7 mph
- 33.4 mph max
- MX12 over-unders
- that felt ... dare i say it ... easy???
Stretching: 13:00
- oh god that felt good
- back, neck, shoulders, legs ... everywhere
- Considered taking today off. I really, really did. But my RoadID motivational phrase, my favorite Falla-ism, got me to reconsider that thought - the only way out is through. I'm so close - the only way I can finish this journey is to keep on keepin' on. So I did. And it wasn't crazy, but it felt good. It was also nice to stretch a little.

Tuesday, October 15: Swim: 3600m in 1:31:56 - 2:33/100m
- 6x600m
- first set very, very rough
- never felt truly into this for more than a handful of laps here and there
- The problem with a mid-shift at work and then these long-ass swim sets is that they don't really leave me time for another workout ... especially if I have plans for that evening. Oh well - swam and it was fine.

Wednesday, October 16: Run: 5.01 mi in 47:54 - 9:33/mi
- Orchard loop
- NEG SPLIT!! 10:00, 9:56, 9:51, 9:45, 8:19
- compression socks tried out - worked great
Bike: 24.28 mi in 1:23:02; avg cad 89; 17.5 mph
- 33.8 mph max
- Spinervals 22.0 - TimeTrialPalooza
- in a weird (present) mental state for this one
- Bizarre mental shift today. Definitely did not want to run this morning. Brain was like okay, that's cool ... go run. So I did, and it was awesome. Same thing with the bike. I think I found another headspace ...

Thursday, October 17: Off: various
- Really I can blame Brandon coming home and me being able to truly hang out with him for the first time in a long while. Kind of frustrated with this off day. Felt like I had to convince myself it was okay to take it ...

Friday, October 18: Swim: 800m in 18:43.41 - 2:20/100m
- 4x100m, 25/25, 50/25, 25/25, 100/25, 25/25, 50
- interrupted set
- let the emotional take over the mental and the physical
- Rare fighting with Brandon made us both not in a good place going into this one. I tried to overcome and was doing okay, but when he finally broke down, I couldn't let him be like that alone.

Saturday, October 19: Walking: 2:00:00
- supposed to be a ride
- trails
- As the comments say, this was supposed to be a 50-mile ride. Couldn't mentally force this one with the cool weather and the race expo and everything.

Sunday, October 20: Run: RnR Denver Half-Mar: 13.33 mi in 2:12:00 - 9:54/mi
- "actually" 13.1 in 2:11:59 - 10:05/mi
- almost had this one
- knee noticeability again ...
- Garmin says I did 13.1 in 2:09:44. Race says otherwise. In any case, massive PR.

This week had highs - Wednesday, the neg split run, the mental shift - and lows - Thursday's off day, Friday's swim, the lack of a ride on Saturday - and culminated in a race that was simultaneously disappointing and satisfying.

I just hope the latter half of the week won't hurt me ...

Weekly training time: 9:07:35
Weekly training mileage: 58.15 mi
Yearly training time: 236:38:56
Yearly training mileage: 2000.34 mi

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Another Training Montage Story

So I’ve kept you all updated on two training fronts at this point in my life.  One is the journey towards my goal of completing Ironman Arizona.  The other is my training goal of becoming a captain at my airline.  Here’s an update on both fronts, starting with flying.

The other night, I took the final, and perhaps the most important step in this journey so far.  I passed my simulator checkride.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with what I’m referring to, a simulator checkride is the final evaluation of my flight training.  I’m tested in a simulator on various procedures, checklists, and emergencies.  Some of these include low-visibility taxi and takeoff, identifying problems and running checklists to clean those problems up, and single-engine approaches and landings.  The ride can have three outcomes, and two of those outcomes are not favorable.  However, most checkrides go smoothly, and the designated examiner can go a long way in determining what kind of checkride it will be.  My examiner, Bryan, was the same one who gave me my oral exam 10 days earlier.  He’s a very fair, smart, and knowledgeable examiner, and put me at ease before my ride.

I won’t bore you with the details from my ride, but let’s just say the outcome was very positive.  I felt it was one of the best checkrides I have ever done, and I walked away with a smile on my face and a temporary certificate that certifies me as a captain on this airplane!  I’ve accomplished a lot in my brief career with the airlines, but this tops the list. 

The final step is to do what they call IOE, or Initial Operating Experience.  Here I will fly the airplane with a designated check airman who will teach me about normal day-to-day line operations on the airplane.  I’ll learn things about the flight release, aircraft logbook, and just get comfortable with the airplane.  After that, the journey to being an airline captain is complete!

So there you go, there’s the upgrade front.

On the IMAZ front, I’ve been looking back on my training over these past two months, and I’m quite frankly proud of myself.   Very few workouts have been missed due to upgrade.  I made due with the situation that presented itself, and learned to be resourceful.  I rented a car quite a bit in St. Louis and found a 24 Hour Fitness that I frequented for long swim sessions.  I found a park nearby where I was able to run freely.  Sometimes a guy from class joined me; other times I went alone but I never missed a long run.  I fell in love with the stationary bike (okay, no I didn’t) but I still spun my legs a lot, and when I flew home on days off, I efficiently got my long rides in.  Sure, there was the incident in early September where I skidded out on the Platte River Trail (my wrist is still sore from that btw) but overall my training has gone very well, all things considered.

I’ve been thinking about it and have discussed it with T, our friends at Run Colorado, and various other people.  How I’ve been able to maintain my focus on two extremely difficult disciplines, one being Ironman Training and the other being upgrade.  One of the fears I had with this upgrade was that something would have to give, and it would be Ironman.  However, I had to put my career first, right?  But I’ve been able to manage both, and have managed both quite well.  T thinks it’s because what was the alternative?  There’s 24 hours in a day, and if I could devote one day a week to a long ride and one day a week to a long run, there was still plenty of time to get everything else in.  Furthermore, during airline training, it’s easy to neglect working out, eat unhealthy, and balloon.  Guys in class were telling me how they’ve gained 10-15 lbs during training, and I’ve watched them eat.  Let’s just say it’s not pretty.

I found that the long rides/runs gave me a nice reprieve from stressing about callouts and emergency procedures, and it forced me to actively manage my time better.  I spent very little time watching TV in training, spent very little time on the computer, and didn’t have the biggest social life.  But those small sacrifices came with monstrous rewards.

So long story short, we’re in Week 16 of Ironman training, and I’m starting to feel like the whole thing is coming together nicely.  I have two huge weeks coming up, and how I will squeeze in what I need to squeeze in will be interesting to say the least, but I think it’s going to be a fun challenge.

I think the most amazing thing though, throughout the entire journey, has been the unwavering support of my friends and family.  From T supporting my decision to abandon her for two months, my friends at Run Colorado who have become family, my support crew in Minnesota of Kris and Mark, Mike, and Lindsey, my parents, my aunt and uncle who will grace the IMAZ course with their presence, and my MX12 teammates, the outpouring of positivity has been nothing short of amazing, and makes me truly grateful for what I have, and for what I will achieve.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Weeks Forty and Forty-One: 9/30-10/13

Also weeks 14 and 15 of IMAZ training. Everything is ramping up which makes me forget blogging. I also am so unbelievably tired all the damn time ...

Monday, September 30: Bike: 45.2 mi in 3:02:12; avg cad 76; 14.9 mph
- 27.1 mph max
- CC trail to Platte and back
- so bored with this route
Run: 1.98 mi in 20:32 - 10:22/mi
- trail
- off the bike
- felt surprisingly good
- Ride was supposed to be 55 - cut it short due to feeling nauseous ... and we were losing daylight. Trails around here are boring and not getting it done in terms of mileage - gotta figure something else out soon ...

Tuesday, October 1: Off: tired, busy ...
- ... really no GOOD excuse. Well, kinda - lunch made us vomitus. Does that count? Otherwise, we didn't have a whole hell of a lot of time ...

Wednesday, October 2: Swim: 3400m in 1:21:30 - 2:24/100m
- 12x50m, 3x(24+25 + 200), 4x100m
- paddles and pb for wu and cd
- legit threw up in my mouth a little during the warm up
Bike: 25.27 mi in 1:20:00; avg cad 94; 18.95 mph
- 31.6 mph max
- MX-12 the Bank - except for borrowing set
Run: 1.05 mi in 9:38 - 9:10/mi
- mile loop and a little extra
- off the bike; strides in 1st half-mile
- Other than the pukey, the swim felt great ... except for random chafing due to my hair, maybe? Not happy I couldn't complete the Bank, but I know it's a hard mf'ing set. The run? Awesome. I feel so much stronger it's unbelievable.

Thursday, October 3: Swim: 2000m in 50:39.70 - 2:32/100m
- 20x100m
- up, got it done. bam.
- Was supposed to ride, too, but way too exhausted after work. This made me happy I'm not a 9-to-5'er.

Friday, October 4: Run: 11.04 mi in 1:51:59 - 10:08/mi
- Run CO and back
- high-30s ... it got cold suddenly
- I also got snowed on
- Knee is giving me shit again, which I REALLY don't like. Needs further research. Other than that, pleased with this run. I definitely function better in the cold when running.

Saturday, October 5: Swim: 2000m in 50:37.50 - 2:32/100m
- 20x100m
- no clue how this was 2 sec faster than Thursday
- every second of this a struggle
- I knew I wouldn't have time for 4000, so I figured I'd get in as much as I could. This was the result and I had to mentally pep-talk my way to this much.

Sunday, October 6: Run: .63 mi in 6:52 - 10:53/mi
- for the marathon
- got halted
Walking: 75:00
- definitely more, but we'll count this
- plus periodic running
- dtown St. Paul and DIA
- Didn't get in the run I wanted, but still stayed mobile and cheered Lindsey on, so I'm ultimately okay with it.

Monday, October 7: Swim: 2800m in 1:07:28 - 2:25/100m
- 4x100, 6x(25/25, 50/25, 25/25, 100/25), 3x200
- shorter, but still kicked my ass
- nice variation
- Definitely a new type of set which is nice; surprised at how short it is for this point in training, but it was good. Rough, but good.

Tuesday, October 8: Bike: 22.64 mi in 1:23:57; avg cad 85; 16.18 mph
- 26.4 mph max
- Spinervals 22.0 - TimeTrialPalooza
- crotch not happy
Run: 1.58 mi in 15:07 - 9:34/mi
- up and down DTC Blvd
- right off the bike
- testing out new shoes!
- Took so long in the day to get this done, but glad I did. Checked on new shoes - Triumphs are toast. More on order. Trying out Wave Riders in the meantime since everyone told me I should not still be running in my other ones. Bike ... meh. Run? Surprisingly awesome, once again.

Wednesday, October 9: Swim: 3600m in 1:29:49 - 2:30/100m
- 12x300m
- sfw RIGHT beforehand and no ill effects
- LOVED this set
Run: 5.35 mi in 48:55 - 9:08/mi
- MX12 - treadmill - intermediate
- essentially swim/run brick
- 1/3 piece marble loaf in between
- Days like this make me love training. Rocked both sets. Proved I can do a super huge swim and have plenty of energy after. Woo!

Thursday, October 10: Bike: 21.58 mi in 1:15:02; avg cad 93; 17.26 mph
- 26.7 mph max
- cadence spinning w/ varying gearing in front of the TV
- figured the act of spinning more important than intervals
- Better bike session. Simple, focused ... no regrets on not doing more specific intervals.

Friday, October 11: Run: 6.39 mi in 1:04:27 - 10:05/mi
- home to Run CO
- tried to take this easy ...
- Killed the hills on this run - no idea how the eff that happened. Thank you run, for coming along.

Saturday, October 12: Bike: 83.33 mi in 5:26:55; avg cad 78; 15.29 mph
- 28.1 mph max
- various trails to Golden and back
- food: cinnamon roll, 2 candy corns, Jimmy Johns mid-ride, apple pie bonk breakers
Run: .98 mi in 10:19 - 10:31/mi
- off the bike
- forced ourselves to go slower
- Starting to get this nutrition thing down. Long ride was long. And partially painful. And cold. First .43 mi of that run a 9:20/mi - holy eff.

Sunday, October 13: Run: 16.02 mi in 3:02:31 - 11:23/mi
- random, giant loop
- overdressed. killer hill at mile 8 that ruined me
- Slower than I would have liked, obviously, but I managed the first half okay and it was a LOT hillier than I'll have to deal with in AZ.

I find it kind of amusing that I can handle the huge weeks better than the small ones. I've been having some amazing training sessions and I've been learning a ton:
- I know I can get out of the water with energy to spare now.
- I know I can run off the bike and run off the bike relatively well.
- This past weekend I FINALLY did the long ride/run on the proper days and I learned that while yes, the fatigue in your legs is real and awful, I can manage it (as long as I don't have sustained half-mile climbs. ugh).
- I know that while my swim won't be fast, it is, at this point, as solid as it's going to be and as long as I can make peace with Tempe Town Lake, I will make the swim cut.
- I know that the run might be ugly, but I have a chance at finishing it with a halfway decent time.
- While I have not been happy with my speeds on any of the major long rides this year, I can take solace in the fact that my average speed has actually increased on each major ride (14.53 to 14.7 to 15.29).

In other words, my body is backing my brain up. I have never said "if I cross that line;" I've always said "when I cross that line." I made it a mental game early on, but I can't lie to you and say that I've been confident this whole time. However, the past two weeks have shown me that physically, I am (becoming) capable of this insane feat I thought of doing two years ago and signed up for last November.

Week 40 training time: 11:09:01
Week 40 training mileage: 89.77 mi
Week 41 training time: 16:04:10
Week 41 training mileage: 161.95 mi
Weekly combined training times: 27:13:11
Weekly combined training mileage: 251.72 mi
Yearly training time: 227:31:21
Yearly training mileage: 1942.19 mi

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

September Round-Up

I'm starting to get behind on blogging - and I know why; it's either because I'm training or zoned out because I'm too tired to do anything else - but it also means I'm slacking everywhere else, too. Living space? Starting to be able to be labeled as "squalor." Yeah, making that a priority today ...

In any case, September's numbers!

Running: 68.35 mi
Swimming: 16600m (10.3 mi)
Cycling: 288.69 mi
Lifting: I really shouldn't even have this as a category anymore until after IM
Other: 10 minutes stretching (woo!)

This was a bigger month than August for sure, but I wouldn't classify it as "ginormous." Stupid rain. Stupid state flooding. Stupid zombie state for an entire week. Yeah, that's my fault entirely, but I honestly couldn't help the empathy. My heart ached for what was going on and it sent me into a mini depression. Not good things. Still, it was an improvement over August and October should (and already is) continuing to build on September.

Although, to be honest, it sure as hell needs to.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Week Thirty-Nine: 9/23-9/29

Also week 13 of Ironman training. Well over halfway through this journey ...

Monday, September 23: Off: necessary
- I am beat up. Hot damn.

Tuesday, September 24: Off: vague burnout
- I hesitate to use the word "burnout" because I don't think that's what it is, but I am dead today.

Wednesday, September 25: Bike: 70.11 mi in 4:46:52; avg cad 74; 14.7 mph
- 30.1 mph max
- CC trail to Jordan to 470 to CC trail back to 470 to Platte to CC trail to home
- WINDY. so, so windy
Run: .74 mi in 9:46 - 13:11/mi
- off the bike
- so slow
- felt ... okay
- That bike was horribly windy. Often demoralizing, I broke down around mile 60. Mentally pulled through - felt better than Brandon on the run, actually.

Thursday, September 26: Run: 5.01 mi in 55:04 - 10:54/mi
- sort of the Orchard loop
- legs were so toast
- Very happy this was around an 11:00/mi and not worse. Tried to keep this "easy;" legs were giving out before my lungs which is super weird. Started feeling better around mile 4.

Friday, September 27: Off: exhaustion
- Ran an errand after work; started falling asleep in the car on the way home. Got home, crawled into bed with the intention of sleeping an hour ... slept five. I think I needed rest ...

Saturday, September 28: Run: 14 mi in 2:27:28 - 10:31/mi
- Run CO Saturday run
- first 6.5 felt great ... fell apart after that
- only water - no electrolytes/sugar
- Again, the only water strategy worked. Felt a little icky at 12, but that's it. Knee felt a little wonky at 12 as well; still iffy later. Happy with my pace ...

Sunday, September 29: Bike: 20.40 mi in 1:15:02; avg cad 94; 16.3 mph
- 31.5 mph max
- spinning in front of the TV - high cadence work with pick-ups
Swim: 4000m in 1:39:23 - 2:29/100m
- 40x100m
- bean dip? bad idea before a swim - felt pukey 1100 in and it never went away
- Let my legs compress in the morning - bike helped them come back to life. Now ... I think they might be normal again.

We broke two rules this week - we rode the Platte and we rode on a special occasion (Wednesday was our anniversary - two years!) ... and while we didn't crash, we faced horrible winds that whole ride. I almost got blown into another lane early on in the ride and had to use a bigger gearing than I normally would have just to keep control of the bike. 20 mph winds gusting to 30 mph the whole ride. Sucky. Still, we did it, and that's a success.

And while I'm not particularly happy with only four days of training (and one swim session), I'm fairly satisfied with how the sessions went. The 14-miler in particular is one to mention - longest I've ever run and the water-only strategy is working fantastically. I also could tell that the sleep I got caught up on Friday was probably in the making from earlier in the month. I'm a little frustrated with constantly being sleep-deprived ...

Weekly training time: 11:13:35
Weekly training mileage: 112.75 mi
Yearly training time: 200:18:10
Yearly training mileage: 1690.47

Getting Closer

This is coming to you from an airplane.  I’m somewhere over Kansas or maybe western Missouri.  Not 100% sure.  What I am 100% sure about is I just read nearly 50 pages in the “You Are an Ironman” book and while I’m not quite done with it, I’m getting goosebumps and chills down my spine.

We’re in week 14 of Ironman training.  The journey so far has been nothing short of incredible.  For all the mishaps along the way, the road rash from the crashes we’ve had on the bike, the “missed” training sessions due to life, the sore muscles and occasional limping, the journey has been, dare I say, magical?

To top it off, for the last month and a half, I’ve been immersed in Q400 systems and procedures, attempting to better myself and my family by becoming an airline captain.

In the next month, life will simply be a whirlwind.  We’re hitting peak training, which means over 300 miles of riding (and that’s just outside) plus some long runs (16-18 miles) and ridiculous swim sessions.  Top it off with the fact that I’m going to be taking my oral exam Saturday and my checkride on October 15th, starting IOE shortly after, and this month is going to fly by at a terrifying rate.  It makes me look back on this year, reflect upon what I’m doing.

If Ironman training has taught me anything, it’s taught me patience.  It’s taught me that patience can only come from within.  You cannot rely on others for it.  In our hectic 24/7 world, with internet everywhere and cars to transport us to the local grocery store, it’s good to step back, breathe, and be patient.  Be patient with yourself, be patient with others.  Take each day one at a time.  Don’t expect results immediately, and don’t push yourself to the point of the brink.  I forget this from time to time.  In fact, if you read my Twitter profile, I have a note that says “usually impatient”.  But I’ve been striving to improve in that department.

The one other thing that is utterly amazing to me is the support we’ve had on this journey.  I have a rough estimate that there will be over 100 people supporting us on race day.  There will be 10+ people down there on the course cheering us on.  Even my parents and her parents, who have no interest in triathlon, will be there supporting us.  There will be teammates watching on the Ironman tracking website, and even more will be using a live tracking program to see how we’re doing.  It’s nothing short of incredible.  So many people have a vested interest in my survival that day. 

For now, I have an easier week of training, mercifully.  I have my oral exam Saturday and for those of you who regularly read our blog, you know that I take this very seriously.  I will study hard, and I will pass.  Then, I will resume the journey.