Friday, June 26, 2009

Skip a little rope, do a few sit ups. For time. Go.

The past couple weeks I've been warming up with the jump rope before workouts and working on my double unders. It's quite a skill to have and a great workout when you can successfully string them together. Combine them with some sit ups and you've got yourself a nice little metcon workout affectionately called "Annie"

Double Unders
Sit ups

I was able to knock this out in 9:37. The first time I tried it, I was dealing with some Achilles issues from jumping rope too much and could only string together 3-5 DUs at a time. I lollygagged throughout the workout in 30 min or so.

This time around, after using a single under to get started, I was able to rip off 15-17 DUs at a stretch. On those first couple of rounds it's easy to tense up your upper body without even thinking about it when moving at a fast rate. Think about sprinting. When you're doing a 400-800m all out run, pay attention to your shoulders. Yeah. Get them out of your ears. If you're rigid, your breathing is going to be off or non existent and you'll be gasping for air when you trip up on the rope and have to restart. Keep the movement in the wrists and ankles, not the elbows and knees.

I hope to get a little more efficient with the double unders and build more speed with the sit ups. Doing them with my feet unanchored is a bit of a challenge, but manageable. I've set a good benchmark time and hope to go sub-8 next time around.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

10K - FAIL

I'm teaching myself to run all over again, and it ain't pretty. For the past couple of weeks I've been 'cherry picking' some Crossfit Endurance workouts do to get back into the swing of things. I have a decent schedule set up with 2 swim, 2 bike, and 2 run workouts each week. Most of the workouts are interval based while one is a time trial (TT) and one Tempo. I have Tuesday and Saturday as my Tempo/TT days where I'll do one or the other for either the swim, bike, or run, but not both (ex. 2 swims - 1 TT, and 1 Tempo) in the same week.

This week I was on tap for a run TT. I put it off from a couple weeks earlier knowing I wasn't ready for it, and settled on today to get the deed done. I put it off until the evening before being so annoyed by the dogs (plural since we're dog sitting this week) that I had to get out of the house. What a better excuse than a 10k run!?!

Believe me, I couldn't think of far better excuses, but I was ready to get it done, so I was off.

I figured I'd warm up around my neighborhood before heading down toward the Mall, but figured loops of Lincoln Park would be better. Why? Because I'm an idiot, yes, but because I wouldn't have to deal with tourists, stop lights forcing me to run in place (I don't do that.. honest..), and hills. I just had to deal with uppity Capitol Hill-ites and their little dogs. It wasn't a huge deal as the sidewalks are wide enough to accommodate 4 people across and I've become accustomed to jumping upon the 'dirt path' or into the road.

So here's how it went (summarized) by loop:

1 - Hey lookatme! I'm Pose running!
2 - Still running, check watch.. hmm..
3 - For 8pm it's a tad warm out. I should've hydrated before starting.
4 - Check watch again.. hmm
6 - Someone went out a tad too fast. How 'bout a 5K TT??
7 - About have way there, guess I'll finish.
8 - Check watch, dodge person moving into my 'lane' when she heard the panting.
9 - Music would be nice.
11 - Toast
12 - See my girlfriend and wave 2 fingers to signify laps left. She promises to rub my screaming hammies and calves when I finish. I pick up the pace by :05/mile.
13 - Foaming at the mouth. As much as it feels like I'm 'running', it's an awkward shuffle.
14 - Ready to be done and I have no kick left.

I finished in 56:22 and hoped to finish around 53:xx. Not my best performance, but not what I was aiming for.

I hope to use this time as well as the McMillan Running Calculator to better estimate my pace for speed work and tempo runs.

Goal is to get that 10K time down, not feel like crap, and foam at the mouth less.

We'll see which happens first.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Finding my gills

Getting to the pool in the morning is tough for me. I'm fortunate that it's only a 4 block walk, but having to be at work by 8:00AM limits how long I can swim since it opens at 6:30AM. If I don't go in the morning, it's likely I'll do everything to avoid going in the evening. With a busy Thursday evening ahead of me, I packed most of my lunch Wednesday night, grabbed my bag that's been packed for a week (good intentions!), and planned to head out at 6:15am.

I had my workout in my mind. There was no need to write it down since I was going to be in and out in 30 minutes or so. Right? As I stood in the lobby waiting to be let in (I could've left at 6:25 and still been early), I repeated the workout in my mind. I undressed, showered (wet myself down), and picked a lane.. all while thinking the same thought..

25m, rest, 50m, rest, 100m, rest. Four times through

After my 200m warmup, I was off!

Off swimming an 800m TT


I realized about 200m in (it took me that long) that I wasn't doing the workout I'd been rehearsing in my head all morning.

Oh well.

14:57 (+/-50m or so) I was out.

Until next time.

Monday, June 15, 2009

When I'm not working on a race report, I'm working on my workouts

Right now my MMT report is not a huge priority. Sorry if anyone has been waiting with bated breath to read it. Let out the air cuz it will be awhile. It's coming together in bits and pieces. Think of a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle of the white. Or in more modern terms, think of a Sudoku puzzle and the instructions are to 'do it' with no numbers given. Yeah. So that's where I stand right now.

I had been fairly exercise free for the three weeks after MMT. It was nice to do nothing and enjoy it. "Doing nothing" consisted of eating. I did a fairly good job of getting my weight down, then proceeded to put on 5 lbs. It may not look it, but damn, if it didn't feel like 15! Everything thing felt looser. Finally I decided to get back into the swing of things and planning for my next big thing.

So that's what I've been doing - getting back into the swing of things and planning my next big thing. I'm slowly getting back into everything, which includes swimming, biking, and running. I started a couple weeks ago and am tweaking my program every day, as well as just opening it up in Google Docs and staring at it. That counts, right?

If I miss a day I don't fret, I call it a recovery day. Since starting back up, my body has been doing a double take and asking me "WFT?!?!" when I do things like get on my tri bike or *gasp* put on a swim suit. It has been over a year since I've been in a pool, and I was surprised to find out how much spandex/lycra shrinks when stashed away in the back of a drawer. Weird. I'm also starting to run again and starting from scratch and focusing on my form, doing drills, working on my cadence, etc.

I took the Run and Endurance Certification through Crossfit Endurance back in May and have running 'homework' to complete that I have yet to start. With as horrible as my feet felt after MMT, which was a week after the cert, I didn't want to rush back into any sort of training to risk having to take off more time if training through aches and pains lead to something worse. I don't want to spend my summer laid up wishing I could be out training.

So training is what I'm now doing. Training for what? you may or may not be asking. I have my sights set on The Ring in September, which is a 71-mile circuit run of the Massanutten trail. I completed it last year in 28:17 and felt miserable the last few miles from Powell's Fort because my feet were so tender. I hope to build off of the success of MMT and my current training regime and knock at least 3 hours off last years time.

I'm also thinking of coming out of semi-retirement from triathlons, hence the addition of the riding and swimming to my training schedule. It has been since July 2007 at Ironman Lake Placid that I donned a wetsuit and went 140.6 miles. I just lost interest in training and racing and dealing with 15-20 hour training weeks. It was too much. I'm going to follow the training principles of Crossfit Endurance toward my endeavour.

"With Progression!!! CrossFit 4-6 times per week. The most successful athletes will be able to follow the main site schedule for 3 on 1 off. Choose ONE sport per day on this site. Single sport athletes should only be following this site 2-3 times a week. Typically, 1 cycle, which is 1 interval, 1 tempo/stamina workout, and 1 more interval workout... This should be spaced accordingly throughout the week. Multisport athletes should train no more than 2 workouts per week per sport on this site. PERIOD! Follow anything else and you are not following this site correctly"

Currently I Crossfit 3x a week and will build to a 2-1-3-1 "on/off" program. My 'off' days will be my tempo or TT days on the bike, in the pool, or on my feet, and that will be my only workout of the day. Why? So I can recover. Recovery is why you get better. I have set days to swim, bike, and run, at least 1x a week and include a second workout per discipline three of the four days left in the week, which varies each week. Two swim workouts, two bike workouts, and two run workouts each week. That is the stripped down basics of my training program for the next three months.

I'm still mulling over what race to do as I have yet to sign up, but I have a couple in mind. I'm still a bit Favre-ian with my retirement, but will stick to this program even if I nix the tri and just go with The Ring. I am in no rush to get back to racing, said as I tweak my program yet again.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The MMT specs - behind the scenes planning

I plan to get a REAL report posted soon, but in the meantime, here's a 'behind the scenes' look at my training and planning that went into this years race. A few things 'failed', but I'll get into that in the full report.

After my DNF last year at MMT, my goal this year was to finish. Just finish. As I trained, completed races, and watched my name slowly creep up the wait list, I started to think more about a possible finish time and settled on 34 hours. I'm not the best at pacing - going out too fast and crashing, or going out too slow and racing to make up time - and 100 miles is quite the daunting task to pace correctly. I figured a 2 hour jump I could do by just shortening my stay at each aid station. This could be done by planning ahead of time what foods to eat when/where, how much, and when to do shoe and sock changes.

Sample 'feed bag' - packet of Pringles, half a PBJ, a couple Oreo's, and a gel flask. The flask contains just over 600 calories of CarboPro made into a 'gu' consistency with 1/4c water and a bit of Gatorade Frost powder for flavor/color. I had 5 of these flasks made up - 1 for every 20 miles - for on-the-trail calories. When I reached an aid station, I wasn't inundated with 'what do you need?' questions - I had my food ready. I think we figured there was about 600 calories there. Additionally, I had 6 wraps made up for more calories and something different to eat from time to time - flour tortilla with 2 hard boiled eggs mashed together with 1/4 an avocado. Tasted just like and egg salad sandwich and was DELICIOUS (until 3am..) At a certain point of the run, I would nosh on grilled cheese, cheese quesadillas, and whatever else sounded good at that hour.

Foot problems were my downfall the past two years and so far I'd been fairly free of major issues. I switched to the Brooks Cascadia 3 in late January and adjusted nicely to them. I ran the rocky Reverse Ring in mid February, which is a circuit run of the Massanutten Trail, so I knew they could withstand a good beating. Of course the worst of the rocks are at the beginning of that run, but that's beside the point! After running the National Marathon in late March, I developed a bit of a twinge in my left Achilles. It came back right before Bull Run, but wasn't a problem race day. I hoped it would stay dormant all day.

I planned to be in and out of each aid station in 5-8 minutes. Of course, as the night wore on that number would inflate, but I hoped to still be moving well and not hobbling too much.

I didn't want to be called a sandbagger if I beat that time, so after thinking about all the 'you're running very well this year' comments I'd been receiving over the months, I decided to up my predicted finish time by two hours to 32 hours. Do able? I wasn't sure. While I was at it, a few weeks before the race I thought 'what the hell' and added 30 hours to the list of possible finish times. My GF designed and laminated 'cheat sheets' for me to carry to see where I was at and if I was on target with any of the three times.

Training wise, I've mentioned that I used CrossFit and CrossFit Endurance leading up to the race. Back in December I wrote out a training plan based on some online training programs I'd found for 100 milers as well as anything else I could find about ultra training - speed, hills, intervals, etc. I did CF workouts about 3-4 times a week with 1 or 2 of those workouts on my own/at my house. I found CFE around February and started 'cherry picking' workouts, adding one or two to my plan and 'subbing out' runs I already had written in. Thankfully they weren't written in indelible ink as I was doing mostly CFE interval workouts by March (Tues and Thurs) with a Tempo or TT run on the weekend (Saturday). The weekend runs were longer than what CFE prescribes, but by no means was I lollygagging just to cover X distance. The longest I did was 28 miles (MMT training run #3 from Moreland to Signal Knob) aside from any race I had lined up - Uwharrie, Reverse Ring, National Marathon, Bull Run. No back-to-back long runs on the weekend. I ran those at or below race pace the previous two years and look where it got me.. nowhere fast, basically.

For the CF workouts, the ones I did on my own usually included an erg piece one day, and KBs the other. I tried to keep one day for KB snatches and heavy swings to really focus on my hip drive. Hips, hips, hips. Knowing the course and knowing my form would deteriorate near the end, I wanted to make sure my hips could take a pounding if necessary, and they succeeded.

This is the end of Part 1. I'm still working on the main report which will hopefully include more detail about nutrition, pace, weather, and everything else that a 'normal' race report includes.