Thursday, June 24, 2010

Running Towards the Rest of the Season

Four triathlons down, two to go plus a half-marathon in November.

For the rest of the season, and the off-season, my training emphasis is going to be the run. Because of that upcoming half-marathon, of course (my first), but also because it is the weak link in my triathlon (and I cannot emphasize that enough). Time to bump up the training from twice-a-week to four times-a-week. This should get me faster for my triathlon runs and get me to the finish line of the half-mary.

Saturday - The Long Run

Moving my long run from Sunday to Saturday to move it up in priority. Last Saturday I started with a long run of seven miles and I'll be bumping that up 1/2 mile each week until I hit two hours-ish, which will get me around Hansen Dam at the very least.

Monday - VFF Training

Thanks to my REI dividend and a well-timed 20% discount (if you want to know how to do triathlons on a budget, just ask me), I am now the proud owner of a pair of Vibram Five Finger Sprints. Way back during my one season on my high school's cross country team, we did most of our training barefoot. It seemed a bit odd at the time but the other guys were doing it so what the heck. No problems were encountered then. After doing a bit of reading on the subject of barefoot running I thought I'd get back into it. Having recently done a bit of forefoot running in my shoes, though, I know I need to take it slow. Very slow. My first shot at it this past Monday made my calves, predictably, very sore from just one mile of running. I even cancelled my planned Wednesday run because of it. It will get better over time. It is interesting to note, though, that my feet came through just fine.

The run on this day is just to build up this aspect of my running. We'll see where that eventually takes me.

Wednesday - Intervals

After giving my calves two days of rest, it's time for intervals. I usually overdo these by turning them practically into sprints but I want to be smarter this time. I'm still doing reading on intervals and haven't picked an exact workout yet but I suspect it will be something along the lines of 4+ miles (out and back) with a couple of intervals each way plus hard charging up the route's biggish hill.

Thursday - Easy Form

A nice and easy run of 5k to 4mi where I focus on improving my form and increasing my cadence as I work my way up to 180 steps/minute.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Report: L.A. Tri Series #3

Total Time = 3:35:11
Overall Rank = 223/312
Age Group = Clydesdales
Age Group Rank = 14/15

Pre-race routine

Studying my training logs from my last race, I decided that I trained too much before my last race so this time I cut out all training one week out. MUCH better. All the fatigue had left my muscles by the day before the race.

Stayed hydrated and ate small meals the day before, including my usual Subway sub at 6pm.

Woke up at 4am. Ate a Nutella on toast with Gatorade. I had packed up the night before so all that was left to do was Chamois Butt'r my trisuit, get dressed, put the bike on the car, and wait for 5:15, the time to go. Got to the site at just the right time.

Event warmup

Did an easy 1/2 mile-ish jog a little bit before 7 to wake things up. Did a short warm-up swim about 45 minutes later.


Distance: 1500 meters
Time: 39:23
Pace: 2:24/100 yards
Age Group: 12/15
Overall: 222/312

We started from a wade and it turns out I positioned myself perfectly. When we got swimming I wasn't passing many people and many people weren't passing me. Best I could hope for. The sun was in my eyes so I couldn't see the far buoy so I just followed. After a few hundred yards I took a look around and I was solidly MOP. Cool!

Then I started to feel bad. I couldn't figure out what it was right away. Seasick? Maybe I'm just not cut out for long swims?

I was overheating in my wetsuit. Sigh.

Before the swim I kept hearing people describing the water as the perfect temperature for wetsuits. That should have been my first warning sign. I'm a warm guy and perfect pool water for others is too warm for me. I had actually been wondering how the water temperature was going to be, given that a month had passed since my last race in the lake and THAT seemed like it had the perfect temperature (though, in hindsight, I realize that I was starting to overheat in the last 150 yards of that).

Ugh. I kept pulling off to the side and tugging at the wetsuit neck to get some cool water in the suit. Finally at about 1000 yards I stopped and unzipped the back. I kept the suit on my shoulders because I didn't want to deal with the drag, of course, but I swam with the back unzipped. It helped but not much.

Oddly enough, even with spending about five minutes floating or breaststroking, I had my best placing in my age group on the swim compared to the bike and run. Double sigh.

Did I mention that my wetsuit is sleeveless? I'm a warm guy.

What would you do differently?

No wetsuit or maybe a thinner one.


Time: 02:52

Still feeling bad from overheating during the swim, I walked most of the way into transition. When I got to my bike it was business as usual. I even tried the wetsuit off/helmet on thing. One leg came off great and another got stuck. Oh well. Ran the bike out, did a flying mount, pedaled away, and was in my shoes before I hit the hill. I passed people up to the mount and nobody passed me until we were climbing up the first hill.

What would you do differently?

Run all the way from the swim to my bike instead of walk most of the way.

I really need to get some tri shoes for the bike. I am tired of the tongue getting mushed when I put my foot in and having to fish it back out again. It's starting to really annoy me.


Distance: 40 km
Time: 1:34:39
Pace: 15.75 mile/hr
Age Group: 13/15
Overall: 201/312

The word of the day here was "spin". I knew the run would be tough so I wanted to spin up hills in lower gears rather than try muscling up them. That made me a bit slower than last month's race on the same course but I knew I'd be better prepared for the run.

On the nutrition side, I wanted to take all of my race nutrition on the bike. I took my first gel after the first hill leveled off, then drank a sugar water/Endurolyte mix every fifteen minutes. When that water ran out, I had a plain water/Endurolyte mix bottle. I took my second gel about ten minutes before the end of the last lap.

What would you do differently?

Same old story: lose weight, get faster on the hills. I'd also throw in get stronger on the run so I don't have to save so much for it.


Time: 02:17

After last month's experience with rubbing, I brought socks this time. I got them on reasonably quickly and had a fairly respectable time here. I decided to take the Garmin with me just to get some feedback. I had no intention of letting it dictate my run, though.

What would you do differently?

Should have just grabbed the Garmin off the bike and put it on while I was running. I don't know what I was thinking.

I saw a neat trick on TV yesterday where Hunter Kemper, I believe, had his race belt already connected and he just slipped the whole thing over his head and down to his waist while running. I wanna try that.


Distance: 10 km
Time: 1:16:00
Pace: 12:14/mile
Age Group: 13/15
Overall: 233/312

Run started off okay. I felt better than last month but I still felt tired. Kept my cadence high and motored along. After a mile I was into a good rhythm. I felt much better on the flats this month than last month. I only walked three steep hills. I wanted to walk more but somehow I talked myself into keeping going, much to my surprise. I ended up doing this run 30 seconds/mile faster than last month. That three minutes saved on the run means that the two minutes slower on the bike netted me a whole minute of faster. Woo hoo (I need all the help I can get ;-)!

Not even a hint of cramps this time so my nutrition plan on the bike seems to have paid off. I also poured water on my head at every water station, which helped keep me cool. By the halfway point I could feel the water coming off my head was warm so I did need the cooling. It was nearly 80 degrees when I finished the race yet, ironically, I only felt too warm in the water.

What would you do differently?

Wish I didn't have to walk any of the hills. Maybe next year.

Post race

Warm down

The last two races I had a bit of a dizzy spell right after the finish so this time I went straight from getting my timing chip taken off to grabbing some oranges and from there, back into transition to grab a gel and some water. It seems to have helped.

What limited your ability to perform faster?

Today's big story was overheating on the swim. I figure that if the water isn't cold enough to take my breath away when I get in up to my neck, it's not cold enough. Maybe I just need to get a thinner suit. DeSoto talks about their suits being good for people who overheat. I need to do some more research.

Event comments

Definitely a challenging course. I'm not planning on doing all three again next year. Right now the plan is to do this Oly-distance race again but maybe I'll do one of the sprints, too.

I do wish they had some Gatorade at the finish line. The oranges really hit the spot, though.