March 2012


Well, today is the end of March.  I worked hard this month to get into a good training cycle.  It is hard going from relaxed, lazy, uninspired to someone who goes to bed before 10p, wakes up before 6 everyday and focuses on putting in good hard effort in workouts.  I feel good about this month… Next month will be even better.  I can do this.  I can be the inspiration.

Here are my totals for March:

Swim: 4:05 – 4550 yards

Bike: 4:36:22 – 68.97 miles

Run: 2:41:27 – 13.68 miles

My luck is just not good right now.  First, I didn’t win the Mega Millions $640+ jackpot… and tonight I got my 3rd flat tire in one week!  No – the picture to the right is not me… that would at least tell me what was wrong.  To this point, it appears as though all of my flats are just bad luck.  Simple tiny punctures in the tube likely caused by running over a small piece of nearly invisible glass or the like.  It is beginning to get very frustrating.

I actually had to cut my workout short tonight by 40 minutes!  Luckily, Gary at TLC for bikes was still working (@ 9:30pm).  So, I walked my bike to his shop, barefoot from about 1.3 miles away (I didn’t have a spare tube on me, since I just had to use it a couple of days ago!).  Gary gave the bike a once over, put a new tube on and away I went.  I was ready to finish the workout and still get my full 60 minutes in.  Well, after about 15 minutes, my front brake started rubbing terribly.  I was near TLC, so I rode up to show Gary again.  At that point, I knew my day was done.  I left my bike with Gary and asked him to give everything a once over (oh, and install my aero bars!).

I then walked the 300 yards home, took a shower and called it a night.  Tomorrow is another day… and I will put forth 100% effort on my run!

Today’s workout:

Plan: 60 minutes on the bike

Actual: 19:46  – 4.77 miles at 14.48 mph

I look forward to Friday swims.  I head to the pool during lunch – and for some reason on Friday I really enjoy the break.  I guess it has to do with all of the stress of the week and the realization that it is Friday already.  I love sliding into an empty lane, putting on the goggles and pushing off the wall to get in a great workout.  When I am done, I feel exhausted, but great.  I love the full body workout – the no impact or pain in the joints – and the progress I am seeing.

Well, today was no exception.  I got to the pool in record time.  I even found the pool to have 3 empty lanes!  This rarely happens.  Quite often by the end of the workout I am splitting my lane with someone (which has never been an issue…. yet).   Today I was scheduled to do a 700y swim.  700y is one lap shy of a 1/2 mile swim.  If you would have asked me to swim that far just 3 weeks ago I would have laughed.  Today, I did it… and I did it doing some difficult drills.  I started out with a 100y warm up, then did some one arm drills, some catch up drills, and some fist drills.  Finally I ended the session with a 2 x 100y swim where I concentrated on going at a controlled pace, rather than speed.  I wanted to make certain that I had enough fitness to get to the end without stopping.  I am proud to say… I did!  Love it!

Today’s workout:

Plan: 700y swim

Actual: the full 700y.  Felt great

I woke up this morning with a plan.  The plan involved me not following my usual 4:1 run/walk schedule… instead, I was going to go for no walk breaks at all.  Just power through, show some mental conviction and run (or rather, move forward at a pace that was faster than walking, but clearly not really running by most standards).

Well, the plan worked.  I set out on my ‘run’ and hit the 4 minute mark and told myself to just keep moving.  Then the 10 minute mark came and went… I was doing it.  I hit the 1/2 mark of my workout (12.5 minutes) and turned and headed back home.  Now… by running away from home for 12.5 minutes, I forced myself to run at the same pace or faster if I wanted to be home by my target 25 minutes of running.  Well, I actually ran a negative split on the way home and had to add in another small loop to my run to get the full 25 minutes.  I felt a sense of pride by accomplishing this simple task.  What is crazy is just two years ago I was able to finish a half marathon at a 10 minute pace… now I am struggling to get to an 11 minute pace!  ugh… taking time off sure does kill your fitness.  That is ok though… I am back at it – with some serious goals in front of me.  I can do it… I will do it.

Today’s workout:

Plan: 25 minute run

Actual: 24:0 run for 2.13 miles at a 11:17/mile pace

Today was not a good day for my training.

I woke up, all amped for a good 45 minute pre-dawn ride around my neighborhood loop.  I was feeling good, that is… until… I stepped outside.  The forecast called for it to be 50* as a low, which is chilly, but not un-ride-able weather.  Well, when I got the bike outside, I noticed that the grass was a bit shiny.  Did it rain last night?  No.  Oh no… that is frost on the ground.  WOW.  It must be colder than 50*.  Sure enough, a quick check on my weather app and my thoughts were confirmed.  It was 38*.  OK.  I can still ride in this.  I put on my long sleeve jersey and gloves and took off.  Yeah… well, my legs were COLD.  Very cold.  But I kept moving.

Unfortunately, this was my first real mental test.  I was uncomfortable – but had the desire to still get my workout in.  “Keep Moving” I told myself.  After about 15 minutes, I made an error in mental judgement.  I turned down a road that would take me within 1 minute of my house.  That was a big mistake.  As I got closer and closer to my home, I began to lose the battle between my desire to finish the 45 minute ride and my desire to get warm.  Sure enough… as I got near my home, I turned down my street and rode straight into the garage (only 23 minutes later).

DAMN IT.

So, after getting warm and clean… I drove off to work.  I spent that 35 minute commute beating myself up for my lack of mental toughness.  This was the first real time I was tested and I failed miserably.  I need to redeem myself.  I need to get this 45 minutes in today no matter what.  But… how can that happen?  My work day is full – and my son has a 2 hour baseball practice from 6-8p.  Which from my wife’s perspective (rightfully so), I will have been gone from home from 5:45am until 8:30p that day.  That sure isn’t helping her with the household and parental responsibilities of having 4 kids.  So, I tell myself I cannot request more time after the kids are in bed to go for another ride.  She deserves some help from me.

Then an idea comes to mind.  I can load my bike up on the car rack, take my son to his baseball practice and then go to a nearby neighborhood (one that actually holds a triathlon in the summertime) and get my 45 minutes in there.  —  Great.  That gets my workout in, but doesn’t remove me from any expected time at the house.  OK.  I can do this.

I present the plan to my wife and it meets her approval.  I get home from work, quickly change into my bike kit (covering up my lycra with typical shorts and T-shirt so as to not scare anyone while dropping of my son at his baseball practice) and head out to the baseball fields.  AJ joins his team and begins practice – and I duck out to go get a ride in.

Very pleased with myself – I get to the neighborhood, grab my bike off the rack, throw on the helmet, jump on the bike and ride…  SERIOUSLY?!  Crap.  My back tire is FLAT.  Not low… but FLAT.  Crap Crap Crap.

I guess it wasn’t supposed to be my day.  Fighting against a mental test again… I decide to make a quick tube change and still get my ride in.  Sounds great, right?  Crap.  My mini-pump is not on my bike.  Where is it?

Again, I guess it wasn’t supposed to be my day.  I load up my bike (still with its flat tire) and decide to pack it in.  But then I remember, my son was playing with my mini-pump last week, in the car.  I pull over and search the car, and sure enough, it was in there.  OK, back to the parking lot to do a quick tube change and 5 minutes later I am ready to finally go for my ride.  YAY.  Of course, my time has now whittled away to only allow for a 25 minute ride.

What a day.  I learned a lot.

Today’s workout:

Plan: 45 minutes on the bike

Actual: 23:22 – 5.66 miles at 14.53mph  – & –  22.48 – 5.68 miles at 14.95mph

I had a combination of crazy oil fanatics and everyone’s favorite drill sergeant: Gunnery Sergeant Hartman running through my head while I prepared for today’s swim training.  I knew what I was about to go through, it was 600y of full on drills.  This isn’t a long distance, but it would be a full effort today.  I started with a simple 2×50 warm up – and then the fun began…  1×50 left arm only, 1×50 right arm only.  Now, one arm swimming is no easy task.  But, during this drill it is easier to focus on your catch and pull, more than if you were trying to focus on it with both arms.  You are moving slowly, but each stroke is powerful – assuming you are focusing on the catch and pull correctly.

Next up was 1×100 fist drill.  The goal of the fist drill is to feel the pull with your forearms, rather than your hands.  I have been told that you have the same amount of surface area on your forearms as you do on your hands… so you must concentrate on a strong forearm pull, rather than sliding the forearm to get a more efficient stroke.  —  The struggle here is that by not using your hands, you are moving at a slower pace.  So, your 100y times fall pretty far while doing this drill.  (Side note: it is never an ego boost when you are swimming next to someone who you think you are keeping up with, when all of the sudden you notice that the last 300y they have been doing fist drills.  Once they switch to regular pace, you quickly realize how fast they are)

Following the fist drill, my plan had me doing a 2×50 catch up drill.  This drill has you waiting to make the pull until your previous arm reaches full extension… (you look like you are trying to be superman before you start your next pull).  This drill is a challenge for me.  I want to keep my arms moving, so sitting there, waiting for the previous stroke to reset before starting the next one is difficult.  It does force me to focus on the glide and the extension, so that is a good thing.

Finally – I ended the workout by doing a 4×50 @ 50sec.  My goal is to finish each 50y in 38-42 seconds.  This then gives me 8-12 seconds before I start the next 50y.  The faster I go, the longer I have to rest.  My normal relaxed pace is 48 seconds, so you can see I am pushing it to do 4×50 @ 50sec if I want any rest.

With that, I called it a day.  I felt great today.  I love my pool days.  Of course, when the workouts start calling for 1200y workouts, I may start to change my tune about my love for the pool!

Today’s workout:

Plan: 600y swim – Drills

Actual: 600y – great day.

Today is supposed to be easy.  It is a scheduled rest day.  But the funny thing is… the only difference for me is that I sleep until 6:30 instead of 5:45.  Other than that, I get up… do my usual responsibilities in the morning (for a father of 4, that is many) – leave for work.  Put in my hours at the office.  Suffer through the traffic filled commute home.  Dinner with the family.  Kid’s bathed.  Tuck boys into bed.  Spend 20 minutes with the baby, then put her down.  Say goodnight to the teenager.  Then maybe catch a 30 minute show on TV.  Then, it is bedtime.  —  So, while rest days sound nice… the only difference is, no workout.  —  I would like to plan an opposite rest day.  Put everything else on hold, and do only a workout today.  —  Hmmmm… that is an idea!

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