January 18, 2011

J.F.T. - "Just........Train"

I made the conscious decision (with a little help from some folks poking and prodding me) to not do a bike test today. I know that may come as a surprise for those who know me well, but it’s a decision that I’m sticking by and one that I ultimately know will make me better. As a numbers guru, I’ve always been one to stick to the numbers. So this year with me riding with specific wattage goals and an intensely accurate gauge of how to test and/or complete workouts is extremely beneficial. I’m not going to say I’m a slave to the numbers, but when you put an accurate reflection of my effort in front of me, the “type A” personality takes over and my competitiveness strives me to constantly try and best my prior efforts.
So, I’m of the mindset that the watt-o-meter has made me a more mature athlete (because Lord knows, I’m rarely mature in any other aspect of my life!) I’m actually sticking to my plan that I’ve set out this year (hours per week, when workouts are, etc) and completing a basic week to build on week over week. I actually feel like I have a plan for this year, as opposed to just kind of following a loosely structured outline of a plan. This will be my 7th season of long course racing and I feel like I almost know what the hell I’m doing. With that being said I want to point out an awesome article written by a triathlete in Minnesota about the differences between being self-coached and un-coached.

Honestly, this article pretty much sums my training up to a “tee” before I realized what I was doing. The points that he makes about him changing training rides mid-ride and not really doing too much interval work and just generally being completely unfocused and scatter brained with his training resonated with me. I think we’ve all fallen into the trap of heading out for a moderate ride and feeling good, so upping the tempo into a fast paced ride and then having another workout later on in the week suffer. It’s a vicious cycle and not a good one to fall prey to.
So, today I will not be testing. As my own coach, and hopefully being SELF coached and not UN coached, I know that the zones that I have set up are not too far out of whack right now. Additionally the recovery from testing highly outweighs the fine tweaking of my zones for the time being. (that’s not to say after another 3-4 week build, I won’t be ready to change) But for now, I’m going to focus on just getting the miles in, introducing some tempo styled efforts and having the vast majority of my ride be in that endurance zone so that I can grow my aerobic base and be more than ready for the 2011 season. There is no doubt in my mind that my bike will be where it needs to be come July. And if I train the way I know I should on the run, that marathon that I know I am capable of is well within reach. So as the title and picture depicts, JFT my friends, just get out there and train. Cheers.

January 12, 2011

Frozen Assets 5k snowshoe report

Saturday marked the opening of the winter snowshoe season for me with the jaunt down route 65 to Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation area for the 10th anniversary of this wonderful little 5k called Frozen Assets.  This was the 5th time I've done this race and it was a brisk day out and there were rumours that this was going to be a trail race due to lack of snow, but Mother Nature prevailed and dumped JUST enough on us the day or two before that there was snow cover to race with the shoes on.  Winds were light and the main "highway" thru the park that we share with the XC skiiers had a pretty solid base, so the conditions were ideal. 

The usual suspects all come out for this race on the snowshoe circuit, in addition to some new faces (always nice to see) Tim Dwyer even ventured out into the tundra for his 2nd time on snowshoes and did remarkably well for his virgin race! I'm not gonna lie, one of the main reasons I do this race is because they hold the awards at "the Brewery" in Honeyoye Falls and we all stick around, tell stupid stories and have a  few beers.  Not a bad way to spend a Saturday in January with friends....and the beer selection is solid as well!
Anyway, gun goes off and I really don't have the "killer instinct" that I've had in races in the past.  I don't know what it is, but I'm just not feeling like pushing myself to the edge and beyond today. (now don't get me wrong, I was still going to run hard, just wasn't willing to turn myself inside out for this race...) We hit the single track a little later than normal (because they had to re-route the course due to the apparent lack of snow) and I was right behind Jeff Beck (not really the position you want to be in if you are going to "cruise" a race) and we made the climb up Little Marcy and into a little more powder. 

5k's are pretty hard for me because as soon as you find your groove and place to run, the race is over.  I've been doing a lot more slower stuff this year since Chicago and I wasn't in the mood to red line it today.  I kinda raced a LOT last year and wanted to take some time off of running really hard to focus on the bike.  But anyway, we got some scenic views in during the race of Hemlock Lake, I got passed a few times in the woods and I held off Nate Huckle coming down the final stretch for 6th place overall.  It was a good race and I was pleased with the result.  I even nabbed a nice black fleece Mountain Hardwear beanie in the give-aways at the award ceremony.  But for some reason when I race in the winter time I sneeze a TON afterwards.  Not sure if it is because my sinuses were opened up, or just the exertion or what, but I'm talking about uncontrollable and violent sneezes. These seemed to last for about 2 days as well and didn't put me into the nicest of moods that evening.  I apologize to anyone that I grossed out at the Brewery by sneezing so much and having to blow my nose every two seconds...
But, I got over the sneezesm and it's on to a rest week for me now.  Which means only recovery rides and runs and some EASY peasy training over the next few days.  I'm starting tempo and strength training (big gear) work on the bike next week and want to be as rested as possible for that.  I'm signed up for the Mendon Winterfest 10k snowshoe on Sunday, but I'm just planning on casually running that one, not really racing it.  Just maybe using it as a tempo effort run and adding a long warm up and cool down too to call it a day. 

I'll be on the trails this weekend at MPP and I've got some other good plans in the works in the near future, so stay tuned!  Good stuff all around.  So get those base miles in friends and get out there and have some fun.  Now's the time to get those fun runs in with people that you normally don't get to train with.  (I've had the pleasure to cruise the roads with Mr. Matt Curbeau and Steve Gonser in the recent weeks, on separate runs) Enjoy it while it lasts, the base phase is gone as quick as it comes! See you on the snowy roads and trails friends, cheers!

January 7, 2011

2010 Year in Review

So I’ve felt the need to get a 2010 “year in review” post up for a while. This was the first year since 2005 where I didn’t race an Ironman (that was a decision on my part that was put into effect LONG before I crashed up in Placid in 2009) and it was a pretty solid year and one where I thought overall volume would be decreased without the presence of a weekly long bike/run. Turns out I was wrong, my total number of workout hours was just 13 hours shy of their 2009 value. I don’t know if that means that I took off a lot of time after IMLP 2009 or if I just kept a constant pace of hourage throughout the year in 2010. Either way, I had some good ups and downs this year in the multi sport world

I started the year running strong several local races and I truly felt like I got my running legs back. There was a stretch that ended in July where every time I raced on roads, I was going sub-6 minute miles. That was definitely not a bad streak to hold! I teamed up with my buddy Tim for my first adventure race and we stole the win away on that one. I got the chance to mix it up on a national level for the USSRA Snowshoe National Championship race. I bested my college PR for the 5 mile distance in a road race at the Johnny’s Running of the Green. One of my goals this year was to get faster on the bike and I don’t know if I did that or not, but I hopped in a few cycling races here and there and had a blast. I podiumed at my first time back racing bikes since 2006 and got an opportunity to test out the TT legs at 2 different time trials this year (including a TTT, loads of fun)

One of my A races I had marked was the Buffalo Half Marathon and I finally got a solid PR in the Half Marathon Distance. Of the three triathlons that I did this year, I won two of them (Keuka Lake Intermediate, and Summer Sizzler formula one), I bagged 6 more peaks putting me up to the twenties on the way to all 46 in the ADK’s, raced another really hot half IM (got a small PR) and even lowered my beer mile PR on a trail course that was a little long. It was a good season and I made the trek with some friends to Hell, Michigan again for a blast of a time, and then raced the Chicago Marathon on 10-10-10. Chicago was not the day to get a best time, but it was still a fun trip.

Overall, I think my fitness on the run and swim portions increased and I took an emotional win in a triathlon by racing the right way, very smartly (Keuka I was 6th out of the water, 4th after the bike and won it on the run) in my first go in a triathlon since the accident. I’m hoping those lessons and fitness carry over to 2011 because I’m gearing up to have another great year. This year the big goal is IMLP 2011 and getting down that descent from Keene to Jay in one piece. Basically I just want to get a chance to start the run this year, because I know I can run a good marathon there. The idea is to run the marathon that I know I am capable of. I’m sure the brand spanking new P3 frameset that I bought in order to build up and spawn the Lunar Phoenix won’t hurt with that goal.

But you all ask about the numbers so as the year broke down, here were the total numbers for the 2010 calendar year:

Swimming – 214 miles of swimming for a total of 113 hours
Cycling – 3,506 miles of cycling for a total of 183 hours
Running – 1,457 miles of running for a total of 172.5 hours
Core (sit-ups and push-ups) 19 hours of that

And that all comes together for a grand total of 487 hours of working out in 2011. I’m a little anal about my training log and here is a screen shot of the hours by week for 2010. Another season is in the books friends and January started my 7th full season of multisport racing.
So there you have it, 2010 is in the books and the training log has been locked for editing. Now starts a brand new year of racing, training, and just getting out there and having fun with friends. So if you see me out there on the roads or trails stop by and say HI. 2011 is looking like a bright year and lets hope that lucky season #7 of long course racing will live up to it’s hopes and dreams. Train hard my friends, and build a HUGE base right now. But more importantly, get out there and have some fun! Cheers.