Sunday, August 14, 2005

Back with the club...

Well--a good few days of training. Yesterday I cranked out 30 miles in a fairly leisurely (AHR 128) 32 minutes...I think my race goal of 1:15 for the bike leg may be feasible. Also had my bike refitted by Lloyd at TriLab (after my ride, so I haven't sampled it yet!). Today did an ocean swim of about 1000-1200 meters or so... cranked that out in 17 or 18 minutes--not bad--then did 5.6 miles in 38:57 AHR 140, MHR 162 or so. I think that my goal of 45 minutes for the run leg may ALSO be feasible! All in all, very encouraging. I WAS beaten on BOTH events by guys who were specialty runners/swimmers; one swimmer did the race in about 15 minutes; I'd guess the fastest runner finished a good couple of minutes ahead of me and Charles, a new TriLab guy who ALSO beat me by a few strides (I had slowed up to grab water on the last mile or so, but he still very well might have smoked me; he's a former track star, though thankfully out of my age bracket). I think I could have jammed it a little faster on that run; for most of it I was hanging back with Charles, Fernando, and Joseph from 101, who's quite fast himself, chatting periodically, not really pushing hard. I was almost 10 beats below my average heart rate from a few days ago when I was running an equivalent pace (though it was MUCH hotter that day). Was kind of mad at myself for not pouring it on with all I had in either event--though as always, ocean swimming is can't really jam hard because of directional uncertainty; you just have to pick your way along. But my navigation was solid! No worries about going significantly off course...did get kicked and lost my goggles momentarily; kind of startling, but easily recovered. All in all, not bad.

On my desk right now I have a sticky-note with two columns: a low expected finish time and a high expected finish time (on the Olympic distance; I'm not really counting Arrowhead, which will be tough but with the altitude I'm really just trying to jam through it). My low times are (S,B,R): 30 min, 1:28, 50, plus transitions bringing my total time to 2:51. My fast times are 25 min, 1:15 and 43:30, plus transitions bringing my total time to 2:25:30. Very tough. That run time will be especially difficult to make. I actually might amend it to 45 minutes and say my fast projected time would be 2:27. That's only 7 minutes slower than the "benchmark" listed in TRIATHLON TRAINING as kind of a cutoff point for the strong finishers of 2:20. Gotta leave SOMETHING for a future goal. Haven't checked the site yet to see what that would get me placing-wise. But I'd love to try to break 2:30. Bragging rights.

Incidentally, I'm thinking it's going to be LA Tri and not Pacific Grove, simply for transportation/practicality reasons. That means 9/11...just a couple weeks away!

So, this week: Long Bike Mon, Long Run Tues, Long Swim Wed. Off Thurs. Easy all three on Friday. Race Saturday! That makes a full workout week, no misses. I'll be easy (ish) on my long work...getting base in line for the Olympic distance. Then jam on Saturday.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Gonna Fly Now...

Training feels pretty good these days! Ran a 47:14 6.4 miles-about a 7:30/mile pace over those 6 miles. Not bad for this guy…I think I could probably score a 45 minute 10 K if I push it. Plus around a 1:15 40 K on the bike and a 30 minute 1500 meter swim. That brings my total up to 2:30 or so, plus transitions, making it around 2:35, barring accidents and hills and the like. Not too bad. Not too bad. I’d love to hit that 2:20 mark on an Olympic distance…That would be impressive. Long 30 mile bike ride a couple of weeks ago was stalled by headwinds, bringing that total time to 1:41 or so; but swimming is going well! Pretty speedy and my long workout is getting less challenging. I should by all rights be able to do 100 meters in about 1:30. That would make my 1500 pace around 22:30. Which is freakin’ fast, much faster than I’m used to doing it. I haven’t swum the full distance in a long time; I’ve been doing intervals. I should, though—do the full thing. Discovered a cool pool the other day-a 50 meter pool that has lap swimming 5-6 weeknights. I much prefer it to the 25 meter paltry thing I use at 24 hour, plus it’s closer! Might become a weekly thing…bike out there, swim, bike home and finish off with 7 miles of speedwork in the saddle.

So I feel pretty good about the Arrowhead race, altitude not included (it may be a huge washout without altitude prep. Just gotta be prepared for that!). The distances are well within my limitations and skills. Winners in past years were coming in around an hour or so for the full course-I suppose I will be thinking 10 minute swim, 40 minute bike, 21 minute run? Bringing my total to 1:11. Not bad. Not really in the winners’ circle, but not too shabby. Maybe an age group placing again, which would be nice. Of course, this is assuming that the altitude doesn’t kill me, which it very well might!

Also have to think about breakfast that day! Probably pack it beforehand.

Next couple of weeks after Arrowhead I’ve GOT to amp up my biking. Swimming and running distances of late are FINE, but I’ve got to bike more. Those 30 miles nearly got me the other day. I was sucking wind and the headwind totally boned me. Gotta get tougher on that. Maybe go out and do that distance on Westchester again.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Hard Run, EZ Swim

Well, pushed my 6.4 mile run down to a PR of 49:23. Not bad. First 1.6 miles completed in 14:21, the final one in about 10:30, which was as fast as I ran a SINGLE lap weeks and weeks ago when I did my first tempo run, and it exhausted me and caused calf cramping. Middle two laps were around 13 minutes each. Anyway, I'm getting to be a strong finisher. That appears to be a strength of mine, finishing. Meaning--that I need to take long warmups? I'm not sure. But I do jam well at the end of a race/workout.

On the down side, I suppose that means my pace was around 7:45/mile. My last lap was at a 6:30 mile. Crikey, if I could keep that up for all 6 miles I'd kill, but I don't see that happening. Pace in race #1 was 7:07/mile over 3 miles; in race 2 it was 6:45/mile over 2 miles. All in all, a good effort today. BTW, AHR was 142, MHR 167. My heart rate took almost the whole first lap to get up into the 130's, but then stayed comfortably in the 150s for the last two laps or so. And 167 may be my highest recorded rate yet. All good indicators, I think--fitness improving. I wonder what it means that my heart rate is so slow to respond to effort? Good or bad? In a race, I suppose, it will already be elevated by that point...

Recovery swim of 600 yards, plus 10 minutes of yoga took the edge off. Must keep stretching the calves! Why I haven't been more on top of that ever since it was pointed out to me that my lower leg flexibility sucks is beyond my comprehension. A video of me that I saw recently doing some fight work in bare feet convinced me: my feet point so much I look like Baryshnikov at every moment. But primarily I think I'd feel better and probably run safer.

Okay--tomorrow is a long ride day. Hurrah! Like those days, very medtitative. Maybe I'll put in 30 miles if I can. Need to be back by 10 AM, so start at 7 or so. Maybe a ride up and over Nichols Canyon, more hill work? That's a pretty decent loop there, though there's lots of pesky downhills as well. Too sodding easy.

Haven't gotten around to hitting up Arrowhead for a ride out there! Must do that, not so much for terrain, which I think I can handle, but for altitude! That may indeed kill me, or at least slow me down a lot.

All for now. A

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Update by negligent blogger

Well, it's been awhile, but again my training's been on. It's just that it's been a lot more of the SAME, I should say: one long, one fast, and one recovery workout per discipline per week. Basically I do four two-sport days and a fifth day reserved for a long cycling workout, where I go slowish but long, for about two hours or so.

I had to take almost two weeks off in early-mid July and only just now really feelack in the saddle, back up to my previous fitness level. I may have even surpassed it but to tell the truth, climbing out of that fitness deficit wasn't easy!

What happened is that I went on a five-day hike in the Presidential Mountains with my Father, his brother, and his brother's wife. It was a good hike, and very challenging at times, but it's wasn't like redlining it on the bike, foot, or in the pool--very steady-state, slow-moving type of work. I reasoned that the fact that we were going 8 hours a day would keep my fitness up. But it's that old SAID principle: Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. After the hike Heidi and Kate and I were out in New England for a few days still, basically hanging out, though I did get in a nice lake swim--maybe 3/4 mile or so? Hard to say. Fun to do, and my first experience where, hey, if I don't make it across, I could actually DROWN! Or I could get shredded by a passing motorboat, of which there were many. But I faced down my fears, left my family on the beach for an impromptu workout. Took it slow and did just fine, actually--probably took me about 25 minutes, if that. Took a break on the far shore, hanging out on some rich guy's dock/waterslide/diving board float while I caught my breath between efforts. Swam back and joined my family, who hadn't seen my Armstrongian efforts and hardly noticed I was gone. Boo.

I digress. Not too much in the way of working out for almost 2 weeks. Then got back and foolishly dove right back into the full 9 workouts a week. Smart, eh? Well, NO. I didn't really hurt myself, but it could have been a much smoother transition back to my full workout swing if I'd ramped it up gradually. Welcome to the wonderful world of common sense, Mr. Heffernan, so glad you could join us. Most people brag to spouses about their accomplishments out there on their bikes, in the pool, on foot? (Okay, I do that, too--I mean, who else is going to listen? Who else can one legitimately BRAG to? One's BLOGGING audience of two?) And Heidi's very nice about it when I say, "Sweetheart, I ran 6.4 miles in under 50 minutes today! Don't you find me irresistable now?" She very kindly kisses me on the cheek and hands me our two-year old, Kate, whose diaper needs changing.

So I brag to Kate.

"Daddy swam 150 yards in two minutes twenty seconds!"

"Daddy silly."

She's right.

Anyway--more digressions. What really impresses Heidi (and Kate, too, probably) is the days when I show RESTRAINT. When I come home and say I only ran two miles. Or didn't break 15 mph on the bike. Or just decided NOT to work out. That's when Heidi's REALLY impressed.

Yes, it's a backwards world, that of an insane triathlete compensating for the gaping hole in the middle of my professional life, sweating buckets for refrigerator magnets (the ones that say "Redondo Beach Triathlon Award Winner") while my acting career languishes.

But the last few weeks have been pretty good: body's used to the level of stress I put on it again, and earlier this week I did my usual Griffith Park Loop in 50 minutes, 47 seconds, then threw in a run up to the observatory, which felt good so I took the long loop back, bringing the run time to 24 minutes or so--can't remember, so lax on the record-keeping now. Yesterday I did the LONG SCAQ workout and it felt the best it's EVER felt: no exhaustion by the end, and I DID in fact swim 150 in 2:20, which is pathetic, probably, for a GOOD swimmer, but decent for a recreational triathlete just hoping not to get smoked TOO badly in the swim portion of the race.

Last week also got together with the TriClub again. What a terrific bunch. Wow: Eric, Jim, Kirk, Diane, Joseph and two other guys whose names I never learned (nice journalism skills there) all were there, and there was much good cheer to be had among all of us. Also met a guy named Fernando who had a Softride bike and a pretty good running pace, though I finally got him at the end. It wasn't altogether fair, however: I was volunteering that day, and was held up on the run start by chaperoning some campers to the bathroom. In the bike leg, I broke a spoke and had to pull over to switch out my back wheel, which took about 12 minutes. Nevertheless--it was a good day of working out.

Had to get my bike serviced--to fix the spoke and straighten the frame a bit to allow my back wheel to go on and off easily. I did learn one thing: if I get a flat during a race, I'm dead. I mean, 45 minutes dead. I tried to change a tire last week and that's how long it took. Wow, I sucked at it. Mostly because it was so hard to get the thing back on, but I'm slow at everything. Maybe I should practice??

Anyway--Lake Arrowhead race coming up on August 20th--yes, I finally signed up. Wow. I need to get out there and practice that bike course! Don't know when--midweek next week? Monday?? Maybe Monday. 1000 feet of climbing, I'm told, isn't bad. It's manageable over the 10 mile distance. I climb that much in Griffith, and the speeds that people did it in in previous years indicate that it's not like climbing Everest, and I'm told that no, technical climbing doesn't mean I need a mountain bike.

Well, that's enough for now. Maybe biweekly (or monthly!) blogging is better than daily--I'm sure that my vast audience is tired of my little charts with Max Heart Rate and the like. Anyway--about the numbers, they are getting better. Save for the climbing and the altitude (!), I'm sure I'll be all ready to go!