Back to triathlon

Took a week off, and slowly started getting back into tri specific training.

The numbers for the week of May 11th (6h 57m):

  • Swimming - 1h 39m
  • Cycling - 2h 40m
  • Running - 2h 38m
The numbers for the week of May 18th (10h 19m): 

  • Swimming - 2h 27m
  • Cycling - 3h 50m
  • Running - 4h 1m
I am keeping the swimming volume on the lower end for now (about 2100 yards per session) since I am concentrating on short intervals to get the cadence and speed back. It really sucked the first week after no having swam a yard for 7 months. Cycling is primarily 2 Zwift sessions (3-4 laps of Watopia at what 5% of what is probably my FTP right now) and 1 longer ride outside on the weekend.

OC Marathon - BQ is in the books

It's been 8 days since, so I'd better write up a recap. Memory is not my forte anyhow, so here it is.

I started to taper one week prior to the race week. Ran about 10 miles less than prescribed, and did not do strength work or tempo. Just eas-ish running instead. The right ankle was getting pretty stiff and sore, and I really felt that resting it up would be a good idea. The week of the race I did not run at all Wednesday through Friday and just rested and iced the ankle. Unfortunately by Friday I started develop a little bit of nasal congestion. Really, really hoped that it does not develop any further. Loaded up on Vitamin C and liquids.

The day before traveled to Newport Beach and checked into a hotel. There was some stupidness going on with the shuttle passes, but thanks to my friend Joanne we got the coveted wrist bands even though it cost an extra $10. Had a chicken sandwich with mashed pot at TGI Friday (it sucked and was drenched in Tabasco, ugh!).  Laid out my gear for tomorrow and went to bed at 9:30 and kinda sorta slept til 3am.

Woke up and had PB&J sandwich and a banana with coffee. The weird head cold thing was still there but it was sort of in the background. Wanted to see if I can cram an extra Clif bar and some Shot Bloks but was way too full. Got on the bus at 4:30, got dropped off at the race start. Had a bottle of Gatorade, hit the porta potty a couple of times, forced myself to have a gel at about 5:25am. The race got going at 5:41am. It was almost bright enough. The temps were in the high 50s. Perfect!

The first few miles were rollers through the town, and I kept pace pretty controlled. Then we got to Corona del Mar and the pace quickened a bit. I was at 7:10 and saw a few 7:08s. I knew that this was not going to be prudent, and really tried to keep the pace in check. We hit the first (and really the only) sizable hill on Dover Dr heading towards Castaways park. The pace was around 7:11 and it stayed that way til the half marathon split point.

I had to make an assessment there. My plan was to honestly ask myself if I was feeling strong - this was the logical place to bail if something was not firing right. I had another marathon scheduled 3 weeks out - and it'd been smart to avoid running the full 26.2in OC, to save the energy and fight another day. But I felt like a million bucks at that point. The ankle was a tiny bit achy but otherwise all was good. And so I popped a gel and it was on!

The course was pancake flat til mile 20. We ran past the Segestrom Pavillion, through the mall and through some fairly non-descript 'hoods. Had another gel - but I felt no signs of energy depletion. The pace was around 7:13 at mile 20, but I started to feel the miles a bit. I took one last gel and pitched the remaining 2 to reduce the weight. At around mile 22 after we got off the river bike path there was pretty small but sharp hill and it felt like I was running up the Trash Truck Hill in Griffiths Park. I also found that if I sharply turn my head, I get dizzy. Ugh again. I think that the temps were rising and my body started to lose electrolytes faster than I was able to replenish them.

So the pace was at about 7:15. Started popping salt tabs but still from mile 24.5 I was cramping a bit here and there. But I still was on track, just had to keep thinking good thoughts. At mile 25 or so some dude gave me mini bottle of ice cold water and yelled at me to pick it up as I was almost there. Right he was. Pushed harder but had to mind the crampy state of affairs at that point.

Got to the fairgrounds, it was kinda desolate there, but eventually reached the merger point with the half marathoners. Was very happy to hit the finish line and see the clock at 3:12. The official finish time was 3:12:43. I've done it! The full Strava thing can be found here.

Week 12 - feeling it

Cranked through another 2 weeks of training. Pretty uneventful, except for some ankle soreness in week 10 and a 10k run last weekend. Found an interesting thing - it turns out that running 10/10/8 over 3 days is harder than 8/16/6. The 10/10 combo makes you run a bit faster and the second 10 miler is just brutal.

The 10k went better than expected, dipped right under 40 minutes. No one of any considerable talent showed up, so I came in 3rd. Probably could have pushed for the 1st since I had both of the frontrunners in my sights, but knowing that I have a long run to do the next day, I pulled back and did not push it. Results are here.

The LA marathon took place on Sunday, and I think that the weather was pretty decent. Most people were out of the gate by 7:15, so that I would have been done right around 10:30am. It did get a bit warm by that time... so that would have slowed me down some. But who knows. Maybe I should have run it.

The mid-way point

The end of week 9. About 47.4% done mileage wise. Starting to feel some fatigue, but it is manageable. Some of it is due to the travel schedule this week, which will hopefully will not repeat until April. I got back in town midday on Thursday  and did the tempo run in the evening - that was not pretty. Air travel is somehow not conducive to the aerobic exercise.

Next week is going to be the last week for speedwork, and also the weekend has 2 10 milers instead of a long run. The following week I have a 10k scheduled on Saturday, and that from there it should be a straight forward journey to the starting line of the OC Marathon.

I am going to enjoy every minute of this journey!

Week 8 update

Getting a strange itch to run the LA marathon. I am saying no to this bizarre idea, secretly hoping that the fucking thing would just sell out and end this delusion. No need. Seriously, what am I getting out of it? I doubt that I am in shape to even attempt a BQ, and my corral placement will be crap. Please go away!

By the way, it is getting easier. To the point of me pondering additional mileage. But I doubt that there is a need for that. Once the speed work will end, it will get more painful with the strength workouts - as they are essentially mini-tempo sessions.

Oh and also the work is sending me to NY for 3.5 days. Which means that I won't be able to run on Monday as I am flying in. So I am adding 8 miles to the Sunday run. I am badass like that. It is supposed to rain though so might be a bit nasty. Oh and it is like 20 degrees in NY, so running outside is not going to happen. I am planning to abuse the treadmill at the hotel.

Week 7 in the bag

Completed week 7. Was probably the best week so far. One thing I have to say about the training plan is that it is relentless but not designed to kill you. It is definitely pushing me, making me to watch the pace, the way I run, the way I recover, the way I sleep. I now see how the relationship between cadence and fatigue works after years of simply capturing my cadence metrics without doing anything about it.

Another thing about running 6 days a week is that you cannot afford to be reckless. I raced in old shoes with the history of giving me blisters... sure enough I get blisters and for 2 weeks I had to train with it. At times it was bad enough to make it feel like I was stepping on a razor.

But this also taught me to be optimistic. I now know that I just have to see things through. And be patient. Human body is amazingly resilient, being built for running. This video has some great answers - well worth watching.

Some logistical challenges ahead - have to travel for work soon, then going on a week long vacation in March, another work trip in April. Will try my best to stick with the schedule.

About 30% complete

Mid week 7, looking at the results so far:

1. Aerobic capacity seems to be improving - zone 2 training helps.
2. Speedwork feels more snappy - the dreaded 12x400 workout is still hard but not killer hard.
3. Injury wise - not too bad. The blistered left foot seems to be getting better and the right knee appears to be on the mend.

This is definitely a workout routine that's designed to fatigue you half to death, but not quite kill you. It's the easy runs, not the SOS ones that grind you down. Also attempting to race that Surf City half was a dumb move and should not have been even attempted. Lesson learnt hopefully.

Tempo 7

It only occurred to me yesterday morning, but the training plan had quietly upped the miles for the tempo run from 6 to 7. I had to move the tempo run from Thursday to Friday since I had only 45 minutes to do the workout yesterday - so did a 6 mile easy run instead. This morning left early and banged out a 7 mile run. I have realized that you can run a 2.3 mile loop off the horse trails looping around the northern portion of the trails.

Tons more fun than the track. The trail is mostly flat with a couple of very gentle rollers. I should have found this years ago! Somehow I ended up running it faster than intended for the first 2 loops, so I kind of slowed the last loop down a bit. Still ended up with a good pace, and had a quiet cooldown running through the parking lot of the zoo.

Surf City Half

Ran the Surf City half marathon yesterday. 2 other buddies came along, so we all carpooled. Took about an hour, and parking was relatively painless despite the horrors that I have read about in the reviews. We got there at 6:20 and it took no time to find parking in a structure ($12 though).

The pre-race went as expected. Line up at a portapotty, do the deed, mill around, hit the portapotty again, off to the starting line. This time I took a bit longer than usual and had to push through a densely packed crowd to get to the starting line.

So the plan was to run the first 7 miles or so at a 6:45 pace, and then slow it down for the last 6 miles, to end up with the average of about 7:15. The first 5 miles went great, but by the end of mile 5 I felt like I was developing major blisters on the balls of my feet. Both of them. I was running in my Saucony Guide shoes with about 230 miles on them, and I have been doing all of my speedwork in them... no real issues in training, logged 12 miles in them just last week... perplexing. By mile 6 I had to make a decision to slow down to get to the nearest aid station and get some Vaseline. Found it at the mile 8 or so. From there I ran the rest of the course very leisurely, stopped at a portapotty, since a bunch of time was wasted anyways.

Finished with the feet absolutely searing. Finish time was pretty irrelevant by that point (1:58). Had a couple of beers in the garden, waited for my friends to finish... enjoyed the sun and the chatter around me. Will need a few days to let the feet heal and maybe find another half to do in mid February to test the fitness. This said, week 5 is over just like that!

Week 4 and a good chunk of week 5

Week 4 is over with. No real standouts so far, even though the ankles are achy as hell. The weekend running sandwich was a little annoying but I pushed through. On Monday instead of running in the morning, I went to a climbing gym with the wife. This was a good warm up. Had some sushi for lunch, and then did a 6 mile loop with a trek over the Trash Truck Hill. Good times!

Had to go to Vegas on Tuesday/Wednesday. Brought my gear with me and did 2 runs. One run was a loop from the northern end of the strip to downtown and then the next morning from the Wynn to the end of the strip and back. The second run was pretty intense with all the bridges that I had to climb over. I was hooked!

On Sunday I am running the Surf City half, so I am taking Saturday off from running. Planning to run it at a steady pace aiming for 1:31 or so time. It should feel easy and the heart rate should be staying below 170 bpm. Will report back!

Week 3

Finished week 3 of training. The longest run was 10 miles, for the total of about 41 miles for the week. Did 2 track sessions for speedwork and the tempo run, and while I like running on cork... not sure if I want to train after 6pm. Something feels off about the form - maybe the heart rate is a bit higher due to all the sitting and dehydration from the office.

In any case, so far so good, no major issues except for some minor aches here and there. Still trying to figure out if I like running in Bondi 3s. They seem to be just too wide, so I am trying them now with orthothics instead of the normal inserts, to be reduce the space inside. I am rotating between Bondi, Stinston Tarmacs and Saucony ProGuide 7s. Had a horrible experience with the Sauconys during the New York Marathon last year (holy Batman blisters), but they seem to be very comfortable for the speedwork and tempo runs.

OK, on to the 4th week! The weekend sandwish is 8-8-6 this time. And then the Surf City Half the weekend after!

Taking another stab at BQ

So now that 2015 is well underway, I am getting started on another BQ campaign. Started training on 01/01/2015 following the Hanson advanced marathon training plan. 18 weeks of suffering! How can you say no to that? Completed the first 2 weeks and so far:

  • Everything hurts
  • Fatigue is there but manageable
  • Running most of the time in Zone 2, except for the Tuesday speed day
Ok, what have I been up to since the LA Marathon 2013.

  • Wildflower 2013
  • Nautica Malibu 2013
  • Long Beach half 2013 - first time under 1:30 for the half.
  • IMAZ 2013 - first 140.6, a reasonable finish time.
  • LA Marathon 2014 - aborted after getting hit with plantar fasciatis
  • Breath of Life triathlon in June 2014 - ok swim, ok bike, ok run, had to be careful with pacing.
  • Nautica Malibu 2014 - an awful start to the race, bike fell of the rack while driving, rode with repalcement wheels, swim was the worst ever, bike/run were nice.
  • Silverman 70.3 2014 - had a really good race, hit all the goals on the bike leg.
  • NY Marathon 2014 - had kinda of a crappy day.
  • Santa to the Sea half  2014 - second time got under 1:30 at a half, 10 seconds away from medaling in the age group.

Plans for 2015:

  • Surf City half
  • OC Marathon
  • Ojai Marathon
  • Vineman 70.3 - if I get in
  • Silverman 70.3
  • IMAZ

Also planning to update the blog ever week or so. Or as the updates happen intraweek.