Saturday, January 31, 2009

Happy 2^5nd!

Today I turned 32, and it's been pretty great so far. I'm kind of a numbers guy, and 32 is an important one for me. It's a power of 2, which is a big deal for us computer nerds. It was also my basketball jersey number - I was 14 years old when I began wearing that number, I don't think I could have imagined ever actually being that old! It is also exactly 2x16, and since I received my driver's license on my 16th birthday it means that today - and for today only - I have been driving for exactly one half of my life. I warned you I was a numbers geek, right?
I started the day with a bike ride from Fletcher Cove - another absolutely gorgeous day in Southern California, 75 degrees and sunshiny! I rode by myself up the coast to Oceanside pier, which is where my odometer hit 16 miles - I turned around so the round trip would end up being 32. My legs were a little sore from yesterday's ride, but I had enough in them to drop a "B" level roadie who decided to latch onto my wheel in Carlsbad. I toyed around with him a while - went just hard enough that I knew he was red lining, but not hard enough to drop him. After I knew he was good and fried, I put the hammer down and opened up a gap. I rocketed up one of the moderate climbs on the south end of cbad, and when I looked back he had cracked on the hill and was never seen again. It was good to be in the saddle today, there's no place I'd rather be.
Oceanside Pier - the bike turnaround. I love January in SD!

I finished the ride and took the half mile drive up the hill to the Solana Beach Boys and Girls Club to begin the swimming portion of my birthday workout. On the agenda: 32x 100 yards. I decided to do them on a 2:00 interval - which would make it easy to count, and I knew I would be done after 64 minutes. I normally swim in a 50 meter pool, this one is 25 yards long - it actually made a big difference. It turns out that with the extra kicking off the wall, 2:00 is pretty darn easy. I was hitting the wall at 1:35, and getting 25 seconds rest - which is an eternity. But I continued because it wasn't supposed to be a tough swim, plus being on even interval made it so easy to keep track of. It was nice and relaxing - I even struck up a conversation with the woman swimming in the next lane. Yes, she was crazy hot - abs of steel. Somewhere along the line I looked at my watch and saw I was at 24 minutes - which meant this was my 12th 100yd set. I started thinking about what I was doing when I was 12 years old - it was kind of fun to try to remember. I did that the rest of the way through - kind of reflecting on the milestones in my life and the ages where they occurred.
  • 13 - I made the basketball team. This was my exit from "everybody wins" community leagues and into competitive sports. Basketball would be my life from that day on.
  • 14 - my first real date, with Cindy. We watched Kevin Costner in "Robin Hood".
  • 16 - We all got our driver's licenses. How we are still alive is a mystery.
  • 17 - Dated a cheerleader who was much more than a cheerleader. My free-throw percentage fell dramatically that season, as she was always standing right in front of me while on the stripe. My friends thought she was crazy, but I didn't notice - I think I have a "type".
  • 18 - Graduated from high school and moved away from home. I was sad on the last day of school because I would never see those people again. Funny how important that stuff seems when you're young. I quit playing basketball competitively - thinking of it still makes my eyes water.
  • 20 - I pledged Triangle along with my soul brother Kevin. His wedding is in Austin TX in about 6 weeks - can't wait to see him again. Many of my closest friends are from the Dinger house in Terre Haute - I'm so proud to be a part of that organization.
  • 21 - Had the typical 21st birthday night of over drinking. Made my first trip to Vegas - lost my belt at the Crazy Horse.
  • 22 - Graduated from Rose-Hulman, which is to date the most difficult task I've ever accomplished. Posing with my father for the "legacy photo" was unexpectedly fantastic.
  • 23 - Hard living in Chicago - had the time of my life! Briefly long-distance-dated a friend from home whom I had been interested in for years. This was my first real heartbreak.
  • 27 - Received my graduate degree in Computer Science. I hated every f'ing minute of that curriculum - this might be where I learned the meaning of "endurance".
  • 28 - Moved to San Diego. Once again briefly dated same friend from home long distance, after 5 years of pining for her. Distance and my disinterest in "Sex and the City" doomed us. She's still one of my closest friends.
  • 29 - I re-discovered cycling, and later triathlon. I've been smiling ever since.
  • 31 - The year of Ironman. A good year, with some rough edges. Some really high highs, and a few very low lows - but it all worked out.
My friends and training partners from IMAZ - at least most of them

Anyway, I was swimming my 100's at the 1:35 pace until I pinched a muscle in my shoulder around number 27. I swam a 1:45 and was in pain - thought about quitting since this workout wasn't all that important. But quitting just didn't work for me - I'm an endurance athlete, so I worked through it. 2 more at 1:40 pace and the pain finally went away. I smoked number 32, 1:23.
Then it was off to the showers to trade my speedo for running shorts - a 3.2 mile run. It was surprisingly hot out there, the sun beat down more like a summer day than the dead of winter. I didn't bring my metronome, but I did focus on my running form - especially my cadence. I think it worked OK, I felt good and went pretty fast.
My "32" workout was pretty fun - I think I'll do it again next year. Now it's off for a nap, I've got a dinner and a party to get to tonight...

Friday, January 30, 2009

I HeArTE Running

I went on a fun bike ride today with coach BAM. Yes, it is a weekday - unplanned coastal bike rides along PCH are exactly what I've been saving my vacation days for. We rode about 50 miles, a lot of it at a conversational pace, which meant I got to pick his brain about a lot of training stuff. He came to the same conclusion today that he had in November when we first met, and that I had come to 15 months ago: I can't run, and I need to focus on it. So here's my embarrassing running situation.
  • I am insanely bow legged. See photo for evidence.
  • I ran my first half marathon in August of 2007, AFC which I completed in 2:25:46
  • I decided running was my limiter, so during the off season I focused on the run. It worked, by January I had PR'd at the Carlsbad half with at 1:53:52. That's more than 30 minutes!
  • I completed the La Jolla half in 2:01:24, which I was very happy with - it was extremely hot.
  • I returned to AFC in 2008 and did a 2:04:10. I was relatively happy with that, IM training had worn me down, and this was just another training day.
I made marked improvement in 2008 in my half marathons - however my runs during triathlons continued to be a problem. For example at Ironman 70.3 California there were 234 people in my age group. I placed 155th in the swim, 117th on the bike, and 202nd on the run. That translates to the top 66% swimming, top 50% cycling, and top 86% running. Ouch. At San Diego International things were worse, the number were 40% swim, 20% cycling, 70% run. If I could get to mediocre (top 50%) on the run I would have moved up more than 20 places in my age group!
I know what I need to concentrate on, now I need to find the willpower to follow through with it. Coach threw out a number for what he'd like to see me run at Oceanside, which is 60 days away. I don't want to publish it here (yet) but it would mean running my half marathon PR as part of a 70.3 race! The crazy thing is... I think I can do it. I'm at rock bottom right now in terms of my running having done a 5:18 marathon at IMAZ - I've got nothing but upside.
There's not much time before IM CA 70.3, so the plan is simple:
1. Eat better. I'd like to lose some weight before this race, especially since running gets WAAYY easier the lighter I get.
2. Work on my running cadence. My good friend (and fellow IMAZ '08 finisher) JC is a hell of a marathoner, and he told me once to focus on cadence. He said that fixing that would also solve most of the other problems with my stride. BAM reiterated that same idea to me recently. These guys know their shit - so that's what I'll do.

On JC's advice I bought a small metronome. I set it for 180bpm and try to match my footsteps to it, resulting in a cadence of 90. My past experience with this device is that I hate it - it's like water torture listening to the tick, especially if it's clipped to my hat. My "natural" cadence is about 65. When I try to run at 90 I feel like I'm just running in place - my steps have to be so short in order to get that kind of turnover that I'm dancing more than running. I stopped using the metronome because I just couldn't do it properly.
I'm going to make an honest effort to make use of it again. I know I won't be able to hit 90rpm for very long, but that's OK. I'm going to do some short runs correctly - instead of my current plan of long runs incorrectly. We'll see if it works in 60 days.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Playing the Lottery

As someone with a background in math, I don't play the lottery. I think most people know that the lottery is not a good bet - and I am very aware that the odds are so low that your chance of winning is essentially zero. If you'd like to gamble, you'll find much better odds in Vegas - though you're probably going to lose there as well. So why am I playing the lottery today?
Today I entered the 2009 Ironman World Championships Lottery. My odds are not good in this lottery (2.5%, or about 1 in 40) but that's orders of magnitude better than the California state lottery. Oddly, my motivation for signing up is the same that motivates millions of people who cannot really afford lottery tickets to spend their paychecks on scratch off tickets - desperation. The IMWC in Kona is the superbowl of long distance triathlon. There is only three ways to get there:
1. Get fast. The main field in Kona is made up of 1800 of the fastest IM athletes in the world - those who placed in the very top of their age group in qualifying races.
2. Get rich. You can get invited to the race if you are famous or interesting enough to make a good story for the television coverage. This includes the CEO Challenge, the charity eBay auctions, as well as just being a celebrity.
3. Get lucky. 200 people will win slots via the lottery - 150 from the US, and 50 more internationally.

Obviously my preferred method is to "get fast" - though "get rich" wouldn't be bad either. I'm trying to get fast, but realistically that's not likely. I did IMAZ in 12:29:11, in order to qualify for Kona I would have needed to go about 9:15:00. That's 25% faster, a total of more than 3 hours! I believe I can improve on my IMAZ time, but to get down near 9 hours is maybe not in the cards for me - those are some incredible athletes at that level. I sometimes forget it, but I'm a software engineer - not an athlete. I don't really have a time goal for IM Wisconsin yet - but I can safely state that it won't be anywhere near 9 hours.
So I'm in the lottery because it's the only choice I have. I'm still young, and I have a lot of years of entering the lottery ahead of me, which will increase my odds of making it to Kona someday. In the mean time I'll work on the other two options.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

And that my friends, is how it's done

Great workout tonight, about 90 minutes on the trainer with 60 of them being low cadence strength work. This workout involved six 10 minute intervals, which scared me a bit at first. I'm used to doing 2 to 5 minute intervals, and this seemed like a tall order. In fact, about 5 minutes into the first one I really started to doubt I could finish the set. I tried to distract myself with television, during the workout I watched the news, Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, TMZ, and a little bit of Border Patrol. I mostly just left the sound off and listened to the Mouse, I really can't understand how all that drivel stays on the air while the greatest show in history got canceled after only one full season. Concentrating on controlling my breathing and moving my feet efficiently really went a long way. A little bit of vomit in the back of the throat slowed me down on the last interval, but I made up for it by finishing strong. I knew from my previous test that my Functional Threshold Power is 230 watts. My plan was put the bike in whatever gear got me 230 watts at 75 RPM and hold that. It worked pretty well, here's the numbers:
Interval 1: 234 watts, 136 BPM, 75 RPM
Interval 2: 228 watts, 135 BPM, 74 RPM
Interval 3: 222 watts, 135 BPM, 74 RPM
Interval 4: 222 watts, 134 BPM, 74 RPM
Interval 5: 227 watts, 138 BPM, 75 RPM
Interval 6: 226 watts, 139 BPM, 75 RPM

I know it looks like it was boring and easy to just do the same thing over and over - trust me each interval got progressively more painful. I was constantly negotiating with myself as to whether I would pansy out and shift to an easier gear - I never did.

The filthy residue of a workout well executed

Bike Racing

I'm not a fast person. I never have been. My family has a long running joke about an incident that happened to me in Tee Ball. I was on second base when the batter hit the ball straight up the middle, right past the pitcher. The shortstop ran over to second base and fielded the ball - at which point he decided it was too late to get the runner at first. So, he started running me down - and caught me before I reached third base. I had a 45 ft. head start in a 90 ft race, and lost. That was 20 years ago, and really not much has changed. I'm an endurance athlete, not a sprinter.
Next month, I'm planning on racing the Bulldog bike race. Actually, there's a good chance that I might skip it in favor of a more appropriate training opportunity - but I'm probably going to do another bike race at some point during this season. Regardless, I don't know how to race a bike. I don't really know how to race anything. Sure I watch the Tour every July - I know the concept, but to put it into practice is completely different.
My strategy on the bike has always been "push hard until I feel like puking, and hope everyone else cracks first". It works OK in triathlon and in time trials, but in a real bike race you need a more sophisticated race plan. I'm a Category 5 cyclist, which pretty much means I have a pulse. I think I could qualify for Cat 4 if I was interested - but I need that kind of validation about as much as I need another finishers medal. What this means is that I can expect all the cat 3, 2, 1 and dp/ip's to kick my face in. My hope is to hang on to their wheels as long as possible - and to finish up sometime before all the beer is gone. I don't know if I will have the patience for this though - in my rides with the roadie peleton I usually get antsy, and jump to the front or lead a breakaway. This never works out, as I wear down and then everyone passes me, and I have to spend enormous energy just to hang on. Plus, being in the back of the pack is dangerous - when there is a crash (there's always a crash) then everyone behind it gets involved. I'll be hanging on to the back, which means my odds of being in the crash are high. Roadies don't think anything of a crash, they pick up their bikes and hop back on and deal with the open wounds later. I don't like crashes. I'm pretty sure if my @ss ends up road rashed then my day is done.
My first bike race will be quite a learning experience - and quite humbling as well. I think my goal will be less "podium" and more "certificate of attendance".

Monday, January 26, 2009

Training Rut in January?

I had a pretty mild training weekend, as I'm starting to settle in to my schedule. Through some bad planning on my own I ended up on the bike trainer Friday night after work - and then out to the bars for a few drinks. This was bad because I started the Saturday ride with worn out legs. I had planned on riding the Great Western Loop (oh how I love that ride) but due to overnight rain I decided to do a more mundane route with friends. We decided to do the Elfin Forest/Del Dios (Swami's) route, since it had recently received a fresh coat of silky smooth blacktop. It was only 40 miles, plus we didn't hammer - and with a 30 minute stop in Rancho Santa Fe while we searched for Eric who had flatted and needed assistance. But my legs felt like crap - there just wasn't anything in them. I don't know if it was the trainer workout from the night before, or poor nutrition, or just one of those days - but rarely do I ask my legs for power and have them argue with me as fiercely as they did on Saturday. But the skies cleared, blessing us with another beautiful Southern California morning, and we really had a good time.
Here's the crew (minus me) at the church where Swami's regroups

After the ride I was scheduled for a 15 minute run. Nobody else wanted to run - except for Beth. Yes, 6 minute mile, sub 3 hour marathon Beth. Thankfully, she was planning on running a bit further than me and decided to run later in the day. I was happy to not be faced with the option of either completely blowing up trying to keep up, or by being the boat anchor that slows her down. I did my 15 minutes (1.75 miles) and to my surprise the crew was still mulling around the parking lot when I returned - it was going to be a Naked Cafe breakfast for us! I had ginormous bluberry-blackberry-banana pancakes and a mexican hot chocolate - pretty much destroying any fitness benefit from the mornings workout.
Some of the crew enjoying the view at Naked Cafe. Sorry for the crappy photo, still figuring out my camera!

Saturday night the old IMAZ crew went out for dinner and drinks in downtown SD. I made an early exit from the festivities, and got to bed at a decent hour. I knew Sunday's long run would be a tough one - I hadn't run more than five or six miles since IMAZ, and this one was going to be 10 miles. Plus emotionally Sunday was rough. I should have been racing the Carlsbad 1/2 marathon that day - and I am still /pissed/ that I gave up that race for BS reasons. Anyway, my good friend Don agreed to run with me early Sunday morning - despite his having been out all night drinking with the crew, and his kids waking up early for Sunday morning fun. We ran from Del Mar to Encinitas - a total of about 10 miles in 90 minutes. It was a comfortable pace, and a lot of fun. I like running with Don, he's a good balance for me. By necessity Don does his workouts slow and steady - he is the most consistent pacer I've ever met. I rode a century with him on Coronado last fall, and his speed never varied outside of 18-19 MPH the entire way, he was like clockwork. He helps me fight my tendency to go out fast, and crawl on the second half. We had several really good long runs during IMAZ training since we are about the same speed, and Sundays was yet another. Good pace, great weather, fantastic company - who needs Carlsbad? Thanks Don.
40 miles on the bike, 12 running - all at an easy pace. It doesn't sound like much for a weekend, but it's right where I want to be right now. I'm on target. I just need to stay there as the distance and intensity ramp up.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What the F is a CP30?

About a month ago, my teammate Rocket Pants and I did a bike time trial. I use a PowerTap on my race bike, so this was a great opportunity for me to calculate my CP30 as described in Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan. CP30 is your "30 minute Critical Power", or in english - how hard you can push your pedals for 30 minutes. Fair warning - triathlon is full of confusing jargon, and analyzing power data magnifies that problem. If your eyes gloss over at the thought of dealing with lactate threshold, anaerobic threshold, VO2Max, etc. then you may want to skip this one. If you're a data geek like me, however - you're in for a treat!
I'll work backwards from the workout, since that way I can avoid dealing with all the theory. What did RP and I actually do? We met at Fiesta Island in Mission Bay, and did a 12 mile time trial. Fiesta Island is San Diego's gift to runners, cyclists and dog owners. It's basically an undeveloped island with a 4 mile one way road around it's perimeter. In actuality it's not "land" so much as "landfill", but that's unimportant for now. The point is - it's a practically closed course bike track - the perfect place to do a time trial. So we did a bit of a warm-up, and then did our test set - 3 loops (12 miles) as hard as we could go. Simple enough.
Next, I took my powertap home and downloaded the workout data to my computer using the TrainingPeaks WKO+ software. I would highly recommend WKO+ over the software that comes with the PowerTap - especially for triathletes since WKO+ can handle run and swim workouts. The raw data looks something like this:
You'll notice I started with a warmup (grey area), going about 15MPH for a few loops. Then, around the 39 minute mark, I began my test (black area). Unfortunately my heart rate monitor went flakey on me (red line), and I don't have any HR data for the test period. You can see some summary data about my test on the left side of the image - here's the important parts of what it says:
Duration: 33:47 (33:50)
Distance: 12.373 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 34 682 242 watts
Cadence: 66 131 96 rpm
Speed: 14.7 25.8 22.0 mph

So, I did 3 loops of the island and averaged 22.0 MPH. Without a power meter, that's pretty much the extent of what you would know from having done this test - and while that's valuable information to have, the extra info is pretty damn cool.
First, the powertap records my cadence - it says I averaged 96 RPM for the 34 minute test. That's about right for me. I follow the conventional wisdom of the last few years that 90 RPM is the sweet spot for most cyclists - and when I race I end up being closer to 100. Of course there are those who argue that you should have a low cadence (Chrissie Wellington claimed hers was only 70 during the 2008 Ironman World Championships) - I really don't know what the "correct" approach to cadence is. But I do know exactly what my cadence was - which at the very least tells me if I'm doing what I intended to, and in this case I was. The PT also tells me that I averaged 242 watts during the test. Watts is the unit of measure used for power, the higher the better. 242 is a decent number, however a pro cyclist will average 350 or even 400 watts on a stage of one of the grand tours - so I'm not turning pro any time soon. You're absolute wattage isn't really that important, what you're trying to do is improve that number over time - so what I really want is for that number to go up the next time I do this test. I can also look at my power output for each lap, it was: 245, 241, 241. So I did go out a little hard on lap one - but overall I was very consistent with my pacing, which is an area I am focusing on because I suck at it.
OK, I did 242 watts over 12 miles and it took me 33:47 to do it. Now what? Well, CP30 is the wattage you can hold for 30 minutes - and that's pretty much what I just did (I went 3 minutes long, but that's no big deal). So my CP30 is equal to 242 watts, easy! But unfortunately CP30 isn't really the number we want to know. It turns out 30 minutes isn't a long enough test - you can push yourself too far anaerobic for that short a time, and so your power output will be higher than it would be for a long race. The number we really want is the CP60 - the 60 minute Critical Power threshold, also known as Functional Threshold Power (FTP). How do I calculate FTP using the CP30? Oddly, you don't. What you actually need is the CP20. I know at this point you think I'm just fucking with you, but believe me there is a method to the madness. If I wanted to find CP20, why not just do a 20 minute time trial instead of a 34 minute one? And why not just do a 60 minute TT and measure FTP directly?! Because if you just do 20 minutes on fresh legs, you're numbers are skewed to the high side - because you are well rested. You need to get a bit of a warm up, as well as a bit of hard effort behind you before you start taking data. Doing a 60 minute time trial would be great - but it really trashes you, and it takes a few days to recover. Luckily WKO+ will tell me what 20 minute period had my highest power output - it is minutes 51 through 71, consisting of most of laps 2 and 3 of my test, and my power output was 243 watts. So my CP20 and CP30 are nearly identical, at least I'm consistent. The rule of thumb is that your FTP is going to be 5% lower than your CP20: FTP = CP20 * 0.95 = 243 * 0.95 = 230 watts.
I know this is a long way to go to come up with a seemingly arbitrary number, but it's actually very important. Now that I know my FTP, I know exactly how many watts I should be able to put out in a 60 minute race - like the 26 mile Bulldog race I'm doing in February for example. Having that number is an invaluable pacing tool - it can help me prevent myself from going out too hard at the start, and dying at the end - which is my natural tendency. But most importantly, that's the metric I will work to improve over the course of the season. Doing these tests regularly will help me gauge whether I'm making progress as a cyclist, and how effective my training has been. Plus, there are lots of pretty graphs!

You'll notice my "Mean Maximal Power Curve" on there - I'll talk about that next time. Below is all the gory details from the test.

Time Trial:
Duration: 33:47 (33:50)
Work: 491 kJ
TSS: 67.6 (intensity factor 1.095)
Norm Power: 244
VI: 1.01
Pw:HR: n/a
Pa:HR: n/a
Distance: 12.373 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 34 682 242 watts
Heart Rate: n/a n/a n/a bpm
Cadence: 66 131 96 rpm
Speed: 14.7 25.8 22.0 mph
Pace 2:20 4:05 2:44 min/mi
Hub Torque: 10 234 73 lb-in
Crank Torque: 42 670 214 lb-in

Lap 1:
Duration: 11:17 (11:19)
Work: 166 kJ
TSS: 22.7 (intensity factor 1.099)
Norm Power: 245
VI: 1
Pw:HR: n/a
Pa:HR: n/a
Distance: 4.106 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 145 682 245 watts
Heart Rate: n/a n/a n/a bpm
Cadence: 68 122 96 rpm
Speed: 15.2 25.8 21.9 mph
Pace 2:20 3:57 2:45 min/mi
Hub Torque: 41 234 75 lb-in
Crank Torque: 129 670 218 lb-in

Lap 2:
Duration: 11:15 (11:16)
Work: 162 kJ
TSS: 22.6 (intensity factor 1.098)
Norm Power: 245
VI: 1.02
Pw:HR: n/a
Pa:HR: n/a
Distance: 4.102 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 161 403 241 watts
Heart Rate: n/a n/a n/a bpm
Cadence: 68 131 94 rpm
Speed: 19.1 25.4 21.9 mph
Pace 2:22 3:08 2:45 min/mi
Hub Torque: 43 129 73 lb-in
Crank Torque: 105 396 216 lb-in

Lap 3:
Duration: 11:09
Work: 161 kJ
TSS: 22.3 (intensity factor 1.096)
Norm Power: 244
VI: 1.02
Pw:HR: n/a
Pa:HR: n/a
Distance: 4.13 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 64 526 241 watts
Heart Rate: n/a n/a n/a bpm
Cadence: 66 128 98 rpm
Speed: 19.4 25.2 22.3 mph
Pace 2:23 3:05 2:41 min/mi
Hub Torque: 19 154 72 lb-in
Crank Torque: 58 523 209 lb-in

Peak 10s (501 watts):
Duration: 0:10
Work: 5 kJ
TSS: n/a
Norm Power: n/a
VI: n/a
Pw:HR: n/a
Pa:HR: n/a
Distance: 295 ft
Min Max Avg
Power: 328 682 501 watts
Heart Rate: n/a n/a n/a bpm
Cadence: 68 99 87 rpm
Speed: 15.2 23.4 19.7 mph
Pace 2:34 3:57 3:03 min/mi
Hub Torque: 125 234 170 lb-in
Crank Torque: 369 670 490 lb-in

Peak 30s (347 watts):
Duration: 0:30
Work: 10 kJ
TSS: 2 (intensity factor 1.557)
Norm Power: n/a
VI: n/a
Pw:HR: n/a
Pa:HR: n/a
Distance: 0.194 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 196 682 347 watts
Heart Rate: n/a n/a n/a bpm
Cadence: 68 103 96 rpm
Speed: 15.2 25.2 23.0 mph
Pace 2:23 3:57 2:36 min/mi
Hub Torque: 52 234 105 lb-in
Crank Torque: 162 670 314 lb-in

Peak 5min (259 watts):
Duration: 5:01 (5:02)
Work: 78 kJ
TSS: 11.1 (intensity factor 1.153)
Norm Power: 257
VI: 0.99
Pw:HR: n/a
Pa:HR: n/a
Distance: 1.816 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 161 343 259 watts
Heart Rate: n/a n/a n/a bpm
Cadence: 71 106 94 rpm
Speed: 19.7 23.9 21.7 mph
Pace 2:30 3:03 2:46 min/mi
Hub Torque: 48 111 79 lb-in
Crank Torque: 155 316 232 lb-in

Peak 10min (248 watts):
Duration: 10:01 (10:02)
Work: 149 kJ
TSS: 21 (intensity factor 1.121)
Norm Power: 250
VI: 1.01
Pw:HR: n/a
Pa:HR: n/a
Distance: 3.678 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 161 400 248 watts
Heart Rate: n/a n/a n/a bpm
Cadence: 71 128 95 rpm
Speed: 19.1 25.2 22.0 mph
Pace 2:23 3:08 2:43 min/mi
Hub Torque: 48 126 75 lb-in
Crank Torque: 123 364 220 lb-in

Peak 20min (243 watts):
Duration: 20:01 (20:02)
Work: 291 kJ
TSS: 40.4 (intensity factor 1.101)
Norm Power: 246
VI: 1.01
Pw:HR: n/a
Pa:HR: n/a
Distance: 7.368 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 64 526 243 watts
Heart Rate: n/a n/a n/a bpm
Cadence: 66 131 96 rpm
Speed: 19.1 25.4 22.1 mph
Pace 2:22 3:08 2:43 min/mi
Hub Torque: 19 154 73 lb-in
Crank Torque: 58 523 215 lb-in

Peak 30min (243 watts):
Duration: 30:01 (30:04)
Work: 437 kJ
TSS: 60 (intensity factor 1.095)
Norm Power: 244
VI: 1.01
Pw:HR: n/a
Pa:HR: n/a
Distance: 11.056 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 64 682 243 watts
Heart Rate: n/a n/a n/a bpm
Cadence: 68 131 96 rpm
Speed: 15.2 25.8 22.1 mph
Pace 2:20 3:57 2:43 min/mi
Hub Torque: 19 234 73 lb-in
Crank Torque: 58 670 215 lb-in

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


If you've spoken to me in person over the last two months, chances are good I've mentioned the TriFAThlete web site. I found it funny at first, if not hard to explain. It's a bunch of pretty serious athletes who are fed up with the SlowTwitch crowd, and decided to fight back. It's really pretty funny, though certainly rude and a bit mean - but they have a point to make, and they get it across clearly. Their banner reads:
If you really want to do something well, you'll get off your fat, lazy ass, look at yourself in the mirror and realize what an ugly loser you are and become something. If not, well then you'll just be fat and ugly.

Obviously, this site is NSFW and contains some seriously sick humor. Enjoy!

Exhausted in Paradise

My arms hurt, and my whole body is aching. With the MLK Jr. holiday this was a 3 day weekend for me, and I spent it doing a moderate amount of training. Nothing crazy like last fall's Ironman prep weekends - but enough that I am completely worn out today. The weather in San Diego has been amazing, and all weekend we enjoyed 75 degree weather with clear skies - it was beautiful! I am blessed to be able to live here, and I smile every time I think about it.
Saturday started with a nice trip through Elfin Forest with my friends Brent and Lorenzo - and the SDBC. Yep, you read correctly - I've been slumming around in the roadie peleton. Coach asked me to participate in the Camp Pendleton Bulldog Bike Race in February, and I took that as an opportunity to convert my road bike back to a normal configuration. It was painful to watch the aerobars come off, but I have a tri bike now and they were no longer necessary.
Here is a shot of my road bike, sans aerobars

So saturday's 40 mile rush around san diego was typical roadie fare - lots of posturing at stoplights followed by all out sprints, pacelines in the safe areas, and lots of drafting. 26MPH never felt so easy! Also, to my surprise, a lot of machismo. There were two women in our group, both of whom were very strong cyclists. Some of the men really were a-holes to these ladies. Whenever they moved to the front of the pack, someone immediatly jumped in front of them and shot off the lead, turning the whole thing into a giant pissing contest. I was reminded of why I stopped riding in packs - a few people acting like a-holes taints the whole group, and makes things dangerous. But despite all of that, riding a road bike again was beautiful. It was like driving a Cadillac compared to my tri bike - smooth and comfortable, and it felt like home.

Despite Saturdays ride being a short one, it was pretty intense. When I woke up Sunday to do my long run, I wasn't feeling so good. I was sunburned from the previous day (who wears sunscreen in January?) and my mouth was dry. I made sure to carry lots of water on the run, I knew it would be rough. I headed out into the gorgeous southern California morning, past the surreal Mormon Temple and down the Rose Canyon bike path. I was using my new Suunto footpod (I'll write about that sometime) and tracking my pace pretty closely - it wasn't very good. I was drinking a lot on the way out, I could tell I wasn't hydrated properly. Most of the 8 mile run was a suffer-fest, though I did run into my buddy JT at the turn around. He was riding his bike back to Point Loma, and stopped to say hi. It was nice to see a familiar face, though I'm still not used to running into people I know out in public - I don't know that many people. I spent the rest of the day Saturday on the couch drinking water. I had a nasty headache, and a little bit of dizziness whenever I stood up too quickly. I was pissed that I still hadn't figured out my hydration problems.

Monday I met up with Michelle and her crew (Steve, Penny, Solene, Mark, and Monica) for a MLK day ride. Once again the weather was perfect, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. The word for the day was "hills". Steve won the polka dot jersey hands down - he crushed it up Scripps Poway and then continued his tear the rest of the day. The Green jersey went to Solene for her second half effort. While the rest of us were exhausted from all the climbing, she pulled the entire group into a headwind from miles 50 to 55 at a pace of 27 MPH! What a badass. Thanks everyone for the ride, it was loads of fun. I once again hit the couch after the ride to nap and catch up on my hydration (and Battlestar Gallactica). By 7pm it was time to head to the pool for what I had hoped would be a recovery swim. It wasn't. Coach R had us do a total of 2500 meters, with lots of sprinting - which is why my arms feel like jello today. We capped off the weekend with a late dinner at Whole Foods, where we met Alyssa - the craziest old lady I've ever run into. Don, Chad, Diana - you can back me up on that one, right? She had lots of advice for us about politics, the economy, etymology, and of course romance. It was actually pretty fun, if not insanely awkward. With my body destroyed and my belly full, I slept like a baby. What a great weekend.
So things are good, training is going OK, and the future is bright. If only I didn't have to go to the office now...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Ankle Update

I went to the doctor this week, the news is mixed. The x-rays were negative, which is good - no stress fracture. It's a tendon issue, probably either a tear or an irritation. That's the bad news, since tendon issues are a little tougher to fix than broken bones. The likely culprits are the Peroneus Longus and Peroneus Brevis tendons, which are on the outside of your ankle. The doctor prescribed physical therapy, possible steroid injections, and of course a few weeks off from running. Naturally, I left his office and went straight for the Tuesday night Mission Beach Jetty boardwalk run.
The way I see it is that this injury is minor, I can bear it for anything but trail running. It's also not going to cause permanent damage if I keep running, all that will happen is that it gets more painful - and I have a decent tolerance for that. Plus, rest is for the "off season" - of which I have none. We'll see how it goes, I'm guessing I'll do fine until the trails at Wildflower in May - at which point my season may be over.
So I have a lot of limping ahead of me, at least now I'll have an excuse for my pathetic run times!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Elbow Viagra

Ugh. I made it to the pool last night for the first time in 3 weeks. Forget everything I have ever mentioned about swim technique - don't listen to me because I obviously don't know what I am doing. Everything went to shit pretty much from the start, I even cut the 400m warm-up short. Coach C told me immediately that I wasn't following through with my stroke, which is a problem I had been working on before Christmas.
I swam in a slow lane, so at least I kept my heart rate down, but my technique was awful. Every movement felt forced and awkward, every breath was half filled with water. I was dragging my feet, lifting my head out of the water, and kicking like a pansy. I knew all of this just from feel - but then Coach M caught me at the wall. He told me that my old nemesis - which I thought I had vanquished - was back with a vengeance. He called it "bent elbow", but I remember what Sickie had diagnosed it as - "limp elbow". I prefer to call it Olecranan Dysfunction in polite company.
Crap. How did that sneak back in to my stroke? I need to start over, break my stroke back down and re-build it. again. crap.
As I splashed around inefficiently in the pool, I realized that I am suffering from Ironman-itis as well. I have an insane level of endurance right now - a 2 hour swim is no big deal. My cardio system is stronger than it's ever been. But all the supporting systems are breaking down and rusty. My technique is poor (on the bike as well). My back aches. My knees hurt. My neck is sore. My saddle area (a.k.a. groinal crotchal region) can't handle long stints on the bike. My heart and lungs have stayed strong - but my winter inactivity has deteriorated everything else.
I'm calling the doctor about my ankle issue, getting Coach C to help me with my embarrassing limp elbow issue, and for IM-itis the only treatment is a long season of training - which luckily I've already prescribed myself.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back to Normal

Finally feeling normal again after all my recent craziness. I got back on the bike saturday and did a miserable 50 miles in the rain. It took 4 hours. We were cold and wet and our brakes didn't work, but I had good company which made it much more bearable (thanks Sara!). I still haven't cleaned the bike up - it's completely coated with sand. I'm pretty sure sand is not a preferred drive train lubricant. The bike cleaning is on my todo list (really, I created one using Google Mail Tasks) along with about 15 million other things. Including "go to the doctor".
Unfortunately my rest period during the holidays did not work. I ran 8 miles Sunday, and my ankle still hurts - maybe worse than ever. I think it is sprained, but I'm not sure. I can swim without pain (as long as I don't kick), and can ride the bike for short distances without pain. Running on hard surfaces isn't painful during the exercise, but afterwards the ankle is sore. Running on uneven surfaces I cannot do at all - excruciating pain that stops me from continuing.
I ran Ironman Arizona on this injury, so I can deal with the pain OK on flat surfaces. I am confident I can do the California 70.3 on it. But Wildflower is right around the corner, and there is absolutely no way I can run that course on this ankle. There is a zero percent chance of me missing WF. It's not an "A" race, so I don't need to go fast - but I'll finish that thing on crutches if I need to. So that means a trip to the doctor, and a prayer for news other than "stop doing that".