Monday, August 31, 2009

Pretty Picture

Morning Awakening
Eva Gonzales, 1876

From a new blog I've just discovered:

Friday, August 28, 2009

What if I fail?

I've had a couple of tough workouts in the past two weeks where I have not hit the training target. From the start, I've modified the training goals to be okay with 90% of the specified distance, and I'm not even getting that. And we've passed the two months to go mark. So I'm a little worried.

What if I get to race day and I fail?

And specifically, from the event website:
All triathletes must be capable of completing the swim in 1 hour and 10 min from the last swim wave, completing the bike by 5 hours from the start of the last swim wave, and finishing the entire race in 8:00. All cyclists must be past the 28 mile mark of the bike course within 3.5 hours of the last swim wave start. All athletes must begin their second loop of the run before the 7:30 mark.

I looked at last year's last finisher at Longhorn, 8:43.

My times are improving, but by seconds, not minutes, so I can pretty reasonably predict what my times will be right now:
Swim 45 minutes
Bike 5 hours
Run 3.5 hours
That adds up to 9.25 hours, without counting any transitions, bathroom stops, or mechanical issues.

I think I was expecting a bigger drop in times with all the training I've put in this past year, but it hasn't happened. And again, it's been exciting to PR every race I've entered this year, and I would probably PR the Aquabike if I did that instead of the full triathlon. But my goal has not been a faster Aquabike. It's been to finish the Longhorn triathlon.

Of course, a lot has to do with luck too. If my age group goes off as an early wave, I could have an extra hour to work with, since they time from the last wave (and last year, Aquabike, relay, and Clydes and Athenas were the last wave). If my wave is towards the end, it's not so good. I really don't want to be the last biker in, as I learned last year. And it's not so fun to be the last runner in either, but that would be okay, unless they pull you from the course, which is possible, since they say you have to have started your last loop by 7:30. So I could be 6.5 miles from the finish of a 70.3 mile race, and get pulled off the course. And that would suck.

So it all adds up to: I'm worried I'm not going to be able to do it. I've put it out there to everyone that my goal all year has been Longhorn, and it will be embarrassing if I fail. But more importantly is how disappointed I will be in myself. I really have put in the hours and effort. And it may not be good enough.

And while there are two months left, I can't imagine dropping an hour off my time at this point. I would need a motorcycle and a power wheelchair to do that! Should I call the event producers and ask them to plan for more time for me to finish? Should I concede and switch to the Aquabike for the second year? Should I plan to just do one loop of the run before getting swept off the course? Should I "mistakenly" get in the first wave? I could fake an injury. I could pray for rain (or hail or tornado). I could pretend I lost interest and found a new hobby in chicken raising. I could move to Mexico.

Or I could wait and see. For now.

Week #8 Longhorn Training

Finally, a light week! And I really needed it. After a couple of tough rides, and back to back long rides and runs, I was toast.

Swim 2; actual 1

Bike 3; 5.25!

Run 3; 0!

Total 8; 6.5

Long bike 30; 44m on the Tollway- got a little overexcited on the ride out, feeling great, moving fast. And when I turned around, realized it was slightly downhill and with the wind, and that's why it felt so great. So coming back felt crappy.

Long run 7; 0. Between all the travelling for Continuing Education, and the trip to Midland to visit my cousin in the hospital, and then a visit from my sister and her two kids, I just ran out of time.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Week #7 Longhorn Training

Week #7 of Longhorn Training

Swim 2.5; 0.5- I figured out the shoulder thing- sleeping on an old, too soft pillow. But only after I did it again, so not much swimming again this week.

Bike 5; 4.8

Run 3.5; 3.1

Core 1; 1.25

Total 12; 9.65

Long bike 50-60; 33

Long run 10-12; 10

So short again, but where I was planning to be at the beginning of the week for the most part, so that's good. Recovery week next week- yay!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Rough Bike Ride

I was supposed to ride 60 this week, but the T3 ride for 60 miles was the Dam loop which is hard and hilly. I was afraid I would be on my own for 59 miles and coming back into town on busy roads at 11, and I didn't like it. The 40 mile route was the Bee Caves loop, which is hilly too, but I have ridden some parts of that route before, and I could finish up the remaining miles doing the Mopac Loop two or three times.

Well, at the end of the Bee Caves loop, I felt like crap, and there would be no more riding anywhere. It started out rough, mainly because I ran long yesterday- 10 miles on the Town Lake trail/ side trails. I am volunteering for the Sweet and Twisted triathlon tomorrow, and didn't want to run in the afternoon. And there is a reason you bike before you run, because running trashes your legs! And I was dreading the Hwy 71 connection from Southwest Parkway to Bee Caves, and I was right. It was only about 3 miles, but mostly no shoulder, hilly and fast moving cars. The downhill part going 42 mph was just as scary as the uphill part trying to keep up with N and G who had waited for me at the start, which was really nice of them. Because if you get hit by a car it's good to have witnesses and friends to call the ambulance.

But I survived that, though the adrenaline rush took a lot out of me. Bee Caves is a nice road though, and had a good chat with G before it got more hilly and we separated. But once on to Mopac and then Southwest Parkway heading home, I was low on water and energy. And no stores where I needed them. I should have stopped, even when I was only 5 miles from home, because I think I was already dehydrated. I had water in the car, and drank about 1/2 gallon as soon as I got there. But the last 5-10 miles I was hurting.

And no way was I going to do any Mopac loops. I was toast, and sat in the grass for 10 minutes, drinking water, and eating a clif bar, before I was even able to stretch a little. And it says something, when instead of looking forward to the big post ride meal, all you want is a shower and a nap.

It is a bit of a downer, since the training had been going so well, to have a rough, too short day. But to take home a lesson- don't run before the bike! And I won't be riding on 71 again. I can do out and backs on Southwest Parkway and Bee Caves, or start up north, or Parmer, or Johnson City, or a lot of other options. And I have 5 more >50 mile bike rides to come, so I will get another shot at it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Week #6 Longhorn Training

Swim 2.5; actual 0.5 at Barton Springs- still babying the shoulder, though it feels fine.

Bike 4.5; 5.3! Two AM spins and the long bike.

Run 3; 4.1! Hill run, brick, and long run.

Core 1; 1.5! Core, stretching, and yoga.

Total 11; 11.5!

Long bike 40-50; 43.

Long run 8-10; 8.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Training weekend

So some triathletes (including most T3ers) plan on doing long weekend workouts- the long bike on Saturday and the long run on Sunday. They like that it is in order of what you will do on race day. They like that is preloads your legs so they are heavy for the run. And it allows for lots of group togetherness. With my work schedule, I have not been doing this, and usually doing my long bike on Sunday, with a long run on Tuesday or Friday. And of course, I haven't been all that consistent, except with the long bikes- I have been pretty good about getting the distance in there.

So this weekend, I was all excited to have a real T3 training weekend. 40-50 on the bike, 8-10 on the run. And I did it! 43 on the bike and 8 on the run. And because I'm not at anyone else's speed, I choose to start early on both days to get some time in before the sun came up and it got hot, and that worked out really well. I was able to complete the distances, but at the same time, still see (and be passed by) all the other T3ers.

The run this morning at Town Lake- I started at Barton Springs and ran clockwise. It was only 80-85 and overcast, which wasn't horrible, but super soupy with humidity. This is the first time ever I've gotten prune hands without being in water. I was wiping the sweat out of my eyes so often, and it was so humid that my hands never dried. So by the end of 2:15 of that, my hands were puckered and pruney. That's actually pretty gross!

Finally I was done, and had a nice soak and stretch at Barton Springs. Then a shower- I actually remembered to get all my stuff together so I could shower there. Then breakfast tacos and home for a nap. I was done. And right now, the most sore and tender are my feet- I think they got pruney as well and it was really painful to walk on the rocky sidewalk at Barton Springs right afterwards. A little sore in the butt/hip area too, but not horrible.

And now I feel official-like. This is what most of my teammates have been doing all along, and I can understand now how prepared they must feel for their races. This is hard, but I think it will help me get where I want to go!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Group Ride

A great group ride this morning. A little disorganized, with different groups starting at different places, at different times. I started at 6:15, to get 45 minutes in before meeting up with the 7am Akins group, but I misjudged it and arrived at 7:05, and they had already left. So I waited a little bit and stretched, then decided to take off and not wait for the 7:15 group that started at Kiker to reach Akins. And that worked out pretty well. I rode off and on with a couple of different packs, but wound up getting dropped by everyone eventually. The good thing about an out and back is that you can see everyone coming back.

So I did 42.88 in 3:11:25. Average 13.4- very good for me! Max 29.2. I really like the Kyle route because it's close to my house and familiar, it's relatively flat, and coming back is mostly more downhill, so I feel like I'm flying and it's easy. And it did feel pretty easy. I could have stayed out to hit 50, but my plan was 40-50 today. And tomorrow 8-10. And that is doing to be plenty.
Oh, and I did feel strong, until I did the run brick afterwards! It was supposed to 15 minutes, but my legs were not moving, and it took me almost 20 minutes to do a little over a mile loop. Ouch.

I did talk to three new people on the ride, and that's always nice. Usually people are very friendly and relaxed on the bike, so it's a good time to chat up somebody new. Good times.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

See, I wasn't lying

Brendan Hansen really was at the Jack's Generic Triathlon and I have the bad picture to prove it. Look closely at the chiseled back and on his left shoulder are the Olympic rings. Really.

It isn't stalking if it only happens once, right?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Week #5 Longhorn Training

This week's plan- first week of the endurance cycle:
Rough week- with Jack's Generic on Sunday, and extra work this week, not too much time to fit everything in. Plus add in the shoulder problems, just not a great week. But aiming for more consistency with the work and training schedule this coming week.

Swim 2.5 (start adding an open water swim each week of about 2000m)
2.0; Barton Springs swim 1 hour

Bike 3.5
Missed the long bike. Only 1.75 total.

Run 2.5
Long run of 7. 3.5 total

Core 1
1- though I really need to stretch more than this.
Total 9.5

Long bike 40 * brick off the bike with a 20 min run

Long run 8-9

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Brendan Hansen... wow!

Yeah, we did the same triathlon today. We're buds now. And yes, he really does look like this in real life. AMAZING!

So apparently Brendan Hansen is taking a little break from his world class breast stroke swimming to try his hand at triathlons. He has been training with T3 (though I haven't seen him at any practices I've been to recently) and picked Jack's Generic Triathlon for his debut. I've seen him before- he is sponsored by Pure Sport and has been at other races shilling their product. If you don't know him well, here is a little bit of his bio:

"Brendan won both the 100m and 200m breaststrokes for the fourth-straight year at the NCAA Championships and then went on to break the World Records previously held by Japan's Kosuke Kitajima at Olympic Trials in Long Beach winning his first Olympic team spot. Brendan followed his success at Trials with an Olympic Silver medal in the 100 Breaststroke setting a new Olympic record in the semis, Bronze in the 200 and Gold in the 400m Medley Relay, setting a new WR in the process. Brendan was named Male Swimmer of the Meet after sweeping the breaststroke events and winning gold on the world record-setting 400m medley relay at Short Course World Championships.

Brendan earned a gold medal and set a world record in the 400m med-relay at the 2008 Olympic Games and also placed fourth in the 100m breast. He qualified for the 2008 Olympics by placing first in the 100m breast at US Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska but failed to qualify for the 200 Breaststroke after a disappointing third place finish behind Texas training partners Scott Spann and Eric Shanteau. He lost his Olympic Gold medal on a flight home from Havertown, PA to Austin, TX. It was returned to him by a fellow passenger and Austin Resident the following day."

I think the most amazing thing was he went up to Coach Pain before the race and was all nervous and asking for last minute advice. My coach. Asking her advice. The same advice she gives me, she was telling him. Wow.

So he was first out of the water, but was 8th by the end of the bike and run. And that is not too shabby for your first triathlon. Not too shabby at all!

Brendan Hansen #767
Austin, TXAge: 28 Gender: M
Clock Time
Overall Place
38 / 813
Gender Place
38 / 514
Division Place
8 / 77
Swim 500M Rank
Swim 500M Time
Swim 500M Pace
T1 Time
Bike 13 8M Rank
Bike 13 8M Time
Bike 13 8M Pace
T2 Time
Run 3M Rank
Run 3M Time
Run 3M Pace

Jack's Generic race report

Kind of a weird wind up to this race. I did something, not sure what, to my right shoulder earlier this week. I swam Thursday night, but it didn't hurt then, but the pain tingling across the front of my shoulder woke me up on Friday. I've had trigger points in the middle of my shoulder blade that would radiate like that, but never this bad. I was using the Theracane and tennis ball, and that felt good, but didn't make everything go away. Saturday I was supposed to ride with S and T3, a shortened ride of only 30, and it was a no go. I couldn't pull up on the bike without pain, the aero position was painful. It just was not going to happen. I did about a 45 minute ride around the neighborhood instead, and that was hard, humid, and painful. I went to Whole Foods for a chair massage, and that really helped. That whole right shoulder and upper back was just a huge mass of knots. What the hell happened there?

So Sunday came around, and I was really nervous that it could wind up a DNF. I've never had one, and I am doing the Tri Series and really want to finish the whole thing. But whatever was going to happen, was going to happen.

And it turned out to be a really nice day. It was overcast with sprinkles during the run. The shoulder was still acting up, and didn’t feel too strong on the swim. But I was able to get through it. I did get kicked in the neck by a breast stroker and I grabbed her leg in automatic response- I was furious! If you are going to breast stroke the whole thing, then don't start in the front! You can really hurt people that way- break a nose or give a black eye. So then I really pushed it to get the hell out of there! The water was not nearly as bad as at the Rookie- I think they've treated it with something to help with the color and smell. And the temperature felt better- probably because it was overcast.

The bike felt like a different route- it went over a lot of older chip seal roads that were very bumpy. And I ate my clif blocks in 3 different sessions, 15 minutes apart, which was good for the nutrition, but it took time out each time to grab them. I consciously didn't push too hard on the bike since I did that on the Rookie and paid for it on the run.

The run started out rough- I felt a lot of pain in feet, ankles, and calves, which doesn't normally happen. I Walked when I needed to and I liked that strategy. There was a newbie I leapfrogged with for a while, and I talked to her for a little bit, going slower to keep her in talking distance. Then at the turnaround, she completely lit out. I tried to stay with her, but she wound up finishing about 100 yds in front of me. Overall, good times with a PR of 4 minutes! And while I needed a nap, not exhausted or sore afterwards- stayed within myself on this one, and the injuries/odd pains probably had something to do with that! The only complaint is a really painful chafe rub under my armpit- the kind that makes you yell in the shower when the water hits it and you didn't know it was there!

Swim 500m 12:42; 2:32/100m
T1 3:15
Bike 13.8 1:03:03; 13.1 mph
T2 1:50
Run 3.1 m 44:36; 14:52/m

I do think I need a break from the Texas Ski Ranch. It's a good course, and High Five puts on good events, but I've done it 5 times in the last two years. I need to branch out and find other venues. Next year!