Sunday, March 25, 2012

Double Brick Decisions

This weekend I did my first intentional double brick.  It was hard. It hurt.  It was awesome.  The day started with a 20 mile ride at race pace followed by a 5k run at race pace.  I took advantage of some of the awesome coaches that were around and went through some flying mount and dismount practice before head out for brick #2.

Brick #2 started form the Budweiser Plant with a 66 mile bike ride.  The views are gorgeous, the roads are open, and the weather was spectacular.  The only downside is that there are not really any areas to refill a water bottle and it's hard to bring enough liquids on an 80 degree day for 86 miles worth of biking.  Lesson learned I will bring cash/card and stop in one of the small markets and buy a water or 2 so I don't have to conserve water.  I will also stash a bottle in my car to take during run #2.  The last 20 miles or so of the ride I was greated by a nasty head wind.  I thought head winds like that only existed at Hains Point. I pushed through it, I just tell myself it will make me stronger.  Run #2 was a 4.5 mile fairly flat out and back.  I need to develop my nutrition plan and stick to it.  With almost 5 hours on the bike and 1 hour running (not to count the recovery and transition times) I had ample time to think about this big decision.

So what's the big decision to be made? Where to start the next chapter of my life.  Do I move back to DC or do I stay in Georgia?  I'm no closer now to making this decision than I was yesterday at 8am before the double brick began.  I have made a pro's and con's list to each place.  I think about my goals in my career and in triathlon, and once again there are pro's and con's to each place.  Whatever decision I make will be the right one, and I will know in my heart what that decision is when the time is right.  I'm eager to know now, I'm excited to be starting anew.

Any advice to making huge decisions?  Do you follow your gut, do whats logical, or wait it out?
Questions I keep asking myself

  • Where will I become the best triathlete?
  • Where will I become the best PT?
  • Where will I be the happiest?

A look back to last week's 1/2 marathon is not so exciting.  I ran ok, the course seemed just as hilly as it was last year.  This shouldn't be a surprise as it was the same course.  And my 1/2 marathon PR still stands at 1:49:52.  The Publix GA Marathon/Half is a well run event but is losing participants.  It's a tough course and I wouldn't want to run 26.2 on it and I don't really want to run 13.1 on it again.  There are also some other great marathons the same weekend, especially if you want to have a race-cation -- hello LA Marathon.

I should be running the Cherry Blossom 10-miler this weekend in DC.  I love this race last year and ran a great time.  I'm looking to build on this performance and have a great run on Sunday.  I need the confidence in the run.  My cycling is going well, I've broken through with my swimming, I need some break through's with my running, especially before Collegiate National Championships.  The base has been laid down - I am now building in hopes to peak.  Collegiate Nationals will be my 3rd multisport race of the season, but only 1 week into racing season.  So here's to week 2 of The Build - I don't quit when I am tired.  I quit when I am done.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Science Experiments, Training Plans, and Budweiser...

This week has been  mentally challenging, physically challenging and mentally draining.  Along with the challenges I have a learned a lot, refocused my training and reignited the fire that drives me.  Sometimes it takes a tough week, some time off, and horrible training sessions to push me in the right direction.  I use my body as my own little science experiment - how far can I go, how fast can I get there, what fuel is best, what training and recovery scheme help me peak on time?

Last Friday I began to feel very fatigued with a sore throat and headache while at work in the morning.  I recently was told I don't have to be in the office on Friday afternoons (yippee - I don't get a paycheck anyways) so I was thrilled to have time to get a good swim session in before catching a plane back to Michigan.  Well, I ate lunch and just felt worse and worse so I decided to nap until it was time to leave for the airport.  I woke up - feeling even worse.  As soon as I got home I started pounding Zicam, Airborne, Cold-eeze, Halls Defense, orange juice, etc.  I slept in on Saturday before meeting some friends for an early lunch.  I had planned on putting in some quality time on the trainer with my IM Louisville Spinervals.  Sadly, I felt worse after lunch.  And so the story continued through Sunday and Monday...

On Monday after having chills and worsening symptoms I was so frustrated I knew I needed to go to the doctor.  Normally I am able to work out through colds, allergies, etc.  Not this one, this was kicking my butt. Any attempt at movement and I needed to lay down and rest for an hour.  The doc hooked me up with some meds to knock out a nasty bacterial sinus infection.  I was still growing increasingly frustrated - I wasn't able to workout at all - let alone hit my 26 hours for the week.  Deep breaths it was going to be ok - Louisville is still 168 days away, I still have 5 weeks before my first important race, and look at how far I've come this year.  Use the rest to reinvigorate your mind and body, let the body heal.

How often do you schedule rest or active recovery days into your plan?

I returned to work on Wednesday and promptly drove to the park after to get in what I though would be an each 3 mile run.  It was anything but easy - my pace was about 45 seconds slower than where it should have been and my perceived exertion was through the roof!  First run back, still feeling a little sick, I tried to tell myself it was good I was out there but my thoughts went to - "there's no way you can PR you HM next weekend?"  "You have no shot at hitting a 10k PR at USAT Coll. Nationals in April"", etc.  I pushed through workouts on Thursday and Friday - they still felt tough, but I do believe I made some small improvements.

Has your pace dropped with a sickness?  How long did it take you to get it back?

Start of 15, 41, 45, 66, and 105 mile routes through Cartersville!
I was very excited to have some nice weather for the weekend and headed out to the Budweiser Plant in Cartersville for a good long ride.  I've been told the courses around Cartersville are similar to what I'll see in Louisville with the rolling hills.  I figured I'd give it a try.  To my surprise the routes were pretty nicely marked on the road and there were plenty of cyclists out and about.  I even made a friend - a he rode 50 miles less than me, but pushed me through the last 15 miles hard.  I always ride better with other people.  This workout was a great mental pick me up to the challenging week I had coming back from being sick.  I got in 86 miles on the bike and 4 miles on the run in beautiful sunny weather - I couldn't ask for more.

It was about time I found a good training ground in Georgia.  The Silver Comet is good, but boring and can get quite crowded.  I drove the whole way home smiling and happy about the great workout.  Not that this makes me want to stay in Georgia, but it is an added bonus - it can go on the pro side of my pro and con list :)

Taking a few days off let me take some time to think about my training plan.  In general it's still a good plan in terms of base, build, peak, race, and recovery but the hours were a bit, crazy.  I found myself completing my '2 hour workouts' in 1.5 hours and then just filling in the other 30 minutes with "stuff".  Also with the addition of Collegiate Nationals to my schedule it's important for me to be fast in April.  I will refocus my running to more high intensity efforts starting this week :).  I am excited for this.  I do believe I can still PR my HM, perhaps not by as much as I would have hoped but definitely possible.  Seeing my pace fall by so much with the sickness was almost devastating.  Tomorrow I will do a high intensity effort of 2 x 5000m on the track to get a bit of a base point.  I'm excited to be adding intensity and dropping duration a bit - written in the plan to begin in a couple weeks but as I mentioned when I created the plan "I have to be open to change".

"I never said it would be easy, I promised it would be worth it."