Sunday, April 26, 2009

Big Bike Week

Through out the off-season I followed the guidance of Endurance Nation and focused on getting fast before going far and therefore all my workouts were intense, but short. To help get a jump start on building up some endurance Rich and Patrick recommend doing a big bike week during the spring. If you check out the Endurance Nation blog you will find 3 detailed post about how to plan a bike bike week and the benefits of it.

To fit the bike bike week into my life, I took advantage of our EN Wisconsin Camp and added a few more days before and after of riding. I would preferred to do 4-5 days of longer rides, but work and the weather both significantly constrained me so I did the best I could. I also continued to run, but did all easy running during this time and reduced my running volume to let me recover from the bike workouts.

Workout Summary:

  • Thursday: 1 hour on trainer with 3 x 10 @ FTP - 81.3 TSS / 0.91 IF / 232 NP / 23 miles - 30 minute easy run

  • Friday: 5:15 EN group ride - 296.4 / 0.75 / 193 / 90 miles - 30 min brick run

  • Saturday: 2:00 EN group ride - 98 / 0.72 / 185 / 31 miles - 60 min easy run

  • Sunday: 2:00 on trainer - 146.5 / 0.86 / 220 / 46 miles - 50 min swim

  • Monday: 1:00 on trainer with 3 x 10 @ FTP - 81.2 / 0.91 / 231 / 25 miles - 30 min easy run

  • Tuesday: 1:00 on hotel bike - Estimated 55 / 0.75 / 190 / 18 miles - 60 min easy run

  • Wednesday: 1:00 on hotel bike - Estimated 55 / 0.75 / 190 / 18 miles - 60 min easy run


  • Bike: 13:15 / 813 TSS / 251 Miles

  • Run: 4:30 / 36.9 Miles

The Results are still to be determined, but initially I can say I'm shocked how well my body handled all the hours in the saddle. In fact I felt pretty strong throughout most of the 7 days. The only time I was really struggling was on the Saturday ride in the cold rain when I was freezing and my legs were a little tired from the 5 hour ride the day before. I did already see a nice CTL bump in my PMC chart, assuming I hold onto that fitness I should be in a good place by June for IM 70.3 Kansas.

Time to recover from the big bike week and shift my focus to running for two weeks and prepare for a half marathon.

Endurance Nation Wisconsin Camp

Thanks to Endurance Nation and a few of the members in the midwest, I had the opportunity to attend a training camp in Madison this weekend. The idea of this camp came up late last year and through the EN forums a few of us figured out a date and decided to do it. Jim and Hayes then took the lead, organized the group, found a cabin to stay at and before we knew it we had 20 people from around the midwest training together for a weekend. Rich Strauss, one of the coaches and founders of Endurance Nation, even flew in from LA to ride with us and support us at a free camp. How cool is that?

I went to this camp with the intention to ride as much as possible for three days and no other goals. Thanks to the weather, that goal was limited a little but I left with a lot more then I expected. Instead of writing another novel, here are some thoughts...

  • I met a few more EN members that I only knew from the forums and had some great discussions with them. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone at the races this year and reading all of the great race reports.
  • This weekend was a humbling experience. At a little over 4 w/kg I was starting to consider myself a strong cyclist and I quickly learned I still have a way to go. My small size gives me a high w/kg and gets me up hills quick, but on the flats and downhills I can't hang with some of the guys with FTPs around 300. Just more fuel for the fire to keep me focused on raising my FTP.
  • Rich spent some time teaching us the rules of roadie rides and how to draft and pace line. For a guy like me that always trained on my own this was a great experience. At first I was pretty nervous and wouldn't get too close to others, but as the weekend went on I continued to get more relaxed and was even staying on someone's wheel in pouring rain at high speeds. I now have the confidence to give a roadie ride a try and more confidence in bike handing skills.
  • I already knew the weather in the midwest can change pretty quick, but Friday was over 80 degrees with 20 mph winds and some crazy gusts that would move we a few feet over. Saturday was in the 40s and 50s and pouring rain. The good news is I got comfortable riding in both conditions on parts of the actual ironman course. Another big confidence booster.
  • The first day I road for 5:15 at a little over my target watts and IF for the ironman and I was still able to finish strong and go for an easy brick run right after. That's a pretty great workout in April if you ask me... can't wait to see how much stronger I can get by August.
  • You can never have enough inter tubes, CO2 and practice changing flats. I ordered a few more tubes today (with long value stems) and if I don't flat enough this year in training, I will actually stop during a few rides to make sure I'm ready for race day.
  • I rode all weekend in only tri-shorts and had no discomfort at all, which is great because this year I want to race in tri-shorts from start to finish. The only problem was I lost about 10 pounds since last year and my tri-shorts were a little lose, so I heard about it all weekend from the guys. Rich, I ordered two pairs of smaller shorts today, but I'm still not shaving my legs.
  • I made the mistake of saying I had 3 more pounds to loose by IMWI to be at my goal race weight, and I never heard the end of it. Either way, the guys can continue to give me crap as much as they want, but I'm still going to try and drop the three pounds and start IMWI at the weight I think I need to be at to have a shot at a Kona slot. However, right after the race I'm looking for Noodle and will join him to eat as much as we can to put the 3 pounds and a few extra back on.
  • @Hayes - Thanks again for organizing the weekend and booking the place, you did an awesome job.

  • @Rich - Thanks for making the trip from LA to ride with us in the pouring rain and then answer questions for hours when we were stuck in a cabin because of the storms.

I can't wait to do this camp again next year and I think I might actually try to join a roadie ride now. This camp is just one more example of how EN is a good fit for me. If you are looking for the benefits of having a coach, plus the benefits of being on a team and are interested learning about your training and the science and methods behind it, check out endurance nation.

I'll include details about the rides I did when I post later this week on my Big Bike Week.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Surprise in the mail ...

So last night we got the mail and there was a thick and heavy normal sized envelope addressed to me. I opened it up and inside there was a third place medal and a letter from the March Madness Half Marathon.

Turns out that even though the results at the end of the race showed me finishing 6th in my age group, the first three placed overall and therefore I got 3rd in the age group. I think it's pretty cool the race director took the time to type up a letter explaining the situation and sent me the medal.

After the race I just wanted to get out of there so I could fit in a bike ride that day also, and I never even realized that on the printed results after the race the overall winners were still included in the age group standings...duh.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Some Recent Photos

It seems I have been writing a lot recently and not posting many pictures, so I figured it was time to upload a few recent ones.

A few miles into the March Madness Half Marathon. It's really hard to go slow for the first few miles, but it sure does pay off.

Trying to make up 6 more seconds in the last .1 miles of the half marathon and not pass out. My Garmin has me at a 5:15 pace right there. Finished at 1:20:06.

The sprint to the finish of the Bunny Dash 5k, this time I made it under my goal and finished at 16:59. Both Theresa and Jim took almost the exact same picture, but Jim managed to catch me with both feet in the air.

The Argon E-112 is all built and ready to go.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Final Run Test

I'm really glad I decided to skip the Shamrock Shuffle last week as I doubt it would have been a good final run test with the weather conditions.

Race Results

Instead I raced the Bunny Dash 5k yesterday morning with a few other local Endurance Nation members. This was the inaugural year for this race and it went over pretty well, I will likely head back next year if it fits in my schedule.

The weather was about ideal, upper 30s, only a slight wind and sunny. There were about 400 people registered for the race and the field didn't look nearly as competitive as the half marathon from last month.

I started out in the second row back and with in the first quarter mile there was a pack of 5 of us running in the lead. The first two guys were quickly increasing their lead and I looked at my watch and realized I was around 5:10 min/mile pace, so I backed off and let everyone go a little. I really wanted to try and hang with them, but my goal was 5:28 miles so I knew I had to hold back.

Well, it paid off as, I caught the 4th place guy right before mile marker one, and then passed 3rd place around 1.5 miles. The problem now was the leaders were long gone and I was alone for the rest of the race. Both first and second place came in close to 15:30...that is around a 5:00 mile pace.

I held my pace though and finished 3rd overall and 1st in my age group with a 16:59 at exactly my goal pace of 5:28 min/mile.

Therefore my vdot at the end of the Endurance Nation Out Season is just over 60. Looks like I have until September to pick up about one more vdot point and build up my endurance.

First Long Ride on the New Bike

After the race I went home and took my new tri-bike out for my first long ride of the year. Thanks to some great feedback from Rich, Patrick and Jim over at Endurance Nation the fit felt great. In fact I road 3:07 and I was in the aero bars for over 3 hours of it easily with no discomfort, other then my butt and neck which is normal this time of year.

I was able to get in some FTP intervals and then hold close to 85% of my ftp for the rest of the ride. I have my power tap set up now so I cannot see my speed while I ride to force me to only pace myself on power.

I got home and checked the totals... 210 TSS, .82 IF and I covered a little over 62 miles in 3:07 all after a 5k PR. Last year in peak shape right before a 2:29 half ironman split I was riding the same loop for 3 hours and typically covering 57-59 miles.

Upcoming Training

I have about 11 weeks until Ironman 70.3 Kansas and will losely be following the Endurance Nation Basic Week plan with the addition of a few more runs. As the weather permits I'm going to start getting out on Saturdays and Sundays for more 3+ hour rides in to start building up my endurance, but I'm also going to continue to focus on getting a few quality bike and run workouts in during the week. Ideally I would like to meet my ftp and vdot goals for the year by June, therefore allowing me to really shift my focus from June to August on endurance and execution.