Race Report – Bolder Boulder (5/26/2014)

Bolder Boulder

Wow, what a day… The Bolder Boulder is one of the largest 10K races in the United States, with 45,754 people participating. It’s held on Memorial Day, which is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the men and women who dies while serving in the armed forces. So, I did want to take a moment to thank those who have served, and to honor those who have fallen.

Memorial Day

The race was absolutely great. The weather could not have been better, being about 59F/15C when we started, and warmed up to about 63F/17C at the finish. My wave started at 7:34am, so the sun was up, but it was still nice and cool. I kept a decently slow pace throughout the race, trying to mimic the pace at which I would go for a much longer distance, so I stayed in zone 2-3 until the last kilometer. My pace was about 8:50/mile for the first 9K, then I kicked it up to about 6:45 for the home stretch. All in all, I could not have been more pleased with the result. I’ve run the race in 2011, 2012 and this year. Since I didn’t race last year, I didn’t have a qualifying time, so I was required to start with non-qualified runners. This made it crowded and unpredictable, as I had to weave in and out through people walking and slowly jogging. Next year, I’ll be starting in a qualified wave, so I will get to start earlier. Here are the stats:

Overall Place: 9111 out of 45754

Division Place: 105 out of 364 (my division is all male 46 year-olds)

Gender Place: 6350 out of 20976

Next year, depending on my race schedule, I’ll give it my all, and see how well I can do. The top 22 guys in my division all ran under a 7:00/mi. pace, which I know I can’t do, so my goal next year will be to place in the top 50-60 in my division, which would put me in the top 10% overall. It’ll require a pace of about 8:05-8:15/mile, which I’m hoping I can keep up for 10K. Very achievable, especially with some focus.

I will post an event report for the GORUCK Challenge, which is happening on June 6-7. Until then…

Train On!!!

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Week 14 – The Saga Continues (5/19/14-5/25/14)

Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated

So here we are, done with Week 14. Unbelievable. Just 10 weeks to go until the big event: Ironman Boulder. At this point, I have just finished Base 2, and I’m moving on to Base 3. This will be the last phase in which I’m really trying to add to my base fitness. The foundation is almost complete… then on to the Build phase, where I’ll be working on strength and speed. I’m also only a bit more than a week away from the GORUCK Challenge, which is similar to what I did a couple of weeks ago, but this time with double the weight, and for twice the duration. It’s going to be tough, for sure.

Week 14

The week was spent on the road again, this time in San Francisco. I was able to travel on Monday, which is my recovery day, so that was great. I needed that after my long ride on Saturday, where I had pushed it pretty hard. I was at a conference from Monday-Thursday, so I had to spend a lot of time on my feet again. That is starting to be pretty tedious. The biggest issue with it is that it hampers recovery. I can really feel that at the end of a long day, when my feet hurt and my legs are San Franciscotired. You just push through it, of course, because there is no real alternative, but it’s not great.

The workouts got done, even though I was on the road. The closest gym in which I could swim had three lanes, and they were all pretty narrow. It was crowded, so I had to share a lane each time. On Tuesday, the guy next to me chose to do the butterfly about half the time, which is not the stroke I would have chosen for a crowded lane… just sayin’… The swim on Thursday wasn’t bad, and I was back in Colorado for my swim on Friday, so that seemed luxurious in comparison!

The bike sessions get boring when you have to spend an hour or more on a spin bike, especially after swimming. The worst part for me, though, is that I don’t get the data that I’m used to when I ride my own bike. I like to have power, distance, pace, etc. In fact, I’m obsessed with it, as many of you know that either know me, or read this blog. I can usually sustain the mental anguish of hours spinning, looking at a wall, but it’s the lack of data that drives me insane.

On Saturday, I got in another long ride. Better than therapy, in my opinion. The weather was finally warm enough that I didn’t have to bundle up like crazy, and the roads weren’t crowded. It really was the best ride in a long time. The durations continue to increase, so I’m now on the hunt for a riding partner that is about my level, so we can ride at the same pace for these 4-to-5 hour rides. Also, I’ll start doing my long rides on the course itself, to become familiar with each climb, each turn, etc. There was a new course map announced this week, for both the bike and the run, based on damage from last year’s massive flooding. Hats off to the City of Boulder for all the work done to repair damage. There are still some bad areas. I’ll be doing my long runs on the course, too.

Nutrition was primarily in check, although never easy when eating out every single night. The calorie count each day continues to rise, along with the exercise duration, so the fueling is working properly. I haven’t gained or lost any weight, and the body fat percentage is dropping, a tiny bit at a time.

I’m home again for the next week, but it looks like I’ll be traveling for 3-out-of-4 weeks in June. Sigh….

I hope everyone has a fantastic week. I will be posting a special race update for the Bolder Boulder 10K, after running that on Memorial Day (5/26). Until then…

Train On!!!

Week 13 – Clearing My Head (5/12/14-5/18/14)

This week, I had to clear my mind of last week, and essentially “reboot” to get focused and back on track. The good news is that it was a good training week, and a good week all around. I’m ¾ of the way through Base 2, and looking forward to finishing out another training block. I’ve got 11 weeks to go at this point, which seems like it’s just around the corner.

I had a great training week, managing to get all my workouts in. Nutrition was balanced, but I’m struggling with some gastro-intestinal issues on my swims. Might be a nutrition thing, or it’s possible that I’m gulping too much air. Not sure, but I’ll be relating my specific nutrition with those sessions to see if there’s a correlation. I was up late on Saturday night, having an awesome dinner with a good friend. It make it more difficult to get up on Sunday morning (I was up way past my bedtime) but that’s ok. We can’t get so focused on training that we don’t enjoy life.

My friend Kristi did Ironman Texas on Sunday (congratulations Kristi!!! Great job!!!). Very inspirational to see someone you know go through it. It wasn’t her first one, but none of them are easy. Can’t wait to hear the gory details…

As promised, let’s talk about some new things I’ve learned lately. From a nutrition perspective, let’s talk about vitamins, minerals and supplements. First on the list: vitamin D. I learned that proper levels of this critical vitamin help prevent stress fractures, which are pretty common in our sport, and happen as a result of regularly increasing mileage. It’s even more effective when combined with calcium, which seems more like common knowledge. Good sources of vitamin D are salmon and sunlight, but can also be taken as a supplement. Many calcium supplements also have vitamin D as an addition. It’s interesting to note that calcium/vitamin D supplements work best when taken at night, just before going to sleep. I take gummy chewable ones just before bed. Vitamin D deficiency has also been show to create stress and anxiety, so daily doses may help in this area, too.

The other supplement I learned more about is glucosamine. I take a dose every morning, with breakfast, with the simple knowledge that it helps my joints, but I never knew why. Recently, my not-so-little-anymore Saint Bernard puppy, Huckleberry, crossed the 160 pound mark, just having turned 1 year old.

As a big dog, he has tremendous pressure on his young joints, so I give him glucosamine, too. He developed a limp last week, which had me worried that his elbow or shoulder was injured (turned out to just be growing pains: panosteitis), and while talking to the veterinary surgeon, he told me about how glucosamine is actually an anti-inflammatory. It works by increasing the production of a specific enzyme that reduces joint inflammation and encourages healing. Because this is how it works, the effect is cumulative, and requires both an initial ramp-up period, and consistent dosing, to ensure the enzyme is present. Over a period of months, the enzyme builds up, but if there is a significant break during which it isn’t taken, you have to start over. The enzyme dissipates, and must be slowly regenerated over another time period, perhaps as long as 24 weeks. Don’t expect to feel the effects of glucosamine, as it’s really a preventative treatment. Absorption of glucosamine is helped by the addition of chondroitin, so when purchasing it, make sure to look for this. Also, since there’s no regulation around supplements (by the FDA), it’s important to look for quality brands. Although the specific amount of glucosamine can’t be assured, going the cheap route here isn’t a good thing. You’ll get what you pay for. Look for glucosamine sulfate, if possible, instead of glucosamine hydrochloride. Finally, start by taking 1,500mg of glucosamine with 1,250mg of chondroitin.

More next week on new, cool things. Until then…

Train On!!!

Week 12 – Vegas Train Wreck (5/5/14-5/11/14)

This pretty much sums up how this week went. My training pretty much left the tracks right after the GORUCK event on May 3rd. I took Sunday off, based on two things: 1) I was traveling to Las Vegas, and 2) I was so completely exhausted and sore from GORUCK that I needed the extra day. Little did I know that the trend would continue throughout the week.

I arrived in Vegas Sunday afternoon, with solid plans to get my swims, runs and rides done on schedule. Work, however, got me started about 7am each day, and I was out really late each night. Not really conducive to a training regimen. I did swim and bike throughout the week, and got one run in, but overall, they weren’t quality workouts, and despite my intentions, it was a poor performance.

I stayed on track, mostly, with nutrition, making sure to get all my meals and snacks in. Some of my food choices weren’t the best, and I had more alcohol than I should have throughout the week. That affected my training, also.

I’m halfway through the second base period, and overall fitness is still improving. My workouts are starting to involve small elements of Zone 3, mostly involving pushing it a bit harder on hills (on the bike), and incorporating 4-8 pickups on the mid-week runs.

On Sunday, Mother Nature stepped in, once again, and we got 2 feet of snow. Enough, already… didn’t spring begin way back in March? I had a very decent ride on Saturday, and did my long run on the treadmill on Sunday (yuck). An hour and 50 minutes on the treadmill is not the most awesome experience. Glad I stuck with it, though.

Next week, I’ll be back home, and given some decent weather, I think training should go well. I need to make the most of it, because I’m on the road again the following week. I also will spin up another educational post next week. I’ve learned a few things lately, and I’ll share in my next post.

Until then…

Train On!!!

Week 11 – Change of Scenery (4/28/14-5/4/14)

Well, that was different…

This is a pic of my team from the GORUCK Light event on May 3rd. I’m in the first row, on the end (dark green shirt). We covered a lot of ground, carried a lot of weight (including at least a couple of team members, just about the whole way), and had a great time. As far as the physical part, it was pretty tough. My shoulders, arms, core, and legs are really sore, and I pretty much lost the skin on both elbows and both knees, from having to low-crawl across a grass/dirt field multiple times. Pain, but in a good way… I would recommend these events to just about anyone that doesn’t have a severe physical disability. They’re great. Check it out: http://www.goruck.com/en/Events#.U2eUAk1eEdU

As for the week’s training and nutrition, all is well. On Tuesday, I managed to get a 2,000 yard swim in, followed by a 1 hour bike. Long workout, but oh, so good. A decent run on Wednesday, and another double workout on Thursday. I actually took Friday off, knowing I was doing GORUCK on Saturday. Glad I did, because by the time I finished GORUCK, I was completely spent. Slept good, though!

Next week is a travel week. Back to Vegas.

Week 10 – Preparation (4/21/14-4/27/14)

“It’s not the will to win but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference.”

  • Paul William “Bear” Bryant

During his 25-year tenure as Alabama’s head coach, Bryant amassed six national championships and thirteen conference championships. Upon his retirement in 1982, he held the record for most wins as head coach in collegiate football history with 323 wins.

His statement about preparation is a great quote, and speaks to a crucial topic for us, as triathletes. Race day is not the most difficult day. It’s those days that you have to get out of bed when you’re tired, unmotivated, and trying to tell yourself that missing today’s workout really won’t make a difference in the bigger picture. Those are the difficult days. Those workouts do make a difference, but more than that, it’s the will to push through it that will make a difference on race day. Even though we spend an extraordinary amount of time preparing our bodies for the task, when we’re pushing toward the finish, we must be mentally strong. We prepare mentally using the same methods we do for our physical preparation: practice and repetition. We must always be intentional in our preparation, and be consistent.

These concepts are easier talked about than actually done, of course. To maintain this mental focus, there are many important factors, such as proper structure and predictability to your training, good nutrition, rest, and the support of friends and family, which cannot be underestimated. Who helps keep you motivated? Who listens as you recite your workout stats, brag about a new threshold power value, or gives you kudos for sticking to your training schedule, despite whatever difficulties you may be encountering? Whoever that is, go thank them. We need support, as endurance athletes, to maintain that motivation.


Workout Report

Here we are, having completed Week 10:

Base period 1 is done! It’s exciting to complete milestones on the way to that big goal later in the year. It was a good week. I’m giving myself a B this week, because I missed a very important workout. At the end of a period, like where we are now, it’s important to measure progress by performing some testing. I was supposed to do a lactate threshold test (running) on Friday, but after a long swim, I ran out of time. I’m not sure if I’ll do the test this week or wait until the end of Base 2 (which is more likely). I’m due for another test down at the Colorado Center for Health and Sport Science (COCHSS). That’s where I’ve performed my VO2 max testing in the past. I used their exercise bike for the test last time, but this next time, we’re going to do the test on my bike, on the trainer, using my PowerTap and Garmin, so we can measure those results against the test equipment. Should be interesting. When we get the results, we’re going to calculate the zones based on multiple methods, and see where we end up. I’m very hopeful that the upper limits of each zone will have increased since I did my last formal test on December 31st. I can certainly feel a higher level of fitness, in that I can push more power for the same heart rate than I could back in December/January. I’ll keep everyone posted on the results.

Nutrition Report

I get an A- this week for nutrition. I ate very well, but I didn’t take in enough calories to sustain the training program. My Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is currently 1,855 calories. Therefore, I have to eat at least that many calories, plus however much I exercise, to remain at a balanced weight. I understand there’s much more than just calories that is part of that equation, but very simply speaking, that’s the math. Last week I averaged a deficit of more than 200 calories per day. From a nutrition perspective, that could impact my training, especially as I get into higher intensity exercise, which will require more glycogen. Have to keep the fuel tank full!

As always, thanks for reading, and Train On!!

 

 

Week 9 – Home, Sweet Home! (4/14/14-4/20/14)


I’m back in beautiful Colorado. Home, sweet home…


Workout Report

Although it was a tough week, I’d have to say that it was a pretty epic training week. I’m giving myself an A for the workouts because I stayed with the program, got EVERY SINGLE workout in, and even did my makeup workout on Monday. In all, it was over 12 hours of training, four double workouts, and even included a 51 mile session on the trainer… yikes!

Here’s where we are, from a training plan perspective:



That brings me to my topic of the week, periodization. I have talked about it a little in previous posts, but this deserves another look. Periodization is a training concept in which a year, or a specific part of the year, is divided into periods. In each period the athlete focuses on improving a specific aspect of fitness while maintaining the gains made in previous periods. Training by following the concepts of periodization is the most likely way known today to achieve athletic success. The initial periods focus on very general training, which is intended to improve base fitness. As the training plan progresses, the training becomes much more specific, and focuses on particular skills to gain improvement. If the general training is skipped, then the specific training will not be nearly as effective. The patience to sustain during the preparation and initial base phases are the path to future performance gains.

The initial phases of the plan involve longer workouts, typically at lower intensities. This builds aerobic fitness, which improves endurance. Once the later stages have been reached, the workouts will have shifted to shorter, more intense workouts, which improve force, speed, muscular endurance, and anaerobic endurance. To properly progress between the stages, an athlete should perform a performance test, like a lactate threshold test, at the beginning of each stage. This gives the proper information to be able to determine the proper zones, and thus be able to train at the right intensity. The construction of a training plan that is comprised of the proper periods is a completely different topic, and is too much content to add to this particular blog post.

Joe Friel has published many books and white papers on this topic, and is considered to be one of the industry’s leading experts on the development of training plans based on periodization. You can find further information on one of his many sites:

joefrielsblog.com

trainingbible.com

trainingpeaks.com

For my chart below, the thin line is the planned duration, and the blue bars are the actual duration. You can see the periodization, as the volume goes up to a certain point and then, at the end of the period, drops a bit, then climbs again throughout the period. You can clearly see the taper just before the race, where the volume drops off drastically. The recovery days in the middle of each week are where the thin line drops to zero.



The intention, remember, is to retain the skills and fitness that you achieved in the prior period, and build on that further. It requires planning, specific training, and proper recovery to do that, not to mention nutrition.

I hope this helps people understand some of the fundamentals of periodization. I’m happy to provide further information, too, for anyone who’s interested. My obsession with data plays perfectly into periodization. If you want to get more fit, then measure your progress. The same goes for speed, endurance, strength, and all aspects of triathlon.

Nutrition Report

I decided not to put the nutrition chart in this week. I ate really well all week (thus the A grade), but the table wasn’t formatting well on mobile devices, so I am going to work on that, and may implement a different way in the future.

As always, thanks for reading, and Train On!!