28 April 2011

ECCC Championships: TTT, Road Race, Crit

My first (and, sadly, last) collegiate race weekend - well at least as an undergrad - was at Penn State this past weekend. It also was my first Criterium and Team Time Trial! Being Class D has its perks and its downfalls. The major downfall is early ass races: now this wouldn't be so bad in warmer climates - but in the northeast is usually wet and cold. Saturday we had the TTT @ 8:45AM, which was followed by the Road Race @ 10:10AM. Both races were at the Black Moshannon State Park, definitely the most awesome cycling area to which I have been!

As the races were so close together and Kevin, Chris, and I were doing our first TTT the plan was to use it as a solid effort warm up, but by no means to go balls out and hurt our chances in the RR. The real plan was to beat RIT, by whatever margin. It was a 9.5 mile course, with two pretty long, but not too steep, climbs. We hit it from the start at a solid tempo, but definitely not too taxing of a pace. We only needed two finishers - which would allow for the eventual drop of one of our three. Surprisingly, in an extremely short time, we caught the team that started before us - the starts were separated by 30 seconds. Sadly RIT was starting after us so we wouldn't have a good gauge of how far ahead/behind they might be. We came up the first climb at an okay clip and then hit the downhill. Chris took a massive pull for nearly the entire downhill section, which ended up being his last pull. Coming to a bit of a flat, we crossed a bridge and hit another uphill. We started to drop Chris and decided we should let him bridge back so he could give us another pull - but he was pretty toast from his massive pull and the climbs (he's a real solid sprinter, but Kevin and I are much more of climbers) - and we dropped him when we hit the next incline. From here on out Kevin and I took pulls at a solid tempo, neither of us caring to really push the pace. We finished feeling good about the fact that we were so smooth for having only practiced TTT once before. Later we realized we were only 6 seconds behind the winner (Bucknell) and about 2 minutes ahead of any other teams. So had we not waited up for Chris that first time, or actually treated it like somewhat of a race, we likely would have had the win. Oh well, it was fun and a good experience. Oh yeah...and we beat RIT by about 3 minutes.

Now, for the REAL event, 21.5 mile Road Race. Two Category 5 climbs, and one (AWESOME) Category 2 climb! I was pretty excited for this race, as I am a big fan of big hills (aka mountains). The race was split between D1 and D2 - for school sizes, as the road conditions were slick at best and there were some very intense descents with hard turns. And, frankly, D's are not nearly skilled enough to be trusted in a pack of 60+ on such a course. So the race went out, immediately into one of the smaller climbs, at a pretty conservative pace. Once we got a mile or so in people started to actually bike, and some of the guys who didn't ride all season were probably getting strung out already - poor souls. Lots of hills to go solo. We came to the first descent, which seemed to last forever - and at mid-30's MPH that's a long distance. Once we got to the next climb Kevin said, "Oh wow, we get to use our legs again". I was spinning a little during the downhill without actually accelerating, just to keep my legs moving. The second climb broke up the pack some - but mainly strung out some of the riders, many of whom were able to reattach on the following downhill as riding along was very beneficial in our race as no one was crushing the downhills and being alone you had more freedom to cruise. The third climb, as we expected, provided the separation of the field that was purely inevitable. About two-thirds up the climb, Kevin started to work the pace a little - but still within his comfort zone. Many people responded, but only a Lehigh guy and myself pushed the front with Kevin. We came down the next descent still the three of us having a noticeable lead. It was really foggy and we didn't have good visibility. So the hard left leading into the Cat 2 climb came as a surprise, despite knowing it was going to come eventually. I was pulling at this point and barely slowed enough to make it through the turn - I went probably an inch onto the gravel, but only did so because I could use it and the pavement-gravel transition was smooth. Had it been a drop off I could've cut harder to stay on the pavement. However, I heard a wheel lock up and bounce behind me and I turned around just in time to see Kevin go straight into the guard rail and flip over it! While I was still watching in concern/shock I saw he was already on his feet, thank god! He definitely was going to be a little way back, but appeared to be well collected. Apparently he dropped his chain and shifted his handlebars - both pretty quick fixes. And he was 300-400 yards back, on his bike, and hauling ass to get back with myself and the Lehigh guy. I was pretty sure Kevin would be able to make a good effort and catch up, so I made sure to go as slow as possible. Every pull I took, I slowed the pace down. And sometimes I went to take a pull and very slowly decreased my speed so the Lehigh guy didn't notice. Eventually he started taking pulls as he may have thought that I was going to get dropped. But he signaled for me to pull, and I flat out said, "Dude, my teammate crashed and I want him back up here. So I'm not going to put in any work, go ahead and do what you please." So he pulled for a while, but didn't make any moves whatsoever. Shortly, Kevin caught back up - but was toast - as it was over a mile of him kicking it in pretty hard just to get back to us. I pulled for a little while to ensure Kevin some additional recovery. He came up by my side and I told him to tuck his ass in and recover. He didn't come up to take a pull though. He told me to go ahead and surge, that I'd cleanly have the win if I made a good move. I told him I was waiting for him to recover, but he insisted. So I jumped and put in a good 15 seconds of work, gaining 20m or so. Sat back down and kept the tempo up until I couldn't see Kevin and the Lehigh guy anymore as they were lost in the fog. At this point I was pretty sure I had the race in the bag, but made sure not to take it for granted. I continued to ride steadily and comfortable to and though the climb. At this point I started passing an absurd amount of riders from the D1 race, pretty surprisingly just blowing past them. Once I crested the peak - that was about 4.5 miles into my solo break. I just cruised the downhill, enjoying that I had the pace car tracing out my line for me. I hit 45.2MPH somewhere along the way, which is moving along quite good, but was comfortable every bit of the descent. Finally I came around to the last turn - a hard left about 600m from the finish. And figured I'd kick it in and enjoy putting in a solid finish. I cruised home easily to victory by a margin of 70 seconds, over my teammate Kevin, who recovered from his crash and surge - and dropped the Lehigh guy by one minute! Well done by him, for sure. Chris had a good race overall, especially consider climbing is not his forte, finishing 11th.

Now for the exciting race: my first Criterium ever. I was nervous for this race in the sense that I really didn't know how it worked except for off-hand accounts. I had never seen, nor been to, a crit before. So I was both very excited and a bit nervous. I had a lot on my side in that I had two solid teammates with me, some great tight riding work (Portland Velo Club rides, specifically the sprint at the end of the Saturday ride), and was sitting on a win from the day before against pretty much the same field. The course: 30min race, 1K, 6 turn (L,L,L,R,L,L), pretty flat, only one decent straightaway on the start/finish. Turn 1-2 was a little down-up, 2-3 was false flat, 3&4 were a tight S-turn, 4-5 was flat, 5-6 flat, then the slight downhill straightaway 6-1.

The Race: I wanted good position to start the race, so I made sure to get on the front line. I screwed this up when I didn't get my clip completely in, but only lost a few spots. I wanted to be 100% sure I would be within the top 10 the entirety of the race, regardless of pulls it required me to take. I settled in a lot better than I expected to. I took quite a lot of pulls during the race, but I never left my comfort zone - so I figured I'd have the gas to put a real strong effort in late race. I totaled 8-10 laps of pulling, which is WAYY too much had I been in any other race besides D's. The race moved along smoothly - a good chunk of the field got dropped due more to lack of comfort in tight quarters/cornering than actual skill. There were two primes: both of which the Army guy won, neither of which I worked for (although I made him work for the second one just to mess with him). There were no real solid attacks in the crit, but once or twice a few of us got 15m or so off the front and nothing came of it. Slowly the laps ticked away and despite pulling a lot, I was still feeling fresh with 10 to go and started thinking about when to make a move. I didn't want to do anything too early, so around 6 to go I started calling to Chris Jensen (my teammate) to come up and talk to me. I told him I wanted him up in the top 5 as I wanted to 1) give him good sprint position and 2) maybe break away with him. A couple of the guys in the race kept swinging in front of me just before turn 1, which ruined my attacking plan with 2 or 3 laps to go: I wanted to go HARD into and through turn 2, stand sprinting into 3, and take 3 & 4 extremely tight and hard. Then bust my ass to hold it. However, due to people jumping in front of me I had to resort to making my move on the last lap. Hamilton and RISD jumped in front of me going into the last lap, but I made a good turn on 1 and set myself up for 2. The typical line was to blow outside coming out of 2 to set up for 3. I noted this and cut hard into 2 (getting very tight on the wheel ahead/next to me) and just cranked out of the turn. This won me a solid inside position coming into 3, which I took at an uncomfortably fast and tough angle - this resulted in me going onto the 2-foot concrete gutter that separated pavement from curb. But was still in control. I settled and set up for 4. When I got through turn 4 I looked back and saw that I had a comfortable 20m+ lead. I kept the throttle down and comfortably had the win! Best part was, that despite getting pushed back on the later laps - Chris came out in third, thanks to his solid sprinting skills. Army took second - not surprising as he was notably strong in the field.

All in all - I absolutely love my first cycling race weekend. And now I really really want to do a stage race, especially if there is an ITT! The duathlon/triathlon season is now in session, but I hope to still get a few bike races in as they have been so enjoyable! Great job to Kevin Howard and Chris Jensen - going into races knowing your teammates are ready to kill it is a huge help and a massive boost to being comfortable and confident. And thanks to Drew Scoles and Ian Byrd for making sure I didn't get too worried about the minor details of races when it was most important to be confident and patient.

24 April 2011

MIA: In more ways than one.

It's been about one month since I last updated, and I was trying to keep it at 1-2 updates per week. A few weeks ago I started to come down with a little something, and instead of just taking it easy and recovering (water, sleep, etc), which I did, I added on a great deal of mental lapse and apathy that led to a rough(er) week than it would have been. On the bright side, I'm back at it and feeling great again (physically and - more importantly - mentally!). That week also showed me how critical proper nutrition and diet are to good performance. In response to my poor decisions nutritionally, I decided to buy the book Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes by Monique Ryan. So far (~60 pages) it's a great tool and I just want to get all the way through it so I can utilize the knowledge from it as a whole. However, it has been great as a read and reference (i.e. after my 50 mile ride today, it was good to see what exactly I should do to replenish my fuel stores).

Back to that last week of March: Thursday I came down with 'something' - I wasn't throwing up or miserable, but my body completely tanked it. I literally struggled on an 8:30 pace 2 mile run Friday. That made it very clear that I should bail on the cycling races last weekend (last weekend of Spring Giros...kinda bummed as I threw $30 for 2 races instead of 8. Oh well, health is more important...I suppose). It took a bit to recover from that, but the runs the next week resulted in total leg cramping. Then I got frustrated and had some additional mental lapse. I finally got myself fully back together about 2 weeks ago, losing a good nearly month of quality training. I recovered enough to feel mediocre going into a race last weekend: Bloomfield, NY. Cat 5 (29 and under) Road Race, 22.5 miles (2x11.25mi loop). Mostly rolling hills, but these were nothing compared to the snow and 40MPH winds...which sucked, to put it bluntly (and truthfully). The weather was ugly and not enough people came out to the race, so the two Cat 5 groups raced together, but were scored separately.

Going into the race I felt in far worse overall fitness than I was 3 weeks before at that first Giros weekend. However, I tried to put thoughts of this behind me and focus on the fact that I should be excited to race - not disappointed in my own faults and poor preparation. I didn't have the comfort I normally do at higher effort levels. For what hills there were I could seriously feel the 12 pounds I had gained. Normally I can cruise up a hill with a good rise of the heart rate, which falls pretty quick so long as no one tries to move hard out of the hill. But that day, I was struggling up the hills (rare) and my legs weren't coming back under me (more rare). I sat in most of the first lap, and was fine staying in the lead pack. On the second lap I tried to get my body back into the zone to feel speed, by taking a couple pulls and testing the field on some hills. But this was to no avail. Normally it would shake out the legs and get my confidence rolling, but at Bloomfield it actually cut me down. Nevertheless, I put in all I could as we came down to a field sprint finish. People sprinted out of the corner up the last hill, which was a fairly steep and short one about 800m from the finish. I went, hard, and as I crested the hill felt completely crushed. There were two guys (1 was in the 30+, 1 in my group) off the front by 25m, then myself and another 30+ guy who was just ahead of me, then my teammate, Kevin Howard. We were met with 45MPH crosswinds and snow. At this point myself and the guy with me were trying to battle the winds more than each other (especially as we knew fighting for position would not affect our placings). I pushed really hard but nothing wanted to go. We gained on the two leaders, but only closed the gap to about 1 second, or a good 10+ meters. I finished seconds in the 29 and under category. I was pleased with the result, considering my weight gain and fitness - but there was no reason I shouldn't have won if I were in the shape I was in March. The winner (and of the 29 and under race) was a strong rider, but I had beat him in both Giros that I raced.

Needless to say, I'm now back on track and working hard. ECCC (Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference) Championships were this weekend. Expect a race report mid-week. Races: TTT, RR, Crit.

22 March 2011

Giros Weekend 3: Sunday (My Second Race)

Last. Night. Sucked. I could not, for the life of me, fall asleep. I went into bed ready to rest up just before midnight, leaving a respectable 8 hours for rest (more would be nice but oh well). At around 2:00AM I gave up and played some Call of Duty: Black Ops to pass the time and hopefully get me into a mindless state in order to pass out. It didn't go so great and I had major food cravings at 3:00AM, eating about 1/3 of a box of Frosted Flakes and a bunch of dark chocolate covered almonds (yumm). Regardless, at the time I knew it was going to cause major stomach issues tomorrow but it was necessary to try to get me to sleep. All in all, I fell asleep at 4:00AM. OUCH!

I woke up, obviously surprised at how early it felt, at 8:00AM. Got a really small breakfast (1 packet Oatmeal and Banana) and just felt very not good. Stomach issues all morning...I will leave it at that. Got all my stuff together, trying to forget I was very tired and horribly under-rested. Hopped in the car, slightly surprised by the chill in the air: it was 28 at that point, going to be 32ish at 10:00AM and about the same at 10:40AM, when the ride out would be done and the race would technically start. Today I decided to wear the CW-X Tights, which I hadn't yet worn on the bike (I was planning on running immediately after the race, making for a pretty rugged brick). Drove out with a lot of time to spare - especially because of the stomach. I was gonna rock the Generation UCAN, but my stomach was too much in shambles to put anything else into it. WHich frustrated me, because it would been perfect.

Enough of the boring stuff. RACE TIME!! Apparently it was a rather hefty crowd for a Sunday race, but that was more exciting than a let down to me. More people = more fun, more fun = more competition, more competition = more experience. Nota Bene: Transitive Property, therefore more people = more experience, and the Giros thrive!

Wasn't sure how the race was going to go today, but one word can sum it all up: Annoying. It wasn't really so much a race to win or make a break (for a few of us it definitely was) as it was mostly everyone not wanting Tim (3x1st place, 1x2nd place) to win. This caused every break to get broken about as quickly as it started. A couple guys tried to solo pound it out - one had an awesome effort that I respected quite a lot. But none of it turned to anything. There was one break at lap 2.5 (~22.5mi in out of 28.7mi) that I jumped on that I really thought had promise. The were some hills on the back straight that we used to make a really solid gap. Had at least 40 meters on the pack at one point. But, all of a sudden, everyone wanted to do work when they had been slacking mostly otherwise. So we got reeled back in, which was fair. But SOMEONE should have counter-attacked. It would have made for a true break that likely could have sealed off the peloton for the rest of the race, which was only a bit over 5K at this point. But no one did anything. They were satisfied at merely pulling in the leaders, which I believe is weakness.

It was destined to be a sprint finish. And that it was. After we got pulled back in I was pretty tired having bridged and taken a couple really hard pulls to try to keep the lead (to no avail). I dropped back in the pack, pretty sure no real break would happen (risky move, I know - but if you were there, you'd understand how the race was going). I recovered enough with about 2 miles left to start moving up: this is where I realized I could navigate the pack pretty well for this early in the season. I was in the mid 20's for position to start. Got to the high teens without much work or trouble, this made me feel good about my comfort in tight quarters. My next move had to be legitimate, as it was tighter here. I jump on a guy's wheel on the left and passed a handful, which got me in the top ten: slight surge, but nothing that would have major lasting effects. Then it got interesting. One guy on Rogue Racing, to whom I should donate my rollers, wobbled liked hell and almost took out everyone except the top 10, When this happened I got my wits about me very quick and moved into the top 10, where I needed to be in order to prep one last positional move for the sprint.

The usual suspects were at the front. Monroe extinguisher guy, Tim and a couple teammates, and a few other strong guys without big teams. We ate up a guy who tried to jump off the front, but didn't have enough - noble effort though, despite not the most intelligent move. But I give him real credit trying to make something when no one else did...this is not Le Tour. We were about 800m out and ready to go. Three jumped. I went HARD to get on wheel. Settled in. Picked off the guy who went off the front too soon with about 400m to go. Then one guy fell back just a bit. So it was three of us. We somehow just lined up three wide going into about 100m left and then hit it. I got a decent jump but was in too high of a gear, so I sat back down and recovered to downshift 2 gears. By that time no one had jumped on me and I was able to cruise in for the win, not having to dig super deep and put myself into pain. I didn't mind this as right after I was planning on doing a brick - so it worked out.

I was pleased with winning this race but sort of bummed that the race wasn't all that exciting. I'm looking forward to some breakaways and killer sprint finishes, especially within the breakaway group. That will probably feel a bit more like a sprint finish in a running race, which is a more aerobically crushing feeling but not as murderous on the muscles. I haven't had one of those yet, so hopefully will get it soon!

I finished off the day with a solid brick run. It ended up being 10K @ 6:56 pace, which I was thoroughly impressed by. It was definitely tiring, and my calves/quads were rather shot after the two races this weekend. But it was worth it. Chatted up with a Duathlon guy after my run and we're doing a brick next Sunday with the race. Should be fun!

19 March 2011

Let the Cycling Season Begin!!

Today was my first cycling 'race' of the year. And it seriously showed (I mean it!). The series is called the GVCC Spring Giros, a Saturday/Sunday circuit road race that is every weekend in March in the Rochester area. The UR Cycling Team uses these as our tune-up races to get into the racing zone and get the cobwebs out...which is always necessary, especially in cycling. I missed the first two weekends due to spring break, but I'm back and pretty pumped. Only catch, my one cycling race of last year, lack of experience, and minimal group riding this year will make for a very slow start to the season. Not a worry though, I'm well aware and prepared for using these races to get into racing mode and gain a lot of much needed skill and experience.

Todays Race: Giro #5 (4th Giro - #2 was cancelled due to 4-7 inches of snow), 3 loops, which equals something near 27 miles, but that is a bit of an overestimate. RunPartner tells me 8.5 so 8.5 it is!

Going into this thing I knew it was going to be rough. But I didn't think I was going to make it so hard for myself. There were a bunch of small breaks early on (first lap or so) that didn't come to anything. I was in a couple of them, but realized they weren't going hard enough to make something useful. So I stayed up front, took a few pulls, and waited for an attack. A break (which ended up being the true break that won) went and a couple minutes later a few of us bridged the gap. People fell off, and it really looked like the peloton was going to overtake us. At this point I was getting pretty much toast and didn't want to blow up. So I allowed myself to fall back to the group. My judgement was very poor. The break did not fall back. A few guys bridged right after I dropped off, but I didn't have it in me at the time to go with them. My fatal error, falling off the lead pack just because I thought we were going to get gobbled up. Lesson #1, Check!: When you commit. Stay committed, unless you literally get popped off. This error led to me working my ass off to get back in it. Since the contenders had surged, there were only a few guys willing to work to get the leaders back. This was not nearly enough, at least as unorganized as we were. Had three of us committed and went for the leaders, we could have made a really honest shot at it and likely gotten them. I discussed this with two guys after (guy named Mike being one of them).

Because of my miscalculation I took it upon myself to work as best as I could to reel them in. The group was 5 people, and by the end was 2. Without my hard work I think we would have only caught 2 of them, leaving 3 off the front. Sadly, one of those individuals we caught was Ronan (UR Team), who made a great move to get up with the leaders when I dropped back. After realizing I wasn't going to be in the winning group I worked hard as hell and made the race an excellent workout and really pushed myself. Lesson #2: Make a very well organized and timed attack to catch the leaders, however this was nearly impossible without knowing anyone at all who was in the peloton (Kevin and Chris were in the following groups).

Coming into the finish, I was in the main group and on the hill with about 1 mile to go I dropped back. This happened solely because I literally had no feeling in my hands (numbness + thick gloves, not cold) and could NOT, for the life of me, get into my small ring. I was watching my hand push the lever, but couldn't get it to engage. So that caused me to quasi-blow-up on the hill, giving the group 10 meters on me. The next part was downhill. I gave it all to regroup with them, entirely solo. It worked, miraculously. Now I was in shambles, trying to navigate through 15 people to make a shot at the sprint that led to this finish about 800m away. I narrowly rode the edge of the pavement and got up in the top 8 of the group (places 3-10 at this point). With 300m I hit the pedal (too soon, but people moved here and I wasn't about to let another gap open). The intensity dropped a little from 200m-125m to go.

With about 125m to go I pulled out with two other guys and went for it. Three (#3-5) had already gotten some slight ground and were fighting each other. Myself, and three others (#6-9), went at it. We lost one guy, passed one of the three ahead, and it was now clear we were very very tightly fighting for places 5-7. I pushed hard, and was dying - just like my competitors. The three of us finished within less than one-tenth of a second. One guy was about 6 inches ahead of me and I had 3 or 4 inches on the other guy. I ended up in a somewhat respectable 6th place, considering all my wasted energy.

Tomorrow will be interesting. I have NO idea in the world how my legs will feel in the race. I'll be fine for easy/moderate riding. But hills and pulls could get very interesting. Gonna do a 20 min rollers spin just to loosen up and stretch. See ya tomorrow!

11 March 2011

Food, Beer, Life.

I love food. I love beer. And most of all I love life. But without food and beer, life would lose some glory. Food and beer are like that delicious crunch that perfectly supplements the softness of a spectacularly baked cookie. As I approach that major transition into 'real life', cooking is being put on the front burner (NPI, but I hope you liked it). Both my mom and dad have instilled a joy of food (good food) in me from my early years. My dad didn't cook all that much, but he's darn good at it. He'll look at a few recipes, brainstorm, and just go with it. From the hip, not by the book is his style. Something new, but delicious, every time. He's definitely got a really good hold on some tricky stuff, which is surprising considering his lack of care to follow recipes to a T. I like that part of it all. When I cook, it is for enjoyment - mine and others'. My mom also carries a very creative aspect, she could make the simplest dish and it would be an instant classic. Two things I absolutely adore are her ground turkey dip and American chop suey. Definitely my favorite appetizer dish and entrĂ©e. The kicker is, both of them are so simple, but can be doctored any way you imagine. Mild, spicy, extra veggies, different spices or cheeses: each change gives it a unique flavor, and it's wonderful to have something just a bit new every time.

With this approach to being out of college, I'm experimenting more and more. My brother has also been a good influence as I know he will someday have a successful career in the food industry. He's got the heart, the joy, and the head for it. And he's got the brains to set up and run such a difficult undertaking. Since I've been home on break we've been toying with Mexican fusion styled food, which I've never made before so it's been fun and delicious. We made a good quesadilla dish with a couple different salsas earlier in the week. Tonight we made burgers with a Mexican styled Tzatziki dip. My brother made some baked potato chips, which were great with the dip. That being said, my food endeavors have only begun and I can't wait to have my own full kitchen and new cooking supplies.

Check out my Facebook for pictures of foods and beer!

04 March 2011

Upping The Volume

Now, as a runner, doing a lot of mileage is something I discuss and come by very often. Especially knowing people training for marathons and doing up to 120 miles per week I know well of how rigorous that level of training is. Personally, I have never approached that level of training in volume. My biggest mileage week ever was 72.7 miles off of pure running, which totaled at about 8.7 hours and consisted of 4 (yes, 4) doubles. So not that impressive of a 70+ mile week seeing that this winter I was averaging about 10 miles per day of running for 5 days in a week on top of swimming and biking. Anyways, 70+ miles was a lot for me - it eventually led to my injury that fall (2007).

Today, I wouldn't consider dropping a 70 mile week as that would have no applicability to my current training. However, I have really amped up the training the past few weeks. I went from my typical 13-15 hours per week up to around 20 hours. I was on pace this week until vacation began and I had to make an early trip to Boston. I'm staying with my brother this weekend and maybe through mid-week. Got a lot of crazyness going on so training will be on the backburner until further notice. I'm not too concerned about it as a little downtime may actually be good for me as I did ramp up the volume pretty hard, and I was starting to feel a little bit of minor aches and what I think is just the effects of over-training. It was a real good 3 week test of what I could pump out for net volume and see how I responded. At this point I'm definitely tired and there were for sure some workouts that flat out sucked. I liked getting to that point of just grinding out a 2:15 long bike ride when I had no desire in the world to do it - just to know I could get it done.

So the volume build was successful: I found that I can handle about 20 hours per week, even if it resulted in a bit of overtraining. The rougher days were when I didn't get as much sleep as others. Whenever I got 9 or more hours I felt pretty darn solid, less than 7 was a bit tough. What I think is going to be critical to success is maintaining swimming volume (although I don't have access to a pool in Boston), making cycling workouts A LOT more intense, and keeping running about where it was - maybe add in a tempo as part of a brick. The cycling thing will come pretty naturally as the UR Cycling season is getting rolling along.

That's it for now - volume build was good and I definitely learn some stuff. And now the key is intensity and quality.

22 February 2011

And The Planning Begins

It's that time of year. Well, it's actually 'that time of year' all year long, as I never halt consideration for a race schedule. After speaking with Kurt, he asked I get on top of what I plan for my feasible 2011 race schedule. Sorry to disappoint everyone - I ditched a couple 'focus' running races and currently have no Half Ironman distance event on there, as the focus is Olympic Distance. Early season triathlon out in Rochester is a bust...but there are a few duathlons, which I can't complain about as they can actually act as a very good icebreaker for my multisport season. In addition, with being on the cycling team here at the U of R, I will have a rather full schedule of spring cycling races. Such races that could begin as early as March 5th. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is two weeks from Saturday. Yep...I'm saying holy crap to myself too. I'm keeping the ol' multisport schedule unofficial at the moment - but it'll be posted pretty soon. As a note, I'll likely be making a special section of the blog for my Recent Results/Upcoming Races.

Now that I've got a good chunk of the logistical stuff out of the way, the "goal" race of the season is USAT Age Group (AG) Nationals: August 20th, 2011 in Burlington, VT. This is obviously a qualification based race: either a top 10% AG finish in any USAT Certified Olympic Distance event, or top 33% AG finish in one of two Special Qualifier Races (one in CT - 6/18, one in VT - 8/7).

Monday was a great training day. Despite only getting 5.5 hours of sleep due to a midterm group assignment that we handed in at noon, the training went well. Woke up at 6:15AM and trudged through the fresh snow for the 0.75 mile walk over to the athletic center (no bus before 7:30AM). Hit up the pool and got in a fairly easy 2000yd (1.14mi) swim with some drills thrown into the mix. Finished up the assignment, had a meeting, then hit the gym to run inside - as the footing outside would still be miserable and it was a somewhat hefty training day. On the treadmill did a progression run: one mile @ 8:00, two miles @ 7:30, three miles @ 6:58, then a warm down mile @ 7:15. Felt really sluggish to start (likely due to lack of sleep/energy), but got pretty comfortable as it progressed. Took a 1.5 hour nap to recover from low sleep, then hopped onto the bike after a post nap piece of lasagna! This is where it got good. Over the past 3 days I have raised the seat on my bike about 1.5cm (0.5 inches), almost definitely due to my increased flexibility since I began some Hatha Yoga. Cycling today on the trainer felt orders of magnitude better than it has for weeks despite some minor calf twinges. And the best part was that I finally got my HR up above 140 and into the 150's without my legs feeling fried, which is impressive considering that it was the third workout today.

It's been a bit crazy here at school with a big team project: big paper was due Monday and a bigger presentation Thursday, which still needs some work. So I'm signing out for the night. Tomorrow: going to test how a track workout feels (6x400m @ ~5:00 pace on Active Rest = 2:00, maybe followed by a few 200's) on the huge increase in training volume. As running right now is not a key focus, if I feel like the workout is causing more harm than good I'll make it an easy 7-9 miles instead. But I'm thinking I'll be fine, just more tired than expected.