You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2010.


I am finding performance management charts more and more helpful in assessing my level of fitness, fatigue, and where I need to focus. I could probably tell you how I feel overall and it would be similar to what the performance management chart says about today, which to me has provided some confidence in the calculations. An analysis tool that told me something quite contradictory to how I felt would probably not seem valid. Although I can pretty accurately tell if my current training load is high, and if I feel fatigued or not, it is the historical data and trends that I find very useful. I can look back at peaks and troughs in the CTL curve and recall races or other things going on in my life at that time and compare those periods to how the curves look now.

I’ve been using WKO+ version 2.2, and still am, but today loaded up the performance management charts in Training Peaks. In WKO+ I only have run and bike data loaded. I log all my workouts in Training Peaks, and it calculates a Training Stress Score by several different methods. With Training Peaks I have TSS calculations for my swim workouts and for bike workouts that I didn’t use a power meter, but used a heart rate meter. Some bike workouts (such as the tandem rides) I had to estimate my TSS. Comparing the calculations on Training Peaks I was surprised at how close I came in my estimate, but there were a few rides where I had estimated about 10% higher than Training Peaks. I went through the logs and made corrections where it was needed.

Previously I hadn’t worried much about the training stress from swimming, so I only used the PMC for cycling, running, and then combined cycling + running. Looking at the charts made for swimming by Training Peaks I can see times when I wasn’t swimming much at all, and times when I swam a lot. This past week I have been back swimming, and it is definitely not “rest” as would be indicated by my PMC that only included cycling and running.

My initial review of my new PMCs noted some big discrepancies between Training Peaks and WKO+. Training Peaks actually runs multiple calculations, similar to WKO+, but also includes HR calculations. The threshold data I was using was quite conservative, but decided to go through each workout and determine threshold data for each month this year. The threshold data I am using now is still conservative, but I think will provide better CTL calculations overall.

Chart Peak CTL past year Date Peak CTL Current CTL
Swim 20.3 4/21/2010 10.3
Bike 89.2 7/24/2010 79.1
Run 47.9 9/05/2009 47.1
All 3 141.0 7/24/2010 137.5

My bike and run CTLs are very high right now. Besides this month, the previous bests are:

Chart Peak CTL before 7/2010 Date
Swim 20.3 4/21/2010
Bike 68.9 4/18/2010
Run 47.9 9/05/2010
All 3 123.4 4/18/2010

Here are the 4 PMCs:

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Well, vacation has come to an end. Saturday was the Moss Beach 200K Brevet in Santa Cruz. My ride report is posted here. The rest of Saturday was spent recovering, getting a good meal and then walking a bit in downtown Santa Cruz. Sunday I decided my legs were a bit too fatigued to force more training, and travelling home is tiring enough, so I gave my legs the day off. Here is my training summary for the past 4 weeks:

I didn’t do any swimming while on vacation, but still got in a lot of hours on the bike and running. This week was 19.5 hours, even with today off. Next week I’ll be adding swimming back in (as well as work), so my legs will get some rest. Here is my 6 week Performance Management Chart.

My CTL broached 100 finally with yesterday’s 200K. My peak CTL was 105.6. This is my highest CTL yet. My previous high was 9/6/2009 at 104.1


Date: July 24, 2010

Location: Santa Cruz, CA

This was the first brevet I have done with the Santa Cruz Randonneurs. SCR is the seventh group that I have done brevets with now. I previously have ridden with randonneuring groups in DC, PA, AZ, CO, and then San Diego and Los Angeles (PCH). Molly rode today as well, and this was the first 200K that she has ridden solo, having done the others with me on the tandem.

There was a great turnout for the brevet, about 40 riders. We met at the lighthouse/surfing museum for the start. Here Molly and I are at the start:

We started promptly at 7 am. I was ready to stay with Molly as she was a little nervous about the hills, and doing the 200K solo, but she insisted that I ride ahead. Molly figured that with 40 riders she would find other people to ride with. My plan was to try to cruise with whoever was up front, and to take it easy until about mile 100, and then I would go for it. This is generally a pretty good approach, because if you go out hard early, you might regret it later. I figured since I’m not that strong on hills I would probably lose the front guys once we turned off of the coastal highway and started riding the hills.

I quickly found my way up to the front, and sized up the front riders pretty quick. We set into a pace line that included a lot of people, but during a climb at around mile 10 I broke ahead. I was surprised I had gotten so far ahead, so I soft pedaled until the group caught back up. I was surprised how long that took. I started pulling again, and the next climb at mile 14 was a lot bigger, so I expected that the group would be sailing by me. Instead I looked back and the group was way down the hill still. My plan changed at that point and I decided to just ride. I kept my breaks really short at the controls.

Here is the route that we took, and the elevation profile.

I didn’t think the climbing was too bad. The higher elevations were in a redwood forest, which was pretty cool. I didn’t take any pictures on the ride, but Molly was able to grab a few along the route.

I completed almost the entire ride in my big chain ring. I think I probably only did about 3 miles total in the small chain ring. After I finished I went back onto Hwy 1 North to meet up with Molly. I met her at about 12 miles from the finish. This portion I just spun easy in the small chain ring. After I turned around I had to actually chase Molly because she was picking up the pace to finish, and my legs were done! Here is a picture of us together at the finish.

I actually achieved a new best 180 minute critical power (CP180). My previous best was on 11/22/2009, at Ironman Arizona, which was 253 watts. Today I did 258 watts. My total time was 6:44, making this my first 200K under 7 hours, and my normalized power for this time was 254 watts. My ride time was 6:36, so I only had 8 minutes of pause time. This includes several stop lights, 2 stops to cross Hwy 1, and 3 controls where I had to make a purchase for proof of passage.


Day 9, Friday, July 23, 2010

Today we woke up in San Francisco. Molly and I went for a great morning run of 7.5 miles from Fisherman’s Warf to the Golden Gate Bridge and back. We had to touch “Hopper’s Hands” at the turn around (or the run didn’t count)!

 

After breakfast we had to take a quick ride down Lombard Street.

Our stay in San Francisco was short, but we had a great time. We then headed down to Santa Cruz where we ate more seafood, and cruised through the boardwalk.


Day 7, Thursday, July 22, 2010

Today we started off in Sacramento, so I did a 4.4 mile run, and then Molly and I met her dad for a bike ride. We rode along the American River bike path to Discovery Park. The ride was 19.5 miles each way, but on the way back I decided to do some intervals. My legs were still tired, but doing much better after taking an easy day yesterday. My intervals were 20 repeats of 1 min on, with 1 min recovery. This is a great workout that simulates some of the stress of race intensity. This is an aerobic workout with the interval intensity higher than threshold. Since there are 20 repeats it does require some pacing and stamina.

Here are the routes I did. I split the bike into two sections because I wanted to use the training feature on the Garmin 705.

The mean max power curves for the two rides are as follows. Notice the higher intensity of the second ride.

Average power for each interval:

Interval Average Power
1 503
2 409
3 426
4 413
5 400
6 432
7 391
8 429
9 378
10 397
11 364
12 403
13 423
14 417
15 384
16 276
17 309
18 442
19 420
20 392

The ones I highlighted were intervals where I had to coast through a section of the interval because of a sharp turn or because of traffic on the trail. Since I had to coast I tried to make up for it by sprinting. Overall there isn’t a huge difference between the intervals, except the first one before fatigue kicked in. I’ve had better performances in this workout before, but was please that I completed it, and also had some 400+ watt intervals at the end.

After the workouts we took Kendall with us to San Francisco where we are staying on the Embarcadero near Fisherman’s Warf.


Day 7, Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Today I’ll just make a short post since I made it mostly a recovery day. Fatigue has been a limiting factor, so I figured today would be a good day for some recovery. It is said that you don’t get better until you recover. Rest definitely allows you to utilize the fitness you’ve achieved by adapting to stress from training.

Molly and I went for a short run on the Silverado Trail in Calistoga:

After chilling a bit, we drove to Sacramento and did some visiting with family and friends.

Four more days left in this great vacation. Standby for the next adventure….


Day 6, Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This is a long vacation. And it’s been so good already, I certainly didn’t imagine it getting much better. Today was an absolutely great day though.

The day started off with an early morning in Healdsburg. I went for a 7.5 mile run through the vineyards:

The run was great, but I am noticing a lot of fatigue. After breakfast Molly and I went for a ride, and covered almost 30 miles:

There are so many great places to ride up here that I was a little sad that my legs were so tired. I could spend a lot of time up here riding the hills.

At the end of our ride we stopped at Oakville Grocery. It’s a great little shop that Molly’s brother recommended to us. We just had our espresso, staying away from all the baked goods there. Their deli looked great too, and although it was already noon we decided not to eat because we’d probably have a big dinner lately. I left the scale at home this week, but am hoping to lose a few more pounds on vacation.

We then headed out to Calistoga, on the way stopping to see Old Faithful. At the geyser they had some fainting goats. We saw them, and their babies, but couldn’t get them to faint.

Since fatigue was kicking in, and I couldn’t ride for hours and hours today, it was time to relax a little. We had a ‘couples’ mud bath, mineral spa, and massage in Calistoga that was awesome. The mud was a little weird, but still relaxing. The massage was a bit painful, but after walking around town for a half hour I suddenly felt great. We did a little wine tasting, and then had an incredible meal at the Calistoga Inn. We had walked the entire town and looked at menus, and thought that the Calistoga Inn looked pretty good. Then after wine tasting we asked where to go to dinner, and it was the place that was recommended. It was good to get some confirmation on where we were thinking about going anyway. The food there was absolutely fantastic. This is one place that is a mandatory visit if you come to Calistoga.


Day 5, Monday, July 19, 2010

Molly and I had a great weekend in Sonoma. We spent the weekend with her brother and his wife (Mike and Donna) who came out from Atlanta, and Mike’s college friend and his wife (Dave and Leslie) who drove up from San Jose. Mike ran the half marathon with Molly and I, while the rest made a great cheering section. Over the weekend we took turns cooking dinner, and this morning I had the pleasure of using leftovers to make breakfast. I love to make scrambled eggs with meat, a nice high protein meal. We had some great steak leftover, so I chopped that up and mixed it with eggs, and it turned out pretty good. Molly sliced some pineapple and strawberries, and made some toast from a loaf of French bread. It was a nice big meal to start the day, which sustained me for over 2 hours in our ride.

Molly and I left Sonoma and headed to Sebastopol where we did a 50 mile ride up to Healdsburg. Here is the route we did.

Fairly early into the ride the route sheet said to turn onto a creek path. I saw the path, so we turned on it and found it to be all dirt and gravel. Molly was a little worried about it, but we took it easy. It was a beautiful path, but then we realized that there was a paved path on the other side of the creek! Here is the path we were riding on:

And the one that we should have been on:

We ended up on some nice rural roads that had chalk arrows and porta-potties, so we knew that we were on the Vineman 70.3 course. Vineman was yesterday. The countryside was great, and Molly had to stop and take pictures of happy cows. Here the cows are frolicking with geese.

The Wohler Bridge was pretty cool.

Here is the Russian River as seen from the Wohler Bridge.

After crossing the bridge, we headed up the Westside of the river to Healdsburg. There we stopped at a cool bike shop, Spoke Folk Cyclery, where one of the guys showed me a bunch of cool rides in the area, including rides that Levi Leipheimer does. Molly fell in love with a necklace there. I told her she could kiss it when she crossed the finish line. Here is a picture of it:

Back out on the country roads, returning to Sebastopol:

Following our ride, we drove up to Healdsburg. We are staying a night up on Dry Creek Road.

I had contemplated going for a run after the ride, but my legs were wiped out, and Molly was itching to go do more wine tasting. We went to several “boutique” wineries. I especially like the first one that we visited, Hawley, but we also visited three other tasting rooms. After that we went to Bear Republic Brewery where we had a great meal and I had a decent IPA. It was definitely a great day that we spent together, and to think our vacation isn’t even half over!


Day 4, Friday, July 18, 2010

Today is the day that Molly, her brother, and I ran the Sonoma Half Marathon. I wrote a separate post that is here. Following the race we were given a wine glass for wine tasting. There were a lot of wineries present, with 2-4 samples available each. I’m not a big wine drinker, and was planning on doing a ride after the race, but my legs were killing me much more than I expected. I gave in to some wine tasting, but only had about 6 samples. I rested a little later, had a cup of coffee, and was ready to go for a ride. Molly was up for going with me too, and we covered about 32 miles together. I had to ride up the hill to our vacation rental at least once before we left Sonoma. Although I was pretty exhausted, I went for it. Here is the elevation profile of the ride. Note the last couple miles where I rode up to the house.

I would have totally regretted not doing that climb. The climb was rather miserable though. Part of the climb would have been tougher, but I had to zig-zag across the road just to keep going. There was a turn off mid way of the toughest part that I took just to stop for a minute to rest and recoup. When I stopped my legs were shaking and I could barely stand. I finished off my water bottles since I was feeling the full effects of the heat at 3-4 mph. I encountered a dog during the climb, and fortunately it was behind a fence. If not, he would have caught me at my 3.6 mph pace, and I probably would have just fallen over and let him eat me. I surely didn’t have enough energy to kick the dog off of me.

Here is the route that we took:

This ride was mostly similar to the half marathon and the ride we did yesterday, but then we went south down to the Napa River. The community was interesting down there. Most of the homes were only on the river side, and there was a marina but not much else. The road ended, so we had to turn around and go back to the vineyards. It was a little surreal since we rode through the vineyards, and ended up in a mariner type area that did not resemble the vineyards at all.

This is my second week of high training volume. Here is a summary:

It may look like my training has dropped a lot this week, but it is still 20.3 hours of training. This does not include any pauses (stop lights) or breaks, so it is a true amount of training time. Twenty hours is a lot of training, so I think things are going pretty well still. I plan on having another week of high volume during this vacation.

Here is my Performance Management Chart for the past 4 weeks:

My CTL (blue line, which is a measure of ‘fitness’) is approaching 100. Last Sunday it was at a high of 95.9, and today it is at 97.6. I have noticed from past performances that when my CTL is over 100 my fitness is great. The yellow line is my Training Stress Balance, and when negative is a good indication of the fatigue level. Since it is rather negative, my performance is not going to be optimal (proven by today’s performance).

Thank you for reading my blog. I do appreciate any comments or questions you have.


Date: Sunday, July 18, 2010

Today was race day, if you want to call it that. This was a race that Molly wanted to do with her wine drinking friend. No wonder. Ends up this was a wine lover’s destination race. There were definitely some good runners here, with a $2000 cash purse and $5000 in prizes (wine), but I think some people were more excited about the wine than the run. When I signed up for it I was anticipating being in good shape, and running a strong race in the ballpark of 1:22. As things turned out it became just another part of getting back into shape. I definitely was fatigued with a Training Stress Balance of -31. For an important race I will shoot for a slightly positive TSB on race day. I don’t really have that luxury now that I’ve let my fitness fall. I still hoped to have a sub 1:30 finish time. I was on track for that until I started to fall apart during mile 3. I don’t think I really felt bad until mile 5 or so, but if you look at my Pace vs. Heart Rate data, it is quite evident with the slower pace and corresponding increasing heart rate that things were not going well. Earlier in the year when I was in good shape my heart rate would sit 150-160 while racing, and usually only go above 160 for a sprint finish.

Mile

Avg Pace

Avg HR

Max HR

1

6:29

145

161

2

6:21

149

155

3

6:43

176

209

4

6:55

160

189

5

6:46

190

217

6

7:23

215

233

7

7:36

215

235

8

7:45

211

233

9

8:30

202

229

10

8:36

177

202

11

8:54

206

236

12

8:55

193

221

13

8:33

188

206

13.3

7:43

195

211

This graph shows the elevation changes (rolling), my heart rate (increasing), and pace (dropping).

Th course was beautiful, and it actually was somewhat familiar because Molly and I had biked the roads yesterday.

I am not disappointed in the race, just not excited about the results. It is more of an indication of how far I still need to go before October. Even though I am feeling much better than I did a couple weeks ago, it is going to take a few more miles before I’m back to where I should be. I ended up finishing with a time of 1:42:20, 20th in my age group. Molly finished in 1:53, just two minutes shy of her best. Not so bad after getting 56 miles of riding in yesterday!

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