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Over the past 2 months my fitness has been dwindling. Although I have some big races coming up, I haven’t been in the racing mindset, and my training has not been training per se. I have had more off days than training days, and I generally don’t even like to take off days. It is pretty normal for me to only take 1-2 days off per month, and these are only when other commitments keep me from exercising or if I feel particularly fatigued and decide to take a day off. Taking time off is not a bad thing, except that I have early season races planned.

I’ve only been riding about twice a week, and these have been fairly low intensity rides. I see them as ‘therapeutic’ in that they provide me some relaxation time to escape from the stress of life. Maybe ‘recreation’ would be a more appropriate term, but either way, my rides recently have been unstructured without a training focus. Friday (2/25) I went out for another one of these rides with my friend Tim, and a couple hours into the ride we decided to finish up with an interval set. We did 20 X 1 minute intervals with 1 minute rest. This is an aerobic workout, although the effort is much higher than tempo race effort. One nice thing about this set is you just ride hard without much concern of watching power, and can review the data later. I haven’t done this workout in a while. I remember doing it in July when I wrote about it here. Since I feel my fitness is pretty poor right now I pulled up those numbers to compare to what I was able to do this time.

Average Power for each interval:

Interval 7/22/10 2/25/11
1 503 526
2 409 465
3 426 460
4 413 446
5 400 495
6 432 463
7 391 455
8 429 454
9 378 441
10 397 440
11 364 424
12 403 450
13 423 439
14 417 434
15 384 452
16 276 454
17 309 438
18 442 454
19 420 449
20 392 500
Avg 400 457

I didn’t post any heart rate data in July, but decided to look at minimum and maximum HR for each interval. It takes a while for HR to respond to the effort, so average HR isn’t very useful. Minimum HR is an indication of how quickly I recovered between the efforts, and maximum HR is another indicator of ‘effort’, and the power data above is an actual indicator of output. By comparing the output (power data above) to a current threshold power (obtained through recent testing, which I have not done) you can determine a much more accurate effort measurement than looking at the maximum HR. My perceived effort for each interval was high, but I used different gearing for each interval so each interval ‘felt’ different.

Minimum HR for each interval

Interval 7/22/10 2/25/11
1 115 102
2 122 113
3 123 113
4 121 116
5 126 116
6 124 114
7 134 115
8 126 117
9 131 118
10 131 116
11 133 113
12 130 111
13 132 112
14 132 115
15 124 112
16 125 117
17 122 117
18 123 114
19 129 119
20 133 118
Avg 127 114

Maximum HR for each interval:

Interval 7/22/10 2/25/11
1 151 156
2 151 155
3 153 156
4 156 156
5 153 161
6 159 157
7 158 158
8 158 158
9 151 156
10 157 156
11 157 156
12 156 157
13 158 158
14 157 157
15 156 158
16 152 160
17 147 158
18 155 160
19 155 160
20 158 161
Avg 155 158

Overall, my power was higher, max HR higher, min HR lower, HR and power were more consistent. All these suggest that my fitness (threshold power, aerobic conditioning, and fatigue resistance) may actually be much better now than in July.

20X1 min intervals, HR and Power

I am offering some ‘by the hour’ coaching through Coachme Triathlon. If you are using this service, you can find me using this code: C2011-874509 or by emailing my name to athletes@coachmetriathlon.com. I know a lot of athletes training with power meters or GPS devices are struggling with making sense of the data. If you need some analysis or coaching with how to use these devices, I can provide that by email/phone/skype if you are not in my area.



Date: February 13, 2011

The Sandieguito Half Marathon is an awesome race. It is located in the Rancho Santa Fe community Solana Beach and consists of many rolling hills. The large estates create a feeling that is more rural than suburban.

I hadn’t planned on doing this race, but after being attack by a dog before the TCSD duathlon yesterday during my warm up, causing me to miss the race, I decided to register for the half marathon. Molly had already planned on running with her friends with tutus.

Molly in her tutu. In the background is TCSD legend Craig Zelent warming up.

Caitlin and Molly ready to race!

 

Kelli and Molly coming in with a strong finish.

We saw many TCSD people racing and some volunteering. Oddly enough, many of them were either racing or volunteering the day before at the TCSD Duathlon. Here is Dawn and Jim, two tri club inspirations!

I didn’t have a race plan, except to try to stay relaxed and keep my cadence high. I recently purchased a Garmin foot pod to record my cadence. As I was running I was thinking about the analysis I could do with my cadence and pace through the race. I was actually planning to copy the raw data into SPSS and do a linear regression analysis to see the correlation between cadence and pace. Unfortunately the WKO+ 2.0 software version I have does not display data for running cadence. I’m not sure if version 3.0 does or not, so if you happen to know please let me know. Anecdotally, I noted that during the first half of the race my average cadence was 91, and overall for the race it was 88. I started tightening up a lot and lost some flexibility (as if I had any to begin with) and quickness, dropping my cadence frequently to mid 80’s. Here are my splits:

Mile

Avg HR

Time

Normalized Pace

1

169

6:21

7:39

2

152

7:02

6:42

3

150

8:04

6:35

4

147

7:05

7:00

5

148

7:36

6:58

6

146

7:55

8:01

7

142

8:26

7:38

8

145

7:34

7:38

9

145

7:35

7:49

10

144

8:36

7:44

11

138

7:53

8:37

12

139

8:15

9:01

13

141

9:12

8:36

 

Here is the profile for the race:

I’m glad I did this event. It was a beautiful day in San Diego and it was fun being out there seeing so many familiar people. I hadn’t done a long run since the Carlsbad Marathon, so going out for 13 miles was rather satisfying, even though I’m still running much slower than I wish I was at this point. The running didn’t seem to bother the dog bit much, but it is quite inflamed and very sensitive. Here is this morning’s picture:


Today I was expecting to throw down in the second race of the TriClub Duathlon Series. The entire series is awesome, but I especially like this challenging course. I had also had a DNF at last month’s race because my quads cramped up on me 1 mile into the run due to the perfect storm. (Have you ever realized how often the perfect storm occurs?)

I was particularly excited to ‘test’ myself, not expecting the best results but to get a good baseline of where I stand today compared to the last two years I did this course. I was also pleased to find out that some of the club’s best competitors were there: Keith Butsko, Mike Clinch, and Kosuke Amano. This was Kosuke’s first duathlon too, and since he’s so dominant in swimming I wondered how the race would play out for him.

I decided I would skip out on the bike warm up and focus on doing a good warm up on the run. I had problems during the last run, and this course is much more challenging with steep descents and climbs that I figured that would be my best investment. The bike course starts downhill and following the run I figured I would warm up enough without doing a bike warm up beforehand. I was planning on taking pictures at this race, and almost grabbed my camera for the run warm up to show what the course looked like. I wish I had done that…

The first ¾ of a mile of the course is a steep and continuous descent. I turned around at the bottom and was cruising back up hill to the start when I saw a man with three dogs about ¼ mile ahead. The dogs were barking and running off leash, but the owner was calling them to him and continuing up a hill to the left of the trail I was running on. As I approached the dogs kept barking and starting running around me (pack mentality, planning on killing the sick or disabled). I apparently looked pretty bad, probably running a leisurely 15 min pace or something when one of the dogs came up behind me and bit my calf. I stopped, and yelled up to the owner, who was a bit in denial. He came down (all three dogs still circling around me and barking) and finally put a leash on the one dog that bit me. I asked for contact information, which he said he had none, and then gave me his name. The name he gave me ended up being just his first and middle name, but based on my description and the partial name, the police were able to locate his residence, which was in the area. Yes, I called the police, and the fiasco ended up ruining my race plans.

The dog owner also continued on with his walk through the park, even though I told him I was calling the police and animal control. Animal control stated that they would get the dog and quarantine it. I was pleased to hear that there hasn’t been dog-rabies in San Diego County for 40 years, but that they still quarantine because there is rabies in skunks and bats. If you aren’t familiar with rabies, once symptoms occur, it is fatal, so animals get quarantined to observe for signs of rabies, or necropsied for pathology evaluation for evidence of rabies.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen dogs out on trails, on and off leash. Although dogs often get excited when a runner is coming up, there is an assumption that if there is dog off leash walking with their owner they must know (somehow) that their dog won’t be aggressive or bite. Well, all three of these dogs were aggressive, and one did bite. The owner appeared surprised, but then admitted that it was a new dog he’d only had for a week or so. That just seems irresponsible and ignorant to me because there is no way he could know (if anyone could actually predict the actions of an animal) that his dog wouldn’t bite.

 


Ok, it’s nearly mid-February and I’m just now posting the January Training Summary…

Well, life happens, and after the wonderful holidays and going back to work I realized I really needed to buckle down on things. I’m in my final months of residency, and started a 3 month rotation that required more commuting (the most stressful part of my day, usually) and I really needed to wrap up my thesis. The ‘training plan’, blog, any other extras had to suffer for a little while. It is questionable as to whether I became more effective at actually getting things done during this time, but it was more of realizing that I really needed to focus my energy on my responsibilities rather than my hobbies. Such is the life an athlete with a family and career. This goes back to the Wall Street Journal article I mentioned in my last post.

Now things are getting a little better. At least I can focus on upcoming races a little more. It’s not like I stopped working out, but the numbers I’m about to post I haven’t even glanced at until now. I didn’t bother because it was going to be a bit depressing and I wasn’t ready to fix it yet.

Adding to the summary table I posted last month:

 

Nov 2010

Dec 2010

Jan 2011

Swim

32.3 mi

33.3 mi

10.7 mi

Bike

697 mi

659 mi

581 mi

Run

143 mi

173 mi

84 mi

Time

82.20 hr

81.14 hr

53.95 hr

TSS

4270

4744

2953

Avg IF

0.72

0.76

0.74

End CTL

132.4

144.4

119.7

CTL ∆

11.2

12

-24.7

Weight ∆

-4.6 lbs

+1.6 lbs

+5.0 lbs

 

Although I did compromise a lot of my training structure and lost a lot of the volume, I maintained some exercise in there (averaging 1:45 per day). I really did the workouts more for my own sanity and to maintains some fitness than to try to improve, which is why I refused to pay much attention to metrics during this time. My swimming has probably suffered the most. I went from swimming 4-5 days/week to 1, occasionally 2 days. Unfortunately that pattern is going to continue until April. My running also suffered, with a big drop in volume. My cycling has suffered some, but overall I probably lost the least amount in this discipline. My weight, well, you know… less exercise and more stress usually means I’ll eat more crap and gain weight. This pattern is holding true.

Now, back to my goals of Oceanside and Ironman St. George: These races are now only 7 and 12 weeks away. I definitely have sufficient base to complete them, but the question is how race ready will I be. Tough to say today, but all is not necessarily lost. By fixing my diet and losing some weight, and introducing more race specific workouts on a more consistent basis, the races may go well. The best way to look at this period (which actually extended into February) is as a bit of rest before the hard push up to St. George.

Now that I’ll be writing a bit more, check back soon for some new ride/race/training reports.


Date: Saturday February 5, 2011

An article posted by the Wall Street Journal on Feb 1 titled “A Workout Ate My Marriage” discussed the demands of Ironman training on a family. This article was brought to my attention by Joe Friel’s Blog and then by Tridigest.com, and was timely as Molly and I had out 19th anniversary on Feb 2. Molly and I have certainly experienced the combined demands of family, current job, the pursuing education and career changes, with some triathlon/marathon/ultracyling training thrown into the mix, we read that article with much familiarity.

Although I caught the endurance bug rather early (definitely in high school, but possibly even in grade school to a lesser degree), Molly is rather new to the endurance craze. She first started doing some running in 2003 when I had deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom, and since has done about (yes I am guessing) six marathons. She started doing triathlons in June 2008 when I signed her up for a sprint triathlon during our “vacation”. In December 2009 she did her first 200K with me on a tandem since I had decided to do Paris-Brest-Paris in 2011, and thought it would be much more fun if Molly went with me than if I just had to tell her about how awesome it was. Now she loves distance cycling, and has proved it not only by completing an R-12 award but she is insistent on doing PBP this August. I had a lot of options for racing and training this weekend, but Molly really wanted to do the Santiago Canyon 300K Brevet in preparation for PBP, and to secure our qualification by completing the series (200/300/400/600).

The Santiago Canyon 300K Brevet was by no means an easy brevet. A year ago Molly would complain about the smallest of hills, but now she is slowly turning “I hate hills” into “I love to hate hills”. She was well aware that this route had a ton of climbing, but was still excited about doing it. The route on ridewithgps stated that the total elevation gain was over 11,000 feet, but post ride my Garmin 800 had 9,100 feet of climbing. Still, there was a decent amount of climbing with some very steep climbs that were much more taxing than the usual long gradual climbs.

Three weeks ago at the Rainbow 200K I introduced my new time trial bike, Nautilus. Here are some photos of Nautilus:

Nautilus, a 2011 Felt B2. As shown (stock with DuraAce pedals and Garmin 800 mount added) weighs 20 lbs.

Featured on Nautilus is Di2, fully electronic derailleurs.

There are two sets of electronic shifters, bar end shifters on the aerobars and brake lever shifters on the base bar.

Cockpit view.

Even the brakes are color coordinated.

For the Santiago 300K, I introduced my newest bike, Sea Wolf. Sea Wolf is a 2011 Felt F2, similar color scheme as Nautilus, and also with electronic shifting.

Sea Wolf weighs in at a mere 15 lbs!

I had told Molly that I wanted to do the entire brevet with her. She fretted a little, feeling that she was keeping me from having fun riding hard “with the boys”, but eventually she got it. Besides riding on some unfamiliar roads, and into the night, this was our anniversary ride. Yes, we like to celebrate by eating (I look for any excuse to eat), but to spend every waking hour together completing a physically and emotionally demanding challenge, while experiencing new scenery is like none other. The ride started at 6 AM, with the temperature at 41F. After a few climbs, and some descents into canyons, the temperature dropped to 32F, and with descents up to 33 MPH at this temperature we became frozen rather quickly. First we experience pain and loss of sensation in our fingers, then toes, and then eventually Molly became hypothermic. We were cruising through Back Bay when Molly had become so cold she could barely move or think. Dion Dyer cruised up to us, and I don’t think he had any more success at trying to talk to Molly than I did. Fortunately, at the 3rd control the temperature quickly rose to 50F. It was still cold, but Molly became coherent and her spirits and positive attitude came back. Here is the graph of the temperature for the ride (start: 41, end: 46, low: 32, high: 84).

Randonneuring very frequently ends up with riding alone a lot. Some people prefer this, but even if you prefer to ride with other people you have to be prepared to spend many hours by yourself. Molly is rather social, and loves chatting it up with other riders, so I’ve always seen this as a potential problem as she does more randonneuring. So far she’s proven me wrong by often choosing to keep moving forward over waiting for the opportunity to ride with someone. I think ideally she’d prefer to ride with people, but not at the risk of finishing an hour or two later. We did have the opportunity to ride with several people during this brevet. From Newport Beach to Corona we rode with Dion and Marty. When we arrived at Corona we saw Kevin Foust there already, and we ended up spending the next 11 hours leap-frogging Kevin. The controls and rolling terrain somehow seemed to keep bringing us back together. Here is the elevation profile:

The most scenic area on the ride was from Lake Elsinore to Fallbrook. We didn’t take many pictures this time around, but here are a couple that Molly took with her iPhone.

Molly is always looking for happy cows.

 

There goes Kevin!

In Lake Elsinore we had the pleasure of running into some fellow randos that were doing a different route. They were doing the Toughrider 200K Permanent. We just happened to run into Kelly DeBoer and a couple other guys as we made an unscheduled stop at a Circle K to reload snacks and drinks. Of course Kevin happened to make the same stop and was there. A mile later I had a flat. I told Molly to continue on as I would catch her. As I was fixing my flat, Ed Sheppard rolled up to lend a hand, and then realized who I was. We chatted a little, and then he had to press on because he was also doing the Toughrider 200K and didn’t want to miss any control times. I thought I might see him again as I started rolling, but his route must have taken him a different way.

Our total time was 15:22, and my rolling time was 13:13. We had a great day together. Yes, Molly did (somewhat bitterly) spend a Mother’s day sitting in the rain watching me do a triathlon a few years ago, but now that she’s joined in the insanity we are enjoying truly memorable (and positive!) experiences together, even for our anniversary. Here is a map of our adventure:

We had an hour+ drive home, which was almost as tough as the last couple hours of the ride. Jacuzzi, pizza and beer ended up being a perfect ending for our day.


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This new service will start acceptiing athlete profiles 2/2/2011. If you are in the San Diego area and would like to have one on one training with me, enter “Jerald Cook” in the “I know my coach” question.

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