Saturday, October 11, 2008

Aches and Pains and Goals

So, I spent a few hours standing yesterday and, as usual, my back acted up. Such is the impact of living with a herniated disc:). Anyway, I slept 10 hours last night (yea!) and woke up feeling pretty well rested. However, my left lower back was still a little sore. I realize that at the age of 49, I rarely go through a day without some ache or pain. The neat thing is that is doesn't affect what I do. I should know this, as my dad has trouble walking too far due to spinal stenosis, yet can play a fierce game of ping pong or basketball. It's all in your head! Well, not really, because there are consequences at times, but that's the balance we all have to figure out.

So, today was my last major brick workout prior to Halfmax. I had 75 minutes on my bike/computrainer, including 2 x 20 minutes at Halfmax power/heartrate. That went well and then got off the bike and quickly changed and went outside for my run. The idea was to do 8 miles, starting at presumed Halfmax pace (7:45) and alternating each mile back and forth with a slightly slower pace (8:15). It was cold out, so I wore my long pants and long shirt and gloves and went for it. I was really looking forward to this workout, as it would show me where I am for next weekend.

Well, I went out at what I thought was Halfmax pace/effort, but went a 'little' too hard and actually did my first mile in 7:12. The next 'easier' mile was in 7:37. After that, I settled in pretty well to alternating my paces and did the last three "hard" efforts in 7:34, 7:33 and 7:24. The last three 'easier' efforts were 7:58, 7:46 and 7:41. What was interesting was that the "hard" efforts, albeit breathing harder and running faster, felt easier than the 'easier' efforts. Go figure! So, in the end, I average 7:26 for my Halfmax efforts and 7:45 for the 'easier' efforts. My HR also held up through the workout, starting at ~156 and ending at ~158. I visualized next weeks race throughout this run, especially at the end.

With that in mind, what are my goals next week?

My best half ironman swim ever was just under 36 minutes. I'm swimming much better than ever and I'm hoping to do the swim in between 32 and 34 minutes.

The bike is hard to judge. I'm biking well, my wattage is up, but I don't know the course. The First 46 miles have a lot of rolling hills and the last 10 miles is uphill, apparently with a mile @ 8% grade at the end. I will be happy with 2:40, but figure I could go as fast as 2:36. I've done 2:31 at the 5430 long course and 2:45 on the hilly California 70.3 course. So, I'll hope to go between 2:36 and 2:45.

Now for the run. Originally, I was aiming for 8 minute pace, but todays workout must give me pause. Despite the fatigue towards the end of the race, the realization that running slower seems harder than keeping a quicker pace is something I want to focus on and hold on to. The first five miles is mostly downhill, and I should be able to run easily and fast, perhaps keeping a 7:00 to 7:30 pace. The next three miles are rolling hills and I think that staying close to 7:30-7:40 pace here is reasonable. What I then don't know, is how I'll handle the last five miles of gradual uphill running. I know that I can give the effort, but don't know what kind of pace I'll actually keep. I'm now hoping to stay close to 8:00 pace on this portion. If I average all of this out, I think that maintaining 7:40 pace for the run is doable. This would put me right about 1:40 for the run. I'd love to go under 1:40, as that would mean I've really arrived at being competitive in my age group (especially next year when I turn 50). So, I'd like to aim for a run between 1:39 and 1:45.

I don't know the make up of the Transition areas, but will assume 4 minutes for T1 and 2 minutes for T2. Transitions are 'my thing', where my obsessive compulsive behavior comes in handy. My transition times are always amongst the fastest.

So, what does that add up to? It puts me in a range between 4:51 and 5:10. My original goal was 5:05. I'd love to break 5 hours. Actually, I think that any time in this range gives me a good chance of a top 10 finish in my age group and a trip to Austrailia next October. If I can break 5 hours, my confidence for next year racing as a 50 year old will be sky high:)

1 comment:

wassben said...

You're on a roll. We'll be there next week to cheer you on.

It is incredible how much is in your head. At 74 I don't know how much more damage I can do to my degenerating disks in my vertebra by walking.

All I ever say is that you have to keep on doing what you love to do. If my last breath is playing a great game of ping pong or a one on one basketball game with my grandson, so be it. Good luck, Mom and I would like to go to Australia to cheer you on. DAD