Friday, November 21, 2008

A good week

Had a pretty good week of both work and training. Especially good with my daughters in California for a Sci Fi convention and three days alone with my wife. We figure that we've had time away from our kids (just the two of us) for somewhere less than one month over the last 21 years! It's been a great 21 years, but it is nice to spend some time alone together.

I swam this morning (3000 yards) and really feel like my swim is right back on track, even more than on track. My volume is starting to regularly approach 3000 yards, something that I've never done before. This will serve me well for the 1/2 ironman distance of 1.2 miles, but will prepare me for upping my volume to closer to 4000 yards in preparation for the Long Course next October (with a 1.8 mile swim). I'll have to pay close attention to my shoulders, but they seem to be handling the volume thus far. I've now told several people of my goal to get my 1/2 ironman swim time down to close to 30 minutes. If I tell enough people, I'll have to do it!

Finished work at noon today and went to lunch with my wife, followed by a 35 minute walk. We talked about life in general. I still need to get control of my work life so I can enjoy the rest of my life! Came home and played a weird game of Scrabble (started off with 4 "O"'s) and then did 45 minutes on the treadmill.

Hillary Clinton is going to be the next Secretary of State. "Team of Rivals" is also one of my favorite books (I even got it autographed by the author). I think that this is a great choice. OK, so I let myself introduce a little politics into my blog.

Time to watch a movie...we're watching "A Beautiful Mind"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

California (70.3, that is), here I come

It's been two weeks since my last blog. I've thought about writing things down a number of times, but, I admit, I've just been either too busy or too tired. It is now four weeks since the Halfmax in Nevada. The time since then has been a mixture of ups and downs. Obviously, the excitement of qualifying for World's has been a lot of the up feeling. The end of the season "rest" has probably contributed to some of the down feeling. I'm not sure if the lack of endorphins has contributed significantly to how I've been feeling, but it certainly has had an impact.

The last couple of weeks have been a microcosm of the issues and challenges that I face in life. Owning two businesses certainly has its stresses and I've had a lot going on in terms of both in the last few months. A couple of weeks ago I was feeling an incredible amount of fatigue. I get this "sick" feeling that I think I can relate to fatigue, and it was really strong. Ironically, I did a good swim about a week ago and felt much better afterwards. Yesterday, I swam 2700 yards in the morning and realized that I was much more relaxed at work. Things that would have set me off a week earlier, didn't even make a dent yesterday!

It's interesting how the balance between work, family and triathlon training comes about. For me, triathlon helps me relax, keeps me grounded in some level of normalcy, and keeps me fit and healthy. That said, my family is the most important thing to me. Work is not a job for me, which is both a good thing and a problem. I don't know how to do anything at less than 100%. I put all my energy and effort into everything I do. This creates a lot of challenges.

When my stresses at work are high, training helps me to deal with it, but dealing with the additive fatigue puts further stress on me. At this point of my life, I would rather work less and train more. My rest break has helped my mind. That said, I'm ready to start thinking about my next race, the California 70.3 in Oceanside the first week of April. I've done the race three times in the last five years. In 2004, just getting back into tri's I did 6:08, the next year 5:49, two years ago, with a year of good coaching under my belt I did 5:13. Can I go under 5 hours this coming year? We'll see. I really like the course and can pretty much visualize most of the race having done it three times.

A few weeks ago, my coach told me to take my mind off training and to not think about my upcoming race season. Well, my rest "break" is over and it really feels good to be able to start thinking about California. I know what I have to do to be successful. I can definitely improve upon my swim from past years. The Halfmax and recent training suggest that I can get my swim time down to somewhere between 30 and 33 minutes (best previous time has been 36). My running improvement in the last couple of years tell me that I can break 1:40 on the run (best time 1:45). My biggest challenge will be the bike. It continue to be strong, but I haven't had a major breakthrough in the last two years. I really want to get my bike time down closer to 2:38 (it's a hilly course, my best time is 2:45). If I achieve all of these goals I can actually get down to 4:57. That could make me fairly competitive in the 50-54 age group. Well, there, I've written it down and said it. Now, I have something to shoot for. Ironically, it doesn't really matter what I do at the race. It really is all in the journey!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

10K for fun

I've really wanted to just get out and run, so that's what I did today.  With permission from my coach, I entered a local 10K, gave it everything I had and actually had a pretty good time.  I even managed to get 10th male overall and got a medal.  It wasn't my best 10K time ever, but it was yet another hilly course.  I wore my heart rate monitor but covered the heart rate reading.  I just tried to keep running as hard as I thought I could run.  I only looked at the heart rate results afterwards.  Typically, my lactate threshold is right around 166.  I hit 174 at the end of the first mile (a little downhill, and I did it in 6:40), and then maintained a heart rate between 172 and 176 the rest of the way.  My pace for the last five miles ranged from 7:20 to 7:35, but it seemed like it was either uphill or downhill.  I did pretty good going fast on the downhills and backing off the effort slightly and going hard on the uphills.  My average heart rate for the entire run was 172.  So, truly a lactate threshold workout.  My final time was 45:36, good for 10th male overall and 2nd in the 40-49 age group.  I'm still fighting some residual fatigue from the half ironman, but probably more so from work related stress.  Mentally, it felt really good to race.  This is my challenge right now.  I know that I'm mentally ready to get back into training, but I still feel like my body is trying to tell me something.  What it's trying to tell me I don't have a clue, as I tend to feel worse the less I do.  I'm supposed to alternate exercise with rest days this week before getting back into training.