Friday, November 30, 2012

Race goals/strategy

There is really not much to say and it is probably not even worth a post, but maybe if I write it for the whole world to see I might feel slightly more accountable.

If this was a triathlon race I would say that my goal was to win (because it seems that sub-par swim + sub-par bike + sub-par run= ok triathlon. Duh. ) but this is a running race (unfortunately sub-par run=sub-par run), and I cannot really hold my own in running races now thus I do not care about placing and I am more concerned about the time. 
I think that it will be a very small race because it is happening in a town with population of whooping 2500 people (and I have no idea how they counted that since there is nothing else than a community college, a truck stop and a few mobile homes). But you never know, maybe people from other towns will join and maybe XC/track team from the college will run. But the students from the culinary program are supposed to cook soup and chocolate for runners, I hope that it is true and not just a way to trick people to come and run.

Anyway, since it is that small, they do not have a course map so I am not 100% sure what the course looks like but I talked to the race director (also working as my swim instructor/local swim coach/director of aquatics program at the college and who knows what else) and she said that it was flat (of course, this is IL) and fast with only one cone U-turn. I will take that. Although I am concerned about the wind since it blows there all the time. So we shall see about it. Maybe I will be able to put into practice the suggestion I gave to AM (let it rip when with tailwind to get some time cushion for headwind stretches).

Thus I am thinking holding low 3:50s. Starting at 3:50 and holding it there for as long as I can and hopefully I can do that to the very end of the race and will end up with 19:15. I do not think that 19:15 is that hard, although I realize that it is not very hard when you are in 19:00 shape and might be harder when you are in 19:15ish shape.

So that’s my strategy and my goal.

Now I only need not to forget charge Garmin and set it to show me total time, average pace and beep every kilometer and show me split for that km. And if I do not forget I will wear heart rate monitor to gather some info. And I also need to buy some one or two chocolate bars for my pre-race breakfast. Or maybe I can eat one of those 48 chocolate gels I received yesterday. Or one strawberry and one chocolate one. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


(sbr stands for swim bike run. I am that creative...)

Lot of things going on right now.

Chicago trip was great. I need to go back because we did not have time to see everything we wanted (read: I was not able to read every single info  in every museum in Chicago. Yes, I do that and my sister was desperate because what takes a normal person 10min took me an hour and I had to comment on everything...)

I bought running shoes for my sister. Not that I think that she will run in them, but when we went to Vegas together two years ago I made her walk so much that her shoes literally felt apart. I was planning on walking a lot in Chicago as well so I wanted her to have good shoes. But it was really cold and she persuaded me to take bus everywhere. Little wimp!

I took an advantage of Black Friday deals and bough 96 gels and 12 chews packets. Michelle is very proud of me for that one. 48 chocolate and 48 strawberry/banana, yummy!

I also bough racing wheels. Easton 90TT. Call me a hypocrite (yes, I admit, I am) because I judge people who buy expensive gear that is above their "level" and now I did the same thing. But it was a great deal (70% off) and I hope that I will eventually get the engine (me) to the chassis (bike, including wheels) level. Meanwhile, they stay by my bed and I will try to figure out how tubulars work. Michelle said that now everyone will expect me to win when they look at my wheels, and that's ok because until now I was the only one who was expecting me to win thus it might be a good thing if there are also some other people who think that I can win:)

I tried to do running intervals on Tuesday before 6am. It was a disaster. It was dark and temps in low 20s to start with. I was half asleep and fully frozen. I do not think that I will attempt that any time soon.

I had a swim lesson on Tuesday. I figured that it is time to start taking this seriously (now that I have those gels and wheels). I know that I need help with my swimming form because you cannot learn to swim properly no matter how many times you watch swimming youtube videos. The coach told me that my pulls is quite bad, I am not catching enough water, I do not finish the stroke, I enter water not the right way, my flip turns are not as good as they should be and we will work on my kick once I master my upper body. I wonder whether she will yell at me as CH used to when I swam with his group in February. I am going to work with her 1x/week until I reach perfection.

Today in a pool I tried to do what I learnt on Tuesday and it was not fun. It is f*** tiring and I have to concentrate all the time. It was awkward and felt unnatural. But it got better as I swam more. Although honestly, I do not know whether it was because my body got the hang of new movements or because I went more and more back to my old way. I was tempted to just swim like I am used to hit my prescribed paces but do not worry, I am smart enough to realize that that would lead to no improvement so I kept cursing the whole swim, trying to remember what I should be doing (enter the water with all you fingers at once, nice, crap, now I forgot about keeping the elbow high, crap, I entered the water with my thumb, nice I finished the stroke all the way to my hip, crap I again forgot to keep high elbow, do not enter with your thumb!, shoot I did not finish this stroke... and it went like this the whole swim. My brain needs a break now.) barely hitting my paces.

My sister got a dog. I am scared of dogs. (And cats, and guinea pigs, and turtles, and rabbits, and deer and so on.) I am going to spend Xmas with her and I am already dreading it.

Saturday is a race day! This whole year has been very strange because I have been expecting my ITB to flare up any moment and I was not able to get excited for races. I have had no fire in me and I still do not. I am still mostly scared that my ITB will start bothering me again. My attitude keeps going back and forth between being terrified and curious. I really have no idea what to expect and thus I am curious to see what I can do. But I am also scared because I am not confident I am fit enough to run 19:15. I still think that I will try to shoot for 19:15ish. But I am not 100% confident I can do it. Which is not a good thing because when I say I want to run 19:15 and I do not believe that I can do it, that 19:15 is just an arbitrary number and I will not work hard to actually run it. I need to start thinking about the race and hopefully then I will get fired up a little bit more.

I bought a slow cooker because it is probably the only way how I am going to eat real food. I have decided today that I was going to make chilli in it tomorrow. I do not know how you make chilli but you probably need beans and tomatoes. I have some beans and so I went to store to buy diced tomatoes. But when I was there I realized that I do not have a can opener so cannot buy those tomatoes (yes I know. I can buy a can opener. But I only had four dollars with me so could not but it). And you probably cannot put whole fresh tomatoes because you need more liquid than fresh tomatoes have to be able to make chilli. So I bought cottage cheese instead. So no chilli tomorrow. Although I should probably look up a recipe before I try to make it.
(No wonder I am single...My German biking buddy has always been on my case regarding men. He keeps telling me that I will never find and keep a husband if I do not become more "domestic":) I think that he is right because who will want to live in an unfurnished apartment with me and eat bread with cheese for every meal?)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Let me know what you see in these running videos

I did 1200s on a track on Wednesday (hunting season, trails are still closed) and asked my sister to take some videos of me running from different angles so I can see what's going on hoping it will help me to fight my ITB problem.

Here I am running 4x1200 at 4:35ish pace (6:08ish pace) and I will be very very grateful for feedback from my 1.5 readers. I am not going to say what I see because I do not want to influence anyone.
Looked at them in slow motion if it is possible, you can see it better that way. Or how do I make it possible for you to see it in slow motion?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Amazing what a difference fresh(er) legs make

Remember that horrible 800s workout last Saturday (and the week before, and the week before that...)? Today was a complete opposite.
After not being able to run faster than 4min/km (6:24min/mile for you, Americans) in tempo/intervals type of a workout I have decided to forgo those tempos before intervals.

And that's exactly what I did today. No tempo, just a 20min w/up, stretching, 2 strides (I am lazy), 5x1k w/ 2min jog btw, 10min c/d. (Although I considered doing a tempo for a moment but then decided not to do it because last thing I need two weeks before a race is to be reminded that I cannot hold a 4min kilometers on tired legs)
I wanted to do this on a trail (I really did) but I got there and there was a sign that trail is closed. Hunting season... So I had to do everything on a track. Of course, I was not too disappointed about that:) I do not like doing intervals not on a track. I do not like it but I do it (it is actually one of a very few things in my life that I do not like doing but do it nevertheless.). As I was driving home from Louisville last night and thinking about today one of my hopes was that I will forget to charge the Garmin before going to bed and then I will have to do workout on a track. But dang it!, I remembered so I put it on charger.
So 1k repeats:
3:52 - little slower than I wanted to but it is normal. My legs felt little heavy (must be that 70min run I did yesterday) and I was kind of glad that I did not do that tempo.
3:49 - great, my pacing strategy for this type of a workout is basically this: go through 400 slightly under 1:30 (to give me a confidence boost for the next 600m, and to give me a slight time cushion), 800 in 3:00 and then cruise home, if I am over 3:00 at 800 I pick it up a bit for 200m because 200m is not too long and I can suffer for 45sec. I do not know whether legs felt heavy because I forgot about them and did not try to "evaluate".
3:48 - great, still not too hard although a stretch from 600 to 800 felt little hard, then I do not know what happened, I somehow forgot evaluating how I feel and just ran
3:49 - great, although now it started to feel little harder at 400m, for like 2sec and then I forgot about it
3:45 - I do not remember much, although I expected it to be harder and it really was not that bad. I used a very effective strategy on this one: At 100m mark I told myself that I am almost done (yes, I know that I still had 900m to go but read further) because I just work a little bit for the headwind stretch (from 300m mark to 200m mark), then cruise to start/finish line with a tailwind, then work again little bit to the wind, then cruise again and then practice 200m finish kick. It was faster then the others because of that 200m kick at the end. Breaking it down like this helps a lot.  

It was not easy, but it was not all-out efforts either. I was harder than 1k intervals I did on Oct 31 (I ran faster today) but it was easier than 1k intervals in 3:45 with tempo before two years ago (yes, I do remember how those felt.) Anyway, I do not know why I am comparing it because honestly it does not tell me anything.
Anyway, I do not think that I can hold 3:50s for a 5k in two weeks but I am going to try and see what happens. Maybe if I do not bike to work that week and do only a very easy bike spins, no intervals. Yeah, I am going to do that that week.

Unfortunately I cannot say with 100% certainty that dropping a tempo alone helped here. Since I have spent only around 8 hours on a bike last week (as opposed to 12 the week before). But I did my long run yesterday so I did not go to this workout completely fresh.

Then I did a hilly 2h30min bike ride (well, American Midwest style hilly so you can imagine how hilly it was) to work on my biking strength. I need that badly!
Then spent some quality time with my beloved foam roller.

And I almost forgot. So I ran 70min yesterday and 60min today, which are the longest back-to-back runs in something like a year and a half. Of course I prefer not doing something like this but when I have PT treatment and thus cannot run for a day or two afterwards it totally screws my running schedule. Anyway, I had to do it and my ITB feels good, no problem. And that's something to be happy about.

NCAA XC Nationals trip

When I was driving to MI couple weeks ago I wnet through Terra Haute and immediatelly thought "ït is not that far from me, I should come for XC nationals!" Then I have found out that thy had moved the nationals to Louisville and that's not too far from me either!

It was a good trip. Women's race was great! I saw them at two different points and they went to find a god spot at the final stretch and I am glad I did that because with 200m to go Hasay, Saina and D'Agostino were all together and it all came down to sprint finish. I really wish Hasay will finally win the race, I kind of think she deserves it because she is such a stud runner (I remember when she was still in high school in Cali and colleges all over the country were fighting to get her). At the end she was third, although she and D'Agostino cross the line at the same time. Grrr. But such a great race.
But that was not the end of the drama. Providence College was announced as the winning school and they were asked to come for interviews and photo shoots. Then 10min later announcer started apologizing to Ray Traecy because after Oregon's protest Oregon was in fact a winner. Wow! I can just imagine how Traecy and his girls were angry and disappointed. Imagine that. You are celebrating and all that and after 10min they tell you, sorry, we made a timing mistake and now you are second:(

Men's race had no drama at all. But it was a great race. Before the race everyone was talking about the match between Lalang and Kithuka and everyone wondering who is going to win since they have never raced each other before (I think) since Kithuka transfered to D1 school only this year. Turns out Lalang is no match for Kithuka. That guy was flying! Amazing. At the end Lalang finished third because his teammate (forgot his name, starts with an S, must google it...Sambu) came in second. It is quite funny because in every race they did, it was always Lalang 1st, Sambu 2nd and the rest of the field, now it got reversed.

Interestingly, top 5 or 6 men were all Africans and only then the non-Africans started to roll in (I think that the first non-African was Ahmed, who I think is Canadian, and only then the Americans came in)  whereas on a women side only Sainu is African and the rest were Americans. I wonder why not more African women compete here.

It was fun and I am glad I went. I also took one photo (men's start) as a proof that I was there but am too lazy to download it, so sorry, you will have to believe me that I was indeed there.

Once the race was over I did my own run. I ran on the championship course (2.5 loops) and I am always amazed how people can run so fast on xc courses because it always seems to me that I am going to break an ankle any moment. Although it might be that I do not wear glasses/contacts thus I do not see anything when I run which does not matter on track, but it kind of does matter on xc courses. I am blaming my poor sight for my poor xc perfomances.
So I did an easy 70min run and OMG my legs were sore afterwards. How sad is that?!? 70min run and my legs are done. They are not used to running long. (Geez, I cannot believe that I called a 70min run long...It is like I went 10 years back, because in HS 1h run was soooo long. Then in college anything shorter than 1h was not worth putting the sneakers on, and now I am back to 1h is looong. Well, I do 1h runs, all my intervals workouts take me ~1h but it is not continuous running). I know that I really need to start running higher mileage which an occasional longer run if I want to have a decent half-ironman next year. But I am being careful. Rather be undertrained than injured, right?
Btw, I was planning on running yesterday but I am glad I went for drinks with coworkers instead (place we went to had free refills on home-made lemonade so I decided to try every flavour that had.) because I feel that my ITB needed at least 48 hours to recover from Graston treatment.

And I also went for a walk through downtown Louisville. It is quite pretty.
Too bad it is not closer because NCAA Volleyball Champs are there in mid-December and I would love to see that as well.

Friday, November 16, 2012

More bruises

My sister has already stopped pretending that she is listening to me (For example, I clearly told her that I was going to Louisville for XC nationals tomorrow and she totally forgot about it. Can you believe that?!? Such an important piece of info and she forgets.) so I am going to ramble to you.
So yes, I have decided to go to Louisville tomorrow. Will be fun. I hope that some speed rubs onto me (but I do not believe in that anymore. I went to both France for TdF and England for Olympics and I am still slow).

 I again look like an abused woman. I went to the PT on Wednesday and he got Graston certified two weeks ago so he was eager to practice on me. I have heard that Graston was pretty good and pretty painful. I cannot tell you yet whether it is effective or not but it was not that painful. I mean it was painful, but nothing like the pain caused by that plunger thing the German masochist used to use on me. (I cannot imagine what that guy would do to me with Graston tool on hand). Now I have a huge nasty bruise along my ITB. PT said that the muscle under my skin felt like sandpaper but that it got better as he worked on it. He also worked on the ITB right where it “inserts” into the knee, basically the area where it hurts. Normally, I leave that area alone because even the slightest pressure on ITB there irritates it. I cannot even get ultrasound treatment there because even that gentle movement of the UltS tool along the ITB irritates it. But he worked on it and no irritation. (I still do not like this PT as much as I did the German guy but I might learn to if he keeps with this Graston thing)

Walking hurt afterwards, but not because of ITB pain but because of general pain and bruising. Also pushing of the wall in the pool hurt (and still hurts). But ITB feels good so all is good.

I am almost 100% pain-free when lifting my left leg when standing straight. I must have bruised a bone in the back of my pelvis or something as I felt on that log two weeks ago. 

I did some 2min TT efforts after muscular endurance intervals on a bike yesterday and I liked it a lot. Best one was in around 285W, which I am happy with. I am happy with it at least until I check what my 2min efforts were last year:)*

My sister is coming on Tuesday and staying till Monday. Woo-hoo! We are going to go to St Louis for a day and then to Chicago for 2-3 days. We have not booked anything yet though because hotels in Chicago are so expensive?!? Why are they so expensive??? We went to Vegas two years ago over Thanksgiving break and even Vegas was not as expensive as Chicago is. If you know about a good reasonably priced place to stay in Chicago, let me know! 

Local bike store has a huge sale starting Thu night and they have great deals on Easton racing wheels, like 70% off deals. I will go to try to get them and then learn how tubulars work... (I was planning on paying off my college loan in December but that will have to wait until earlier next year because of these unexpected expenses (cough*four bikes*cough*wheels*cough) but it is once in a year opportunity and I do not want to miss it)

* So I checked a few numbers from last year and I was able to hold that kind of power for 5min. Ups. But I am still pleased. Although of course last year workouts were different than this one so I should not be comparing it.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

It is because of biking after all (another tempo/intervals fail)

I have been trying to persuade myself that biking is not a cause for those disastrous running workouts. However, I had another one of those today and now I know that it is biking.

I am in such a pitiable biking shape that all bike workouts are taking too much out of me and I cannot execute those tempo/intervals running workouts. I can do simple interval workouts no problem but cannot do tempo/intervals combo.

I was trying to find a different reason why I am unable to hit my running paces but I got nothing:
I started with tempo/interval combos in fall 2010 and have done them for ~3 months. Never had a problem to hit paces. BUT I was not training for tris back then. I only biked to school with occasional epic 60-mile ride around Los Angeles.   
I did not do tempo/intervals in 2011 at all. I was not able to run much last year but when I was I did simple intervals. I did not have problem to do a bike hill workout and head straight to track and do mile repeats at 5k pace. BUT I was in a pretty good biking shape last year and also in better running shape than this year.
This year, I started with those tempo/intervals in October and was able to do exactly 2 of them without falling off the paces, while I failed 3.
So yes, it is because of biking. I basically went from 0-2h/week biking in Aug-Sept, to 3-5h/week in Oct to 10+h/week of biking in November and it is just way too hard on my running.

I have not realized just how much biking takes out of me now when I am very weak on a bike.

That being said I am not going to cut down biking and I am not going to lower my running targets, I might just cry once a week for next three weeks (until my 5k race). But I am going to discuss with PPC about those tempo/intervals combos. Reasoning behind those types of workouts is to tire the legs before the intervals but since my legs are already trashed it does not make sense to trash them even more. What is happening to me now is that the tempo just sucks out all the power that is left in my legs and then it kind of beats the purpose of the whole workout since I am unable to run even close to what I should run. And I need to run fast in training if I want to run fast in races. Thus I will probably stop doing those tempos and do simple intervals twice a week because I can execute that workout no problem even on legs extremely tired from biking.
I do not know whether I will ever be able to do those tempo/intervals combo while also biking but now I am not. I will get into a better biking shape and then I can try them again. Although maybe there is no need to do workouts like that now that I train for tris. I see huge benefits from those workouts for pure runners but maybe now that much for triathletes whose legs are tired enough from biking on top of running. I am still trying to figure out this whole transition to triathlons.

I am not worried. I will figure it out. I have a 3-5year plan, I do not need to be hitting everything perfectly NOW. And eventhough I have a running race in three weeks it is ok. Although tris are definitely a priority now, I do have some running goals but those are also long-term goals and one race will not make or break it. I want to continue with what I have been doing until now and I will get there. If I realize that it is not working I will make adjustments.

Anyway, I need to get into biking shape and then things will go smoother. I have put biking on a back burner this year to become a better swimmer and now it is time to bring it back in.

So now, let me tell you about my day. I left my house at 9am and did not come back till 4pm.
I swam for 45min (easy/moderate intervals).
Then run for 60min (20min w/up, 15min tempo at 4:19 pace (I was already struggling there), 3min rest, 6x800ish (ran on trail, used Garmin to measure ~800m between two trees) in 3:11 (1st one)-3:20high (most of them were 3:25ish) w/ 90sec standing rest, I was struggling badly but it was still better than 3 weeks before when I was able to only run 2k worth of intervals before completely falling apart, and it is good mental training as well, c/d 5min).
Finished with 2.5h on a bike, aerobic ride holding HR in 135-150 range.

I LOVED it! I love epic days like today.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Dream becoming a reality?

I think I am going to move because how cool would this be?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Little bit of everything

I ran 400s yesterday. I do not remember the last time I ran fastish 400s. Sometimes in late August I think.
Again, I ran in the dark so I was unable to check my 200m splits. For 8x400m with 2min jog I went 1:25, 1:26, 1:27, 1:25, 1:25, 1:25, 1:26, 1:22.
It was not super easy and it got progressively harder. I went faster than I was supposed to but I blame darkness for it. It is very tricky to hit 1:28ish for such short interval and it is very easy to slip to 1:26 or 1:30 and thus I ran by the motto “when in doubt, speed up”.

How do people run interval workouts in fall/winter? This is the first time in my life when I am unable to run during the daylight (let me tell you, life of a working person is not that great:))and thus must run in dark either before or after work. How do people run intervals because running in dark on a track where you hardly see the white line does not seem like a proper way to do it. Do people run on treadmills? Or roads? (I am not doing that!) Or just put a headlamp and go? I cannot imagine wearing a headlamp for fast intervals, that sounds dumb. 

Also, I am going back to running half of my intervals on trails. I completely forgot that I wanted to do it but PPC reminded me about it. Sigh. But it means that I have to do one hard run on weekend because I cannot run intervals on trails in dark. There are a lot of deer there (a lot!) and it is nerve wracking (for both me and them) to run in dark among them. And skunks. And squirrels. So one workout on track after work in dark, one on trails on weekend in daylight.

I ran 40min on a road on Tuesday and it was the very first time I was not obsessively checking on my ITB. I can even call it a worry-free run. It was great. But I cannot start feeling invincible now, because when I do that things go bad. With that, I am going to call PT to get an appointment for next week. 

I honestly think that having a “massage” in a hottub with jets after each interval workout might be another thing that helps me to keep ITB in check. I just sit there for 10min and let the jets massage my ITB. It is wonderful! (Then I have to get up and go swimming, which is not that wonderful. Swimming is wonderful (I love it!) but moving from nice hot water to cold pool is hard.) 

Other things are ok too. I can finally somehow lift my left leg without too much pain. Ever since I fell last weekend on that log while on mtb I was not able to lift the left leg when I was standing straight. I am able to do it when I bent forward though. But now it is better. It does not bother me when biking or running, although I feel it a little bit and I feel it when doing flip turns or when I sit and turn but nothing too bad. So that’s almost back to normal.

I am thinking about going to Louisville for NCAA XC nationals next weekend. Not that I am such a huge fan of cross-country (I am not! Esp when I have to run it) but I am very eager to see whether Jordan Hasay can finally win or I want to see some perfectly striding Kenyans. It is 3+ hour drive though so I am not convinced yet.

There are other great things I can think of sharing with you but I think that I will just talk to my sister about them since this is getting long and you probably do not care (although my sister does not care either but she is my sister so she must listen to my ramblings). My sister totally loves when I start talking about how much I love riding on a home trainer (she: “And what exactly is this home trainer?”), or when I complain that having a car is making me a puss because it was raining yesterday morning (and I got rained on on both Mon and Tue while biking from work) so I drove a car to work (she: “It is not making you a puss, it is making you smart.”). Good times.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

My stove works

Yes, that's right, after exactly 39 days of living in this apartment I finally cooked something and used my stove for the first time today. I am just glad it works, would be a bummer if it did not.
I cooked pasta in case you are curious:) Then I added cottage cheese, avocado and overpriced whole sugar snap peas. I made an extra large portion of that pasta so I can eat it also tomorrow. (My grandma always cooks a lot of pasta and puts it into a fridge, then just pours hot water over it and voila it is like freshly cooked. She does that because she feeds not only my cousins and my granddad with it but also huns and neighbor's cat and she never knows who shows up when so she must be prepared.)

I am sure you are wondering what I have eaten all this time. Honestly, I do not know. After I was done with all those cookies, cheesecakes, mild duds, starbursts, muffins I honestly do not know. I guess I have been eating bread with cheese, apples, steamed veggies with fish, jogurts and little bit more of those muffins and cookies this whole time.

I need to start planning my meals or something because otherwise I will just eat bread/cheese/tomatoe/peppers, apples and joghurt for lunch and steamed veggies for dinner every single day.
I am not a huge cook as you can tell and I do not even have things like salt and spices in my kitchen. Some people might think that then everything must just taste the same with no flavour but I like it that way.

Training update: I do not have sore muscles anymore and the only pains left are those caused by falls. My right knee is little slowen and bruised, muscle on the right shin is swollen, something around my right shoulder blade hurts (you see, I could not easily unclip my right shoes so I kept falling on my right side until I realized that the cleat is loose) and then once I fell to the left on a fallen log and something in my side/lower back is bruised and hurts. But it will go away, it just hurts to turn when I am lying in bed.

I did an aerobic 2 hour bike ride followed by 65min run today. I drove 15 miles to the lake for that because I did not want to run twice on a road this week (I ran 40min on a road on Friday) and roads there are just so nice for biking: minimun intersections, smooth pavement, minimum cars, only one dog (but he does not chase me like those other two near my house do). I find it completely crazy to drive a car to some place so you can ride a bike. It makes zero sense! But I am getting brainwashed in this country so I did it:(
I felt good but later I could definitelly feel little bit of fatigue in legs. No wonder, today was the fourth day in a row I biked. 4 days, 4 different workouts on three different bikes (I do not count my comuting to work as a workout thus not included in this statistics). Maybe I should buy a cross bike next year. It sounds like fun:) Actually I would have bought one already because there are races every weekend and also some week nights but they are one hour away and I am not doing that! (At least until I get completely sucked into American wastefull way of living)

Take on mountain biking

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I bought that bike. The race I did up in Michigan was great, I loved it and did not find it too difficult or scary.
However I have now realized that those trails we were riding at are like a six lane California highway compared to trails here in Southern IL. I got a pretty good preview of what real mtb trails should look like two weeks ago at the FTF and then today was just a confirmation.
Holy shit! I again feel (and look) like a person who has picked up a fight with Mike Tyson. I am all beaten up. My arms hurt. My lower back hurts. My upper back hurts. My shoulders hurt. My shins hurt. And I have a bunch of new bruises to prove my lack of skills and lack of fear. Lack of skills and lack of fear is a dangerous combination in this mtb thing my friends. I am a living example of "confidence is the feeling before you fully understand the situation" because I go where I have no business going and when I realize it it is already too late so i just roll with it and sometimes it works out and sometimes it does not. (although I fell only 3 times today and I am mostly blaming a loose cleat for that since I could not clip out fast enough. so I am improving)
All my pains are musculars (except for bruises and scratches), no "bad" pain, which to me is an indication that mtb works my whole body. It is so much different from road riding. On a road you relax your upper body and let legs do the work. On mtb I engage everything (including my tongue to mutter curses) to move around/over rocks, roots, brooks, logs. And I find it a good thing, of course! It is like a whole body workout!

I did a four hour ride with some seasoned mountain bikers today and I was trying to learn some tricks from them, although it was hard since I was a mile behind them. They invited me to come ride with them again next week and as of now I am thinking I do not want to do it. Because it will hurt (both during and after the ride). It seems that I am starting to learn fear. Which might be a wise thing (yeah, there is a high probability that if I continue like this I will end up with stitches or broken bones) but not necessarily the best thing (I mean I really like it but if I start being constantly worried about wiping out into a big pile of pointy rocks it will stop being fun eventually) if I want to keep riding.
The best thing would be a combination of having great skills and lack of fear but I'm far from that:)

Anyway, I was starving after the ride. I immediatelly ate two hot dogs (I have not eaten a hot dog in probably 10 years but there was nothing else and I had to eat something), 2 hours later two cheese/tomatoe/turkey ham sandwiches, some Halloween candy, some potatoe chips and 15 sushi pieces and I drank like half gallon of orange juice/water mix. I have a 3hour aerobic ride/run combo tomorrow so I better feed the machine, right?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bike FTP test

It is worse than I thought.

It went like this, w/up 15min, 5x1min hard w/ 1 min easy, 20min hard FTP, 10min easy, 20min hard FTP, 5min c/d.

Here are my stats:
1st interval:
Avg power 206
Avg HR 167
Avg cadence 84

2nd interval:
Avg power195
Avg HR 165
Avg cadence 83

Yes, I am 30watts down from where I were this time last year. Which is understandable since that's what 10 months with very little biking does to you.

But let me analyze this test for you:
My power was low.
My HR was low. Avg HR in mid-160? And my max was around 175. Last year my avg HR was low 180 in these tests, max around 190.
My cadence was low. Last year during efforts like this one my cadence would be 90+. Gear I was in today was little to hard to push, but in lower gear I could not get the power over 180.

This all means that I do not have bike specific muscles. I have no strength to push the pedals, that would allow for higher HR and of course lack of strength means that my watts are low.
Actually I have no muscles at all, I see this also in running.I could not do big gear work or run hills because of my ITB and I am weak as a fly.

I think that that's it - lack of bike muscles. It is that simple. I have done 5-6 faster workouts in last 10 months, one of them was hills, one was short 1min intervals, rest was 4-6min intervals. Last time I did these intervals was sometimes in early August. Rest of my rides were easy. And there was not even that many rides....
I am sure that Michelle did not expect me to me in such a pitoyable bike shape.

In addition, yesterday was the first time I was on a tri bike since Sept 30 and it was the first time on a trainer since mid-Feb.
Maybe my numbers would be little bit higher if we waited 1-2 weeks until I get used to biking and being on trainer again, because seriously, this test was probably a huge shock to my body. (This does not mean that I want to do this again in 1-2 weeks!) These are not excuses. This is reality that explains why I have zero bike fitness and why this test was so incredibly pathetic.

So one positive is that I know I need to work on my strength and build bike specific muscles. Other positive is that I have steel bottom parts since I was able to spend 80min in aero on a trainer no problem without easing into it.

Honestly, I am not concerned about this. Although I am concerned that I am not concerned. Maybe I should be. But it was so pathetic that I want to laught at me instead of beating myself up for this.

PS: And I was totally prepared for this test. I bought bricks in Lowe's (to put under my front wheel), I printed a manual for my new Joule (to know what to press to get avegare power for each interval), I did not eat as many 50% off Halloween sweets yesterday as I would love to (I only ate 12 Halloween-themed cupcakes. I was a responsible athlete keeping this FTP test in mind and constrained myself) and I did not bike to work (to keep fresh legs).

Swim test

25 yard pool. (Wouldn’t it be great to have a 50m outdoor pool to swim in? But with no German senior citizens please!)

50: 36 This might be my new PR or if it is not I certainly at least matched my old one.
200: 2:47 This is probably my new PR. I am not 100% positive but I think it is. It was hard!  (I need to start keep track of my swimming PRs somewhere)
1000: 15:50 Not my PR. I think that the fastest I have ever gone was 15:10 in one of my 3x1000 workouts. Maybe Missy Franklin can swim at WR pace, then do an easy 5min recovery swim and come back to break another WR but I am not Missy Franklin yet so 5min easy swim was not enough to recover from the 200 that had left me trashed. I am just glad I did not drown during the 1000.

I am pretty satisfied overall. Although I thought that I have more endurance than this. But who cares? It was just to get a baseline.