Category Archives: Triathlon

To Be, Or Not To Be

That is the question. The answer? Elusive. Soliloquies aside, Shakespeare may have been describing my training this week as opposed to the suicidal ramblings of Hamlet. Who knew he had an interest in triathlon? Now that we’ve exhausted the extent of the literary knowledge I’ve retained from high school, let’s talk training. Or lack thereof.

This week began with good intentions. After the half-marathon on Sunday, I was looking forward to some time off my feet and in the pool come Monday. I went through the normal motions of gathering all of my gear (which seems to double, week after week), driving to the gym and walking all the way to the pool. There are few things more annoying than showing up to said pool and finding out that it’s closed. I stood there with my head pressed against the cool glass of the locked door that separated me from six lanes of unobstructed lap-swim bliss. I slowly turned around and made my way to the nearest window, the Jaws music playing in my head. I knew my fate. The outdoor pool opened last weekend and that only meant one thing: college students+outdoor pool+no class= …

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I felt angry. I felt embittered. I felt… Okay, maybe I didn’t feel any of those things, but I was definitely not getting in my swim workout. I looked at the tanned frat guys with sculpted bodies, many of whom I’m certain couldn’t string together 3 miles to make a 5K, and most of whom I’m certain couldn’t swim more than a lap (I know, I know, people in glass houses…). Meanwhile, I workout 6-7 days a week and I’m over here making sure my swimsuit isn’t squeezing my hip chub too much. Let’s focus here, though. Self-image issues aside, I looked at the tiny three lane lap pool reserved for lap swimming and noted the mass of fraternity guys with the feet dangling off the wall into the water. Wouldn’t want those Wayfarers to get wet, now would we? I walked away dejected, knowing that another workout would go unfinished due to those darn good-looking frat guys without awkward triathlon tan lines. Ah, the life.

Wednesday would be better, no doubt. I left thinking this positive message to myself and went home to outline my half-marathon training plan for the Fort Worth Jalapeño Half-Marathon at the end of June. With about nine weeks to train, I outlined a plan that is loosely derived from the Hanson’s Marathon Method, which I’m using to prepare for the Kansas City Marathon in October. It’s not training, but it’s thinking about training, so I chalked it up to a day well spent.

After a run Tuesday afternoon, followed by another on Wednesday, I made my way back to the Colvin Pool. This time I called in advance to make sure that the indoor pool would be open upon my arrival like it was supposed to be. I was told by the perky girl at the front desk that it was indeed. I walked past it. Lights on, lanes open. Good to go, as they say. I showered and changed and made my way to entrance to the pool from the men’s locker room. I pushed on the door first with my hand and shortly thereafter, my face when it didn’t budge. I stood there dumbfounded. “I must’ve pushed on the wrong side of the door.” I tried again. Nope. I backed up. “Maybe it’s stuck.” I walked towards it again, arm outstretched like some sort of shirtless linebacker. Nope. Not stuck. Closed. Again. After considering trying my hand at lock-picking, I gave up. It was not to be.

That’s my segue, and also the end of my depressing story. All this is to say that sometimes training doesn’t go the way you expect it to. There are days where you have to accept or decide, that it just wasn’t meant to be. Next week I will be back in Oklahoma City (read: I’m graduating college this weekend and will be moving back home with my parents until such time that: a. I find a job and can support myself. Or b. Get married and move to Kansas City in July.). This means my training should be more consistent since Oklahoma City has much better places to ride and a plethora of lap-swim pools sans frat guys. Here’s to more consistent training. And a successful job search.

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Remembering, Racing, and Ramblings: Remember the Ten Race Report

Today marked the first official race I’ve done since my marathon in December. Why the long lull? Attribute it to training, a busy schedule, or a minor case of ADD; In either event, I’ve lacked focus. Maybe that’s the wrong choice of words. It isn’t that I’ve lacked focus, it’s more like I’ve been dealing with too much of it. After my marathon, I took a month off, only to start back half-heartedly, running aimlessly with no real goal. Cue the inception of the triathlon/Ironman dream and a complete 180 in training, and suddenly it’s April. (Actually, let’s be honest: it probably isn’t due to any of the reasons listed above as much as it is the financial issue. A part-time office job on campus has been known to change people’s perspective on money and side-effects often include the common use of the sentence “You want how much for a gallon of milk?!” [Yes, I realize how depressing this statement is. Don’t judge me.]).

Anyhow, it was great to toe the start line again. Oddly enough, according to my pace group (7:00/mile), I was only about ten feet from the start line. Scary stuff for a guy who only ran a 4:47:22 marathon. In any event, I woke up about an hour before the race to get ready and eat a light breakfast of half a cinnamon bagel and a GU gel. Let me take another side note here and defend my GU use for a 10K. I’m the first proponent for not using nutrition supplements for any runs lasting shorter than an hour and a half or so, but I was reading an article yesterday about racing and the effects of lactic acid. Supposedly, caffeine slows down the buildup of lactic acid and mitigates some of the soreness felt after a hard run. I thought, “What the heck, I’ll give it a try.” So after consuming my bagel and GU chaser, I trotted out the door of my apartment to the starting line.

The race was taking place less than a half mile from my apartment. Perfect for a person like me. Morning person, I am not. I found my pace group, unsettlingly close to the start line and then commenced my favorite past time: watching people before a race. The way I see it, you’ve got three types of people before a race begins: the stretchers, the talkers, and the fidgety ones.

The stretchers are a common species and can usually be found along the perimeter of the starting line. Typically they are embracing a pole or a wall (sometimes a third party) for support and will, well, stretch right up to the gun.

The talkers need no explanation other than the fact that many of them seem to feel the need to share their PR’s with you either a) In an attempt to impress you, or b) In an attempt to reassure themselves that they can indeed do it. (Either that or they just want to make sure that they are standing in the middle of the right street, with the right group of people, doing the right activity. You don’t want to get a race mixed up with a protest, although I’ve found the amount of spandex to be a good gauge (depending on what protest).

The fidgety ones are the ones dashing to and fro. Examples include, but are not limited to: doing twenty yard sprints along the side of the street, jumping up and down, or perusing the beginning of the course (as if they won’t see it in a few minutes).

I witnessed the full gamut in the ten minutes I was waiting for the gun to go off. I’m not asserting that my way is the right way, but I take an attitude similar to how I view tests: this close to the event, there’s not much I can do to make it go any better. So there I stood patiently waiting. Then the sixty second announcement was made.

Me: “Hm, I wonder how long sixty seconds is.”

Then my brain after a little while: “Seems like it should be shorter than this.”

Announcer: “THIRTY SECONDS!”

Me: “See you worried for nothing.”

Brain: “That was a long thirty seconds, my guess is this guy can’t tell time-”

*GUN SHOT*

Me: “Confirmed: he definitely can’t tell time. That was more like fifty seconds, then a ten second warning.”

This conversation actually took place. Shaking off the shock of what was first the longest thirty seconds of my life, followed quickly by the shortest, we were off. The 6:00/mile group in front of me shot off like bats out of hell and I knew for certain I was going to get trampled. To my surprise and overall elation, I didn’t though. The course began with a gradual up hill for the first mile and a half which I completed in just under 7 minutes.

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My goal going into this race was to average 7:00/mile and finish in about 43:00. So far so good. I felt great going into the first two miles. I was using the Virtual Partner feature on my 910XT set to 7:00/mile. I was about 11 seconds ahead for the first two miles, but then faded just a bit. It was extremely flat from about mile 1.5 to 3.5 so I was disappointed that my splits were slower than my goal pace. No excuse today, it was 50 degrees with almost no wind. I stepped it up just in time for a couple more small inclines, so my pace wasn’t really affected too much.

I noted that after about mile 4 I began passing people that had passed me in the beginning. I may not be very fast, but endurance is one aspect I’m decent at. I began picking off people, one by one, all the way down to mile 6 when Blue Lightning passed me. I’m referring to him as Blue Lightning because that’s what it looked like. This guy had to have been pushing a 6:00/mile pace. Not wanting to give up my spot that easily, I got a great angle on the second to last turn and passed him. I felt like my race was against him at this point because you had the crazy fast people about 50-100 yards ahead of me, which I knew I couldn’t make happen, and the rest of the pack behind me. We dodged through the 5K walkers that were finishing up and I almost took out a little girl (not on purpose!) that decided she wanted to run in my space at the last minute. After a good fight lasting about a half mile, Blue Lightning truly lived up to his name and mopped the floor with me the last 0.2. I kept up as best I could squeezing out a 6:19/mile pace for the last portion. I crossed the finish line in 44:36 which was enough to earn me 7th out of 29 in my age group and 26th (out of about 500) overall. I was pleased! Coming off of an entire training season last year where I trained around 9:30/mile, I was elated that I was able to average 7:07/mile for the 10K distance.

The proof is in the puddin’, as they say…

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The overall winner finished in 32:33. I thought at that speed you were supposed to travel back in time. The Fiancee was able to snap a few pictures of me as I approached the finish. In the below pictures, I would just like to point out that the 5K and 10K courses merged. I wasn’t being beaten by a 70 year old. (Although, that has happened before. That’s a story for another time though.) I’m the one that’s not a woman.

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I think I inspired her to run with me…
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Okay, in the picture below you can see the culprit. Young girl, pink pants. In about a second and a half (as I’m passing) she darts out in front of me and nearly get’s taken out by a man on a mission to catch Blue Lightning.
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All in all it was a great race! Plenty of participants and a good number of spectators. It was a lot of fun to participate in a race again.

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Next week The Fiancee and I will be running the Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon. Expect plenty of pictures and probably a few stories to highlight her first “official” foray into the world of long-distance running!

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Birthday Wishes

Well it’s that time of year again. The time of year when the majority of us are either rushing to file our taxes or (for the procrastinators) an extension. Tax season seems to predispose people to stress and anxiety. To me though, it’s always had a different connotation: excitement. Yes, the mid-April deadline happens to be my birthday. Ironically enough, I was born on April 15th to two accountants… Yet somehow I still suck at math. Oh well. Luckily for me, that’s why there’s calculators and TurboTax.

This week was busy, both with school and exercise. Here’s a breakdown of last week’s workouts:

Monday: 1 mile swim-43 minutes

Tuesday: 60 minute spin, 30 minute run

Wednesday: 1 mile swim-40 minutes

Thursday: 60 minute interval run

Saturday: 11 mile run

Sunday: 120 minute Z2 bike, 30 minute Z2 run

The weekend didn’t offer much of a break in the way of exercise, but it was great to be home with my family. Saturday evening we went out to celebrate at my favorite pizza place in Oklahoma City, Upper Crust. Since my focus has shifted a great deal since last year, so did my wish list. I’ve been drooling over the Garmin Forerunner 910XT for the last four months. (Seriously, The Fiancee can attest: it’s become a bit of a problem.) To my elation, with the help of my parents, The Fiancee, and my soon-to-be in-laws, I got one!

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It actually worked out perfectly because today I had another brick. 120 minute Z2 bike, followed by a 30 minute Z2 run. It was perfectly clear and just the right temperature. Unfortunately, after turning south I was greeted with an extremely stiff south wind. Again. It’s becoming such a common theme I’m considering creating a new category on my website for it. Today the winds were sustained at 20mph and gusting to 38mph. Not the best conditions for a bike ride, but I had a new toy to play with, so nothing was going to stop me.

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I started out heading north and felt like the fastest cyclist alive, only to turn south and feel like I was trying to tow a car. It was a great workout and it was wonderful to be on a relatively flat course. I completed 30.29 miles in 1:49:22 averaging 16.6 mph. I was slightly disappointed with my speed, but with a wind that strong, there wasn’t much I could do. You can definitely tell the areas I was heading north (with the wind) and south (into the wind). Also, note the elevation graph which is much more my speed (sorry, couldn’t avoid that one) and definitely closer to my mediocre level of ability. I’m looking at you Ride from Hell.

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After the ride, I slipped into my running shoes. I purchased some Lock Laces last week and they have been a godsend. I highly recommend them. They are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to improve your transition time. I was concerned that my heel would slide out of the shoe given the elasticity of the “laces”, but they are the perfect tension.

I had to smile as I switched sports on my new Garmin. It was effortless and made everything so much easier. My goal was to stay under 8:00/mile for the duration of the run. It was difficult with wind and after the ride, but I managed to squeeze out 3.82 miles in exactly 30:00 averaging 7:51/mile. A successful day of training and a great way to end the 5th week of my program.

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This weekend was extremely busy for The Fiancee and myself. Saturday morning I elected to run The Fiancee’s long run with her (since I’ve done absolutely no training for the half marathon in two weeks since my triathlon program began). It was an 11 mile run and the weather was perfect. I took the opportunity to take some photographs and just enjoy my favorite discipline. The trail around Lake Hefner is really pretty in some places.

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If you’re in Oklahoma City for any length of time, you’ll likely see the lighthouse below either in a picture or on the news. It’s kind of a cool spot and makes for great pictures.

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The Fiancee and I went to New York City in December (that’s actually where I asked her to marry me). It was absolutely one of my favorite places I’ve ever been. The number of buildings was incredible. Behold New York City’s antithesis: Oklahoma City.

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I love it, but it’s flat largely uninteresting. Although, that makes it great for training. After completing her run we completed some wedding obligations and then went to my birthday dinner with my family. It was a great weekend that went by way too quickly. I hope everyone had a safe and productive week!

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Lately

Time flies when you’re having fun. The old adage needs a footnote. Fun, or training for a triathlon. I haven’t added up the number of hours I’ve been training every week, but I’d be willing to bet it rivals the hours I work at my part-time job. Sometimes I wake up in the mornings, instantly transported back to the height of my marathon training last fall. Constantly tired, constantly sore, and constantly hungry (more on this point later). I think it’s an act of God that I haven’t been injured yet through the course of my training because let’s be honest, as I sit here writing this post stuffing my face with a muffin the size of a softball, I know it’s not my physique getting me through these workouts.

Over the past week or so I’ve stuck to the 12 Week Olympic Triathlon Training Plan I outlined a while back, with only one modification. Before discussing what hasn’t worked though, let’s discuss improvements. In my last post, I semi-jokingly (mostly seriously), asked how on earth one goes about increasing swimming stamina and endurance. This walrus is seriously in need of a few pointers from a dolphin (heck, I’ll take trout at this point). Since then though, I’ve made a few improvements. Wednesday I swam a mile in 43 minutes. A full 17 minutes faster than when I started. I’m sure I could shave 5 more minutes off this time if I cut out the breaks every two laps or could learn to flip-turn without making the lifeguard think I was having a seizure at the end of the pool. One thing at a time though.

Running hasn’t provided too many surprises as of late. Thursday I had a 60 minute speed workout and I ran my fastest 10K ever (46:15), which I was extremely happy about. Speaking of 10K’s, I signed up for one that takes place in two weeks here in Stillwater. My goal is to finish in under 47:00 which seems completely doable. There was also a 5K here yesterday to support the OSU Triathlon Team, which I came extremely close to doing, but couldn’t figure out a way to work it into my brick. Let me tell you about this race: First of all, this was basically the most amazing race I’ve ever heard of. After every mile you had to eat a donut (doughnut? That war still rages on inside my grammatically fixated mind…). Essentially it combined two of my favorite activities: running and stuffing my face with as much fried, sugar covered, dough as possible. The Fiancee and my parents can vouch for the fact that if someone was driving in front of me with almost any type of food, I could bust out some sub 5 minute miles (Note: this has never been scientifically tested, but I’m open to it). Unfortunately, I had a 3 hour brick to do.

Which brings us to yesterday, a 150 minute Z2 bike followed by a 30 minute Z2 run. For those of you who aren’t familiar with small Oklahoma towns, I would probably have to cycle around the entire city 30 times to get that kind of time in on the bike. So me being me, I decided to hop on trusty Highway 51 and do a simple 24 miles out and 24 back. A few cyclists use Highway 51 because it has large shoulders and is reasonably straight and seemed only moderately hilly. “Seemed” being the key word there. The thing to realize about Oklahoma is that once you’re East of I-35 the landscape changes from unbelievably flat to moderately hilly. Without considering this fact I blindly headed east towards Tulsa. This is when things got interesting.

Below is the elevation graph for the duration of my ride. For any readers who routinely climb thousands of feet every ride and then get off at the top of the hill only to say, “Let’s do that again!” Let me complain for a moment: The lowest point on this graph is 790 feet. The highest is just over 1000 feet, but the stupid dang road had you do it over and over and over again. The most I’ve ever climbed on a given ride is just over 500 feet. On this route I climbed 1,655 feet. Oh, and add in the fact that the winds were gusting to 28 mph yesterday straight into my face on the way home. It turned what was supposed to be a 2.5 hour ride into 5 minutes shy of 3 hours.

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As I dragged myself back into town after the ride from hell, I found I was having trouble keeping down the GU packet I’d eaten at half way and the GU Brew I’d been sipping on. When I got home I collapsed on the floor of my apartment burnt to a crisp physically and mentally. I was extremely dehydrated and was definitely feeling it. I laid there for probably half an hour taking in as much water as I could stomach. After I while I had the strength to kick off my cycling shoes and shower off. This was my first experience with dehydration during exercise and I was determined never to let it happen again. Coming from a running background, I had no idea how much you should consume while cycling. After a little research I found that it’s generally recommended to drink about 28 oz. per hour of cycling. I had just completed 3 hours with one 25 oz. bottle of GU Brew. Not my finest hour(s).

Needless to say, the brick didn’t happen yesterday. I think part of being a good endurance athlete is knowing when to push and when to say enough is enough. My body had been through enough so I didn’t push it. I joke a lot on my blog because I like to keep things light. My intention with this story wasn’t to highlight my own ignorance (although I think that came through pretty glaringly), but to caution any other new cyclists/triathletes to consider proper hydration. Just because it’s low impact doesn’t mean you can forget hydration.

Lastly, I thought I would share some of my favorite shots from last month. Most of these were over Spring Break in Oklahoma City. I caught the below picture while cycling one morning. Couldn’t have been more perfect!

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The Golden was happy that we were on Spring Break too. That meant more time at the dog park!
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The dog park has a lake that the dogs can swim in. We couldn’t get Brinkley to stop swimming. Maybe I should take some lessons from him. He does two out of the three sports right?

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Spring time in Oklahoma means one thing: storm season. I snapped this picture of a severe thunderstorm that was passing about 30 miles south of us. Nothing can quite capture how massive these things are.

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Hopefully everyone’s training has been going well. Remember to take some time to relax and in the words of The Most Interesting Man in the World: Stay thirsty my friends.

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Different Strokes for Different Folks: Day 41

I said transparency was my goal for this blog, but I have a confession: I’m worried. Why am I worried? Well that conversation could take up an entire day, so let’s stay focused here. I began this triathlon training more concerned with my time on the bike than anything else. The run didn’t concern me, considering my background. And for some reason, some stupid pompous reason, the swim didn’t concern me at all. I’ve always been a capable swimmer. I’ve easily swam from the diving board to the side of the pool. Had no problem swimming from the end of the water-slide to the nearest food cart. And certainly didn’t have any trouble swimming to the shore of a river after spotting a water moccasin (incidentally, probably my fastest 25 yard split ever).Well after my first three swim workouts, I’m not sure I could rub them together to make a mile between them. Seriously swimmers, how do you do it? My naiveté may be showing, but I figured that aerobic fitness was aerobic fitness. I could run a marathon so, heck, I should be able to swim a good distance, right? Wrong. Very wrong. Here’s how workout one went. I push-off the wall, feeling strong and like a shorter version of Michael Phelps. 20 seconds later I’m clinging to the opposite side of the pool for dear life gasping for air. I repeated this sad process 15 more times, got out of the pool trying to salvage what was left of my dignity and (surprisingly) was able to make it to the locker room.

Workout two must have heard my struggles from workout one and invited a larger audience to watch the spectacle. I couldn’t shake the image of the life guard watching me and thinking to himself a Herbert Morrison-esque “OH THE HUMANITY”. More likely he was prepping his lifeguard noodle and taking off his flip-flops. I’m sure he thought he was going to have to drag my sorry butt out of the pool.

With workout three I was determined. I was better than this. I could beat this sport. I was going to swim farther than I’d ever swam before. Well, mission accomplished. I made it down and back before stopping to gulp down air instead of water. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “What kind of idiot would sign up for a triathlon and can’t swim more than a lap?” This one. This one would.

If I wasn’t so crunched for time, I’d find the situation humorous. Yesterday, I managed to flail out 36 laps (totalling one mile) in one hour. An hour! A far cry from my 25:00 goal time. Although yesterday’s swim workout was an improvement over the first three workouts, the thought of swimming 1500 yards non-stop in June seems insurmountable. So my question is, how did you all get started swimming and how long did it take for you to build up any sort of endurance? Or am I just doomed to be the only triathlete wishing for a wall every 50 yards?

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Just Another Brick in the Wall: Day 33

I debated on an appropriate title for this post. It had to be as epic as I felt this weekend for completing not one, but two bricks. What better way to pay homage to a weekend of sweated bliss than the world’s most obvious Pink Floyd reference? Corny puns and a great album aside, it was a great weekend.

It’s spring break for most of the southern plains, and while all other college students flock to the coasts, I’m pleased to be home right smack dab in the center of the most landlocked state in the Nation (besides maybe you, Kansas and Nebraska). Supposedly, Oklahoma boasts more “coast line” than any other state in the country (one thing our northern brethren can’t claim). I am quoting from one of those “come to Oklahoma commercials” and a Wikipedia article. Although, I usually take quality over quantity, in which case Oklahoma wouldn’t win. Either way, I took advantage of at least 18 of those miles of coast line during my rides this weekend.

Saturday morning I was out the door as soon as it was light enough to ride. I typically don’t judge this by how well I can see, but how well I feel others can see me. I began my 120 minute jaunt around 7:45 and headed north towards Lake Hefner. There’s a very convenient trail that connects two lakes that surround my house so I hopped on that and rode around Lake Hefner, then I headed south on the trail towards Lake Overholser. All in all, it was an absolutely beautiful ride. If you are interested in the nitty-gritty performance details, let’s examine the graphs below.
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The nice thing about triathlon training versus most running programs is that you exercise for a set amount of time, not mileage. This way you know exactly how long an activity will take. Saturday I rode for just under two hours (1:56:55) and got a little over 33 miles in (33.3). I am fairly pleased with this because I feel like there’s plenty of room for improvement over the next 11 weeks to increase my speed into the 20mph range.

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For the time being, I’m borrowing my dad’s triathlon bike: a Trek Equinox Tri Series. The bike is a bit on the heavier side as far as triathlon bikes go, weighing in a little over 22 lbs. On flat sections the bike flies, though. Saturday it was a little windy, with winds coming from the south. I noticed heading North I averaged somewhere between 19-23mph, while heading south it was between 13-17mph. This translated to an average speed of a little over 17mph for the duration of the ride. In the graph below you’ll notice, Oklahoma is as flat as they say.

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I usually post my mile splits, but when there are over thirty of them I figured a summary would be best. Below, you can see that the vast majority of my ride was spent between 11:51-23.02mph.

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After the bike is when things got a little interesting. Although its not my first brick, it was my first after a longer ride. I had set up my transition area prior to leaving and thought, “All I have to do is take off my helmet, put on a hat, switch shoes and off I go. No big deal right? When I pulled up to my house, I stared at my stuff like it was my first time dressing myself. Needless to say, it was an awkward transition and I will definitely be investing in some Lock Laces or Yankz.

Unfortunately, my problems didn’t really stop there. The run was awkward. Why? Well, for starters I felt that I still had the saddle between my legs, so that took some getting used to. Then, I had absolutely no idea how fast I was running. Typically, I’m pretty good at judging my pace based on different cues like breathing rate, surroundings, or how my legs feel. After the transition, though, all of those cues felt off. I didn’t know whether I was running a 10:00/mile or a 6:00/mile. I crested a small hill around mile 1 I looked at my time: 7:54. Good, but I quickly found I couldn’t sustain it. Honestly though, it felt good to run. It felt familiar. It’s an event I’m decent at and can do with relative ease. After my 30 minutes were up I called it quits. I completed 3.6 miles and was pretty spent after the two workouts.

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My mile splits are listed below. Compare the average vs. fastest paces. Yeah, I had no idea how fast I was going.

Screen Shot 2013-03-17 at 8.22.21 PMIt was a busy day as far as training goes, but I really enjoyed the change of pace riding provided. Plus, I got to see half the city in two hours.

My training program which you can find here didn’t call for another brick workout, but did call for a 60 minute bike and another 30 minute run. I read a post recently on BeginnerTriathlete.com which talked about the origins and the importance of brick workouts. The author submitted that there is almost no benefit to running with fresh legs when training for a triathlon since you’ll never run with fresh legs during the race. With the exception of speed workouts, he suggested the more you can run with your legs fatigued, the more experienced you’ll become in the sport. I thought this was a pretty good point and decided to get both workouts done at once.

Once again I woke up early and went riding. I took the same trail to Lake Hefner and completed about 19.3 miles in 1:12:57. If you don’t have your calculators out at home, that equates to an average of 15.8mph. Why the difference from yesterday? There was a stiff north wind at about 15mph that blew the entire ride. It was windier than Saturday’s ride and much colder. The wind chill was around 30 when I left in the morning. I won’t bore you with more charts and graphs, but the important takeaway here is that my pace was much slower due to the wind. The transition was better than Saturday’s. If I had to rate it I’d say it was at least 25% less awkward (I hope the sarcasm is coming through). I also found that I acclimated to the run faster and was more consistent with pace. Whereas Saturday I averaged 8:29/mile, I managed to average 8:12/mile on Sunday on the same 3.6 mile course. Attribute that to less fatigue, more experience, or sheer luck. Either way, it was an improvement.

All in all, it was a great weekend. I rode about 53 miles in 3 hours and ran a little over 7 miles in an hour. For my first weekend of training, I’m satisfied. Now it’s time to listen to some Pink Floyd. “All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall.”

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Tale of Two Cities: Day 29

What is there to say about the last 10 days? A lot. And yet, not much. I’ll spare you the Chales Dickens-esque introduction I had planned, but suffice it to say, the last week and a half has been busy. And yet, I don’t feel like much has been accomplished. In my last post I discussed being sick and what can be done about it. I’m not ashamed to say that I found solace at the bottom of a bottle during that time. A bottle of Dayquil, that is. And Nyquil. Yes, by the time my ailment had run its course, I had downed an entire bottle of Dayquil and put a significant dent in the Nyquil. I was sick from last Monday to last Saturday/Sunday. Saturday, I felt decent enough to accompany The Fiancee on her weekly long run, but not without a virtual cocktail of over-the-counter medications. This “cold” was absolutely one of the worst I’ve ever had. Sunday, I awoke feeling better, which was a good thing because this week was extremely taxing on my time and exercise commitments.

Without further ado, let’s catch up shall we?

Monday: My 12 week training program for my Olympic Triathlon started. I didn’t. Why not? Because Stillwater doesn’t sell bathing suits. Blame my poor planning or blame the town whose primary source of income is Sirloin Stockade and parking citations. Take your pick. In either event, I was unable to complete my first 45 minute swim workout. No matter though, I was scheduled to go to Oklahoma City the next day for wedding obligations. I’d pick one up then.

Tuesday: My phone went off at 5:45 AM. The Fiancee. Wake-up call. I’m not going to say that I was unhappy to hear her voice, but let’s be honest, no one can be happy about much that early. After some confused looks from The Golden wondering why we weren’t going to sleep another 4 hours, I was out the door. My workout on Tuesday was my first brick. A 60 minute cycling session followed by a quick transition to a 20 minute run. I didn’t make the 6 AM Spin Class so I created my own workout. After a warm-up, I focused on intervals which increased in, well, interval. I followed up the interval training with some hill work, followed up by another interval session. After a 10 minute cool down period I was off. I felt pretty decent coming off the bike, which was encouraging considering my last experience. I completed 2.5 miles in 20 minutes, averaging about 8:00/mile. After returning home, it was off to the airport, followed by class and work. After work, The Fiancee and I made the trip down to Oklahoma City to pick the food menu for our wedding. While we were there I thought I’d swing by somewhere and pick up a bathing suit. I left The Fiancee and The Golden in the car and ran inside. As I enter the fitting rooms, I get a call. It was The Fiancee. Apparently, there was smoke coming out of the car. Now, I’m no mechanic, but I was blessed with enough common sense to off-set this deficiency. I raced through checkout and out to the car. I see both The Golden and The Fiancee starring at me pitifully while steam pours from under the hood. I suppose I really should learn my lesson about leaving time for the unexpected. Oh well. We arrived half an hour late to our catering tasting, but the important fact was that we’d made it. And I got a bathing suit.

Wednesday: Wednesday offered no surprises, thankfully. My workout consisted of a 60 minute core strengthening session. Then it was off to bed at a semi-reasonable time.

Thursday: 616 words later we’ve made it to today. It was another early morning this morning, but what a great morning it was.

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I arrived at the pool (armed with my swimsuit that was paid for with the blood of my car) around 6:30 AM. After a 45 minute swim session it was on to a 60 minute interval run. This is the longest interval workout I’ve ever attempted. I didn’t feel that 1 minute sprints were sustainable for that amount of time so I modified my workout a bit. I began with a 10 minute warm-up between 8:00-8:30/mile. That was followed by a 5 minute “run” between 7:00-7:30/mile. I included a 5 minute rest period between each run segment which targeted 7:45-8:00/mile. I repeated this four times and concluded with a 10 minute cool down. Over the course of 60 minutes I completed 7.6 miles with an average pace of 7:53/mile. I was very pleased with this considering the two workouts were so close together. Below is the pace/elevation graph. As you can see, the workout(s) really hit me during the cool down period.

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My mile splits are listed in the table below.

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All in all, I’ve been extremely pleased with my training thus far. This is the first triathlon I’ve trained for and it’s great (to some extent) to have those sore muscles back after a few months of easier workouts. I’m really looking forward to improving my swim technique and sharing my improvements throughout the course of my training.

Tonight, the training didn’t stop. The Fiancée and I participated in a 5K Glow Run on campus. It was great running with friends and getting to participate in another race.

photoWith a 45 minute swim and almost 11 miles under my belt for the day, I’m happy to call it a night. Saturday is my next brick, consisting of a 120 minute bike followed by a 30 minute run. Expect some pictures and some new data as I go on my first “official” training ride!

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