Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Going, Going, Gonnneee?

I've felt a bit burned out lately, training since Dec 1st has finally caught up with me I believe. That and getting the first real injury of the year - Right Achilles tendon has decided to take the winter off.

I was out getting my ass handed to me in the water at Green Lake on Tuesday from the wind and off and on again rain and just kind of thought - A rest. Maybe a few days or a week.

If I take the rest of the week off and start back on Saturday, that might be good. I feel like I have great builds for all swim, bike and run. I just ran out of steam.

Here are some quotes that I thought would help motivated myself and others trying to make it through the last drops of summer.

"I do today what others don't, so I can do tomorrow what others can't." -- Prefontaine

"A life spent defensively, worried, is a life wasted. Life to me is a series of false limits and my challenge as an athlete is to explore those limits." Lance Armstrong

"Obsessive is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated"

"Everybody wants to know what am I on? What am I on? I'm on my bike busting my *** six hours a day. What are you on?" -Lance Armstrong

"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal."

"I am building a fire, and everyday I train, I am adding fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match."

"Some dream of great accomplishments, others stay awake and do them."

"Run when you can, walk if
you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up," Dean Karnazes

“If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience life, run a marathon." Emil Zatopek

If you are not big enough to lose you are not big enough to win. Anon

Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenges, wish for more motivation. Anon

"In order to get things you have never had, you must do things you have never done."

"Triathlon, from the outside looking in you can't understand it....From the inside looking out you can't explain it."

"The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare".

it's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not. ~Author Unknown

Monday, August 18, 2008

By the numbers.......

Some cool numbers to throw out -

Year to date -
Swim - 46.04 miles / 31.24 Hours
Bike - 1324.47 miles / 89.97 Hours
Run - 415.39 Miles / 56.89 Hours
Other - 32.63 Hours

Total Hours 210.74

AK Run Totals -

619 Miles / 98 Hours

Could AK be on her way to breaking 1000 miles for the year?

That would be about one of the coolest milestones ever for either of us since we started running seven or so years ago.

Some of the biggest changes to note in my training this year have been the 23 open water swims. Compared to only seven for last year, races included, has lead to a more relaxed comfort in the water. Instead of thinking about the differences between the open water and the pool I can focus on form, sighting, breathing and pace.

This last weekend capped off a big build week to get back in the thick of training again, after what felt like about two weeks of easy recovery.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday were doubles with Saturday being a half mile swim followed with a 52 mile bike ride. I went from Green Lake around the north end of Lake Washington over to the Kirkland Tri course. Did a loop of that and headed back vie Perkin’s Way, another day of hill climbing.

However, due to the heat of the day, I stopped twice for about ten minutes each to eat and cool off. I only mention because I usually can’t stop longer than 2-3 minutes during a bike because my legs turn to concrete and sometimes I lose interest in finishing, but I thought stopping would prevent cooking myself out on the road in the heat.

After Saturdays three hour ride I still had Sunday’s long run of 13 miles to get through. AK was slated for 16, but due to an eye injury she held out for 10. She was on the phone with the doc hotline saying, “Well, do you think I can go in after my long run?”

AK is “Hardcore!”

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What’s 2 miles.....

This last weekend Eileen, TK and I signed up for and rode the Cougar Mountain Bike Climb 4 Cancer. It was a free Time Trial style race up 2 miles of 7.2% grade out in Issaquah with donations going to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

It was pouring down when we got there, not just raining, but coming down hard. Having a wet suit on wouldn’t have been out of the question.

I arrived with AK and Eileen expecting a hour wait or more, but when we went to check in we were told ‘since it’s raining we want to get people out and up as soon as possible. Your Number 8 and 9’.


So instead of the hour or so we were thinking, we had about 25 minutes. 25 minutes to get our bikes warm up and find some place to whiz. Always a plus.

The good news was it didn’t give us enough time to start freaking out about what we were about to put our bodies through. TK showed up right after and AK, Lil’ K and Shell headed off to the top in the car to cheer us on the last bit.

I was first and told Eileen,’ if you pass me I’m grabbing your seat and you’re going to have to pull me up.’

I started out fast and figured I’d cool it down and get my legs under me and find a good rhythm to move along with. However, after the first two minutes there was really no time to play catch up. The road kept climbing one turn after another. I spotted the rider that went before me and caught him a bit before the hardest turn, about 3/4 of a mile in. I past him, then two other people before the half.

Team support.

There’s something odd about a group of people supporting a person that’s destroying themselves. I heard a car coming up behind me and heard AK yelling out the window. My first thought was ‘ Tell Shell to run me over ‘, I think a second before I heard them I was starting to lose focus and concentrate too much on the pain, almost panicking I guess. Hearing them yelling as they drove by brought back the main things I always focus on during stressful periods: Pace, Form, Breathing

Pace: Is this pace sustainable? Yes/No - Stay or find it.
Form: Is eve
rything from legs to head functioning and set for the right motion?
Breathing: Steady, control the rhythm, I control cadence.

I look to these three things constantly in a race and hard training workouts. Having asthma, I feel that this
helps me keep away from the attacks I use to get when I would just go full out on everything, usually with the worst results.

As my team car went by I got pasted by this guy with Snooze Junction stickers on his bike, I recognized him from meeting him a few months before. My thought was ‘GREAT, now everyone’s going to start passing me now!’ I tried to match his pace, but within about 20 seconds of staying on him I knew I’d never make the top if I continued.

So I raised my pace a bit and braced for the rest to start passing. I could see that up ahead was a good size downhill, about 100 yds or so, then a small flat piece that lead to the final climb. A real nasty little sharp hill, I figured I’d throw 100% on the downhill, coast the flat, then let the momentum eat off the first 1/3 of the hill before I had to do any real work.

End the end it felt like that worked, about half way up I lost all steam in my legs and was just going on lunging back and forth on the pedals. I could hear Team Cannoli yelling and screaming and I knew the end was close and was very thankful that it was. The guy that pasted me ended up coming in 4th, wow, and I never got pasted by anyone else.

This pic of me and Luke was less than five feet after the finish line.

Eileen, after she finished actually even talked to me, I think one of the first things she said was," How bout something flat next time Bill!"

TK had a good strong finish, with about four riders at the bottom of the last hill arou
nd him he muscled it pass three of them before hitting the finish.

The race of truth is what time trials are called and I guess that goes double for uphill races, there's nowhere to hide or pause. I enjoy pushing and pushing and pushing and I don't lose sight of the fact that I do actually enjoy swimming, biking and running. Separate or all together in one day.

Thanks to Eileen and TK for joining and of course to AK, Shell and Lil'K for cheering in the pouring rain.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sub, Sub, Sub, Subtastic

Last weekend was the Foot Zone 5K. The race AK stress fractured her leg in last year, for those keeping track. (ouch!!!) Since then she's done the Seafair Half Marathon as well as cranked up her training to 5 days of running a week. She's been knocking that schedule out for the last 3 months now, give or take a week. Pretty damn cool!

AK posted a good time that she was happy with, she was looking for a good steady race and a mark on the calendar to show a years progress. Plus, she did 14 miles in the heat of the day before. How cool is that? Run 14, then work a 5K the next day.

I however was looking for the elusive sub 20. For the last two years I've been in the 20:45, 20:25, 20:15 range. So about 2 months ago I thought this race would be the one, that and the fact that it's a pancake flat course.

I told myself before the race that the next 20 minutes or so are going to be uncomfortable and painful, just deal with it and don't give up.

I went out fast, but caught it in time and pulled back to get everything under control, pace and breathing. I'd run pace for about one minute then push the pace up a bit. Legs felt just a day away from perfect. Might have not rested enough before.

Mile one - 6:22

At the one mile mark the group I'd been running with broke into two groups and the front group started pulling away. I was in front of the second group, the group being left behind. The gap started to grow and I thought 'don't miss the move' I figured I could hang out in the 6:00-5-55 pace for about 1-2 minutes. Enough to catch the surging front group and get to the middle of that pack. I could feel my legs and lungs start to protest.

Mile two - 6:20

I hit the two mile mark and started to fade, I could see the gas tank and the distance to town and knew I'd be hitch-hiking into town. I looked at my pace and I was at 5:45!!! Slow that horse down! No wonder I was dying, I floated down slowly and felt better. I had this picture of Steve Prefontaine in my head every time I started to give up. Now I was giving myself one minute to recover and hit the last half mile as hard as I could. The course is a figure 8 more or less and you finish once you round what was the start line. about .25 from the finish.

Mile three - 6:07

I found someone to watch a keep my focus about 15 yds in front of me, I could catch her, but I knew if I took my eyes off her shoulders I'd fade and stop. My legs were in full strike mode, the screams from them were only drowned out by my lungs burning and demanding to know what the hell are you thinking! 'Can't give up this far in, can't do this again'

I round the corner and see the 3 mile mark, but the 5K is 3.1 miles. I've done 3 miles in under 20 minutes PLENTY! It's the Damn 3.1.

You can't see the clock from the 3 mile mark!!! I didn't want to see it, if I looked and it was too late I think I would of ??? I don't know...... By my forerunner I was moving, but I felt like I wa running in deep thick mud. I couldn't push any harder, I was sprinting, who the hell sprints in a race?

The road straightens out finally, I try not to look, but too late - 19:26!!!!!!!

The finish line is more than close enough, I stop pushing - Take body out of Code Red and finish on a glide rather than a big kick to cross the line. I pointed at the clock as I went by and just wanted to really remember my first sub 20.

5K/3.1 - 19:49 PR (Personal Best)

I ran my first 5K in 2001- 02 I think at a YMCA 5K with AK, TK and Shell in 32:50 stopping twice to walk.

You get to the point during a event when you want to give up and it takes remembering your supporters to get you through that....

Saturday, August 2, 2008

By in a blur.........

My first Olympic Triathlon went by like a blur, in a good way!

I kept telling myself, “clean slate”, I wasn’t here to race, but just take in the experience and set baselines for the future ones. I have no times I’m shooting for, no goals ( times ) that I’m hunting, no expectation. Just go out and let it do what it do!

The swim was comfort and ease, I enjoyed the 2 loop course, being able to swim by the groups cheering from the pier and the beach. I kept telling myself, ’steady and easy, don’t push, not racing the swim. Fast swim will leave you dead on the bike.’ It felt pretty good coming out of the water. I made the mistake of standing up too soon, had to get around two guys in front, that made a slower than wanted exit from the water. When I stood up in the water it was at my waist, I could of had to more strokes and gotten closer. Other than that pretty cool.

T1 - Pretty uneventful - I wanted to take my time, even put on socks for the bike, and made sure I had everything I needed. Headed out with a pretty good feeling.

My plan was easy laps 1 and 3 and hard laps 2 and 4. Not sure why buy that’s what I thought would be best. The course was great, hilly with a few blind turns. The only blind turn that could hurt you speed lose wise was the first one. I remembered
from last year and took it easy enough on the first lap, but realized that was a great place to grab back time against the people out of the water before me.

Didn’t I say I wasn’t going to race this one???

I kept the same plan as the last race; spot a group, pace myself up, pass and look for the next group. I didn’t worry about the guy biking next to me, I was after the guy 2 blocks up and the next group after
that. I worked the down hills well enough to pass a lot of people on the up hills, short bursts of energy and speed, tuck in the aerobars and sail to the top of the next hill. More or less???

I’d round the front of the course and I’d see Penny and hear AK cheering me on and giving me such a boost of energy. It was great! A friend from Speedy Reedy was cheering on a friend of his, but joined in the yelling “ Go Bill “ It was cool.....

T2 - I got to chat with the supporting crew - Lynn and Jamie rolled in as I was getting off the bike. All I remember saying was ‘ my shoes eating my sock ‘ and off I went. My dismount of the bike was pretty ungraceful!!! I’m glad no one saw. All crane fly action.

The run felt heavy at first, legs slow, but my stomach was in good shape, did take in too much fluids on the bike. After the first 2-3 minutes they came round and I start with an easy pace around 7:30 minute miles. At the 1 mile mark I felt really good and started to push the pace up to 6:45-50ish, but not a full out effort. The course was hilly and I knew the last hill, about 1 mile from the finish was going to be hard to keep steady. By this time
the sprint runners were on the course and it made it easier to spot and find a carrot. Again I’d target the back of one person, see a marker ahead of them and set a pace to close the gap. Entering the park there wasn’t anyone in front of me with less than a .25 mile to go, but I saw Lynn, then Jamie, then AK and Penny. I didn’t have a big kick to the finish, but I finished strong and steady to the line. I don’t think or it didn’t feel like I dropped pace the last half mile.

I felt great after the finish line and was glad Lynn and Jamie made it out to enjoy the morning supporting me and my crazy idea of enjoying a morning. Also, for AK supporting me through all the training and believing that I always had a swim partner, of course I did : )