Thursday, August 24, 2006

August 24, 2006 - It's tough not pushing yourself

Run: 9km, 50min

Hit the trails near work again. Perfect day with nice temperatures and cloud cover, and the bugs aren't bad either. Was only going to cover 7km, but decided to make a longer base run as long as I did one thing - pull back on the pace. I'm really, really trying to taper properly, but it's so damn hard! You go from pushing yourself further and further to cutting back to >gasp< 3-4 workouts a week. It feels like you're doing nothing, and your training is wasting away as you sit on your butt. Gotta trust this....

So I was able to hold back on the pace, but the distance might have been a bit much. The quads and hips are achey, like they've certainly been worked, but not bad otherwise. I had a HammerGel before heading out to keep some of the glycogen stores up, and other than my intense sugar cravings (again), I think it did the trick.

But we'll see how I feel tomorrow. And I still need to get a good swim in this week....

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

August 23, 2006 - Words of wisdom bestowed

No workout today - really trying hard to taper properly. This reinforced to me by a good friend of mine here at work.

Dave's a serious athlete, and he kicks some royal ass. I look up to him with regard to what he can do, and the experience he's had. And while he can whip me like nothing in any of the three sports, he's awfully modest about his skill and he always encourages me on. He still invites me for runs, rides and swims knowing that I'd hold him back.

He recently did the Timberman Half-iron, and placed very well.
Swim: 0:35:42 (0:29:45/mi pace)
T1: 0:02:18
Bike: 2:42:19 (20.7mph pace)
T2: 0:02:37
Run: 1:48:36 (8:18/mi pace)
Total: 5:11:31
Place: 52/221 (M35-39), 217/968 overall

At the sports clinic the night before the event, he spoke with Dick and Rick Hoyt about the sport and their experiences. He even met up with them in the swim portion, where Rick acknowledged Dave's greeting with a glance from the boat. Truly an inspiring and fulfilling weekend for Dave, which he summarized up in just a few words: trust, dedication, nutrition.

When it comes to training, be dedicated but smart. Stick with your plan as best you can, but realize that life happens and you may need to adjust. See these adjustments as good things, not things that prevent you from reaching your goal. Injuries or personal commitments that "take you away" may actually freshen you physically and mentally while doing what needs to be done.

Trust your training. Trust yourself more than your mind lets you. While your mind screams at you to stop, be rational - trust yourself to truly know the difference between fatigue, discomfort and pain. You'll go farther than you thought you could.

Trust your taper. While it feels like you're not doing anything, you are. You're storing up energy, letting muscles heal and rebuild, and letting your mind prepare. Trust in the fact that training 2-3 times a week for the last two weeks is better than training 5-6 times in those weeks. Leave something in the tank.

Eat. Eat well. And on race day, eat often. During Dave's 90km ride, he had 3/4L water, 1L sport drink, 5 gels, and two bars. And he ate before the swim, and he ate during the run. Eating during the event allows the body to pull more energy from what you've consumed and less from what you've stored. Once those energy stores in the body are depleted, you're as good as done.

While I've only got (less than) two weeks left, I'm trying to absorb all of this and prepare better than I have in the past. It's all great advice, but it's no good if you don't apply it.

Thanks to Dave, and to the Hoyts. Keep inspring me, please!

August 22, 2006 - Zoom zoom!

Bike: 10km, 20min

You've gotta love tailwinds! That and I'm feeling strong from the weekend break. Near the end of my ride, just as I'm starting to signal for a left-hand turn, I notice a fierce-looking cyclist drafting off me. Keeping the pace up around 30-35kph, I make my lane change, expecting this guy to zoom past once I'm out of the way. But he didn't. I'm hoping that meant that I was max-ing him on that stretch, which gives me a great boost of confidence!

Looks like the training is paying off!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

August 22, 2006 - A risky ride

Bike: 10km, 23min

August 21, 9:30pm:
Perhaps I'll ride to work tomorrow. I'm going to reassemble it - it won't take long.

Famous last words. I ended up in bed just after midnight. I had taken the drivetrain apart on the weekend and cleaned it all up, just letting it airdry before I put it back together. The cogs went back on the rear wheel, the derailleur was mounted on the frame, the chain threaded through and reconnected. Now we go to set the rear derailleur alignment.

Problem 1: The B-screw (sets the distance from the pulleys to the cogs) isn't working. The catch isn't catching on the frame, so the screw isn't doing what it should. Remove the derailleur and reattach, and see that the paint on the frame is blocking the catch from catching the frame. Some new word combinations were formed, and after getting the catch to (somewhat) catch, we move on.

Problem 2: The chain is making a bad noise. Perhaps it's really dry. Graciously oil the chain, only to find that the chain is not threaded properly (what the hell?!?). So now I have to disconnect and reconnect a nicely oiled chain, 'cause apparently it's not challenging enough to line the pins up when the chain's dry.

Problem 3: The derailleur is not sitting straight. Panic grows when I realize that I've crossthreaded the damn thing into the frame (damn catch!). Don't have a tap, so I have to insert and remove the derailleur again and again to fix the threads in the frame...hopefully. After a short interlude consisting of a viscious deathmatch with the damn fly that wouldn't leave me the %^&@#$! alone (and I still didn't catch the bugger), I realized that I had to again remove the chain to properly reseat the derailleur on the frame...while trying to get the catch to hold the frame.

Finally, the derailleur is happy on the frame, properly aligned, with the B-screw doing the job properly. Reattach the cable and start setting the alignment.

Problem 4: After three attempts to set the damn thing, I finally realize that the cable is slipping in the derailleur. Set the cable again, tighten the screw far more than is recommended my Shimano, reset the Hi and Lo setscrews, and start again.

Well, I finally did get everything done. But no road test to make sure it's all good.

And there lies the risk.

Before getting too far from home, I run the derailleurs through the paces, making sure that the chainpins aren't going to surprise me at the same time by falling out. Thankfully, it's all good, and off I go to work. Finally.

But now I've got a squeeky rear brake to deal with....

August 21, 2006 - On the road again

Run: 9km, 50min

Able to get out of the office for a bit today, and decided on a nice base run (I don't seem to get to those much lately). Headed for the trails and took the longer loop around Beaver Pond, a nice little sanctuary that's slowly (?) being eaten up by the developers in the area. Kept a slower pace throughout, except for the last 1km, where I decided to sprint it to the end.

Overall, just feeling a bit tired, but certainly not drained like I have been. Noticed that the footfall is a bit more solid now, probably from a combination of not running as much (so form goes to hell) and a tightness from cycling. But overall, a nice enjoyable run.

Monday, August 21, 2006

August 20, 2006 - A surprisingly quiet weekend

For some reason, I feel completely spent. I haven't been sleeping well, I feel like I'm getting either a headcold or ear infections, and there's no fuel in the tank. And there's pretty much no desire to push through all that and train.

So I didn't.

Sometimes you just have to listen to your body and give in to it once in a while. This weekend was its turn. Catch up on some sleep, spend extra time with the family, work on the bike.

I'm feeling better now, just tired still. Looking back at the symptoms (if you want to call them that), I may have been getting close to overtraining in the last couple of weeks - it's hard to tell, but it sort of reads like it. Or I may have just caught a bit of a bug. Dunno. But we'll see what this week brings me.

Here's my totals for the week, now with two weeks to go.
Swim: 1.4km, 1h15
Bike: 60km, 2h18
Run: 5km, 0h30
Totals: 66.4km, 4h03
If anything, I may have started my taper one week earlier than I planned...which is probably when I should have started it anyways!

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