Thursday, April 20, 2017

Ultimate 70.3 Brick Workout / Fitness Assessment

Last week I got an email from Training Peaks. This email contained a link to an article titled “The Ultimate IRONMAN 70.3 Brick Workout”. I was intrigued, so I clicked the link. The article opened with…
The countdown to racing season has begun for athletes in the Northern Hemisphere, however, some of you might not be feeling quite ready to toe the line. Do you have that uncertain feeling in your gut that your winter training hasn’t gotten you prepared for your early IRONMAN 70.3 races?"

OMG! Yes! Yes! Yes! That is exactly how I am feeling! 

Besides all of the schedule disruptions I have been fighting the feeling that I’m not doing enough. I keep telling myself that it’s because I’m not training for a full iron distance race like I have been the last two years. My miles and hours are way down. Regardless of all of my rationalizations, I still have the nagging feeling that I’m just not ready to race in a few weeks.

Ultimate Brick

My pup is having surgery tomorrow, so I took the day off of work. This will be the perfect day to try this brick workout that will help me, according to the article, assess my fitness. One of two things is going to come out of this exercise. One, I am going to complete it and realize I was worried about nothing and I will be fine on race day. Or two, I am going to struggle through the workout and completely freak out because I’m not ready to race!

The workout is relatively simple:
  • Swim 2,000-3,000y at as close to my 70.3 pace as possible. Based on last year’s World’s Toughest Half in Auburn, CA, I’m putting my goal at 2,200y in 40 minutes. I think I will wear my Lava pants to simulate my wetsuit without overheating at the pool.
  • Run 4 miles – 2 mile warm up (ok, I can do that) and then “increase to high zone 2 HR” for two miles. Hmmm…I haven’t been wearing my HR strap that much because it was rubbing me raw in spots and HS thought it looked like he had been beating me. I plan on 2 miles around 9:30 mpm and then I’ll speed things up to around 8:50 mpm.

Routes programmed on my treadmill using iFit
  • Two hour trainer session broken down into 4 x 30 minute blocks. The article lists the details of each block based on FTP. I am now regretting my recent FTP test that bumped my FTP up by about 20 watts. This is going to be the real test.
    More of this
  • Run 4 miles – first mile hard, next two a little harder, final mile at my best effort. I’m going to make sure I have the emergency strap on just in case I stumble and fall on the treadmill! LOL
Fingers Crossed

This workout was recommended to be done 6-8 weeks before the race. I didn't see the article until last week. The article said the workout could also be done again 4 weeks before the race. I am a little more than 3 weeks out, but I'm going to do it anyway. It will be my last "big" workout before I start my taper. If I get through this workout feeling strong, it will be a big confidence booster and I think I need that more than anything at this point.

#endureandenjoy365 #pearlizumi #ironman703

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Strange Start to 2017

So, it's mid-April now...not exactly the "start" of 2017 but it's my first blog post for the year. Well, it's my first personal blog post. I did write a post for Pearl Izumi (still waiting to see the published piece). Anyway, normally I am writing about all kinds of things but this year just seems strange. My training seems off, I don't feel like writing, and I feel extremely isolated. I've been trying to figure out what is making this year so different and have come up with a few things that may be the reason everything seems out of sorts.


One of the biggest changes this year is the weather. On April 7th, California's governor officially ended California's multi-year drought emergency due to all of the rain and snow this year. While the rain was severely needed, it has forced me to put more miles on the trainer than I normally do. So far this year I have close to 1,000 virtual miles on the trainer. I did manage a few "outside" rides with my coworkers and HS but that is nothing compared to the last few years.

Lots of this

Not enough of this
Since completing my first triathlon in the fall of 2012, I really haven't had to think much about the weather. Yes, some weekends were too cold or too foggy, but most of the time scheduled rides went off without a hitch. HS and I rode almost every weekend. I looked forward to our Saturday morning rides with the tri club followed by a cup of coffee and triathlon chat. This year I hop on the trainer, log into Zwift and look for familiar names. Sadly, I rarely see anyone I know in Watopia.

It even rains in Watopia
On top of all of the trainer miles, most of my runs have been on the treadmill. I joked with HS that all I needed was a swim spa and I would only need to leave the house to race.


My training went into a bit of a tail spin when we lost Buster last fall. I did my best to stay on track for CIM, but my heart wasn't in it.

Buster was my running buddy in his younger years.
I loved this dog.
In December, HS and I decided to get another dog and we agreed that the summer would be the best time to introduce a new pet to our household. Not only would the weather be nice but we would be done with IRONMAN Santa Rosa 70.3. This would ensure that triathlon training demands would not take time away from puppy training demands. We put a deposit down and put it out of our mind.

Our puppy plans were disrupted in January by an email from the breeder. She wanted to let us know that she had a tri colored pup available for immediate adoption. We talked it over and decided to get the puppy ahead of schedule. I knew this would make my training a little more difficult. I did my best to make the most of my time by making choices that required less drive time, less time away from the house. The first thing to go was swimming with the club.

World's cutest training schedule disruption

Switching from swimming with a group to swimming by myself was difficult. I found myself making excuses for not swimming. I would go several days, even weeks without getting into the water. Eventually I would sort of get back on track and remind myself that by going to the gym instead of driving to Lodi, I was saving at least an hour a day. So I sucked it up and went to 24 Hour Fitness. I even dumped my Garmin so I could focus on technique and not my 100y average. All I can say is that I miss my friends.


Another wrinkle in my training plan was the purchase of a cabin we intend to use as a vacation rental. The purchase was more or less uneventful (except for the world's worst mortgage broker, but I'll let HS tell that story).

I wish I could stay here all the time
Stones Throw
After the cabin became ours, the hard work really started. We had a brand new house with no furniture, no dishes, no linens, nothing! We spent one full week after the closing driving to Arnold with stuff.  Just when we thought we had all the bases covered we would realize that we were missing something as simple as a can opener.

Starting to come together
While at the cabin, I was able to get in a few runs and several long hikes (On the plus side, every walk, run or hike is hilly). Since the truck was always packed with furniture and other household items we rarely had extra space. This meant that the bikes stayed home. I was thrilled when HS agreed to bring the bikes with us on our third truck load from Stockton.

Ready for my first Arnold ride
(appropriately dressed in my Pearl Izumi "MAP" jersey)
Unfortunately, I really had no idea where the good riding spots were and HS had not been training at all. We ended up taking a leisurely tour of the new neighborhood. What we lacked in distance, we made up for in time and climbing.

We ended our ride at Sequoia Woods Country Club

Looking Forward

At this point, I'm not feeling super excited about IRONMAN Santa Rosa 70.3. One of my team mates injured herself during a training ride and will be unable to compete. Team Turd Ferguson had a bit of a shake up too. Due to a new puppy and a new job, Lindsey had to back out of the swim. Luckily Maximus stepped up and took her place. The rainy weather also took it's toll on HS who more or less refuses to ride on the bike trainer. So, due to a lack of training and some nagging knee pain, HS gave up his bike spot to my future brother-in-law, Tony. Tony is undeterred by a lack of training and has even done the Death Ride with relatively low miles in preparation.  Ashley is the only remaining member of the original relay. Go Turds!

After IM Santa Rosa, I am looking forward to some fun, local races. I miss doing events with my team mates. Hopefully spring will show up eventually and I can get back to Saturday group rides (I miss the Pancake ride!) I would also like to get back to swimming at least once a week with the team although HS and I have already put a deposit down on a second puppy so I'm not sure how I can swing that.

Success with the cabin means keeping it rented with relatively few un-booked weekends. However, it's such a great training location that I am secretly hoping for a few vacant weekends so I can go up to swim, bike and run to my hearts content.

Ok, maybe I won't be swimming in the winter...

...but I'll definitely get some open water swims in during the summer
(and this lake is basically across the street)

#endureandenjoy365 #pearlizumi #stonesthrowarnold