Monday, November 29, 2010

Found A Great Challenge For Compex

I had a very quiet Thanksgiving and was able to spend a lot of time watching the endurance event marathon on Universal Sports. While I didn’t watch any event all the way through, I saw parts of the 2005 through 2009 Ironman World Championships and the 2010 Boston, London, and New York Marathons. Really inspiring!!

As a result, I spent some time looking at my calendar and my planned races and online race schedules and found and registered for an event that I think is going to be a great challenge for the recovery powers of Compex. It’s the Ultra Challenge at the Gasparilla Distance Classic at the end of February. The Ultra Challenge involves running a 15K Saturday at 7:05 am, a 5K Saturday at 9:30 am, a half-marathon Sunday at 6:00 am, and then an 8K Sunday at 9:00 am. I know that to make this happen, not only am I going to have to do some really strong training between now and then, I’m also going to really call upon the recovery powers of Compex between each event.

I’ve also been lucky - my running is still getting better. My knee hasn’t hurt while running all week so I tried my first hard effort in a while today. I went to the track so that it would be easy on my knee and did a 6 minute pacing effort. Definitely not the pace that I usually run at that level of effort but it gives me a baseline and I can only improve from here!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, that your Turkey Trots went well, your food was yummy, and your family time fun!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Today's Training Achievements

I began reading Touch the Top of the World by Eric Weihenmayer. I am only a few chapters in but I think it’s going to be a great motivational read. First of all, just the prologue was amazing. Second, his talk at the USAT coaching seminar in February was the best keynote I’ve ever heard and learning more about his attitude - and hopefully incorporating the positive characteristics in my own life should be a great help as I take on new challenges for the new season.

My own personal training achievements today included attending yoga this morning and replacing the battery in my Garmin heart rate monitor strap. The first is good both for what it does for me but also because it demonstrated my ability to return quickly to training after a short break and not get sucked into a downward spiral of non-training. The second is good because I’m trying to use the facts and figures that I can get from my training devices both to support my training and to keep me motivated. Now just hoping that I put the battery in correctly and that tomorrow morning I’ll be able to measure my resting heart rate again.

Tomorrow morning may be my first (isn’t that sad) mountain bike ride of the season. Probably joining some coworkers in the morning. Let’s see if the cats cooperate!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Unplanned Recovery Day

After yesterday’s great positives, a little bit of a setback today. Too busy with work to get out for the run that I had scheduled. But that doesn’t mean that I’m giving up. I know that tomorrow is another chance to get out and fit in some great training! Plus, today wasn’t a full loss - I spent plenty of time using my Compex, running various endurance programs. My back, my glutes, my hamstrings, etc. It’s nice to know that I can continue to support my training even when I have that bit of a setback.

Additionally, this may not have been as much of a negative as it could otherwise appear. The Garmin is a stern task master and yesterday I wasn’t able to hit the pace goals that I had set for myself. I felt great and was having a really good time running but at the one mile point, I was running too slowly. I checked again a bit later after trying to speed up and was still too slow. At that point, I decided to change my workout and instead of hitting my goal pace, transition to a slower, endurance focused workout. As a result, I did my longest run since the Half Full Triathlon and arrived back home still feeling good and without any knee pain. But this morning I woke up tired and I’ve continued to feel tired all day. So taking a day off to recover a little bit and get ready for another good workout tomorrow is probably worthwhile.

I did manage to pick up batteries for the Garmin’s Heart Rate Monitor while I was out today. I need to get those installed tonight so that I can record my resting heart rate in the morning and start tomorrow strong!

Monday, November 22, 2010

What's Up Today

Some new developments on my training. First, after the entire summer and most of the fall, I’m finally ready to move onto Level 2 on my Compex. I’m using the endurance program on my quads right now. We’ll see if I survive!

Next, I signed up for another race. The Rotary Resolution 10K on January 1. So last night I began planning some key workouts to get me from where I am now through the 10K, to American Zofingen, and then to the Richmond Marathon. I’m planning to use the Pace Zone Index system developed by McGregor and Fitzgerald in designing and tracking my running plan. I’m really interested in how this will help me improve as well as how it will work with the idea of Training Stress to help me stay healthy and consistent in my training throughout the season.

Third, I just finished attending a great seminar on bike training with a power meter by Coggan and Allen and I’m looking forward to installing my power meter and using power to plan and analyze my bike training for the next season. I think that there is a lot that I can learn about my bike strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, knowing the challenges that I’ll face at American Zofingen - especially with my lack of hill climbing ability - I’m going to need to use the best techniques I can to conquer that race.

Finally, just in time for this new motivation, I did 7 straight days of training last week so I’ve hit the marker that I set for myself to return to organized training. I’ve learned a lot of this last year. In addition to reading the books above, I’ve also read Daniels’ Running Formula, and Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald and I have some new ideas and techniques that I want to include in my plans for next year. One of the things that I want to do first is a swim focused block. I think this will be a good way to start challenging myself and improving my skills while I continue to build my run and bike endurance.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Getting Ready for Next Season

After having to miss last week’s race, I’ve been turning my focus more toward preparing for next season and I’m happy to report several positives. First, I have a promising diagnosis for my knee problem: I have a ganglion cyst on the knee cap which became irritated when I strained my quad. As long as I focus on stretching my VMO and my anterior tibialis and am careful about how I place my knee on the ground, I should be able to reduce and then avoid irritation. Thankfully, I’m able to use my Compex on my quad almost every day and so far, most of my runs and rides this week have been without pain. (A little bit of a backslide when I had to run on a treadmill this morning but not too bad.)

Second, I registered for two key races for next season both of which are taking care of some unfinished business. The first is the American Zofingen Long Course Duathlon in May. I tried to do this race a few years ago, got sick shortly before the race, and was pulled from the course with one lap to finish on the second run. Pretty disappointing after already running 15 miles and biking 84. With all that went wrong for me this summer, I decided that I needed something that I could count as a success so its time to go back, finish the race, and check this one off my list. The second is the Richmond Marathon. As I didn’t get to even start the race this year, I’ve decided that I want to do it next year and hopefully achieve that PR.

Third, right now I’m at what is proving to be a great clinic on training with a power meter. If getting healthy and registering for races wasn’t enough motivation, learning some new tools to focus my training for next season is certainly helping. I’m looking forward to getting back home, installing my power meter, and beginning to use this tool in my training.

So lots of very good things for me and I’m continuing to enjoy reading about all of your successes. Hope that the Arizona athletes did well today and best of luck to those of you doing Cozumel next week!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Cold That Killed My Race

I’m going to start by saying how frustrated I am right now. Over the last two weeks, a bunch of my coworkers have had a really bad cold but I, surprisingly, have been fine. Until Tuesday morning. I woke up with a really bad sore throat and my eyes felt more tired than they should have, plus a bit red and itchy. I kept drinking tea and thinking I just hadn’t slept enough. By mid-day, I had a horrible headache, my nose was congested, and I was starting to look a bit like a drunk after a weekend binge. At that time, I gave up on my denial and began taking cold medicine, drinking even more tea, eating lots of vitamin C, neti-potting like crazy, and sleeping (because my head hurt too much to do anything else).

My goal: somehow get over this cold by Thursday night so that I would wake up just fine this morning and be able to drive down to Richmond for my race tomorrow. Sadly, despite everything I tried, I woke up Friday morning still coughing, still red and itchy, and still far too tired (but thankfully no longer with the headache!) to run. Or really to even drive for 2 hours. I was probably even worse than I thought I was because when my mother called this morning, she wouldn’t stay on the phone with me because she said I sounded too bad too talk. And when my neighbor came by to see why I hadn’t left the house in 4 days, she took one look at me and offered to run out and get me medicine - and her husband just came home from the hospital.

So I’m frustrated. One more hurdle in my attempt to actually have some kind of race season this year. I guess it’s probably for the best, given the fact that my knee still isn’t at its best and I probably would have done something stupid at the race and hurt myself worse and mucked up next years race season too. Still, I’m really hoping that this is the end of my bad luck for a while. The next race I’m going to try is a local 5K on December 4. Hopefully, I’ll get and stay healthy over the next 3 weeks and this will be the start of a brand new and much more positive run of training for next year.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Should I or Shouldn’t I?

Here’s this week’s dilemma. I’m supposed to run the Richmond Marathon next weekend (the 13th). But while my knee is doing much, much better, it’s not 100%. However, while painful, it’s not throwing off my stride - at least not at the distances I’ve been doing. I’m not sure what it will do at mile 24. I have the option of dropping down to the 1/2 marathon distance rather than doing the full marathon. I’m sure either race will be fun but I haven’t decided what to do. In the past, I did drop out of one marathon when I’d been injured in training. I made it 16 miles before I started limping and decided to stop rather than hurt myself. But here, I don’t think I’ll hurt myself. It will just be slow and a longer time that expected on my feet.

Any opinions? My doctor doesn’t think there is anything actually wrong with my knee, that it’s just quad and possibly ITB tightness - both of which I can continue to work on over the next week with Compex and my foam roller. And running with either my knee sleeve or kinesiotape is making a big difference in how long I can go without pain. I don’t have anything else definite on my schedule for this year but might do a marathon in December, especially if I do the half marathon in Richmond.