Monday, May 30, 2011

Week of 5/23-5/29

Week two of Training Peaks. Still going well.

5/23(Mon): Long Run 2hrs, HR in zone 3.

5/24(Tues): TT Race (20K), perfect race night, averaged 24.0mph for the first time this year. Ran hilly course for 1 hr about an hour after the race. Legs felt rubbery at first, but recovered in the first 20 minutes.

5/25(Wed):Weight work and Bike Trainer Hills.

5/26(Thurs): Brick Workout, 1:15 on the bike and :15 run. Roads a bit wet, got the bike quite dirty.

5/27(Fri): Tempo intervals on bike trainer (rain). 4x6min in HR zone 3. Skipped weights.

5/28(Sat): Nice, easy :45 run HR Zone 2.

5/29(Sun): Buffalo Half Marathon, hot day, PR 1:32:31/7:04 pace.

Taper week coming up for Keuka Lake Duathlon on Sunday.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Buffalo Half Marathon

For months we all have been complaining about the crappy WNY weather. Snow, cold, rain, clouds, etc, etc, etc. Well, today we finally got exactly what we asked for, 70's and sun. Unfortunately, this is not the best marathon weather. Regardless, I'll take it!

I must say, after reading about some other people's experience at the marathon last year, I was a bit skeptical as to what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised how well things went off. Nice job Buffalo!

On to the race...

This race wasn't one of my target races this year, but as with any races, I wanted to go as hard as I could. In my mind, I set a rough goal of 1:30:00. The first five miles of the race meandered through the lakefront area of the city. I felt strong and was able to push pretty hard: 7:09, 7:03, 6:49, 6:53, 6:44, 6:52.

Once we headed out of the lakefront area we got into south Buffalo, full of abandoned factories and not many spectators. I've run a few races in this part of the city and I always feel the same. It is kind of sad how this city has died over the years. Once a booming industrial city, it is now a skeleton of what it once was. As the sun rose in the sky, I felt the energy slowly being drained by my body. Miles 6-8: 6:52, 6:57, 6:58.

I hadn't really thought too much about what the 1:30 goal meant for my mile split pace (6:51). I begun to calculate in my mind what I'd need to get to this goal, realizing that 1:30 would be tough. I pushed on.

From mile 9 on, my pace suffered due to a combination of fatigue, heat and a couple of little overpass climbs. 7:07, 7:10, 7:06. Mile 12 (7:30) was the weakest for me, the more I pushed the slower I moved. I was able to pull it together for the last mile (7:02) and kept strong through the finish. There was a guy wearing a Frosted Flakes bike jersey I passed around mile 4 in the race. He passed me in the 12th mile, but I was able to chase him down and keep him behind me. Chasing "Tony" helped me keep my pace up at the end, but it wasn't enough to hit my goal. I was close and all things considered satisfied with my finish time and my fresh, new half marathon PR: 1:32:21.

Rest day tomorrow, light work this week and all out next Sunday at Keuka Lake!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Week of 5/16-5/22

New week, new training program. I've enjoyed my first week on This program is different from what I've been doing. Instead of focusing on miles per week, this program has me focused on time and HR zones. I can definitely say that I feel fresher after a complete week of training that I have in a while, probably due to less intensity in my workouts. Not sure if this will be good in the long run or not, but I'm going to keep at it for the time being.

Monday (5/16): 12 Mile Run, spent the majority of this run in HR zone 5a (should have been in zone 3.

Tuesday (5/17): 10 mile Time Trial, 25:51 (actual length 10.20) red line HR

Wednesday (5/18): Weights & Hills on bike trainer

Thursday (5/19): Bike Intervals on Trainer & Run with strides at the end

Friday (5/20): Subbed hilly run for treadmill run, due to downpour

Saturday (5/21): Brick workout, HR Zone 2, hard to keep my run HR in zone 2

Sunday (5/22): 1 hr run in HR zone 2, much slower pace to keep my HR in zone 2. Weights.

Overall, I've found that being aware of which HR zone I'm in usually means backing off of the pace. Good? Bad? Undecided at this time.

8:03:28 Training Hrs (not including weight sessions)
Run Miles: 32.92
Bike Miles: 60.04

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

One Final Tweak...For Now...

With my struggles for coming up with a solid training plan over the past couple of months, I finally settled on a program called Training Peaks. It is an online based program that has a Virtual Coach that, with answering questions about races you plan and your training goals, designs a training program. Lots of graphs and tracking which excites the nerd in me.

It is a bit of a step away from the training I have done in the past. Training is built around heart rate and total weekly exercise time. Once you've answered a seriers of questions, the Virtual Coach gives you a weekly list of workouts that you drag and organize into a calendar. Once the workouts are completed you can upload your workout data from Garmin or other unit.

It does take some time to set up and get used to, but 3 days into it, I am enjoying the experience. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Week of 5/9-5/15

Started off the week strong, but fizzled at the end of the week. Partially hampered by bad weather, but mostly influenced by lack of motivation, I missed my weekly goals. I've been in a training funk for the past month and a half, I need to get my motivation back. I did get re-fitted on my bike, so maybe this will give me a boost.

Monday (5/9): 1hr bike ride, Hill Repeats

Tuesday (5/10): Weight circuit, TT-shaved :40 off my 20K TT (tough little hill at the beginning and end.)

Wednesday (5/11): Planned on doing 18, settled for 12. Also, decided to do the Buffalo Half Marathon, instead of the full.

Thursday (5/12): Slacker

Friday (5/13): Bike re-fitting, more aero position, lower on the front end, aero bars closer together.

Saturday (5/14): More slacking, but went out and got my wife a tri bike, so not a total loss.

Sunday (5/15): 2 mile tempo @ 6:15/pace, felt good, little twinge in my back, weight circuit.

I will get all of my workouts in this week. Toying with using the website. Any thoughts on this???


Run: 20.25 (lame)
Bike: 32.28 (weak)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

More Re-Evaluation

I've been in a month-plus long funk of evaluating and re-evaluating my goals, training, etc, etc.

Today after I ran 12 (planned on doing 18), I think I've decided to bail on the full marathon at the end of the month in exchange for the half.

I guess this isn't a huge deal and my hope is that I can focus more on speed for shorter races and working on my overall duathlon skills.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Green Lakes Duathlon

Another nice day for racing, low 50's, mix of sun and clouds, relatively light winds. I found this race on the Score This website. Only a week off of a heavy weekend, I was slightly skeptical of how I'd manage, but when did that ever hold me back?

A nice turn out for this race, we were started in waves. I was in the 20-39 Men wave. As I looked around, I thought, "Geez, these guys look fitter and stronger than I do. They must have been doing this for years." As our wave started 10 or so immediately broke away and headed out single file out on to the trails. The run loop was largely contested over the trail system in Green Lakes State Park. There was one short, steep climb and other section of little "bumps". The trail was a bit rough in spots due to the crazy amounts of rain we've received this year, but generally passable. My goal here was to shoot for a 6:45/mile pace. I finished the first run leg (3.05miles) in 20:50 a 6:48/mile pace, 24 overall/4 in age group. Ok.

Last week, my transitions were less than stellar, due largely to the length of the transition area and the fact that I had to run the majority of the distance in my bike shoes. Today was much different. With a smaller field (142 solos, 12 relay teams) the transition area was much more accessible. I also set my bike on the rack by the handle rather than the seat. I found last week that when I hang my bike by the seat, I have to lean the bike to the right or left to clear the bar (not desirable for speed). I was out of the first transition in :45, 29 overall, 4 in age group.

I always feel the strongest during the bike leg. The feeling of picking off people ahead, one at a time only adds to the motivation. This two loop course with a twist at the end, allowed me to pass even more people (those I was actually lapping) which gave me a bunch of "rabbits" to chase. At the entrance back into the park, we took a pretty tough 2 mile climb, followed by an awesomely enjoyable 2 mile run back down. The climb was brutal towards the end, my legs on fire, but the down slope was super, maxing out at 39.6 mph. I could have pushed this even more, but I erred on the side of caution as it was a bit bumpy in places. 19.57 miles, 56:20, 20.8mph, 18 overall, 2 in age group.

Transition 2 was even faster as I had another competitor right in front of me that I was chasing. :34, 16 overall, 1 in age group.

Run 2: Always my nemesis, but less so today. Legs feeling like jelly, I had a rabbit to chase. I actually kept pace with him right on his heels for the first .75 miles or so. We were both caught and overtaken at the same nasty little climb by a runner behind us. After that, both of those guys began to build the gap and by mile 1.5 they were out of sight and I was by myself. I did get a bit of my legs back in the last mile and managed a 7:18, negative splits! Still, it is obvious that my run is still very weak. Finished the 2nd run (3.08) in 23:18/7:33, 33 overall, 4 in age group.

Overall: 1:41:50, 17th out of 142, 3rd out of 9 in my age group.

For perspective 2nd in my age group finished 1:10 ahead of me. He beat me by :18 in the first run, I had him :25 in the bike, :03 difference in transitions in my favor, but RUN 2......he smoked me by 1:19. There's the glaring weakness!!!

Still, overall pleased with my efforts, including finishing 6 minutes faster than last week on a similar distance.

More work to do...starting Monday.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I'm sick...


Missed my TT Race on Tuesday (they cancelled it anyway). Spent today in the rain and mud for work, no running, no biking. I ate a bag of tortilla chips, that didn't help.

Race on Saturday. At least my legs will be fresh.

Flower City Challenge Half Marathon

I really thought 5 months ago that back-to-back races sounded like a great idea. Piece of cake, right?!? Well....

Another nice day for racing, that's impressive for WNY this time of year. I was still feeling a bit off due to my mid-week cold-catching. The last half marathon I ran was exactly one year ago, the Grand Island Half Marathon. Last year at this time I was struggling with some overtraining injuries and had a less than stellar run.

Even though I had pushed pretty hard the day before, I was excited for this race, mainly because it was also my wife's first ever half marathon. She has been training hard and has suffered through her own injuries and setbacks, but never gave up. So together we toed the start line and we were off.

My thoughts as far as pace was to shoot for a 7:30/mile. I cautiously set off at the gun (or in this case the 'go') with 2100 other runners. My body was definitely squeaking and creaking through these first steps, but the general adreniline that accompanies the start of any race got me through that. I silently hitched my pace with a group of guys chatting about the previous days race. I ran along side, listening as they chatted about the duathlon course, upcoming races and training.

Mile 1: 7:24
Mile 2: 7:19
Mile 3: 7:28

AS we continued on, I felt my body warming up nicely. We headed down East Ave (the nicer section of downtown Rochester) and I pulled ahead of this group. There was a bit of headwind down this road and a mini-train of guys about my size running single file. I joined in and spent the next couple miles "drafting". I felt a bit silly but it did help.

Mile 4: 7:17
Mile 5: 7:18
Mile 6: 7:28

As we finished mile 6, the train began to break up as we headed up a pretty decent hill. Lots of huffing and puffing around me here, uphill AND into the wind isn't always the most enjoyable. At the top of the hill we were greeted by a pleasant drum circle and an even more enjoyable downhill. After a mile or so through Highland Park, we hit the toughest part of the course, in my opinion, Mt. Hope Cemetary. We were greeted at the entrance of the cemetary by a short, steep, cobblestone climb. The footing was very uneven going up the cobbles and many people chose to walk here. We spend the next 2+ miles weaving through the narrow cemetary roads. This graveyard is very nice, lots of history, but I just didn't appreciate it much on this day. However, my spirits (no pun intended) where lifted a bit when we ran right by where my grandparents were laid to rest.

Mile 7: 7:38
Mile 8: 7:34
Mile 9: 7:31
Mile 10: 7:31

Coming out of the cemetary, I realized that my pace had suffered a bit and I tried to pick it up, but found that I didn't have much left in the tank. The last part of this run is also pretty much the same ending as the Rochester Marathon, run in September, and also where I really began to suffer last year. Perhaps it was a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I was really suffering here and my splits showed it. I was able to pick it up for the last mile (with a bit of help from the downhill and excitement from the crowd).

Mile 11: 7:37
Mile 12: 7:53
Mile 13: 7:11
Last .1ish: 6:31/pace

My GPS actually measured 13.18 miles and a time of 1:38:28/7:28 pace easily a new PR for me. All things considered I can't be too dissapointed as I hit my target and I know I can go faster under different circumstances.

The highlight for me was watching my wife cross the finish line, in one, piece and with a smile. I know she worked her butt off and hopefully she will continue, though I know right now the last thing she wants to do is run.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Flower City Challenge Duathlon

Feeling a bit under the weather, but went after it anyway. Very nicely organized race, no hiccups and awards were given out even earlier than posted!

Nice day for a race, low 40's, sun.

Run 1
3.15 miles/21:16/6:45 pace

Pleased with this pace. I held back a bit to leave some for the end. The course itself was flat, except for the bridges over the waterways.

:58, eh!

The transition area was quite long and I set up my bike at the far end by the run entrance which meant I ran the majority of the transition in my bike shoes, not ideal!

20.18 miles/58:16/20.8mph

Got off to a good start on the bike averaging about 23 mph even through some pretty sharp, but brief inclines. I was certainly helped by a bit of a tail wind. Somewhere around mile 15, I started to lose my steam. I was heading slightly downhill, but into a little breeze.

1:06, blah!

Again a victim of the poor placement of my bike, I had to run the majority of the length through transition on my bike shoes. Add to this wobbly legs, and I was hurting good now.

Run 2
2.77 miles/21:28/7:45 pace

I really was hoping on a pace much closer to 7:00, but I just couldn't hold it. My legs were on fire, my feet mostly numb and a decent cramp on my right side. I grinded hard, just to get to the end. Thank goodness it was shorter than the first run!!

Total: 1:43:03 (1:43:10 chip time)

How did I stack up?!? Well, I'm clearly still a bit short of the top performers (winner at 1:28:11). I came in 3rd out of 20 in my age group, 29th out of 333 overall. Happy that I placed, but I still have some hard work to do to get my run legs faster, to keep up with the big boys.

My prize....a flower of course. Half marathon tomorrow...gulp....