Week 21 of training for Ironman Boulder 2017 is on the books. I can’t believe it is only 6 more weeks until race day. 5 months of training are behind me already. Although February was a bit of a wash, due to a pretty bad case of Bronchitis for a solid two weeks. March and April have been mostly trying to get back to where I need to be.
The early part of the week was spent mostly recovering from the St. Luke’s Half Marathon. My run on Wednesday was still feeling a little soreness in the legs. Thursday was a really good day. I had a great swim and was able to get out with some work mates for a really nice 2-hour ride.
My 2nd run of the week on Friday was ok. It was bit warm out(~85F) so that never works well for me. I took it easy and just kept things in zone 2.
My long bike ride on Saturday morning was great. I followed most of the old DCT ride route making my way up to Kempton, PA, down to Werley’s Corners and back again, totally just under 75 miles. Not super fast, but it was breezy and my watts indicated I was working harder what my speed indicated. It was warm Saturday, but the sun was behind the clouds most of the time so that helped.
I was also playing around with a GoPro too. 🙂
I drank two bottles of Skratch Labs, one water only, one bottle of Hammer Perpetuem(3 scoops) with some Beet Elite powder. I also had an Amrita Bar and a Honey Stinger Waffle for some solids. Oh yeah I also got some free, sample vegan crackers from the Rodale Institute while I stopped for a “natural break”, Phil Ligget would say.
I finished things off with a 20-minute brick run and broke in a new pair of Saucony Freedom ISO’s. More on those later.
Sunday was a bit cooler and overcast. Perfect for a long run. I was a bit leery about how the legs would feel after the long bike the day before, but things were feeling pretty good. I got in a little over 16 miles in about 2.5 hours. Things were getting a little stiff towards the end though and my IT band was tightening up. While stretching at a stop sign a guy stopped to make sure I was ok. That was cool! 🙂
I also ran the entire run in my new Saucony’s. They did pretty well too. No brake-in required. 🙂 Not sure if they are marathon material though. They are soft and comfortable, but not quite as luxurious as the Hoka Cliftons. Of course, the Hoka’s would have covered my feet in blisters too and the Saucony’s didn’t.
One other note was that I got in two good core strength workouts in this week too. I have been slacking on that lately and I am starting to feel it. I am thinking that this was also why my workouts towards the end of the week were better.
All-in-all feeling good. Another pretty big training week this week and then a little rest the following week.
Wow! Only 20 more weeks to go until Ironman Coeur d’Alene. Week #6 was a pretty solid one. I had almost 12 hours of volume and a few points shy of a 700 Training Stress Score(TSS). That equates to a average intensity of around .8(80%) overall for the week. Pretty high for a early season training week, but I am getting close to a easier week coming up the week before heading to Sedona. The week in Sedona should be pretty full of activity though with a bit of cross-training to boot.
I had a couple of the dreaded red blocks on TrainingPeaks, but one was a strength training and the other was my shorter speed interval swim session. Desite missing those two workouts I still was only 33 minutes off my planned volume. If I would have done those I would have been probably 30 minutes over. Hey I don’t want to overtrain right?
Looking at the bigger picture, progress is gradually increasing with slight amount of fatigue. One thing to note is that there are not any real large spikes in fatigue(pink) so I don’t think I am throwing too many “curveballs” to my system. Comparing to last year I am well above where I was at this same time, but I am also competing a month before too. I can definitely feel the fact that your endurance and fitness build from year to year.
Looking at TSS week to week, I have steadily progressed from my last rest week three weeks ago. The intesity(IF) has also increased as well. Next week should be another build week before an easy recovery the week before heading to the Southwest from some warmer temps and lots of outdoor training.
My final build week before Lake Placid was a fairly decent one. I took a rest day on Monday since I felt like I needed it. It was very hot and humid early in the week which upped the intensity a bit for my Tuesday night run.
The weather later in the week did not cooperate too much and I ended doing trainer rides on both Wednesday and Friday. It was probably a good thing since I get a much better and more consistent ride on the trainer. I also don’t need to spend as much time on the trainer as an equivalent road ride since you are constantly peddling and not coasting and stopping like you do on the road.
My Thursday night run was cut in half due thunder and lightning. It had started out to be a really good rain in a downpour, but I bright flash and a boom occurred at the 30 minute mark. The rain never stopped until Friday afternoon which worked out since we were going to a picnic that day. I skipped my LSD swim on Friday just for lack of time.
All the weather issues early in the week paid off because Saturday was BEAUTIFUL! I did a ~97 mile bike and then a 25 minute brick after. I kind of winged it with my route and hit some different territory over in the Oley Valley/Lobachsville area. Had some pretty nice climbs on Sweetwood Road in Macungie(cat 3) and Lobachsville Rd(cat 3-4). Ended up with a pretty good 4k+ feet of climbing.
Sunday was my last long(over 2 hours anyway) run for the training season. I headed over to the Ironton Rail Trail for some 5.5 mile loops and a 5 mile out-and-back spur. It is fairly shaded too which helped. It was a pretty hot day, but a good breeze kept things in check.
I starting getting a weak, shaky feeling about 2 miles into it and was wondering if I was going to make it the planned 3.5 hours. I ate the Amrita Bar in my FuelBelt and instantly felt better within a mile or so. Guess I was a little low in blood sugar or something. I also had a non-typical breakfast that morning of chia waffles with maple syrup which could have played a part. It didn’t have the same gusto as my smoothie does.
Other Items of Interest…
Leg Shaving…If you read Triathlete magazine you may have read the latest Jesse Thomas column about how shaving his legs during a recent wind tunnel testing session at Specialized. Jesse, being a fairly hairy fellow and high on the “Chewbacca Scale”, saved a whopping 15 watts by shaving his legs. The guys at Specialized created a video about it which is below.
I have never shaved my legs before and really haven’t found much justification to do so. Until now. They say on average this could have 5-10 minutes on an Ironman distance event, which is pretty huge. I am trying to cut about 25 minutes off my bike leg this year and getting a free 5-10 minutes could make that that much more obtainable. My wife was not real keen on the idea, but I what the heck it grows back. Anyway, here is the video…
My wife Denise also skydived on Sunday morning. I told her to just let me know when it is over. I have no interest in that. I did tell her to get the video, so I could watch it later. It was pretty cool to watch. Anyway, here it is.
Week 18 concludes as the second build week before heading into a recovery week. I decided to change from 3 week builds to 2 weeks for a couple reasons: One, it fit my schedule and two, I was planning to up the intensity a bit and being able to recover more often would allow me to sustain this better. Being able to head into my Lake Placid mini-camp in a fresh state will allow me to maximize my training time up there.
If you read last weeks training update post, you may remember I had some IT band/hip issues during my long run last Sunday. Well I was pretty stoked to find that it was not really a problem for me this week. I had a little bit of a niggle at the end of my hill repeat run on Thursday, but nothing major. I stopped running immediately too. Today(Sunday) I ran locally just in case it flared up again, but it really wasn’t a problem at all. I did ice it well when I got home just as a preventative measure.
Although I didn’t have hip issues on todays run, I did fall a little short of my planned 3 hours. It was a gorgeous day and a little hot. I had planned on circling back home halfway through to refuel a bit, but ended up going out longer than I planned and ran out of hydration and food. I basically ran out of gas around 15 miles and walked the last half mile home. I did intentionally run slower today just so I didn’t aggravate anything, so I ended up with around 2:30 hours. TrainingPeaks marked the workout in green on the calendar so it must be ok right? I also figured with the 6:25 century ride the day before I am ok with volume all together. I finished the week with a solid 16:30 hours of training.
Next week is an easy week. Well, relatively speaking. It is pretty crazy that a 10 hour training week is considered an easy one. But it is.
One other item is that I signed up to do the MS City-to-Shore ride in late September. There is a bunch of people from work doing it, so I thought it would be a fun post-season event. I am planning to do the Century ride down and the 75 miler back.
I had the opportunity to head out to the Microsoft Build Conference in San Francisco this year. This consisted of a 3 day event so I decided to take advantage of the airfare and make a longer vacation of it. I had been itching to get to Yosemite the past couple years so now was my chance. My wife also decided to take advantage of a free place to stay and spend time in the city and visits friend who lives nearby.
We flew out on Tuesday afternoon from Newark and arrived at SFO in the evening of the same day. The flight was about 5 1/2- 6 hours and was a little delayed due to sitting on the runway for about an hour or so. There was some bad storms in San Francisco which they were going to wait out. The flight went pretty well and they had WIFI on board which I decided to try out. Good for killing some time. We took a taxi from SFO airport to the Hilton Union Square where we were staying which was about $40. Glad I wasn’t paying for that!
Since we arrived late, I didn’t meet up with any of my work mates and instead Denise and I hoofed it down to the Bay and have dinner at The Plant Organic Cafe on Pier 3. I had wanted to check this place out so no time like the present. The walk was a bit longer than I had anticipated and it was getting kind of late. It had started raining pretty heavily by the time we got to the waterfront and we were getting soaked by the time we arrived. I had the soup of the day, which was a Southwest Tortilla soup, and the Quinoa Bowl with tempeh for my main course. Both items were really good. I paired that up with a Green Flash IPA and life was good. We made the walk back to the hotel, grabbing some things for breakfast at a Walgreens on the way.
The next couple days I was pretty consumed with the conference. Typically when a group from work goes to one of these conferences we go out for at least one meal together. Not this time. I did go out for a quick pizza with a few of the guys, but it was pretty low key. Most of the meals are provided by the conference, buy the food was not that great so we usually hit the food court across the street at the Moscone Center for lunch.
I did get to meet up with our one friend, Nate, from our recent Haute Route trip in Switzerland. Nate, who actually works at Microsoft, was in town for some other business and not the conference. We enjoyed a couple pints of Murphy’s and chatted about our common interests. There is no shortage of things to talk about when you are both into travel, photography and software.
I Need to Run
On Thursday, I decided I needed to get out for a nice run after sitting in sessions all day. I skipped out on the last session of the day and made my way down through the city out to the Bay Trail that runs along the water. Running in a city really sucks! Dodging people and stopping at almost every light really breaks up the momentum. It makes me appreciate where I live!
Eventually, I got out to the Bay trail but I still had to dodge people most of the way. Fortunately, the scenery was pretty cool. Bay Bridge, Alcatraz Island, Downtown San Fran and Fisherman’s Wharf where all along the way. It became more of a sight-seeing tour than a training run, so I didn’t break any speed records here.
On the way back from my run, I headed up Mason St. to the Club One Fitness at Union Square to see if I could reserve a lane for Friday to get my long swim in for the week. They require that you reserve the lane ahead of time which is kind of nice since you won’t have to worry about waiting around. The conference ended around 3pm on Friday so I got a lane for an hour starting at 4PM. It was $20 for a day pass which is kind of steep if you are just going for an hour, but in the grand scheme of things I need to get my swim in.
The pool consisted of 3 lanes of 25 yards long. It was a little dingy, but not real bad. They had towels and lockers which were all pretty nice. Gotta thank the Swim Radar iPhone app for hooking me up with a place to swim. It felt good to get my 2 miles of swimming in which kicks the weekend off to a good start.
I was planning to hook up with the work guys after my swim, but they blew me off so I ended up going with my wife down to Roam Artisan Burgers on Fillmore St. It is always a little difficult finding places to eat for a carnivore and herbivore, but Roam was the ticket. I had a killer veggie burger with the “French and Fries” topping selection and my wife was raving about her meat burger topped with an egg and no bun(I say “Yuk!!”). I paired my burger up with another Green Flash IPA which always makes everything taste so good.
Cycling the Paradise Loop
On Saturday, we headed up to Blazing Saddles bike rentals which was located just below the Club One Fitness on Mason St. I wanted to rent a higher performance road bike which they did not have at this location, but they hooked me up with a hybrid to ride down to their Columbus Ave location to get something a little nicer. My wife stayed with the hybrid. On the way down, we stopped at the pier and had a quick lunch at a couple of the little shops in there. Once at the other shop, they hooked me up with a Fuji road bike and put my pedals on it. The bike was a little long for me, but it was ok for the time being.
My plan was to do the Paradise Drive Loop which was supposed to be a really nice bike ride. My wifes’ friend had recommended it to her and it looked like a good ride. It seems there are several variations on this ride and I created my own by getting mixed up several times. My wife headed straight down Tiburon Blvd to Tiburon while I headed north up to Paradise Drive in Corte Madera. We would then meet up in Tiburon and take the Ferry back to San Francisco. We had to have the bikes back by 7pm and the last ferry was at 6:30pm, so if we took that one we would not make it.
Denise kept riding along the Bay Trail to the Golden Gate Bridge while I picked up the other bike. I ended up catching her about halfway over the Golden Gate Bridge where we stopped to take a couple selfies. The bridge was pretty congested with bike traffic, so it was a relief to get off of it. Some guy almost clipped Denise while going the other way.
I had heard Sausalito was really nice, but I have to say it was very touristy as I rode through. It was also very congested with traffic and I was more than happy to get out of there. Much of the route after Sausalito to Corte Madera was on a bike path which was nice that I didn’t have to deal with traffic. Once in Corte Madera I got a bit mixed up. One bike trail I was on had no one else on it and eventually dead-ended. I then turned back and found a turn off that I missed(Lomita Drive/Alto Sutton Manor) the bike route wound through some streets and up besides Hwy 101 for a bit.
After wandering through the streets of Corte Madera for awhile I eventually figured out that I needed to cross over the Hwy 101 overpass to get to Paradise Drive. Once on Paradise Drive it was finally a nice ride winding down the coastline. Much of the ride was also shaded too which I enjoyed since it was a pretty warm day. I received a text message from my wife along the way where she found that there were no more ferries until 6:30pm in TIburon. This would complicate things a bit with the bike returns. I would figure this out in TIburon when I got there. For now I just wanted to enjoy the ride.
I eventually got to Tiburon and met up with Denise there. I called the bike shop and they said just drop bikes off at there other store on Hyde St. We had a almost an hour to kill waiting for the ferry, so I hit one on the shops for a chewy coconut macaroon. Mmm! I ended up doing around 30 miles which was pretty lame given it took 2:30 hours. Oh well, it is a rest week and at least I am still getting some training in. How often do I get to ride over the Golden Gate Bridge and around the Bay area.
The ferry eventually showed up and we made our way back to the city. They had a little bar on board so I took full advantage and enjoyed a local microbrew IPA for the cruise back. We headed right past Alcatraz Island which was pretty cool. I took advantage of that by turning my Garmin on to record a “swim” from Alcatraz to the San Fran Pier to trick my coach. He had texted me the day before asking for a swim report from swimming from Alcatraz, so I had to play along! I am sure he didn’t fall for it too long when he saw the 22secs/100 yds…I wish I could swim that fast!
We headed quickly over to the Blazing Saddles shop on Hyde St. to return our bikes. It was a bit of a madhouse with everyone from the ferry returning bikes and then trying to explain to them how we rented at Mason St., then I swapped bikes on Columbus and now I am returning to Hyde St. Hmmm…oh yea no chance of this getting messed up. I will be calling Mason St. shop tomorrow to make sure they credited my account correctly.
We then walked up the street to catch a bus back to the hotel. It was a pretty long ride and by the time we showered it was getting late for dinner. Hmmm…we ended up taking a taxi back to Roam Burgers again! Hey if it is good, gotta stick with it I guess.