Monday, February 8, 2010

training triumphs and tribulations

The last 10 days or so of training have been marked by some distinct highs and lows, but I guess that is all part of the process and what makes you stronger in the end. Almost two weeks ago now, I spoke of the beginnings of a potential sickness of some kind, and sure enough, this progressed a little bit further down the road than I had hoped. Coming up on the end of January and heading into another big weekend of training, my gut really started acting up and providing me and those around me with all sorts of discomfort and disruptions. I thought at one point it may have been due to the internet acquired almonds that I had been eating en masse and I feared tainted, but in retrospect it was probably the initially suspected bug. This did not keep me from my training however, and not this past weekend but the last, Jocelyn and I joined the IM crew again for another big session. Lisa, myself, and Jocey pictured below in Jen and Chad's basement.
We did a 3.5 hr trainer ride followed by a 30 minute transition run on the cold streets of Irwin, and then after a nice recovery brunch at Casa de Holderbaum, it was off to the Greensburg YMCA for perhaps the most ridiculous training leg of all, a 1650 time trial. As former pool swimmers, Jen and I lead off in the 1st heat and got things warmed up for Chad and Jocelyn. Strangely, this swim was the portion of the day that I feared the most for both stomach related troubles and performance shortcomings, but was pleasantly the most solid of all. I swam a 21:45 for the 1650, which works out to be about a 1:19 pace per 100y. I'll take it, after 4 hrs of earlier workouts and some tight hamstrings on those late flipturns.
Chad, Jen, Jocelyn, and myself.
The following (last) week went pretty well, I starting coming around health wise by Monday or Tuesday and didn't really miss any planned workouts due to The Bug. I did have a couple shorter bike sessions on T/TH than I would have liked, but I was also at work a little later than ideal and this made for late starts. Swimming continued to flow pretty well, running was average with no foot discomfort, however some of those aforementioned bike sessions left me feeling a little bit more flat than they should have. I read an article Thursday night about racing weight and coupled with a surprisingly low scale reading Friday morning, this got me paranoid about the pitfalls of my Paleo ways. I will reserve judgment and blame The Bug for now. And with Super Bowl Sunday coming up, my bottom line was sure to be padded just a little.

This past Saturday we had another trainer session planned at another friend's house and of course I was really keyed up for this again, when the infamous Blizzard of 2010/Snowmageddon/Snowpocalypse hit overnight Friday. When Jocelyn and I woke up to no power and 20 inches of new, wet snow, we knew the group trainer streak was going to come to an end. While initially this was very upsetting in a tri-myopic sort of way, once we ventured outdoors, we soon found alternative activities to keep up entertained. We briefly considered doing our 3 hr trainer ride, just the two of us, by headlamps or candlelight, with a portable battery powered dvd player, but quickly called an audible for snow shoveling cross-training and then a cross country ski trek into Sewickley and to a warmer shelter. And now, as the skies previously dumped snow on the mid-Atlantic region, I shall dump my photos on the blogger-nets.
Jocey striding through an idyllic Ponterfract Park.

Me crossing over LSC.

As the crow flies or the train goes by to Sewick-town.


After a relaxing rest of the day Saturday, Sunday dawned and it was time for the weekly long run. Chris, Joe, and Steve joined Jocelyn and I for a planned 10 miler through the snowy, 8 degree countryside. A shot of all of the runners synchronizing our before the run. We'll have to send this one into Garmin, and yes, we know we're dorks. Fast dorks.

Jocey, Chris, Joe, and Steve heading out away from town.

Steve, me, and Jocey about a mile further down the road.

Joe, Chris, Steve, and Jocey heading past the first of many downed trees on a usually moderately traveled country road.

Steve, Chris, Jocelyn (foreground, pushing the pace!), and Joe passing under a big one. This was amazing, we had this whole road to ourselves, and yes, this is a road! This looks a lot like the trails that are on top of the adjacent ridges!

Chris and I post-run, we got in an unexpected 13 miles, but the time just flew by and I felt like I could have run 30 that day. Maybe my most enjoyable run of all-time.

After the run, we then came home to our 41 degree house. Our power was still out (nearly 37 hours later) but even this could not bring me down after that epic snowscape run.
About an hour later the power was finally restored and the rest of Sunday was spent relaxing and preparing for the Super Bowl. Jocey and I went over to the Filauri's and met back up with Steve and Joe, along with Joyce and Fay among others, for some football fun and the promised padding of the bottom line. This was an excellent and more normal end to a strange, but very memorable weekend. I learned that things might not always go to plan with the training schedule, but you just have to make the most of what the conditions give you, have fun, and knuckle up!


James Thornton said...

Excellent blog entry, very enjoyable photos. I have noticed you seem very thin at swimming practice and may have commented on this. Not sure if there is a point where hauling less body weight (an advantage) is trumped by not having enough muscle and fuel to do the hauling (a disadvantage), but it will be interesting to see what your thoughts are on this subject. I interviewed a doctor once who said that the diets of successful marathoners run all over the map--from ultra organic precision science diets, to Ho-Ho's and Twinkies supplemented by real junk food. His take on this was that by the time fuel hits your bloodstream, it's pretty much all the same--fatty acids, simple carbs, and protein/amino acids. The marathoners are training so much that they use it up, so what form it initially comes in (brown rice vs. cotton candy) doesn't matter a whole lot. It's just shoveling more coal into the furnace.

Kim said...

Nice! What a great run! Ummm.. I didn't get an invitation to that.. hellloo.. Ha.. Kidding. I did 13 at North Park and I was just happy to be out there! I hope you're feeling better and I'll see you this weekend!

Chad Holderbaum said...

Thanks for sharing the weight link. I don't think you or I have anything to worry about unless we get down into the 130's...

Here's to getting fitter!