Thursday, September 20, 2007

Observations

At 5am there isn't much going on in Marin - Tiburon, CA specifically. I always mention that people don't get up early here - I suppose because they know that it will be sunny, so why get out when it's not 70 yet.

I ran out today for an EZ 45 mins or so about 5:30 - just after a cup of coffee and a granola bar. I headed out the door and saw the paper delivery guy rounding the corner on nearly 2 wheels (which is typical) flinging newspapers into the driveways. There is also another newspaper guy - he goes slow but stuffs the papers, has a smoke, tosses the folded papers and drives - all at the same time. Sometimes I find he honks once he tosses the paper and people run out in their robes to grab the paper.

I got about a 1/2 mile down the road and because it's pitch black (except for Berkley and Oakland in the far distance across the water) I have to run in the center of the road, along the double yellow line - no potholes to trip me! I looked left and thought I saw a kitty running along the side of the road. I quickly switched from kitty to it's not a kitty in about a half second when I realized that the 'kitty' was black and was running with a tail straight up in the air. Without actually screaming 'skuuuuuuuuuuuuunk' I screamed silently and took evasive action - which was a b-line to the other side of the road - going from an easy pace of 8min miles to about a 4:30 pace.

Rounding the next corner and not running along side of me was more of Tiburon's morning critters - a deer. They generally scoot along once they hear you and they don't panic - unless of course, you come upon them with your headlights. I know exactly what a deer in headlights do - absolutely nothing, it's true. I see it about 2x a week.

I then rolled down the 8% hill, into downtown Tiburon (well on the way there) and along the water. This has me running along the water, looking at the sunrise over (or on) downtown San Francisco. It's a pretty nice way to start the day. Yesterday started along the same lines - deer in headlights, then swimming in the open water at 5:30am. It was still night out - lots of stars, no clouds and 6 or so fellow swimmers clamoring into the salt water in the pitch black. It's a bit odd to swim when it's night out - trying to sight .6 miles away is a challenge not to mention not running into your fellow swimmers. If you have any issues with claustrophobia stay out - of course when you can see, you'll have fish swimming off the tips of your fingers and if you're lucky you'll see one of the dead bodies that I'm sure are there.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Recovery

I got out yesterday despite having very little motivation - and I ran. I ran hard - about 1 hour at 168-173 with alternating 4 min blocks at 185 to 192. It hurt - but it helps keep me focused on the final 2 races this season. I also did a hard interval ride home with another commuter here who said I was killing him - which is great motivation. After the hillclimb - my riding feels even stronger - so I'm keeping the pressure on when I go hard - digging deep to make those gains.

Next up is Tinley's in SLO on the 29th - I'll be driving down with Uncle Huli on Friday and back Saturday after the race. Hopefully we'll have to stick around for some hardware for Ben.

After my next two races - season ending on Oct 7, I'll then train for the US Half Marathon on 11/4. About a week later I'll likely go test my V02 Max and LT test again - hoping to see better numbers, my last test said I was around 64 which was after very little training.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Mt Tam Hill Climb

That wasn't much fun.

Excuses first:1) I changed my gearing to a 12-27
2) I forgot to put that gearing on my bike (don't let 2 kids help with work on the bike, they distract)
3) I weight 175lbs
4) I'm not a climber

It wasn't that bad either. I figured how hard could 12.5 miles be? Apparently pretty hard when it's a race. I did a nice 50 min warm-up, climbing 500 ft - which is when I noticed that I wasn't in my 27. My legs felt terrible - until I realized why they felt so bad. Luckily there were not any 16% grades on the climb - but I think I saw 12 or 14% (I rode the course with a Garmin 305 Edge computer)towards the top.

The team plan was to hammer 4.5 miles to the foot of the climb. "At what pace" I asked. "28-31mph" Hunter said. "S*&^(#)%)(#$" I thought - remembering that it's easier on a TT bike with a disc wheel going downhill.

After the warm-up I went back to the car to dump my knee warmers, grab some water and toss my jacket. I looked down at my watch - 9:18:30. 90 seconds to get from the car to the race start - easy. I got to the race start and it was packed - I rode up about halfway through the field, looked to my right to ask 'is this the cat 1-3 field' and before I go 'is this...' out - they fired the gun. Whoopsy. I hit reset on my computer and put it in the 53x15. True enough - we were doing 28.5mph within 20 seconds.

The pace lasted this long until we hit the foot of the climb. I've ridden up Mt Tam about 4 times before - but never on this side. It's actually steeper on the other side but there are a bunch of downhills and flat sections. Not on this course. I think it was 8% or higher every time I looked at the grade on my Garmin. I felt good - riding at 174-177 but couldn't push ahead because I simply couldn't turn over the gears any faster. I ended up settling in with a group of guys - one who mentioned that he was "glad he had his 29 on today". The climb was consistent the whole time - never too steep but never any relief. My goal was to NOT be last - so I was happy with how things were going as we continued up. I tried to bridge a few groups and made it through two attempts but failing 2 others when I got caught by a steeper section.

Here's a picture of yours truly.

We got to the top in a pseudo pack and I settled in at my own pace - finishing just behind a group I rode most of the way up with. Not great - but not bad for where I am in my training and with my fitness. I finished a slow 51:34. If you consider that per lb you give 2 secs per mile and I'm about 15-20 over, I gave up 2 sec x 15lbs = 30 secs per mile x 8.5 miles of climbing = 4:15. So next year I should easily be able to topple 46 I think.

Now if I could only find some inspiration to swim and run. Any ideas?

My birthday is in 8 days.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ouch Quit It

That's pretty much what my left foot said to me on Thursday AM - about mile 3.1 of a 10k tempo run. I thought my foot was cramped in my shoe (which never has happened) and by the time I got home I was a limping lorpeedo. The left outside of my left foot is hurt. I couldn't walk friday and could barely spin home. I took the weekend off and did some lifting and kayaking to keep sane. I think I had 3 beers too. I'm taking a week off from running and will try again next weekend. In the meantime I managed to catch up on a lot of college football, reading ben's massive race reports,Christine's new blog about her time in prison and to spend some time with my daughter Piper.

I've got 3 more tris left this season and a half marathon. I don't think there is any way I will be able to make the Mt Tam hillclimb given the fact that I can't stand on my pedals without some pain - so that's disappointing to miss out on that benchmark - so I'll have to do my own hill climb in a few weeks.

Congrats to Ian on his great 4:55 70.3 race this weekend, Christine's 1st place in her first triathlon (I may have an openening in my athlete roster) and to Ben on his realization that the Polish-all-you-can-eat-buffet does not map well to the lifestyle of an elite ITU triathlon rockstar. My friend Chris Tremonte all did well down at Pac Grove as a pro and brought home a top 15 place while still working at Microsoft. Racing with guys like Thompson and Messenheimer has got to be a hoot as well as a lot of hard work.

PS - it's my birthday on September 25.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Breakfast at the IHOP & Breaking the Law (closed)

No races for about a month. It's sort of nice but is causing me to have a little less focus (and a glass of wine or two...). I'm really hoping to work on my run this month - finally getting some speed work integrated into my week and a little less bike work. I did sign up for the Cat 3 Mt Tam Hill Climb where I'll get a spanking but it's training and a good benchmark to have for next year. There's a massive difference between a good triathlete cyclist and a bike racer. Chris Lieto is one of the few who I know that can hang with the bike racing crowd.

Went for a morning ride aka the IHOP (Ian's House of Pain) - a Marin classic. It consisted of 4 climbs and nearly 60 miles of going 23+ mph behind a guy named Ian on a 14lb TT bike. I'm not sure what happened but I was the only fool to go on this ride and ended up staring at an 11-23 cluster for 3 hours. I then got home and was told that 'I was late'. I promise never to do either of these things again. It was the longest ride I've been on since February.

Long time readers may remember the post "Breaking the Law". Well, now that the courts have finally gotten around to hearing this case - I got a note from the defendant's attorney. He wants to settle and in doing so can reduce the charge to a misdameanor. I wasn't too keen on it all but said that I wanted a hand-written letter of apology and for him to replace the glasses and helmet that got beat up when I did. I figured it would be a pretty lame letter and that I'd have more satisfaction by teaching him a lesson about messing with guys in red spandex. It turns out that I got the letter, read it and dropped the charges that I could (hitting me in front of a sheriff still was not a good idea). His 4 year old daughter had died pretty recently and he was not in great mental shape. Since I have a 4 year old - I'm a bit of a softie. Would you have done anything differently?