Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ironman Training Evaluation

At this point I'm nineteen weeks into my twenty week Ironman Florida training plan.  Week twenty will be pretty much just sitting around and waiting.  I thought this would be a good time to evaluate my adherence to the plan.  The ultimate test of my fitness will be apparent in the results from my performance on race day.  My adherence to the plan will just tell me if I did my homework.  Fortunately, I've got no injuries thus far to contend with.

My plan started on June and ends on race day which is November 5th, 2011.  The chart below lists the weeks from 1 to 20 on the bottom and the overall time, in hours and minutes, planned and expended in training.  The blue line indicates the hours of planned training.  The red line indicates the hours of actual training.  You'll notice that the blue line progressively increases with a recovery week with less training every fourth week, or so.  You'll also notice that the red line doesn't follow the blue line.  That's just the way it goes!  While I did have some weeks of increased training my consistency was a bit lacking.  The last week, twenty, calls for 6 hours and 40 minutes of training which should be much easier to accomplish that the almost 20 hours suggested in previous weeks.  Click images to enlarge.

20 Week Ironman Training Plan Evaluation in hours
The chart below is a breakdown of the hours of swimming, biking and running each week.

20 Week Ironman Training Plan Segment Detail in hours
Weeks 5, 12, 16, and 18 indicate less training than I might have liked.  It's possible that the reduced effort prevented any injury that might have occurred had I met or exceeded my training goals.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Nineteen Down - One Weeks to Go!

Week nineteen started on Sunday, October 23rd with a recovery day.  I hadn't worked out at all during week eighteen so any recovery was already overdone.  However, I only have 2 more weeks to go in my 20 week plan so, recovery it was for Sunday.  I have to admit that the whole thing is making me mentally tired, but physically I feel fine.  No injuries!

On Monday I rode solo, then with another rider, and then still with a group.  I left the house at 4pm headed toward the Epic Bikes store 8 miles from my house.  When I got there I joined up with Junior, a fellow Southern Crescent Cycling (SCC) club rider.  He is training for the 3-day, 375 mile, La Vuelta Puerto Rico in January.  Junior and I rode together until 6pm when we met up with a few more SCC riders and some local Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) folks.  We met at the Trek store on GA20.  The FCA folks haul butt so I stayed to the back of the group (at one point 300 yards back) for the whole 20 mile ride.  Many of the FCA riders rode tri bikes and were on their aerobars during the ride.  I'm usually the only guy on a tri bike when I ride with the group out of Epic Bikes so the change was fun.  The ride took us until dark so one of the other riders was kind enough to haul Junior and I back home.  I rode 55 miles that day.

On Tuesday I ran 8.5 miles around the lake at a 7:24 pace.  The temperature was 54-degrees when I left the house.  After I returned home I got ready for my first swim in almost 2 weeks.  The water temperature was 67-degrees.  I pulled my swim cap down onto my head as far as possible and headed out toward the dam.  The water wasn't so cold that it took my breath away but I can't say that it was refreshing.  It was too cold for that.  I cut my 90 minute swim session short by over 25 minutes.  When I woke up that morning I had planned to swim and then run.  After checking the temperature, a run followed by a swim was definitely the better option.
Water temperature 67-degrees
Ready for a swim
On Wednesday I rode 10 miles with Susan in the neighborhood.  After that warm up I rode 38 more miles around the lake.  After my ride I did a short 10 minute run brick.

My Thursday workout was quashed by an extended Wednesday work schedule and a reduced sleep schedule.  While I got some shut-eye Susan picked up our grandson Cody.  Cody lives in the Philippines but is back in the U.S. while on a week's break from school.

Cody reading while Susan shops for groceries
Caption: 1) Give me five! or 2) Don't take my picture!
Cody was going back home to Manila on Friday to Manila so, my training/taper would resume on Saturday.

On Saturday it was cold and windy, too cold and windy to swim.  I wouldn't want to get sick!  After I got my new running shoes earlier in the day I went for a 12 mile run.

I finished the week swimming 1.7 miles, biking 103 miles and running 20.7 miles.  I did it all in 9 hours and 22 minutes.  That's 6 hours shy of what my plan called for.  Oh well!

Thanks for reading.

New Shoes (and socks)

I decided last weekend that I wasn't going to run the marathon segment of Ironman Florida in my New Balance 758's.  That decision was really made the week prior after I finished the Peachtree City Classic 15K and I found a blood blister on my right foot.  My left foot just had a regular blister.

Blood blister after 2 weeks of healing
I suspect that the blisters were being caused by the seams on my Asics Kayano socks and not my shoes.  Who knows!

THe seams on my Asics Kayano socks
My Asics Cumulus 11 shoes have served me well.  They always felt good on my feet but they're just too heavy for a marathon.

My old Asics Cumulus 11 training shoes
I try to buy American made (or assembled) products and New Balance is one that I've used for years.  I'll check out some new NB shoes after my race is well over.

My old New Balance 758 race shoes
Ever the good wife, Susan called around to several Atlanta shoes stores inquiring about shoes that might fit my hobbit feet.  We decided the Big Peach Running Company store in Brookhaven was the place to go to.  It was 35 miles from our house but was the most likely place for me to find my shoes.  Plus, I had a 10% off coupon from a race I'd run.

The Big Peach Running Co. Brookhaven store
After I arrived at the store Laura had me stand on a pressure mat to evaluate my feet.  This is obviously something I couldn't do with a spray bottle of water and a sheet of paper.  See my previous shoe fitting blog here.
Me standing on the Aetrex iStep mat
Me and Laura reviewing the Aetrex iStep display
Laura highlighting my arches
Laura pointed out the pressure points on my feet and my weight balance / body symmetry on the display.

My pressure points, arches and symmetry
After my feet got checked out I had a slow run on a treadmill to analyze my gait.

Rolling up the pant legs
I ran on the treadmill first in the Asics Cumulus 13 shoes.  Then again in the Nike Pegasus 28 shoes.  Lastly, I ran in them both with one of each shoe on one foot.

One thing that I couldn't evaluate was my gait.  I aways thought I was a neutral runner and I am to some degree on my right foot.  Laura was able to identify some pronation on my left foot.

Laura was reluctant to change my shoe too drastically.

I ran on the treadmill again wearing the Asics shoe on my left foot and the Nike shoe on my right foot.

I brought my OXO digital scale to the store to check the weight of the shoes.  The Asics Cumulus 13 shoe weighed 11 3/4 oz. and the Nike Pegasus 28 shoe weighed 10 1/2 oz.

Asics Cumulus 13 (size 8.5, 4E)
Nike Pegasus 28 (size 8.5 4E)
Nike shoes, ibungee speed laces and Swiftwick Zero socks
The weather in Panama City Beach next week is supposed to be much cooler than I'd like.  It will likely be in the low 50's when I got out of the water and start the bike segment of the race.  With that in mind, Susan and I stopped at the REI store to picked up a pair of arm warmers and shoe covers.

Arm warmers and shoe covers
Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mountain Getaway

Early last Saturday morning Susan and I left Atlanta for a weekend getaway to the North Carolina mountains.  We went to North Carolina to meet my brother Keith and his wife Diane.  They purchased a lot at The Settings of Black Mountain in the summer and were traveling back there to attend the community's annual homeowners meeting.  We were meeting up with them in small town of Black Mountain to see the sights after their meeting was over.

Susan, Keith, Diane, and I walked through the small town of Black Mountain.  Keith and I checked out the new Black Mountain Running Company store while our wives were in the kitchen place next door.  The running store had just opened a week ago and the two guys inside were still setting things up.  They didn't have any shoes that would fit my wide hobbit feet.  I've decided that I will not be wearing my New Balance 758's during the marathon run at Ironman Florida.  They're just not wide enough in the toe box.  They're 4E's.

Black Mountain Running Company
Later on we went to Asheville to check out the downtown area.  Asheville has a clean and trendy downtown with lots of cool shops and places to eat.

Keith and Diane in downtown Asheville, NC
Susan and I in downtown Asheville, NC
We found Pritchard Park which seems to be the hangout for young folks.
Pritchard Park in downtown Asheville, NC
Later in the day we checked out Biltmore Village.  We planned to eat dinner at the The Red Stag Grill in the Grand Bohemian Hotel.  Well, that plan was nixed quickly.  We had no reservation and we were under dressed.  It looked a bit stuffy anyway.  I expected to see the housewives of Asheville at a corner table insulting each other, comparing their latest plastic surgeries, and their latest wildly successful business ventures.  Really, it's a beautiful hotel but far too upscale for what we were looking for.

Susan and I in front of the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Asheville, NC
We also didn't have a reservation at The Corner Kitchen, another well recommended Asheville restaurant.  With no reservation on a busy Saturday night we decided to try Rezaz Mediterranean Cuisine restaurant located across the street from the Grand Bohemian Hotel.  It was packed but we were lucky enough to get 4 seats in the bar area.

Rezaz Mediterranean Cuisine restaurant in Asheville, NC
I had the hanger steak with frites in the image below.  Though slightly washed out in the images below the food looked great and tasted good too.  The menu is listed with items as "small" and "smaller" plates.  The portions were not as small as we thought they would be.  We ate very well and left completely stuffed.  Of course, Keith and I had dessert too.

My hanger steak and Frites
Susan's calamari
Diane's mushroom pizza
Keith's Salmon
Keith's pumpkin cheesecake
My pumpkin eclare with caramel frosting tastes better than it looks
The clean highways around Asheville were devoid of almost all billboards and trash.  What a refreshing sight!

The highway between Asheville and Black Mountain
Keith and Diane took Susan and I on a tour of their community on Sunday.  Starting from the gated entrance, we drove up the mountain along streets overlooking the town of Black Mountain in the distance.

The entrance sign for The Settings of Black Mountain
The entrance to The Settings of Black Mountain
The clubhouse for The Settings of Black Mountain
The view from The Settings of Black Mountain

We missed the really pretty fall leaves by about a week.  The storms during the prior week had knocked down much of the fall follage.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Eighteen Down - Two Weeks to Go!

Week eighteen was a bust as far as my Ironman training was concerned.  The week started on Sunday, October 16th and ended on Saturday October 22nd.  It brought with it another awful work schedule so, by Thursday I decided to just forgo the whole week of training.  On the positive side it was a great recovery week and good for my taper.  Susan and I also took the time to go to Asheville, NC for the weekend where we met up with my brother and his wife.  I took a bunch of pictures and I'll post them soon.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

2011 Peachtree City Classic 15K - Race Report

The 2011 running of the Peachtree City Classic 15K is the third consecutive year that I've run this race.  Organized by the Peachtree City Running Club, the race is well run like all their races, and well attended.  Although, in 2010 and again in 2011 they did have some timing issues.

In 2009 I had a good race but it wasn't spectacular.  My finish time was 1:17:18 and I placed 190th overall amongst the men.  I placed 41st out of 82 in my age-group.  Right in the middle.  My pace was 8:21.

My 2009 PTC Classic 15K Results
In 2010 my results improved.  I placed 20th overall amongst the men and 3rd in my age-group with a time of 1:02:57.  My pace was 6:46.  The overall results show me as 4th in my division.  The other runner was probably moved up to masters or top 3 overall.

My 2010 PTC Classic 15K Overall Results
My 2010 PTC Classic 15K Results
Susan and I arrived right around 8am for the 2011 race.  Last year we arrived at around 6:30am.  I went alone in 2009 and arrived early as well.  This time we had to park down the street instead of at The Fred.  Either way we got to registration in time to get our race numbers and get situated.

The artwork on the 2011 Peachtree City Classic technical shirts
Susan's 5K race started at 8:40am after the Men's 5K at 8:30am.  The 15K race started a few minutes after 8:50am.  The weather was clear and cool.  The temperature was in the high 50's Fahrenheit.

I saw a few people I know.  Ken Cook, my fellow Ironman Florida competitor, was there and I recognized a few runner's faces from other races.

Before the men's 5K started I took a few pictures.  Ultimate Fitness warmed up the runners as they waited for the races to start.  DJ Tommy B provided the music.

Runners warming up before the races start
Ultimate Fitness warm-up
Before the start of the Men's 5K race
Susan tried to stay warm and wished she'd worn a long sleeve shirt
At the start of my race I lined up right on the timing mat.  In previous races I've found that, if you're a relatively fast runner, it doesn't benefit to start further back.  I'm not one to worry about being passed during the race.  The horn blew and the race was on.  Always the rabbit I took off into the lead.  I was in the lead for the first mile.  The volunteer called out 5:42 followed by a 5:45 for the runner behind me.  Two and sometimes 3 cyclists led the way as 2 runners passed me.  Before I knew it I fell back to 5th place.  My pace was good but I couldn't maintain the effort.  As the volunteers called out my time at each mile marker I knew I wouldn't be running a sub-1 hour 15K this year.  Down into the dark tunnels and back up into the light I worked my way through the course.  Near the 8 mile mark I was caught by a former Ironman Florida competitor.  We had done the 2010 race.  We raced together to the finish urging each other to run faster.  I could hear the crowd cheering as the runners ahead of me ran down the shoot to the finish line.  My new running buddy made the left turn off the cart path and crossed the finish line about 50 feet ahead of me.  I had a good race.  My finish time was 1:01:35 on my watch although it took me a few seconds after crossing the line to remember to press stop.  The clock on the left read 1:13:20, or so, I think.  I met up with Susan and we headed toward the amphitheater to get our shirts, something to drink, and check the results.

After waiting about 30 minutes listening to live music performed by the Peachtree Jazz Edition the race director informed the runners that a snafu had occurred with the results and no awards would be presented that day.

Susan and I left Peachtree City stopping at the City Cafe in Fayetteville for an early lunch.

The preliminary results were posted late on Sunday afternoon.  They show that I finished in 12th place amongst the men and 3rd master overall with a chip time of 1:01:33.  My pace was 6:37.  The results also showed that 4 women beat me according to their chip times.

Thanks for reading.

10/23/11 Update:  After the results were re-jiggered I moved up 2 places against the women.  So, I only got chicked twice.  That's better!