Perpetual motion

Can't stop learning…

Nation’s Triathlon

I didn’t meet my goals for The Nation’s Triathlon (TNT), but I was very pleased with my race as a season closer, even if I didn’t get the outcome I wanted.
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Bar-end shifters go kablooey?

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The south side of chicago is the baddest part of town

One thing that my coach has impressed upon me is that there is no such thing as a good bike ride followed by a bad run. Meaning that if you have a bad run, you probably tried to go too fast on the bike. I did that in NY.

I had signed up for Chicago a while ago, without really thinking about the logistics of actually, you know, getting there. Flights are easy, but getting goldilocks there would not be as easy. But in my neverending desire to get better acquainted with my bike and to become more self-sufficient in maintaining her, I decided I would fly and pack disassemble goldilocks so that she could fly as well (it seems really weird to refer to a bike as a person, but well, it’s a very meaningful relationship she and I have). In doing so, I performed some maintenance on the rear derailleur (the part of the bike that sets which cog you are in). I hadn’t been able to shift into the smallest and largest cogs in the derailleur, meaning out of the 18 or 20 speeds (gears) I should have, I really only had 14 or 16. The rear derailleur is attached to the aero bars by a long cable, and as you move the gear levers, the cable stretches and cause the derailleur to shift the chain into an easier cog. The night I packed Goldilocks up, I adjusted the derailleur to make sure I could hit all the cogs.
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I don’t know how it happened, but I pulled, strained or otherwise injured my left upper back last Friday to the point of being in pain moving from a lying down position to a sitting up position. It was quite unpleasant. With all that said, however, I was able to get in an abbreviated bike workout on Saturday (abbreviated due to work, not pain). I think that was to be expected as the bike doesn’t require a whole lot of upper body movement. I decided to sit out Sunday’s hard run and yesterday was a scheduled off day to get my shit together before Chicago this weekend.

As for why the back injury happened, I have two hypotheses. One is that my roommate order some weights, and as I get home before he does, I picked them up at the front desk to bring them up to the apartment. That may have been the stressor. The other potential incident occurred after I lowered my aerobars on Wednesday. Did some FTP intervals and when I put significant weight on the elbow pads, they had a tendency to rotate outwards. But that was the right elbowpad, so I’m guessing it was me being stupid with the weights.

This, I would say, is the first serious injury I’ve encountered since starting training back in February/March 2007. The achilles tendonitis is a close second, but just nowhere near as debilitating in every aspect of my life, nor as obvious from a day to day standpoint. Yes, I consider myself quite lucky in this regard, and it only wants me to do moreany injury prevention.

As for Chicago, I’m pretty psyched. I feel like I got in a bunch of great training (especially on the bike). The course is supposed to be a whole lot flatter than NYC, so at least I’ve got that going for me.

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Sick or tired, but not both

I’m either sick or battling severe exhaustion – even after taking two weeks off from any training and just racing. So it’s off to sleep, and the beatings of my body and mind will continue until the situation improves.

Swim today felt sluggish and slow. Didn’t finish the weights section as I just felt too tired. Tomorrow is the first run since the debacle in NYC. Should be interesting.

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Olympic stupidity

This will pale in comparison to everyone rocking LP. But I figured I’d report on NYC Tri, and how I totally buggered the entire week. I will keep count of the comedy (of errors?). Pictures so that you don’t have to wade through the rest of this… here

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Epic Fail

I signed up for the Total 200 back in May when I didn’t know what I would do with myself with a total lack of goals for the rest of the summer. It seemed like something cool to do with my fitness, and a way to meet some really cool people in the area.

Woke up at 4 AM. No breakfast really, just some water and soda to get a few calories in my stomach, which was already beginning to feel a bit unwilling to cooperate. At 5 AM, showed up at the organizers house, get my special needs bag set up and get ready to go. We head out almost immediately at 6 AM (6:00.33 AM to be exactly). For the first few miles, we tour the center of DC and then head out of the city as a big group, which gets fractured by stop lights. We pass a few people changing flats but for the most part, we make pretty good time to the first aid station at 20 mi. in. Have a clif bar, refill on water, and top off my inifinit concentrate bottle with water, then continue on through rolling countryside for the next 25-27 miles or so before we hit the next aid station. We’re pacelining, so we’re making pretty good time, though we stop a few times to regroup. At the next stop, we decide to form a much larger group for the 3rd leg. This group splits in two, and I end up in the front group (I actually bridge to the front group as it looks a bit more fun and organized). Once there, we end up rotating 2 minute pulls at the front and hit the 3rd stop feeling pretty good. Well, for the most part, I feel pretty good, but I could probably use a bathroom. But we decide to push on as we’ve got a pretty big bridge to go and some people are antsy to leave the stop. Cross the bridge, and one of the riders asks me if this is harder than the ironman. Harder? No. But very different. Make it to the lunch spot after we swallow a few more riders and spit some out, and I use the facilities. Not great results there, but we decide to continue on with an even stronger and larger group. We make it about 13 miles when one guy starts dry heaving and another flats. We stop at a gas station and I get a red bull as well as top off on some water while we wait for the flatted rider. Get back on, go back over the bridge and make it to the rest stop. I’m tempted to drop off my extra tube (I have 2) with one of the volunteers, but I decide against it…

Good thing too, as I flat 1 mile from the stop. The group stops and waits as I attempt repair #1, but immediately on inflation, it flats again! So I tell them to go on and I’ll catch a group that was arriving as we left the aid station. Tube 2 goes on fine, but I get passed by the group that I wanted to catch. It looks like it’ll be just me for the next 20+ miles to the next aid station. Good chance to spend some time aero. Turns out we’ve got an awesome tail wind, so I start making great time. Pass the two riders from the group I wanted to catch as though they are standing still. Doesn’t appear like they want someone to pull for them, so I keep going. 5 miles from the aid station I run into K, a really strong female rider who had the same problem as I did, as well as C, the rider who had been dry heaving before. We also get topped off with water and some soda from my friend S who was awesome and volunteered. She was on her way to aid stop 7 (also the first one we hit). By the time we hit the aid station, I’m beginning to feel ill. Bloated, I suppose, but just a bit ill. However, the group is leaving and I’d prefer to not ride solo, so I decide to soldier on with them after getting some quick soda and topping off the bottles again. We head out and I’m pretty much hanging in the back. The last 25 miles alone didn’t kill my legs as they are pretty fresh feeling, but the rest of my body is in trouble. Every breath feels like it gets caught in my chest. I’m continuously accelerating to catch the group and constantly looking for an area to pull off and call for a SAG wagon. I’ve stopped having fun, and now it’s all about survival. Survival that comes in the form of a Citgo station almost immediately after I get spat out the back of the group. I use the facilities there twice, reload on water, have some gatorade, and dump some water on my head. I feel better, but I’ve decided the next aid station will be my last as my body definitely doesn’t want to continue. I make it to the aid station with great pace and call it a day at 183.5 miles.

I don’t feel awful about my decision. I think it was the smarted decision, but I think I possibly could have finished. But my mind wasn’t in it, and I wasn’t really in the mood to have my body shut down. So: great experience, and if it fits in with everything else next year, I’ll probably do it again. And hopefully finish.

Power stats:

Entire workout (136 watts):
Duration: 9:21:48 (11:48:44)
Work: 4544 kJ
TSS: 503.6 (intensity factor 0.737)
Norm Power: 172
VI: 1.26
Pw:HR: 4.76%
Pa:HR: -4.77%
Distance: 182.481 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 667 136 watts
Heart Rate: 99 168 138 bpm
Cadence: 29 193 83 rpm
Speed: 1:34 0:00 3:03 min/mi
Hub Torque: 0 354 49 lb-in
Crank Torque: 0 1059 147 lb-in

Power-Tap #1:
Duration: 1:17:56 (1:25:58)
Work: 637 kJ
TSS: 73.1 (intensity factor 0.753)
Norm Power: 175
VI: 1.28
Pw:HR: -2.24%
Pa:HR: 17.29%
Distance: 24.725 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 585 137 watts
Heart Rate: 107 160 133 bpm
Cadence: 30 174 81 rpm
Speed: 1:53 20:59 3:08 min/mi
Hub Torque: 0 273 52 lb-in
Crank Torque: 0 1059 154 lb-in

Power-Tap #2:
Duration: 1:21:12 (1:37:03)
Work: 696 kJ
TSS: 86.3 (intensity factor 0.801)
Norm Power: 187
VI: 1.3
Pw:HR: 14.6%
Pa:HR: 0.97%
Distance: 28.2 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 667 144 watts
Heart Rate: 107 168 142 bpm
Cadence: 29 170 86 rpm
Speed: 1:34 26:06 2:51 min/mi
Hub Torque: 0 324 48 lb-in
Crank Torque: 0 1016 149 lb-in

Power-Tap #3:
Duration: 1:19:00 (1:20:58)
Work: 701 kJ
TSS: 69.1 (intensity factor 0.727)
Norm Power: 169
VI: 1.14
Pw:HR: 3.84%
Pa:HR: -11.23%
Distance: 24.906 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 526 149 watts
Heart Rate: 122 162 143 bpm
Cadence: 30 156 82 rpm
Speed: 2:05 22:59 3:09 min/mi
Hub Torque: 0 346 55 lb-in
Crank Torque: 0 844 160 lb-in

Power-Tap #4:
Duration: 6:53 (28:35)
Work: 44 kJ
TSS: 4 (intensity factor 0.602)
Norm Power: 140
VI: 1.25
Pw:HR: -19.71%
Pa:HR: -4.62%
Distance: 1.615 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 326 112 watts
Heart Rate: 122 144 135 bpm
Cadence: 29 114 72 rpm
Speed: 3:06 26:06 4:03 min/mi
Hub Torque: 0 185 45 lb-in
Crank Torque: 0 549 135 lb-in

Power-Tap #5:
Duration: 1:36:02 (2:39:12)
Work: 691 kJ
TSS: 65.4 (intensity factor 0.643)
Norm Power: 150
VI: 1.23
Pw:HR: -0.22%
Pa:HR: 4.87%
Distance: 31.127 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 461 121 watts
Heart Rate: 111 162 139 bpm
Cadence: 31 178 85 rpm
Speed: 1:52 26:49 3:03 min/mi
Hub Torque: 0 290 42 lb-in
Crank Torque: 0 821 126 lb-in

Power-Tap #6:
Duration: 2:25:07 (2:54:02)
Work: 1195 kJ
TSS: 126.8 (intensity factor 0.728)
Norm Power: 170
VI: 1.22
Pw:HR: 0.13%
Pa:HR: 1.29%
Distance: 49.722 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 476 139 watts
Heart Rate: 99 156 136 bpm
Cadence: 31 178 85 rpm
Speed: 1:44 0:00 2:53 min/mi
Hub Torque: 0 310 48 lb-in
Crank Torque: 0 828 144 lb-in

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An update

I started training again a month ago (2 months after IMAZ). I don’t really know why. That’s a lie. I know why. I finished IMAZ, and yeah, I accomplished all my goals, but it wasn’t enough. I can do better. I can do a whole lot better. Anyhow, I’ve taken my training to a higher level I suppose. My legs haven’t felt this shelled since I started training… holy shit, more than a year ago. I’m a bit slower running right now, and perhaps a bit slower on the bike. But in the end, I’ll be faster than I was.
Anyhow, I’m doing the Total 200 this weekend and the NY Triathlon the weekend after. I should have some interesting data to show afterwards.
Perhaps the weirdest thing now is setting goals within events given the overriding goals of my training (be able to push more Watts, be able to run faster longer). In any case, it’s weird trying to decide whether a race is worth going all out in or whether i should throw in some training elements (intervals, etc.).

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Conversation without comment

Dad: I am amazed that you had so little actual trouble, I know that you had struggle with the bike, but really 11+ hours is incredible in that heat
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What are you afraid of?

The question above, when asked by me of others, has led to nothing but trouble and heartache. I ask it when I believe I know the answer, or when I know the answer I wish were what the other person believed, but the outcome, invariably for me at least, is negative. Given the recent events of less than 3 weeks ago, it’s time to answer the question for myself. What am I afraid of?

Short term:
I’m afraid I’ll get fat and lazy again without another big race on the menu. Right now, aside from two olympic distance races and either an epic bike ride through the National Parks of southern Utah or a third olympic, I’ve got nothing to train for. I’ve enjoyed being lazy for the past two weeks, but I feel that it’s time to move on and get back to what I’ve been doing for the last year: doing cool shit with my fitness and pushing my body.

Long term:
I’m afraid I’ll forget the feeling of finishing, of pride, of accomplishment. Of Happiness. Those who were there saw it. I’ve never been so happy in my whole life, at least, never so happy as a result of something I had worked for or done. Never so proud of myself either. I finished. I said I would do something, started the process, and finished it. I’m slightly afraid that the sometimes, or oftentimes, dreariness of daily life (work, I’m looking at you), will continue, not to flatten my spirit, but to drown the memory of my accomplishment and happiness. I’ll always have the memory of finishing, but I’m afraid that it just won’t be as powerful.

I’m not afraid, anymore at least, of being alone. I may not like it, but I am not scared by the possibility of being alone for a significant portion of time. If this process taught me anything, it’s that I have a great group of family and friends, but even more so, I can find cool shit to do. I can find other stuff to do as well (I did yoga once, and while I liked it, well, I’m not sure it was for me). I’m not sure how much of that would have been possible with a significant other in the picture (mainly because there wasn’t one to find out if it was possible), and while I figure most of it is possible, I know I can do it without a significant other. It may get lonely, but then, you can be lonely with people too.

I’m sure there’s a lot more I’m afraid of, but in light of this process, these are the significant things that come to mind.

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