04 May 2010

Maintaing It On The Hamster Wheel Of Life

I had two fairly lengthy swim workouts on Monday and Wednesday of last week. One was in my "home"pool YMCA, which often approaches temperatures resembling the sun. My swim on Wednesday was at  another  YMCA pool, and the water temperature was a good 10 degrees cooler. I honestly could have swam for hours in that pool. Well, except for the fact that I find going back and forth in a pool analogous to a hamster spinning on a wheel going nowhere—no offense swimphiles. Seriously, what a huge difference a pool can have on your performance. I think the best swim workouts I have had while training this pre-season were when I did that little residency down in North Carolina at Appalachian State University. The pool was amazingly fast, cool, and relatively quiet at all hours of the day. That is exactly the type of atmosphere I need to get through a grueling swim workout. Of course, we are now into May, and I barely have a month left before my first triathlon of the season—6 June—at Keuka Lake. I am racing an Olympic distance that day. The difference between the air and water temperature that day could be about 30 degrees! I have had friends tell me that they could not even feel their extremities until they started the run course. Oh joy!

I ran a 47 minute 10K on Friday—a vast improvement for me from a few weeks ago. I had done a short 25 mile bike ride on Thursday and went I went out Friday for my 10K, my legs felt really strong. However, I really do have to get in the gym following my semester to do some weight training. I feel like I have lost a lot of muscle from all the endurance training. More, with my schedule still crazy for another week, I feel like I am barely maintaining my cardiovascular fitness, let alone strengthening it.

The good news is that I followed my week with a 56 mile bike ride on Saturday with Scott. The ride was hot, hilly, and windy!  It got up to about 82 degrees. I know what you southerners are thinking—"you wimp—82 degrees?!  I'd be wearing my winter jacket." Keep in mind that western New York is a bit different than say, anywhere south of the Monogahela line. Spring fluctuates between  40 to 80 in the span of 24 hours. I took another work induced off day today, but it is okay. I still have a lot of stuff on the burner. I am going to try and get in a ten mile run tomorrow afternoon between classes.

Okay, some of you might know that I have been compiling some questions for Dr. Alex McDonald, a professional triathlete, and member of the Timex Multisport Team. Hey, any time I have a chance to pick the brain of a Kona-qualifying MD, I seize the opportunity. Carpe Diem friends. So, the following questions are in no particular order, but they are all questions that I have had over the years, or I have heard friends ask about training. If any of you can think of any other pertinent questions—feel free to add any thoughts or questions you have.

Questions for Dr Alex McDonald:

1) One of my biggest fears about training for triathlons is that I will get sick days leading up to a race—or worse—feel ill on the day I am suppose to race. How do you  negotiate a race that you've spent time, energy—not to mention some serious dough in the case of Ironman—but know that you are not operating at 100%. Has this happened to you, and what have you done?

2) There is a lot of talk about proper nutrition, leading up to, and during the race. I find a lot of contrary information. Is the best rule, just to use plans as a template, and determine your  nutritional needs on your own by how you feel during training?

3) I have a love/hate relationship with swimming. When I have the time to do the volume consistently, I can not wait to get in the pool. When I miss a workout or two, I feel like I am learning how to swim all over again.

4) We all have busy lives. When some of us are not busy with our part-time jobs training for Ironman, we like to put some "valuable time in the bank" at home with the people that matter. Have you learned any skills through the years to balancing family life with a high volume of training that you could share?

5) I've noticed that my workouts are stronger at certain parts of the day than they are at others. Perhaps—like Superman—I am in constant need of vitamin D from the sun for power—but I really have a problem feeling fast when the sun is not out. Should I train when my body feels the strongest?

6) How much of a difference will a triathlon specific bike make on the bike and run portion for the age-group triathlete?

7) How do you do negotiate your season when you sustain an injury that is going to keep you from training for a prolonged period of time?

8) We all know that you have to invest a lot of time in the physical component of triathlon, but do you have any suggestions for the first time half, or full ironman about any mental preparedness that you can do to get ready. Do you do any visualization with regard to running or swim form?

9) For an amateur. deep wheeled rims might shave a whole minute off of an ironman distance course—maybe. What one piece of gear DO you think would make a significant difference for the age-group triathlete that they might be overlooking?

10) What was your introduction into the sport and how long do you think you will continue to race triathlon?

Okay, that is all I have, for now. Of course, answers bring up new questions. When I get responses to all of these, I will post the questions again along with the answers. Finding more time here in the next few weeks! Miss writing as much as I want.

Finally, congratulations are in order for my blogger friend Bob over at ironbob-ironbob.blogspot.com for a amazing performance at Ironman St. George. Way to go hombre! Can not wait to hear the full race report.

Until next time, train smart!



Thanks for the shout out...

Talking about water temps. They say it was 59F at IMSG, but I heard they lied and it was 54F. Anyway, a word to the wise (of which I wasn't).... be prepared for the worst when going to any triathlon especially a HIM or IM...

Keep those balls in the air.... (family, work, tri juggling)

Barbie said...

Great post. Everytime I thought I had a question you have already put it there. Well done. Look forward to what he has to say.