Mar 30, 2009

Significant Progress and Updates

I have made significant progress over the last sixty days. My book, Iron Ambition is now complete and will be live on in just about two weeks or so. Also, my fitness has improved dramatically since January.

My recent long workouts have been a 5 mile non-stop swim in my Endless Pool (stopping only for refueling/hydration). This took 3 hours and was a nice pace. At no time did I ever feel like I could not make the 5 mile distance. The Ultra man event will require a 6.2 mile swim and I feel confident that I can do that now, expecially with a wetsuit on.

My long run is now about 2.5 hours and at a slower pace than normal. What's very interesting is that I am now focused on staying just in Zone 2 for my HR. To stop the temptation of running fast, I no longer use distance or pace on my Garmin Satellite watch: I only use Zone and Total Time.

Just using those two datapoints has enabled me to be free from the constant worry of average pace per mile or meeting some arbitrary distance goal. All I do now is focus on the total time on the road and I try to keep my HR in Zone 2 for 50 - 75% of the time, usually longer. This has helped improve my pacing dramatically, but my pace per mile is slower.

The good news about this new method is that is helps me learn to be much more consistent and to avoid the peaks and valleys in my HR data throughout the run. This consistency means that I can run longer distances yet feel less fatigued. At my age of approaching 50, my focus has shifted from speed and ego,to endurnace and enjoyment of the running experience and environment.

Biking continues to be my trouble spot. I am still quite concerned about my ability to ride 170 miles and then get up the next morning to run a double marathon in the Ultra man. But I trust my coach and advisors, so I just keep plugging away at the workouts.

Last weekend, I did the CA 70.3 Ironman course on my Computrainer and really had a very tough time with it. The hills in the race really killed me. The next day, I was just beat and really sore. So I went out to the Computrainer to try and figure out why I was so sore.

It turns out that I was running a 42-23 gear for the lowest gear on my Time Trial bike. This is a really high gear for me. On my road bike I run a 39-27 and had I used that bike for the workout, I would have been in much better shape today. That road bike gearing would have made it significantly easier to make those tough climbs. In fact, my hill climbing bike is geared with a 34 - 28 which is almost like a mountain bike and makes things much easier still. So the Time Trial bike gearing is why I am so sore. The good news is that I realized this in advance of the race this Saturday, so I can make the adjustments and have a much better day.

My race this Saturday is just a hlaf-Ironman, but last year this time, I would have been totally worried about it. Not this year. I am treating the race as just a fun day out on the road, an easy workout and I am just going out there to have fun. To experience the race without the pressure of doing my best. I just want to do one for fun and to really be a participating spectator. I will be in the event, but just crusing along having fun, not worrying about a thing. Just there to make friends and take in the venue and the course.

The vendor expo is always a lot of fun too.