Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday Sufferfest Part 2

Another difficult day in preparation for Boston, I had been thinking about this workout all week and dreading the effort it was going to take to get through it. It was the last week of our super-long runs and I'm really happy it's over. Running on tired legs is not a good feeling even if we only did a light 2hr spin yesterday. I'm going to feel really strange in Boston, tapered, rested and ready to go is something I've haven't felt for a while.

After today's run I came to the realization that beating Lance is less of a goal for me then going out and giving it my all. I cannot control the fitness and discipline of arguably the greatest athlete ever, but I can control my own commitment and training and go in with the attitude of having my best race ever. The first hour I could tell things were going to be tough, the ground was icy in spots and I wasn't feeling 100%. I got through the first hour, saw AD at the turn-around in the park and shuffled along as strong as I could during the second hour. My legs were starting to cramp up and I knew the second half was going to be a mental battle.

I hit the Grande Prairie visitor's centre (about 4.5km from our home) at the 2hr mark and stopped to fill up my water and went back into the park to do another hour... ouch! This is where the "mental toughness" comes into play, you need to prepare your mind to run the 42.2km as much as you need to prepare your body. I kept shuffling along for another 30mins and then my body started to do wierd things. The dehydration starts to play tricks with your mind and you feel bonky and weak, my back started to hurt (kidney pain) and my legs really start to seize up. It happens to me at the same point all the time between 35 and 36km, it took everything in me not to stop but to just keep going! The last stretch up to our place is a gentle climb but there was nothing gentle about it today. I was shuffling along like I was barely moving but I kept putting one foot in front of the other until the bitter end. It took everything out of me but I'm very, very happy to complete the distance and feeling good about my progress. Can you say sub 2:48 for Boston!

40km run- 2:55

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bouncing Back to Normal

After a tough, tough run this Sunday I was a little worried at how I was going to respond this week but my body pulled through and I was stronger than ever. Monday I jumped on the trainer for 90mins and felt phenomenal I was holding 32 to 33km/hr and was comfortable for most of the ride. Normally that pace is very, very hard to hold and I settle in at 30km/hr. I can feel my pedal stroke getting stronger and smoother and it is requiring less effort to do the same speed (depending on the day of course). I'm really itching to get outside though, it's been cool and windy here and not quite riding weather yet but the sun is shining and the snow is melting so it's getting closer. Next Tuesday is the first ride for the bike club here "the Wheelers" they hold 20 and 40km TT's every Tuesday which will be great to keep the intensity up and to meet a few more people in the community.

Tuesday I had to force myself out of bed to get to the pool but I'm glad I did because the lack of swimming is starting to show. 3km is not as easy as it used to be and I'm going to have to get my butt in the pool a lot more often over the next 5 weeks if I want to do well in our first race. The U of A tri is May 4th and because it is only a sprint, a poor swim means a poor race. You cannot be 3 or 4 minutes behind in the swim and expect to make it up in the bike and run, it is just not long enough. AD didn't get an opportunity to swim like she planned so we did an hour interval session on the trainers that hurt like hell thanks to Chris Carmichael. I haven't pushed myself like that since bike class but it's nice to know I still can.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Getting Through the Tough Days

This weekend was a tough one for me, I was probably a little tired from last week's 40k effort and the brick on Friday. I wasn't feeling too peppy on Saturday and AD was still not 100% so we just did an easy spin for an hour. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and vegging out together.

Today was unusually difficult I planned on doing an easy 2hr run but after 30mins I knew it was not going to happen today. My legs were really heavy and tired and it was one of those efforts in which every step was tough. I kept at it for 45mins but at that point I could feel myself bonking a little and I knew I had to turn around. I slowed down quite a bit and the second half was very, very slow. I gutted out the final 20mins and ended up only doing 21.1km in 1:34.00. It's these tough efforts than are going to make me stronger in Boston, I just have to be patient and remember there is a reason I'm periodizing my training.

I found this pic of Amber and my first date, it brought back some great memories and made me realize how lucky I am.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday Brick

Today was a nice day to have off work. AD and I were hoping to do our first ride outside this weekend but the northern air is still a little brisk and it'll have to wait. Amber woke up feeling less than 100% after a tough week of training and decided to rest and recover. Good idea babe, you'll bounce back quickly.

I decided to take it easy on the bike while watching the 1992 Ironman. Mark Allen was so amazing, in a year where he had shown a lot of weakness he always showed up in Hawaii and destroyed the competition. I kept it in zone 2 and felt great. I felt so great that I changed and headed outside for a 10km run. The legs took a while to warm up but I obviously was running strong, finished the 10k in 37:47! The speed is there, I just need to keep working on the endurance for Boston, 30 days and counting.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Discovering a New Pool

Today it was really difficult to get in a good workout. I always find it hard to train when I'm travelling, for some reason driving makes me really tired. I had to go to Fox Creek for appointments today and then on to Whitecourt for my appointments tomorrow. It's about 300km in the car so it does take a toll, but after completing my work and having dinner at Boston Pizza I needed to do something with my evening. I checked out the local pool and they had lane swimming from 8-9:30, the facility was surprisingly not too bad for such a small town. It's a six lane 25 meter pool nothing special, but for a town with only 9000 people, it rivals Grande Prairie's facility.

I took it easy trying to recover from this weekend's long run but managed to get in 3kms in 55 minutes, not too bad for a recovery swim. Tomorrow I'm going to try to explore some of the places to run around here, I love finding new and challenging trails.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday Sufferfest

Today was a day to remember in preparation for Boston, it is a very important weekend to ramp up the run training and to mentally prepare for a marathon distance. I was really not interested in doing a 3hr run this weekend, mainly because a major cold snap worked its way to Grande Prairie. It was -27 when we woke up this morning, ouch! Amber was determined to do the distance but wanted to wait until it warmed up a little, I agreed.

We ended up going out at 1pm when it was about -8 but with the wind chill it felt like -20. The first half was with the wind so it wasn't bad and I was going slower, I found some terrific new trails at the end of the pathway which was a really nice surprise. I felt fantastic during the first 21kms in 90mins even though the footing was really bad and I twisted my ankle on the way back. There was no damage so I soldiered on and kept to the training plan.

At the 2hr mark things really started to fall apart! My legs started to cramp up and I could tell my pace was slowing considerably. I was about 20mins from home so I said to myself just get home and things will be fine. Those 20mins were really difficult, I was running uphill and into the cold bitter wind so it was a mental trial to just keep moving. When I arrived home I was ready to call it a day, I was at 32km and my legs were spent, my face and ears were frozen and I was completely dehydrated.

I knew Amber was not going to quit early and that made me change my touque to protect my ears and get back out there. If she is going to go the distance, then there is no reason I can't, thanks for the inspiration AD. I started out again for another 40mins and the first 20mins were really tough but manageable. When I turned around at 35.5km I hit the wall, every step was painful and I was searching for some reason to keep going. I walked for a little while and told myself "this is when it counts, your going to look back on these workouts and find your strength in Boston. Imagine Lance is right in front of you and running strong, what are you going to do to keep up!" I started running again, not at the same pace but a slower pace allowed me to keep running. Looking at my Garmin I was comfortably running at 13km/hr, not the 15km/hr I was targeting, but today it's about getting the distance not the speed.

I shuffled along for another 20mins putting one foot in front of another doing whatever it takes to finish. I looked at my Garmin and I was approaching 39km when I turned onto our street and I was determined to hit 40km. I passed our house at 39.2km and it took every ounce of energy in me to keep going and get in another 800m. I shuffled along to the end of the street and almost collapsed when I hit our driveway. I was really surprised to see that AD was still out there and felt a little bit like a wimp, but after completing 40km in 3hrs and 2mins I gave myself a little credit and tried to rehydrate as much as I could. A great workout and a successful mental training day to prepare myself for Boston, next week is a little shorter long run but two weeks from now will be another all-out effort. Watch out Lance, I'm ready!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Feeling More Like Home

After travelling Monday and Tuesday to High Level and Peace River I can see how difficult it is going to be to keep up with my training while on the road. The way I see it though is it's all a matter of priorities. The last investment specialist who worked here said I would never have enough time to continue my training, once I hear that word "never" then I'm determined to do it. He and I live completely different lifestyles and I know that while he would enjoy going to the bar all night, I would much rather spend the early evening on my bike or out for a run. Also he's a lot more motivated by money than I am, I'd like to earn a good living but I'm not going to sacrifice every thing else in my life for money.

Monday was a long day on the road so I didn't get much training in, probably a good thing considering I did a 30km run on Sunday. Every day since I've been back have been really strong workouts, I miss my training partner AD, we're on different schedules now but I still really enjoy pushing myself to new levels. The race in Boston should be a good one for me, I haven't been able to keep up with the 15km/hr pace I set in my last marathon in Kelowna but I'm hoping that once all the snow melts and the footing is better my speed should improve. Watch out Lance, I'm coming to get you!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Trying to Train on the Road

I can see how travelling makes it difficult to keep up with a good training regimen. I left for the road trip at 5:30 Thursday morning and arrived in Whitecourt at about 9:30. After working all day I was really, really tired and all I could think of doing was going to bed. That day was a write off.

Friday we continued on to Edson, again very early but I was feeling a little more rested. I spent the morning working there and then we headed to Jasper for the afternoon. Jasper is really, really beautiful and I was quite happy to be in the mountains again. I met some of the branch staff and went out for a run. I ran along the Icefields parkway about 7km out and 7km back in an hour, it was a little deceiving because going out I felt really slow but coming back I realized I was going downhill.

Saturday was the long drive back to Grande Prairie but the highway back was incredible and looked like it would have some seriously challenging bike rides. AD and I will definitely have to check that out more seriously in a couple weeks when we should be able to start outdoors again. Put away the trainer, it's almost time to hit the road again!

I was so happy to get back home and see AD again, I can see that the most difficult thing about this job will be the time away from her. We spent two hours spinning yesterday and now I'm looking forward to a long run in the park with her, it's nice to be back home.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Starting to Settle In

Amber and I have moved to our new home in Grande Prairie and are very excited to start our new life here. Things have been a little difficult, just getting used to a new town and smaller centre but we are both very optimistic and excited to see what the future will hold.

Training last weekend was a complete write-off, we were both so tired from moving and unpacking that any training would have not have done us any good anyway. Now that we've done the majority of settling in, desk is set up, couch is delivered, training area is set up, and most of everything is unpacked we're starting to get back into it. I did a swim yesterday morning and I could not believe how busy it was at 6:30am! Fortunately by 7 most of the people had emptied out and I was able to get in a good 3km. Later that day I came home and had a nice ride with Amber on the trainers for an hour. Tuesday I wanted to check out the running in GP and there is a really nice pathway through the town which should be ideal for running and only a 12min jog from our place. I managed to get in 21km in 1:35, not the fastest run but okay for just getting back into things.

I'm on my first of many road trips today, staying in Whitecourt and I'm hoping that I'll find a nice place to run around here as well.