Still Recovering

Yesterday's Pacific Half Marathon took a lot out of me.  While I'm not in as much discomfort physically as I was after Ironman Arizona, I haven't been this sore in a long time.  After IMAZ, I could barely sit on a toilet without pain, let alone a concerted effort to get that low.  Tonight, despite a recovery swim and spin, I'm close to the same territory.  Getting up and down out of a chair is tough at the moment. I think that's because I raced at a harder pace on a tougher course than what I had been training for.  This really breaks the rule of proper training when combining proper intensity and duration.  I've been training at a lower heart-rate and lower speed for much of the year so far, then went out and blew that pace and heart-rate out of the water.  My heart-rate averaged closer to the 160s for much of the race instead of the high 140s or low 150s.

I don't regret it though.

I do regret that my brick was scratched today due to weather. It was just too wet and nasty outside to go for a five-hour ride/run fest.  Instead, Coach Gerardo, Ray and I met to swim at VNSO Park.  Honestly, it was one of my all-time favorite swims.  Gerardo and I shared a lane, basically swam however we felt for most of our 45 minutes and then challenged each other to a game of swimming H-O-R-S-E that I highly recommend others try too.  We'd take turns coming up with challenges to see who could complete them first. For example, fastest 25, fastest 50 with a pull buoy and flip turn, and my personal favorite, fastest 25 while wearing a swim fin on one hand.

It's been so long since I've just had plain and simple fun while training.  Today was one of those days.  So while I regret not being able to get the intense training in, perhaps what I gained was even more important: Relaxation, rest, and some perspective.

86 days and counting.

Indoor Brick

You're looking at today's bike ride...all three hours of it. I borrowed one of the spin class bikes at our office complex gym and rode two hours solo before participating in a spin class led by one of my Shan Clan, personal trainer and friend, Shannon Flanagan.  I even adjusted the bike's positioning so it felt almost exactly like my tri bike, adding towels for padding at the base of the handle bars so I could ride in aero without discomfort.

I'm trying to figure out if riding on a trainer or spin bike is actually harder or more grueling than riding outdoors.  Obviously, it depends on the workout.  All I know is that today I went through three -- THREE -- shirts.  Each soaked to the core.  It was like a Chinese or Vietnamese wedding where the bride makes separate entrances to show off a new dress.  Except the bride isn't usually in the middle of a workout.  I was so drenched that by the end of my 30 minute follow-up run my feet were wet.  Even my shoes were soggy!  They still are, almost three hours later.  That just doesn't happen when I'm doing brick workouts outdoors.  Not even at the height of the summer in Malibu Creek State Park before Vineman 70.3.

When I told Stephanie tonight about my workout (I should note that I took a half-day off from work to complete it), she was puzzled about what I could possibly do to stay focused and entertained for that solo duration.  Having music now is such a luxury that listening to my iPod is more than enough to keep mentally occupied.  I can't tell if that's mental insanity or mental toughness.

Tonight was one of those times where I took to heart what Coach Gerardo told me a few weeks ago about embracing the duration of each workout and basking in the accomplishment of completing it.  The rain poured outside.  The final Griffith Park brick workout of the year may or may not have gone off without me.  Yet there I was, slogging through my own brick, using vacation time to get the job done.  I must admit, crazy as it may seem, I enjoyed today.  It was a different workout.  A new challenge.  And I'm glad I didn't just roll over and skip the workout altogether.  Believe me, I thought about it.  It would have been the rational thing to do.  Nobody could blame me. Except my coach.  But I know I would have been disappointed in myself.

Is there anything worse?

44 days and counting.

You Spin Me Right Round...

Break out your violins, people, because I'm about to whine about the weather in SoCal.

It's cold out. It's raining. Wah.
Fortunately, my third day of two-a-day workouts consisted of two indoor sessions: 45 minutes of lower-body lifting (squats, leg extensions, lunges, step-ups, calf-raisers and abs work) and one hour of spinning.
I've never been happier to be indoors working out, primarily because I used a bike trainer for the first time. I caught up with friends on the phone, watched a little Monday Night Football (Go Packers!), completed my isolated leg training and still kept cadence upwards of 92 consistently. While my heart-rate stayed consistently within 130, I was surprised by how deceptively hard the workout was. I'm not sure why. Can anyone explain? I was in small chain in a smaller gear and it still felt like a fair amount of resistance. Not that I'm complaining... I've already used up my crybaby factor on the weather, remember?
I think my trainer is about to become my new best friend. Tonight alone it saved me from spending $16 on a single spin class session. And with the costs associated with this sport, I'll save a buck wherever I can!
Couple highlights to share from today:
-- Three-time world Ironman champion Chrissie Wellington (@ChrissieIrorman) is following me (@theironmadman) on Twitter. That was so cool, and she even replied back to me when I said thanks for the follow.
-- KNBC-TV (Channel 4) anchorman and Ironman Arizona 2009 finisher Chris Schauble (@chrisschauble) is also following me on Twitter. He's back training again after a very successful event. In fact, Chris ran four miles in the rain today. Hard-core!
-- A rainbow appeared outside my office window today literally for two minutes. All the folks at that end of the building rushed outside to see it. It was kind of funny to see a bunch of grown men get excited by a rainbow. But that's exactly what happened. Cool!
Gotta get to bed. Another double workout session tomorrow. Next up: Run and swim.
351 days and counting.