Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Some Things Are Getting Back On Track

And some other things aren't.  So first up is my tri bike.  You know, I've always thought my guardian angel pulled double shifts or something but now I'm certain of it.  Basically, because of rain, shifting personal commitments, and a general aversion to my tri bike these last couple of weeks, I stayed off the bike.  Good thing too.  Apparently, the fork the tri shop loaned me hadn't been put on properly (it was missing a part which could have caused yet another accident).  I'd take my guardian angel out for a drink but I need her alert and on her toes it would seem.  A heart felt "thank you", will have to do.

My training this week has been good.  Almost inspiring.  I'm feeling like something has shifted in the water and I'm getting in touch with my power points there.  I probably haven't talked about "power points" all that much in my prior posts.  And not the program that sucks the life out of any meeting in corporate America (at least in my opinion it does).  No, I'm talking about those points in physical movement that have the most potential to propel you forward with the greatest amount of speed and the least amount of effort.

I began thinking about "power points" a couple of years ago when I was riding after recovering from a pulled hamstring.  Because of the injury and my desire to restore base fitness, I opted to ride VERY slowly.  Rides of 2-3 hours on a looped course with a heart rate maximum of 130.  Typically on these rides my average heart rate was about 120 cresting 128 only on the loop's sole hill.  But by riding that slowly for sooooo long, I became aware of points in my pedal stroke where even with a low heart rate ceiling, I was able to generate more speed without incurring a perceptible physical cost.  So now I spend a great deal of time maximizing my use of these "points" in my pedal stroke on each ride.

At any rate, I began to wonder if I could find similar power points in my running and swimming.  Running was pretty easy to find but swimming had proven elusive.  Then I began to swim more and more with fist gloves and slow down my stroke cycle to focus on where and how to apply force to the water.  That's when I found it (or them).  So now with the same perceived effort in the water I've lopped about 50 seconds off my 1000m swim time.

I'm also seeing some really promising results from doing some fine tuning of my diet.  My recovery from hard/long workouts has been shorter and I have more energy throughout the day.  Huge, huge, huge.  I'll write more about this soon.

At any rate today was a fairly good one training wise starting with a 90 minute tempo run at 8:00 pace with an average HR of 150.  I didn't feel all that hot when I started out and wasn't sure I'd run that long or maintain that pace but toward the end I started using some of the techniques I've learned from practicing yoga and ran more from my core than my legs.  

After soaking my legs in Barton Springs for 15 minutes and a smoothie, I was out on the tri bike for a 2:00 hour tempo ride.  This was also comfortable.  I got to try my new racing wheels out and maintained a pace of 20mph with a heart rate average of 145.  

Tomorrow, I'll swim and do some yoga.  Its a recovery day!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Murphy's Law

Some things appear to be harder to move away from than others.  And one would have to wonder what the deeper message is.  So, first we'll go with the positives.  Yesterday was Labor Day and I was supposed to be racing but my procrastination may have saved me some serious pain.  Fortunately it turns out the race filled up before I could sign up for it so instead of having this happen during the bike leg of an olympic distance triathlon, I was about 20 minutes from home at an empty intersection waiting on a light to change.

Honestly, I'm not really sure what I should feel at this point other than thankful.  And basically the pictures say everything that needs to be said -- except for the fact that I have an awesome friend in Gioconda who says she still wants to ride with me after having to take a cab back from my first bike malfunction a couple of weeks ago.  Fortunately this time the only damage done this morning was her ride got cut short.  The first time she missed teaching a yoga class (if you are in Austin and want to give yoga a try, I highly recommend Gioconda especially if you ride a bike).  I think I'm going to take a couple of days off and ponder a few things while I get my bikes fixed and my head back in order.  

If you missed the other malfunctions I've experienced here is a visual list for you.

The tri bike.
The busted derailluer clamp on the road bike 
The busted racing goggles 
The rusted brake cable from the tri bike
The busted fistglove