Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Week 32: Review

After a number of weeks of building up, I elected to take this week as a recovery week and back off a little to let the body repair itself. That worked out quite well, as the week was otherwise pretty busy so it would have been difficult trying to fit in the normal training volumes anyway. In the end, I ended up pulling back a little more than I would have liked, but for a week like this I'll take it.

Most of the sessions this week went relatively well, as the weather was decent and my more relaxed attitude made it a bit easier to enjoy them rather than fighting through. Sunday's long run was the exception to this, as the humidity was absolutely brutal and I had to cut the planned 13 miler down to 10 because of it. I normally go out in the morning, but as it was pouring rain at that time I elected to hold off until the afternoon. Unfortunately, when I did get out there I realized that the rain would have been a blessing.

The ambient temperature was reading as 32C with the humidity at a stifling 85%. Punched into the humidex formula, that works out to the equivalent of 49C (~120F) so it made things a lot more difficult. Adding to this was the fact that about 15 minutes into the run, the clouds cleared up and the sun came out. Needless to say, I went through the litre of Gatorade that I brought along pretty quickly. I wasn't too worried, as there was a community centre along the way that I normally refill my bottles at.

Unfortunately, when I got there the doors were locked so I wasn't able to refill my (now empty) bottles and had to fight through. To be safe, I rerouted along a main street so that I could find somewhere to pull into and get more to drink. I eventually came up to a McDonalds and took advantage of that $1 for any size drink promo they are running over the summer, and quickly gulped down a good portion of it ;) I poured the remainder in my bottles and continued on, but it didn't take long before the bouncing shook the CO2 out of the mixture and the valves on said bottles opened up and coated my back. I quickly drank what remained, and just headed back home.

Either way, I'm just glad that it was a recovery week as this could have gone a lot worse if I'd attempted to do a 19 miler in this weather. Unfortunately, there isn't really a practical way to carry any more hydration than I currently do so I'm pretty much stuck having to rely on stopping periodically to refill. I know when things are open on my normal schedule, but unfortunately when I pushed things back because of the rain I likely should have double checked those hours ;)

Week 32 Totals:
Running: 39.3km (24.4mi)
Walking: 1.3km (0.8mi)
Cycling: 81.3km (50.5mi)
Swimming: 7.6km (4.7mi)
Total: 129.5km (80.5mi)

Year to Date:
Running: 1422.0km (883.6mi)
Walking: 70.7km (43.9mi)
Cycling: 3182.1km (1977.3mi)
Swimming: 206.7km (128.4mi)
Total: 4881.5km (3033.2mi)

As for racing plans, I elected to pass on Muskoka this year as it just wasn't worth the costs for a first shot at the distance. I'm definitely in for next year, however, and plan to do at least one unofficial half-iron race in the middle of the summer before hitting the sanctioned race in September. I am, however, now looking for an Olympic distance race (or two) in the coming months to take advantage of the training that I intended for the HIM ;)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Weeks 30 & 31: Review

Missed updating last week as things were quite busy, so I'm putting the two weeks together to make things a bit simpler. Fortunately, the weather over these last couple of weeks has been much improved and I was able to get in nearly everything as planned.

With last Monday being a holiday, that also made it a bit easier to fit in my scheduled rides. I had originally planned on doing a 100K ride on Saturday and then a 50K ride on Monday, but about 30K into the former it began drizzling and the skies were pretty black so I turned around and cut it short. Fortunately, Monday was looking good so it was just a matter of switching the two rides around and nothing much was lost.

As such, I headed out early on Monday morning for 100K on the bike. I had originally planned on doing a variation of my normal 80K route, but some friends suggested another path that had a lot of new ground so I elected to follow it instead. The first segment was the same as the group ride we did a few weeks back, but rather than turning south on Humber Station road I continued on north-west to add some distance. At the 60K mark, I came into Caledon East as planned and stopped briefly to refill my water supply and grab some fuel to continue on. Once complete, I continued up some gorgeous country roads.

When I got to the turn on Heart Lake road, there was a big sign in my way saying that the road was closed. The friend that had suggested the route mentioned that there was some construction along the way, but it was possible to walk through it so I rode around the sign and continued on. When I got to the break, however, it was obvious that they'd made some progress since he had been there last. The work was on a bridge, and crews had excavated about 3m around the edges of the structure so there was no way to get across on foot.

To the east there was another bridge on what looked like a park of some sort, but looking at the gates it became obvious that it was a (incredibly well manicured) private residence so I pulled up the map on my Garmin and began plotting an alternate route. As I was pulling away, a local yelled up to me and provided me with a way across the gap which saved me a lot of extra distance ;) Apparently they've had a lot of cyclists come down that way, and unfortunately many of them just jumped the fence and used the aforementioned bridge. Making things worse, however, is that the owner of that bridge had just built it and the stain hadn't set in yet - so when those bikes crossed it, they left marks that required him to redo the work. Either way, I thanked the fellow for his help and apologized for the douchebaggery of some of my peers before heading out.

For reference, if planning a ride down Heart Lake Rd. between The Grange SR and Olde Baseline Rd. plan on alternates for the time being as the bridge is out and there is no (respectable) way to get around it. That stretch of road is also downhill toward the bridge, so turning around and doubling back means a sustained climb with a cold start :(

Either way, I continued on and the rest of the ride went great. I was quite tired by the time I got back, but it was good to get back into triple-digit territory again and this route had a lot of great scenery to make for an enjoyable trip.

The next day I was scheduled to do a swim and run, but I had a dentist appointment in the morning which took up a good amount of time and I didn't end up having time to do either. I rescheduled the run to Friday, but there wasn't much that I could do about the swim. Fortunately, this allowed me to combine that run with my 50K ride to fit in a proper brick session once again.

The upside, however, is that I was finally able to pop into D'Ornella's to pick up a Speedfill for my bike. I haven't gotten around to installing it yet, but I'm hoping that it will help to coax me into drinking a little more regularly (rather than just gulping it down at stops). Looking at the design there are a few things that I'm not crazy about, but the only other choice are aerobar mounted units and I'm not fond of the idea of hanging 2+ pounds of water off of the front end of the bike (the speedfill mounts the reservoir in the main triangle). I'm not 100% certain that it will fit, but I'll try squeezing it in sometime this week and return it if it doesn't.

Either way, on Saturday I managed to get in a good 86K ride in the afternoon. At the start I felt a bit weaker than usual, and had to fight a bit harder than normal on the climbs. I originally figured that it was just fatigue from a relatively heavy week of training, but with about 5K to go in the ride I was taking a rest stop and noticed that the rear brake was rubbing against the rim a bit. I adjusted it and once I got back on the road it was a lot easier ;) It was just barely in contact so it wasn't making any noise or anything, but obviously there was enough friction to add a noticeable amount of extra resistance into the mix. Oh well, good for strength training I guess :P

Finally, yesterday morning I had 18 miles on the books but it was looking pretty dodgy outside so I was debating whether to cut it short. Sure enough, after about 10 minutes of running, it started raining a bit and never let up. Fortunately, it was a relatively light and cold rain which did a great job of offsetting the effects of the relatively high humidity. It switched over to downpours a couple of times, but fortunately they never persisted for very long so it was easy enough to grab some quick cover and wait them out. In the end, I managed to get all of the planned 18 miles in with a lot less effort than I've had in previous week's shorter distances. I was certainly drenched when I got back, but fortunately it never got to the point where my shoes were saturated so it wasn't really that much different than the sweat I usually accumulate ;)

Week 30 Totals:
Running: 53.1km (33.0mi)
Walking: 1.5km (0.9mi)
Cycling: 142.4km (88.5mi)
Swimming: 7.5km (4.7mi)
Total: 204.5km (127.1mi)

Week 31 Totals:
Running: 56.6km (35.2mi)
Walking: 1.3km (0.8mi)
Cycling: 268.8km (167.0mi)
Swimming: 4.4km (2.7mi)
Total: 331.1km (205.7mi)

Year to Date:
Running: 1382.7km (859.2mi)
Walking: 69.4km (43.1mi)
Cycling: 3100.8km (1926.7mi)
Swimming: 199.1km (123.7mi)
Total: 4752.0km (2952.8mi)

Either way, I've been climbing in mileage for a few weeks now so this upcoming week will be a recovery cycle. I'll likely chop the long run back to 12 or 13 miles, and take a bit off of the midweek runs as well. I'm likely going to miss my ride today because of the weather, so that should take care of the cycling mileage as well. After that, time to start ratcheting things back up again ;)