Monday, September 13, 2010

Week 36: Review

As has been the case for the last little while, things have been crazy busy this week so getting everything in has been a challenge. On the running front, I had to move things around a bit, but I did manage to squeeze in pretty much all that was planned. I did have to chop a mile off of a couple of mid-week runs, but other than that I managed to get things in at the appropriate pacing. Regardless, I did manage to click over the 1000 mile mark for the year on Sunday :D

Sunday's 18 miler was a bit on the warm side, but fortunately not nearly as bad as it was just a few weeks ago. The cool weather we've been getting lately has spoiled me a bit, as running and biking with the temperatures in the teens is so much nicer than the hot and humid we've been enduring lately. On the upside, I was able to pace myself a little better than last week - averaging a 4:45/km pace rather than 4:33. Looking back at the telemetry, I was pretty much bang on the 5:00/km target until the half-marathon mark when I picked it up a bit. I tend to have a bit of a backwards pacing instinct - the more fatigued my legs become, the faster they seem to want to go :P

Like last week, this long run was done with my Garmin rather than the Polar. After transferring my telemetry from Friday's 5 miler I noticed a (nearly inaudible) hissing noise coming from the unit. To be safe, I've pulled the (new) battery out of the unit and contacted their support department to get guidance on what to do about these symptoms. Searching over their fora, there were a few mentions of similar symptoms but as those were covered under warantee (they all came from the factory this way) there isn't much detail on what was wrong (they sent it in, it came back fixed).

Other than the sound, the unit is working flawlessly so I don't think it's anything major. Looking at the unit I think one of the battery pins isn't quite contacting the side of the battery, and the gap is small enough that it's arcing. I'm not sure if it's a matter of the new battery being a little smaller than it's supposed to be, or if the pin has gotten bent back a bit, but if it is either one of those issues it should be a relatively simple fix. With that said, the way that products are made nowadays even simple things can end up being complex to actually repair.

On the cycling front, myself and a couple of guys from the group managed to get together on labour day for a short 50K. Tried to talk them into something a bit longer, but unfortunately they haven't been out a lot lately so they wanted to start back carefully. Either way, we headed out just before 8am and while it was a bit chilly (11C), once we got moving that was quite comfortable. It ended up being a good thing we kept it short, however, as it started pouring rain for the last couple of minutes ;)

Other commitments meant that Saturday's ride had to be cut down to 55K, and Friday's to 30K. Wednesday's ride didn't happen due to weather, so my net cycling mileage this week is pretty pathetic. Either way, not much that can be done about that as none of those constraints were particularly mutable.

On the upside, the pools have finally switched back over to the fall/winter schedules so I don't need to try and shoehorn two hours work of work into 90 minutes. My normal pool was unfortunately down for maintenance this week, but another close by facility has a nice three hour session available so that helped. While I shortened the sets a bit given the reduced time constraints, I kept them at moderate distances (1.5-2K) in order to squeeze in a bit more distance than normal. I'll see how this holds out, and if it goes well it should help me to continue improving.

Week 36 Totals:
Running: 54.7km (34.0mi)
Walking: 2.4km (1.5mi)
Cycling: 135.2km (84.0mi)
Swimming: 9.0km (5.6mi)
Total: 201.3km (125.1mi)

Year to Date:
Running: 1612.5km (1002.0mi)
Walking: 77.6km (48.2mi)
Cycling: 3531.0km (2194.1mi)
Swimming: 235.1km (146.1mi)
Total: 5456.2km (3390.3mi)

The next couple of weeks are likely to be even busier than it has been, as the dedication for our new church is happening on the 23rd and I'm taking care of photographically documenting the associated events. I've been recording the entire construction process from the start, but the final preparations mean that the changes are coming fast and furious and it's a lot more work. With the workers scrambling to get everything done in time, the schedule is somewhat dynamic and planning around it is a bit more difficult than normal.

The side effect of this is that I'm going to have to skip the Lakeside Olympic triathlon next weekend that I wanted to do. Next weekend is looking pretty packed with preparations, and heading out of town for something like that would be difficult to fit it. As that's the last race of the year around these parts, that pretty much means that I'm not actually going to be able to fit a triathlon in this season. Unfortunate, but I've enjoyed the training either way and made improvements that should form a solid base for next year's more ambitious targets.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Weeks 33, 34 & 35: Catching Up

The last few weeks have been particularly crazy, and as such I've fallen behind on my updates. This post is designed to catch up for the last three weeks, and will only be relatively brief as I still don't have a heck of a lot of time here ;)

Week 33 Totals:
Running: 58.3km (36.2mi)
Walking: 2.2km (1.4mi)
Cycling: 81.2km (50.5mi)
Swimming: 8.1km (5.0mi)
Total: 149.8km (93.1mi)

Week 33 went pretty much as planned and I managed to hit most of my targets. Cycling was the main exception, as the weather over the weekend forced me to miss a couple of my sessions. On the running front, I managed to get in a good 18 miler on the Sunday despite a bit of rain. Additionally, my group run on Wednesday was faster than normal as the fellow that I headed out with was preparing for a race and wanted to do a hard 10K. It felt good to let the legs loose for a change ;)

Week 34 Totals:
Running: 27.4km (17.0mi)
Walking: 1.0km (0.6mi)
Cycling: 71.5km (44.4mi)
Swimming: 7.6km (4.7mi)
Total: 107.5km (66.8mi)

After the successes of the previous week, week 34 started out quite well with everything hitting targets comfortably. Unfortunately, on Friday my left hamstring started feeling a bit sore so I took a few rest days to let it recover. It wasn't particularly bad and in retrospect I likely could have trained through it, but I didn't want to risk it becoming worse and taking me out for a longer period. As such, my long run and ride were knocked out, as well as one of my moderate rides - all of which took a significant chunk out of my mileage.

Week 35 Totals:
Running: 50.1km (31.1mi)
Walking: 1.3km (0.8mi)
Cycling: 61.0km (37.9mi)
Swimming: 3.7km (2.3mi)
Total: 116.1km (72.1mi)

On Monday morning, the hamstring was pretty much back to normal so I decided to get back into the routine. To play it safe I shortened my ride from 50 to 30K, but fortunately there were no signs of the pain so I could get back into my routine. On Tuesday I was out with family so I did miss my sessions on that day, but fortunately I was able to squeeze in an extra run on Saturday to make up for it. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make up the swim so that mileage is a bit low for the week.

On Sunday, I was heading out for a 17 miler to ease myself back into it and when I started my Polar the battery in the wrist watch died. I quickly switched over to my Garmin strap and popped my cycling computer (Edge 705) in a pocket on my hydration belt. It's GPS radio had the capacity to measure speed and distance, and with the HRM I'd be able to record most of the information that the Polar does. Unfortunately, as there is no way to mount it to my wrist I couldn't get real-time readings of those values.

While I don't mind running by feel, my tendency is to go too fast when I do, and that isn't a good combination for a long slow distance run like this. Regardless, the weather was near perfect for a run and I felt good throughout. It wasn't until I got home and looked at the display that I realized that I'd averaged a 4:33/km pace (vs the 5:00-5:30 pace that was planned). Fortunately, thanks to the lower temperatures my heart rate stayed in about the right range (~164bpm average vs 155bpm normal for this distance) so it hopefully wasn't too hard on the body.

Either way, it is good to know that I can comfortably maintain that pace for this distance. This is roughly the speed that I need to hold over a marathon to qualify for Boston, and having done 17 miles at the pace is a good sign. Naturally, that's still a far cry from being able to pull off another 10 miles at this speed, but it's a stepping stone in that direction. I don't intend to make a BQ attempt this fall, so the earliest that I'd be trying that is next spring - leaving a good amount of time to work on that last piece of the equation.

Year to Date:
Running: 1557.8km (968.0mi)
Walking: 75.2km (46.7mi)
Cycling: 3395.8km (2110.1mi)
Swimming: 226.1km (140.5mi)
Total: 5254.9km (3265.2mi)