Training’s “Ah-Ha” moment

Throughout my stint with endurance sports there have been struggles. For marathon training it was my leg injury from building distance too fast. Now in triathlon training, my biggest hurdle has been swimming. I’ve tried just pushing through my workouts sometimes failing to complete them, I’ve gotten advice from Coach Jen, my Masters coaches and friends, who have all been helpful and at the same time really patient as I bitched and moaned about my aquatic performance.

Everyone says there is a point when you’ll have an “ah-ha” moment, it’s the moment when everything you’ve been told and everything you’re working on all pans out. For the marathon it was my 20-mile run. When I finished that run I knew that I’d be able to finish the marathon.
Yesterday while swimming with the Buehler Breakers Master’s team it happened… We had a 1000 warm-up and just the sight of it on the board made me uneasy. I hopped in my usual “slow” lane and started the swim. I started as the 3rd swimmer, and after the first 500 I was leading the lane… We finished the warm-up and listened to our Coach talk us through the main set. It was going to be a hard workout of descending 100′s with some drills mixed in.
Alright, lets see what happens, I started out as the 2nd swimmer and after a few 100′s was leading the lane again. After our 3rd or 4th set, the coach asked me if I wanted to move up a lane cause I had lapped some of the swimmers in my lane…
What? Really? But there’s “real swimmers” in that lane. Opted to stay where I was. I was comfortable. Maybe next week…
I felt great during every set… At one point I realized I wasn’t thinking about my stroke, kick or breathing… I was thinking about WORK!!! I was mentally producing a new show!!!
That was it, my Ah-ha moment!!!
My whole body felt in sync, I wasn’t struggling and I’m pretty sure I created a great show!
Towards the end workout Coach had everyone stop, I looked at the board and saw there were still 3 more sets, then I looked at the clock and saw that we only had about 5 minutes left.
I got a little mad, I hadn’t finished the workout… But wait, No one finished the workout! It wasn’t just my “slow lane” … NO ONE!
We all headed to the starting blocks and did a couple of relay’s just for fun. Which only added another 100 to my total….
After we finished I walked back over to board to see what I missed out on… I still had energy, I felt great, which lead me to believe that I fell way short of completing any worth while distance, so ah-ah moment or not I didn’t finish the workout.
As I was standing there adding up my distance I noticed there was a group of people forming to do the same thing…
I had to do the math twice (luckily I was on deck so m shoes were already off!).
Could it be possible that I just did a 3600 yard workout? Really? Nah… I added it up again…
I DID A 3600 YARD WORKOUT!!!
A new personal record!
I was pumped! I’m interested to see how my next few swim workouts go. But no matter what, this was a great swim!

Reorganizing the week.

This weeks training looked awesome on paper. But it went to hell real fast!


Sunday i had a 75 min ride, I got set up on the trainer, threw on my new Peal Izumi bib  and was set to go… My Garmin was not. I had it charging, but I think my son Sammy unplugged it. So it was dead… No worries I rode with out it!


Monday I woke up and felt like death. I don’t know what was wrong, i thought flu. I went to work and still planned on swimming. When it came time I just couldn’t stomach working out. I called an audible and bagged the workout. So Monday was a rest day.


Yesterday I had a run scheduled, but things at work didnt really allow for that, so I rearranged again and decided to bike when I got home. 


There was a 70 min ride in the books. I didn’t end up getting home from work until 9:30!!!


I asked Jen a while back if there was a time that was too late to workout, she had said 9:00 should be the cut off… Yesterday I decided there was no cut off! I got on the bike about 9:45… I really tried to get through the whole 70mins, but I couldn’t do it. I was wiped out… I did about 40 mins, I feel good that I did something, but bummed that I didn’t finish.


Today I’m in the pool making up for Monday’s missed rescheduled swim, and I’m also going to make some calls to see if I can’t acquire a bike this week.


Only 129 days until Mooseman.

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Figs, Stones, Nuts… Yep, we’re talking about Balls.

I went to the Chicago Bike Swap on Saturday in hopes of finding a great deal on a road bike for Mooseman. Unfourtuantely I didn’t find one but I did learn a LOT about cycling and cycling gear.
I met up with Dave Wallach (Pace of Chicago) who offered up some great advice. Outside of discussing the pros and cons between aluminum and carbon frames, Shimano and Tiagra componets and weather or not I should use aero bars, while looking at cycling shorts and bibs one subject that continued to come up were “gentleman’s vegetables”potato2.jpg
I’ve spent several hours working out on my bike trainer and when I do I wear regular gym shorts. I’ll be honest, at the end of my workouts I’m a little… uncomfortable.
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Dave was kind enough to give me a tutorial of Tri shorts vs. cycling short and give me the pros and cons, plus some other tips to protect your balls.

Training Tip Thursday… And I’ve added a new race

This week is just flying by! I hit the pool yesterday and had a pretty solid swim, I’ll give it a B+. Today I have a 45 min treadmill run that was rescheduled from Tuesday.


I’ve added another race to my schedule. After a quick email discussion with Coach Jen I’ve decided to add the Bangs Lake Triathlon to my August Races. I was a little hesitant to ask her about it because I’m running the Rock N’ Roll 1/2 Marathon, which falls the weekend AFTER Bangs Lake.


And since I haven’t run my 1st Tri yet, asking about a second (even though Bangs is shorter) seemed a little dumb… But hey, who cares!


Jen said Bangs Lake is awesome, and that it would be possible, but challenging for a first timer to race a Tri and run a half marathon the next weekend. She said if I was ok with a bit slower 1/2 Marathon it could be done.


I very quickly replied “Yay for Challenges!” Bangs Lake Tri


I’m trying to convince my friend Beefy to run Bangs too. So give me a hand harassing him and leave a comment for Beef below!


Adding more challenges means more training, so here is Robbie Ventura, Owner of Vision Quest Coaching with this weeks training tip.

Handling rest week and races.

I celebrated the first day of my rest week doing nothing… And i mean NOTHING. The weather was horrible, so I sat indoors by a fire all day… But I did feel a bit lazy. I think it’s because I spent most of last week rushing around and trying to fit in my workouts, so now that Coach Jen gave me a couple days off I feel like I’m slacking off!


Today I have a 45min hill run on the treadmill, which is nice cause it’s shitty out. Tomorrow I’m in the pool, Thursday is the second rest day of the week and Friday I’m on the bike.


Saturday I’ll swim with the Buehler Breakers then I’m headed to the Bike Swap at Harper College. I desperately need to take care of this bike situation, I anticipate it happening in the next couple of weeks. I’ve got my eye on the Trek Madone 4.5.Thumbnail image for madone45_blackblue.jpg


Sunday is another day on the bike which I will get in BEFORE the Bears game… Did you guys hear they’re playing the Packers?


I feel like I need to get involved in some races soon. The last one I ran was the Turkey Trot 5K. Leading up to the Marathon I was racing at least every couple of weeks, which was nice cause it helped break up my training.


Training for Mooseman has been a lot different because I’ve been training solo, so theres not competition outside of trying to beat your previous workouts.


I finally got around to registering for the Shamrock Shuffle where I ran 50:53 last year, that was right at the beginning of my training so I’m looking to blow that out of the water. Registration for the 2011 Chicago Marathon opens on Feb 1st, so I’ll sign up for that and looking to go sub 5 hours.


But those races are pretty far down the line, I’d like to do something soon. 

Dealing with training pitfalls.

No matter how well you plan, at some point life will interrupt your training and it feels awful when it happens. I had a lot going on at work this week, which made it difficult to stick to my schedule.

Monday was no big deal, I hot the pool at lunch and finished my 2,400 yards with out issue, which made me feel good. I’ve felt a lot more confident in my swimming over the last couple of weeks.
Tuesday where things got a little ugly. I had a long day at work, which resulted in me skipping my run at lunch, to make matters worse, I stayed late at work AND missed my train home, so the run was missed all together. I was pissed.
I emailed Coach Jen to make her aware of my epic fail and asked if I could just make Tuesday my rest day and make up the run on Friday. She said it wasn’t an issue which is good.
Wednesday I was on the bike trainer doing intervals for an hour.
Thursday I had a 40 min run that I BARELY got in. I was annoyed because I left my Garmin at home, I’m “fairly” comfortable with my HR zones so it wasn’t a huge deal, and when it really comes down to I did the workout.
Friday was almost the exact same issue as Thursday, I had almost no time, and when I did squeeze the run in, I realized I forgot the Garmin AGAIN! DAMNIT!!!
Welcome to Saturday… I was supposed to swim with Masters at 6am. What I didn’t comprehend was that my wife was on-call today, so I had to bag the swim to stay home with my Son. I had to make a last minute switch on Training Peaks. I’ll swim with Masters tomorrow, and I bike tonight.
So on top of all the training issues. I also forgot to put up a video for Training Tip Thursday. So to keep with my theme of “rescheduling” this week, Here’s Robbie Ventura of Vision Quest Coaching with this weeks Training Tip.

Caffeine withdrawal and Training Tip Thursday!

Well the New Years resolution of eating right is going a lot better now. I’ve been caffeine free since Sunday. Today is the first day I haven’t wanted to kill everyone I come in contact with. The first day with out coffee was ugly, my head was pounding, I couldn’t keep my eyes open, it was just … bad.

The next day was about the same, and then it got a little better each day. That doesn’t mean I don’t inhale deep enough to pop a lung when I pass a Starbucks, it just means I’m functioning on a normal level with out it!
I have think I have found a good balance with what I eat too, I’ve lost a little bit of weight, but I think that due more to training 6 days a week!
Speaking of training, today marks the start of Training Tip Thursdays! Whoooooo!
Robbie Ventura of Vision Quest Coaching was kind enough to give us some quick cycling and triathlon training tips. I’ll have a new one for you each Thursday.
Enjoy.

Training Tip of the week – Consistency from Phil Castello on Vimeo.