Thursday, May 31, 2007

Daddy's Little Triathlete

What dad wouldn't be proud of his baby girl when she is so excited about triathlons that she wants to learn to ride daddy's bike?

Of course, it may have more to do with the desire to be on anything with wheels, be it farm vehicles...

Or yard equipment...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


The Green Bay Marathon is behind me and the Bellin Run 10K is on the horizon. Still, it seems like weeks until the "real" race season starts. Despite my running background, we must remember that this is The Year of the Ironman. I think that's why everything seems to be in "limbo." Marathons and 10Ks are just training for what lies ahead.

Right now, just about everything in my life is focused on August 26th. When people want to get together, I check my training schedule THEN my calendar. When co-workers want to plan a bike-to-work day, it has to be when it fits in with my workouts for the week. Mrs. Pol is now in a routine of checking my training schedule when she plans things. (Of course, let's not get carried away, she still has her schedule, and my kids DO come first. Just ask Monster Girl.)

As that first key race approaches, training is ramping up. Weekend rides are quickly ramping up from the simple 90-120 minute sessions to the 4-hour trips that require more planning. Soon enough, I'll be able to schedule trips around Lake Winnebago as part of my standard training. And I'm still in limbo. That race can't get here soon enough. Lesson learned. Schedule an early season sprint, next year.

Not for training. Not for confidence. Just for sanity. June is too long to wait for a race.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Celebrity Tri at High Cliff

While it might fall short of the spectacular blogger convention held recently at Wildflower, we have another celebrity tri event coming up in June. The High Cliff Triathlon held in the Fox Cities at the High Cliff state park promises to be an awesome event. Bloggers and raceAthletes alike will converge on the Fox Valley the weekend of June 23-24 for good times and good friends. Oh yeah, some of us will be racing, too.

A member of the sponsoring
tri club, I will be doing all I can to host anyone from the Tri Blog Community in town, that weekend. In addition to the various official events, we will have some kind of food and fun at the Pol homestead. Transportation, course tours, and local information will all be available race weekend. Anyone needing hotel or other information prior to then, just let me know and I'll do whatever I can to help out.

I am very excited about the group that is coming for the race. In "information received" order, here are some of the names I know.

Coming in from St. Louis to race with a college friend,
George Schweitzer is an amazing triathlete with several Ironman finishes under his belt. He always provides very informative and educational race reports, and I truly look forward to meeting him. And while I have little hope of competing against him, the opportunity to race with and learn from him is exciting.

Another "local" personality,
Tri Mom (not to be confused with Tri Mama), will be racing. The opportunity to meet bloggers with whom I am less familiar is always awesome. And finding triathletes who live closer than several states away is also cool.

With perhaps the longest trip, gymgator will be up from Florida for the race. He will have the opportunity to race with sheepshead instead of sharks, algae instead of alligators. Luckily, it is summer, so he shouldn't freeze too badly.

We will also have a trio of sponsored raceAthlete members, two of whom are blogger royalty.
Simply Stu of podcasting fame will make the trip from Madison for the race. It will be great to meet one of the top sports podcasters in the country. I can only hope to live up to the example he sets every time tri-bloggers descend upon Madison.

Rural Girl will also be making an appearance. After tearing up Wildflower, she is more than ready for the killer hill that starts the bike and run portions of the race. Of course, after Wildflower, she'll probably look at the course and say, "What hill?"

Finally, schedule changes for
Iron Wil came out in our favor. In addition to the Spirit of Racine Triathlon in July, Iron Wil is headed to Wisconsin for the High Cliff triathlon. After meeting her the day before IM Wisconsin, last year, I look forward to the opportunity to spend a little more time with her.

Every chance to meet with tri-bloggers is one to be taken. I am really looking forward to having everyone in town for this race. If you are reading this, are racing at High Cliff, and don't see your name, please let me know. I'll add you to the list and keep you in the loop as things develop.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Long Training Runs

On Sunday, three co-workers completed their first major endurance races. Bellin Chick and KC completed their first half-marathons, and my training partner completed his first full marathon. They all did great, keeping to race plans that were adjusted as needed.

Bellin Chick, who found out five days prior to the race that she is pregnant, completed the race in about 2:20. Based on estimates, she became pregnant within a week of beginning her training program, and this race was an awesome way to transition from run training to mommy training. Bellin Chick’s friend and training partner also completed her first (and supposedly last) half-marathon. Time will tell on that.

K.C. stayed with the group for about a half-mile. He then took off at his own pace, completing the run in 1:47. More importantly, he did an amazing job of negative splitting the race, getting faster with each 5K segment. He is now considering a September marathon, so long as I can run it with him.

And my training partner completed the marathon in 4:56, nearly 15 minutes faster than my first marathon time. Our plan was to run with Bellin Chick and set pace for her during the first 11 miles (where the half split off). After that, the plan was to use the half marathon and 20 mile points as gauges for the rest of the race. Our goal was to get him to the finish line, under five hours, if possible. His stretch goal was a 4:30 marathon. He learned a lot about the 26.2-mile distance, and is considering the same September race as K.C. (likewise dependent upon my running it with them).

My training partner learned the importance of a solid training program, and admitted that the last eight miles were very tough. What he lacked in discipline during the training program he made up with determination on race day. He heeded the advice provided from others, and learned a lot for future races.

Most remarkable was the success of these individuals given the conditions. With the weather forecast calling for slightly overcast skies and a high temperature of 60F, it looked to be a perfect day for running. Of course, had the meteorologists been anywhere near accurate, it WOULD have been a perfect day. When they miss the high by 10 degrees, and temperatures during the race never break 50F, it’s another story. It was cloudy and about 40F when the race began. We had winds at about 10-15 mph with gusts over 20 mph. Looking for the 60F prediction, I wore light clothing, ditching my sweatshirt at the start. That was a BIG mistake.

Arms and hands bore the brunt of the cold, and anything requiring manual dexterity became a challenge. Opening gel packs, tying shorts after pit stops, and opening or closing bottles were a few of the issues we faced during the day. Luckily, it never rained. I’m fairly certain rain would have ended the day for my training partner, for me, and for hundreds of other runners.

Even so, marathon number five is in the bag. It was primarily a support run, and I count it as a long, slow run in my books. Once again, if Louisville in August happens to run in the 50s, my training is supporting that. Hopefully, it will warm up in the near future. I rather expect these “Frozen Tundra” runs will do little to prepare me for race day conditions come Ironman.

Friday, May 18, 2007


A local elementary school held a "Bike Rodeo" aimed at promoting biking and bicycle safety. The kids moved through a series of stations aimed at teaching them how to fit and put on a helmet, ride safely in the road, avoid hazards, and use hand signals. They also completed an "obstacle" course designed to reinforce the lessons learned.

In addition to these stations, various local organizations were present to lend assistance and provide information. Local police showed up with MacGruff the Crime Dog and a well received magician. A local bike shop provided a mechanic who tuned up bikes the kids were riding. Brandon's Champions, a group dedicated to promoting bicycle and helmet safety in conjunction with medical information carriers, provided packets for the kids and had helmets available for those in need of them.

I was able to attend as a representative of the Fox Cities Triathlon Club and shared information about both biking and triathlons. Though the bike mechanic was perhaps the most popular person there, the kids were very enthused about the opportunity to learn about triathlons and the equipment used in races. It made their day to learn that they aren't the only ones told they MUST wear their helmets. I'm sure the other gear helped keep their attention, as well. After all, the police had a magician, but I had a wetsuit.

While there, I also had the opportunity to speak with some adults about triathlon opportunities. The most common reaction was, "Oh, I couldn't do that." When asked why, their response was nearly uniform. "I could never (swim/bike/run) that far." In every case, they were completely unaware that triathlon could mean something other than "Ironman."

Several of them, after learning that their are local events with 220 yard swims, 8 mile bikes, and 1.8 mile runs indicated they might enjoy trying such a race. While most people are aware that there are dozens of different distances for running races, all too many people believe triathlon is synonomous with Ironman. Responsibility for this lies, in large part, on our shoulders. We must take every opportunity available to share our passion for endurance sports with others. And we must make sure we let people know that "endurance" doesn't have to mean 140.6 miles. No more than "run" means 26.2 miles.

Likewise, we should work to promote unity across the spectrum of endurance athletics. My local tri club does a lot in that effort. They participate in marathons, duathlons, and triathlons. They host both a triathlon and a major bike ride. They welcome endurance athletes of any type into the club, and membership is free.

Another free organization with a like mind is raceAthlete. While many of its members are triathlons, it is a group focused on all types of endurance events. Cycling, running, triathlon, ultramarathoning, whatever. And a great deal of effort is put into promoting events of all distances. The 5K runner is right next to the marathoner. The sprint triathlon is as much a triathlon as Ironman. A 30K time trial holds the same merit as a century ride.

We are all endurance athletes. And we are all ambassadors for the various sports we love. While much of our time is dedicated to training, some part of our day should be set aside for sharing our passion with others. As more people come to understand how many options they have, participation in all endurance events will increase. And that can only have a positive impact on the world.

Make Mine a Double

Just in case anyone is paying attention, you might note that the countdown timer has moved into double digits.

For most of us, countdown clocks start right at 364 when we register for an event the day after the most recent race. Even though registration for IM Louisville was well after the "year-early" date, the timer was well into the 200s when first set up. Seeing it move into double digits is certainly a wake-up call.

Ninety-nine. That's a pretty small number. We're rapidly approaching the "less than a summer vacation" area.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Things Change

Months ago, I posted about some co-workers, Belling Chick and K.C., trying to decide about signing up for the Green Bay Half-Marathon, which occurs just a few days from today. With four of us running either the full or half marathon, we made plans for a pre-race pasta party and all of our sherpas have planned their days. Their tapers are in full swing, and we are into the final restful days before the race.

If you had told me in December or January that the tables would be fully reversed and I would be cautioning any of the three against running the race, I'd have laughed. While injuries are always a possibility, the odds are certainly in our favor that we could all finish the race. And after years of encouraging my co-workers to try a half or full marathon, there is little that would lead me to encourage someone to have a DNS (did not start). And yet, things change.

Bellin Chick missed work on Monday, and a few well placed rumors suggested she might have had an attack of appendicitis. They were, of course, nothing more than well placed rumors. After all, Bellin Chick is back at work and there is nothing to indicate she had major surgery on Monday. No, she went to the hospital for an appendicitis. She left pregnant (and I believe she may have a legal case here). The hospital is sure to deny any culpability as she IS 14-weeks pregnant.

And this pregnancy is one they consider nothing short of a miracle. Having given up on children years ago, this situation is a pleasant and welcome shock. It also leads to an all too common dilemma. Run? Or not run?

I've provided what limited input I can. For many reasons, I'm very poorly qualified to give any real guidance here. But isn't it amazing how a few short months and a single piece of information can completely change perspective. On Monday, I was the biggest cheerleader, sending out taper information, planning the weekend, and ensuring everyone was on track for the race. On Wednesday, I find myself saying that it's just a race and there will be more, next year.

Graphic Post

A great many triathletes love their data. They love statistics like heart rates, times, distances, elevation, power, etc ad nauseum. Like them, I also love to document my training. Let's face it, I'm a triathlete, an accountant, and a geek. Anyone who wants to compare data, I'm game.

But other than the occassional "I swam this many yards" or "I did this breakthrough workout," there aren't too many graphs, charts, profiles, or other training statistics on this site. In fact, most of what I do is by feeling, and the data I keep is for long term use. Basically, I like to track what I'm doing. In the short term, I really don't care all that much.

I do, however, have many of the toys and gadgets others use. I have a heart rate monitor and cycling computer. I time runs, including various lap points so I can gauge pace and average heart rates. I don't have a power meter, but will gladly succumb to peer pressure if anyone wants to make a donation to the cause. And I put all those little data points into a large variety of training documents.

This year, I returned to tracking run statistics, graphing pace to heart rate over known distances. Combined with a professional training program, an interesting result can now be seen. In February, I completed a 10-mile run at an average pace of 7:42/mile. My average heart rate for the run was 149 bpm. This morning, I completed a 9.1 mile run with a near identical average heart rate of 148 bpm. Average pace? 7:09/mile.

While the runs were different in nature, the data points are telling. Shaving 30 seconds per mile and having a slightly lower average heart rate is the kind of long term trend that motivates further training. And I believe that applies to most of what we track.

Whether it's weight, power on the bike, run/swim pace, or any of a wide variety of other factors, a good approach is to document daily and review infrequently. Today, three months after starting, was the first time I compared data. And the results were drastic and really made my day. If I had compared results every time I ran, the changes would have been less dramatic and actually quite boring.

If you are prone to collecting, reviewing, comparing, and obsessing over data on a regular basis, consider adjusting your focus. Let the graphs take care of themselves, and give yourself a three month reprieve. After that three month period, compare the start and end points and see what improvements have been made. You just might find yourself pleasantly surprised.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Why I Have a Coach

The conversation via e-mail went something like this:

Coach Mike: Let me know what races you plan on running, so they can be fit into your schedule.

Iron Pol: Sure, though I haven't signed up yet, my first triathlon is the High Cliff sprint triathlon. (Where Rural Girl, George Schweitzer, trimom, and gymgator will all be racing)

Coach Mike: You know, if you haven't signed up yet, you really should consider the half.

Iron Pol: Okay, I'll do that.

And here is how the conversation played itself out, in my head:

Coach Mike: Let me know what races you plan on running, so they can be fit into your schedule.

Iron Pol: Sure, though I haven't signed up yet, my first triathlon is the High Cliff sprint triathlon.
Coach Mike: You know, if you haven't signed up yet, you really should consider the half.

Iron Pol: Well, I my thinking was sprint, half IM, full IM, in a nice, controlled build.

Coach Mike: But a sprint distance race? You've had lots of training days longer than that, and we haven't even started IM training. It might be a bit short.

Iron Pol: Sure, but think of the great open water practice.

Coach Mike: If 440 yards is great open water practice, think how much better 2100 yards will be. If this were an Olympic distance, it might make sense. But a sprint? The half will tell us a lot more.

Iron Pol: Okay, I'll do that.

The nice thing is that the "in my head" part never really entered the picture. Mike gave his suggestion and I did what any apt pupil does. I listed to what was said, and barring a reasonable argument, I remained teachable. As I went through the discussion "in my head," I realized that the suggestion to do the half-IM distance just makes sense. That's why I have a coach. To make sense of the training, racing, training, racing mix. Left to my own devices, I've been known to do some fairly goofy things.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Something Stinks, Too!

In December, I violated another one of those unwritten rules of triathlon. I purchased a wetsuit, sight unseen and without trying it on, from an online store. I was, however, fairly confident about the purchase as I fell right in the middle of every size criteria listed on the sizing table. And given the sale price, it was tough to pass up.

When I received the new Orca Sonar wetsuit, I tried it on immediately. It fit just as I expected based on the comments provided by others. In other words, it took an incredible effort just to squeeze into the suit, and once zipped up, it felt like I was in a fairly solid bear hug. Once confident the fit was reasonable, the wetsuit went into the closet to wait for warmer days. Swimming in the lakes here in December require a chainsaw before anything else.

Today, the wetsuit came out of the closet. (For those of you thinking, "Wow, his wetsuit admitted it was gay," I already thought of that, and just couldn't think of a good way to add it to the post, so skipped it.) A beautiful day, I decided it was time to get the wetsuit into the water. I grabbed my gear and headed to High Cliff State Park, site of the High Cliff Triathlon in July. The first thing I noted when I got to the beach was the plague of lake flies. I had to keep a good grip on my gear, as the bugs kept trying to fly off with everything.

The second thing I noticed was the absolute lack of anyone in the water. It took little investigative work to figure out why. There seems to have been a horrible fish kill in the lake, this year. The shore is littered with dead fish. I wandered to several areas, hoping to find a clear spot, and had zero success. Both the sight and smell was enough to discourage anyone from entering the water.

I headed back to the car dejected. From frozen lake to disgusting lake. How's a guy supposed to get open water swimming in when the conditions are so brutal? Determined to try out the wetsuit, I left the state park considering other options. And luck was on my side when I discovered a park I hadn't known about while looking for somewhere with a beach. A park with a beach NOT plugged up with dead fish.

With only minor struggles, I got the wetsuit on and zipped up, relying on the belief that getting OUT would be easier. I waded into the swim area, and found that the only spot deep enough to actually swim was just OUTSIDE the swim area bouys. I figure they were about 70 yards apart and did 7 laps between bouys. I found the range of motion in the arms to be sufficient, and was't overly claustrophobic because of the suit. I like the added bouyancy, though the extra comfort doesn't completely balance the stress of open water swimming. The murky water, THAT does cause some claustrophobia. To put it in perspective, several times today I found myself hitting the bottom of the lake with my hands. Yet I never actually SAW the bottom. It's that murky.

Even if it doesn't completely counter open water concerns, I felt much better in the wetsuit than in just a swimsuit. I believe it will be a great benefit. It will also help me get more open water swimming done, and that will probably do a great deal to eliminate concerns about swimming in the lake.

Getting out of the wetsuit was easier than I thought it would. While it took some effort, I believe it will probably be worth it to wear it in any race with a swim greater than a quarter mile. I'll be closely looking at times for swims under 440 yards.

So, in the end, it's mixed reviews. Wetsuit, well worth the investment. Orca Sonar, a great wetsuit for the money. Wetsuits making open water swimming a "breeze," not so much. Swimming in Lake Winnebago, disgusting.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Something Stinks

Shortly after the Tour de France, news of Floyd Landis testing positive for performance enhancing drugs was leaked to the public. Landis has consistently maintained his innocence and continues to contest the results. Many, both cyclists and outsiders, have serious questions about both the validity of the tests and the objectivity of the testing groups.

Now, another frightening twist has developed. Landis is now reporting that the United States Anti-doping Agency offered him a deal if he would provide information about a certain 7-time winner of the Tour de France. If true, the offer is both despicable and in violation of USADA policy. While athletes may be told that cooperation in identifying others who violate doping rules, the mention of specific athletes by the USADA is prohibited.

The circumstances surrounding Landis' positive test are highly suspect. The damage the allegation has done to his reputation and career are obvious. If this latest accusation from Landis prove true, it will indicate the need for a house cleaning at the USADA.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Free Training

Training time is a limited and precious resource for triathletes. We all work hard to establish schedules, ensure they are sustainable, and then follow them with reasonable consistency. Discipline is one big key to success.

Flexibility and adaptation are also helpful when it comes to meeting the training demands we place upon ourselves. The ability to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together, and then start moving those pieces around while keeping the picture the same becomes a very useful skill. One way to efficiently complete training is to combine it with other tasks.

My training partner and I have one very effective means of doing just that. We bike to work when we can. For me, that ride is about 30 miles each way. With a bit of planning, I can fit 60 miles of training into my schedule, and save a lot of time in the process. It is something to consider if you find yourself trying to make too much training fit into too few hours.

The biggest benefit I gain from biking too and from work is time. On a normal day, it takes me roughly 45 minutes to drive to work. If I have a morning training, I have to complete the session, shower, get dressed, and make that drive. If I ride my bike to work, it takes about 90 minutes. However, 45 of that is pure savings, because I would have been driving that long, regardless. The same applies to the ride home. A total of three hours of biking is accomplished in essentially 90 minutes, because the other 90 minutes would have otherwise been wasted behind the wheel of a car.

Now, for those of you who feel there is also a financial savings because I saved some gas, let me slow you down, a bit. Let's say I get roughly 30 miles to the gallon. I would use two gallons of gas, round trip, or about $6.20 at current prices. While that money is definitely saved, we must then consider other fuel that WAS used. First, I went through four bottles of Gatorade. While I use powder mix, Gatorade costs about $1.25 a bottle if bought ready made. However, we look at it, I'm about $3.00 in for drinks. Two Gu gels at about $1 each. Extra snacks to the tune of about $1.50, which only begins to cover the calorie deficit from three hours of biking. All totaled, the cost of fueling my body easily exceeds the cost of gas for my vehicle.

In the end, two things motivate me to make these round trips on my bike. First, I can accomplish training in what is essentially "free" time. Second, I can complete some solid training with my co-worker/training partner. Those two things together make it worth the effort.

So, the next time you're struggling with how to fit all the training hours into the day, consider how you can make workouts part of your daily routine. It mixes things up, and might just save you some time, too.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Nut Hut

My wife occassionally talks about wanting to open a bar and grill type establishment to balance places like Hooters and Coyote Ugly. The target market would be female, and it would be called The Nut Hut. It takes little imagination to get a visual of the wait staff, and I questioned the feasibility of such a restaurant. It is, however, her dream, so I leave well enough alone.

Early in my triathlon journey, I was encouraged to use Total Immersion Swimming as a starting point for learning to actually swim. In the first few pages of that book, the author tells the reader to go out and purchase a Speedo type swimsuit. When I read that, my first thoughts were of The Nut Hut, and my immediate response was, "Not gonna happen. Ever." True to my statement, my swim attire has always been tri shorts. Specifically, four pair of tri shorts.

I buy them two at a time, and alternate suits with each swim. Regardless, chlorine is brutal on the fabric. And the areas most susceptible to wear are the areas that will lead to the most embarrassment if failure does occur. Rather than walk around with a hut that reveals more nut than is socially acceptable, I replace my tri shorts more frequently than I might like. At $30-40 a pop, it gets expensive.

Yesterday, I gave in to the (financial) pressure and went to the dark side. I am now proud (?) owner of a bikini style swimsuit. I will, however, conserve some small shred of my dignity by using a pair of nylon drag shorts. It's frightening how I jumped through so many hoops (too long a story) to get the swim trunks I swore I'd never wear just 12 short months ago.

But I was able to stick to my guns in one regard. I didn't buy a Speedo. I bought a Tyr. Either way, it's a nut hut.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sweet 16, Baby!

A quick check of the countdown clock shows just under 112 days. Sixteen weeks. In college basketball, that would be called The Sweet 16. And if Dick Vitale is saying it, it's "Sweet 16, baayyybeeeeeee!"

In this prospective Ironman, 16 is significant for a couple reasons. First and foremost, the official Ironman training program commences, today. Oddly, this first week is a bit of a step back. Last week, the final week of an 8-week bridge between a swim focus schedule and the IM schedule, was moderately tough. This week is much lighter, and actually includes two rest days.

Normally, I would automatically insert some type of workouts on my own. This week, I might just honor that second rest day and get some yard work completed and take a nap. After all, we have to honor the program, right?

Sixteen weeks from Iroman puts me two weeks out of the first race of the year. Thirteen days from today, I will be a running aid station for a co-worker in his first full marathon. It's taking the idea of being a sherpa to extremes. I'll be running with a full load of supplies on my Amphipod ready to address any issues my training partner might face.

After that, it's a 5-4-5 schedule between races. Five weeks after the marathon is my sprint triathlon. Four weeks later is the half-IM race. And five weeks after that is IM Louisville.

Viewed in days, my first attempt at IM seems ages away. Viewed in weeks, it's frighteningly closer. Viewed in terms of races and weeks, I may as well start packing, now! The sense of urgency raises the training bar just a notch higher.

Sweet 16. Sixteen weeks to prepare physically. Sixteen weeks to prepare mentally. Sixteen weeks of returning to the fire in the hopes of forging iron.

Friday, May 04, 2007


We spend a lot of time on our blogs discussing training, fears and concerns, and races. Sometimes, we offer glimpses of who we are to those who read.

And sometimes, people open a window directly into their lives.

Go here and read Comm's post. There's nothing I can post that will compare.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Zone 4

The optimum way to train on the bike is using a power meter. The fully sponsored members of Team raceAthlete ride the BMC TT02 equipped with the top-of-the-line Power Tap SL 2.4 from CycleOps. While the bike will certainly lead to improvements for many, the ability to train with a power meter is sure to have bigger benefits. Particularly for those previously training without that tool.

For those of us with budgets lacking a line for "Power Tap," other information must be used. In most cases, the alternative to power is heart rate. Early in my training program, coach Mike Ricci of D3 Multisports scheduled a time trial on the bike. This allows heart rate zones to be set for future training sessions.

It is amazing how quickly improvements can be made when paying attention to power, or at least proper heart rate zones. Using the results of that early time trial, I have worked hard to hit the zones scheduled in given workouts. After several months, the benefits are beginning to show.

Yesterday's bike workout called for 2 minute intervals in zone 4 (155-164 for me). In the past, zone 4 could easily be hit by maintaining 80-90 RPM using the big ring and 4th or 5th gear. That would have been high zone 4. Yesterday, I was nearly unable to hit zone 4. Using the big ring in 8th gear at 95-100 RPM, I could get there, only to fall below the 155 bpm point if I eased off at all.

Mike's response when I voiced my concern was, "Sounds like you need another time trial. Welcome to improved fitness."

That a new time trial would eventually become necessary was understood. That gains would be seen so quickly was a bit of a shock. I plan on performing that time trial as quickly as possible, and seeing if the progress can be sustained for another couple months.

If you are currently "winging it" with training, consider using at least heart rate zones for determining intensity. I spent a lot of time training on perceived effort. While useful in its own way, perceived effort pales in comparison to being able to see how your body is reacting.

And, sadly, this also leads me to wonder if perhaps there are even great gains to be made if I invest in a power meter.

Triathlon, she is a demanding mistress.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

One Third

With Ironman Louisville taking place on August 26th, it will be interesting to look at this year in thirds. January through April and May through August. Admittedly, August may be a bit of a wash between taper and post-IM downtime, but the periods work out well.

So, while I don't generally post specifics about training, here are the numbers from the first four months of 2007. One note, the roads have only recently become clear enough for biking (using Iron Pol standards). The bike mileage is deceptively low. There have been hours spent on the trainer, where mileage isn't documented.

The Swim

In mid-January, I began my 8-week swim focus aimed at improving my comfort in the water, as well as my ability to come out of the water fresh. Between January 1 and April 30, I completed 134,453 total yards swimming. Here are two bits of information to put that in perspective. First, that comes out to just over 76 miles. Second, it is only slightly longer than some of the longest single day swims completed by Martin Strel as he attempted to swim the length of the Amazon. In 2006, it was December before I had accumalated that much swim yardage. And true to Coach Mike's approach, my capabilities in the water are greatly improved.

The Bike

As mentioned above, using mileage alone is misleading when reviewing bike workouts. Through April, I have a grand total of 108 miles on the road. Brutal, especially if you consider most of it came in two rides. Put into proper perspective, my TIME in the saddle for the past four months totals 42 hours, 38 minutes. Using an average 17 mph, that's well over 700 miles. This will ramp up VERY quickly now that biking outside is a reality.

The Run

Admittedly my strong suit, running has taken a back seat to swimming and biking. Even so, I have logged about 40 miles more this year than the same period last year. With a total of 265.6, I am well on the way to a 1000 mile year. Like the swim, I have also seen significant gains in my run as I seek to break the 42 minute mark in the 10K. That is for purely self-gratifying reasons, as a sub-42 minute 10K will result in elite status for a local race. Just once, I'd like to start with the jack rabbits.

Now, it will be interesting to compare these statistics with the same information for the second four months of the year.