Friday, March 27, 2009

Training Update

Three weeks down. That’s what it was to recover from my frustrating injury. Frankly, the time flew and I enjoyed having more time to relax and do other things. March 23rd was go time. First up was the swim. Fairchild’s pool was finally open. After absolutely no swimming for 92 days, I needed to get a baseline after my longest known layoff (excluding my shattered collar bone). For 500m, I managed 7:46.0. My goal was to go sub 8, so I was pleased that my form was able to carry me. I’m not going to lie. It was tough to go the distance. Had the pool not closed, my plan was to be a solid sub 6:30. Looks like I’m a little behind.

Next test was the bike. I went for a 12.21M TT. This is over triple the distance I’ll race for Uberman, but still an important test. Although biking is low impact, I’ve tried to take it easy to avoid aggravating my calf injury. Ironically, my pathetic biking schedule was the bulk of my training. With the Softride and training wheels, I rode in a wind storm. It was tough going to start. My pace was so slow I don’t want to list it here. On the other hand, if you are into math, you can figure it out knowing I averaged just under 27 MPH on the way back. The only thing I really liked about my pace was the cool numbers of 12.21M @ 21.12 MPH. I’m not sure how I’m going to ride 4 miles in 9:00.

Monday was an easy run of the Eastern State Hospital 3.42M loop that I ran at 5:32 pace on my birthday (November 20th). Tuesday I decided to test my fitness on the run like I did in the swim and bike the day before. Sure, a couple days rest would give a better number, but I won’t have that luxury in a triathlon. I ran the 3.42M hard. Although I was glad to be under 8:00 pace for the first time in weeks, I was only able to run 6:20 pace. I was winded and tired early in the run. That doesn’t bode well for the Lincoln Marathon on Bloomsday where I’ve planned on running sub 6.

So I’m clearly not where I’m supposed to be. I’m way off! Despite this mess I find myself in, I’m not going to throw in the towel. Measuring myself by the pace at which I compete is a poor measure. The effort I give is what really counts. It’s the only thing I can really control. It’s really all anyone can control. No matter how fast or how slow I am, I will never let anyone push harder than I do. From here on out, I’m going to try to be smart about it, but plan to put myself through hell in order to do some catching up. Clearly my service commitment limits my schedule, but I’ll do what I always do, which is to do the best I can. What I can’t make up for with fitness, equipment and plan, I’ll try to make up with guts. I’m not going to count myself out, but I’m not going to be placing bets either.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Stuff and Things

Well, it's been a while since I last posted. It's not as if I don't have anything going on, but I'm not exactly sporting the best sports story so far this year. Frankly, I'm having a really tough year. What is it they say about the best laid plans? Also, I normally put a lot of thought into my post so I'm not skipping randomly between one thing or another.
This is where Amanda lived for over 8 weeks. They never complained that the place was too messy or dirty.

My PR at Birch Bay could have been better if my legs didn't end up so sore that I got a little more pain than the marathon (which I skipped in favor of the 25K) would have provided. I hobbled around for a few days and headed to Texas to see Amanda graduate BMT (basic military training). She was the top graduate of all 803 airmen! It was really great to see her. Although I didn't need her to be gone for months to realize it, life goes so much more smoothly when complimented so well with another. For me, it's Amanda. All those things we do in life that take a little time or help are so much easier when done as a team. It's been a struggle for me to keep up with work, training, the house and a few other tasks I have chosen to push through.
The first flight marching through carries all the flags. It's pretty impressive looking. Next up is the band flight which is followed by all the other flights. There were 803 airmen in flights of around 50 to 60 airmen each. Amanda was #1 of all of them. It was fun to watch them march around the field. I wonder if that's how the battle formations looked back in some of our previous wars.

While in Texas, I ran a 5K that I found online before departing. It looked to be a really small race, but I signed up. It's difficult to get good training when traveling and away from home, so this would help out a little. It doesn't matter if there's no competition, there's something about strapping on a race number that gives me super powers. Well, it gives me something extra anyway. It's a lot easier to run a fast pace. This race didn't really turn out that way. I thought I'd just run away from the 20 or so other runners and win by a mile (figuratively speaking). Starting out, my legs felt heavy and slow. I wondered just how much a recovery week and traveling took out of me. At the first Garmin split of a half mile, I realized I wasn't doing all that bad. I was sitting around a 5:30 pace (not really sitting). I didn't care to look, but some dude was drafting me like a real champion. Although I would prefer to win, this was simply about getting a good run in, which I was doing. For 2.5 miles, I simply ran hard with this guy on my six (6:00 ... no I'm not a pilot in the Air Force). We were still holding 5:30s.
Amanda receiving her award from the commander and command chief. I was more than happy to be in the pic to celebrate the moment too. They also let me hand out the Fittest Airman award. Amanda was runner up for that, but it was still fun for her to have me be part of her ceremonies.

I didn't realize it until afterwards, but I thought I was at mile 2 when we were at mile 2.5 (I'm usually aware of exactly how far I have to go until the pain stops). The reason that's significant is because this guy surged past me. Cool! It was my turn to draft. I sat on his six (no he's not a pilot either) for about a half mile or just under. At that point, he put in a seriously hard surge. We started ascending this really steep, but short hill and I was still running 5:30 as I climbed this bugger, but he was pulling away. It was too rich for my blood with about a kilometer to go, so I let him go. After I crested the hill, I could see the finish line. He was seriously wanting this one and running like he stole it. There was too little time to light up the afterburners and run him down. I thought the course was about a half mile short until I looked at my watch afterwards. It was around 3.15 miles (can't remember right now). It was just a touch long! Had I known I was so close, I would have gone with him. In retrospect, I'm glad I didn't. At around the actual mile 2, my legs really started to get sore and the left calf muscle (aka bull) has been really angry with me since. My time was 17:17. I'm not sure what his was, but it was faster than that by a few seconds. It was a good run, but I'm paying the price for it now.
Amanda was in the band flight. She played the symbols. She's on the other side ... allegedly. I couldn't even spot my own wife. They all looked alike.

I'm two weeks into this injury and it's finally getting tolerable. This is the first time since shattering my collar bone and breaking some ribs that I've actually not been able to really train. I've been injured, but I was able to get through it being careful to not push too hard. Walking around with a limp is frustrating. I don't like to be injured and don't like a million people to see that I'm not invincible. In this two week period, I will have run about 30 miles at paces between 8 and 9:40. I don't recall when the last time I put in a couple of 15 mile weeks. On top of that, I have only been on the bike a couple times due to the injury and weather. If that weren't enough beating while I'm down, the pool at Fairchild is still closed. I haven't been swimming in 3 months! The winter is when I primarily focus on my swimming. Needless to say, being in the worst early bike shape in years, not being able to do more than fake my way through a run and not swimming isn't going to get me ready for this race season. To those of you out there who have wanted a piece of me, come and get it. There's nothing I can do to stop you. Unfortunately, I won't be able to do the St. Paddy's 5 in Spokane or 10K in Tri-Cities, so you'll have to wait for another day. Unless I can get in shape in a month, this won't exactly be my year of years that I've been hoping for. I've tried, but sometimes life happens in ways that I can't avoid, so I'll just go through it and see you on the other side.
Each year, the Air Force Athlete of the Year gets a gate named after him. It just happens to be at Lackland AFB, so we had to stop by and get our picture taken. Ironically, they named the gate after me before I was even in the military. They really have their stuff together ;0).