Monday, April 20, 2009

Weekend at Chuckie V's

A little late in posting this - work, school, training and other distractions have taken priority for the past week! Blasphemy - I know!

Two weekends ago, I headed up to Santa Ynez - current residence of the man himself. I took the day off of work Friday to sit in LA traffic, and get up there in time for a big training weekend. Driving through Santa Barbara made me realize just how beautiful it is up there, and after cresting over the mountain pass, I was greeted with views like these:

I literally had to pull over and get some of these shots. Amazing. After sitting in way too much traffic, I was so stoked to be up there!

Here's how it went down-

Saturday AM: Lactate Threshold Test

A little slow starting this morning after shooting the shit (ever wonder where the term really came from?) a little too late the night previous, we finally got in gear (literally and figuratively) to perform a lactate threshold test on the bike. CV mentioned he will use my LT data to set my zone's for the real RAAM training, which starts the day after wildflower - no rest for the weary! Here's how the test breaks down:
  • Setup everything on the computrainer, and warm up for a while
  • Set a gear (39/14), and speed (17mph)
  • Start out with a 100W of resistance.
  • Every 3 minutes - record HR, perceived effort, and prick Denner's finger for blood to truly measure lactate. Increase resistance by 25W, BUT KEEP 17MPH.
  • Repeat until failure
I don't have the raw data, but right around the 25oW mark is where I started laboring. I got about 1 minute into the 300W, and Coach mentioned that this would probably be the last one, and that I wouldn't finish it. "Screw that" says Daniel Son, and I pushed through the 300W, and made it 35 seconds into the 325W realm for an "all out max effort" with shouting from Chuckie! There were a bunch of surprising expletives from him, but I don't remember what they were because I, literally, was light headed, and had to hold onto the handlebars or else I would have fallen over. One of the few things I remember him saying is that I need to be doing track cycling or doing more crits! hhmmm....

He is still crunching the numbers, but LT is around the 170HR mark.

Saturday Afternoon - The Fig

I have been wanting to climb Figueroa Mountain (locally known as "The Fig") for some time. You could typically find the what used to be the discovery team riding this mountain for training, in what Lance describes his favorite place to train outside of Europe.

We made the trek (no pun intended!) over to the base in some gnarly headwinds, where en route, we saw Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. Not 10 seconds later after I was thinking of some jokes to crack, did we pass an elementary school not a quarter mile from the entrance. I seriously couldn't help myself.

Anyhow, we made our way over to the base, and I started the ascent. I would compare it to just as hard, if not harder than Palomar's South Grade (the shorter, steeper side) with almost the distance of Palomar's East Grade. Tack on the wind and LT test from earlier in the day, and I was pretty shelled by the time I made the ascent to 5,000+ above sea level.

Making the descent...

The funny part is it looks like I just cut me out of the first one, and put it in the second one. Its really funny if you look at them right after one another in a photo viewer program.

and enjoyed the tailwinds that let me ride 53x11 at 30mph on the way back to his casa!


The rest of the day was spent eating, and hanging out at Jesse's (one of his athlete's) place. This guy is going to kill it at WF this year!

Sunday AM - Track session

Again, a little slow getting the motor going.

We were originally going to do another run test at the track, similar to what I did a few weeks ago. However, my HRM battery didn't feel like working, so we were relegated to 3 miles @ steady state (hard), then 1 mile repeats @ 7 min, 6:40 and 6:00. Here is me barreling along:

I swear, he should take up sports photography in his spare time!

This is where having a coach, a coach that you can work with, and who can offer sage advice comes in very handy, even if we don't "work" together all that much. He mentioned that I need to work on landing more in a mid-foot strike, and that running at about 6:40 seems very natural to me (I would agree), but 6:00 is just too hard. Since my real "A" "race" of the season is RAAM, he is really making me a "cyclist who can run and swim a little" for Wildflower. He mentioned that if we put in the run volume as if I was just a triathlete for the season, this would totally be attainable.

Of course, as any endurance athletes wonders, we talked about where he could take me if I made an IM my "A" race 1 to 2 seasons down the line, and that if I really wanted Kona, he could get me there (a whole other topic). He was also quick to mention that I'd have to be able to do more than the measly 12 hours a week that I am squeezing out as it is! (There is a reason why he calls me "The Challenging Athlete")

Sunday Afternoon - Scenic Ride

Afterwards, we went on another ride (almost 3 hours), where I got to see why so many cyclists come to the area to train. It is absolutely INCREDIBLE up there (as if the pictures from before didn't already show that). The scenery, and especially, lack of traffic. Chuckie is kinda funny - he was complaining about the 7 or so cars we saw. 7. Seven. Siete. WTF. But, since it was easter weekend, apparently it was a "high traffic" weekend. Whatever dude!

Chuckie is definitely a cool dude - definitely one of the top 5 coolest people I have ever met. He is not rich by materialistic american standards, but rich in his knowledge and experience. It was pretty sweet to be able to talk with him about anything and everything, and this weekend confirmed every reason why I wanted him to be my coach this year. I mean really, who could prepare me better for doing Wildflower Long Course and RAAM than a former Ironman champ and Olympic cyclist?

So, it wasn't the monster volume weekend that I expected, but lots of quality stuff - in all senses of the word.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Testing Run, Two

I have done a few run tests over the past week, with varying levels of pain.

Run Test #1 - Aerobic Test

I dare you to count how many times...

The test was to run 7 miles while keeping my HR at 155 (my apx. Aerobic Threshold) around a track. This doesn't include the 2.5 miles of warm up (around a track), the 4 x 10 second sprints (ouch) after the warm up and test (around the track), and the half mile cool down (you guessed it, around the track). All told, it was 10.5 miles... around the track. Coincidentally (or not), I ran more miles on the track on this day than I have in the past year. Woof.

Here is the data...

Mile 1: 7:19; Avg HR 146 (not correct)
Mile 2: 7:12; Avg HR 153
Mile 3: 7:12; Avg HR 153
Mile 4: 7:23; Avg HR 155
Mile 5: 7:24; Avg HR 156
Mile 6: 7:21; Avg HR 156
Mile 7: 7:27; Avg HR 157

I don't have any prior data to compare to, but I am definitely seeing progression in my run this year. I definitely have a ways to go, but I am happy with the results I am seeing so far. The key thing I took away from this session was that I was relatively consistent.

Now, I am sure thinking something like "Dude, 10.5 miles around a track? That sounds mentally and physically painful and just downright boring. WTF does Chuckie have this guy doing?" Honestly, it wasn't that bad at all, and dare I say - quite enjoyable (in an enjoyable way that only an endurance athlete could understand).

In reality, I love running at the track. I like running hard and fast (relatively speaking, of course). I like the monotony of the track (wait, what?) because it puts me in a mindset that I need to be in when I race: focusing on myself, and getting to the next point. I don't know about you, but I get kinda anxious and think too much during the run, and I really need to break it down into little portions - kinda like buoys in the swim. Being on a track helps me break it down into small chunks - 400m at a time.

Run Test #2 - Anaerobic Run Test - Carlsbad 5000

This wasn't part of Coach's master plan, but I figured I'd do it as a "fun race" (actually, I did it b/c someone else paid for my registration!). It was kinda whack because my wave didn't start until 11:30am (WTF!), but that allowed me to sleep in a little on Sunday (and let me process some margaritas from the night previous!). At any rate, I forgot how much work a 5K is - my warm up was longer than the race! As with any 5K's, it hurt.

Here is the data...

Mile 1: Slower than 6:09; Avg HR: getting higher; bobbing and weaving between everyone
Mile 2: Who knows; Avg HR: ouch
Mile 3: faster than 6:09; Avg HR: let it fly!
Mile .1: ouch

I obviously didn't take HR and lap times because I don't believe in that stuff during races, but with a final time of 19:07 and pace of 6:09 - I'll take it!

After wards, I did an easy 5 hour spin (if such a thing exists!) and enjoyed the beautiful weather we had this weekend!

Huge Congrats to all those who raced (and crushed!) Oceanside this past weekend: Damian, Pomper, Tawnee (podiumed!), Kevin and JP (who, as if he wasn't fast enough, is getting faster).

On tap

Provided the weather holds true, I am going up to spend the weekend with the man himself and have him put me through the ringer. I have receive a preview of what is in store, and I already have visions of being thankful for cruise control since I don't anticipate having the strength to push the gas pedal Sunday afternoon...

Friday, April 03, 2009

Wildflower Recon Videos

Here are the course preview videos that I did up at Lake San Antonio this past weekend. The run preview has a few unscheduled interviews in passing some poor innocent souls. Hopefully you find them "sofaking entertaining", and get can get past a little dry wit :)

Intro & Bike Preview

Run Preview

Oh, and by the way, the band of the weekend goes to The Darkness. You might remember them from 2003, but these brit rockers with 80's hair in the wrong decade just rock. I dare you to watch the following 2 videos, and NOT get them stuck in your head (like what I have been dealing with for 5 days!)