Saturday, April 16, 2011

First outdoor ride and What gives BAA?

Well Thursday I had an odd day off as part of my quarterly schedule. This week I was off Thursday, working Friday and Saturday and then off Sunday to go back in on Monday. But my quirky hours aside Thursday proved to be a good day to be out of the office. There were clear skies, temperatures hovering around 70 and a bike with a brand new chain and cassette chilling in the garage, my plan for the day was clear. I was riding and it was not going to be a trainer session. I spent about 20 minutes in the morning digging the end of one of my draw strings out of the waist band of my tri shorts, then packed The Bitch Stomper into my Subaru and made the now much shorter ride from Waterbury out to Middlebury to do some loops of the Pat Griskus Tri course. While part of me wanted to be adventurous and go and do my 50 mile Quassy to Waramaug route, I hadn't ridden outdoors in nearly six months and after this years brutal winter the roads were going to be pitted and most likely sand covered, so I stuck to the easy 10 mile loop through some "gentle rolling hills" and farm land. The first mile I was greeted by something that seemed missing on the trainer: a crosswind while going down hill at 30 mph no less. For a second I had to relearn how to handle a bike, as I felt the rear wheel going a little sideways and my bike being pushed to the right, just tried to go with it pushing left just enough to keep the Stomper from going off the road. The roads weren't too bad, there were only two rough spots, the bottom of the "s" curve and the right hander on to Tomilson road still had some grit which required me to coast at a lower speed than normal, but for the most part things went pretty smooth. The sufferfest spin Dvd's really helped this winter in that I focused more on climbing with a strong cadence rather than mashing heavy gears and I noticed that I was able to hold a larger gear than last season on the final climb at mile nine and I didn't need to get out of the saddle. Overall my speed wasn't too far off from normal either I averaged 16.2 mph for 20 miles. Not bad for sitting on an exercise bike all winter. I decided that since it was a georgous day to tack on a nice 8 mile run as a brick. My legs felt a little heavy as I tackled the opening 8 miles of the Rev3 Half run course. By the time I hit the dirt road portion of White Deer Rocks my legs had found their stride granted they still felt a little tight. I know if I want to do Rev3 and if I want to do well I'm going to need to work on running after hard climbing rides. All in all the run didn't go to badly as I popped my usual day dream of one day winning Kona and amuzed myself with the idea of one day being able to race pro. Ok yes I know that reallistically that neither may never happen but if it gives me the strength to push a little harder on a long training run then damn it I'm not going to knock it. And my time for the run was 1:12, not Crowie killing fast but good for the first brick of the season. And speaking of running, the Boston Marathon is coming up on Monday. So good luck to Mary the Iron Matron in the Patriots' Day classsic, and while I'm on the note of the Boston Marathon, what gives with the new qualifying standard? I had been surfing the HEAT forum and heard that the Boston Athletic Association ( BAA) had just lowered the time standards for the 2013 running of the Boston Marathon and put in bonuses for faster runners in 2012 ( ie the faster you run the earlier you get to register.) I'm not really opposed to the fast kids getting to sign up first, that's fair because hey if you run a 2:12 marathon you should be running in Boston, but did they have to make the time standard for guys under 35 3:05, I mean 3:10 was just starting to seem within grasp. Hell my girlfriend's mom even works in Hopkinton and she lives like 2 seconds away so I will even have a place to crash when I eventually qualify. If my Kona dream fell through this year I would try making a good attempt at a Beantown slot at the Hartford Marathon, but now it seems like that I might have to start training with Ryan Hall to even have a prayer at running Boston before I turn 35, granted even 3:05 doesn't sound that bad, but that's still 16 minutes I have to drop from my current PR but now it has to be 3:05:00 or under you don't even get the 59 seconds you used to. I mean I know it's Boston and it's a big deal but come on BAA , I think us New Englanders should get a break, I mean it's not like we're in Kenya or Cali where we have beautiful 50+ degree weather and mountains to train in all winter to prep for our qualifier and then the race, I think a New England winter is worth an extra 5 minutes because otherwise all your going to have is a bunch of college track kids, Kenyans, Ethiopians, and dudes from Cali towing the line in Boston, and I mean come on the Californians have the Frisco, Big Sur and LA marathons let us have NYC and Boston...please, pretty please? Well that's my two cents, happy training all R.D.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

9 mile run of death and other training tales.

Well this week I've been able to get three back to back days of training so I'm starting to re-establish a pattern. Monday I went for a 9.45 mile run Tuesday some lifting and the sufferfest bike intervals and yesterday my first swim since Saturday, while it's not the ideal plan, I am coming back from a crash and burn week and some harder early season trianing than I've done in the past two years.

On Monday my 9 miler could be know as a run of death for two reasons, hills and traffic. Adjusting to life back in Waterbury has been a little bit of a change because for the past 5 years I've had established running routes out in Wolcott, 2 days a week do the 8 mile loop, on the long days I had a 12, 15, and 20+ mile loop set up. At my new place one of my dabblings has been to try to set up new routes that aren't going to get me killed by traffic or lead me into "da hood". While Bunker Hill is not "Da Hood" it does have traffic, dogs, uneven sidewalks, pot holes and some areas of questionable character. Likewise it has Hills and I don't mean the gentle rolling type. While Bunker Hill Ave. is a long gradual climb some of the surrounding side streets can have some nasty little or in some cases big climbs.

On Monday my goal was to run from my house to Holy Cross High School and run part of one of my old High School training loops before looping back home. Only problem with this was I would have to cross West Main Street/ Chase Parkway in Waterbury, which is a busy drag as it connects the West Side with Downtown and there are three highway exits within 2 miles of each other on this stretch. I started my run down Bunker Hill Ave which was pretty tame, there are plenty of sidewalks and crosswalks, as long as you paid attention to traffic you were fine. I cut up a Deleware Ave and another side road which took me up a pretty nasty hill, and left debating if leaving the fuel belt at home was a wise idea. i cut down a few more side streets and got a nice down hill run to West Main Street and as I saw the packs of cars lining up at one of the exits. Running at rush hour wasn't my most brilliant idea.

But being the type of adapter I am I decided I would run down Chase Parkway past the last I-84 exit, then shoot down Straits Turnpike into Watertown and go up the backside of Bunker Hill into Waterbury. The only problem Straits Turnpike is a major State Road, and after I had risked life and limb in a narrow shoulder on Chase Parkway, the one on Straits Turnpike wasn't much bigger. For a good two mile stretch I had cars whizzing by at 60mph ( afterall we all know that the speed limit of 45mph is the minimum right? yes I'm guilty of this too.) less than a foot away from me. I traversed the boondock section of Straits turnpike I kept trying to tell myself good things about this section is it was realatively flat and it was a residential as the minivans sored past, followed by a BMW, followed by some kid in a rice burner trying to set a state speed record. There were some moments my thoughts flashed back to one of my training partners, I'll just call him B. B had been a pretty decent runners in the 70's and 80's One night after a swim session I noticed and odd scar on his leg and the fact that he sort of limped. when I asked him about it he was like "yeah about ten- fifteen years ago a car hit me from behind when I was out on a training run, completely shattered my leg they had to put a steel rod in and when they went to remove it they would have had to rebrake the bone that grew around it so they just left it in." It was a sobering thought that wasn't helping as I was running with traffic, knowing at any moment I could be subject to "death by Honda" I mean come on if you have to die on a run it should be something bad ass like "I finished the Boston Marathon at 90 then had the BIG ONE" or "I ran out of fluids at Badwater" not "yeah some teeny bopper was looking for her Ke$hia CD and plowed her civic into me."

After about a couple of miles it turned into a commercial drag with Car Delaerships on either side, a few shopping plazas and sidewalks. Except for dodging the stop and shop rush, things went smoother from here, until I turned the corner to go up the Hill. The backside of Bunker Hill is a nice little climb and from Straits Turnpike to the Waterbury City line it's covered by sidewalk then back to dodging traffic for half a mile, then the nice little right hand turn at Our Lady of Loretto Church, and up the hill back home. seeing the outline of the hill was kinda intimidating but once you strat grinding it out it's not so bad. From here the run uneventful except for the fact I was thirsty as hell. Next time I do anything close to 10 miles I'm brinign the fuel belt. I managed to churn up the climbs at a pretty good rate, and finished my run in about 1:22. I don't think I'll be doing this loop again but it wasn't too bad of a workout.

The last two days I was indoors for bike training and the swim so I'm hoping to get out for my first outdoor ride today, at the very least I'll be running. Well that's it from me I'm burning daylight.

Happy Training