Monthly Archives: May 2008

Long rides and runs

Nice training weekend finally!  No rain, no obligations (other than the usual family fare), and time for distance.  Saturday morning I opted to go on the CRW Climb to the Foothills route, taking me toward the Wachusett Reservoir and Princeton, MA.  Lovely stuff.  The road still had many of the cue markers on it, so I only had to make a few map stops. The numbers: 71 miles in 4 hours, with 5000 ft of climbing total.  Managed to keep things nice and steady, getting in a long ride without killing myself with big efforts.  More time for that later.  For now, gotta get time on the bike. Next weekend the aim will be 5 hours in the saddle, and more climbing.  Not that I need THAT much climbing for IMLP.  The bike course “only” has around 1700 ft of climbing each of the two laps.  But, climbing does the soul good.

Riding solo for four hours wasn’t that bad either.  Ipod in the right ear, and away you go.  Hopefully some company for next weekend as I head toward Mt. Wachusett to get some more climbing in.

Sunday was time for an “easy” 14 mile run.  No ill effects on the legs.  Was able to fall into around 7:10/mile fairly quickly, and we kept up that pace and actually was hitting closer to 7:00/mile for some of it.  Very conversational.  Legs felt fine as well, which was surprising seeing as it was my long ride of the year the day before.

Today, out to Walden Pond for 1 hour swim and a short jog afterward.  First Walden swim of the year!  Brrrr.

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Lake Sunapee and weekend festivities

As with last week’s Sterling race, this was going to be my longest ride of the year thus far. Only really been riding the last couple of weeks (since Boston). I was hoping to be in a position to give it a go at the end, but really needed to get a workout.

Everyone says the course “rolls”. Liars! There are some pretty good climbs (some long and some steep). There is never any flat. You’re either up or down. Overall it is a really good course. The roads aren’t bad. And it is long enough to make the 90 minute drive up worthwhile. I’m surprised that more people don’t go up and do it.

I tried to stay toward the front for the whole race to stay out of trouble. Although the Cat 5 35+ race was pretty good in terms of people’s skills. I think there are a lot of guys who ride their bikes a ton, but don’t race enough to upgrade (sounds familiar). The other thing is a lot of these guys have jobs, and have money to buy nice bikes. Bastards. Things were pretty tame the first lap, with some moderate accelerations and turn taking at the front. No real “attacks.”

At the end of the first lap, a guy from one team went off the front and got a pretty good lead. I worked hard with a few (too few) other guys to pull him back. He was in sight, maybe 30 seconds down the road. But, the “pack” was sitting on their collective asses. By this point, the length of the race was starting to be felt. The long climb on the course was getting to me, and I lost a guy that I think went on to win. But, I was able to stay in the second group.

That was until the really steep climb on the back part of the course. There I just popped and lost that group as it splintered. Then, I hulked up and began to chase like crazy to get back to them. There were a few other guys that were dropped as well, but the chase was not that well organized. The little help was very welcome. As we drove like mad, we began closing on them . Finally, at the ROTARY, I caught them, just long enough to catch my breath for the last finishing climb. Of course, I was finished as well, but was able to pass a few people. I finished 9th in the field on pure GUTS!!. But, the most important thing, the numbers, were very good:

Distance: 44.3 miles
Time: 2:03:25
Avg Speed: 21.5 mph
Avg HR: 148 bpm
Time in Zone 4: 1:17:37 (yes, over 1 hour in Zone 4!)

Then went out and did 3 hours on Sunday. Ouch. Looking forward to Cyclonauts

Sterling RR and Training Weekend

Finally a weekend at home, and finally a chance to get some decent training in.

The first stop was the Sterling Road Race, put on by our fabulous Minuteman Road Club.  Pretty tough circuit course, with a 8 mile lap and some steep climbs.  Being the perpetual Cat 5 that I am, I lined up in the Cat 4/5 35+ and had a go at it.  Primary goal: ride hard.  Secondary goal: stay off the deck. The great thing about being at the front the entire race is that you get to do a hard training ride with police escort.  So, I stayed at the front the entire 25 mile race, including the neutral start.  Didn’t care much about finishing position (although doing well is always a bonus).  Given the lack of riding I’ve had this spring, I expected nothing spectacular.

Overall, mission accomplished.  Drilled at the front a lot, finished 21st (or something), and had fun.  Most important number of the day is 41 minutes in Zone 4 for my heart rate.  Pure gold.  Average speed was 22.4 mph.  Probably did a total of 40 miles for the day.  Not bad given I’ve done zilch for the most part of late.  This might actually qualify as my longest ride of the year thus far!

Onto Sunday, time for a medium-long brick.  On the bike at 5:45am for a two hour easy ride through the flatlands of Sudbury, Lincoln, Concord, Acton, and Stow.  Road super easy at 17 mph just enjoying my Ipod and the scenery.  Hardly any cars out and lots of sunshine.  Too bad it was around 40F at the start.

Then, off the bike for an 8 mile run.  I haven’t done many bricks, but this went pretty smooth.  Did the 8.17 loop in 6:57/mile pace.  First mile was 7:30, and they went down from there.  Wasn’t working very hard, and the pace felt very comfortable.  Spent most of the second half of the run around 6:40s.  Nice.  Feels good given I have a 1/2 Ironman looming in about three weeks or so.

Now, keep the momentum going this week and try to string a strong week together.

The First Day of the Rest of Your (Training) Life

Routine is the life’s blood for athletes. It is in routine that we find predictability of training schedules, assuredness of training time, and comfort in knowing what will happen the next day.  This makes athletes intensely boring individuals. But, without routine, training gets thrown into disarray and moods go foul.

After the Boston Marathon, I was treated to a trip to Long Beach, followed by a trip to Atlanta. Not good for training, but moderately good for recovery.  Problem is, with IMLP looming, time off is not a thing that I need.  Long Beach provided the opportunity for some short runs on the beach, followed by a two hour excursion into the bowels of Orange County and the Pacific Coast Highway. Lots o’ traffic and heat.  Jet lag later, I was off to Atlanta for two days, where I managed one run at 5:30am for 6 miles.  Good trips work-wise; lousy trips training-wise as it meant some time away from the bike and swim.

Returning home Saturday night at 9:30pm, I was primed to go to the Blue Hills for Sunday’s race. But, the writing was on the wall.  Hadn’t seen my family much in 10 days, tired from work and travel, and rain combined to completely deplete any chance for racing.  Slept in, and caught a 8 mile run later in the day (in sub 7:00/mile pace at least).

Good news: no more travel planned.  School is done.  I still have a million things to do research-wise, but at least I have some flexibility in my schedule.  And some blessed routine.  Time to get the ball rolling and start over once again.  No longer a runner, I now have to become a triathlete again. New beginnings, new potential, and new possibilities.  Must be Spring.