Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rehab Update: Attitude Management

I've had the distinct pleasure of being able to start running again in a real way recently, and this is a good thing.  But since November 26, workouts have been, to mangle a cheater's quote, all about the bike.  I was back on the stationary bike within two weeks post fracture, and back on the real bike at about seven weeks.  Since then, bike power numbers have not just recovered, but improved noticeably, mostly because I've done little else but ride.  I'm hitting historical tempo level wattage in Zone 2, and threshold wattage with a tempo HR.  With swim continuing to be solid, it was easy to even imagine that my tri ability as a whole was getting better. . .

. . .until I started running.  Despite feeling as if my bike and swim fitness is pretty advanced, run fitness just isn't.  When running, I've gotten to the point that I'm moving pretty smoothly, but speed just isn't there.  What feels like a 7 minute mile is more like 7 miles per hour.  The recovery from a 45 minute to 1 hour "easy" run feels like what it should have been after a 10K.  And most vexing of all, probably 50% of the apparent wattage improvement on the bike appears to have gotten lost in sore running legs.

Somehow, I find this surprising, when by any rational standard, it shouldn't be.

I'm impatient to be further along than I am.  The hazard of this, clearly, is running myself into injury.  I find myself reeling in my unreasonable expectations, talking myself down from unreasonable disappointment, and trying to put it all in perspective.

So here goes:

--An athletic year in the life of a 45 year-old following a hip fracture is most reasonably devoted to rehab, not PRs.  But perceived improvement, particularly in something so reproducible and constant as bike power, has tempted me to think otherwise.  There I go again. . .

--And where am I relative to expectations? A couple months ago, I wasn't even going to bring my running shoes to 70.3 St. George.  And now, there's a decent chance I'll do the whole 13.1.  Perspective is the key to happiness.  Expectations are its enemy.

--First and foremost, triathlon--meaning all three disciplines--is an event unto itself, and all disciplines are interrelated.  It's a bit delusional to think that I'd improved AS A TRIATHETE merely by upping bike power, when I couldn't even run.  Even though bike numbers have taken it in the shorts of late, collective multisport fitness has come along dramatically by merely being able to run.

--Oh yeah, and am I remembering to have fun, and appreciate what I have, instead of dwelling on what isn't?

An answer, in the form of tonight's runset:


Sunday, March 17, 2013

More LV: Red Rocks Loop And Surrounding Roads

Some days I roll out of bed earlier than I'd like, get my dragging butt on the bike with a slightly dragging rear brake along with dragging Gatorskin tires, Mr. Tuffy liners, and thick, puncture-proof tubes that are both highly resistant to flats and to speed, . . .but then have an amazing ride anyway.  Including this three hour ride, I've put in 11 hours of Ass-In-Saddle Time this week.  This is far and away more than I've done since busting my hip, and I'm pretty dang stoked about that.  Just 'cuz I like data, here's the Trainingpeaks chart:

Power and speed unimpressive but steady. No surprises there.

Data is fun, but beside the point.  The Red Rocks Loop, west of LV, was a beautiful ride, with many riders to spur one on.  The loop proper is in the upper left corner of the photo:

Start/Ending point was the Red Rocks Casino

I started the ride out by headlamp at oh-dark-hundred in order to get back to the conference in a timely fashion, as there were things actually worth attending this AM.   This allowed me to be there, iPhone in hand, for the dawn:

 The Red Rocks loop itself was beautiful.  The first four or so miles were uphill at a 5% grade, and was somewhat deceptively steep.  Numerous roadies were there burning up the hill, making me wish that I'd had a bit of leftover leg strength to try to outrace them. 

 The local tortoises were too smart to be out on the road, particularly the downhill.  I topped 40 MPH without pedaling, and could've likely hit 50 if I'd been feeling bold.

On the way back to the hotel, I got passed by a roadie.   Initially I raced him, but then decided to practice not getting hooked into racing people who are outpacing me, as I am wont to do in triathlon.  With a twinge of regret, I let him go.  He started easing up, and slowly the gap closed.  I stopped 8 or so meters off his rear wheel and worked on "not drafting" per triathlon rules.  It sure was notably easier to pedal when I was "not drafting" this close to someone.

After a solid finish, I freshened up and headed down for some education and socialization.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Lake Mead Ride

View from the turnaround on today's Lake Mead ride.  Made with the iPhone "Photosynth" pano app (free).  Ride was 3 hrs of tempo w/some intervals.  Legs still sore from playing on Mt. Lemmon, but I got into it.  I'm pretty sure the "NS" on the mile marker stands for "NO SMOKING." Or maybe North Shore.  Naah.

It was a little cloudy, which washed out the orange colors on the rocks some.  But it also kept the temp down to mid 70s instead of the predicted 90 degrees.  Orange rocks, dark blue water are beautiful.  When vivid, orange and blue create maximum color contrast, as they're on opposite sides of the color wheel.

I cowboyed up and ran for 40 min (walk/run) after, even though I was hungry as a bear.  Odds are I will be hungry after the bike leg next time I do an Ironman.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Avalanche Training

This weekend, we went to Flagstaff, AZ to do Avalanche Safety training, in the hope of being able to both Backcountry Ski more and survive.  We were out for 3 days in beautiful, warm weather (40F in the day), digging holes in the ground, learning to analyze the snowpack, and skiing around the backcountry having a good ol' time.  Our younger 2 came and did ski lessons all day.  The oldest stayed back in Tucson with a friend so she wouldn't miss basketball.

I brought my tri bike with the intention of riding at altitude (Flagstaff is 7000'; Tucson is a mere 2800').  But I opted to catch up on a major sleep debt that started with our drive back from vacation last week, and included 2 overnight calls in the hospital this week.  The recently snowed-upon roads were pretty manky and dirty anyway.

Given work and kid schedule, this was definitely my last ski trip.  I think it's good for my longevity in Tri/IM to have other activities, but now the SBR begins in earnest!


We (4 of the participants) rescued 4 dummies buried on a steep run using transcievers, poles, and shovels, in less than 30 min.

In the parking lot at Arizona Snowbowl! 

Gotta love truth in Advertising! Karen contemplates the merch.