Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Another Breakthrough...

So I'm still sick and I decided not to train yesterday. I had a swim scheduled and figured there is no real benefit from swimming. It's not like I'm going to get faster. Aside from feeling sick I was still not near recovered from Monday's long run.

I can tell how recovered I am by how I walk downstairs in the morning. If I'm putting more weight on my arms that are holding on to the railings then I'm sore. If I use my legs and less arms I'm recovered enough. Yesterday morning I could barely walk down the stairs.

Before I shuffled down those stairs I weighed myself and it was the first day that I broke 200 lbs. I came in at 199.6 lbs. You have no idea how awesome it felt to see a 1 and a 9. One month ago I was 205.8 and now I'm down about 6 lbs. The heaviest I was was 6 weeks ago and I was 206.4lbs. My gut has definitely started to go down and now the scale is showing my weight is too.

Yesterday I spent a lot of time on my computer, much of it was researching Ironman training on low training hours. I found it very interesting.

If you googled Ironman training in the past you would always get schedules that called for 18 - 22 plus hours of training per week being required. Now I'm seeing people profess that on 6  - 10 hours a week you can have an awesome Ironman time. Not just gaining the fitness to finish, but getting the fitness to do well.

As I think about it it makes sense. The Ironman has now been around over 30 years. It's no longer daunting to many. People are so confident that can finish that they are now experimenting with training programs. One of the trends is less is more. Quality over quantity.

All my training years past and up until now has been what I would call old school. Lots of weekly mileage. The only thing I would say is new school is my last Ironman I trained only about 6 weeks and this one I'm training about 8 weeks. Most schedules call for a minimum of 12 weeks and up to 20 weeks.

Much of what I was reading was interesting. I remember one year I did 26 - 100 plus mile bike rides and 28 long runs between 2 -3 hours. All that in a 52 week period and lets not forget half my year is winter.

Some of the articles I was reading was talking about the toll all those long bike and runs take on the body and that they don't significantly make you faster than if you didn't put in that mileage.

One comment really resonated with me. It discussed that with a proper training program you should be seeing speed gains weekly if you are recovering correctly. The old school ways you didn't see those gains, you basically beat yourself up and then started your taper 3 weeks before the race and hoped your body would recover in so much as you would have your best performance.

This article referred to body builders in the gym that see gains from week to week after proper recovery. It very much made sense. It was also mentally comforting and lessened the guilt of me not training today under the model of recovery first.

There was also some interesting research that came out recently that talked about standing up and movement and that it is more important than we thought. Click here to read a recent article from Mark Allen about this concept.

One thing about reading all these articles about less is more in training is definitely helping me mentally in that I'm not overly concerned about not forcing myself to put in the 22 hour weeks and if not feeling guilty about it.

Today I woke up and walked down the stairs with less arms and more legs. Alice even noticed. First thing she said as she saw me walking down the stairs was that it looked like my legs weren't as sore. She was right. It was that noticeable.

My training session today was a speed bike ride. Last week I went as hard as I could on my 30.30 km loop and averaged 29.6 km. Two weeks earlier I did the same route and averaged 24.6 kph, it was pathetically slow. Today was my test to see if a days rest would give me a faster ride than last week.

I want to first off say that going fast from door to door is not easy. It's painful. Basically I do a time trial ride. The route I take is not flat and there is a good amount of hills. It's challenging.

At first I wasn't sure if I was going to go hard from the beginning or do a 10 minute warm up and go hard. I wasn't sure if I was going to go for the 30 km loop or stretch it out and do 50 km as hard as I could.

The first decision was made for me. My competitive juices started flowing and I went as hard as I could. Perhaps it was a little piss off id-ness as well. My speedometer wasn't working and I had to go into the house and get my garmin to use to keep track of my time.

Right off the bat my legs were pumped and burning. Then my first big challenge is the hill on Appleby line. It's a tough climb and I went as hard as I could and kept it in the big gear all the way up that hill. It's that last 100 yards that's the killer and even those last 20 yards. You so much want to just let up a bit before you crest at the top of the hill.

It's one of those moments of truth. It's one of those moments where it gages your level of mental strength. It's one of those moments that only happen in this type of circumstance and there is something primal about it. It's just you, the bike and the top of that hill and the question is if you have what it takes to stay in the hurt locker and not let the hill beat you. It's you against the hill and it's you against yourself mentally and physically. It's two enemies, yourself and the hill.

The good news is I didn't surrender. I kept going. When I hit the top of the hill I was doing nothing but gasping for air. I couldn't open my mouth any wider. I was forcing it to open as much as was humanly possible and trying to take in as much air as possible. My heart rate was up to 165 bpm. Which is basically my max.

I had about 30 seconds of near no pedalling and just sucking in air, then took a swig of my gatorade and started peddling as hard as I could again. Then it was a turn and into the wind. I kept glancing at my watch and say that for the most part I was typically around 29.5 kph and as low as 29.1 kph at the turn home which would put the wind now at my back. Yet there was a couple of hills and one long climb that could slow me.

In my mind I decided I was going to try and make up as much time as possible and try to average 30 kph or more. I really wanted to break the 30 kph average. If I did I knew that the rest was the right thing to do and that it is true you should be able to see incremental performance gains week to week if you do it right.

I pounded and before I knew it I was not just over 30 kph average I figured I had a good shot to get it up over 31 kph and that was my new goal. Turns out I did even better than that and ended up averaging 31.4 kph. FINALLY at respectable ride.

As you can tell I decided to keep it at a 30 km ride and not a 50 km ride. I figured I'd get the benefit from 30 and I really wanted to see how the exact same distance compared from week to week.

I've been spending a lot of time looking at my training schedule and deciding what adjustments to make. I've decided this week is going to be my last long ride and run. I'm not going to be afraid to beat myself up a bit. Then the following to weeks I'm going to reduce the hours and up the intensity. I think a 3 hour ride at a half Ironman race pace effort will be more beneficial than another long slow ride. Same with the run.

I'm still working it all through in my mind and based on how I intuitively feel at any specific day I will make adjustments. This is the art of Ironman training.

On one level I want to make sure I up the intensity and build strengthen my muscles and then on the other level I need to make sure I don't over do it and injure myself. There's really no time to recover from an injury. Then the third element it to make sure you don't crash on your bike or get in an accident.

The other thing I need to remember is to put my racing wheels back on my bike. I've been training on the stock rims and clinchers.

This afternoon I had some fun. I had to drive Reid's car to downtown Toronto to the garage that safetied it. This is turning into a real drama and it's not yet over.

The story is a couple of weeks ago Reid bought a car. An Acura 2001 car that has been modified to essentially be a track race car. He had a friend who is into cars and supposedly a good mechanic look at it and we bought it for $4000.

A week after we bought it the engine light went on and we took it to our mechanic. The guy is awesome and he went through the car and found so much wrong with it it was insane. To fix it all it would be around $4000. What he couldn't believe was the car was safetied. In Ontario you have to get a car safetied by a mechanic before it can be sold.

If the garage is negligent and safeties a car that shouldn't be they can get in big time trouble. Losing their license and getting a fine up to $20,000.

Rather than going to the garage and the hassle we put the car up as is. The minute you do that people think there is something wrong with the car and most definitely they will get it checked out and low ball the car or just walk away from any of the potential headaches.

I took it to another garage around the corner for a second opinion. They duplicated exactly what our mechanic said and there was some pretty basic stuff missed. Like bald tires, no high beam headlights, not to mention ball joints and tie rods, etc.

At this point I decided to call the owner of the Toronto garage. Nice enough guy. I told him what the other mechanics found and he was quite alarmed. He knew he could lose his license and be fined. He told me to bring it down and he'd look at it and fix it. He couldn't though remember doing the safety.

It's a hassle driving to Toronto, especially in the summer and construction traffic. It could be hell of stop and go freeway traffic. But I had no choice.

When I got to the place the owner was a young 24 year old. After he spoke to me he remembered the car and that he rebuilt the car for the previous owner Mo. Mo tried to sell it two months ago and the deal fell through and he bought the safety then.

About two months passed and after 30 days you need a new safety. The mechanic said that he did a safety and didn't date it and let Mo date it. He figured it would be less than 30 days after he gave it, not more than two months.

Now at this point the mechanic is totally in the wrong regardless. You can't do what he did. He should lose his license. I couldn't believe he was telling me this. I think it was because he didn't want me to think he ripped us off yet by him telling me this story he was self incriminating himself.

He went on to tell me he spoke to Mo and told Mo that he is going to have to pay for all the repairs required to bring it up to safety. I told him my plan is to get it safetied and then sell it and if he knew a buyer I'd sell it.

Shortly after I left I thought "why am I doing these guys any favours?" I call the mechanic back and told him to talk to Mo and tell him I want my $4000 back or I'm going to pursue him legally. Which also means that I'll be pursuing the mechanic and he could lose his license. The mechanic didn't seem to know what hit him. I told him what Mo did was fraudulent.

It will be interesting to see where this saga goes next. Hopefully they just come up with the $4000 and are done with it. If not I'll probably just call the ministry, report him and take them both to court. Poor Reid is just so pissed off at himself buying the car and doesn't want anything to do with a car at this point.

Speed Bike - 57:22 / 30.30 km

1 comment:

  1. nice on the ride!
    agree on 3hr ride reduce length increase intensity
    also on the reduced hrs IM train plan if you add strong diet strategy that prob goes a long way

    Homestretch ton IM!!