Saturday, January 28, 2012

A new addition to the stable

Yep, I've done it, gone out and bought another bike. This was a bit of an impulse purchase, but when a good deal comes up, you just hope you have the cash to take advantage of it.

So, what did I buy? I bought a Tri bike. It's used, but it is in great condition and the frame is the right size. Bought it from a fellow Greenville Spinners Bike Club member. He posted it up on the club yahoo group last night, and as soon as I saw the frame size, I knew I needed to go look at it.

I first sat on it while on the trainer. As I'm not the most svelte guy, and the seller is, the handlebars are a little low. It was very obvious as I tried out the aero position on the trainer. He had it set up with carbon three spoke wheels so I rode it with those first.

A few things about the carbon wheels. He wanted an additional $200 for the carbons, they use tubular wheels, they were not quite true in the lateral direction (brakes felt a bit grabby) and a slight breeze nearly threw me off my line. I opted for the less expensive (and probably not as fast) spoked wheels.

As for the fit, and the bars, a flip of the stem will be tried first, but I may need to go for a new stem to get the bars up to the height I need.

So, what is this new ride? It's a Javelin Arcole. Here's a pretty detailed and complimentary write-up about it.

and here's some other photos posted by the guy I bought it from.

It looks great with only a few small scratches. The bars are nice aero bars (FSA Vision), the brake levers are like knife blades (also FSA Vision), the group is mostly Dura-Ace (standard crank, 11-23 cassette) with a Campy front derailler and brakes. One of the best parts, it comes with speedplay zero pedals which is exactly what I have on my road bike!

I need to work out some details of the fit, but overall, it should be easy to do. Mostly, I need to flip the stem (may have to buy a new one with a bigger angle) to raise the bars a little.

I'm looking forward to dialing in the fit and getting it out on the road.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Multi-sport training or social event?

So I've been 'following' a training plan for about 5 weeks now as I make my journey to the White Lake Half Ironman event in May. I put 'following' in quotes because I'm not as strict about following the plan as others might be. I'm trying to cover the distances specified, but I don't always do the drills specified or work out at the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) specified. Usually (except for the swim), I am going harder and longer than specified.

What's this going to mean come event day? I'm not sure. Some could say that I will be over-trained. Not sure what that really means if indeed I do complete the event and in a reasonable amount of time. Could it make the difference in hitting a goal time and missing it by 3 minutes (like the 2010 Assault on Mt Mitchell)? Perhaps, but I'm as much doing this event for the social interaction with my friends as I'm doing it to stay active and in shape.

So, what about the social interaction? There is a group of 17 of us that are planning to stay in a cabin in White Lake. It's one big Half Iron support group! It is really fun to be able to share the experience of training with these peeps. Despite the fact that we're not really spending all of our training time together. We occasionally get together for a run or a sufferfest session, but not necessarily even once a week.

What's cool is seeing their posts, tweets, texts and emails talking about what training they have done that day, or how that training is going. Of course, we're all responding to each others communications with words of support and advice when asked or appropriate. It brings a whole new perspective to what for me has been mostly an individual pursuit.

So, am I going to White Lake to participate in and challenge myself with a Half Ironman event, or am I going for the social event which is the White Lake Half Ironman? In all truthfulness, it is both. I'm looking forward to sharing the camaraderie in the hours leading up to the event, as well as the 'race recaps' following the race. And of course, in between all that there will be 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles of biking and 13.1 miles of running. Bring it on!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My first Half marathon - 1/7/12

I'm paying the price today for my efforts in yesterday's Half Marathon. Legs are really tight and sore. it was worth it though, finished up 6th out of 25 in my age group with a time of 1:44:10 (results here).

I've never run a half marathon before yesterday. Well, not an official timed event. Once upon a time, many years ago, I was training for a marathon and so I have run the half distance, but never for any kind of time. So, yesterday was the first.

I'm pretty good at recognizing my RPE level (Rate of Perceived Exertion), mostly because I have only recently started training with a heart rate monitor on my bicycle. Never have done that with running. So, I had set a goal in the days leading up to the half to finish in less than 2 hours. In fact, I had decided to shoot for a 9 min/mile average pace. That calculates to a finish time of just about 1h58m.

Having only run 5k and 8k races in the past several years, I know that I tend to go out faster in my first mile. Knowing this, I thought I'd do my best to control my effort and not do the first mile too quickly. I'm fully capable (in a 5k) of doing a sub 7 min for my first mile, and that is what I DID NOT want to start with for this half marathon.

I lined up with my peeps Bo, Robin and Scott somewhere in the middle of the pack. This was a good thing as there were some peeps who ran a pretty fast half marathon out in the front of that pack!

As I was running along, just finding a groove, Rob Dempsey (HIS radio DJ) ran up along side me and I chatted with him for a minute. His garmin (or whatever device he has) beeped, and I asked if that was mile 1. Yes, in fact it was and we had covered it in just under 8 minutes. Somehow I had missed the marker, and my Garmin forerunner is on the blink, so I was using my old fashioned Timex watch (with timer and lap counter).

As we ran along through the 2nd mile, we chatted a bit, but mostly I was listening to my body to see how it felt about the pace we were running. As we approached mile 2, I actually saw the marker and clicked off a lap on my Timex. Actually, lap 1 was 2 miles, and my time was marked at 16m07s. In the neighborhood of 8 min/mile now for two miles. I was feeling good, so I decided this was the pace I would continue until I felt I needed to settle down a little. Rob decided to slow his pace a little and we went our separate ways.

Up till mile 2, it was basically flat, and after mile 2, the course started some shallow rolling hills miles 3-5. At mile 3, my trusty Timex shows 24m10s and at mile 5 (missed mile 4) it shows 39m53s. That's a solid 8ish min/mile pace.

One of the great things about this course is the hills. While it is hilly, and some of the up-hills are pretty damn mean, it really means that you get both: up-hills and down-hills. Although you lose time slowing down on the uphills, you gain it right back when going down-hill. What I found was the downhills are not terribly steep, allowing you to open up your stride and carry some speed as gravity assists. This allows you to make up time from the ascent. This allowed me to maintain the 8ish min/mile pace.

The Mile 5 marker is right at the base of one of the steeper hills on the course. Was great to See Nikki and Cara near the top. After that hill, the rollers became a little deeper for miles 5.5 - 8(ish).

I missed the mile 6 marker, but my mile 7 time was 56m8s. Despite the rollers, and the hills between mile 5 and 7, I was able to maintain the 8(ish) min/mile pace that I had been carrying. I was pretty happy about that, and was still feeling pretty good at just past the half way point. The time was clicking by pretty fast I thought.

At mile 8, Timex shown 1h3m55s, and at mile 9 1h11m56s. Around mile 8 was a another steep hill, and right at the top was a water station. I grabbed a cup of water, and tried to drink some down. Unfortunately, I ended up with a bunch of air in my stomach. I was able to run through it (partially because of a long downhill immediately following the rest station). After a long gradual downhill, we turned into the Green Valley neighborhoods.

Near Mile 10, I saw a good friend who had volunteered for the race. Her job was to direct the runners on the course. Although I was feeling good, hearing her ring the cowbell and offer support meant a lot. I high-fived her and another friend who was there waiting for his wife and kept rolling along. At mile 10, I was still rocking the 8 min miles, my time was 1h19m56s.

I rolled through mile 11 at 1h27m48s. I was really pleased to see how well I was keeping to that 8 min/mile pace. I had thought by now I'd be dropping time, especially on the hills. They weren't bothering me that much by mile 11, although I was definitely feeling it by this time.

Just past mile 11, the course turns uphill until the last tenth of a mile. I had been passing people since Mile 5. No-one had passed me until I approached mile 11. This guy goes flying past me at a pretty good clip. He had to have started pretty slow. No matter, he passed and I decided it best to try to stick with the pace I'd been running. Although as the road turned up, I could see that I was catching some other people. Of course, this gave me motivation, and I tried to reel in whoever else I could see. That is, without significantly increasing my pace.

My pace did increase, although I missed the marker for mile 12 and there was no marker for mile 13. I did catch 3 other people in those last couple of miles. One was a younger kid who stopped to walk just past a refreshment station. It feels good when I pass people who are half my age!

There was one guy I was trying to catch, he must have sensed it because he never let up. For any increase in pace I may have had, he somehow knew, and matched it perfectly. I must have been about 50 meters behind this guy for the last mile. That distance never seemed to vary. I didn't have enough to sprint early enough to catch him, although even the sprint I did make as the course turned for a down-hill finish - he matched it and I gained no time on him.

I crossed the line at 1h44m10s. That calculates out to about a 7:57min/mile pace. I'm pretty happy about that, as I had initially thought I'd be lucky to hold a 9 min/mile pace.

Next race: The Winter Challenge!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Catching up

Wow, the holidays have come and gone so quickly! I can't believe I have to go back to work tomorrow. Well, it was nice to have some time off anyway.

Before this little break, I'd been doing pretty well posting up my food and my workouts. There is no way I'm going to be able to remember everything that's happened in the last couple of weeks, so I won't try to list all of that here.

My newest addition to my home is my new entertainment center. A 43" plasma TV is connected to an Apple TV box. While I'm not a guy who watches a lot of TV, the value of the apple TV is that I can stream the Sufferfest videos from my computer to the TV. Of course, the Apple TV does so much more, but that one feature right there made it worth the entrance fee.

I've already done one sufferfest session. My Neighbor came over last week and we did 'Angels'. This is a great workout which has three 8 minute climbs as the core workout.. The last one going up l'Alpe d'huez with footage from the 2010 Dauphine libere which was won by Alberto Contador.

Yesterday was a great ride here in Greenville County - the Final Fifty. This ride is put together by the local cycling club. We had a great group, and some incredible weather. Hard to believe it was the last day of December and the high was 60+ degrees!

Today was a recovery ride with some team-mates from the Spinners Racing team. Great ride, legs felt good, but I felt the need to give them a break after the final fifty ride.

I've been eating a lot over the last couple of weeks. Probably too much beer as well. Today I barely ate anything, yet I still feel stuffed. Looks like it's going to be a lot of veggies and fruits for a few days - try to detox a bit.

Today launches 2012. Some big goals for this year:
Resolution Run Half Marathon (Jan 7 - my first Half marathon)
Winter Challenge off-road triathlon (Feb)
Greenville Spring Series (road bike races - Feb / Mar)
Sprint Tri (Downtown Columbia - April - My first ever triathlon)
White Lake Half Ironman (May)
The Assault on Mt Mitchell (May - about 2 weeks after the half)

We'll have to see what else the year brings, that seems to fill the first half!

Good luck and best wishes for 2012!