Monthly Archives: March 2011

Thursday Brick

Today was my hard bike / easy run brick and the bike was tough. It’s 15 minutes of warming up, building the HR and then the start of some really difficult intervals.

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This is one of the workouts that is a lot easier to execute with the Computrainer I got this winter. This workout has intervals that start at certain wattage level and then decrease by 5 watts every minute. With the Computrainer I can set the exact wattages and then not have to worry about shifting any gears or making any other adjustments to get to the desired wattage. There is also no “cheating” or letting up, the wattage stays constant and if I can’t hold that number then I won’t be able to turn the pedals over.

I do have an older Computrainer that only changes watts in increments of 10 instead of 5 like the newer ones so my coach had to tweak the workout slightly. And like usual he gave me some feedback after I uploaded the workout file and we exchanged some emails to make sure the intensity was right given the changes. I think my reply was very funny…

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Oh, and then I still had a thirty minute run to do right after that.

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Spring Time

 Spring is back but you would never know it from the weather forecast

 

But for me the sign of spring and the start of triathlon season is the return of twice a week brick workouts as part of training. A brick is a bike followed immediately by a run with the idea being to simulate what you would be doing during a triathlon, and it has the added benefit of being able to get two workouts done in as short a time of possible. The weekly routine is usually Tuesday easy bike / hard run and Thursday hard bike / easy run.

Yesterday was an easy bike / hard run day. The bike is usually 20 minutes of warm-up and high cadence drills followed by 10 minutes of increasing the heart rate and then it’s time to go out and run.

 

The run is a warm-up of building heart rate followed by 4 intervals at a hard pace, with this weeks intervals being 8 minutes long and the time will increase over the coming weeks. The workout ended with the usual 4 x 30 second sprints.

 

I went back and looked at the first time I did this workout with my coach in July of last year and was happy to see that my bike watts have increased about 10-20 which is good considering it’s still early in the year and I haven’t been riding a lot yet. But I was even more excited to see that my run times have dropped ~ 25 sec per mile for each interval and I was running mid 6 min per mile pace.

2011 Georgia Half Marathon Race Report

1:29:15 115th overall

This was the 4th time I have done this race (2009 report here), with last year’s National Half Marathon being the only time I have missed the Georgia Half. This result was good for a 6 minute PR overall and a 10 minute PR for this course.

I stayed downtown near the start which made race morning a breeze. I took care of all my morning stuff at the hotel and walked the 1/2 mile to the start with 30 minutes till the start. I got in a warmup around the Georgia Dome to get the legs and heart pumping again.

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With my predicted time I was in the sub-seeded “B” corral towards the front so I didn’t have any trouble getting to the right spot with a couple minutes to spare. That’s a big deal because a race with more then 10,000 people can become very hectic when it gets close to start time.

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As for the race itself I had a plan from my coach which was based on heart rates instead of pace because the hills on this course make trying to maintain a consistent pace counterproductive.

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The start was a bit frustrating and more crowded then I would have expected, I got boxed in behind slower runners a few times and then was stuck behind a big group following the 1:30 pacer. But I guess it’s just another lesson learned to make sure I’m closer to the front.

The first 2.5 miles were suppose to be at a lower HR to ease into the race  and take advantage of the initial downhill section but I had lots of trouble with my HR monitor and was getting some bad readings. I spent some time messing around with the strap but backed off the pace a bit just make sure I didn’t go out too fast and sabotage the rest of the race. This is the section where I probably lost at least 30 seconds in my overall time because my perceived level of effort for this section was not very high.

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After the first 2.5 I bumped the HR up and got into a good rhythm by keeping the HR in check and not going to hard up the hills and then bombing down the hills. I got into a good flow and the miles just ticked away.  One interesting note is I finally figured out how to drink from the water cups at aid stations while still running which is something I’ve never been able to figure out until now.

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Atlanta was a lot hillier then I remembered it being. The hill out of Piedmont park was very tough and then running through tech was very hilly as well. There are hills in Maryland that I run so I wasn’t unprepared, but the difference is Maryland is more rolling hills on a gradual incline and things in Atlanta are usually shorter and steeper.

After the hill on Tech Parkway at about mile 11 I bumped the HR up again. This is where they played a mean trick with the race clocks (was probably a just a mistake and not intentional). I was only using HR on my watch as that was all my plan cared about so I wasn’t seeing my total time. When I came to the clock at mile 12 I saw 1:17:xx which mean if I ran a 7 minute mile I could break 1:25:00. The problem was I should have recalled that the mile 11 marker was 1:13:xx and I didn’t just run a 4 minute mile, but I will blame that lapse on being tired from the race and not wanting to do mental math. That meant the mile 12 was several minutes behind so I was very shocked and disappointed to see 1:29 on the clock as I entered the finish chute.

This is the table my coach made for me about how well I was able to execute my race plan and it looks really good. The only exception being .5-1 where I got caught up in the crowd and spent a lot of energy trying to pass people and find open road.

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With the half marathon done it’s time to recover for a couple days and then start the build up for the triathlon season. Eagleman is three months away and the first race of the year is less then one month away!

Some More cooking

After my bike ride Sunday morning I had some free time so I did some cooking. I decided to finally use an app on my iPad which has a good library of recipes and pictures of each step.

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I started by cooking a no-bake chocolate with walnuts and raisins in it. 

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I put everything together and let it chill for a couple of hours.

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I cooked up some pesto & parmesan crusted chicken.    

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I also made caprese with some fresh basil and mozzarella.

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I cooked up some pasta and put the rest of the pesto in it. And here is the final delicious result:

Main course

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And I topped the cake with some vanilla ice cream and piece of Hershey’s chocolate:

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And if you look closely you can see I  had a very appropriate fortune cookie message laying around from earlier this week, “A nice cake is waiting for you”.