Monday, September 27, 2010

Mid-Stream Trainning

After a nice, but wet Thursday morning return to brick workouts, I decided to focus on going long over the weekend. I got up early Saturday morning for a 10 mile long run, followed by coaching "The Ducks" to another win in youth soccer. The practice on corner kick set ups and passing to the open player seems to be paying off.

Another long ride Sunday (58 miles) with buddy Tony. A little residual hamstring fatigue on the ride from Saturday's run, but after warming up, all felt good. Still acclimating to the longer stuff. A bit hard to maintain the pace on the return leg of the ride. I finished up with a 10K run this morning before work. With any luck, I will join buddy John for a swim workout in the pool this evening.

Other than that, it was watching football and following up on friend's results in their various races. Good results by Mandy Miller, winning the woman's overall sprint division of the Escape to Miami Triathlon. It looks like buddy Bob Becker had another tough year making the time cut off at the Spartathlon. I'm sure Bob will one day complete this monster of a race.

P.S. I realize this isn't the most interesting post, but it's what I had to work with. I don't know if it's just that I'm midstream in training for the end of October or I just have not got much interesting to write about.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Body Will Do Only What You Ask It to Do

The last week, I returned to cycling after a couple week's layoff. I ramped up for a 10 miler, then 12, and 13 miles during the week. I surprisingly felt sore after the first couple of rides. However, knowing I've got to ramp up for the Miami 70.3 at the end of October, I decided to go long Sunday. The long ride wasn't bad. Not knowing how long I was in condition to handle, I did a 45 mile out and back going north along A1a. I felt so good, I added another loop going south to make it 56 miles, the full HIM ride distance. It felt good to go long.

I slept well Sunday night and awoke feeling good and energetic. My leg muscles felt somewhat tighter and in place. It made me think about how our muscles react both to exercise and to extended periods of rest. When I go on an extended break from working out, after about 7 to 10 days, the leg muscles seem to relax and unwind. When returning to regular workouts it takes about a week before the leg muscles seem to adjust back to a tighter, more athletic compactness. It's like the body will do what is asked of it. If we're working out regularly, the body stays in the condition it need to be in to handle that load. When we don't ask it to handle regular physical activity, the body slowly goes to a more relaxed looser shape. I guess that's the concept of resistance training: stress the body in a workout, adapt in recovery. It just feels good to feel the body making the adaptation to a higher level of fitness. More energy, a firmer body. It's no wonder we love to train for and do triathlons and other endurance events. It feels so good to be able to go these distances. Maybe not during those last miles of a marathon or a full Ironman, but otherwise it sure feels good.

I do believe in training cycles. Over-training can run the body into the ground. However, it sure does feel good to have the body in that "ready to roll" athletic firmness. This morning, I returned to working out with weights at my trainer's gym. I can't wait for this weekend's long run. Be sure to keep asking your body to do more. It will only do what you ask of it to do.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ultra Marathons

While I'm still in recovery and out of the workout loop, I'm thought I'd write about something I have little business writing about: ultra marathons.

I have several friends who run ultra marathons. One of these friends, Bob Becker, is the race director for the Keys 100 Ultra Marathon, a 100 mile ultra marathon from Key Largo to Key West that takes place in May. The event also contains a 50 mile ultra from Marathon Key to Key West that I may attempt one of these years. I crewed for a 100 mile runner, Bill Andrews, this last year and found the experience interesting and rewarding.

Bob is an experienced ultra runner, having run Badwater, Marathon des Sables and many others. Later this month, Bob is going to Greece to give a second go at running the Spartathlon, a 153 mile race from Athens to Sparta, a run based on the theoretical route that Pheidippides ran in seeking the Spartan's assistance in the Athenian's battle against the Persian empire on the plane of Marathon. Bob tells me this is a very hard ultra marathon in that there are cut off times throughout the course. If you fail to get to a particular race station in sufficient time, your race is over. This will be Bob's second try at this event. This year is the 2,500 year anniversary of Pheidippides' run, so it has special meaning. The race is September 24-25. Don't you just love a race that lists multiple days for it's occurrence?

Another ultra runner friend, Mandy Miller, has started a website call Ultras 4 Mortals. The site is dedicated to all things ultra running. Like Bob, Mandy has an impressive resume in both ultra running and triathlons. If you are an ultra runner, or like me, interested in attempting an ultra one day, check out her website. As Mandy points out, while "ultra" means far beyond the norm, those that run ultras are normal runners that go the extra miles to do the extraordinary. There are already some interesting posts up on the website. Be sure to check it out.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

On the Sidelines

Three weeks ago, I returned from my summer vacation with what I thought was a head cold. It came with a nice case of laryngitis. When I got back in town, I went to see my doctor. As we are both of the philosophy of not abusing antibiotics, we decided to let my body fight what we thought was a virus. A week later and the things still around, so I'm put on 5 days of antibiotics. The next weekend I do a sprint triathlon. I get through the thing, but felt I was better prepared for a half-sprint triathlon. Each leg felt about half the distance too far. I knew I wasn't 100%, but we athletes hate being taken out of the game.

In all honesty, other than the two weeks of laryngitis, the symptoms haven't been that severe. Headache, sore throat, ear ache, and slight nasal congestion. The real problem is that I've felt sluggish and easily tired when attempting a swim or short ride. As I knew my doctor was going away for the weekend, I called him Thursday to let him know "the gunk" was still hanging around. We scheduled a follow up appointment for yesterday. Turns out, it's simply a stubborn sinus infection and I'm on another round of antibiotics.

I feel like a football player sidelined with an injury. I'm dying to get back in the game. We endurance athletes just don't transition well to a sedentary lifestyle. I want this thing over however, so I'll follow my doctor's orders to a tee. I'm told I can ride and swim. A side effect of the antibiotic I'm on can be Achilles tendinitis, so I'm not supposed to run at all. I'm hoping this downtime doesn't tube my Miami 70.3 for the end of October.

In the meantime, youth soccer season is upon us and I've once again volunteered to be one of the coaches for my son, Alex's team. We had our first practice last night, so I got to work the vocal cords a bit. Still a little rasp in the voice, but the kids look good. With all the kids having seen the World Cup games this summer, they seem extra eager to play. We had a great first scrimmage last night. So, although I'm temporarily stuck on the sidelines, at least I'm coaching.