2017 Goals – Part 1

I’ve been putting off this post for some time now. It was coming, but I don’t think I have a strong enough handle on my current fitness to set goals. So this post is aptly named “Part 1” – I am going to muse about what my goals might be… because that’s helpful…..

I do a lot of indoor cycling, which makes it difficult to estimate time on the bike course. The trainer I have works well enough but because the power curve on the trainer is not realistic, all speed measured – even on the hub of the rear wheel – is inaccurate. The trainer actually makes me appear slower than I am by quite a bit. As well, it’s a fluid trainer with rear wheel resistance, so the turnover at the top of the pedal stroke is very far from realistic – it’s like pulling the crank through the mud between 11 and 1 o’clock. So I won’t have a strong handle on how I am performing until the weather is nicer and I’m biking outside again. That being said, I’m hitting power records all over the place and training at a higher quality and frequency than ever before. I’m set to increase my FTP by ~3 watts today (conservative increase) – setting 60 minute (by 5 watts), 90 minute (by 5 watts), and 2 hour (by 13 watts) power records yesterday in the same workout – which brings me a bit closer to my “not a real goal” pre-season goal FTP of 3w/kg. How that translates to speed, well that’s still not entirely clear. I’ll know more in a few weeks.

My running volume is increasing, but also not enough to estimate pacing. I am going to be trying a lot of different run training techniques this year than I have in the past. To be clear, what that means is basically I’m going to try to do “proper” run training, instead of just lots of long runs in the aerobic zone. I have no idea how my body will respond to this kind of activity. Hopefully good. I’d really like to hit 5 min/km in races this year. Sub-5 seems plausible, but I’ll stick with 5 for now.

For the swim, I want to do 2km in a race on a 1:35/100m pace. That’d put me across the line in 31:40. I’m fairly sure that if I can get my volume up a bit more I can hit 1:30/100m pace, 30:00 over 2km.

In terms of events, I have two booked and ready to go. I’ll be at IM Muskoka 70.3 in Huntsville on July 9, and on September 17 I’ll be in Welland/Niagara Falls for the MSC/Rev3 Barrelman. In addition, I’m trying to figure out if I can make the MSC Rose City long course work for June 26. Logistical issues, not fitness, are getting in the way of that one for now. Leaning towards yes, but some hurdles to climb.

And late in the season there are a few full-distance races that may be interesting, though I’m fairly sure I’ll be done at Welland this year. IM Louisville (October 15) or IM Florida (November 4) are appealing. Louisville more than Florida, but the extra three weeks between those events could be really helpful. The problem is that Florida will sell out just about any day now, and I’m not in a position where I’m ready to commit to it yet. Florida looks like an easier course, more friendly to first-timers, warmer, and more in line with my potential timing, coming off Barrelman in September. It’s also farther away and more expensive. Louisville is half the distance away – driveable in a day – and cheaper. But comes with a more difficult course and three weeks earlier. Decisions are hard.

So.. I guess in summary.. (?)

  1. 3w/kg FTP
  2. 5 min/km run pace in races
  3. 1:35 min/100m swim pace in races

Seems like a weak list. Yep, I’ll come back with “Part 2” in a few weeks.

The World’s Greatest Recovery Sandwich

Recovery drinks are overrated (joke). I’m focusing my science brain on recovery sandwiches. And why not? It’s true what they say – There’s nothing like the love between a man and his sandwich.

I’ve “invented” the worlds best. I’m claiming it now, and I’m not even going to bother Googling to see if it is a real thing somewhere else. It’s mine. And here it is:

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Ohhh yeahhhh

Here’s what’s in it:

Whole grain bread with Margarine
1 full can of tuna
Pickled Banana Peppers
Light Marble Cheese
Light Mayo
Habanero Aioli

Pretty simple to make:

Preheat a pan (yes, it’s grilled)
Butter/margarine up that bread
In bowl, mix rest of ingredients. Be sure to cut cheese into small bits, or just grate it
Put a slice of bread in the pan butter side down, and scoop mix from bowl to bread
Put other slice of bread butter side up on top, obviously

The hotter it gets, the more likely the cheese will melt. And trust me, you want that cheese to melt. Don’t burn it (duh) but let it grill nice.

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Eat while hot with a nice glass of skim milk, or three if you’re like me.

And there it is. The World’s Greatest Recovery Sandwich. You’re welcome.

I was going to write this yesterday, but then I fell asleep

Sleep is so wonderful. The last few weeks I’ve been up early for workouts, and I guess I’m still adjusting to this. In the past I’ve never really done morning workouts, with the exception of swimming. I was stupid for not. They’re awesome. And exhausting.

On Tuesday of this week I was so wiped I decided that I need to give myself a chance to recuperate a bit. So I’m off work today & tomorrow, making this a four day sleep filled weekend. I have two goals: do my workouts, and sleep as much as I can. That means naps, and sleeping in, and going to bed on time. My job for four days is to sleep.

Damn I lead a hard life.

In seriousness, I’m a big fan of sleep. I’m not one that can function on less than 7 hours, and usually if I know I need to have a high-productivity day, I plan for 8 or more. Part of this I think is because I have trouble staying asleep, but really it probably has more to do with genetics than anything. Some people need sleep. Others don’t. Luck of the draw.

But more sleep is actually ok with me. In this crazy sport, sleep is essential. The human body releases elevated levels of HGH while sleeping, and that coupled with a proper diet and not moving for 8 hours, a lot of muscle damage can be significantly recovered in just a single night’s sleep. That’s what I’m going for.

Late last year when trying to plan out my 2017 season, I came across mention of tart cherry juice as being something that can aid sleep. Science reasons, I guess, but I was not able to find anyone that would suggest it was in any way bad or dangerous. So I found that our local Sobey’s carries some and started drinking a single serving before bed. I’m now an official believer in the stuff, and groan and drag ass out of bed when I get up there and realize I haven’t taken it that night. For me it works so well that I can actually function on 7 hours of sleep quite well. In brief, it helps me stay asleep for a full night. Uninterrupted REM sleep is amazing when you’re not used to having it. Placebo effect? Honestly, who cares? If it’s placebo, I’m still sleeping like a baby. If it’s real, I’m still sleeping like a baby.

So it’s a bit after 9:30. I’ve been up since about 8:30 or so – an extra three hours sleep this morning! I’ve got some work to do today with a 90 minute ride and a dip in the pool. But I’ve got all day.. so maybe a nap first…..

If I didn’t feel so good, I’d feel so bad.

Or is it the other way around?

I had such a hard time keeping my eyes open at work today. Just exhausted. In my non-triathlon life, one of my dogs has decided she likes peeing inside, despite being housebroken for years. She’s 4. This is new. And only happens in the middle of the night.

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Scout (aka the Pee Pee Princess) and Loki

To make a long story short, my wife and I have found out she doesn’t pee in our bedroom. Normally we sleep with the door open and the dogs come and go as they please through the night. She pees is the living room only. So if we close the door with her in the room at night, she doesn’t pee. Easy enough.

Last night she woke me up to take her outside. This is the first time she’s ever done this, so a bit of a win. Anyhow, normally that alone wouldn’t disrupt my sleep enough to be a problem but for whatever reason, I was just wrecked at work today. Even dipped into the secret stash of Coca-Cola at work, to no avail. Came home and flopped on the couch for a snooze.

Cut to 20 minutes later, I got on my bike for tonight’s ride. Antelope +1 on TrainerRoad. I was sure it was going to go horribly, but it actually went great. I was surprised at how well it went. No record breaking tonight but I felt strong and solid for the entire ride. So, if I didn’t feel so crappy today, I’d feel great now.

And now, to sleep.

My Love-Hate With the Local Bike Shop

Last week I noticed that my bottom bracket was having some mild grinding. No audible sound was coming, but it was definitely grinding on the down-stroke. I ride a 2016 Cervelo P3 which is fitted with a press fit BBRight bracket. And I’m completely incapable of performing this specific piece of maintenance.

Thursday before hitting the pool I went down to my local bike shop to ask some questions about it. The guys in there are usually pretty nice, but having not brought my bike with me (intentionally) there was only so much I could do. I knew that the grinding was a minor issue and that I still had three more days to ride before I had a day off the bike (the day off was Monday – today). So I asked about when to bring it in, about how long it would take, that kind of thing. They said bring it in first thing Monday – great.

Now I’ll mention that while I have no affiliation with the shop, they tend to be on the awesome side of things most of the time. A bit of a gruff exterior, but willing to bend pricing reasonably, easy to contact, and very convenient to my office. I bought my Cervelo from them as well as a variety of other items, and all with great experiences.

I should also mention that the city I live in is not small, but its not huge either. There are a handful of bike shops, but only one Cervelo dealer. So if I want an “official” mechanic, they’re my guys.

I arrived promptly at 9 am with my bike – so prompt in fact that the store wasn’t yet open. Sorry guys. I hate being that guy but I start work at 8 and had to leave to drop it for 9. Speaking to the staff it sounded like it would be towards the end of the week before I had the bike back. I had factored into my training plan to not have a bike from Monday until end of day Tuesday, and if I was able to swing that I’d not have to sacrifice a workout. But end of the week meant I’d have to change everything. I plan my upcoming weeks on Sunday nights, right around the time I have been posting my weekly workout logs.

Ok, well, I hummed for a second and decided it needed the work and I’d better just deal with it. It’s Base 1 Week 2. Loads of time to make up a day or two lost. Not the end of the world since my Form score is huge right now also. Etc.

Then I got to thinking “why don’t they accept service appointments?” It seems like a pretty trivial thing, especially for people that ride frequently. If I had an appointment, I could schedule around it. I’d absolutely be willing to pay more for that kind of thing. Then I remembered Velofix.

This is a relatively new service to our area, and I’ve yet to try it out, but the short version is they have a Sprinter van that is full of a bike workshop. Book an appointment with the service you want, and they show up at your door and do the work. There’s a $69 min charge for our area and I’d bet the labour costs are a bit higher than in a typical LBS, but they accept appointments.

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At this point, having now panicked about losing a bunch of days working out and knowing I had an appointment based solution available to me, I was grumpy. Cut to lunch, at home making grilled cheese sandwiches (yum), the shop calls and tells me that they’ve got my bike ready to go (!!….??). “All fixed up,” they said, and proceeded to tell me what the work was. “Great – I’ll be by after work to grab it – and THANK YOU!” I replied.

So now I know I’m not losing workout days, I’m pretty happy again. Head down to the shop after work & grab my bike, and here’s the kicker: they don’t even charge me for the work. I ask about appointments and they still say ‘no’ but I just keep thinking “I just saved $69+, and these guys are awesome!”

I don’t know what to think anymore. I’m happy. I’m lucky. I’ve got a great local bike shop that will prioritize work AND are great to their customers. And I’ve got Velofix, which also fits the ticket for when I’m in a pinch and need something quick. And the best part: I’ve got a sweet bike that I get to ask them to work on.

I’m not sure if there is a moral here, but if there is one I think it is to stick with what works, be good to those that are good to you, and trust in a trusted system. And of course, support your local bike shops. They’re great, even if they are a bit gruff sometimes.

Weekly Workouts – March 13 to March 19

Weekly Stats:
Swim: 7100m, TSS 167.0
Bike: 223 km, TSS 572.2
Run: 26.56 km, TSS 196.6
Total Duration: 13:14
Total TSS: 935.7
CTL: 70.5
ATL: 131.8
Form: -51.8
Well, Base 1 Week 1 is in the books. With the new cycling plan in full swing, that dominated my TSS this week. Next week my TSS goal increases a bit which should help to balance this out, but really the way this week worked out is just fine. My pool was closed two days this week, which limited my swimming. And still working to build proper volume on the run I’m happy with what I accomplished there too. I’d really like to add more run volume to my schedule. That will start to happen next week as the weather gets nicer.

My Form score at -51 is low. Like really low. But I don’t really feel like I’m at a -51. Mondays are typically a lower intensity day/full rest day for me so hoping that day will help out a bit there. It won’t do much but it’s better than nothing. I think part of it is that my CTL is ramping fast due to the “it comes back fast” thing, which should mean my Form score will start to return to normal (-25 to -45 on non-recovery weeks) as I move along the program. I do use a 3-on 1-off approach in planning, so two more weeks of building my TSS before taking a recovery week.


Monday

Stupid daylight savings time. No workout today. Rest.

Tuesday:
Bike:
TrainerRoad – 20 Minute Test
Duration: 1:00
NP – 2.10 w/kg
TSS – 81.0
IF – 0.9
FTP test. No change – FTP stays where it is. ~2.33 w/kg.

Run:
10.7km / Treadmill
5 min WU walking
60 min slow build from @ 6:00 / km
5 min CD walking
TSS – 73.8
IF – 0.75
This was a treadmill workout. Garmin thinks I did 60 mins on ~6:00/km pace. According to the treadmill I was closer to 5:40/km on average, building from 6:00 to somewhere close to 5:00/km. So TSS is low compared to what it should be.

Wednesday:
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Geiger
Duration: 1:00
NP – 1.99 w/kg
TSS – 71.2
IF – 0.85
Run:
4.86km / Treadmill
~9 min WU
20 min pace increase 0.1 MPH per minute from 6.2 MPH
5 min CD walking
TSS – 32.5
IF – 0.71
Garmin really frustrated me on this one. Topped out at 8.1 MPH, but Garmin thinks much slower than that.
Thursday
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Antelope
Duration: 1:30
NP – 1.95 w/kg
TSS – 102.9
IF – 0.83
Happy with this one. This is a fun workout.

Swim:
4050m
4 x (200m swim, 50m kick)
3 x 400m on 30s rest (1 was 450 – I can’t count)
3 x 300m on 30s rest
3 x 200m on 30s rest
3 x 100m on 30s rest
200m CD
TSS – 96.7
IF – 0.95
Continuing to see my pace times come down. Happy.
Friday
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Pettit
Duration: 1:00
NP – 1.57 w/kg
TSS – 44.5
IF – 0.67
Nice low intensity recovery ride. Felt much better after this one.

Run:
11.0 km / OUTSIDE!
Duration: 58:14
Avg Pace: 5:19/km
No workout – just run
TSS – 90.3
IF – 0.92
I wrote all about this one here.
Saturday:
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Hunter
Duration: 2:00
NP – 1.91 w/kg
TSS – 133.2
IF – 0.82
A tough one after stacking lots of TSS this week. Still, finished happy. Apparently this was also a new 2-hour power record for me. Somehow. I have a feeling I’m gonna break all my records this year.

Sunday:
3050m
200m swim, 200m kick, 200m pull
100m swim, 100m kick, 100m pull
6 x 50 on 15s rest
2 x 150 NS on 20s rest
2 x 1500m, desc every 500m
6 x 75 on 15s rest
1 x 300 NS on 40s rest
6 x 50 on 20s rest
3 x 100 on 15s rest
200m CD
TSS – 70.3
IF – 0.93
A good “keep things interesting” muscular endurance workout. Could have been longer but the consistency of this workout creeps up. Including WU & CD, average pace was 1:37/100m.

Bike: 
TrainerRoad – Wright Peak -2
Duration: 2:00
NP – 1.95 w/kg
TSS – 139.4
IF – 0.84
hehehe 😀 I set 90 minute and 2 hour power records on this one. All smiles.

OUTSIDE!!!

58573104The sun was shining when I got home from work. I was looking forward to it all day long. The first chance this year (for me) to run outside!

I’m a notorious cold weather wuss when it comes to working out. In honesty, its less the cold and more the ice and snow. So today, at 5 degrees C, the sidewalks were clear and mostly dry and with daylight savings time now in full swing – the sun still up when I get home from work – I ventured forth into the sunshine for an OUTDOOR RUN!

And what a run. I love Garmin, but seriously, screw you Garmin! I’ve been complaining on here and on Twitter for some time now about how inaccurate the watch is at pacing treadmill runs. Well today I proved Garmin wrong definitively by punching out 11 km averaging 5:19/km!

I know, I know, for “real” runners, that’s not fast at all. But I’ll remind you – I’m not a real runner. I’m a normal guy. Last year at this time.. actually let me check… Yep, my first run recorded in TrainingPeaks for 2016 was on May 17. 8.5 km on a 6:44/km pace.

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18 May 2016

Today’s 11 km on 5:19 feels pretty special. I’d say its safe to say I’m starting off this season a bit farther along than I was last time around. Not to mention that I’m now sitting just two pounds heavier than an all time (since I was… 18) low body weight – about 17 pounds less than I was on 18 May 2016, and 23 pounds less than I was a year ago today, and 58 pounds less than I was at my peak weight!

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17 March 2017

Haha. Really looking forward to seeing what the rest of this spring has in store for me. I need more than a few more degrees warmer to get my bike out of the basement, and I’m sure I’ll be back on the treadmill in a few days while winter sorts itself out, but for now I’m going to pretend like those things aren’t true and just smile away.

If it’s nice wherever you are, get out there and RUN!