Eight Days On

This was the last big week. I thought I’d be more relieved than I am about backing off now that most of the work has been done, but I ended up not getting as tired as I thought I would, and I’ve really enjoyed the training and seeing some good gains in my running. I think that the easy week in Colorado Springs made things a lot easier, both mentally and physically, and I’ll incorporate a similar strategy for my next full distance race if things go well in two weeks from now.

Monday was a fairly typical recovery day with one hour easy on the bike, a 3 mile run, and a 4K masters.

Tuesday: The snow didn’t keep any of us on the treadmill today. At Kathy’s run group we did 1K’s followed by a set of progressing hills on a super steep incline, avoiding the slush that was quickly melting from the previous nights’ storm. I completed three sets of 1K and 3 hills for close to an hour of hard work, including recovery jogs. The snow, or wet roads I guess, did keep me from riding outside later that morning. I did 2 hours really easy on the trainer, which is not normal for me but has become routine in the last few months of uncalled for late spring blizzards. I’d blame it on not wanting to get sick, but part of it is just having zero desire to ride outside in sub 40-degree wet conditions.

Wednesday: 4.75 hours on the bike with Chris at easy endurance, followed by a solid 7 mile run off the bike at 6:07 pace on part of the Boulder run course. I would have gone even faster than that, as my breathing was controlled and my legs felt good, but I had a mini bonk at the half way point and had to down a gel and pause for a few minutes to let it soak in. I got back home quickly and chugged two sodas. My soda count for the entire week was probably a dozen or more.

Thursday: The weather sucked again today so I scrapped my planned long ride and did an easy 8 mile hilly run. Maybellene kept me company and we both came home muddy and hungry. Before that I did a hard 5K masters in the morning.

Friday: Our run group did a short taper workout with a few 400s and some 200s. Adelaide and I shortened things even more by cutting out the cool down so that I could get home to ride. I ended up doing 4.5 hours with a few 30 minute intervals. I wasn’t excited about any of it though, and barely managed to stay out there as long as I did. 6 hours was the original goal, but that would have meant I’d be riding until 5:30.

Saturday: Adelaide and I did a solid 5K masters workout in the early morning, then she went off to do a big hike with our friends, Abby and Tarak who were visiting from New Orleans, while I set out for my last long run of this training block. It was my first high altitude run (Magnolia) of the year and the conditions were perfect. I had a personal best on Mag with an average, controlled pace of 6:45, then did an easy spin a few hours later.

Sunday: 4.5 hours with Chris up to Estes Park, sitting on his wheel as he hammered up the base setting a Strava KOM. Both of us were feeling good at times, so the miles went by quickly. I followed the ride up with a very short, and cold, swim at Spruce, which just opened again and is one of the best summer pools.

Monday: I’m going to count this week as 8 days long since today wasn’t a rest day, but more of a continuation of the previous week. Our friends in town, Abby and Tarak, got Adelaide and I entries into Bolder Boulder a few months ago, so the four of us lined up early Monday morning with 50,000 others. I surprised myself with a time of 33:48—40th overall in the citizen’s race. During a short warm up my legs ached from the previous few days and I wondered if I’d end up having to just run tempo, but once the gun went off I felt fine. The race was a lot of fun and we had a fantastic day seeing a bunch of friends and spending time with Abby and Tarak out on the town until the early evening.

I’m ready for an easy day today, Tuesday, and then it’s back on for the next four days until the true taper begins. Since I’ve never done a full distance triathlon I have no idea if what I’ve done is enough, or if I’m leaving the taper too late. Maybe both of those worries are legitimate.


Week #4 and #5 Easy—Hard

I realize I’m late with both of these weekly training reports, and I know that you’ve been anxiously awaiting an update, refreshing your browsers non stop for many days. Alas, my training secrets are revealed!

A few months ago, someone reserved our condo on Airbnb for some big bucks the weekend of April 10th. We accepted the reservation even though we had no plans to get out of town that week. It took us well over a month of planning on where to go for the three nights our home was to become a college graduation crash pad, and after many sleepless nights of  excited wonderment regarding our extravagant destination, we landed on Colorado Springs.

Week #4 started out with shitty weather as per usual, during which I didn’t do much training other than a group run, an easy swim, and an easy ride or two. We packed for the trip to the Springs and cleaned the house, which took most of Thursday morning, then drove south to our cheaper Airbnb. But first, we stopped at the Manitou Incline for a quick run up and run down preview for the following day’s speed attempt.

The Manitou incline is a 0.9-mile-long stretch of railroad tie stairs that starts out at an elevation of 6,500 feet and ends at just over 8,500—2,000 feet in under a mile. For math wizards, that equals a 45 percent incline, which I guess is probably normal for a set of house stairs. Some sections, though, are 68 percent.


Mid way.


Maybellene at the top.

Friday: I chugged up the Incline in 21:00 flat, missing my goal of sub 20 minutes. I think if we came down in the summer I could knock off close to a minute since the top two-thirds of the stairs had an inch or two of snow on them. Better course knowledge and visibility could get me the rest of the way there. Adelaide has a high altitude trail marathon in August, so our plan is to come back and do the Incline again, and some high elevation trail running, in July.

Anyways, after the Incline I ran down the backside to meet Adelaide and Maybellene. From there we hiked up to 11,000 feet on Pike’s Peak. If we’d gotten an earlier start we would have done the whole thing, but it was still a good 6+ hour journey. Despite being April, the entire route, except for the very bottom, was snowy. A thick layer of freezing cold clouds hung between 8,000 and 10,000 feet, meaning that we had to eat extra candy bars to stay warm. Breaking through the cloud layer, we finally got a glimpse of the sun, and stripped down to T-shirts in the 55-degree bliss.


Adelaide smoking ice. Get it?



I got really into cereal for a little while. I’m back on the bread diet now though. Cereal was so last week. 

Saturday: We did a shorter hike and I went out for an easy 75 minute spin on the bike path afterwards.

Sunday: I didn’t have any motivation or energy to run my planned 22 miles. I got in three, then called it quits and walked back to the car as Adelaide finished her run. We drove back home after that. Not a very productive training week, but at least it meant that I would be fresh and hungry for the next three big’uns.

Week# 5

Monday: Hour easy spin. 4K masters swim. 3 mile easy jog, followed shortly by another 4.3 mile trail jog with Adelaide.

Tuesday: Run group at the track. I did 10×400 at 70-73 seconds (1 min rests), then a 6 minute jog, followed by 8×150 fast with 50 meter walking rests. With warm up/cool down it was a little over 10 miles as usual. I got on the bike after that for a little under three hours of endurance riding in the hills.

Wednesday was a big 6 hour day in the saddle, which started out with 3×20 minutes threshold. I did a peppy five-mile run off the bike, re-thinking my secret pie in the sky goal race pace of 6:30 for the run portion of Boulder Ironman, but still feeling strong.

Thursday: Hard 4K masters in the morning, which destroyed me, and then a 2 hour endurance ride later. I had planned on 4 hours but I had nothing in me so cut it short.

Friday: Another run group morning with Kathy Buttler’s squad. We did 5×1 mile on the hard part of the Bolder Boulder course. My average pace was somewhere under 5:30 I believe, holding back a bit because I was recently warned about running too fast the three weeks before an Ironman. I headed out for another 4K of masters after that.

Saturday: 5K masters with Adelaide at East Boulder Rec. Center in the morning. Then, a 4 hour solo endurance ride with a 6-mile run off. I didn’t feel horrible on the run but didn’t feel great. The ride went better, with the first 48 minutes on my road bike exploring all the steep roads up on Linden while the Di2 batteries on my TT bike charged in the garage. I swapped out the roadie for the TT bike after the climbing and spent the rest of the day up around Carter Lake, putting out what I felt were decent watts. Nothing spectacular, but good enough.

Sunday: Adelaide and I didn’t feel like running on pavement so we spent the rainy, gloomy morning slogging up and down the trails surrounding Eldorado, with Maybellene of course. The gloom of the overcast, gray, drizzle-ridden city was replaced by serene green forests, magnificent fog-shrouded granite cliffs, and empty rolling hills of gold. Maybellene and I got in 21 miles at a slow pace because of the mud, tough terrain, and my mushy legs that just didn’t want to work hard, or couldn’t. I was ravenously hungry mid-way into the run and afterwards, so Adelaide suggested we stop at Taco Bell (or maybe I did). I got two bean and cheese burritos in the drive through, spending $2.18 with taxes, and in so doing saved at least $20 at Sprouts on our way home. Our grocery bill ended up being super high despite dulling my hunger with those two burritos.

Later in the day we got to the pool for 3K of endurance.

Week 5 was a great success. I finally broke 60 miles of running in a week and it didn’t feel too hard. It was also the first week in a long time that I got over 20K in the pool, and I can feel my swim form rapidly coming back. I was happy with my threshold intervals on the bike, and the overall volume I got in as well. The weather finally cooperated, though that didn’t last very long, and I’m still looking forward to the next few weeks of training.

Week #3: Maybellene is Getting Fit!

Monday: Didn’t do much today. Tired and not happy with the bad weather. Just did a masters swim, which was probably fine since Monday is supposed to be an easy day anyways.

Tuesday: Luckily I had the run group in the morning, as it snowed the night before and there was no way I was going to do a hard ride outside. By the end of the long fartlick, our group of eight was coughing heavily (some of us were dry heaving heavily), proving the effort we’d just put in. Adelaide and I did an easy 2 hour ride inside afterwards.

Wednesday: I delayed getting outside until late morning because I had no motivation to do anything at all today. 15 minutes into the ride, while I was deciding whether to do 2 hours or 3, a ‘fitness-level’ rider passed me and helped make up my mind: 1 hour it is! In fact, it wasn’t even quite one hour. Later that afternoon I had enough motivation and energy to do an easy swim with my brother and Joslynn.

Thursday: Justin. Justin Daerr and I did a 12 mile run in the morning with Maybellene, then I managed a 3.75 hour ride. My back and sacrum ached quite a bit in the last hour, neither being used to running long first and then riding after. However, I assume this will be how I’ll feel 3.5 hours into the bike leg for the race.

Friday: Another group run with some hard hill repeats in the morning, then a 4 hour ride in the mountains on my road bike. I didn’t have a power meter so I’ll never know for sure, but I felt strong, especially considering I had run hard right before. My route: Sunshine to Peak to Peak, to the closed gate on Brainard, then down through Raymond to Hygiene. I felt great all the way to my garage door.

Saturday: I did not feel great on Saturday though. 5.5 hours up Big Thompson to Estes Park, then a 30 minute run off the bike with Maybellene. I had no intensity in me today at all. In fact, I wasn’t really in the mood to ride since, not only was I tired, but I learned that my grandmother had died the previous night right as I set out on the ride. I knew it would be better to think about her over a long day in the saddle than a long day cooped up sitting inside.

Sunday: I did a 20 mile run with BTC, the first 14 of which were with Nick, then I did the last 6 by myself (with Maybellene of course, so not really by myself at all). Adelaide and I headed to the gym next for some stretching and an easy 2K swim.

It was another big week of riding and the biggest week of running I’ve ever done at 59.4 miles, quite a bit of which were hard/fast miles. I’m feeling pretty decent on the bike, and confident for the run. My plan is to pull the swim together in the final three weeks of training and just cross my fingers that it’s cold enough for wetsuits, which it has always been in June and I don’t foresee that not happening this year. Maybellene is continuing to build her run endurance for rabbit hunting season. If there’s a rabbit that decides to run 15-25 miles straight instead of ducking into a hole or behind a chainlink fence after 10 feet, Maybellene will have no problem keeping up and going for the kill.