When to stop digging

 

I learned something yesterday.  A couple things actually.  One – I don’t have it figured out.  Two – you can’t expect to go fast when you make poor training choices the week of a race – particularly a HIM.  What is surprising to me – is that I thought I already knew both of those – so I’m a bit disappointed that I got to learn the lesson again.

The first lesson is pretty self explanatory.  The second lesson is a bit more long winded to explain.  After a lack luster performance for most of last season – I began training this year with the motivation to do hit a home run it at each race.

Saint Anthony’s – Check
Bong 30k – Check
High Cliff Half (Bike Relay) – 1/2 Check
Door County – CHECK
Tri-ing for Childrens – Check
Pigman – Swing and a Miss

So what happened?  Let’s start at the end, than jump to the beginning and work our way back to the end.

The gun went off.  I did my thing on the swim – ran to transition and hopped on the bike.  Got rolling – with the plan of riding for 10 to 15 minutes in the IM effort range; and than dialing it up to 250 to 260.  I shaked and baked that, and rolled up to HIM.  All was well, but I found myself having a difficult time keeping my power in that range – the RPE for it was a lot higher than I expected.  Initially, I attributed it to my PT hub – it was the first time I used it and maybe I didn’t get the manual zero right (post ride analysis shows this to NOT be the case, along with a check of the zero torque while riding).

As the ride progressed – my sustainable power kept trending downwards.  After a short coast downhill, a turn, or other rest “opportunity” – I’d be good for a bit – than it would drift back down.  The last 40 minutes of the ride or so I was barely able to sustain 200 watts.

I hit the run and between the heat, how I felt, and the potential outcome for the day – I didn’t have a lot.  By mile 3 I had decided I was going to run for 30 minutes and pull the plug.  30 minutes came, and the aid station had no shade – so I continued on.  By about 200 yards after that aid station I stopped, and pulled my chip off and headed back to the aid station.  10 feet later, my chip was back on and I was jogging in the correct direction.  When I got to the aid station at mile 5, saw they had shade – I was done.

I sat there for who knows how long until Mary went by – she convinced me to join her for the remainder of the run.

So what did my performance tell me?  I was not recovered.  My body was tired and not ready, willing or capable of doing a Half Ironman at Half Ironman.  I may have been fine for a sprint or olympic – or even a garden variety long ride – but I was not up to the task of riding or running at half ironman.

So am I just making excuses now?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  To save you all from the boring details – in the 14 days leading up to the race I executed nearly 1600 cycling TSS.  One of the workouts I did – received a comment of “I don’t think I could walk after that”.  Which was backed up with another stiff week of work. 

Last week, when I was doing my workouts I should have recognized the signs my body was sending me – and back off – instead I did 6×3′ (3′) @ 110% FTP on Thursday, which was preceded on Wednesday by Spinervals  Aero Base Builder I (basically 56 minutes @ HIM – broken up), which I really struggled to do well.

So enough of the whining and pity, and “I know what went wrong” talk.  I *think* I know why I didn’t have it on race day – but it could be anything.  Long story short I’m adjusting my final 3 weeks of training to include more rest.  My fitness is there buried in my body – recent workouts prove that.  There is not a lot I can do in the next three weeks to add to it. 

Just going to focus on 4 to 6 key workouts in the next 14 days with the rest being EASY filler – then race week.

The more important question for me to ponder after IMWI – is where do I go from here.  How do I make the jump to the next level?  I have had a powermeter since 2008 – and all three years I have essentially raced my races with the same power target(s).  The ony real improvement has come from Dexter – which allowed me to roll a 2:25 on sickly 224 watts yesterday – with Racine 2008 and 2009 being essentially the same time but @ 250ish watts.  Course differences – maybe – but he is damn fast for sure.

What do I need to do to get up to 350 watts or so @ FTP – to really kill it?  Can I get there, or am I tapped out in the 300 to 315 range that I am lingering in?  Do I really need to be peaking out my training @ 20 to 23 hours per week – or can I find a way to get fit and fast for my races in the 15 to 18 hour range – that I’ve been told some other local fast guys do?

Lots of things to think about, but I need to keep them in the freezer until after IMWI – as my focus needs to be there and not on the future.

4 Comments

  1. hi

    1) celebrate finishing.
    2) celebrate starting (think back 9 mos)
    3) put the rest of yesterday in a box
    4) review Door County. That was a real result. It happened and was a real PR at HIM distance.
    5) If weather conditions are similar in 3 weeks put your pride in your pocket and back the F off. Let the rest go up the road. Take what the day gives you.
    6) After WI the bigger picture question has an answer. And time to be answered. Let that wait until then. You have all the “technology” tools (see previous blog post); they can be maximized with a little help (again after WI).
    7) see number 3 above. Bury the box immediately and don’t let anything negative about yesterday F you up. Lots o folks got hurt there yesterday…..some will let it go some will F up
    8) you can’t PR everything; nor should you try. Some races are just for learnin’
    9) good luck in 3 weeks
    10) I’m volunteering at the bike check in Sat PM. I’ll say hi if I see ya.

  2. Interesting blog, Scott the race all came down to the ability to dissipate heat, and control your power, those that did, did well…the rest struggled. Personally I can never do well in a hot humid environment because I live in a 55-60 degree 20% humidity Operating Room 8-10 hours a day. Also as a male weighing 75 KG I have a hard time cooling off.
    I would highly recommend lactate testing to know where to really get your biggest bang for the buck. Sue rode and averaged 168 watts and ran fairly well off the bike..how? She knew exactly where she would blow up watts wise and just backed off below that, stayed hydrated and fed and got off and ran.
    I have not spoken with Adrienne about her race but her power numbers showed the same thing…bit more conservative in the heat and the ability to run (within the conditions) off the bike.
    Blow off the race, train to acclimate for the heat and I will see you on the road.. Nice meeting you and your wife on Sunday…Mike

  3. I gotta agree with what others have said scott, just forget about pigman (i already have). rest up and hit your last few workouts hard. You’ll be good to go!

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