Monday, February 20, 2012

Frigid Fools Duathlon and Training Update

Yes, I am combining a couple of posts since I have not posted like I should have.

First, a quick race report. I competed in the Frigid Fools Duathlon last Saturday at the nearby Angel Mounds State Historic Site. The race was organized and put on by an awesome crew of volunteers from the Southern Indiana Triathlon Team who braved the cold and windy conditions (40's/12-15mph) to give some of us less enlightened ones the chance to test our winter fitness.

The race consisted of two 5K runs that were wrapped around a 15-mile bike leg. The only hills around were the Native American Mounds inside the park. We ran and rode on pancake flat roads. The wind did play a major factor on the bike, since it pounded us in the face on the return segment of both out/back legs.

The Polar RCX5 data file reveals this Frigid Fool's 
Given the fact that I only recently started implementing hard efforts into my training, I entered this event to see where I my fitness was - to get a baseline. The result was a good one. I felt strong from beginning to end, racing hard at times, but always well within my current abilities. My splits, by my watch, were 17:06 (5:31), 36:54 (24.4), and 18:04 (5:49). It was a pleasing result that is causing me to more seriously consider a trip to Tucson at the end of April for the USAT Du Nats and to visit with many relatives in the area.

Besides the lack of difficult training, I also lined up for the Frigid Fools with little mental preparation. Sure, I made up my race crate (thanks for the idea Jeremy and Chris), but I did not think about transitions or setting up my gear. I may have been preoccupied with dressing right for the cold weather. Who knows. Soon after leaving the house I stopped when I sensed something was amiss. Then I turned around and retrieved Kristy - my bike!

Jeff's unique take on "hardware."
Of course, the Frigid Fools also gave me a chance to catch up with old friends while making some new ones. That, to me, is one of the most valuable aspects of racing. Sealing a great experience was the fantastic chili provided after the race.

My primary focus for this year, as I have previously written, is completion of a 100-mile run event. I am entered in the Bighorn 100 which takes place (115 days from now) on June 14-15. So, I am trying to squeeze in as many long trail runs as possible. So far, I have made several trips to parks within a couple hours drive to log some trail miles. The runs have lasted from 1:50 to 3:00 while covering 14 to 23 miles.

The longest run of date was a (2:59) 23-miler on Kentucky's Land Between the Lakes Canal Loop. Basically, that training run was a trial run of the LBL Marathon which I will participate in on March 10. Though I do not anticipate running much harder than I did that day, I love that loop and I am looking forward to running in that event. I recently learned that Polar is sending me two heart rate computers for race management to give away that day. Isn't that awesome!

Regarding gear, I have recently fallen in love with the Brooks Pure Grit shoes I picked up at Ultimate Fit. With a 4mm drop and a cushy ride, they seem to satisfy my need for a low-heeled, low mass trail shoe. Even completely soaked they are lighter than any other shoe I've worn in trail races. The comfort of those shoes and the satisfaction of being able to quickly and easily analyze my RCX5 data using have helped reduce stress during this training build up.

With the recent addition of high effort rides to my training program, I am keeping a keen eye on the trending of my heart rate data to make sure that I can maximize my performance without getting injured or sick. Two weeks ago I took most of a week off from training when my resting heart rate climbed from 33 to 39 while my lymph nodes swelled painfully to walnut size. Because dozens of students come to school each day with a variety of germs, I feel like I am in a constant battle to stay healthy. This is especially true when my immune system is challenged after hard efforts. A couple of my students suggested that I get a bubble to teach in during the flu season. So far, I haven't been able to locate one in my size . . .

Because my interests and goals for 2012 are so diverse, I have established a training trichotomy: I am in the process of building up cycling strength for the first time in two years; I am lengthening my long runs well beyond the distance of my normal running week; I am also trying to run hard enough to put together a fast run at the challenging Oak Barrel Half Marathon. Conveniently, this April 7 race has a monster hill called Whiskey Hill (it has a FB page!), which should be fit into my BH100 training plan. I completed this race last year when my piriformis was acting up, so I hope to have a solid, healthy run when I return.

Now I go to change the bandages on my hand - again. Yes, I took another spill on the trail. I am starting to think that Karl Meltzer is onto something with his gloved approach to trail running.

The Mendeleev Hefe is ready!
Best wishes in your search for adventure and fitness! ST

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