Sunday, August 18, 2013

Train-cation and Whatnot

I've started about three different blog posts this week, and have yet to post one. Oops. I guess any blog on my personal life could be easily summarized in four words: work, train, eat, sleep -- in no particular order. As boring as that could potentially sound, I'm actually still having fun with it! No burn out yet. Plus, it helped that we mixed it up this past week with a third trip up to Big Bear Lake, which sits at ~6700ft. I never thought I'd enjoy going up there so much, but it's a blast. Great vibes up there and a nice way to escape traffic. That said, sometimes I wonder if I'll ever take a real vacation that does NOT involve swimming, biking, running, training, and/or racing as the focus! That would be weird.

Anyway, after three trips to BB and countless hours spent training there, I feel like I'm becoming an expert on the area. In fact, next week I am going to release a blog with a guide to training up there, so stay tuned. Just some basics and info based on what I've experienced.... I have only trained on the roads, no trails, which I know are ample there too.

This past trip we stayed a bit longer (but still not long enough waaaa) to get in a couple solid days without being rushed. Probably ~8 hours of actual training time over two days. Got in Monday night, and just had a little shakeout run that doesn't really count. Tuesday started with lake swim, and it sucked. This time I struggled. It felt like I was breathing through a straw and I had zero power. I was also feeling dizzy and nauseous. It was disappointing, but I tried not to let to get me too down and tried to be about "mind over matter." I think the general fatigue accumulation from consistent big training also played a role (or at least I'm hoping that was it and it wasn't solely the effects of altitude).

Onto the bike, and that was better. Whew. It was a very hot ride, and we did a lot of climbing, including Onyx summit, and also a new adventure on Highway 18 past the lake into the desert. At one point we stopped at a sign that said something like "drive with caution, 11% grade next 5 miles." That would be 5 miles going down at that grade. So, like stupid triathletes do, we made the descent into the high dessert, knowing we'd have to turn around and climb back up. Turns out only ~2 miles were steep, then it nearly flattened out, so the climb wasn't too crazy -- but it was approaching 100 degrees and hot as heck! The day's ride ended with 4 hours in the saddle and about 4k vertical accumulated. 

After that a 50' t-run. I wanted to do more but I ran out of water on the trail and was dying, so I cut it a bit short. The run was weird. Legs actually felt good, HR was nothing too shocking (150s average, and it would spike more on inclines but never let it above 165), and without forcing it I was running ~8:30 avg pace. That said, that was all trumped by a terrible feeling in my chest and ability to breathe (altitude?). It was like I had asthma. I took a brief "walk recovery" about every 10 minutes.

That night we were trashed- from training, not alcohol... I swear despite the beer pics I occasionally post ;) In fact, we actually brought a good amount of beer with us, but as tired as we were, very little alcohol ended up being consumed. It was more about water and kombucha, and more water. Haha.

For food, I planned ahead and shopped prior to leaving, and for dinner I cooked up a simple but perfect meal for our condition: Spaghetti squash with meat sauce (variation of this recipe) and broccoli on the side. And no turkey in this meat sauce, I chose the hearty good stuff: 1.5lbs of grass-fed ground beef (85-15), mixed with sauteed onion, garlic and spinach, and organic marinara sauce. We ate a lot, barely any leftovers haha. Speaking of a lot-

Day two had to be a bit shorter, but we still got in another swim and 2-hour ride. The ride was rad: Another climb to Onyx, then a new one: descended the backside, only to U turn and climb back up. About 3k vertical for just 30 miles. And I was climbing just as strongly as the day prior, so that was pleasing to me.

Once we got home I took a couple "easy" days on Thu/Fri (but still didn't feel the need to actually take a day off, which was nice), and as of Saturday I was feeling great again - it showed in my swim and long run. Btw, long runs are really growing on me. I love them. And my body/mind are getting used to them. It's only taken a few of these 2-3hr runs to really feel comfortable with them. Yesterday, 17.2 miles blew by and my pace even surprised me.

After today's long bike/t-run, I should end this week with ~18 hours of training, highlighted with close to (or maybe on the dot) 40 miles of running. A new record for me. Only a couple more weeks of this left crazy volume and big training, and then it's time to put on the brakes and REST this body.

Oh yea, today I am also going to be glued to the computer/phone for the better part of the day -- so much good racing! Who's with me?! It started at 4am when my brain suddenly woke up thinking about races and all the folks I know who are racing. Of course, I had to check Leadville 100 results to begin, then started tracking IMMT. My athlete is racing, and he's off to a good start with a swim PR of 1:00:xx -- I can already guarantee we'll talk about just missing that sub-1:00 haha, all good ;)

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