Sunday, March 24, 2013

Boston Training

So how's the training going?  It's a question I'll get asked every now and again by friends or family.  It pops up on the message boards every so often as well.  The short answer is: Good, no injuries.  It may sound like I've been expecting to get injured, but that's not really the case.  Ever since the Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon back in November of 2011, I've never really been at 100% in the running phase of my training.  So to say I've been putting in the mileage and I haven't gotten any injuries or ailments is a minor accomplishment.

The 117th Boston Marathon is three weeks away.   On Monday morning April 15th, in the first wave, back in Corral 6 is where I will start my journey.  Number 5989 if you want to keep score at home.  That means I just sneaked into the very back of corral 6.  If my time was just a little slower (11 spots back) I would be in the next corral.  I'm not really sure how much that means anyway.  I'm just glad I'm in the first wave.  It really wasn't close as I believe the cutoff for the second wave was 3:18 (I BQ'd with a 3:08).

Back to the training.  I just finished up 5 straight weeks of 50+ miles.  Something I probably haven't done in almost 10 years.  I estimate that amount of time because I really haven't run a lot since my second son was born.  I logged 256 miles in 5 weeks, averaging a 7:19 pace for the entire 256 miles.  I am roughly following the Pfitzinger 18/55 plan.  Which means it is an 18 week plan peaking out at a 55 mile week.  So for the first 15 weeks of the plan, I have logged 658 miles or almost 44 miles a week average.

Obviously with this amount of miles, I'm not going to be running a sub 3 or anything.  But I do feel good enough to alter my initial goal time of 3:30.  First and foremost for Boston, I want to enjoy the experience.  I do not believe I will ever do it again, so I really want to soak it all in.  I do not want to be 60 years old wishing I had done Boston.  That being said, I do not want the last 10K to be a death march as my first two marathons were.

I've had some good training.  Especially last weekend, as on Saturday I did a 10 miler with 7 miles at a 6:15 average pace.  I then followed that up on Sunday morning with a 17 miler that I averaged 7:06's.  Not to mention that I did a 24 mile interval bike ride Friday night, then rode 40M Saturday afternoon and another 40M Sunday afternoon.

In light of the fitness that I believe I'm at, I've decided to bump down my goal from 8:00 min miles (3:30) to about a 7:38 min mile or a 3:20 marathon.  I really believe that I can stick to that pace.  The key is not starting out too fast.  From what I've read, the first 3 miles of Boston tend to be fast.  This, I'm sure, is due to everyone being excited about the start and all the adrenaline kicking in, but also because the first 3 miles are downhill.  Furthermore, everyone around me at the start will have a qualifying time of 3:10 or better.  Most likely they will all be running faster than me.  So I really need to make sure that by mile 3 or 5, that I have settled into my own pace.

Boston finally feels real!  As I mentioned, I qualified 15 months ago.  It seemed so far off for so long.  It's almost hard to believe the bulk of the training is behind me.  This week I will only do 44 miles and then the final 2 weeks will be taper weeks.  It's almost here!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Aero Wheel Covers

In my continuing quest for more speed on the bike, I've been contemplating a few things.  New Aero bars, bike fit, rear saddle mounts, and a new front brake have all come to mind.  One of the cheapest and easiest things to do is putting an wheelcover on my rear FLO 90.  So I took some Christmas money and placed an order with Wheelbuilder through their website for their "Aerojacket".

It was pretty easy, and I had a $15 coupon code from their facebook page, so I got a presta adapter almost for nothing.  So for $115 including Fedex Delivery, I got this box:

With the following contents: (2) wheel covers (drive side and other side), some cutout hole cover stickers, and the Silca Presta Adapter (or the "crack pipe").

So you can see above, I got (5) hole covers, and no fastener pins.  I specifically asked them not to drill holes in the wheel covers and that I would tape the covers on, so I didn't need the fasteners.  Someone said one time that this is a cleaner, more aero way to run them on your wheels (Jack Mott on Slowtwitch, specifically).  So that is what I did.

I used the kids gun/sword/bow container I had in the garage to set the wheel on.

First I pumped up the tire because that crack pipe is a major PITA.  And I mean Major.

I actually put the drive side on first (no pics).  You need to remove the cassette to do this, and then you align the sticker with the valve stem.

I placed cover on the top of the wheel.  The non-drive side is more dished than the cassette side.  I put a couple of pieces of electrical tape around the edges to hold it in place.

Tried my best to center the hole on the wheel

Then I just made my way all the way around the outside with one continuous piece of tape.

When I got to the end, I just cut the tape with a pair of scissors.  Next time I will do a better job of cleaning it up where the two ends come together.

A little off here as the tape ends come together
View from above:
Cassette Spacing Looks Good.

The finished product looks like a BAMF. 
Green Lightning in all her Glory.
One important side note here is that if you have a cadence magnet, you might want to rotate the sensor down out of the way before you spin your wheel to make sure the fit is ok.  Otherwise you might scratch the cover.  Although it cleaned up pretty good with some alcohol wipes.

Drive Side

Non Drive Side
One Last look.

I took it for a short spin to test the shifting and all, and it was not very noticeable.  I was worried it might feel heavy or sluggish, but it really felt fine.  We'll see when I take it out for a longer ride and a tempo ride.  I plan on peeling back the tape a little bit to get my pump in there.  That Silca adapter is a two person operation.  I've looked at some other alternatives (after reading and watching all I could on that Silca to make sure I was doing it correctly).  So for now, I'll take some extra tape with me on my first ride just in case I need some to change a flat.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Swim Lesson II, Crap Run Weather, and Weight Lifting

Swim Lesson No. 2
A few weeks ago I got back up to the Mecklenberg Aquatic Center for my second swim lesson with Melinda Yelton.  We mostly focused on timing, rotation, and position.  She pointed out a couple of things with my entry and pull that I had no idea I was doing.

But that is exactly the kind of thing I had been looking for.  You can read all the articles.  You can watch all the Youtube videos.  But if it feels right to you, then you'll never know what you're doing wrong.  Being a runner, I certainly don't know what feels right or wrong sometimes.  My left arm was crossing over to the mid point upon entry.  Who knew? So every left stroke was weak.  Then she told me my pull technique was all wrong.  That was easy to fix (the left arm thing has taken a couple of weeks to rectify).  So just those two little nuggets of info literally slashed 10 seconds off my 100 scy times.  My pace for a 400 is now the same pace I was doing 100's last fall with a 45 second rest!

I still having a bit of trouble with the rotation.  That's not going as well.  I will try and schedule Lesson No. 3 sometime in late March.  Probably more work on rotation, but then throw in some catch and pull drills.  It's definitely coming along as I had hoped.  I wish I was at this point a year ago, but that's ok.  I was able to get away with a weak swim at IM Augusta and Rev3 Florida last year.  This year at IM Las Vegas and Rev3 SC will be a different matter.

The Worst Run Weather
I've always said that the worst weather to run in is 35 degrees and raining.  I stand Corrected:

Oh yeah.  34 degrees, steady rain, and 10 MPH winds!  That run really stunk.  Definitely the worst that I can recall since college. It didn't help that the previous Saturday was the Charlotte 10 miler race, and I rode my bike that afternoon.  Sunday I ran 18 miles and biked 50, so I wasn't exactly feeling great to begin with.  My hands were just froze.  I can't find good gloves to wear in that kind of weather.  Next time I will probably wear some winter gloves and risk them weighing 5 pounds each at the end of the run. When I was done, I jumped straight into the shower and it took quite a while to warm up.  Even then, as soon as I got out, I was freezing again.  I put on 4 layers of clothes and didn't get the chill out of my body until about 10am.

Lifting Weights
I started back with my blasphemous exercise of lifting weights a couple of weeks ago.  On the Slowtwitch forums, weight lifting is routinely panned for being a useless waste of time.  My college run coach got me lifting weights back then for strength to keep my form at the end of races when you get tired.  I only lift upper body so it only takes my like 15-20 minutes.  Most importantly it helps the beach body.  So I felt a little better when I read this article from Mark Allen on Active here.  I don't do all of those, but the ones I do are on his upper body list.  Maybe I'm not so far off after all.

Oh, and I got my Wheelbuilder Aerojacket covers in last week.  I'll post a writeup on those soon!