Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Challenging times

April has been the month of challenges and coach sure knows how to throw those at me. First, every Saturday ride has been over 2.5h long and they have become increasingly harder. Last week for example, he asked me to do the Trainer Road "Cathedral" workout. He said to stay in Zone 2, so I dialed it down a bit to 95% effort, but I still ended in Zone 3-4 as I tried to keep my cadence nice and high. You can see all details here.
Earlier in the week, I had to do a 1h30 workout where the key word was "hard" with 1h block of non-interrupted sufferfest in the middle. I settled somewhere around 160-165 watts and stayed there while my heart rate was slowly making its way up. I managed not to throw up, yay!
However on Monday, the first Max VO2 ride appeared on my schedule. Name "Abbot". And it BROKE me. 120-140% FTP intervals, 2 minutes long each with just 1 minute recovery in between? No way, Jose. This was the perfect challenge for me. I did the best I could, the first 6 intervals were ok, but the last 6, forget it. I could only hold that kind of power for 1min, then faded. Next time, maybe... In the end I managed to beat two of my personal records, but my legs were kaput. See for yourself, I am sharing my pain, am I not nice?
Pretty much the same story in running. My long runs now have tempo intervals in the middle, and each one of them is harder than the previous one. Something like : 2km easy-5km 1/2 marathon pace (5:45min/km)-5km 10k pace(5:30min/km)-2km easy. This happened just yesterday. I managed to read the instructions wrong and thought that the second tempo interval was 5k (5:15min/km) pace. So what do I do? I go all out, after a 7km of hard running. I was pretty delirious in the end. I don't remember much afterwards, but somehow I made it back home and then I passed out on the couch. Look at the pretty graphs! They brought my memory and sweat back.
I really need to pay more attention. This was the second time in a week that I misread this instructions. The run before ended in a tempo as well, even though coach had said "easy". Oops, totally missed that. I didn't really know what I needed to do anyway, I thought I'd go by feel, I wasn't even wearing my heart monitor. All I could remember was 10k and hilly route. I had already done some hills on Wednesday, so I wasn't very motivated to go hard. Legs decided otherwise, so I just followed.

In swimming, what can I say? I have 4 types of workouts that I need to do, each with detailed sets that I printed out and put in a ziploc plastic bag which I take to the pool. One of the workouts is "go long for as long as you can without interruption". That's my favorite one. I don't need to think too much, I just put my head down and swim. The watch counts the laps for me, I get out when I hear the whistle. It went exactly like that and I managed to swim 2km uninterrupted. Major win for me, I had never done this in the pool, unassisted (without a pull buoy). To put it in perspective for you, I could only swim for 100m without a pull buoy 2 months ago. I was elated, and a bit dizzy too.
Look at this, one block, no gaps!! Wooohooo! My speed is still that of a turtle, but at least I know I can make the cutoff times. Plus, I don't do flip turns and underwater dolphin swim, so I get to do the entire length of the pool wall to wall, with pretty much a full stop at each length. This adds significant time, I am sure that in a lake I'm going to be faster than this. I remember last year, my 1500m at Toronto Triathlon Festival was done in 35:55min, so I anticipate to do the 2000m somewhere around 45-48min. I may not have improved my speed much since last year, but boy, my confidence got a huge boost!

I expect some crash and burn sometime soon, but for now, I am riding the wave, baby! I can do this!


  1. Holy crap that is a sh*t tonne of workouts. Great work out there. I like those tempo runs. Maybe I'll steal it for tonight.

  2. You are a ROCK STAR! And good on you with the swimming! What a huge improvement!!!!