Sunday, February 28, 2010

On Marty's Reliable Cycle...

I just picked my bike up from the spa. I sent it there for a few days to bask in the attentive affections of professionals so as to rejuvenate it from last season's races and the doldrums of this winter's rides (so I can pound the crap out of it again...with the utmost care, of course).

A reliable cycle shop is indispensable to the Triathlete. Not only in the technical aspects of having your bike in tip top shape, but in the personal aspect of getting it done fast, well, and by quality people you trust. (Especially as your careening down a mountain at 40+mph)

As long as I am anywhere near the metropolitan area I will be hanging out at Marty's Reliable Cycle. I tend to gravitate to the Randolph shop, but only because of geographical considerations. The Hackettstown and Morristown shops are just as great and offer the same great service with their own idiosyncratic spin.

At the Randolph shop I sometimes just hang out. I did especially when I was a newbie. I think that says something. I mean, it's a bike shop, not a cafe. They don't mind...I think. As a rookie I'd find any excuse to stand around and talk shop and pick their brains. Everyone there knows so much more about bikes than I ever will. That, and they are just fun people. There are no pretensions, only good natures. (The reason Marty's will always kick SBR's ass. Yes, NYC...suck it.) Everything at Marty's is so anti-elitist. This is so important since in this regard cyclists can be such a pain in the ass. (Triathletes, are by far, the worst!)

Upon picking up my bike up on Saturday I had one of the most important rituals that can mark the beginning of a serious season of biking. I got 'fit' to my bike. The 'fitter', none other that Rob.

I will always maintain that people invest in getting the most out of their gear. I mean, what good is your mega bucks bike rig if you are pedaling it with complete inefficiency? Rob is there to make sure that every wattage of power generated from my body goes directly into unadulterated forward motion on my bike.

At Marty's, Rob has all sorts of do-hickeys and levels and charts. But that doesn't qualify him in my mind. What does make him a master of the 'fit', is that I leave the shop faster then when I go in. Faster, more comfortable, and less prone to injury. He took his time with me and broke down his analysis into Jason terms. What more could I want? The important thing his he listens to my triathlon needs and my particular style. He is no dogmatist, something I really appreciate in an industry where everyone claims to have 'the way'.

Marty's sold me my first bike over six years ago. I wandered in and declared I needed a bike because I wanted to ride one from Oregon back to NJ. I was so over my head, clueless and bike dumb. I'll always love Marty's because they took me seriously and gently and kindly led me though the initiation into bike-dom.

I sent them a postcard from every state I crossed. I could never had made the trip, or my athletic career happen without them. They are a part of every bike split I've ridden and will ever ride. When I road race, it's always for Team Marty's. They now have a triathlon team, too. So make sure you swing by their website:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Three weeks of base building in retrospect

I am pleased to say that when I look at my data concerning volume of training, and recall the intensity that much of it was held had, it appears that my fitness is far superior to where it was this time in the season compared to previous years. Thankfully, also, I have remained relatively injury free, suffering only some debilitating lethargy and some slow moving mornings.

The first week was a shock to my system. Often I was in a stupor during work. More than once I wanted to pull to the side of the road and just sleep away the evening instead of making my rounds. I was able, however, to rediscover my love for music, and in particular, that of Taking Back Sunday, whose albums kept my rearview window vibrating to each full volume bass drum. The benefit to living out of your car, I am discovering, is that you’re always surrounded by speakers.

By the final week I had noticed huge dividends in my performance related to two aspects of training that I have previously not devoted adequate time to: swimming technique and weight lifting.

In the pool I’ve had the benefit of two swimming mentors who were granted many a great laughs at my expense. It was a great test in my humility. I’m a bad ass Ironman already, right? I don’t need to piddle around with dumb swimming drills. I’m a bitching 4000 meter free-stylist! Well, I went back to square one. This is an understatement. I’m working back to square one as I undo three years of horrific technique. The upside? I’m faster and swimming is easier, and, dare I say, fun? As my hydrostatic awareness greatens so does my enjoyment of being in the water. I’m no longer flailing through a workout hoping for the ungodly suffering to end. I’m gaining confidence that not only will I get out of the water in a reasonable time, but also, much, much fresher. I am hugely indebted to Erica Smith for her help. (You can find her open water swimming blog under the blogs that I follow.)

In the weight room I have braved the surrounding hoards of bench pressers and bicep curling creatures who can’t help but look at themselves in the mirrors and flex when they think no one is looking. At least in a packed weight room, the leg machines and squat racks are empty. Welcome to Jersey. By increasing my power output from my legs I’m allowing my aerobic capabilities to produce speed without increasing my heart rate. More gets done for less because I’m stronger. The only draw back from the weight room is that it interferes with my running. These last three weeks I’ve had low run mileage because running post lifting leaves me with dead legs. It’s terrible. As lifting becomes less crucial I hope to up my run miles.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to this week of recovery. I’ll half my workout output to let my body recover from the shock and overcompensate leaving me stronger for the next three week training bender.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Base Build I week 3

Last week I was a little short on hours (approx 13), but fortunately I upped the intensity so I felt completely wiped out in the end. Most importantly, instead of logging hours biking or running, I made huge improvements in my swimming thanks to the tutorage of the amazing open water swimmer Erica Smith.

Let's just say that my stroke is BAD. Real Bad. Completely inefficient. It seems that previously I was working twice as hard in the water than my competitors, thus making me twice as tired getting on the bike. The good news is, that since my times were still competitive, and I was still in the race after the swim, I've trained a pretty crazy aerobic engine in the water. Imagine if you always had lead weights strapped to your ankles for 3 years of racing--the idea is that through swimming technique I'll be dropping those lead weights in the water. Even if I don't get 'faster', I'll be twice as fresh hitting the bike, where I do my real work. I'm very excited in my improvements and will be spending more and more time in the pool, not mindlessly swimming 1000's, but methodically working on my stroke efficiency.

This week I have a busy schedule so I'll keep the intensity up a tad incase I can't find the hours. The weight room is making a huge difference. I'm putting up much more massive stacks of weights with less effort. I'm psyched to see how that translate once I can get the bike on the road! I hate snow. I hate snow. I hate snow.

workout #1
swim 50 tech tech

workout #2
40 minutes. Max strength workout

2.00.00 (30 minutes tech: one leg, spring cadence, 4 x 10 minutes HARD alternating big gears)

6.2 miles on the biggest hills I could find. 48.28. Pretty hard tempo at times.

Workout #1
Bike 1.30.00 (lots of drills with 30 min total tempo)

Workout #2
Swim 1.30.00 4000 yards ( with lots of drills in the mix)

Workout #1
Swim 2500 yards 45.00

Workout #2
Weight room. Maximum strength routine

1.30.00 Trainer workout

4.45.00 Brick
(3.30.00 hard on trainer, lots of tempo at LT, 1.20.00 run, 9.80 miles)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Base Build I week 2

(wednesday morning entry)
Things are starting to get blurry. I apologize to all of you who I forget to call/write back. I apologize in advance to all of you I will surely, at some point or another, forget to get back to. There is definitely a solipsistic aspect to training full time while holding down a job and managing regular life affairs. The whole world becomes a little bubble revolving around training and necessities. It's terrible, and I'm doing all in my power to be a better person and friend this time around. I remember getting an email back from a pro...I don't know, maybe 4 months late haha, and she said, "Sorry, I was in 'it'. You understand." I surely did, but that doesn't mean that everyone does. So whoever notices that I suck at life, being around to talk and hangout out, and, god forbid, have fun, call me out on it! Don't be afraid, I'll appreciate it.

There are just not enough hours in the day. And when I have a free moment, well, I am so damn tired I'm useless.

I'm starting this week's blog on Wednesday and will update it as the week continues.

workout #1
Swim 3250 yards (600 w/u, 400, 300, 200, 100 (x2 tempo) 400 fins, cool down)

straight to
workout #2

Weight room, 1 mile warm up run then (leg press, squat (both max) abs, back extensions, and seated row)

workout #1
swim 2000 yrds, easy

straight to
workout #2
run 5 miles then cool down (treadmill on hill routine) 5 mile split (38.00)
45.00 n

Indoor bike. 3.00.00 (20 min 1 leg drills, 6x20 min tempo with 10 min recover)

Blizzard has drivin me in for second day....
indoor bike 2.15.00
Workout #1
1.15.00 3000yrd swim with coach. Various sets and drills
workout #2
30 min weight room, maximum strength
workout #1
50 min swim, yards n/a, mostly drills. Really learned I'm a terrible swimmer. Worked on stroke for some good results. I've been dubbed the proud creater of the 'Stevie Wonder Stroke', with my excessive swaying side to say. Also, we deterimined that I sink like a lead weight.
workout #2
1.05.00 Run through central park. Some 7.00 paced miles on hills. Felt strong

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Base Build I

Yes, a blog update was long overdue. I’ve gotten your emails/messages (some kinder than others) expressing my laxness in keeping my training status up to date ☺ The reason for my disappearance from the blogosphere can be attributed to two things 1) I was mostly in the prep phase of training and found it rather uneventful, and 2) Once the shit hit the fan I was so tired that informing you all of my progress took a much lower priority than laying still with my feet up.

But I’ve just finished my first week of real training so it should offer and adequate account of where I stand. Being that I have some tri ‘geeky’ readers as well as coaches using this blog to monitor my progress, I’m going to start including my workouts in brief.

This week reminded me of the demands on my time, strength, and mental stability. I can only hope it gets easier as I adapt. I happy to acknowledge that my speeds/endurance/feel are far superior than this time in the past. The two bricks I did this week resembled some of my peak workouts when I was 24. Being a little older/wiser has it’s perks I think.

This was the week of Feb 1

Monday: Off. Busy, day. No time for training.


Workout #1- Brick

2.45.00 on bike trainer. (20.00 one leg drills, 6x 10.00 tempo on bigger gear with 5.00 recovery). quick transition to
1.05.00 run. 7.25 miles of road


Workout #1-Bike

1:00.00 bike indoors ( one leg drills and 2x10 min medium intervals)

Workout #2- Swim
2500 yards with 4x400 tempo

Workout #3-Lift
Ran 1 mile warmup
Maximum strength squat, leg lift +abs and back extensions


Workout #1-Run
10 miles of hilly roads/trails. 1:23.00

Workout #2-Swim
1000 yards easy


Workout #1-Brick
2:45.00 indoor bike (one leg drills plus 5 x 15.00 intervals)
48.00 6 mile transition run


Workout #1 Bike

2:15.00 indoor trainer (4x15 fast spin, hard intervals)

Super Bowl Sunday:
Got dressed up and .5 miles down the road admitted I was toast. Legs were so tight and it was SOOOO cold. It’s too soon to over train so I sat it out. I can thus use the last 6 days to plan a better distributed workload next week.


approx 14.5 hrs of real training with two days off. I'll take it.

Strengths: Great transition runs. I was running off 2.45.00 bike rides with little notice. Lifting I was already putting up max loads. Only a triathlete can leg press 500 pounds and refuse to do a push up ☺

Weaknesses: Swim, swim, swim. I need to get more yards in plus drills. I’ll attend to this next week.

Goals to note:

BACK TO KONA (but first to race weight!)