Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gold Star for me and Marcelle

Marcelle is the Madone, and she's taken me on quite a ride these last 3 months. I finally finished base training - 12 weeks of cycling training for a large amount of time in specific heart rate zones. I told my Mom I was almost finished and she said, then what? You get a gold star? So yeah, gold star for me.

As I wrote a while back, the idea is to use the heart rate monitor and apply your cycling training in targeted HR zones. For me, Z1 121-140, Z2 142-153, Z3 154-162, Z4 163-174, Z5 175-185. Most of base training is 10% of the time in Z1, 60% in Z2, 15% Z3, 15% Z4. It varies a bit as the weeks go by, but that's the bulk of it. Now for the times - Week by week, it's the number of hours that gets progressively harder with every 4th week a rest week: 5, 7, 9, 4. Then the next set of weeks: 6, 8, 10, 5. Then the third set of weeks: 7, 9, 11, 6.

I'm on that last week now, with the 6 hours, so no problems finishing that out. That 11 hour week was a killer! I rode over 200 miles last week and all on the road. When I started out I had to get a lot of time on the rollers indoors, or in spin class. Now with longer days and daylight savings, I can ride after work. Mile after mile - a few rides by myself, but mostly group rides with great company from my GCBC riding buddies. I'd plan a ride, post it on the message board, and someone was always there. All except the snow day, and one long solo ride on a Thursday. Sometimes, they think I'm crazy.

So now my legs feel like rocks. Still a little fat to spare, but I've lost 8 pounds since New Years and all my clothes either fit or are too big. I have not been sick a single day since before Christmas. My lungs feel stronger and clearer than ever in my life. Here's a big one -- no injuries or overuse problems. Had a hint of trouble with my right knee towards the end, but I think I held it off by paying attention to my position on the bike. I've kept up with yoga and a little Pilates, but not a lot of strength training. Now I need to get back into that.

The rest weeks are the most amazing thing. It's like you're coming out from a load, becoming refreshed, renewed, reenergized. The body takes this progressive stress and adapts day by day, but then to have this period of less stress is so important.

Trusting the training plan... that's an important part and it takes a lot of the mental stress and second-guessing away from what you might usually have. You don't have to wonder, am I working hard enough? Riding too much? Should I rest more? You just plan your rides to fill the zones and times you need, and trust the plan.

OK so now what. I have endurance and aerobic capacity, now I build power and speed on top of that "foundation". Build phase follows base phase - less riding, but more intensity. I should start to see some payoff and get faster, if I do harder rides and more specific drills like speed intervals and hill repeats. I also need to retest my "LT" heart rate - that's what the zones are based on. The highest average HR you can ride and sustain for 3 miles, twice. I measured it New Years and it was 174. Now I need to measure it again, maybe this coming Sunday. As for riding, right now I can ride solo for 50 miles at 18 or 19 mph average. I want > 20. The hard rides and the racing events have started for the year.... I just want to see a marked improvement, and not push myself to injury in trying to get faster. That and get below 150 pounds. I came so close! Saw 150.2 on the scale one day. Now I'm back around 153, but I want to get to 145. I'm patient, though. And happy with where I am now. NEVER so appreciative of my body and health as I am now. It's not perfect, and I have no desire to pursue perfection! I think it can limit you. Spend time trying to be perfect, and you don't have time to be great and find new heights. Perfection has limits, greatness does not.
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Mountain Biking at Bethel

As if I needed a new outdoor activity... made 2 trips lately to Bethel Trails to ride Mountain Bikes with the GCBC. First time, I got beat up pretty bad as I wiped out 3 times, each time when I hit sand and lost control of the bike. Second time no wipeouts and an enjoyable ride through the woods. I like it... I do! Now THIS is something Dale likes to do too, and it's a lot of fun up there with a good group of folks and some Tato Nut donuts. I'm there in the group photo 3rd from right.
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Battle on the Bayou

March 6, 2010

Perfect weather, great starting location, awesome paddle, fabulous time at the Shed at the end. I did well but could have pushed a BIT harder and done it in under 2 hours. I think my time was 2 hours 3 min - 33/125 overall, 10th in my K1>15 class. I was having fun!

I can't believe what a fantastic job the event organizers did for a first time event. Party the night before at Front Beach, all the logistics covered, prizes, halfway point rest stop, GREAT start and end location.

A friend took some neat pictures from the Ft Bayou bridge looking down on the kayaks. I'll upload when I get copies.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Last Serious Training Paddle Before the BB

Feb 27, 2010

About 8 miles, with a few hard efforts. Actually got in one hard effort in the previous post in the easy 3.5 miles when we sprinted back to the dock. I felt that in my upper body and felt stronger this next time. Training works for paddling too!

We went up towards the otter again but had already gone looking for the birds and daylight was fading. Timing worked out nicely going back into the sunset. I love that.

Buddha said "Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” The moon came up before the sun went down. The moon was one day away from being full. They keep coming back around! Another chance to admire... another chance to appreciate... another chance to feel the shine. Every day, you get to see them again.

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Liesure Paddle, Bayou Trois

Feb 20, 2010

South from the dock to the third Bayou on the west side of the bay... 6 kayaks headed towards the causeway.

Paused for a photo. and went back.

A nice 3.5 miles... fun group.
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