Monday, September 29, 2008

Maybe this is how I hurt my IT band in the first place...

The wedding celebration in Poland *was* 5 days after Ironman Canada, after all...but I started easy, just gently twirling the bride...



Then I mosied on over to a little circle dance...



Cut a couple moves with my dad, the bearded fellow...



Then I decided to get down just a bit...



And maybe I began to show off a little...



Things maybe just got a bit too crazy...



But on the bright side, I learned my upper tolerable limit for vodka.

Cheers,
Ben

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sep 27/28 Weekend Training



Synopsis: This was the last weekend to put "money in the bank" prior to Hawaii. I also started loading with CRE02, a creatine product from Millennium Sports.

Saturday: 1.5 hour outdoor hilly ride at aerobic threshold. Didn't want to go much more than this, as the friction/potholes feel like they might inhibit healing of my knee. Halfway through this ride, I blew a tire and had to get a ride from a cop to the nearest bike shop. Maybe I should have quite showing off my cool tricks to the girls at the park.

After this ride, I spent the rest of the day with my wife and babies, then threw down another 3.5 hours at aerobic threshold heart rate + 10 beats (about 153bpm) on the indoor trainer with the radiating heat fan under the bike. I lost 5 pounds during this session! Nothing like spending 7 to 10:30pm on a weekday night ON A BIKE. INDOORS. Sometimes, this is a weird sport.

Knee still felt "weak" after this session. Nervous about running a marathon in 2 weeks.

Sunday: Just to get a little hair on the chest with tired legs from the previous day, I swam a 3000m time trial prior to attempting to run. I then practiced my evolving Hawaii plan - run 3 miles, stretch, walk 2-3 minutes, then run again. Using this strategy, I ran 9 miles, then returned to the pool and swam a 2000m time trial. Knee feels pretty good tonight.

Final thoughts: Knee-wise, I'm very nervous about actually riding 112, then trying to run a marathon. I haven't attempted a brick in several weeks, so short bricks are on the menu this week as I officially begin my taper. We'll see what happens.

Cheers,
Ben

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another Week Closer to Kona...Training Update...



Synopsis: GOOD news! After discovering several proprietary stretches, bracing techniques, heat application methods (including Greyhound juice) and exercises for IT band that I will feature forthcoming...somewhere (probably http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com), I was able to throw down a bit of pain-free running this week. Not marathon-worthy volume, but running nonetheless.

---------------------

Monday: 20 minute core training, 10*60 seconds aqua sprinting at 1:2 work:rest ratio, 30 minute elastic band/cable pull routine, 10*250 swim at max pace

Tuesday: 70 minutes Arbor Crest hill repeats on bike, with 3 layers clothing for added heat, 30 minutes dumbbell/stability ball push routine, Arbor Crest hill repeats running up/walking down for 30 total minutes at lactate threshold running.

Wednesday: 30 minute Gymstick routine, 30*50m pool sprint freestyle repeats, 30 minutes of 5 minute cross-country ski intervals (aqua jogging style)

Thursday: 60 minute of 1:3 work:rest ratio sprint repeats on indoor bike trainer with heat, 4x1 mile flat repeats for run at lactate threshold, 30 minute elastic band/cable push routine

Friday: Recovery day. 30 minutes easy aqua jogging, 60 minutes Yoga, 60 minutes massage from Tim Gilreath, 30 minutes ice bath, 20 minutes foam roller. Recovery days are hard!

-------------------------------

Final thoughts:
Strangely, I am feeling incredibly fit rightnow, but fit like I was in college when I was playing water polo and doing Crossfit-style workouts. This is what I looked like then (2005):



Not necessarily triathlon focused fitness, but more total body crazy stuff. I've put on 3 pounds of muscle, shed 1-2% body fat, and boosted my lactate tolerance significantly. Between medicine ball swim sessions, 4 hour indoor trainer workouts with a radiating heat fan, cross-country aqua skiing, deep water running (click here for more on that), 30 minute High Intensity resistance training workouts with elastic bands, stability balls, Gymstick and rowing machines, and oodles of foam rolling and yoga, my body has had all sorts of new crap thrown at it over the past 5 weeks, which can sometimes be really fantastic for fitness. Hell, I often use this approach with my clients to achieve a fitness or fat-burning breakthrough. *Ahem*, they love it! Whether it pans out for a Hawaii-style Ironman is the ultimate question. In just 2 weeks, we shall see...

Next post: Sep 27/28 weekend training

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sep 20/21 Kona Training Weekend Update

Saturday (preceded this with a 4K pull buoy swim):
video

This was at an average heart rate of 141, my *exact* aerobic threshold, so it was a very effective training session. The room was somewhere around 85 with the heater directly next to my bike. Knee felt OK afterwards, but very stiff.

Sunday:
90 minutes aqua jog with AQX aquatic training shoe (picture below)



Thoughts:
Scared to run rightnow. I don't want to re-injure after the second cortisone injection. Don't want ligament to go boom-boom. After the aqua jogging, my knee felt fine, but on the way to the car, when I stepped off the curb, felt *buckling* knee pain. It disappeared pretty quick after I iced it. We'll see if I can string this thing along until Kona...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Another Training Update

I will not be racing US National Age Group Championships this weekend. A bummer, because I had hoped to qualify for my pro card here, which means a double whammy from this knee injury - couldn't round out my season with the 1/2IM Black Diamond (so no chance at a #1 TriNW ranking!) and couldn't go after the pro card.

And this week's training, after experiencing the knee pain on Sunday, went as thus:

Monday: 1 hour Gymstick and free weight training with clients + 10x pull buoy 200m repeats w/ 500 warm-up and cool-down
Tuesday: 1 hour 200W indoor bicycle + 30 minutes aqua jog
Wednesday: 10*250m row with free weights + 30m steady aerobic swim
Thursday: 1 hour lake swim. ANOTHER CORTISONE INJECTION!
Friday: 6*500m freestyle repeats. Feel like crap from cortisone injection.

There is no way this is going to have me ready for Kona. Barring a big turnaround and the ability to put in volume this weekend, I will have to simply have some fun in Kona and shift focus to Clearwater.

This is kinda turning into a big deal. This is the longest I've ever been "laid up" from an injury.

On the brightside, I'm a really good swimmer now. ;)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

And Finally, Weekend Training

Opted not to race Black Diamond.

Saturday: (see video)

video

video

Sunday: 30 minute lake swim, 20 minutes elliptical trainer, after attempting to run on treadmill and being caught up by debilitating knee pain. A bit depressed. May try another cortisone injection...

All said, this was a really weird week of training. Nothing like what it need to be for Hawaii prep. I actually gained two pounds of muscle, according to body fat % and scale results. Guess that's what swimming and lifting does. ;)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Heads Up: A Hair-Raising Week of Training



The highly-unique, drastically-modified Kona injured-knee training regimen continues...

Sunday (day after Palouse Sprint Triathlon):
90 minute elliptical trainer. Thank you, NFL Football Season.

Monday: Got injected with cortisone after completely torquing already injured knee on spiral staircase. Just call me Tom Brady. Swam 4K with a pull buoy. That was...not interesting.

Tuesday: Swam another hour, but easy. Aqua jogged the "Frankenstein" straight-leg walk for 15 minutes. Did a full body weight circuit for 15 minutes, then finished with 5x2 minute 100% elliptical efforts with right leg only, each followed by 20 reps side right leg jumps onto box. This was a really hard set. My right leg was confused about why I was kicking its ass.

Wednesday: Knee felt a little better. Swam 30x100 meter repeats, alternating after each repeat with 25 push-ups, 25 seconds squat hold, or 25 little bigs. Finished with 30 minute VERY easy recumbent bike. My body is starving for some sun...get me outdoors soon, please!

Thursday: Knee feeling even better. Cycled seven Arbour Crest hill repeats on bike, rowed 20 minutes lactate threshold intensity at YMCA, and finished with 20 minute treadmill run at 8.0. Starting to get encouraged that knee might actually be ready for Kona.

Friday:
Decided to lay-off knee. Performed core workout with one of my clients (15 total minutes of front and side plank holds), followed by 300 medicine ball slams, and 50 jump pull-ups, 50 push-ups. Later that day, I swam 10x broken 200's (100 @ 85%, 75 @ 95%, 25 @ 100%), then 10 minutes of fist-swimming drills. Mostly pull buoy, to spare knee.

Finally, on Friday night, I finished with baby River destroying me with a set of head lifts...

video

Ironman Hawaii approacheth...

Over and out,
Ben

Monday, September 8, 2008

Random Pictures

I rarely post pictures of my kids and some people believe maybe they don't exist, so here you go:



Me and the boys playing on the beach in Penticton, Canada....



Me with River at Seaside, Oregon....



Me singing in our RV on the way to IM Canada, but there were kids somewhere in the RV, back there, behind me....



River and Terran, all dressed up...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Palouse Sprint Screw Yourself.



Yeah, OK, more about the title of this post later on. Well, I was on the fence about coming down to race this one. Like I said, I'll be giving updates on my Kona Ironman training, so let me talk about that first...

Wednesday: arrived back from Poland on Tuesday at midnight, horribly jet lagged and constipated from a steady diet of meat and cheese for the previous 7 days. Swam 1500 and ate lots of fiber.

Thursday: Swam another 1500, 500 w/u with 5*200 hard efforts. Felt strong in the water, like bull.

After my swim, I aqua jogged 12*60 sprints. This means you attach a big foam belt to yourself and run in the water. Typically, you will be joined by a couple elderly patients with a bone density so low that their femurs snap if they happen to stomp on a spider.

My knee felt touchy, but good. Then I went back to the office and lifted for 30 minutes, a "total body" body weight/Gymstick workout with a couple of my clients.

Finally, I rode 20 minutes indoors before heading home from work, and messed with my bike on the trainer; adjusted seat height down 1 centimeter to de-stress injured IT band/hamstring. Also, I shortened my cockpit (No "that's what she said" jokes please) by another centimeter by sliding my aerobars back, in an effort to reduce a bit of low back strain in a position that may have been too stretched out most of this season (20-20 hindsight, right?). Ultimately, I felt decent in this position, but my knee angle changed from 30 degrees to 32 degrees, and really, closer to 25 degrees is better from a power standpoint, so once I beat the IT band inflammation, I'll bring my seat height back up.

Friday: Swam another 1500, 500 w/u with 20*50 hard efforts. Actually ran (like real running, not in the water) 10 minutes to the pool for this one (but I did wear my foam aqua belt because it's sexy). Running back to my office, my knee became incredibly painful within 5 minutes, and I walked most of the rest of the way. CRAP! And I'm supposed to race the Palouse Sprint Triathlon Saturday morning. The remainder of Friday, I worked at my office, but kept my knee wrapped in ice, then did infrared treatment with my Kenkowave and did 30 minutes of electrical stimulation. When I went to bed, my knee was throbbing, so I wrapped it to decrease swelling.

So that was this week's training!

---------------------------------------------

OK, so you're probably still wondering about the title of this post.

I woke up Saturday morning and decided to try to race after all. But while driving to the race, in Moscow, Idaho, I accidentally *sat* on my way cool TN sunglasses and somehow popped a screw out. These were not the indestructible ones, but a different brand I've been wearing in time trials (The Shadow).

Well, I don't want to put out an eye while racing. Imagine if I hit a little mosquito or something. I could go blind! So I got this little microscopic Philips screwdriver and fixed my sunglasses. For those of you familiar with triathlons, you're always running around transition doing a million things before the race, and I realized after fixing my sunglasses that the screwdriver was nowhere to be found!

I was confused.



So I found the race director and told him to keep his eyes open, because I had dropped this teeny-tiny, deathly sharp tiny screwdriver on the ground in transition, and I didn't want someone to puncture a foot or a tire. These little screwdrivers are pretty damn sharp...

...and then I moved on to the race start. By the way, I hold the 2007 course record here with a 50:01. This distance is a 500m pool swim, a 15K bike, and a 5K run...

...just immediately before the swim, I decided to take one final pee...

...so I pulled down my shorts, and there, cradled inside my bike chamois and directly nestled between where my balls would rest, is the tiny little screwdriver...

YIPES!

I couldn't even feel the screwdriver lying there. But yes, just imagine, I could have lost my manhood and truly screwed myself upon leaping onto my bike. As soon as that hard saddle hit the screwdriver resting in my little pantaloons, there would have been some seriously puncture and leakage problems. And they don't make CO2 cartridges for fixing that.

Hence the title of this blog post. Thanks to that last-minute pee, I'm lucky to be...ballzed.

--------------------------

OK, back to the race.

After shoving a knee brace in my T2 bag (last minute stupid decision to try it in the race without having tried it in training) I hopped into the water and had about 200m to warm-up. Then one big breath, and I shoved off the wall. I drafted the whole time off this highschool swimmer dude. We triathletes have to face the humbling fact that all highschool swimmer dudes are fast. My swim cap fell off at after about 5 laps, and for those of you who have seen my hair lately, that's some pretty damn good drag I created with that mistake!

Came out of the water 2nd and didn't look at my watch. All I knew was that if I wasn't going to be able to run fast, I'd have to ride hard. My wife photographed me from a scooter...





Based off my estimated splits, I was 2 minutes ahead of my nearest competitor coming off the bike, but I had no clue how my body was going to run. I might need that full 2 minutes and them some if my knee acted up...I pulled on the brace and went sprinting out of T2...



At the run turaround, I took another split and I was 3 minutes up. I really had no clue how my knee was doing, because the brace just kinda almost numbed everything, almost like when you stick your tongue on a battery, or when you accidentally rub muscle-warming salve on your crotch.



So here I am coming up to the finish line, and guess what? I actually won with a new course record of 48:22, beating last year's time by over a minute and a half. So, boom, there ya go. Screwdriver in the crotch, brace on the knee, loosy-goosy swim cap - my new racing secrets. And maybe all that Polish meat and cheese did the body good.

The knee felt OK when I stopped, but as soon as I took the brace off, it felt a bit dicy, meaning a little inflamed and a little sore. So hopefully I didn't screw myself figuratively after escaping a literal self-screwing. I'm supposed to throw down a half IM training session tomorrow, so we'll see. One things for sure - I'll wear that brace on the run!

Cheers. Let's see if I can squeeze the word "self-screwing" into next week's blog. I may try to race the Black Diamond Half Ironman on next Saturday, and defend my race title over there...



P.S. Swim this afternoon should be fun...my reward for racing hard...

1) 500m warm-up
2) 3 times through a 5*150 set of
-Water polo ball swim (swim while keeping a water polo ball in front of your face)
-Pull buoy
-Medicine ball swim (hold a med ball between your legs)
-Hand paddles
-All out 150 freestyle
3) 10*12 meter elastic band tube sprints (tie elastic band to waist, and other end to dive platform)
4) 500m cool-down

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hawaii Ironman World Championships 2008: The 1st Kona Update



Leading up to this year's 2008 Kona event, I'd like to post my training as an attempt to keep myself honest and give you, the reader, a bit of an inside glimpse at my personal training regimen.

This trip to Poland (see previous post, written in a vodka-fogged state, but thoroughly spell checked) was my "last hurrah" before jumping into my Kona training hardcore. As is the bane of many an Ironman triathlete, I am somewhat concerned about one injury that crept up during Ironman Canada on August 25 - a hamstring strain.

The strain related inflammation has subsided, but it has now been eight days since the race, and I cannot climb stairs without a sharp stabbing pain in the left lateral knee (close to IT band attachment), cannot run for more than two minutes, and cannot ride a bike without the same sharp stabbing pain. I still have 2 days before arriving back into the States to begin my training for Hawaii, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed, icing, stretching, and staying off my feet. I will also visit the doctor when I get home.

Based on anticipating another week before the leg is ready for heavy bike volume, and the fact that I am already signed up for a couple more races before the big day, here is the tentative plan for Hawaii:

Week of August 31 (return from Poland on Sep 3):
Run (Thu/Fri): Light 20-30 minute aqua jogging or outdoor jogging, depending on knee status.
Bike(Thu/Fri): Very light 30 minute spin session. 4-5x 90s accelerations on Friday's workout to test knee.
Swim (Thu): 500m warm-up, 10x100 on the 1:45
Swim (Fri): 500m warm-up, 20x50 on the :45-50
Race (Sat): Palouse Sprint Triathlon
Endurance (Sun): 75lap endurance ladder or 1 hour open water swim, 2 hour light ride depending on knee, 90 minute run

Week of Sep 7
Run: 3-4 45-60 minute runs (depending on whether cycling is possible yet): at least 1 mile-repeat workout, 1 hill repeat workout, and one 90-120 minute run "off the bike" on the weekend if not racing Black Diamond Half Ironman.
Bike: Dependent on knee. Need to do 6-12 minute long tempo hill repeats to prep for Kona, likely on backside of Argonne (total, 75-90 minute workout). Will also be doing higher intensity VO2 max workout indoors (1-4 minute intense intervals, 60 minute workout) with humidifier/heat fan. If knee is good, will try to ride 3-4 hours on the weekend.
Swim (45-60 minutes each): 1: 400-800m interval sets; 2: 100m sprint repeat/skills workout; 3) 60 minute endurance or pool open water swim
Race: May race Black Diamond Half Ironman in Seattle. Won this race last year and have free entry. Will probably skip all other workouts this weekend if I race it.


Week of Sep 13: Taper week for National Age Group Championships - sorry, can't share all my secrets. Will train a total of 7-8 hours.

Week of Sep 20 (high volume week):
Run: Will do long run *early* in this week, as soon as legs are recovered from Age Groups. Long run will be 20-22 miles, probably at hottest time of day. Other runs this will be lighter, to maximize recovery. Weekend some speedwork/hill repeats. 4 runs total this week 45-60 minutes long, other than long workout.
Bike: Continued VO2/hill tempo work. Will ride every day this week for 45-75 minutes.
Swim (1 hour each): 1: 300-600m intervals; 2: 100m sprint repeat/skills workout; 3) tempo endurance swim (1000-1500m intervals); 4: open water endurance workout

Week of Sep 26:
Begin Hawaii Taper (late taper, but my fault for racing Age Group Championships). Plane leaves on Oct 4th. 3 hour indoor Computrainer bike ride with full heat and humidity on Oct 3rd. Total training volume for this week 10-12 hours.

Week of Oct 4: Hawaii Taper in Kona. Total workout volume with be 4-5 hours.

If the hammy heals, this should be a good race. Typically, I would try for a couple more volume weeks and a 3-4 week taper, but time is finite!