Friday, November 1, 2013

What I have in common with Superman! - Training at elevation.

Seriously, I'm hoping I'll be like superman.  If you think about it Superman is just some guy, average, nothing special when he's at his home planet.  Ok, well he is pretty buff so maybe he would be like a decent cross fit guy or something on Krypton, one of those enthusiastic types that competes.

Point is (as if it wasn't clear) while he's pretty average at home when he pops on over to earth and gets a hit off that yellow sun he's a freaking superhero!!

Seriously buff

I mean he already has his own crossfit shoes!
I need some of that superhero power because I'm feeling pretty average up here... Its been 3 weeks since I moved from sea level in Scotland to a mile high at Denver Colorado.  While some would argue its not THAT high, it crushed me the first while here and I was pretty sure 70.3 miles would kill me.  

I'm hoping my version of the yellow sun will be getting back down to Sea Level.  I'm choosing to believe I will be high on oxygen and fly through the field!  Placebo or not, I know I will get a boost down there.

Its been over a month since I've been able to hit goal paces without feeling like I'm going to explode or pass out after a few minutes.  So going into these races coming up just holding onto the belief I can still bike/run near those speeds and I haven't lost all of my fitness even though it feels like it!  Hell I know I haven't lost all of the fitness from Ironman training, it just means I may have to suffer a little bit more to get the results I want ;)  Suffering I can do.

Recovery has been interesting too.  I've always had superhuman recovery powers, during Ironman training with solid volume there were maybe a handful of times where I woke up with heavy legs really feeling the day before.  I miss that... I can definitely tell that the work up here affects me more, I don't feel as fresh going into sessions, don't have my usual annoying to some bouncing off the walls level of energy, but building fatigue is the name of the game.  You can't improve if you don't stress your body.  As long as you are smart about it and don't dig yourself into a hole - if not make sure you have a coach like Lucho to keep you leashed! 

Appetite!!!!  This was a shocker.  I was eating like a horse!  Its tough to eat well while travelling and living out of hotels eating at restaurants for every meal.  So being all educated on nutrition and making sure to research how to eat well on the go, I proceeded to ignore all of it and eat what looked good.  A lot of what looked good, I was hungry constantly, not limiting my beer and cheesecake intake (its not my fault our place is right across the street from the Cheesecake Factory!).   While I wouldn't recommend it, I actually ended up leaning out a bit!  Now I'm the type of person that looks at cheesecake and gains 10lbs.  I dont know if it was that my metabolism needed a reset and break from the stress I was putting on my body, or if the change in elevation had my body running hot, but I was shocked to see I didn't gain 20lbs especially since I was doing half the training.

A little bit on my first few death marches experiences in swim/bike/run a mile high.

First Run

Ok lace up, head out the door.  I'm right in downtown Denver so I knew it would be a bit stop and go to get to the pathway dealing with street lights and traffic, always annoying when you are trying to go for a decent run.  Little did I know how happy I would be to see a red hand at the light telling me not to cross.

Start running...ok this isn't so baa....gah where is the air??  Make it to the first light at the end of the block gasping for air.  Now maybe I went out too hard, need to back it off, I wish I could say it was uphill.  Unfortunately I was running 2 minute per mile slower than usual at a very aerobic HR, and breathing like I was hitting lactic threshold.  The workout was a 6-7 minute run, but I cut it short when my pace went down to 10 min/mile and I felt like I was hyperventilating.   Little bit of a hit to the ego, 5.5 miles nearly killed me when a few months earlier a 22 mile run was a moderate workout.

Was praying to see these on every street corner so I could catch my breath
At that point it was 4 weeks to Miami Man 70.3...this could be interesting.

Riding the bike 

Now this had a bit of a novelty factor to keep my mind off of my embarrassing lack of power.  I was in freaking Boulder! Legends ride these roads (although they were all in Kona gearing up for the epic race that unfolded).  Like the run HR was 20 beats higher than normal, and I could not get enough oxygen.  I stopped looking at the power meter because it wasn't telling me anything I wanted to hear and my legs couldn't do anything to change that.

The Swim

We're just not even going to go there.  Even better my pool is on a rooftop 33 floors if I need the extra elevation!

Things have improved marginally since then.  Everything is still harder, but I'm not hyperventilating at 10 min miles anymore so thats a bonus :p

More details to come on meeting my coach Lucho in person for the first time and plans for my next couple races adding a few more countries to my racing resume and how the adaptation is going up here.

Carpe Diem

Headed to Boulder!
Trainer set up by the rooftop pool, not a bad set up.

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