Tuesday, August 07, 2007

It turns out that running like a hamster is pretty hard work. I knew this at the time, but I didn't know just how hard it was, or how much it was hurting me. After my trip to Chicago, I tried to jump back into some quality training here in Boulder. I found out pretty quickly that the efforts from four hours of indoor training treated me a bit like a race, and I needed to recover from it like a race. It found this out after two moderately unsuccessful workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday. My run and ride those days were quite a struggle, and not the good kind of struggle. I made it through the rest of the week with the intensity notched back a fair bit, and starting this new week, I'm feeling back to full speed.

This morning was the regular Tuesday morning run at the Rez with Simon's group. We've been meeting there since early in the spring, and although the turnout varies greatly, we've got a nice group to motivate one another. WIth the local half ironman this weeked (5430), some of the runners were taking it a bit easy. Others of us were planning for races next weekend (Timberman), so we added a bit more to the end of the session. Although I admit that I miss running at the track, these workouts are probably a better simulation for the types of races we do. And with Simon's ever-changing workouts, we get nice dose of variety.

Next up is a visit to Dave Scott's Hour of Power, aka House of Pain, aka 11:30 swim session. I am not sure if anyone actually uses these terms to refer to the workout, but they could. And they should. It's a popular, often over-crowded slug fest in the water. As a great part of my Hawaii prep is centered around boosting my swim, this is a key element to my training.

The final part of my day will be a ride to Jamestown on my new bike. It's now three weeks old, so it's not super new anymore. However, since I have not posted the "New Bike Update" yet, it's still new to everyone else. And on that note, tune in soon for a full low down of the new Javelin Lugano!

Thanks for checking in.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Whoa! Now I'm back to my evil ways... no updates for an entire month! I have to say that this was totally unintentional: go figure! I'm here again, and I just wanted to thank you, the faithful, for checking in, despite my lack of updates.

I do realize that many of you have been keeping up with my wife, the superior blogger, so at least I rest easy knowing the readers are informed.

Now to the recap...

...bum, bum, bum...

...July ended with a bang. After attending Ironman Lake Placid, and watching Amanda's race fall to pieces at the hands of a flat tire (that I wasn't allowed to help change), I traveled to a Chicago suburb called Barrington. Right there in Barrington, there exists a place called the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, and my friends at Multisports.com invited me to attend their GSSI camp. The goal of the camp was to determine athletes' sweat rates, sweat composition, and overall ability to handle training and racing in Hawaii-like conditions.

What a great experience it was! I arrived on Thursday evening, and we began the festivities on Friday with an easy swim with stroke analysis, a bike ride, and a run with a fun group of campers.

The highlight of day two was our arrival at GSSI for a VO2 max test on the treadmill. And by highlight, I mean the most painful part of the day. The expert team of scientists needed to know at what percentage of our max we would be working during our grueling test on day three, thus the test. I have to admit that the sick and twisted part of me really enjoyed running on a treadmill as the technicians ramped up the speed and gradient. Ouch.

The highlight of day three, and again I mean the most painful part of the day, was four hours of indoor exercising. And by exercising I mean training our butts off in oppressively hot and humind conditions for four hours.

The idea was to ride our own bikes (my next post will spill the beans on my new ride for Hawaii!) on a computrainer for two hours. We were allowed to select our own effort, but along the way, the incredible team working with us took our blood samples several times, they took sweat-filled patches off our dripping bodies, and they handed us any and all fluids or foods we needed to continue.

Upon completion of the ride, we weighed in (again), we peed in cups (again), and we gave blood samples (again). Next up was the two hours of running on the treadmill. This was something that seemed very daunting, but I was drawn to the painful lure of hamsterdom. Yes, hamsterdom is now a word. I was hamsterlike.

The same routine was dupicated on the run. We gave numerous blood samples (to test our sodium levels throughout); we noted our perceived exertion and heart rate; they tested our core body temperatures (using a fancy radio thermometer which we swallowed in pill form); and they fed us everything we needed. And we needed a lot!

I lost count of the bottles I consumed somewhere about the 75min mark of the run. Around that time, I also had to jump off briefly, as the crew helped dry off the treadmill. It was so saturated with sweat that I was slipping with each footfall. I have never seen this much sweat come off my body at one time. In all my Austin summers, in all my days in Kona, and in every visit to St. Croix, I have never seen this much sweat.

We concluded the day with more blood draws, more weighing, and more peeing. It was an amazingly precise experiment, and every drop of fluid was accounted for. We left the lab, all of us, anxious to see what these guys put together as our results file. It takes a couple weeks, as they factor in every detail, including our most recent training conditions (to determine our level of acclimation to heat and humidity).

It truly was a pleasure to be involved in this experiment, and I'd again like to thank Multisports.com and GSSI for including me. With the knowledge I obtained from the top-notch lectures, and with the amazing amount of information I expect we will receive, I am sure I'll be heading to Hawaii just that much better prepared!

Thanks for tuning in!