Two weeks ago, I spent nine days in Utah for the Outdoor retailers show. I saw a lot of spiffy gear, but spent less time than usual at the show, to spend as much time as possible in the mountains. This was definitely reflected by my accumulation of less swag than ever, as I didn't score any shoes, watches, etc. I basically came home this trip with a water bottle, and that water bottle is one which I paid for via a race entry fee that I was charged double for! The Wasatch Wobble is a 5k race which my Garmin Forerunner clocked in at almost 4 miles...So as I was signing up for the $10 race, I handed in my $20, and was expecting $10 back, and they just smiled and said thanks! Fortunately it went for charity at least, but then they informed me that the race tee's were all gone and if I wanted they could give me a pair of "Darn Tough" socks, (a brand that is pushing hard to be carried in my wifes retail store, whom have sent us many many free pairs!). Ugh. No thanks, I am trying to accumulate as little as possible in my life, and I don't need your socks! The race tee was a rare find however! I had my eyes on it for a few days, as I saw others who had pre-registered wearing them around town. Unfortunately, due to a communications error between my wife and I, my registration didn't occur 'til they were out, and I missed out on a one and million find of a cool race shirt. Anyways, it was a goofy training race anyways consisting of burnt lungs and dry air.
I got in 20+ hours of training while in Utah, and I slept at 7500'-10,000' each night which should prove beneficial for Ironman in 14 days as red blood cell life is from 90-120 days. I didn't get in any mountain biking as the trail running was too great, literally some of the best trails I've ever seen, especially by Lake Desolation.
An interesting conversation this week with Ricky George about muscle physiology as he noticed an inability to reach the highest heart rates while doing 3-4 minute climbing repeats versus 1000 meter repeats... Wondering if the watts required to run uphill, are overshadowed on flat land by the recruitment of the larger hamstrings and glutes, and that the highest HR would be possible on flat ground even though less watts would be produced? Or would more watts actually be produced on flat ground and the high higher heart rate as well because once again of the recruitment of the hamstrings and glutes on flat ground versus the quads and calves on climbs??? Interesting research opportunities. Taking this to heart, one may be able to train more effectively with heart rate on flats and climbs, for example-the same way in which I know that my threshold on the bike is lower than the run, and I train according while setting heart rate parameters for each workout, i could dive deeper and set parameters differentiating between hills and flat workouts? It'll be interesting to look further into this.
Three days ago was my best run in months. After spending the time at altitude in Utah, and spending the last month tip-toeing the tight-rope of balancing not falling into overtraining, I am finally feeling good again. I did a 3.5 hour ride in 100 degree temps, in which I felt OK, but on the run, I was able to still run a 3 hour marathon pace regardless of the 100 degree temps...Very promising for Ironman in 14 days. It was exciting as my favorite workouts of the year are my 1-1.5 hour runs at threshold and I couldn't do any of them the last 2 months because I my flirting with overtraining! Fortunately, the balancing act worked and for the first time in a while, I think I am going to be at a good fitness level for Ironman after potentially peaking a month early. I think I played my cards right and I can jump back on the peak week without a second to spare. It was just rewarding to see my heart rate finally at 160 for an entire run, and also in the 140's and 150's during my ride. Last year for Ironman my average HR was 142, and for comparisons sake, during the Mohican 50 miler this year in June, my average HR was at 155. I am hoping this year for Ironman I can maintain a HR on the bike closer to 150 and can hold that through the run, I am after all, a runner. Usually less than 1% of ironmen, including the pros can run a sub-3:30 marathon so we'll hope for the best this week! bring on the second peak week workout tomorrow!