Sunday, August 30, 2009

First PT (Physical Therapy) last Wednesday - Starting New

I had my first PT appointment last Wednesday to determine what is wrong with me and how to fix it.  Basically, I learned that I am using my quads and lower legs too much.  I am not using my hamstrings, butt, and hips enough.  She determined this from the way I stood, and certain measurements.  I have always known I am tight in my hamstrings.  In the past I have had some hip cramping.  I never put too much thought into it.  I guess I should have.
She started me with 3 exercises, one I can do at my desk or where ever.  That one is basically, keep my feet flat, while sitting, and move them back.  This stretches my hamstrings.
The two others are the 90-90 Hip Lift and the Sidelying Ischial Femorial Ligamentous Stretch.  These I should be doing twice a day.  I am trying to do them twice a day.  When I get images of the exercises I will post them.
On Monday, 8/31, I have my next doctor appointment and I will get more x-rays to see if the damage is gone.  I also have another PT appoint on Wednesday and I will get more exercises.
Today, Sunday, I did the Team Ortho Time Trial.  When I get some pictures I will post about it. My results were less than great.  So, no hurry there. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Saint Paul Triathlon or Almost Completed my First Tri of the Year

No intentional DNF like at St. Anthony's in late April. This one I finished, sort of. I guess the Saint Paul Triathlon is my first race of the season and it was a relay. I did the swim and the bike and Jackie's cousin did the run.

It was a fantastic day for a tri. I got up about 4AM and had my usual breakfast of oatmeal, banana, coffee, and oj. Took a shower and shave, needed to wake up. Stopped on the way to the race for a small coffee and donut, a little pick-me-up. The temperature around 5:30 was low upper 50s-lower 60s. If felt good in the morning.

As usual, I got there early. Sat in the car for about 15 minutes and listened to some music. Finally got out of the car and found a nice spot on the rack. About 20 minutes after I was nicely setup they put out the signs for the relay racks, so I had to move all my stuff. Which was fine, I still got a nice spot at the end. I didn't really warm-up, except for a little swim right before the start.

Jackie and her cousin showed up at about 6:45. Her cousin only had about 3 hours of sleep after working until about 2AM. Jackie only had a little more sleep. We chatted and hung out before the start. I was nervous and antsy.

I was in the first wave, which was International (Olympic) distance all Elite, males under 34, and relay. The start was a bit of a mess like last year. No official at the start and no start line except, everyone in water no deeper than ankles. Ready, set, go, and we were off. I went wide and easy at the start. Since it was my first race I wanted to take it easy for the first lap. It worked well. I was out of traffic and it was very calm water. I did get a little anxiety and had a little problem breathing, so I just took some extra breathes and stayed steady. On the second lap I picked it up to a slightly faster pace. As usual, I didn't start standing until my hands touched the bottom. I stood up, took a few steps, and feel in ankle deep water. A volunteer helped me up. I got going and as I was running up the chute I heard Jackie, her cousin, and her aunt and uncle cheering my name. It was nice to hear cheering for me. I got into transition, had some trouble getting the wetsuit off, it has been almost a year since I have had to do it.

The whole time on the bike was rough. First of all the road it horrible. Lots of potholes and very uneven. It was stressful because I had not been on a bike outside at all this year, except for the Tuesday Night Time Trials, so my bike handling is poor. When I got outside of Phalen Park and to one of the first intersections, a women ran a stop sign with a police officer. I saw it coming and jammed on the brakes, slid, she stopped in the middle of the intersection, and I swerved around behind her. She stopped in the middle because the cop in front told her to and the cop behind her, that she blew by, also told her. I never saw her look in my direction. That left me a little rattled. The second lap of the bike was bad because now everyone from the other waves out on the course and there are people riding 2-3 abreast. Very nerve racking, one reason I don't like urban races. Urban races are usually crowded and the roads are terrible. Another reason the bike was so rough, I am out of shape. So I used the downhills to my advantage, by coasting a bit, and spinning when possible, only really cranking away when I felt up to it. The bike was painful, I was sucking wind, but as the results below show, it wasn't as bad as I thought. I thought I might, might average over 20MPH, and I did.

I got into transition and handed off the chip to Jackie's cousin, who had a really great run considering the conditions she did it under. While she was running I got to hang out with Jackie and her aunt and uncle, which was a really good time. Again, not something I get to do at a triathlon.

Overall it was a really good day. I got to do 2/3 of a triathlon, my girlfriend got to come and watch, her relatives were there, and the weather was perfect.

Results - 7th out of 11 coed teams.

Swim (1 mi) - 28:05 (1:36 100 yard/pace)

Bike (24.3 mi) - 1:08:01 (21.3 MPH)

Run (6.2 mi) - 56

Total time - 2:36:01

What I did last year (2008) on my own at the Saint Paul Triathlon

Results - 5 of 22 (Age group 30-34) and 42/182 overall

Swim (1 mi) - 29:54 (1:42 100 yard/pace)

Bike (24.3 mi) - 1:04:54 (22.5 MPH)

Run (6.2 mi) - 49:21 (7:57 min/mi)

Total time - 2:27:03

A last note, I did this triathlon last year and said then I would not do it this year. I don't like the bike course. It is crowded and the roads are bad. The run and swim are fine. Also, the race is not run very well overall. My girlfriend, who has volunteered with me at a number of races this year, said this was one of the most poorly run races she has seen. I would have to agree. The exit and enterance to the bike transition is dangerous because it is in traffic for the second lap people. Also, the food and drink at the end is poor. Last year they ran short of water. I think all they have at the end is Chex Mix and some fruit snacks laid out. I did it this year because I transferred from a different race and I wanted to do a relay. I think this is my last year doing this race.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Is It Me or Is It My Helmet?

On Tuesday, I did my second Tuesday Night Time Trial (T'N'T) of the year.  Leg still not fully healed.  Some times there is some pain in the area of the stress fracture, but I cannot attribute it to any particular activity.  Sometimes it just hurts.  Also, there is pain in my knee (sometimes sharp), ankle, hamstring, and the muscle across my leg.  Enough about the pain, on Monday morning I did my usual morning swim at Masters, about 2600 yards.  Then I went home and did a workout that was stepping up and down on a chair 20 times, and then getting on the bike and doing a 30 sec sprint (not out of saddle) and 60 seconds of rest, repeat 5 times.  Repeated the whole chair and bike thing 4 times.  
After Monday, I was sore on Tuesday, so I did not have high hopes for the TT.  
I warmed up a little and started to feel better.  I was trying to get an aero helmet from the Gear West Test Team equipment pool and I didn't think I would get it.  That is until a guy on the team, Wayne, showed up 15 minutes before the start with a Giro Advantage 2 helmet, see pictures.  He showed up just to drop the helmet off. Since I am doing the Saint Paul Triathlon on Sunday, I also wore my Speedo FastSkin so I could try that out on the bike for the first time this year.  As an aside, I am doing the tri as a relay, my girlfriend's cousin is going to run for me.
Anyway, I sucked wind in the TT, like last time It did not feel as bad, and the soreness went away pretty fast.  I actually felt kind of good, but I didn't have a very good feeling about my time while I was riding.  I had my watch with GPS going and noted that the speed going up hill was as low as 14 MPH and the down hill and flats were as fast as 31+ MPH.  I didn't get a good start and stop on the watch, so I was not sure of my exact time and had to wait until the next day.
Low and behold, I was 77 seconds faster than two weeks ago.  I averaged 21.93 MPH, two weeks ago I averaged 21.04 MPH.  
Did I get faster because of the training, or the helmet?  Wait.  The helmet?  I sent an email to Trent at Gear West letting him know I had the helmet and what my results were.  In the email I mentioned the helmet helping me versus training, and Trent mentioned the improvement is within the known improvements a helmet can make.  What?!  I remember reading numbers, but I didn't have them off the top of my head.  So I did a little searching and came across a number of different website with information.  Here is one example:
Basically, there are results that show anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes of benefit from an aero helmet over 40k, or about 25 miles.  I did some quick rough math that shows a benefit of 13 to 53 seconds over 11 miles, the distance of the T'N'T, assuming the benefit is linear.
I had a 77 second improvement.  How much of that is me and how much the helmet?  I would like to think that me and the helmet can share some of the credit for the improvement, maybe a little more to me.  I will be wearing the helmet at the Saint Paul Triathlon this weekend and the Team Ortho Duathlon TT the next weekend.  Once I am done with my turn with the helmet I will write me review.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Splash and Dash - Minus the Dash

Once a month on a Tuesday in June, July, and August Gear West Bike and Triathlon hosted a swim-run-swim-run race at Long Lake.  Being I was in a cast the last few months I could not participate.  The first one was cancelled due to the weather and I was unsure about doing the second.  I thought I could swim and skip the run, but I was worried about moving too much without the cast.
Once the cast was off, I felt ok to give it a try.  So I decided to do the swim and skip the run.  The race is basically a 50m swim to a buoy, around the buoy, run around the buoy on shore, then swim out to the buoy and back for a total of 200m plus a short run.  You then run to the "transition square" get your shoes on and run a mile.  There is short break and you do it again. The time for the two swim-runs is added.  
I did the swim and ran to the transition, waited for everyone else to finish.  Then I started the second swim with everyone.  The first swim I went out too fast, first time swimming "competitively" this year.  Part way through I thought I might puke and I sucking wind.  I  made it and learned my lesson.  In a triathlon I typically start kind of slow, build to a steady hard pace.  I did that the second time.  My splits were almost identical.  Consistent I am.
1st swim (including short run to transition) - 3:03
2nd swim (including short run to transition) - 3:05
Not bad for me.  200m is about 220 yards which is about a 1:23 for 100 yards for 3:04, including runs.
This morning, Wednesday, I went out and did the usual Wednesday morning lake swim at the Gunther's on Lake Minnewashta.  I have been doing this swim every summer on Wed for about the last 4 years.  This morning I swam one of my fastest times.  It is about 1100-1200 yards one way and I generally swim both ways.  This morning I swam back in forth in under 39 minutes, which is a rarity for me.  I guess the Splash and Dash warmed me up for the morning swim.
Between the time trial and the Splash and Dash I am feeling pretty good about things after a long summer of not racing.  
Leg still gives me some pain, mainly knee and ankle, a little in the area of the fracture.  The pain in the fracture area is occasional and I can put a specific action that causes the pain.  In any case, hopefully the heal is still going and I can start running in September.   

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My Leg and "The Race of Truth"

I went to the doctor Monday afternoon for what now has become my monthly x-ray and doctor consult about the stress fracture in my tibia. I was getting pretty down about it. So, it was much to my relief that the x-ray showed the fracture to be almost gone, not gone, but almost. Enough that I can stop wearing the damn boot. No more boot. Hooray.
I can't run for another 4 weeks. After I go back for another x-ray and make sure it is entirely gone. In the mean time I have one PT appointment. I am not sure how many I will need. I know that I need to gain strength in my left leg. I can feel pain/weakness in my knee and ankle in my left leg. I am going to try and do a couple triathlons and a few duathlons. At least the first triathlon (Saint Paul Triathlon) will be a relay or a DNF at the run. No matter, it is good to be going again, even if it is not full speed ahead.
To celebrate my lack of cast I did the Tuesday Night Time Trial (T'N'T). This would be my 4th year doing this race. First year I only did it a two times (on my, now gone, Lemond Sarthe), year after 5 times, last year 7 times (of 8), this year I was going to do all of them, or at least try. So with two left I did one on Tuesday. My goal was to finish, which I did. Next, it would have been nice to go over 20MPH, I went 21.04 MPH. Considering I have been only biking 4 hours a month, for the last 3 months, and it was easy biking on the trainer. I am pretty happy with the results. I was worried about fluids, so I drank probably more water and Power Aid (ick) than I need. I ended up puking in my mouth a few times. I have not done that in awhile. It hurt and was difficult. I did not get out of the saddle, as instructed. I did it.
The TT, otherwise known as "The Race of Truth", felt really good, despite the pain. It is good to be back and competing a little bit.
2009 T'N'T = 11 miles, as always - 21.04 MPH which was 60th out of 65 (Not Last!)
2008 T'N'T Ave = 23.03MPH Ave Place = 35/64
2007 T'N'T Ave = 21.46MPH Ave Place = 40/52
2006 T'N'T Ave = 19.3MPH Ave Place = 52/52 (Average of two, second to last and last place)