Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bad Days

In the course of training and racing, everyone will have bad days. These are days when we just feel off, aren't hitting the numbers we are accustomed to, or happen to really hit the wall. Sometimes a bad day can be influenced by external factors that we can't control. Weather often is blamed by many for having a bad day. Fellow competitors can influence how things go - look at Macca crashing into Marino in T2 at Kona this past year. And, of course, we, as athletes, can be the root cause of many of our bad days.

I've had two recent races, one a 5k and one an indoor TT on the bike, where things didn't go as I thought they would. First, in the 5k, I just felt flat and didn't hit the paces I felt I was capable of. Sure, there were a few hills and some wind that I hadn't counted on, but I was not pleased with my race. I felt I underperformed. In hindsight, I looked at it as a good speed session, and know I'll have better days ahead.

Most recently, was an indoor TT that I competed in. Back in January I rode the exact same course (6.6 miles) and finished in 16:04 @ 352 watts. Yesterday the TT was in a large gym, and the temp was nearly 20 degrees higher than in the first TT. As a result, my time was 45 seconds slower, my power was 14 watts lower and my HR was 5 beats higher. I felt going into this latest TT that I would be able to shoot for 360+ watts. However, the variable I couldn't control was the indoor temp, and as a result it was not the ride I was looking for. Again, another good training session that will help out down the road when it really matters.

Bonking is something that many racers talk about, and I had a long ride this past summer where I completely hit the wall with 20 miles to go in my ride (it was nearly an identical ride to one I did earlier in the year, one where I averaged a bit over 255 watts for four hours, and finished the ride feeling very strong). At around the 65 mile mark I began to feel a bit off and my power began to drop. I had taken in plenty of nutrition along the way, and felt strong during the first three hours. However, the temp had reached the low 90's, and, looking back, I realized I was quite dehydrated and low on electrolytes. I pulled into a gas station, and sat in the shade for about 15 minutes, drinking a gatorade, having a snickers bar, and leaning against a trash can. For the remainder of the ride my power was way off and I felt weak and like I was running on empty.

All of these incidents are lessons learned and experiences that I can grow from. Every day is not going to be one of those fantastic sessions where everything goes perfect  (hopefully a few of these days are saved for races). When a bad day does happen, look at it as something to grow and learn from. For instance, as a result of my bonk, I began using salt caps with success, and had a solid race at Vegas 70.3 in conditions far hotter than any weather I'd trained in.


Training update:

So far through the first three weeks of March I've hit the following numbers:
10.5 hours of biking: 233 miles
15.5 hours of running: 125 miles
16.75 hours of swimming: 56,550 yards

As the weather warms the bike volume will increase. So far, I haven't been outside on my bike since mid December. I'm really hoping that the white stuff will not reappear and that the temps begin to warm soon.


Baby Update:

Katie's due date is less than one week away, on March 30th. We are really hoping that 'baby' decides to wait until next weekend at the earliest to decide to show up. We both have things that need to get done at work this week, but we know 'baby' ultimately decides when to show up.

We have decided to wait until delivery to find out if we are having a boy or girl. Everything is set up, and the car seat bases are in the cars. Our hospital bags are packed, and we are ready if baby decides today is the day (but please wait!).