Monday, May 21, 2012
My first half marathon is in the rear-view mirror now and my sights are fully set on my next big goal for the year (as far as fitness goes, that is): to complete The Ride Across Minnesota (TRAM) with an average speed of 17.5 mph or higher. TRAM is a 5-day, 300 mile ride that benefits Multiple Sclerosis research and the MS society services. It usually attracts about 1,000-1,200 riders, along with 500-600 support staff etc, and raises about $1 million. My wife has MS so this ride is very special for us, and the people have become like family to us.
So as far as fitness goes, I will be focusing solely on preparing myself to reach this goal over the next nine weeks. Here's the plan:
Week 1: Five 20+ mile rides at race pace.
Week 2: Four rides designed to work on cadence, strength, and endurance; core strength.
Week 3: Four rides designed to work on cadence, strength, and endurance; core strength.
Week 4: Five 30+ mile rides at race pace.
Week 5: Four rides designed to work on cadence, strength, and endurance; core strength.
Week 6: Four rides designed to work on cadence, strength, and endurance; core strength.
Week 7: Five 40+ mile rides at race pace.
Week 8: Four rides designed to work on cadence, strength, and endurance; core strength.
Week 9: Several recovery rides.
Week 10: TRAM
Today I took the first ride of the first week of serious TRAM training, and it went fairly well. It was a 24.7 mile ride with 10 brief climbs (longest 1.5 miles). Last year, when I was in much better shape, I completed the ride with an average speed of 18.6 mph. This year I came in at 18.3 which is good given that I haven't been training nearly as long or as well as last year. I'm definitely more fatigued after the ride this year than last, but even so my fatigue is pretty mild. After the final climb of about 0.5 mile, I was able to maintain a speed of over 20 mph the rest of the way home (about 2 more miles mainly on flat ground).
So I'm happy with today's ride and am setting my mind on tomorrow's ride. It's a 21 mile route that includes the steepest climb in my area (probably 10-12% grade). I'll probably come in at 17.2-17.5 mph as it is a harder route but that won't be my primary focus. Rather, I'll be focused on completing a series speed-endurance intervals designed to develop aerobic capacity. And of course, I'll be focused on glorifying the Lord by enjoying my time on the bike!
Thanks for reading, hope you have a great day!
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
The half marathon is now in my review mirror, though the glow of actually doing it is still lingering with me several days later. But I've taken a couple of days to enjoy and celebrate and now it's time to look ahead and focus on what's next.
And what is next? Training for my annual cycling event, The Ride Across Minnesota, a 5-day, 300-mile ride that benefits Multiple Sclerosis research and services. My wife has MS so this ride is important to us, and a cornerstone of our year for the last ten years. This year we travel from Bemidji to Walker to Park Rapids to Wadena to Fergus Falls to Alexandria. It's a very beautiful area, the terrain is perfect for my style of cycling, and I look forward to reaching my goal for the year of averaging at least 17.5 mph for the duration of the ride.
Previously my goal was to finish with an average speed of 18.0 as my normal average speed for rides around town is 18.5-19,0 mph, but I'm not as fit as I was last year and I'm not sure I can reach that lofty a goal right now so I decided to set my goal at something that's challenging for a 300-mile ride but still attainable.
After I complete the TRAM, I'm going to go back to a dual focus on cycling and jogging, and I'll say more about my late summer/fall goals at that time. For now it's all about the TRAM. I'll give you the details of my training schedule for the next 11 weeks tomorrow. For now, thanks for reading and God bless!!!
Monday, May 14, 2012
As I was nearing the end of the half marathon and realizing that I didn't have it in me to do even 12:00 minute miles (in all my weeks of training I was able to maintain around 11:30 miles through to the end of each workout), I began to think of reasons why the event was nonetheless a success for me. So here are a few of my thoughts:
I succeeded because...
1. I found, adapted, and completed a twelve week training plan, missing only one workout due to illness.
2. During my training, I allowed my body time to adapt to the rigors of jogging and it responded faster than I thought it would so that I soon caught up to the level of fitness I enjoyed before the winter began.
3. Because I completed this training program and event, my fitness level is now higher than it was at this time last year.
4. Though I had trained to do walking/jogging intervals of 1.5 min/3.5 min, or sometimes 1 min/4 min, I jogged the first seven miles with only three minutes of walking. That's more than twice as far as I've ever jogged essentially non-stop and it came rather easy. Because of this I slowed down in the last third of the course, but I feel so great about having done this that I don't care about that!
5. I smiled a lot and had a lot of fun, all the way to the end. Even when I felt tired and could not perform as I desired, I didn't allow that to suppress my joy.
6. I met some new people and feel enriched by that.
7. I did something I've never done and never thought I would want to do or be able to do.
8. I beat my goal of 2:40:00 by slightly more than five minutes!
9. I inspired friends and family alike to do something they didn't think they could do.
10. I, however imperfectly, completed the training and the event for the glory of God and enjoyed many memorable moments with God. "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31).
It's been two days since the event now and it seems that my joy in all these successes has only risen day by day as it lands on me that, by the grace of God, I did it! Now I'm setting my mind toward what's next, which I'll write about tomorrow.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
I couldn't have asked for a better day for my first half marathon. It was in the high 50s as I arrived at the starting area and steadily climbed into the mid-60s over the next few hours. The sky was clear, the sun was bright, the wind was still, and the company was great! Honestly, I couldn't have asked for more and very grateful to the Lord for his grace!
As a bona fide turtle, my goal was to come in at 2:40:00 or less but I thought I would hit pretty close to that mark. I had been training at about 11:30 miles which included walking and jogging in five minute cycles (1.5 min walk, 3.5 jog with some exceptions) but given the couple of extra miles on top of my training jogs I figured this was a good goal time.
Some where around 2,000 runners lined up for the start and I chose my pacing group: goal of 2:30 with 11:26 miles. I figured I could stay with them for a while and perhaps even surprise myself and stay with them until the end. Since this group planned to jog the entire course with little or no walking intervals, their jogging pace was slower than that at which I had been training and so, in violation of the way I had been training, I jogged with them for 10 and then 20 and then 30 minutes with only a couple of brief walking intervals--if you can even call them that--and before you know it I had jogged with them for seven miles! Wow, that surprised me. That's more than double of the farthest I've ever jogged with so few walking breaks.
But it also wore me out. I had to let them go at that point and do things my way from there on out, which I did. I still felt fairly good so I did intervals of 1 min walking and 4 minutes jogging pretty much all the way to the end with only one or two exceptions. My times really slowed down at this time because I was pretty tanked, but that was okay with me. I felt that having jogged so long with a group like that was an accomplishment in itself and I had no problem putting in a series of slower miles.
Around mile 11 or 12 I was very tired but I tried to just focus on the interval that was in front of me and not think about it so much. This helped a lot and I was able to finish strong, at least for a turtle! I completed the last 0.1 in one minute which, after 13 miles, was pretty good for me! Felt good to finish strong.
I came in at 2:34:57, slightly more than five minutes ahead of schedule and I'm happy with that. Below are my splits for the day. Tomorrow I want to write about why I feel this half marathon was a success. God bless you all and thanks for reading.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
I did it! I'm going to blog more about this, in pieces, over the next few days but for today I just want to say that the training plan worked, the plan for the day worked, the weather was perfect--what a gift from the Lord--and I had tons of fun!
I am "The Blazing Turtle" so my goal was 2:40:00 or less, and my actual time was...drum roll please...
Praise God and for all your encouragement, Spark Friends! More to come, thanks for reading.
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