Sunday, June 30, 2013

Weekly training log/ How much can happen in a year- Part 2

This week was a bigger week of training for me.  Not the longest or the hardest, but it was overall a very solid week that I was happy with the results of the work that I put in.  My family and friends often ask me where I find the time to do all these workouts, and the answer is really twofold at this point in my life:

For one, a college soccer coach's life is really, really, really busy from the months of August until November with a few spurts throughout the rest of the year that can get hectic as well based on recruiting, traveling, fundraising, and service that can make life hectic as well. But in all honestly, when you are not in season, your schedule is really flexible based on the hours of the day in which you work.

Second, I am a really early riser, so I can typically get a workout in before 7:00am, start working by 7:30am and get in a full days work so that I can get a full days work in by 3:30pm and get a second workout in the afternoon/night.  The key to being able to do this is the same as any other part of your life that you wish to change such as diet, workout schedule, etc.  You simply need to stay consistent and make it a habit.  If you are able to get past the first few weeks, you will be able to stick with it for a while after.  For me, this started back in October when I began attending Computrainer sessions at EndureIt Sports in Naperville, Illinois 3 times a week starting at 5:00am.  It was difficult at first, but I was able to make it a habit, and I truly believe that anyone is capable of doing this if they are dedicated and have a goal of making it happen.

Here is the log from the week of 6/23-6/30:

Sunday-       Bike: 55 mile in about 2:45 which averages out to about 19.5 mph

Monday-      AM Swim:   2500 yards with Master Swim, technique session where I was abused by Coach
                           Sue again about how far I still have to go with my stroke
                    PM Swim:  Intended on doing at open water swim at Centennial Beach in Naperville but the
                            the weather did not cooperate.  (Improvise, Adapt, Overcome)  So I went to an indoor
                            pool and did a longer set to see where my endurance was at and actually swam 2100
                            yards faster than I ever had before.  36:52 which is about 1:45/100 yards.
                                Thanks Masters!

Tuesday-      AM Bike:  32 Miles in 1:42
                    PM Swim:  Endurance swim with Masters for about 4400 Yards.  I had never swam this much
                                     before and was woken up with calf cramps all night.  Brutal!!!

Wednesday-  Run: 10 miles in 58:42 for an average of about 5:53 per mile(Best run to date!)

Thursday-      AM Bike:  33 Miles in 1:38
                      PM Swim:  2500 Yards Masters Swim, Technique and Stroke Session

Friday-          AM Run:   Interval Run, 2 mile warm up, 4x1000 with 400 meter rest interval, 2 mile cool
                      PM Swim:  2800 yards with buddy Ryan, Main set 3x600 with 400 fast and 200 pull

Saturday-        Run:  Easy 8 miles at 6:08 per mile, trying not to burn matches

Sunday-           Bike:  40 Miles with Ryan again, lots of hills in Dubuque over 1300 gain in the ride, fun stuff
                       and Ryan is killing it right now

Weekly totals:  Bike= 159 Miles,   Run= 25.43 Miles,  Swim= 14100 Yards or about 8 Miles

The second part of this blog today I wanted to again focus on how much can happen in a year.  My buddy Ryan who I was able to work out with twice this past weekend is a great example of what you can achieve when you dedicate yourself to a goal and stick to it.  Ryan has always been an in shape kid, who always did a decent job of working out and putting time in to stay healthy.  He has completed full and half marathons.  However, due to injuries and sometimes a lack of consistent training, he did not finish them in the times that he had set out for himself.

However, a few months ago decided to dedicate himself to completing a half ironman, which he did at the Rev3 Knoxville in abosolutely horrible conditions where many people including myself were unable to even complete the race.

Since choosing to train for this, Ryan has smashed all of his previous PR's for running as well and recently ran  some of his best times in a local 5K which he won and in the Run for the Troops team marathon in Dubuque, Iowa.  Just look at the difference in 1 year from above.  He is second from the right in both pictures.  That is dedication!

Running has not come easy for him as it does not for many people who start off trying to improve their running capability, but he has stuck with it and is now improving daily and will continue to improve.

The reason that I wanted to talk about this was first to give due credit to my friend who has worked insanely hard over the past few months to improve, but also to point out to everyone that if you are willing to dedicate yourself to accomplishing a goal, you can achieve unbelievable things.

Improvements are not made overnight and the road is tough, but anything worth doing always is.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.

"Improvise, Adapt, Overcome."  

I love this quote.  One of the first times that I had ever heard it used was by my previous boss at my first coaching gig after college.  He was a former marine, and this quote has seemingly been adopted by the US Marines.  Also, for those of you movie watchers out there, this quote is used by Clint Eastwood in Heartbreak Ridge which is a fantastic movie that I would recommend to anyone.  

Also, wanted to give a shout out here to LCPL Jonathan Collins, son of Jack and Angel, who sacrificed all for our country along with many others as part of our armed forces.  

Another quote that I have learned to love despite the fact that I was not a huge fan of the book that we were forced to read in high school(although maybe I would appreciate it more now), is 

"The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Often go awry" from a  Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse" and in the novel Of Mice and Men

I know I had mentioned previously that this next post would entail a race report from my first 70.3 in San Juan, but events from this morning have made me change my mind, so we will deal.  

This morning my family and I woke up to a great smell of our toilets leaking into the basement.  This sucks for a few reasons:

1. Smells really bad
2. Throws off everyone's plans for the day- Dad has to stay home, Mom has to go in later to work, I was leaving for Dubuque, Iowa for one of my best friend's bachelor parties.
3.  It really does smell awful

For my workout for the day, I had planned on getting in an interval run in early, shower, and get on the road,  However, showering was no longer an option in the house unless I wanted to contribute to the stench that was lurking about.  

A few months ago, this would have been a major issue in my life.  I am already a person that runs of routines, and when the routine is broken, I normally get thrown off.  In order to prepare for my first Half Ironman, I had spoken with a coach and laid out a weekly plan that would enable me to reach my goal of completing it with a decent time.  If something came up that threw off the plan, I would STRESS OUT.  I would get agitated more quickly, I would get quiet, and sometimes I would even get depressed and worried.  

After completing the first race, I was able to learn that it was not as big a deal as I was making it out to be.  You could miss a day or two or three of your plan, and life would still go on.  You would not lose all the fitness that you have been working to get.  In fact, sometimes after these stretches of random rest and adaptation, you would actually have some of the best workouts of your life because your body is rested and ready to work!

I think that this is one of the biggest mistakes that endurance athletes and people in general make.  Again, I am very new to this and my opinion could be completely invalid.  However, I think that having too rigid of a plan and structure that does not allow you to adapt and work around will only lead to stress and frustration.

Some days, you wake up at 5:00am planning on doing a morning tempo bike ride outside; however, it is pouring rain, so you go for a run or swim or hop on the trainer instead.  Some days you start your workout and your legs just don't have it, so you either adapt the workout or enjoy the extra rest and kill the next workout.  Regardless, at the end of the day, most of us are not professionals and do not need to do this to make a living.  We do it because we love the way we feel after a 3 hour bike ride on a Sunday morning before anyone besides triathletes and drunk party-goers from the night before has woken up.  

By the way, I am proud to say that I have been both of the above mentioned early-risers in the past month.  

Anyways, I ended up getting in my interval run which actually went pretty well, showering with the hose in the backyard, and getting out to Dubuque as planned.  Adapt, Improvise, Overcome.

In conclusion, life does not go as planned.  You can either adapt or stress.  It is your choice; Choose wisely!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

First Triathlons- Leading up to Ironman 70.3 San Juan- This was not as easy as I thought it should be

Again, many of these reports are going to be WAY overdue, but I wanted the chance to talk about them because the experiences have been so amazing/interesting in one way or another.  In this post, I will talk about the experience leading up to a Ironman 70.3 San Juan.

As mentioned in my previous post, I decided to become a triathlete about 9 months ago, because I simply got bored of just running and lifting and wanted a new challenge.  I signed up for my first two triathlons on back to back weekends in September 2012.  They were very interesting experiences to say the least.

1. Tri the Illini- Champaign, Illinois

This being my first triathlon ever; I had a very fun and interesting experience.  Not having much swimming practice before the race, I chose this because it was in a 50 meter pool and figured that if I started drowning that a lifeguard could rescue me.  I looked up how to set up a transition online with pictures, brought WAAAYYY to much stuff, and probably looked like the biggest moron ever trying to set up my towel.  However, since triathletes are all a bit off anyways, I soon felt right at home.

I won't go into too much detail about the race to save time and anyone who reads this their boredom.  The temperature was 45 degrees at the start of the race(it was an outdoor pool).  I thus spent 5 minutes in transition putting on an under armour because I couldn't feel anything.  Here are the times and splits for the sprint triathlon.  I post these mostly for myself in order to laugh at how far you can come in a year.  You are free to laugh as well.

1:138Nicholas Rizzo383M2508:21.62:4703:06.248:44.017.800:55.619:23.86:1501:20:31.2

Needless to say, this was a learning experience.  Look at that swim time and bike split for a 14 mile course.  Pretty confident that I would have been lapped at a youth swim practice.  

But I digress.

2. J-Hawk Latebird Triathlon(Whitewater, Wisconsin)

This being my second triathlon in two weekends; I was able to take some of what I learned in the last weekend.  That by no means meant that it went any better, but I was not as clueless about what a triathlon actually entails.

On this triathlon, my mom decided to join me because she is awesome and will always be there to support me in whatever I decide to do(even if it is really dumb at times).  One great thing about having her there is that she is about as comfortable in the water as I am.  We were both freaking out about the POOL swim ha. We arrived to the event and got checked in.  There were actually a decent number of good athletes there for it being a smaller event.

The swim occurred at their indoor pool(Thank GOD).  The bike course was through rural areas that were well blocked by the local support.  And the run took you through a wooded area on some very questionable grounds and Bridges?  Overall, it was a fun race.  

However, it would not be a triathlon for a newbie without a few things to go wrong due to improper planning.  

Issue Numero Uno-  After the swim, which actually went much better than the previous week's, I ran to the bikes.  Uh Oh.  Where did my Bike go?  I swear I put it here, no there, no there...  Well it took me about 4 minutes to find my bike and get on it.  If I were anywhere close to finishing at the top, this would have really upset me.  However, such is life, and you learn to roll with it.

Issue Numero Dos-  At this point in my triathlon career, I was riding a road bike from like 1970.  It seemed pretty reliable and I was learning how to bike at the time, so it was more than enough.  However, during this race, the shifter decided that it didn't want to get out of the big gear.  Needless to say, climbing became somewhat difficult; especially, the big hill leading up to the second transition which left my legs feeling like lead for the first half mile of the run.

Here are the results from this race...
27.    98Nicholas Rizzo25M6510:544:524845:1018.60:40219:446:22271:21:1827
Another fun race.  And despite the sub-par result, I was hooked.

When we got home that night, I started looking at triathlon stuff online.  I looked up Ironman and what that race entailed.  I decided that a full distance would be way too much at this point with my poor swimming background; however, a half seemed reasonable if I trained hard enough for it.  I began looking for races and saw that there was one in San Juan, Puerto Rico where my mom had worked for 2 years when I was in school.  

I turned to her while we were both on the couch and said
"Hey mom, I am going to sign up for a Ironman in San Juan.  Want to come with?" (I was joking).  
Being the awesome mom that she is replied, "Sure.  When is it?"  

"March 17th.  Are you serious?" 

"Ya sure.  I'll look up flights."
"You better not be kidding, because I am signing up right now."

"Do it.  It will be fun."

That is the story of how I got into long-distance triathlon.  Next post will be the training and race report of San Juan.

P.S.  I promise that I do improve over the next few months.