Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Orleans Half Ironman Course Ride

Made the trip down to New Orleans this morning to ride the New Orleans Half IM course with a bunch of peeps (about 15 of us) from Baton Rouge Tri. This was my second time to ride the course, so I already knew what to expect. Of course since it is south Louisiana, the only elevation changes are overpasses or bridges. There are three of those on the course. The Senator Ted Hinckley Bridge is the biggest. At the apex of the bridge there is some metal grating that gets very slippery when wet. It was wet this morning, so we had to walk it to avoid the chance of slipping out. On the way back in, the group of three I was with decided to ride it, and I tried to track as true as possible but could still feel my rear wheel getting squirrely. They are supposed to carpet it for the race so we don't have that problem. Two of the overpasses/bridges are within the first couple miles, which means they are also in the last couple of miles. There is one other small low bridge at mile 22/34 that shouldn't be an issue.

The course overall is very flat. When you leave the start, the first couple of miles is along the lake shore, then over the bridge and overpass. Then you have a few miles through some neighbor"hoods" along the levee.
Neighborhood on the course
The levee near the neighborhoods.
More levee and course.
You then get on Hwy 510 for about a mile and then on the service road for about a mile. The service road on the West side is pretty rough, but the one on the East side is great. Hopefully, they are using the one on the East side. After the service road is Chef Mentuer Highway. There is commercial business and gas stations until you get to mile 13ish. After that, it is all desolate except for some fishing camps along the marsh. The course if very low traffic and should be great for the race. However, if it is windy it is going to be miserable. Since it is out in the marsh, there is not a lot of trees or structure to break up the wind.

The first time I rode it, we had a 8 to 10 mph wind out of the west which meant tailwind on the way out and headwind on the way back in. We averaged 21.5 on the way out and 15 on the way back in. That sucks. Today, there was a light wind (4-5 mph) out of the NE so it was a little bit slower on the way out, but not that much of a difference. I went there intending to ride 80% heart rate for the entire ride, and I accomplished my goal. My average heart rate for the entire ride was 144 which is right at 80%. Every thirty minutes I did a 2 minute pick-up and the last 6-7 miles we rode at about 21 mph. I ended up averaging 17.8 for the 56 mile route. I want to get that to where I am close to 19 mph at 80% for the route, so we'll see how that goes. Would like to be able to keep it at 80% on the bike for the race so I can have some gas left in the tank for the run. When I finished today, I did a short 2 mile run at 9:20 pace just to start to get the feel of running off the bike. By the end of my training, I will increase that to 45 min to an hour of running after riding . The race is only 10 weeks away, so it is getting time to start getting serious.

Me trying to figure out what I am taking a picture of. What a dork!

Dork picture #2. The crooked helmet just frames the whole thing...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Year in Review

Wow, it has been almost a month since I have been here. That is just ridiculous. Of course, going on the family Christmas Tour does kind of kill any time that I have available during the month of December. I had 9 separate "events", parties and gatherings, during the 2 weeks leading up to Christmas. It was crazy. It went down like this:
Friday, December 13 - Office Christmas Party, held on the River Terrace at the Shaw Center overlooking the Mississippi River. Nice party and pretty low-key. Only about half the office showed with their spouses/significant others, so we had like 50 people.

The wife and I, looking spectacular.

Friday, December 19 - Christmas party for my dad's side of the family

Saturday, December 20 - Christmas Party for my wife's extended family

Sunday, December 21 - Wife's office party at Portobello's, had a great rib eye at this one

Monday, December 22 - Christmas Party for my mom's dad and his family, 6-8, then on to a birthday party for a married couple of ours who both have birthdays in late December, 9-11

Tuesday, December 23 - Christmas Eve Eve shopping with a bunch of guy friends, annual tradition to get out of the house 2 nights before Christmas and get any last minute gifts that we need

Wednesday, December 24 - Christmas Party for my mom's mom, same people basically from the party on Monday except for the grandparents, 3-6, presents with my parents at their house since they got my kids a trampoline to stay at their house for when the kids come over, 6-8

Thursday, December 25 - My parents and my mom's mom and step-dad over on Christmas day to see what my kids got for Christmas

That my friends is what is referred to as the "Christmas Tour". Exhausting and over rated. Next year, I think we are going to set one day up the weekend before Christmas and invite all family over to our house for different times of the day so it can all happen at once. I spend more in gas for those two weeks than I do in any other entire month.

So needless to say, training has taken a backseat at the end of 2008. I still tried and did the best I could, but I still managed to gain 8 pounds since the Half IM in November. I know how hard it was to lose those 8 pounds, and I am not looking forward to the next couple of weeks. Need to get on top of it though because New Orleans Half IM is just around the corner. Only 12 weeks to go. I have some lofty goals for that race (5:35) and for 2009, so I need to get started. Did only my second long run since November this morning, 9 miles. Did not feel good at all. Only went 9:15 pace, which is not going to cut it.

Being an engineer, I keep track of every single workout in a spreadsheet. So it is pretty easy to get my totals for the year. In 2008, I had the following stats:

Running - 852 miles (16.4 per week, 2.3 per day)

Biking - 2,509 miles (48.3 per week, includes 18 miles per each one hour spin class)

Swimming - 82.3 miles (1.6 per week which is 2800 yds per week)

Workout Days - did some type of exercise 242 days this year for an average of 4.7 days per week

I set PR's in all distances that I raced. Set a new 5k PR, 10k PR, sprint tri and half IM. Had a pretty successful year. Finally got below 200 pounds and stayed there until after my last race of the year. When I raced the half, I was 35 pounds lighter than I had been in May of 2007. 35 pounds in a year and a half is a great accomplishment considering I did not change my eating habits that much. I still eat a bunch. If I could just get disciplined on the food part, then I think I could drop another 10 to maybe around 185. Need to get back to 195 though before we start moving lower. Hard to do in South Louisiana though. Every meal has the potential to kill all the calories you burned training that day.

My goal for this year is to run 1,000 miles (19 miles per week), bike 3,000 miles (58 miles per week) and swim 100 miles (2 miles per week, 3500 yds). It is a lofty goal, but I think I can get there. Started off good so far. As of Sunday, I will have biked 110, ran 30 miles and swam 2.2 miles in the first 11 days of the year. Well on my way. Only 50 more weeks to go.