Friday, December 31, 2010

Day 20: New Years Eve

Still no training. Its amazing how much staying in shape and working out is a part of my life because my mood is brought down so much when I haven't done any cycling or running or weightlifting. And it hasn't even been a week. My headache is gone now, but I've got a cough coming on and it seems to be steady and not too bad, so hopefully it goes away like that and doesn't progress anymore. I had Bronchitis when I was 2 unfortunately so every time I get even the slightest cough it turns into an extremely serious one, and takes a while to go away. I guess I'll just have to see what happens and try to enjoy the rest of my weekend. Not sure when this sickness is going to end...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day 19: Fighting Through

As far as health goes, today was basically the same except I didn’t wake up as many times during the night, my fever didn’t feel quite as bad, and my nose was a tiny bit better but my headache was still pretty much the same. I’m definitely sick, there is no denying that, now its just a question of how long I am going to have to fight through it and what I can do to help my self the most. Obviously there was no working out yesterday except for a bit of walking into town. Today was the same in that sense as well, I don’t have a car or my bike with me so walking is what I’ll be doing pretty much this whole trip and I’ll be doing A LOT of it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 18: Sick…Again

Well, after waking up probably about 20 times during the night and feeling like I had a 105 Degree Temperature every time I woke, sweating bullets, I am pretty certain that I have caught something…again. When I finally woke up in the morning (when people are actually supposed to wake up, not 20 times before that throughout the night) I felt like absolute crap. I couldn’t breathe out of my nose at all and I had one of the worst headaches that I can remember. I had breakfast and took some Vitamin C medicine and a few pills of Ibuprofen. This really didn’t get better at all throughout the day. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day 17: Run + Weight Training

I woke up the morning not feeling all that great, and with a really stuffy nose where I could barely breathe out of it. Thankfully, it went away within about a half hour of getting up, which is unusual for me. After recovering from the tiny bit of morning sickness and getting some food in me I took off for about a 2.5 run to the gym where I was going to be working out. The run took me around 20 minutes or so because I had a fairly heavy backpack on (which I really do not recommend…ever.) So, obviously the run was pretty slow and relaxed, not very hard at all, except for the stupid backpack but it was a good warm-up before the gym.

At the gym I focused on maintaining a relaxed but difficult circuit of exercises. I went from abdominal work (regular crunches, planks, extended leg raises, and cherry pickers) to arm strengthening (20lbs curls, and tricept-curls) and then to some leg strengthening (leg press with about 160pbs of weight.) I did a lot of each of these exercises with anywhere from 10-20 reps for each set. I did at leas 3 sets for each for the exercises and I really didn’t do the exercises in any particular order at all. Whenever I felt comfortable enough to move onto the next exercise then I did.

I’m glad I got myself out to do this even though I really wasn’t feeling 100%. I really hope I don’t have sickness coming back, especially not on my vacation. But, if that’s the case then I’ll just have to deal with it. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. We’ll have to see how the week goes on.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 16: Travel, Arrive, Relax

After about 15 hours of travelling and a 5-hour forward time-change, you can imagine that I am really quite exhausted. Training will have to wait until tomorrow when I’ll try to get a run in and hit the gym with some friends. In case anyone’s curious I am in a town called Fermoy, Cork, in Southern Ireland for a regular old vacation which I haven’t had in quite a long time and I’m definitely looking forward to it.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day 15: Pro Bike Fitting Part 2

Remember how I said I might be meeting with Kirk again on Sunday (today) to finish up my fitting? Well, we got in touch and decided to meet early in the morning before my plane at around 3:30pm. I was excited that he was so willing to take the time out of his day to meet up with me especially the day after Christmas. So, now that I was comfortably fit to by Trek it was time to focus on power and efficiency.

So, he set my bike and I up on the trainer to get me ready to spin so that we could check out the power I was giving out and how to maximize it as much as possible. After about an hour of looking over numbers and changing things such as my pedal stroke and arm placement, Kirk was confident that I was at the point that I needed to be.

However, there were a lot of things that I needed to practice on the trainer now before I would be completely efficient and ready to maximize my power during actual rides and races. Kirk told me I needed to focus on not letting the bottom of my feet press against my shoe beds as I pedaled. This is really quite hard and exhausting to do if you’re not used to it and it’s going to take a lot of practicing before I master it. He also told me about my arm placement and that using your arms as little as possible is really the goal when you’re riding. It made sense after he explained it to me. The sustenance you put into your body is your energy for that period of time and you want to use it as wisely as possible. If you are straining your arms the whole time on a 3 or 4 hour ride then that is A LOT of energy you are giving to your arms and essentially, energy that you are just wasting when you should be using it on your legs and core which are going to be working the most on a long, hard ride.

At one point during the fit, when my arms and hands were perfectly placed and were relaxed and the bottoms of my feet were not hitting up against the foot beds of my shoes, my power was perfectly and evenly distributed on the bike and I really was finally getting the most out of my Trek. I won’t be getting a list of power stats from this session but I will once I begin racing in the 2011 RR Season. The more practice I do with this now the more efficient I’m going to get and the better I am going to get as a rider. 2011 competition, come mid February…watch out.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Day 14: Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everybody! Hope everyone has a good one! No training today. This will be a day spent celebrating and having fun with family and friends. Today will also be spent packing for my 7-day vacation to Ireland, which I leave for tomorrow. Merry Christmas to everyone again!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Day 13: Physical Training

The day before Christmas, where I knew I wouldn’t be doing anything except eating and celebrating with family, I had to get a 45-minute training session in with Steve Groven, my PT. I was well rested, felt good and was ready to hurt. This went the same as most Sessions that we have as far as exercise organization and process. It was arm strengthening the whole time with abdominal work mixed in. During the last few sessions the workouts have really been focused particularly on my arm strengthening and they have become very fatigued. Today more than ever I could feel it because I was working that much harder and I was that much more focused on what I was doing, deliberately trying to make myself hurt.

To me, the more physical and especially mental pain you feel during your workouts not injury pain of course) the more you are getting out of the workout, the more you are building your body and your mind, and the more pain tolerance you are expanding. This was a good workout, and I’m happy I did it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 12: Pro Bike Fitting

Now that I’m finally feeling a bit better, I gave my professional trainer a call, Kirk Otterson, who works for Velo Works Cycling Development. I asked him if there was a chance that we could get together at Spokes Etc. Bike Shop before for a fitting because I am 100% sure there is something wrong with the way I am fitted to my bike which is why I am getting the pain in my Left leg as well as possibly the extremely numb feet on basically every ride since the Winter started. He said, “how about 3pm at Spokes?” Immediately I took up this offer and we met there.

I’ve never done one of these before and it was amazing how complicated the process is and how much time and effort and studying of numbers and power stats goes into this. It was extremely cool to do this and I am so honored that he is willing to work with me on this and on becoming the best rider that I can possibly be. I was spinning on the trainer at about 22mph on and off for about an hour or so.

We found that my left leg gives out a bit more power than my right. We also found that I am a very toes-down rider (which apparently Lance Armstrong is as well.) We found also that, when at a 90 Degree Revolution my knees are way too far over my feet, they should be lined up going over just about the middle of your foot, closer to the toe box. We changed this my dropping the seat a bit and also lifting the nose of the seat a bit for it was angled down quite a bit and was forcing my legs down and over my feet, which would be giving me problems.

This was a very cool experience and not to brag or anything, but Kirk said something about me as he was introducing me to a very good rider that he trains before I left, and it meant a lot to me so I thought I should share it. When he introduced me he said, “Hey, meet Darion, the next big Radioshack U23 rider.” I laughed at this because I thought he was just messing around but after I laughed he looked up and said to me, “Seriously, he’s looking really strong.”

Unfortunately, because of a lack of time, we didn’t get the chance to go over my power and find the fit where I would be getting the most efficiency and power out of my bike. So we plan on Sunday for another session to hopefully finish this off and even things out. I definitely look forward to this.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 11: Sickness Gone!

Well, I'm no longer sick and went into school for the last day before Winter Break. After school let out I went home, prepped my bike, and took off on a 6 mile ride into DC too see Robbie Wade at Pacers Running Stores in Logan Circle. I took the ride there quite quickly at an average of around 19-20 mph. It felt good to get back on the bike. I was so happy to get on that I completely forgot about my leg injury from Saturday. After spending an hour or so at Pacers talking things over with Robbie and getting my 2011 USA Cycling License I rode home not even thinking about my leg and how badly it hurt on Saturday. 10 minutes after getting back on the bike I felt the pain in my left leg and it was there for the rest of the ride but thankfully I did end up getting back home ok. Then again it was only about 4 miles, compared to the 13.5 I had to do on Saturday...

I feel that it is time to start working out again, not on the bike though. Not until I get this leg thing figured out and also workout why my toes are continuing to get so numb, even with plenty of cold protection gear. As far as cycling goes for me right now, I think it is time to get re-fit on my bike and figure out whats making my body hurt.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 10: Recovery + Workout

Waking up today was absolutely awful and there was no way in hell that I was making it to school, let alone a whole day there. I spent the day at home.

I had completely forgotten that I had scheduled a Physical Training Session with my PT last week for today and was reminded by Mother. It was too late to call in on it, and I certainly wasn't going to let it go to waste. So I went and met up with my Trainer, Steve Groven, a great guy who really knows what he's doing and knows how to work me well out of my comfort zone, which is a good thing. We went through a variety of different arm and abdominal strengthening exercises. The energy in my body was still very drained because of the last few days and it definitely showed. Steve especially could see the change in my responsiveness, efficiency and energy level. I hadn't had any water all day either and I was clearly dehydrated and muscle cramping was a constant. I made it through the workout though somehow. Steve really helped me through it and dealt with my exhaustion very well.

Overall, I'm glad I took on the workout and completed it because it taught me a lot. How to deal with my fatigue even when i really don't have any energy in me. Mentally it was tough because at that point your mind and determination is the only thing thats getting you through it. Its always good to meet that point where your body literally has less than 1% more to give. It makes a man out of you.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 9: Recovery Continued

As far as how I was feeling, today was basically exactly the same as yesterday except that I couldn't feel any pain in my left leg anymore by just walking around and I was spending the day at school because I only had 3 days of school this week so I wanted to try my best to not miss any. There was no working out at all today, no training whatsoever. Still just recovery, recovery, recovery.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 8: Sickness And Injury

As I mentioned in the previous blog, Saturday night I got extremely sick. Today was really no better at all. The entire day was spent drinking hot tea, creating mountains of tissues, taking vitamins and pills, and trying my best to relax and enjoy what I could of my weekend before I went back to school the next day. When I wasn't tending to my sickness to help my body as much as I could, I was icing and massaging my left leg that had acted up so severely yesterday.

This was not a fun day, and definitely not a great way to spend the weekend. But the more often you fight through days like these, the stronger you and your body get. Thinking like this, is what got me through it all.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 7: DC Velo Ride

Unfortunately, I got very sick Saturday night (18th) with a headache, a nose I couldn't breathe out of, and a 101 fever to top it off. Ever since, I've been quite sick and really haven't done any training at all because my body has literally been drained of its energy with fighting off this sickness. This has absolutely killed me mentally because I've wanted to get back on the bike since I got off on Saturday morning. Today is the first day that I feel pretty much 100%.

So, Saturday's ride. This was, very demoralizing. Everything went fine as we left the starting point on our 6 mile slow warmup at about 17 mph average. And everything was still ok after the first 10-15 miles of the actual DC Velo ride with the whole 15 man group. We averaged around 25 mph on regular ground for about 8 or 9 miles till we got to the first climb which is where things started to go badly for me. I got dropped from the 4 man break away group which I hate. So, then I was on my own for rest of the climb plus the descent for the next climb, which I was also solo for. After that second climb I was dead and took a 2 minute break with a friend that had dropped from the break away group as well, Lance. Once we set off again, this is where things got really bad. My left leg was bothering me in the exact same spot as it did on Thursday's stationery ride. At the very top of my lower left leg, right under the knee cap and right next to my shin was a very sharp pain every time to about the 90 Degree point on every revolution. As I continued to ride the pain increased more and more to the point where I was forced to stop at mile 31 and told Robbie, my very good friend and mentor, that I had to go home because it hurt too much to keep on.

It was 13.5 hilly miles of extreme physical and mental pain to get back to my car at Robbie's house. Thinking back on it, I'm honestly not sure how I made it back without falling off my bike in pain or having to stop. There was something that kept me going and I really am not sure what it was. This was a learning experience for me, and really gave me an idea of how much pain I can handle, mentally and physically. The pain I feel on those climbs is nothing compared to the 13.5 mile ride back to the car.

Just for the heck of it, here are the stats of the ride, not that it really matters to be honest: (TRP - 44.64 mi.) (ATM - 2:51:26) (MXS - 33.4 mph) (AVS - 16.4 mph)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 6: Rest Day

I don't like to let my self have a rest day unless its really necessary and my body is really asking for it. The #1 thing you can do when training is listen to your body. Today, my body was asking for a day off, so I gave it to it. It can sometimes be more beneficial for your progress to take a day off once in a while and let your body and mind rest, rather than running your body into the ground.

I think taking today off was a good idea and was definitely needed. I feel good tonight, mentally fresh and physically ready for tomorrow's long ride with Snapple Lyte Water. Not sure on the distance yet, but I'll be sure to log it in tomorrow. Until then, its time to get some sleep.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 5: On The Stationery

After a day of non stop snow fall, where even driving was difficult, I realized I wouldn't be able to ride outside today. This was quite demoralizing for me because since I unclipped from the bike on Tuesday I haven't been able to stop thinking about the ride on Thursday, how nice it was going to be to get back on the rode. And now, I couldn't. I knew getting motivated to get a good, strong workout indoors today was going to be tough, but I got it in. Here's how it went down.

I got on the stationery for 40 minutes straight. The 40 minutes was split up into a few different sections, but there was no stopping. The first 10 minutes was just spinning, getting my legs warmed up and ready for the workout. I kept it in the small ring and at a middle gear. The next 10 minutes was a resistance progression as I moved up to a higher gear every 2 minutes while keeping the sam cadence. The next 10 minutes was the same thing I did on Sunday, where it was split up into 5 intervals, each 2 minutes long. 2 min. as hard as possible, then 2 min. relaxed pace, then 2 min. as hard as possible again, etc. repeated for the full 10 minutes so as to get 3 100% effort intervals in. The final 10 minutes was the same as the first 10, just a relaxed, easy spin to keep my legs moving but let my body recover. My legs were definitely fatigued after this ride, and I had a small agitation of dull pain at the very top of my lower left leg, right under the knee cap and right next to my shin.

After the 40 minutes was up I immediately started a circuit. 3 sets of 6 exercises. Heres what the exercises consisted of, in the same order that i did them: 50 crunches, 10 pushups, 1 minute leg-raise hold, 10 pushups, 2 minute plank hold, then 20 regular curls (10 on each arm) w/ 15 pound weights. I repeated these 6 exercises in order 3 times with no rest, so as to maximize heart rate and abdominal burn/strengthening.

Immediately after the circuit I was back on the stationery for a 20 minute ride split into two parts. The first 10 minutes was another spin, similar to the first and last 10 minutes of the 40 minute ride, except a bit faster and in a higher gear. The last 10 minutes of the ride and the entire workout was the same exact thing as the 3rd 10 minute section in the first 40 minute ride, where it is split up into 5 intervals, each 2 minutes long, with 3 of the intervals at 100% effort.

Overall this was a good workout, considering I had to go from an outdoor mentality, to riding indoors which is one of the most boring things to do. But I had fun, and I'm glad I got it done. I'm unsure on my plans for tomorrow so far, I may take the day off to rest up for the 50+ mile DC Velo ride on Saturday with Robbie Wade, but I'll decide tomorrow. For now, its off to bed.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 4: One Cold Run

Today was a run. You can start to see the pattern, I got on the bike on Sunday, then ran the next day, then rode, now I'm running. I've been taught to train like that, mixing it up. It relieves the pain in the muscles that you get from the day before. If you ran the day before, different muscles will be sore or hurting because of strain. Cycling the day after that run gives those run-specific muscles a break and puts strain on different, cycle-oriented, muscles. So, let me tell you what I did.

I was a bit pressed for time today to get any type of workout in, and unfortunately I wasn't able to do any arm or abdominal strengthening. Staying after a bit at school and having to take my bike over to Spokes Etc. for a check-up and a re-fit got me home and ready to workout at around 5:30, when it is quite dark out.

I managed to get a 3.8 mile run in, despite the 32 Degree F weather. I really wasn't going for any specific pace. I was more focused on my Left Foot where my Plantar has been bothering me on and off for the last month. I felt it throughout the whole run but I finished and never stopped, which is always good. Turns out the pace I kept was actually quite quick, with an average mile pace of 6:43 and a total run time of 25:36. There were a few decent sized hills on this route too, definitely nothing to turn your nose up at.

Overall, I'm definitely satisfied with this run, not too happy with myself about not being able to get a circuit exercise in with any arm or abdominal work but it was a busy day. Tonight my foot feels fine walking around the house, after giving it a rest and using the lacrosse ball to massage it. I definitely feel ready for tomorrow's ride, hopefully the weather is ready for me.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 3: Solo Climbing Ride

Today was not the day to ride a bike. It was 30 Degrees F with 25-30 mph winds. But...I rode anyways. What really got me out there was thinking about some advice I was given a while back by my good friend, Davy Chambers, the 2008 Irish Junior National Champion Road Racer. He told me, "champions are made in the winter, when no one else is out there training because its too cold and they dont feel like it." And guess how many riders I saw out there on a near 2 hour ride...Zero.

The ride, which I did solo, meaning there was no drafting at any point during its entirety, was planned to focus on hill work, climbing hard, and descending fast. The first 11.5 miles of the ride were my warmup for the repeat hills on MacArthur Boulevard, they were done at about an average of 17 mph, with a few stops (deceleration, acceleration, etc.) which is quite an easy pace.

Once I got to the hills I would be riding up and down, I felt ok, feet were numb, body was fairly cold, but my legs felt about 80% which is better than I had predicted. I took the first climb hard, averaging about 15.5-16 mph on a 1.4 mile long hill at a 3% avg. gradient. I got to the top and immediately descended its brother, a 1.1 mile long hill at a 2% avg. gradient, at about 30-31 mph the whole way down. I turned around at the roundabout at the bottom and began to climb. I was definitely hurting but I felt good enough to average about 17 mph on the climb.

After I got to the top there was no break, right back to descending the first hill I had done at about 29-30 mph the whole way down. I got to the bottom, turned around, built up some speed, and went off, climbing hard as I could. This time I averaged 14-15 mph up the whole way. I was dying and tried not to  think about the fact that I still had to descend and climb its brother again. So I got to the top, breathing hard and barely able to pedal to the start of the descent without falling over from the 25 mph wind gusts. I descended, this time at a more relaxed pace, around 27-28 mph. I got to the bottom looked at the incline and began to climb. I stood up to build up a speed and a rhythm to keep, but I really was dead. At first, I was only averaging about 13.5-14 mph up it, then got to about the 3/4 mark and absolutely hammered it until I could barely stay on the seat. I did that last bit at about 19-20 mph.

I took the 11 mile ride back to the car fairly easy, but faster than the way there because I was going with the wind now. Here are the overall stats on the ride: (TRP - 34.3 mi.) (ATM - 1:52:45) (MXS - 33.9 mph) (AVS - 18.2 mph)

Two and a half hours after the ride I had a 45 minute workout with my Physical Trainer. The first 20 minutes was dedicated to leg and arm strength building (weight lifting). And the latter was focused on abdominal and core strength. This went very well even after the ride. However, throughout the workout I had a very slight agitation of dull pain in my lower left Quad, right above my knee which feels fine now after stretching it out. Overall I am tired as hell, but feeling good, and very strong.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 2: Track Workout

I'm in the middle right now between what I should call running and what I should call biking. I've strictly been a Track and XC runner since August of 2007 until I started getting very serious about cycling a few months ago. So now I'm stuck, not knowing whether or not I should call running, "Cross-training" or if I should call cycling, "Cross-training." Regardless of which is which, today was a Run Day. So lets talk about it.

Immediately after school I drove over to an Indoor Facility that has a 200 meter track to do a bit of Endurance training. I decided to go with 400m intervals for my workout and a cool down circuit w/ weights, very similar to yesterdays only with fewer reps.

Heres what I did: 800m warm-up, stretch, drills, striders, which takes me usually a total of about 30 minutes, then onto the workout. 8 repeat 400's at 75 seconds or faster w/ 2 minutes rest in between each.
I was happy with the results, here they are (in seconds): 69, 70, 74, 70, 71, 74, 71, 68.

I went right from here to the circuit. 3 sets of 5 exercises instead of 6 like yesterday. The exercises were done in this order and then repeated 3 times; 40 crunches, 10 pushups, 10 extended leg raises (w/ 5 pound ankle straps on each ankle), 10 tricep curls (5 on each arm) and 10 regular curls (5 on each arm). Once again this was done as fast as possible with absolutely no break whatsoever so as to maximize fatigue and muscle strain.

Overall, today went very well except for a slight agitation of my Plantar in my Left Foot (which isn't new to me) on the last few 400's. Other than that, the workout was successful, done efficiently, and I feel good. I'm confident that my legs are ready for tomorrow's long ride on the bike.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 1: On The Stationery

I got home from work @ Pacers Running Stores in Logan Circle, D.C. at around 6pm. I had to get an easy workout in to recover from yesterday's hard 50 mile DC Velo Pro Ride with an 18.8mph average speed, 3 huge climbs, and 2 sprints. I decided I'd get on the stationery as well as do some Ab and Upper body weight work.

The workout consisted of a 20 minute ride on the trainer with the first 10 minutes at warm up pace, and the last 10 minutes split up into 2 min. as hard as possible, then 2 min. relaxed pace, then 2 min. as hard as possible, etc. repeated for the full 10 minutes so as to get 3 100% effort intervals in.

Then immediately after the 20 minute ride I did a strength circuit consisting of 3 Sets of 50 crunches, 15 pushups, 10 extended leg raises, 20 tricep curls (10 on each arm) w/ 15 pound weights, a 30 second leg raise hold, and 20 regular curls to finish it off (10 on each arm) w/ 15 pound weights. This 3 set circuit with 6 exercises was done as fast and efficiently as possible with no break whatsoever.

After the circuit was finished I got right back on the bike for a 20 minute cool down. The first 10 minutes was a progressive build from the lowest gear in the small ring to the highest gear in the small ring. The last 10 minutes was at an easy and relaxed pace to finish up the workout.

This workout went extremely well with no flaw, no pain (injury wise), and was completed very efficiently within about 1 hour and 15 minutes. My body feels good, my legs feel strong and fresh, and its time for dinner.