December 1, 2020
The Road to Tokyo
It’s day 2 of a training camp I’m attending in Clermont, Florida. So many roads and trails I used to run and bike on surround us. I’m itching to go hammer up Sugar Loaf Mountain, The Wall and Buck Hill but I’ve got to stick to the training protocol and plan. Maybe Zack and I can sneak away to ride hard up a few of my old favorite Florida hills.
We arrived Sunday, November 29 and the camp got started in earnest Monday November 30. I was pretty wiped and too lazy after day 1 to write my first journal post so that’s on me. But here we are on day two.
Yesterday we were supposed to start the day off with a hard run on the track, but weather pushed that back to the afternoon. So we had the morning fairly free which gave Zack and I time to put the Chinook together and get an Instacart order placed and delivered. Props to Instacart for having a decently accessible app and for being prompt with delivery.
We headed to the pool around 10:45 for an 11:00 AM swim. Derick led the workout which was a typical Derick workout, meaning hard and fast and lots of pace work. We did a 400 yd time trial for a baseline and I of course went out too hard as always, but still came in with a 5:44 which is my fastest 400 in a yardage pool, so I’ll take that especially since I’m coming off a week of doing absolutely nothing but sitting on my butt and stuffing my face with food. After the 400 we had 8×50 holding the pace we held for our 400. So I had to hit 42sec per 50 yards. This was to show us how important pacing is and that we could maintain it.
The track session in the afternoon was what I was really interested in and focused on. After a 20min warm up we did an all out 3K time trial. Previously, about six weeks ago, I did a 3K time trial on a track in Colorado Springs. For that effort I went 12:25, or 4:08 per kilometer. This time around I was hoping to break 12min with my primary goal of besting my 12:25.
This would be the first time Zack and I’d run hard together since March so we were also using it as a gage to get back in sync together. My goal was to try and hit my first 400 meter split in about 1:33-1:35. But when we blew past Derick he yelled out “1:24!” Whoops. Now I had to try and maintain. I tried focusing on my rhythm, form and technique. Tried to keep my breathing under control and follow Zack’s directions as we rounded each curve on the track. I vaguely heard Derick call out my 800 split at around 2:53, but then lost track of what he was saying after that. I think I came through the 1600 meter mark in 5:56 or so which was well ahead of my target pace. Then I just went into a world of hurt. I remember Zack saying something like, “You can break 12min, how much do you want to break it by?” The last 600 meters were the worst as I tried pushing my body to it’s max. I constantly felt like I was going to shit my pants I was running so hard. Then I hit the finish line and I heard coach Chris Pomquist yell out “11:33!”
When you run 52sec faster than your previous personal best supposedly there’s a little more involved to that result than just dropping in elevation. I was thrilled with that result but not satisfied. I want to drop that 3K time even further. I know I can.
After about 8-10min of easy jogging we lined up for 4×400 holding our 3K pace. I had to run each 400 in 1:32. I wound up running each a little faster than that but was over all very pleased with the run.
We finished out the day with a quick strength session in the gym. I cranked out some pull-ups, dead lifts, some hamstrings curls, single-leg squats, and a little core circuit. Nothing too strenuous, just enough to get a taste of strength training after a week off.
I crashed hard around 8:00 and briefly woke up at 11:20 for just long enough to call Jess to say goodnight. Hope I was coherent enough to actually say “Goodnight, I love you. :)”
This morning we took our at home rapid COVID tests and sent those off to the lab then hit the pool for a technique focused session led by Coach Greg. We focused on distance per stroke trying to get our stroke count as low as possible, focusing on holding as much water through the entire stroke as possible. While the swim was only about 2200 yd, it was still mentally draining as I focused on keeping solid form to move as efficiently through the water as possible.
A couple hours after we finished up with swim it was time to hit the road on the bike. Zack and I helped Howie load his hand cycle and wheelchair into the van and then we all drove over to a bike trail the coaches had found for us to do some nice long tempo and threshold work. While Colorado has some really incredible cycling, especially hills, I don’t typically get to do a lot of work on the bike where you just put your head down and time trial at near race speeds. On this pancake flat, straight as an arrow old railroad converted to bike path though, we could point the bikes in one direction and just fly. So that’s what we did. A little more than 20min into our warm up though we dropped the timing chain to the tandem. We guessed that we hadn’t tightened the bottom bracket enough, so we tightened it and moved along.
The main set for the bike was 20min tempo, 5min recovery, 5min threshold, 2.5min recovery, 5min threshold, 5min recovery and repeat the entire set. It worked out to be one hour of hard riding. On the 20min efforts we we holding a solid 25-26mph and on the 5min efforts we tried upping it to over 27mph. There were a couple times where we pushed into the wind so that slowed us down a bit, but overall we were pleased with the effort we put out. I tried to focus on smooth pedaling and generating force through the entire pedal stroke. Overall distance was almost 48 miles in around 2hrs 10min averaging just under 22mph. Gotta love flat, straight courses at sea level LOL.
Zack Howie and I drove through a Zaxby’s, not exactly dietician recommended, but we’d hammered hard and desperately needed some calories. Zack was a little beat up after a couple hard days of training and dragging my butt around, so I finished off the day with an easy 30min run with Derick just to loosen up after a hard bike. Finally, I finished off with a steaming hot shower at the end of a long day of training. Sometimes there’s no better feeling than standing under a hot stream of water after a hard day of training. After cleaning up a bit I ate a chicken sandwich with spinach, cheese and avocado, and I had a few spoonfuls of ice cream… Hey, I need a tiny indulgence, although Zaxby’s plus ice cream is definitely more than a little indulgence. Definitely nee to clean up the nutrition plan and actually follow dietician’s orders at some point.
I’m definitely sore but stoked to get back after it tomorrow. This is a training camp after all and I’m here to maximize time at sea level and get a jumpstart on this road to Tokyo. NO matter what, keep an “eye on the vision.” I’ve got a lot of work to do in order to set myself up to make it to Tokyo. So I can’t get complacent. Time to lay down and sleep as much as possible.