Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Not Racing, But Improving (I think)

Three weeks since I last posted (coming from a vacation abroad) and I am still on catch up mode in terms of getting back to my pre-vacation CTL levels.


My FTP improved quite somewhat after I did an FTP test last week. A modest 6%+ increase from my previous test 2 months ago indicates that the Trainerroad Build program I followed reaped me good benefits. I'm moving on to the Specialty Phase (I chose the Climbing Road Race Low Volume plan) which will be a 6 week affair. After which, since races are impossible to sked lately, I may have to go back to Base phase and just aim on increasing my FTP in the meantime (my aim btw for this year is to reach 200w).


As predicted, another family vacation (it was my parents' anniv) was scheduled last weekend so
joining Duaman was definitely out. I read that it was a challenging race with the inclusion of the Camp N route so I'm (a bit) jealous of the duathletes who were able to participate.

I'm still hopeful to toe the line for a duathlon (next up is PhilDua Leg4 on June24 @ Nuvali ---doable if no other weekend plans conflict) and maybe the Milo21k on July which boasts of a strict medal cutoff time of 2:30 (doable based on my 2017 times ---which I'm hoping has been kept 'til now in terms of fitness). So between now and then, I'm just moving week on week trying to hit my planned workouts for the day. This is in the hope that I'll be on a higher fitness/CTL level come race day (whichever race it may be).


I joined my sister last mid March on her quest to lose (hopefully a lot) of weight via venturing into Intermittent Fasting.

Disclaimer: I don't recommend this for everyone, mind you, so consult your doctor first before trying what I did.

I tried the IF 16:8 method wherein I would fast 16 hours (typically after dinner to before lunch time, skipping breakfast) and then eat for the next 8 hours ---then repeat. It was very difficult mentally at first as I would do my run/bike workouts in the morning with the expectation that I would eat something for breakfast as my recovery nutrition. After 2 days I was able to adjust (with the help as well of sipping Cold Brew Coffee), keeping the 16 hours of fasting even after an hour of (Z2 or intense) workout in the mornings.

I often fail on meeting the 16hr daily fasting requirement (especially on weekends) but it didn't stop me from logging my start/end fast times to force the habit.

The result? I lost 4 lbs after 2 months of intermittently intermittent fasting. :D Yep, it's a slow progress but if the weight is kept off longer that way, then I'm all for it.

Red line notes my weight increasing since Oct 2017 (birthday, parties, quit the gym) while the green line shows my weight loss after I started IF mid March 2018.

What's good is that I was able to continue with my mornings even after an hour of working out. Hopefully I get to see more improvement in the next 2 months.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Some Downtime

Long gap again since I last posted due to work piling up in the office lately. I finally found the time to blog this just before my family and I wrap up our South Korea trip which started Apr 29. As in my previous trips abroad with the family, I would pack my running gear to keep my fitness up but this vacation in Korea involved too much walking that my legs just wanted to lie down in the evening.

Daily step average would be around 16 to 17 thousand steps as per my android phone which is normally the number of steps I'd take for an hour and a half of running (or roughly 12km). It's still exercise, I think, such that I wouldn't get my running habit started for the day (or night).

Obviously, my TrainingPeaks fitness/form status has dropped since Sunday by about 5 or 6 CTL points. Thus, I will have to make up for it by the time I get back to Manila.

But take note, I'm not complaining. In spite of the endless walking daily, I'm happy to get some downtime ---work wise or training wise.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Missing Duathlon Races

I will unfortunately miss these upcoming duathlons as conflicting family events need to be prioritized:

- Apr8 Clark Dua Classic
- Apr29 Phil Dua Leg2
- May6 Clark Global City Dua

Such is the predicament of us age groupers who aren't like our pro/elite counterparts who race for a living. Family is on top of everything else which is what it should be.

Just miss the dua racing atmosphere though.


Racing duas may have to wait a little while longer. I will probably try to squeeze a 10k or 21k run race this month on a free weekend to keep my running pace in check (10k) and to condition myself for Milo 21k.

In parallel I am still following my Trainerroad plan to improve my cycling, switching to a twice a week plan since I would rather ride outside on weekends. This has been working slowly but surely in terms of CTL improvement.

I think by the 2nd half of this year I may be in a good condition to try racing Powerman full ---something that I have been contemplating to race for sometime now. But nothing definite yet as the Natl Dua Championships is scheduled a few weeks after it. Yup, I may have to end up choosing only one of these.

If the (dua) itch needs to be scratched soon, then the next available (and probable) one that I can reg for will have to be Duaman Nuvali on May20. It's short compared to Powerman or standard dua distance, but it'll help condition me in getting used to dua race environment again.

We'll see....

Friday, March 30, 2018

PF Sub1 10k: What I Learned

Just leaving a few notes here on what I learned from PF Sub1 10k before I think about what to race next.

1. HR monitor optional on race day. This is probably good to consider if I'm racing short races such as 5k 10k or sprint type duathlons. It just confuses me from monitoring what's more important like my run pace time or bike power during laps.

2. More cadence drills. At 174 steps per minute for this race, it's still below the recommended 180 s.p.m.

3. Lose weight. I could've finished faster had I disciplined myself from heavy weekend munching which added to my raceday excess baggage.

4. Probably a GU during the early kms? I only made good pace (5.40/km) on km5 to 6 and struggled keeping 5.50 thenafter. Maybe I need improvement on firming up my base fitness instead since the race is less than an hour?

Inspite of these self suggested improvements, I still consider last Sunday's race as a great comeback in terms of really fast running.

Hmmm, now to browse for my next race.


Sunday, March 25, 2018

PF Sub1 10k: Possible!

I was on my way to pick up Ling, my officemate who I coaxed into joining this race last January, on the way to MoA for the race when I realized I forgot to bring my HR strap. It was no biggie, I told myself, since I will have to race PFSub110k without it ---like Lance Armstrong who does his training runs without an HR monitor BUT with very strong sub 5/km pace.

I was aiming to give my all for this one but with careful consideration of how my 5k time trial training pace went (5:50/km) weeks back and a possible race distance of 10.3k as I earlier mentioned on my previous post.

We were on Wave2 which gave us a good time to warmup (walked probably close to a kilometer from where we parked, haha). I couldn't firm up my strategy for this race except for the main fact of NOT to go above 1hour.

We started on sked and it was the usual zigzagging in km1 to free up to get a good lane (just like EDSA on Monday morning traffic hehe). Kept myself from over exerting, probably a tad too much, as I let the atat boys and girls sprint by, with me and Ling clocking 6.05/km for that lap.

Pace went up a bit at 5.50/km as we felt good along km2-4. It was strange for me not seeing my HR coming up on my Garmin but a welcome sight as well as I only needed to check my pace ---which was the main goal anyway. Such is the appeal of time pressured races such as the PF Challenge series and the Milo 21k and 42k cutoff times: it really pushes you to your limit lest you will not be truly worthy, so to speak.

Midway in km4 I pulled ahead of Ling as I wanted to finish in good time. My 10k standing PR is at 56mins+ which will not be on the cards today due to my excess weight (sigh) but I was hoping somewhere at 59mins+ would be a job well done.

By midway I haven't stopped for water nor taken my emergency GU as I felt good amidst the extreme effort I was in. HR was probably  high but I was more conscious to keep my pace and cadence good, with the latter averaging 174 steps per minute by the end of the race. I clocked in at the 5.40s for the next 2kms.

By km7 it was mentally challenging to keep my pace in check, especially when the route made full use of that road from MoA to the Film Center (2 out and back ways). I was just keeping my form in check: run tall, lean, sway the arms on a straight plane, and just gut it out amidst the fatigue building up.

I have NEVER run at this near max effort for so long. My efforts on a 21k are also hard but not at this blazing pace (on my effort scale).

Had to waste a few seconds eventually as I succumbed to stopping at an aid station for a quick sip of Pocari which, in retrospect, may have helped.

By the last turn to the finish I was spent but still hanging on. It was gonna be a 10k route distance, I said, as I glanced my Garmin. It may exceed a few meters but I *think* it's in the bag.

As I neared the finish arc it was great to see the sub1 pacers and their red balloons stopped a few meters before the finish arc and was cheering every participant to finish sub1. Even the crowd near them was cheering the runners on ---something that I may have NEVER seen in my years of run racing.

For my case, it was a great welcome sight ---especially the race timer which just clocked 59mins (gun time) as I touched the finish mat.

Chip time based on my Garmin:

58minutes and 36 seconds for a 10.08km distance.

I looked back and saw Ling approached the finish as well, looking great and spent at the same time. He too glanced at the race timer and seemed to have beamed with confidence as he finished probably less than 20secs behind me.


Mission accomplished!

After 3 months of training and now in my mid 40s, today proved that I can still finish a 10k race below an hour. The last time I did such a feat was probably 5 or 6 yrs ago.

What's more satisfying is that I was able to help Ling finish sub1 as well. All those weekend long runs with him and the rest of the gang including his faithful dog Flash really helped get the needed weekly miles. The rest of the week was just egging ourselves to the prescribed speed/tempo session no matter how tempting it was to go back to bed instead.

And the rest after that, was just pure guts.

It feels good, man. Really is.