This weekend Carrie and I went out with the Beach Boys for some social paddling. She was steering one of the double-hulls (and doing a great job!) and I was being hired muscle somewhere in the middle. We paddled down the Ala Wai and out into the channel onto the ocean. After a short distance (and a short break) somebody pointed out that a pod of spinner dolphins was playing nearby! We paddled over in their direction and for the next 20 minutes or played a little hide and seek with them. Of course they did all the hiding and we did all the seeking, but it was fun anyhow. On several occasions they jumped well out of the water, spinning (hence the name, I suppose) and twirling often just yards from our boat.
During this little game Lisa, who was sitting in seat 1 in my hull, commented that dolphins were cool but she really would like to see whales. In all her time paddling and living in Hawaii she said, she’d seen lots of dolphins but never seen a whale! For now…she’d have to be content with the playful dolphins.
We went out quite a ways and zig-zagged about on the ocean for a while. Then, just as we were contemplating heading in, one of our crew said she saw a blow a few hundred yards closer to shore and I spotted a large torso briefly surfacing and then diving. Too big to be a dolphin I thought. Everybody got excited and started scanning the water…then just as we were about to give up, we were rewarded! Significantly closer to use a large smooth body crested the surface, then dove again! Coach Dave identified it as a humpback whale!
…and it was heading directly towards us. For the next several minutes we watched the whales (looked like an adult and a juvenile) as they swam towards and past us at a range of maybe 20 yards or so. They crested the surface on several occasions before finally disappearing.
Satisfied with our afternoon efforts, and excited by our playtime with the various marine mammals, we finally decided to head in – even engaging in a short race against Raymond’s boat on the way (which we won).
“I’m Kicking My Ass…Do Ya Mind?”
My recent training schedule has some of my friends asking me “What the heck are you doing?” Well…
Ironman training is in full effect and this weekend was a fairly active one for me. Started off on Saturday morning with a 3K swim – possibly the longest swim I’ve ever done. Much to my surprise it turned out to be one of my fastest too, at roughly 1 hour 16 minutes. Not fast by elite standards, but for me…pretty good. Especially surprising because I wasn’t trying to go fast – in fact I kept repeating in my head “High volume, low intensity” which means…”Long and slow”. But as I swam along I found myself in a nice rhythm, even passing a couple of other swimmers! That’s almost unprecedented for me. I really felt surprisingly good – strong and comfortable – which is not common for me. The swim is easily my weakest of the three events and I have to battle with a lot of nerves just to get out there and do it.
With the swim workout accomplished the next activity was to join some friends for lunch and bowling! We’ll get to that shortly…
Sunday was when the real work began. I was up before the sun to get Keira ready and get on the road. I drove down to Kapi’olani Park, got her out of the truck and with the first light in the sky we set off. It had been my plan to do a 55 mile ride today – last week’s was 52 – so I tacked on a loop of downtown before getting onto my familiar course out to Hawaii Kai and back. Since I’m still in my base period (long slow miles, high-volume/low-intensity) I don’t want to do too many hills. Rather I’m just trying to get in a lot of miles and hours in the saddle right now.
A few words about base training…
Before I can move on to the build period I told myself that I wanted to have done at least 110% of my race distance in each of the disciplines at least once – that would mean at least a 2200meter swim, a 62 mile bike and a 14.5 mile run. I don’t have to do them in the same day, I just need to feel like I can cover the distance in each event in training. The swim I accomplished (and then some) on Saturday with my 3000 meter effort. The run I accomplished (almost double!) at Honolulu Marathon in December and two weeks ago I went out and did a 16.75 mile training run. No problems there.
But I’ve been still building up on the bike. Each week a little further – a few weeks ago it was only 40 miles. Last week I did a little over 52. This weekend…going for 55. The ride progressed pretty well, the early morning loop through downtown was pretty good – at that time of the morning on a Sunday there is hardly any traffic and soon I was pedaling back towards Waikiki. I cruised through Waikiki, past Kapi’olani Park and up and over Diamond Head (the only hill I allow myself on these long rides at the moment).
At this point I realized that the hardcore riders are out on Sunday mornings. Climbing Diamond Head, in no hurry (low intensity!) I found myself getting passed by a woman on a Specialized. I put my ego aside and let her go (to be honest, I’m not sure I could have caught her even if I wanted to), but I’ll admit it was a little humbling. A little while later I passed her on the downhill section to redeem myself a bit. (of course, she passed me again a couple of miles later, but we won’t talk about that)
On the way out to Hawaii Kai I explored some of the side neighborhoods and valleys. Since the ride is for distance/time and not to reach any particular destination those little side excursions are great – they let me add a mile here or there and see some different places. Over the last few weeks I’ve found neighborhoods and streets I never knew existed, and I’ve lived here almost 14 years!
The weather was perfect, the winds were relatively calm and the ride went really pretty well. The interesting thing about bike training for me right now is that it’s not really my legs that are hurting me – it’s my neck and shoulders. Being down in the aero position is really comfortable in some ways. But the hard part is continually having to lift your head to see where you’re going. For me that’s the hardest part of these 3 hour plus rides, my neck and shoulders get tired and sore. But I know that’s what I have to get used to (especially for the 140.6 Ironman at the end of the year) so I press on.
On the second loop I began to realize that I wasn’t going to get 55 miles today…in fact I was going to break 60! Sure enough, by the time I got back to the car my Garmin was telling me that I’d ridden 64.4 miles today in about 3 hours and 45 minutes. Not super-fast but again, not worried about speed right now, just want to get miles in the saddle. Bike distance goal? Achieved!
After I got off the bike I pulled on my running shoes and went for a short run. I was actually planning to run a little longer but the day was getting late and I wanted to get some food and rest before paddling in the afternoon.
Looking at my recent training numbers and how well my endurance is coming along I decided that rather than continue with base training until mid-March that I’ll finish up base training at the end of February and move into the build phase, where I start working on race-specific skills and speed. For Hawaii Ironman 70.3 that means a lot of hills on the bike and replacing one of my weekly swims with speed work in the water. It also means increasing my run volume, which at the moment has been taking a back seat to bike and swim. I’ll still be getting in some long sessions, but now I’ll be replacing some of my training sessions with higher intensity (and lower volume) sessions designed to build strength and speed.
Today I got out in the water for a morning 2K swim. It was windy and choppy today which, actually, is good for me. I tend to get nervous in open water, especially in rougher conditions. I don’t have the confidence yet in my swim endurance or my ability to float or overcome so if I start to get tossed around a bit, getting mouthfuls of saltwater when I try to breathe and such I start to panic a little and lose my composure. Today was actually a great workout for me – I wasn’t especially fast but I was able to do 2000 meters in choppy conditions and gain some confidence in my ability to deal with water that isn’t smooth.
Saturday afternoon a big group of us got together for Mexican food and bowling to celebrate Kim’s birthday. I don’t bowl often, and I’m not sure it can be considered a workout exactly, but we had a blast. Usually when I bowl I’m just glad to break 100 and in my first game I just barely did…scoring a 115 to finish 2nd out of our group of 8 (Kim beat me with a 117). In the second game however I found my groove and bowled an amazing 204! Definitely my best game ever – I’m not sure I’ve even managed a 204 in Wii Bowling. I was the clear winner of that round but came back to earth (as I expected) with a 135 on my third game, finishing a close 3rd behind John and Kim. Great duel between the husband and wife team – came down to the final ball, with John holding a slight lead Kim needed at least 7 pins (as I recall) to best him but came up with only 5.
Still we had a great time and finished the night with pizza and laughs.
Hau’oli La Hanau
Speaking of birthdays…a slightly belated “Happy Birthday” to Kim and to my dear friend Sandi out in Colorado. Hope this next year brings you joy, prosperity and health. Love you guys!