Pain in the…Park and Other Places!

Portland Triathlon Club’s Pain in the Park

Wow, what a week! Actually, almost two weeks since my last post. Been very busy training, having moved into Base 1 of my Half Ironman training. Granted, I’ll move back into a preparation phase again in January when the Half Ironman training plan for the Portland Triathlon Club Race Team comes out, but it keeps me motivated and training for now and I can already see gains in my performance, especially swimming.

Base 1 Goals

Here are the goals for Base 1 from

Racing Prep

Begin doing your some of your workouts on terrain which simulates race day.


Here in Base 1, we’ll be increasing hours a bit while keeping consistency. We will add 1 hard workout per week-1 workout, not 1 hard day. We will also begin sport-specific strength work by incorporating hills on the bike and run.

Physical Health

Imagine showing up for a 10k race in peak fitness. Then imagine having to put on a 20-pound backpack at the start line to carry to the finish. I want you to get the most on race day from all the training hours you put in. Running fast is helped greatly by having a high strength-to-weight ratio. You don’t need to be in peak form at this point in the season, but begin to monitor weight and body fat % for later comparison and take a look at your diet for areas to improve-nothing drastic, just little changes at a time with continuous improvement over the entire training period.


Include with your training log a 1-10 scale for daily nutrition with 1 being a weekend in Vegas and a 10 being a nutritional angel. Rank yourself and monitor areas to improve. Most of us know what is good and bad eating so self seed yourself on this one.

Search out sports nutritional information to read during this period. There’s a lot of good stuff out there. Email me if you need some good links.

Mental Health

Day after day it’s tough to do all the workouts solo so try to find someone to join you for some of the sessions. A masters group once a week is good (this will be your 1 hard session!), but keep the rest easy. Talk to people in your area in person or via the net to find new routes and training partners.


Aero positioning and power output on the bike oppose each other. Ride lower and your power output will suffer. Begin working this month on flexibility of your back and legs. Come race day, your goal is to be as thin to the wind as possible, for as long as possible without suffering power output. Flexibility is free speed.

Winter Motivation Training

The Portland Triathlon Club started participating in the Winter Motivation Challenge with the USA Triathlon organization December 1. From now until February 29, 2012, those of us who have chosen to participate are submitting weekly mileage, competing against clubs of similar sizes throughout the country. We are also offering prizes for the club members who get the most training done at club workouts. It coincides well with my ramped up training schedule!

Mileage since Dec. 1:

Swim: 5.4 mi
Bike: 87.5 mi
Run: 20.7 mi

Plus, I worked out at five PTC training events too. Great motivation!

Pain in the Park

One of the PTC workouts I did this week was Pain in the Park. Abbey and Carolyn lead a weekly Boot Camp style workout at various parks in the Portland Metro area through the winter months. This last week was held at Portland’s Waterfront Park and was just a ball! After a stretching session, we jogged across the Hawthorne bridge and down to the Eastbank Esplanade where we did intervals of different styles of pushups and hill repeats up one of the ramps; back over the Hawthorne Bridge doing Fartlek run in leap-frog fashion; three sets of a five-station conditioning workout, 45 seconds at each station; a rousing game of Duck-Duck-Goose with abdominal workout if you were tagged “Duck”; and cool down with abdominal workout. Below is a little video of our Duck-Duck-Goose game!

Strength and Conditioning Clinic

Jeff Smith, one of the triathlon coaches from Upper Echelon Fitness, PTC sponsor, put on a Strength and Conditioning Clinic this weekend. Silly me, I thought when I signed up that it was a classroom-style clinic…but no, it was a workout clinic! It wouldn’t have been a problem other than I was super sore from Pain in the Park and had a half marathon scheduled for the next day! Oh well, I signed up for endurance racing, didn’t I?

The clinic was great! We got a ton of information and I have a lot of working out to do… Jeff’s program is a three part strength and conditioning series made up of Base, Preparation, and Performance periods. The Base and Preparation periods are six weeks long and performance is 12-16 weeks during your racing season. During Base, you do Upper Body, Lower Body, and Core workouts, one of each once a week. Prep has Upper and Lower Body each once a week and Core workouts twice a week. Performance has Core and Upper Body one to two times a week and Lower Body once a week. Each period builds on the previous, becoming more dynamic as you progress. We worked on the specific exercises during the clinic, and I tried to keep my reps down as not to work my lower body and abs too much with my race the next day.

Ironman Kona Spin Party

So, I’ll be adding Strength and Conditioning Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to my now normal five to six day swim-bike-run schedule. Jeff assured us that the soreness will taper off after the first two weeks…sigh…

And then right after the clinic we had a club spin while we watched Ironman Kona. I really didn’t want to walk out on my buddy Zach’s Kona Party since I was at UEF already, so…I spun for an hour and figured it was definitely time to take a break. I mean, com’on, I needed to taper sometime!

Holiday Half Marathon
And if all that wasn’t enough, I had a half marathon today! I knew it wasn’t going to be my best run, but I was really looking forward to seeing how I performed with three workouts the day prior and no taper. I learned so much and I’m really not disappointed at all with my performance. My abs were pretty sore in the morning and my quads and glutes a little achy. I stretched in the morning before I left the house at 6AM.

The race is an out and back on the Bluff, basically miles 17 through 22 of the Portland Marathon course that I did in October. It’s flat and familiar.

My first 8.5 miles went fantastic, way better than I expected. I averaged a 9:30 pace and felt so good. I only walked at the water stations which were spaced every two miles. After the turn though, both butt cheeks contracted and turned into bricks! They didn’t hurt, but they just kind of seized up. I didn’t feel tired otherwise, had great energy, wasn’t short of breath, no aches anywhere, just lost a lot of range of motion. I really didn’t want to push and cause cramps or tears and I really, really didn’t want to push and cramp up my hamstrings, so I walk/ran the rest of the way in, which turned into mostly walk toward the last two miles. Oddly enough, I was only 9 minutes away from my PR, which blew my mind! It was a great learning experience for me to see what I was capable of doing when tired and sore. I really had not tested myself this way before and it taught me a lot about where I am in my Half Ironman training. I think I’m in good shape so far; I’ve got over 200 days of training before Vineman 70.3 and I know what I can do right now when fatigued. Mentally, this was a great thing for me, something I can carry with me and I’m very glad I did it. I did ice bath when I got home later in the afternoon, something I felt was critical. Brrrr, that was way colder than I remember it being in the summer and fall!

That’s it for this week. Whew, that was a lot! Not too much going on for the next couple of weeks. Haven’t decided yet which New Year’s event I want to do, one at midnight or one later in the day on the 1st…or both, who knows! Either way, I’ll blog again in a week or so. Have a great week!

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