Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Taper Crazy"....definitions needed! (reward for best answer!)

Ok, I need some help from YOU! I am sure most of us have gone "Taper Crazy." We all know how it feels, but let's say that some non-endurance-racing person asks you, "What does going Taper Crazy mean?" You would respond with "Well, going Taper Crazy is/means____________"

So fill in the blank by leaving me a comment. I'll pick the best answer (make it witty, funny and cool!) and I''ll reward you with your choice of one of two prizes:

#1 Gelrilla Grip Pro Elite Gel holder for your bike with one Paradise Beach Lava Gel.

#2 5 Larabars, with flavors Cherry Pie, Chocolate Coconut Chew, Pecan Pie, Peanut Butter Cookie and Apple Pie.

So an example comment would be:

"Going Taper Crazy is/means _______________. I would like to win the Larabars. Thanks!"

With 8 days before Mooseman 70.3, I have yet to hit the critical "Taper Crazy" mode. I had my last long ride, a 40 miler this morning. It was a great ride and my legs feel FAST, just not rested. Mentally, I am feeling fresh still. The race director posted that Newfound Lake is up to 66 degrees! That's bath tub warm compared to the frigid 58 degree temps from the past two years. That right there is a huge relief knowing that I can ditch the neoprene cap.

So leave me a comment with a witty, funny, and cool definition; I'll leave this open for submissions for about a week. *Shameless Plug* Feel free to spread the word. The more submissions the better!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Taper time!

Hard to believe, but it is taper time already for Half Ironman #2 of the season, Mooseman.

But like I said back in January, every taper is different. For HIM #1, I tapered for a solid 2 weeks and I needed it. I learned for HIM #2 that two weeks was too long of a taper. So now, for round #3, I am shortening the taper to 10 days. Is this still too long of a taper? I have no idea! But I will know after I cross the finish line :)

My knee joints are really starting to bother me quite a bit. I have basically been going nonstop for a few weeks now, which has been great training, its just caught up with me finally, and that is perfectly fine. My body is telling me its time to cool it.

I was set to do a 17 mile recovery ride last night after work, but my legs weren't feeling it and my brain definately wasn't feeling it, but I was going to do it no matter what. But! The weather said otherwise. This blew through right @ ride time:

I think the Triathlon Gods were telling me something: Either risk injury or start the taper. Now that I think about it, I think it was a stupid idea in the first place to do this ride on super spent legs and joints. Now I will be rested for my last long ride on Saturday, a 40 mile flat ride up in Time Trial Heaven.

Good luck to anyone racing this weekend!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dates and Records and Fumidity

Records are meant to be broken.

Success in the pool continued yesterday, this time for the 200 yard distance. My previous 200 PR was a 3:07. I was able to match that only once and was flirting around in the 3:09 range for awhile, but I just could NOT break that. Maybe it was mental?

Yesterday it fell. After a 500 yard warmup, we did a 6 x 200 set, descending 1-3, 4-6. The times came out as follows:

3:06 New PR!
3:05 New PR!
2:53 New PR!

We called it a day after #6 :) So I smashed my record by 13 seconds! Where the heck did that come from?!?!? For almost a year I couldn't touch that 3:06. It went down hard yesterday.

So that made it two workouts in a row where I felt like utter poo going into it, but came out feeling victorious. Aren't the end of training cycles just fun!

"It doesn't get any easier, you only go faster"
- Greg Lemond

This morning was a "Fumid" run. What is Fumidity? Well, lop the "H" off of humidity, take the "F" from.......well, I'll let you figure the rest out :) .....needless to say, I thought it was about 90 degrees @ 6AM this morning, but it was only 70 with about 200,000% humidity! It was tough to breath! If I had ran fast enough I could have jumped into a superman pose and taken off! Good 6 mile super hilly run. I think my body is ready to taper!

Gonna wrap this post up with Dates. Not the "on this day 2 years ago" kind of date, but rather the yummy edible kind. Ever since I was introduced to the Larabar, I went to the grocery and bought some dried dates. Holy moly bejeezus my life changed!

If you haven't tried a dried date, especially a Medjool Date, which is larger? TRY ONE! Soooooo good! And quite healthy too. Careful! Two of em make up 140 calories and watch out for the seed.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Comraderie Amongst Strangers

My body is wrecked. Its tired and my joints ache. My willpower is waning.

At least this early morning and last night this was the truth. No longer!

I had a ride this morning that turned from blah to YEAH!

This morning's prescription was hill repeats on the bike. 5 times up this hill.

I doubt the 11%...its steep, but NOT that steep

Its not that bad of a hill, it just hurts as you go up it more and more with little rest.

So I start my ride, and my legs are just flat. Before I hit the hill I do a 5 min interval @ full blast to clear the junk out of my legs. That worked, my legs are feeling better finally. I really don't want to do that hill, so I decide to do it only once.

As I start up it, there is a runner coming down it. We nod at each other. I get to the top, and my legs are good but mentally I'm still blah. As I am heading down the runner guy is coming back up. Oh man! If he is running up this thing, I have NO excuse to bail on my prescribed 5X repeat. So I head up for round #2 and he is coming back down, this time he does a "Yeah! Go!" as I suffer up and he is flying down.

That right there sealed the deal. No wussing out now. This guy looks like he is doing a bunch of intervals as well. Round #3 is a nod and a smile. Round #4 we could tell that we were thinking the same thing. We are crazy but we know what it takes to push ourselves. I think we also used each other as motivation to keep pushing up that hill.

For #5, he had left. He mentioned he was only doing 4 intervals. So for #5, it was all up to me. Nobody was around to push me and #5 was reserved for hammering up it to seal the deal. So I swallowed my pride and hammered up that thing, standing for 10 seconds, sitting for 10 seconds, and repeating until I got to the top. I thought there were knives jammed into my quads it hurt so bad!!!

So Mr. Runner dude, whoever you are, thank you. I think it was fate that we met at the same spot out in the middle of nowhere to accomplish the same thing.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Larabar, Ummmm....YUM!!!

So a fellow blogger, Lisa @ Early Morning Run did a great post on nutritional bars. One that she recommended was a Larabar. Never heard of it, but it caught my eye because of the lack of ingredients (which is good!). They have less than 8 ingredients, which means they don't have all of the additive crap. They are also gluten free in case you are gluten intolerant.
Well, I soon forgot about the Larabar. Until this morning!

My friend, Belden, and I went out for a 9 mile BAMF run and when we got back, he says, "I have a treat for you! A Larabar!"

"Small world!" I explaimed. He gave me a Cherry Pie flavor. Man oh man was that good! It was like a cherry fruit roll-up with some almonds and dates. That's it: 3 ingredients.

Not gonna use em while working out because the nuts are a bit hard on the stomach, but post workout or a snack during the day looks like a possible winner for this 200 calorie gem. They have a SLEW of flavors!

Heh....this reminds me of cycling in high school and our coach gave us Lunabars. We would always be disgusted because someone told us that it has estrogen in it. Blah blah blah, we are 16 year old boys being told this. OF COURSE we didn't eat them! haha!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Trying to keep focus

Ever finish a race, and your motivation suddenly becomes like this below?

I'm trying REALLY hard to keep my motivation looking like below:
I trained through the HarryMan Olympic. This is the first time I trained through a triathlon. Usually its a huge build up, race hard, then long drawn out recovery. Not this time! The soreness never showed up and I wound up putting in 36 miles on the bike on Sunday then a fast 18.5 miler this morning before work then hitting the pool at lunch for a fast 2000 yards. Phew! Breath!

Speaking of the pool, I smashed my 300 yard PR today by about 5 seconds for a 4:43 and went 1:22 for a 100 yarder last Friday, another PR by about 4 seconds. So the speed is there for the swim and bike. The run? I haven't done a stand alone run race in about 6 weeks, so I am really unsure. I have just been doing steady effort volume runs since New Orleans.

Not looking for pity, just throwing onto paper my mental state right now. Half of me wants to hammer another Olympic to bits, while the other half is absolutely dreading the Mooseman 70.3 in two weeks. My fitness is "there" proven by my results this past weekend and the resulting lack of soreness. Its the ole` noggin that will be slowing me down!

Good news! I am in the 3rd swim wave @ Mooseman, right after the Pro Women's wave. Operation track down a Pro Woman? Riiiiiiiiiigggght.....

Final addition! They JUST posted our splits from the race:
Swim: 18:05
T1: 1:48
Bike: 1:05:46 (21 miles, 19.15 mph avg)
T2: 1:42
Run: 49:01 (7:54 pace)
Total: 2:16:22

Like I said in my previous post, WHO knows what that swim distance was. The fastest swim split was a 13:31, so being only 4:34 off the fastest pace is pretty good for me. My transition times weren't that bad either!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

HarryMan Sprimpic Triathlon, DONE!

Triathlon #2 of the season is done and in the bag! Unofficial results have me at:

Overall, 54 or 56/200 or 300?
Swim: ??? maybe 15 or 16 mins? it didn't feel fast and the distance was WHO knows (explained later)
Bike: ~1:06:42 for 21 miles @ 18.83 mph avg (hilly f-ing course!)
Run: ~49:30 for 6.2 miles @ 7:59 pace (hilly f-ing course!)

This was a good training race. I felt like it belongs in the "complete" racing category as I felt like I paced the entire thing well.

The race almost wound up as a duathlon! There was a Half Ironman going on as well and they started @ 9, we were to start @ 10:30. Suddenly the race director says our swim is canceled while there are still half Ironman racers swimming! Uuuuuuhhhhh? Wha? His reason: not enough lifegaurds on boats to the number of racers in the Olympic distance (there were 2X more olympic racers than Half Ironman-ers). He changes the swim to a 1 mile run. Really? 1 mile run? Puuuhhhhllleeeease!?!?!?

Fortunately a smart person tells him, hey, shorten the swim to an out and back and you don't need the extra lifegaurds. Winner! (The course was a .6 mile triangle)

Meanwhile, I'm out warming up for the 1 mile run with 5 mins to spare when I return to transition and hear the news that its been changed BACK to a swim. The start was extended 30 mins to 11:00 AM. Phew! Crisis averted. I didn't really care about the even shorter swim. The distance of the entire race was bogus to begin with and all I wanted to do was swim in cold water to test out the neoprene cap in anticipation for Mooseman in 2 weeks.

Well the water wasn't all that cold, or the neoprene cap did its job. I'm going with the 80 degree weather from the past week warmed up the lake. Whatever the temp was, it was niiiiiiiice. After warming up I really didn't want to get out.

The swim itself was nondescript. You go out, turn around, and come back. Not too much contact and I felt fine from start to finish. The funny thing is that when we rounded the buoy, the water on the other side was FRIGID. Perhaps the amount of swimmers going through the water warmed up our path?

Transition from swim to bike was fuddled in terms of biking shoes. When they announced that the swim was going to be a run, I swapped out my tri shoes for my road shoes since I would just wear my socks from start to finish. My tri shoes are smaller since you don't need socks to ride in them, so when they announced the swim was back on, it was a little too late to reswap out the road shoes for tri shoes. No biggie, the road shoes just have a ratchet and 2 extra velcro straps. Still, takes time.

The bike was great. I hammered this course it felt GOOOOOOOOD. I was just happy to be finally racing and turning the speed back on and churning out some watts over 200. (My Half Ironman wattage range is lower @ 170-180). I averaged 209 for this one and kept a ~19 mph for a hilly course. Did I say I was happy? :) I freaking passed everyone. My favorite part!

Bike to Run transition was whatever. I just went as fast as I could to get my bike shoes off, socks and run shoes on. Threw on the visor and got my watch going. My legs felt funny coming out of transition, but I felt fast. Within the first mile the "switch" went on and it was go time for 6.2 miles.

Here is the kicker about this run. The terrain. It wasn't super hilly, it was just rolly enough to make going uphill a hurt-fest and running downhill absolute freedom. Very few flats. Either you were going up, or you were going down.

My aproximate splits:
Mile 1: 7:58
Mile 2: 7:28
Mile 3: 7:49
Mile 4: 9:22 (Yeesh! WTF?)
Mile 5: 7:35
Mile 6: 7:38

Sooooooooo, other than mile 4, it was a solid run. What happened on mile 4? Well, I went slower! haha! My only guess is that the rolly terrain in that section got me? But it was an out and back and the miles on either side were pretty fast. Who knows.

The biggest thing is that I feel ready for Mooseman. The point of today's race was to put everything together with some speed and see how A) The legs would react with some speed and B) How the recovery would go>>>>To be determined.

But! Regarding recovery, you know how you cross the finish line of a hard race and suddenly walking hurts and all you want to do is sit down and die? That didn't happen today. I was able to bend down, take off my own timing chip off of my ankle and give it to the guy with ease. Walking over to the pizza line was like normal walking. Uuuuhhhhhhhh???? I'll let you know tomorrow if anything changes when I am crying like a little baby! I am just weirded out cuz usually it HURTS when you finish! I am taking this as confidence of my conditioning for Mooseman in 2 weeks.

Of course in 2 weeks I WILL NOT go this hard. My pacing for today was appropriate for this distance. Unless you want to see a nuclear explosion, I'm gonna tone down the pacing for Mooseman.

Good race! The distance, water temp, terrain and timing in regards to Mooseman was PERFECT.

Friday, May 21, 2010

THE master list. What you need on race day

Since I have my 2nd tri of the season tomorrow, I thought I would throw down onto paper my pre race triathlon checklist and share it with you all. This is a list for an Olympic distance (my HIM list is ridiculous!). It looks like I will need a large shipping container to haul all of this stuff, but really, its not that much....I repeat some things cuz they are needed more than once.


USAT Card (or bring $10 cash) (Brett's addition)
TP (the portapotties ALWAYS run out)
sunscreen (spray and rub on)
garbage bag for carrying wet wetsuit home (Krista's addition)
change of clothes post race (Krista's addition)
electrical tape (for applying race number to bike)


tri suit
body glide
backup goggles
neoprene camp (its gonna be a COLD swim!)

race belt
race number/bib
cycling hat (if it rains)
sunglasses/eye protection (Tri Diesel's addition)
bike shoes
computer code: XXXXXX
sunscreen (spray and rub on)
2 GU's

race belt
sunglasses/eye protection (Tri Diesel's addition)
hat/visor (a MUST!!!!)

Did I forget anything? Anything you would add?

Here is a free tip: NEVER wear your flipflops to the race. Always wear your running shoes to the race. Why? Cuz that way the running shoes will actually make it to the race.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

*Shamless Plug* "Rio!" Our first movie trailer!

I am REALLY excited to finally share some actual moving visual images of what finances my triathlon addiction.

My studio's next film, "Rio!" is finally in a trailer format to launch to the world. The trailer will be at the front of the next Shrek movie.

My contribution is that I did the all of the feathers and fur work on the blue main character birds named Blu and Jewel. It was a two year process....(and I am glad that it is over!)

Without further ado, grab some popcorn and enjoy! Film will be out Easter of 2011.

Watch more Moviefone videos on AOL Video

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Today was a confidence builder!

Today's workouts were hard. Parts of them sucked, but once accomplished, I felt incredible!

Workout #1 was a lunch swim. It wasn't long, but it was very goal oriented. The goal was to swim this weekend's .6 mile swim (1050 yards) continuous at a race effort to get an approximate time.

We did:
500 WU
5 x 100 hold
100 easy
1050 TT
50 CD
2200 yards total

I held between 1:31 and 1:34 for the 5 x 100. Finally some numbers I like to see and haven't seen seriously since around New Orleans 4 weeks ago. Ouch! Glad to be back :)

The 1050 TT hurt from the start because I was wiped from the 5 x 100. But I held on and finished at the same intensity. Went 17:25 for a 1:40 pace. I hope to match this or beat it come Saturday. I still remember two years ago breaking 20 mins for an 800 TT was a HUGE accomplishment! haha!

So I was pumped coming out of the pool.

After work, it was time to ride. I brought out the S2 for the first time in probably two weeks. Oh man how I missed this bike! I did a 25 mile hilly route that I loooooved to do last season but for some reason never found the opportunity to actually do it this year. My S2 never let me down and I bunny hopped up the hills! It was great.

Finally, I'll leave you on a pure awesome note. Enjoy!

I think I found my next Halloween costume! :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"Doggone it!".....really?!?!?

Dear Mr. Bob Mionske,

I just read your Bicycling Magazine article, "Doggone It!" and thought it was a piece of dog doo doo. Actually, it did have some bits that were of interest, such as how some states (which ones!??!? link? hello?) have laws about dog bites and owners.

But let me get to my main point. Have you actually had an encounter with a dog before? You write, "Some people suggest defusing the situation by stopping, placing your bike between the dog and yourself, and standing your ground without challenging the dog by staring it down. Others swear by giving the dog a firm command."

So when Cujo comes flying out of his/her driveway at me at mach 7.5, you want me to STOP? Seriously? Stop? Where is the time to stop, get off my bike (while one leg is dangling awkwardly over the top tube) to put my bike between me and a barking monster so that I can sing it a lullaby whilst staring it between the eyes to please not eat me. Really?

Or take another common situation, which is dog comes out of its turf, doesn't come straight for you but starts to play chicken. You slow. What do you do then? I guess you could stop? But really, at that point you can just gun it and you will most likely outrun the dog at that point. I would NEVER stop and let the dog take a look at my meaty leg for it to think, "Oh! Calve! Chicken! Yum!" *CHOMP*....most likely the dog is just saying, "This is my turf, F off!"

Out of all of my dog encounters on the road, I am 2/3 in terms of successfully avoiding the "Dog Kamikaze attack". My first encounter was Buster. Buster was a 150 pound great dane/pitbull monster mix. I first heard a woman yell, "Buster! Buster stop! BUSTER!!!" and before I knew it Buster was on a T-Bone intersection tragectory for my rear wheel. Fortunately I had .5 seconds to gun it before Buster narrowly missed before all I heard was nails scratching across the pavement as Buster lost traction, then tried to regain composure to rebound for round #2. Fortunately my adrenaline picked the "Flight" mechanism and propelled my body as fast as it could.

Scary encounter #2 was down in southern France. A friend I were riding and I was bonking at the time before Cujo' la Chiene jumped out from a bush behind us and started chasing. Before I know it we are going mach 3 to outrun this 150 pound monster that looked like mix between a German Shepherd and a Werewolf! After a kilometer of chasing, the dog ducked into a field. "Phew!" we thought. The dog is gone. WRONG!

This dog knew what it was doing. Look at the diagram below to see what this dog with French intelligence did to get us a 2nd time:

As you can see, the dog cut through the field to cut US off! So after we thought we were in the clear, the dog jumps out again from behind us and off we go again. Look, I love doing intervals, but not when I am bonking and I am being chased for dinner (as in I am on the menu!).

Encounter #3 wasn't so great, in case you haven't read it.

Mr. Bob Mionske, I will give you one free pass: The illustration on your article rocks, but other than that, please go out and find a dog and get yourself attacked so that you can give us some actual USABLE knowledge!!!

Do you have any interesting dog stories on the bike?

*Disclaimer* I LOOOOOOOOVE dogs. All dogs that my family has had have been members of the family and loved dearly. I can't wait for the day that I get my first furry friend! Unfortunately, there are some rotten members of the Canine family out there, including their rotten owners.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Big training weekend, prepping for a cold swim, and what a fast 10K will yield

I had a great weekend of training despite getting a nasty sunburn on my shoulder blades. I wish my fingers were two inches longer to slather the sunscreen on the very reaches of my shoulder blades! Not gonna show you a picture....its bad! For future races, gonna go with layer #2 of the spray on sunscreen just to make sure.

After the 59 hilly miler on Saturday, I headed down to Central Park and knocked out 10 miles. My legs felt not so great the first 2 miles, but then opened up and I felt great for the remaining 8. I am really happy with where my form is 3 weeks out from Mooseman.

I can do the endurance, but I am feeling flat regarding speed. Thankfully I have a fast race this weekend and plenty of time to get some speed workouts in on the bike and in the pool and recover in time for June 6th. I gotta find a 4 mile running race Memorial Day weekend! That 4 miler I did the week before New Orleans was just enough to keep my legs sharp.

This coming weekend is the HarryMan tri. The swim is usually cold and is hovering around 60 degrees. BUUURRRR!!! Since this will be a tuneup race, the "Nothing New On Race Day" law does not apply. So I am going to try out Desoto's Neoprene Swim cap.

Actually, I tested it out on the pool for 50 yards. Man it keeps your head buoyant! On the way back I dove down and my head snapped right back up to the surface! haha!

Finally, I wanna depart on some good news regarding running. The 10K course record in Central Park was broken this past Saturday by Ethiopia's Gebre Gebremariam with a screaming time of 27:42 for a 4:28 pace. He ran away with a check for $20,000. Not bad for 27 mins worth of work! At that rate, he could make $80,000,000 annually. ;)


Thanks to Matt Carlson @ Venerable Companions for giving me the heads up! Simply amazing!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

((Sprint + Olympic) / 2) = Sprimpic

Went up to the hills of Harriman State Park today to preview the HarryMan Olympic course.

I am really kinda embarrassed to say, "Oh yeah, I am doing an Olympic next Saturday. I'm a BAMF!" Unfortunately, it won't be that way: The distance is odd. 0.6 mile swim, 20 mile bike, 6.2 mile run. Ok, they got the run distance right, but a swim that is .3 miles short is going from a ~1584 yard swim to a ~1056 yard swim. Thats one third of the swim GONE! Its more of a sprint distance swim, really.

The swim.
Wish I could do a pano. Its a WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDE beach. Looking forward to this swim!

Then the bike. They lopped off 5 miles! Thats 1/5 of the bike course GONE.

Ok, enough rambling and bitching.

I am NOT doing an Olympic distance next Saturday, I am doing a Spimpic distance next Saturday. Proven by the formula, ((Sprint + Olympic) / 2) = Sprimpic

The ride today kicked my butt. Ended up with 59.35 miles, and most of those were hills. The wind today really started to scare me. I was going 26MPH DOWN the biggest hill because I was so fearful of getting blown off of the bike. Going up it was not that bad! Last time I went up that sucker was two years ago and I was about 15-20 pounds heavier. Take that gravity! ;)

After this race next weekend, I am done with Harriman until they pave those roads and fix Tiorati Brook Rd. I love the park and its awesome hills, but the conditions of the roads (except for the nice part over by Lake Tiorati) is really doing a number on my body. My body as a human shock absorber just huuuuuuuuurts.

Now for some blogger fanfare!

KC @ 140 Point 6 Miles knocked out of the park an International Distance this morning and took home THIRD in her AG! Way to go KC! Looking forward to the race report!

Jeff @ Dangle the Carrot is about embark on his "Impulsive" Half Ironman tomorrow. This will be his first crack at this distance. Jeff, I have NO doubts you are gonna knock this one outa the park!

Mandy @ Cartunk Girl is doing the Sugarloaf Marathon tomorrow. Give her some love! She has been battling injury is gonna attempt this Marathon swinging hard. Go get it Mandy! You are gonna do great!

Matt @ Venerable Companions did a great 10K in Central Park this morning with a screaming time of 47:22 for a 7:38 pace. Nice job Matt!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

An admission: I am doping on EPO CERA.

Why admit that I am juicing it hard on the blood booster EPO CERA? Well, there is no other way to explain today's ride of 67.84 miles done in 1:58:39 for a 34.2 mph speed average, all done after work. Don't believe me? I have proof! Actual physical data! Look below at the power profile!

How did I get onto the juice? Well, when I was in the ER getting treated for the dog bite, the nurse asked me what I was doing when I got bit. I said that I was out riding 56 miles. He responded with, "Oh, your muscles must be inflamed! Here, I can help you with that. Let me inject you with a vile of some `flax seed.`" He said "flax seed" with a wink and a nod and a "golly gee" arm swing.

Oooooohhhhhh, code word ;)

But really, either the PowerTap computer or hub is on the fritz. By the time I got 10 mins into the ride, it showed that I had already gone 8 miles. Uuuuuummmm, that didn't seem right. I stopped, hit some buttons to see if it would jigger it back to normal, but nothing would work. As long as the timer worked (which it did) then I could just map the ride out on to figure out distance and speed average.

Ended up with 30.75 miles done in 1:43:11 for a 17.8 MPH average. It was a good ride! Felt strong and comfy, even though the weather was again 47 degrees and misty. I am done with this cold and wet weather!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I think we instilled the fear of God into their eyes!

I did the beginner's triathlon panel discussion tonight. We had an Ironman, a few of us have done Half's and Olympics, and Shelly, who organized the event, talked about sprint distances.

The first questions from the audience were all about the swim. Oooooooohhhh, the memories of leading up to my first sprint triathlon almost exactly 2 years ago. I too, had the fear of God instilled into my eyes and throat thinking about that swim. I think I had that nervous lump in my throat for 3 weeks! I had NIGHTMARES about that swim for weeks leading up to that first race.

So questions consisted of, "Are there boats out there?" to "What if I can't make it!" Then the Ironman guy jumped in and explained the mass start of an Ironman. "Waaaaaaaiiiiit, a second", I interjected. Most of your first swims will be like 40 people per wave, if that many. You should have seen the looks on these folks faces! They were wild eyed as if they were about to jump into the water in the middle of that restaurant!!!

I think we calmed their fears (a bit) by explaining that you NEED to do an open water swim IN your wetsuit BEFORE the race to get, as Shelly put it, those "Water Demons" to rest.

I still remember the feeling of my arms when I turned the swim bouy during that first swim at the halfway mark (1/4 mile) and my arms were just TOAST. I saw how far left I had to swim and didn't think I was going to make it. I wasn't panicking, I was just TIRED. And then when I emerged from the water at a whopping 20 mins I knew the hard part of the day was over. I had a great ride and good run. A painful run, but a rewarding one because I KNEW that I had this first triathlon in the bag.

I am NOT kidding about the following. We did the panel discussion at a Chinese restaurant, and so they gave us fortune cookies for dessert. No joke, my fortune said this:

"Do not give up, it is just the beginning."

I thought it was VERY fitting for the theme of the evening :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

"Biting" to move forward

Not gonna linger on the dog bite story. The latest is the local Police determined that the dog and owner do not live at the address from where the dog ran out from. They live south by about 90 mins and were visiting friends of friends of friends at that address on the bike course. So good news! No biting dog on race day! Still waiting on a fax to verify the dog is up on its shots...but most likely the dog is rabies free. I'll let you know if I suddenly become scared of the water next time I am at the pool ;)p

Tomorrow night I am a guest speaker on a triathlon panel discussion. Oh man! Me giving others advice on what to do and what NOT to do?!?!? *GULP!* I'll leave the "its addicting" part out of it :) Shelly @ Vergence Ranges from The Westchester Cycle Club organized the event for three of us triathletes to talk to new triathletes or those interested in triathlon and tell them about what it takes to do a triathlon and to answer any Q's. That was me in the audience 2 years ago! I met Shelly through the club at our very first open water swim exactly 2 years ago way up at White Pond where we swam in 60 degree water. What a way to start OWS! It was SO cold!

Finally, I am going to leave you with a small bit of humor. Lee Gruenfeld gives Lance Armstrong some advice for when he does Kona one favorite is #12:

"12. Don't draft. If some guy in a striped shirt on a motorcycle pulls up alongside you, don't hold out your hand expecting a Gatorade bottle or a ham sandwich. That's not why he's there. Cooperate, and if you do decide to curse him out, do it in French. Or, better yet, Hawaiian."

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Went to slay some Moose; wound up bit by a dog instead! sigh....

First, let me start with I did the full Mooseman course in 47 degree temps in the rain. It sucked. The hills sucked. BUT! I did the course and I felt strong and I am REALLY glad that I did the entire thing. I almost bailed after doing one loop of the hills, but I stuck through the crappy weather and DID IT. I said to myself, if you can't do it today, what makes you think you can do it in 4 weeks?

I was going to report how my hands were numb after the Hall's Brook Rd downhill and how I forced myself to take that right hand turn onto N Shore Rd to do loop #2 of N Groton Road and that FREAKING steep hill that saves the best for last. I was tacking up the top portion of that climb! Tacking is when you are riding sideways to cut the slope of the hill. Usually its down when going straight up it is too steep. Man was I breathing! I haven't downloaded my power data yet, but I betcha my torque on the chain is going to be through the roof!

After the Hall's Brook Rd downhill (which I was even more frozen after downhill #2) you get onto a long flat section where you can just cruise. I was able to hold between 20 and 22 mph and stay within my wattage range. Sweet!

After the flats comes what the locals call "Heartbreak Hill" which should now be renamed to "DogBite Hill." Yes, thats right, I was bit by a dog as I was in my easiest gear suffering at 5 mph when this small-medium sized black mutt suddenly came flying out of a driveway from my left and proceeded to bite down on my left calve!!!

I had heard some yelling from my left, but had no idea what it was from until I saw Cujo. The speed that it was coming at me from I thought it was going to just hit me, but instead it bit down, growled/snarled and PULLED. Fortunately between the owners yelling at it to come back and me hitting the gas I was able to pull away from the dog. I felt its teeth go right into my flesh and man did it HURT! I had no idea how bad it was since I was in full on winter clothing due to the cold temps and rain. (it had dried out by this time and the sun was peaking through, but it was still COLD!)

Talk about an adrenaline rush! I sped up a bit! When I download my power data, I am going to see if there is a spike in wattage/speed/torque etc. Wish I had my HRM on!

There is one major gash, but you can slightly make out the bite "ring"

I took this shot immediately when I got back to my car, which took about 45 mins from when I got bit. It doesn't look bad at all, but the fact is that I got bit and the bite punctured the skin.

Then I called home and talked to my dad. He told me to call 911. 10 mins later the Bristol police and ambulance are there treating me. Very nice folks and they all knew about Mooseman in 4 weeks. Sweet! They suggested I got to the hospital next....bummer. Necessary evil!

They called ahead because when I got to the hospital, they were expecting me and I was put right through. This is the BEST part! The nurse took my blood pressure, temperature, and pulse, and suddenly looked at her monitor and went, "WOW! Thats amazing! Your body is 100% saturated with Oxygen!"

Thaaaaaaats right! hehe :) Did my ride JUUUUUST right! lol!

The doctor then saw me, cleaned my wound again and gave me a tetanus shot.

Cleaned up with Iodine

Now the scary part. Another Police officer showed up, interviewed me again, took a photo and we talked about what's next. I got bit by a dog, which means Rabies comes into play. Not fun! I got the address of the dog, but the Police have to track down the dog, the owner, and get proof from the owner that the dog is up to date on its shots. If they can prove that soon, then cool, I am all set! If they can't, the dog is going into quarantine and I go onto 4 weeks of a Rabies vaccine cycle. NOT fun!!!

My souvenir from the experience!

I am a dog lover. I really don't want anything bad to happen to the dog other than a stern talking to. I hope for the owner's sake AND MY SAKE that the dog is up to date on its shots and the owners can prove it LIKE TONIGHT! I have to call first thing in the morning to find out if proof has been determined, or else I am going to have one MISERABLE morning.

The good out of all of this? I can take 56 miles of riding on a SUPER hilly course in shitty weather, be bit by a dog and still finish strong! I am also up to date on my tetanus shot! And I might be soon immune to Rabies! hahahaha!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Off to slay the Moose. And lotsa running!

Heading up to NH this weekend to slay the Mooseman course one last time before the actual race. Hopefully they don't change it a 4th time before June 6th! lol

This is what the 3rd course change wound up as ^^^^

The weather tomorrow is calling for rain and temps in the mid 50's, so its gonna be a battle of epic proportions. I may be flying down Hall's Brook Rd slower than what I climbed up North Groton Road so as to not become a statistic.

On the running front, I have been putting in some nice volume. I got in 8 last Sunday, 4 on Tuesday, 9 miles Yesterday, 4 this morning, and hopefully 6.55 this Sunday with one loop of the Mooseman run course.

Do you ever do long midweek runs? Yesterday's 9 was my first and I had a short ride scheduled for that evening. I blew that ride off! I was freaking tired last night! For now on, if I have a long midweek run, that is ALL that will be occurring that day.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Whats on the menu? HILLS!

In anticipation of the monster hills of Mooseman, I have gone into full-on hill training mode. Tonight I did a 30 mile ride that had a little bit of everything: fast flats, and HILLS. There is a hill on one of my TT courses that is 0.35 miles long, but has a really nice consistent 8% grade, so its steep and it will make you work! I hit that sucker 5 times after a 10 mile warm up, then did another 15 miles of smooth time trialing, trying to hold about 23 mph on the flats. It was a hard ride, but man, I felt SO accomplished!

The 5 intervals shown in watts, cadence, speed, and torque. I was pretty consistent!

I sat down for hill intervals 1-4 trying to maintain a smooth cadence while not spiking my wattage over 300. I felt smooth, yet I could feel the burn and I was breathing hard by the end. For #5, I let it loose and put it into the 23 tooth cog and stood up for most of it. Notice the yellow wattage spike is a bit bigger?

To put this hill into perspective (Regina, listen up!), this hill is 0.35 miles long. Mooseman's big hill is 3.5 miles long. I would have to do this a total of 10X to simulate the beast of a hill @ Mooseman. Oh, it gets better! This is just for round 1. Add another 10X up this sucker and there is round #2 @ Mooseman! Basically, its all about getting into that easiest climbing gear and maintaining composure and gritting out the climb.

I also haven't done a post about a swim in a loooooooong time. After New Orleans I went into "blah" mode in the pool and subsequently lost all of my speed in the water. Today's swim workout wasn't anywhere near Earth shattering, but it was a good effort at least:

500 WU
4 x 200 (averaged 3:25 for each)
4 x 25 EZ
50 sprint
4 x 25 EZ
50 sprint
100 EZ
900 straight (14:50/ 1:39 pace)
50 Warmdown
2650 total

The 4 x 200 was soooo frustrating! I used to belt out a 3:15/200 without blinking, and in the 3:07 range for a fast 200. Today it was like scraping nails on a chalkboard to get that 3:25 (1:43 pace). I made up for it though. After sprint sets and a 100 yard recovery, I did 900 yards straight and finished with a 14:50 for a 1:39 pace. So I finished a heck of a lot stronger than I started. Phew! Still a lot of work left to do in the pool in the next 5 weeks to get that speed back...

Now just give me a smooth water OWS in a race and I'll be happy since I am seeking revenge on that New Orleans swim!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The HarryMan Tri: BRING IT!

I added another race to my schedule, The HarryMan Olympic Triathlon, which takes place May 22nd up in Harriman State Park. It's two weeks out from Mooseman and will be a final tuneup race.

It is an olympic distance, sort of: 0.6 mile swim, 20 mile bike, 6.2 mile run. There is also a Half Ironman going on at the same time, and that is why the swim is short. We do one loop of the swim, they do 2 to get the full 1.2 miles. The bike is also short, and that is due to a road closure in the park. It used to be a 2 x 14 mile loop, but now its an out and back horseshoe. The poor HIM'ers have to do it 3 times for a total of 60 miles!

Now here is why I am doing this race. Its two weeks out from Mooseman, and I have noticed over the past 3 seasons that I seem to have a great weekend of training exactly two weeks after a hard race. Also! The water temp for this race is going to be around 60 degrees. Mooseman's swim will be about the same. Finally! At mile 2 in this race, you are climbing a BEAST of a hill on cold legs. Guess what? Mooseman has its first BEAST of a climb at mile 4 or 5 on cold legs.

The first 4 miles of the HarryMan course....damn!

See where I am getting at? Seems as if HarryMan should be called littleMooseman. I am also experimenting to see if my two week theory proves fruitful or disastrous, because I have my eye on another Olympic distance two weeks out from Timberman in August.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Nerd Report: Aero Wheels vs Regular Wheels

*disclaimer* The following data is NOT scientific and was not done in a controlled environment. I was subject to variable winds (which were NOT extreme) and gusts from passing trucks. This data is most likely meaningful to ME only, as my body shape, weight, bike, etc are different from YOU. However! I think this data is pretty consistent and does have some merit, in my non scientific opinion.

I tested out a pair of rented Zipp 808's this morning and compared them to a pair of regular set of wheels, a rear DT-Swiss RR1.2 and a front Fulcrum Race 7. Neither are very deep in rim depth. Both rear wheels have a PowerTap SL+ Hub, so I was able to use power to control my tests.

I started with 2 runs (~4 miles each) on the regular wheel set, followed by two runs on the Zipp's, then repeated, making a total of 4 runs each. The course I used was a 4 mile out and 4 mile back, somewhat rolling but mostly flat course.

I went easy on the way out, then held a wattage between 170 and 180 watts on the way back in. I wound up with 67.6 miles for the day! 32 of which were used in the testing at target wattage.

My findings? There was NO gain by using the Zipp 808's. ZERO! NADA! ZILCH!

I am really surprised! When I did the time trial vs road bike test back in early March, I found a noticeable difference (4-6% of energy savings!) that was consistent across the board. I was hoping for a noticeable difference in this test, whether it be as measly as 1 or 2%, but I got NOTHING! It was as if I was using the same pair of regular wheels in all 8 runs! I'm baffled!

Run #1 (Non aero on top, aero on bottom)

Run #2 (Non aero on top, aero on bottom)

Run #3 (Non aero on top, aero on bottom)

Run #4 (Non aero on top, aero on bottom)

Run #2 looked like I went a bit harder on the non aero wheels, pushing 9 more watts, which made me go faster, obviously. Run #3 looks like the wheels worked! But you compare that to runs #1 and #4, and there is really no conclusion. Perhaps more data needs to be collected? 67.6 miles for me was enough for the day....this is why I wrote the disclaimer above. I wish I could collect 10X the data on multiple riders, then maybe that would be enough to start making conclusions?

Another thing that I did not do was use heart rate. I don't train with it because I don't trust it because the heat, humidity, caffeine, amount of rest, diet, etc can muck with your heart rate sending it in any direction. Watts are watts. Either you are producing the watts or you aren't!

Like what I saw very clearly in my previous test, if I had gone the same speed, but used 5% less watts across the board, or gone the same wattage but gone 5% faster across the board, then yes, I would say these wheels made a difference. But I didn't see that.

Dangit! These wheels look sooooo cool! ;) I am glad that I plunked down only $235 to see that they are not for me instead of almost $3000 for some cool looking hardware that only looks cool.

My conclusion on getting faster? Tuning up the engine goes a long, long, looooooooooong way! ;)

Well at least I got some nice volume in to start May off in the right direction!

*final disclaimer* Take this report with a grain of salt. This is what happened to ME. The intensity and wattage that I went during these tests was the SAME intensity and wattage that I went during my half ironman in New Orleans. If I got these results today, I probably would have gotten the same results during the race. I hope that this report does NOT discourage you from trying or racing on aero wheels. If they make you faster, then awesome! I am glad that they work for you.