Sunday, February 28, 2010

Silvermine 25K Race Report

I PR'ed!!! hahahaha! Of course I PR'ed; I have NEVER ran this far before. :)

What a surreal experience. It was a total mind out of body experience. I would completely zone out at times but yet I was mentally alert. Everything from the head down just......went.

Distance: 25K (15.5 miles)
Total time: 2:13:28 / 8:37 pace.

My splits are as follows:
Mile 1: 8:39
Mile 2: 8:38
Mile 3: 8:39
Mile 4: 8:33
Mile 5: 8:34
Mile 6: 8:48
Mile 7: 8:55
Mile 8: 8:47
Mile 9: 8:41
Mile 10: 8:33
Mile 11: 8:19
Mile 12: 8:48
Mile 13: 8:28
Mile 14: 8:04
Mile 15: 8:07
Last .5 miles: 4 mins?-ish? My satelite reception conked out....

I paced this race consistently and perfectly, setting me up to nail the last two miles, which were my fastest. This course was also very hilly. You will notice that my splits crept up to the half way mark, then dropped on the way down (other than mile 12) pacing was consistent with the terrain, which was up the first half, then down the second half, except for mile 12 which had a big ass hill.

This race was also an exclamation point to an otherwise blah week. I needed this race to get me mentally back in the game. Our snow storm on Thurs/Friday really f-ed me up and made me not want to do anything, which is precisely what I did those two days. Fortunately, that was exactly what I needed! Those two awful days forced me to rest, setting me up for a great performance this morning.

If you can't tell, I am THRILLED with my race today. I also went sub 2 again for the 13.1 mile split! SCORE!

Now for some nitty gritties: My feet hurt the most. Downhilling is not my strong point and the constant pounding really did a # on the balls of my feet. I added to my blister count and now have new blisters underneath old blisters?!?!?!?! GROSS!!! My knees hurt the second most and everything from the knee down hurts more than the knees up. The quads are fine?

I actually feel really good as I write this (other than the balls of my feet). I have a feeling I am going to be experiencing a WHOLE NEW KINDA HURT tomorrow.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Should I be nervous? It's only 25K....

Tomorrow I have my next race, a hilly 25K (course map) up in Norwalk, CT. I previewed half of the course 2 weeks ago so I am not intimidated. But its strange; I have never ran 15.5 miles at once before, and yet I feel like this will be some sort of training run. It is a race afterall! I guess the distance isn't intimidating anymore? Famous last words! haha!

I go by the mantra, "Nothing new on race day." However, when there is a freak shortage of Chocolate Gu for a few weeks leading up to a race, drastic measures need to be taken. Drastic, meaning "Orange Burst Gu."
I used to use this stuff a lot a few years ago, and it tastes really Guuud, but its like liquid Orange Life Savers and Chocolate is soooooo much better tasting (and its like dessert on the bike!). The Orange is basically my backup Gu flavor. Three of em should get me through the race tomorrow.

So enough talking about the future and time to talk about the past:

Bam! Thats what the weather did from Thurs to midday Friday. We got a half day on Thurs and then the weather knocked power out at work so we got a 3.5 day weekend! Woo hoo!!! This is the last punch before it died off:

Doesn't it look like the center is pinwheeling right above NYC?

We wound up with a lot more snow than last time. Not sure the exact amount, but there is a LOT of snow out there this time (for metro NYC standards).

(Sorry, I had to shoot through the screen. The amount of snow wouldn't let me open it!)

Finally, if you need a good laugh, head over to Regina @ Chiu On This. She compiled a number of, well let's say, NYC style "Love Letters" to those who can't park. My favorite is the one with the calligraphy style handwriting.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

FTW.....its all mental

I'll let you figure out what FTW stands for...*hint* includes "The Weather".....if you still can't get it, look at the image below:

(I can hardly see where NYC is!!!)

I thought it was April showers bring May flowers. Not February crap brings March (you fill in the blank).

All I know is is that I could NOT live in Seattle or any other rainy place. It freaking depresses me!

All of this rain is keeping me from running outside, and the thought of hopping onto the dreadmill at this point just makes me wanna gag.

This weather also makes you not want to do anything. Its purely mental, and not physical. Gotta tell the brain to shut up!

The upside! Riding on the trainer for 4 days straight now has been pretty easy and uplifting. Monday was 13 miles, Tues, Wed, and this morning were 20 milers.

Thank you, Netflix, you R THE best!!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I have posted this prolly about 5 times, but I don't think a 6th time will hurt :)

I HTFU this morning. Sometimes 50% of a workout is mental. This morning for example, went from sleeping in, to running on the treadmill for 4 miles, to hopping onto the trainer for 60 mins to 75 mins, to nothing at all, back to the trainer for 75 mins to then bricking the workout with a 4 miler OUTSIDE in the freezing rain.

Finally my brain woke up and I decided to first do 75 mins on the trainer. Whatever, I did it. Before I knew it, I was shooting a Gu and dressed to go outside for a run into the freezing rain.

Have you ever run through pins and needles? Brings me back memories of snowboarding in high school through freezing rain where any exposed skin is just pelted with sharp stings over and over and over again! This wasn't as bad since I wasn't moving as fast.

By mile 1, my glasses were fogged up and covered with water/ice. It was a great run though as my legs felt AWESOME. Something about the extreme conditions and good feeling legs made me feel all warm and cuddly inside. I was really happy to be outdoors for some reason. I guess I feel like a conqueror for finishing a run in those soggy/icy conditions?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

11 miler to finish the week; review time!!!

February 14-21:
Swim: 3 swims, 6750 yards....lower in yardage, MUCH higher in intensity
Bike: 4 1/2 bikes, 96.91 outside! 1/2 bike was the 5 miles of testing (or should I say sprinting?)
Run: 4 runs, 25 miles
12 hours, 15 mins total of efforts.

Continuing on what I wrote above, for the swim I had one long volume swim, then 2 shorter swims, but HIGH in instensity. Friday's swim, which had a ton of speedy 100's, 50's, and 25's really dug a hole into the pain cave, but will *hopefully* pay off later this season.

This was a good week of biking. Yesterday really propped my spirits up and ordering the S2 REALLY got me excited for putting a lot of fast miles on the bikes this season. I was hoping to change my riding style from a more explosive rider to a more consistent flats rider, but you know what, where is the fun in that?!?!? Gimme hills to eat for breakfast! Besides, the hills from Mooseman have me a little scared! Not the hills themselves, just the numbers of ups and downs.

Finally, the running was mostly in autopilot mode this week, except for this morning. I thought I had trashed my legs yesterday after knocking out a solid 41 miles followed by about 5 miles of sprinting. I was actually dreading today's 11 miles.

Starting the run, I was wondering when the soreness was gonna hit. It never did. The top of the first mile was a nice 8-9% 1/3 mile climb that REALLY gets you breathing. Again, no soreness. After finishing the hilly 11 miles, the only soreness that I had was FROM the 11 miles. I really think that all of this training is starting to show its pretty head.

Here is the elevation profile from this morning's run:

I have one more week of volume ahead of me. This week was 12 hours, next week will be lucky number 13 hours. By this time next week, I will be competing in my first ever 25K, also my longest run EVER. Then its into (my crystal ball says) a needed rest week. Bring it!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It was all about the bike today: big ride, testing new rides, and retiring an old friend.

So far, I have felt like all season with my three disciplines, Swim, Bike, and Run, that the biking has been lacking in comparison to the swim and run, even though I do spend the most amount of time on the bike. I guess it has a lot to do with most of my bike miles this year have been on the trainer where its much harder to motivate yourself to go harder, like you can do so easily on the swim and run. Maybe that's why I feel like the biking hasn't been coming along as well?

That started to change, TODAY.

The stars aligned this morning! The sun was out and shiny, the temperature hit the low 40's and there was a little wind (which was fine). So I got outside for my first "real" long ride of the season for an almost 41 miler. I of course took out the time trial bike and tried my best to stay consistent and conservative, while trying to keep up a little speed. I think it worked! My legs were shot by the end of the ride, but mostly my shoulder and butt hurt the most. I did my new favorite time trial route:

Look at all of those flat sections! It was haul ass city!

But after the ride ended, the day was faaaar from being over involving riding bikes. I headed over to the local bike shop and tested out some Cervelo road bikes that I have had my eye on for awhile. I tried the S2 and R3.

I first want to say that both bikes are phenomenal. Probably the nicest road bikes I have ever ridden. They are both super light (like around 16 pounds!!!), both the same price and ride sooooo nice. But I did find some differences:

The S2:

A much stiffer ride = more instant acceleration. I hit the gas first going up a hill and BOY did the bike respond. I actually had to shift into a harder gear to maintain the same cadence. On the flats (good thing there was a traffic speed checker thingy right there) I easily hit 25+ mph. This bike just wanted to go FAST. There was no "softness" in the frame or pedals upon acceleration. It also handled sooooo well. Going around a sharp turn was effortless and felt like I was carving on my snowboard. The frame is very aero and the top and downtubes are similar to my P2.

The R3:

Not as much of a stiffer ride. However, its a much more leisurely ride. I immediately wanted to call the bike the Relaxing 3. Going over bumps felt like butter. The bike was a bit lighter, but upon acceleration on the hills and flats I felt this "softness" like all of that energy I just put into the pedals kinda evaporated. It still went fast, but there wasn't that "crispness" that I felt with the S2.

Overall, it was the stiffness of the S2 and the softness of the R3 that made the biggest difference. I can liken it only to splitting wood. It was like splitting a red oak log vs a poplar log. Splitting a red oak log is this super satisfying "crack" and instant split whereas splitting a poplar log is like hitting a sponge that will only bounce an ax back at you, which is VERY UNsatisfying. However, if you were to ride 50-60+ miles I guarantee you your body is gonna feel more wrecked on the S2 rather than the R3.

If you can't already tell, I much more prefer the S2 because I would be hitting the hills and sprinting the flats HARD on that bike. I am done with soft frames! haha!

And now for some sad news:
My Trek 5000 has been a great bike to me. I went up Mt. Ventoux in southern France two times on it in the summer of 2005, but unfortunately the bike frame has been too big for me (hence the chronic back pain over the years). Currently there is a super short stem on it which is not ideal for proper bike handling. It is my first carbon fiber bike and has been a great joy; it's just time to retire it. Now the bike isn't going anywhere. I will always have the bike and will use it as a backup. Can't get rid of something that took me up Ventoux two times! Those are cherished memories!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What did you learn today?

*Cue 5 year old inner self* I learned that I can blow snot rockets outa my nose a lot easier than I can drink out of my Speedfil straw while pedaling on the bike in the aero position. Top that one!!!

Seriously, I learned that riding indoors on the trainer only does so much and that riding outdoors, even for 17 miles, does a lot more on your legs than riding inside. I actually got outdoors today on the bike for the first time in about a month. The temp hit 40, and that meant OUTSIDE.

Nothing replaces riding outdoors! (other than riding outdoors in Provence....its a different kind of riding outdoors)

You could tell it was going to be warmer today. This morning for my 6 mile run I was out in 32 degree, dare I say, warmth? and the birds were chirping. You know, that "its almost spring" birds chirping song. I learned that running up hills has gotten a TON easier lately. I guess running up hills more helps with running up hills? Duh!

And finally, I learned, or rather relearned, that a frozen chocolate covered banana just tastes AWESOME!!!

Soooooo, what did you learn today?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lance vs Lieto, TT in Hawaii

The triathlon world (and probably the cycling world) was abuzz this morning over tweet's from Lance Armstrong and Chris Lieto's twitter accounts about a head to head dual TT out in Hawaii. They raced 14 miles, 1 min apart. Who do you think won?

Pre race vid:

Post race vid:

So something REALLY REALLY baffles me here. Lance won in 18:35, 15 seconds faster than Lieto. Cool. I get that.

But Lance said that he averaged 56 km/hour = 35 mph. If you did 14 miles in 18:35, you would HAVE to maintain an average of 45 mph. I am confused!!! If they did 10.83 miles in 18:35, then yes, they would have maintained a 35 mph average. This is simple math, right?!?!?!?!

Regardless, really cool stuff to watch!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day Off::No Day off

No work today! Yay!

Definately no day off workout wise, though. Yay!

So I was more so busy buying stuff than working out.

Since I have chewed through about 4 tires (yeah, tell me about it!) on the trainer so far this season turning each into a shrieking squeaky tire, I finally had had enough and went out and bought a nuclear bomb proof trainer tire.

(The rubber is REALLY thick!)

And ever since December when my run volume pitched upwards quite dramatically, I realized that I may be chewing through shoes about every 4 months. I went proactive and bought a brand new pair since with my busy running race schedule this spring I don't want to fall into a trap where I start new shoes on a race day. I'd rather get a few miles on a brand new pair.

(New color! I think they look badass!)'

While buying shoes I started to think about how long I have had my current running socks. I have a pair that are easily going on 18 months. Maaaaaybe its time to retire that pair and replace them. I only run in Thorlos and they have always been good to me, and they last FOREVER.

After stimulating the US economy for a few hours, it was time to actually use some of this stuff. So I hopped onto the trainer for a recovery ride. Did just 13 miles in 48 mins. Nothing too fast. My legs feel really good after yesterday's 11+ miler.

After scarfing down some leftovers, I was off to the pool for 3000 yards. Nothing complicated, just 2 X (500, 400, 300, 200, 100). I added some speed into the 300's and 200's. I was HUNGRY after the swim, so I rewarded myself for a hard day's work:

(My friend Venece's apple strudel with some vanilla ice cream. Yum!)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

V is for....

VOLUME!!! hahahahahahahahahaha!!!

Yes, I know its Valentine's Day today. We have been celebrating all weekend, including having a bunch of people over last night to celebrate the uncorking of some nice Belgian Blonde Ale. We made some pulled pork, baked mac & cheese, salt pork green beans, corn bread, apple pie, apple strudel, vanilla ice cream and LOTS of beer!

Now getting back to volume, yesterday I did almost 34 miles on the trainer in about 2 hours. I did a lot of 4 mins in the small ring, 4 mins in the big ring to work some different muscles (i.e. climbing) and to push some more watts at a lower cadence. It kept me preoccupied and made the 2 hours go by painless.

Then the REALLY big volume occured this morning, where I went up to Wilton, CT to run with my ironman buddy and coworker, Stewart. We belted out 11.27 miles while holding an 8:39 pace over some hilly terrain. We did the top loop of my upcoming 25K race. Our splits came out to be:
Mile 1: 7:57
Mile 2: 8:28
Mile 3: 8:46
Mile 4: 8:52
Mile 5: 8:35
Mile 6: 7:49
Mile 7: 9:08
Mile 8: 8:42
Mile 9: 8:59
Mile 10: 8:57
Mile 11: 8:57

Here is the route:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Beat down in the pool

James @ Daily Trainings posted a really good speedy swim workout the other day on his blog. I thought I would give it a try. I modifed it slightly and it came out to be this:

400 warm up

2 x 100 @ 2:00
4 x 50 @ 1:00
8 x 25 @ :30

2 x 300 Recover

3 x 100 @ 2:00
6 x 50 @ 1:00
12 x 25 @ :30

200 cooldown

Lots of short distances with some rest, but because of the short distances and rest, it basically said one thing: GO FAST! I was breathing pretty hard towards the end of each set, but I felt REALLY good and FAST! It was a good 2700 yarder to call it a week in the pool.

I was averaging anywhere from 1:37 to 1:34 on the 100's, ~45 seconds for the 50's, and I'm not sure for the 25's since I only had one clock on each side and had to guess how much to rest on the odd lengths. This was a nice beating in the pool.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bring thee hills and lets talk 25K

I firmly said NO to the dreadmill this morning and went outside @ lunch @ work today since it was in the low 30's and BRIGHT sunny. The snow on the driveway was already melted by noon. Score! I did the hill outside of the office 2X as part of a 5 miler. For those of you NY area triathletes who are considering doing the Westchester Triathlon @ the end of September, this is the hill known as "Claire's Climb." Its really not that bad of a hill, just big enough to get you breathing pretty hard and making the legs burn. This is the profile:

(Its not really 10%...prolly more like 7-8% max)

This hill reminded me of my upcoming 25K. You know how you sign up for a race that is weeks or months away but you still haven't mentally "checked in" to it yet? Well today I checked into it considering the 25K will not only be the longest run I will have ever done, but it will also be a hilly one:

(The graph is not normalized, so its not THAT steep, but it will still be kicking my @$$!)

So basically you climb for 8 miles, then descend for 7.5. I'm not worried about the up, I'm actually worried about the down. By the time I start going down, my legs will be getting shot and the constant pounding really does a number on your quads. You really have to train those downhill resistance muscles just like you have to train those uphill muscles! Go run a downhill marathon lemme know if it was "easy."

Just so happens a coworker and fellow triathlete of mine happens to live 1.5 miles from the top of the course. Oh how convenient! So I will be heading up there this weekend to put in a short 11.72 miles on the upper loop of the course :)

Speaking of the course, here it is:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Does making snowmen count as cross training?

We finally got a signifigant snowfall! And the snow was wet enough to be some perfect snowman snow.

(I was just the muscle, Kelly did the sculpting)

After rolling 4 huge snow boulders, I was exhausted and HUNGRY! I don't usually do this kind of exercise :)

(makes me wish I was in Central Park right now!)

(Looks like I will be on the dreamill for 45 mins tomorrow AM)

Since work was called off, I had tons of time to get my trainer session in followed by some good stretching and foam rolling. Over the past week I have seen an improvement in my biking by being able to push about 10 more watts with ease. I guess the past 4-5 weeks of consistent biking is starting to finally pay off.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Yep, its cold outside still (burrr), but! I thought I would share with you a favorite convenient post workout food: my rice, black bean, corn, tomato and cheese burrito. I call it convenient because they FREEZE really well! And you can make 6 at a time. That's 6 lunches right there! And they are loaded with carbs, so they are great to replace what you just lost during your workout.

Can black beans
Can diced tomatoes
Can whole kernal corn
1 cup of basmati rice
cheddar cheese
large tortilla shells

Start by cooking the rice. I like basmati because it tastes soooooooo much better than standard white rice.
(Do you like the blown out photo?!?!?)

Combine in a pot the cans of black beans, diced tomatoes and corn. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to simmer until there is little liquid left.

Combine the rice and bean/tomatoe/corn mixture:

Take 1 cup of the mixture and place in middle of a tortilla, add about 1 oz of shredded cheddar.

Wrap and foil and freeze! (or eat immediately...)

So, the mixture should yield 6 total burritos. If you freeze them, thaw one out by putting it in the fridge overnight, then pull out in the morning, and it should be ready to nuke for 90 seconds in the microsmasher by lunch time. Usually I will eat these after a hard swim.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Snapping outa the funk: Thoughts on a "rest" week

I am not going through a "bad" funk, just the funk of finishing an easier week. First you have to get used to going from 11+ hours of workouts down to less than 7 (and going easy(er) ), then re-adjust to ramping it back up to 10 hours.

Now here are my thoughts on a "rest" week. It was by no means a stop everything week and sit on the couch doing nothing, I was still active. I just had to force myself to go shorter and easier. Well, I have been going easy all along, so mostly it was just working out shorter and less frequent.

First the mental head games started. "You slacker! You are losing all that you have built up over the last 3 weeks!" or "Come on! Your legs don't hurt, you can go hard!"

So it was a lot of telling the brain to SHUT UP! and keep reminding yourself that you have just pummeled yourself (including a huge half marathon PR) over the last 3 weeks and that you really need to take it easy for a few days, even if it feels like you don't need it.

One thing that I realized was that I felt like I could have put in another half marathon PR yesterday. I had NO idea that I was sorta kinda tapering over the last week and feeling fuller and fuller with energy by week's end, not including fresh legs. Sooooooo, I might use this past week again for New Orleans in April and see if I eat my words. I always have trouble with tapers and I never go into a race feeling 100%.

And another thing that I am GLAD that I did was the video taping and drill work in the pool. It paid off BIG time today. I set a new 300 PR for a 4:51 or a 1:37 pace after I did a 5:00, 4:55, 4:56. Not sure if its the improved form or from being rested. The next few workouts will determine that once I get some more times put up.

Moving forward, these next 3 weeks are gonna be punishing, including 3 10+ mile runs including a 15.5 mile race at the end of February.

Think of good slogans to go onto my gravestone for me, because if I am still alive after this, it will be a miracle! ;)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Me, swimming, VIDEO!

I first want to say that my swim technique, well, needs a LOT of work. But! You should have seen me a year ago! I defined "bad" technique.

This past week my super swimmer coworker, Bob, noticed that my right arm was crossing over really bad. It was a bad habit that I was developing and fortifying pretty well this winter. So, this week, since it was a rest week, we did a lot of drill work to put a STOP (or rather to mitigate) to the arm cross over and address it. Already I am starting to see some improvements, especially with a 4 x 200 yard set where I came in 1 second off my current PR during the last 200.

I will tell you this, having my right arm enter in a more "correct" spot feels so foreign!

Here is a before:

And after (my left arm is still crossing over pretty bad).



Here is a list of some of the things that need correcting:
My body position still sucks. Notice how much I am scissor kicking at the end of a stroke to "rebalance" myself? I am lifting my left hand up when I go to breath, essential throwing on the brakes. I lift my head when I breath. My body position looks like a wet noodle instead of me as a straight arrow. So many small things that add up to a lot of time and energy lost.

But at least I am recognizing these things NOW and not the week before my first race in 10 weeks.

For you swimmers out there, if you can, shoot video of yourself! This video feedback is priceless!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sculpture and a flat week

I heard some great news this morning. One of my favorite late sculptors, Alberto Giacometti, had one of his sculpts, "Walking Man 1," sold for a record $104M at auction. Wow! If only he was alive to see this. Read about it HERE.

When I started art school in late 2001, I had NO idea who this guy was and had never seen any of this work. In the summer of 2003, when I was in Provence and in Nice (which btw, is very nice) I was able to see a lot of his stuff in person at the Fondation Maeght. It made an impression on me, or should I say more appropriately, a "modern" effect on me? (sorry, lame art joke)

So what does this have to do with triathlon? Well, indirectly that summer (and seeing all of this work and other modern and post modern work) basically paved my way through my last 2 years of school and catapulted me into my current job, which pays for my triathlon addiciton :)

And speaking of triathlon, this rest week of mine has had little tenebrism and chiaroscuro and has been very flat. Short runs (3 miler and a 4 miler), little biking, and lots of drill work in the pool. I wish had some more interesting tales to tell, but this week is just a resting dud......whiiiiiiiiich I don't mind. I need the mental break!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pecan Crusted Chicken....YUM!

For some reason I was craving Pecan Crusted Chicken. I have never had Pecan Crusted Chicken before, only Pecan Crusted Fish. The hankering was literally killing me!

Fortunately I had A)Chicken B)Pecans C)Panko Breadcrumbs and D) Eggs. DING DING DING! Winner winner CHICKEN dinner!

I followed one of Emeril's recipes found HERE. (I didn't do the mustard dipping sauce)

I was literally drooling as I was saute`ing the chicken.

And then got ready to clean this plate

Aaaaahhhhhhh, now that was GOOD!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

cold and rest and crossing over

The cold has returned! I guess I got lucky to have a balmy 37 degrees for the half marathon the other weekend because now 19 degrees is setting the new standard for warm. Needless to say that with a rest week this week, this morning's "easy" 3 mile run was more of a mental workout than a physical one.

Since I am taking it easy this week, that means in the pool my super swimmer coworker and I are focusing on drills. Unfortunately I have developed a nasty bad habit this winter of crossing my right arm over upon entry and extension. Doh! So now its time to correct that. Its amazing how where you think your arm is entering is really not where it is entering. By then end of the swim, I was "thinking" that my arms were entering perpendicular to my body, when in fact they were entering in straight. We might be breaking out the video camera on friday for some above water filming.