Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Plan, and I'm a giveaway winner!

It could be snowing, raining, thundering, hurricaning, monsooning, tornadoing or raining jelly beans and hotdogs outside and as long as it doesn't interfere with my training, I don't really care what it does outside. Since Sunday, we have been practically flooded outside with rain.

I didn't really care since I was recovering/resting.

But now, I need to hit the "GO" button once again and I do care about the weather. Fortunately, this is what it looks like :)

Oh and it gets better! We have Friday off from work.

Oh, and OH! it gets even MORE better! Harriman State Park opens up (I think?) tomorrow.

So the plan is to ride a hilltarded 41.73 mile ride in Harriman on Friday, then hit the 57 mile time trial route on Saturday, followed by a 3.4 mile run.

Harriman Hills :)

This weekend is two weeks out from New Orleans, which is enough time to destroy the legs one more time and let them heal. Instead of a run focused weekend, this will be mostly on the bike, obviously.

And I won my first Blog Giveaway! Aneta @ Confessions of a Rambunctious Runner gave away a copy of the Bart Yasso book, "My Life on the Run." Bart Yasso is famous for the Yasoo 800's, which can help determine your marathon time on the track. Once I finish the book, I will be passing it along via another giveaway. So stay tuned!

So thank you, Aneta, for sending this out! Aneta is training for her very first duathlon in the beginning of June. Head over to her blog and give her some encouragement! She has a great recipe for a Green Monster shake. She loves em!

I know its only Wednesday, but any big plans for the weekend? Races?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Brownie Sundae Recovery Method

Ice bath? Too cold...
Stretching? Too painful...
Foam rolling? Even MORE painful...
Deep tissue massage? oooooouuuccch!!
Protein Shakes? Do you like to drink chalk?....
Chugging loads of water? Are you really a camel?...

Brownie Sundaes? Now we are talking!

After my 15K on Sunday, I did the usual recovery routine. Stretch, foam roll, protein shake, ice bath, warm up, eat, shower.

Monday rolled around and I was sore as usual. And usually on Monday's I hit the pool for some kicking and later that night I am on the trainer doing some light spinning, all so that I can loosen myself up. But when Tuesday rolls around, the soreness is usually at its worst, and I go crying to the PT.

This time, I said screw the pool and screw hopping on the trainer. I am going to eat brownie sundaes! I ate one Sunday night, and one Monday night.

Cue Tuesday morning (this morning), and my legs are healed. No soreness!

*Cue Seriousness*

I think I have figured out WHY after the January 31st Half Marathon, the Feb 28th 25K and the March 21st Half Marathon that my legs were so wrecked. It was to do with Intensity.

Yes, I knocked out 57 miles on the bike on Saturday, then PR'ed the 15K on Sunday, but those two efforts were not done at an all out pace. They were huge volumes, but the intensity was far off from the efforts of those three races listed above.

Which brings me to my next conclusion: If you are racing all out, then no matter what kinds of recovery methods you use, your legs are going to hurt. You are physically ripping those muscle fibers to shreds. Your body needs time to heal. Yes, you can do things to mitigate the soreness and pain and possibly speed up the healing process, but you are NOT a robot and it takes time to physically repair those tiny tears in your muscles.

*Disclaimer* This is what I have learned about how MY body reacts after such efforts. It will probably be different for you, so PLEASE don't read this as the gospel, but I hope it might help shed some light on your recovery methods.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Colon Cancer Challenge 15K run race report, and WHAT A WEEKEND!!!

Woah!, a LOT was accomplished this weekend, including meeting some totally awesome fellow blogger buddies!

Saturday: The 57 mile ride. ACCOMPLISHED!
Old man winter had a sleeping cold fart on Saturday, giving us 45 degree temps and cold feet. Um, it was 70 last weekend!!!

So I extended my 47 mile ride from last week with another 10 mile loop to go from time trial heaven, to SUPER time trial heaven, to ULTIMATE SUPER time trial heaven. Seriously, this 57 miler is the triathlete's dream route! This ride is going to be a staple route this season. I was able to stay in the aero position a lot longer this time.

One major goal for this ride was to practice my nutrition. My Speefil can hold 40 oz's of liquid, and that seems to be enough to get through this mileage. Of course I might need more in warmer weather. I drank every 10 mins, and every time I had food.

Food wise, I popped a Gu @ 30 mins, Balance Bar @ 60 mins, Gu @ 90 mins, Balance Bar @ 120 mins, Gu @ 150 mins, and had I run afterwards, would have popped another Gu @ 180 mins. This seemed to give me enough energy for the ride, but I am thinking I will need more. This is how much I put down @ Timberman last year, and I ran out of gas @ mile 7 on the run, but I didn't eat anything off the bike. Hopefully the last Gu @ 180 mins will get me to mile 4 on the run, where I can pop another Gu, then another @ mile 8, before assessing if that is enough to bring me home. 3 weeks away from New Orleans!?!?!?

Sunday: 3 races; 2 to cheer on; one to race (with a PR); people to meet.
Today was super race day. Coworkers of mine planned today's 4 mile race in the park awhile back, but due to my run schedule I needed to get in 9+. Just so happens the NYRR's 15K Colon Cancer race was held immediately after the 4 miler. So it turns out I could kill 2 birds with one stone!...that is cheer on some folks, then RACE.

Then one of my fellow blogger buddies, Regina @ Chiu On This, mentioned that she was doing the's Central Park Duathlon which started and ended before the 4 miler. So it turns out I could kill 3 birds with one stone! She is also doing Mooseman in June, so it was great to finally meet her in person. I brought my camera, so I was her personal race photographer for the day. Eat that Brightroom and your blurry pictures and your pic-tarded prices!!!! HA! Here she is chicking some guy on the bike!

You are going to do great @ Mooseman, Regina! Head over to her blog and give her some post race loving when you get a chance!! She does these hilarious Foto Friday posts.

Regina then mentioned that our fellow blogger buddy, Krista @ Commitment is Liberating, and her husband, Sam, were volunteering/working the event. I have been following Krista's blog since last summer and it was great to finally meet a real person behind the blog. Actually, it was her husband, Sam, who saw me first and waved. They got lucky and were able to register for next September's edition of The Westchester Triathlon. Get ready to climb some hills!!!

Krista does a Link Love series where she is posting some REALLY great links to articles on blogs that are super helpful, including why a triathlon race is so expensive. Really helps you understand the WHY in this sport in terms of dollars and cents. Head over and leave her a "Thank You, keep this series going!" comment.

And now for today's race report:
15K (9.3 miles)
1:15:18 (New PR!)
8:05 pace

Mile 1: 8:12
Mile 2: 7:35 (uuuuummmm....)
Mile 3: 8:50 (UUUMMMM!!!!)
Mile 4: 8:11
Mile 5: 8:14
Mile 6: 8:04
Mile 7: 8:02
Mile 8: 7:56
Mile 9: 7:47
Last .3: 2:21

I first want to remention that I did 57 miles on the bike yesterday, so that means the legs were beat up already. HOWEVER! I followed my recovery plan after the ride and it WORKED! I was so totally not feeling 100% going into the run, but my joints and muscles felt great, just flat. I also want to mention that today's run finished off a 14 hour week of workouts and the biggest week of volume so far this year.This is why I am really proud of myself for today's efforts.

If you look at my splits, especially leading up to mile 3, I was in a deep fog as to how I would do in this in, did I go out too hard and fall flat with the sudden 8:50 mile 3 and would this describe the rest of the run?

Well, I had a little chat with myself. I said, "Jon, you WILL hit this exact same moment in 3 weeks in New Orleans where you are going to hit a wall early on in the run, and what are you going to do? Are you going to phone in the remainder or are you going to dig deep and see what you are made of?"

Today, I dug deep and it paid off. I see mile 3 as breaking the rust off of the machine. Between miles 4 and 7 my legs felt the best and I was smooth. At mile 7, I knew 2.3 miles was just another 20-ish mins left till the finish and I knew mile 9 was all downhill, so it was really only 1 mile of rollers and the hard part would be done, so really, what is another 8 mins of pain?

I am really glad that I dug deep and I totally surpised myself with a new 15K PR! The last 15K PR I set was during last weekend's half marathon where I hit the 15K mark @ 1:15:58, so a 40 second improvement on tired legs. Could I have held on for another 3.8 miles to PR another half marathon? I don't even want to think of that....I was mentally cooked crossing the finish line today. I am raced out at the moment!

So this weekend was a good barometer for New Orleans in 3 weeks. My bike conditioning could be in a better place, but my run is exceeding my expectations. Unfortunately poor bike conditioning is kryptonite to a strong run. I still have 2-3 more opportunities for a long bike!

Hope your weekend went well! Did you race?

Friday, March 26, 2010

surviving, and race pictures!

My legs..........are cooked. My easy 3 mile run this morning was more like a run through molasses. OH man oh man oh man all I have to do is get through this weekend, then it is rest time next week and the end of base training. I can smell the victory!!! This is my last weekend of overtraining for awhile. 12 weeks of efforts have built up to this moment!

I just need to:
A) Ride 57 miles tomorrow
B) run almost 12 miles on sunday, including a 15K race
C) survive

Here is the training load that I set out to do over the past 12 weeks:
As you can see, its been a long slow build in volume

I am going to leave you now with some pictures (courtesy of my folks) from Sunday's race. Enjoy!

BLURRY!!! This was the ONLY race shot from brightroom. Seriously?

Just after mile 8, about to head out of the park towards Times Square

Deena Kastor, 2004 Bronze Olympic Medalist in Marathon

The Pro Men's field. Haile, the current marathon record holder, is in there at #2 in the red jersey

Walking after finishing

With the folks

With my friend Lisa who graciously drove down with me @ a super early time

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"The Elbow" strikes back

When I crossed the finish line on Sunday, the first words out of my mouth were, "I am gonna pay for this one...."

I DID pay for the half marathon, in the form of elbows and fingers being jabbed and massaged into my lower IT band Tuesday morning. Um, OUCH!!!!!

The Elbow
: 6, me: 0.

I always fear going back to my PT to get a leg massage and it always hurts the same, except for this time. I had to tell her to stop a few times. It hurt so bad that my stomach was starting to get queasy. Or can I put it as if she was jabbing a red hot poker into my leg? My lower IT band, right above the knee is soooooo tender. My knee joints feel great though!

Well, the usual thing happened and a day later my legs are more or less back to normal. I got out for a 4 miler this morning and it was not my fastest 4 miler ever, but I had full range of motion of my legs, vs the usual hobble that I do a few days after a half marathon.

So after 2 half marathons and a 25K since January 24th, I have learned the following about recovery (and these are specific to me):
  • an ice bath helps, but isn't a miracle cure
  • a beer with the ice bath helps
  • a chocolate banana protein shake is super yummy and filling and helps take the edge off
  • drinking tons of water helps clear out the crud in your system
  • the morning after isn't that bad in terms of soreness
  • the following night is the worst in terms of soreness
  • stretching and foam rolling are great for maintenance
  • the pool is your best friend: kicking loosens you up
  • the trainer is another best friend: easy spinning loosens you up
  • more stretching and foam rolling are even better
  • deep tissue massages suck
  • deep tissue massages made the biggest difference
Because of yesterday's massage, my legs are feeling good enough that I can still eek out my scheduled 14 hours of workouts, wrapping up my final and penultimate week of base training.

This weekend is looking colder than last weekend's, but it should be bright and sunny on Saturday, which will be ideal conditions for me to put in my first 60 mile ride of the season. Then on Sunday, the hurt continues with a 15K race back down in Central Park. No upper park hills this time, just two lower loops of the park.

Almost done with the base training! Has it already been 12 weeks?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

NYC Half Marathon Race Report. New PR!!!

I did it again and PR'ed another Half Marathon. This time in 1:45:19 for an 8:03 pace. My training is paying off as only 8 weeks ago I went 1:47:58, so I bested my previous time by 2 mins and 39 seconds.

*WARNING!!!* The following race report might be a tad gross. We are all runners/endurance athletes and I think we can all relate.

It was a 7:30 start, which isn't terrible if you live right inside Manhattan, but coming down from Westchester the alarm clock went off @ the furly time of 4:45. No big deal, parked and I got a 1 mile warmup in before lining up.

I go by the mantra of "Nothing New On Race Day." You may call me a hypocrite. I did something new on race day, which worked out really well and I am glad I did the 1 mile warmup to figure out where to put it. I bought the "Amphipod MicroPack Satellite"

I got it because my folks and a friend were watching and because the race was ending waaaaay down at the bottom of Manhattan vs starting in the park, I needed to carry a cell phone and subway pass, ID, etc with me and how do you do that with few pockets? I was able to easily fit everything in the pouch.

Attaching it was the biggest issue. First I attached it to the back of my race belt. No flopped around too much. The side was the same issue. The front, well, if your a guy you will understand ;) Women, don't think too hard as to why the front was a bad idea. Finally, I attached it to the waistband of the inside of my running pants and it worked PERFECTLY!!! Didn't even notice it while running.

Problem solved! Race time! My splits came out as follows:

Mile 1: 8:12
Mile 2: 8:02
Mile 3: 8:10
Mile 4: 8:19
Mile 5: 8:05
Mile 6: 8:10
Mile 7: 7:54
Mile 8: 7:59
Mile 9: 7:50
Mile 10: 6:44 (WOO HOO! Fastest mile EVER in a race!)
Mile 11: 7:36
Mile 12: 7:46
Mile 13: 7:45

I want to put this out there as the general theme of this race: My stomach was being a pain in the a$$ the entire time. This was by far the MOST uncomfortable race I have EVER ran. I was fine lining up and through mile 2 or 3 I realized that my legs were feeling really great, but my stomach and organs further down the pipe were NOT happy!!!

By putting in low 8 min miles through mile 3, it was the hills of the top of the park that would determine if I had any climbing legs. I did and the two good sized ups were done conservatively and I felt strong at the top of each. Hard part down and I was nearing mile 6 where the course was a net downhill to the finish.

Meanwhile, in stomach land, "things" were rumbling and each porto-potty that I saw made me say in my head, "Just hit stop on your watch, go in there, take care of business, hit start and be on your way. Yes, the official time will not be great, but your moving time will."

This was a true battle of mind vs body. For me, I was truckin' and I didn't want to lose momentum. Right at mile 8 we exited the park down 7th Ave towards Times Square. If my stomach wasn't the #1 thing on my mind, I woulda been like, "Wow! I am running through times square!"

Instead my eyes were going, "Where is the nearest bathroom! I am going to EXPLODE!!!!"

Fortunately when I turned onto 42nd street going towards the West Side Highway that my innards calmed down. I just remember that mile (mile 10) was being in a video on fast forward. No wonder! I dropped a 6:44 mile which is the fastest mile I have EVER ran in a race before.

Upon turning onto the West Side Highway, it was exactly 5K to the finish. Mentally, I was done and my stomach was acting up again. I felt like I was slowing down and I so wanted to throw in the towel and run 9 min miles home. At mile 11 I saw my split and when I saw the 7:36 time, it perked me up big time. I think because I was running on a wide open road that it felt a lot slower than I was actually going. So I decided to hold the same "feeling" until the end.

It worked and I scored a 7:46 and 7:45 to round out the last 2 miles.

Finishing felt so weird this time. My body stopped but it felt like my brain was still moving forward.

Post race, we down to Penelope on 30th and Lex and had brunch. I had the Nutella French toast with fresh fruit and an apple cider mimosa. MMMmmmmmmm!!!! Hit the spot.

Got home, stretched, foam rolled, ice bath (with a bottle of Duvel), ate and am trying to stay as mobile as possible. So far its working and the deathly soreness hasn't hit yet, though I am getting incredibly sleepy as I am writing this. Must stay awake and mobile...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Its not gonna be much of a taper this time...

Well here I am 2 days out from the NYC Half Marathon. I chose this race because of where it fell on the calendar, and not necessarily because it was the NYC Half Marathon; I did get lucky because I was able to lottery into it, so this race does hold some more value than others.

I liked the date because it is EXACTLY 4 weeks out from the New Orleans Half Ironman, which will make this a great gauge on my fitness leading up next month's race. Afterall, I will be running this distance again in 4 weeks, but after a 56 mile bike and 1.2 mile swim.

Since I am in the middle of my last build phase leading up to New Orleans, this particular week is a big one including over 100 miles on bike. So that is where the push and play of volume vs rest comes into the play. Can you really do huge volume day after day after day then finish the week up with a half marathon and expect to do very well? Then turn around immediately and put in an even bigger week?

I am sure some can, but my body can't. Fortunately I got lucky this week and had work canceled on two glorious days of sunshine earlier in the week where I was able to put in 70% of my week's worth of biking volume. This allowed me to spread out the rest of my week's volume and made it so that I could draw down the volume leading up to Sunday.

Ta da! Its magic!

This of course is being done with a LOT of stretching, ice bathing, foam rolling, and protein shaking. This week was not free! After running 6 miles yesterday morning and having to put in another 3 this morning after the two days worth of biking, @ 6:30 AM I was questioning what the heck I was doing with my life and wondering if it was worth it.

Motivation is 50% of a workout!

Did 2500 more yards in the pool @ lunch, then its 15 miles tomorrow on the bike and heading down to NYC to the expo to get my packet and goodies.

Sunday evening I am drinking a beer!

...and Tuesday morning I have an appointment with the "Elbow" to put my body pack together, because I have a feeling I am gonna be a hurting boy come Monday!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Luck of the Irish! Were you crossing your fingers?

Happy St. Patty's day everyone!

I have no power @ work again today.....

I am sooooooooooo disappointed.

I was in tears when they announced it.

Tears of HAPPINESS!!!!

Here is why:

So like yesterday, the flood of text messages showed up again around 7:30 this morning with "Studio is closed till noon"

I head off to the pool for 2500 yards.

Return home. More text messages with "Studio closed. Enjoy your day off!" Our movie is still coming out in 13 months regardless, but can 2.5 days off really hurt a production that bad? No idea; I'll be on the next film by then or the film after that one.

The power outage is due to a really bad storm we got over the weekend starting last Friday. We lost power Friday afternoon @ 4:30. They sent us home

Monday morning we come in and we have a normal work day until 4:30, when they tell us that the power is about to go out in 5 mins. They send us home. I am guessing they cut power on purpose to the area for bigger fixes and that is why we have been powerless for the past 2 days?

Soooo, what to do with myself? I have the NYC Half Marathon this Sunday. I have to get in 2 more bikes and 2 more runs in by then and if I can get them done and over with sooner, that will mean more time to rest for the half = faster race?

Well, its 64 degrees and absolutely gorgeous outside....what to do, what to do...

Bike ride!

21.5 miles later I'm done for the day.

Think I can go for day #3? Its ONLY gonna be 70 tomorrow....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sometimes No Electricity is a Good Thing

There is no power at work today = work canceled

Today was bright and sunny and 55 degrees.

I had to get in a long ride this week.

What do you think happened today?

Well for starters, I got in a hilly 5 mile run super early this morning. Then as I was getting home I started to get an avalanche of text messages saying we were delayed till at least noon. So I took the opportunity to stretch and foam roll extra long then took a nap.

10:45 AM rolls by and I get another avalanche of text messages proclaiming the good news.

By 1:15 PM I was on my bike. It was glorious.

I went back up to time trial heaven, but I added an extra loop that made this route now SUPER time trial heaven. I tacked on the Titicus Resevoir loop. Its really pretty up there!

47 miles later I was back and victorious. Today's goal was not only to get the miles in, but to stay in the aero position for as long as possible. The sit bones were hurting at times, as well as my upper shoulders and lower neck from craning my head. BUT! The ratio of staying in the aero position vs the regular position IS greatly going more towards the aero position on each subsequent ride.

NO lower back pain reported!!!

Fingers crossed the electrical grid is still down tomorrow.....its supposed to be 62 and bright and sunny....62 miles in 62 degree weather anyone? ;)

Monday, March 15, 2010

pushups into spring; peace out winter!

Dear Winter,

You suck. I am NOT sorry to see you go.



And I signed up for Jeff's @ Dangle The Carrot's "100 Push Up Challenge." I need a good challenge to work other muscles not normally utilized while swimming, biking, or running.

I did my assessment and I was able to do 20 pushups before FAIL. It was 20 unpleasant pushups. I am looking forward to this challenge and THANK YOU! Jeff for hosting this. Its another reminder to finally do some core work on top of pushups.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Let's talk recovery

I want to talk recovery.

I have bitten off a lot this season. 3 Half Ironman races and my first marathon will define this season, not to mention a slew of running races and probably 1 or 2 smaller triathlons thrown into the mix.

This means that my training load currently is and will continue to be through the roof this year!....which means that my body is gonna be hurtin!..... A LOT!..... ALL THE TIME!

So far this year I have racked up 56,800 yards in the pool, 783 miles on the bike, and around 207 miles running. These #'s are significant to ME because last year it took me till the very end of April to reach the same yardage in the pool, the middle of April on the bike, and the very end of April to reach the same running mileage.

So I am 4-6 weeks ahead of last year, and so far my body is feeling it. Thankfully a lot of you have given me a lot of recovery tips including stretching more, foam rolling, ice baths and protein shakes. Between those 4 things and general rest, I think I am winning the battle. (famous last words!)

It really is a battle! The war is the entire season, and all of these little battles are doing a super long and hard workout or race and trying to recover in time for the next battle.

So far this is my recovery method after a long run or ride:
  • Make Chocolate Banana Protein Shake
  • Stretch (drink shake)
  • Foam roll (drink rest of shake)
  • Ice bath!
  • Let legs warm up
  • Shower
  • Hit the water and food
  • DON'T stop moving
I make the shake as soon as I get in the door to get some food into me. While drinking it, I stretch my hamstrings, calves, glutes and quads, then hit them all again on the foam roller. For the ice bath, I hop into an empty tub wearing my cycling or running shorts WITH a jersey and arm warmers. Wearing layers on my top half makes the ice bath really easy to do. The cold isn't that bad really! After getting out of the bath, I like to warm up naturally as I find turning on the hot shower immediately is too much of a shock. After I do take a shower, I hit the water pretty hard to rehydrate and to flush out the crap in my muscles, and I eat some more food.

I wrote, "DON'T stop moving" because after my 25K two weeks ago, I went to the movies and sat for 2 hours. Standing up and walking was an overstatement of what my brain wanted to do, and yet my body couldn't. Just standing or getting up and walking around to keep the blood flowing is enough I think to prevent the dreaded soreness. Good luck during the night!....ya gotta sleep at some point!!!

I'm interested in your take on my process. Should I rearrange my process? Do anything additional? Do you any of you use compression tights?

Thanks to you all for giving me the above tips. They ALL really do help.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

biking, biking, biking: road bike vs time trial bike

I like days like today. Perfect weather = lotsa miles on the bike :)

Went up to time trial heaven and did 5 laps of the 8 mile-ish out and back. Wound up with almost 44 miles. The goal of today was to do 4 mile efforts at my half ironman wattage, which is in the high 170's.

Another goal for today was to see how doing that effort wound up whether I was on my time trial bike or my road bike.

My babies, all lined up

I did 2 laps on the road bike, and 3 on the time trial bike. The 4 miles out were done at an easy pace, then I hit my target wattage on the way home. The wattage felt good and I wasn't exurting myself. I was definately working harder during Timberman, hence my blow up on the run that day.

And the conclusion between a road bike and time trial bike? Drumroll please....

Yes, OF COURSE the time trial bike is more efficient at the same effort. I just wanted to see it for myself with my own data. Yes, I am a data junkie sometimes :)

Lap #1: Time Trial Bike
Lap#2: Road Bike
Lap #3: Road Bike
Lap #4: Time Trial Bike
Lap #5: Time Trial Bike
Some trends between the 5 runs: Besides pushing less watts and going faster on the time trial bike vs more watts and slower on the road bike, I noticed that my cadence was also higher on the time trial bike and the amount of torque was less. i.e. I was not putting as much strain my legs to pedal faster to go faster and using less energy all at the same time.

I also held an average of 92 RPM cadence on all 3 time trial runs. I am proud of that!

The course is mostly flat, with a few slow ups that will spike your wattage if you aren't fluid with your gearing choices.

Its really smoother than this...

I was really trying to maintain a constant wattage so I had to anticipate and change my gears. A few times I would spike or not change soon enough on the next down section, bottoming out my wattage. By my last run I had it figured out.

If you can't tell, I had a good day on the bike today!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chocolate Banana Protein Shake

I finally caved in and bought some protein powder, chocolate flavored. After adding two scoops (40 grams of protein) to 1 1/4 cups of 1% milk and trying to mix it with a spoon (I clearly had NO idea what I was doing!) and after the powder and milk would NOT mix consistently, I said "Screw this!" and added 1 more cup of milk and a cut up banana, threw it all in the blender and mixed it to death.

Let me tell you that this was one HECK of a super SuPeR SUPER tasty shake!!! I guess between the protein powder and the milk, it was somewhere in the 56 gram range of protein?

I ran 4 miles this morning and my legs hurt for most of it and then I am riding 17 miles at lunch, so who knows how I will be recovered by lunch. I did a ton of stretching and foam rolling as well after my run. Kinda fun to experiment with different recovery techniques.

I will say that the shake filled me up pretty well. It was in the 500 calorie range?

Monday, March 8, 2010

March is defined.....and its gonna HURT!!!

March is gonna be a man-maker of a month. That basically sums it up other than I am going to be wailing like a little baby by the end of it.

In other words, I have my first half Ironman of the season in 6 weeks and its time for the final build. The mileage and yards that I put in in the next 3 weeks will be the anchor that gets me through New Orleans without suffering too bad. (I am going to suffer regardless. Its a freaking half Ironman!!!)

This means that my postings here are gonna go into overdrive. Posting on this blog equals motivation. That was the point of starting this. By publishing it publicly, I couldn't slack because then I would be held accountable by my peers.

So basically March is looking like this:
Week of March 8-14:
Swim Planned: 3 hours
Bike Planned: 101.5 miles
Run Planned: 22 miles

Week of March 15-21:
Swim Planned: 3 hours
Bike Planned: 102 miles
Run Planned: 26.1 miles (includes NYC Half Marathon)

Week of March 22-28:
Swim Planned: 3 hours
Bike Planned: 123 miles
Run Planned: 25.3 miles (includes NYC Half Marathon)

Good golly just looking at this is making me cringe. I understand that this is the work that MUST be done to plant this season deep. These next three weeks are not only solidifying New Orleans, but also giving me deep roots for Mooseman and Timberman.

The other thing that I MUST do, is take it easy. This is base work, which is easy intensity and large volume. I so want to go hard, especially on the bike, but this method has been working well for me this season so far. Easy and long runs helped me PR by 12 mins at a half marathon and have helped me accomplish my first 25K race. Like I said when I signed up for New Orleans, I wouldn't have the speed like at Timberman, but I would have the base to do it.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Mooseman HIM Course Preview

The stars totally aligned this weekend up in NH. Yesterday the temp hit 50, even though in the wind coming off of the lake it felt more like 30 at times.

I brought up "Red" the new road bike. "Blue" the time trial bike stayed home. I am glad I did because the frost heaves have beat the ever living shit outa the roads up here this winter and riding the TT bike on some of these roads would be a little scary in the aero position. Besides, I wanted to really test out Red.

So I did one loop of the bike course and did a little extra at the end to round out the ride at a hilly 41.65 miles.

The swim. Its a little frozen right now.

More of the swim....and still frozen

there are ice fishers out there!

is this the transition area?

ready to ride

course elevation

For those of you NOT competing in Mooseman in June, you can stop reading now if you want. I am putting this down on paper so that I remember better but also for those of you who haven't done this race or biked up here, please read. For those of you who have done this race before, hope this reminds you or updates you on the current road conditions.

Start on West Shore road coming out of Wellington State Park. Today the wind was in your face. Who knows what it will be like in June. Its a bit flat for the start but then gets rolly as you head towards Hebron. I am going to take this section easy.

I say take it easy because between miles 5 and 6 you hit the steepest hill of the course. Its a short hill, but just steep enough that its gonna hurt, especially since you will NOT be warmed up yet. Don't hammer this hill or be a hero! You still have 50+ miles to go!!! And you get to go up this hill again! You can take out your revenge 28 miles later. Side note: My coach in high school made us sit our butts down and spin up this hill for "practice." I just remember it hurt like hell!

After another good sized hill, but not as steep as mentioned above, you turn onto route 3A. This is where you can get comfy in the aero position and add some speed. The frost heaves have beat this road up, but you can fly on the flats.

Turning right onto Whittemore Point North road has you climbing slightly. Nothing big, but I'd go conservative on the first lap. One you make the left onto Whittemore Point South road its a net downhill or flat. Give it some speed!

Turning back onto route 3A is then net downhill till the bottom. Unfortunately this is the worst part of the entire course. Its not bombed out, but the frost heaves have made enough cracks that it gets really frustrating riding. I was cursing quite a bit on this section. Nothing worse than wanting to hammer it on a downhill for free but having to hold back due to shitty road conditions.

Once onto route 104, the road conditions become a non issue from here till back to Wellington State Park. Route 104 has some good flats but at mile 17 you start to go up a slow death type of hill. Its not a steep hill at all, but just steep enough that you will need to small ring it and grind it out.

Turning onto Cass Mill Rd brings out the most technical part of the course. This section has a lot of short downs that you will want to maintain your speed to carry you up the next short up. Newton's Law according to Cycling: What goes up, must come back down, BUT! must go back up again.

By the time you turn onto Washburn, your legs should be on autopilot mode and fully loose and warmed up and ready to crank it home for the second lap. When my legs get to this point, my ego takes over and I think I can go 100% from here till the finish. Unfortunately I learned my lesson at Timberman and ate it on the run. This is where it becomes mind over matter and you REALLY have to go conservative on lap # 2 since those hills will come to bite harder the 2nd time around.

Now for the run! (course)

The elevation shows that the first 2 miles are fairly flat. It is. Its quite nice actually as you are running right along the water front. Right at mile 2 things start to get rolly and you hit the biggest hill going out. No worries as it drops back down a bit before it climbs slightly to the right turn onto Beachwood Dr where the road immediately drops down 1/3 of a mile to the water where you turn around and head back home.

These hills aren't bad at all. Quite easy actually for a stand alone running race. However, after 56 miles of on the bike, these hills are gonna feel 3X's steeper than they actually are. I'm planning on swallowing my pride and going super easy and steady up them on the first loop. You can really burn a few important matches on this first loop if you go too hard.

Kinda interesting how similar this run route is to Timberman's, especially the first 2 miles.

Friday, March 5, 2010

10 random things and BIG swim PR's

Ok ok ok, I have been tagged by all of my fellow blogger buddies to post 10 random things about myself. Since today is sort of an off day (I did get a swim in!) I figure I would finally post 10 interesting things about myself.

#1: If I find a passion for something, its going in all for broke. Hint: Triathlon and brewing.

#2: My first triathlon was June, 2008. It was a sprint and I had nightmares of the swim leading up to the race. I also had nightmares that I forgot my bike.

#2: I was born way up in Aroostook County, Maine in the tiny town of Ashland. All I know is that kids would go to school early in August, then stop going to school for a few weeks to pick potatoes, then go back to school in September. I was 6 weeks old when I moved to NH, where I grew up.

#3: I am the third of 4 children. I have two older brothers and a younger sister. I was such a little shit to my oldest brother before my sister was born that had my sister been another boy, my oldest brother would have put himself up for adoption. I am still a little shit.

#4: After graduating from college, I re enrolled BACK into the same school, just so that I could go back as a "continuing education student" to the school's campus in Provence, France for the summer to bike. It was actually a REALLY cheap 9 week vacation in paradise!

#5: I make animated movies for a living. If you have seen "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown," "Horton Hears a Who," and "Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," you may have seen my work. My next movie coming out in April 2011 is called "Rio!" I put fur, hair, and feathers on digital characters.

#6: My first job in my industry was during that summer in France where I worked for a week for a bunch of pot smoking Parisian hippies. I was deathly sick that entire week. Note: Chinese food in Paris will give you diarrhea!

#7: I have seen a bunch of great pro cycling races in person. I was able to see the Tour de France in person in 2003. I was up on Alpe D'Huez during the finish of that stage and was on the Champes Elysees at the finish when Lance won #5. I saw Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Lance, and a number of other great cyclists duke it out to the finish of Brasstown Bald in the Tour de Georgia in 2004 and 2005.

#8: I used to be a competitive snowboarder in high school. No jumps or halfpipes, just race boards and gates. That's were I learned that team sports involving spherical objects were not for me and that I was much better at racing against a clock. I went to our league's national championships my Junior and Senior years of high school. I placed............ok. :)

#9: I can't dive. Seriously. I am cursed!

#10: I learned how to cook by watching my mom cook for a number of years. When I became a junior in college and got my first apartment and had to cook for myself, it took a few phone calls home, but the cooking thing came naturally to me. Now it feels weird if I am NOT cooking most nights! I still call my mom for help :)

I am supposed to tag some more people, but I think everyone has done it already!
I hopped into the pool at lunch today. Man oh man I wasn't expecting to go super fast since we basically beat the crap out of ourselves on Monday and Wednesday.

We went:
500 WU
2 x 100 pull
6 x 50 on 1:00
5 x 300 Main Set
50 CD
2550 total yards

The 5 x 300 set was the man maker. My super swimmer coworker and I raced. Since he is much faster than I, he can do 400 yards in the time it takes me to do 300 yards, so we are about even with those two distances.

I felt like total crapola by the time I finished my first 100 yards of the first 300 yarder and wanted to concede defeat right there, but I beat him, but a little bit. My time was 4:57, which was almost a PR for that distance.

#2 We are off. My arms magically feel better and I throw it down. 4:46. New PR by 9 seconds! Bob concedes defeat.

#'s 3 and 4 are going easier-ish to make #5 count.

#5: We take an extra minute of rest and we are off. I am hurting. Hurting BAD. By 150 yards, he is at 200 yards but is ahead by a few body lengths. I am in the hole! When I turn at 275 for my last 300, he is at the flags coming in for 375 and I know that that is not a lot of distance that he has to make up on me. I gun it. When I breath to my right, I am looking for him in the corner of my eye. He never shows up! Finally when I hit the flags, there he is and closing. I have 5 feet to go; he as less than 10. I put my head down and windmill my arms as fast as I can. I edged him out by a hand's length!!! Time 4:44. New PR! Slightly less than a 1:35/100 pace. I was shaking from exhaustion! This swim will pay off dividends in April.

Im off to NH for the weekend to visit the folks and scope out the Mooseman course again. Hope everyone can get out this weekend for a long ride or run in the sun!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Need Ice Bath help and a Maiden Voyage

First, I want to thank everyone for mentioning your favorite recovery methods after a hard race. Seems like the common trends besides stretching were ice baths, and most important: BEER! I like beer....

Still haven't attempted the ice bath yet. Is there a window of opportunity to take one of those? Seems like it takes me at a minimum of 1 hour to get home from my races, sometimes longer. Is that too long?

How you do it? Do you fill the tub up with ice and cold water and just plug your nose and hop in? Or do you do the reverse-cook-a-frog method and hop into an empty tub and slowly add cold water and ice cubes so as to not shock yourself?

Or do you cut a hole in a lake and jump in? Um, OUCH!

So I did my maiden voyage on my new road bike today. Despite the fact that my legs are still TOTALLY shot from Sunday's race, this bike made my short 10 mile ride effortless. The frame is SO light and SO stiff, that the energy you put into the pedals goes directly into the wheels. You can't feel that "softness" or "absortion" of energy into the frame at all.

Simply a phenomenal bike!

Took a bit to get it fitted last night. With a tape measure in hand, I was taking measurements of the old bike, then tinkering with the new bike. Rinse and repeat that a few hundred times, and I wound up flipping the stem upside down and angling the bars up slighty. The seat was magically in the right spot? Might need to be lowered a tad.

The weather up in NH this weekend is looking like sunny and mid 40's. Gonna do the 28 mile Mooseman loop on Saturday then possibly run a loop of the run course on Sunday. Please, legs, loosen up!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Arrival to the Family

The delivery went well. 54 cm, 16 pounds, 2 oz. But seriously, I have NO idea how light it is; I have to weight it down so it doesn't float away! ;)

Even the hubs match!

Of course we are getting a mix of snow and rain today! Booooo! :(

But! The weather this weekend is looking fantabulous and I plan on doing the maiden voyage on Saturday up in NH on the Mooseman course.

But first I will be fitting the bike to myself tonight on the trainer. Can't wait to sprint up a hill on this baby!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Recovery, this time is a little different.

I find it amazing how within a 24 hour period you can go from feeling invincible, to doing an invincible act, to hobbling like you have two broken legs.

I also think that sitting down is absolutely the worst thing to do after a hard race.

Take for example my experience yesterday:

Finished the race, felt sore, but not too bad. Got home, showered, still felt fine. Went to the movies and sat for 2 hours.

Movie ends; tried to stand up: FAIL!!!! I couldn't walk!!! I absolutely couldn't walk! The outside of my left knee was pleading with me, "What the heck are you doing! You CAN'T do that! No, I mean, you PHYSICALLY can't do that! STOP!"

So walking out of the theater was more like a 1) Step right leg 2) Drag left foot on ground. Rinse and repeat until final destination. It was a very humbling experience!

So last night I was brewing some more beer at a friend's house and I made an effort to stay standing for most of the evening. It worked and I felt better by the end of the night. I was sorta dreading waking up the next morning.

Fast forward to this morning: Everything from the knees down hurt the most, but not super bad. Walking was fine and my quads and hamstrings are fine. Wierd,right?

At lunch today, I hopped into the pool for 2500 yards and was feeling the best by the end of it. The swim really loosened me up! Except when I got back to my desk and sat down for 30 mins, getting back up I could feel the soreness again. Not as bad, but I could feel it.

So on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being a TON of pain (pretty much the soreness that I felt after the Manhattan Half Marathon), this soreness is in the 6-7 range. Either I didn't go hard enough yesterday, or I have beat myself up enough times this season that my body can take more of the abuse.

What are your favorite recovery methods?