Monday, February 28, 2011

Confidence Building Workout and a Week in Review

This past weekend was nothing but outdoors! It was great! High 30's/low 40's temps never felt so good!

On Saturday I saw glimpses of my former self; I did a 2.5 hour OUTDOOR ride followed by a 4 mile brick run. Although this ride was on paper not the fastest ride I have ever done in that amount of time, it did quell a lot of self doubt that I have been feeling about myself on the bike. I saw wattage numbers that I haven't seen since August that I was able to sustain for a short period of time. For me, seeing those numbers and the way my body was able to recover mid ride really boosted my internal confidence.

I wound up with 47.09 miles in 2:31:15 for an 18.68 mph avg. Not bad considering I have 6 weeks left to fine tune the bike.

Then I ran a 4.05 miler done in 31:58 which also helped put down those confidence demons. My splits came out as:
Mile 1: 8:00
Mile 2: 7:53
Mile 3: 8:02
Mile 4: 7:44

I am still finding that I run fastest after a long ride.

The weather on Saturday was in the high 30's, but with little wind. Fortunately I wore some thicker socks so my feet didn't get as cold as two weeks ago. It was a VERY good day!

And even better I got home and my beef roast was done in the crock pot!!!!

All American Dinner!
Sunday's run was prescribed as 90 mins at a steady pace. It didn't turn out to be the best long run ever, but I did pick a pretty hilly course. I got the run in, and that was all that mattered. Wound up with 10.33 miles in 90 mins for an 8:42 avg pace. I actually weighed myself post run and came in @ 140.8 pounds. I'm down almost 10 pounds for the year! I swear I am eating TONS of food!

So this past week was a good one! It was week #8 in the training schedule. Here are my #'s:
Swim: 9000 yards
Bike: 100.27 miles (two outdoor bikes, two on the trainer)
Run: 31.35 miles
~13.5 total hours of training

After this past week, my fears are a LOT calmer now about the 70.3 down in Galveston in April. I know I could do a HIM today if I had to, but I always like to execute all of my future races better and faster than past races. I don't want to do Galveston with the excuse of it being a "training race" or a "benchmark of where I am in the season race." I want to race this one as a "race" that will obliterate my body! I want to go into this one 100% knowing that it will be bad execution that will lead to a bad day rather than my legs not being 100%.

As long as the weather holds up during March and I can get in a quality long ride every week, I think I will hit this goal.

Friday, February 25, 2011

FlashBack Friday: Long term swim progress; Um, I have made SOME progress!

I had a killer swim tonight! I did a 9 x 200 descending 1-3, 4-6, 7-9 main set that I held on 3:30 going anywhere from 3:10 as the slowest to 2:58 as the fastest. So 1800 yards of pure beat down! I rounded out the night with 3000 yards.

What F-ing language am I speaking?

Because three years ago, I woulda looked at anyone speaking to me that way and said,
"ooooooookaaaaaayyyy? In English?!?!?"

Well! 3 years ago this is the swim workout that I did:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

swam a mile tonight

what the subject said. and I swallowed a mouth full of water on the last lap, dang! haha

so yeah, 72 laps, which is 1.0227272727272727272727272727273 miles, sorry.

i felt like i could keep going, but i needed to stop to save energy for tomorrow night, which will be 40 -60 mins on teh bike (using correct heart rate zones!) and then a 25 min non stop run.

Its supposed to snow/sleet all day tomorrow (come on! get warm!) but sunday is supposed to be around 40 and sunny. Hopefully the roads will be all better by then so i can get in ~48 miles.


Not too many details, but I swam my first mile swim since I was probably 12 years old that night. And I betcha it took me a full hour to swim that mile! Oh, and when I wrote "laps" I really meant "lengths." A few nights prior I wrote this:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

swim and week 6.2 run

Didnt want to kill myself 2nite with the swim, as I am going to try for a mile on thursday. So I did 50 laps in 45 mins. Im getting there but I am noticing that my form is not really that great. Funny how the more you swim the more you concentrate on your form....duh!

Wow! Again! When I wrote "laps," I meant "lengths." I wasn't up on the swimming jargon yet back then. So it took me 45 mins to swim 50 lengths, aka 1250 yards. That is an average pace of 3:36/100! Now! I didn't swim it straight. It was most likely well broken up, but still! That is sloooooooooow. In comparison, I dropped a 14:48 1000 yard TT in the pool three weeks ago.

So I guess the whole point of this post is it is ok and fun to look waaaaay back at your early days in this sport and laugh at yourself and know that progress can always be made! I am basically swimming 3X faster now than I was 3 years ago.

Where were you three years ago and how fast were you?

I was that fast listed above and about 30 pounds heavier.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Remember the Snorks? I really don't, but it would be kinda cool to breath underwater. Oh wait, they make snorkels to do just that! ;)


So I finally bought a snorkel for the pool, the Finis Center Mount Swimmer's Snorkel. I couldn't not buy it and not get pictures!

Gimme Cross-Eyed!

Gimme Creepy Smiley

I then proceeded to chase the cats around making Darth Vader breathing noises.

I got it because I have been working hard lately on getting symmetrical in the pool by breathing to both sides and getting my rotation even. I find it easy to rotate to my breathing side, but not my non-breathing side. By taking the breathing issue out of the equation, there is no side to favor, just both.

Do you ever do face down drills where you run out of breath so fast that when coming up to breath you lose your momentum or form and it takes a bit to get recomposed that by the time you reach the wall, you only got in 3-4 good cycles of the drill? Frustrating, right? This happens to me with skulling and catch drills. These drills are slow because you have little arm pull and you rely fully on kicking to propel you. Since kicking is so oxygen expensive you have to breath often.

With the snorkel, that is no longer an issue!

Here is a REALLY good catch drill that have helped me get a better "feel" for the water....also known as the "Ice Cream Scoop" drill:

I tried it out tonight and my first reaction is that a nose clip is a MUST HAVE. Water goes right up your nose! You don't haaaaave to use a nose clip, but I would highly recommend it. I got by without, but next time I am using one.

So I did some catch drills and they are MUCH easier to do CORRECTLY by not having to breath to the side. I HIGHLY recommend getting a snorkel for drills like this! After doing the drill, I swam normally and OH MY GOD I have a catch! haha! Getting that catch as early as possible is so critical in grabbing that water and getting more propulsion.

I did:
500 WU
500 yard mix of catch drills
5 x 100 on 1:45
500 yard mix of catch drills
5 x 200 on 3:30
3000 yards

Finally, if you want a great read on some do's or don'ts for us mere mortal age group triathletes, my coach, aka THE MAN, wrote up a nice piece.

My favorite part:
"If going long in training, dial down the intensity. If going short, make it count. Duration usually doesn’t cripple us. Intensity doesn’t either. It's combining the two that gets us into trouble."

I wrote him an email tonight explaining "over the past 7 weeks of working with you, I feel sorta super human for this time of year!"

Monday, February 21, 2011

Overcoming Frustration: Ups and Downs

There is nothing more frustrating then, well, FRUSTRATION!

I had a really tough week with a lot of Ups and Downs. But! I accomplished everything that I need to get done, it was just frustrating to get it done. I guess that makes me feel more accomplished? Where do I start?

Let's go with a list with a DOWN, followed by an UP.

DOWN: Last Sunday I thought I would never walk again after a super hard run
UP: Monday my legs felt fine?
DOWN: Monday I was getting sick. It was in my chest and moving up to my throat
UP: Did a 500 yard TT in the pool and finished with a 7:16, 14 seconds faster than 10 or 12 weeks prior.
DOWN: Tuesday I got a flat rear tire on the trainer. Must have been an old tube as the puncture was on the tire side.
UP: Followed it with a good run, despite thinking I would never walk again two days prior.
DOWN: Had two meetings dropped on me on Wednesday that killed my time to swim.
UP: Had an even better run on Wednesday with some decent speed.
DOWN:More meetings killed an outdoor bike ride (it was in the low 50's out!)
Double DOWN: My Thurs PM swim suuuuuuuuuuucked.
UP: My Friday AM OUTDOOR RIDE was PHENOMENAL! My old cycling legs have made a comeback finally
DOWN: My PowerTap hub went on the fritz
UP: My PowerTap hub went into rockstar mode....aka I was pushing 300+ watts on the flats without breaking a sweat? Unless I got injected with 'roids, my hub was fried. Cool to see that wattage though!
double UP: I fixed the hub's issues with new batteries, torque zeroing and a new battery for the cycling computer head unit.
DOWN: Was driving into Manhattan and got hit (sorta sideswiped) by some jerk who thought it would be cool to just come into my lane and THEN flee the scene! Thanks!
The big black is just most of the dirt wiped away from the hit....I gotta wash my car!
UP: It sounded and felt a lot worse than it really was. He left me two 6 inch scratches, no dents(how is that possible?)....still a pain to fix, but at least the car doesn't look like a beater. I am REALLY shocked at how little damage there was! I could prolly fix it with a sharpie marker if I really had to. Still, that guy was a JERK!
double UP: Met up with my sister in The City and ate at S'MAC, a freaking AWESOME mac & cheese place. I got plain old with hotdogs mixed in it. Throw in some ketchup and I am 5 years old again!
DOWN: The 60 degrees of Friday turned into high 30's and SUPER windy on Saturday, killing any chance of a long outdoor ride.
UP: Still had a successful outdoor 90 min run, going 11 miles for an 8:11 pace. I felt like shit the entire way and the wind and crazy-where-the-heck-did-you-come-from-snow didn't help, but I felt accomplished considering the circumstances.
DOWN: The wind never died down and it got even colder on Sunday, again, killing any chance of an outdoor ride
Double DOWN: My compuTrainer went on the fritz and I wasn't able to ride the Lake Placid course like I had planned.
UP: Fortunately "Avatar" is roughly 2.5 hours, so a quick substitute was made and I had a good ride. NO sit bone issues and my legs felt the best all season. Certain wattage is getting easier to hit!
double UP: Killed my 30 min run and did 4 miles, despite sandbagging the last mile. Saw some 7:2X splits.

Here are the week's totals:
Swim: 8100 yards
Bike: 92.64 miles
Run: 32.3 miles
13 total hours

7 weeks exactly till the 70.3 down in Galveston. My run is there and I am exited for it to get even better. My swim is there, and like the run, am excited to see it get honed. BUT! I am getting worried about the bike. I had a good outdoor ride last weekend and that good outdoor ride on Friday, but I really need get out longer outside at least 5 times between now and then. I know my bike can improve a lot more, but I am really limited by the trainer. I just does NOT replace the outdoors, no matter how hard you try.

Hope you had a good weekend!

Friday, February 18, 2011

How Long is your Work Commute?

Long? This guy might have you beat! Came across a great article in Outside Magazine.

"This is usually understood to be by car. It's not clear, then, how the Census would categorize Joe Simonetti, a 57-year-old psychotherapist who lives with his wife in Pound Ridge, New York. His commute takes him from the northern reaches of exurban Westchester County to his office just south of Central Park.

It's about three and a half hours each way.

By bike."


This article not only struck me (no pun intended!) by where this guy lives (Pound Ridge is just up the road from me and I ride up there every now and then) but why anyone would want to commute to the city. Eh, people often wonder why I do what I do. So I guess nobody is perfect ;) Kidding!!! haha!

Now, this guy isn't some "Nine to Fiver" making the commute to-and-fro 5 times a week. 7 hours? I don't think so. He does it 2X a week and has a "crash" pad in the city. Yeah, the dude has some bux not only to live in Pound Ridge but to also have a "crash" pad in NYC. This commute isn't out of necessity, lets just say!

But aside from that, the article touches on another guy who has mounted video cameras on his helmet and saddle to get all angles of cars who buzz by him too close.

So this article got me thinking about my interactions with cars while riding for 10+ years.

Fortunately I have had little issues.

In NH, the only issue was "Buck" the giant dog coming out after me. There was the occasional idiot kid who yells out the car as they zoom by.

I rode down in Savannah, GA, where putting a nascar #3 number on my jersey was prolly a smart idea (I never did this). I did get used to 18 wheelers giving me 6 inches of room. That was fun the first few times (dropping a "NOT "joke here!).

Riding in the Provence was the best. Cycling is part of the French Culture, so I was basically a family member in every village I rode to.

Riding in NY is like riding in NH. I pick roads and routes that aren't car busy and have good road conditions.

I'd say I have had more issues with hitting potholes and going down and being bitten or chased by dogs than humans in cars!

I guess I should count myself as lucky to not be a statistic.

Have you ever had any "bad" encounters with cars?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Yes, I think I'd like a 2004 Continental Rouge with my Foie Gras, s'il vous plais

Unless you live under a rock, you surely have heard of Lance's Retirement 2.0. Yes, THAT Lance. Need I be more specific? The MAN is hanging up his (road) bike professionally for good.

Will he full fill his alter-ego's (Juan do the translation; its pretty funny!) ambition of doing a triathlon this year with hopes of qualifying for Kona and competing regardless of a pro or amateur status? Who knows! Last I heard he was nursing a nagging injury that has him not running. But him competing would do wonders for this sport and the Ironman brand.

If you are still reading this, you might be asking youself, "What the heck does this all have to do with the ridiculous title of this post?"

Oh yeah! Came across a cool VeloNews article today about a bicycle mechanic, Nick Legan, who worked for Team Radioshack last season, including working one on one with Lance. Did you know that Lancey-boy ages his tires before using them?

"Second are Lance’s race tires. Julien Devriese ages them. The tubulars Hutchinson provided to the team all came with a manufacturing date stamp on the base tape. A few dozen are held back every year for Lance. They are stored in a cool, dark place (his wine cellar) for years before being brought out and glued to wheels. The “youngest” tire I glued on for Lance was five years old and in perfect condition (better than new actually thanks to the aging)."

Hey, if it works! Why not, right? I sure like to race on tires that I know are in perfect condition, after all that is the rubber surface between you and the road.

Also, did you know that Lance will NOT use a brand new saddle and prefers only one specific type and brand already broken in? Wouldn't you if you sat on a saddle for hours on end every day? I prefer only one brand and type of running shoe, and I prefer to have them broken in before I race on em.

"Lance is very technically oriented, with three things in particular. The first is his beloved San Marco Concor saddle. He won’t ride anything else, but he hates them when they are new. There’s a story that his personal mechanic in Austin would hand out new Concors to local riders to break them in for Lance."

If you can't tell, I am fascinated by the specific details of a racer and the maybe-superstitious things they do to have a perfect day. Hey, we all got em!

Do you have any superstitious things that you do or use come race day?


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

BACON! If Bacon was a God...

I'd be a Baconist.

Roasted Red Potatoes with strips of bacon and three loose-yolk fried eggs done in bacon grease. A ruby red grapefruit on the side.

THIS is a breakfast!

Have a good one!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Records are meant to be broken

Tonight was the last night of my 10 week swim workshop over in Greenwich, CT. (tear*sniff*...aka no more AWESOME pool....)

But! I rounded it out in record form.

The first night we did a 500 for time (I went a 7:30 flat) and then the goal of the 10 week workshop was to improve that 500 time the last night.

Tonight was that last night. My time?

14 seconds. Its an improvement! 1:27/100 pace vs 1:30/100 last time.


I know I could have done better. We did a whopping 250 yards of warmup (not enough) and I didn't pace it correctly. I could just tell that I wasn't going my fastest. Doh! Fortunately, I can do a freaking 500 for time ANYTIME I want! This number is going DOWN!

Later in the workout, we were doing some 100's. I decided to gun one of em and see how I would do:

New 100 PR! by 2 seconds!

Now how to go a steady 1:20/100 pace.....yeah, will have to get back to you on that one....

Finally, this one is for you BDD:

My dad sent me this one as well

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stick a fork in me! I'm well done....

I wrapped up a really tough week of training. The gist of this week was simple: "recovering from Sunday."......that is without any recovery workouts. Yeah, it was a painful week of workouts! Last Sunday I did that 14 mile run with the uber fast 4 mile race included. That one workout shredded my legs and I was still paying for up until Thursday!

Finally by Friday my legs were fully recovered just in time for this weekend, which I just shredded my legs AGAIN! haha!

The weather has been getting consistently warmer, which meant I got outside yesterday on the bike for 2:15:00. This ride was more than a physical challenge, it was a gigantic mental Band-Aid. Usually my first long outside ride of the season is a torture-fest. This ride was NOT. This was a seamless transition from 6 weeks of indoor riding to the outside.

I had ZERO sit bone issues and the legs responded well when climbing hills, which is usually the toughest part. The only thing that sucked about the ride was @ 38 degrees and windy my feet were solid frozen chunks of concrete. Not sure if I have ever felt my feet that cold before!

After the ride I did a 30 min brick run. With totally frozen feet, it felt like I was running on stubs! There was ZERO feeling in my feet. Of course as they thawed out as I ran, that burning defrost feeling kicked in. Talk about PAINFUL!!! haha! Good run though, I knocked off 3.75 miles in 30 mins flat for an 8:00/mile pace.

Now this morning's run would be the telltale sign of how much I recovered through the week and if yesterdays ride and run did any damage; it didn't do much, fortunately, so I had a solid 90 min run this morning. Here is the Garmin data if you wanna check it out.

The run was broken up into 4 parts:
Run 30 mins @ HR 140-150 bpm
Run 30 mins @ HR 150-160 bpm
Run 20 mins @ HR 160-170 bpm
Run 10 mins cool down.

So it was not only run for 90 mins, but get faster as the run goes on. Here are my splits:
Split 1: 3.52 miles, 8:31 pace
Split 2: 3.73 miles, 8:02 pace
Split 3: 2.68 miles, 7:27 pace
Split 4: 1.13 miles, 8:51 pace
11.06 miles / 8:08 pace

The first 60 mins weren't too bad. I set my Garmin up to yell at me if I went under or above my prescribed zones. The 20 mins @ 160-170 bpm was tough. Not only was I getting tired, but I was really hitting the gas @ this point. My legs were SCREAMING @ me! When I hit the 10 min cool down, my legs were beat up putty. I felt like my bones had disintegrated!

So I have a feeling this is going to be another week of recovering from the weekend just in time to shatter myself next weekend. Hope you had a great weekend!

My dad sent me this. I thought it was pretty funny!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Drill and Build! This is a good swim workout!

I have been doing a LOT more drills this year than I have in the past two years and I think it does two things for me: Breaks up the monotony of descending swim sets, but it also is keeping my form sharp and I am noticing constant speed increases at the same effort levels.

I have always struggled with doing drills and speed sets all in one workout. Seems easy enough, but it usually wouldn't happen for me. I think I found a way the other night. Its pretty simple:
Drill 200
Swim 3 x 100 descend

So this beats a drill into you for 200 straight yards, then you hit the gas for a 3 x 100 descending set and feeling those improvements.

I also noticed something REALLY cool: Each 100 was getting faster and faster and faster while at the same effort. Either I was getting more and more warmed up or there was a snowball effect of the drills sharpening my form that I was more and more efficient. I am going with both. The first set of 100's were @ 1:30-1:31, to the last set of 100's @ 1:23-1:24. So a steady speed increase.

Here is the entire workout:
500 WU
200 Shark Drill*
3 x 100
200 one arm drill (alternate between left and right arms every 25)
3 x 100
200 finger drag / head tap (alternate every 25)
3 x 100
200 skate drill
3 x 100
200 underswitch skate drill
3 x 100 (you can use this as a cool down)
3000 yards

Hope this workout brings out some speed in you and breaks up the monotony of the pool.

*Shark Drill: Helps for rotation and following through with the catch. Stick a kickboard between your thighs like a pull buoy and swim. Work the rotation so that you can reach back and touch the top of the board to finish your pull, aka following through with it. If you aren't tapping the board, you are CHEATING! This will lengthen your stroke. GREAT DRILL!

OR you can do Big Daddy Diesel's version of the shark drill: Drop a shark in the pool and swim for your life!!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I always have interesting race photos taken of me, especially in Central Park. This my latest from Sunday's race, and I look downright scary! Looks like the race photographer has it coming!!!

The Runnerrminator
This is always my favorite "weird" race photo from two years ago. The lady behind me totally cracks me up! I look to be in so much pain.

Check out that double chin! (I was about 20 lbs heavier...)

My legs have been HURTING since Sunday. On Tuesday I did a 45 min run and my legs were just screaming at me the whole time. I think I ran too hard, but I checked my heart rate data and I was right within my zones. I think my recovery zone needs to be revised lower. OR, at this point my legs are going to hurt no matter how slow I go.

Wednesday's run was the same deal. HURTING legs. I think it is time to start to seeing the deep tissue massage experts. With all of my experimentation last year with recovering from those long races, deep tissue massage was by far the most effective for recovery. I am only about 6 weeks into this. Its only going to get worse! I did do an easy spin @ around 130-140 watts for 60 mins that afternoon. This did NOT hurt and loosened my legs up a bit.

This morning's run was better. The legs are feeling looser. I get to call it a day with only one workout! haha!

It might hit 40 and sunny on Saturday. Fingers crossed I can get outside for 2 hours on the bike @ some point this weekend.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It's a Dividend Market

So the large amounts of volume that I put up in the pool and on the run in January are starting to pay off dividends already.

The run, we already know, from Sunday's 4 miler in Central Park.

Now for the pool, this is what I am noticing: I am not really getting any faster in the short distances; but I am able to hold a faster steady pace at the longer distances. This is fine since I am not racing anything shorter than a 1/2 mile swim this year. My 100 times have basically plateaued around the 1:25 pace for a 5 x 100 interval. This is fine. But for long sets of 500, or what happened last night with a 1000 yard TT, I am able to hold a pretty good clip for longer.

Last night I did a 1000 yard TT in 14:48. I couldn't believe it! I thought that I may have skipped a 50 or something, but I am double sure I kept track of my laps. I hit the 500 yard mark on 7:30 on the dot, and then proceeded to ratchet it up. By the end I was going full blast and negative split it by 12 seconds for a total pace average of just under a 1:29/100 pace. Total confidence builder!!!

So it hit 40 degrees again yesterday, and I sucked it up and went OUTSIDE ON THE BIKE!!! OMG OMG OMG!!!! Pure heaven!

The result? My legs were basically fried from Sunday's efforts running 14 miles in the park with that 4 mile race, but mostly the trainer just doesn't replace the open road. I know that I can improve 2X faster riding outdoors than on the trainer, no matter the number of intervals that I do on that infernal machine. Riding up hills hurt more than I remember them hurting.
So as an aside to this post, I am a believer in Karma. The universe has a way of ironing things out to an equal. If I go plus 1, the universe will find a way to make me go negative 1, making everything zero.....aka even and equal.

Well, my race on Sunday made me plus 1. How did the universe make it all back to zero? It put a gigantic invisible pot hole in First Ave up around the upper 100's in Manhattan. I not only wound up with one gigantic lump in my tire, but a gigantic lump in a SECOND tire! Doh! Yes, the streets of Manhattan ate the right side of my car. Bummer....

After I get two new tires, this will be one expensive 4 mile PR, if you think about it that way :)p

Sunday, February 6, 2011

NYRR Gridiron Classic 4 Miler Race Report.....and other stories of pain.

I wrapped up another good sized week of training with a 14 mile run, including the NYRR Gridiron Classic 4 Miler in Central Park this morning.

What a great morning! 41 degrees, bright and sunny! WOo hoo!! Wish I was out on the bike.

So I have been going pretty hardcored for 5 weeks straight now. I am starting to feel some accumulated fatigue so after a 4 mile warmup, I had NO IDEA how this 4 mile race was going to go. I really didn't want to PR the distance but I did want to get some speedy miles in. So I settled on a holding a 7:30 pace. Nothing too crazy since I still had to run another 6 miles after the race was over.

So off we went....

Mile 1: 7:11
Mile 2: 6:59
Mile 3: 7:09
Mile 4: 6:48
28:08 / 7:02 pace

Uuuuuuuuummmm, this went a BIT faster than I had expected. Oops! I guess my legs were feeling pretty fast? hhahahahaahahaha!

Basically I hit mile 1, saw the 7:11 split, and slowed down. @ Mile 2 I saw the 6:59 split, said to myself, "WTF?!?!?" and decided to just hold it since I was already halfway done. New PR for the 4 mile distance. Next time I do this distance I am going sub 7 min mile avg for the first time!

Then I did a 6 mile cool down to round out the morning. 14 miles? Not too bad when you break it up into three different runs.

So now for some Heart Rate number analyzing:
The last time I did a stand alone running race was a 10K last December 5, so 8 weeks ago exactly.
I held a 7:14 average pace and my heart rate averaged 179 BPM.

Today, even though it was a shorter distance, I held a 7:02 average pace, but my heart rate averaged 169 BPM.

12 second faster pace, but 10 BPM lower? Yes, I WILL take that!!!! That right there is called IMPROVEMENT!

Looking back at my logs, I have done little speed work, maybe 1X a week and even that wasn't anything crazy. All I have done since then is a TON of volume. I am a big believer in speed work (its fun!) but I am also a big believer that simply running more is another key to speed.

If only this was the case in the pool........sigh.......

OH! OH! If you wanna get a kick out of how I did this race two years ago. READ HERE. I remember doing this race for the first time and finishing with an 8:04 pace. I think that was the first time I dropped a sub 8-min mile (mile 2). I think I remember I was totally gassed @ the end! haha!

Hope you had a great weekend! Spring is not too far off! The morning's are getting lighter earlier already and its not getting as dark as early. Hang in there!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Eat your fats, mango, and DO YOUR DRILLS!!!!....and give up a paycheck?

This is a 4 part post:
Fat is a wonderful thing. Why? It keeps me full. During the cleanse I noticed that when I ate a salad or dinner that was just lean meat and veggies, I was lacking something; I didn't feel full. I remember eating one salad that was loaded with healthy fats. It had avocado and olives. But I forgot!

Yesterday I made a salad with tons of leafy greens and grilled chicken. But I loaded this one up with olives, avocado, and walnuts. This salad kept me full for hours!

Fat is a good thing!

And I have started to love Mango. I guess I was always so intimidated by it because I didn't grow up with it and cutting one was a huge mystery. Well now that I know how to peel and cut one properly, they make the BEST smoothies!!!

Cut up banana
Half Mango
One scoop of vanilla whey protein

Last night I hit the pool. My form has been sucking lately. My balance has gone all out of whack, my arm recovery has become VERY poor, and my speed in the pool has been dropping. So I remedied that. Holding a 1:30/100 pace has been a struggle suddenly. So After 1700 yards of balance and arm recovery drills, I did a 3 x 100 set. My times? 1:24, 1:24, 1:23 while holding a zone 3/4 pace. BAM! I couldn't believe the clock!

So if you ever need a nice confidence builder in the pool after feeling like you have been sucking water lately, do a bunch of drills THEN hit the intervals.

Finally, I felt like I did something noble. Part of me thinks it was stupid, but I find there is NOTHING worse than having a guilty conscience. I guess my parents did a good job raising me?

This was very similar to finding that no-ID wallet on the street filled with many Benjamin Franklins. What do you do? Do you keep the money or do you turn it in? In my case, it was payday and I checked my bank account and found a LOT more money in there than I was expecting. Hey! Look! Its that suitcase of cash that I talked about in yesterday's post! I can quit my job and become a fulltime triathlete! Well, it wasn't THAT much money, but it was a nice chunk that would have paid for a nice vacation.

So I logged onto our internal HR web-site to see the on-line image of the check. It was valid. Made out to me, etc with my employee number on it. Looks double valid! Extra paycheck! Woo hoo! But I knew this was too good to be true. So I went to our payroll guy and told him the situation (even he probably thought I was in idiot!). Turns out the check was cut to me in error.

I felt better! Yeah, a little disappointed that Feb 3rd isn't that "other" Christmas, but I felt better since I didn't want this to show up as an ugly stain months later, or even worse, fall on our payroll guy.

I gave the money back.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How Much Do You Train? Is this interferring with your Life?

I was pointed to a very, I almost want to say, "disturbing" article about training so much that family time becomes neglected.

HERE is the Wall Street Journal article, titled: "How Couples Handle Conflict Arising from Exercise" with a sub title of: "A Workout Ate My Marriage."

To sum up the article, it is about how some folks can become so consumed by a passion, or hobby, that it starts to bleed into your everyday life that your family and spousal relationships start to become compromised.

This article happens to center on a middle aged age group triathlete, Jordan Maxman, who is married with three kids. I see him as the typical triathlete since he is 46 years old (which is in the largest age group @ most large races) where he is married, has children who are no longer small, his career has been defined, the finances are no longer an issue, and buying an uber-expensive bike is not a big deal. Triathlon, since it is such a goal driven sport, seems to be filling that void of achieving that "higher success."

Except, based upon the article, he is running away from his family. No, he returns after he has belted out a 10 miler, but he is running away in terms of filling some void that is lacking in his marriage or his family. He is escaping into his "world."

Here are a few excerpts from the article that I felt stood out the loudest.

"His exercise regimen intensified about seven years ago, eventually hitting two hours each weekday and up to five or six hours each Saturday and Sunday. "It became a sore point," Mrs. Waxman recalls. "I had three young kids and no family nearby. I heard myself badgering him: 'Family is really important. You need to be a part of their lives today.' "

"As for Mr. Waxman, he honors certain rules: Dinner with his family every Friday night. A date with his wife every Saturday night. And as often as possible, he turns competitions into family trips. "I make sure there's enough vacation time with the family," he says."

Ok, I am not going to go on and bash the guy, since that is his life and this is his family arrangement. I am sure someone would look @ my lifestyle choices and think that I am NUTS! (I will say I am, but in a good way ;) )

I think this article points out the obvious to us endurance athletes who take these sports a bit more seriously: BALANCE.

I will admit, what I read in that article hit home in a big way and I am guilty as charged for a lot of what he pulls.

Except! I am not married and I do not have children. I do live with my girlfriend and that in a way is no different than being married, so that is an obligation that I need to honor. But other than that, I don't have a lot tying me down other than my job and a mortgage on my condo.

But what about that obligation to my girlfriend and my job and my friends and my parents and my three siblings? I can't blow off work to go and train. That wouldn't end well. I do know that I sacrifice a lot of time with my girlfriend and friends to train.

Its a HUGE struggle!

Another big point of the article was on "THE END."

"Among endurance athletes, though, resentment on the part of spouses is a common topic. The phenomenon may develop into what Pete Simon, an Arizona psychologist, triathlon coach and blogger, calls "Divorce by Triathlon." "I often wonder how many lonely wives, husbands, children of triathletes are out there wondering when the insanity is going to end," he wrote."

When is this going to end for me? That is the guilt part. I will admit this:


With Triathlon, especially when you are hitting the big leagues with the Half Iron and Full Ironman distances, you sorta HAVE to be! Especially if you want to do it right.

It's a lifestyle choice. This is not an easy sport and you can't train for 5 hours a week and expect to continue to improve. I am NO different than Mr. Waxman in this article, other than having no children. All of my "vacations" this year are happening because of triathlon. I am heading to Galveston in April for a long weekend for a Half Ironman. A long weekend in May and June will be spent up in Lake Placid for training camps. A full week will be spent in July at Lake Placid FOR Ironman Lake Placid.

Do you know how much money I am dropping on this sport this year alone? I won't reveal a total, but its going to be a LOT. Has this sport consumed my life? You betcha!

So now back to the "when is the insanity going to end."

I don't know....

The definition of an addict is as follows:
"To occupy (oneself) with or involve (oneself) in something habitually or compulsively."

The other dangerous thing about this sport are the different "levels" as I call them. You start out with the sprint distance. Then you do the olympic distance, followed by the Half Ironman followed by the big kahuna Ironman distance. (not even going to mention the double or triple Ironman) Its like a freaking video game where you "level up" until you win the game.

What happens when you have reached the last level? *cough* Ironman *cough*

What is next? Either your body becomes so conditioned that you can complete multiple Ironman races a year on 4 hours of training a week (yeah, right!) , or you scale this "hobby" back.

This is my fourth full season of this sport, and for how much I love it and it drives me to become a better person, unless I find a large suitcase of cash and can quit my job, time will always be my enemy.

I would like to have a family in the future. This is why I am doing this whole "triathlon thing" now since I am young @ 28 years old. I can already see that being a full time working individual with a wife and kids, that that would have to be #1. Triathlon would need to be scaled WAY back. Fitness will alway be a part of my life! I do NOT want to wind up as Mr. Waxman from the article.

So when do you draw the line and say "This is my limit with (insert sport here)."