Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Take THAT!, Maryland! First "big" weekend of 2012

I escaped NY for the weekend and headed down to the "warmth" of Virginia/DC/Maryland. Warmth in this case = low/mid 50's = RIDING OUTSIDE!!!

I told my coach about this and he gave me a 3 hour ride and a 2 hour run in response. Pure bliss!

I hate riding inside cities and suburbia in general. I like to ride out into the middle of nowhere with as little car traffic and lights and stop signs as possible. Basically the less civilization, the happier I am. Now, I am NOT a hermit, unless I am riding my bike.

So I was directed to head out of Northern Virginia, across Chain Bridge, onto MacArthur and wind my way out to River Road, which is the gateway to nowhere. I did 90 mins out, 90 mins back. PERFECT ride for my rigorous demands :)

My legs on the other hand? NOT what they used to be. Urf. I was mostly ok on the flats, but once I hit the first hill at the end of MacArthur they started mouthing off at me with, "What the F&^@ are you doing! We don't go UP!" They much preferred to ride DOWN.

I turned around here:

My definition of "out there"

On the way back I felt stronger than the way out. YES! But...with 40 mins left, the legs started to die. Fortunately it was on MacArthur where it was pancake flat, but they still hurt. Then I got sucked up into a group of roadies and I just hung off the back and sucked wheel till I made it onto Arizona. My legs were pretty toast by the end! I'll take the 55 miles.

Sunday was a two hour run. I wasn't too sure how my legs would respond, but boy did they ever! I had a great run!

My coach gave me a some guidelines for this one: Stay capped @ 150 bpm. With that HR I was like, ok, that will prolly be a 9 min mile average, so I will plan out about 13 miles of running.

The first mile, my heart rate was spiking off the charts! Great, maybe I will be running 10:00 miles at this pace. Then suddenly my HR drops and then stayed consistent from there till the end.

Isn't that sudden drop bizarre? Happens every time. Anyone know why?

In fact! I was noticing that I was speeding up and speeding up while my HR continued to drop. At times I was actually pushing it pretty hard to keep my HR up! Of course, I think on that stretch I was slightly running downhill WITH  a tailwind, but regardless! I was shocked at my pacing considering how low my HR was compared to this time last year.

 Wound up with 14.42 miles in 2 hours flat for an 8:19 pace. Considering I just rode 3 hours the day before and it only being the end of January, I am taking this as a success!!

Of course, using a fluffy dog as a back pillow and being attacked by three rabid dogs the night before, may have cured my achy legs!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I bought a waffle maker.

Not just "A" waffle maker. I bought "THE" waffle maker. This thing is NOT a toy. It is "THE" real deal! GET IT!?!?


It is the Kitchen Aid ProLine Series Waffle Maker and it is one of the most badass appliances I have ever bought. Basically my brother has the same one, just by another brand, but is essentially the same thing. Making two huge belgian style waffles at once will truly ruin you for life.

My brother even brought his up to Lake Placid and they were making waffles topped with whipped cream and fresh strawberries while I was doing the first loop of the bike drinking gatorade and eating clif bars and Gu! No idea where I am going with this, but it just shows that this thing is worth traveling with! Heck, I have already been invited over to friend's house for brunch because of this waffle maker.

In terms of making waffles for training? OH YEAH!!! Need some quick energy? Ever had a peanut butter and jelly waffle sandwich? Just be careful, these things can be very calorie dense, but fortunately are VERY filling.

With it making 7.5 inch by 1.25 inch waffles, it uses up a lot of batter. Last night I doubled my waffle recipe and still only wound up with 6 waffles, and the batter wasn't too thick either.

It has an electronic timer that you can set depending on how done you like the waffles and what the recipe is. For my recipe, I finally discovered 4 minutes is needed to get the right done-ness. You will notice the bottom middle one was my final product. These came out to be ~600 calories per waffle, or a pre-long ride breakfast, especially if you add toppings. Told ya they are calorie bombs!!!

These freeze and thaw very well, so I kept a few in the fridge, then froze the rest. The downside to making waffles is that it is messy and a little time consuming and getting the maker out is a pain, so that's why I will make a lot more than necessary to offset the time and hassle costs.

So if you are looking for the ultimate waffle maker where you will NEVER need to buy another one ever again, I HIGHLY recommend this one!

As for recipes, here are two that are VERY good:
Sweet Potato Waffles
Buttermilk Waffles

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Thanks to my Dad for sending me this. Clearly #3 is my favorite.

This blog will only go downhill from here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

NYRR Manhattan Half Marathon (Non) Race Report

Saturday's race didn't happen. I mean, I ran the 13.1 and a little more, but the officials @ NYRR did the right thing and canceled the race turning it into an unscored "fun" run. And fun it was!!! I mean, where else will you get a (mostly) fully supported Half Marathon in a snow storm with gatorade slushies at the end?

We knew that there was going to be some form of rain, sleet, freezing rain, and or snow, we just didn't know what NYRR would do about it. The weather report the night before reported a possible 4-7 inches of snow. At 6 AM they announced that the race was canceled and that it would be only an unscored "fun run." Depending on the road conditions inside the Park, I was going to determine if I was going to attempt a "fast" run to get more of a workout in or just run it. When we entered the park, there was already an inch or two of packed snow and with 1,000+ runners, it was going to get messy enough that trying to run fast in it would NOT be a good idea.

No big deal. I needed to run for 2 hours anyways. Amy needed to run 14-16 miles, and Beth just needed to run long. We made it work and just ran together at an easy pace to get our distances and times in. It was one of the most fun and beautiful races ever! All of the dogs were going crazy with the snow and we saw lots of Weimereiners out there. Amy was wearing a Giants jersey and everyone was yelling "Go GMEN!" so we started a bet on how many times Amy would get a comment. Due to a technicality, Beth won. Otherwise Amy was going to get the win.

So after a 2 mile warmup, 13.1 mile run, and a cooldown, we wound up with just over 16 miles for the day. We held an average pace of 9:36/mile. That pace coupled with the snow saved my legs and after finishing I felt like I could have kept going another 4! We were cold and soaked by that point so we hit up an awesome bagel joint and called it a day. A hot shower never felt better!!

I am NOT disapointed that the race was turned into a fun run. Running for 2.5 hours with friends in a snowstorm was so much fun and great motivation to keep going in those conditions. Overall the race atmosphere was this warm and friendly comraderie feeling. I think everyone thought of everyone else as a winner just for showing up and running. Big thanks to the volunteers for braving the elements! I think staying still is worse. We had it easy because we were at least moving and generating body heat.

Also, there will be more opportunities to set a new Half Marathon PR. This run was a nice surprise in that I can run for 2.5 hours and my legs aren't shelled AND! I don't have to play the recovery game this week. On Sunday I even hopped onto the trainer for 1:45 of intervals followed by sweet potato waffles, bacon, and freshly squeezed OJ. Oh yeah!

It was a good weekend :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Oh! Forgot to mention, I'm racing a Half Marathon tomorrow.


Well, not that this really warrants a surprise. I'm running two loops plus a little extra in Central Park tomorrow with these two invaders from DC. But! This will actually be my first stand alone half marathon in almost 2 years. The last being the NYC Half Marathon in March of 2010, which holds my PR for the distance at 1:45:19. Since then I have ran 5 Half Marathons, but all as part of a 70.3. Something about a 1.2 mile swim and then a 56 mile bike that wears me out a tad before hitting the 13.1....

Anyways, this particular race, the NYRR Manhattan Half, was the first half that I ran where I broke 2 hours (boy was I a different runner back then!). Considering this course is basically two times what I just did two weeks ago at the NYRR Joe Kleinerman 10K plus a little extra, and I did that holding a 7:00 flat pace, I think the 1:45:19 (8:03 pace) is gonna go down.

However! Mother nature is not planning on being friendly tomorrow. Right now it could be anything from rain to sleet to snow or a mix of all three. Maybe the roads will be just wet or maybe they will be slippery. They are calling for 4-7 inches throughout tomrrow. If it becomes so slick that running to my current pull potential could risk breaking my neck and I don't PR this thing, no biggie. I have LOT of season left (*cough* an Ironman *cough*). But if it is just wet and rainy, this sucker is GOING DOWN! No idea to what time though.....I'm just gonna use the plan I used two weeks ago: Go out and see what my body does and there is my result.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen, "EPIC" has jumped the shark

Dear Blogging and all things Internet community,

I plead from the bottom of my heart to do ONE thing and one thing only from now until January 1st, 2013. PLEASE STOP USING THE WORD EPIC.

Do you even know what it means?

"A long poem, typically derived from oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the history of..."

The Odyssey is EPIC. The dude was away from his wife for 20 years!!!

What is it that you have done or eaten or seen that is heroic or legendary?

The first time I ever heard the word epic used in a sentence to describe something athletic related was on a climb in Provence climbing from the village of Bonnieux up to the hilltown of Buoux. We passed by what I called "The Grand Canyon of Southern France. It was a majestic view! But not EPIC.

However, this omelette I am about to consume, is TASTY, but alas, is NOT epic.

That 3,000 yard swim I did last night, was HARD and CHALLENGING, but I'm sorry, was NOT epic,

Me beating Michael Phelps in a 100 butterfly race, would be considered IMPOSSIBLE, but still not EPIC. Him eating me for lunch if he were a zombie would be quite horrifying, yet funny, but alas, NOT epic.

Cervelo's new P5 could be considered one of the prettiest things known to man, but is NOT epic.

Di2 is one of the most wanted things I could ever want on my time trial bike, but still does not come close to being Epic.

Bacon in my opinion will NEVER jump the shark.

I thought EPIC could follow in the foot steps of bacon, but as hard as I want it to, it can't. Bacon wins and is above all things EPIC, needless to say.

So if you will oblige my desperate call for what I am asking, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE put the word down, for another 11.5 months.

Maybe 2013 will mark the return of EPIC? But in the meantime, I don't want to even think of the word.


Just a guy who simply says, "Thanks!"

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Tortilla Espanola

and as an added bonus!!!! DESSERT!

Nothing like 3 flights of Laphroaig 18, Talisker Distillers Edition, Talisker 18, and some Red Velvet Cake (split amongst 3 people of course!!!)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Alcatraz Swim Challenge

So my pool is putting on a challenge, called the Alcatraz Swim Challenge. It's swim 30 miles between January 16th and March 26th and you will be entered into a raffle to win a $200 gift certificate to a nice restaurant here in town. Why they called it the Alcatraz challenge? WHO KNOWS. (isn't it only about 1.5 miles from Alcatraz to shore?)

But swim 30 miles between January 16th and March 26th? Hhhmmmmm, 30 miles of swimming sounds kind of daunting, but! its roughly 10 weeks between January 16 and March 26th. So breaking it down:

30 miles = 158,400 feet
158,400 feet = 52,800 yards
10 weeks = 30 swim workouts for me
52,800/30 = 1760 yards per workout

Um, yeah......considering I usually do between 2500 and 3000 yards a workout, this will be a no brainer. Its not a contest for total yards. Its a contest for reaching 52,800 yards in that period of time and you will be eligible for the raffle. I expect to hit eligibility between and 6 & 7 weeks.

So instead of exiting the pool  and heading straight for the locker room, I will take a 15 second detour, log my yardage in the book, and THEN go to the locker room. Pretty tough, eh?

Let's just hope only about 10 people actually follow through with this. Or just me....

In other swimming news! I learned how to do flip turns!!!

Took me only four years. Why was I so afraid of flipping at the wall? Fortunately I had a VERY good teacher and learned in less than 30 minutes. :)

So far I have been doing my entire swim workouts using flip turns. I am forcing myself to NOT do touch turns, even if my flips are sometimes (ok, almost always) absolute crap. But! Each swim the turns get better and better and more and more consistent. Still a few hitches here and there. I am learning that they are easier to do the faster you come into the wall.

But mostly they are tiring me out quicker, but I was warned this would happen at first. But already I am able to increase my yardage again while being more fluid in the water. Mostly the turns have increased my feel for the water, which is something that I constantly struggle with by only swimming 3 times a week.

Now I just need to learn butterfly. Easy, right? ;)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Three Things Thursday: Experimenting

1) Counting Calories
I have been counting calories since I finished the cleanse last week. This is a total experiment that has been VERY informative because I am learning a lot about what I am putting into my body vs what I am expending through training and learning about the "value" of foods in terms of caloric expense.

For example, olive oil has a lot of good fat in it, except it is VERY calorie dense and is NOT filling. Go slurp down 3 tablespoons of EVOO right now and see if you are full. That right there was 360 calories. Now go eat 3 servings (small bowls) of cheerios with 1 cup of milk. That's 400 calories right there.

Which is more filling? Which will give you more energy to fuel a workout? FOR ME, the cheerios & milk wins out. That is just an example of how I "value" foods with regard to how they will help me train. I do use EVOO, but a teaspoon at a time, to cook eggs every morning for breakfast.

When I am not using packaged products with a nutrition label, I have been using a food scale to determine weight in grams to figure out its caloric content. I bought the EatSmart Precision Pro for $25 off of amazon. Simple, cheap, can measure in 4 different weight parameters.

So far this has been a VERY informative experiment and I have been enjoying it a lot. Email me if you have any questions about this....

2) Intervals F@#^@&* ROCK!!!
Oh the trainer. Its too dark and too cold this time of year to ride outdoors, so I will be inside on the bike for the next 6-8 weeks. Spinning for 60-90 minutes with a good movie on sort of keeps my brain from going to mush, but I find the BEST way to keep from getting bored on the bike is to mix it up! This is the time of year to be building POWER on the bike, not necessarily endurance. Endurance will follow, but POWER is what you want to be building. GET STRONG! (not fast, but STRONG).

My 60 min trainer this session was 15 min warm up, 12x(90 sec @ 220 watts, 90 sec @ 150 watts), 9 min CD. 60 mins FLEW by!

NOT what I did this morning! haha (I think I did this 3 years ago?)
3) Three Day Weekend!!!
Short work week next week due to the MLK Holiday on Monday! YES! Will be down in The City all weekend saying good bye to some friends, rooting for THE Patriots, and running in Central Park. Its gonna be a busy weekend of training, but I also plan to SLEEP and cook all weekend. Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhh.

Monday, January 9, 2012

NYRR Joe Kleinerman 10K Race Report

Gonna do this race report ABC style:

A) I finished in 43:21, a 1:33 PR
B) I haven't done ANY speedwork in a LONG LONG LONG time
C) 10K's still suck, cuz they hurt so bad
D) I had NO idea what was going to happen this morning
E) I set my last 10K PR at this very same race 13 months ago
F) I did a lot of speedwork leading up to the race 13 months ago
G) Do an Ironman. It bakes a certain degree of fitness into your body PERMANENTLY! (I am convinced!)
H) I felt like I worked a LOT harder 13 months ago for a slower finish
I) My average HR was higher during this attempt
J) I hit mile 4 at 28 mins flat, mile 5 at 35 mins flat. This made me happy
K) I remember when I died 13 months ago atop that stupid hill by the boat house on the east side
L) I knew how to tackle that stupid hill this time and survived this time
M) I hit mile 1 at a 7:13 and thought, "How cute! This ain't gonna last!"
N) I wanted to die at mile 4, and again at mile 5
O) Today's Mile Splits: 7:13, 7:07, 6:47, 6:51, 7:01, 7:08, 1:14
P) Mile Splits last time: 7:23, 7:12, 7:02, 7:15, 7:25, 7:04, 1:30
Q) Today's HR Splits: 167, 180, 181, 186, 188, 187, 189
R) HR Splits last time: 169, 180, 180, 181, 182, 181, 185
S) I then went for a 1 hour ride later in the afternoon because it was 60 outside. Its January!
T) My legs were super toasty and sore from the race
U) I won't lie, even though my HR was higher this time, I felt like I worked WAY less hard than last time
Va) I won't lie again, I was in better running shape last March (McMillan says so based off of this 15K!)
Vb) I am excited for what is to come this season!
Vc) I feel like my legs are strong, but my cardiovascular system is lacking a touch
Vd) I am in a good place to start this season!
W) I have made a bet with myself to PR all distances this season (* gulp! *)
X) Sometimes volume and a HUGE base is king
Y) The race turned into a sort of blogger meetup, seeing Jill and Bri, and then Emily (unexpectedly)
Z) I am fired up (and scared) for the Manhattan Half in two weeks.

How did your weekend shape up?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Where are they? Maybe they all have rabies and are scared of the water, hence why my pool has been more empty than usual? I will take it....have they shown up at your gym?

At about 4 pm yesterday I almost caved and said "FUCK THIS! THIS IS SO FUCKING STUPID! I JUST WANT TO EAT SOME FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!!!!"

Then I thought I was going to die at about 7PM last night, so I dragged myself to the pool (makes perfect sense, right?) and dropped 2500 yards in the pool. As soon as I got out I was shaking and dizzy. (fun!) So I went and made the last drink of the day, the cashew "milk" and maple syrup drink. OMG it had flavor and tasted WONDERFUL!

I then woke up this morning and ran almost 7 miles in an hour. Crazy stuff!

I was also down 4 lbs in 24 hours. Prolly even more after the run. Don't worry, its all water weight! I went to the bathroom yesterday.......A LOT!

Over New Year's I was introduced to one of the most amazing cycling routes on the east coast, Skyline Drive out in Front Royal, VA. We then got a reward that was OH-SO-YUMMY!

We climbed up there

Our reward

I only ate 6 :)
For those of you who don't know about Skyline, it goes 100+ miles from top to bottom (including 12,000 feet of elevation) before it links up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Hello cycling nirvana!

click to enlarge

Wednesday, January 4, 2012