Thursday, October 19, 2006
It's a strange question really? Who gets excited about causing themselves pain? I enjoy training more after a workout is done and I'm feeling all the endorphine benefit, but in the middle of the tempo run, it's all out and it's not fun. This is where the competitor departs from the fitness-oriented. I enjoy an easy long run as much as the next person, and these times are great stress-relievers. However, the most enjoyable part of training for me is pushing myself faster than I originally thought possible. You only truly discover your limits if you are willing to push beyond them. I know this is a tangent, but there is great frustration for me in running into so many people who have decided they don't like or won't do something because it is hard. They give reasons such as "well I don't like it" or "I couldn't do that" but have never even given themselves a chance to believe that they could. If you can't believe in your mind that it might be possible, you will never push hard to get there. It's called Faith. If everybody behaved like this, nothing outstanding would ever be accomplished except by chance and dumb luck.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step...so where are you going?
And yes, I'm looking forward to a nice tour of Chicago sunday morning.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Swim: This was a pool swim set up in 8 50-m lanes. The swim snaked, and so we changed to the next lane every 100 m. This was fun, but everybody started in 10 second gaps, so there was a whole line of people right next to you on the pool deck watching your first 100. This resulted in me swimming a record 100 m and then slowly fading into a not so great swim. The sliding to the next lane thing slowed me down a good bit because I was right behind people coming to wall multiple times, but mainly just went out too fast and wore myself down. Swim Time: 14:44 ( I know, it sucks)
T1: This was about a quarter mile run from the pool to the transition area. I was wet, and still have to improve here. Time: 4:41
Bike: Due to the weather/schedule lately I haven't been getting much biking in, so I was slightly apprehensive about the bike, but it was a decent course compared to some of the roads one could ride on around here. I stopped about 5 miles in to help a girl who (pretty sure it was her first tri) was riding a cruiser and threw her chain going up a steep hill. This cost me about two minutes, but I thought she was going to cry on the side of the road, and we just can't have that :D. The rest of the bike was really good, but wet. I almost tanked it twice at the turnaround in a slick driveway. Thankfully I didn't. I passed about 15-20 people on the bike, and only got passed once by somebody doing the bike leg of the relay. Bike Time: 54:48, 19.7 mph (If I didn't take the two minutes helping with the chain, my bike was 21.15 mph). This would have only changed me one spot in my AG and two/three spots overall, but no worries. I'm glad she had a good race.
T2: Not bad, but I changed into a dry pair of socks as mine were soaked from the bike. Time: 1:19
Run: I'd only done one brick in the last couple months because of marathon training, so I was a little toasted from pushing harder on the bike than I'd been training for. I know the guy who set up the run, and he's a great runner/triathlete. I'm gonna kill him. :p We ran at the UK arboretum, which has no huge hills, but it's tons of quick ups and downs, so really difficult to get into a rhythm. I still had a decent run, but I'm looking forward to more speedwork once I run this marathon. Time: 26:44 (6:41/mile)
Summary: Fun race, and for only my second tri I feel pretty good about where I'm at. With a good offseason in the pool and on the trainer, I think I can improve quite a bit. Hope springs eternal. Overall time: 1:42:14
Side Note: the guy who won overall and my AG swam the 800m in 9:38, biked the course at an avg. of 24.0 mph and ran 5:30/ mile. Smoking!
Saturday, September 16, 2006
21 miles today. And it felt good. Strangely good. And fast too. Last night, there was no desire to run. Only to sleep. The alarm clock rang at 4:50 and the trip began.
Transformation is a long journey. The last 6 months have been a journey of many miles. There are difficult days, there are amazing days when one feels like Icarus. There are days when you feel like you're running blind and just grinding. Marathon training has been an education in endurance (something I previously thought I fully understood). There is no longer the self-imposed deceit of self regarding the current situation. 21 miles? It is what it is; many steps.
I've also come to realize that all the bad days are preparation for the good ones. And just as important, if not more so. In life, like in physical training, it is the difficult days which shape the people we are and are becoming. In order to overcome, we must take what Churchill said at the greatest graduation speech ever: "Never, never, never give up."
Thursday, September 07, 2006
The trials of a triathlete are manifold: (Don't get me wrong, there's no complaining here. The simple ability to do what we do is enough to be extremely thankful for. But there are some struggles.
Namely, the temptation to gear up like a gun fanatic at a bunker. There's just so much stuff out there I want to have. Auuggh!
So you have to break it down to the things you need and be realistic about it. 1) You're not a pro; 2) Triathlon is a hobby, not the most important thing; 3) It's easier to enjoy it when you don't take yourself too seriously. So to break it down, I'm slapping some aero-bars on my road-bike, trying to find a cheap used trainer, stick with a simple stopwatch, and fight the need to get my lightweight carbon on. Keeping it simple should keep it fun and keep triathlon in its proper perspective.
Fiscal responsibility might have something to do with it as well.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
I know there are those of you among us who have been waiting to see this beautiful sight again...
And now you only have to wait two weeks until you see it again. I'm not promising the same kind of blazing run time for myself (because I'm a bit slowed by all the marathon training). But here's your chance to check out a triathlon if you've never been to one. Sunday Morning @ 7 am, September 24th. It will probably take about 2 hours to watch the whole thing, so you can still make it to various sunday morning locations.
Hope to see you there...
Friday, August 25, 2006
Who can't get excited about stem-cell research now? It works on goats dude. If it works for them, there might be hope for the arthritic among us.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Nothing like it. Getting a Flat. It always happens at the best times too. For instance, it's a busy week at work. I've got 3 submittals that I'm working on for Monday that need to be finalized (It's wednesday the week before, currently). I'm trying to catch back up on the marathon training, so I run 13 after work yesterday. Great run, great weather, and peaceful time.
I decided during my run that it was time to get back on the bike as well. So I got up early this morning and began my work commute. It's roughly a 16 mile ride, and at about mile 15, I was getting geared up for a solid day at work, when BAM!, I'm riding on my rims with a slight piece of rubber between the rim and the road. Love it...
Now I should have had another tube and a CO2 cartridge with me, but I didn't. Hence, I enacted the age old training brick called "walking it in." There's nothing like a mile walk through Winchester, KY with bike shoes on. Oh kentucky, is it really that friendly? How does a guy walk a mile through town and nobody says "Hey bud, can I give a you a quick ride since you're walking with your bike on one wheel and obviously are having some issues?" Thanks KY, Thanks a lot. Maybe I should just start asking people, but I figure since I stop, other people should too.
In KY's defense, a very nice couple stopped and asked if I was ok while I was running 13 during a hot saturday afternoon a month or two ago. So not everybody's bad, but the early AM crowd: no soup for you...
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
So here's the deal: everybody wants to crucify Floyd Landis and call him a cheater. There are two things that make this different from one of the Big 3 in the states. 1) The fact that I love cycling, not just watching cycling, and 2) The reality of cycling and running.
Let's tackle #1 first: there's a difference in the love of a sport and the appreciation of an accomplishment for someone who still performs the sport. A 45 year old guy in san francisco who loves the giants, but performs no more physical activity than walking half a mile to the stadium is consumed by Barry Bonds alleged (but obvious) use of performance enhancing substances because his sporting existence is wrapped up in a very passive experience. Let's compare that to your average cyclist who is going 2-3 times a week for 50-150 miles per week. They love cycling because they get out and enjoy nature, because it releases beta-endorphines into their system and because they enjoy the social aspects of going through training with other people. Ostensibly, they love the sport (doing it) and not love the player (idol-worship) and said player's accomplishments.
Now for #2: This works in concert with the second half of point #1. If you don't know (and I understand this doesn't make it any better, but) Santa Claus isn't real, and neither are the easter bunny or the tooth fairy. Let me break it down. These guys are riding about 100 miles a day during le Tour de France. 6 days a week just grinding, and let's not forget conquering two mountain ranges in the course of 23 days. Every single one of these guys is a freak and most (if not all) are doping. Lance doped. Ask yourself if you would believe if an italian won the tour 7 times in a row. You know you'd think he was cheating too. You believe it because he's American and you want it to be true.
Until the UCI (Unione Cycling Internationale) actually steps up and tests everybody all the time, OR just say everybody can dope (I kind of like this one because it's all honest), then everything is illegitimate. There's no way of knowing when the UCI controls release of test results and all kinds of publicity; that is knowing whether somebody is clean or if it's just a better decision to let dirty guys compete. When we hold professional sport out as anything other than a business, we kid ourselves. The teams are sponsored because the sponsor wants brand recognition. Perfect example: all of the sprinters going for the green jersey. Robbie McEwen doesn't care about winning overall in the greatest test of endurance; he simply wants to keep the sponsor (Davitamon-Lotto) happy and get the branded jersey on tv all over Europe for a day.
Parents of children say things like, "What kind of message does it send to the kids?" The message it sends to me is you need to teach your kid that he can respect somebody without respecting everything they do. I would also say that you can educate your children about the kinds of athletes they should respect. I think most of us (including myself) are upset with Floyd (even though he could very well likely keep his TDF victory) because we like him and thought he was the real thing (which he could be, it's just not likely). Essentially what I'm saying is teach your kids to be smart, and tell them the truth. I grew up like this and I still enjoy my life without having fantasies all over the place in my head.
Finally, you can still admire what these guys are doing. The amount of power they put out for the duration they do is absolutely jaw-dropping. These guys really are good, and it's something special to watch. Peace
Before any of you SoCal peeps start getting all bent out of shape, let me explain. I went to watch james of Xterra dominance fame (http://va2ca.blogspot.com) at the Snow Valley off-road triathlon in the San Bernadino Mountains. I'd already run twice on my vacation. A quick 1.5 miles in the ATL airport on layover and a hilly 3 miler in Valencia the next morning. After a day off and a day on the beach, I was fired up about triathlon. I ran some killer hills and trails for about a 7 mile run in the La Jolla Cove area. Great day right? I hadn't had quite enough, so I went for an easy one to take some pictures the next day. I ran up the hills for some panoramic views, and then down to the south side of the cove, hoping to run around the point, and meet up with my friends....
So I found a small park that I thought led down to the beach ( a bit further south than I was hoping for, but it would work) when wham- I run into a fence. "Crap, no go I guess." But then it became apparent that attached to fence was a glorious piece of rope which allowed would be explorers to rappel down the rock face to the dry kelp and small rock shore which gives under the feet about 4 inches every step. I got down and began to jog again, feeling just a little bit like MacGyver, and thus, very good. I took about 10 steps and to my left I see a beautiful young hawaian woman jogging barefoot in a bikini. She looked at me waved and smiled, and I dumbfoundedly waved back (how'd she get out here?). Before I had time to ask, my would-be girlfriend dove head-first into the pacific and begin swimming out to sea. I figured she was probably a bit young for me (running on a monday afternoon) and continued on. I ran around some smaller inlets and came to a real problem: 25-ft drop-off. Not totally sheer, but only a few small, wet hand and footholds. I began considering my options. 1) Climb down carefully, continue running next 1-2 miles, and hope not to run into any more of this. Not a bad option... 2) Turn back around and run all the way back across that terrible kelp bed. Not a chance... 3) Trespass into one of the three backyards behind me and hope I don't get arrested. Mind you these are NICE houses, probably with security systems. slightly illegal, but should work in a pinch.
I decided quickly that I'd give option 1 a shot. I began to find my first foothold and what I though was rock was hardened soil-it broke off beneath my foot. Deaths usually aren't fun on vacation so I re-evaluated my options and chose option 3. I chose the most friendly-looking backyard and went for it. Through the back yard to the sideyard gate was fine, through the first sideyard gate and BAM! another gate. Oh crap! Through the second gate and BAM! work van with worker in van staring me right in the face. As I shut the fence door, I noticed a 10-digit code pad for a security system and determined the last two miles would not be the same as the first 2. It was time to hammer, bob-and-weave, do anything to avoid the imminent arrest for trespassing in my future. I heard somebody yelling as I got about 100 yards away from the house, and (I think a phantom) car behind me for the next mile. Every time I heard it, I sped up and turned. I made it back to the beach out of breath, with the top of my foot bleeding (tore up at off-road triathlon, for some reason can't upload picture right now, I'll try later. Ask me to send it and I'll e-mail it out to you if you'd like), and happy to get a little relaxing beach time in with the boys before leaving Sunny and Beautiful San Diego for the North.
My point being this San Diegoanites: You live in one of the most beautiful places in the world (I know real estate is insane, but) you better appreciate it. Or team sam is coming for ya.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Monday, July 17, 2006
Every now and then one gets to challenge things difficult enough to adopt their own name. Such an opportunity was afforded this weekend while running with the Todds Road Stumblers ( http://www.toddsroadstumblers.com ).
It was time to run 15 miles, Chicago isn't far away and the miles have to increase. The route is affectionately referred to as "Pit Bull" by the members. It features an exceedingly steep hilly section for about 4 miles on Jones Nursery Road, which is followed by about a mile of very steep grade to come back up from an elevation very near the Kentucky River.
I went out and ran a portion of the route last thursday just to get an idea of what I was running up against. 9 miles in the hills with bad rest and too much sugar during the day. I figured Saturday morning with good sleep and better nutrition would be a breeze. Even better, it was supposed to be overcast and cooler than normal.
Saturday morning at 6:30 am, 4 people began the run. After 4 miles, the pack had spread, and I was chasing a Frenchman with a 3:07 marathon under his belt (great idea, moron). But I kept him in sight all through Jones Nursery and chased him up Pit Bull. The issue though, was the sun. It came out. And it was hot. Coupled with the heat was the rain of the three previous days. Thus it was ridiculously humid too. The Frenchman ran 18 miles and made it look easy. I hobbled in broken after 15+. Great day.
Pit Bull is no puppy. He is a dog, and that's Mr. Dog to you...
Thursday, July 13, 2006
So I'm offically a bike geek now. Since the new bike has come into my life, I've studied the sport of cycling to some degree and decided I wanted Floyd Landis to win the Tour this year. He's been looking Good, in Cali, Nice, and Tour of Georgia.
I've been frustrated with the problems in the two time trials (bad wheel, broken aero bar handles, and just kept saying, "wait for the mountains, that's when it happens."
After yesterday's breakaway by two riders and the large gap they put on the peloton, I was feeling a bit dejected...But today, the hardest stage in the Pyrenees, Floyd Delivers. He finished third, but was outsprinted by the two other guys in the attack group. Floyd now has approximately a one-minute lead, and I am stoked. The picture is especially nice, because it's Floyd (on the left) and Lance on the right (you know I love the Torch) Word.
Monday, July 10, 2006
If you read the last post, you'll know that this was an important week to get back on the horse. Turns out, it was a great week. I had a relatively unsuccessful 10k (42:09), but realized I was simply being a little too tough on myself. I decided to ease up on worrying about pace and enjoy the runs and workouts. Well, apparently I'm a friggin' genius!
Just playin', but it's amazing how much easier exercise is when one is not putting ridiculous time demands on oneself. For instance, the run thursday night (7.5 miles): I was taking it easy, ended up running around 7:20/mile. Good pace for a mid-tempo run. Saturday, I just decided to have fun and run with some folks at Todds Road and did 13 miles at about a 7:45 pace (this ends up being right on target with my marathon plan). So I guess my point is to take it easy on yourself if you're getting out there and doing what you can. That's really a great deal more what it's about than some insane time goal.
So the week consisted of great workouts, wednesday night was a 30-min elliptical machine workout post race, friday had a work commute and a home commute plus (33.5 miles total) followed by a shoulder workout and a little bit of swimming. Saturday was 13 miles, followed by riding the bike to and from the gym around a leg workout. But sunday was great. I went and ran at one of my favorite places, Raven Run nature sanctuary. The pictures are withing (taken in spring). There's nothing quite so nice as getting out and pushing yourself and enjoying nature.
Enjoy the pictures, and get out and enjoy your surroundings.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
First a quick race report: The 10k didn't go as planned. Poor sleep amounts the two nights before the race. Decided I'd still try to go out at planned pace and see at Mile 2. At about 1.5, I felt like I was going to look like the pumpkin if I went much longer, and didn't have much juice in the legs. I finished in 42:09 (i think). Not a bad race, but far from what I wanted. This coming on the tail of a couple poor weeks of training left me wanting a bit more.
So it's time to retool and reload. I had to slow down and look at where my training errors are/were. I think the speedwork was too soon. I'm not experienced enough at finding a smooth easy running pace to be doing serious speed training. I screwed up most of my workouts last week (being stressed highly from work) and really killed my mindset. I'm tougher than what I showed in the last week.
So here's the plan:
1) Periodize the training plan. Higher frequency lower intensity workouts for the next 2.5 weeks. It's time to re-find the love of running. (Part 1 can be called "I feel His pleasure."
2) Realize that I'm in a pretty good spot. Not that I want to go onto some kind of relative scale, but I need to be mindful of how well I'm doing. 5 years ago, I weighed 240 and running 4 miles was a chore that couldn't be completed in less than 33-34 minutes. I'm now 192-195 and I feel great.
3) Re-find the mental dominance and push myself in the middle of the training plan. (Hills and speed workouts are still coming back later on. I'm also considering running some massive amounts of stairs to mix it up. along the same vein, a couple grinder hill workouts might have to be completed at Raven run in the upcoming weeks.
4) Not take it too seriously: this is the first marathon and it's a bit crazy to think I've got some kind of competitive future in distance running. It's got to be fun and a release from the stresses of life. It also has to be a placid thing at time.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Following some not-so-great workouts this week, I'm hoping to rest up today and tomorrow before the bluegrass 10,000 the morning of the 4th of July. I think it's gonna be a hot one, but I'm going for it anyway. I think I'm still more fit than I was in Louisville.
Steve Prefontaine would say work it out so it's a pure guts race. Well Steve, since I'm racing myself, I think I can make it happen. Here's to pushing my limits once again. Gotta embrace the pain for 40 minutes.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
We've got issues dude. 1) I think my running on saturday with not so great form might have tweaked something in my knee. I've been in a great deal of pain this week at the point on my medial meniscus where I have stage 2 (maybe worse now) arthritis. I can really feel it at strange angles, and I'm just hoping I haven't torn anything else.
In other news, I can run pretty fast now. I went hard 3 out of my 6 miles last night and averaged about 6:04/mile. Pretty insane for a former fat kid. Biking home about 25 miles tonight. Looking forward to a little alone time away from a stressful work week.
We just got the "work extra hours until further notice" blast today in a meeting. The bad: less time for sleep/training/relaxing. The good: a little extra cash for tri toys.
Friday, June 23, 2006
My first workout of the program got pushed back by two days due to some necessary engagements. Thanks to Charles Ford Photography for the picture. You can visit his site at http://www.charlesford.com/
Rule #1: Don't forget your watch on a speed day
Rule #2: Don't do your speed day on a day it's raining.
Rule #3: Don't try to do a workout from memory.
All 3 of these are now rules. Why? I broke them all last night. Breaking the first two simply necessitated that I do the work on a treadmill inside. Breaking number 3 had me do each interval about 3-4 seconds slower than I should have. That said, 12-400m repeats at just below 90 sec per (6 min/mi pace) is still pretty solid for a workout.
I need to catch up and get back on shedule so I can go speed workouts Tuesday, Tempo Thursday, and long run on saturday. I'm attempting to make it up over the course of two weeks.
Weight post workout: 193 lbs. So long sweet Clydesdales, I might never see you again.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Today marks the beginning of my marathon training, and I am a couple pounds fat from this weekend (on purpose) 400-m repeats tonight.. Bring it!!
Here's a link to the program that I'll be using:
I'll be doing the speed work for the first two weeks until the Bluegrass 10k, and then substituting some extra hill work for 2-3 weeks post-race (for the speed days). A couple of the longer runs, I plan on going a mile or two longer, as my body seems to function better once I've done said distance. Anyhow, enjoy. It's time to run...
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
You know what can really get somebody fired up? Karst Topography. That's right, it's a geological term describing a system where most of the water in an area is contained underground in sinkholes, caves, and aquifers. The problem is that if you've got an aspiring triathlete who wants to work on his open-water swimming, Lexington is a crappy place.
Back where I grew up in FL, I could just go hop in the gulf (or a lake if I was feeling frisky to fight some gators) if the need for an open water swim hit. But now, my only nearby option is the picture attached. It's a reservoir for Lexington's public water supply and is fenced off around almost the entire perimeter. The one weak point is a private fishing club (ya I know, right) with a pier out into the water where the arrow is pointing.
I figured this out on an out-of the way bike ride home yesterday (little recon for the kids). Now here are the issues: 1) the fencing off of the area is an unspoken "don't you dare swim in here", but there are no signs posted. However, the only entry point is the fishing club, which does have signs posted like "members only beyond this point" going out to the pier and such, but no explicit signs are posted. 2) I don't want to get arrested, and 3) I would swim in the KY river, but there was a news report yesterday to avoid the river because Meth Labs (yes, I'm serious) upriver are dumping their effluent into the river.
Soooo, the question is, do I risk it and just run out there at some point and hop in and start swimming? More to come on this later. I think I need to move to the beach, hurricanes be da&*ed.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
So a fitting beginning to this log is triathlon #1. The 2006 Wendy's Ultrafit Sprint Triathlon. The race took place at Alum Creek State Park north of Columbus, OH. I was a little concerned about the 800 meter (1/2 mile) open water swim. I ate half a protein bar, half a CLIF bar, a banana, coffee and plenty of water before six in the morning. The water was cold, but it was colder outside the morning of the race. I'm guessing about 55 degrees and definitely overcast. Thankfully for me, the water was shallow, and I was able to stop, stand up and take a peak to the next buoy a few times during the swim. Swim Time: 12:50
T1 was not bad, but I just wasn't super prepared. I jogged in, took a gel, a little water and changed into the bike shoes and helmet. Slow time: 2:49
The bike was a bit strange at first. I realized I was in my small chainring and couldn't get it to shift at first. Thus, I was spinning like a mad cyclist. I also couldn't really feel much of anything on my legs as it was still pretty cold. Only one person passed me on the bike. Another big guys with legs the size of a linebacker. We chatted for a minute when I caught him on a hill, and then he began slowly building a lead. I think I would've got him were it not for some slow people riding slowly through an offset turn that made me slow down a ton. Passed numerous people with cool tri bikes and all kinds of gadetry. I saw some people drafting, but they weren't too speedy as I was coming from behind. Probably more of an issue with the guys tete and moonpie were seeing. Not a windy day probably helped me a lot too. I believe a more hilly course would have benefitted me, as my legs never really got tired on the bike. I think HR was pretty low too. Couldn't tell as I was only sporting the wrist watch. Took in a half bottle of Gatorade and two gels on the run. Bike: 45:51 (22 mph)
T2 was quick, as I threw on the pre-tied asics, and set out.
The run felt pretty good, and 3.1 miles feels dang short compared to long runs that I've done in the past few months. Passed numerous people on the run (same as bike), and only got passed by one female who looked like a very competitive runner. About .3 miles from the finish, I saw the last guy I thought I could get in my division, and I put the missile lock on him. He was a big dude, and was kind of lumbering. I determined I'd cut the gap in the first 2/10, and then smoke him the last 1/10. I executed my plan, and then he tried to sprint me the last 50 or 60 yards. I decided that just wasn't going to happen, and thus all-out sprinted to the finish. Run Time 5K: 19:39.7 (6:18min/mile)I finished at 1:22:43 and 4th in the Clydesdale division. In retrospect, I should've done my age group, as that time would have netted me 4th in the 25-29. Oh well, there's always my second triathlon for that. 800 m swim, 16.8 mile bike, and a 5K run. I am officially addicted. I loved almost the entire thing, felt like I had some left in the tank (regrettably), and have much learning and improving to do. All in all, a great experience, and something I certainly want to do again, ASAP Did I mention it was dang cold in that water without a wetsuit?
Check out Moonpie's Race report at the bottom for final results with rankings.