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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolutions - how about 13

I am constantly reading self-help books. I read nearly every diet book at the new release section at the library. All of the exercise books - running, swimming, cycling, triathlon, juggling - I mean everything. I can not get enough of these, however, I rarely implement the plans that the books call for. I do incorporate small parts of each book into my specific philosophy. I'm not sure if this is really working out.

I even read self-help books about self-help books. I read the book Helping Me Help Myself: One Skeptic, Ten Self-Help Gurus, and a Year on the Brink of the Comfort Zone last year by Beth Lisick. It was a fun read. I am in the process of reading a similar book - Practically Perfect in Every Way: My Misadventures Through the World of Self-Help--and Back by Jennifer Niesslein. I'll let you know how I like them.

So I have decided to track my resolutions. I have had a lot of success in the past. Blogging about them will 'up' the accountability factor even higher. Not all of my resolutions will be fitness / athletic related but obviously this will be a major theme - It's what I do. I am going to pick a new resolution every 4 weeks for the next year and document them here - 13resolutions.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Trace intervals -

A little stir crazy and not prepared for my New Year's Day race (Steam Whistle 12K Run/Walk)I decided to do some intervals. I ran a few on the 1/8 mile inside track at the gym the week before Christmas break with Vic but not really any speed work since then. Where I live out on the trace there are only mile markers, nothing smaller than that. Little orange cones in hand I set out for the trace. My plan was to do a slow warm up jog for about 8 minutes - about a mile. Drop a cone and continue for another 2 minutes and call it a quarter. I was wanting to do 10 1/4 mile repeats with 90 seconds recovery. While jogging on the trace (battery in the heart rate monitor replaced - FYI) I saw that there was a stenciled mark on the pavement that read 1 1/2 mile. I dropped my first cone. I jogged for longer than 2 minutes but no new marks. I finally came upon a 2 mile stenciled mark. I dropped the second cone and my water bottle. My 1/4 mile intervals turned into 1/2 mile intervals. I thought I might do six. There is a very slight gradual slop in this area of the trace. It would be interesting if my times would vary much.

The first interval would be up the slight slope. I completed it in 2:54 - a good sub 6 minute mile pace. To make an uneventful story shorter I ended up doing 8 1/2 mile repeats and each one got slower. The last couple were at a 6:30 - 6:40 minute pace. There was no correlation between the runs up hill or down hill. They just got slower. My times seem so slow compared to last summer. I guess that is why they call this the off season. However, I was pleased at how well my heart rate dropped after each interval.

A slow jog home put the cap on the running session at about an hour. Tired but not exhausted I decided to put a few miles on the bike. I have trouble keeping the rides slow - my heart rate was up and I was reeling in the few bikers out on the trace. I did pass and slow to talk with Mike V. - a local triathlete that lives in my neighborhood. He did Ironman Switzerland last year. I noticed that he was on a new bike. He said that the BMC fit him much better than Cervelo. I slowed down and rode with him to Sumrall. Mike is a fast runner and biker. The only reason that I had to slow down to ride with him is that his new bike (the BMC - not sure which time machine) also had a new power meter. Mike was trying to keep his power in zone 1-2. He is new to training with power and it will be interesting to see the progress he makes this year.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Training - this is not hard work - it is hard play...


Back from travelling and spending time with family. Got home late Monday evening feeling a bit sluggish from little to no exercise. About all that I got over the weekend was a long walk with my sister (good talk but it was about 30 degrees outside).

On Tuesday I went for an hour long run followed by an hour long bike ride. Nothing too taxing or strenuous. It was good to get back to the grind. On Wednesday, Christmas eve, I went for a slow one hour and twenty minute road bike ride followed by a 30 minute mountain bike ride. I do not posses much mountain bike skill. This was actually the first time that I had been on a trail in a couple of years. It was about 65 degrees and the sky looked like rain. After a slow warm up just getting used to the trail I found a challenging loop - challenging for me anyway. A single track trail that weaved up and down some slight hills. I was tentative the first time I did the loop. As always, I decided to time the loop the second time. Just over three minutes. With no rest I did it again. It had now started to rain pretty hard. There was pine straw strung all about the trail. With the rain the trail was getting slippery. Riding hard I cut about 8 seconds from my time. I knew in the back on my mind - subconsciously - that I would continue to get faster and faster until I hurt myself. That is my general modus operandi. Sure enough, on the forth loop I slipped off of the pedals in the rain and busted my right ankle. I had to push the bike up one of the hills. Demoralized I called it a day.

Pride a little damaged I made my way home - just another 10 minutes or so and I was home. While washing the bike off I noticed the nice red stain that was produced on my sock. A little older and a little (very little) bit smarter I was able to call it quits before any serious damage done. In past years the carnage would have been much worse.

Exchanged gifts on Christmas eve and everything that I received was training related - go figure - this is a lifestyle. I got enough GU gel packs to get me through my 1/2 Ironman in New Orleans and a really cool TYR triathlon transition bag. This bag should allow for me to pack every possible item and in addition each item will have its own specific space. Should cut down on pre-race packing stress. In fact, I am going to use the bag to permanently store much of my race gear - like my race number belt, transition towel, etc.

Christmas day I decided to go for a bike ride. The temperature was in the 60's and overcast. I started off and soon noticed that my heart rate was all over the place. It was reading much too low and then at times reading zero. Must be time for a new 'watch' battery in the strap. I hate these little specialized batteries but they are so much better than having to send the entire strap back to the manufacture for replacement. So, no heart rate to gauge my effort. Passed Sumrall (the 10 mile mark) and because of the cool weather I did not need to fill any water bottles. Pushed on to Bassfield ( the 25 mile turnaround ). I had thoughts of riding a little further - maybe 70 miles total. About 2 or 3 miles out of Sumrall my bike started to get a little squirrelly. The back tire was losing air quickly. I stopped on the trace near a small house. I thought about simply filling the tire with CO2 and heading back - the tire was not completely flat. While removing the wheel and getting my tube, tire levers and CO2 out of my seat bag I noticed that the tire was completely flat. I examined the tire and sure enough there was a very small flat sharp rock embedded in the tire. These little rocks are every where. Every time that I have had a flat these rocks are the culprit. They look like very small shark's teeth - I will have to get a picture next time - and I am sure that there will be a next time. I put the new tube in the tire and and puffed it up with the CO2. All was well with the world again even though the tire was a little under inflated with just the 12 gram cartridge. I keep an extra cartridge on me but I though to myself that I might need it if I have another flat. I never filled the tire completely up to pressure even though I knew that I was all out of tubes. I used to carry a frame pump with me. The pump would allow for me to put a little air in the punctured tube to locate the hole so that I could patch the tube. Now that I have a different bike - and a bike that the frame pump just does not fit I will have no way to find the puncture. I better reevaluate my repair procedures.

Anyway, I pushed on to Bassfield which was another 12 miles away. I had visions of doing this 50 mile ride on bonk (well not complete bonk since I had a small bowl of oatmeal earlier for breakfast). I'm not sure why I think like this. What is the benefit of not taking any nutrition in and is it possible to really come back after bonk? At the 1 hour 30 minute mark into the ride - past half way with an hour to go - I start to lose power and feel funny. I put some Gatorade sugar water in my water bottle and took a big swig. I did not feel better immediately. Soon I had some of my strength back but not like I should have had. I started to get a little cold. The ride was hard. I stopped again with only 20 minutes left in the ride and put some more calories in my water bottle and drank the entire bottle. I was pretty slow getting home but I persevered. I am glad that I did not just turn around an call it a day after the flat. The 50 miles did me good. All things considered this was a very good Christmas ride.

Later I went to PBJ (Paul B Johnson) state park and walked around the lake. I thought about bringing the wetsuit and trying out the lake. Glad I did not bother. The park service was in the process of draining the lake. Not sure why but the lake was too low to get a swim in. It actually looked really bad. I am ready to get back in the pool before all of my swimming endurance is gone.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I am the motor.



When I was a kid I dreamed of having a motorcycle. Specifically the Yamaha FZR600 that was winning all of the superbike races while I was in high school. I read all of the magazines and lusted after all of the pictures. These sport bikes were in my dreams. I read the reviews over and over. There was no way that my mom would let me have a scooter much less a super powerful, break any speed limit motorcycle.

After I became an adult I still wanted a motorcycle. By this time the FZR was a little long in the tooth compared to the latest and greatest (GSRX’s, CBR’s, Ninja’s, etc) but it was still my ’65 Mustang. I frequented the dealerships often and fantasized a little more. I ran the numbers and I could just barely float the payment if I cut out every non essential expense – include food, housing and books for school. I could always sleep in my Fiat Spider with the motorcycle parked next to it. Then I got quotes for a sub 20 year old, unmarried, male rider for a sport bike. If I remember correctly, just about 3 years of minimum coverage would pay for the bike. Yeah, the insurance monthly payment would be more than the bike payments. Dream dashed for good.

Or was it? Scroll forward about 5 more years and I found the exact make, model, year and color of my dream bike. I was living in Indiana and some kid had the bike and a baby on the way. It was January and there was about 6 inches of snow on the ground. I couldn’t test ride the bike but I did load it up in a truck and take it to the local Yamaha dealership to have a mechanic eye ball it. He started it up and said a few things and he asked me how much. I told him the incredibly low price and he said ‘How can you lose!’ The deal was sealed. Regarding insurance – what a difference a few years can make – for both me and the bike. Full coverage was $110 a year. Wow.

I rode the bike a lot for the first couple of years – several thousand miles. The bike was extremely uncomfortable at any sane speed. The pressure on your wrists would eventually lessen at ‘just a bit more’ than highway speeds. As a stop-light-to-stop-light vehicle it was nearly unbearable. On top of that it got pretty old always having to carry a backpack to have anything with you. I mean, nothing fits on a motorcycle. I was having to bungee cord softball bats and gloves to the seat.

I did have an adventure moving the bike to Mississippi. It was touch and go as to whether it would make it but there was just enough room in the back of the biggest U-Haul truck. I felt like Fonzie having to ride the bike up the ramp and several very sharp turns to wedge it in between a dresser and a mattress.

Now two years into Mississippi and the bike sits in the garage. Sure I have ridden it a dozen times. But my mentality has changed. If the weather is nice enough to ride the motorcycle then it is nice enough to ride the bicycle. I get a lot more satisfaction from the bicycle with so much less risk. The bicycle provides so much more than the motorcycle – mental and physical.

I guess I got to the point with the motorcycle that my health is just more important than a 10, 15, or 50 mile pleasure ride on the motorcycle. Bad things happen. I don’t think I could accept damaging myself in a way that would not allow for me to do the things that I now enjoy so much. A quick trip to town and a minor fender bender could put you out of commission.

So the motorcycle has been retired. I gave the bike to a friend at work (Tina – what a cool mom) whose son is of that age that he thinks of motorcycles. My dad will be happy that the bike is gone also – he does worry.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Unscheduled off day and kittens revisited.


The company holiday party threw a wrench in the training plan. Wednesday was supposed to be my off day (the first in about 12 days). The volume has been high and after a so-so run on Saturday and a bike that I probably pushed too hard on Sunday I just went with the flow. Had a good time, played 'Dirty Santa', and ate too much. Fortunately I did not eat 'Way Too Much' like I can do at these events. It is pretty hard for my body to adjust from 6 small meals a day to 2 large gut busting meals. Since last Friday my weight is up just about 10 pounds - that's about 7 percent. I know that it is not real weight but I do feel the bloat.

No holiday party today but snacks abound. We will, however, have another holiday party (departmental) tomorrow.

The good news is that with the holiday break I can get some real volume in training wise (in between the travelling) of course. I should only be gone for 4 or 5 days have have another 14 or so days at home. Too bad the pool is closed.

I almost forgot. When we found the kittens a few weeks ago I had to rush home for a bag. Its seems that every other race gives you a nylon bag to hold the race numbers and swag. I grabbed one of these bags off of the shelf and rode back for Jodie to put the kittens in something. If you look in this picture there is a card in the bag. I am sure I would have never seen this card had we not found the kittens. It is possibly the best swag that I have ever received. The business card is from a great local tavern (and now ultra-micro brew pub)the Keg and Barrel. And on the back of this business card -

Monday, December 15, 2008

Working the plan...

Saturday's two hour run did not go as expected. I put the time and miles in but I had intended to run at comfortable pace of 90 minutes and then accelerate to a tempo pace for the last 30 minutes. I ran out for 65 minutes and then turned around. at the 90 minute mark I tried to pick the pace up but I was not successful. I just could not sustain the faster pace. I am not sure if I am not fully recovered from the 1/2 marathon two weeks ago or that my volume has been too high or that I am not doing the easy stuff easy enough. The run ended up being a little longer than 2 hours.

On Sunday I road 20 miles solo and then another 37 miles with the group. This could have been (maybe should have been) another easy ride but I am not disciplined enough to keep the pulls light. I have been pulling like I am doing intervals. I really am going to have to try and make the easy stuff easy.

The diet is still suffering. Three holiday parties this week at work and then the holiday with family. Good thing that there is a New Year's day race on the first.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Covers pulled tight.


I slept in today and enjoyed the rest. I generally do not like to waste the day but it was cold out and I decided to do my 2 hour run this afternoon. It was really quite easy to make that decision while under the blankets in the warmth of the bed. The run can wait.

I was playing around with http://www.wordle.net/ this morning. You can enter any text and it will create an image. Fun stuff.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Snow in the Hub City



'The Rock'


Having lived in the midwest for more than a decade I am not as enamoured with snow as most Mississippians. A light dusting is very pretty in the morning but as the winter drags on that pure white snow becomes dingy and grey. Not for me. This snow that fell this morning actually closed all of the public schools and almost none of my co-workers made it to work. I would classify this as a wintry mix at most and possibly just a heavy rain. In fact, it has already turned to rain and will be gone in no time. I do, however, understand the mentality. My father lives in Texas and the area has been in a drought for many years. Therefore, my father will hardly leave the house when it is raining, storming or even a chance of precipitation. I guess that is just different perspectives.

I had a fair LT run on the treadmill yesterday at lunch. Not fast and my hamstring was still noticeable. I did a really, really slow first mile (10 min) and then 4.25 miles in the next 30 minutes (only 7.03 min / mile pace)followed by another really, really slow 10 minute mile.


Today I have an easy hour on the bike and an easy 45 minutes on the treadmill. I have heard and read that most self-coached athletes never go easy enough on the easy days and never go hard enough on the hard days. I am sure that my training falls right in the middle of this adage. I am going to make the easy days truly easy and work on pushing the hard days.
I do hate the snow.


This is my preferred commute to work (The Long Leaf Trace).

The last day of exams. These students are very proud of their snowman.


Maybe a 'snow' eagle.


Snow covered bushes in front of the 'Dome'.


This is about all of the snow that you can expect in southern Mississippi.


Not quite Lambeau field - I think that I have seen it just a little more snow covered. Still, this is where Brett Favre got his start.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Swimming through the holidays - NOT

I just noticed that the pool will be closed starting this Friday through the first of the year - something like 20 days! That is going to take a toll on the swim plan for the rest of the month. Over the holidays I may brave the open water with the wetsuit and see if this is indeed possible during the winter months. I’m not looking for the OWS to be toasty but it has to be tolerable. That being said I have been getting my swimming in just fine. Having a 'real' schedule plan is forcing me to 'work the plan' and nothing is being missed.

On Monday I swam for a full hour - this was the first time since OWS in August. I can’t say that I am enjoying the swim and looking forward to it but I am not dreading it either. I’m counting that as progress.

This morning I actually pulled myself out of bed to go to the pool. I can generally motivate myself for a bike or run but the pool is a little different. Part of it is that it is just so dark right now in the morning (and afternoons for that matter). To reward myself I opened a new pair of swim goggles that I purchased sometime last year on clearance. Little things do motivate me sometimes.

My training plan called for a slow warm up and then 500 yard time trials. I am not fast by any means but I gave it a good effort.




Warm Up – 300 yards (bilateral breathing)
1:00 minute Rest Interval
Working Set –
500 yards @ 8:48
1:00 minute Rest Interval
500 yards @ 8:49
1:00 minute Rest Interval
Cold Down –
500 yards @ 9:08

The cool down was much easier than the working sets. I felt like I could continue swimming indefinitely. With that time it should give me a slow but doable ironman swim (2.4 miles or 4000 yards) of swim time of sub 1:20. I am continuing to work on the swim and hope to see these times improve over the next few months. With the pool and gym closed for much of the holiday I believe that only the swim will suffer. The running, biking and strength training can all be done in and around the house. After all, the Long Leaf Trace is in my backyard.

Common Triathlon Swim Distances & conversions
25 YARD POOL

1 length = 25 yards (from wall to wall)
2 lengths = 50 yards
4 lengths = 100 yards
¼ mile = 500 yards = 20 lengths
½ mile = 800 yards = 32 lengths
1 mile = 1700 yards = 68 lengths
1.2 miles = 2000 yards = 80 lengths
2.4 miles = 4000 yards = 160 lengths

Monday, December 8, 2008

Back on the diet

Last week was the start of a new diet program. I was to loosely follow the 'Body for Life' program. It was a failure! I actually think that I ate worse starting the new diet program than when on my normal, everyday diet. I usually eat oatmeal several times a day, tuna or grilled chicken for lean protein and steamed vegetables for dinner. I can follow this diet fairly easily. It is the sweets and refined grains that kill me.

Anyway, last week I cut my portions down a little and as the week progressed I got into a major calorie deficit. This always happens. It becomes very difficult to control portions and stay on the diet. The holidays did not help the matter - Kyle and Tina brought cookies into the office last week and I had a get together at the house where Brad brought pizza. Friday night I stopped at the store and bought a cake - what was I thinking. Not much will power on these days.

So I have revamped the diet for this week. I am going to increase my calorie consumption and try to keep from getting into a massive deficit. I generally eat too little scheduled calories and that is when I get into trouble. I am trying to be smarter and account for the calories up front this week.

It has been a week since the Gulf Coast 1/2 Marathon and my legs feel completely recovered. I have also analyzed the data from the race. All things considered I am satisfied with my performance, however, I do see lots of room for improvement. Having not run more than 5 or 6 miles at a time for the past 2 months definitely is not the correct training plain. It was the correct action to take to allow my hamstring to heal but not the best plan for performance. I have ran much longer (20 miles) in training in the past just not much this fall.

I ran the race by what I thought would allow for me to finish the race without hitting the wall or having to struggle the last few miles. This was achieved. However, I really believe that I could have gone much harder for longer. My running LT is right around 170 - 172 so I wanted to keep my heart rate below 170. I did this for about 28% of the race. I picked up the pace and ran in the 170's for just less than half of the race. I did not take into account that my heart rate would be elevated in a race scenario. If I had brought my heart rate up into the 170's sooner I believe that I could have shaved a few minutes off of the total time of the race. In the race, I finished strong and passed a number of people in the last 3 or 4 miles. In reality I ran a 10 mile tempo run with a 5k finish. I did receive third in my age group for the effort, however, I was beaten for second by 5 seconds and by first by less than two minutes. I am having second thoughts about a spring marathon but I am strongly considering another 1/2 marathon. I would like to better the 1:37 time from this race.


It was cold and windy here in Mississippi again - cold for Mississippi anyway. I followed my training plan to the tee this weekend and got the long run in on Saturday and the long ride in on Sunday. However, I did have to split the bike up. I rode 25 miles on the trainer and then immediately headed out the door for the group ride where I got 42 more miles.

Total for the weekend:
RUN 12.5 miles
BIKE 67 miles

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Road race to recovery

I have read that recovery after a road race takes approximately 1 day per mile raced. This being said then the 1/2 marathon race last Saturday would take about 2 weeks to completely recover. This was the longest road race that I have competed in (I have done triathlons where the total time was longer - for example - The Heart of Dixie was 1/2 mile swim, 27 mile bike, and 7 mile run - 2:22). I do not remember the recovery for that race lasting more than just a few days.

So this week following the 1/2 marathon last Saturday my legs have been hurting and very tired. I only swam or rode the bike trainer until Wednesday (4 days after the race). On Wednesday I ran 6 miles into work at a very conservative pace. This run should not have had hardly any effect on me. It was probably one of my worsts runs ever. I felt as if I was dragging my legs every step of the way. My time was at about an 8 1/2 minute per mile pace - any average training run.

Later that day is when we got out on the field for a little football. This was humbling. I run a lot - long runs, fast runs, intervals, etc, but just running around the field was hard. There is a different intensity when you are chasing someone and even more so when someone is chasing you.

Everyone was sore the rest of the week. I stayed off of my legs. So at this point I am not sure if I was sore after the football because of the lack of recovery from the 1/2 marathon or if the intensity of the football was really that high.

My training plan called for 1:45 minute run today. I was not sure how this was going to go and I was not looking forward to it. The temperature was low for Mississippi at about 35 degrees. I bundled up and hit the trail. Surprisingly the run went well. My legs worked themselves out and I was able to complete the prescribed 1 hour and 45 minute run with few difficulties. My right hamstring did get tight at the 10 mile mark but it worked itself out. Total mileage for the run was 12.5 miles for a just under 8 1/2 minute per mile pace.

I have been planning a full marathon for the spring of next year. Considering the recovery I am now having second thoughts. The recovery for a full marathon could cause my fitness to suffer.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Kicking 101

Got a group of guys out to 'The Rock' during lunch for some fun and games. Did some field goals, punt returns and three on three. The place holder is Kyle from Atlanta while Kevin (also from Atlanta) watches on. Unfortunately some of the 'out of towners' are now hurting.

I have been riding the trainer indoors a lot lately. It is just too dark in the morning to hit the roads. I also believe that I am becoming quite Southern. This 40 degree weather is not very comforting. I still have all of my cycling clothing from living up north for so many years but the ride is just not very fun. I can not wait until spring returns and the group morning ride resumes. This adds a fun and aggressive 40 - 60 miles a week on the bike.

I am getting better about riding the trainer. I have my old road bike permanently set up in my office. The trainer hooks up to the computer and is challenging and motivating. My training plan requires several hour+ rides during the week. These rides can pretty much only be done indoors. I think that the trainer will be more entertaining once I get past the base build period and start doing more intervals and threshold rides. I do believe that the trainer will build my cycling this winter. The long rides will still be outside and generally with a group of people.

I am excited to see how my local Time Trials will improve this spring.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Kittens no more and the off season has ended.

Well as cute as they were - the kittens have been taken to a better place (better than my house anyway). They were dropped off at the 'no-kill' shelter and I am sure that they will be adopted just in time for the holidays.

I started my 'official' 1/2 ironman training (I signed up for the plan at http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/ - I really like the site) this week with Monday being a day off - alright!

I did a strength training workout and let the legs continue to recover. They were not bad but still a little sore from the race. Today was just a 75 minute recovery bike ride. I got up in time and hit the trainer with a movie in the DVD player. Damn, an hour and fifteen is a long time. I was only able to complete 45 minutes of the ride. I think it would have been easier with intervals to break up the monotony. I will have to hit the trainer for half an hour this evening.

I have a strong swim session scheduled for lunch - I believe that structured swim sessions will allow for me to make swim progress faster.

In addition, we have started a diet routine to help with the holiday excess. It is a slightly modified 'Body for Life' plan. Basically you just try to eat clean and often and limit processed foods. I have been eating this type of diet for quite a while. I find it pretty easy to eat by schedule - especially at work. At home is another story. As the week goes on I find myself in a calorie deficit and go a little crazy. Jodie does not seem to have the problems with self control that I do. With both of us adopting this diet routine it should help me to stay on track. I definitely do not want to put on any extra weight this holiday season.

SWIM WORKOUT:

Easy swim
40 minutes - 2000 yards
Warm Up: 500
Main Set: 500 pull, then 10x50 on 1:05
Cool Down: 500 easy swim.

Pull Drill - Focus will be on learning to 'catch' the water with your forearm and pull yourself through the water. If you feel your lats (the muscles under your arm pits that go down the side of your back) engage, then you are starting to get it. If your shoulders are tired, then you are still using too much shoulder and not enough lats.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gulf Coast Half Marathon



It rained and stormed all night last night. Thunder and lightening and the works. Woke up at 5AM and did the morning routine plus oatmeal. The Gulf Coast 1/2 Marathon would start in about 3 hours so I filled the tank. Checked the weather for the Stennis Space Center and it said that there was a 1% chance of rain at 8AM. You have to love these 'Rocket Scientists' - I am sure that they thought that there is never a 0% chance. Hit the road right on time at 6AM and headed south for the just over one hour drive. They checked our ID's at the guard station to enter the 'Space Center'.



Registration went quick and we lined up for the start of the race - the 5K, 1/2 marathon and Full marathon all would start at the same time. I took a gel with caffeine just before 8AM, however, due to some late arrivers they delayed the start of the race by about 15 minutes.



Jodie and I walked around for a little bit and then lined back up at the start and we were off. I intentionally started very slow. I surely did not want to get caught up in the 5k fast group and burn out. I watched my heart rate and kept it low and slow. Even though the pace was slow my right hamstring started to feel tight and ache just a little - this was in the first mile!

I was clicking along at 7:30+ / mile pace. I was trying to pace off of one of the fast women - I believe that she was in first or close to first place. She looked serious - running belt with numerous gels and a GPS watch that she was pacing off of. I was not going to let her slip away and tailed her for most of the race.

So I started slow and then by about the 4th mile I picked up my heart rate just a little. I was trying to keep it under 170. I would back off every time it jumped up. I kept this up until right around mile 8 (just under an hour). I allowed my heart rate to increase to the low / mid 170's. I still felt strong but did not want to bonk or to have to slow the pace. In retrospect I should have increased my heart rate much earlier in the race. I was pacing myself off of training heart rates and not race heart rates. During a race my heart rate automatically goes up by 5 - 10 beats per minute. I had been slowly passing people along the way

At mile 12 it was time to go for broke and I gave everything. I ran as hard as I could and passed several more people. Terry, local fast guy from the pine belt pacers, passed me at the water station at this point. I tried to hang with him but he calmly and smoothly pulled away. He had finished second in the 'Hobble then Gobble' race 2 days prior. The thing is - these are training runs for Terry. His race is next weekend - the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon. Terry is just fast.

Okay, back to me. I saw Terry pulling away and I kept my pace up and continued to pass people in those last miles. I tried and tried to pull in this one person that was right in front of me. However, it was to no avail - I finished just a few seconds behind this guy (I mean like 4 seconds). Come to find out that he was in my age group and it looked like I placed 19th overall and 4th in my age group - no awards / no prizes.

During the post race party someone pointed out to me that I had counted the age groupers wrong. One of the people that I counted was female and so that bumped me up to 3rd in my age group - a medal after all!




Shortly after I finished and while Jodie was still on the course it started to rain. And rain hard it did. I had already changed into my dry clean clothes and I got soaked. I can not imagine what the people running the full marathon were thinking when that rain came.

All in all it was a very good experience. My hamstring is hurting again - I will still have to nurse it for a while. I will keep the miles up on the bike and take the running slow and steady.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hobble then Gobble 5 MILE run


Went out to Lake Serene for the Thanksgiving Day run. Lake Serene is the place that I did almost all of my open water swimming last summer. I did dip my hand in the water to test the temperature. It seemed really cold. I was not running this race today but rather lending support for fellow runners (I did ride the bike on the trainer early this morning). I'm not able to just run a race - I easily get caught up in the excitement of the event. With the 1/2 marathon only two days away I believe that the only thing that could come out of this five mile race would be excuses - why I did not do well in the 1/2 marathon that is.

This would be Vic and Jodie's first ever races. Vic wanted to run a personal best 5 mile run at under 39 minutes and Jodie was using this race as a practice run for the 1/2 marathon. They both achieved their goals!


The Really Fast guys rounding the first turn. This race would be a sub 30 minute five mile run for some.


Jim (yellow shirt #219) heading out for the run. We will start doing structured ironman training and hitting the swim (in wetsuits) in just a few short months.


Vic achieving his goal and finishing in good form.


Jodie gliding in.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happiness is NOT a box of kittens...



I have not been talking about my training that much lately - needless to say I have been biking a lot, swimming a little and running somewhere in between. I am getting psyched up about starting a 'REAL' 1/2 ironman training plan next week. In addition I will be starting a 'REAL' weight training program like I used to do - meaning I actually go into the gym with a 'REAL' plan and execute said plan. I will even be documenting the exercises and charting my progress. What is it that they say - "If you don't have a plan then you plan to fail."

Well, today was Thanksgiving Eve and per normal the university shut down a little early. Knowing that this would probably happen I planned for a short bike ride with Jodie. The sun was out and the air was just starting to get crisp.

A few miles out from the house along the trace we saw a congregation of people. We had to slow way down to see what was going on. A couple of older people and 2 or 3 kids were all but blocking our path. There were 2 then 3 very small kittens in and along the trace. These kittens were tiny - still with piercing cold blue eyes. We rode past.

On our return trip we came upon the kittens again. This time they were all alone. We slowed and then stop. Two of the kittens charged us. They wanted out attention and then some. I did not know what to do. Jodie did.

I rode home to get something to put the kittens in so that we could rescue them from the elements. True this is only Mississippi but it has been freezing at night. I got one of my many nylon bags (the SWAG bags you get at many races).

Jodie picked the kittens up and put them in the bag and we rode home slowly. We were a little afraid of losing one on the trip home - one was a climber.

Once home we called the vet. For them to take the kittens we would have to guarantee any and all treatments for them. We were not prepared to do this. We called the no kill shelter and this being a holiday they were not available.

We fashioned a make shift home for them out of a box in the garage. Jodie feed the kittens some of Rufus's sloppy food (from the can) - he was not please but he got some too.







Monday, November 24, 2008

Anaerobic Threshold Test -

I decided to do some benchmark cycle performance testing on my indoor trainer. My trainer will display (on the computer) your heart rate, speed, cadence, and power. Using these parameters and the instruction from Joe Friel’s The Cyclist’s Training Bible I set out to conduct the test. I warmed up for 2 miles (about 6 minutes) on the trainer. I loaded a 10 mile course with 0 slope. The test instructs you to start at 100 watts and increase your power output by 20 watts every minute. At each minute you record your power, speed, heart rate and perceived exertion (scale from 6 – 20 - very very easy to very very hard). I wish that the results were a little better but it gives me a baseline to improve upon.



I will retest this approximately monthly to determine if my cycle training is improving.

Blood sport -

When I exercise on bonk (no calories before or during endurance exercise) I can get rather loopy. My glycogen stores deplete and my thought processes can suffer. I generally do not notice these conditions. Others around me claim that I get very irritable and downright ugly on occasion. I just know that I get frustrated easily. This also happens when I miss meals or do not get enough calories. Although I do eat a sensible diet and get plenty of exercise it has been brought to my attention that I may have Type 2 Diabetes. Looking at the symptoms from the mayo clinic I can see several that I posses:




Symptoms - Type 2 diabetes symptoms may seem harmless at first. In fact, you can have type 2 diabetes for years and not even know it. Look for:
  • Increased thirst and frequent urination. As excess sugar builds up in your bloodstream, fluid is pulled from your tissues. This may leave you thirsty. As a result, you may drink — and urinate — more than usual.
  • Extreme hunger. Without enough insulin to move sugar into your cells, your muscles and organs become depleted of energy. This triggers intense hunger that may persist even after you eat.
  • Weight loss. Despite eating more than usual to relieve your constant hunger, you may lose weight. Without the energy sugar supplies, your muscle tissues and fat stores may simply shrink.
  • Fatigue. If your cells are deprived of sugar, you may become tired and irritable.
  • Blurred vision. If your blood sugar level is too high, fluid may be pulled from your tissues — including the lenses of your eyes. This may affect your ability to focus.
  • Slow-healing sores or frequent infections. Type 2 diabetes affects your ability to heal and fight infections. Bladder and vaginal infections can be a particular problem for women.

I definitely have the first two and the fourth (I wish that I had the third). So with all of the above I decided to check out my fasting blood sugar and start to track this parameter. I also think that it would be beneficial to take this fasted state reading and then do a bonk run / ride and track the fluctuations. My reading this morning was in the normal range (77). Also from the mayo clinic:

  • Fasting blood sugar test. A blood sample will be taken after an overnight fast. A fasting blood sugar level between 70 and 100 mg/dL is normal. A fasting blood sugar level from 100 to 125 mg/dL is considered prediabetes, which indicates a high risk of developing diabetes. If it's 126 mg/dL or higher on two separate tests, you'll be diagnosed with diabetes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

COLD OWS swimming - maybe...


Jim gave me a call Friday night and said that the local FFN (Hudson's) had wetsuits. I asked if they were triathlon specific and of course they were not. But the price was right. Headed over to FFN Saturday afternoon to have a look around. I walked and walked around the store but could not find anything that resembled wetsuits. They had the all usual 'stuff' - coffee makers, books, cheap clothes and now even fishing poles. I asked several people working there and finally I found the wetsuit rack. They had my size. For $50 this might get me out into the lake a couple of months sooner and allow me to stay out a couple of months longer.

I tried the suit on when I got home and it fit like a glove (body glove, no doubt). I wore it for about 5 minutes and this suit is hot. It really traps the heat in!

So I have been riding the trainer quite a bit in the mornings before work. Every ride is a race or time trial. I am going to have to schedule some base mile rides or recovery rides, but right now I am enjoying setting my benchmarks.

I ran on the treadmill at lunch on Monday and did not fare as well as I would have liked. I tried to maintain my projected fantasy 1/2 marathon pace ( 13.1 miles @ 6:53 pace ). Cardio wise I was feeling pretty good even though my heart rate was starting to creep above 170 beats per minute. The legs were heavy. I would like to run the majority of the 1/2 marathon in the high 160's ( like right at 168 ). I finished the run at 30 minutes for 4.25 miles. Not what I wanted. Having to take a huge break from running has really set me back. The cycling is doing well but I have the Gulf Coast 1/2 marathon the Saturday after next ( November 29 ). This is going to prove to be a challenging race - both physically and mentally. Chad and Vic worked me over with a vengeance with the medicine ball - I think they were trying to break me on the ab bench. I really felt my core today!
Hit the trainer this morning for a 10 mile time trial - dead flat course. I kept my heart rate below 165 and was able to clock a 27:30 for an average of 21.82 MPH. Yes, this is on a trainer and indoors but the exertion and times seem very realistic.

Tuesdays and Thursdays have become lap swim days. At lunch I got a good 1500 yards. Chris is feeling ill and Laura had to prepare for a meeting. I generally prefer a group swim to keep me motivated - it can be really tough for me to put in the time swimming laps. The swim felt good and I was strong throughout. Not a bad day in the pool. I did not miss the 50 or 100 yard intervals.

Ballroom dance class tonight - this will be the first class for Jodie and I. It is class 3 of 5 so we will have some catch-up to do.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Two flat tires and a microphone...


I set my old road bike up on the indoor cycling trainer. I purchased a trainer recently that hooks up to a computer and allows you to ride on different types of road courses. It even comes with DVD's that go faster or slower depending on how fast your are pedaling. I downloaded the 112 mile bike course from this years 2008 Louisville Ironman so that I can practice the race before I get there. You can download the .crs files from GPS devices like garmin, etc.


So I hooked my old road bike up to the trainer. I pumped up the tires to the normal 120 PSI and then tightened the trainer to the back tire. This worked fine for a few days but the bike was so slow. I felt very weak and disheartened. I had to drop into the smallest chain ring to just ride on level ground and had to stand up on the pedals to go up any amount of incline.


Day two the back tire was flat. Not only was the tire flat but there was a cut in the tire (Rufus?). I removed the bike from the trainer and changed the tire (patched the tube). Today I went for a ride on the trainer in the morning - it was 30 something degrees outside and I wanted to stay in. About 30 minutes into the ride something starts to feel funny - no not my soft tissue - but the bike is getting squirrelly. The back tire is flat again.


Fortunately I have some spare tires (both old and new). I pulled the bike off of the trainer again and changed the tire. I put in a fresh (previously patched) tube in and another tire on the rim. This time I tried to be a little smarter. I only pumped the tire up to 100 PSI and then mounted the bike back on the trainer. I adjusted everything and then picked another course to tackle. The bike performed so much better. The speeds were much more realistic and I had a lot of fun setting new bench marks. I will beat these records later this week.


With the new road bike, I headed out for the 1:30 Sunday group ride. The temperature was still in the upper forties / lower fifties. I dressed warm. I was running late and really had to make time to get the the trail head. I think this was one of my fastest times ever - about 16 minutes. The new bike is easily the most comfortable bike that I have ever ridden - soft tissue, once again stays soft while riding - but not when you need it. Also, the bike feels fast. It wants you to ride it hard. It feels like my triathlon bike but more forgiving.


Did a fun 35 miles with the group and called it a day. Total mileage was about 55 miles today (inside / outside).


FYI - pop tarts are a great mid-ride fuel...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

swimming again

Hit the rollers at home before work on Monday. Just an easy 30 minute ride with a few lite intervals. Nothing taxing just a nice wake up. At lunch I decide to test the Achilles again with another five mile run. I increased the pace just a little after a warm-up (total was 5 miles @ 8:00 minute pace - 40 minutes). I experienced no pain in the Achilles area, however, in the last mile my right hamstring started to fatigue. It got just a little tight. Thinking back a couple of weeks to the 'Death March' I remember the same sensation. I am wondering if the fatigued hamstring altered my running stride and that is what has irritated the Achilles. I have to pay attention to this next time.




On Tuesday I got back into the pool (standard 25 yard pool). This is like only the second time I have been i n the water in 2 months. I miss the early morning routine of seeing the sun come up out in the middle of Lake Serene. This swim was, surprisingly, enjoyable. I started out slow and did a couple of sets of 100 yards and then several sets of 200 yards. I finished off with a steady 700 yard swim (14 laps - there and back or 28 lengths - just there). I did not get too bored swimming back and forth in the pool and just tried to concentrate of correct form. Total swim was 1500 yards. As a side note - for the Ironman swim (2.4 miles) -



1 mile is 1760 yards
2.4 miles = 4224 yards
4224 = 169 lengths of the pool
4224 = 84.5 laps of the pool

Monday, November 10, 2008

More bikes = better...

Friday I tested the ankle again by running a slow and steady five miles on the treadmill during lunch (43:00 minutes). The Achillies was fine but I do not want to damage it further. Jodie and I went 'Ballroom Dancing' on Friday night - it consisted of a 1 hour class and then a social mixer dance. There were all ages at the dance and many talented people. Not knowing ANY dance steps was definitely a liability but I am confident that I can gain the basics and then really enjoy myself.

Saturday I decided to have an easy bike ride (once again did not want to test the Achilles). Road a moderate 40 miles with no discomfort at all. Stopped and talked with some friends - no need to push the pace. The twenty miles out took 1:12 and the return (no talking or stops) took just over an hour - 1:02. This was a bonk ride - I ate nothing prior to leaving and did not have any calories while riding. In theory this should (over time - meaning years) allow your body to more efficiently process fat for energy. Almost all of my early morning exercise is with out calories. I've been doing this for a while. I can easily go for about 2 hours at a moderate pace, however, when the pace is elevated, an hour is about the maxmium.

On Sunday, after the success of the previous ride I hit the trail again. Since I was planning on riding a bit faster I ate my cup of oatmeal with a little brown sugar. I started out harder but still stopped and talked with Jodie for a few (she was doing a 10 mile run) and took my time at the Bassfield turnaround (4 minutes - bathroom, fill water bottles, etc). A few miles out from Bassfield on the way back I started to lose my steam. Fearing a bonk - I pulled over and added some powdered Gatorade (with electrolytes) to the water bottle and took a big hit. I think this was just enough to fight the wall off. I completed the 50 miler at 2:34 - just under 20 MPH average - of course, if you take out the talking and stops then just over 20 MPH - but, you don't do that of course.

On a side note, I really do not believe in many spontaneous purchases - I prefer to research and 'get the best deal.' This can be a gift and a curse - it can really cripple some of my purchasing decisions. Anyway, I bought another bike on Friday. This will make 3 bikes (6 total if you include Jodie's bikes - yes 6 bikes for 2 people). I bought my road bike - a Scott Speedster 60, an entry level road bike with entry level components (SORA) - (my first real bike) in February of 2006.



I only put about a thousand miles on it the first year - I did not have any really good routes in Terre Haute and Jodie and I only road on weekends in Bloomington. After moving to Hattiesburg with the Long Leaf Trace the miles started to add up. This bike became my everything - commuter, weekend rider, triathlon racer, etc).

I also had a pretty significant crash on the Scott. I was in a group ride and three of us went our own way. I was at the tail end of the group and I hit a very small bump in the rode. For what ever reason, the chain sucked down between the frame and the crank and locked up. The bike stopped immediately (at a little more that 20 MPH - I had my polar heart rate watch on and it recorded the 20+ to zero speed drop in about 1 second) - I did not stop and did a classic high side crash. I landed on my right side - elbow, knee, thigh, etc and rolled across my back to the other side all the while obtaining road rash. Luckily, nothing was really hurt - I landed flat and except for the bruising and rash everything was okay. By the way - road rash on top of sun burn is extremely uncomfortable.
It took about 20 minutes to dislodge the chain and limp home the 20+ miles. This chain suck action would happen several more times, generally when I was starting to stand up on the bike and really crank. No further accidents but the fear factor was high. I have become hesitant to ride the Scott hard.
I ended up getting a dedicated triathlon bike this spring (2007 - Giant Trinity A1). I purchased the bike new off of eBay for a little less than 50% off of MSRP. This triathlon bike immediately cut time off and added MPH's to all rides. It was many pounds lighter (about 8 lbs less than the Scott with area bars).

I do not have a cyclometer on my triathlon race bike - I do not care how fast I am going but only that I am going as fast as I can. However, if I look back on my training logs I am sure that I could get a pretty good idea - my guess would be about 1500 since spring. A dedicated triathlon bike doing commuter and distance and everything riding is not the best choice.
Hence, to my point, just as I set specific criteria when I purchased the Giant, I have been looking for a replacement road bike for about year (even before the crash). I have been looking for a certain level bike for a certain price. Last week I found such a bike. Once again the location was eBay. I found a 2008 Madone 4.5 full carbon bike with 71 miles on it.

This bike retails for $2400+. To seal the deal the seller was offering free shipping and a reasonable 'buy it now' price - these attribute of the sale were important. Microsoft, with their live.com search engine, offers a cash back incentive for many retailers. eBay is one such retailer at this moment. Not to go into too much detail but with this transaction I was able to get $200 cash back. This made the purchase enter my buying zone. I am excited about the planned spontaneous purchase of the new bike.



Although the bike is the lowest Madone that Trek offers it is still full carbon and an enormous step up from the entry level Scott.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Give me a break... -

Just a quick update. I have been eating tuna everyday for months. It is a nutritious, inexpensive and portable meal. The pouches of tuna are much better than the cans and I have a supply that should last me (eating twice a day) until the summer of next year. The pouches also have a shelf life of decades.
It is almost the perfect food to have at work. I am the type of person that can get into a routine and eat the same meals day after day after day - forever. It just does not bother me. However, alas, even I can get sick of the same thing and I must take a break. This does not happen often - maybe once or twice every couple of years.
So for the rest of the week I am going to give myself a break and lay off of the tuna. I brought some grilled chicken in for the rest of the week.
Truly a much needed break. I will be back on the routine for next week - promise.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Crack the Vote!!!

Woke up early this morning - I forgot to change the timer on the coffee pot - it started brewing at 3:45 AM. I was already starting to wake so it was not a big deal. Decided to jump on the rollers for a 30 minute session. I beat my previous average MPH and then towelled off to ride to work.

Jodie had to drive. I gave her my backpack and I left the house at a good clip. I was able beat her to work. (I must mention that there is a detour due to road construction and that gave me a couple of minutes.)

I also rode the exercise bike at lunch and then did some abs. I am taking the Achilles tendon issue seriously. I have grown to depend on exercise for not only physical health but mental health as well. When I do not exercise my mood will change. Ask anyone about this! When I taper for a race (take a rest day before the event) I become a major grouch.

I will also ride the bike in to work in the morning and I am pretty stoked that the voting / polling precinct for my district is on the Long Leaf Trace. I will be able to just hop off the bike and cast my vote.

*** SOAPBOX ***

I don't care who you vote for but please vote. This is a special privilege that we should not take for granted. And I honestly do believe that every vote does indeed count.

*** SOAPBOX ***

Another side note - went grocery shopping this weekend and the young clerk thanked me for saving the environment. (We always use canvas bags when shopping.)

Someone sent me the following (funny stuff):

Dilbert.com

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Track on Tap - Halloween Edition

I skipped the workout at lunch on Friday since I was doing the Track on Tap (in costume) that evening. I knew that it would not be a 'real' workout but I have been trying to take care of my ankle.

Jodie and I arrived near downtown at about 5:30 PM. Others soon started to gather and there was a photographer from the news paper working the 'Halloween Beat'. We ran down a popular trick or treating street in full get up and caught many eyes. The marines ran ahead (the guys without their shirts) and parted the hordes of ghouls with their swords. Our first stop was the 'Live at Five' concert in the park. The beer wagon had 'Southern Pecan' on tap and I of course par took (I think I par took 3 times at that stop). I also got a little hungry and bought a steak sandwich from a cute nurse (see picture) - and it really was a damn good sandwich.

We trekked over to brownstones and sat out on the balcony for more liquid refreshment. The legs and lips started to loosen up at this point. A few pints later we made it across the street for some pizza.

Charles, the rainbow colored pirate, was lobbing up easy pitches and I, was of course, knocking them out of the park with little mercy - there was no 10 run limit tonight. Lots of laughs. Soon enough the steak sandwich selling nurse was making her rounds and I had, after all, sampled her wares earlier. She stayed and played for a little while and posed for some provocative photos.

We ran past the Sanger Theatre on the way to the vehicles. Audrey was in back and must have been people watching. She was following close behind a runner and did not notice that they moved to the left. Full force, she was clothes lined at the knee cap by a cast iron bench. Ouch! I heard the clang from about 20 feet away. We all stopped. She was able to make it back to the vehicles.

Stopped at Wal-Mart and got some beer and cookies. The cookies never made it out of the car.

Feeling good with a headache and dehydrated (it must have been the cookies - damn cookies) I decide to go for a long run on Saturday. I was feeling good - really. I hit the turn around point for my twelve miles and pushed on - I was going to turn this into a 15 miler. After the 6 mile turn around point I jumped on the dirt horse trails. The soft surface and uneven terrain is good for the knee and ankle joints. I hit my new turn around point and after 10 miles I jumped back on the asphalt of the Long Leaf Trace. As soon as I did that my Achilles tendon flamed on and shut me down. I had to walk. After a few minutes I ran a little more but I could tell that this was going to end up being a death march. It was easier to transform my run to a heel strike - still this was not going to be pretty. I suppressed my pride and gave Jodie a call and requested an evak. I still had several miles to walk to the next station.

Made good time on the 10 mile run (it was intentionally slow - but a solid run) and horrible time on the 3 mile limp - Total time was 2:13 for 13 miles (a slow 10:13 pace).

There will be lots of recovery this week with little to no running and a lot of ice on the ankle. From experience, this type injury can be very persistent.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Speed laces

Lacing up some shoes. I have been transferring these quick laces between new shoes for a couple of years - this is about the 6th pair to have these laces. I also use the yankz laces for racing. Who has time to tie shoes in a transition area.

I have been riding the rollers each morning for the past couple and I am actually getting used to it - although I am only riding for about 30 minutes. I continue to try to push a bigger gear - tough work but I think it will pay dividends come spring.

I have been staying off on the ankle. Still a little tender. I am doubling up on the bike, however, by riding the exercise bike at the gym. It has also let me read some bicycling and triathlon magazine (I know I am a little obsessive). Still doing the strength training - I know this is in complete contrast to my other goals but I can not waste muscle mass - I have too little to begin with.

I have been following the diet and it has been pretty easy. I have strayed a little this year with all of the racing an training a forgot about feeling hungry. Once you get used to it, it's not such a bad feeling. I would like to lose a little body fat for the coming half marathon. Lite makes right and I am looking for any speed I can gain.

I will, however, go off of the diet tomorrow night for Halloween. There is a special 'Track on Tap' Halloween edition (costume mandatory). T on T is a month get together of the pine belt pacers where you get together and run from pub to pub. It is really a lot of fun. This one will be downtown with a lot of neat bars that I have not frequented.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ugg - the boots cometh...

What is the opposite of an Indian summer? Maybe a cold snap? That is what we are experiencing here in Mississippi. You would think that the rivers had frozen. The days of sandals and flip flops seem to have (briefly) come to an end. The age of Ugg Boots is upon us!

Ugg Boots


I rode the rollers this morning for 30 minutes (nursing the tendon - if you know what I mean). It is dull, dull, dull but I read a magazine and did intervals to pass the time. I would pedal along at a cadence of just over 100 at a comfortable level. Watching my heart rate monitor / watch I would then click into a higher gear and maintain the same cadence. Drop back down after a minute and repeat.

It made the time pass by much quicker. I am trying to adapt to pushing a bigger gear at high cadence. When I first started riding I had a low cadence and I worked from the very beginning to bring that up to the low hundreds. That was pretty easy to accomplish because it relies more on cardio endurance than leg strength. So now I need to increase the strength while keeping the cadence which will equal faster cycling. I spun out the gearing of my road bike for about 5 minutes. (I was in the highest gear pedaling at a cadence of 100+ / this equaled a little over 35 MPH - not real since there is no wind resistance.) I would like to try and add a minute or two to each workout and become a cycling god.

The time is now!


Got down to freezing last night and I enjoyed a brisk run into work. It was about 35 degrees when I left the house. I was dressed just about right and got a good workout in without getting chilled or overheating. I have done enough of these runs in the past that I have a pretty good idea of how to manage. I did the 6 miles run in a comfortable pace of 8 minute miles. This is a conversational pace for me and I am just adding base miles. It is much easier to run in cool / cold weather than bike. Many more layers are necessary with a 20 MPH wind chill.

My Achilles tendon started hurt just a little towards the end of the run. I need to baby this so that it does not get out of control and actually affect my training.

At lunch I decided to skip the "Dot Race" (everyone was pretty wussy with the temperature outside anyway) and I rode the exercise bike for 30 minutes. A pretty challenging effort but I was still able to read most of a Women's Fitness magazine - good stuff. After the bike Richard, Chad and I hit the WOZ (workout zone) for arms. I generally do not do isolation exercises so these always kill me.

So, it's true, I am very goal oriented. I firmly believe that if you plan something then you will succeed! Write down what you want to do, make it a priority and you can achieve it (sounds like an infomercial - you'll be saying sham wow everytime). I found a social networking site regarding goals ( http://www.43things.com/ ). Not sure if this is the site for me but I registered and put down my exercise goals - (complete half marathon, complete full marathon, complete half ironman, complete full ironman, lose body fat). You can also encourage others on goals that you believe to be worth while. It might help to motivate a little. BTW - do not do a search for fat girlfriends - you will find this guy - link ... and whatever you do - please do not go to his myspace page - link ...

Anyway - back on track -

A glass of water was knocked over on the alarm clock last night - not sure how that happened - the lights go out early at my house. Anyway I awoke to the 'zero hour'. Wake up call?

zero hour - The scheduled time for the start of an operation or action, especially a combat operation of great size. Thesaurus: A decisive point: climacteric, crisis, crossroad (used in plural), exigence, exigency, head, juncture, pass, turning point. See decide/hesitate.

I used to listen to a podcast from (I think) everydaysystems that had an episode about resolutions not just being for New Year's. Why put everything off to one time of year? Why not do resolutions (forming positive habits / breaking negative habits) all year long. So starting next month I am going to pick a new resolution and attempt to stick to it. They (I don't know who they are) say that it takes 21 days to start / stop a habit. A month should be plenty of time for self improvement. I've got tons of stuff that I would like to improve on - and fortunately I have already started some good ones and broken some pretty bad ones. (I already exercise a lot and I don't smoke anymore - if you do these then this is the place to start - let me know if you need any encouragement or to be slapped around if you slip - I'm good at this.) I'm going to try to stick to a little better diet and lose some body fat. I already eat fairly well but I get into trouble as the week goes on. I get in a calorie deficit and I overcompensate with bad food (binge - I like the cake). I have started tracking everything that eat with http://www.fitday.com again. Complete transparency! - my fitday - I'm going to track everything.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Into the wind...

Sunday was a tough exercise day. I started the day fine but was not feeling the exercise. This sometimes happens, even to me. However, I will always give the outing a fair shake and almost always I will get in the groove. When running I will not call it a day until at least a couple of miles are under my belt. At about the 2 mile mark I will start getting into - the endorphins will start flowing, the neurons will be firing - there will be joy in the world again. I never come back from an exercise session sorry for having done it - even if I am not feeling it mentally I know that it was good for my body!

So I decided to go for a bike ride on Sunday. My legs were feeling good even though I had a demanding run the day before. I was not sure how far I was going to ride but to be on the safe side I provisioned enough for a 50 mile ride. (A couple of granola bars.)

I set out on the bike and I was not into it but I was going to shake it out. There was a strong head wind that I was pushing through. On the bright side the sun was shinning and the weather cool - just about perfect. I was travelling at a good clip and blew past several runners and bikers. I quickly decided that I was only going to do a quick 20 mile ride. My heart rate was not reading on my exercise watch so I had to restart it. That blew the opportunity to do a time trial. I like to race against my best times. They are not always comparable (ie. wind, temperature, trace congestion, etc.) but I do enjoy comparing today against my best.

Well the 20 miler changed to a 12 miler and I turned around Epley. I was a little demoralized.

Later in the afternoon Jodie was going for a run. I almost never run with her - when you run with her she feels that you are competing and she can not run at her pace. Anyway, she let me run with her. I raced her to the end of the street and told her to hurry up - lol - that was a joke.

I ran at her pace and at about the 2 mile mark my Achilles tendon started to get tight and hurt. This happened a couple of weeks ago when I switched to a new pair of shoes (New Balance). I had not experienced any pain for about a week and I am not sure why this came back. We ended up with a 4 mile run.

Today, I rode in on the bike - cold and windy (tomorrow the low is 33). Still a lot of discomfort in the tendon. I decide to stay off the foot and only do strength training at lunch. I never follow a plan and attempted my usual Monday routine. I started the 'Alpine Trail' at max 8.5MPH and 12 incline for 45 minutes (last week was 40 minutes).

After the first hill (20 minutes) my foot was aching. I stopped the machine. The rest of the session was chin ups, pull up, back and abs.

The ride home I felt great even though the wind was strong.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

For the good ol' American life -- for the money, for the glory, and for the fun. Mostly for the money.

I worked a short day on Friday. I has some pressing things that needed to be attended to and, in addition, I just was in need of some time away from the office. I never got any exercise in even though I had the time.

I felt I was spinning my wheels. I had a lot to do but was not sure of the best way to get it done. I am trying to prioritize the things that are important to me. I had a job that was all about responsibility and accountability at one time. It was hard and people always looked to you for the right answers. Decisions were a part of the job. I never had any problem making decisions at work. It was by the book - very little grey area (unless you really looked. And you never had to look - that was also part of the job).

At home it was different; it was personal. Decisions are harder when they are full of grey and have a seemingly permanent impact. but I digress, the reason that I brought up work was the lessons that I learned. In priorities there are two attributes to consider - urgency and importance. Sometimes they seem like they are the same but there not.

urgency - the state of being urgent; an earnest and insistent necessity

importance - Strongly affecting the course of events or the nature of things; significant

"What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important." - Eisenhower

Only if it meets both of those criteria then it has to be done now. However, what one person thinks is important (The water in the break room is getting low) and someone else thinks is urgent (There is a huge sale at the dirty-mart that only lasts to 3PM we have to go now - or virtually any phone call I get at work) may not be either to you. (Not good examples I know, sorry.)

Anyway, I have been trying to prioritize my objectives for the coming year. Going over these I first had to look at importance and rank everything. Then I had to look at what steps were necessary to achieve these goals. And finally look at what was important and was also urgent and needed immediate attention. These objectives were taken care of today.

These are grown up ways of looking at things and the decisions can be hard and not immediately gratifying. Being a grown up is tough work sometimes.

I slept late on Saturday and really did not know exactly what kind of run I wanted to do - the day off of exercise did my body good so I decided to run a hard 10 miles. I had wanted to do 12.9+ (or 13) miles but I was not sure if I would be successful considering the pace that I was planning.

I took the first mile out at a medium effort at my comfort level (a little less than 7:45 pace) then picked up the pace to LT. I cruised the next mile and felt pretty good. Not Green-Goblin-god-like good but doing okay. (By the way, I love the Green-Goblin-god-like feeling!) That second mile was at 7:17. This mile included some acceleration and I knew more speed was to be had if I wanted it. My slowest mile was the third mile simply because I saw a few comrades and stopped to speak with them for a minute or so (8:42 pace). The next 8 miles were all less than 7:15 with the fastest mile clocking in at 7:01.

The total time of the run was 1:14:09 (74 minutes and 9 seconds for a 7:24 minute / miles pace). If I deduct 3 minutes for the warm up and talking I get a much closer to my goal pace. 1:11:00 equals 7:06 minute miles.

To meet my fantasy goal for the 1/2 marathon all of the miles need to be 6:56. Sub seven minute miles for 13.1 miles is such 'a long way to go with a short time to get there'.

As a side note - Big Lots is out of tuna pouches...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Suicides

Tried to do a LT run in the treadmill this morning at the Payne Center. I started out a little too aggressive. I set the treadmill to maintain my heart rate at 170 BPM. However, the treadmill with allow the heart rate to fluctuate by five degrees either way before slowing or increasing pace / incline. After 20 minutes my heart rate was at 175 and I was not able to sustain. Next time I will put in a more conservative 165 - 168.

I hit the pull ups and chin ups pretty hard to finish out the workout.

Did suicides at lunch. A hard set of 6 with 1 minute RI followed by a slow run around the field. Then two more hard sets.

Finished out the lunch session with a chest workout. Just like last week, every set to failure was tough. We have been doing a reverse pyramid the last two weeks. I will feel this all weekend.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Panic

Ended up riding the bike home on Tuesday. Nice cool weather. Jodie and I enjoyed the ride.

I had planned on getting up and running to work again. Jodie had to drive so I would not have to run home. We went to bed a normal time, however, we were both awaken by the door bell ringing non-stop. It was after midnight. I jumped out of bed and put on a pair of jeans and a shirt. The ringing had turned to banging on the front door. We live in a quite neighborhood. This was very odd.

I went to the front door and it was Phil from across the street. We have been over to Phil's house for a cookout and we are very neighborly.

Phil was very pale and not breathing well. He had his blackberry out and was talking to someone. I told Phil to come into the house. He was having problems breathing. He was trying to speak with his son on the phone. I took the phone and spoke with Scott - Scott does not live in town.

Scott said that this has happened to Phil before and that we has acid reflux and has trouble breathing. Phil was also in full blown panic. I tried to decide whether to call an ambulance or take Phil to the hospital.

I am ashamed to say that if it were more serious Phil would have died in my house. Eventually I went with Phil to his house and we talk and he felt better.

I got back to sleep at around 3AM.

I drove in to work with Jodie. I was dead to the world. When my schedule gets interrupted it is hard for me to get started. So no morning workout.

Wednesdays are "Stadium Days." Ran the steps with Vic, Chad and Richard. The weather was cool and I felt strong. I post a 5:37, 5:22 and a 5:23 on the stadium sessions. We then went out on the field to attempt a few field goals. Chad, a former soccer player, had made Vic a wager that we could nail 9 out of 10 from 23 yards. The same distance that the Mississippi State kicker had recently missed.

It turned out that Chad probably could not hit 1 out of 10 much less 9. We all made a few attempts at the field goal. I was the only one to hit one. Did abs and shoulders in the gym.

Ended up driving home with Jodie.

As a side note - I did not do the Dot Race on Tuesday but Vic clocked a 6:4x! He is getting fast.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Running ragged

Have really stepped the running up this week in preparation of the half marathon at the end of next month. Rode the bike in Monday morning. It was brisk and although I did not time the ride I feel that it was rather fast. I have made this mistake before - time trialing every ride. There is no recovery for the wicked. I had to stop timing the rides - I always tried to beat the last one. Not doing that anymore, but the ride was fast!

Decided to increase the time on the "alpine trail" treadmill run for Monday. Max 8.5 MPH with an incline of 12 units (units because I really do not know what it measures but 15 is the highest) for 40 minutes. This comes out to a very challenging 4.5 miles in 40 minutes at near constant incline. There is no decline on the treadmill just less incline. After the first hill the flat section at 8.5 MPH gets you going.

Ran home from work in the afternoon (6 miles). It was a steady pace and felt good. Saw Lance out on the trace on his bike. We slowed and we chewed the fat a bit. He rehashed and relived the recent Heritage Triathlon. I was jealous of his war stories - I missed this race. It is always hard to talk to someone on a bike when you are running. At even the slowest pace on a bike you are trying to keep up on foot. We talked for maybe a mile and I was wearing down.

That gave me 10.5 miles for the day. Not too bad. Since I left the bike at work I knew - and was prepared - to run back into work in the morning.

Another brisk morning so I wore some light gloves and a log sleeve technical shirt under a cycling jersey. I was dressed just about right. For fun I pushed the pace when I encountered the dots. Not a fast pace but I did pick it up a bit.

Saw a guest lecturer at lunch so no workout. Still have to run or ride home - have not made my mind up yet but I have nearly 30 miles in 3 days. I like to push it when I feel it but sometimes I need to temper myself.