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Saturday, February 28, 2009

New 5k PB


Just got back from the first 5k of the year. It rained really hard all night and most of the morning but it let up about an hour before the race. I did this race last year with a 20:31 (11th overall). I have not been working much on speed this year but everything is coming along. I got 8th overall (about 1:20 behind the fast group that pulled away) and finished with a 19:19 (not offical - it was between 19:15 - 19:19 so I am rounding up right now). My previous best was 19:56 set in August (2008). I felt really good in this race. I paced it well with the first mile at 6:21. I usually go out much to fast and just try to hang on. I feel that I have a little more speed in my legs and want to see 18:5X this year.

5k Race prep

It rained like cats and dogs last night. There is a chance for thunderstorms all morning. The 5k is on the rails to trails (asphalt) so it will not be muddy or nasty - just warm and humid. My 5k PB is 19:56 and I hope to best that time. I did an easy 4 mile run yesterday but my legs are still a little tired. I'm sure they will wake up once the race starts.

It is going to be a tough day.

Friday, February 27, 2009

ROTC and a new swim PB

The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave... - Patrick Henry
I rode the exercise bike yesterday at lunch - a hill workout no less. I hate these exercise bikes at the gym but they are a good workout. The interval hills that I did required for me to stand up on the machines to just keep the cadence in the 60's - this is tough stuff.

This morning I did a easy, quick 4 mile run on the trace in my sorta-fast, sorta- flats racing shoes. I put a set of yanks on them the other day so I needed to test them out prior to the 5k race on Saturday. The running was an out and back and I passed the ROTC crowd - they were coming at me - I guess it is that time of year. I do not see them on cold mornings - on those days they train on the basketball court in the fitness center. Don't get me wrong, I completely respect anyone who enlists for military service - but some mornings when I ride my bicycle to work and they are taking up the entire multi-use trail - it can be a pain to get around them.

As I turned around on my out and back I was thinking these thoughts. There were many ROTC'ers in front of me and 'patrolling' the long leaf trace. They were lined up on both edges of the asphalt all decked out in their fatigues and carrying M-16's (I don't think that they are real - but they do look real!) As I started to pass the back few one of them yelled 'Shift Right!' It was pretty cool. They all moved over to the right and it created an entire lane for me to run. However, it did force me to pick the pace up a little so that I did not look like I was loafing off. I finished the 4 miles in just over 32 minutes.

At lunch I had my last swim class. We took it easy and did a lot of drills. I need to remember to keep a high elbow on the recovery, reach out really far, enter the water with my finger tips and not cross my center line. I really enjoyed the class and the attention of someone that knows how to swim. I also did one 100 yard time trial and finished in 1:16. This has been time well spent in the pool. Now I just need to put these skills to practice and really increase the volume over the next month.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Morning ride.

I had my second to last swim class last night. I have really enjoyed the coaching. It is nice to be challenged and then get critiqued on my form. I am definitely feeling better in the water. Last class will be Friday.

For the first time this year I hit the trace on the bike for an early morning ride. The sun was barely starting to come up at 6:30AM. A nice 20 mile out and back to start the day - nothing killer but I finished in 1:01.43 on my road bike. That is a pretty good time on that bike.

Although I am looking forward to more light in the evening I wish the sunrise would continue to get earlier. Remember Daylight Savings time is March 8th - SPRING FORWARD in 2 weeks.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lite running preparing for the 5k

I did some quarter mile intervals yesterday at lunch at just under a 6:00 mile pace. I got a total of 10 miles in for the day (easy 6 in the morning - hard 4 at lunch).

I had fun in the pool this morning with a really easy and quick workout. Just a 250 yard warm up followed my 10 x 100 yards with 20 seconds rest. These were all in the 1:33 - 1:35 second range. In retrospect I really was not pushing very much. That is near my average last week for 1000 yards with no rest. Anyway, followed it up with an easy 250 yard cool down. I was just trying to practice my head position during this swim. I have swim class tonight.

Ran an easy 4 miles on the trace and borrowed a GPS watch from Vic to calculate the approximate 5k start and finish for the race on Saturday. I was right on with my guess last week. Did lots of abs after the run. I will probably be a little sore tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day Off?

Bueller?... Bueller?... Bueller?
I actually took a cardio day off yesterday - it was scheduled! No running, biking or swimming at all. I normally have my swim class on Monday evenings but due to Mardi Gras the campus was closed. Yeah - that's right - No classes or anything here in Southern Mississippi during Mardi Gras (staff has to work though). I did do some strength training during lunch (back and abs) but nothing big. My legs felt better this morning so I ran the 6 miles to work at a conversational pace (just under 8 min / mile). Might do some speed work at lunch.

Also I think that I will sign up for a 5k for the weekend to test my speed and follow the race with a longer run.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cycling TT PB and complete exhaustion

I wanted to get up early on Saturday and do a cycling Time Trial but it was freezing – okay nearly freezing - 39 degrees. I was suited up with all of my cycling gear. I decided to get some chores out of the way while waiting. I also ate a bowl of oatmeal.

It finally got a little warmer – about 50 degrees and I decided to brave the outdoors. I saddled up and decided to ride the course as a warm up prior to going full speed. My legs felt like lead and my arms ached in the aero bars. I was not feeling myself at all. I also got very cold really quick. I did the 12 mile out and back – this was supposed to be a warm up – and turned home. I was going to go home anyway and pick up the ROCKET helmet but just went inside. I did not change out of my cycling clothes in hopes of getting another chance at the time trial. I also ate another bowl of oatmeal.

It got warmer and I got psyched up for a real attempt. I donned the ROCKET helmet and headed out again. I stopped at the Time Trial start line and zeroed out my heart rate monitor / stop watch. With one foot clipped in I started the timer. I fumbled briefly getting the second foot clipped in and then I was off. The last time I did this time trial was July 31st, 2008 I had the option of someone holding my bike by the seat while I was completely clipped in – just like the pros. I did not opt for this and instead held onto a stop sign. During that time trial we had 5 or six entrants and a 30 second staggered start. I went second to last. This was as near head to head competition as it gets. Bragging rights were on the line. You could barely see the person in front of you but you knew they were there. Male ego and testosterone flowing you want to pass as many as possible and damn sure do not want to be passed. I got passed in about 5 minutes by Keith – the strongest of the group and I ended up passing two others. I got third place last summer. I missed second place by 4 seconds.

Everything was better this second attempt of the day. I immediately got up to speed. My heart rate was building. My legs were pumping. I don’t even remember my arms –they were not a factor. There is only one cross road on this section of the trace. I rarely used road that you can see cars coming easily from both sides. You slow a little but rarely need to stop also the out portion of the time trial is slightly up hill. I hit the turn-around at just about 17 minutes. The back portion will be faster. The trace was relatively deserted and I was flying. I was keeping my heart rate up. I was keeping my speed up. I was nearing the end of the 11.85 mile course. During the last ¼ to ½ mile I sprinted with everything I had. As I crossed the finish line I stopped my heart rate monitor / stop watch. The final time was 32:00.1 (average 22.22 MPH). I was a little let down. I had thought that I did last summer’s run at 31:XX or something. It was a good effort but not enough. I’m not talking depression or anything but I was disappointed. I rode the same bike with the same times and wore the same clothes with the same helmet. Everything that I could control was the same and I was slower than last summer. Sure I was peaking last summer when I did that trial. Sure I cannot control the conditions of the course – the wind, the temperature, the humidity, the road conditions – but I am working of it.

I felt better for having done the exercise. I always get a lift from a good effort. I looked up my time from the summer. I finished the 11.85 miles in 32:10 (average 22.1 MPH) – I beat my time by 10 seconds! I immediately felt better. 10 seconds really should not have that much control over my attitude! I’ll try to remember this. Funny enough, I average 23+ MPH in two races last year. I seem to perform better on race day. Maybe it is the competition or maybe the taper – probably both.

On Sunday it was too cold once again to ride outside so I did a long run in the morning. An easy 12.25 mile run on the same course as the ride yesterday. I ran next to the asphalt, in the pine straw, on the way out. This is just to save the wear and tear on the joints. On the return trip I started to feel my right hamstring again. I thought that this nagging injury was just about over. The soft surface seemed to help the joints but it certainly upset the muscles. I ran on the asphalt on the way home. I had to stop for bathroom and water three times during this 1:42 hour run.

I forgot to take nutrition on this run. I am trying to remember to take a gel or something with me. I did eat oatmeal prior to the run so it was not a big deal but I need to do better.

I messed around the house the rest of the morning before the 1:30 group ride. I dressed in my arm / leg warmers and headed out. I immediately knew I was under dressed. There was a fierce cross wind. The kind of wind that you never get a break from – it feels like you have to fight it both ways. No relief.

For the first time in forever I decided to turn around at the first stop. I always get a longer ride but I was simply miserable. I was riding strong but I was freezing – 31 miles would have to do. As soon as I got home I had a meal and filled the Jacuzzi tub with hot water and bubbles. I grabbed a beer and a running magazine and had a nice soak. With my core temperature returning I was feeling good again.

Later that night I nearly collapsed from exhaustion. Starting around eight o’clock I could not keep my head up. I could not keep my eyes open. I knew that I needed to make coffee for the morning – don’t even get me started on the necessity of my morning coffee – but I just could not get up to do it. I crashed hard. I have done longer runs and longer rides and with more intensity than yesterday and not felt as tired. The only times that I have felt like this are following a maximum effort. This happens after a race or a huge breakthrough training session. I had neither yesterday.

The training plan has today as an off day – I’m feeling better though.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

New bike stand -


Just for fun I turned my single bike stand into a double bike stand. Quick, easy, painless.

Since I live on a rails to trails I have thought about having a group BRICK session or even a mini-duathlon. The transition could take place in my garage (a secure area). It would be very easy to make a collapsible rack like this for several bikes. For about $10 I think you could make one that would stretch the entire length of the garage and hold about 10 bikes. A buck a bike is not bad!

Friday, February 20, 2009

More swimming - I'm on a roll

Julie - Thanks for the picture and yes - that is my ROCKET helmet.

I got up early this morning to do a 1000 yard time trial. At the end of January (before swim class) I did a 1000 yard time trial. Same conditions (pool -duh) but I was unsure of the total elapsed time - It was either 16:20 (1:38 / 100 yards) or 17:20 (1:43 / 100 yards) - I'm betting now that it was the 17:20 - I feel faster! This morning I did an easy 500 warm up and then a 1000 yard swim in 15:56 (1:35.6 / 100 yards). A new personal best! It was harder than I wanted it to be - I know it is supposed to be hard but the only time I am going to be swimming in a race I will have that bike and run stuff afterward. My warm up and cool down 500 yard sets were just about the same pace.

Had a nice 5 mile run outside at lunch. I was going to be a longer run but I saw some Sam and Chris on their bike and they were broke down. Sam's cassette lock ring kept spinning off. He was on his race wheels with a SRAM red cassette. Super light stuff. Anyway - it is good that if he was going to have a break down then it is better on a training run than a race.

I am thinking of the trifecta - doing a known out and back bike route in the morning (followed by a brick). It would be interesting to see where my biking is compared to last year.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Running and swim PB's

Went for an easy 4 mile run at lunch yesterday. A nice recovery run. After work I had another swim class.

Mary thought it would be interesting to do 8 x 100 yards every eight minutes. I thought this did not seem like a very tough workout. When I do running intervals I do not rest nearly as long as that - at most a 1 to 1 ratio.

I had to do each of these sets at full, all out race pace full blown intensity. The very first set I finished in 1:20! A full two seconds faster than my previous best at 1:22. It was hard and I swam a couple of 100's to cool down while waiting for the next set. This one seemed like it took forever. The last length coming back was very difficult. I would have thought that more than 6 minutes rest I would have been completely rested. I clocked in at 1:19 - my fastest ever. I only had Coach Mary for about 50 minutes so I could not get all 8 sets in - thank god but I did complete 6. I progressively got slower. The times are noted below -

1:20
1:19
1:22
1:23
1:24
1:22


Got up early this morning for another 4 mile run. Easy the whole way - conversational pace - I did a measured 5k at 22:55 minutes.

Went bowling at lunch!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Swimming and running PB's

Determination and perseverance move the world; thinking that others will do it for you is a sure way to fail. - Marva Collins
Yesterday was a scheduled off day. I do not do these well. I did let the legs rest but I worked my abs and back and then had a swim class after work. Mary really pushed me during this session again. I am feeling strong and making improvement. I did another 100 yard time trial. I started way to fast, like I was doing only a 50 yard TT - I had to hold on for the second lap. I finished the 100 yards in 1:22 - a personal best by 2 seconds. I think I have some more time in me (my kick is improving).

I rode the rollers this morning for 30 minutes. The rollers put a lot of pressure on my wrists. You do not notice how often you move your hands around around when you ride. I am getting very comfortable on the rollers but not enough to just be able to take my hands off of the bars.

At lunch I decide to try and redeem myself from the running time trial that I failed at last week. This was a little different. It was cool outside and I ran a known 5k route on the long leaf trace. There has been some construction so I am not completely sure of the exact distance so I added about 30 feet to the start / finish. This is an out and back and the back is just a little bit up hill. I ended up splitting this run perfectly. At the turn around I was at 9:55 and finished at 19:50. This would be a personal best. My average heart rate for the 19:50 was 173 with a max of 189. My complete max heart rate is right about 195 and I have been really close to this (194) during a real 5k. I might have just a little bit more speed in me yet. This is a good thing since my real 5k PB is 19:56. All of the 5k's are starting soon - should be a good year.

Monday, February 16, 2009

No drafting!


I had planned on another 4 + hour bike ride on Sunday but it was wet and raining outside. I knew that I could not ride the trainer or rollers for that long so I looked for more productive things to do. I decided it was time to do the bike maintenance - quick tune up of the drive train and true any out of whack wheels.

I got some warm sudsy water and went to town on each bike. I was a little embarrassed when I had all of the bikes together. There are only 2 people in the house, Jodie and I, and we have a total of six bikes. I have 2 road bikes (old and new) and a tri bike. Jodie has 2 road bikes (old and new) and a mountain bike. I want a mountain bike.

Anyway, lots of bikes to clean. Jodie's new road bike (new - three years old) had so much gunk in / on the cassette that I decide to remove it to get everything out. It was gross. I have been promised cookies for my efforts.

Before:

After:

The sun decided to come out around noon. I loaded up on the tri bike to meet up with the group ride. It was still wet outside and a little chilly (I know 60 degrees is not cold). There were only about 6 people that showed up. As there was still a lot of puddles on the ground I decided to hang back a good deal - no drafting - no spray. Everyone except for Ben wanted to turn back at the 15 mile mark. Ben wanted to do about 50 miles. I did not really plan my nutrition for a ride that long - 2 gels and I actually ate one at the beginning of the ride because I was busy in the garage and did not eat a snack - oops.

We headed out towards Bassfield. Ben is in his forties and has been doing triathlons for his whole life. He actually promoted the 'Heritage Eagleman Triathlon' here in Hattiesburg and is a USAT triathlon official. I really enjoyed talking shop with someone with as much experience as Ben. As a side note, Ben is also doing the New Orleans 70.3 in April.

I stopped at a dumpy little tobacco / beer store in Bassfield to fuel up. Butterfingers were 2 for $1 - nom nom. I ended up getting 60 miles in just over 3 hours. No drafting at all and on the tri bike. I was pretty pleased that I have built up a comfort level on the tri bike so quickly this year. That first ride last month was such a killer to the quads and 'soft tissue'.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valintine's Day - For real this time

Valentine's for me this year = 2 hour training run. It was raining most of the morning and I was not looking forward to having to go to the gym to get two hours on the treadmill. Fortunately the weather that looked like it was going to slam us did not and I hit the trace. I was running by heart rate zone 1 / 2 which is about an 8 minute / mile pace. The first 90 minutes kind of flew by then I started to notice the fatigue. I always say this after longish runs - I need to start taking something to eat with me. I start getting tired and fatigued and then loopy. My math skills stop working and I can (not too bad) get a little confused. Like today, I run an out and back course and at one of my landmarks (a station on the long leaf trace) I noticed that I only had 18 minute to complete the last 4 miles. I could not figure out how my pace had slowed that much. I was a little demoralized and frustrated. It took me a few minutes to realize that I only had 2 miles to go (I calculated the out and back distance). I do this all the time. I finished the 15 mile run in 2:04.xx with 3 stops for water and a quick chat with Audrey from the pinebeltpacers.


I have a whole case of GU just for training but I have not been taking them on the runs. Starting tomorrow, anything longer than 90 minutes and I will take nutrition!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day



They did not have Valentine's candies like that when I was a kid! Maybe I am just cynical but that's a little creepy.

I rode the rollers for 45 minutes this morning. I was practicing a higher (normal) cadence in the 90's. On the rollers my cadence has fallen. I bounce a little with the high cadence but I think that is the purpose of the rollers - to smooth out your riding and make you better. I also started to lift one hand off the bars for 15 seconds at a time. It is much easier with my right hand. I am not comfortable yet but I can at least wipe the sweat from my eyes.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Swimming and rollers

No one's star-struck here. You puke right next to the best of them. - Catharina Hedberg
I had my swim class last night. I worked on POWER. It was a tough workout. Lots and lots of laps. The hardest sets started at 2 x 100 yards then 3 x 75 then 4 x 50 then 4 x 25 with decreasing rest intervals. By the last 25 I think I was only getting like 5 seconds rest. I thought that I was going to puke that last lap. I think Missy understands something about this.

I did 30 minutes on the rollers this morning in the garage. I almost made the entire 30 minutes without stopping, however, I still can't take my hands off of the handle bars very well. I tried to make it the last five minutes but the drops of sweat on my eye lashes were very distracting. I still have to master the one handed roller riding before I put the tri bike on the contraption.

For lunch I worked on more swimming. I just did lots of small sets for a total of 2000 yards - warm up plus 10 x 50, 10 x 100, cool down.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Running TT - strong and a wimp

I rode the rollers this morning in the garage while watching the rain come down. 35 minutes and practiced clipping and unclipping from the pedals.

The running TT took place at lunch. My legs still fell like lead but the mind was willing. I did my easy 10 minute warm-up (10:00 minute / mile pace) and then accelerated. The 2 mile mark of the working set ( the Time Trial ) came at 13:20 - right at a 6:40 minute / mile pace and I was still working into the set. I leveled off at a 6:30 minute / mile pace. My heart rate was climbing into the mid 180's - higher than I would have liked for this speed - this heart rate is not sustainable. At 186 I backed the treadmill down to let my heart rate recover a little bit. This was right about 19 minutes into the time trial. This is where the machine malfunctioned. I had slowed to about a 7 minute / mile pace and my heart rate was back in the 170's. I went to increase the speed of the treadmill and it would not go. I was running along at this less than maximum pace and getting frustrated. I hit the stop button in hopes that I could then resume the workout. The treadmill just stopped and reset itself. I started running again but by this time my heart rate had recovered down into the 150's. I also did not a have distance that could compare to the earlier time trial. I wimped out here. I called it a day - a 10 minute warm up with a hard 20 minute set - good for just about 4 miles.

I still have a swimming class later today.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Riding in the rain

Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?' - Peter Maher, Irish-Canadian Olympian and sub-2:12 marathoner
I rode the rollers in the garage for 15 minutes and then hit the trace. It had been raining and there was a light mist in the air. I got soaked almost immediately.

The workout called for a 10 minute warm up followed by ten minutes of hard (at LT) followed by 2 minutes easy recovery - time 5. I did not do so well with this workout. I am not sure of my cycling LT level. I had to do several short LT sessions of 2 or 3 minutes with the last one being 10 minutes. These were fast no doubt but not sustainable. Maybe it was the rain or maybe it was the heavy legs from all of the hill work this weekend. I only rode outside for 30 minutes. I would like to try this workout again in the near future. I know that I can do better.

At lunch I did 30 minutes of easy spinning followed by chest strength training. I had intended to add an extra swim session at the end of the day but I thought better of it - it was not scheduled and I was very tired and still had a ballroom dancing class later in the evening.

I have an hour of easy spinning in the morning and I am going to try to do most of this on the rollers - it is mentally as well as physically demanding but I believe it will enhance my bike handling skills.

At lunch I have the following:
Run TT - KEY WORKOUT - Assess Fitness - 55 minutes
After 10 minute warm up, you are going to run for 30 minutes as hard as you can for the entire 30 minutes. After starting the run, hit your 'Lap' button so you record the average HR over the last 20 minutes. This can be run on a track or on a measured course. 15 min CD

In January I ran (I added 5 minutes to the cool down for an even 1 hour) 7.7 miles in an hour with 4.5 of those miles being during the time trial. I took my heart rate average for each 'set' - for the second part of the time trial I averaged 174 beats per minute. You can read about that LT TT here. 4.5 miles in 30 minutes is a 6:40 minute / mile pace. 4.6 miles will be a 6:31 minute / mile pace. This will be tough.

I have another swimming class after work tomorrow.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Swim class - week two

I had a nice outside run a lunch today - about 6 miles. The weather was perfect - mid 70's, sunny, easy, breezy, beautiful. It was hard to go back inside to work.

The second week of swim class started tonight. Coach Mary had me work on speed. There were lots of sets of 50's working on drills, some kick and pull work (with my new paddles).

At the end of the session I was asked how I felt about doing a 100 yard time trial to get a bench mark - I took the challenage. I set a 100 yard PR by a mile - 1:24. My previous best was around 1:35 - Early last year it would have been in the 1:50's (two years ago it would have been everything to just finish the damn 100 yards and it would have taken me more than 2 minutes - with lots of gasping and choking and much water swallowed). I can't wait to see if this drops a little bit more in the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Beautiful days and lots of biking

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. - Ernest Hemingway
I swam for an hour at lunch on Friday. It was hard to stay indoors. The weather has been in the high 60's / low 70's for the past few days. I'm not sure of my speed in the water but while doing the 'Swim Golf' drill where I count my strokes I am seeing definite improvement. Last year it took my right around 20 strokes to go the 25 yards across the pool. I know - that sucks. I was able to get it down to right around 17 strokes by the end of the year. After last week and making some minor adjustments to the way that I pull I was hitting 14 strokes when I concentrated. Once, with a hard kick - and I do not have a hard kick - I was able to do the length in about 12.25 strokes. This is not sustainable but I do see improvement. I made up for the indoor sessions this weekend.

I met up with Sam, Chris and Shawn on Saturday for a trace ride. We got off of the trace and did some hill repeats. We found a hill that was just about a mile long and dropped into a gear that would allow for us to spin up it. We repeated this 5 times. The first couple were pretty easy but they got harder. Shawn was hacking up a lung left and right. My goal was to stay ahead of him. Mission accomplished - phlegm free. The total ride ended up being about 35 miles.

I did a very easy 30 minute / 3 mile brick following this bike ride. Nothing hard. I did not push anything. I am going to have to do some hard bricks in the near future. I used to look forward to these runs but I am feeling a little afraid. I just need to HTFU!

Sunday was also good weather. I am continuing to try and learn to use the rollers. I rode for 3 sets of 10 minutes with my road bike and clip less pedals. Not too bad. I had to stop every 10 minutes wipe the sweat streaming down my face. I am not comfotable enough to lift my hands from the bars.

Then I got back on the trace and replayed the route from yesterday minus the 5 times hill repeats. I went out a little further and got a total of 30 miles.

I met the group ride as they were heading out and jumped on the end of the train. It did not take long to get near the front. John and Ty were really hammering and I was just trying to hang on. We regrouped at Epley station and I realized that everyone else was really strung out behind us. It was only John, Ty and I at the front.

As luck would have it, for the third time this weekend I rode the exact same hills. I did not stay at the front of these at all. I let the fast guys rise up out of their saddles and attack. I just stayed back.

On the return trip it was my turn to pull just past Clyde depot. I was giving a strong effort at just about 24 MPH. I had pulled for about 1.5 miles and was nearing my limit when Ty pulls up next to me and yells for me to 'Did deep' or something like that. He was passing me easily. I told him I would just grab his wheel. And that is what I did - I did indeed need to dig deep just to grab on to that wheel. It would not have been a big deal if I had just not completed my pull.

Now firmly on his wheel we were going 27 - 28 MPH for several miles. My heart rate had descended to a more comfortable range and we just cruised. We had to slow for an intersection (the road I turn off on) and I noticed that once again no one was behind us.

It was a fast ride!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

5 questions

Five questions from Marci at Triathlete 4 Life - a great triathlon blog by the way. If you would like to be interviewed please check the end of this post.

1. How did you get into the sport of triathlon?

I had enjoyed running for a while, however, I was not able to run as often as I wanted - if I ran everyday then my legs would ache - I was tempting injury. I discovered cycling to cross train. Well, once I had two out of the three I decided to look into triathlons. Considering that I had never really swam any kind of distance, this was a daunting task. I was pretty scared of the open water swim. If fact my first two open water swims were in races (almost a year apart) and both were horrible – complete panic.

2. What are you hoping to get out of your Ironman experience?

I am very goal oriented. I like to challenge myself. Setting the bar high and trying to improve incrementally is exciting to me. The Ironman race will allow me to know that I can achieve almost anything – mentally or physically – if I set my mind to it.

3. What motivates you to get up in the morning?

I like to hit the ground running. To be better than I was yesterday.
To try and to improve. I really believe that if you are not going forward you are really going backwards. You go backwards fast when lying on the couch or bed.

4. What has been your biggest accomplishment in your triathlon career?

Setting the goal of my first triathlon (Sunfish 07/07/2007 – my birthday) and completing that goal.

5. Who is your favorite athlete and why?

I am not a big fan of many sports stars. I don’t believe in celebrity. I went to elementary school with a bunch of kids whose parents were professional baseball players (Texas Rangers) and realized they were just parents. Maybe they had a little more money but... I also do not the the salaries were what they are today. They had nice houses but not MTV Cribs. With celebrity you place these people, and they are people, on high pedestals and they disappoint. However, I have been a fan of Muhammad Ali for a long time (I love the documentary When We Were Kings) and more recently Jens Voight and Chrisse Wellington (she has a great story). If you have time these video's are great (I watched them on the trainer the other day) -












To play along:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by giving you five questions. (I get to pick the questions.)
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

First swim lesson

If you want to learn to swim jump into the water. On dry land no frame of mind is ever going to help you. - Bruce Lee
The first swim lesson was awesome. There was only one other person that signed up for swim lessons that already knew how to swim. The rest had never really been in the water. They were bobbing up and down. I heard their instructor say, "It looks like everyone is afraid to put their face in the water. Who wants to touch the bottom with me?" I think it is great that these adults are learning to swim.

I grew up with a swimming pool (in Texas) and was in it my whole life. However, I never really swam. It was mostly playing around and tossing a ball or diving for pennies. About three years ago was the first time that I started trying to swim laps at the pool. I was only doing this because I wanted to fulfill a dream of completing a triathlon. So I guess I had to learn to swim.

It was very hard to get started. I felt that I could run (slowly) for as long as I wanted but the swimming zapped my strength after only a few laps. I was not breathing right and was exhausted immediately. Fast forward a year or two and I am a much better swimmer. My times are coming down. I no longer panic in the open water swims. I still want to improve. Get faster. Get more efficient.

So Jennifer and I are the only ones in the swim class that know how to swim. I know Jennifer from the pinebeltpacers running club. She also either does or wants to compete in triathlons. So instead of being a liability, Jennifer and I get our own dedicated swim coach. Mary is a grad student here at USM. She was a competitive runner and swimmer in high school and college and teaches / coaches swim camps in Texas all summer long. Pretty cool.

I believe that I take instruction well and asked Mary to simply tell me where my stroke or form was having problems. She immediately helped me better position my head a little higher in the water. She also was helping me with my pull. I could feel the water better.

I did a 1000 yard time trial last week so that I can better judge my progress. I'm excited about the class.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

LT run and swimming lessons

I did an easy 30 minutes on the exercise bike yesterday at lunch and then 30 minutes of back strength training. After I got home from work I attempted to ride the rollers again. My goal is to be able to ride them for 30 minutes with clip pedals by the end of the month - 13resolutions.

Today was a LT run on the treadmill. I warmed up for 0.5 miles and then increased the pace. I did not want my heart rate to go above 175 beats per minute. This is at the upper end of my aerobic zone. It is hard to maintain. I started at about 7:03 minutes / mile and increased every 0.5 mile or so by 2 tenths of a MPH. My heart rate hit 175 beats per minute at around 6:30 minutes / mile. I did not want to but I had to back off the pace for the last mile to maintain my heart rate below 175 beats. The results are as follows:

WU 0.5 miles 4:21- 126 HR AVE
1.0 mile - 6:46 - 158 HR AVE
2.0 mile - 6:31 - 170 HR AVE
3.0 mile - 6:50 - 173 HR AVE
CD 0.5 miles 4:14- 161 HR AVE


The total was 4 miles in 28:44 for a combined pace of 7:11 minute / mile.

I have my furst swimming lesson in about half an hour!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Broke the TT bike out

Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia. - H.G. Wells
For Sunday I did break the race bike out (Giant Trinity A1). This was the first time that I had been on it in about 4 months. I have been riding my road bike exclusively. The road bike feels like a Cadillac compared to the race bike. Nice and smooth and stretched out and stable. The more up right seating position is so comfy.

I did a little 20 mile time trial out and back from my house. I have done this route so many times. The trace was crowded (beautiful day) so I had to slow down a little a couple of times. The race bike is faster, but you have to work at it harder. The steep seat angle and aero position just simply cheat the wind better.

That being said - I has so miserable and hurting during this 20 mile ride. The hard aero angle is a killer on the 'soft tissue'. The biggest hurdle was the different muscles that this bike requires you to use. My quadriceps were screaming at me the entire ride. My heart rate was reasonable but the legs were aching.

Last year I rode the race bike from May until October. I never got off of the bike. I rode it as commuter, time trial, group ride - you name it. I was really surprised at how different it is to ride.

I am glad that I got it out early so that I can incorporate it into my training.

After the 20 mile time trial (in just under an hour - 59:20 - way off from my PR of about 54:xx from last summer) I parked the race bike and jumped on the road bike for the group ride. I did not want to push it any harder that I already had. I got another 35 miles in a spirited ride with the group. I was glad to be done with the ride when it was over. Got 55 miles for the day and 108 for the weekend.

Not sure why but my nagging right hamstring was bothering me all last night. Not much better today.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Spring is in the air -

The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine. - John Howard
*** New resolution at 13resolutions ***

I had some bicycle seat time to make up from last week so I got on the trainer yesterday morning. I churned out 20 miles in right around an hour. It was nice to get it out of the way early. I was going to ride the bike outdoors when the weather warmed up a little but I did not want to just mill around the house waiting for the sun.

I did meet up with Chris and Sam for an afternoon ride. There was a little confusion of where we were going to meet so we ended up crossing paths about half way through the ride. So I was on my road bike on and off the trace hitting the hills. These are the hills that I found just last week with the group ride. I was able to power up them and it felt good. The air was brisk but the sun was out. The heat of the sun felt good on my black arm warmers.

I started to head back after about 16 miles and that is when I crossed Chris and Sam. They were both on their race bikes (Sam even had his race wheels on his bike - I don't think they ever come off of the race bike). These guys are fast. I was having to draft off of Sam just to stay up with them. There were stretches of road where he was maintaining 27 MPH. Sure he was on his tricked out race bike with tricked out race wheels - but still, maintaining 27 MPH. This is an area of the trace that is relatively flat (maybe a very slight down hill) that I can, if I push it, maintain 22 - 23 MPH. Sam was flying. Sam is the local fast guy (that just happens to be the same age as me). If he shows up at the 5k's or any other race that just means I am racing for second in my age group. Sam is also a great coach and is quick to help you out in your training. He helped me out a lot last year. He was sizing me up for the race season and asking me what I averaged on the bike last year in my races. I told him that it was 21 - 22 MPH. Being that this is only my second full season of triathlon he believes that I will make great strides.
I had to go back and double check my bike splits for a few races to make sure that I was not exaggerating. I had four races last year and the last two I averaged more than 22 MPH (Sunfish - 18 miles in 47:41 for 22.65 MPH and the Heart of Dixie - 27.5 miles in 1:13:50 for 22.35 MPH). FYI - I love athlinks! I ended up getting about 53 miles for the day.

Today I am anxious to get out my race bike and get some seat time. Time Trial / triathlon bikes feel much different than road bikes.