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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Weight - ???

My original weight goal was to be 155 by April 5th. If you look at the chart – this simply has not happened. My weight has bounced around like a fart in a mitten. It would seem like it was trending down but jump right back up. Now my weight will fluctuate easily from water weight but it should be dropping. There have been just too many activities (crawfish boil, St Thomas Italian / Irish fest, Beer Club, Running Club – separate clubs but basically the same, meatball cones, founders day celebrations, ballroom dance socials, etc.). Add to the fact that I have been putting some serious mileage in and my appetite has been through the roof.

The diet is easy to control at work – I have a regimented schedule except for various work place social functions. But at home, especially on the weekends, it is a different story. I’m working on it.

I do try to do the right thing. For example – at the duathon last weekend, due to weather, the turnout was a little lite. There were whole pizzas left and we were encouraged to take one. I looked through them trying to find a cheese pizza. All that was left was pepperoni or sausage. I grabbed a sausage pizza. Jody has grad students that work in the field everyday with her. They crawl around on the ground and wear fatigues and stuff and it has been cold and rainy. I thought that I would be a hero and bring them a pizza.

Well, I got home a little late from the race and they were gone. I stuck the pizza in the frig and I would take it to them in the morning. I told Jody my plan. It turns out that in addition to Jody being a vegetarian (I knew this of course) that so is another of her students. Also, one of her students is allergic to meat (beef, chicken, pork). So guess who ate the pizza (or half of it) – that’s right – from hero to zero.

If there is any consolation prize – according to my bio-luminescence, bio-mechanical, bio-electric thingy thingy scale I have lost 2 percent body fat. This is not an accurate measurement device but it has proven to be precise. I’m going and get my Dexa body fat measurement when I won’t be embarrassed by the results.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Group Ride and taper

I went to a crawfish boil Saturday night. Too much to eat. I got into a 3 hour volleyball game. It was just for fun - I had a great time.

Slept late on Sunday - after all that is what tapering is all about. I did end up going for a 40+ mile bike ride with the Sunday group ride. It was a cool day and I was wearing arm and leg skins. I let the fast group pull away and stayed in the back. No need to push it this late in the game. The fast group slowed and waited for everyone at Epley and I was able to bridge the gap. I still was not pushing a hard pace. For one of the first times I headed back at Sumral. I would have liked to continue the ride but I had softball practice a little later in the afternoon.

I got back to campus and just had time to change for softball. We threw the ball around and batted for about an hour and a half and then I headed home on the bike. Vic took my softball bag home with him since I was on the bike. It occurred to me, after the fact, that my drivers licence, school id and cell phone were in the bag. Luckily I had keys to the office where my bike was - glad that key was on a lanyard or I would have been walking.

With no way to get to the gym this morning (no ID) I slept in again for a little bit - probably a good thing. At lunch I decided to swim. I got 3000 yards and I feel strong in the water.

I am excited about this weekend.

The lake conditions for Pontchartrain Beach -:

Fecal / Coliform = 24
Water Temperature = 68
Salinity = 5.8
Disolved Oxygen = 6.62

Saturday, March 28, 2009

April Fool's Duathlon

Did a nice 6 1/2 mile run yesterday at lunch - nothing big.

It rained cats and dogs all last night. Thunder and lightening. The rains stopped around 6 AM. It was hard to get out of bed but I decided to head out to the race site. We do not get many races that are actually in town. I got to the race site at about 7:15 - there were not many people there but I knew several including the race director. The race was scheduled to start at 9 AM.

Sam, Chris and Steve all showed up shortly. I registered and was the first to set up in transition. I got the best place. The race would be a 2 mile run, 10 mile bike and another 2 mile run. I was strategizing with Steve on how hard to go out. Sam had said pretty much to go all out. Steve and I were debating how hard to do the first run so that we did not blow up on the bike. The race got started about 30 minutes late. I did not have a lot of nervous tension like I can sometimes have - I think the tension is mainly anticipating the swim. The air was thick at the start of the race but the rain was gone. There were mud puddles all along the run course.

I did not even try to stay with the front runners - I know better. The leader of the race was Jacob (twenty something fast guy) who just won the Sunfish Duathlon last weekend. He had a big X on his back for Sam to chase - Sam would be on his road bike with aero bars (his Scott Plasma developed a crack and was sent back to the factory). Steve - the guy that I paced off of in my last 5k - the guy that pulled away by about 30 seconds was 20 feet ahead of me. I was watching my heart rate monitor. I did not want to red line during this first run and fade on the bike. I stayed in my HARD EFFORT zone and let the front runners pull just a little ahead of me. I entered the transition area after the 2 mile run at 11:53. Having the best transition spot meant that I could continue to run through the transition and not have to run with my bike much. My transition was okay - a run through the transition, a shoe change, helmet on and run up a short hill with the bike - total 1:02. The bike course was very wet and there were a few sharp turns leaving the subdivision. I got up to speed pretty quick and was pushing hard. Once we got out on the highway it was all up hill. Not steep just hard up hill! I was grinding away and just thinking to my self that at least it is an out and back so I get to ride down the hill. Chris passed me going up the hill and then I passed Steve on the same hill - yes this was a long hill. I was stuck in no man's land. The leaders had pulled away from me and I had pulled away from Steve. Thoughts of missing turns entered my mind. It was a straight out and back on the highway - no chance of missing turns but I thought about it. At one point I had to drop to my lower front crank. I have not had to do this in a while. A little demoralizing but you do what you have to do.

I hit the turn around and I was hurting but feeling good. The down hills came up quickly and I was flying. The chip and seal roads did not help. I do not carry a cyclometer on my race bike but people after the race said that they hit 40 MPH - that seems a little high, but... I continued on to the transition, the roads were much better in the subdivision. I hit the bike dismount line with a bike time of 29:50 - about a 20 MPH average.

My next transision was 52 seconds and I was back on the same 2 mile out and back. I was feeling tired but running pretty good. I just kept my heart rate in my LT zone and cruised. There was one runner about 50 feet in front of me and a guy named James about 20 feet behind. James is in my age group. I just needed to keep him off of me. I just trucked this run out. The run was the same as the first but you ran through transition to the finish line - so maybe another 150 feet. This run time was 13:29 - about a minute slower than the first run.

My total time was 57:07. Sam ended up winning the race and the Jack 'N the Box trophy. I'm not sure but I think I finished around 8th. I was pretty sure that with Sam winning I would be first in my age group but I only placed second. I forgot about Robin - another fast guy in my age group. I'm probably a little faster than Robin on the bike but his run blows me away.

All in all a good first Duathlon.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Funny captcha

Ran across this earlier tonight - wow!

Pool time - the taper continues

With the pool closed all last week I have been in the water a lot this week. I really felt strong yesterday at lunch. I followed the workout as prescribed and everything just clicked -

Swim Endurance
45 minutes - 2500 yards
Long easy swim.
Warm Up: 400 swim
Main set:
400 pull
400 w/paddles
300 swim
300 pull
300 w/paddles
6x50 Fast on 60"
Cool Down: 100

Easy stuff. This morning I was back in the pool and did 1 x 1500 yards. Not my best time but it was okay (24:43 - best is 23:59).

I want (and NEED) to get some open water swimming but the weather here has not cooperated - big time thunderstorms and stuff. Maybe this weekend.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sharks and bears - oh my!

A torrential downpour occurred yesterday as we were walking to the gym at lunch. When I say torrential I mean it! We were all soaked to the core even though we had umbrellas. Since I was already wet I decided to go for a swim. I hung my clothes up the best that I could so that they could dry and jumped in the pool. This taper thing is hard. It is making me tired. I seem like I have lost my energy.

In the pool I just started and did 1 x 1500 yards – no warm up – no cool down. I just did it to get it done. I did not take a stop watch with me but my time was within a minute of my best. It was no big deal.

I did a small amount of leg strength training after the swim. Because of the rain and storms the softball game was cancelled. I had ridden to work with Jodie (she teaches a Wednesday night class) so I had some time to kill.

I hung around after work for a little while and then decided to walk to the Keg and Barrel – normally I would have gone to the gym. I ran into Rob at the bar. He had stopped for a Guinness on his bike ride home. I see Rob at the gym almost every day – his locker is right by mine and he is in the pool a lot.

It was a nice chat – he lives in St Petersburg, FL and we talked a lot about ocean swimming. When you talk about such thing the topic of sharks always comes up. I think the fear is from being consumed – same fear with bears (remember with bears – I don’t have to run faster than the bear – I just have to run faster than you!). Then Jodie came by to pick me up and she had a pint also.

My tolerance has gone to nothing and I feel the beer this morning. Oh well.

There is a fast and furious Duathlon this weekend (2M - 10M - 2M). This will be a good shakedown for NO70.3!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Speed work on the trace

I met up with Chris, Steve and Sam out on the trace at lunch. They were doing 12 x 1/4 repeats in 1:20 - 1:23 second range with 90 seconds recovery. I got there just a little late and ran the first interval only half way with them. The pace seemed pretty easy - at about 1:30 and only for half way.

Chris had just had his body fat measured. He is faculty in the Human Performance college and has a DEXA body fat analyzer right down the hall from his office. He was right at 10% body fat. Wow! That is impressive. I have never had a real body fat analysis done. Chris said to come on over any afternoon and I could get it done. I feel a little heavy right now but it would be nice to have a baseline. Check it now and then again at the height of summer.

Some info about the DEXA scanner from
This test is used to measure bone density, but it also measures body fat percentage as well as where most of your fat is (as if you didn't know). DEXA uses a whole body scanner and two different low-dose x-rays to read bone mass and soft tissue mass.

It takes about 10-20 minutes to do a body scan

It provides a high degree of precision with a 2-3 % margin of error.

This is considered a gold standard for measuring body fat and bone density

It's painless

Back to the intervals - the easy never lasts! I was, I guess, comfortable for the first 6 or so repeats. I was able to recover quickly and have some conversation with the guys - chew the fat if you will. Towards the end of the intervals it was taking longer and longer to recover. Sam and Steve were pulling away. Some of the intervals they ran were as low as 1:16 (that is a 5:04 pace!). I was still clocking in at 1:22 - 1:23. It was hard to watch them pull away but I just did not have it in me - but I'm working on it. Them finishing a little ahead also cut into my recovery by a few seconds. A very good workout. My times for the quarter mile repeats were:
01. 1:23
02. 1:20
03. 1:22
04. 1:19
05. 1:21
06. 1:21
07. 1:23
08. 1:22
09. 1:26
10. 1:24
11. 1:21

Back at the gym I did a little strength training - bench press and dips. It is tough getting back into the swing of the lifting. My body was sore and tired all last night. A good sore.

Another softball game tonight if it does not get rained out.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Went for a 50 mile bike ride with Jodie on Sunday. It was at a good pace and we enjoyed the ride. I get a little antsy and had to sprint ahead a couple of times. My legs felt strong. Later that night they were a little achy - I guess just from the combined workouts of the weekend. An intramural softball team started up last week. The first game is Monday - we did not really have a team but we did get a short practice in on Sunday - 5 people. I do a lot of ab work in the gym but I can feel my obliques from the bat already.

I got up late on Monday morning and did not have much time in the pool. I saw Jen who had just won her age group in the Sunfish Duathlon. We chatted a bit and I only swam 500 yards. Oh well.

Monday's lunch was a nice and easy (8:30 pace) 4 mile run and then some back strength work. Hitting the weights was tough after a week off. It was really hard to hit the back muscles - my arms were fatiguing quickly.

Had a great time at the softball game on Monday night - even though no one on our team got on base. We were playing one of the fraternity teams - I think some of the girls must have played high school ball. We were just out classed but it was a fun time.

I got up a little bit earlier today - back in the groove - and got a solid 1500 yards in the pool - 250 warm up - 12 x 100 yards with progressively shorter recovery and a 250 yard cool down. I brought the wet suit with me to work and I am going to try to get out in a lake after work. There are thunderstorms on the horizon and this may be my only chance for the rest of the week.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hard Hilly BRICK

Yesterday, I decided to get 20 miles in before getting together with the group. I started out of the house and my legs were very tired. I drove all day yesterday from Texas and I think that takes more out of me than many exercises. Also, my race bike was making some noise from the left (non-drive side cranks area). I stopped 2 miles out to take a look at the bike - and just a break for my legs. I had already switched out the wheels, skewers, and pedals to isolate the noise - still no luck. I headed back home to mess around before the group ride.

I met up with Chris and Butch at Jackson Station right at 1PM. Shawn was nowhere to be found. Chris gave him a call and he was going to meet us at the next stations (3.5 miles away). Chris, Butch and I had a leisurely warm -up on our way to Clyde. Shawn was there and we all decided to hit the hills off of the trace. I had never been on this route. These rolling hills were demanding. I was hitting 30+ on the down hills and trying to climb them without standing up. Chris soon pulled away from me and I pulled way from Shawn. Butch took a side road about half way through and we said out good byes.

The group stretched out again and with 30 miles on the clock I lost sight of Chris. I looked behind me and Shawn was no where to be seen. I had a basic idea of where I was but the road did not look familiar. I just trucked along up the long stretches of hills. I rolled into Sumral and refilled my water bottles. Chris was absent. About 5 minutes later Shawn rolled up. He said that Chris had called him and had taken a different route back home - family commitments. Shawn and I chatted for a few minutes with a couple that was riding the trace. The man was on a cyclocross bike and the woman was on a 3 wheeled recumbent. Nice couple - they were heading back to the trail head. This was the hardest, toughest ride I have been on in Mississippi. It was the hills and chasing Chris who is faster than me. My legs were spent.

Shawn and I rode pretty fast back towards Clyde. I pulled way from him and pulled into my garage for a short but fast brick.

A couple of minutes transition and I was out the door and running hard. My heart rate was up and I was feeling strong - for exactly 2 minutes. My old Timex GPS watch said that my pace was 6:20ish. The instant pace is never right but that was way to fast. My entire right side of my body started to hurt. From my Achilles through my calf, up in my hamstring and even my lower back. It was painful. I stopped for a few seconds to shake it out. I started running again fast. I would have to stop again in that first mile. Even with the stops I clocked a 7:07. The next mile was also hard even after slowing down. It went off at a little over 8 min /mile. I walked the rest stop (Clyde) and got a drink of water. The couple from the other station were just making it to Clyde.

On the return trip everything eased up. I was not hurting anymore. I kept my heart rate down a little and just churned out some mileage. I'm not sure what happened but I was thankful. Just a few minutes turned a horrible experience into something that was positive. I continued running past my turn off and got a total of 5 miles in just under 39 minutes.

I spoke with Chris later after my run and he said that it is very difficult to run race pace after cycling - especially in just training. I have to agree. I think that I have sorted my paces out a little better after this brick.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

2 week taper starts now

household chores complete... check
new tires mounted on the race bike ... check
weather - high of 77 degress ... check
weather - 0 % chance of rain ... check

Meeting up with the guys for a fast 50 miler. I'm going to try and get a short but faster BRICK in after the ride.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I got up this morning in East Texas and ate breakfast, played badminton, kicked the soccer ball and then went for a run. The run was with my brother-in-law Joe and niece Isabelle. Isabelle rode her bike and we raced up and down the hilly terrain. It was a good hill workout with many repeats.

Later in the day we did brave the frigid lake. Joe was without a wet suit and his core temperature probably dropped 5 degrees in the 20 minute swim. With my wet suit my feet were frozen for the first few minutes but I was comfortable once I got moving. The water was so cold on my face it was hard to get started in the swim. Breathing was difficult but I soon settled in to the swim. Joe will usually smoke me in the pool but I had an unfair advantage - the wet suit for one and just the temperature of the water. I had intended on practicing on drafting but I was just a little quicker than Joe. Like I said - if it was an apple to apple comparison Joe would have been lengths ahead.

Tomorrow will be another travel day but I hope to get a bike ride in before dark. I have still not decided about the Sunfish Duathlon on Saturday. Meridian is about 2 hours away and I would have to leave the house at 6AM. I don't know if I am that committed to the race.

My sister got a puppy - Oscar -

Spring Break

St. Patty's day was spent with the running club. The March Track-on-Tap was moved up for the holiday. We started off with a 1.5 mile run downtown to the Bottling Company. They had 2 for $3 16oz aluminum green bottles of of Bud Light. We then continued downtown and stopped at the wine garden. Black and Tans were the special. Once last stop back towards campus to the Keg and Barrel. They had an Irish band, an Irish buffet and they were packed. The house was full, the porch was full and the yard was full. No place to sit so we had to bail. Our last stop was Mugshots. They had Jameson Whiskey on special and we all ate. I had some kind of hamburger that had peanut butter on it - crunchy. Not as odd as it sounds. I really did not taste the peanut butter much. A full belly and about 3 miles running.

Yesterday was a travel day. It is just a little under a 7 hour drive to my Dad's house. Not too bad. I loaded up on podcasts and audio books and hit the road by 7:30AM. An uneventful ride - always a good thing except that Louisiana gave me another windshield chip. Yes - I got the last one driving through Louisiana going to my fathers.

Today, Joe , my brother-in-law and I are going to get in a little run and then brave the lake. Joe will be hitting the water in just a jammer while I will be wearing the bib-john wet suit. I will probably be cold but not like Joe.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another long BRICK and a hard days night

My long group BRICK that was scheduled on Saturday was rain delayed. It was rescheduled for Sunday morning. More rain. Finally at noon on Sunday we were able to take off. However the rain scared away most everyone. Ben and I were the lone participates. The sky was gray and it looked like we might get a little wet.

We were both planning on working on our half iron distance heart rate paces and nutrition. I was loaded up with GU and would take one every 45 minutes while drinking a diluted Gatorade mixture. I'm pretty fortunate in that I have a cast iron stomach - even that meatball on a cone the night before could not stop me.

The sun was popping out here and there and the temperature was just about perfect. I had my arm and leg skins on but I could have gotten away with shedding either or both of them, but I did not want to be cold if we got into showers.

The bike went well and we clocked about 63 miles 3:36 - this included 3 stops for water and bathroom. Ben will be at New Orleans next month. We got to chat about race strategies from wearing socks in longer races to peeing on the bike - both valuable information. By the time we got off of the bikes, late afternoon, the weather was perfect. We took a somewhat long transition and changed out our clothes and hit the trace.

We were running at a comfortable conversational pace. It was easy! Ben was suffering a little from his Achilles and we took a couple of 1 minute walk breaks. Still we finished 8 miles in 1:19 (about 10 minute miles all things considered). I felt like I could run all day. This is very encouraging to me, however, I know that at my race pace it will be much different. After a fast bike I can imagine a fast half marathon run. I'm working on my visualization and mental preparation. I'm not kidding myself - this is going to be tough.

Yesterday was a killer at work. It is spring break here at the university so it is a good time for computer outages. We have been renovating out Data Center and had to move all servers to new racks. This requires powering everything down, removing from the old racks, moving to the new racks, powering everything back up and hoping that it still works.

So a core group of people started yesterday morning at 7AM and did not finish up until after 1AM. Everything went surprisingly well. We ate well (too much) all day. I blew the diet with bar-b-que, baked beans, Kristy Kreme's and banana nut bread.

My legs felt fine most of the day following the BRICK, however, the 18 hours of lifting and being on my feet started to take a toll. My quads started to ache a little bit last night. I can think of better recovery scenarios.

I will check in with work today and then have a nice bike ride. I'm driving to Texas in the morning to visit with my father and my sister and her family. My brother-in-law Joe (also my best friend from high school) is a fantastic swimmer and I am taking my wet suit. Joe often brags about getting into the pool in early spring when the water is unbearable. I bet the lake temperates in Texas are in the mid to high 60's. We will have to take a look.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Irish / Italian Fest

The weather for the 5K race on Friday night was just about perfect. It was cool - not cold and the rain held off. During the race I paced off of Steve. I have ran intervals with Steve last year and did a 10 miler with him and Sam a few weeks ago. I asked him what he thought he might run the race in to see if I should pace off of him. He said maybe under 20. Steve took off and led the race most of the way. After about half a mile I dropped right behind him. The first mile was at a 6:08 pace. That is a little fast for me. I was able to stay right behind Steve for a little over 2 miles. Then I started to drop off the pace. Steve finished in a PR (by about 30 seconds) at 18:3X. I POSITIVE split (meaning the second half of the race took longer than the first) by about 25 seconds. I was just trying to hold on for the last half mile or so.

Saturday it rained all day and I took the day off from training. Went to the Irish / Italian festival (read Guinness and pizza) put on by the local Catholic church. It was still raining Saturday evening. The swag bag from the race included tickets for food or beer. They also gave out samples of Irish whiskey. I ended up eating a meatball on a cone (yeah - I know - gross) and gained 5.5 pounds. These Catholic festivals are so much more fun than the Southern Baptist ones.

There was also another 5K race Saturday morning. Due to the rain only about 70 people showed up. This race had a cash purse of $100 for male and female winners. The male winner won in something like 20:XX and the female was 21:XX. I should have climbed out of bed - I actually like running in the rain.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Night 5k

Just a quick note - NEW 5K PR - 19:09! - 3rd overall and 1st in age group.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Another bike TT and climbing on the exercise bike.

Great things are done when men and mountains meet. - William Blake
I got home yesterday and did another race bike TT. These have not been apples to apples comparisons (no warm-up, no ROCKET helmet, no UNITARD, etc) but my time is off by 25 – 30 seconds. I don’t feel fast but I seem to be faster everywhere else (swimming and running) and a maximum effort bike will not be required for my half and full ironman’s, but, it is disappointing.

I started a fire in the fire pit in the back yard last night. I am still mesmerized by fire. The TV has not been on in a while (no cable anyway) but I have had fires in the back yard a couple of times each month. With a good beer in my hand I could the flicker of the fire all night.

I actually had a couple of good beers last night and woke up pretty dehydrated. With the diet and training I have not drank much since the beginning of the year and my tolerance has dropped to nothing. I’m a light weight now.

On a positive note I did weigh the least that I have all year. I actually hit the 160 mark (well – 160.4). I’m sure the weight will jump back tomorrow being fully hydrated. I’m still trying to get down to 155 by April 5th.

I had a surprisingly demanding exercise bike ride at the gym today. There were interval hill climbs and I had to stand up out of the saddle for them all. It really became more of a strength training program. Good stuff.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Reduced volume and loving it!

If we know where we want to go, then even a stony road is bearable. - Horst Koehler
This has been a reduced volume week and I am digging it (I did 14 hours of training last week) - I normally have trouble throttling back but not this week.

I had a good running interval session yesterday and today had good 1500 yard swim PR (23:54) - wow - feeling good.

I have a 5k after work on Friday and then a big BRICK on Saturday. There are about 10 of us doing a 50 - 60 mile bike followed by 6 - 12 mile run. It will be a blast.

I spoke with Tony who lives on Lake Serene. He said that the temperature was in the low 60's. He was out in it recently with a wetsuit on - he reported that it was not pleasant but the water was bearable. I might get a chance to try it myself this weekend or early next week.

I am also getting back into bike commuting to work - I have missed it!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The commute is still the best part of the day!

Rode the bike to / from work again. It is that time of the year and I hope to be in the car as little as possible. Last year I was able to do most running around chores on only one day a week. Saturday we would start at one end of town and hit the library, recycling, the university, grocery store and what ever other shopping was necessary.

It took just a little bit of planning to commute each day - take a weeks worth of clothes to the university, a weeks worth of food, etc. Food is pretty easy for me at work. I eat a lot of oatmeal and tuna.

So I rode to work this morning and had to start out in the dark. The darkness will lift in just a couple more weeks and then maybe I can start getting longer rides in in the morning. The sun is out much later now but by the time the day is over I am pretty done also.

I did some nice little 1/4 mile intervals out on the trace during lunch. Six 1/4 intervals with a 1/4 mile recovery. All of the intervals were between 1:24 and 1:28 - that would equate to a little better than 6 minute miles (if I could run a full mile at that pace). The last 5k I did (a couple of weeks ago) worked out to a 6:12 pace.

Looking forward to the 5k after work this Friday but I am not feeling particularly fast - in addition it will be much warmer than last time.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Tripping in the dark.

Men trip not on mountains, they trip on molehills. - Chinese Proverbs
I took yesterday (Sunday) off to do some yard work and what not - trim the bushes, etc. I felt bad for not exercising on such a beautiful day - but oh well. I was pleased that I was not sore from the day before. The quads were just a little rough but nothing much.

I ran to work this morning in the dark - thanks to DST. It was pitch black again and foggy when I left the house for the 6 miles. I was running next to the trace on the soft dirt and pine straw when I nearly bit the dust. My foot got caught on something and my chest flew out about 3 feet in front of me. I'm not sure how I managed to right my self but there were several seconds where I knew that I was going down. This would have been such an enormous face plant that I almost wish someone would have been there to see the save - or even the disaster - it was that good - either way. But since no one was around I am certainly glad that I was able to keep off of the ground. Hitting the ground hard all alone in the dark in the middle of nowhere with 4 miles to go - not fun I imagine. This near fall tweaked my hamstring just a bit but no real damage.

So I was running to work without heart rate monitor and stuff - free running so to speak - not harnessed to technology. Well, I did have my Timex ironman watch (an older one with the GPS arm band) so I knew how fast I was running. I guess even with the full day off my legs were a little tired. I was only managing 9:30 miles. This is way off of my comfortable pace. It took me 56 minutes to get the 6 miles to work. I usually do this in 48 and my best is a hair over 42.

So much for this free running.

At lunch I got in the pool and continued to work on volume. A short warm up followed by a 1500 yard set. This took just under 25 minutes - 30 seconds slower than last week. No harm but it does seem like I am trading speed for endurance.

A quick bike ride home and I have called it a day.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

DST and long BRICKs

You have to find something that you love enough to be able to take risks, jump over the hurdles and break through the brick walls that are always going to be placed in front of you. If you don't have that kind of feeling for what it is you are doing, you'll stop at the first giant hurdle. - George Lucas
I woke up this morning and it was dark. The time has changed once again. I know that it will only be a few weeks until I can ride an hour plus in the morning but I'm a morning person and I am already missing it. It will be nice to have the sun out until 7 tonight. I have an evening 5k race this week. The race starts at 5:30 PM after work. That would not be possible without the time change.

I lived in Indiana for about a dozen years and they never followed Daylight Saving Time. Half the year we would be on the same time as Chicago and the other half we would be on New York. Living on the Illinois border it was a pain for people that lived in IL but worked in IN - and vice versa. But not changing the clocks worked out pretty well. During the summer months the sun would be out until 9:30PM - 10:00PM. That was great for softball games, soccer, etc. The last year that I lived in Indiana the decided to get on the stick and follow DST. They let the individual counties determine what time zone they wanted to be on. Counties closer to Chicago picked CST and counties closer to Louisville and Cincinnati picked EST. I do not know if it worked out or not.

I did a huge brick yesterday and I am satisfied. Along the lines of this TRAIN SMART thing I actually took adequate nutrition. I had a big bowl of oatmeal about an hour prior to the ride and a gel every 45 minutes of the session for a total of 5. I was pretty surprised that I felt good the entire time - no bonk - no confusion - all systems firing. Maybe there is something to this smart training.

I rode the race bike with all the same gear that I will be racing in - a dry run so to speak. That meant the unitard one piece race suit, the Rocket Helmet, the fast wheels - everything. I kept my heart rate in a nice zone 2ish for the 25 miles out - which was in 1:12 - just over 20 MPH. The out is always much slower than the back because of the slight elevation change. I refilled water bottles for about 2 minutes and headed back - still feeling good. I caught a friend of mine Steve on the way back. I rode with Steve for about 15 miles back. The heart rate slipped back into zone 1. Finished the back 25 miles in 1:19 - much slower but the run was coming up.

I had a couple of minutes transition in the garage - I had already set everything up. I was debating whether to run a 6 or 10 mile brick. This was also not going to be fast but just for endurance. I decided on 6 miles and ran towards the university - I could take a shower at the gym. I had my car there and I was meeting Jody. I got about 1/2 a mile out and I remember that I forgot my school ID on my bike. Back to the house and out again. Heading towards the university again the first mile was at 7:30 pace. I and got about 2 miles into it the run when I saw my friend Charles headed the other way. This was an opportunity to go ahead and get the 10 miles. I turned around and ran with Charles back to Clyde station. This pace was a bit slower than I was running - Charles was running about an 8:30 - 9:00 pace. I left Charles at Clyde Station with 5 miles under my belt. I was now further from the university - 8 miles out. I had another gel and I was feeling fine. I was keeping track of my heart rate and keeping track of my pace. My pace was still in the 8:30 - 8:45 range. Feeling good, however, I noticed that mile 8 was at a 9:00 minute pace. That was too slow! I picked the pace up just a little bit. The next mile was 8:20. I'm not sure if it was the picking up the pace or just the duration of exercise but this is where it got hard. Prior to that mile I felt as if I could have ran all day. Now it was hard work to just maintain the 8:45 pace for the last few mile.

All said and done I did 50 miles on the race bike (2:33) and a 13 mile run (1:58) in 4 hours 31 minutes.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Back on the bike

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race - Calvin Coolidge
Wednesday after work I did a 12 mile TT on the race bike. The sun dropped like a rock and before I knew it it was pitch black and I had to abort - it is a good thing that I am on the trace - no cars. I slowed way down but I could hear all of the night animals scurrying about.

It has been cold (cool) and windy here for most of the week. The weather turned beautiful on Thursday. I was able to get a nice 20 mile bike ride (including another 12 mile TT - getting slower - 20 seconds off pace) in before work on Thursday - the last one before the time changes. I also took a ride with Chris a lunch (got a flat - 4th since Christmas)and I still needed to ride home from work. I ended up with 58 miles for the day. Not bad for a work day.

I woke up on Friday and got dressed for work - I was going to the gym for an hour swim. I thought to myself - "Why are you not riding into work?" I packed my work clothes and jumped on the bike. I still got a half hour swim and really enjoyed the ride to work. During the swim I did a 1500 yard TT - 24:30. I can do better but I was pleased with the volume. That is the longest, continuous swim I have done in some time. Everything has been working on drills or speed.

A another beautiful day so I got a nice and easy 7 mile run in at lunch. The pace was easy and my heart rate stayed where I wanted it, but the perceived effort was higher than I wanted. I'm getting a little tired.

Today calls for a lot of volume. I am planning a 50 mile bike (on the race bike) followed by a 6 mile run. Nothing fast - just volume.

Four weeks until 70.3 New Orleans!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wetsuit in the pool.

I got a swim in on Tuesday at lunch. I did another 1000 yard TT - this time I was 16:26 about 30 seconds slower. I am not sure what was up. Oh well.

With the lakes here still in the 50 degree range I decided that I needed to break the wetsuit out in the pool. I have heard horror stories about panic and what not so I have to ease those wetsuit fears.

I got dress at home and then drove to the pool Wednesday morning. The temperature was in the 30's so I was not overheating. I did get some looks walking into the gym. Chatted with Jen in the pool for a few and then did a quick warm up. The suit is so buoyant that you kind of just float. I did back to back 1000 yard TT's in the suit. My normal swimming TT best is 15:56 (1:35.6 / 100 yards). With the suit I clicked off a 14:23 (1:26.3 / 100 yards) and 14:48 (1:28.8 / 100 yards). I think that is pretty substantial. According to a swim calculator the 1:26 / 100 yards would equal a 28 minute half iron swim while my time without the wetsuit (the 1:36 time) would equal 31 minutes. It will be good to have the extra 3 minutes since I will probably be zig zagging all over the place - swimming any direction but straight. I realize that I am not a swimming speed freak compared to many of you but the improvement I have seen in the last couple of months (since Christmas) has been remarkable. The wetsuit fit perfect and I did not feel any since of claustrophobia. However, I did get very warm in the pool. My skin under the wetsuit was hot to the touch. I had a my one piece tri suit unitard on underneath so I took the wetsuit off in the pool and did some pool down laps. The water was very refreshing.

I am trying hard to embrace this TRAIN SMART NOT HARD mentality.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Off day and more running.

Yesterday was an off day - which means that I swam in the morning and did light strength training at lunch (abs and back).

Ran intervals on the treadmill this morning. I think I could have run harder but I finished pretty strong - 10 minute warm up at a slow 6 minute / mile pace and then 5 x 5 minutes with 3 minute rest. Total distance was 8 miles in 1 hour.

The intervals were as follows:

Warm up for 10 minutes

1. 9.2 MPH
2. 9.2 / 9.5 MPH
3. 9.5 MPH
4. 9.5 / 9.8 MPH
5. 9.8 MPH (for about 4 minutes)

Cool down for 10 minutes

The official results for the 5k Run for Love has me at 19:18. I have already gone to the McMillan Running Calculator and updated my pacing (printed the page out and stuck it on my bulletin board). It says that I SHOULD be able to run a 1/2 marathon in 1:29:13 and a full marathon in 3:08:09 (That would be a BOSTON qualifying time). Maybe I will work on these next year.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ready for the open water - not yet.

One who bathes willingly with cold water doesn't feel the cold. - Tanzania Proverb
I did an easy swim this morning. Warm up then 1000 yards in 15:56 - the same time as last week. I have been working on form all this past month with my swim class. I am really going to increase the volume during March - my 1/2 ironman is just a month away. I have to get in the water with the wetsuit. I have never swum in it! I have heard some horror stories about being claustrophobic and panic attacks and such - I do not want that to be me.

Funny thing, I bought an aquarium thermometer the other day so that I could see how cold the lakes are right now. I tied a string to it and found a bobber (it was actually a rusty small propane tank – the individual sized ones). I tied the bobber about a foot up from the thermometer and threw it out in the lake. I guess I either threw it too hard or the string was not long enough because the string broke. There was my thermometer and bobber floating in the lake about 20 feet out. I was not planning on it but I pushed the kayak in the lake to fish out this apparatus. Long story short, the lake is 57 degrees. A little cold to say the least. On top of everything else – I ended up breaking the thermometer.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Early morning trace run.

It doesn't matter if the water is cold or warm if you're going to have to wade through it anyway. - Teilhard de Chardin
I went for a run this morning. It was cold and dark and windy. I left the house at 5:45am to meet Sam (and I thought Neal) at Clyde Depot on the Long Leaf Trace. This is just a hair over 2 miles from my house. The temperature dropped all day yesterday and it was 35 degrees. There was frost on the ground and the wind was howling. This was the first time that I had to pull out the balaclava for a run in Mississippi - I have worn it on the bike. As I ran in the darkness towards Clyde Depot I could hear the wind rushing through the trees. I could hear the trees creaking and bending. Did I mention that it was dark? I ran along the dark ribbon that was asphalt. It was only a micro shade darker than the surrounding dirt and pine straw. The woods sounded like something out of 'Sleepy Hollow'. As I approached Clyde Depot I saw headlights. Sam had pulled up and Steve was with him. Neal was a no show - I think because of the early time. I have ran with both Sam and Steve before. If you remember, Sam is one of the local fast guys that is in my age group - he won the 30 - 39 group yesterday - I was second - about 1:20 behind him. A very long minute and 20 seconds behind - a quarter mile is just about forever in a 5k race.

Anyway, we had a nice and easy 10 mile run in the cold and wind (just under 90 minutes for the 10 miles) . The sun came up just a little after 6AM. It was fun to swap race stories and talk about the upcoming season. We came upon one large felled tree on the trace and had to hurdle it. While this was not the fastest 10 miles I have ever run the time did go by the quickest. I think that I will try to meet up for these early morning runs more often. I was pretty happy that I was not sore from the race yesterday!

I am not sure about the bike ride this afternoon. The wind is still howling and it is still cold (four hours after the start of my run this morning and it is still in the 30's). I have a fun 3 mile run this afternoon ending at a tavern. A few guys from the run club are meeting to measure out a 5k downtown route. It will be cool to have a race downtown. I will try to get a little time on the bike trainer after house hold chores are complete.