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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Water weight

I went out for drinks with Kyle after work on Thursday. We had a good time just chewing the fat - arguing our philosophies, making fun of stuff and the like. It was a good time that could be easily measured on the scale the next day. Did I mention that there were a few cookies (3 to be exact) involved. I'm a sucker for beer and cookies. The scale was up 4 pounds in one day. This does not surprise me but it can be frustrating. I was hoping to go strong for the last few days of the month for the weight challenge at work. I do believe, baring someone losing a limb, that I will this friendly competionwin hands down, however, I have not met my goal weight. The saving grace is my true weight deadline, a line in the sand, is not until the following week - The Heat Wave Triathlon.

Regarding this weight loss - everything has been clicking - just working the plans. There have been 3 changes during the last week or so that have caused the weight to fall off. This is huge for me. First, I have been following my training plan - nothing more - nothing less. My fatigue has been in check and I have been feeling good. This keeps my appetite in check and my body is not screaming at me. Also, I do not think that my body is holding onto the calories like it does under stress. Second, I have not been cheating at all on my diet - this is partly due to lack of fatigue. Third, I have cut out packets of artificial sweeteners (pink, blue and yellow). I really developed a bad habit of adding these to my coffee and oatmeal and cottage cheese (don't ask). Although I still get plenty of the artificial stuff from some of the things I eat (diet soda and protein powder) I have cut my consumption dramatically - and I don't even miss them! Studies show that artificial sweeteners may cause a spike in insulin - I do not know if this makes much of a difference but I do know that consuming the sweeteners is not helping anything.

I rode the bike into work on Friday and the weather was nice and cool. Just a leisurely ride and it felt great - no time trialing or race just a nice ride - I do not do this often enough. But, I did not have time to get my swim in during the morning so I rescheduled it for lunch. I wrote down the training plan and headed to the pool. After the bilateral breathing warm up (getting better) I had 7 x 300 yards with 45 seconds recovery. These would all end up between 4:45 and 4:55 - for an average pace of 1:36 / 100 yards. That was my average for my last 1000 yard TT. My swimming might be a little slow at this point but I am feeling more comfortable. All in all I got 2800 yards. I am wanting to start getting out to the lake for a morning swim a couple of times a week. I will just need to look at my schedule and find a buddy that is willing to see the sunrise from the water.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Turning the heat up

With school now being out the morning group ride has grown even with Keith and JD out of town. We had 6 at Jackson Station 5:45AM. We started out at a comfortable pace and talked about some upcoming races. After we cleared Lake Thoreau Road the pace picked up. We had previously talked about the ride getting split into two groups. I ended up in the first group and we set a challenging pace. Lance and I were trading hard pulls every minute. This did not last very long – I don’t think either one of us was able to recover very much with only 1 minute rest. We slowed up a little and then Robin was in with us. We all kept a pretty good clip to Sumrall. On the return we crossed paths with the second group.

Back at Jackson Station I grabbed my backpack and Lance and I rode on towards USM. All in all it was a good 27 miles before work.

At lunch I did an easy Trace run of 4 miles. The weather has turned HOT. This should jump start my summer heat acclimation!

Monday was the start of the 6th week of the 100 pushup challenge – and I failed. The sets were 45 / 55 / 35 /… … with 1 minute recovery - I failed on the third set. I think we are going to go back and repeat week 5 and give it another go next week.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Drafting in the swim and working the diet.

I had an interval session on the treadmill. The plan called for so odd pacing – it said to pick your goal marathon time and use that for ½ mile intervals (x8). For example, if your goal marathon time was 3:05 then to run the ½ mile repeats in 3:05 (or a 6:10 minute / mile pace). I do not understand the logic – and is this standalone marathon race pace or ironman death march race pace? Anyway, this is doable. I have never ran a marathon but my goal pace is 3:15 (Boston qualifying time for me). So 8 x ½ mile at 3:15 with a 1 minute (0.1 mile) rest interval. After a good 10 minute warm up my times are below:

TREADMIL INTEVALS 8 x 1/2 mile (6:30 pace) with 0.1 mile (1 minute) RI 1. 3:15 HR AVE 154 2. 3:16 HR AVE 161 3. 3:15 HR AVE 164 4. 3:17 HR AVE 158 5. 3:14 HR AVE 168 6. 3:16 HR AVE 158 7. 3:18 HR AVE 177 8. 3:15 HR AVE 176


This was challenging but not insurmountable. In fact I believe that I could have ran them much harder but I would have been dead at the end – I did run a 5k earlier this year at a 6:10 pace. I will try this workout again in a few weeks and see where I stand.

Following the plan, I skipped the lunch workout since I would be doing an OWS after work. On the diet front, working the plan and following the diet is actually working – go figure. I think that not beating myself into a pulp has even improved the weight loss. I do not think I am fatigued as much and I am able to stick to the meal plan. In addition, I think that not being in such a calorie deficit has been beneficial.

Jen and I drove out to the lake together. There were about dozen people for the swim. It was a good group and all skill levels were present. Many of us swam out to the first buoy (about 0.2 miles). I have an old Timex GPS watch with the GPS sensor that you wear on your arm. I plastic bagged the sensor and stuck it in my swim cap to try and get some more accurate distances. I got 0.2 miles to the first buoy and then another 0.1 miles to the second buoy – I wish that I could map the results – I am sure that I am not swimming straight. So we swam to the first buoy and regrouped. We would sprint back and forth between the buoys 4 times. The last session was from the first buoy to the second and then all the way home – this would be a 0.4 miles steady state swim. In total we swam for a mile. We also recruited a couple more people for the morning group ride.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Outlook - greatly improved!

I went for a nice morning ride on Tuesday. I did not even wear the heart rate monitor. The ride was supposed to be steady and nothing hard. My legs were a little tired from the bike intervals two days prior but nothing major. The time off has really improved my training. My fatigue has been alleviated and my attitude has improved. There really is something to following the plan. 20 miles in an hour (Sumrall and back).

I got a quick swim in a lunch. Nothing major - I did a ladder 100 / 200 / 300 / 400 / 500 yards - easy stuff. However, I did each of these sets while breathing bilaterally. It is still not comfortable or completely natural but it is getting easier. I did these swim sets with Jim. It was nice to see him back at the gym. He seemed a little sheepish about rebuilding his fitness – Jim had taken much of the off season actually off due to school and a new baby. However, he said that he ran 12 and biked 30 over the weekend with a brick thrown in for good measure. I would say he is building his fitness back rather quickly.

I have decided to put in a little more time each week fine tuning my workout plan. This means scheduling the work outs were I need them and altering my off days to coincide with my race tapers. I am again looking forward to the season. Glad to be back on track.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Another off day - this time scheduled.

There was a lot more rain for the weekend. Sunday, the plan called for a 3 hour ride – I decided to split this ride up between trainer and the road. I waited until the start of the Giro before mounting the race bike. I started off with a 12 mile trainer ride with a significant hill right in the middle. This was a good warm up. Next I loaded a flat profile and decided to do a few intervals. I would try to maintain a very hard effort for 3 minutes followed by 2 minutes recovery. Repeat five times and I was spent. I would just cruise along in heart rate zone 2 to finish out the rest of the trainer ride.

I hit the road next and was just going to get 20 miles. On the way back I crossed paths with Steve and we chewed the fat for a few miles. He is building for Ironman AZ. We will be doing several of the same local races this year and he also mentioned a September century ride along the Natchez Trace. This would be a fun (read – FAST) ride.

As you know, I have not been sticking to the plan as well as I should have. I spent some time this weekend to reschedule some of my work outs for different days – example, I will probably swim on Wednesday’s after work (if the weather permits) so I need to schedule these swim works – not just add them.

With following the plan, Monday was an off day. This would have normally bothered me by having an off day on a non-work day. I feel like I am wasting premium hours. It didn’t bother me much this time. My primary goal, as it should have been for months, is to just complete the prescribed workouts – nothing more – nothing less.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Back on track -

With complete rest on Thursday and Friday (except for the push up challenge) my body was feeling much better! I went to bed on Friday with no soreness, no aches, no pains, no 'jimmy legs'. It was a little strange. I guess I had become accustomed to the pain.

I woke up Saturday feeling fresh. However, it was raining with no signs of it letting up. I had thought about driving to the coast for a dualthlon - thought about the race, thought about the rain - decided to go for a run.

I changed into my running clothes knowing that I would be wet and that is when it really started coming down. I 86'ed that run idea and put the race bike on the trainer. The Giro would be on in a few minutes and I could zone out. The rain lightened up a bit and I decided to just brave the outdoors. I really do not mind running in the rain - thunderstorms are a different story. I plastic bagged my mp3 player and headed out. Under the tree covering on the trace the rain was not bad at all. I ran the same route as last weekend at the same exertion level (9 miles with heart rate less than 150 BPM). The run felt good. The effort felt easy - last week at the same heart rate the perceived exertion was much higher. The rest did me a lot of good. Towards the end of the run I did feel my right hamstring start to tighten up - this was been an on going problem since early fall. I finished the run about a minute slower than the previous week. Two ways to look at this - I either got slow for the week or I didn't lose much for the week - probably just very different conditions.

Regarding training smart, I was looking back over my workouts. When my plan called for a 40 minute easy run I have been tending to round up to an hour. When the plan called for a 2 hour bike ride I have tended to make it an even 50 miles with a hard brick thrown in - not training smart. I think part of the problem is that I had just finished that 70.3 race and then started the ironman training plan. The plan started my to build my base again. I got a little frustrated and wanted to do more. This set me up for failure.

I am going to re-double my efforts to stick to the plan - regardless.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Without a plan you plan to fail…

I don’t like the term ‘over training’ – I think it is used too often for when you just do not want do the hard work. Like – ‘I might be over training so I think I’ll take a break and do the china buffet instead.’ However, when you are flirting with that edge you must take precautions – and, to me rather drastic precautions. Thursday I did nothing physical.

I do not want this fatigue that I have been experiencing to turn into something worse. I have not really been here before – I have managed my fatigue by racing through it in the past – meaning my days off came from tapers – more races equal more days off. This was working last year when I was not following a scheduled training plan. I was really just winging it – there was no build. I did the bikes and runs and occasional swims when I want and how I wanted. I still put in a lot of hours and did not take many days off but it just was not the same. There were not many 3-a-days (there have been several this year just because I wanted to add some play to the existing workout plan).

Looking at the symptoms that I posted a few days ago I can see that I am recovering nicely. There is no soreness in my legs. I had been rolling my legs every night just to relieve the tightness – there was limited success. I was told that I am not as irritable (yes I was told by others that I did that I definitely had symptom. And my physical self-confidence might be getting back to its normal level of 10+. I had doubted myself for some of my upcoming races – doubting whether I would be able to push myself hard – doubting whether my speed would come on during a race. For what it is worth, I did not have any trouble overcoming my ego and taking the time off – I have treated this like an injury. I know that it is better to take a little time off now before it becomes major and I need to take weeks off.

I am also going to take Friday off and play Saturday by ear. Then it will be back to the training plan – and hopefully – only to the training plan.

On the diet front, I was really concerned about putting on some weight without the exercise to burn the calories. I have stuck to my normal diet and not only have I maintained the last couple of days but I have dropped a pound. My weight easily fluctuates but 5 – 10 pounds – so I will take it at face value.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Do you feel EPIC?



In a word – NO.

I moved my training around this week to better accommodate my schedule. My training plan consistently has a Saturday swim which is just not happening. This left Wednesday with only a swim – this would take place in the lake after work. I am still feeling run down so I decided to skip EPIC DAY. This is very hard for me. With my ironman training these additional days are just pushing me over the edge.

Vic and I both successfully completed another day of the 100 pushup challenge. These are getting harder – more sets (8) and less rest (45 seconds).

So for lunch there would be no EPIC DAY. So, foolish me, I decided to do a little running on the treadmill. I thought to myself -why not a 3 or 4 mile run at LT – a hard and fast tempo run – maybe even a 5k PR. What am I thinking? I warmed up for half a mile and then adjusted the speed to a 6:30 pace. I ran a quarter mile. My heart rate was staying low – I increased the rate to a 6:00 minute / mile pace. My heart rate slowly started to respond and get into the appropriate range. This was hard. Why was I doing this again? Oh, that’s right – there was no purpose behind this session. I just wanted to prove to myself that I was still fast – that my fitness has not suffered. I stopped the work out after 1 mile. I did an ego check and this time I won!



A little dejected but happy that I made the decision to scrap the run I headed towards the stadium to cheer on the EPIC DAY participates. I did not run the stairs or lunge the bleachers, instead I did a bucket load of crunches out on the field. As the guys were finishing up in the stands I jogged a few football field lengths with them. I was not feeling fast and I was still a little tired. For this lunch session – I just went through the paces.

I still had my swim after work. I was tired all afternoon and was thinking about blowing this swim off. I knew that I would regret this decision. I got to the lake and JD and Jen were already there. The wind was blowing right at us and there was a considerable chop on the water. These were rough conditions – this would be a good test. Lance, his friend Todd and Terry soon arrived. Then Robin came running up. The water temperature had really dropped in the last week. We have had some cooler days and nights recently. The water felt cold but we soon warmed up. There would be no sprinting today. I just wanted some endurance swimming and the rough conditions just made the session that much better. I swam out to the second buoy – the chop was on my left side – my non-breathing side. I swam into the wind – it was coming at me at about 10 o’clock. I would have thought that the wind would have pushed me right but I have a natural tendency to drift left – the wind could not overcome this drift. I rounded the buoy and headed back to the dock. I traded off between which side I was breathing. Breathing to my left feels awkward and I feel slower. I switched back to my dominate side and was able to time my strokes. Even with the chop breaking into my breathing side this was still preferable. Back at the dock I turned around again and was going to do a second out and back loop. When I got to the first buoy there were several swimmers hanging around. Shawn was there – I am not sure when he pulled up. We chewed the fat for a bit and talked about upcoming races – I think he has talked me into the Dragonfly. I set out towards the second buoy and rounded it home. I ended up with a mile swim with never touching bottom or resting. I did tread water for a bit but it was for the most part a straight swim in rough conditions. I believe that these types of swims will pay the highest dividends.

Lance and JD were still planning on the group ride in the morning. I told them that I did not think I would make it – I am going to take some rest time – better now before the training really builds. I have read so many times that most people train too hard and do not let themselves recover. I am going to be smart this year and swallow my pride when necessary.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Swimming / running / dipping

Yesterday was touch and go at first. I was debating whether to take another rest day. I did a health check and my body was fine – no soreness / no aches and pains / no nagging injuries or issues. I arrived at the pool just as they were opening (6:30AM). I have been doing all of my workouts but not always following the workouts. I think some deviation is fine but I have to be careful and make sure I get the training in – it is easy to avoid the unpleasant workouts. This means skipping the pool swimming. So I made sure that I followed the work as written. This would include a lot of swim golf and 100 yard repeats. In addition there were several sets of kick drills. For whatever reason, I just don’t kick well. I struggled with these drills during my swim class and I stopped doing them altogether. My legs will get tired after 20 yards. Also I just don’t seem to go anywhere while kicking. With the kick board I would plow through the water – sinking – barely keeping my head afloat. Coach Mary was a little baffled during swim class and suggesting kicking while on my back without a kick board. This helps with the head above water and being able to breathe but still not very effective. So yesterday the kick drills were taking me about 2 minutes per lap (50 yards) and I was more exhausted after these laps than if I was swimming normally at a fast pace. So normal swimming for me does not include a kick at all – my legs are just being dragged along. I think my swim times could improve if I implemented a kick but it has hard so far.

Lunch included a trace run of 4 miles with Chad, Vic and Richard. I was hanging back with Richard – I was not going to set the pace. I was watching my heart rate monitor carefully – wanting it to stay in low zone 2. The pace was comfortable but maybe a little harder than I would have wanted it – even with the heart rate low. We finished up the run in exactly 32 minutes for an average of 8 minutes per mile.

Tuesday is chest day! We all warmed up with 135 pounds then set the weight at our body weights to see how many reps we could complete (1 warm up set plus 3 working sets). Because of the weight challenge we all knew where we stood. I clocked in at 165 pounds as did Richard. Chad was at 175 while Vic topped the scale at 195. I’m always touting body weight exercises because I just can’t complete on absolute weight. I was able to eek out 15 / 15 / 12 for my working sets – leading the pack. After the flat bench we did some incline presses and then, as always, we had a ‘dip off’. The maximum number of good form dips to end the day – once again a body weight exercise – my idea again! I got this one also. The strength training is just to keep lean muscle mass (and a little vanity) but I enjoy the friendly competition.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rest day.

So Monday was a complete rest day. I did nada – nothing what so ever. Well, I have been doing that 100 pushup challenge that is going around. I started it 2 weeks ago on the ‘advanced’ week 3. It got hard yesterday. I was able to complete all of the sets (Vic came up just a hair short – I have to give it to him – he is really giving it his all) and by the time the afternoon came around Vic double dogged dared me that I would not be able to complete 60 reps in one set. I was being called out! – I hammered out the 60 and with a quick pause after every 5 I topped out at 75 reps. Knees never touched the ground! Not to be out done – Vic mustered up the courage and managed 76. I’ll let him go first next time – I can always get one more rep – no matter what!

I ate my normal diet Monday – I was disappointed that I had a 5 pound jump in weight since the low of last week. I always do this coming out of a weekend. The thing is - I have not been eating badly. There has been almost no beer and almost no snacks (Jodie is taking a cake decorating class and had a minor cake disaster – the carnage was everywhere – I help when I am needed) . I know, the key word is ALMOST – this damn’s me every time. It seems that it is just not enough to be pretty good on the diet – I have to be near perfect. The weight will drop back down during the week but these weekend bounces are tough. I would like to win the weight loss challenge for the month of May – I have a near Olympic race on June 6th and I would like to be down to my fighting weight!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Running, biking, overtraining?

Looking at my training schedule for the weekend had me worried that it was not enough. I hate to waste the weekend hours – I need to fill them with activity. Looking at how my training plan continues to build, the past two weeks have been at the lowest volume that the plan will see, I decided to follow the plan.

Saturday, my scheduled called for a 70 minute run in Heart Rate Zone 1 – 2. No problem. I headed out the door – the temperature was cooler than it has been and I quickly got up to speed. I set a limit on my heart rate at 150 beats per minute. Doing the quick math in my head this would be a 9 mile run. I did not have much trouble maintaining the 8 minute / mile pace while keeping the heart rate below 150. However, as the run progressed I would notice that I was slowing. A quick look at my heart rate and I would see that I was zoned out and my heart rate was falling into the low 140’s. A quick couple of strides to get back on pace and I was hugging 150 again. My run took me out to Beaver Pond and back and I finished the 9 miles in 1:13 - an 8:08 minute pace with heart rate average at 148. I could have easily kept this under the 8 minute mark but due to cardiac drift I would have had to exceed the 150 beats per minute. I really wanted to extend this run to 10 miles – I don’t know why but 10 sounds so much better than 9. I stuck to the plan!

I was also supposed to swim on Saturday. Not long after my run the rains came in with full abandon – lots of thunder and lightning. There would be no open water swimming. In addition, I just do not care for swimming at the pool on weekends. I decided to make this swim up on Monday – Monday is a scheduled day off. In the future, I am going to be proactive and reschedule any swims that fall on the weekends.

Sunday was KEY BIKE STRENGTH WORKOUT. It called for 2 hours on a hilly course. To push the uphill’s and recover on the down hills. The Heart Rate could hit low zone 4 but otherwise be in zone 1 – 2. I contemplated on doing this workout on the trainer to better control the conditions (and watch the Giro d’Italia on the internets). There were pop up storms all around but I took my chances and headed out the door. There are not many hills on the trace (rails-to-trails) so I decided to leave the trace just after Sumrall and do hell (I mean hill) repeats. There is a hilly loop that figure-eights criss-crossing the trace. I would do an hour of these loops.

Before I could complete the first hilly loop the sky opened up! The air was already chilled and the rain was cold. I was soaked in a matter of seconds. I finished the first loop and jumped on the trace at the first junction. I was just going to push the pace all the way home and out run this storm. I accelerated quickly and was pushing a good clip but I was unable to get my heart rate up into zone 4. I wanted to time trial this back at a heart rate of 165. This was not happening. My legs were aching and I was pushing hard but my heart rate was in the 140’s. I pushed harder but just could not increase my heart rate where I wanted it. I still managed to beat the storm home and gave fair warning to the other cyclist when I crossed their paths. It would end up raining hard all afternoon. I do not regret the decision of heading back. A heart rate in the 160’s should be obtainable – This was the rate that I did the entire bike segment of the ½ ironman in New Orleans.

I know what this means when I can’t get my heart rate into the high zones – fatigue! I have decided to not make up the swim that I missed on Monday and rest the entire day. No bike / run commute or anything. I am also going to re-evaluate my training plan. I have been hitting the workouts but I have also been adding a little bit to them on occasion. Sometimes, when I think they are not enough I will go ahead and ‘supplement’ with a few miles. For example, I have been adding bricks to many long bikes and extending many short runs. This is causing me to spend too much time in ‘no man’s land’ zone 3. From Joe Friel’s Blog – The Overtraining Threshold (while I do not have all of these symptoms– I can see and feel some of them).

+ Fatigue which doesn’t go away with 48 hours of low workload or even time off from training. The legs feel tired or there is general body weariness that lingers even after taking it easy for two days.

+ Little control of emotions — evidence of anger, feeling sorry for yourself, moodiness, depression, grumpiness. In short, you are hard to live with. A spouse or roommate may be the first to recognize this.

+ Performance declines. For example, you are slower at a given heart rate, or for any given speed, heart rate is higher than usual.

+ Self-confidence declines. This may be the best marker, but it’s hard to assess. One way to do it may be in the athlete trying to visualize accomplishing a very high workout or race goal. If it seems out of reach and farfetched, self-confidence may be low.

When any of these markers show up and linger for more than three days, there’s a good chance that the overtraining threshold has been exceeded. At this point the workload must be reduced immediately until you are back to normal. Then take time to evaluate what level of workload produced the problem, and make adjustments as you start back into higher workloads.

By learning to recognize your overtraining threshold and keeping the workload below it while designing the season around your limiters and strengths, you’ll improve race performances both in the short and long term. That’s smart training.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rest day

Friday was a scheduled day off - and I needed it! I know my body well enough to know that the squats on Wednesday would plague me the rest of the week. I have tried in vain to develop a strength program that integrates compound exercises for my legs. It seems that no matter how slow I start, once I start doing big leg exercises, the next couple of days my legs just ache to the point that running and biking are next to impossible. Really - I have worked on this many times over the years.

So I had some fear about the squats on EPIC DAY this week but I knew that the rest day on Friday would help to temper the pain. Sure enough, just like clock work, the legs were killing me by Thursday afternoon and they just got worse on Friday. The second day is always the worst. Stairs were hard and just walking was a little tough.

However, the recovery has been better than the past - of course these were just body weight squats - nothing big or heavy or EPIC about them. I will be able to run today and be back in full stride!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ready for school to be out - no more buses

Thursday is the fast group ride. I was glad Keith had participated in EPIC DAY. Maybe he would experience some of the ‘dead leg’ syndrome that I know so well. With the days getting longer, we met at Jackson Station at 5:45AM. Everyone was on time and ready to hit the trace. We all got together and lied about taking it easy for the day.

That lasted for 13 nanoseconds and then Keith decided to push the pace and took off. JD jumped on his wheel with Lance right behind him. I was caught off guard and jumped out of the saddle to latch onto Lance. There would not be a much conversation during this ride. Although it is unorganized we all try to pull for as long as possible while maintaining speed – trying to best our previous time.

The morning air was been dense all week and, being in Southern Mississippi, will remain that way in perpetuum. Within a few short minutes my jersey and shorts were damp and on their way to be soaked. We hit the Sumrall turn around at 29 1/2 minutes. We will negative split this out and back – we just have to get up the 1 ½ mile hill out of Sumrall. I turned around quick and headed out while standing out of the saddle. I sometimes like to use this hill for some strength work. Soon Lance powered by my in full aero position with JD and Keith right on his heels. I slipped in behind Keith. Lance dragged us up the hill on cruise control at 20 MPH.

We continued home at a fast clip – there was some fatigue starting to show – we may have started out a little too quick. I actually had a couple of good pulls coming back. About 2 miles from the finish (the Eiffel Tower in site) we had a closer than I would have liked call with some traffic. The street that I live off of has a blind crossing to the north. We always slow way down and there is almost never any cars, especially in the mornings. I guess, by leaving early, we had timed it just right for a school bus. We all shed our speed instantly as the bus came to a stop. We caught our breath but we were not done yet. I jumped back up to full speed and was pulling hard. I pulled for about a mile and did not think that anyone had come with me – I yielded to the left and Lance and Keith screamed by. I grabbed the wheel and we were instantly home. We finished our 22 mile out-and –back in 58:04 a 22 .7 MPH blast. This is only our third ride this season and we keep breaking out previous best. We are going to have to get organized to continue besting the times.

We cooled off for just a few minutes and Keith and I were going to run a quick brick. I am a bit faster than Keith and I thought this would be a social run for me. Keith, instead, decided to run it out hard. The two miles ended up with mile 1 at 7:28 (not bad) and mile 2 at 7:04. I really think if I can get the mental portion down I can have some fast runs in some of these shorter races.

My workout plan did not have anything else for the day so I decided to do some more breath control in the pool. Not a hard workout but good skills to build. I did 5 x 200 yards breathing every third stroke bilaterally again. It is not second nature but it was easier than the last time – progress is being made! I finished off with a 500 yard set swimming normally – just easy gliding. Went up stairs and did some weights.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

EPIC DAY – WEEK 2

EPIC DAY – WEEK 2

Tuesday night it was thundering and lightening and the rain was fierce. Being proactive and not willing to chance missing an early morning ride I hooked the race bike up to the trainer (or drainer as some might call it). The trainer is not fun. I applauded people that can ride the device for hours on end. I do not care what you are watching – the trainer gets old quick.

Anyway, that being said, I do believe that the trainer has a place in my workout routine. You can take all of the variables out of the bike and just look at the cold hard data – are you improving or not? That was not my early morning workout this week. I jumped on the trainer with the only objective of doing a nice 20 mile recovery ride. The legs have been tired and an easy spin would do them well. Two and a half episodes of The Simpsons later and I was done (wow – this show is getting a little stale). It did not matter that I had a fan inches from me – the sweat was pouring off. The bike portion of the day was done.

Lunch would bring another EPIC DAY. Word has spread like wildfire! We had 3 new members show up for the festivities. In addition to the ‘REGULARS – Vic, Chad, Richard (sometimes) and me’ – first week Adam, Ryan (from across campus) and Keith (Thursday group ride) showed up. Not to mix it up too much and I was not very organized we headed towards the stadium (THE ROCK). Today would be 20 sets of stadium bleacher lunges (stepping on each seat and walking the entire height of the stadium (forty something bleaches) superset with alternating sets of 10 pushups / 10 squats. This would be more of a strength time exercise with endurance thrown in for good measure. The heat and humidity of Southern Mississippi was upon us – so much humidity that there was a misting rain at times. This was hard work – not insurmountable but hard work.

Once complete with the first leg we hit the field for a round of 250 crunches (anyway / anyhow) as fast as you can. This will have to be changed up for the next EPIC DAY – this has already become too easy!

Several 100 yard dashed with left / right grapevines with little to no rest were next – there were some more dashes with skipping and then we ran the length of the field backwards. We were exhausted at this point and headed back to the gym. This EPIC DAY stuff is becoming viral – Lance already said that he was sorry that he missed it and Jim is showing interest – I said BRING IT next week.

After work would be the Open Water Swimming. The water has become warm enough that wetsuits are definitely not needed. I hooked up with Jen and she came out to test the waters. She will be doing her first triathlon this weekend and was anxious for the open water swimming experience. Terry also came back after a challenging swim last week. Both Jen and Terry swam out to the farthest buoy and did great! Jen downright loved the lake swim. As far as my swimming, not much racing this week – we would concentrate a little more on endurance. I felt good in the lake – a little slower without the wetsuit but comfortable. There were no water demons on this day. I was not pushing the pace but swimming and just breathing every stroke per normal. At this slower pace I thought I might be ready to practice breathing every other stroke and bilaterally – not yet. Just a few strokes and I switched back to my normal breathing. It is coming but it needs more work.

EPIC DAY – WEEK 2 is in the books!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Take a deep breath now.

Yesterday morning was a nice ride into work followed by a successful swim. I took some advice from my brother-in-law Joe (swimmer extraordinaire). He suggested that I keep practicing breath control. This is not fun for me. He said to just start out slow and although not pleasant the rewards would be huge! If I can get more comfortable with the breathing out thing – the whole time – and not have to breathe every second – then when I miss a breath in the heat of a race I won’t be so panic stricken.

So, once again, I started out very slow with the swimming and took a breath every 3rd stroke (I was also practicing bilateral breathing). I had decided to do 10 x 200 yards on 4 minutes. These would be short and to the point – not long enough to get very winded and short enough to stay concentrated on the task. The 30 seconds rest wouldn’t hurt either. For the first couple of sets the long, slow gliding lasted only about 25 yards. The more I practiced the slow exhale the better it got! The 2000 yards of breath control was helpful – I’ll do it again in a few days.

Lunch was another trace run with ½ mile intervals. I had my heart rate monitor and these would NOT be all out or anything. I stuck to a heart rate of right around 170 beats per minute. On this day, in the heat, it put me at right around a 6:40 minute / mile pace. This is nowhere near what my top speed was a few months ago – but I guess that is what you get when running on tired legs. I am not sure of the value of intervals on ‘dead legs’ but it was a lot more fun than churning out another slow run.

I spoke with Sam, Chris and Mike regarding the Gulf Coast Half Iron Distance Triathlon. Once again this race proved to be just about the hottest weekend of the year - so far. Sam really killed the bike (24.3 MPH – damn) but the run would prove a killer – he still finished in a fantastic 4:52. Mike is inching closer to a sub-5 hour ½ iron distance with a great time of 5:12. Unfortunately, Chris had sever foot trouble and had to circum to the run. I really would have liked to do this race with these guys but I am still very intimidated with an ocean swim. I must defeat these swim demons in fresh water before can drown them in the ocean. I think I will be ready by next year!

I had a nice commute home on the bike. The diet is starting to pan out – my goals are being met!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bring on the heat!

On Tuesday at lunch I had a faster than normal 4 mile run. I don’t know why it got fast. I went for a run with Chad, Vic, and Adam (Adam just joined the gym – first day). Nothing big – but it was pretty warm. We headed out at a slow pace. Adam was a good sport. He said, “If we keep this pace I will be able to keep up!” With this being his first day of running I thought that was ambition but was proud of the resolve.

Adam dropped off place at about a mile – no shame – we would pick him back up on the way back. After about 2 and a half maybe three miles Chad and I were gradually pushing the pace. Once again, I really don’t know why. This was supposed to be an easy run but the last mile turned into a 7:20 sprint – not all out or anything but faster than intended. Go figure.

Vic was right behind us (maybe 40 seconds back) and then Adam not far behind. I have lots of respect for Adam hanging in there. To run / walk for 3 miles on your first day at the gym is tough.

We hit the weights for the second half of the session. An all back work in a circuit. My back felt pretty strong even considering the swim workout of the morning. Not a killer day but pretty good.

I saw Jim in the locker room and he is just finishing up school and is excited about getting back in the game. He was asking what my weekend plans looked like – I think I have a training partner for some of the longer sessions. Jim is also planning on doing all of the local triathlons this year (and maybe doubling the runs for some harder / longer sessions). If you remember, Jim is signed up for IMKY also.

On my commute home I ran into John P. (the legend – he has done more Ironman’s than I can count). I had not seen him since 70.3 NOLA. We swapped training encouragement – John had a tough race last month in New Orleans – two flats on the bike – ouch.

It is turning hot and humid here in Southern Mississippi – this should help with the acclimation for Kentucky in August!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Drowning and swimming - mostly swimming

The plan called for a short recovery run on Sunday. It turned into a very easy, chatty 10 miler. I just wanted to be out of the house so I headed towards Jackson Station. I ran into Steve (the post man) and Jen (from swim class) – they had just gotten done with a set of bricks. They did not do them together but both finished at the same time. I introduced them to each other. They had seen each other at the first Wool Market Duathlon.

Jen has her first triathlon coming up and is anxious to get some lake time. I also really prefer swimming in the lake over the pool. Jen and I are going to get together this week for OWS practice. I continued the slow run towards campus. This run was probably the slowest that I have ever run – it was good for me. My heart rate was below my zone 1 and I just plodded along. I enjoyed the outdoors. I enjoyed stopping and talking with friends. I had a good time.

Jodie and I went bowling for lunch. My game was really off. The ball kept slipping – she beat me both games and had her best game ever – she was on fire. I ordered a grilled chicken salad for lunch at the bowling alley – it is about the only item that will not devastate my diet. What arrived was a grilled chicken sandwich – nothing wrong with that – except it had waffle fries on the side. I don’t eat fried food very often at all but I decided to take the meal – the fries looked good. Not a smart move – later I got a stomach ache. Thankfully, after taking some antacids, it was short lived.

After my run (supposed to be 30 minutes recovery) I was to hit the pool. The pool on the weekends is never any fun. They close it down to only one swim lane and there have been pool parties the last two times that I have been there. I skipped the swim. In retrospect, there probably would not have been many children on Mother’s Day – but the swim was skipped none the less.

I rode my bike in to work this morning and I was early enough to make up my swim workout. The pool was empty. School has just ended and the gym with be all but deserted the next few months – nice! The workout was for 2500 yards straight. This was not a TT – just a straight swim. I started slow – which is not easy for me – I usually have two speeds – drowning and fast. I concentrated on breathing out the entire time my head was in the water. I took long, gliding strokes. This was an easy effort. Although my times were slower than my TT times (best TT times are 1:36 / 100 yards for 1000 yards) I felt like I could continue swimming – it was easy! This is where I want to be with the swimming. However, I do not know if I will be able to keep that feeling during a race – that is my goal.

1 x 2500 yards 43:20 (1:43 / 100 yards)
(Splits)
500- 8:36
1000- 8:34
1500- 8:39
2000- 8:44
2500- 8:45

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Three days biking PLUS a brick

I was supposed to met Lance and JD at Jackson at 6:30AM this morning (Saturday). Sleeping in on a Saturday is so nice - the extra thirty minutes is magical. At 6:20AM I opened the garage to hit the road. My rear tire on my race bike was flat - AGAIN! I had just changed it the night before. I always keep flatted tubes and patch them - it is all part of that recycle / reduce / reuse thing. If we are riding together and you get a flat and you don't patch them I will always take them. The patch is supposed to be stronger than the tube itself. I never have any problem with patched tubes - until now. So earlier in the week I noticed that I had a very slow leak in my rear tire. I pulled the tube and could not find the leak. I pumped it up and felt around. Nothing. I actually had to get a bucket of water to find the leak. Air was slowly leaking from a patch I put on - damn the luck. I went ahead and replaced the tube with another patched tube having complete confidence in my patching ability.

So this patched tube was leaking also. I called Lance and told him that I would be just a couple of minutes - they would wait for me at a cross street. Well, I'm pretty quick at replacing tubes now so I put some latex gloves on (I always flat the rear wheel and I don't want the chain grease all over me) and put in a BRAND NEW TUBE.

So I got to the cross road a minute or two before Lance and JD rolled up. We were going to do an easy 40 miles. This would be the third consecutive day of riding for me (104 miles). The legs are tired but not too tired. We rolled on at not break neck speed but we averaged right at 20 MPH for the ride. I took a few hard quick pulls but for most of the ride it was easy spinning.

I decided to burn off a quick brick after the ride. I have a near Olympic race (only a 1/2 mile swim - every thing else is Olympic) in about a month and I want to have a good run. This was a HARD brick - not RACE PACE HARD - but hard none the less. I used my Zoot shoes again (second time running in them) without socks of course. Maybe a little bit of a hot spot or two on my feet for the first 1/4 mile but that was soon forgotten as the legs started to burn. The last mile was just a little long but I will call it a mile. I hate that I slowed but it was a little long and there is a small hill to get back home. I saw JD doing his brick during the run - he was toughing it out.

BRICK
mile 1 - 7:05 - AVE HR 153
mile 2 - 7:05 - AVE HR 167
mile 3 - 7:31 - AVE HR 172

I was pleased with these times. If, and that is a big if - If I can see any 6's on the run in any race I will be very happy. Not sure if that is possible in a 10k near Olympic race but I have a sprint in early July and that is what I will be shooting for.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Post EPIC day - still a little sore!

Thursday at lunch was an easy swim day – just 1500 yards – but I tried to breathe every third stroke bilaterally. This was tough stuff. I do have a tendency to hold my breath. This causes me to not be able to get a whole breath of fresh air. After just a length or two in the pool I start to run out of steam – no oxygen.

So I slowed the swim strokes WAY DOWN – uncomfortably down and just breathed out the whole time. I started with just breathing every stroke on one side – then every third and back to every stroke of the other side. I kept this up with a lot of rest.

I finished up this easy (effort wise – but mentally challenging) with 3 sets of 250 yards all bilaterally breathing. I will definitely keep up these drills on my swimming skill days!

This morning was a solo morning ride. I took out the road bike and headed west at 6AM towards Sumrall. This would be a 20 mile out and back with my cadence set low (75 – 85) and my heart rate capped at 150. It was a nice easy ride but with the Mississippi summer (read HOT and HUMID) just around the corner I was sweating profusely and completely soaked. Total time was 1:00:40 – I really wanted to clock under an hour but I kept my heart rate in check and stuck to the plan.

Easy 40 minute run at lunch today. I miss the speed work (seems like forever since I clocked off some decent times) but sticking to the plan for now.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Epic Day!

I listen to a lot of podcast. Mostly they are running, biking or triathlon. I really like IM talk with Bevan James Eyles and Coach John Newsom. Another podcast, which Bevan does, is Forever Fitness with Ish and Bevan. They are a couple of cheeky Kiwi’s and they provide fresh training ideas. A couple of weeks ago I was listening to episode 55 – EPIC TRAINING DAY. The gist of the show was to take it up a notch.

I had been thinking of this and got some buy in from the lunch crew. Wednesday’s are STADIUM days and yesterday was to be the first of the EPIC DAYS!

We hit the stadium steps – we generally do 30 reps of steps or 20 reps of bleacher lunges. Today we decide to do 20 reps of steps (alternating single and double steps) while adding 10 push ups at the end of each repetition. This was challenging. This kicked up butts (and legs and chest – 10 push ups start to add up).

Next it was on the football field with some ab work – 250 reps of crunches (regular or oblique with a few bicycles thrown in) as fast as you could. This seemed so much harder than the usual Swiss ball, medicine ball, planks and such that we normally do. Oh yeah, we did add a plank at the end – just until you could not do it anymore.

Next came 100 yard dashes across the football field with 10 seconds rest. These were close to all out and exhausting – I think we got 4 reps. The last rep we got about 30 seconds rest before giving it out all. Vic led this last one out with a very surprising burst of speed and beat me by about 5 yards. Tough stuff.

A nice quick run back to the gym because we were not done yet. We finished off with 30 pull ups / chin ups any grip as fast as you can. I busted out a solid 10 and then with a few seconds recovery tried to add 5 more each time. Once I got over 20 I was only adding 1 or 2 per effort. My upper body was toast from the push ups (did I mention that we have also been doing the 100 push up challenge thingy).

By the time that we completed everything we were spent – done – used up – game over – satisfied.

After work I was meeting some guys out at the lake for what would be an EPIC SWIM. It was only epic to me. This will be the last time to wear the wetsuit this year! We swam out to the first buoy which is about a 1/8th of a mile from shore. We then proceeded to race each other to the next buoy – only about 150 yards away. For me this was full on – no holds barred – full attack swimming. I won all of these mini races (no doubt the wetsuit helped me immensely). I am sure that I was red in the fast after each sprint. About half of us had wetsuits on and half did not – one of the guys without the wetsuit was holding onto the buoy for dear life as we recovered from the intense effort. I’m not very good at treading water – I was glad I was in the wetsuit. These sprint efforts, although they only lasted about 1:40 were intense! Hard stuff! Loved it! This was an overall good and fast swim – total mileage was about 1 mile.

Last night and this morning my body was feeling the effects of EPIC DAY. Thursday is the fast group ride and I have been feeling slow. Last year I was able to hang and lead quite a bit – this year it is a different story. I think, due to the volume of ironman training, I have lost a half step or so. It is frustrating but I think my endurance has increased just the max speed is down - especially in the last month or so following the 1/2 ironman, century ride and the cold that I had). Anyway, we have been smacking the ride – we beat last weeks by about a minute and a half – I only did a short pull there and back – the legs were dead from EPIC DAY! Total group ride was 22 miles in 59:15 (22.28 MPH).

Today is an easy day – just a little swimming at lunch.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cinco de Mayo - Miles = 4 Cerveza = 0

I had a good short quick swim at lunch on Tuesday. An easy 500 yard warm up where I practiced bilateral breathing again. I altered the technique by breathing every stoke on the right then every other stroke followed by every stroke on the left. I have difficulty with feeling like I am running out of breath. I see people swim with while breathing every 5 or 7 strokes - I am amazed. Then 5 x 100 yards all under 1:30 followed by a 500 yard cool down. Those 100's were tough for me.

I met up with the running club just after work at the trace trail head. There was a light rain coming down. There were only 4 of us and we were contemplating the run. It was intended as speed work - none of us were really up for that. It seems that we waited until the rain was coming down the hardest before we started. We were soaked instantly. I really don't mind running in the rain - once I am wet there is no need to try and avoid the puddles. However, during the hardest part of the down pour the thunder and lightening started up. We sprinted to a underpass and hid out for a few minutes.

We met up with a few more people after our little three mile run and ran to a Mexican food restaurant for some refreshment. Jodie met us at the restaurant with some dry clothes and shoes for me - what a god sent! I got off of the diet just a little bit - nothing bad. Fortunately the it was so crowded and the service was so bad that the chips and salsa did not automagicly reappear. No cerveza for me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo - Get your Taco Traps!


Taco Traps - I saw these in the store the other day - I can see where you could have a lot of fun!

Monday was a rest day - the plan had just given me a day off last Friday. I am not used to this time off - I don't like it but I did take the day off - mainly because of the poor mile repeats that I had on Sunday. I would have liked to have been much faster.

I ran for an hour on the treadmill this morning. It was a 60 minute run at 150 beats per minute. This would be low zone 2 for me. For my recovery runs and longer slower run I usually keep the heart rate in the 140's. I warmed up for 5 minutes at a very slow 10 minute / mile pace. I then set the treadmill for seven minute miles to get the heart rate up to 150 and then I backed off of the speed to try to stick the heart rate. I had to keep slowing the speed down to keep the heart rate at 150 - I ended up with 6.4 miles in 50 minutes (7:48 minute per mile). I was disappointed - this felt harder than it should have and slower than I wanted. Had a 5 minute cool down at 10 minute / mile pace. Over all it was 7.4 miles in 60 minutes at a low zone 2. I would like to kick it up a notch or two and try a fast tempo run. I'll check the training plan and see where that fits in.

Off to the pool at lunch with some lifting afterwards.

On the diet front - it has only been a few days but I am sticking to it. There is a track-on-tap (run to bars with the running club) for Cinco De Mayo - I'm sure that won't help!

Monday, May 4, 2009

I hate these monkey fight’n snakes on this Monday to Friday Trace!


I really did make it to the gym for some pool work. I decided to get to the pool the minute it opened so that I could at least have the one lane to myself for a little while. I jumped in the pool while the kids (there are always kids on the weekends – they have birthday parties and such) where still getting settled in. I had about an hour to swim and kind of just decided to swim a bunch of sets. I decided on 12 x 300 yards on 5 minutes.

That worked for about 3 sets and was just too fast for me. I had to increase the rest – so the next 9 sets were on 5:15. At about the half way point I had to share the lane with one other lone swimmer – no big deal. However a few sets later and there were some little kids that started to use the one lane. It got a little crowded but I finished my workout. It was a lot like open water swimming – race conditions.

It has been heating up in Mississippi and the snakes were out in full force last weekend. During my brick on Saturday I came up behind a lady and she was carrying a stick – no make that a club. She asked me if I had seen any snakes. I said not this weekend but the prior weekend I had seen about a half dozen. She said she was ready this week. Funny stuff – the snakes always just run away when I approach them – I don’t make to carry a big stick – just run loudly.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Trace running

This mornings run called for mile repeats at marathon pace minus 30 seconds. Yep - that means as fast as I can. I know this is wrong but ... they should have been much slower ...

I was going to wait until the afternoon to perform this session on the treadmill but I was a little stir crazy and wanted to get it out of the way. The trace by my house is marked with mile markers but I grabbed some orange soccer cones anyway. I warmed up for a mile and a half and placed the cones a mile apart. My legs were a little sore and tired from the previous days bike and run.

Even in the early morning it was already warm and humid - very sticky. The first mile clicked off in about 6:15ish. That was not as fast as I wanted it to be and I knew the times would go down hill from here. After a very quick 60 second recovery the second mile (going back would be slightly up hill - very slightly - but up hill none the less). This mile was 6:45. During this second mile my friend Vic pulled up next to me on his new bike (a new recruit - he will be in the triathlon fold before too long). I finished the second interval and he said he would run a mile or two with me - I was just not feeling these intervals and I welcomed the change of pace. The third interval was even slower - Vic and I ran together - he had never ridden after riding and this was only his second time to ride. So the third mile was at 7:45 (this was even the down hill direction). Another quick rest - not as tired this time and for the final mile (I left Vic at about the half way point and with the slight up hill again) I finished in 7:30.

I did not perform this session as intended but with the cool down I ended up with 7 miles in exactly an hour. After I finished the run I was still a little jazzed and I grabbed the axe to work on some stumps that are in the back yard. I think the 'real' work is as good as most strength training program. Twenty minutes swinging the axe and I was spent.

A little later in the morning - the hard rains came - I was glad to have ran prior to the storm. I am heading to the pool in a few minutes to hammer out some yards.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I had a full rest day on Friday. These are getting easier to take! This morning I got up and did a nice 50 mile bike ride. Pretty hard but not too hard. I was going to try and finish up the ride with a 20 MPH average. On the way back Sam and I crossed paths. We yelled hey. About 5 minutes later he caught up with me. He said it took him forever - of course he had to turn around and he has been a little under the weather for about a week. Sam said that he could get me into the Crawfishman tomorrow - he knows someone that dropped out. Although I would really like to do this local race - it would be a really good benchmark against all of the Hattiesburg tri guys - after just completing a 'pretty hard' 50 mile ride I thought better of it. I will probably wish that I went ahead and did the race. Sam and I rode back to my house and talked for a bit - I ended up with 2:34 for the 50 miles.

After talking with Sam, I did a quick little 3 mile brick. I am always amazed at the effort required to run after biking. Fortunately I can almost always run after biking - just not fast. With a hard effort I was able to complete the 3 mile brick in 22:52. Lots of effort for a just sub - 8 minute mile pace.

On the diet front I have put pen to paper and scripted some basic meal plans. It is easy for me to get into a routine - the problem is that I restrict a little too much and then go nuts. Not this time (famous last words). I am confident that I can get this under control and get to the weight that I want by June 1st.

My next race will be June 6th - The Heatwave Classic (1/2 mile swim, 24 1/2 bike, 10k run) - I did this race last year in 2:14:39 - I hope to best that time!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Biggest Loser - Day 1

Another early morning group ride hammer fest! Packed the bag for work before bed again so that I could ride out of the house at 5:45AM. The sun is just coming up at that time. It is a little bit dark but manageable.

Met the group. Keith had a new Kuota Kaliber and was wanting to test her out; JD was very strong again and Lance and I were just along for the ride. I was on my race bike this morning – by road bike was up at school. Keith and JD took off at a blistering pace and Lance and I just let them go. It would be several miles before they let up and we regrouped. So many rabbits hopping about at this hour. They are not a big concern – it seems if you aim for them then they will get out of the way – most of the time! Opossums are another story. We were in a tight pace line – JD was out front and I was just behind JD – and out of nowhere this opossum comes lumbering across the trace. Quick reactions are the only thing that saved us all – disaster was narrowly averted. All in all we did the ~22 miles in 1:00:58 – a very fast pace for us! With my commute – total bike miles were 35.

Everyone I know and I mean everyone is doing the Crawfishman triathlon this Sunday. Everyone but me – I am kicking myself. I don’t know how this one slipped through the cracks. I have been trying to get an entry all week but the race is full. I feel left out but it is my own fault. I wait until the last moment a lot so this has caused me to go ahead and register for all of my sure thing races. Lesson learned – I hop.

On another note – my weight has been stagnating at around 165 pounds. I threw down the gauntlet yesterday morning and challenged a couple of co-workers to see who can lose the most body weight percentage in the month of May. Today is the first weigh in. I believe the exposure, the accountability and my competitive nature will allow for me to drop some of this stubborn weight!