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Monday, November 30, 2009

Post - Thanksgiving

So I have been AWOL for the past week or so … I had a very nice Thanksgiving holiday. I went to Texas and visited with my father and my sister and her family. The diet was blown a few times (Thanksgiving) and the exercise dropped of f some. I did get a ride in on the trainer before leaving town on Wednesday (a big warm up and then an all out 6 minute maximum exertion interval). 6 minutes does not seem like much but when you are trying with everything you have to beat your prior best – let’s just say I wanted to throw up went I was done. I also got a 4 mile run in before driving back from Texas – and another 45 minute trainer ride when I got home.

While in Austin I had the change to visit Mellow Johnnies – Lance Armstrong’s bike shop in the downtown area. What a neat shop. It had yellow jerseys from all of his winning tour and many race bikes. They also had a huge sale. Most everything was discounted but I gravitated towards the clearance racks. Everything on the racks was $20. I picked up 2 pairs of Castelli bibs, a Zoot tri jersey, a Sugio wind vest and a Castelli jersey – all for $100 plus tax. That is half the price of one pair of the bibs. It was a huge score. I have always wanted to have a pair of bibs and now I have two!

Back in town I have decided to redouble my diet efforts. I have calculated my BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) and I have charted out several meal plans. I will eat about 1750 calories everyday – and this is where I hope I am getting a little smarter – I will add about 500 calories for each hour of exercise. I hope that this will allow me to eat a healthy diet without getting all bonky and bingie.

I have a half marathon this weekend in Baton Rouge that I am looking forward to even though I have not been working a training plan. This race is just for fun.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cheaha - pronounced YeeHa

I know that I have been AWOL from the blog-o-sphere for a little while. I guess that I am languishing a little bit without a clear cut plan in place. I really need that framework to help guide my training. I enjoy looking at the program and knowing what I need to do tomorrow. Without out this framework I have been just going through the paces with no objectives. Now, I have been having a lot of fun but without that direction I believe that it is hard to see real progress. My fitness is being maintained but all of the principles of periodization and progressive overload have been thrown out the window.

Cycling: Having a good time is the name of the game. A group of guys went to Cheaha State Park in Alabama last weekend. This is the highest point in Alabama. We stayed in a swanky cabin on a lake. There were challenges everywhere – the cabin had a pool table, ping pong table and foosball table. The mountain was also quite a challenge. We all had doubts on whether we would complete the climbs. We attached the peak from the east. This is by far the steepest climb – only lasting about 3 and a half miles. We are talking low –low gear and spinning along at 5 -6 MPH. Tough stuff. We then rode down the south side of the peak and gained speeds approaching 50 MPH (my highest speed recorded was 48.6 MPH). This road going south comes to an end (end of pavement that is) at Adam’s Gap. We turned around and tackled the peak once again. This was more of a gradual accent. We also got another ride in the next day. On yeah, I took my wetsuit and did a cold 20 – 30 second swim. It took longer to get the wetsuit on than the actual swim. It was hard to swim in the cold water after a hard ride – especially while all of your friends are on the dock having a post ride adult beverage or two.

We raced to the top of the climbs so that we could take pictures of the back of the pack.  All in good fun.

Running: Two weeks ago I ran a half marathon (ran not raced) on about 5 miles of running per week. It was a fun race. I found some guys to chat with and had a fun time. I finished 3 minutes slower than my PR (but to be fair this last half marathon was a little short – by two tenths of a mile). Well, I have another half marathon in two weeks and I have only run twice since the last half marathon. I am going to do this half marathon with another bunch of guys – we might run a 5K the night before. I am sure that we will all have a good time.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dixie group ride


My friend Ren competed in Ironman Florida this past weekend and finished with a fantastic time of 12:13:47 -  Way to go Ren!

My legs were tired this week. I did the P90X Plyometrics and STADIUMS on Wednesday, a spirited group ride on Thursday morning and then the P90X Legs and back program on Friday. So the Saturday morning group ride would take place on tired legs.

Dan and I arrived at Keith’s house at 6:30 on Saturday morning. It was brisk morning and I thought that I might be over dressed. I had a base layer shirt, jersey, arm and leg warmers as well as full neoprene booties. It turned out that this was just about right.

We headed south of town in what is known as the Dixie area. I have never ridden in this part of town and the hills were welcomed. However, from the get go the pace was challenging for me. I was struggling to keep from getting spit off of the back. And there was one occasion that Keith and Dan did need to slow up for bit to keep me in the pack. This was a tough ride for me. This was a lot of fun and we only stopped on two occasions – one when Dan, who was leading by a good way missed a turn and then once again when Dan had a client malfunction and fell at an intersection. No harm, no foul but his cleat got turned around.

Sunday I did a P90X Chest and Back and then played on the trainer for just a few minutes. 15 minutes at an easy pace and the 6 minutes at a hard effort. I am trying to devise a base training plan for this winter. I have been playing with some of the intensities.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Morning ride returns with the time change - Plus STADIUMS

I have been in autopilot mode lately but I thought that I would provide an update. I did a quick 20 mile bike ride with the group on Sunday. I had just arrived back in town from New Orleans and caught up with the group as they went by my stretch of the trace. It was a good time – I had a couple of hard pulls. The pulls really put the burn in the legs – there was some fatigue from the weekend’s ½ marathon.

That fatigue was even more evident at lunch on Monday. We went out for an easy 4 mile run and the legs were just hurting. We started slow and the pace crept up a little but not much. We averaged 8:30 minutes per mile for the run but it felt like it should have been so much faster.

Tuesday got me back into the P90X groove again with the Chest and Back DVD. This is still a solid workout and I have seen some progress. In the later pull up sets I am getting a few more reps – I don’t think that my total number of pull ups in 1 set has increased much but my endurance is a little better. At lunch we hit the pool for some easy 100 yard sets – I got a total of about 1500 yards. After the swim we went upstairs to do our regular chest workout. Damn, I felt weak after the P90X and the swim. My lifts were off.

My chest and upper body was lit up on Wednesday after the chest workouts from the previous day. I would give the upper body a break. I did the Plyometrics P90X workout (jump training) in the morning. For what it is worth I am definitely getting better at jumping around. And then there were the STADIUMS.

We had a good turnout – 8 people came out for the STADIUMS! This session would be a 15 second working set (I can’t really get much faster running up the stairs) but the rest interval was cut down to 1:15. This would be a total set time of 1:30. To fill the 30 minutes we would to 20 reps. This is what we started at a month ago and FAILED – I did all of the set in the prescribed time but many of my working sets suffered – it got hard. Although the weather is cooler this would still be a challenging workout. There was quite a bit of trepidation from some of the group but we all persevered. By the end of the session only Chad and I completed the session in the designated time. Chad said that a couple of his work sessions ended up being a little too long – but he was right there with me for the duration. Much of the group had to take a few breaks and such – yes – this workout is that challenging. That being said, I cannot cut the working set down by much and the rest is getting pretty low. I may simply have to start increasing the reps. I will have to evaluate the workout for next week. I did analyze my heart rate following the completion of this workout and it did take a significant jump over the previous week. It was hard. After the STADIUMS I took off my shoes and ran around the football field on the turf. I just wanted to get a feel for this bare foot running that the internet is chatting about. Since I am already a fore-foot runner I really did not fell anything different – My feet felt pretty good on the turf.

With the time change the sun is out earlier than it has been. The morning cycling group met up at 6AM at Jackson Station. There were the usual guys – Lance, Keith, Dan and I. From the get go Keith was pushing the pace and Dan was chopping at the bit. They really pushed the pace. I had thought I was doing well with pulls in the 21’s and 22’s and then one of these guys would put the hammer down and start killing 23’s and 24’s. It was all I had to just hang on during some of the pulls. Lance and I had enough and let them go down the hill to Sumrall by themselves. We regrouped and had a good out of the saddle climb towards Epley Road. This was a fun spirited ride. I got 30 miles in an hour and half. My legs were toast after the ride.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Jazz half marathon - no banana

Well, for the first time I was able to run a race for fun! And I had a great time. The first annual Jazz half marathon kicked off this past Saturday. The run started just west of the French Quarter near the convention center and headed west through the garden district and circled back through city park. A very pretty course that was completely closed to traffic.

There were 2,000 registered participates with nearly 1,400 finishers. I had wanted to run in costume since this run was in New Orleans and it was on Halloween. However, a cool front with a lot of rain moved in Friday night. It was still raining just before the race started. I really only needed a slight excuse to back down and there it was. In retrospect, there really were not very many people in costume and the few that were dressed up were simply in small devils horns or very race friendly outfits – like girl scouts or lederhosen.

I started way back at the start (you had timing chips so starting did not matter) and went out slow. There were a ton of people to pass in the first mile – I mean a ton. It took a long time to weave in and out but I was not really trying to make up time – just to warm up and get through. A little bit after the first mile marker I caught up with a guy named Jeff and we chatted for the next five miles. I was running at a comfortable pace and just enjoying the morning. We were clicking off just over 8 minute miles when we started running together. By mile six the pace was at 8 minutes flat. Jeff needed to drop off a little bit and he needed to hit a porta-loo. I kept at it and Mike jumped into stride next to me – he had overheard some of the conversation with Jeff and said that he had been at IM Louisville also. Small world – Mike and I discussed all of the aspects of the ironman for the next 4 miles – how the race went for each of us – if we were going to do another – how much running (or lack thereof) we have been doing in the last 2 months, etc. I really enjoyed talking with Mike and was disappointed when his pace started to slip. We had been running about 7:30 minutes per mile and this also seemed comfortable to me. It was pushing Mike a little too hard and at mile 10 he dropped off. I had planned on running hard this last 5k of the race and I picked it up to a pace where it would be difficult to talk. At mile 11 I passed a couple of guys and once again started to make some small talk – I was basically told that I was running a good pace and I needed to STFU and just finish the damn race. You know what – they were right. I needed to just finish the race – I had had enough of the messing around. I took the last couple of miles at a hard effort and finished the race in 1:40:04 (98 / 1379). Not a PR by any means but a fun race. On a side note I think the race was a little bit short but it does not matter – I had fun and I do not feel disappointed not running my best ever.

I have signed up for another ½ marathon the first week of December in Baton Rouge. This will be a real race for me – I have 1 month to prepare and see if I can reach my goal times. There will be several people from the running club and I hope that I can hang with Terry L. for the race. Terry is a good deal faster than me and he might just be the inspiration that I need to have a breakthrough race!