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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cooler temps in the deep south

It only took one day. And the weather here in Mississippi turned from summer to fall. This week as seen lows in the low 50’s and highs in the mid 80’s. It really does not get any better than that. I rode into work on Wednesday for Adult Swim. I had to dress a little bit differently. I wore a new pair of bibs (the pair with the hole in them really is relegated to the trainer), a long sleeved performance type shirt, a cycling jersey, and my usual fingerless gloves and – for the first time in months, socks.

Every year I remember the coming of fall and the dropping temperatures but I forget how they feel. Sure, I know low 50’s are nothing to most of the country but … I hate it when my feet get cold on the bike. It is funny I can run with frozen feet but on the bike it is miserable. I ran a half marathon last January in shorts and a performance top- the temperature was 23 degrees. My feet were numb for most of the run and they hurt. After the race the awards ceremony was in a park. The ground was frozen (we had a really cold winter down South last year) and feet never warmed up. They hurt but not like they hurt on the bike.

My feet did not get cold on my ride to Adult Swim but it brought unpleasant memories of past winters. I dug around the bike closet and I have already pulled put the toe covers and the neoprene full booties. I will be ready for cooler temperatures.

I also have come to the conclusion that I need to get on an off season training plan. Although I am having fun my volume has not decided – it has just diversified. I am playing racquet sports, swim with the Adult Swim, cycling with the group and a little bit of group running. I am also still doing two-a-days almost every day with a three-a-day still in the mix. My body is telling me it needs a break but without the plan I am having trouble figuring what to cut. It is time to put pen (pencil) to paper and work out MY goals and just chart it out. It is time to become run focused for my marathon build.

Well, I guess it will have to wait until after this weekend. There will be a lot of swim / bike / run.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Don't hold your breath for Adult Swim

Adult swim was demanding on Monday morning. We were all tired and a little beat up from the weekend. We did our warm ups and a little bit of drilling and then we jumped into the main set.

The main set consisted of 2 x (4 x 150 pink with 15 rest / 8 x 50 purple with 30 rest). If you remember the intensities are the color of your face – white, pink, red and purple. For me the 150’s were to be on 2:26 (I would round the recovery up) and the 50’s on 40 (I would round the recovery down – 20 seconds).

All of the 150’s were a little bit fast – maybe 10 seconds fast. This longer part of the set was no problem at all. I seem to be able to nail the longer lower intensity stuff. I catch myself having to slow it down. But as soon as we started the 8 x 50 – that is where it got hard. I struggle with the high intensity stuff. It becomes somewhat of a breathing issue. I kind of hold my breath and then force it out all at once – I get into an oxygen deficit. Anyway, on the second set of these Coach Steve noticed my stroke count creeping up – I have been trying to hold 17-18 strokes. If I slow it way down I can get 15 strokes. But on some of these 50’s when I was working really hard to hold time Coach Steve said I was spinning my arms at 23 strokes per 50 yards. Wow – that stroke count to creep up and fast.

When we were done with the main set we did some cool down repeats of 200 yards. Since I have been having trouble with taking breaths every 3 strokes (much less every 5 strokes) Butch threw down a challenge to see if we could swim the length of the pool under water. He said it would be good for us. Yeah right. Well, Butch was a natural. He was able to swim the length with seemingly little difficulty. I got about ¾ of the way the first time. The second attempt was no better. On the third attempt I was going to make it hell or high water. I swam along the bottom of the pool and then when the pool got deep I kept going down. The way I looked at it was I would not be able to come up quickly and if I kept my trajectory then I should be able to make the distance. My lungs were burning and hurting and I might have had just a little bit of panic but I was able to complete the task. I embraced the panic. The fourth attempt was just that – I gave up mentally and swam about half a length.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Biking, running, biking and unplanned eating

On Friday I went to Adult Swim. There were not a whole lot of us and Coach Steve took it easy on us. The volume was down and the intensity was down. However, there was a whole lot of drilling. Overall it was an easy session. At lunch I played a little bit of racquet ball with the ‘Pros’. I got schooled. They were impressed in my ability to run down some of their shots but – I got schooled. When I play racquet ball I am strictly a defensive player. I do not make shots I just keep the ball in play and wait for the other guy to miss a shot. This works pretty well against lesser players. However, when playing someone that can make the shots – well – I got schooled. The easy day on Friday set me up for a good bike ride on Saturday.

A smaller group met up on the south end of town and we ventured forth. This ride was not spirited. There were no big breakaways. No big gaps to bridge. But it was a good solid ride with good solid pulls. I got in one or two really good pulls – really good pulls for me. I have made it a priority to pull for at least a mile at intensity. The good part is that the faster you ride the shorter the duration. Mind you, this is all out for me. I usually have to dig deep and limp back on the pace line. I’m going to have to start pulling my time instead of distance to increase my endurance.

Sunday morning I met up with Dan and Chad for a longish run. They were getting 12 miles and I would have to run to met them. I do these runs on an empty stomach (just 2 cups of coffee). I left the house at 6AM with two gels on me. We (I) talked the whole time and really enjoyed the run. It was not overly taxing and I ended up with 14 miles averaging in the mid-to-high 8’s. I went home to recover. I was still planning on doing the Wednesday afternoon ride. I had a post workout shake and a bowl of oatmeal. At lunch I had a half pound of carrots and some humus.

I got ready for the afternoon ride and looked outside and it was pouring down raining. Not complaints here – we have not had any rain all month. The grass is brown and the plants are suffering. The rain let up a little bit (all in all we did not get very much rain but some is better than nothing) and I headed out the door. Due to the rain the Sunday group was light. I met up with four and then Raland joined us. No one wanted a spirited ride - including me. My legs were dead. Many times they will wake up after a few miles. But with the rainy road spray and the wind blowing hard we were not on our game. I think I got one good pull in and jumped back into the draft. We turned around at Sumrall. Butch, Matt and Raland put together some really strong pulls and sprints on the way back. All of these efforts were in the high 20’s (like 27 and 28 and 29) with one of the sprints at 31. I was just holding on. I rotated quickly out of the pulls.

I made my way home a little early – only 25 miles. I was in a calorie deficit when I started the ride and now I was ready to devour the house. I had set myself up for failure. I ate for about the next 4 hours. There was nothing bad in the house but the volume was impressive. I started with grilled chicken and stream vegetables. A little bit later I had some cottage cheese with fiber one cereal. A little bit later I decided to make some pancakes (high fiber pancakes – a small batch with powdered sugar). And then to finish off the night I consumed two Greek yogurts with honey. After the first meal I really was not hungry I just wanted to consume. I must take care of my nutritional needs better. I should have had a much larger meal between exercise sessions and then ate sensibly after the bike ride. Oh well, live and learn.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Contest: Mighty Magnolia Race Entry

You know, our local race is coming up on October 9th. The Mighty Magnolia is just two weeks from now. If you have been sitting on the fence trying to decide if you want to race – well you are too late. The race is sold out. It is at its limit – 365 people have registered. The race is touted as follows:
Perfect for beginners. Unique, One-of-a-kind Awards for standard 5-year age groups, Athena, Clydesdale, Beginners, Fat Tire division, and relay teams.
Lots of food, fun, raffle prizes, hospitality, and great racing.

Time-Trial Start. Athletes are assigned their race number in the order their registration is processed. The earlier you register the sooner you start on race day!

Chip Timing.

Top 3 Male & Female Overall. Top 3 Male and Female in each Age Group and Category. No Duplication of Awards.

What if I told you that I had spoke with Ben Hughes, the race director, and I had procured a race entry. What if I told you I was willing to give this race entry away? And, in case you have reservation, I was willing to sit down for a consultation to help someone plan out their race strategies.

Well, all of these things are true. Obviously this contest is for local residents only, so if you would like to get in on this one of a kind contest then leave me a comment telling me that you would like to participate in the Mighty Magnolia. For a second entry simply 'like' Power Multisport on Facebook. And finally, for a third entry follow Power Multisport on twitter.

Please only enter the contest if you would like to participate in the Mighty Magnolia – we do not want to keep anyone out that would like to do the race.

The contest will end next Thursday night at midnight Mississippi time. Please state in the comments whether you are local and will participate in the race if you win. Also state how many eligible entries you are entitled.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why we (I) do triathlons

I originally had some kind of canned response. But your comments made me think a little bit deeper. Why do I do triathlons? It is a good question. We commit a lot of time, money and resources to this sport.

I did my first triathlon on my 35th birthday. It was because I wanted to do something that I was not sure I could do. I just found a triathlon that was not too far away and it being on my birthday sealed the deal. When I signed up I had never swam laps in a pool. That first time in the pool opened the door t so many doubts. I was scared. I knew that if I put recourses towards the goal then I would be successful. So I got in the pool and on the bike and on the track and started to rack up mileage.

When I got to the race I did not know anyone. I did not know how to set up a transition. I did not know what to do. But by the end of it I had some new friends and some new experiences. I was hooked.

Buy why? After that first commitment I started to see all of the other aspects of the sport. It is the lifestyle that is the sport. It is the camaraderie, the tactics, the improvement, the community, the gear - if it was just the races then I don’t think it would have become a passion.

Triathlon is a sport that does not seem to have the pretence of other sports. The pro’s are not signing the hundred million dollar contracts – in fact, although I love the pro aspect, it is not what makes the sport. The sport exists because of you and me – the age groupers, the middle and the back of the pack.

Triathlon also allows you to diversify. Cross training is the sport. This aspect of the sport allows longevity. We get to do the sport longer. We get to make lifelong friends. We see improvement over time. The sport becomes our lifestyle. Triathlon starts to define us. We like to push ourselves to higher limits. It allows us to achieve, to succeed. To reach goals that were once impossible.

Triathlon makes us walk past that piece of cake. Triathlon makes us get up at 4:30 in the morning to ride our bikes to Master’s Swim. Triathlon makes us get on the trainer with the music turned up loud and suffer like no tomorrow. Triathlon makes us do these things for one reason – to be better.

Triathlon makes me better.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Are you hooked?

I read this over on EverymanTri. -

You probably already suspected this, but a new survey by confirms that once bitten by the triathlon bug, most amateur athletes are hooked on the sport. The study also confirms that triathletes spend thousands of dollars per year on gear, and of course spend long hours training each week.

According to key findings include:

•Once someone participates in a tri, they are hooked on the sport: over 90% of panelists surveyed plan to participate in an event in 2011

•Triathletes spend to support their passion: Regardless of income level, the average triathlete surveyed spent $2,135 in 2010 on gear alone

•Triathletes make time for training: Despite professional demands, 50 percent of triathletes surveyed train for 10-15 hours a week

You can read the entire press release below:

SAN DIEGO, CA – September 21, 2010– With the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, less than a month away, The Active Network, Inc.,(Active Network) a technology and media company, today announced the results of a new survey focused on the motivators and behaviors of triathletes.

The survey of 1,560 triathletes, recruited exclusively from Active Network’s Active Lifestyle Panel, reveals that once someone participates in a triathlon they are hooked on the sport. In fact, over 90 percent of those surveyed plan to participate in a triathlon event in 2011 with 32 percent indicating they plan on participating in five or more triathlons in 2011.

Data provided by the World Triathlon Corporation shows that the number of Ironman events being offered around the world continues to rise. In 2006, when Ironman 70.3 was launched, there were 17 events worldwide. Today that number has grown to 42 Ironman 70.3 events spanning 22 countries.

"We continue to see an increase in demand for Ironman and 70.3 events globally," said Jessica Weidensall, spokesperson from World Triathlon Corporation. "Each year, more than 160,000 athletes attempt to earn coveted slots to the Ford Ironman World Championship and Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3. We expect to see even more growth across all brands as we offer new, exciting opportunities in the sport."

Additional key findings from the Active Lifestyle Panel include:

Triathletes spend to support their passion: Regardless of income level, the average triathlete surveyed spent $2,135 in 2010 on gear alone to support their event participation and training (excluding travel or event entry fees).

Triathletes are affluent and educated: The average age of triathletes surveyed was 40 years old, with close to half earning an annual income of over $100K. Education levels are high as well with 40 percent having a college degree and over 40 percent having a post graduate degree.

Triathletes make time for training: Despite professional demands, 50 percent of triathletes surveyed train for 10-15 hours a week with 33 percent indicating they train for three to four months leading up to an event.

In addition, the Active Lifestyle Panel (which recruits exclusively from’s family of media properties) also revealed that regardless of distance, the number one motivator for competing in a triathlon was to accomplish a personal challenge, followed by staying in shape and enjoying the training journey.

“Having witnessed over 200,000 individuals cross the finish line at Ironman events around the world, the sport of triathlon is not just about the physical transformation, but an emotional journey. For many participants, finishing any triathlon represents a huge lifetime milestone,” explained Mike Reilly, the voice of Ironman and vice president at Active Network.

Active Network™ is one of the largest providers of sports registration software for endurance events and organizations in North America.

About The Active Lifestyle Panel

The Active Lifestyle Panel is composed exclusively of consumers recruited from the Active Network family of media properties. It is a new panel that provides access to a highly engaged and motivated community of active consumers.

Obviously this is true for most of us.  But what got you hooked?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Back in the swim of things

It was not easy getting up for Adult Swim. I skipped all of the sessions last seek. Yes I was feeling under the weather but waking at 4:30AM and leaving the house by 5:00AM is damn hard. I do value my sleep. It is important to me. I go to bed early and I get up early. But out of the house by 5:00AM is damn hard.

The night before, I scripted out a meal plan for the week. I like to prepare most of my meals ahead of time. For one, it is more efficient to make 5 salads than one salad each day. But even more important if the meals are already prepared then you are more likely to eat health. It is much easier for me to make meal decisions in advance then when I am starving (although I do try to never be starving – that is just asking for disaster).

You see I have been getting off of my schedule and although everything is working during the day the eating has broken down at night. It was time to nip this in the bud. I am trying to cut out some of the grains that I have been eating. I would like to add more fruits and vegetables. I am still going to eat my oatmeal for breakfast but I am going to stop making oatmeal my go to meal. You see I like to add peanut butter to my oatmeal and it is simply delicious. I could eat it every meal. There is nothing wrong with this meal but it does not have the best mix of nutrients.

So I scripted out my meals and packed my foods for a few days. I also gathered up work clothes so that I could bike in for a few days. I only had to gather my stuff and leave the house. When I prepare for the coming day it is much easier.
Not me - Dara Torres

I was in the car by 5:00AM and made it to Adult Swim with plenty of time. I was awake but still tired. We did an easy warm up of 300 yards and then we started the main set.

3 times (3 x 50 pink, 2 x 100 pink, 1 x 150 red) all with 15 recovery.

If you remember the color chart of intensity is the color of your face (white, pink, red, purple). My times were basically 44 seconds for each 50 and doubled for the 100’s and tripled for the 150’s. For better or worse I was aiming at 45 seconds so that I could work the clock. As intervals should be the first set was comfortably hard. The next two sets were much harder. I was able to hold the 50’s but the 100’s crept up a few seconds. And the 150’s – well they crept up even more – probably about 10 seconds over.

After this working set we started doing drills. I do not mind the drill work at all. I believe that this is where my speed will come from – body position and form. After a couple hundred of drills we did 25 yard sprints trying to not breathe. I have trouble in this area. Several people were able to go the entire length without breathing but I had to grab a breath in the middle. Coach Steve timed up each length and I am slower in the short distance stuff. I think it is because I have absolutely no kick whatsoever. The total workout was around 2500 yards. When the swim session was over I was sure glad that I had made it – of course that is with every workout session.

Oh, by the way – I am ordering some new bibs. The ones with the hole are trainer only.

Monday, September 20, 2010

On the mend - bibs that is

I bought a pair of bib shorts on a post Thanksgiving Day sale last year. They have almost made be a bike snob. I have worn them extensively for about 10 months. I would wager that they have seen thousands of miles. However, they have developed a small hole where the leg meets the chamois. I started to notice it about a month ago. It still used the bibs on the trainer.

I wore them on a group ride a couple of weeks ago and someone pointed out the small hole. Not wanting to be that guy I decided that I needed to take action. I went to the fabric store last week looking for an iron on patch. At first all I could find was decorative patches. I picked out a penguin at first but I then I would the denim type patches. Right next to them was a black nylon type iron on fabric.

The follow pictures show the procedure. I will report back in a week or so on how the patch holds up.

The hole in question.

The hole once again.

What the rider behind me saw.  Or the behind that they saw.

The iron on fabric.

The patch.


The mended hole.

To be honest the patch started to peel almost instantly.  I pulled out some rubber cement from my inner tube patch kit and gooped it up.  I will report back after I wear them again.

Speaking of being on the mend - I did take it easy Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week. I had two very good rides this past weekend and a satisfactory ride. On Saturday there was a small group of us. My friend had a new bike and it started to shift sporadically during the ride. We were on a hilly section and he only had the hardest 3 gears. The chain was jumping out of the higher gears when he went to apply power. Out of sympathy and to build strength I decided to tackle the rest of the ride in my hardest gear. It was very difficult. You see, I am a spinner not a masher. I do not have the leg strength. This workout was very valuable. My legs burned from the exertion. I need to incorporate this workout on a regular basis. This will make me a stronger rider.

On Sunday I did an easy 6 mile run. It was uneventful. The run was hot and humid but successful.

The Sunday afternoon ride was also successful. My friend had his shifting all sorted out. After Sumrall we had a pretty aggressive ride through the country side. I was feeling pretty strong and attacked a couple of times and chased down a couple of attacks. It was a good time.  All in all I ran 100 miles and ran 6 miles.  A little light on the running but the cycling was solid!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Taking my three days

I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission.
 And I want to help you. - HAL

I am a computer geek - I have that scrolling across my workstation.

After the long walk home I have taken it easy. I believe that I have just been over extended. This happens to me this time of year. I know it happens and I just bull dozer through it. It is funny – I know it, I can see it, I can feel it but I think it will be different this time.

I hate feeling weak. I am not sure where this trait comes from. I sure did not grow up with it. I was a pretty sickly child (when I was real little). I was allergic to dang near everything. In fact I could not drink any type of milk – not cow, goat or otherwise. A funny story – when my sister was working in a laboratory on g-proteins (cow hearts) everyone in her lab would gag from the smell. I guess it was awful. It did not make her sick – in fact it kind of reminded her of childhood. That is what I had to drink for protein – cow hearts in a blender – YUK. My father tells me that they had to change the carpet in the house often because as he would rest me on his shoulder to comfort me I would throw up all down his back. He has told me this story repeatedly all of my life.

Anyway, if you ask me when the last time I was sick I will tell you that I don’t remember. And I truly don’t. I like to think that my immune system is a fortress around my body. I am in excellent health and nothing can get through. I know this is not true but it is how I look at it. Being sick is admitting weakness.

Let me state this one more time – I AM NOT SICK, I’m really not, but I am a bit run down. This time of year I deal with a lot of stress – it used to be worse – but there is a lot of stress none the less. And the way that I deal with stress is through exercise. One-a-days turn to two-a-days and two-a-days turn to three-a-days. It is just what I do – I know that it is maladaptive – but it is me.

The first sign of this fatigue was the damned ‘Prickly Heat’ (thankfully resolved). Then came some reduced performance – I failed on two of my bike trainer workouts. The last straw was the failed run home on Tuesday. Therefore, I have taken it easy the since then. I am not sick and I do not feel bad but my body (and to a less extent my mind) has been fatigued.

I am fond of saying ‘take three days to save three weeks and take three weeks to save three months’.

I am taking my three days.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

USAT Coaching Clinic - list of presentations -

I will blog more about the clinic in the next couple of weeks but I will give you brief run down. The clinic was a full two and half days. The information was valuable. It reinforced a lot of my beliefs and may have taught me a few things. One of the most valuable parts of the clinic was being in a room with 30 like minded people. Just sharing stories and experiences was worth the trip.

There were presentations on following:
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Traditional Nutritional Strategies
  • Triathlon Specific Strength Training
  • Running Skills and Economy Training
  • Sports Psychology and Mental Skills
  • Swimming Skills and Economy Training
  • Dynamics of Coaching Youth and juniors
  • Cycling Skills
  • Triathlon Specific Training and Key Workouts
  • Periodization and Planning
As a first step to being a certified triathlon coach it was invaluable. In addition it provides coaching network and affordable insurance.

I have been putting together a coaching website – – please let me know what you think.

Make sure you check out that ‘fat James’ picture –  .

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Run the trolley tracks

While in New Orleans I did get a couple of runs in – one was a quick 5k at the hotel fitness room and the other was with a new friend along the St. Charles trolley lines. The trolley run looks like a lot of fun, however, it had rained while we were in class and there were lots of puddles.

So I was running along with fellow triathlete Mark who is doing Branson 70.3 this weekend. As usual I was flapping my gums. I really can just go on and on with the talking. Especially while exercising. Since he has the race next weekend I said I could run any pace. This meant we settled into my comfortable zone hovering around 8 minutes per mile (maybe a hair over). It was fun dodging the puddles and yielding to the trolleys. Mark was suffering some from the 100% New Orleans humidity.

However, right at 1.5 miles Mark kicked a hidden post or something and nearly went down. We stopped immediately. He was limping a little bit. I told him (repeatedly) that this was his workout – not mine and that we could turn back at anytime. We ended up walking a half mile and running a mile for a total of 8.5 miles. A lot of the last miles were walking.

Since last month when I opened up it has been liberating. Almost complete 180 degree turn around. This is allowing for me to be more honest – to show more of who I am. Anyway, during our run / walks Mark asked me if I was married or had ever been married. I said, I am not trying to be heavy or anything but yes I was married and all of that stuff. It felt awkward. I mean that is some heavy stuff to just throw out there. No one wants a ‘fun run’ conversation to have substance.

So I have gone from telling no one to telling complete strangers. Wow. Anyway, it was not a downer for the rest of the run and I felt more genuine. In the past I would have just said nope – never married.

After the run my ‘Prickly Heat’ made more one last ditch effort of making me miserable. I showered and did the baby powder thing. Since that run last Saturday, I am happy to say that this ailment has subsided. The itching and redness has completely gone away.

I left New Orleans in the early afternoon. I enjoyed riding with Bill and we talked about the clinic. These network connections are valuable in and of themselves. I made it home just in time for Beer Club. It was a beautiful day and the Beer Club had a fair showing. My good friend Charles did show up (still on crutches) and we enjoyed chewing the fat. I think he is going to enter the homebrew contest next month.

I was exhausted from the weekend. This caught me off guard. I mean, I did not do any of the traditional New Orleans debauchery or anything. I just sat in class all day and did some moderate exercise. Sure, beer club did not help but it was also in moderation.

I skipped Adult Swim on Monday morning. This is not like me. Generally when I have a commitment I am going to make it come hell or high water. There was just no way that I was going to get up at 4:30AM and ride to work. So I missed the swim. Instead I made all of my meals for the week. I got to work and I was still feeling tired. It did not help that one of my co-workers has been suffering from a cold for the last week – all last week and still snotty this week.

I think that I started to feel the effects. So I have been slacking this week. At lunch I have played racquet ball the last two days. On Tuesday I rode the bike in and actually felt chilled. I think I will have to pull out the arm warmers. To make up for the lack of running I decided to run home after work. It was hot out but the humidity has subsided somewhat.

This would be an easy 6 mile run – just like I always do. I started out at my comfortable pace. My heart rate was in check but when I looked at my speed it was slow – like a minute slow. My heart rate climbed a little bit and my pace fell into place but my legs were killing me. They felt like I had run long the day before. I continued to run in this easy heart rate zone but nothing about this run was easy.

After three miles I called it quits. I walked the next three miles. I have never done this. It was demoralizing. I felt like a failure. I was not blown up. I was not too hot. I just did not want to run. Looking at my training for the last week I know that I am not over extended. And I actually do not feel sick – just tired. After the hour plus run / walk home (ran the first 3 miles at a low 8 pace and walked the next 3 at a 17 pace) I made myself a recovery drink.  I know that I did not need it from this session but I wanted to curb of any further decay.  I mixed up a protein shake with a health dose of BCAA's with some almond milk.  It was delicious and hopefully it will add in getting me back on track.

So here I am on Wednesday morning and I have decided to skip another Adult Swim. I am still tired and when I went to get a cup of coffee my legs were achy and fatigued.  fortunately I don;t have any races on the near horizon so I have the luxury of riding it out.

I am sure I will spring back in the next day or so and be ready to tackle a new training plan.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Big Easy

I survived the Big Easy without incident. The USAT coaching clinic was actually quite good. It reinforced a lot of things and also taught me a few things. I will be going into some of this in greater detail in the next couple of weeks.

So I hitched a ride with a guy named Bill from Atlanta. I am glad that I did – it was a lot more fun roaming around the French Quarter with someone. The day that we arrived was NFL kickoff. The city closed down Decatur for a parade. Not only were there floats and beads and all the regular parade stuff but Dave Mathews was there (as well as Taylor Swift). It was very crowded so I did not get much of an actual view but I was pretty close to one of the jumbo-trons.

I also got a bit of a run in a couple of nights after class. Nothing structured but just trying to keep up a little fitness. On Saturday night Bill, another classmate Mark and I went to eat in the French Quarter. I had a wonderfully delicious Muffalatta. Wow – talk about good. As we were heading back to the room for some homework we passed by Café Du monde. Bill said that he had not had a beignet before. So we had to stop. We only order 1 serving (3 beignets) and Mark got a coffee.

It was about 10 PM and the café was not crowded at all. However, up came an older bald guy with a tall Latin woman on his arm. She had huge fake boobs just popping out of her dress. She approached our table and with a perky thick accent (I’m from Mex-He-Co) and said that she had never had a beignet. She took the one from Mark’s hand. She took a big bite. Then she said she needed a little drink and picked up Marks coffee and took a sip. They talked and flirted with us for a few minutes. Boy, you could smell the alcohol.

As they walked away one of the workers at the Café asked if we should tell the guy that he was with a man. Wow – you have to love NOLA!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wednesday night ride and New Orleans bound

I forgot to look for my sleep shorts on my ride home, oh well. I rode home after work and dropped my bag off at the house. I then rode back to Jackson Station for the Wednesday night ride. There were not many takers tonight. It was Butch, Ed, Mark, Chad and me. The ride started off rather sedate. Even though the pace was not that high I looked down at my legs. They were already getting splotchy from the heat. They were starting to itch. Man, I am tired of this ‘prickly heat’; however it really is getting better. Once we got off the trace Ed lead us out and pulled most of the time. The pace was just fast enough that no one was willing to attack. After about 15 miles Butch took the lead and poured it on uphill. I think that is his favorite form of attack. Long gradual hills at a good clip and he just watches the riders fall off. Once we started to regroup I took off. I really tried to keep my exertion under control. I wanted to ride out hard – but not too hard and just blow up. I got a good jump and it felt like I was creating a gap. The sun was getting low in the sky behind me and I was looking for shadows. But my heart rate started to creep up and I was getting spent. I kept the pace high for as long as possible. I started to fade and sat up – the guys were on my wheel. I had no idea. I moved to the right and tried to jump on the train. I was dying but I did not want to get dropped. Fortunately the road came to an end just ahead and I was able to get back on. It was a good solid effort. No guts no glory – maybe one of these days I will be able to get away (not likely).

I am out of town this weekend. I am going to New Orleans for a USA Triathlon coaching clinic. I am pretty excited. I was lucky enough to book a room back in June for like $50 a night. So I contacted some of the other clinic attendees to see if they wanted to split the cost of the hotel. However, being downtown the parking is $30 a night. I also wanted to find a ride. Everything fell into place. I found someone to split the room and give me a lift to New Orleans.

So I am having someone pick me up on campus in Hattiesburg and sharing a room for the weekend in New Orleans. A couple of people have told me this is risky. I guess I am a trusting person. I did not see the risk. However, I have written a post to be published at 5PM on Friday giving all of the details on my whereabouts just in case something happens. So, if I do not cancel the post please come looking for me.

All joking aside, I did think about the person picking me up. They are also taking a risk. I wonder how they would react if when they pulled up to pick me up if I was dressed as a mid-evil warrior in full regalia. I think it would be hilarious.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bigfoot on the trace?

I woke up just prior to the alarm. The alarm was set for 4:30AM. I have to leave the house by 5:00AM to make it to Adult Swim on time (regardless of driving or biking). I try to bike as often as possible and especially on Wednesday’s – I like to do the bike ride after work. I made my way to the kitchen for a cup of coffee and turned off the alarm on my ironman watch just in time.

I loaded up my backpack which has become more like a purse. I put everything imaginable in this thing. It weighs a ton. So I was drinking a couple of coffee and getting dressed in my office and cramming more and more stuff into the bag. I had my watches, my clothes for the day, my swimsuit, my goggles, my wallet, my cell phone, a towel, flip flops, keys, sunglasses, MP3 player and then I decided that I needed a pair of shorts. I don’t like to wear pants on the bike from the gym to my office (about a quarter mile) because I can get grease on my pants. I went back into the bedroom and grabbed a pair of sleep shorts from my closet.

I headed out the door into the early morning darkness. I turned the headlight on and pushed play on the MP3 player. I have started to enjoy these dark rides. There is almost no one on the trace at 5:00AM. There is one older couple that walks on the trace with bright flash lights but mostly it is rabbits and opossums.

I was cruising along at an easy rate through the darkness. Previously I had seen a bat take some flying insects down that were attracted to my headlight. It was pretty neat to watch.

Then something hit me up on the left side of my head. It was not something small like a bug or stone or anything – it was like a slap to the face. My first thought was that I had just been attacked by Bigfoot or something. The slap was not hard at all but it stunned me. It was like when you hand brushes something in the lake. I took notice. I immediately turned my head and starred into the darkness. Of course I could see nothing – it was pitch black.

I then thought that it might have been a bat. That shocked me. I was more careful as I continued my ride. When I got to the natatorium I noticed that my back pack was not even zipped. I was half asleep when I left the house. I did a quick inventory of the contents and thankfully nothing was missing except for the sleep shorts. I guess they had worked themselves loose and flew up and hit me on the side of the head. Or did a Bigfoot grab at me and open the pack and dislodge the shorts. We will never know.

Adult swim was challenging again. I am pretty good with the longer stuff (150 yards) but swimming fast 50’s is eating me alive (10 x 50 @ 40 seconds on the 60 - I best I could hold was 42 - 43 seconds). I just can’t hold the fast pace right now – lots of stuff to work on.

Later in the day Jodie went for a run on the trace and she thought that she saw my sleep shorts but wondered to herself why would they be out on the trace. I am going to try and locate them on my ride home.

UPDATE:  Oh yeah, the ‘prickly heat’ is getting better. It is really not visible but I sure can feel it.   After the shower I have been loading up with the baby powder. I have been going into a corner at the gym locker room and basically throwing up a cloud of the white stuff and dancing around naked. It pretty much covers every inch of my body. I have gotten a few stares but I don’t think they can see much due to the smoke screen. Also, I don’t know if the chlorine from the pool is good for the skin but the cool water is very soothing.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Prickly Heat

After the big weekend I took Monday off. Jodie and I went to the Labor Your Legs 5K and volunteered. I had packed our bikes into the truck because I thought we would be course monitors. We instead rode sweeper. It was a nice leisurely 3.1 mile ride.

Well, I have finally circum to the effects of the summer heat. For the past week I have been suffering from what appears to be ‘prickly heat’. Yeah, I did not know what it was either. You see, I started getting an itchy rash on my legs and the back of my knees. It was very aggravating. I would scratch at these bumps and they would become welts. They would get huge – like chicken pox.

I thought that it was because of dry skin or something like that. I made a mistake and started applying various lotions to help soothe the irritation. The prickly heat rash has now spread to most of my body. In researching this aliment I have discovered that it is from overused and blocked sweat glands. The sweat glands still produce sweat but it can not escape and the sweat forms these little pockets below the skin – gross. The only remedy is time, staying dry and keeping cool. I am already taking lots of cool showers (about 3 per day) but I have added a couple of cool baking soda baths to the mix. I am also applying a lot of baby powder to keep dry.

The weather this past weekend was much cooler so I don’t think that posed too much of a threat. However, during lunch I have been staying indoors. I have been running my 6 miles on the indoor track. Talk about boring. The track is only an 8th of a mile so 6 miles is 48 laps. Around and around. I skipped the track today at lunch and played a couple of games of racquet ball.

Tomorrow I will be back in the pool with Adult Swim, strength training at lunch and then the Wednesday Night ride.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lessons from the Road

With the holiday weekend I got a good deal of time of the bike (I also got a 13 mile run in).  On Saturday morning we met at Winn Dixie.  The group was on the smallish size just being 5 including me. 

I have made the decision to work a little harder and go for it more often.  I also need to be smarter when I pull or try to break away.  When I get to the front or try to create a gap I go all out – unfortunately I can only sustain this effort for a minute or two.  Then I have to give it everything that I have just to grab the last wheel.  I watch my heart rate continue to climb and climb after the pull. 

Well, on Saturday I took a couple of really good pulls for me – I stuck my heart rate at a solid zone 4 and gave good pulls of a mile plus.  This is what I need to do.  The first half of the ride and we were averaging 21 + MPH.  When you consider all of the chit chat and slow pedaling that 21 + means there were points that we were really moving.

Lesson 1:  During the second half of the ride I was drafting about third in line.  It was a rolling selection of road and I we were going into a slight head wind.  I moved just a hair to my left to gage the wind.  Butch told me that during a race it would be easy to edge me out into the draft.  He effortlessly inched forward and had taken my place in the pace line.  Just like that I was working much harder.  Butch let me back in but in a race I would have had to drift all the way to the back of the pack.  Remember to keep it tight and hold the wheel close.

Lesson 2:  Towards the end of the ride I was feeling strong.  We were on another set of rolling hills.  I had forgotten that this was the beginning of a tough couple of miles.  I made the mistake of passing on the down hill of one of the rolling hills and hammer up the next.  Well, when I passed the entire group jumped on my wheel and waited for me to get tired going up the next hill.  Then they passed me like I was standing still.  I was huffing and puffing and just could not grab the wheel.  The pack was just out of my reach and continuing to pull away.  The group was soft pedaling as we reach town when I caught back up.  Ed told me of my mistakes.  He said that he was on my wheel and just started to smile.  He said that I could not have set it up any better.  It is just too easy for everyone to follow on the down hill – even if it is just a dip before the next hill.

Lesson 3:  This was the Sunday ride.  It was another section of road that has a long steady climb.  We were riding steady trying to chase down another rider.  We were closing but I was impatient.  I jumped out of the third position and sprinted ahead.  I charged hard and reached the rider.  Actually, I flew by the rider and tried to keep the pace.  I started to slow but Butch was on my wheel.  He jumped ahead of me and it took just about everything to stay with him.  He then slowed but started to attack every few minutes.  I was able to counter and get back on the wheel but it was taking its toll.  There was no need to jump in front of the group.  I could have stayed in the pack and conserved energy and then attacked at the end.

These were good lessons and an even better time riding.  All in all a great holiday weekend.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Master's Swim at 3 weeks.

I just wrapped up the third week of Master’s Swim (or affectionately known as Adult Swim). The last two sessions have been workouts. That is just what I need to increase my swim proficiency. Every swim workout has a purpose – that is so much better than just showing up or putting together a last minute workout. I have never given swimming the priority that it needs. In addition, having 10 other people in the pool makes the sets fly by.

Late last week we did a 200 yard time trial at all out pace. I came in huffing and puffing at 2:44. This time would be used to set the paces for all future swims. I have done this in running and believe in the philosophy. However, in swimming I have always been a one speed pony. If I wanted to swim faster I just swam my normal rate and picked it up for the last lap or two – no matter the distance. I am starting to learn my paces.

Today was a ladder at the white level. Coach Steve said that he uses 4 levels – white, pink, red and purple. Those colors correlate to the color of your face when you finish the set. Today was at the lower white intensity. Still, with the accumulating fatigue it got very challenging.

The ladder consisted of the following (x2) with 15 seconds recovery:

4 x 50 on 0:45
3 x 100 on 1:39
2 x 150 on 2:44
1 x 200 on 3:20

The first round through was not too bad. But by the time I got to the 150’s the second time around my back was burning. I took that as a positive sign that I was swimming better.

Once we knocked out those 1800 yards we had a little more time. The next sets consisted of 10 x 50 on 40.6 (yeah point 6) on 60 (15 seconds rest). I was able to maintain for about 3 reps and then my stroke count started to climb. My time started to climb. Coach Steve noticed this and gave me another 15 seconds recovery on the set. It still very is demanding.

That was the best swim workout that I have had this year. I am loving the Adult Swim.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Road Racing - Let the chips fall where they may.

F#ck off with your sofa units and string green stripe patterns, I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let... lets evolve, let the chips fall where they may. - Tyler Durden

Ginny over at Happy Feet 26.2 sent me an article about road racing.

It had a lot of good tips about cycling. She mentioned tip number 5 about the hard stuff not being hard enough and the easy stuff not being easy enough. This is true in swim / bike / run for sure. It is so hard for most of us to slow down for a recovery run. Now the hard stuff. I can knock out running intervals with a group of fast runner like no bodies business. But left on my own it is hard to hold yourself to the line. So I just run my intervals where I have to be accountable.

Tempos are another story. It is so hard for me to go out and run an hour plus at a very hard pace. I almost need a race to push myself – to be able to keep myself at that edge. I have known this about myself for years.

However, the tip that stuck out in my mind was the following:

3. Not Limit Potential

For the first few years, race as hard as you can. When presented with any "yes/no" question--Should I follow this attack? Should I go hard in this time trial? Should I force the pace on this hill? Should I sprint for this prime?--answer YES. If you follow this rule initially, you will craft forward-thinking, aggressive racing habits, and you will learn much more about the limits of your body and your competitors. Don't worry about hiding your cards and being patient, that comes later. If you get shelled because you left it all out on the road, that is fine, you are in the learning phase of your sport. For now, when you see opportunity, pull the trigger!
In a race, I have never blown up - completely. I am afraid of blowing up. I have pushed myself too far and pulled back but never just gone all out – no holds barred – seen the line in the sand and willingly stepped over. I have held myself back in races and pushed an artificial line. Sure, I have had a lot of good results but I have rarely been out in the danger zone – I mean really out in the danger zone. What I have done is called racing smart, but maybe I need to get out and pull like no tomorrow and push the pace – push the pace above and beyond my capacity - just let the chips fall where they may.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Shoe Rotation (and shopping)

I’m lucky with shoes. I can wear just about anything. When I started running I always just bought whatever was at the big box shoe store. The shoe did not really matter very much when I was only running 3 miles at a time a couple of times a week. In fact, my running shoes were my everyday shoes. I mowed the lawn in them, I wore them to work, and I played volley ball in them. It just did not matter.

I wore my ‘running shoes’ like this for years. As my mileage picked up I started to feel the age of the shoes. After 9 or 10 months my joints would start to hurt. A new pair of shoes would be the remedy. Around this time I also discovered outlet malls. I would time my shoe purchases and to maximize the value I would purchase several pairs of the same shoe. I have been running in Reebok’s, not exclusively, for about 8 years now. Their outlet mall stores always have buy 1 get 1 at 50% off. Also, they have 40% off coupons several times a year.

Last year, while putting up big mileage training for an ironman and then even bigger mileage training for a marathon I had 4 pairs of Reeboks – two pair of white/red and white/blue. The different colors were different models but they were similar. Since they looked the same I had to number them. For the marathon, I wrote on the inside heel – MG1 and MG2 for Mardi Gras 1 and 2. This allowed for me keep track of the shoes and rotate them effectively.

I am not that obsessive about the tracking the rotation. I do not record the mileage on each individual pair of shoes. I do however track the mileage on the set of shoes. Below are some tips from Super Dave at Road Runner Sports:

1. First, start with two pair of shoes that both have less than 250 miles on them. If they're the same model, mark one pair as A and the other B. To rotate most effectively, keep track of the mileage you've put on each pair.

2. The newest pair (lowest mileage) should be used for your longer runs and your competitive racing.

3. The older pair (highest mileage) should be used for your shorter runs, inclement weather runs or your offroad runs if you aren't using a trail shoe.

4. Keep the older pair in the rotation until you've run 450 miles in them. At that point, it's time to "boot" your old pair and bring a new pair into the rotation.

Along with injury prevention I think rotation between different models of shoes helps to strengthen my ankles and feet. The variety helps me to eliminate any hot spots that can develop running everyday – but like I said, I am fortunate and I can run in just about any neutral (high arches) type of shoe.

In addition, rotating your shoes also allows for the foam in sole to decompress. This will increase the life span of the running shoes. I read something that said rotation two pairs of shoes should give you the mileage of three pairs. So buying four pairs might give me the mileage of 6 or seven pairs!

I keep a pair of shoes in my gym locker that are for short runs (I run about 6 miles at lunch most days of the week) and I keep I keep a pair at home for long runs. Every couple of week these pairs of shoes will be rotated with the fresh pairs. It will be easier this time since each pair is a different color.

So I went to the outlet mall a few weeks ago and procured all of the shoes that I will need to train / race me through to the Mardi Gras Marathon in February and then Boston in April. I can usually get between 250 and 450 miles per pair of shoes. With 4 new pairs shoes it should easily be enough to train, race 4 half marathons, a 12K, a 25K , a 30k and 2 marathons. At an average of 50 miles per week that will be right at 1600 miles.

2 pair of Reeboks and 2 pair of Under Armour (new at the outlet mall)

How many pairs of running shoes are currently in your closet? (I’ll count mine tonight - although I am afraid to know just how many pairs I have.)