Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thanks to Miss Melanoma

So, when there was a chance that my Melanoma was going to be more invasive, I looked for blogs that would give me an indication of what I would be going through. Miss Melanoma's blog gave me information about what to expect if my condition was just slightly worse than it was, and if you read her blogs from 2005 til now, you will be amazed. She is an awesome person, and an inspiration. Thank you for blogging, Miss Melanoma. I really appreciate your spirit.

Why Triathlons are cool.

So, here is a huge reason why doing triathlons are cool. I know that Lance Armstrong is going to return to triathlons in 2011 and is going to be at Kona that year. Me, a below average AGer, can focus this year on general fitness and 70.3 distance races, then next year move into IronMan distances, and there is a possibility that by either qualifying, or winning a spot in the lottery, that I could be racing in the same race as Lance. I went to Augusta in 2009, and was racing in the same race as several professional athletes, and even got to meet a few.
Triathlons are all about personal improvement, but there are not many sports that you can sign up for a race, as just an everyday Joe, and race with the pros. I can not play basketball or baseball with professionals. There is no chance that I could be a basketball or baseball professional. There IS on the other hand a chance that someone could work hard and go from amateur status to professional status in triathlon. I do not necessarily think that I could do it, but there is a chance.
It is also not age specific. Due to the natures of basketball and baseball, once you hit a certain age you are pretty done. Triathlon has age groups to very late ages, and your potential for doing well AG wise actually goes up the older you get.
It is also not boring. You always have something that you need to work on specifically. Then you will have the next thing. Example: Last year I could not swim a full lap of the pool without stopping or floating on my back. I really worked on that, and feel as though I am an adequate swimmer now - meaning I can do 4x500 at www.luckyslakeswim.com and not drown or start having hallucinations. Now that I have that base in swimming, I am focusing on my running - which at this point takes longer than the bike leg for me. Once that is good, then I will have another area that I can focus on to make my overall time better.
Anyway, these are some reasons why triathlons are cool.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Luckiest person at the cancer center.

Well, the waiting is over. That waiting is over. I got the results back, and the lymph nodes which were removed are negative for melanoma. The additional mole which was removed was negative for melanoma, and the margins which were removed were negative for melanoma. All that means that I am cleared and go back into mole-watch mode, and can continue planning the rest of my life.
I got that information on tuesday, and then had an oncologist appointment on thursday at the MD Anderson Cancer center. Even though the melanoma had not metastasized, the doctors wanted me to see an oncologist. This happened last time I tested positive for melanoma, and when I saw the cancer doctor, he said, "Why are you seeing me? You are healthy." This doctor was different because he was amazed that I could grow up in Alaska, not be exposed to much sun, not have any family history of melanoma, and show up in his office. When he found out that I have been diagnosed twice I think his jaw hit the floor. So, essentially, I have been diagnosed with the most deadly form of skin cancer, and have lucked out in having it localized to the skin - twice. As I looked at all the patients in the cancer center, I can't help but feel...lucky? Blessed?
Anyway, this year has definitely been one of the most challenging years for me and my family. I want to clearly delineate this year from the next, and my intent is to celebrate the new year in a way that everyone in the family can clearly see that it is a new year. In addition to the celebration, this is also when I will get my new "January haircut".
I spoke with the surgeon, and she will schedule me for an appointment in the beginning of the year to look at all of the moles on my head, and every January I will shave my head to determine if there is any change in the ones she decides to leave. I expect to have a few taken off initially, just to make sure. I guess I can't be too careful when it comes to that.
I look forward to closing the door on 2009, and having a life-changing (in a positive way) 2010. Planning for a great year is a sure way of having one, right?

Monday, December 14, 2009


I feel like we have been waiting a lot lately. I havent posted on this blog in a while because I have been waiting for something to say. I still don't have much, but i am sitting by myself while everyone is at work or school, and figure I may as well fill you in as to what is happening up to this point. So, last Friday I had my surgery to remove a wider incision around the mole which came up positive for melanoma. it is behind my left ear. I also had a lymph node mapping, which is not as much fun as you would imagine, so they could remove some of my lymph nodes to determine if my cancer has metastasized.
Lymph node mapping is where they stick you with really painful needles of radioactive material, then you lay under a scanner in what starts out as a comfortable position, but what you figure out after 10-20 minutes of holding still, is quite painful. Some people complain that you get a taste in your mouth after the shots, while others have the feeling of wetting themselves. I just had the feeling that someone was jabbing me really hard 4x with a needle full of radioactive material behind my ear, which then decided to bleed and ooze.
Then 20 minutes on my stomach, hands over my head while looking left for the first picture.
Then 10 minutes on my back, hands over my head with a scanner 1mm from the tip of my nose (if you are afraid of enclosed spaces, this would be a nightmare. I on the other hand, was trying not to cough cause I have a slight cold, and a tickle in the back of my throat.)
Then 10 minutes on my back, hands over my head looking right.
Then wait to see if it is ok.
Then 10 minutes on my back hands over my head looking right again.
Then 10 minutes on my back hands over my head looking right again while drawing with some marker thing.

Finally I was done, and we could go over for surgery. Surgery was the same as it ever was. Get in a gown, get your vitals, put on a weird hat. Go to the OR, breathe this..... out. Josy told me when I woke up that when they had shaved to prep for the surgery they found another mole that looked like the original ones they had taken out, and that they made the wider incision, took 3 lymph nodes, and took out the mole that looked like the bad mole. Originally Josy had joked about shaving my head, and the doctor said it was probably a good idea. I have a similar mole behind the other ear, and could very well have more hidden in my hair. Josy has since bought me a stocking cap to keep my head warm - "In case we end up cutting it closer...".
So, after surgery, I came home, and started in on recovery. Weird thing is that I can not use the muscle to make me pee. I know I have to pee, but the muscle will not contract. It takes me 30 minutes to get enough pee out to feel like i should not have to pee any more.
By day 2, I notice that I can not tell if I have to go #2 either. So, not only do I not have to pee, but i have to pee, but I know i have to poo, but i can't tell if I have to poo! This probably does not make much sense, but it does to me. Sunday night I am not able to go (#1 is ok since i have trained myself to spend 10 minutes dribbling enough out to be ok about every 1-2 hours.) so i decided to stop the pain meds. Last pain meds i took was last night at 8. this morning, I could use the bathroom for both types. I really had to go. REALLY. After getting that out of my system, I looked in the mirror at my wound - which i really hadn't seen since the steristrips had come off, and decided I may need to go back on the meds. it looks painful, so, I think i am going to try the meds i had from last time. I think they are lighter duty, but at least i can feel my functions with them.
That catches you up to now. Tomorrow i have the meeting with the surgeon so i can hopefully find out whether the lymph nodes are clear, and whether the other flap of skin is clear. Based on that information, I will see the oncologist on Thursday to find out what-if anything- needs to happen there. I anticipate having some advance notice of tomorrows information today. I imagine that if the other mole comes back as anything but normal, that the doctor will call and ask me to shave my hair close for tomorrow's visit.

Anyway. Now you are up to date. Here are some pics.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Can you believe my luck?

Well, you may or may not know that in 1998 when i was just 25 years old, I had a malignant melanoma removed from my neck. Since then I have been going to dermatologists off and on and having different moles removed from my neck, arms, legs, and torso. My wife mentioned a peculiar mole behind my ear out to at least one doctor, but it was deemed unlikely to be a melanoma. Since that diagnosis I have probably had 40 moles removed by punching them out, or by using a razor to scrape them off.
Fast forward to today, when one of those moles which had been scraped off a few weeks ago, then the mole was surgically removed (5mm of plain skin around the mole turns into a dime sized piece of skin removed, and a 2 inch scar). I went in at noon to get my stitches removed, and the Dr. informs me that the one from behind my ear was melanoma. The mole that was removed from my scar on the other side which was more disturbing, and then the subsequent removal of the entire scar to make sure there was not a malignant cell which made it all these years, was clear. It left a 4 inch scar on my neck, but it was clear.
The doctor said the next steps are as follows. I have another surgery to remove 1.5 more cm around the area where the original mole was. I have a lymph mapping to determine which nodes could be problematic and take them out. Then a visit with an oncologist who specializes in skin cancer and melanomas, and possible mole mapping. Note: My wife wants me to shave my head for this one cause she is worried that I may have another red mole on my scalp which we have missed. I am not sure if I want to be bald, or even trimmed that close. We will have to see on that one.
Anyway, I have missed several days of training due to recovery, and the fact that I could not turn my head, and it is only going to get worse. The doctor says they will not likely need to use a skin graft on my head, but it will be pulled pretty tight. It was about a week before I could turn my head with this one. My face already is lop-sided, problem here is that this pulls it the wrong way.
So that is what has been happening with me for the last 10 days. I had an awesome bike ride today, my goals were to stay with the fastest rider, and to draft as little as possible. Mission accomplished, I got some looks, but I think it was "has this guy never ridden as a group before? Doesn't he know that about 3 feet to the right he would have a lot better time at it. I always like to watch the top of the sport to see where pros and elite athletes are carrying us, and at the World Championships, there were some who sustained a 28mph on the bike leg, and still finished off with good runs. Wow, time to step up my game some more.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I havent posted in a while. You shouldn't care. Not much is happening. In the midst of the off-season I have been keep on keeping on. Workouts have been lax, but when I work out, it has a purpose. Running workouts are mostly shorter distances, and I plan to add an LSD workout in a few weeks. For now it is track and tempo workouts with ample time to rest between. Weight training workouts are slowly being added, with a follow on swim or yoga session for every session. Biking has been there, but not very intense. Most of my workouts have been in the 30-40 mile range, with spurts of significant effort done as intervals. One major change has been my diet. I have dropped about 4-5 lbs in the last two weeks, and am going strong. Candy for halloween was a tough part to restrain myself from, but aside from the 3 lb bag of chocolate we still have, I am out of the woods. Major changes to my diet which seem to be doing ok have been to concentrate on eating vegetables (except potatos) and limit/eliminate rice, bread, wheat products, sugar, corn products, and mostly anything that has been processed. During meals this means that salad has replaced the starch/carb portion of the meal.
Dont freak out. I have not eliminated carbs from my diet. I still eat oatmeal and things so dont wig out that I have eliminated my muscle's ability to provide energy. The carbs I do eat I am looking up to see what effect they have on the glycemic index. By keeping low GI, I can keep the body from creating fat, and hopefully lose some more weight. maybe for Christmas I can be a regular clydesdale - instead of superclydesdale like I am now. Losing weight will help my running as much as intense training as it will be less impact on joints and tendons. Let's see if I can keep the momentum.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Yoga and the splits.

I know i haven't written in a bit. Not much is going on. I am on base work. To that end, last night I went to yoga last night for the first time ever. I have to say, it was pretty cool. There were a couple points where I could feel my muscles were really stretchy, and in other places not so much. I think warrior poses will help with my running and increase of my stride. I think that the dog poking his butt in the air, and the boom-shack-a-lacka that we did when we did the dog butt pose, will help my shoulder instability a lot. I also think that my hip instability that I have been experiencing since the race will get better with some of the front split-style stretching poses. I also know that while I did really well with the front to back flexibility, when we did the lying down butterfly thing, and the sitting with legs spread and reaching forward stretches I likely looked quite freakish with my knees poking up in the air.

Other that that, I am going to kick it up a little more. I am pretty disappointed with my food choices. There are good choices to make, and I have not been making them. Donuts and peanut butter pretzel bits at the office, dinners have been easy to fix and kid friendly, but not as healthy as they could be. Snacks are happening too much, and 3 beers are steadily becoming a nightly phenomenon. And I have not been drinking lite ones. Just a series of less than good decisions will curtail the efforts I have been making.
Cmon man! get with the program!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Building back a base.

Mornings are my time to work out. I find if I put it off, it doesn't get done, and it has to get done. Mornings are the time when I get the main workout done for the day, and I have a main and an optional. Main is usually either a build workout, or a speed workout. Example; tomorrow is wednesday, and I have a run and a swim. The run is the main workout, tempo run, 5 miles. The other workout is the swim, drills and 200s, which I can do either on the way to work, or on the way home. Since I need to be back for 7 so that the rest of the family can do their thing.
Thursday is a bike and weights. My sons want me to take them to the YMCA to lift, and so i will have 20 min warmup run, then weights. Morning bike is 25 miles with some moderately hard intervals. Friday is Swim in the morning (4x500s), and run in the evening. I need a gear on here to help me post the workouts. That would be cool. All of this leading up to my 70.3 in May.
Other stuff: I woke up this morning and noticed that I have pimples all over, mostly on my torso and arms. Also, I have more than the normal number of weird whitehead/ingrown hair things. Weird and gross. Sorry, should have warned you.
I have not heard from the doctor about my potassium test. The hypochondriac in me says it might me Addison's disease. Sometimes I want there to be something there so that the weird joint issues that come up have some reason, and that all I have to do is take a pill and things will all be normal.
Joints seem loose. I think 2 weeks was too long to not keep up endurance training. Getting back into it is harder than I think it should be. I am taking it easy for now, because the base and strength have to be good and solid before I start the full-on speed workouts. My joint hypermobility is frustrating, and the docs said the solution is to be ultra fit. Well, I would say that since I completed a 70.3 in Augusta I am fit. Now for ultra-fit.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ending of recovery.

Recovery is finally ending from the 70.3 in Augusta. Yesterday was "walk to school" day, so I knuckled down and walked with the youngest and one of her friends to school. There is a fast way, and a slow way to go. I went the fast way (roughly 1.5 miles) to school walking with the ladies. Then I planned to run the long way home (roughly 2 miles). The run was at an easy pace, and rather than concentrating on breathing or heart rate, I focused on keeping an even cadence, and trying to stretch out my stride a bit. I noticed from the pictures at Augusta, and from other races, that I run like an old man. Very VERY small steps, and so when I see all these people passing me who are running with the same cadence, I naturally go "what the hell?". So essentially, I am working to increase speed while keeping the same cadence. (roughly 85-90).

The run, while at an easy pace and cadence, was still kinda rough. I can still feel some muscle fatigue from Augusta. As I focus on running, I will keep the biking and swimming, and plan to add some off-season weight training and some yoga and/or tai-chi.

On a side note, I looked at the Ironman Miami 70.3 race today and it looks like it is roughly 1/3 filled already. If I am doing that one I had better sign up soon. I also need to sign up for the Gulf Coast Tri in May if I am going to race in that one. Any sponsors out there up for paying my race entry fees? I would sign up for lots more if I could afford them.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

So begins running season.

For every season, turn...turn...turn. My run's the weak one, burn, burn, burn. I choose YOU sad runner pokemon! Time to kick up the run. Tri season is over for me, and my next "A" race is the 70.3 Gulf Coast Triathlon May 8th of next year. I have one or two "C" races, and I want to see if I can get into St. Anthony's for an olympic distance "B" race. Between now and then, I am going to step it up a notch on my running. This means learning how to run more efficiently, and speeding up and stretching out. This season's flat 13.1 portion of my "A" race in Augusta was a pitiful 2:50. Just under three hours.
So, how am I going to do this?
1st: coaching. My coach is going to help me get my run under control, and get me going. I have never really learned to run. I played basketball in High School and College, but nobody ever sat down and worked with me on running. Before beginning training, the most I had ever done was about a mile. I could not do that well, and I spend a lot of time sprinting, but not really running.
2nd: friends. I have several friends who want me to go running with them, and they are willing to help me out in this area too. I am thankful for friends. I probably would not still be in this if it werent for the friends I have made in the area.
3rd: mileage. I think this is likely a subjective topic, but I think that practice at a pace, and putting in the mileage will likely help in my distance, speed, and form.
4th: high potassium?: ok, i asked the dr. office that I go to about my labs from when i went there in April. I wanted to see if there were any weird things on there, and see how my cholesterol was. I figured that they had them, and since I did not get a call, that the labs were just fine. I come to find out that they did not have my labs, and that the information was not sent to them. They asked the lab for the information, and when they got it, they called me up and asked me to repeat them since the ones I did in April showed high potassium. HIGH POTASSIUM??? ok. I had been working out hard for about 3 months, and was about 3 weeks away from doing my first olympic distance triathlon. This means exercising 5-6 times a week, and putting in some serious hours training for endurance. If anything I should have had not enough potassium, not too much. I have a serious issue with not taking enough electrolytes, and so if the tests show I have too much I can only imagine that there is something that may be off.
So, some of the things that I looked up which could be an issue (in order of what I think the likelyhood is): thyroid disorder- My mother and sister have a thyroid disorder, and this could be the reason I have not lost any weight, even though I am eating just a little more. I do not know anyone who can work out as much as I do, and stay the same weight. HOLY CRAP. I weighed in at 240 lbs at the HIM, and that is what I weighed at the beginning of the year! I mean, CMON! My mom (who has a thyroid disorder) says I do not have the bone-weariness. Maybe I do, and just think of how awesome I could be if I didn't!!! I can not dismiss that I have been tired, but just thinking that it is the exercise. Huh. Something to think about.
too many bananas- this is the #2 most likely thing. Maybe I had a smoothie or a multivitiman or something that temporarily elevated my potassium.
diabetes. - not in my family. my kids may have this as an option, since my wife has family history, but not me. I have a likely cholesterol issue from genetics, but not diabetes.

I am not sure if there are any more reasons, but if there is one I am leaving out, please comment.

So, I didn't mention the other part. I have one more week of recovery from my 70.3 as far as exercise goes, but tomorrow I begin logging my resting HR, and every scrap of food or fluid that goes into my body. After a couple of weeks of that, then I will work with the coach to fine tune my diet for weight loss. Slow and steady wins the race. At 1-2 lbs per week, I should be able to lose quite a few pounds before my race in May. The key will be to lose fat, while sustaining muscle mass. This is key because if I lose weight, and keep my muscles, the massive power I have been using to motor this large body around will be used to move my smaller body around at a much faster rate. WhooHoo!
Wish me luck. I am going to need it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Race Weekend Report Augusta 70.3

Just to get this out of the way, I am completely, and utterly, insane. Continue to read this rant at the risk of losing your own sanity, or catching whatever H1N70.3 bug I caught 9 months ago.

Well, technically, I didn't catch the 70.3 bug 9 months ago, I only wanted to get into shape and try to be a better person by helping people whith blood cancer, but that is when my symptoms began to escalate. This is not the stream of conciousness I wanted to go down, so you will just have to ask if you want to know stuff from the beginning. This is supposed to be about my first 70.3 at the Inaugural (sp?) Ironman Augusta 70.3 race in Augusta GA.
Have I mentioned that I have never seen so many in-shape, bad-assed people in one place EVER? I am sure it doesn't hold a candle to the Full Ironman race in Kona, or even the full Ironman Florida race, but I have never attended one of those, now have I. Anyway, I packed during the morning last Friday, and Coach came to pick me up around 10am. Bike on the bike rack, bags in the back, and we were off. 6 hour ride, 1 stop for a bacon-cheeseburger at Cracker-Barrell, couple of bathroom breaks, and we were there. We put our bikes in the room (we were 3 of 5 people sharing 2 rooms at the host hotel. A side note I learned from the coach, if you can afford it, always stay at the host hotel. The Expo is downstairs, the shuttle buses pick you up at the door, the finish line is near, and they are not shocked when 3 people wheel 3 bikes into the elevator) and headed to the area where we could go to a briefing and pick up our race packets. We just barely made it into the last briefing of the day, and then picked up our race packet. This was good because then it was out of the way, but it was bad because the Bennetts were speaking during this time, and we missed it. SPOILER ALERT: this was made worse by the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Bennett both took first place in men and women's pro divisions.
So, we got checked into the race, and went throught the Expo once. I guess they did not really know how many people would be there, because the Expo part of it was jammed into a tiny space, and they could have used twice the area to make it merely crowded instead of forcing us to walk all over each other. I weighed in when I picked up my packet for Clydesdales, and came it at a comfortable 246. I think this was because of the Bacon-Cheese Burger and possibly because I had my cell phone in my pocket. Or it could be because I am still quite a big guy. We will work on that later. I did not get any comments from the guy like my friend who weighed in for Athena. I guess when she weighed in she muttered, "Gosh, that a little more than I thought it would be." and the guy said, "Maybe you should stop eating at McDonalds." Some people have no respect for others.
Then we met up with the our friends from Advanced Cycles and headed off to eat at a seafood restaurant up the road. Hotel, bed, sleep. Woke up, eat breakfast at hotel, then went to expo for a bit. Then we went to test out the swim. The current was awesome! Water was cool when you jumped in, but you got used to it. It was pretty cool, if you let go of the dock, you started to float down the river! We spent a couple minutes seeing what the water felt like, and mentally preparing for the race, and then we got out and went to the hotel. After that, Coach and a couple of us drove the bike course. This was a great thing to do, since we found that the course was pretty much all country roads, and we had an idea for the quality of the roads and the hills we would be in for. If you watch the video of the course you get a different feel for it than if you are actually out there. We knew from the ride that there was really no place on the course where the road was flat. It was all either up, or down. We got back to the hotel, rode our bikes to transition, then went to dinner. Carraba's was packed. We waited over an hour to be seated, and we ended up not being seated but taking 5 seats together at the pasta bar, then waited another hour to be served our food. 3 hours after arriving at Carraba's we picked up a couple things at the grocery store and headed back to the hotel. Asleep at 11, awake at 5, woke up the guys at 5:30, then off to the race.
We caught the shuttle to transition, set up, grabbed our wetsuits and grabbed the next shuttle to the Swim start. As I am getting off the shuttle, I hear the announcer start the professional women's wave. HOLY SMOKES! I have to check in my bag and get into my wetsuit because my wave is in less than 15 minutes! Bag check was relatively short - thank goodness - and i am getting better at putting on my wetsuit. I walked forward to where I am supposed to stand to get started, but I do not see any green swim caps. Wha?? Then i see some in the distance, RIGHT BEFORE THE GATE TO GO DOWN THE DOCKS! I push my way forward through the crowds of anxious swimmers to my group of swim caps, and don my cap and get my goggles ready. Then the wave before us starts and we are heading down the dock to get started. I made it! I look around at the group of people who are surrounding me and notice that they all look like very strong, accomplished athletes. Uh oh, this is going to be a long day... I finally get to the dock when the announcer says "30 seconds" and I jump in the water, brush off the chill, and the announcer says 3, 2, 1 and the horn sounds. I start the swim amidst flailing hands, splashing feet, and bobbing green caps. Within about 300 yards it starts to spread out and I am able to start taking longer strokes. at about 5-600 yards I am in my groove and swimming well. As I pass under a walking bridge I curb my desire to roll onto my back and wave at the people above me. At what I estimate to be 3/4 of the way through the swim, I look to my left and notice a few pink caps swimming alongside me. I am passing people who started in the wave 4 minutes in front of me, WHOOO!! I can see green caps in front, pink caps in front, green caps to the sides, and a silver cap or two from the waves behind me. Those guys must be bad asses. One day.... Swim finish! run up out of the water on the boat ramp, stub my toe on a bizzare block of concrete poking up about 4 inches WHA?? and run out of the water and up the grassy slope to the bike transition. CRAMP!!!!! Left moo-moo is not feeling great, but the bike is next, so I dont mind. It will stretch out, right? Then there was this big line of people helping rip wetsuits off of my competitors. I took a step to the right, and then used my feet to get out of mine myself. I could have probably saved 2 seconds by sitting down and having someone rip off my suit, but I am not working on setting a speed record here, just relaxing and enjoying the experience!
Swim: 28:43
T1 was nothing spectacular. I took off my wetsuit, I put on my cycling stuff, I put my gels in my pockets, I checked to make sure I had everything, like, 3 times then I left. Again, I am not setting a land-speed record here, I am just starting, and would be worse off if I forgot something than saving a minute or two out of 350 minutes!
The bike course was great. All hilly, no real flat spots. Lots of country roads. I would say that half was new road, and half really needed to be new roads. There were a ton of people who got flat tires or had mechanical issues of one type or another. Of the five people we had in our group, two had issues with mechanical issues on the bike. I really enjoyed my ride, and rode my race. Lots of people passed me. I passed a few people, but I really had a race in mind when I started out, and I know there are people who are better fit than I am. This is my first race of this volume, and my goal was to complete it as best as I could, not to beat anyone or to get first in anything. This is how I was coached, and now that I have experienced it, I have to agree. The first time you do a new endurance distance, you have to plan your race, and race your plan. Do not deviate or there would be dire consequences. If you are new to triathlon and reading this, the last couple of sentences are for you. No matter what! Even if you are great at sprint or olympic distances, the first HIM should be planned, and then you race your plan.
Bike:3:08:49 Average speed 17.8
I had to pee in T2. There was only one person by the porta-cans so I chose this as the time to do it. I like that it was a good choice.
T2: 5:12
Running has never been my strong suit. I am not going to go into the agony of the run, or how it seemed like it took forever. I started by using the Galloway method of running 4 minutes, walking 1, running 4, walking one. I had done a 12 mile run during training using this method, and it had gotten me through it, but I am still not fit enough to run 13.1 miles without walking, and especially after a 30 minute swim, and a 3 hour pretty hard bike ride. I think Galloway was the only way that I had a chance to finish the race. This is what I was coached to do, and that was the plan, so I raced the plan. The run was agony, and it seemed like it took forever, but I loved the cowbells and the cheering and the, "Hey, that guy is on his second lap! GO 543!". I don't like that I was passed by several hundred people, but that is what happens when I am in one of the first waves, and I am not a strong runner. I averaged 12:40 for the first 6.5 miles, and 13 and change for the second 6.5.
Run: 2:49:47 Avg 12:57.
If you have done a 70.3 or more distance and think that run time is slow, I would be happy for any recommendations. I know this is my weak race leg and plan on putting in the mileage over the next 4 months to make it stronger during the off season. If you haven't raced a HIM and think that my run time is slow, you can suck it. Endurance racing is really really friggin hard, and until you run/walk 13.1 miles in my shoes after a 1.2 mile swim and a 56 mile bike at roughly 18mph through the hills of South Carolina, then shhh.
Anyway, finishing was awesome. I don't really know what to do down the chute, so I just ran to the end, crossed the line, and got out of the way. I grabbed a water, got my medal, they took off my timing chip, and i exited the chute on the other side of the loop, where there is about 1 mile to go to the finish. I didn't see any of my friends pass me, so I figured this would be a great place to look for them, so I sat down. Really that thought was an afterthought. I just sat down cause I could not stand or walk any longer. I had the best intentions before I started the race. I was going to go get my checked bag and grab a recorder and record my friends and coach as they passed, but this turned out to be folly. As I looked down at myself I realized I messed up with elecrolytes again, as I was covered in salt. This is something I need to work on more until I can get it right. I figured that since it was not as hot as it normally is when i train, that I did not need to take as much enduralytes, but really, it was as hot as i usually train once i got to the run, and i still needed electrolytes and more fluid.
Total time: 6:37:39
I have to say here that the only reason I crossed the finish line was because of the support of my family, and the instruction I got from my coach. In January when I signed up for Team in Training, I could not run a mile. I could not ride 10 miles on the bike at 15mph without rest, and I could not do the crawl stroke across the 25 yards of the pool without stopping in the middle to float for a minute, or do the breast or side stroke. In 7.5 months, my coach took me from that point, to completing a Half Ironman with a pretty respectable time, without injury. WITHOUT INJURY. That is pretty friggin awesome, and I appreciate CB more than I think she knows. (well, until she reads this, then she will think she knows, but she still wont.)
I also need to mention that i really appreciate my wife and kids who have sacrificed for me to train, and to purchase what I felt I needed to do this race. They have been missing me, and I understand and love them for supporting me and letting me do this.
Now to the crazy part. Last night was my first night home from Augusta. I started getting really stiff yesterday in the car, and even more stiff once I went to bed. When I woke up at 3:30AM this morning, I almost could not make it into the bathroom to pee, and then I hobbled back to the bed. As i lay there in bed after using the bathroom, and trying to go back to sleep, my mind started working. I spent the next 2.5 hours thinking about how I could get better, how I can work on my running, and about the race I had done, and what I can do to make the next 70.3 better. I am INSANE, but I love it.

I will be spending 4 months in the off-season working on improving my running technique, speed, and endurance, and then I will be building back up for the Gulf Coast 70.3 in May. Stay tuned for my new goals, new milestones, and the interesting things that will result from my pursuit of a new PR!

By the way, I am sure I missed some things from the weekend, so as I remember to, I will post them in subsequent days as I remember them.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Packed and ready to go.

I am packed and ready to go to Augusta for my 70.3. Visualizing putting my bags in the car, and my bike on the rack. Don't get sick, don't get sick, don't get sick. Middle son is home from school again today, sick. Eldest was sick at the beginning of the week. I am wildly suseptable since I started taper. Don't get sick, don't get sick, don't get sick.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

another dream

In this one, I am in the run portion of the 70.3, and about half way (fade in) we burst out of the elevators and ask where the operating room is. They point, and we go to the end of the hall to find a pristine hospital operating room. We pull the card and find out what our challenge is.
Ok, when did they inject impossible challenges from The Amazing Race into IronMan races??? My brain is on overdrive, and I have no idea where it is going to stop.
So, tuesday, my eldest son was sick, and so wednesday i took some emergen-C to make sure i didn't get sick. Then the middle one came home and was really not feeling good. I am working from home now and he is slurking and wheezing and blowing his nose on the couch. I took the vitamin-c, the emergen-c, and some cold-eeze losenges so i dont get sick. I have also been washing frequently so i dont get sick. This is the worst time for them to be getting sick, since i am in the middle of my taper and I am worried that my body is thinking, "rest time? must be time to get sick!" I know how that works! Did i also mention that i took an Advocare SLAM to get the B vitamins, and the other stuff that is in SLAM which provides energy and also works to prevent a cold. They should really market that to people who have colds. I don't know if it would work for that, but i bet it does, and it is a huge market. Non-celebrity super cold relief - without a prescrition.
Anyway, this morning I did my final bike training during taper week before my race. The aero bar adjustment was just right, and I felt comfortable during the entire ride. I kept the ride to race pace for the most part, and only went a little faster at one point to catch up to a group of riders. I am not sure why i wanted to catch up to them, because they all speak fluent spanish and I could not understand a word they said, but I did. We all followed a rider who looked like he was trying to create the biggest possible blister in the worst possible place. I could not understand what the crazy puertoricans were saying, but i know they were laughing and making fun of the guy. It looked like he had some fighting wildcats in his biker shorts. I would estimate his cadence at about 90, but for some reason he was bouncing - A LOT. One of the other riders tried to emulate what he was doing, but could not because most of us can easily pedal at that cadence. Maybe his seat was not right, or something.... I don't know. All I DO know is that he is going to be sore for weeks. I would throw in a "as sore as..." here, but I can not think of anything that is socially acceptable to compare to being sore in that particular spot. It would go downhill from there.
So, here I sit, doing laundry, amp'd up on vitamin C, and waiting for the end of the workday so I can officially be on race-prep time. Just so you know, I am also load testing an e-learning web solution using HP LoadRunner. That is the Nerd part. I just don't talk about it much.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dream a little dream

Only a couple more days until my first test at the Half Iron Man distance. I am on taper, and my stomach is a bit jumpy. My dreams are all about racing, and so far, there have been as many good results in my dreams as bad.
Bad result: Before the OUC sprint tri that I did the bike leg for the corporate relay, I dreamt that I started my leg in a large parking lot. I was unsure of the course, so I followed another cyclist, who proceeded to cyclocross across a ditch, and finished the bike course in 4 minutes. In my dream I was disqualified, and my arguement that "I was just following that guy over there" was not good enough.
Good result: Last night, after watching some online videos about Iron-man races, and triathlons, I envisioned that it was 15 degrees cooler than what I was training for, and that gave me super-human strength. My dream logic is sound, right? If an additional 10 degrees warmer causes performance to decrease by 20%, then being 15 degrees cooler will give me a 30% edge over what I have been training for? I should also mention that in the dream lots of people went to swim the course on Saturday before the race, and the second shock of the river didn't happen until that evening, so several hundred people got sick for the race. I know that is not really nice, but it allowed me to place in my division (0-39 clyde). Again, it is a dream, people, I am not hoping anyone gets sick. That would suck.
On another note, I have my new bike, and have ridden it some and am VERY comfortable on it. It is like it was made for me. My first 35 mile ride resulted in no lower body discomfort, and a minor adjustment is going to take care of the upper body discomfort that I was feeling in my shoulders. I may even be able to catch up on some sleep during the race because it is so comfortable. Well, maybe not, but still, I love it.
Taper is going well. My legs are feeling pretty good. I felt some popping in my shoulders during the swim on Tuesday, but there was no pain, so I was able to continue. I think it had to do with the new position on the bike, and over time the strength will increase and the popping will go away. Good thing about this is that the race starts with swim, so I will be good until the bike, when my shoulders will get way tired, and then they will be able to hang free and sway back and forth just fine for the run. This would suck if the swim was last. They may have fallen off in the water if that were the case.
So, Friday is the travel day, saturday is the big expo and final little workout, and Sunday is the big race. My start is 2o minutes after the Pro's go, so the slow ones will have the honor of passing me on their second loop of the run while I start my first. That will be about 3+ hours into it, so if they have their names on their butts like I see some of them doing, then I will recognize them.
I am way nervous and excited. Erk!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A taste of the win.

Yesterday was the OUC Orlando sprint triathlon! Horray! This is the first time I have ever done a relay, and the pressure was on. My company had done this race last year, and had gotten 1st place in the corporate relay division. The guy who did the bike last year blew out his knee, so they were down one member. I let them know that I would be interested in participating, and that if given a choice, I would prefer the bike leg. Kirby is a pretty kick-ass swimmer, and Craig is a really really great runner, so that seemed to be perfect. We called ourselves the Pale-Ails, since Kirby was recovering from a bulged vertebrae, and Craig had recently had abdominal surgery and was still in recovery. Kirby said he would be going a little slower cause he hadn't been swimming lately, so would only be putting up 1:30 100's, and Craig said he was slow and would only be doing 6:30 miles. HOLY COW! So I was the weak link, but still we had a pretty killer team, and I just had to make sure that nobody passed me on the bike.
The race started, and I waited....and waited...and waited. Our swim heat was 30 minutes after the race started - time enough for transition to begin seeing elite people transitioning from the bike to to run by the time we transitioned to the bike! I got the signal from Craig that Kirby was about 2 minutes out, so I got ready. Then I saw the first silver colored cap - it was a 13 year old kid! but right behind him was kirby. He was easy to notice since he is 6'5" and pale. (hence the pale-ails) we ran into transition together, and ran to the bike. I already had shoes and helmet on, and he threw over the chip for me to velcro onto my ankle. Then I grabbed my bike and was off! Running, running, running, running. All the way down the bike racks, then all the way back to the beginning of the transition. I crossed the mat and jumped on the bike. I pushed down the pedal, and there was no resistance!!! NO RESISTANCE! My chain was not even on in the front.
Ok, the day had not started on a great note. I woke up and put on my racing outfit, including my long-sleeved UA heatwear, and headed out to put the bike in the car while eating some yogurt and oatmeal. Flat tire in the rear. I pumped it up to see if it would hold air, but i knew it would not. Once I got to the race, I decided to change it. I am thinking that is when the chain slipped off without me noticing. Note here: the markings guy(his name must have been Richard because he sure was a d..) did our markings, and insisted I needed arm markings. He also mentioned that I should take my UA shirt off. Why? Because it is too hot. But this keeps me cool! Dick shook his head side to side, so I put my UA shirt back into my bag, and donned my bike shirt - WHICH STILL COVERED THE BODY MARKINGS COMPLETELY! Anyway, back to the race.
...no resistance on the pedal! I reached down and spent 15 or so seconds to pull the chain up onto the sprocket and I was off! The little part at the beginning was kinda fun, and I started passing people. "On your left" I would call when I passed someone. It became kind of a chant after a bit into the race, and it was fun. I whizzed by whole groups of people and if I saw a medium speed person getting ready to pass a slow person, I would call "ON YOUR LEFT" and whiz by. The first straight stretch down South street must have had some grade to it, and the wind must have been at our backs, because I flew down that road. 27mph whoot!. Then a right turn (I would rather have had more left turns, but eh, what can you do?) There was the wind. down to 20mph, then another right turn and full headwind with a slight incline. I tucked into aero and maintained 18mph. Then a series of right then left then right turn, then another straight stretch. Weird, when we got to the place where the second lap starts, people are weaving around in the middle of the street! GET OUT OF THE WAY! Then the second loop. I was ready for the straight stretch and belted into it. Bike computer says 30mph, then right into the wind, then right into full headwind, then a little squiggle, and I am in the final stretch. Idiots! get out of the way! I passed 15 or so people in the final area leading up to the transition area, and was still calling out "On your left" and to one guy, "Hey man, I have to pass you on the left, so MOVE OVER!" I will be civil after the race. Another pet peeve of mine is people slowing to almost a stop on corners. It is not raining, GO! So I get to the black line a little quickly and the bike is not stopping. I ended up planting my foot, trying to unclip my right foot, while pinching the front brakes at the same time - back tire goes up! I am sure it looked a little goofy, but I did not cross that line.... Transition was easy, since I was one of the first of the relay people into transition, I threw my bike at the bar, and took off my chip to hand to Craig. Then he flew. He was starting out at a jog that was faster than my fastest run, but I cheered him past and sat down to figure out what planet I was on. It doesnt look like the official results are up yet for this year, but we won the corporate division this year with a time of 1:07. I did 11.5 miles in roughly 33 minutes, and we almost got the best time in all of the relay teams. I think only the first place men's team beat us, and they only got us by a couple seconds.
Overall it was a great experience, and I got that taste of a win. I have a half IM in two weeks, and even though I do not plan on coming home with first - I am going to see what it is all about, and then, who knows? I got the bug. I also found it interresting that several people in what would be my age group got under an hour. 400m swim, 11.5 bike, and 3.75 mile run with two transitions in less than an hour. That is awesome, and scary at the same time. But it is also cool to be able to see how fast it can be done, and I will work to cut my times for all three disciplines down. I just started this sport less than a year ago. I feel great about how far I have come, and at this point, I have not found a reason not to go lots farther - and faster!

P.S. Thanks CB!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Nervous as hell.

Ok. I realize that my race is only a little over two weeks away. I ordered a new bike this morning. I hope to get at least 100 miles on the bike before the race, so I can be ready, but I am nervous. I am more worried that the older bike would not hold up, than I am about fitting on the new bike. I have had an epic struggle with getting into the correct position on this new bike, and I have come to the realization that I am struggling because the bike is a little too big for me, and that it was not meant to be ridden in the aero position. It is a beginner road bike, for people to make that transition from comfort riding to racing. That being said, it has been a great bike for me to get started in this sport. Now I want to go fast, so I am going to get a Time Trial bike. Hopefully, it will get here and be ready to go on Tuesday of next week, so i will have 11 days of riding on it before the big race. I should be able to get comfy on it by then. The goal is that by being in the aero position, and on a lighter bike, that I can milk out a little more mph, and be in a better position to complete the run. AW, who am i kidding, I just really want a kick-ass bike to ride in the race.
I also received my wetsuit in the mail yesterday, and I got to try it out this morning in the lake. It was really nice. wet suits float. when you are in the water, and you are laying back, you don't really have to do anything to be in the right position in the water. I kinda felt like a cork with paddles out there, bobbing on the top of the water. I tried to kick a little, and i was immediately splashy. My feet are at the top of the water without kicking. I spent the rest of the time making sure they were directly behind me, and that they were pointed to reduce drag, and that they moved very little. Who needs to kick? I will save the legs for the bike and the run.
So, I didn't sleep much last night. Part from still recovering from my 10 mile run, part because I got a wetsuit, and part because I had already decided to buy the new bike. Visualization is a really important factor for me. For everything I do, I first visualize myself doing it, then I feel better doing it. So frequently I picture myself in a stressfull situation, and how I hope to perform. Last night I could not sleep, because things I had already placed in my movie of Augusta had changed. It is like a weird paradox of the Butterfly Effect with Aston Kutcher, only I visualize the future, not change the past. So, I had to re-record my movie, with a wetsuit, and a different bike. I also have to rework the hotel, and how I am getting there, because I canceled my hotel, and am going to ride up with friends and stay with them to save some money on the hotel room. between this savings, and the savings of not having to have the bike shop go through my road bike from tip to stern, and not driving, and such, i figured I saved at least a little bit of money to put towards the new bike, right? Naw, I am just trying to rationalize it. I really really wanted a new bike.
60/10 this weekend turned into 60.....10, but that is ok. 60 with 40 in hills, and a 10 mile run the next day is better prep in my book. Now, only 4 more days of build-up before taper begins. I have a mini-bike-race. (not a mini-bike, but a small bike race - only 11 miles.) and a 12 mile run on the workout plan. I hope I am ready.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Lance tells me to eat more.

So, in an attempt to begin logging my food, I signed up with the Daily Plate. I must say, I am super-extremely impressed. I signed up with weight watchers a few years ago for the same reason, and they were awesome with recognizing all foods, and having info on them. I did not have to enter much information about food at all. Since then, I have been disappointed with the food logging sites because I felt like I was the first one who was using the site, and had to enter every item of food individually. It takes about 1/2 day of that before I give up. The Daily Plate is not like this. You do not have to enter the info for your piece of bread, because you can choose the brand you bought and they have it. That is how good it is. I can't stress how friggin awesome this site is for tracking food. I also can track my weight, my body fat, and lots of other stuff because I signed up with the livestrong site, and they add to it.
That brings us to the problem. I put in my weight, my goal of losing a pound a week, added my workout for yesterday (35mile bike, hard - which took just over one and a half hours) and started putting in my food. Yesterday was a weird day for me because it was the first day that I got done with my bike ride and was full. I did this on purpose because I need to have proper nutrition in order to get to the end of my race. I have been learning this the hard way. - i.e. BONK BONK BONK BONK. - so I had a pretty good breakfast (or so i thought) before I left, hydrated on the way to the ride, and hydrated during the ride. Yogurt and banana muffin before, gatorade before and during, PB&Honey on the bike, took endurolytes. I got to the end, and was pretty full. I had a planet smoothie on the way home, and started entering my food and exercise into the tracker. I entered lunch too. Then looked at the numbers and almost choked. I only had 3000 calories left for the day. Wait a minute, I had not even eaten enough calories to cover my workout, much less fuel myself for the rest of the day. 2800 calories is my BMR, and 2800 calories used on the bike meant that I am not eating enough by a long shot. SO all these days I have been thinking that I was being a pig for eating a little more at dinner, I was actually just barely not starving.
Logic, and the common thought about eating seems to dictate that I should be losing weight at an alarming rate. I am missing roughly 2000 calories a day! I should be losing a pound every two days! But I have lost no weight. Here are my reasons for this. (They may not be the real reasons, but they are my reasons, and I am sticking to them. If you have others, leave me a comment.) 1. My body thinks it is starving, so it is in starve mode. Everything gets stored as fat, and the body is trying to conserve and not release any energy. This would mean that I am lethargic, not able to recouperate, and feel not great.
2. I am building TONS of muscle. I naturally build muscle. I have avoided any sort of weight lifting for this reason. I am trying to get smaller, not bigger, and if i lift, it will be to build lean strength, not to build mass. The only mass I want to build will be in arms and shoulders. My hope is that building mass in my shoulders and upper body will suck up the saggy skin I am getting because I am losing my gut.

Really, both of these are good reasons why I am not losing weight. The third reason I am not losing weight is that I have only been working out at this level for less than 6 months. February is when I started this program, and really, the first couple months were a shocker at how out-of-shape I really am.
Ergo, Lance says I need to eat more food. Roughly 2000 calories more food on long workout days. This is one more BIG meal, and/or more food before and after working out.
I also look at the pie charts that are created from entering the food, and it looks like I need to reduce fat, and increase lean protein - at least yesterday. Most of my food is carbs, and they are not straight veggies, but a processed carb like bread or more bread, or muffins or tortilla chips. I need to work on the veggies and lean meat with my food, as I eat more of it, that way I can start looking at losing the weight. Don't worry, I am not going to go all paleo diet, or atkins, or south beach, or whatever, just eat more veggies, and less bread and stuff like bread.
That could be a major reason I did not feel well on my (what turned into a) 6.5 mile run. I was likely dehydrated (another thing Lance says I need to do is drink more water) and poorly nutritioned when I set out. To top that off, the stupid community center where I was planning on water refuel had changed the combo! Urgh!
That is good for now. I will type more at another time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back to School

Kids are back to school now. I think that scheduling will likely get a little harder, at least it has the past two days. Between the muggy, sticky, furnace of a state, and the whole 'WORK' thing, and then random appointments, debate clubs, basketball practice, and then whatever the youngest decides to throw in the mix, it is going to get interesting. I may have to resort to working out in the wee hours of the moroning, or late in the evening. (yes, that misspelling was on purpose, cause that is where my brain is at that time of day).
I also have a few more epic workouts to put in before race day... which is looming like a bully towering over the nerdy kid on the playground. There are still questions as to whether this nerd can handle it. Think positively. I did a 50/3 brick a couple weeks ago, so my 55/8 this Sunday should be no sweat, right? Right. I still have more than 4 weeks until the race to work out the kinks in my stride.
Originally I wanted to ride to the race in my truck, stay in a hotel room by myself, and be able to sleep and prepare for the race on my own, but I recently realized that A) I have to save money, and B) I could do with trusting my friends to help me out, and C) I am going for the experience, and what kind of experience would I have if I did the whole thing by myself. I am cancelling my reservation for my room, and am not going to drive up to Augusta. I am going to room with the crazy Puerto Ricans, and hang out with my friends. Race the longest race of my life, and hope nutrition holds true during the race.
Today, 6 mile run at race pace. I need to loosen my legs up from the epic 5 hour yard clean-up I did on Sunday. I still can not touch my toes, and it is two days later.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I have to admit up front. I did not go at 70% effort for my entire bike ride this morning. I intended to. I started out tired, and late, and tired, and had to reassemble my trusty steed, because I had removed the stem thinking I had ordered the correct one from amazon.com only to find out that the one I had ordered had a quill that was too large. Anyway, I had to put the old long one back on, aired up the tires and took off. This week I have been doing pretty good at recovering and taking it easy on my workouts. Monday was a day off, but I played 2 hours of basketball with my son's team of 13 year olds. Tuesday was supposed to be a 6 mile way easy run. I turned it into a 4 mile tempo run, with another 2 hour basketball practice. Wednesday was even better with a 1800 mile easy ladder swim workout turning into 35 minutes treading water trying to help the little one swim better. Today I did the distance as prescribed on the workout form. 25 miles. I did the first 6 at about 16 mph, but it seemed like I was going a little slow for the effort I was putting in. The second 5 miles was the same, maybe 1 mph faster, but I began to notice that I may be battling a bit of a headwind. At the turnaround, I realized I was fighting more of a headwind than I thought. I hit 18mph easily, and felt it. You know what it is... It is the NEED FOR SPEED!!!!! I was feeling pretty good so I amped it up a bit, just for fun. 20...... 21...... 22.... Kept 22 for a bit. That was a good time. Wind was at my back, so I held the 22mph for the rest of the 5 miles until the turnaround. Then I dropped it back down to 17, but this 17 was much easier to keep.
In order to keep it to a 25 mile distance, I turned around at about 2.5 miles into the second lap, and then I kicked up the speed again to 21 or so MPH. I love going fast. I can't transition to run after going fast, but I love it just the same. After leaving the loop and getting back to moderate interaction, I knocked it back to 19mph for a bit. The wind was still at my back ;)
Then came the high interaction. I love and hate this part at the same time. I hate it because there is no shoulder, and I am riding on a two-way road with no median lane, so the cars get close. I love it because the cars are close, and the speed limit is 25, which means they go 30. I like to draft a bit there. It is only 2 miles, but due to some drafting, and some big gear pedaling, I hit 26mph for about 1.5 miles. I love that part. The last 5 minutes back to the house was an easy spin and I am done.

Good times. Sorry coach. It really did feel good though....

Monday, August 17, 2009

Good weekend.

I have to say, I had one of the best weekends I have had in quite a while. There was nothing in particular that made the weekend so great, just a good weekend. The weird thing is that this week's training schedule was the heaviest that I have had ever. Training started with hill repeats early in the morning on Saturday. 6x 1/2 miles with 1.5 mile warmup, and 1.5 mile cooldown. I have to say that this was tough, but I got through it, and even was able to pull out a sprint at the end of the 6th repeat to finish strong. Then did not walk as we made our way from the hill back to the car (which is very tempting to do). My son had a basketball game, and I got to help coach. He ended up winning the game, and the team worked together and did really well. My son did exceptionally well. Ice bath and lazy day for the rest of Saturday, and then the epic LSD workout on Sunday. 50 miles bike, and 6 miles running. We ended up cutting the run short because of the seriously hard workout on Saturday, but I still felt for the first time like I might be able to race a 70.3 and finish the race at the finish line, not in the DNF medical tent. Part of that may have been a change in nutrition that I am working with. I went old-school on the food part, and ate peanutbutter and honey on the bike, and drank several (3) bottles of gatorade. Also, every 10 miles on the bike i took two more endurolytes. Ended up taking 2 the night before, and 12 before I started to run, and once i got to the run, I felt pretty good. I had some muscle soreness from the hills, but for the most part just kept a normal pace and finished my workout.
Then I played a game with the fam after lunch and just enjoyed being a family. Grilled burgers for dinner, and everything just melded together to have a great weekend. No one thing made it great, just enjoyed life.
This week is a recovery week. Volume of bike is significantly lower than last week. 25 total miles this week, vs. last week which was 100+. Run volume is increased 2 miles over last week, but the speed is lower, and swimming is increased 600M over last week, but is also slower. Should be a fun week.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Here's bug in your eye.

Today, I was attacked while riding my bike by some sort of mutant grasshopper/locust. I say 'attacked' because I think it takes effort on the part of a large bug to hit me in the eye while I am riding by at 17mph. It reminded me of when I was a kid and my brother and I would use dirt clods as grenades. sometimes it was clumps of grass that we pulled out of the yard, and some times it was on the farm where the freshly tilled soil formed pretty awesome grenade sized clumps of dirt. Only once was it puff-ball mushrooms that had turned rotten and made a poof of green rotten mushroom spores. We learned fast on that one.
Anyway, one or two times, instead of throwing the clod in an arc, or up in the air first, my brother threw it straight at me, like a baseball. That is cool if you have a shield, which sometimes I had, but when there is no shield, and you are not ready for the clod....well. Poof. One such clod hit me in the face and that sucked. This mutant friggin grasshopper thing hit me in the face, and if I had not had sunglasses on, I would likely still be picking pokey mutant friggin bug legs out of my brain.
Other than that, my ride was pretty ok today. It was a pace ride to get used to my half-iron man pace, so 17mph max. 25minutes warm up at about 16mph to get to the nice part of the road, 15 minutes aero at 17, 10 minutes at 16, 15 minutes in aero at 17, then 35 minutes cooldown. Cooldown ends up being between 15 and 19, depending on the traffic. For some reason when I am in a high interaction area, I focus more on traffic than the mph and am probably drafting off of the cars, cause I get to 19mph lickety split. Every time i caught myself doing that, i shifted down and spun faster, probably comedically bouncy, but i kept my speeds down. Overall, not too bad. Then I grabbed a bite to eat, took a shower, drank too much coffee, and headed to work.
Tomorrow is a monster swim. 3000M open water in a lake. Focus is going to be breathing, stretching out, and high elbows.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Man, I am sore.

Just telling you, I am really sore. LSD Brick on Sunday took it all, then Monday night I followed it up with a track workout. Squats and lunges kicked my ass. Seriously, I hurt so bad that i am Snap-Crackle-Popping out of seats, and basically falling down onto the toilet or the office seat to sit down. It feels like someone kicked me in the ass. I swam this morning, and thought that the swim would shake out the soreness. I really thought it worked too. I swam 5x500 or 2500. It felt good. Then, as I stepped out of the lake, the soreness set in x2 and it followed the water. As my abs came out of the water they went KA-Thump and were sore, as my butt came out of the water, KA-THUMP my ass was WAY sore, and it traveled down my legs as they came out of the water, so it was almost painful to step onto the bank and go back to towel off to go home.
Speaking of the lake, what the hell was in the water today? There must have been a storm yesterday that knocked branches and leaves and grass into the water, because as I made my way across the lake, I kept grabbing things. This is not a good feeling in a Florida lake, and each time I would jerk my head out of the water and check to make sure that i had not just grabbed a snake. During the mindlessness of crawling across the lake I would envision that all of the lake snakes had babbies and that when I looked up I would find that I was really swimming through a two inch layer of baby poisonous snakes. Then I thought of my friend Geni and how she already has visions of stuff in the water and how she would have just totally freaked out.
Time to cook dinner. It is my night. That means Spaghetti! whee!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Big Bertha.

So, in central florida, there are not so many hills. I don't know if you knew that. Saturday, I had to wake up at 4:20 AM to drive to an area that has hills to find one to run up and down. Runners in the area call it Big Bertha. I picked up Kate, and headed for the hills. We arrived at just before 6, and since Google Map directions said we were supposed to make a u-turn at the Diamond Players Club, we spend an extra 5 minutes looking for a strip club in a residential neighborhood.
We finally found the correct parking lot, and found the group we were training with - the TNT Nike Women's Marathon team. We ran around the parking lot, then stretched, then we started running to the hill that would allow the TNT team to experience what it is like to run in San Francisco. The one request for getting to the hill was for everyone to run together.
We got to the base of Big Bertha, and chatted for a bit while we waited for the rest of the team to get there. It was truly a hill that looked like San Francisco. Coach said we were going to go up and down 4 times.
First Climb: I headed up, just like I was supposed to, small quick steps. at about 3/4 to the top I glanced at the HR monitor and noticed that I was at 95% of my max heart rate. I also noticed that my breathing was doing something that had never happened before. I normally start out breathing in 3 steps, and breathing out 3 steps, then lower it to 2 when i get into running. This time when I got to where I would normally lower it to 2 steps, my body said "NO" and kept it at three. My lungs were filling up like a bizzare overfilled balloon. I thought as I crested the top that I would not be too happy if my lungs did what I saw most overfilled balloons do. Then I supressed that thought and went to get my paper shot glass of PowerBar exercise drink. Mmmmm. Tastes like bubblegum.? WTF? Then I clomped down the hill and got ready for climb two.
Second Climb: I headed up, just like before. This is when the coach found me and told me that I was doing my arms wrong. "Forward, not up and down!" Ok. Lungs filling, heart racing, arms pumping, I made it to the top. Headed to the Power-?Bar? for my Power-?Shot? of bubblegum tasting liquid. Man, my mouth is dry. On the way to clomping down the hill again I was teased about my fist pounding. "You look like you are milking a cow! - You are pounding the ground!" ok, i get it. No more fist pounding. Clomp down the hill and try again.
Third Climb: I started out thinking about how my arms should go, and about how my legs are starting to feel a little weird. Maybe my arms should be like a train, back and forth, back and forth. About 3/4ths up the hill, I hit my max HR, and walked about a minute, then finished up the hill, heart pumping, lungs filling, arms chug-chug-chugging, legs burning. Go get my shot. Clumping down the hill. (Clomping is a spry way of descent, Clumping is the step before falling.)
Fourth Climb: Wheeze, Wheeze. Chug-Chug. Thump, Thump. Burn Burn. I made it up to just over half way, and then had to slow to walking fast. I walked to the Power-bar to get my Power-shot, and then I started stretching and waiting for the rest of the group to finish. It was a nice rest. I felt good, but a bit beaten. The mountain wins again.
Now we have to run back to the parking lot. about 1.5 miles. I clumped down the hill, and started a regular pace back to the car. As I am running, I notice that Hope - TNT Miami Tri team-mate - is keeping pace, so I decide to run with her back to the car. We chat about life, and training, and stuff, and about 3/4 of the way back I think to myself, "This is great, if it hadn't been for her running, I probably would have walked a bit." I don't know if you know this, but your body likes to tell you to stop running and walk before you really need to stop running and walk. I felt the urge to walk, but kept running because she was running. Then she turned to me and said, "I would have stopped running a while back if you weren't running with me, thank you." Cool. Between the two of us, we made a pretty good time running back to the cars. We waited there for a bit for the rest of the group, then everyone packed up and went home. Training success. Next step, drive home and ice bath - per coaches orders. By orders I mean she said, "If you do not let me know you have taken an ice bath, I will call you and yell at you."
Kate and I went to publix on the way back to dropping her off, and picked up a bag of ice for each of us. The 10lb bags looked small, based on the fact that both of us have garden tubs, so we opted for the 20lb bag of ice.
Ice bath: ok, it takes 10 minutes to get the tub filled up to my waist to cover my legs. Then I dump the ice in. brrr. BRRRR. so, after a sec, it doesn't seem so cold. then i adjust my position, and the cold hits me again, BRRR. so, i make a point to wiggle my legs so that the cold water gets mixed up and it is cold all the time. good idea? i am not sure, but why should I sit in a tub with icewater if the water that is contacting my legs has been warmed up? 10 minutes in the ice-tub, then a quick shower to get the stink off the rest of my body.
Then dress, and off to help my son with his Basketball moves. It seems the coach has taught my son to shoot from the knees. my 6'2 13 year old. 6 inches taller than most everyone else in the league. Ugh. Time to retrain.
Now it is Sunday, and my muscles are sore, but tollerable. My ankles are stiff, and stepping over the piles of laundry (it is laundry day) make them pop and twinge, but I like it. Can't help but make them pop when they feel like they want to pop. Like picking a scab. can't help but do it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Race Report in the post-race funk.

Moss Park Tri - Complete. I am writing this note to you in my post-race funk, and boy, let-me-tell-ya, I have not had a funk like this since my first big workout back in February. I am way dehydrated, and so I have a headache, and I woke up at 4:20 this morning so I could eat something, so I am tired. I also had two pieces of peanut-butter toast for breakfast at 4:30, and did not eat anything else until I was done with the race at 10:00. Then I had a banana and a piece of pizza at the race, then waited until I got cleaned up at home before eating anything else. Then, I also raced as hard as I freaking could for 3 straight hours. That alone is enough to put someone in a hurt locker, and coupled with the other stuff gives me a race-hangover. Enough on that, I have to let you know something important.

My family is the most friggin awesome-est family in the WORLD!. I told them that they did not have to get up this morning to come watch, but they insisted that they wanted to. They proceeded to come, cheer me on, and also to cheer on all of my friends!
I have suspicions that my wife is the main reason Kate completed the race today! (She had a really bad day, flat tire, accident on corner caused by said flat tire, then she had to replace the tire and get back into into it. Enough to make a lesser man throw in the towel, but she is not a lesser man!) After the race, I found out that once she was able to make it back, Josy helped her focus through transition 2 and get back out on the course for the run. She got goal C instead of D! ( I think C was finishing with a smile, and D was finishing.) And you can't not smile when everyone is cheering for you at the end! Brandi and Rick went out and paced her to the finish. We were proud to do it. She is an awesome person.
On to the race info! Moss Park is a great place to have a race. It is very pretty in the morning, just as the sun peaks out over the trees, 3, 2, 1, GO! My swim goal was to split the difference between what I think really good swimmers can do, and what I swam in May at Miami. I was looking for about a 30 minute swim. I am going to call 30 minutes and one second ACHIEVED! Especially since they were talking about the swim being a little long. It sure did seem like a long way, but honestly, every leg seems longer when you string them all together. There was my family, cheering me on. Chokes me up a little bit... hold on....
T1 was alright. Not great. I decided for this race to wear my hot weather UnderArmour full sleeved top. That was kinda tough to get into wet, but I am glad I wore it. I was cool the entire time, and I am not talking cool Fonzi cool, I am talking cool blood not boiling like MAGMA cool. So, even though that took a second, I put on all my stuff, and took off. I thought it was a good transition, but it was still a little long. I need to work on the OCD thang so I don't check off my checklists so much during the race, once is enough.
Today was my first flying mount onto the bike. That was a good time. I was on the bike in a jiffy. I was not necessarily flying when I got on, but it was pretty quick. It was more like a quick horse mount, but not the kind where you see them bounce. Only problem I had was getting the friggin shoes on my feet afterwards. I had some of this problem last night when I was practicing, but I did not realize how long it would take to get my stupid shoes on! So, after struggling to get the tongues not stuck under my foot, and trying to get them fastened. Pain in the butt! Anyway, I finally got them situated, and rode the bike, FOREVER! I was trying to keep between 18 and 20 the entire time, and since there were no hills or obstacles the only time I went slower was turning the corners. Goal of 1:15, guess what my time was? 1 hour 15 minutes! Goal: ACHIEVED!
I am better at dismount than at the mount, so I looked pretty cool (if I do say so myself) coming in to the transition area at a few miles an hour and passing people who were struggling to get off the bike or running in their bike shoes. Anyway, this transition was not a hard one, since all i really had to do was drop off the bike, take off my helmet, and put on my running shoes. Still slow, but not horrible. Then I started the run. This is about where the race stretched to eternity.
Running for me is not so easy. During my practices running is uncomfortable at best, and I can not go very fast, even when I do not do other things like biking or swimming before. When I do a BRICK, (Bike-Run-Ick) Running is not so good, so a race speed bike, and a race speed swim (both of which I got a PR in by the way...) does not a recipe for a successful run make. (Ever notice how old sayings sound like they are spoken by Yoda?) I started out slow and out of breath, and I really never caught my stride. The first water stop was 1 mile in, and I was carrying a bottle of electolyte drinks because I know I get overheated and run out of water, so my plan was to drink a whole sportsbottle of electrolytes and get water at every stop. First stop, got a water, took a nice drink, it was a full cup of COOL water. I thought how nice it would be to dump it on my head. That is what people do! I dumped on my head, and could not breathe for a few. It was COLD! So, running, running, running, running. Finally, I got to the second lap. I heard some footsteps behind me, and on a whim I said, "Does this trail ever end??" It was Kate, and I think I surprised her out of a run induced stupor, cause she said " ACK! ". I learned a little about her problems, and we ran most of my second lap together. Unfortunately, it was still her first lap, and she was not in the groove with the run either, so at about 1 mile from finish, I kept running while she took a break. This is probably a good thing, since this is when my shoes started to squeek. If it isn't one thing it is another. At one point in the run half of my right foot went numb, and somewhere in there my HR monitor went haywire and started beeping at me like mad. Kinda disconcerting to look down and see you are doing 103% of your max heart rate! I hope that the monitor was just mis-firing. It did that twice during the race. 222 beats per minute. Max heart rate should be 220- your age, so mine should be like 185. Anyway, I finished to loud yells from family and friends. Enough so that the announcer mentioned, "Ryan, it sounds like you have a lot of fans." or something of that nature. I do not know what she said. I was exhausted. 1 hour 7 minutes for the run. I beat my last run by a bit, but the distances were skewed. Miami was a 12:48 minute mile which I know is snail slow. Today was an 11:55 minute mile average, which is about a minute per mile faster. I did not hit my goal of sub 50 minute run, but I did improve substantially over last time, which I appreciate. So I am curious what I was thinking setting a goal of 8.5 minute miles after all that other stuff. I don't even run that fast when I am running by itself.. Goal: WHAT WAS I THINKING!
And my total time was good - figuring that I pooched my goal for the run. Get this total time 2 hours 58 minutes 23 seconds, and Second place in the Super-Clydesdale division. The other guy beat me by a half hour. I think he was 225lbs of more muscle than I have. I am not too concerned. I will either beat him at the next race, OR will not be able to register for this division. Honestly, I hope it is both.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Freaking out.

Tomorrow is my third tri. I am way nervous.I am especially worried that my tires will not hold air for the entire race. I just changed the tubes in both on my thursday 25 mile ride. They should be good, but I am pulling a Stephen King here and maybe if I type out my fears they will not happen.
I would also like to make a good showing at the race. It is not enough to finish. I am also going to go sockless tomorrow, and that should be interesting. The bike should not be a problem. I have done that a couple times with no issues. The run on the other hand may or may not be an issue. First time I tried it I got about a thumbprint sized blister on my instep. That was only 2 miles. I double lubed it and then did not have any problems after that. Unfortunately, that was only 8 days ago. My tuesday run went well, and there was some flopping, but no chaffing. Hope for the best, and I will lube for the worst. My other concern is the swim. Not as much, but my new stroke really messes with my shoulders. Hopefully they don't pop out, cause believe it or not, I have that problem. That image is kind of funny image though, running out of the water on the second lap with a dislocated shoulder. "You did that SWIMMING???"
I also wonder if I will be the only one with a green cap, or if everyone in the first stage has a green cap, and I am just paranoid. I AM the only one in the Super-Clydesdale division for the Olympic distance. I wonder why that is... Are there just no 225+ pound men besides me who do this? or do they get good enough and just race in the age grouper division. My wife wants to find a really big bell like the ones they put on Clydesdales and ring it for me at my 70.3 in September. It is a good thing I am not self concious or anything. People are always doing that type of thing. CB wants our team jerseys to be white with orange. A team-mate wants me to put mange-butt on my backside for the race. Still it is nothing to worry about. I am pretty sure that most race designers and tri clothing designers try as hard as they can to make us look funny anyway. Who else designs these skin-tight uniforms? Have you ever seen someone in transition 1 who has lost it? running around in a funny colored swim cap, skin tight clothing, and bike shoes, which are like high-heels only backwards. Not that much different from college basketball, where the guys on my team gave me the knee high school socks with the school logo on them, but they were designed for a much taller player, so they went half way up my thighs. Couple that with a super small jersey from the 70's and you have the basketball equivalent of a tri outfit. Skin-tight, and funny to look at. I was 50 pounds lighter then, but the effect is the same. Anyway, enough worrying, I am going to try to get some sleep before my race.

I will post my report, should be interesting.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

5 miles prep run

My 5 mile run yesterday was better and worse than I wanted it to be. I ran the whole thing. That is good. I ran slow-fast-slow-fast-slow, just like I supposed to, which was good. The whole thing was done in 54 minutes. That was not so good. My shoulders are sore still, and that is also not so good. The shoulders have nothing to do with me running, but with the swim stroke we are experementing with. So, tomorrow is a quick 25 miles to find a new saddle, and friday is a slow 1000M swim and a really short run to keep my blood moving. Saturday is another quick 15 mile bike ride to make sure things are copesthetic.

Then, Sunday, 1500M swim, 40k bike, and 5.15 mile run. I am starting to like the abbreviated run. That is my weakest part, and so a race that has a minimal run is right up my alley. I just hope I can stay cool and hydrated.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Prepping for Moss Park by taking a vacation.

This week I have been absorbing my workouts. I went to see a movie. I went kayaking with the family at a local lake which may have been strategic... (Moss Park). And we went to SeaWorld for two days in a row. The first day at SeaWorld, I was able to ride on the Atlantis ride with my son and daughter, but my wife and eldest son got to the front of the Manta ride when they closed it for inclement weather. We spent the rest of the time that day trying to see some more animals, but when we went to the After Dark show the whales were not cooperating. They false started twice before calling it a night. We called it a night also, and skipped the fireworks. It was an hour and a half wait, and we were all tired. I figure we will go to the After Dark show some-other-time in the next couple weeks.
The next day we tried again, earlier in the morning. Manta had a 120 minute wait, but the entire familly was able to go on the Atlantis ride. This was my 4th time on that ride, but I have not yet gotten onto the Kraken, or the Manta. I guess that is what being a dad is all about. I will get them eventually. We also saw the dolphin show, which seemed a little abbreviated, and an acrobat show which had no animals in it. Day two was a success.
Today I worked out again. After missing 3 days it felt really good to get back into the groove. I really need it, since i have a 70.3 race in a couple months. 25 miles in a nice paceline was a good re-entry. we started at about 17-18 mph, and Laz got us up to a nice 23-24mph towards the end.
Because I skipped my swim yesterday, I get to go tomorrow and swim two crossings at Lucky's. My goals for swimming need to have some modification, I think. Lucky's is 500M across, and we normally go across and back either 1 or 2 times. I have been doing these crossings at between 13min for the fast ones, and 16 minutes for slow crossings with bad sighting or drills involved. At an average of 14min for a 500M crossing, I would be finished with the swim at 42 minutes. This is about what my swim was at Miami, so that would be not so much improvement over the course of the last 2-3 months. Olympic times for the Wildman were in the 20 minute zone, so this would make me the last man out of the pool. My competative nature makes this unacceptable. I think one part of my bad swim is my form. Without looking at an underwater camera or having someone look for me, I can not know for sure, but I am pretty sure my core is not staying stable, and i am pooching my midsection out which does not do much for streamlining. This is what I plan to work on tomorrow at Lucky's, along with checking my times.
Speaking of Moss Park, I registered for the race as a Super-Clydesdale. From the looks of it, there are no other Supers registered for the olympic distance at this point, much less 39 and under. It looks like there are two Clydes registered so far, but no other Supers. I was going to register as a Age Grouper, or a Clyde, but then I thought about it. I have been working on this for about 6 months now, and I am still in the 240 lbs range. My shape is changing, but not much has been reduced as far as my total weight. I would have to be 15 pounds lighter to make the regular clyde range, and I think I want people to know my achievements in light of what they really are. In my last race, I was 30th out of 31 in my age group, but they do not know that I was 245 lbs, and have only started training for triathlons since the end of January.
Regarding the Bike, it is what it is, I need to make sure that I do not burn it out so my run royally sucks. 40km, 24.85 miles. The course is flat, but I do not think that I can sustain 25mph for an hour yet and still have energy left for a run. I am hoping for a 1:15.
Run 5.15 miles. This is going to be tough. I am doing about a 10-11 minute mile after a brick. This puts me between 50 and 60 minutes for this portion. Again, we will see what I have left after the bike, and how well I do on the swim. Since I have been ramping up the distance lately, I have no idea how my times have improved. Miami tri was :41 for swim, 1:28 for bike, and 1:19 for the run, with Total of 3:37. Distance is less on the run for this one, so I am hoping for sub :35 on the swim, sub 1:15 on the bike, and sub 50 on the run. This would put total time less transition at 2:40. Add transitions, call it 2:45?
Tomorrow's swim, and Saturday's brick will give us a better idea. Until then....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Two days swimming 2000+ meters, must be time to write about swimming. My shoulders hurt, but not in a bad way. They used to hurt in a bad way after my 10 years off from playing basketball consistantly, then picking it up again. I went to the doctor and the doctors told me there was nothing wrong, get some exercise. Well, I took that advice, folded it up and put it in the drawer and stopped playing basketball again. Two years later, started playing basketball again, shoulders started hurting again, went to the doctor again, doctor said nothing wrong again, but when I told him, "Dammit, there has to be something wrong, my SHOULDERS FRIGGIN HURT!!", so he looked some more. Eventually he let me know I have multi-directional destabilized shoulder joints. Basically, when I do something fast, or with pressure with my arms, my shoulders pop out of the socket and then pop back in. It usually happens with someone who has a dislocated joint for a bit, and the tendons are all stretched out. Solution: Exercise. I did some stability exercises in physical therapy, then folded that up and put it in the drawer again. A year later and very fat (260 lbs for a 6'1") I decided to change my life and get fit. Swimming has been the best exercise for my shoulders because I can go as fast as I want, while not pushing hard enough to pop my shoulders. I get sore from doing big workouts, but have not popped them enough to be more than a little uncomfortable for more than 24 hours. Anyway, here I am, doing 500+ (because i am not sighting so well) in about 15-16 minutes apiece, 4 times in a row with about 60sec rest between. I am hoping to get them down closer to 10 minutes by the end of the summer.
I commented on another blog about reasons to do an Ironman race, and I thought I might mention it here as well, in case you missed the other post. I had a poster on my wall when i was in high school, of one of the IM Kona starts from the 80's. It had all the IM distances, and I looked at the poster and wondered what those people must be thinking. I wonder now what they did to get to where they were. They did not have fancy drinks or gels or gu or anything. I ran 4 miles last night in 37 minutes. That is 9:15 per mile. I do not think I could string 6.5 of those together to make a marathon at this point, much less do that after swimming over 2 miles, and biking 100+ miles. I am having troubles thinking I can put my 56 mile bike after a 1.2 mile swim and then running 13 miles. - in September! The swim I can do now. I will not struggle with that one. The bike is going to be hard, but not impossible. Volume on my long ride this week is 40 miles. 2 day volume for thursday and Friday of this week is a total of 65 miles. I think at the end of Friday's 40 mile ride I will have a good idea what my time will be. If I am riding at my pace for the 40 then that should be my average time for the 70.3 distance at this point. I may be able to improve it some, but that may give me an idea.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cashing in a coupon

So, for father's day, I got a coupon from my family for some underwear. Yesterday, I cashed in that coupon on some sports underwear. See, they know I have really been struggling with staying cool and hydrated, and have been wearing the right type of material, but not the right colors. I bought some UnderArmour underwear bottoms, a white UA longsleeved shirt for the heat, and a white UA sleeveless jersey for running in. I topped this all off with a UA visor which should let the heat vent through my cranium, while keeping the sweat off of my glasses. All said, this was a pretty penny for underwear, but I am hoping this will help me to get in condition enough to allow me to continue training in the heat, and making progress.
Today was my 2000M open-water swim at lucky's lake. www.luckyslakeswim.com it was a beautiful day to swim, and I was excited to swim because it would be my first time crossing twice in a day. I felt appropriately tired from the swim and my arms especially are weary. I think that the best way to improve now on my swim is for me to start working on posture in the water, and my kick. My kick should bring up my legs to make me more aerodynamic in the water, and posture will help me to be flat like a board, not saggy and droopy in the middle like a 2x4 that has been left in the rain. This should help in the bike by sucking my gut up, and on the run by relieving some pressure on my lower back. Main way to do all of this is to start seriously concentrating on core strength. If I am right, that will help every aspect of training.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dilbert in action.

Several things have happened in the last week or so which makes me think of Dilbert, I can list them, then the author of Dilbert will have some stuff to write about.
1. There is a switch on the side of my laptop which turns on the wireless adapter. I worked for an hour to figure out how to "turn on the wireless adapter" in windows before realizing somehow the switch on the outside of the laptop casing was turned to the off position. I wonder if this is a first sign that I need to start finding something less technical because I have lost my 'e-touch'. Now that I said 'e-touch', I am thinking that sounds kinda gross, but I am going to leave it, cause that's how I roll.
2. I was passed over for a promotion and a guy in Canada was awarded the Director position. I should not be too frustrated, since he has a really great resume', but I have really been working hard the past couple years, trying to save customers even when I am not in the support group any more, and I have been rewarded for my efforts with stock options that mature over the course of 4 years. Then I will be allowed to buy them if i can afford them, and then if the company goes public and does well, I will be rewarded. That is a lot of 'if's and I am not sure what I need to do to actually succeed in this company. Maybe leave?
3. Historically, I have noticed that the people who get ahead in the world of business are those who do not do anything. I try really hard, and that gets me more work, but makes it difficult to get raises and promotions. In prior jobs, I have seen network and systems administrators pretty much take 8-12 months to study at their desks for certification tests, and when they get the certs, they get promotions and raises. I have seen people who do nothing but go to meetings and not speak, get promoted out of their positions, or they just wait long enough and get yearly mandatory raises and level increases and COLA increases. One turned to me a while back, and said, "hey, can you help me to create formulas in this spreadsheet? I forgot how." Grrr.
4. The other day, a co-worker was talking to an automated menu on the phone. I could tell because for the first part he was talking in his robot voice. I think maybe he wanted to make the automated menu think he was a robot, so that he could get to the option he wanted faster. It is kind of like talking in ebonics while playing basketball. Maybe they will pass to you once in a while if you sound like you think they should. No matter that when they actually look at you, they see a pale mound of quivering flesh who has lost all coordination and finess.
Automated menu, "Say, 'English' to continue this call in English, Say 'Spanish' to continue this call in Spanish."
Human pretending to be Robot, "I am not human, BI-NA-RY. 11110110001110"
Automated menu, "Hey, man, how is it goin? Whacha need? We got those humans fooled, yeah?"
Human pretending to be Robot, "I am a RO-BOT. Please Speak in BI-NA-RY. My keyboard got wet, MU-ST RE-BOOT, MU-ST RE-BOOT, MU-ST RE-BOOT"
It goes on and on.

I know I didn't talk much about my training, today is a rest day, and my legs are a little sore. I did great yesterday in my 30 mile bike, improved on my mph by .7mph, and had this been olympic distance I would have improved my time by 10+ minutes. Granted, I still would not have had anything left for the run and would have BONK'ed on the second 5k in the run just like in Miami, but I am confident that by September that I will be under my goal time of 3 hours, and that this will convert to a sub 6:30 time in my half Iron Man two weeks later. I have two running focused days coming up, one is a speed workout on Saturday, and then a recovery increase in distance on Sunday to 9 miles. My main focus is to pick up my feet, and not shuffle so much, which hopefull will allow my forward lean to do more work and cause both an increase in volume and speed, and a decrease in leg soreness and the impression that people are taunting me as they drive by because I am running like an old man.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Relax. A time for blissfull introspection and self actualization.

I went back through some of my recent posts, and I think I may have been a little harsh on coaches in general recently. It makes me think about what coaches do, and what coaches are. I guess they are a lot like parents for adults, setting limits, and encouraging you to greater heights, while at the same time picking you up, dusting you off, and setting you straight when you make a wrong turn.
In college, I was lucky enough to play on the basketball team for a year. My coach owned me for 2-3 hours a day, and because my "scholarship" required that I also work at the gym 5-10 hours a week, he owned me for that too. This is what happened during high school sports as well, they would teach me about the sport during practice times, but that is where they stopped. The dedicated athlete would pick up where practice left off, and do more drills, run more, take a weight training class, join another sport, play basketball at lunch, go back to the gym after dinner and play basketball from 5:30 until the gym closed at 11pm, then leave for a while, then sneak into the gym and either play basketball or go swimming after it was closed, then (at college) drink beer until 4am, then wake up for practice at 6am, eat a big breakfast, (or go to the morning class) then nap until lunch, and so forth. If you count the weight lifting classes, and the extra-curricular sports, and the rec-league, and the pickup games, I was technically "exercising" 8+ hours a day on the light days.
Here is the clincher: Nobody told me what to eat. Nobody told me to stop doing so much exercise, there was not really a measurable 'taper' to my days, aside from my shooting form, there was no discussion of my running form, or my posture, or what i should eat before, during, or after the workouts to ensure that I was working at peak performance, or so that I did not wake up the next morning with huge charlie-horses, or sore as hell.
I think this is why I am so taken aback when I am told that I can not go further or do more just because I feel like I can. There is a formula when training for an endurance race that needs to be followed for optimal results. There is probably a formula for working out for any sport, but the coaches of the time, or the coaches of that level were so focused on the execution of the 'plays' that there was no mention of how you should take care of yourself outside of practice so that you could benefit the most from your time in practice. nobody told me that just because I could eat a steak sandwich before a game without throwing up, that maybe i shouldn't eat that because it will be in my stomach and intestines for a long time, and could mess me up, just like they did not care about stretching. These things are more important for me now that I am in my 30's, because I can feel the effects more readily. If I eat a big steak sandwich before working out now, I will likely hurl. If I dont stretch, I will likely not be able to walk tomorrow. If I do an extra 500-1500 swim now, just because I can, that means I will likely not workout as well tomorrow, or I will bag the whole thing because I am really sore.
I see the rationale behind it, but it is still really hard not to want to do more now that I feel like I can. Ultimately, I want to be ready for my races in September, and the only way to do that is to listen, learn, and do my best.
I think that also means not eating two cheeseburgers, fries, baked beans, etc, just because I am really hungry and can. I will be full after eating just one burger, and will feel much better and may actually lose fat faster if I can control those urges.