Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fastest Way to Lose Unwanted Pounds

Yes, there was a lapse since my last update...that's because I stumbled across a really fast way to lose poisening! Yay!

Week 3 was chaotic with 73 hours at the office...don't worry though, I was still able to squeeze nearly 17 hours of triathlon practice, which consisted of 5 runs, 4 swims, 4 bike rides.

Monday was going to be a doozy at work. We had a big project/presentation that needed to be done first thing Tuesday morning. So, I knew from the moment I walked into the office it was going to be "game on" until that project done...even if we had to work through the night. I decided not to swim before work, so I didn't roll into the office knackered. It was, indeed, hectic. We worked through lunch, through the afternoon and into the early evening. We decided to order dinner and work through dinner. It was on the company's dime, so I ordered the blue cheese burger (~$12 burger). Within 30 minutes of finishing my burger, my stomach began to let me know it didn't enjoy the blue cheese burger despite the hefty price tag. We finally finished our project at midnight...not before I had to make some mad donkey dashes to the restroom. I went home, fell into bed, and crossed my fingers that everything would sort itself out by morning. At 2am, I relocated my sleeping position to the base of the toilet...not move until noon the following day...with the exception of vomiting intervals....TMI?
By the following evening, I was able to take in fluids again. The next day I went to work and decided not to workout. By noon, I was taking in solids. That evening I did a light spin on the trainer. All seemed to be well within 24 hours of ingesting the blue cheese burger. 48 hours after getting sick, I weighed myself and was 8 pounds lighter. Now I'm trying to figure out how to keep it off...suggestions?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Week 2

This was my view during my Sunday ride. Just me, the wind and the buffalos.

The second week of this year is done and I closed it out with 18.5 hours of triathlon practice. I was able to log 4 swims (13,550 yards), 6 bike rides (165 miles), 4 runs (20 miles) and 2 strength sessions. The numbers are a bit soft, but it's still really early. I'm just glad to be back in the swing of things. After 9 rides in the new bike position, it's starting to feel much more comfortable. I actually rode outside Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, I climbed Tramway for the first time in 2011. Tramway is a ~7 mile climb that averages 5%; it's on the north east part of town. I've climbed it, literally, hundreds of times, and it seems almost all rides in Albuquerque end with a climb up Tramway. So, you learn to get used to it. So Saturday I opened my Tramway account, and Sunday I did it three more times doing big gear work. The photo above is from the Tramway climb.

I weigh myself at the beginning of each week, and this week I trimmed off 3 pounds. I can honestly say that's all from training because I ate really poorly. My Coke and chocolate consumption this week was through the roof. There's a positive linear relationship with my work schedule and my chocolate and Coke consumption. These are my two vices. But in the words of Oscar Wilde, "I can resist anything but temptation".

This is a photo I snapped the other morning. I don't know if you've seen these; it's a credit card enabled air pump...the kind you use at gas stations.

This is a fair representation of our economic state of affairs. Businesses are trying to squeeze every last penny out of its customers for every marginal, incremental good or service; and in so doing, they're killing their businesses. What happened to the good 'ol fasion gas service station where the air was free? What about when restaurants charge for refills? I went to McCormick and Schmick and got a Coke with my dinner. I asked for a second, and a third, and so on and so fourth. When I got the bill, they charged me $2 for each refill. That was years ago, and I've never gone back. And, I'll never go back! What about the airline industry charging for baggage? Flying a family of 6 to any destination is an expensive proposition...try paying an additional $600 for luggage. The decision to charge for luggage is so detestable to me, it's completely modified my choice of flying...if it's not Southwest, it's the car. I hope every airline goes out of business and Southwest rules the skies forever! And, finally, have you ever looked through the charges after visiting the doctor? What about the cost of a surgery? It's staggering. If you had to pay out of pocket for your medical bills, the life expectancy in America would drop like the ball on Times Square.

Sorry this is my rant...I'll limit my biases going forward.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Week 1 Finished

Elise Swimming at My Pool: the Academy Natatorium

I spent the weekend with my oldest daughter at her first swim meet of 2011. It was short course yards (SCY), and her first SCY meet in nearly a year. We were excited to see how she would fair. She's been swimming on a year-round team (Duke City Acquatics) for nearly two years now. She's really starting learn her strokes and get some speed now. What was more exciting was it was being held at the pool my Masters Team meets: The Academy Natatorium. On Saturday, she swam the following: 50yrd backstroke, 100 yard freestyle, 50yrd butterfly, 100 yrd breaststroke, and the 200yrd IM. Of these events, she was able knock off 3-5 seconds and move up 3-4 heats. On Sunday, she swam 200yrd freestyle, 50yrd breaststroke, 50yrd freestyle, and 100yrd IM. What's crazy is her recorded 200 free time was 3:19.56. Today she swam 2:38.11...That's more than a 40 second improvement. That's huge! Her next swim meet is the first week of February in Los Alamos...hopefully she can get nuclear and qualify for the state SCY championships at the end of February.

As for my training, it was an abreviated week because I was on the road all day Monday coming home from Boulder. It was a crazy work week, and I spent Saturday morning and Sunday morning at Elise's swim meet.

That being said, I had 11 hours of training, which consisted of 2 swims, 4 runs, 3 bike rides, and 1 weight lifting session. An ideal week of training would be 4-5 swims, 4-5 runs, and 5 bikes with 2 weight lifting sessions. I knew this week was going to be tough to squeeze in much volume primarily because of work and family related time constraints. My primary focus on the bike is to learn to get comfortable with the new position. Otherwise, I'm really trying to find my speed, which I lost training for iron distance events.

One really tough workout I just finished was a brick. A brick is a double workout (i.e. bike/swim or swim/bike) strung together as one workout. I like to do at least one brick a week, which are generally done Thursday nights in my Speed Lab (future blog entry). Todays brick was the last twenty miles of the Buffalo Springs Half Ironman course on the computrainer immediately followed by a 1:15 tempo run. I was able to hold 22 mph on the Buffalo Springs course and finished just under 1 hour. I immediatly got off my bike and changed into my running clothes and went outside and ran. From my house, I have a running loop that if I start east has lots of climbing. The other way has lots of downhill. I went east into the hills. My legs felt really good and I held my pace under 8 min/mile. I was able to run 9 miles in 1:15. Total elevation gain was just under 1000 feet.

I'm hoping next week the volume will be up again...fingers crossed. We'll it's time for me to go and make the family Sunday traditional dinner: meat loaf and gnocci.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Week 1, 2011 Coming to a Close

It's the first week of 2011 and I'm still trying to get my bearings in terms of training and racing plans. I'm sort of going through the training motions at the moment until I get a free moment to really plan things out. I have a tentative schedule of events...but nothing set in stone. I really would like to do 4-5 half ironmans this year and ultimately qualify for the 70.3 world championships in Las Vegas. At a high level, that's all I got. I'm sort of going through an identity crisis because I spent the latter part of 2009 and all of 2010 in full iron distance training mode, which, oddly, I really like. However, I'm not signed up for any iron distance races in 2010 and it's killing me. I keep looking at other non-Iron Man (WCS) iron distance races and wondering if I should just roll with my 2010 training level and continue. I've looked at the Rev3 Sandusky, Ohio event on Sept. 11. I've looked at the full-distance Vineman in Sonoma, Ca in July. There's also the Redman full in Oklahoma City in September. The only reservation I have about these events are they wouldn't be Kona qualifyers. The only Ironman events still open are St. George and Louisville, KY. I've done St. George and am not sure that's the best course for me. I hear lots of bad things about it's a real travel challenge. Arg! Why can't this be like bike racing or a foot race where I can sign up the morning of...and they're local?!?

On another note, I rode the new bike for the first time, and the fitter was's going to take a little time to adapt to the new position. It seems like I have to use more strength in my arms and shoulders to support myself. I'm confident, though, that I'll adapt given time and stick-to-it-ness.

One thing I'm finding about tri training relative to other endurance sports, is it's a very solitary training sport. At least it seems that way for me. The most social training I do is swimming. I generally ride alone because my workouts are very structured and I have the obvious time constraints as any other human does. I run alone too because I like to maintain a targeted pace. I do run with a co-worker, but our schedules often conflict. I try to run with my dog, but she's still a bit young to do really long runs...and, I do most of my running at lunch break at work. With swimming, I swim on a masters team, and our lane is very social. Sometimes we're too social and we don't get the entire swim in. However, as I get close to an event I try to swim alone and do longer sets.

Bike racing is very social. There's group rides to talk about who's doing what. There's teams and clubs that hang out and train together. There a high schoolesque social mentality as well.

I'm just I'll end now. I'll post week one's results soon.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 and Guess Who's Back!

2010 is in the books, and guess what I made as one of my new years resolutions?...yep...updating my journey to Kona, which, incidentally still goes on. I'm not going to lament that I pretty much ignored this blog all last year. Instead, I'm going to move forward.

Here's a quick recap of 2010(not necessarily in chronological order):

-Finished Ironman St. George (my second)

-Purchased our new home (just one month before St. George...not a good idea!

-Got a new computer after destroying my other one while moving...including my special indulgance--Bose Speakers

-Bailed on doing Ironman have to be a bit mad to try 3 ironmans in 1 year

-Turned 40...wasn't as bad as I thought it would be

-Got a smoker and smoked lots of ribs, salmon, a turkey, and some prime rib...lots of things still to smoke though

-Rode my bike >10,000 miles (98% on my TT bike)

-Ran 1,100 miles

-Swam 473,044 yards

-Finished Ironman Arizon (third Ironman) in 10:20...20 minutes and 6 spots out of qualifying from Kona

-Destroyed my TT bike on the way to Ironman Az

-Took the kids to the beach and Disneyland (a couple of days after IMAZ...wonderful way to recover)

-Bought my new super-duper TT bike.

It was a very eventful year though I only did 3 races...2 ironman distance races and 1 olympic. This year's focus is going to be qualifying for Ironman 70.3 world championships in Las Vegas. It's a bit of detour from trying to qualify for Kona, but it'll improve my speed and give me some time to refresh for 2012. In 2012 I'm thinking of going after 2 more full iron distance events...Lake Placid and one other yet to be decided event.

Currently I'm on a bit of a forced break. After my TT bike got destroyed, I spent some time riding my road bike. I rode a bit too hard, too early and started to develop some IT band issues. I'm about to try to run again (after being off for a week) in a few minutes. Wish me luck.

During the "off-season" I like to spend some time making slight adjustments and trying to find the "Low hanging fruit" that can provide some improvements for the up coming year. Well, I spent last weekend in Boulder getting a bike fit at Retul. See Pictures:

I chose this fitter because he's worked with Lance, Levi, Craig Alexander, Tim O'Donell, and quite a few other heavy hitters. It's a bit difficult going to a bike fit with a whole new, unridden bike and try to improve your position without a referrence point to begin with. My prior bike was destroyed on I-40 near Holbroke, AZ, and it wasn't really possible to duplicate the position. So, this was a ground zero project. It took nearly three hours, and the resultant position will take some adaptation. I'm hopeful that it will yield some speed/time gains both on the bike and the run.

I still have a few other tricks up my sleeve for next year to squeeze every ounce of speed out of this little ol' squaty body of mine.

Here's a closing picture of my sweet little Lilly who's my running partner:

Monday, June 7, 2010

New Addition To The Family

Friday Night we bought a 5 week old female Weirmaraner puppy. My wife named her Lily. I've kinda been looking for a dog that I can run with. A mastiff is a great dog, and will always be my first choice in breed...sadly, they weren't built to run. So, after discussing various breeds, we came to a comprimise at the Weim. It'll be a while before she can join me for runs, but the kids are really enjoying her in the interim.

Friday, June 4, 2010

St. George: The Set Up and The Swim

We left Albuquerque Wednesday around noon with the intention of spending the night in Las Vegas. Our plan was to have breakfast the next day in Las Vegas then drive the rest of the way to St. George by noon. Racer check-in was Thursday; this is what happens with you have a Saturday race that is a point-to-point and requires multiple transitions.

We later found out why they say “The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry”

As we were driving between Winslow and Flagstaff, the freeway was shut down because of an extreme windstorm. Semis were being blown over, freeway signs were snapped, and there was zero visibility. We ended up spending the night in lovely Holbrook; Winslow didn’t have electricity, so we had to backtrack to Holbrook.
We woke up the next morning to find it was still just as windy. We threw everything in the car and scrambled to get on the road before they shut down the freeway again. Five miles past Winslow, the freeway was at a dead stop. I got out of the car and saw that there were cars and diesels as far as eye could see. After a nervous one-and-a-half hours of having the car parked on the freeway-turned-parking lot, traffic started moving again. We took off knowing full well the freeway could close at any moment…it was do or die!

Once we got to Flagstaff, the coast was clear and we headed north. Along the way we saw the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, and Zions National Park. Along the way, I realized I wasn’t going to make check-in. I made a few phone calls and found out the race organizers were going to have an additional race check-in Friday morning from 8AM to 10AM.

We finally got into St. George, checked into our hotel, ate dinner and crashed.

Early the next morning, I went to the IronMan St. George race headquarters to check in. There were about 30 of us who were caught in the same storm; each of us had our own tale. There was also another line for athletes to pre-register for the 2011 IronMan St. George; there were only 10 people. That was alarming. All the other events I’ve been to, this line is usually hundreds deep.

As I made my way through race headquarters, there was a universal look of terror on the athletes’ faces. I wondered what I was missing. I overheard some conversations: “The water is 54 degrees”, “There’s too much climbing”, and “It’s windy”. Here’s a little secret: stay away from race headquarters! There’s a negative energy. Some people aren’t confident in their training. For others, it’s their first IronMan distance race. For whatever reason, they seem to congregate at race headquarters and talk doom-and-gloom. It’s not healthy. It’s, basically, a form of forfeit. It’s looking for an excuse to do poorly. I left as quickly as I could.

I went back to my hotel and readied my T1 bag, my T2 bag and my special needs bags. I only packed a bike special-needs bag for the occurrence of a freak winter storm. I got my bike ready too. I went with a friend to the lake to do a brief pre-race swim. We made our way to Sand Hollow Reservoir. St. George was Beautiful. As we arrived, there were a lot of other athletes there too trying the waters. I slipped on my wetsuit and neoprene cap and got in the water. It was so cold! When I put my head under water, my face was really sore. My breathing increased by an additional fifty percent. For a moment, I grew nervous thinking about race day morning. But, after about ten minutes, my face got used to the water (or went numb) and I was able to relax. Swimming was effortless and relaxing. The key was to get the face used to the cold and the wetsuit would do the rest. After the swim, I jumped on the bike and prerode the start of the course. It was strange riding the actual course; I’d trained on virtual reality Computrainer version of the course nearly 100 times. Now it was the real deal.

Afterwards, I dropped my bike off and my T1 bag. I memorized the water and walkways to visualize my water exit and transition on race day.

Next, we drove back to St. George proper and dropped off the T2 bag at the designated transition from bike-to-run location. In a point-to-point race, there are two different locations for T1 and T2. I’m not a big fan of point-to-point races because they make race set up very technical, and they’re usually not spectator friendly. A non-point-to-point race has T1 and T2 at the same location. IronMan Arizona is like this. When you go to drop off your transition stuff the day before the race, you only need to go to one place. You start the race at the same place you finish. Also, the non-point-to-point race provides lots of times your friends and family can see you during the day. When you family has sacrificed a lot for you to do an IronMan, it’s a bit of a let down if they only get to see you a couple of times during the day. IronMan Arizona is perfect in this sense. They can watch you during the majority of the swim, they see you three times on the bike, and multiple times on the run. If you wanted to watch the IronMan St. George swim, you had to catch a shuttle to the location (you couldn’t drive your own car to the location) early in the morning and wait to be shuttle back after all the swimmers were done. Sadly, this made it impossible for Tanya and the kids to watch the swim start.

After setting up T2, I came home and spent the rest of the day relaxing. The girls went and got pedicures. I watched a lot of TV and drank lots of fluids. I tried to spend as much of the day as possible off of my feet and out of the sun. After dinner, I took some Ibuprofen PM and passed out.

Race day morning the alarm went off at 4AM. I was still really groggy from the Ibuprofen PM. I freaked a bit realizing how hard I slept the night before the race. That never happens! I started my pre-race routine. I shaved and showered, got dressed, ate two peanut butter bagels and my mocha cappuccino protein shake, and took some Imodium. I spent a little bit of time stretching, gathered my things, and Tanya took me to the athletes drop off. Because the race was point-to-point and there was limited parking at the reservoir, athletes had to come to a main meeting spot in the city and get bussed to the reservoir. There must have been 50 school buses waiting. The line to get in a bus went quickly. It was still dark outside as we drove to the reservoir. I was worried I’d have to share my seat with someone freaking out. I got lucky and sat next to an older lady who has already done 20 Ironmans. She’s already qualified for Kona and was just doing this for fun. She wasn’t phased by all the rumors and worries; she’d seen it all already. Her confidence was reassuring.
When we got to the reservoir, I jumped in line to use the porta-potty. Talk about a slow line with lots of nervous energy. I blocked out everything I heard while I waited. Thirty minutes later I was able to use the porta-potty and go to the next task. I was able to get things set up at T1. I slipped on my wetsuit and walked over to the water start. I had a cold can of Redbull in my hand. I began to rub it on my face to begin the numbing sensation. It really helped. As I looked into the eyes of many of the athletes, there was a lot of fear. Some people looked as if there were just about to storm the beach of Normandy. While the pros started, my friend and I stretched. We weren’t allowed to get in the water until the pros left. Finally, we made our way into the water. There were so many of us. We were all starting at once. It dawned on me that starting area was a bit too narrow. I got in the water quickly and began putting my face in the water. It wasn’t bad. It only took a couple of minutes this time to feel relaxed. I looked back to see more-and-more athletes making their way into the water. Some were just standing on the beach not wanting to get in. I swam a few hundred yards to get my heart rate up. We were minutes away from the start. I could vaguely hear the announcer shouting. I made my way close to the front of the group. I relaxed and took in the moment. I was so happy. I couldn’t think of anywhere else in the world I wanted to be. I was so thankful to be there at the start line and feel healthy. I felt like I did everything I could have done to be prepared. I was confident I’d do well. I said a little prayer to myself and waited for the start.

Finally, the announcer started to count down. Then, with a loud gun shot, the race started. It was chaos with all those athletes starting at once. I swam over people; people swam over me. I was hitting and kicking people and people were doing the same to me. I started out doing the lifeguard swim with my head up, so I didn’t get my face kicked. This part of the race generally lasts a couple of minutes before there’s enough separation between you and the other swimmers, and you can start your earnest swim. However, the separation didn’t seem to happen. We were all over each other for what must have been 1000 meters. My neck started to get really sore from holding my head up out of the water. Finally, after turning two buoys, I was able to get enough room to swim. I was madly searching for someone I could draft off. I’d find someone, get on their hip, and begin drafting only to find they were too slow. So, I’m move forward to the next person. Still the same story though. Finally, after three-quarters of the swim ended, I found two people that kept an honest pace. We blew through lots of people who went too hard at the beginning and were now fading. On the final left hand turn, there was about 500 meters to the water exit. I decided to pick up the pace. I thought I’d ditched the two swimmers, but they were still on my feet. Every once in a while, they’d hit my feet. They day before, my wife and daughters got a pedicure, now I was getting mine. When I exited the water, I turned to see who the two other swimmers were….they were two girls: Figures!

In November 2008, I did IronMan Arizona and I swam a 1:07. My goal was to break the 1 hour. I spent a year-and-a-half swimming masters and averaging 12,000-15,000 yards a week. Over that time frame, my speed increased dramatically. My form was better. I moved up two lanes to a faster group. I really wanted to see the fruit of my efforts. When I got out of the water, my swim split was 1:07 again! Sure, I was better by a few seconds. I was livid. All those early mornings I got up for Masters and I still got the same time. Sure, it was a different course and the start was so tough. But, it seemed like a slap in the face to get the exact same time.