Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Feeling Better

Well after last week with an upset gut and being overly tired, I'm starting to feel much better now. Knock on wood...this is my third week of the training block, which is my longest. I'm shooting for 22 hours. I've got a bit of a left calf issue that's making me a bit tentative about running. Last night I rode the fingers really mellow with a team mate. It was nice to just ride for fun and not be pushing for some specific goal. I've also found that riding off-sets any running induced injuries.

My heart rate has been really weird lately. Last night at the end of the ride, I was cruising back to where I parked for a 5 mile stretch and I was traveling at about 21MPH with no tailwind or downhill and my heart rate was 105. This is the second time a similar instance happended to me. The first time was last Saturday when I was riding with my bro, Kyler. Maybe it's all this base intesity training? I don't know.

I've been looking more seriously at houses in the past week. Not sure whether to go with something new or something in an established neighborhood that may need a bit of fixing up. I have ruled out certain neighborhoods though and found others that have a different appeal.

Work has mellowed out again, which is nice. I need to clean up my office; it looks like a recycle bin.

Today is the beginning of the Gila, which I, obviously, am not doing. I love this race. But, it doesn't make any sense to go if my climbing legs are not around. Oh well, it's been fun mixing it up running and swimming.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Week's Summary

Well this week turned out fairly good. In spite of having something going on with my gut, I was able to put up some pretty good numbers. I bailed on the duathlon because I did such a long workout on Saturday and I didn't feel like getting up at 5:00 AM to drive to Los Alamos. My sleep is starting to be more and more important lately. Besides, I didn't even have this on my schedule, so no loss!

Total hours: 21.5 hours
Swimming: 13,500 yards/5.5 hours--short again of my desired distance, but I'm incorporating tempo work
Run: 40 miles/6.5 hours
Bike: 188 miles/9.5 hours

Sunday I did a brick workout in which I rode big ring climbs until my legs were loaded and heavy, then I transistioned really quickly and did a ~2 hour run in the foothills. I didn't push the run really hard, but I wanted to simulate what my legs would feel like after the bike leg of tri event. It was easy at first to maintain a fast speed, but after a 1/2 hour of running, the quads melted and the pace slowed. It probably didn't help that the run included 2000 feet of elevation gain (see graph below). The temp was perfect last night during the run: not too hot, not too cold. After a while, my legs stopped feeling like they were part of my body and I just carved through the mountain bike trails in the foothills. I was funny to watch the faces of the mountain bikers as you pass them while running.


I just wanted send a congratulations out to my brother Jared and wife Alicia on their new baby Aurora Fae. She was born 4/21/08 at 6lbs and 18.75 inches. See pics

I also wanted to send a congratulations out to my team mates, NMVS, for representing the team well at the Vuelta Bisbee. Looks like Rod Michael also had a good final stage. Good job!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Attack of the Lizard Girl

This is my daughter while playing James Bond the video game. She doesn't know that while she's concentrating on the game, she sticks out her tongue like a lizard. We showed it to her afterwards and she laughed. Sorry the video is sideways.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Check This Out!

Busy Work Week

This week has been really busy at work. Let me give you the details of just one event among many:

About 10 days ago, my boss calls me and asks me if I'd like to do a "special" project. What could say, "No"...I don't think so. So, I consented. She told me I'd get the details later via emai. OK...that was cryptic.

Later that day, sure enough, an email comes from the SVP of the utility telling all the VPs in the company I'd be gathering monthly cash flow data for capital reductions. The email said I'd have it done in a week. DOH!

So for the rest of the week, I killed myself meeting with all these project managers, telling them their dollars were being cut and mollified thier anxieties as best as I could. There were nearly 75 specific jobs. Many of these jobs were in Texas.

At weeks end, I got the project done and reviewed it with my boss and her boss. They were happy with the work, and they assured me they'd take it from there. I was happy; job done. As if...

The next day, my boss tells me to schedule a meeting with the SVP and all the VPs, and, of course, include her and her boss. The next day rolls around and I prepared all the material for the meeting and went to my boss's office in which she informs me she can't make the meeting nor can her boss. I was told I had to go it alone. At this point, I was really glad I doubled up on the deodorant otherwise I would have looked like Chris Farley in Mexican sauna.

I went to the meeting, and the SVP informs me, "it's your show." There's nothing like meeting with my superiors and telling them they have to give up their hard earned capital dollars. Fortunately, I'd done my due diligence up front and there were no surprises for anyone. Things went smoothly. At the end of the day, the VPs consented to giving up $20M--give or take.

The next day, I was meeting with the same SVP on a different matter, and he called me the Capital Cut Guy. I'm not sure that's a nickname I want to retain. Soon it'll evolve to "hatchet man" or "axe man". Next it'll be doing gigs at companies ripe for "downsizing", if you know what I mean.

Other than that, training has been fairly standard. I'm on course for another 20 hour week. I'm thinking about doing a duathlon on Sunday in Los Alamos. "What's a duathlon?" you ask. It's an event event where you run-bike-run. This particular event is run 6 miles, ride ~35 miles, and run 3 miles. The bike course has a pretty good climb, so I'm not sure which bike to use: road or tri. I'm going to bring both and see what everyone else uses. These are the same roads used during the Tour of Los Alamos, only the opposite direction starting from White Rock. My body will be pretty spent by Sunday, but this will be a great brick workout. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Week Summary

Well, first off, I didn't make my 15,000 yards swimming this week, but it was for a good reason. Saturday morning, I met with the Masters swim coach and had him evaluate my stroke. After making me do a bunch of laps at different intensities, he said I was fast and gave me a few things to work on:
1) Stroke cycle count--I average 10-12 stroke cycles per length. I need to bring this down to 8.5 (i.e. more pull buoy work).
2) I kick too much. I think this is a function of coming from a cycling background. (i.e. more pull buoy work)
3) When I lift my head to breath, I bring my non-breathing side arm past the center plain. He said this is a very common issue that even he struggles with. His recommendation was more pull work. OK, I get the message. Honestly, I never use a pull buoy because my tri book told me not to.

My cycling this week has been off because I can't use my contacts. I have another appointment with the Optomologist to determine if I'm a candidate for Lasik. In the meantime I can't wear my contacts. Riding my tri bike without contacts is next to impossible unless it's on the trainer. So, Saturday I spent 3 hours on the trainer doing the long Troy Jacobson video. I actually wasn't the bad.

This weekend was also very tough for training because there were a lot of social gatherings. Friday night was my wife's sister's birthday party. Saturday, I sandwiched an MBA seminar between my swim session and my bike trainer session. Saturday evening I went with my wife to her friend's birthday party. We were out late. I didn't get to bed to 1AM. Sunday, my brother-in-law blessed his baby then we had a family gathering afterwards. Later, that evening, we had Passover dinner with some friends. I scheduled two workouts this day, but was only able to do one. I was a bit bugged about missing my workout, but, at the same time, I'm really tired and probably need to rest.

Week's Summary 17.5 hours
Swimming: 13,000 yards/ 6 hours
Running: 42 miles/ 5.75 hours
Cycling: 100 miles/5.75 hours (weak!)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Running Intervals - Ouch!

Tuesday I did my first every running interval; I did it on the treadmill. This was very painful. Basically, you warm up at your regular run pace (7mph on the treadmill) for 15 minutes then you run 400 meters at your race pace (The treadmill only went to 10 MPH--I was supposed to do 11 but I'm not sure I can do that) followed by another 400 meters at regular run pace: repeat 8 times. As you can see the eight spikes, I finished the workout as planned but that's not to say I didn't want to lose my cookies danny-boy style.

As I was doing this workout, there was a yoga class going on. The noise made it hard for them to have a meaningful chabasana (sp?) --5 minute post yoga nap at end of class.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wild Hair

Oh ya, I forgot to mention that I woke this morning and forgot to shave my wild hair because I found myself contemplating entering a 192 mile (300K) road race in no mans land (Grants, New Mexico). I figure it would be a great opportunity to get really intimate with my tri bike and get a taste of 10+ hours of physical activity (IronMan simulation). The course is hardly supported and has 5000 feet of elevation gain. There's no cell phone coverage, so I can't easily call someone to pick me up when I'm done or want to pull the plug. The other risk is doing too much and wanting to spend the next two weeks on the couch. I figure it would be a good adventure though. About a month ago, I rode 135miles...what's ~60 more?

I'll keep you posted as to what I decide.

Can't Stop Eating!

I don't know what's going on, but I can't stop eating. It's all I think about too. This evening when I was swimming, all I thought about was food. I kept thinking about how much better Coke from a plastic bottle tastes better than from a can. This is something people have disputed before man came to be! From 0 yards to 999 yards, I built a compelling case against canned Coke.

At lunch, I ate the lunch buffet at the Taj Mahal with Silvio and was disappointed the traditional chicken curry wasn't there. That occupied my mind from 1000 yards to 2000 yards. The chicken curry today had bell peppers. I hate bell peppers almost as much as I hate shrimp and asparagas.

I'll bet you know what I thought about for the remaining 2000 yards...yep...chocolate!

After my swim, I stopped at the grocery store and bought Coke in a plastic bottle, chocolate lovers cookies, yougart, bread, and skim milk.

When I was younger, I don't think I spent any time thinking about food. I ate what was on my plate. Now, it's my obsession. The other day I caught myself telling my wife I'd rather go to dinner than to a movie for date night. Now that's strange. I'm a movie freak.

Honestly, I think its my body telling me I need to eat more or at least healthy if I'm going to continue training in the same volume.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Tri Guy Please Stand Up!

Well, as of yesterday, I've officially started training as a triathlete rather than a cyclist/triathlete. I've been holding back the running a bit to maintain the bike legs as best as possible for road races. But, now that the local races head uphill, it's time to make the transition. As outlined in my last posting, I can't climb like I should and run. I've got to start running to get ready for Boise. So, it's one or the other. I really want to have a good showing at Boise, so it's time to make the transition.

I've started using the training methodology outlined in Daniels' Running Formula book. Yesterday I ran an easy 7 miles at lunch, and today I did intervals, which gave me 7.6 miles for an hour run during lunch. Last night I swam outside in the Highpoint pool. It was cold and it felt great. After a week of resting from the swim, it felt really good. I swam 4,000 yards in an hour-and-a-half. I did a lot of different drills. One drill I'm going to start focusing on is breathing on the other side. I am so slow breathing on my non-natural side, which happens to be my right side. I swam 250 like this yesterday, and I was really slow.

Now I Know Why New Mexicans Don't Like Texas!

Well, the El Paso Stage Race was a bust! Things started off well: we got hotel paid for to entice teams to attend. We made good time getting down there. After that, it was all down hill (or should I say uphill!)

Saturday was an uphill TT, which was the east side of the Franklin Mountains. If you're as big of an Arrested Development fan as I was, you know anything with Franklin in it has got to be good. Not this time, hombre. Four miles uphill with more than an 1,000 feet of elevation gain. There were lots of pitches at 8%. I knew this was going to be an all out hard effort, but once it was over, I'd have the rest of the day to hang out. Since I've been running, my climbing skills have all but dwindled. I knew I wasn't going to be a strong contender, but it was a good chance to get some intensity.

Sure enough, I was right. It took me 18:27 and my average HR was 178 with a max of 182. I finished 12th of 14. The top guy finished in just under 16 minutes. Everyone that I came down with (Silvio and Rod) was a bit depressed with their respective results. I knew I wasn't going to pull a magic Contador and kill, so I was fine with my time. I'd done everything right in prepping for this: good warm up, good nutrition, relatively good sleep. I was tranquillo

We were done by 11:00 AM and spent the rest of the day checking out El Paso. We went to a movie, spent some quality time at Barnes & Nobles, consumed the local cuisine (P.F. Changs). Went to bed at a good time.

Sunday's road race is where things went downhill (uphill). The course was 2 44-mile loops that included 2,500 feet of elevation gain per lap. I didn't realize there was so much elevation gain. One of the people I came down with said there wasn't that much climbing. Had I known there was that much climbing, I, honestly, would have stayed home.

Our team formulated a strategy. We had positions 2 and 3 on the GC. We had 6 people on our team. The 1st position on the GC only had 1 team mate. We were going to take it easy up the first climb and then spend a lot of time attacking the opposing team in the valley to get one of higher placed team members in a break. That was the plan. But...

We had one rogue team member (I'll leave that person's name anonymous) who decided to attack from the get go. Did I mention it was really windy that day! It was windy. Anyways, when the first climb started, this "teammate" attacked forcing the leading GC team to chase. Now, one point that needs to be made is this team consists of mountain bike riders that specialize in climbing. That's why our plan was to attack on the flats in the valley. The first climb popped two of the team mates (myself included) off the back and others as well. Other teammates were in the red from mile 1 to mile 6 of an 88 mile race. Team strategy out the door.

I crested the climb about 200 yards back with another rider from a different team that I've had a bad history with. I once got gapped with this rider and he made me work to bridge back and never helped. When we got to 30 yards from the back of the group, he sprinted for all he was worth and got back in the field, I was spent and never made it back. Bad history!

So, at the the top of the hill with this rider, I threatened him that if he didn't help to get back to the group, I'd kill him. If I recall correctly, my language was a little more colorful. He got the message. We descended down the west side of Franklin mountains trading rotations. I later looked at my GPS and we were traveling at 57MPH. Don't worry, I have a few life insurance policies to cover the kids college tuition.

Once in the valley, we chased for about 5 miles trading rotations. We got back on.

I spent a few miles recovering, then out team leader (Doug) told me it was time to start attacking the lead GC team. One after another, someone would go off the front directly into the headwind, and the lead GC team would chase to bring back the flyer, only to be met with another flyer. Silvio went, then Josh, then JR, then Doug, then me, then we would do it again and again. The GC team would pull each one back. Then we turned east again toward the Anthony gap hill...ugh! We were directly in a headwind. I couldn't figure out the wind. It was everywhere, yet we never had a true tailwind. The climb up Anthony Gap was strung out and in the gutter. This climb is long and gradual with a steep hump in the middle. At that steep hump, Josh accelerated, and I was gapped again. I tried to keep the pack close so I could bridge back on the other side of the hill. Unfortunately, this was the last time I saw the pack until after the race. Over the hill, they were gone. I put my head down and pushed for all I was worth. The gap still grew. When I turned south to El Paso, the group was still pushing the gap up. I continued to pursue, until it became evident I would not get back this time. I was not happy.

I continued up the Franklin mountains again hopeful I'd see the group snaking up pass in front of me, but I couldn't see anyone. I spoke to the people at the neutral feed zone, and they said I was at least 5 minutes back. They also said the field was split up and Silivio was off the back. I decided I didn't want to go through the valley into the headwind and up Anthony Gap again by myself. So, I pulled the plug and got a ride back to the start line. I don't like to DNF, but, up to this point, I got a good workout and knew I wasn't going to help the team anymore.

Back at the start, there were a lot of unhappy campers. I, too, was disappointed. Up to this point, I had good experiences with my races. Now this!

One thing dawned on me during this time: at the end of an Ironman, when you finish (regardless of your time) it's a very positive experience. The MC calls your name as you approach the line. You're greeted with a metal, hugs, and applause. It's like a giant group hug. Road racing is anything but that: Unless you cross the line first, you're nobody. And, crossing the line first may garnish contempt from others on your team (like if you ignore team tactics) or competitors because you were too strong.

Silvio pulled the plug on the race the second time up Anthony Gap. Once he got back to the start line, we drove home and lamented our poor performances with a stop for Italian in Las Cruces. It was a tough weekend!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Rest Week

It's been rest week and I'm still struggling. I think I put myself in a hole that's been hard to get out of. Last week's summary is as follows:
Total Hours 21
Bike: 162 miles @ 9.75 hours
Run: 34 miles @ 4.75 hours
Swim: 15,100 yards @5.5 hours
Yoga: 1 Hour

I have a stage race in El Paso at the end of the week, so I'm trying to recover for that. After that, I'm officially going to start training for Boise in earnest and no longer balance on the fence with my road racing.

Work has been really hectic, which is perfect timing to coincide with my recovery week. I can work later and not worry about it interupting my training.

I need to go, but I'll post pictures from my race in El Paso.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Third Week Is The Longest!

I'm on my third week of my training block and I'm trying to punch in 20+ hours. I'm well on my way. But, gosh, I'm tired and I can't seem to eat enough. If your planning on doing an IronMan, set money aside to expand your grocery budget. People comment on the size of the lunches I bring to work.

I've really starting to pick up the running mileage. I've run three times so far this week and have 2 more runs scheduled (including my long run). My swimming is still at 15K yards a week. But, I'm worried my speed isn't really picking up. I probably need to start swimming with the Masters, but getting up at 5AM just doesn't seem like fun. I'm almost there now. I get up at 5:45AM now, but that extra 45 minutes is a killer. We'll see.

On a cycling note, I got my aero helmet the other day. It looks crazy. Tanya says it looks weird. I agree, but I'll do what I must to trim the time down. My next race(s) is a stage race in El Paso next weekend. The first day (Saturday) is an uphill TT and a crit. The second day is an 88 mile road race that has a significant hill you climb twice (one per loop--two loops). I'm not too excited about the hill but I figure the distance will neutralize the hill. People won't want to go too hard early up the hill and burn their matches only to fade later on. Then again, someone could go early, and we'll never see them again.

After El Paso, I'm going to lay low on the road racing front (I still plan on doing Galesteo, but the Gila's out). I need to spend some quality time running. This is the area I have most potential to decrease time in. I may throw in a duathlon just for the raw experience.

Great News!

I just read they're going to make an Arrested Development Movie that will come out in 2009! Now that's exciting!

Honestly, I think this is the funniest comedy series ever made. I have the first 5 seasons of Seinfeld and they're fairly funny. But, I've already watched the entire Arrested Development series twice and am getting a hankering to make a third go at it!

Buster loves seals!
Gob love Franklin (and magic)
Lindsey loves Bob Lob Law
Tobias loves Mrs. Featherbottom
Michael Blueth, jr. loves Maybe
Michael Blueth can't find love.