Thursday, January 29, 2009

That's Not Trivial!

The day before I did my Ironman, I bought a sticker that said "IronMan Finisher". I really liked the sticker and thought it would be cool on my car. Also, I figured it would be a little extra motivation to finish because I wouldn't dare put it on the car if it weren't true.

This morning I was parked at a local grocery store parking lot just about to get in my car and someone approached me. "Hey, did you really finish an Ironman?" I answered affirmatively. He then responded, "Wow, that's not trivial!"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Check Out This Video!


Ryder Hesjedal :: Haleakala Attempt from Media One Multimedia on Vimeo.

Firing It Back Up

Last week was the first week of my training program. It was a bit like jumping into a frozen lake. It was a shock! After everything was said and done, I logged 24 hours. 285 miles in the bike; 10,000 yards of swimming (low because coach had surgery and canceled one of the workouts); and I ran ~6 miles. I also did a fair amount of core work. Saturday, I started off with a swim--I swam horribly because all of the accumulated training started to take it's toll on me. I couldn't get into a rythym. I just did what I could, which wasn't much. Afterwards, I crammed some food down and joined the team for a bike ride. It was cold and I was bundled up like a snow man. We rode for nearly 5 hours at a fairly slow pace. The final part of the ride was the dreaded ascent of Tramway. Tramway is nearly 5 miles and rises more than 1,000 feet at an average gradient of 3-4%. By no means is it a killer, but after a long ride and the sun is finally out, it's tough. I felt fine after the ride and ran on the treadmill for 20 minutes. I got some food, took a shower and laid down for a brief nap. When I awoke, my wife told me I was grunting and growning in my sleep. At first she thought I was kidding but that was really how I was sleeping. I must have been trashed. I woke up in a post nap stupor, and went on with the day. The next morning, the ride started at 7AM. I started with 2 other guys, one of which is peaking for Valley of the Sun Road race, which is in February. It was cold and it was windy. The pace was fairly brisk. I spent 95% of the time in the draft just trying to make it through the ride. Again, the final part of the ride was the dreaded ascension of Tramway. This time was a different story; I was a slug in the salt flats. When it was over, we'd gone nearly 85 miles in 5 hours.

As of late, recovery is really starting to be important. Before, I'd finish a ride, put the bike up, and go on my merry way. Now, I have a routine that I follow to maximize my ability to recover. I guess I'm getting old now. I don't like starting a workout feeling like I've already been whalloped; you don't seem to get as much out of it that way. So, recovery is the key.

This morning I went to the PT and he hurt me. First off, he shows me some fairly easy workouts--except one that isolated my knee injury. Then the painful part was having him massage the injury. Oh my gosh! Based on the technique he used, it might have been just as effective with a butcher's knife. All I have to say is THIS BETTER WORK!

I feel like my swimming game is in check...my bike game is in check. I just want to run like I was able to 6 months ago. At least I'm slowly starting to run again. The PT observed my running stride and said there was nothing too crazy other than a need for orthodics. I'm just too impatient. Can I just stick the knee in a microwave and instantly make it better?

On the family front, the kids are doing well. I've been working with Ethan more on his homework. He's been having lots of problems in that department lately. He tells us he's already done it and we find out he hasn't been turning it in. So, now I have to sit down with him every night and make him show me everything and correct it before he goes to bed. Otherwise, he's doing very well at basketball. Grace had her birthday last week. We're going to combine Grace and Ethan's birthday party and have a blow out. Tanya's going to rent a blow up jumper. The kids are pumped. I hope it's not too cold. Tanya's busy with work, working out and school.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Spent

The week isn't even over yet and I feel spent. Monday, Wednesday, and today, I went to swim practice then came home and rode my bike to work, Ran/lifted weights at lunch, and rode home after work. By the time I get to work in the morning, I've already worked out 2.5 hours. The bike rides home tend to be a bit more productive because it's a 1600 foot elevation gain from point A to point B over 15 miles. This weekend I have a couple of 4 hour rides, a swim, and a run on tap. That should round my week out with 20 hours.

My run is still pathetic. When you've been out of it this long, your mind starts to mess with you. You start thinking you'll never run fast again, or, worse, you'll always be injured. I know there's been improvement. It's just slow...too slow!

My brother put this video of me on YouTube from the New years Eve festivities (sound is necessary to get the full effect).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Time To Start Training Again

Well now that my preparation period is over and I can start really training again, I've started to beef up my bike miles. I commuted on Monday right after swim practice and again today. That makes for a long day before 8AM. I rode the trainer last night for an hour working on speed drills. These last couple of weeks have been hectic and is one of our traditionally busier times. We worked Saturday and Monday, which was a company holiday (MLK day). It's really lame working when no one else is in the office. Oh well, I'm comping that day times two for a couple of training days. But, it looks like things should be ramping down fairly quickly, so I can get off at a reasonable hour and not have to work weekends. The one challenge I have noticed over the years is time at work is a reflection of your boss' attitude. If your boss is ambitious and wants to work long hours, that, generally, is his/her expectation of you. It get's really challenging when your boss doesn't have a life outside of work (i.e. no kids, hobbies, spouse/love interest). That, more or less, is my current situation. That was the situation with my previous supervisor. What really strikes my odd is when your supervisor can't accept that you'd rather be doing something else than working. Oh well, such is the life of the weekend warrior!
I went to the Physical Therapist, who shall henceforth be known as PT. He inspected my knees, my posture, my back, my gait, and my flexibility. His preliminary diagnosis was my injury didn't effect the major knee ligaments (MCL, ACL) but was rather a muscle tear. He said I'm structurally pretty messed up. I'm very inflexible and rigid and riding a bike has messed up my posture. Because I'm so bow legged my patella doesn't track vertically up and down but rather at an angle, which creates a lot of stress on the inside of the knee. He said there probably isn't much that can be done about my structure, but we can work on my flexibility and get me into some orthodics and do some specific strength building exercises. He said I need to build my running over a much longer period of time.

He seems to know what he's talking about. What he says makes sense. I have a follow up appointment. I'll keep you posted on how it progresses.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Swim Contest

Saturday morning I particiapted in the masters 1 hour swim contest in which you see how much you can swim in an hour. It started at 6:30AM and I had to bring someone to document my laps and splits. The closest thing I've ever done compared to this was the swim segment of my triathlons. My goal was to finish 4200 yards, which would be 2.4 miles. During my Iron Man in November, I finished ~4200 yards in 1:07. Finishing in 1 hour would mean I shaved 7 minutes off that pace without a wetsuit.

When I woke up in the morning, I was a bit sore and used the foam roller to work out the muscles a bit. When we got to the pool, it was a bit chaotic. There were swimmers in the lanes doing their workouts; I was under the impression that the pool would be exclusively for the 1 hour competition. I jumped in the pool and spent a little time warming up. I didn't feel great, but no matter, this was only a small swim. The coach went over the instructions. We were to start at 6:40 and swim non-stop for an hour. A minute before we were about to start, he was done with his instructions and it was quiet. It was the calm before the storm. Tick-tock, Tick-tock. Finally, 6:40 hit the digital clocks and the coach blew his whistle. My heart rate shot up a bit and I tried to match the speed of the person in my lane; we had to share lanes because other swimmers were training in the other lanes.

The person I was sharing my lane with was a bit faster than me and it took a few laps to realize I was going too hard. I had to let her go; I knew if I kept up the pace, I'd blow up. After the first 15 minutes I had recovered and found a rythym. My arms were gradually getting tired. After about 45 minutes, I was getting really tired. I just focused on my form and my stroke. My arms were starting to really get soar and my stomache was bloated from breathing like a swimmer: deep breath, hold, exhale, deep breath, hold, exhale, (continue for an hour for effect). By this point, I'd lost track of my total lap count and was getting tired of starting over after losing count. So, I would watch the other swimmers in the lanes next to me. Two lanes over was this really fast former collegiate swimmer that would glide past me like I was hardly moving. He would lap me every 4-5 laps. Finally, there was only 5 minutes to go and I tried to push through with the rest of my energy. At exactly 7:40, coach blew a horn and we stopped were we were at.

I finished the day at 3,685 yards or 3,700 yards rounded. That ended up being 74 laps. Afterwards, I could barely pull myself out of the pool. I was trashed. The rest of the day, I was exhausted. My guts hurt. And, I felt a bit dizzy from looping non-stop for an hour.

After crunching the numbers, I finished each 50 yards on average every 48 second. I was extremely consistent with a fast range 47 second and my slowest lap was 52 seconds (in which I had to let the water out of my goggles). For the most part, all of my laps were between 48 and 49 seconds. My mile time was 26 minutes, and my half iron distance (1.2 miles) was 33 minutes. I swam at the same pace in which I swam my iron distance...but without a wetsuit. That's the upside. The downside was I was beat by two old ladies. I suck! Oh, well I'm still improving and still have alot of upside potential.

On the running note, I'm able to run for 20 mintues with hardly any pain. It's like I'm really running again. That makes me happy.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Getting On

This last week really kicked my butt. I can't tell if it's all the swimming or getting up at 5:00 AM to swim, but it's really wiping me out. I ended the week with 16 hours. 4.5 of those were swimming with 15,000 yards. 7.5 hours were on the bike and the rest were core workout stuff and rehabbing my leg to run. Today my leg feels really good. I'm going to give it a go at lunch on the treadmill. Fingers crossed!
This Saturday I'm entering a swim competition. It's a national contest in which you see how far you can swim in 1 hour. Someone has to record my laps and the time splits. During my IronMan I swam the 2.4 miles in 1:07. That's 4200 yards. That will be my goal; swim 4200 yards in 1 hour. This will be a 7 minute nominal time pick up, and that doesn't factor in the wetsuit advantage I had during the IronMan.

Somewhat off topic. One of my New Year's Resolutions was to take over the family finances. Strangely, my wife has done it all 15 years we've been married. I'm a CPA and she's an elemantary ed teacher (now a student again), yet she's always done the family books. The transition has been a difficult one. It's been stressful for the wife to let go, and stressful for me to get her to sit down and get me up to speed. We're not 100% there but getting there. Part of the hard part is being the ball buster when it comes down to staying on budget. I'm currently the ball buster when it comes to making the kids clean their rooms. The kids think I'm mean because of that. Now, with respect to being the budget ball buster, I'm afraid my wife will think I'm mean.

Another of my New Year's Resolutions is to eat more fruits and vegetables. So far it's been heavy fruit and less vegetables. I've been eating lots of apples, blue berries, blackberries, and rasberries. Sadly I'm allergic to bananas and avacadoes. I figure now that I'm getting on in age, I should eat more healthy. I've always struggled with eating fruits and veggies. I need to turn the corner on that. I can't be healthy; I can't be as fast as I possibly can be without taking in the best foods. Man cannot live on Coke and chocolate alone!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Chomping At The Bit

A lot of my friends are burning the miles on the bike. I've been riding a bit, swimming a lot, and doing lots of weights/running therapy. I have this week and next with the 12.5 mile hour cap then I can start building up. It's killing me though. I really want to start logging the big miles. I'm chomping at the bit. It's Thursday, and I'm already at 8 hours. I do a trainer class tonight. This will make for a light weekend.

My leg is still progressing. Soon...hopefully...very soon I can start running like a human rather than a donkey. You silly rabbit! Donkey's don't run! They dawdle; they mosey. And, yes, that's where I've been for the last two months. I'm no quadraped; I've evolved. Let me graduate to the exclusivity of the bipeds--at least the running ones!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Week 1 of 2009

Well now I'm in the full swing of training (and, unfortunately work). Last week I knocked out upwards of 18 hours--much too many. The biggest part of that was the resolution ride. I assure the following weeks will be as scheduled. I have 2 more weeks of 12.5 hours and then the real training starts. I swam 13000 yards last week. I rode 160 miles. And ran 3. Looks like the wheel may be a bit lopsided. The good thing is I'm, kinda-sort, running again. I was able to gut out 3 10-minute sessions on the treadmill. That was still a bit painful. There has been incremental improvement though. Hopefully, I'll be back at it before long.

Live Long A Prosper--Nanu Nanu!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Day 1 of '09 - Done!

Yesterday's Resolution Ride was every thing I thought it would be, and more! I left the house (on bike) as 6:30 AM to get to the Nob Hill Starbucks (the designated meeting point). When I left the house, the thermometer was 33 degrees F. Start time was 7:30 AM, so leaving a little early would give me some time to warm up while waiting for the group.

The other day, I changed my tires to Armadillo's, which are kevlar wheels. They weigh a ton and ride like crap. But, they don't go flat, which is something you don't want to deal with in cold weather. The ride down was frigid. I was hardly awake because I went to bed the night before at 11:30. The whole ride down I kept asking myself why I was doing this ride. It was too cold and too early.

Once at Starbucks, I warmed myself by the fire while waiting for the others to show. Eventually, 14 riders (including myself) set-off for the Resolution Ride. What a way to ring in the new year!

For the first hour, people rode just hard enough to stay warm. My Armadillo tires are extremely heavy and don't roll worth a darn. I noticed my heart rate a bit higher than I wanted it to be. We stopped in Los Lunas to use the rest room and top off on drinks and food. After a few brief minutes, the group rolled off without any warning. I had to scramble to get my gloves, hat, helmet, glasses on, finish chewing my food and jump on the bike to try to catch the group. They already had a significant jump on me. I had to kill myself to catch the group. I looked at my heart rate and it was 175 BPM. What the heck!

Off we went along Highway 6 and it was a fairly moderate pace. After 20 miles, we stopped for a pee break. I decided to take advantage of the break because I was sitting on a full bladder. Being bundled up, it took some time to get myself in a position where I could pee. While mid stream, the pack takes off again at a full clip. Not Again! I rushed to finish the job--something people shouldn't rush. I haphazzardly got my clothes on again and jumped on my bike. It was with another great effort that I rejoined the pack. I checked the heart rate monitor; 176 beats per minute. What's going on here?!
We continued down Highway 6 until we got to a small store (that was incidentally closed on New Year's Day) just before the rode converges with Interstate 40. We stopped and started to shed clothes as it was getting warmer. We ate and relieved ourselves of excess bladder pressure.
Sure enough, the group took off again at full speed leaving me and two others to fight to catch back on. Same story, it was a hard effort to catch back on, my heart rate was much higher than I wanted it to be at this time of year of for this distance of a ride. WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE!
By this point, I was very upset with the group. It wasn't like I was dilly-dallying. There was even a word uttered: Hey Let's Go! Nothing. It was look up, and realize they were half way down the road.
We turned on to I-40 and headed back to town. At this point the pace went up signicantly. I was struggling to hang on. I noticed the group had already split up and the group behind was gradually falling behind. I shouted, "Hey we're splitting up the group!" No response...heads down, cranks mashing. Finally, I cracked and came off the group. My heart rate was 182. I was beginning to feel the beginning pangs of a bonk. I was drenched with sweat. I was annoyed with the group I was riding with. No longer than 2 months prior, I'd riden the same route and was flying. It had been nearly a month after my IronMan that I'd get back on the bike, and, Now, my fitness was at the bottom. I was flat.
I rode at a moderate pace to let my HR drop. The group behind caught me and motored past without even saying a word.
At this point, I resolved to not ride with this particular group anymore. It wasn't any fun. There were too many egos competing. It was Jan.1, and the group was riding like it was their most important race. I felt like I was not part of the group; I'd been left 3 different times at stops, dropped off the back without a single concern, and it wasn't fun. Then it dawned on me...this is exactly how road racing is. It's like being a new kid at school and never fitting in. No matter how hard you train or how fast you race, you're nobody. You may have a good race, and people might want you around breifly, but it's only briefly. It's just not fun.
As I rode, I noticed the group was waiting while someone fixed the flat. I just kept riding. I stopped at Rt. 66 gas station and grabbed some water and took off. The group had caught up as I was leaving. No one said a word. I figured they'd catch me coming up 9 mile hill, but I never saw them again.
I rode the rest of the way home at a comfortable pace. When I got home, I had 120 miles. I was tired and hungry. I ate some food, cleaned myself up, took a little rest, and met the family at the movies and watched BedTime Stories with Adam Sandler. It was good. It was fun.
I don't know if I'll ever do the Resolution Ride again...it doesn't really fit in to my training plan. I've done it more out of tradition than anything else.