Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Whoops!

Today, a co-worker joined me for my run at lunch. This is the first time I've run with him. The run started and he said he'd follow my pace. I went at my base pace and we ran for 45 minutes or 5.5 miles. The pace seemed light. We were able to hold a conversation the entire run. No problem...Right?

As I was leaving work, his co-worker started to berate me saying I pushed this individual too hard. I was surprised. I found out he had to go home early because he was too exhausted from his run. What!!!!???? I told his co-workers we ran easy. Here's the response: "Ya right, Iron Man!"

I'm still a bit surprised. Whoops...I guess. We'll see if he runs with me on Thursday.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Hung Over

I missed my target training hours by a dissapointing 2 hours this week. The goal was for 20, I ended up with 18. It didn't help that 2 of our swim practices got cancelled without any prior knowledge. I got up early and got to the pool only to find an empty parking lot. There's 3 hours gone right there. Friday, I was going to commute, but that didn't work out so well with getting a root canal, so I took the conservative route and just ran at lunch instead. It doesn't much matter though, I'm so tired today (Monday) from the weekend's activities. I'm utterly useless! I feel like I have a training weekend hang over.

One thing that's really affected my ability to train is the sudden cool shift in the weather. The prior weekend was in the 70's; I was riding in shorts. Friday morning, I woke up to snow. I knew this would happen...Albuquerque is notorious for throwing the spring curve ball, but still. It's so hard to bundle up again after you've experienced the good life.

Saturday was a 4.5 hour ride doing muscular endurance intervals of 6X20 minutes--just like last week with an additional 20 minute set thrown in for good measure. I got done and was very tired...much more tired that I thought I'd be. Yesterday I rode for 2.5 hours in the small chain ring; it was an endurance ride and I didn't want to burn my hamstrings up too much for the pending speed running workout.

After church, I jumped on the treadmill and ran 6X1000 meter intervals at 4:24min (8.6MPH) with a one minute rest interval in between. The total run was 6.5 miles--relatively short in distance--but the intensity is the killer. This is the weekly workout I dread. This workout takes a lot of mental toughness to finish.

Afterwards I took the kids to the park and hung out with them for awhile. It's amazing how much energy they have--especially my youngest. As she runs around the park, she goes back and forth between running and skipping and running and skipping. I don't even think she knows she does it. I couldn't help but think how lucky I am for having such good, healthy children. They may be a handful (and expensive to feed) but they're much better kids than I deserve. I was a terror as a child. These kids are very kind and happy.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Root Canal

Tomorrow will be a first for me...I get to have my first (hopefully my last) root canal. The filing on one my molars cracked providing an opening for all the filing was trying to protect against. Eventually, the bacteria eroded the enamal all the way to the root and the tooth is more/or less dead. It's been very painful for the last 6 months, but I hate dentists and avoided going. The toothe ache would come and go...it's only a little pain now and again. Well, these last couple of weeks the pain has elevated to a full on ice cream headache all over the side of my face. It's happend twice, so I knew it was time to suck it up and go to the dentist. After a few X-rays, the dentist referred me to a specialist. Tomorrow, I'll go through the procedure.

Why do I hate dentists? Well, I'm not exactly dissuaded by the pain. What I really don't like is the constant feeling of chocking as the dentist works in my mouth. I feel like I'm suffocating the entire time. After a while of this, I get a really high level of anxiety and start getting hostile. It's weird...I know. But, I don't like dentists. Thoughts of spending time at the dentist evokes small anxiety attacks for fear of suffocation. Actually being at the dentist is much worse. The whole thing is weird...I sleep with a pillow covering my face, I'm not afraid of small spaces, I don't mind bugs (but I don't like snakes too much), I have a love/hate (exhileration) relationship with heights, I'm not afraid of clowns or public speaking, but take me to the dentist and my body starts to act out. It's a really strange phenomonon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Date With Destiny



Last night at midnight, I pulled the trigger. On May 1st, 2010, I will be in Santo Jorge, Utah, trying to get my golden ticket to Kona.

This decision wasn't made lightly. As many of you may know, I'm superstitios and don't like to pay for events early--especially more than a year in advance and at such a high cost: $575. But, this is the price of admission to chase a dream. Kona will never happen unless I start at point A.

Still, the decision to take on such a task is sobering. The time commitment is tremendous. The sacrifice on my part as well as my family's is tremendous. I put off pulling the trigger until mid-night when it was finally time to go to bed.

Some of the thoughts that weighed heavily on my mind were the following: our dryer is on the fritz right now and we'd finally paid off our credit card and had the money to buy the dryer (not using the credit card); with the entrance fee, we'll have to wait another month to buy a dryer. Because St. George takes place on May 1st, a majority of my training will take place in the winter and spring. That's not such a problem for swimming or running, but that means long rides bundled up in winter garb by myself freezing.

Don't get me wrong, I'm very excited about this opportunity. But, I don't take the challenge lightly and I know there will be a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. My training will start specifically for St. George the first day of November. Until then, I'll focus on half distance Ironmans.

Monday, March 23, 2009

March Madness

I finished the week with 17.5 hours of triathlon practice. My running is starting to come around with my first foothills long run, which was only 50 minutes (estimated to grow by 5/10 minutes per week). I ran with my sister-in-law. She's quite the talker. She's the kind of person that has a really long, drawn-out explantion for everything. Well, during the run, she talked the whole time. I must not have ran hard enough. We'd be running, and shes talking away (she ran behind me) and I would ask her what her heart rate was. She'd shout up to me, "170!" Then she'd pick up where she left off. What's the magic HR number to get her to stop talking?

At any rate, I threw in a speed run on Sunday. So now I'm finally covering all my running basis. Now is the ever important quest to find my optimal weekly running mileage. I'll have to play around with my times until I find it.

Saturday I did a 4.5 hour TT ride that included 5X20 minute LT level efforts giving myself 10 minutes of recovery between. During the interval, I'd switch between the big and small chain ring every 5 minutes to mix up the cadence. By the time I finished the last interval, I was exhausted and that left me at the foot of Tramway. I crawled up Tramway but kept myself in the TT position during the climb.

Thursday morning, I took 5 minutes and filled out the NCAA brackets online. I have some cousins that are really into sports (e.g. Fantasy football, NBA, NFL...yatta yatta). They started an online bracket pool and asked me to join. So, I spent a few minutes doing it. Turns out, I'm killing the bracket. I'm winning the group because I was nearly at 100% after the first 2 days. I predicted all but 1 of the sweet 16 teams. Well my cousins are greatly dismayed. They'd be really dissappointed if they knew I hadn't watched a single college basketball game all year. I couldn't tell you what teams are good and what teams are not. I just picked teams based prior year's perfomance--back whey I was in college and I cared about college hoops. It's been a fun distraction.

The weather this weekend was perfect. It was in the 70s. I rode both on Saturday and Sunday in shorts and a short sleve jersey. I hope it stays like this forever.

I'm now 95% sure I'm going to do St. George full IronMan in 2010 rather than CDA. It makes more sense econimically and logistically. I just have to plunk down the dough, which it quite expensive.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Strangeness Afoot

Completely unrelated to swim, bike, and running practice, something very strange happened at work this week. A co-worker of ours, a former Chinese National, went on vacation to China three weeks ago with her 2 kids and husband to visit family. She's been with our company for nearly a year-and-a-half. She's a Wharton MBA grad and just recently became a US citizen just missing her chance to vote in the presidential elections by one week.

Well, Wednesday we got an email from her saying she won't be coming back...not just to the job but not coming back at all. She said she's not coming back to America. I know that her and her husband both have cars and personal possessions in their apartment. On a follow email, our boss asked where he should send her W2...her response: shred them.

We've sent emails trying to understand what's going on. She responds immediately. Her responses betray that she's really sad about not coming back. Yet, there's not a lot of other information. We have no idea what's going on with her. We've been speculating like mad. What's more, our department, Financial Analysis and Planning, is chalk full of individuals that are very analytical and speculative in nature--myself included. So, in the absence of any definative information, we've spent the last few days by the water cooler speculating what happened to our former co-worker. Maybe she's being held against her will by the Chinese government as punishment for revoking her Chinese citizenship. Maybe she's just found another job and can't come clean that she's moved on. We don't know and it's driving us nuts. We keep going over the details of our last interactions with her before she left trying to find something...some clue. We cross reference our ideas and impressions with each other. Still there's no finality. Perhaps this is the cruelest way to give notice--no information at all.

Well Tong...I hope all is well and your safe!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Testing Done

Along with rest week is fitness testing to see how the fitness is coming along. This rest week I did a bike TT on the same course I did last month and trimmed nearly a minute off my time. I brought my average speed from 22.85 to 23.7 MPH over a 12.3 mile course. Last time I had a brisk tail wind on my way out and a stiff headwind on the way back. This time I had a light tailwind on the way out and a growing headwind on the way back. I was happy with the result because I'm riding my thorn resistant tires and heavy training wheels, so when I break out the tubbies and Zipps for the real race, I should see a good time. This next month I plan on making a few changes to my TT/Tri bike to, hopefully, improve my results. I'm going to get a more comfortable saddle, a more aero arm extensions for my TT bars, upgrade from Ultegra to Dura-Ace, and add some Rotor Rings (Oblong chain rings). These factors should provide a bit of improvement. I'm also going to spend a bit more time on the Tri bike this season--I figure if I'm not racing then there's really no use in me riding a lot on my road bike. I already missed the first road race of the season.

Yesterday, I did the local 2009 Shamrock Shuffle 10K run. My sister-in-law joined me on the run. It was in a newer development in Rio Rancho that we had our run. I haven't raced at this distance and was a bit worried about re-injuring myself. I decided I'd give it a go but if anything started to act up, I'd back off or pull the plug. Anyways, There was about 60 of us at the start line. It was fairly informal. I told my sister-in-law to follow my pace and draft off of me. The organizer sent us off, and we started out with a .5 mile downhill. The serious ex-collegiate runners made their way to the front setting a blistering pace. I told my sis at the start to be weary of a fast start and try to find your rhythm as quickly as possible. This wasn't an understatement. The first mile was done in 5:45. About half-way through the first mile, my sis told me to go ahead. She was well past the rivet and would blow up if she tried to keep the same pace. So I took off trying to catch the collegiate runners. After the first half-mile the race went up-hill for quite a bit. I started to drop the people around me and bridge to the lead pack. I was within 50 yards when we crested the top of the hill. Then we started to head downhill for a spell, which was the worst part of the race for me. I'm a terrible down hill runner. I started getting passed by the people I'd previously dropped. I didn't want to take too long of strides because I didn't want to hurt myself again with the harder impacts. Finally, at the bottom of the hill, the course undulated for the rest of the race and I was able to find my rhythm again. I didn't pass anyone, nor was I passed; I was able to maintain my position for the rest of the race. I finished in 42:44, which is faster than I was expecting (45ish). I've included the race info below. The course picked up nearly 1000 feet.
I'm a bit sore today, but I'm fairly certain I'm not injured. It was a fun but challenging workout. My next event will most likely be a month from now in Los Alamos. It's a duathlon with a 10K run/40K bike/5K run. I've never done one of these, so it should be interesting.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rest Week--AHHH!

Last week I wrapped up with 21 hours of triathlon practice. Now it's recovery week--YAYYYY!
I took Monday off to join my oldest daughter for her class field trip, which was a hiking trip on the east side of the Sandias. The morning of the hike, it was raining at our house, which means it was snowing in the mountains. Sadly, the field trip was cancelled. Elise wasn't very happy especially after spending so much time packing our lunches and following her teacher's packing instructions to a tee (including plastic bags under your socks to keep your feet from getting wet).

I decided to stay home and look for my lost wallet, clean the house, and do the laundry. I was really mellow and hanging around the house sounded a lot better than going to work. After the house was clean, all the laundry was washed and folded, I still couldn't find my wallet and started getting worried. I kept checking online to see that no one was running rampant with my bank card. Finally, I decided it was hopeless and called the bank and cancelled my card. This really sucks because now I have to get a new drivers license. What's more, I had nearly 15 completed Dos Hermonos cards I was saving to get a Dos Hermonos T-shirt (20 completed cards was all I needed). Does anyone realize what a tremendous investment that was???? ARG!

On a different note, I'm heavily thinking about doing Boise again this year. I wasn't planning to do it...especially 2 weeks before Buffalo Springs. But, the organization putting on Boise just announced that participants could sign up for IronMan Coerde Lane 2010. This is the earliest IronMan in the US (Late June), which would give me plenty of time to recover for Kona and help me avoid doing IronMan Brazil or China. At any rate, I'm crunching the numbers and it's a real possibility. Tanya's already told me she really really really wants to go. We wouldn't bring the kids this time though. Last time it was too much of a hassle trying to make a vacation out of it for everyone and visit all our friends. We'll see.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Stellar Ride

I'm sitting at the computer sipping a Coke eating some Cup 'O Noodles--ahhh!

Swim practice was cancelled today; it's good because I stayed up too late watching 7 Pounds with my wife. Yes it's not released yet...she got her hands on some bootleg movies. These were premo though...Jerry Seinfeld wasn't manning the video camera this time.

At any rate, I joined the team for the usual team ride. The weather was in the 60's but the wind was gusty. We're talking 20-30 MPH by mid-afternoon. It was really sketchy. We basically did the same ride we did last week, without all the pros and other teams. I was curious to see how I'd ride sans Masters swimming warm-up. On the way out, we rode fairly briskly toward our first sprint. I kept getting gapped, because triathletes don't accelerate well. I'd motor back to the group and there would be another surge, and I'd be gapped again. I wasn't tired...I just can't go with the surges. I had no problem getting back on. By the time we finally got to the sprint, the group was already broken up, so there wasn't much of a sprint. We made our way to Placitas and started the long ascent. At first, the legs felt really heavy and I fell off the lead group. About half way up, my legs started to feel really good. I switched to a bigger gear and started to motor. In a few mintues, I was back to the main group. That was strange; the lead group contained some respectable climbers, and I just closed a quarter mile gap. Hmmm! We kept motoring up the hill and I finished just behind the leaders. That was a vast improvement from last week when I was shelled and left for dead near the beginning of the ride. We began our long death march back to Albuquerque into a wicked headwind. My this point, my legs felt really good. We started a pace line, and I kept taking extra pulls when a gap would open up. We finally made it back to Albuquerque at the foot of the dreaded Tramway ascent.

We had a tail wind going up, which was a welcome change. One of the riders, started his timer. I asked him what he was doing and he responded that he wanted to see how long it would take to climb Tramway with a tailwind. I joked that maybe would could do it in 15 minutes. He said he once did it when he was peaking and there was an even stronger tailwind. We all decided to see how quickly we could do it in. I was feeling really good--4 hours and 75 miles into the ride! I put it in a big gear and started to push really hard. I quickly found a rythym and just put my headdown and worked. Soon, I was all alone. I looked back and I had a 200 yard gap on the nearest person and some of the others were no longer visible. I just kept going. Finally I reached the top and noted I finished in 14:40. The next rider came rolling up a minute later. This rider is probably the best climber on our team. I had just told him before Tramway I wasn't climbing well because of all the running I'm doing. When he caught up to me he scolded me for saying I wasn't climbing well. I just shrugged. All I can figure is I didn't swim this morning. We rode home and I tried to act non-chalant about my climb.

Now I'm going to take my daughter bike shopping. She saved $48 from her birthday and she really wants a bike. $48 won't buy carbon or TI. She's going to need a little more money!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Retro

I'm not sure why but these last few months I've really been digging Echo & The Bunnymen. I have been accused of listening too much to 80s music; I can't help it! 80's music is what I listened to in high school. No when I say 80's music, I don't mean Hair Bands (i.e. Scorpions, Motley Crue, Ratt, Iron Maiden, or Metallica) or early rap (i.e. RUN DMC, NWA, Young MC, Eric B. & Rakim, BDP or Public Enemy), although I've spent my fair share of time listenings to these genres. When I say 80's music, I mean the early roots of alternative music. I'm talking Echo & The Bunnymen, Depeche Mode, The Fixx, The Clash, Duran Duran (Arcadia), The Descendants, The English Beat, etc. The only reason I can figure I like this music is it was what I listened to as a young adolescent when I first felt the exciting strains of independence. This was my music when I drove for the first time, had my first girlfriend, broke up with my first girlfriend, got dumped, got suspended from school, got in fist fights, worried about image/appearance, tried out for the swim team, got cut from the swim team, served in-house detention, served Saturday tardy school, spent the night at friends, stayed up way too late doing things my parents ought not know about, and, ultimately, learned what it was to be an adult.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a relic. I don't spend my weekends watching The Breakfast Club, 16 Candles, and everything Molly Ringwald. But the elements of this time frame have a special place in my heart. Just like Gomer Pyle, The Lone Ranger, and The Andy Griffeth show does for my parents--puke!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Who Doesn't Love Cup 'O Noodles?

This week is finally over, and, at last tally, I shared 4 individual packages of Cup O' Noodles with my kids. After a workout, Elise, my oldest, would make me a cup of Cup 'O Noodles (CON) and we'd hang out and talk. I remember as a kid liking the CON, but somewhere along the way I forgot about the CON. I'm really liking them now. It's also fun sitting around with the kids shooting the breeze. Yesterday, we went to the park, played a little catch and swung on the swings. My oldest daughter kept calling her baseball mit and mitten. I was just tired enough that it struck me really funny. She's really prim and proper. She spends 90% of her time reading, so she's very literal. In her mind, calling a baseball mit a mitten was perfectly logical. Everytime she'd say it, I'd laugh my head off. This would vex her to no end.

The other thing that made me laugh was teaching her how to throw a ball. She has the hardest time throwing a ball. Whenever I tell her not to think about it and just throw it, she throws great. When she thinks about the right way to throw a ball, the ball ends up where it shouldn't be. She's so intellegent, which in the case of a basic throw, is detrimental. I can see her mind thinking as she's trying to figure out why she's not throwing the ball far or accuratley, and the throw ends up worse and worse. It's a strange slippery slope.

Finally, when the week's training clock came to an end, I logged 22 hours. That amounts to a lot of swimming (14K yards), biking (225 miles), and and improving amount of running (13.5 miles). That said, I'm exhausted. I don't know how I'm going to make it through this last week. Maybe I'll just curl up under a rock and call it a season.

I'm just rambling!