Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Much better thank you

Finally I am getting a break from the sinus pain. The sore throat is gone and the sneezing is minimized. I kept training ... but it was mildly annoying at times.

I did simulate the sprint yesterday. I did the simulation at the gym because it was too hot to do outdoors. It's pretty cool to be able to go to the gym and do a sprint triathlon during my lunch break. I did the simulation in 1:08 ... with a pretty lax set of transitions. How awkward would it be for me to sprint from the treadmill to the stationary bike and then run down the steps and hop in the pool? I was casual about it. The point is I will be fast on Saturday. I have no nagging muscle soreness. My sinus problems will be gone by then. My run is getting faster and faster - and I actually feel improvement in my swim. I am targeting a 1:07 for the sprint. We'll see if that flies.

To cap off the day we lifted weights and did one hour of spin class. Spin is a great way to simulate a race situation too. I was using some visualizations during the session to try and help me focus on cadence and consistency.

I cannot wait to get to the longer distance races. I want to see what I can do. Those of you that know me ... know that speed is not necessarily my bag. I mean I am fast on the bike and run ... but not the fastest. I do feel like that over a long distance I can maintain my speed in both which should decrease my overall time by quite a lot. We'll see soon enough. I am impatient.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mondays aren't so bad

I am still having some sinus issues. I am recovering though. Today was a good day. I had a productive day all the way around. I finished some chores, graded some papers, wrote some lingering code that had been puzzling me and worked out twice.

I lifted at lunch. That's my new thing. I like the gym at lunch.

Then we went back to the gym tonight. We lifted weights and swam about 1000 meters. Not only did the lifting go well but the swimming was fantastic. I drilled quite a bit and worked on my timing and rotation. I did some sprints too. We have a sprint triathlon on Saturday so I want to simulate some race conditions.

Will I get a break from the heat in the morning? I am going to simulate the sprint. It's actually a reverse sprint ... so the 5K run is first, followed by the 20K bike ... then the 400m swim.

Call me crazy ... but I like simulating the competition situation ... especially since it has been over a month since the last sprint race.

More later...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ironman Louisville - two friends finished today.

Matt King and Brock Watkins - you are Ironmen!

14:25 and change. Great work. I cannot wait to hear your race reports.

Sick today ... probably overtraining. The heat from yesterday's ride got me. I admit it.

We did hike the GoJohn trail this morning. It is a great 6 mile hike. I felt like crap all day though.

Oh well. Training resumes tomorrow.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

102 in the 110+ Sun

After an absurdly late start ... today turned out to be a cycling feat.

So I think it was about 110 and windy by 11:30. I was on mile 70 of my impromptu century (102 miles to be exact). I sent a text to Carrie with a status update. Water stop number one was complete. I also ate a Snickers bar because it was the only thing that sounded appealing.

After that ... it got hot. I've been home for 3 hours now and the Phoenix listing on STILL says this:

Dangerous heat index. Outdoor exposure should be limited.


Feels Like: 108°     

Then the wind got really annoying. In a section where I normal go 28 to 30 mph I was only getting 24. The headwind was fairly strong.

I stopped once more to refill the water bottles and sent another status text.

I DID need to get the mileage but I do not think I will try and pull this stunt again any time soon. The good news is that I made it home ... I only feel mildly sick and I did get the mileage. My legs felt fine. My neck was a little sore because that is the first 100 miler I have done since July.

Tomorrow we are hiking the Go John Trail - at 5:30 am and then we will head up to Bartlett Lake for some distance swimming.

Until later

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bricky McHotHouse

It is Friday. August is almost over. I am now 38 yrs and 3 days old. Life is pretty darn good.

Why does it have to be so hot in Phoenix? Wait. I should be more specific. Why, at four stinking o'clock in the morning does it have to be so blasted hot? I know it is the desert. I know the city creates a "heat island". 95 degrees and high humidity is just ridiculous. I cannot wait until the fall. Hold on. One more thing that is annoying. If it is going to be this hot why does it also have to be dark until nearly 6:00am. Why can't these variables move together in space? To me it would make more sense that the hottest days of the year are also the longest. The universe is a strange place. I digress.

I did a decent job with the brick workout this morning. 20 something miles on the bike in 50 minutes immediatedly followed by a 5 mile run with Baron the dog. I will probably go to the gym at lunch again today.

What is it with impromptu meetings at work on Friday afternoon? Geez.

Until next time -


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Three-a-days. Really?

Yeah. I am experimenting again. I am breaking up the training sessions even further. This is in response to my decreasing amount of "free" time and my increasing amount of workload and training.

At 4:30 this morning it was 95 degrees with about 40% humidity. I rode 20 miles. I latched on to another rider at about the 10 mile mark and together we averaged about 20mph ... all slightly uphill. It was good.

Post ride and during my transition to the run my stomach revolted after a Gel pack ... which I now know not to take on an empty stomach. A better phenomenon to know now rather than later.

Lunch time. I am headed to the gym. This seems to be a new pattern for me that I enjoy. It breaks up the work day. I lifted weights and found out that I am sore from yesterday's weight training. Then I ran 3.2 at about a 9mph pace. I loathe the treadmill ... but not as much as 115 degree heat.

After some additional cubicle loitering I will be headed off to my weekly swim lesson. I hope my swim sessions since the last lesson have not corrupted my already poor form. We'll see.

Three training sessions. One day. Lots of extra laundry.

I want to say hi to our friend Sarah Hayes. She SAYS she is reading the blog. We'll see if she notices this paragraph. Thanks for keeping us up so late. It helped my sleep. Fo real.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back in Arizona

Last week was a good week. I still managed to get in about 10 hours of quality training despite losing two days to travel! There is something to be said for sticking to a routine. It is also nice to have some strong training partners and connections.

Today is my 38th birthday. I feel very good physically and mentally. I remember my 26th birthday. I did NOT feel anywhere near this good and that was 12 years ago. I probably weighed about 260 lbs. For those of you who do not understand exercise ... please read this. It matters! Exercise is essential for building SO MANY IMPORTANT paths in your life. Get out and try it. For those of you who are in a fitness routine - please keep it up. You do NOT have to do triathlons to be in shape. Get out and get fit. It is a state of mind.

It is back to the grindstone this week and I look forward to it. The back pain is nearly gone and I am looking forward to getting back on the bike and back into aero position. I am going to adjust the height of both my seat and my bars to try and alleviate the strain. I do not have time to take five days off in the next couple of months.

I am excited for the racing season to start again. September 3rd in Anthem. I cannot wait!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Training over the weekend

So on Saturday we rode 52 fast miles with Gear Up Cycles in Murray, KY. It was a great ride. It was humid.

In an effort to get in some additional cross-training I went 4-wheeler riding in the creek behind my parents house. Dad wanted to race ... so we ended up riding pretty hard. He said his back was hurting after I beat him soundly in the "non-race" that felt strangely like a race. Am I that competitive?

The 20 year reunion was a "great success" (to quote Borat). It was great to see everyone. I was a bit disappointed that some of our classmates could not make it. Oh well. Next time.

We lifted weights and swam after my giant birthday meal at mom and dad's.

I got up on Monday and ran 5 miles. It is so humid. I think I am ready for the desert again. I hope it cooled off some while we were gone.

It was a good visit and I pretty much stayed on track with my training. We met two dudes that are going to Ironman Louisville next weekend. Good luck Brock and Matt. Be safe.

Friday, August 19, 2011

My old Kentucky home ...

I will spare you of the singing.

So I go on vacation and train ... apparently. 7.5 mile run yesterday in Benton,KY. Hot and humid. Running here is nice because the air is moist. It's just so miserable when the sun is out.

It rained like crazy here yesterday afternoon. Then we went to my mom and dad's for part one of two birthday dinners for me this weekend. After dinner we did a 2.4 mile cool down walk. It was nice. We watched the deer play in the soybean fields.

Rise and shine. 4:00am arrives early. We head to Murray to swim with an old friend and neighbor Andy Graham ... who is quite the runner ... and biker ... and swimmer himself. Murray has sprouted a triathlon team. Drills, Drills, Drills. Sarah Simons would be so proud. We swam about 1700m of just drills.

Then we went by gear up cycles in Murray to fetch some "demo" bikes. Carrie is demoing a sweet specialized with Ultregra components. I was supposed to be demoing an HTC Specialized ... but it did not arrive at the shop on time. We are riding about 40 tomorrow with SwimBikeRun of Murray. Then we will likely hit the open water at Kenlake state resort park before my 20 year reunion. Have to work off this food!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Battling Low Back Pain - Resuming Yoga Phase

Treatment. Check.
Rest. Check.
Fluids. Check.
New mattress. Check.
Persistent back pain. Check.

While it is not debilitating, it is frustrating. I actually think my new aero bars are tightening my hip flexors and thus my back is being pulled out of whack.

I am taking action. I am using ibuprofen... even though I do not like to use it. I am using a heating pad at night. I have backed off running and biking for part of the week this week. I am reinstating my Yoga practice. I am working my abs more frequently. I am continuing to swim.

It will be fine. I am going to stay positive and maybe stay out of the aero bars a little while until I get some more core strength. Admittedly I love the aero position on the bike and I was probably riding there too frequently being that it was brand new.

I have to pack for a trip to KY for my birthday / 20 year high school reunion. It will be nice to see everyone.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thunderstorms in the valley - training milestone reached

Yes! As another week of training disappears in the rear view I get to feel both lucky and accomplished. Carrie and I worked hard this week at work and still got in all our training sessions.

This week brought some special guests to Phoenix all the way from Western KY. My cousins Ron, Heather & Hadley Davis came in to visit the valley. We had dinner with them at the Havana Cafe on Friday night. During dinner we talked trash about our long bike ride on Saturday.

The monsoons had another plan. We were going to get up Saturday morning at 3:30am and ride a long loop and then go swim at Bartlett Lake. At 3am it began to thunder. I think it must have rained until about 6:30am. By the time it stopped raining it was already too hot and muggy to BEGIN a ride.

So we went to the gym and hopped on the treadmill. Then we lifted some weights. Then we went hiking with Baron ... but that was too hot. We went out for a massage afterwards because we had a coupon.

Here's the milestone. We went out for a 35 mile ride Sunday morning. We were both "less than enthused" in the beginning, but as time passed our speed and endurance improved. We came back to the house, refueled, did an hour of Yoga, took a nap and then headed out to Bartlett Lake. I wanted to swim 1000 meters. I ended up swimming 1400 meters ... and Carrie swam about 2000. I am getting more and more confident in the open water and with swimming in general. I am ready to get back to racing again.  September 3rd - the reverse sprint triathlon in Anthem. Can't wait!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Back to normal ... or as normal as expected

So two weeks after the wisdom teeth extraction I think I am mostly back to normal. Getting older is interesting in regards to recovery. The good news is that I trained smart while my body recovered and now I can hit it hard again.

I am still fighting with finding the exact nutrition I need. I added some things back in this week (brown rice, fruit, a few beans). I ate much more veggies and chicken. I also resumed eating bacon. Bacon is awesome. Prior to swimming sessions, my nutritional needs are different than for the bike and run. I need carbs and sugar prior to the swim. I need protein mixed with some sugars on the bike and just water and sports drinks on the run. I have to admit it is a little fun to experiment with different things.

Wednesday's swim lessons went much better than last week's. I guess practice does make for improvement. This morning I rode 32 miles in about 1hr. 40 min. It was humid but the sun was behind the clouds, so it wasn't too bad. Tonight I have a 10K run with Team Triple Sports. If time allows, I will likely swim some afterwards too.

Baron had his teeth cleaned at the vet yesterday. He is funny when he is doped up. He's back to normal this morning though.

I am also learning a new tool at work called myCampus which is an off-the-shelf campus management platform that is Java-based. It uses lots of jQuery and Velocity templates and structures to manage content for colleges all over the country. It never hurts to add new tools to the tool belt. I just hope I don't fall asleep today since I got up at 3:30 to ride.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Killer (insert day of week here)

So my training partners whipped me into shape last night. Carrie was all "ready to go" for the bike ... even though it was 1 Billion Degrees outside. So we biked a little over 30 miles even after work. Our lighting on our bikes need some work, but other than that it was a good time.

We hopped off the bike and ran about 2.5 miles. Baron the dog went with us and was fired up! Carrie said "It's much cooler on the bike than on the run." Yes, honey it is. After a few weeks of brick workouts, I knew this fact. The brick kicked her booty, but she would never admit it. She did well.

Today is Tuesday. There are more brick workouts on tap. The famed "triple-brick" happens tonight. Weightlifting, spinning and swimming. This generally makes for a tired Wednesday ... but there's more on tap for Wednesday. Cycling tomorrow morning and swimming tomorrow evening.

No rest for the triathlete.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Why choose this endeavor?

I constantly get grief from coworkers in the form of a question. "When are you going to learn that exercise is bad for you?" Lately, these remarks have not been made in jest. I am confused and angered. "Hulk not good with words" ... but he's working on it.

If I hear this one more time I am going to start ripping limbs off people and using them for nutrition. Okay, that's a bit extreme, but still. If I choose to exercise then it is on me when I have injuries. If you do NOT want to hear about my training, then why do you ask me?

I understand the other side of the argument. Some people do pass away from ailments brought on due to extreme exercising. Unfortunately, these are the instances that we read about online or see on the news because it is shocking! You rarely hear or read a glamorized report about Johnny who passed away at 48 from being obese and having Type II diabetes (aka "the sugars") ... because it is the rule rather than the exception.

Me - I decided that when it comes time for me to exit the death orb ... I will do so in my best physical condition possible rather than lumber my way through life feeling miserable and unable to move my own weight.


Here are some facts I gathered from Health Discovery concerning exercise:

Helps Prevent Diseases
Our bodies were meant to move -- they actually crave exercise. Regular exercise is necessary for physical fitness and good health. It reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases. It can improve your appearance and delay the aging process.

Improves Stamina
When you exercise, your body uses energy to keep going. Aerobic exercise involves continuous and rhythmic physical motion, such as walking and bicycling. It improves your stamina by training your body to become more efficient and use less energy for the same amount of work. As your conditioning level improves, your heart rate and breathing rate return to resting levels much sooner from strenuous activity.

Strengthens and Tones
Exercising with weights and other forms of resistance training develops your muscles, bones and ligaments for increased strength and endurance. Your posture can be improved, and your muscles become more firm and toned. You not only feel better, but you look better, too!

Enhances Flexibility
Stretching exercises are also important for good posture. They keep your body limber so that you can bend, reach and twist. Improving your flexibility through exercise reduces the chance of injury and improves balance and coordination. If you have stiff, tense areas, such as the upper back or neck, performing specific stretches can help "loosen" those muscles, helping you feel more relaxed.

Controls Weight
Exercise is also a key to weight control because it burns calories. If you burn off more calories than you take in, you lose weight. It's as simple as that.

Improves Quality of Life
Once you begin to exercise regularly, you will discover many more reasons why exercise is so important to improving the quality of your life. Exercise reduces stress, lifts moods, and helps you sleep better. It can keep you looking and feeling younger throughout your entire life.


Sunday afternoon workout - not too bad - considering...

So we hit the gym on Sunday afternoon. We are both tired of the heat, so we did the entire workout indoors! We lifted weights for nearly an hour. It was a good workout. One of the better workouts I have had in a while with the weights.

After refilling our water bottles we hopped on the treadmill. Carrie ran a little over two miles which is good considering we are still rehabing her feet and knees. I ran uphill with a 3.5 % incline at about 7.5 mph. That felt nice.

Then it was time for the pool ... and I think the whole gym populous thought the same thing. It was a standing-room-only scenario. We swam for about 30 minutes before we decided to give up our lane to one of the dog-paddlers waiting their turn.

Since last Tuesday, I have been battling some crazy annoying lower back pain. I saw the chiropractor on Friday and he helped me tremendously. Saturday I rode the 60 miles without pain. The Sunday afternoon workout was relatively pain free ... but Sunday night got ugly again. I had to break out the heating pad.  As of Monday morning, it feels like things are returning to normal. I suspect I did get a little inflammation / infection from the wisdom tooth surgery which is the culprit for my ailments this week.

Week four turned out nicely for me considering I was facing some back issues. I trained a total of 14.75 hours for the week and I did take Friday off completely. That's 2.45 hours per day for those of you keeping score. It is becoming a part-time job. I like it more than my other 3 jobs though.

We went to the "graduation" party for our triathlon course at GCC. It was on Sunday afternoon at Carlos O'Brien's restaurant. We won two more gift cards to some of our favorite gear stores.

Onward and upward. I have three straight weeks of "build" phase coming up. There are NO days off built in to this program during those three weeks.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Taking the good with the BAD

So Carrie, Scott and I took off on our bikes from the casa at around 5:45am on Saturday. The temperature was nice and we were all ready to ride. Scott is a friend of ours from the triathlon course at Glendale Community College. He and I are forming a bit of a friendly time rivalry ... even though he's 10 years older than me. Either he's really fast or I am really slow.

We all felt really good up through about mile 40 ... which was Scott's farthest bike ride EVER. He started fading a bit. We finished up with a little over 55 miles for the morning and had a GREAT pace. Carrie and I were riding our aero bars for the first time ever and we love them. It's almost like lying down and riding. So relaxing.

Then we came home and went to the grocery and grabbed some grub.  After a nap, I ran 6 miles and then we decided to hit the gym and pool.

The POOL was awful for me because I forgot to eat after the run.... dumb! I was not only starved I was dehydrated. Take my advice ... don't show up to the pool in this condition. It is frustrating. I swam maybe 400 belabored yards before I resorted to doing the superman drill and just working on my head position. Then I retired to the sauna while Carrie swam what seemed like a billion additional laps. She did great.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wednesday and Thursday workouts

So the swimming instruction from Wednesday was good. All drills! Only 200yds of regular swimming followed by many many yards of awkward drills that force me to learn where my head goes in relation to the rest of me while "gliding" through the water. I need this work in order to build the ability to do endurance swimming. Ahhh the joys of being negatively bouyant!

This morning I woke the roosters at 4:20. I did a nine mile run in a little over an hour. Not a bad pace considering I purposely went slow. We had a huge rain storm again last night so the humidity and temperature were much more bearable.


Thursday night, we went to the new "secret" gym and lifted weights, ran and swam. It is such a nice gym. I almost got 11 miles of running in for the day. The swimming is improving each time I get in the water. I really worked on my positioning in the water. By the end of the swim my quads were screaming from all the use for the day.

--End update--

Sidebar. I saw many people out doing their normal routines. I am starting to recognize people as "regulars" on my training routes. This morning I saw two dudes wearing sandals while riding their road bikes. One of these dudes did have on a brain bucket. The other one topped the cake though. He had a nice Felt-brand bicycle ... so I am sure he knows a little about cycling based on his brand choice. No helmet, no water bottles, sandals and the iPod + speaker combo playing at full volume - with more distortion than music. I could hear his music over 1/4 mile away. He struck out on 56th street north like he had somewhere to be. I am at mile 5 or so by the time I see him so I am getting a little road-coma going, but I do remember thinking "Man, you had enough time to rig the iPod and the mini-loudspeaker to your bike but didn't have time to gear up properly before hitting the road?"  What's the point? Who cares Bryan? Besides, it's none of your business. Right? Wrong. Please be equipped when you go out and train. Don't make it other people's job to scrape your lifeless body off the road just because you thought the proper gear was "uncool."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Need to amp up Killer Tuesday?

So I am in week four of the fourteen week "half ironman training program". Something is changing because "Killer Tuesday" used to be much more killer and back then it had much less work involved. In Week 5, the training in the program does get more intense by design.

So the CareBear and I managed to swim about 700yds of drills last night even after an hour of weights and an intense hour on the spin bike. We tried a new pool on the west side of town ... so shhhhh don't tell anyone that we swam without much impediment of others! Plus, this new pool is "faster" than the other pool we've been swimming in ... thus making it a much more pleasing endeavor.

I could not get enough food last night ... I think I fell asleep with a protein bar hanging out of my mouth.

My swim coach talked me off the ledge a bit yesterday. I was frustrated after a POOR showing at the training pool on Sunday. That's what coaches are for, right? Counseling. Right?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Killer ride - zapped my mojo (just a little)

I had a Chipotle burrito bowl for lunch! Good times. I love that stuff.

So at 4:55am yesterday I struck out to make up for my blown tire from last week. Out of superstition, I changed my route a bit. I was slated for a 60 minute bike ride and a 30 minute run, so I was merely going off time rather than mileage.

 I could not manage to "unobsess" about the miles. I rode like crazy! I ended up doing 19.55 miles in 55 minutes. Yep. For those of you that ride outdoors you know that it is a milestone when you go out on a SOLO ride of a reasonable distance without giant downhills and average 20 mph.  I had been trying to get this average for two or three years. I did it yesterday. I paid the price.

I did the run after the bike but not without some intestinal issues (probably came back too early from the tooth surgery). Baron was a trooper. It was hot by the time 6:45am rolled around.

That ride zapped me. I came home and slept until just now. That's not true. I came to work at my normal time. I did sleep 12 hours last night. For the first time in a while I am glad I have a desk job.

It's "Killer Tuesday". Tonight is 45 minutes of weight training, 60 minutes of spin and then 60 minutes of swim. Will I have enough time to sleep?