Sunday, April 29, 2012

Split routines

Friday evening I came home from work and rode a quick 24 miler and then and built out the new hanging rod and shelf in the new closet. We began adding the skins to the new cabinets that we wanted to install on Saturday. I then took a stab and sawing and busting up some tile to set the base cabinets. It went pretty well. It is always a little unnerving to saw stuff up on a house you just bought ... but I've done it many times before. Then we watched a little Hulu and went to sleep.

On Saturday I rose after a nice slumber - rode 30 miles and ran 7. It felt awesome. Not a little awesome. Like ridiculous.

Then I started my split routine. We hammered, sawed, celebrated, played, laughed and accomplished. We successfully installed the cabinets. Other than the finish work (paint & baseboards) the kitchen is done.

I woke early Sunday and did quite a bit of bike maintenance chores. I WAS going to roll some super fast Michelins at St. George. I had a flat on Friday afternoon and sadly this flat was caused by a very small and less-than-rigid thorn. The Gatorskins I've been rolling for a few years do a great job of resisting thorns this size. I swapped back to the Gatorskins. The bike doesn't LOOK near as cool but --- a flat on race day due to a poor tire choice would be a mental error.

After additional household chores like cleaning and reorganizing some tools I headed out to Butcher Jones Cove for some open water swimming. It was great. We did drills and simulations. I swam in the wet suit for a little bit and then got too hot.

By the way Seth and Sarah from are great ambassadors for the sport of triathlon. I am lucky to have met them.

Friday, April 27, 2012

8 days out ...

So I purposely got out of bed late today. I am trying to get every bit of sleep that I can in order to rest up while still training to keep the fitness.

Yesterday I swam at lunch. It was a good swim. I felt very comfortable. I drilled, I swam slowly, I swam sprints. It was actually fun. There was a dude next to me using both paddles and flippers. My game was to try and keep up with him. I could keep up for about 50 meters - but without the paddles or flippers I could not sustain his pace. Either way, it felt good. He was actually a really strong swimmer - aided or not.

Last night I came home and hopped on the bike. I am digging on my setup. It took a while, but I feel even MORE comfortable than I did on the original Kestrel that I broke back in January. It was easy to sustain 23/24 mph on the flats. I did hill repeats of the steep on Hummingbird. I tried not to drop below 9 mph on any of the steeps. Fun but brutal at the same time. The key was that I could recover in only a very few seconds after a burst of power. Fitness!

I then became domestic guy again. Installing a bathroom cabinet and fixing a slow draining sink.

This weekend I will work all three sports at a very moderate pace. I will be domestic guy in some capacity too.

More later.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Catered workouts?

"It's a noisy but well-catered training day." A quote that I will take into St. George from my friend Dan. I went to his spin class this morning. I like his teaching and the bikes he uses are awesome.

I've had two strong and fast bike sessions already this week. It is nice to back off the distance a bit and work on regaining some power. Tonight I will swim and run.

We stayed up way too late last night working on the house. It is what it is. I am a bit out of practice with my home improvement skills. There's plenty of time for that on May 7th or 8th. Phase one of the remodel wraps up this morning.

- We completely reworked all the ducts for the HVAC
- We relocated the thermostat control and the air return to add efficiency to the system
- We removed the dropped ceilings in both the kitchen and the entry.
- We removed the south-facing wall in the kitchen to open it up to the dining and living area
- We relocated the coat closet in the entry to be less intrusive upon entry. (Surprise, we have a bigger closet now too.)
- We added 17 new LED Recessed lights throughout the kitchen and entry
- We added a new 18" wide pantry cabinet
- We added a new double upper cabinet
- We added a new double lower cabinet

We made a huge difference in the house both functionally and aesthetically.

More later ...

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Weekend and The Seville Sprint Tri

Friday was swim day. It was a good day. After a SUPER sluggish attempt to workout Friday morning ... I swam a mile and then worked on drills with the coach for an hour. It was a great session. I found out that my swim stroke has gotten way too compact. Imagine that. Me? Too compact. I ride compact, I run compact, so I guess I may as well swim compact too, huh? I will work on lengthening the stroke over the next four or five swim sessions.

Saturday morning was great. I woke around 5am, ate some shot blocks, grabbed my water and hit the road for an hour run. I didn't care how far I went. I just wanted to run for an hour. My new running area is such a vast improvement over the old neighborhood. I wonder how much it would have improved my fitness to be in the new place sooner? Oh well. It is what it is.

After the run, we went and grabbed a quick breakfast, did some errands, organized the new office and headed back out to Tempe to pick up my race packet for Sunday. To cap off the afternoon, we went for a three hour bike ride. I REFUSE to tell anyone where we rode because it is possibly the best training area I have found to date. :-)

Race days make me giddy. I was super-stoked for this race because I love the bike course and I tend to do fairly well at this race. It is the third time I have raced at Seville in Gilbert, AZ. I finally have a direct - apples to apples comparision of my progress from 2011 to 2012! I took almost 3 minutes off my 300yd swim. I took 8 minutes off my 15.4 mile bike. I also took 6 minutes off my 2 mile run time. Sure, I was third overall at the race and won $25.00 and a nice plaque. The best part of this is to compare my progress. At 38 years old I have been able to DRASTICALLY improve my fitness, focus, and speed. It is NEVER too late to start something new.

++++++ Mini Race Report for a Short Race +++++++

The swim - I almost missed my start slot! I was chatting with some folks and got wrapped up in conversation. I did not get a chance to warm up and get the stroke going. Mistake! I could have probably knocked another 30 seconds off the swim time if I had done the right thing and warmed up. Lesson learned. I only got passed two times in the pool today and I passed many many swimmers. Am I still slow? You bet. Am I improving. You bet. I enjoy the swim. I will get faster. 7:09 swim.

The bike - My intention today was to see how fast I could go on the bike and how long I could sustain that pace. The good news is, I accomplished that goal. I sustained or improved my pace on each lap of the bike. I drank a tremendous amount of water for such a short ride. I hammered a GU right at the midpoint of the last lap on the bike to prep for the run. 38:12 bike.

The run - Hot! It was probably already 90+ degrees by the time I hit the run course. Good thing it was only a 2 mile run with 2 water stations. I managed my breathing much better than last week and my pace shows. I did the 2 miler in 14:04. Considering how hard I went on the bike I am very pleased with my 1st mile pace of 7:10. My second mile felt even better at 6:54.

59:24 - 3rd Overall out of 29 racers.


I have done a reasonable job of resting a bit while still hitting key workouts over the past two weeks. This week I intend to up the time just a bit and do some more lengthy workouts at a slower pace. It will not be a 25 hour training week like I did at the beginning of April. I just don't want to be caught off guard by the volume of mileage at St George. The good news is that I know what an 8 hour non-stop training effort feels like ... now I just have to find out what a longer workout feels like. I am also pretty sure I know exactly how I will feel after I get off the bike in Utah.

Did I mention that my first Ironman just happens to include my first marathon?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bizzee Week

Tuesday's workout was solid. I did 22 miles on the bike fairly rapidly and coupled that effort with an 8 mile run. I like brick workouts. They are good training because they feel more "valid" in terms of race day. It's one thing to go out and bust off an 18 mile run. It is quite another thing to ride 80 miles and THEN bust off even a six mile run. As far as fitness, nothing builds my conditioning better than the run. That is why I like the brick workouts with the longer run distance at the end. Those feel like the best workouts to me.

Prior to Tuesday's workout, the contractors were pulled off our house remodel project by the City of Phoenix. I was livid. Our remodel, based on my research and the contractor's advice did NOT require any permits. It turns out the city is really weird about permit requirements. For example, if I install a ceiling fan in my home the city requires a permit ... but if I want to gut and redo my entire duct work system for the HVAC that work does NOT require a permit. Simply put, I believe some neighbor got her panties in a bunch because we had some demolition materials neatly stacked in a trailer in the driveway.

After I whined and moaned for 12 hours or so about "how I didn't have time for this mess" ... I spent Wednesday morning at City Hall procuring permits. It was NOT looking good for Bryonman and his remodel permits in the beginning. There were a few tense moments before one of the engineers finally just gave in and walked off ... leaving the friendlier and more reasonable one to hand me my permits AFTER I handed him a sizable check of course. So yeah, the job resumed yesterday afternoon and the house is a dusty mess. All things considered, the process is going fairly quickly. Having spent 2007 and the first part of 2008 remodeling an entire house over in east Tennessee and doing the majority of the labor ourselves ... we believe we have gotten more wise about taking on such lofty tasks.

This morning I hit the drink at about 4:45am. I left the drink around 6:30am. Yes it was a long, slow but fruitful session in the agua. I worked on sighting and technique during the swim. Splashy McSlapwater was there again this morning. He was in after and left before me. While he is faster - especially when he wears his fins, I believe we have a mutual respect because I generally swim about 45 minutes longer.

Bike news! My headset was jacked after the race on Sunday. That is now fixed. It was a bad bearing. Two weeks ago, I sent one of my Spinergy wheels off for a warranty claim. Spinergy stepped up and replaced my wheel. No questions asked. No details given. Just a brand new wheel, a brand new tube, and a super-clean rear cassette! Now I just need to test it over the weekend to make sure it is really fixed. It should be, right? I so LOVE the super loud hub on those wheels. If you haven't heard them - they sound like a chainsaw on the downhills. It makes me feel faster!

Tomorrow is a big workout day. I am planning an early morning bike/run brick. Then Carrie and I have swim lessons with our swim coach tomorrow evening. It's going to be a good day.

On Saturday, we are planning a mid-distance bike outing prior to my packet pickup for the race on Sunday. Then we will do some remodel work on the house.

Anticipation ...

Monday, April 16, 2012

maRquee Olympic Triathlon

So I knew this going in ... but I want to type it here anyway. The olympic distance is stacked against the slower swimmer.

It was a beautiful morning. The water in Tempe Town Lake is nasty, but the temperature was pleasant. The 8:03am start time allowed for a little more sleep on race morning than normal. That was nice. What wasn't nice was the fact that the sun was peaking right over the horizon and right into my grill. My sighting was way off and the turn buoys were the same color as some of the course guide buoys. Weird. I ended up about 150meters off course and swam like crazy to correct it. The good news is that my 750 split on the second half of the swim was about 6 minutes faster than the first 750. I truthfully think that the course was marked too long because my garmin showed 1950 when I got into T1. 37 minutes to swim and get to T1- not bad - not awesome. Oh well, time to bike.

The bike went well. Nothing to say here really other than I drank about 60 ounces of fluid in an hour. I ate a powerbar, salt tablets and two GUs. I should have eaten an additional powerbar. Bike average was right at 22mph. 1:08. Time to run.

The run started off painful. My breathing was shallow and had to work to control it. The good news was that I was on pace. Mile 2 went really well. Mile 3 went okay. Mile 4 was slow. Mile 5 got better. I finally got in the groove right at the end of the race. 46 minutes for the 10K. Not the fastest I can go, but not bad at all considering that my previous best 10K run was a 1:07.

2:36:23 - 15th out of 47 in my age group. 84th out of 221 overall.

I have to do speed work again this week. I need to also stretch out a longish workout for each discipline during the week.

No injuries. Other than a little post-race soreness, I can't tell I raced yesterday. Maybe I should have gone harder.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Pool think" ... has anyone coined this phrase yet?

The face hit the water at about 3:30am this morning. I slept hard from 9:45pm until 2:15am and by 2:16am I was ready to go. I swam for an hour and biked for another hour and made it home before 6:00am.

It's weird to be so wired at such an hour. I just went with it. I am going to try and keep from crashing early tonight.

So when I am in the water for an hour or more I need to give myself something to do. I have a bunch of random thoughts ... then I refocus on the techiques of swimming ... then I have more random thoughts. I am not even sure what I am thinking about, but it distracts me enough to finish the swim without scooping my eyeballs out with my goggles. Sidebar: I still hate chlorine.

On the bike today, I felt absurdly strong ... especially after an hour of swimming. I hope this absurdity carries over into Sunday.

I think I have all of my race gear finalized for St. George. It is quite a task just figuring out what works, what doesn't and what you think you need versus what you actually use. I believe I solved my latest problem of "dry eye" on the bike. I first noticed the dry eye on the Tour de Tucson in November. It actually caused wind burn that day and I couldn't see very well out of my left eye for about 8 hours or so. Yesterday, I bought some motorcycle goggles to wear in tandem with the new windshield on the aero helmet. Doing a marathon with an itchy and swollen eye socket would suck. Not to mention that it might be windy at St. George ... so add wind to the equation and I will be very thankful for the extra eye protection.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ramping up and winding down at the same time. Is that possible?

I am working on speed this week. So yes, it is possible to both wind down and ramp up. I am pulling back the mileage and working on intensity. The workouts are beneficial and more tiring than the endurance stuff. I like both types of workouts so I guess that is a positive thing.

I am doing my second ever Olympic distance triathlon on Sunday (4/15). I know. It's crazy to have only done one Olympic and one Half Ironman prior to toeing the line at Ironman St. George. I suppose it helps that both of those were within the last six months. This is my fourth race of 2012 and my second triathlon. I can't wait. I want to see what I have in the tank and how much I can use what is in the tank.

I had a great 20 mile bike session yesterday. I think my ride is all set for Sunday. New tires, new-to-me aero helmet, and I mounted the SpeedFill hydration system to the Kestrel last week so I am, in theory, ready to roll.

This morning I had a good swim/bike brick workout. I swam faster than normal just to try and simulate a shorter race pace. It felt fine. I will do another spin session tonight followed by a short but speedy run.

More later.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Whole new level

So yesterday I rode 115 miles on the Computrainer.

Then I ran 13.1 miles.

That is a 128 mile day. This is definitely a new level for me.

The Computrainer. The simulation of the actual St. George course. There is 6000 feet of climbing. This is the third time I have done the simulation and I have also ridden the course in person. If you have not been on the Computrainer, I must note - there is no coasting. I literally pedaled for every mile. It is a fantastic workout.

The outlook is all positive. I am fairly familiar with both the run and bike courses. While I have not been in Sand Hollow Reservior ... I have already been in 57 degree water a few times this season.

The GREAT news in all this is that I feel absolutely FINE today. I don't have any soreness. I am not super wiped out. Carrie and I went for a 4 mile hike and then began demolition of a portion of the kitchen.

Back to the drink this week. Swim with form. Swim with intent. Swim like you mean it.

Friday, April 6, 2012

HUGE weekend forthcoming

I am just going to go out tomorrow and see what happens. I guess that is the way life should be when at all possible.

I am set for the computrainer tomorrow morning. One final simulation ride of the IMSG bike course. I dig the computrainer rides. To me it is more mentally and physically difficult than the real ride. I'll post the stats on that ride on Monday.

After the computrainer, I will take off for a run. Again, I don't really have any plans other than - just stay out there as long as I can without getting injured.

Carrie and I are training together on Sunday afternoon. We have tentatively planned a trip up to Bartlett Lake.

+++++++++++++++++ Sidebar ++++++++++++++++++

I started having pep talks from me to me yesterday. At first it was a little strange. It was a track that was playing in my head. There were two voices. One of them sounded like an older me and the other the current me. Nothing was said aloud. It was very odd how the track flowed through my head without me influencing the conversation. Maybe I have been in the chlorine too long. The advice given was solid. The old me was telling the current me that in a month you get to REALLY see and feel your endurance capabilities. Some of the old me quotes:

"There's nothing else to train for a couple of months."
"When you think you can't go anymore, just go harder."
"You have spent over a year preparing for this."
"You are ready. You have done the work."
"You know for a fact that in some of the other races you have relaxed and cruised. There is no room for that in St George. Focus."
"Saving some energy is one thing, but getting lazy during the race destroys the work you have done."
"If you don't leave it all out there the memories will have a bitter taste when you recollect."
"You will have a negative split for the last six miles of the marathon. It is the best way to make sure that you left it all out there."

Weird? Yep. Fitting? Maybe. Funny? Definitely.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Back to back posts

The three of us went hiking in the preserve last night. What a perk. I believe we have found our own little piece of paradise with the new house. The location is the key. The house is roomy and we will spruce it up over the next few years to get it fit to our requirements.

Woke at 3:46am this morning to prepare for a bike / run workout. I made some breakfast, did the dishes and was on the bike at 4:45am. I rolled through the neighborhoods at new speeds. I purposely did not look at the speedo or the Garmin during the whole ride and just rode like it was my job. The hills felt easier than normal. All systems are still working properly. With all the bike issues I have had, it is nice to just be able to get on and hammer out some mileage.

My Garmin must have sensed that I was not looking at it during the ride ... because it misbehaved during the first mile or two of the run. I was hammering about a 7 min/mile pace and it was saying I was doing a 14 minute mile. In mile two it said I was doing a 3 minute mile. I just turned it off and ran. Silly technology. :-)

We are hiking again tonight. Good times.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Being fit is interesting

It is safe to say that I am in my personal, lifetime peak of fitness. Actually, that has probably been true since about September of last year. Of course, the positives outweigh the negatives. There are some surprising side effects that require attention ... mostly on the mental side.

1) When you have already done your training for the day and you then see someone else out for an afternoon run or ride you have to fight the urge to beat up on yourself for not training too.

2) A day off every now and again is not only acceptable but NECESSARY. I must admit that this one has been tough for me. My last full day off without any exercise was March 9th. I don't feel extremely fatigued or like I am overtrained, but I am sure that I am.

3) There are good days and bad when it comes to anything. This is especially true in endurance training. Don't let the less-than-stellar workouts effect your life. Just roll with it. It is part of the journey.

4) I woke two nights in a row at midnight and I was wired. I actually considered going out to get on the trainer. I forced myself to go back to sleep. Obsessed much? Sheesh.

5) Not everyone has the drive or interest in doing endurance sports. Heck, a year ago I was NOT an endurance athlete. I have done a decent job of not making my journey the center of the conversation ... except with Carrie who is likely tired of hearing about it at this point.

Am I the most fit person out there? Not by a long stretch. What I like is that I have managed to maintain most of my strength even though I weigh quite a bit less than I did previously.

Yesterday was quite a day workout-wise.

After work, I made a beeline to "gym A" for a 1500m swim. I then had to leave gym A and proceed to "gym B" for spin class. I arrived about 25 minutes before spin, so I hopped on the treadmill for a 2 mile run to loosen up the calves from Monday's mid-distance run. After spin, I headed home. I almost talked myself out of doing it ... but I went for a 10K run around the new neighborhood (or "gym C" if you will). 47 minutes for a 10K after three other workouts makes me feel pretty darn good. The best part about this run is that I could have gone a little faster AND I feel better today than I have in a few days. It is funny how a higher effort level sometimes stretches out muscles a little better than any other method.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Great weekend. Training. Cross Training. Domestic Guy!

So this weekend I managed to publish a couple of web applications, teach courses, build some laundry room shelves, trim the hedges, rake the leaves, install a bike rack to get some floor space back in the gear room, ride over 100 miles, hike 6 miles (with Carrie and the dog), swim in an open water swim clinic and watch a couple of movies.

This was one of the better weekends I have had in a while. There was more balance and more productivity. It felt good. Carrie was pleased with the accuracy and efficiency with which I built the shelves. My energy stayed up even though I battled some sinus issues yesterday.

This is my last week of long distance training before the tapering begins. I figured I'd start the week off right with a 15 mile run this morning. It was breezy and cool this morning. I loved it. I have always enjoyed running. The more efficient I get the more I enjoy it. I just have a few little nagging calf issues that I need to figure out. My pace was comfortable and my heart rate was low. I can't believe I can relax and just run for two hours straight. It seems so foreign. I like it.

33 days until St. George. Focus!