Thursday, November 25, 2010

What to know when shopping for “a Garmin” for Christmas

So you're planning on buying a Garmin for someone special? So is one of my relatives.  So here's the info she needs to make a smart purchase. Thought it might be handy for someone else too....

Equipment / Vocabulary:

  • Chest strap: What actually measures your HR, goes on your… chest.  Yes, complicated.
  • Cadence Sensor: Straps to the bike, and is used to measure the pedal cadence.  Handy.
  • Foot Pod: Ties to the laces of your shoe and used by runners to track steps per minute. Handy.
  • ANT+ Stick: Small USB device that wirelessly transmits data to your computer via the monitor device, to data crunch like a true geek.  Essential (for me anyway).
  • Monitor Watch: Not actually called a monitor watch.  Just called ‘the watch’.  Although they come in more variety then just a watch, also come as a bike computer...
  • Monitor Bike Computer: Not actually called Monitor Bike Computer.  Displays all your standard bike data like speed, distance, max speed, average speed.  But also displays any specialty info by model. 
  • The word ‘Forerunner’: Means designed for runners or triathletes (who do ride bikes too btw!)
  • The word ‘Edge’: Means designed for cyclists, not so useful for multisport, useless for runners.

Garmin Forerunner 50: This is the HR monitor I have, found it on craigslist for $35. Not GPS enabled, which is ok if you have a smart phone or other GPS technology to track things for you. Includes: Chest strap, watch, ANT+ stick

Garmin Forerunner 305: Intermediate Step. Great watch style GPS HR monitor that’s been around for awhile.  Industry benchmark years back for GPS tracking of running workouts mostly.  Some folks do use them for cycling as well as triathlon.  Best part is since it’s been around for awhile people are ‘upgrading’ so you can find them for cheap online. Includes: Chest strap, Watch, Charger, and USB cord to sync to computer. Here's a great post about the 305 and it's future as a supported product line: Garmin 305 future

Garmin Edge 500: Great GPS bike computer that pure cyclists use.  It's a handy way to get powermeter data as well as HR, but it’s also a bike computer, so displays the speed, distance, time, max speed, etc.  This is my next upgrade for the bike. $250 new.  Will ‘talk to’ other Garmin devices, like the HR strap

Garmin Forerunner 310XT: Same thing as the Garmin 305, but can capture powermeter data, includes running pace on the go, apparently more accurate than GPS pace.  This is my ultimate set up.  It will include all the data I want, while also keeping everything in one package.  Albeit a fairly pricey package with fancy wrapping, and giant poofy bow on top.

Garmin Nuvi series: Disregard, it’s a car gps, and is totally being outclassed by freebie cell phone apps. Not what you want.

My Plan:

  1. Purchase cheap Garmin 50 with ANT capability. This will let me get data to crunch on the computer. Includes HR strap and ANT+ stick. -DONE
  2. Use cell phone for GPS tracking.  Include in the data crunching/training.-DONE
  3. Purchase Foot Pod for running training ($50).  Will work with Garmin 50.
  4. Purchase Edge 500 ($250) along with Cycleops Powertap power meter ($1800).  I’m anticipating pricing coming down in 2011 as there’s all kinds of new technology coming out that people will want to upgrade to.  So watching the classifieds for these items in the distant future.
  5. After all that then consider upgrading the HR monitor to a Garmin Forerunner 310XT.  But that’s just mostly for geekly satisfaction

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Treadmill Love

 First off, I'm feeling waaaaay better.  Strength is definitely back, and I can finally get back into the rhythm of off-season training (haha, off-season is annoying).  Tuesdays and Thursdays are resistance days.  I'm doing sets of 15 reps on all the major muscle-groups, including legs.  It's a bit humbling to say the least, but I really don't feel too bad while putting on my 40 lbs on the bench press.  The goal is not to get big and bulky (like it was in the past), but to develop that slow-twitch lean muscle strength.  Endurance baby!  But it sure does seem a bit opposite to my old type of lifting.

Believe it or not, I love running on the treadmill.  I know it's a bit like a hamster in a wheel. 

But it's fun to go and go and not worry about cars, dogs, water, tunes, or anything else.  It's bad, I like zoning out and having my Nuun right there, plus not feeling guilty while I listen to tunes.

Today I went in for a resistance set, being it's Thursday and all.  Decided to warm up on the treadmill with a quick run, maybe 10 minutes to get the Heartrate (HR) up.  Instead of a light job, as I was warming up I started to really get into it.  After the first 5 minutes the HR was up to 140s so the body had already shifted gears (metabolically speaking).  Dropped the pace down to 6:45 and pumped the music.  Checked cadence, and was at 96 steps/min.  After another couple minutes it was time to drop the pace even further. 

Ideally I'd like to get down to sub 6 minute pace for short course events (5k & 10k), and sub 7 minute pace for marathon distances (13.5 & 26.2).  So I dropped down to 6 minute mile pace on the treadmill and just listened to what the body was telling me.  Some minor pain here, and adjustments to my armswing...Kept on pumping away at 96 steps/min cadence.  HR started to rise and leveled off at low 170s, perfect.  Just need to work on efficiency, and I should be able to keep that pace for 3.1 miles (5k) pretty soon.  A running clinic would be a great way to firm up some good habits, work on new ones, and remove my bad habits in form.  Also, speed-work at the local track would be useful too. 

I'll have to hit the track at the local highschool on the weekends more often.  It's no treadmill, but it'll do I guess.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ok, I get it

So they say that if you are sick then you should be careful while cycling.
Ok, I get it.

Useful visual, if it's above your neck, it's ok. If it's at or below the neck, don't do it.
Ok, I get it.

I started feeling some scratchy throat on late weds.  By Friday's spin class I decided that it was important to be there to support a couple other folks who are just getting into it... again.  Also, I'd just 'burn' the bug out of my system like in the past.  The entire time on the bike, I felt fine just a little weaker than normal.  During that big summit song, I pedaled all the way up to 80% of what is 'normal'.  Felt the heartrate go up (no monitor on purpose today, it tends to drive me hard sometimes), and then backed off after 45 seconds or so.  As soon as the summit was done I sat up, and nearly lost my breakfast all over the cycling studio floor.

Whoa! After that, I just took it real easy as the surprise nausea was not a happy surprise. Spinning lightly of course is very hard when you're used to pushing every ounce out of your body during spin class.  Training hard is what it's all about in my mind.  Taper periods before a race, and recovery rides are the only exceptions to that rule.  Taper the effort level down, to be able to perform well on race day.  Keep the intensity low after a hard ride, to improve recovery.

Well I learned one more thing: The flu virus don't mess around.  It will kick you in the stomach, and leave you on the toilet all night (16 times anyway).

Ok, I get it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kirkland Triathlon -Race Report -Part 2 of 2

Swim starts to the right of the dock.  

Swim (25:11)

Elite folks take off, probably about 12 of them, smooth toward the first orange buoy off yonder.  Then the announcer tells us to go ahead and get ready.  I clamber over the slippery rocks up to the front left side.  I'm on the inside of the buoys and know that I should head even farther left as our folks will most likely run me over if I don't stay away from the pack of 60+ swimmers.  So I wait.  It's too late to turn back, and I wouldn't have turned back even if given the chance.  Having thought out this whole dilemma of 'not being able to swim' and the fact that this particular sprint tri has a 1/2 mile swim as opposed to most that are only 1/4 mile.  I determine that I'm just going to go at my own pace and do the best I can at the swim.  The real time to get serious will be the bike and run.

So the announcer yells GO!

...You may be wondering what I did with that wedding band that was very likely going to be lost into the abyss if left on my finger.  Well left with no pockets, no way to get ahold of the family, and no time left.  I remembered an article I had read about someone losing his goggles in the melee of an ironman.  He had recognized that under the swim cap is the safest place for many things, as you never hear about a swim cap getting kicked off someone's head!  So I quickly stuff the wedding band under the cap up on the very top of my head.  I'm sure if anyone was paying attention they would have thought it was a pretty funny sight!...

As I begin my freestyle crawl stroke in Lake Washington for the 2010 Kirkland Sprint Trathlon, the form feels smooth.  I breathe bilaterally every 3 strokes, and am actually enjoying the sight of seaweed passing by below.  Then I'm done.  Tapped out of breathe.  All of maybe 100 yards in I flip over onto my back, never again to catch my breath enough to make a solid go of the freestyle stroke again.  ARG!  Ok, so realizing that skulling on my back is extremely slow and also taxes the legs too much, I flip over to a side stroke on the left side.  At this point I'm beginning to run short on my bag of tricks for swimming.  In the pool the only thing I practiced was freestyle and skulling on my back.  So this is actually a fallback from childhood, next stop would be doggy paddle or a pair of water wings.

As I round the first buoy (of 5) I'm feeling totally spent in the water.  There's a nice straight line of 4 buoys to go around and I'm wishing it was over already.  So it was time to battle the mental demons already!  Ok.  So I begin to do a reality check.  "Where are you right now?"  In the water talking to myself and barely staying afloat... at the Kirkland Triathlon... "What have you been training for this whole time?" This Triathlon, the bike and run legs. "What is something nice to focus on?" [thanking God for things, edited out].  Ok mental is done, now to thing about the physical.  Since I'm either doing the side stroke on the left side, or a sloppy backstroke, I'm beginning to feel some fatigue in the right hip area, and my left kneecap.  So I swap to right sidestroke.  The only problem is the the right side is completely inefficient and I may as well be on my back.

So round and round I go swapping between strokes, seeing all my fellow red caps go past... but not ALL of them!

Towards the end I don't even have the mind to flip over and freestyle in.  "Why bother" I think at the time, just try to relax and enjoy this... (note the guy in front of me slipping on a rock, I'm about to trip over)

T1  (3:11)

Exuberant to be getting onto dry land, I stand as quickly as possible and slip slide my way up to shore.  Up past the crowds, oh and I hear cowbell coming as I climb out!  My wife and kiddos are there, and so are the mom-in-law and dad-in-law.  Big smile never left my face from that moment on.  If only I could bottle that for the ENTIRE swim.

Since I had just practiced T1 at home I begin by unzipping the wetsuit immediately pulling the arms out, and run toward the pre-memorized position of the bike rack in transition.  To my relief the wedding band is still there safe and sound under the latex swim cap.  Both cap and goggle come off with one swipe.  I drop the ring cap and goggles in my duffle bag zippered pouch, and rip off the wetsuit at the same time.  Dry a foot, put on sock and cycling shoe, dry another foot put on other cycling shoe. Put on race belt, ooops.  Forgot to put on jersey first.  Move the belt, and ripppp, race number falls off the belt.  Reattach number and learn lesson (don't snug the number up to the belt, leave some slack in the little elastic bands that hold the number in place.

Glasses, Helmet, grab the bike and go.  Buckle helmet on the way to mounting area.  Hop on the bike and roll!  On the way out, I rip the gel off and stuff it in the jersey pocket next to my Bike MS handkerchief.

Bike (37:53)

One other person is immediately in front of me, and one behind. The Hammer Espresso Gel tasted GREAT, and washed down with Bannana Nuun, hit the spot. The one in front is not in my age group (age is marked on our right calves) but he's got more expensive gear than I do, so he's marked.  He's wearing a fancy time trial helmet, and has aerobars on his carbon fiber frame.  I'm old school steel frame (of course) and spent around $430 less on my helmet.  So he must pay for having nicer gear, not jealousy, just a whole lot of fun!  He falls away in the first mile or so of flats.

My secret weapon is the massive amounts of hills that Campy and I have done between training for Davis, and just a couple weeks prior doing some Cougar Mountain hill repeats.  That was an incredible workout with multiple double digit gradients!  So my strategy is to match speed or just a little bit heavy in the flats, with very heavy pumping on the hills.  I will stay seated as long as the heartrate will allow, and my speed remains high.  Once the speed drops or the heartrate gets out of control, it's time to stand and muscle through.

The first few hills in Kirkland fly by.  There's one fellow with tatoos on both arms that I begin to play cat and mouse with, and will for the rest of the ride.  He's not in the age group either, but was a lot of fun to race against.  Note: I saw him later after the race, really nice guy.  I'm sure we'll be running into each other at events alot. Yet another Tri friend made.

Even though the race briefing was to be careful on the wet roads, I've done this ride many many times for training and feel very confident.  So as we rip on down and over the bridge across 405, I begin to really feel the legs light up (in a good way).  Speed picks up and for most sections I'm able to keep it between 22 and 23 mph.  Downhills are WAY faster, and climbs are still very aggressive.  HR remains pretty much pegged between 170-173 the entire time.  Looking back, I could have gone lactic (175+) a few more times and shaved some time off the split.  I nurse the gel one more time and wash it down with Nuun, deciding to save the last shot for post race, or perhaps T2 if needed before the run.

Finally we arrive at the goods, the hill going up past Lake Washington Technical College on NE 132nd is the toughest climb of the day.  100+ feet of climbing in 1 mile.  I opt to stay seated to conserve energy then unleash once it starts to get really steep.  Unfortunately, I misjudge when that is and remain seated for a bit too long.  So when I finally do pop up into a standing climb my HR is a bit high and it's hard to get a good tempo.  Regardless many folks fall back, and I once again realize that smile is still there from earlier in the event.

Up to the top, then bomb down the backside of NE 70th back towards our finish.  In this section I clock in at just under 40 mph.  Which on dry roads is no problem at all (with no traffic).  However it is wet and rainy so I  tap the brakes here and there on the sharper corners, as well as give a safe distance between painted lines and tar stripes (aka road snakes).  I hover in the left wheel lane as this seems the safest place to ride, and there's only 1 person in front of me.  So far 1 person has passed me the entire time, and he is nowhere to be seen.  As we come down past Houghton market, I eyeball the Starbucks (of course), but don't have time to enjoy the aroma of fresh coffee.  The entire road is plastered with warning signs about the race, there's Police officers at most every uncontrolled intersection, probably 6-8 officers total.  Then there's volunteers on the less busy residential side streets.

Regardless of all the warnings, as we whip through town at roughly 38 mph on wet roads sure enough 2 pedestrians are in the crosswalk, look right at us coming, and one of the two tries to make a brake for it across (an older heavy set woman).  I don't even bother hitting the brakes as I know that if I did at that speed it could be messy, and my stopping distance is welllll beyond the crosswalk.  So just whip out the Campy horn. "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!"  The pedestrian get's the point and scurries a bit faster through the crosswalk, ducking her head.  What was she thinking?  That could have been seriously catastrophic for both of us!

The rest of the ride goes smooth, and I barrel along the flat portions, passing the fellow in front of me... before coming to the bike finish.  Dismount and run in.  Again the family and friends cheering!  Again, huge smile.

T2 (1:55)

This time I run quickly back to the rack, again using the lampost as a guide to find my spot (handy tip from something I read earlier in the year).  I strip the helmet and glasses, as well as jersey, swap shoes, and am off. I make the last minute decision to bring the gel, so end up stuffing it in the back of my shorts.

Run (20:50)

By the time the bike was put back on the rack my knees were already starting to groan.  I think the cold from the water and wind as well as the constant side stroke on one side has done it's damage.  Although I'm achy, there's no serious pain anywhere.  So out the gate, and up the first hill we run.

...I remember that the course description points out that the hills for the bike portion are moderate-heavy.  But it also says "mostly flat" run.  It's interesting because I wouldn't describe it as mostly flat at all.  As compared to the Tolt-Pipeline, which is a great area to train for running, it's flat.  As compared to all the hills on the swim, it was pretty intense!...

By this point it was time to make a game changing decision.  Do I go easier on the run than I had hoped in order to save a potential injury to the knees and my complaining hip, or do I go flatout and see how far training has taken me.  It actually did take a minute for me to weigh this one out, and I chose to push through the pain. This is the last big race of the year, and if I did get injured I'd have plenty of time to rest and recuperate before some November plans.

As we run away, I'm seeing more of my age group folks falling away.  It's amazing as I hear the run is the great equalizer for many athletes.  We can be moderately out of shape and still really move during the swim and bike.  But when it comes to running, the lighter you are, it makes a huge difference.  But as they say it also depends on the motor!

So I set my cadence at 92 and run, run, run.  Doing alot of training on the treadmill has paid off bigtime as I know exactly what 90 cadence feels like and my upper body is much more relaxed.  It will be fun to take this running technique out on marathon distances to see how it holds up.

On the way up, I see a buddy and cheer him on, and look for other folks that I know. By the time the first water station arrives, I'm ready!  Even though I've been drinking plenty on the bike, I down almost the entire cup of water at our nearly halfway mark.  Then push hard as we get back to mostly downhills. The downhills scared me.  Being that the knees were already achy, tired, and cold I was very concerned about all the downhill pounding that they may get.  So for the first couple minutes I took it easy to see if there was any pain.  Since nothing showed up, I opened the throttle and started to sprint the last mile and a half.  Lonnnnng strides, same cadence.  This is the effecient way to do it, as Joe Friel describes.  Also, whenever you get to see the elite runners from Kenya go, they almost always have huge strides with the same cadence 92-96 per minute.  So I open up the stride, and every so often look over my shoulder.

As I head back to the finish, I'm encouraging and yelling to all the runners heading UP the hill.  "Go for it!" "You can do it!" "This is the last of it, go!".  Of course inadvertently I'm really pumping myself up with enthusiasm and energy!  I'll have to remember that trick for later, longer distances.

Round the corner into Carrillon point, and there's a friend shouting, there's the family cowbelling, and it's time to finish.  Sprint as soon as I can see the finish line....


Here's the placement for my agegroup (30-34)
Bike: 8th of 64
Run: 8th of 64
Swim: 59th of 64!

Goal: Top 10 in bike and run for age group, done.

Now to put on some water wings and hit the pool!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Kirkland Triathlon -Race Report -Part 1 of 2


This was to be my "A Race" as Friel would put it. 5 years ago I volunteered to do body marking in the wee morning hours of a cold and slightly wet September.  I remember many nervous people anxiously getting marked on their calves with race number and age.  It was still before dawn, and as a volunteer I didn't realize how much fun it could be to be out early in the morning for such an masochistic activity as Triathlon.

Back then I remember thinking that 
1. "These people are crazy" 
2. "Shouldn't they all be asleep right now on a Saturday morning, shouldn't I?" 
3. "Is that guys legs shaved?" 
4. "this looks like it could be fun!"

Goals: So setting a few personal goals for this event while registering I wanted to hit top 10 for my age group in my two dominant portions cycling and running.  Swimming I didn't care about time.  Also, it would be nice to get transition time down to a reasonable level to have something to benchmark against.


Last year I started training too late to do the Kirkland Tri, and to be frank I didn't think it was in the realm of possible back then. My primary reason to train was to get better at cycling to enjoy a ride with the younger brother up Mt. Saint Helens.  

That was how it all started....

There was the MS 150 ride in September, then a friend suggested some crazy 200 mile ride in Davis, CA.  This of course was not outside the realm of reason, as the cycling thing was really quite fun by that point. Group cycling class for training on Mondays and Fridays, sometimes double classes, sometimes "bricks".  

Group Cycling tends to be very high intensity 85-100% of Maximum Heartrate for 45 minutes, immediately followed by a moderately aggressive run for 30 minutes on the treadmill.  Fun times.  What's funny is you truly do start to crave the workouts.  Yes, really.

Pre-Race Night:

Like a good student of Joe Friel, Mark Allen, and Dave Scott I laid out my gear bag.  Had my nutrition figured out, thank you Hammer Nutrition and Nuun. Hammer gel has the complex carbs, to avoid a rapid blood sugar spike followed by crash.  Nuun is just so freaking convenient in the water bottle.  I would carry the gel in a flask attached to the bike and rip it off on the way out of transition or on the first couple miles of the bike.  This would save 'fumble time' while in transition.  

In the center of the picture you can see the masking tape holding on my gel flask, just to the right of my race number 521.

I was also repeating to myself the famous motto: "Nothing New on Race Day" over and over.  Then it was off to bed.

Race Day:

Woke up early enough to finish the last minute prep.  Got coffee, oatmeal (yes traditional race food for me), finished laying out the gear.  Practiced going from wearing wetsuit, cap, and goggles to stripping off and donning cycling gear. Then into running clothes. Over and over.  Everything stuffed into the duffle bag, just as the kiddos were getting up.  Out the door we go!

Once we got to Kirkland, I had the wife drop me on top of the biggest hill to test out the wet roadway, and remind the instincts of what potholes and painted lines to watch out for.  Then led the wife down into the designated parking area for athletes at Carillon Point.

The transition area is at Houghton Beach Park, a smaller park located next to a very busy (normally) road in Kirkland.  The road of course was blocked off, and coned off to allow easy entry and exit for racers headed out by bike and foot.  It looked like a ton of prep work.  All for us.
The other interesting note about transition was that since it had been raining heavily the last 18 hours the grassy lanes between racks were starting the day a muddy mess. 

It would be fun to see how muddy they'd get by the end of the day!

Upon arriving at my spot on the rack, I saw a few of my buddies from previous events.  Also, I noticed that folks generally seemed calm, but definitely anxious.  If only people wouldn't lose the sense of humor first upon getting stressed out.  So regardless to say I'm sure some folks were just flat out annoyed at my mellow humor.  But also, some I hope found it refreshing.

Next got the wetsuit and cap on. As it turns out my age group was due to go out right after the elite wave. Event started at 8:00am, we were going out at 8:01. Then all the rest of the folks were out to chase us down and swim over the top of us, if you believe the horror stories from Ironman distance events.  After our race briefing, (don't ride to fast on the slippery road, play it safe and don't pass people on blah blah road, follow the rules...) all us red caps huddled around near the corral for the water start.  

That's when it hit me.  Oh crap I've gotta swim a long ways.  Half a mile to be exact, and I've never completed a half mile swim in the pool or in the Columbia river for training.  Although both have been attempted... and DNF as they say. Now was show time and I finally started to get anxious. 

One more cliff hanger for dramatic purposes only, I was wearing my wedding ring and it likes to fall off these days, since I've lost a bit of body fat in the last couple years. I had almost lost the ring in many pool swims, but now I was about to go out on lake Washington for a half mile swim in just over 4 minutes with no family in sight and no pockets to be found.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Simple ride home

I had to drop off the truck at the shop for some work on the thangaputz.  It stopped working.

Fortunately, I just happened to bring my bike, helmet, shoes, and extra double shot of gel.  This was "just in case" they don't get done in time for my commute home on what was supposed to be the last nice day of the week.

Of course all summer I've been sitting in traffic watching cyclists on the trail in the sun.  I check out their bike frame, critique their team kit (clothing), decide if I would adjust the seat height, and note suggestions for form improvement.  Then the light turns green and I get to drive to the next red light and watch more go past.  In other words its torture.

Finally, the car broke (thank you thangaputz) and I was forced to ride home.  Of course right before my time to take off my father stops by the office and offers a ride back seeing as I have no car "Nooooo, it's ok".  Then my cell rings, the shop has the truck done, "Ok, I'll have to pick it up tomorrow".  Nothing will get in the way of the ride home today!

It felt great to connect muscle to steel.  For anyone who has never used clip in pedals, you are missing out on one of the best experiences of cycling.  The sense of "merging" with the bike.  It's really strange but when I clip in, it's as if the bike is now an extension of my limbs.  Except more powerful and fast.

I head down 15th, and opt to skip the usual fun downhill in favor of Perkins Way.  You see I still haven't forgiven Perkins for a painful bonk (good nutritional lesson though) back in April.  So curvy downhills here I come. Take the right hand turn, lift the inside foot, upshift and apply legstrength...smooth turns.  Speed limit says 25, but 35 is still safe.

Then on my left elbow a black Mercedes passes, on a downhill with solid double yellow, blind tight corners, when I'm over the speed limit already.  So of course I just shake my head at people's foolish choices... and accelerate after they pass.  It's important for me to let them know that they didn't save any time making a poor choice.  As we pull up to the stop sign they're 10 seconds ahead, and we both leave the stop sign at the same time, them turning right and me left.

Next onto the Gilman trail, another smooth left turn up and over a small rise, upshift again and accelerate. Oops then slow down to pass a cyclist, "Passing on your left, thank you", "On your left", "Passing on your left", over and over.  Watch out for the walkers, skateboarders, inline skater looking distracted.  Pass the mountain bike commuter in slacks and dress shirt.  Pass the guys in their HTC, Jelly Belly, Starbucks team kits, the local racer team kits, the people with the aero bars.  Just keep passing people.  Then finally some open trail to relax a bit.

The cell phone was ringing, so I call back the wife.  "Don't be late for dinner", so she agrees to come pick me up at the Woodinville office.  I drink some more Nuun from the water bottle and check my mirror.  Ah! Somebody is trying to catch me, with a tucked aero position and with their buddy drafting.  So I put the bottle away, upshift and gooooo.  A little while later I look back truly hoping they would still be there, but they're nowhere to be seen.

Then I arrive at Wilmot Gateway, swing a left up through construction and onto 175th, nice new curb makes it much easier to get onto the road.  As I pull up to the light to go left, there's a motorcyclist.  When he looks over, I nod and say, "Wanna race?".  He of course laughs and being a young guy says "Sure!".  We chat a bit waiting for the light, he's riding a Honda CBR600.  Very fast bike, so I compliment him on his ride.  The light changes, and we both cross the intersection side by side behind a wall of traffic.  But he's stuck with the cars, I roll up onto the sidewalk and yell, "See you later".  Hang a right to go to the office, and meet the family.

Yes, daddy's sweaty, daddy's had fun, and daddy's hungry for dinner!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Gear -Running Shoes

Shoes: So having put in waaaaay too many miles on my Big 5 clearance New Balance 508 ($30), I decided it was time to buy a 'real' pair of shoes. Cause I take running seriously now (and I finally got the wife to ok it :P).

Everyday Athlete was the store of choice because
1) I like to support those that support the Tri community. Lance and company are great!
2) They would take the time to fit me to a correct shoe, and not just the latest style
3) The prices are roughly the same wherever you go

I've gotta say, having never owned a pair of real running shoes. Wow! Big big difference between the old pair and the new pair. I got Asics GT-2150, and took them out immediately for a run. Considering the majority of my training has been on treadmills (pesky convenience factor), I did 20 minutes on treadmill then took them out for 15 minutes on trails. I love running again!
Here's a great video to convince you to buy some.  If you're serious about running, really go get fit, it's worth it!

The video is right, it does feel great around the foot, and I tried on probably 14 different pairs of shoes.  Each time I would take it for a little 1/4 mile run outside the store, and try really hard to feel what was going on with my feet. After the purchase the hardest part was taking it easy. It's been a couple months since last seriously running, and I could tell that going easy at first, well below max HR was going to be very important to prevent injury.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Davis Double Century -Saturday- Day 3

The morning of the ride, we arise to find folks already getting ready.  Of course getting up early means no "Continental Breakfast".  Shucks!  Good thing we all planned ahead and I've got coffee and oatmeal hoarded away for just such an occasion.

Up, dressed, Butt'rd up and ready to roll.

We meet a buddy and his wife in the parking lot for a pre-dawn picture. 
(no that's not our bottle in the background)

Immediately after the picture we hit the road and are less than 5 minutes to the start line.... great hotel choice there Campy! With red lights flashing and white headlights going we four amigos mark the start time and reset the bike computers.  It always makes me pause when resetting the computer, and I wonder what the computer is thinking... "Oh boy, wonder how long I'll be working today". The legs like to wonder the same thing.  I do enjoy that feeling.

The first 40 or so miles is bound to be paceline work, which we have practiced together a couple times before the ride. The only thing I wonder is how long Campy will break the wind for us before I've got to keep the pace.  Everything goes fine and we end up picking up some folks on the rear wheel as Campy's keeping a strong pace on the farmland flats.  Even a Tandem hops on our line, quite the compliment!  All these riders are fairly stable and safe, but I'm glad to be sandwiched between friends rather in the rear or the front of the line none the less.

Eventually dawn breaks, and I can see an amazing purple haze out over the fields of wheat.  Clear skies, with the Sierra mountains in the horizon, flat fields as far as I can see.  We ride on a raised roadway, and the view was incredible (added to lifelong mental photo album).

Finally we begin to approach the first big climb of the ride.  Cardiac Hill.  Nice intimidating name for a reasonable climb up past Monticello Dam and the "Glory Hole".  This is an overflow point for the dam and I was anticipating a great show as millions of gallons poured through the overflow... eh water level isn't even close.

Climb up Cardiac passing quite a few folks, when finally we come to a long bend to the left and that's it.  One done, many more to go.

Overall the hardest climb for me was on Cobb Mountain.  The elevation profile shows straight up!  This is at mile 96ish, and I made the choice at one point to hop off and walk with a friend for a very short stint.  Chug up the rest of the way, then enjoy a forested fast downhill.

Last climb of note was up the much dreaded Resurrection hillclimb. This comes along at roughly 135 miles in to the ride and of course by then your legs are getting all achy from being used all day.  The climb has a nasty reputation as being hot and miserable, but I actually find it to be one of the easier climbs of the day, similar to cardiac.  Plus leading up the rest stop there's scripture in chalk on the way.  I love that touch!  Suddenly the name of the hill makes sense, and I thank God for giving me the strength for the day, and much more.

We finish off the day with a long run (about 20 miles) back across the flat farmlands, and I begin to miss the hills! Long flat Time trials are a nice break, but quite boring after awhile.  A friend and I take turns drafting in to the finish line right as the sun was setting.  In fact we pull in to the Vetrans Memorial Center (starting line and chow hall) just as it seems useful to turn on the red blinkers.

Park the bike, take off the nasty shoes and socks, go inside and chow down.  BBQ chicken never tasted so good.  13.5 hours riding 15 hours on the road, the Sustained Energy and Nuun were finally starting to get old.  Gimme some SOLID FOOD!  

Best part, there was someone there doing massage and people hadn't noticed him yet.  So we got right in for a massage, and hung out going back for 2nds and 3rds and 4ths in the food line. Finally after a very long time we head back to the hotel and I jump in a bathtub full of ice (for recovery like the pros do of course) I love cycling!  

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Davis Double Century -Friday- Day 2

We arise to enjoy a 'continental' breakfast.  What is so amazingly continental about a breakfast full of carbohydrates like processed cereal, stale bagels, way too sugary oatmeal, and some unripened oranges thrown in for good measure?  Continental makes it sound so savvy and unique.  I can get a sugary continental breakfast at Denny's and it won't cost me $80 a night

Excited at the prospects of a light ride around town and a chance to stretch the legs out a bit the breakfast didn't matter too much.  Next time I've got to remember to pack food better.

Before going out on the ride, we need to meet our 4th member of the team who was driving down separately in his own little version of torture.  Something about canine flatulence, and a droning parent that makes 14 hours in the car seem unique.

I can tell he's glad to see us, and eager to get on the bike, just like the rest of us.  But before then, we go to a local Pearl Izumi outlet, and I found alot of neat stuff, that was WAY overpriced for my taste.  Gimme a $30 pair of cycling bib shorts anyday (thank you Canari and Sierra Trading Post).  You can keep the 'really good deal' bib shorts for $120.  Someday maybe I'll work up the nerve to drop that kind of bread on something as frivolous. But I probably won't be married to the person I am now, nor have control of my bowels by that point.  But it was fun to drool.

Off we go, for packet pick-up and to put a limited number of miles in on the bikes.  This was our first chance for all 4 of us to stretch our legs, feel the heat of the day, over-hydrate from having a dry mouth, and feel the allergies flare up.  As we pull in to pick up packets from the Vetran's Memorial center I'm reminded why cyclists are so much fun.  Not only do we all walk around in Spandex.... er Lycra I mean.  We also all seem to have an unwritten understanding that we're all about to experience pain and suffering.  TOGETHER.

This creates a strange sort of fraternity (or sorority)  of middle aged college kids doing something big.  It's like we're all part of a big thing. I dig it, instant friends.

We pick up our packets, and say goodbye to our fellow crazies, and take off back to the hotel.  Time to start prepping the gear and getting nervous?

Last minute changes to the bike, remove the fenders, go through the saddle bag to remove broken open salt packets and Aleve gel tabs.  Note to self: do not put gel tabs in a saddlebag again, big mess.  Inspected tires for damage, looked over cables and derailleurs.

Watched "Breaking Away" a great classic of cycling I'm told.  Good flick, check it out.

Packed the 40 scoops of Sustained Energy into ziplock baggies, randomized by Nuun tabs in the containers.  Lemon-lime, BannanaNuun, Tri Berry, Orange Ginger, all random.  2 Tubes of Nuun.  Forgot the Gels.... arg oh well, one less thing to worry about.  I figure they'll most certainly have fruit at the rest stops if needed for simple sugars.  Put it all away, and hit the sack with anticipation of a great next day.  Sleep was quite easy, and didn't wake up at all during the night in anticipation, in fact I slept like a baby, a really tired... and well behaved baby... that dosn't wake up crying... all night....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Davis Double Century -Thursday- Day 1

The trip down to CA was uneventful.  Met up with the fellas in Edmonds and rolled out before light.  Getting to Campy's house should be a piece of cake by now.  I've been there probably a dozen times now, but the problem is that I really only memorized how to get there from the saddle of a bike.  At least that's my excuse and I like it.

So as I drive to meet our 3 team member at his house plans change and I'm late getting to Campy's now!  So I drove a wide circle to find my way back to a familiar road, then I see a lone van with bike rack headed the approximate direction I knew to go.  So I follow...

We all meet up, and begin loading the minivan full of gear.  I'm relieved to find out I had packed the least amount of stuff, therefore do not deserve the title of "packing like a girl" because as we all know most come with many many bags of accessories. Little did I know that this light packing would end up being a drawback later as I didn't bring knee warmers, pants, or food... duh.

Load the bikes up, grab a seat, hit the road.

We're well past traffic before it hits, and are making good time on the trip down.  Of course being new to the sport of cycling, I have to admit: "There's a ton of junk you've got to pack!" not only that if you miss even one of the smallest items like chapstick, it could make the day of the big ride miserable.  So every item that goes with you could be a game changer.
Forget the helmet: no ride
Forget the bike shorts: no ride
Forget the clipless shoes: no ride
Forget the nutrition: no ride
...on and on....

Some things are just flatout miserable to forget, like sunscreen, chamois cream, legwarmers, food,  but you can make do.

So we get to Davis finally without any major incident, and I've successfully dehydrated enough on the trip to no longer pee every hour, success.

5pm: We check in to 2 hotel rooms, deciding that squeezing the 3 of us into 1 room would be a bit tricky, and since Roy (not his real name) snores he get's his own room.  I'm of course happy to be splitting the cost with a friend, (who dosn't snore) and we quickly get situated.

We then head off to get some dinner. Fish and chips. It's shame they breaded the life out of Tilapia and then overcook it! Maybe that's how college kids like it though (UCDavis).  Good thing those kids are in school, so they can learn what good food actually tastes like!

Oh well, off to wander the streets, and eventually make our way back to the hotel.  I hit the sack wondering what kind of 'light ride' we have planned for tomorrow...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Davis Double Century & Tour of California -Packing

Got all the packing done, got the ride set up.  Even got a sponsor, thank you Nuun!

Now just need to get some sleep.

Tonight, I will be working the normal shift at the YMCA, and then to sleep hopefully by 11pm. To get back up again at 3am, and on the road to meet up with fellow team-mates to head down to Davis, CA.  That's ok, tonight will be a perfect field test (second attempt) for Calms Forte, a natural sleep aid.  Don't worry, it has things like chamomile, green tea extract, and eye of newt.  So no narcotics, and so far no side effects!  Although, it's pretty much had no effect as well. Tonight I will see if it can take some of the 'edge off' my nervousness at the end of the night, and allow me to forget about all the things I didn't pack.

Isn't that strange?  We worry about the things that we forgot to pack.  Worry about forgetting something?  Perhaps we should be worried about remembering something instead.  One of those half-empty/half-full things I guess.  So I'm trying to 'Forget' about the things 'I Didn't Remember'.  Wish me luck...

The Davis Double Century is right near Sacramento, and hosts this years AMGEN Tour of California for stage 2 on Monday 5/17. I wonder if any of the competitors will be tooling around the course before their stage race the next day...

See the Tours site here:

We will be able to catch stage 1 of the tour on Sunday, and look forward to seeing some of the top level racers up close and personal.  Hopefully, we can find a nice hilly spot, and run next to them wearing ridiculous hats and capes.  I'm thinking viking horns FTW.

Viking helmet or not, promises to be a fun time. Just more fun if we can be there to encourage the pros in costume.  Look for me on Univeral Sports.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Target: Cramping

Interesting ride today (Weds).

The ride started just fine, we planned on a long flat and fast ride, although the hills are always present.  We rounded the few mandatory hills in order to find ourselves on some great country roads.  The weather was definitely cold, wet, and had a strong headwind for portions of the ride.  I'd planned on it being cold, as we were doing a lot of work on the flats, and that usually means lots of airflow, therefore cold (of course at the speed I was going, we didn't exactly get airflow). But the wind and rain definitely kept things colder than planned.

After awhile my back started getting really tight, and I enjoyed stopping to stretch a bit.  Unfortunately, as soon as we'd start, I'd start getting sore again.  Also, my glutes (butt) was on fire, it seemed I was overusing the muscles, to compensate for a tired lower back from some workouts earlier in the week.  This of course is tough, as your butt muscles are pretty small, and they build up lactic quite fast.  I think of Rudy from Ironman: Kona who's a double above the knee amputee, and only has glutes to ride his bike over 100 miles.  Yeouch!

So trying not to cry or whine like a little girl to Campy about my sore rearend, and back, and legs, and shoulders, and cold fingers, arms, and knees.  I would try to space out my complaints to at least every 45 minutes at the most frequent.  But I knew he could tell somethings were wrong when my speed dropped even lower than we started.

Finally, as we were headed up a hill I felt it.  The moment I'd been waiting for, another LEARNING OPPORTUNITY.

Now let me define learning opportunity.  It means, I just screwed something up bad enough to learn a lesson from it.  If I'm not too busy crying like a baby, then there's an opportunity to learn something useful to never, NEVER do whatever it was again.

That's what happened next.  I stood on the pedals to climb a hill, again with HR down in the 150s, much lower than my normal pace at 160-168max.  While standing both right and left quads cramped up, more like a stabbing pain.  It wasn't locked up solid, but definately like a knife cutting into the muscle tissue.  Not the most pleasant feeling.  So I immediately plopped back into the seat, and told Campy.  The next 15 minutes I spent trying to figure out what to do next, "Protein, ok 2 gulps of Sustained Energy" "lower cadence (is it even possible?)" "gels, no" Then the glutes started to cramp, along with an increased pain in the back.

Finally after awhile, Campy recommended some Ibruprofen, and he had some suppliments from Hammer (still need to find out what those were too).  Being the good student, I remember him telling me a story about how "only old guys have Ibuprofen in their saddle bag".  Wanting to someday be an old guy, I did as he suggested.  Aha! Ibuprofen, some unnamed suppliments, and a few swigs of Nuun later, and I was feeling GREAT!  Yes, really.

Back pain was mostly gone, glutes hurt less, legs hurt less, muscle cramps were gone.... life was good once again, except for the continual rain and cold.

While we were out in the boondocks of Duvall, we encountered my first Road Rage to cyclists person.  It was a GMC truck Washington plates A96186A that decided it was a brilliant idea to come within 3 inches of Campy as we rode along, for no good reason.  Zero oncoming traffic, tons of room to go around, and no warning he was coming.  Not being one to hide his love of those that jeopardize his life, Campy begins shaking his fists at the other driver, and apparently that was enough to cause the driver to throw his truck in reverse, and try to run us down.... seriously?  So we bail off the road aiming for the drainage ditch, and forthwidth call 911 to report "Assault with a deadly weapon".  I always thought that seemed somewhat excessive, until a raging idiot tried to do it to us.

Mission accomplished, cramping muscles recovered. I learned my lesson, definitely, definitely eat enough protein after working out, get good sleep, and lots of Omega 3 & 6. Also, pack along some Ibuprofen so you can get to be an old guy, as long as road raging idiots are kept far away.  Thank you Lord for no injuries today!

  • -Really tight back may mean upcoming cramping, or poor nutrition somehow
  • -Eat right during training, loads of protein and nutrients, and lots of rest
  • -Bring along extra clothing!
  • -Carry the concealed weapon

Friday, April 2, 2010

Fueling For The Win

Fun ride, nothing terribly exciting to learn today

Another long ride today (Thurs), it was a rainy day going across I-90 to pick up some additional Sustained energy.  But payoff!

No bonking, cramping, or any other problems!  A very successful day.

Used Sustained Energy, Hammer Gel, and Nuun

Friday, March 26, 2010

Target: Bonk

Training ride on 3-24 with Campy:

6 hours total, 86 miles. At hour 3 I bonked.  Best possible training at that point.  I had been pushing a hard ride in the beginning with HR at 172-178 and ate not enough calories using a inferior fluid replacement drink.  I then made the mistake of diluting the half full bottle at one of the water stops instead of just dumping it and starting over.  After I realized the mistake it was too late, and I was getting hungry... uh oh.  So chomped a certain energy bar, and about 30 minutes later, I wanted to hurl all over the road!  Funny thing is these bars didn’t used to do that to me, but I think the high HR cut off my ability to digest well, and liquids were the only thing I could handle at that point.  So at this point the goal was well on its way.  Who knew... it's so easy to screw up your nutrition, yay!

Since this is the primary reason for some of these long training rides, I started trying to put back the pieces of the puzzle.  Of course while you're thinking your way through the plan, the brain can only think of one thing, "I'm really hungry and want to throw up all at the same time leave my legs at the rest stop in favor of a painfree fresh pair".  So I determined that the legs need to stay attached, food will have to improve, and take it slow.

I used a sampler of a higher end fluid replacement, and sipped that aggressively to get it in.  Ate a gel, and slowed down HR to 145-153.  The slowed pace and better food intake started kicking in, and over the next 1.5 hours I was able to get the energy back.  Popped a caffeine gel and finished my fluid replacement drink just as we started back towards home.
On the way back I got the benefit of watching Campy draft a school bus, and actually had enough energy to catch up (if only for 5 seconds) while going uphill at 20mph.

  • Didn't follow a plan: While I though I had one, it fell apart after the first 'fun hill' (yes it's illogical fun+hill).  Make a plan, stick to it, for both electrolytes and carbs/protein
  • Inferior FRD: Using Accelerade dosn't allow me to mix it strong, the taste is way to sweet, and it's a sticky mess.  
  • When I needed to digest some calories, I chomped a powerbar way to quickly, and kept the HR in the 170s.  This was a bad decision, as I got nauseous and inadvertently stopped getting in calories as a result.
  • My gel use was completely random, relying on "now seems about right" or "hmm, I'm getting hungry now".  100 calories per gel, I should have planned out when to use them instead of just going by feel.
  • Got to try Perpetuem by Hammer Nutrition, Caffe Latte flavored. It taste pretty bad.
  • Got to try Sustained Energy by Hammer Nutrition, Unflavored. It taste pretty decent.
  • Also had Esspresso Hammer Gel. It taste GREAT!  Also, the caffeine really helped after I'd bonked, to change the metabolism over to fat burning, as well as a boost via carbs.  This was a game changer for me.

At roughly hour 4:45 I was back.  So that experience knocked me down for about 1.5-2 hours, yikes!  But being able to put the body back together felt really excellent!

Lesson learned, and added to the cycling repertoire. Let's do it again, after my order comes in from Hammer...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ode to bricks

Bricks, the backbone of triathlon, so I'm told.  You bike, then your run, then you fall over.  Too bad cycling shoes have cleats that get in the way of running.  Too bad running shoes don't stick to the pedals of your bike.

Doing bricks Mondays and Fridays at the Y.  Campy's class is fun, and a very heavy 8 out of 10.  Then hop on the treadmill for a 7-8 minute pace.  Ideally by the time it's tri season (June-September for me), I'll have the run times below 7 minutes.  Also, need to do REAL cycling and running at the course, the Kirkland Sprint Tri.  Lots of hills, and good place to practice hitting turns the right way, downhill corners, what gear to shift in, etc.  Oh did I mention, Lots of hills?

I love this stuff....

Saturday, February 20, 2010

YMCA: Partners With Youth

Today was the "Cyclethon" to raise funds for the YMCA program called Partners With Youth.  I'm fundraising for this program because I was nabbed, and handed a packet. So even though I didn't 'volunteer' it dosn't matter apparently.  The funds go to disadvantaged youth, who can't afford the special events the Y hosts, such as camp Orkila, aqua events, wall climbs, and a bunch of other things.

Helping kids get into something productive vs reaching the next level in a video game?  Ok.

Well someone had the bright idea of getting 19 folks into a sweaty room on stationary bikes, and jam to loud music while getting yelled at.  For some reason this causes folks to open the pocketbook.  Who thought of this stuff?!

So today they forced me to go pedal in my favorite spinning room for 3 hours.  bummer.... Ha, yeah right! 

It was great.  Got a chance to meet a new spin instructor, as they would swap out each hour.  Also, had a chance to use up some of the old Accelerade.  Burnt through 2 bottles worth, along with 1 hammer gel.  Also, as luck would have it, one of the folks that was in the class is a chocolatier, and brought some of her delights.  I intended to bring one home to the wife, but also have poor timing, and chose a bad time to to the bathroom, as when I returned, she was gone.

All three hours were great, and even though I'm on the tailend of this cough/cold it felt great to kick it into high gear and crank.

We ended up raising over $2100 for the program, and really enjoyed ourselves!  Now I'm just going to have to hunt down some other treat for the wife on the bike ride back home from the office here...

Also, I'm going to start listing workout data at the bottom of the blogs to track:

Time: 3:00 hr
Intensity: 7 (1-10)
Distance: NA
Av HR: 143
In Zone: 2:47 hr

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Still sick? ...on with the cardio...

Well the sick bug has traveled into the lungs, and based on internet advice 1. it's ok to ride 2. it's not ok to ride 3. I should try to swallow 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, dry.  I think I'd prefer #1.

Went to Campy's spin class on Monday, and it was really challenging not being able to push it as hard as normal.  Kept the HR in 160-165 range most of the time, on purpose.  This is 20bpm slower than typical, so of course it's hard to go light.  But during a couple of songs, "Come on Irene" in particular I was able to get back up to 185 without problem.  The recovery HR didn't drop as quickly as it usually does, otherwise I'm not really feeling this bug much.

I've heard that if you push hard on cardio when you've got a virus that it will weaken the immune system enough to allow the bug to spread even more.  This of course will knock you out even longer than if you'd never trained.  So use caution!

After the cycling, spent a couple minutes in the pool.  Again still working on distance, streamlining, and efficiency.  It seems I'm getting better at the crawl stroke, and it's really nice!  Thank you Total Immersion videos

And thank you King County Library system for carrying the Freestyle Made Easy video!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sick is as Sick Does

It's the bug, a gift from the little girls to us as parents.  They bring home more than homework and crayoned drawings to us from school.

This one is moving to the lungs today, but that just allows me to finally focus on lifting.  I know that lifting will help with some of the faster time trial rides (like triathlon!).  Lifting at the beginning of a season I've read will benefit because of the 'non-specific' muscle building.

This again contributes to 'Economy' of the 3 keys to endurance sports.  The stronger the muscle, the easier it is for it to produce effort at higher levels.  Considering we should always be operating at a 'high level', either due to hill climbing or increased speed.

3 Keys To Endurance Sports (thank you Joe Friel):
  1. Aerobic Capacity
  2. Lactate Threshold
  3. Economy of Movement

So since the lungs are getting worse, it's time to shift focus from Aerobic Capaicity/Lactate Threshold to Economy of Movement... at least for the very short term (hopefully no longer than this week).  

Leg press (+50lb sled): 160 x20 reps, 125 x20, 125 x20, 125 x17
Calf press (+50lb sled): 160 x20 reps, 125 x20, 125 x20, 125 x20
Hamstring Curl (prone): 50 x18, 35 x20, 35 x20

Still swimming daily, and focused on getting 'mileage' in.  .  I had planned originally on doing 8 laps x 4.  But as was pointed out to me halfway in: 36 laps = 1 mile.  Doh, oh well.  This will be broken into bite sized piece for me by doing 9 laps x 4 with the pull buoy at first.  Then 18 x 2, 36 x 1.  After getting all 36 in, then I'll start removing the buoy, for 2, then 4, then 8, then 16 of the total laps. Until it's no longer needed at all.

This plan does 2 things well:

  1. Allows me to build confidence, improve stroke, improve breathing, and hit the mileage that is my goal.

  2. Forces me to focus on stroke over kick. This benefits the my triathlon by keeping the legs fresh for bike/run.

Sick?  Eh, just a change of plans...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Rice Ride results

Good ride.

Enjoyed the company of my brother Morganism, and we took our time, missed a turn, and ended up stranded in Monroe.  Beautiful weather, and really liked the sunshine.

Thank goodness for family close by, as we were up against time commitments, and Morganism had to get going.  So I called in the cavalry in the form of another brother in his Honda Odyssey to come pick us up. 

Miles: 32.5
Max Spd: 39.3
Avg Spd: 14.5
Time: 2:15

Next week, we don't miss that turn, and will go the whole distance too.

Rice Ride

Headed out today for the 56 miler, and bringing my brother along.  He says he may cut out part way, but it’s going to be a beautiful ride if the weatherman is right. After he cuts out I’m going to try pushing it a bit on Union hill to get the HR up, then tinker with nutrition a bit. 

The plan is to bring Accelerade and Nuuns, with powerbar backups, and maybe some raisons just in case.  I’ve got the pump, and spare tube, along with a patch kit and will refill water bottles in Redmond, then try to get all the way to Monroe on 2 bottles. 

My backup plan is to stop over in Duvall if needed to refill, but I’m guessing it’ll be just fine.  56 miles is only maybe 3 bottles, but I have been feeling a bit slow.  Think I am catching, or am fighting a cold that has the whole family sick. So could be a bit more than 3 bottles, with a slower overall pace.  I expect it will take just over 3 hours, at a conservative pace.

This will be a Rice Ride.  The kind of ride that goes well with almost any main course, and tends to be the staple of the diet.  Still need something else to go with it, but it is a filler, and works well in a pinch, plus it's cheap and easy.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Closing up the Y

Went in tonight for a quick ride on the spin bikes with the tv screen (awesome).  Since I couldn't make it to Campy's class today, I'm tearing my hair out (what's left), and need to get in to get some usage on the legs before tomorrows ride. It was tough, but I wanted to support the wife and sister getting in early to the gym, and looking at a potential house. 

So instead of pumping the pedals to Sandstorm or Cake,"Going the distance".  I was here juggling the kiddos.  Oh well, it was fun to spend some time with them, and I think the cold bug that's got all the kids sick has taken ahold of me too.  But I'm not worried, it burns off quickly just like everything else... thank you cardio.

After watching an episode of 'Dirty Jobs' on the bike and some thinly veiled Discovery channel show about why we should harvest embryonic stem cells... I hit the pool for 45 minutes, and did some zipper drills feeling quite relaxed.

Also, I think I just figured out how to increase mileage in the pool.  Swim as far as I can with a pull buoy.  Say 10 laps.  Then increase it as quickly as possible, using the pull buoy to give easy laps. At 30 laps start removing the buoy for the last 2, then 4, then 6... until all 30 laps are without the buoy.  Let's eat this elephant called distance one bite at a time.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Weight training day 1.5

Joe Friel writes that the base period is the best time to work a weight routine into your training.  The is because your body can build the non-specific strength that you use while swimming, cycling, or running.  Core strength, shoulders, chest legs, back, arms.  Ok, sounds like the whole body to me.

While my leg strength is very good at the moment, shoulder, core, chest, and back could use improvement.  This will contribute to what Friel describes as 'economy'.  His concept is that there's only 3 things that make for a strong athlete.  Aerobic capacity, Lactate threshold, and Economy of movement.  Economy is my target for upper body improvement which will effect swim endurance substantially, at least that's the idea.

Swimming -weak (3)
Cycling -very strong (8)
Running -strong (6)

Taking Muscle Milk protein supplement from Costco.  It's tasty and cheap at $30 for the 3lb tub, but dosn't mix well in the recommended 8 oz of water.

So it's been almost a year since I picked up a dumbbell, and this being day 1.5.  I'm sore... ouch

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dale Turner bike club

Last night was the monthly meeting of the Dale Turner bike club .  We met at 3rd Place Books in Lake Forest Park, around a huge unfinished rough cut wooden table.  I got there a bit late, but the conversation was already going, with my friend talking about goal setting for the STP and other ultra distance rides.

It's always fun to see the rest of the folks, 'dressed up'... ok, well at least not wearing a lycra like I always get to see them during spin classes.  This group of folks I think has alot of potential to really do some fun rides.  I hope the bike club meetings last, and folks really commit to some challenging personal goals.  Of course normally I get to see all these people huffing and puffing on a bike to nowhere, but the goals that are getting set are excellent!

A couple brothers plan to ride the STP, 200 miles. A man is breaking the 40 mile barrier, a huge personal record. Another is being convinced he could ride the STP in one day (aka double century ride).  My friend and I are planning a double century ride called Davis.  These are significant goals that we're all aiming for.

If nothing else, I hope that folks will be inspired to breakthrough barriers they thought impossible.

"I am the greatest builder in the world. I am the foundation of every triumph. No matter what your position is, I can better it.  My name is enthusiasm." -Anonymous

Monday, February 1, 2010

Saturday Rides

Let the fun begin.  Not even "type 2 fun, not fun now, fun later".  This is the real type of fun to be had on a bike, in the sun or rain, going fast or slow, up or down a hill with your brother.

Went out this last Saturday for what will now become a weekly bike ride. We started at Houghton Park in Kirkland, and then ran the triathlon route first north, then east, then north, then south back to the park. Roughly 13 miles, all by memory and involving quite a few hills.

The Kirkland Triathlon is what's known as a "Sprint" tri.  It involves a half mile swim, 12 mile bike ride, and 3 mile run.  The gravy on this triathlon is that it's full of hills.  That is plenty of fun in my opinion, as hill climbing is one of my favorite things due to a great spin class, and insane friend/coach.  Here's another fun ride we're planning:

The more hills, the better the chances of hitting one of my goals:
To place in the top 10 for my age bracket for the Kirkland Triathlon

Saturday rides will get progressively longer, this last ride was only about 20 miles.  Next week I'd like to get in a fun looking 56 mile route. We may stick with that for the next few weeks, depending if I've got anyone that wants to ride with, or go back to the triathlon route for repeats. Then we step it up to regular 100 mile + training rides to get ready for the Davis Double Century  That will be a lot of fun, but also expensive, and my first double century as STP fell through unfortunately. Here is the official site for Davis Double.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Heavy Hands

Master's swim last night
It's a group of folks who get together to train similar to Group Cycling aka Spinning.  The group environment gives everyone a chance to build skill together.  Although, there are plenty of folks much farther along then me in that regard.  It's hard to keep up sometimes, and I've got to keep reminding myself, "It's only been a couple months you've been swimming, relax".  It's great to watch them move through the water, slicing through the top 12 inches, rolling shoulders, breath, and repeat.  Of course I'm not in the advanced lane.  Those folks are so smooth!

It's like watching a school of fish, as they all are within 5 seconds or less of each other, carrying each following person in their draft.  Someday...

It was great to be able to complete the full hour last night.  I got to the Northshore Y a bit early and put some time on the treadmill just to warm up.  Also, practicing Joe Friels running technique/tips.  It's a bit tricky on the treadmill, and I can't wait to take it outside!  After the treadmill it was time to hop in the pool, and I was a bit aprehensive as the last 2 times I've cut out of class only halfway through.  My body has been a bit exhausted as a result of the recent changes in our house.

So last night, I was able to do the entire hour, and felt really good at the end.  There's something very satisfying about cooldown with the group.  We all struggle to do our 3x100 build, Heavy Hands, or 4x100 push and when the end of the class comes, we all enjoy a much slower cooldown pace. Specifically the DPS (distance per stroke) drill.  The idea is to get across the whole 25 yard with as few strokes as possible.  I can do 9 strokes, cheating (pushoff stay underwater and kicking) I can do 2.

The best part is when we're all done the water is still and quite.  The pool is empty except for just a few of us, and we're all wiped out ready to go home and sink into the bed...zzz...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Why blog? It's just another time sink...

That's the thought.

With a family to raise, business to run, and training to complete, why blog?

It's a release of the ideas that bounce around. They need a place to land, and what better place than on the internet. Full of criticism, sarcasm, and surplus of bored folks, I expect this blog will end up getting ignored or even chastised by most.

However, if I can spark the interest to improve your life, then that is a major success. Seeking a reason to get inspired? I hope I can help with that.

My reasons to start writing now

2010 will be the first year...

..that I complete a triathlon.

..that my mother an amputee and inspriation, completes a traithlon.

..we will be crossing the finish together. mother-in-law completes a triathlon.

..that I complete over 100 mile on a bike (century).

..that I complete over 200 miles on a bike (aka double century).

..that I publish public goals for everyone to see, and hold me accountable for.