Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Year in Review

Its that time of year when all the "Best of" lists come out. So after realizing I never got around to doing a recap of the season and because I'm admittedly a bit of a sucker for these types of silly, subjective, and ultimately meaningless lists, I figured I would make one of my own... Enjoy!

Most Painful race of the year: FL70.3
A beach start is always rough but in this race it was the easiest part. The literal pain in the butt began after only 20 minutes into the ride. Likely caused by a tight piriformis, I had the joy of experiencing a numb left leg the entire rest of the race. The uncomfortable situation was only worsened by the rain which began about halfway through the bike ride. Finally, a hot, sandy run capped the unusually uncomfortable racing experience.

Worst Performance of the year: Chattanooga Waterfront Tri
What happens when you try to do an Olympic distance race after taking a week off and radically changing your bike position? That’s right, the worst performance of the year. Incidentally, I make the “performance” distinction because the race venue was quite nice. It was just my personal showing (slow swim, terrible bike, mediocre run) which wasn’t.

Best Race of the Year: South Carolina Half
Although this race was a late edition to the schedule, it ended up being what I consider my best race of the year. After coming out of the water 2nd, I moved into first on the bike with the 2nd best bike split of the day and finished the race off with the fastest run of the day. Additionally, I had my highest normalized power on the bike for a half IM. Breaking the course record was just icing on the cake.

Biggest Blowup: ITU LD World Championships
This epic race started with a long, cold, brutal swim. The beginning of the bike ride went well… a little too well. The fast pace and not quite enough calories would eventually catch up to me about 105k into the 120k ride forcing me to struggle to finish the ride. This didn’t bode well for the 30k “run” which followed and resulted in an incredibly pathetic run split and overall finish time.

Most Enjoyable Race of the Year: Huntsville Sprint Triathlon
You can’t beat a race that starts a mile from your apartment on your birthday. This was the case with the Huntsville Sprint this year. After sleeping in my own bed before riding to the start, I lead from start to finish and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the day.

Best Venue: Mountain Lakes Sprint (Guntersville)
The transition area for this race is a beautiful park on the shores of Lake Guntersville. Not only is the lake there for post race activities but there is a pool with a slide as well. Impeccable weather and the proximity to Huntsville didn’t hurt any, either.

Best Atmosphere: USAT Collegiate Nationals
Collegiate Nationals is always provides the elements for a great party. But through in Qdoba for post-race food, picturesque weather, a college town, and Olympic Trials and you really couldn’t have asked for much more.

NYE swim

With the afternoon off, the kids were at the pool this morning. The workout:

Warm up:
400 swim + 100 kick + 400 IM (50 drill, 50 swim) + 100 kick + 500 pull
Set #1:
100 swim + 200 swim
8x50 kick
300 swim + 400 swim
4x100 kick
500 swim + 600 swim
2x200 kick
700 swim + 800 swim
400 kick
All swim is on 1:15/100, all kick is on :50/50
They had another set after that but I just did a 300 cool down and got out, using work as an excuse to make an early exit.

Stay safe tonight and have a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Dec22-28

S: 22,800 yds
B: 12h 19min
R: nada

Total: 18h 1min

The most notable vacancy in last week's workouts is the running. The IT band continued to give me problems so I stayed off my feet. Now that I'm back in Huntsville I'm hoping a few visits local ART guru Ken Strickland will get the situation cleared up. While not being able to run is never fun, last week was as good a time as any to be sidelined as I was down in Orlando and didnt have to work. This meant I was not only able to get out and ride most days but it was actually an enjoyable experience thanks to the marvelous December Orlando weather. The first day I was there it was a bit chilly but thereafter thermometer reached 80F, making riding outside quite pleasant.

Sadly though I'm now back in Huntsville, back to work, and therefore back to the trainer during the week and cold rides on the weekends.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

GTWD


"The reason I'm telling you this is that I didn't want to miss a day's training. I always tell young athletes the same thing, 'Wherever you go, whatever you do, what must your top priority be? Running'.

"In my life I do a lot of things but I never forget my training. Athletics is in my blood. The top priority must always be training, training. This is a discipline. You have to do it." -Haile Gebrselassie


and

"Looking back, I recently added and logged my mileage over the years and found that I was able to average over a 140 miles a week throughout the 1970s..." -Frank Shorter in his autobiography, Olympic Gold, A Runner's Life and Times

These quotes are marvelous because they epitomize what it takes to be successful. Gebrselassie has held world records from 5k up to the marathon, won World Championships and Olympic golds from 1,500m to 10,000m and is generally referred to simply as "The Great One." Shorter meanwhile won gold in the marathon in 1972, silver* in 1976, has many other big cities marathon titles and is considered one of the greatest US distance runners of all times. Both owe their success to remarkable dedication and consistency to their sport.

I posted these because this is the time of year when it helps to get a friendly reminder of "what it takes." While coaches, athletes, and physiologists can argue over which workouts are the most effective at what time of the year, the one thing most everyone will agree on is that it all comes down to consistency. Just get out the door day after day, week after week, year after year.

With having been said, Merry Christmas! Relax, enjoy time with the family, but dont forget to train. :0

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dec15-21

S: 25,600 yds
B: 5h 21min
R: 2h 16min

Total: 14h 1min

Well... too much driving. I drove home for Christmas this year so that I could move some stuff back to Huntsville and needless to say, I'm never doing this again! After 3 days and about 11 hours in the car, it was nice to finally arrive in Orlando. On the downside my IT band, which was giving me problems before the trip, certainly hasnt gotten any better and therefore the running will likely be slacking a bit the next couple of weeks. Additionally there is plenty of TP massage and icing in the near future...

While the trip wasnt great for training, I was able to make a couple of stops along the way, visiting my aunt and uncle in Atlanta, and my friends Bernd and Kelly in Gainesville. Of course the best part of the trip was the ride yesterday in Gainesville with Bernd and Jason. It was sunny, around 75F at the start and around 80F at the finish. Just another beatiful Florida day in December!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Jinx...

It never fails. You're watching a football game and the announcer says something like, "He hasnt thrown an interception in his last 148 attempts." Then, sure enough, the next play is an INT. Similarly, everyone knows it is a huge taboo to talk to a pitcher while hes working on a no hitter late in the game. Well, this past weekend Paulo was the announcer, making me the QB throwing the INT. He mentioned how I was lucky to have gotten through last week's drive down to New Orleans and back without problem but that he "prediticted the IT/piriformis would start acting up again." Sure enough, last night the outside of my knee started hurting.

As a consequence I had to cut the run short and wont run today. Hopefully though it shouldn't derail training for too long as today I go on the offensive, first with a trip to see Ken Strickland, ART practitioner, and then tonight I'll hit the cylinder of pain with a vengence. While not being able to run is never a good thing, if I have to be out, at least this is the time of year for it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rocket City Marathon report

Last Saturday the Rocket City Marathon was held and while I didnt run it, I did go out and supprt David in his first marathon. He's been hitting it pretty hard in training so I was excited to see what he would do. Going in the plan was to run 5:30s, putting him at the finish in around 2:25... pretty damn fast for a debut. It was an ambitious plan but not overly so according to Daniels' table and his recent half marathon performance.

After a tense morning (for him) the race was off. The weather was near perfect for the start, somewhere in the mid 30s and gorgeously sunny. As Dink said, "it is a "no excuses day!" David ran with a hat, arm warmers, slinglet, shorts, and gloves... appropriate for the conditions. Basically he was going for the Hall and Ritz look from trials.

In order to have his best race possible, David had given his wife, Stefanie, detailed notes about where and when to meet him on the course and what kind of nutrition he would require. This was really smart on his part as it is a lot easier to drink Gatorade out of a bottle than out of a paper cup when you are running along at 5:30 pace.

Our first stop was the 3 mile mark and David was tucked nicely into the group of about 10 (see above). The split was right on, 16:30. This was a perfect scenario for him because he could run his pace while at the same time stay in the group.



Next was the 7 mile mark. At this point the group was still about the same but the pace had slowed a bit. David reported that he had to keep things honest... ridiculous considering Olympic Trials qualifier Josh Cox was in the field.

Our next stop was just before mile 10. David was still looking calm and relaxed leading a group that was now down to about six. They came through at 55:30, a little off 5:30 pace but he was still looking really good and I thought everything was setting up marvelously.



Through the half marathon at 1:13:00 and everyone was looking pretty relaxed. David was still leading the charge, like a champ. Someone had to keep everyone honest and apparently it was up to the hometown boy to do so. It should be mentioned that this was regardless of the fact that not only was this David's first marathon but the slowest PR of the other guys in the group was 2:22. So basically they were slacking, he was running with gravitas.


After the half the course more or less made a U-turn and started heading back towards downtown. Our next rendezvous point was around 16.5 and as the runners came through, things were looking a bit tense. There were still 5 together but it looked like something was about to happen. I knew David knew the course like the back of his hand so I was hoping he was just waiting for his spot, mile 21, to pounce. Mile 21 is a false flat uphill with a couple of turns so it is deceptively long.


Before that though, we had one more meeting just past the infamous 20 mile mark. The saying usually goes, "a marathon is a 20 mile run with a 10k at the end." Well in the this case it was more like an 18 mile run with a 13k at the end. As it turns out, Cox dropped the hammer and started running 5 min miles at around the 18 mile mark. He would never look back. This strung things out and left David as the 5th of 5 coming through mile 20. However, his split was just over 1:50 and therefore still right on 5:30 pace. I thought he looked OK, but Stef was not so optimistic...

Fast forward to 23, our last aid station for David. We saw Josh Cox fly by. Then the 2nd place guy. Then the 3rd place guy. Then the 4th place guy. Finally David came around the corner, a little later than expected. It had taken him about 17:30 for the previous three miles, 5:50 pace compared to the 5:30 pace he had been holding earlier. Admittedly, those three miles are a bit uphill, but not much. At this point his stride rate had noticeably slowed and things were not looking good. He passed on both Gatorade and water as Stef, Matt, and I screamed words of encouragement. Stef was thinking, "Get your shit together!" but ended up giving some slightly more uplifting words (so she claims).

After that, it was off to the finish. The placing of the top 5 had not changed as we watched 1st, 2nd, and 3rd roll in. Josh smoked the last half and broke the tape in 2:21:23, putting over 2:30 into 2nd place in the process. Luckily we didnt have to wait too much longer to see Riddle's long looping strides. He kept "kept his shit together," controlled the bleeding, and finished with a very respectable 2:27:27. While he was hoping to go a bit faster, everyone, even the great Haile Gebrselassie, struggles in his or her marathon debut (Haile was 3rd in London in 2002).

As they say, "A picture says a thousand words." I swam 4k in the morning. David ran fast for over 26 miles. I feel fine. He feels slightly below marginal.

Full results of the Rocket City Marathon can be found here. Check them out, there were some awesome performances!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dec8-14

S: 20,100yds
B: 5h 50min
R: 5h 30min

Total: 17h 5min

After missing a couple of workouts due to a few long days of work at MAF I had a bit of catching up to do over the weekend. Luckily though the volume is still on the low side so it wasnt too much trouble.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dec1-7

S: 20,200 yds
B: 4h 53min
R: 4h 42min

Total: 15h 21 min

Oops, a little late. I was a little busy last Monday trying to tie things up at work in the morning before driving down in MAF. Anyway, nothing too exciting, just getting back on the schedule.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Back home

We wrapped things up Thursday evening at MAF and overall had a pretty successful TIM/Kaizan event. There are still plenty of issues which we'll carry as potential cost/schedule risks but at least we have a much better understanding of what they are and how they'll affect production.

One last note on New Orleans, when traveling there and still trying to get a few swims in, I'd highly recommend the facility at the University of New Orleans. The pool is only 25yds long and 4 lanes wide but it is surprisingly well built with an effective draining system. Also, while I was expecting the water to be upwards of 80F due to a sign advertising water aerobics, the water was actually pretty chilly, around 70F. The rest of the facility (weights, aerobic equipment, etc.) is very nice as well, if you are in to that sort of thing.

Now I'm back in the 'ville and after a swim will be watching David Riddle DOMINATE the Rocket City Marathon this morning. His training has been going really well (he dragged me through an 8 mile "easy" run at 6:10 pace last weekend) so I'm confident he'll pull off a great first marathon.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Checking in from the Crescent City- Working, Running, and Eating

Its been a pretty busy last couple of days. Yesterday after working for a bit I had the always enjoyable experience of a 6.5h drive through Alabama and southern Mississippi to New Orleans. This week we've got a technical interchange meeting (TIM) to discuss the manufacturing flow for the cleaning and corrosion protection processes for the Ares I Upper State (US) at the Michoud Assembly Facility. Yep, I'm a dork.

So after sitting in a meeting with the same people all day today, I was ready to get out for a run when I got back to the hotel. However, I'm staying downtown so I was a bit worried where I was going to run. I dont mind running though cities but it gets kind of old when you have to stop every other block when a light changes. Luckily though I stumbled upon St. Charles Ave.

This road runs through the "garden district," the area of town where all the fancy houses are, but the best part about the road is that the trolley runs down the middle. Like a bus, it may only come by a few times an hour. The rest of the time there is a nice dirt trail in the middle of the trolley rails which is perfect for running.

The benefits of running the rails are plenty. First there is the aforementioned dirt trail which provides a welcome reprieve to the usual pavement pounding. Next, the middle of the road provided a nice shelter from traffic. The rails were also well lit and the weather was phenomenal, lows 60s and humidity you could cut with a knife. There was also nice scenery including grand old houses, Loyola University (Uncle Mark's alma mater), and other runners.

Finally, the highlight of the day. Although traveling is always a hassle, I do enjoy the excuse to eat out and to enjoy some really yummy meals. Some places are better than others in this regard but New Orleans has got to be at the top. For dinner tonight I dined at Cochon Restaurant and I must say it was quite delicious. Rather than getting an entree, I got a few smaller dishes. I started with a mixed green salad with grilled onions, satsumas, and chili pecan. Then I had "andouille & sweet potato pie with apple & greens slaw" and "roasted shrimp with ham, chilis, satsumas & cornbread cake." Go here for the menu but both of these dishes were simply awesome. The andouille was just a spicy and smoky which balanced well with the sweetness of the sweet potatoes and tangyness of the vinegarette dressing on the apple and greens slaw. Similarly, the savory flavor of the roasted shrimp with ham married well with the appropriately spiciness of the chili-cheesy-creme sauce and sweetness of the cornbread cake. Incidentally, I'm usually not a fan of cheese sauces or creme sauces but this one was delicious. It was not too rich, not too creamy, not too goopy, just right on. To finish off the meal, "g√Ęteau de chocolat with honey creole cream cheese mousse & pears," which was basically a flourless chocolate cake with a light and fluffy cheesecake top. All in all, a kick ass meal.

Now, its time for bed. Tomorrow morning should be another adventure scouting for a pool before another uber-exciting day at MAF. I cant wait!

PS Last night I had dinner at Emril's Restraunt. I started with a salad: "Abita Root Beer Braised “Fresh Bacon” Salad, Abita Root Beer Braised Niman Ranch Pork Belly with Citrus Slaw, Marinated Yucca, Heirloom Radish, Shaved Jalepeno, Goat Cheese and Pork Cracklings" and then had some salmon: "Oyster Crusted Atlantic Salmon with Dill Preserved Yukon Gold Potatoes, Tuna Bacon Asparagus, Fennel, and Cauliflower Bernaise"

Friday, December 5, 2008

TEBOW

I'm not sure if everyone has heard but there is kind of a big football game in Atlanta tomorrow. This little gridiron battle known as the SEC Championship will for the first time pit the top two ranked teams in the AP poll, the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida Gators. In addition to determining the SEC Champion, the game will also likely determine one of the two teams which will play for the BCS National Championship in Miami.

There has been plenty written about the game and there will be even more analysis between now and tomorrow afternoon by ESPN's talking heads. Power vs. speed, old school vs new school, Alabama's running attack vs Florida's opportunistic defense, Saban vs Meyer... the story lines are plentiful. However, only one thing really matters. Florida has Tim Tebow, Alabama doesnt.

So, here are a few Tebowisms to get ready for the game tomorrow... enjoy!

Tim Tebow CAN believe it's not butter.

Superman's only weakness is Kryptonite. Tim Tebow laughs at Superman for having a weakness.

When you open a can of whoop-ass, Tim Tebow jumps out.

Tim Tebow always knows the EXACT location of Carmen SanDiego.

Tim Tebow can divide by zero.

Superman wears Tim Tebow pajamas.

For other Tim Tebow facts, check out this link.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Too much POWER?????

It looks like its time to retire as it appears I have become too strong for my own good. Tonight as I was loving life on the trainer during a Zn4 effort, my power suddenly plummeted and my RPMs shot up. After some inspection, it became apparent that I had broken my trainer. I have no idea how this is possible but it happened.

While I can't say I was all that upset about having a legitimate excuse not to finish the workout, I can say I'm not looking forward to having to purchase another one of those dreaded machines. What is there to like about having to spend money on a device which will be used solely for self torture??

Regardless of that, though, the night was not all bad. Modern Marvels was about 80s technology and it was cool to learn about some of the history behind some of the devices we take for granted today. I even picked up a couple of tidbits...

Ever wonder why a CD is 74 minutes long? As it turns out a Sony exec was a big fan of classical music and he wanted to make sure Beethoven's 9th Symphony could fit on one CD. Ergo, 74 minutes.

Another Trivial Pursuit answer: 3,333,360. That of course would be the high score in Pac-Man.

Ahh, the 80s...

Freezing rain

Never fails. On the first day in about a month that I actually have to run after work... it is 33F, dark, and frozen precipitation is falling from the sky when I get home from the office. Awesome!! Luckily though the ground was still warm so all of the puddles were in liquid form. Anyway, nothing like a nice start to the training cycle...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Nov24-30

S: 20,800 yds
B: 7h 19min
R: 4h 14min

Total: 16h 45min

Well that was fun. I had a nice week of training while also consuming my fair share of Thanksgiving classics. Top it off with a TON of CFB highlighted by the Gators' domination of the Noles and it was a pretty good week.

Sadly though the fun times are about to come crashing to an end as I'm back to work (aka back on the schedule) this week. Time to start GTWD for next year!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

After stuffing myself with some good southern food laden with saturated fat yesterday, it was back to the office today. Office #2, that is.

Yesterday I went over to Atlanta to have Thanksgiving supper at my aunt's house. She prepared a savory meal just like my grandmother used to and wow, it was gratifying. Perhaps that was due to the copious amount of fat in the meal which became apparent upon inspection of the leftovers today...

Because I'm still apparently young enough to be considered "a growing young man," my aunt sent a plate home with me and when I took it out of the refrigerator today the green beans had white spots on them. No, it was not green bean casserole, just green beans. The white spots? Oh, that was just some congealed fat. Yummy.

So while I didnt have to work today and tomorrow looks like it will consist solely of football viewing, I went ahead and got in a 6k swim with the kids this morning before heading out for a 3h15 ride with some roadies. 3 of the 4 of us have power meters so although they were roadies, the ride was nice and steady and solidly paced. There are few things I despise more than going on an "endurance ride" with cyclists that consists of riding 15 mph on the flats with the occasional sprint up the hill. But yeah, its always great amazing how much quicker the time goes by when you have company.

And now its off to Surin for some sake and sushi. Should be yummy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

THE Sergio is THE man

Being the off season, it is the perfect time to go out and play with the roadies and in order to do that more effectively, I've made a couple of upgrades to the road bike. The most important and exciting was a new saddle courtesy of The Sergio. In case you can't tell from the pic, Sergio hooked me up with a white Fizik Arione which has made the last couple of rides quite enjoyable. (Of course now that I take a step back and look at the bike, I think I'm going to need to get some white bar tape as well to finish off the job...)

Other updgrades include a new chain and a set of Dinotte lights. The roadies here do a weeknight ride which, considering the sun is setting around 4:40, requires lights this time of year. While the lights help with the darkness, they do nothing to counteract the cold and for that reason I've resisted in partaking in the madness as of yet. However as long as it is reasonably warm riding outside will still beat the heck out of the dreaded trainer so at least I'll have that option.

Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Nov: 17-23

S: 22,200 yds
B: 6h 12min
R: 2h 40min

Total: 14h 25 min

Even though it was unseasonably cold this past weekend, I had a great ride on Saturday. It was my first real ride since Clearwater so I was actually fairly surprised with how good I felt. Additionally the temperature was around 50F but I really just wanted to get outside for a bit. After taking about 20 minutes to warm up, I got into a nice grove and powered through a pretty solid 2h. I was certainly ready to be done by the time I got home but there were moments when I was really enjoying being outside and moving fast.

I also got in a nice workout with the kids on Saturday morning where I was once again humbled by a girl who just got her braces off. Fun times.

Friday, November 21, 2008

PB love

This study, recently published in the Scandinavian Journal of Science & Medicine in Sports compared the effects concentration of glucose and fructose (and the ratio between the two) in a sports drink in order to determine the optimal concentrations and ratios while exercising. They found that a 2:1 glucose:fructose ratio was optimal, nothing that it "increases GE (gastric emptying)" and "resulted in lower ratings of perceived exertion." So what sports drink has a 2:1 GLU:FRU ratio? How about Powerbar Endurance! The stuff is awesome and this is just another study that proves it. FYI, I prefer the Fruit Punch flavor but the Lemon Lime is tasty as well. Neither is too sweet and both dissolve well. OTOH, I'd steer away from the Sun Tea unless you don't like any sweetness at all in your sports drink.

Title: Multiple transportable carbohydrates enhance gastric emptying and fluid delivery.

Abstract: This study compared the effects of ingesting water (WATER), an 8.6% glucose solution (GLU) and an 8.6% glucose+fructose solution (2:1 ratio, GLU+FRU) on gastric emptying (GE), fluid delivery, and markers of hydration status during moderate intensity exercise. Eight male subjects (age=24 +/- 2 years, weight=74.5 +/- 1.2 kg, VO(2max)=62.6 +/- 2.5 mL/kg/min) performed three 120 min cycling bouts at 61% VO(2max)). Subjects ingested GLU, GLU+FRU (both delivering 1.5 g/min carbohydrate), or WATER throughout exercise, ingesting 2.1 L. Serial dye dilution measurements of GE were made throughout exercise and subjects ingested 5.00 g of D(2)O and 150 mg of (13)C-acetate at 60 min to obtain measures of fluid uptake and GE, respectively. GLU+FRU resulted in faster rates of deuterium accumulation, an earlier time to peak in the (13)C enrichment of expired air and a faster rate of GE compared with GLU. GLU+FRU also attenuated the rise in heart rate that occurred in GLU and WATER and resulted in lower ratings of perceived exertion. There was a greater loss in body weight with GLU corrected for fluid intake. These data suggest that ingestion of a combined GLU+FRU solution increases GE and "fluid delivery" compared with a glucose only solution.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rock show

Kings of Leon put on a pretty kick ass show last night in Nashville and as a result I've been struggling a bit today. before the show however, Sarah and I had to get some food so we hit up Jack's Bar-B-Que, considered by many to be the best 'que around. It did not disappoint.

Nothing better than 24 oz cans!:

The rock stars:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

ISS, Hugh's lucky break, and a trip to the Music City

Fun times at the office this morning as I had to go check out a problem on a piece of hardware that is scheduled to go up on the space station this summer. There was an issue with the coating on a rack loaded with a bunch of experiments so I got called over to diagnose the problem. Fun times...

In other news the folks from People wanted to give me this title but I had to decline. I figure with the struggling economy and all Hugh Jackman's new blockbuster Australia probably wont gross very much and he'll be needing all the free publicity he can get.

Lastly, I'm headed to Nashville for a concert this evening. Thats right, a concert on a school night. Moreover, Nashville is 2h away so it looks like no training after work or tomorrow morning which I cant say that I mind.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Nov10-16

S: 15,300 yds
B: 58min
R: 1h 4min
Pushups: 70
Situps: 200

Total: 5h 52min

I made it to the pool a few times but other than that it was a very relaxing week. I wouldve skipped that too but I'm just not good enough of a swimmer to stay out of the water for very long.

So about those pushups... during the day on Friday I was planning on going for a run after work. However on the way home I pulled an audible and swung by Publix for a Sam Adams seasonal selection 12 pack instead. I was very pleased with my decision but while watching PTI after I got home I decided it would be a good idea to knock out some pushups in hopes of improving my slightly less than massive physique. My initial plan was to do 100 in sets of 20 with 40 crunches in between each set for good measure. I figured the 100 would be tough but was confident I could get through them.

The first set was hard but I completed it with relative ease. The second was was quite a bit more difficult, causing me to take an extended pause before beginning my third set. The third set was admittedly a struggle but after eeking out the last one I realized I was over half way there and just had two more sets to go. I was pumped up and started the forth set with considerably less rest than I had prior to the third set. The result was that I made it to ten before falling on my face, lying on the floor for a while, and watching the rest of PTI without anymore pushups.

The next morning I went to swim with the kids and did a few 400IMs. The combination of those two foolish activities caused my poor chest to be sore throughout the weekend and up to this morning.

Friday, November 14, 2008

B double E double R-U-N

So yeah, this week has been pretty relaxing and very productive. Its amazing how much you can get done around the apartment with an extra 20 hours a week! While I did get plenty of mundane cleaning done, I also made some kick ass banana bread with walnuts and chocolate chips:



As for today, instead of heading home for a run, I swung by Publix to pick up some beer because, well, it is Friday and I have no schedule. The best part though was that when I got in the car for the drive home, this song was on the radio:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Post Race Pics!

Sis and Bro:


The fan club:



Jodi with the two sandbaggers, Lauren Harrison (left) and Lindsey Jerdonek (right). Needless to say, they both had awesome races and DOMINATED their respective AGs:



Tristan "T-Pain" Brown, Bruce "Dont knock my IRONMAN tat" Gennari, and Ben "Folds Five" Harper. I'll let you fill in the caption on this one:


After the awards, it was off the to the bar. For this next pic, I'd just like to apologize to Amanda Balding and Erin Krummer...


Me, Katie, and my good friend, Mojito.



After the bar, where else but IHOP! Bruce and rockstar Cindi Bannick:

And of course, what RR would be complete without food?? Nothing like a western omlette and buttermilk pancakes at 2AM:


Monday, November 10, 2008

70.3 World Champs Race Report

Before diving into this, I have to give a big "Thank You" to my sister, Katie, for picking me up from the airport and driving me around on Friday. She had to put up with my impatience/anxiety/drama-queen-esque attitude most of the day on Friday as we had to rush around to take care of all of the usual pre-race nonsense.

As for the actual race... Saturday early morning went off without a blip. I went through my usual routine and was feeling calm, confident, and focused. I was feeling great about my training and was ready to put it all together and EXECUTE because I knew if I did that I'd have a good result.

After a swim in the Gulf, I found myself on the beach at the start line for the World Championships. It was a picturesque setting with the sun rising and a calm ocean in front of us. The cannon sounded and we were off. I didnt have a great start and was a bit boxed in. By about 1/4 of the way into the swim I had found some open water and settled into my rhythm. Unfortunately I had been boxed in and had already lost contact with the front pack so I spent the rest of the race swimming by myself. I could see the other swimmers ahead and although I thought I was catching them I could never quite close the gap.

Coming out of the water I was a little dissapointed with the time but hoped I wasnt too far down. After a quick transition I was out onto the bike. It was a crisp day and I was ready to DOMINATE the bike ride. After 7 miles or so a couple of guys passed me and went about 50 meters up the road. However, they werent really pulling away and by the 15 mile mark I had almost caught back up to them. By this time I was feeling great and more importantly, moving FAST. My first 5 miles had been a bit slow at just under 12:30 but the next two 5 mile splits were both under 12 minutes. Additionally, I was feeling really good and even hoping to open it up around mile 40 and negative split the ride. The next few segments continued this sub 12 min 5 mile trend and I was looking forward to a nice PR on the bike.

Then, around mile 32, it happened. I heard the sound everyone dreads when they are on a bike. Within seconds, my rear wheel was unstable and I was forced to pull over and stop. I immediately got to work popping the wheel off the bike and fixing the flat all the while trying to keep a good attitude and reminding myself that even if I lose a couple of minutes, I can still have a decent finish. I finished the pit stop NASCAR style and soon enough I was back on the bike.

As I got up to speed, I was pleased with the efficiency of my change and was still determined to have a good ride, even with the stop. I knew I couldnt make up the time I had lost but I could still turn in a solid time by simply staying focused and riding strong.

Then no more than 5 minutes later, it happened again. This time however, it was the front tire and the air screaming out of the tube was taking my chances for a decent finish with it. Somewhat luckily I was close to the bike preem where there was an official with a race radio who called for support. He asked if I wanted to continue a couple of times, almost like he thought I wanted a ride back. I just wanted a tube... the thought of not finishing hadnt crossed my mind.

Needless to say I was pretty upset but at that point, what could I do? Not much so I sat down and watched male and female pros scream past while waiting for tech support. As I sat there I was determined not to let the unfortunate turn of events ruin my day. I sat there, soaked up some sun, and was just happy to be able to be out racing in a World Championships in beautiful weather, nonetheless.

Eventually the tech support came, I got my flat fixed, and I was off. The temporary lull had come and gone and now I had to find a way to get going again after a 20 minute break. The remainder of the ride was strange. I was racing, but almost in the twilight zone as in the last 20+ miles I saw a grand total of 2 competitors: pro women who I passed. I was actually worried about a cop not paying attention and letting someone pull out in front of me as I was screaming home. I did have a redneck in a pickup truck try to cut me off but the cop was luckily on top of it.

Finally, I arrived back in transition at which time I was greeted by the announcer with, "and it looks like we have another of our female pros finishing up the bike ride!" Awesome. Incidentally, my bike splits from IM live tell the story:

BIKE SPLIT 1 20.7 mi. (49:54) 24.89 mph
BIKE SPLIT 2 20.3 mi. (1:09:06) 17.63 mph
BIKE SPLIT 3 15 mi. (35:00) 25.71 mph
TOTAL BIKE 56 mi. (2:34:00) 21.82 mph

The run actually started with some excitement as when I started my run Terenzo, who was in 1st place, had just started his 2nd lap of the run but the 2nd place male was still on his 1st lap. So it appeared, for those not paying attention, that I was in 2nd place. I actually had the NBC guys taping me for a solid mile or so until the following conversation took place:

NBC Cameraman: I'm assuming you are in second place...
Me (smiling): Nope, I'm just on my first lap!

At that point the cameraman mumbled something to the driver and the motorcycle sped away. So much for the pub. A bit later, I caught Terenzo and we had a little conversation:

Me: Dont worry, dude. I got two flats and am on my first lap.
Terenzo (In Aussie accent): You just made me shit my pants!



The second lap was considerably less exciting and I lost a little focus in the middle of it. It was kind of hard to push through those hard miles when I knew my time was still going to be slower than a number of girls. But I made it to a mile to go, had a pretty decent last mile, and was more than happy to finish.

Immediately afterward I apologized to Terenzo for making him soil himself and went over and talked with my awesome family members. Everyone was really supportive, including my cousin, Aiden, who is about 5 years old and asked, "Andrew, what took you so long??"

I'll fill in some details (hopefully with pics) about the rest of the day later, but thats all I've got for now. While I was certainly disappointed to not be able to showcase my fitness, I still had a good time celebrating an otherwise successful season with friends and family.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Checking in from Clearwater

I had a pretty uneventful trip down yesterday. Katie picked me up from the airport and then we bolted straight to Chipotle which was everything I wanted... and more... probably because I was going through withdraw.

Anyway, right now we're off to meet some members of the posse for a swim which will surely be followed by some pancakes which will then of course be followed by all the normal pre-race nonsense. At least the weather down here is awesome. Not a cloud in the sky with the highs in the upper 70s. Gotta love Florida in November. Well... time for a swim!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cruising into Clearwater

Now that new socialist regime has been elected, I figure I might as well quit my job and do the triathlon thing full time. Why not? I mean with all this "redistribution of wealth" that has been touted, where is the motivation to work hard?

As for triathlon related issues... tapering is awesome. I had a nice run last night and swim this morning and should be ready to rip on Saturday. Tomorrow I'm flying down to Tampa where my awesome sister will pick me up and shuttle me and my bike to Clearwater. I get in at 6PM which means it should be just about time for dinner as we pass by the Clearwater Mall en route from the airport to our hotel. Why is this important? Well, it just so happens it would appear that across the street from the Clearwater Mall is Chipotle. I havent had the pleasure of a Chipotle burrito since I was in Kansas for the 70.3 in June so I'll definitely be looking forward to some goodness. Yummy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

GO VOTE

If you live in the US and are a citizen... get out and vote. And thats all I have to say about that.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Oct27-Nov2

S: 27,200 yds
B: 8h 28min
R: 2h 12min

Total: 17h 28min

The last semblance of training is in the bank and now it is full on taper time. Last week went pretty well and things are pointing towards a good race this weekend. Really though I'm just looking forward to seeing how I stack up against the huge field. There are around 65 male pros on the start list so I will hopefully have plenty of people around me in the race to keep things interesting. Also, being the last race of the season, I certainly want to end on a good note so there will be that extra bit of motivation as well.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Sunday Sunday

Well it is officially taper time for Clearwater. Yesterday I had a nice 2:45h ride + transition run which went well. With the race being on Saturday, I got that last longish tune up out of the way yesterday so I just had a swim and easy bike today. It was great to not have to do the usual long ride today and I enjoyed the extra relaxation time. This included watching coverage of IMAZ and the New York City Marathon on TV which were on at the same time. Its not often you see an IM and marathon on TV at the same time... pretty cool! While the IM did have an unusually close finish, I have to admit the marathon was still more exciting to watch. Of course part of that couldve been due to the TV coverage (NBC vs Versus) but who knows...

Only a few days of work this week and then its off to Clearwater!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

More importantly though Halloween means one thing... its time for the game formerly known but no longer officially referred to as the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. This little skirmish down in Jacksonville between the University of Florida and the University of Georgia is heightened this year due to Georgia's on field antics last year. After scoring their first touchdown the entire team ran onto the field to celebrate. While it really was silly, I guess I can understand why the dawgs were so happy to get a measly six points seeing how they had lost 14 of the previous 17 meetings. Tomorrow's game promises to be a good one as both teams come in off big wins but hopefully the Gators can pull it out. I cant wait!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why do we play?

Paulo and Joel both posted a recent rant from San Francisco's head coach, Mike Singletary, during which he rather emphatically stated that he, "only wants winners". This of course reminded me of one, if not the greatest, all time football coach rants from former Jets head coach, current Chiefs head coach, Herman Edwards. It is concise, coherent, and marvelously well delivered:


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

All trianer, all the time

While daylight savings time doesnt officially end until this Sunday, November 1st, bike riding outside during the week has all but completely vanished. The sun is now setting a few minutes before 6:00 which means there just isnt any way to get in a 1:30h ride after work but before the sun sets.

As a result, I've been on the trainer the last two nights. Fun times for sure. Luckily though I actually havent had that hard of time getting motivated for the sessions, likely due to the fact that Clearwater is just around the corner. Admittedly this sentiment will likely have completely vanquised by the middle of December when my nearest race is months away but we'll just have to deal with that then...

While I was mashing the pedals last night I was watching E:60 on ESPN while also listening to one of my stations on Pandora. I had a Zn4 workout to DOMINATE so I was really just listening to the music and only using the TV as ancillary entertainment. However, during a rest interval of the workout, I noticed there was a story on Viagra as a performance enhancing substance. They showed pictures of the Rockies and of football players at Mile High Stadium getting oxygen on the sidelines but the story seemed to focus on cyclists, especially older age group athletes looking for a boost. Unfortunately I was too busy pounding away at the intervals and listening to music to hear the story.

Interested, I did a bit of Googling and found this story in the New York Daily News which is centered on the fact that WADA is looking into whether or not Viagra is a PED. While there are numerous studies currently being carried out, Kenneth Rundell, a respiratory researcher at Marywood University, says, "There have been studies that indicate that Viagra allows you to exercise at sea-level capacity at higher elevations." Additionally, according to the infamous Victor Conte, "Viagra vasodilates (widens) the lungs and pulmonary arteries. This is where the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen occurs. So more red blood cells carrying oxygen get into the heart and more carbon dioxide is pumped out." Naturally then this would help improve performance in endurance sports.

So what does this all mean? Unfotunately it looks like this is another way for people to cheat. There will never be drug testing in amateur cycling, running, or triathlon races so this really just harms those who try to do it the right way and want to be competitive at the same time. While some of these people are certainly out there for that all important AG award, I believe most people know what a good performance is for them and get satisfaction out of that good performance, whether or not it is accompianied by a ten cent plaque.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oct20-26

S: 23,900 yds
B: 9h 53min
R: 5h 53min

Total: 21h 45min

I had another nice week of quality workouts capped off with the best (in terms of TSS) long ride of the current training cycle. This is encouraging because the increase in TSS came while the duration of the ride remained the same, indicating an increase in intensity. I also upped the intensity on the tempo run as I joined David on his MP run. I kept him company for six miles which was enough for me since by that point we were running faster than 5:30 pace. He continued on for another 6 and should have an awesome debut marathon.

With the last long ride out of the way and less than two weeks until Clearwater, the hard work is (almost) completed. Now its just time to get ready to race... Bring it on!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The wonderfood that is apple crisp and other ramblings...

With the ride postponed to this afternoon today due to chilly early morning temperatures, I decided to make some apple crisp. Now is the season for apples and when I saw some Granny Smiths on sale at Publix, I couldnt resist. What I didnt realize, however, is that it is great pre bike ride food. Of course with the enourmous amount of sugar, this should be no surprise. It was so good preride, I had some more after the ride as well:


And here is the cumulative damage:


In other ramblings... naps are awesome. Especially when they follow swimming, running, and homemade buttermilk pancakes... The WLOCP next weekend in Jacksonville will be huge. Florida and Georgia both had comfortable victories this past weekend setting up next weekend's game as the de facto playin for the trip to Atlanta in December. The game also has national title implications with the loser all but gone from a chance at the national title and winner still very much in the hunt (albeit still needing some help). As if all that werent enough, there are the antics from last year which were at the annual preseason SEC Media Days... Rednecks like their dogs. They also like to let their dogs run around their yard. Thirdly, their dogs like to chase things, like cyclists. When it only occurs once in a while, getting chased by a dog isnt too big of a deal. But when it happens 4 seperate times by a total of 6 dogs it has just gotten out of hand... I feel really sorry for Rich Brooks. Its never good when your defense cant stop the opposing team's offense. It also isnt good when your offense cant move the ball against the opposing teams defense. But its just downright awful when you also get your first two punts blocked. Result? Florida 28, Kentucky 0 after the first quarter.... Speaking of things that arent good, it is never fun to get stung by a wasp, especially when it is 2h into a 3h ride... How 'bout the hoos?? Somehow Virginia pulled out a big win over GA Tech. This can only mean one thing: a loss next week against Miami even though the hoos will certainly be favored... It has gotten chilly here and will be getting cold next week. Good thing Clearwater is just around the corner... Despite the aforementioned "distractions" I had a great ride today. Of course I wouldnt have known this without the PT. Yes, it is just that awesome.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

HEAT

Flipping through the channels on Tuesday night I came across a new episode of Frontline entitled HEAT. The summary looked interesting, so I decided to watch. Not surprisingly, it was superb.

If you aren't familiar with Frontline, it is a show which airs weekly on PBS. Each episode is essentially a two hour long video report on a given topic. The length of the program and the fact that each episode focuses one only one issue (unlike other news magazine programs), allows the reporter to thoroughly explore every aspect of the given topic. Additionally, the reporting is generally remarkably unbiased, with tough interviews of influential representatives on both sides of a given issue.

The episode which aired Tuesday was HEAT, "A global investigation into one of the greatest crises that mankind has ever faced -- Can we roll back global warming?" It began by discussing some of the causes and effects of climate change and then dove into the economic and political forces which have been and are continuing to drive our nation's (and the world's) energy policy.

Some of the more interesting topics which were highlighted and discussed included the advantages of and barriers to carbon sequestration, the glaring lack of investment of oil companies in alternative energy, and (most importantly) the absurdity of ethanol as a viable sustainable energy option. It even touched on topics like the rise and fall and rise again of the electric car at GM and the huge increase in carbon emmissions of India (several hundred million new drivers will be taking to the streets) and China (where they currently building new coal plants at the rate of 2 a day).

If you missed it, the entire video is available here, on the PBS website, and I'd highly recommend watching. While I was in grad school at UVA I took a class on energy policy and since then this is the most thorough, non-biased overview of the factors currently influencing our country's energy policy that I've seen.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hey Paulo, you think that stew had a lot of saturated fat??

Last week Paulo commented that my beef stew recipe was loaded with saturated fat. If only he had realized how timely his comment was. The beef stew may not have been the leanest meal I've ever made but it was downright anorexic compared to the feast I enjoyed on Saturday.

The occasion? My friend Greg Reynolds decided to have some people over for a barbecue and football watching on what was otherwise just another Saturday in the fall. Unbeknown to me, Greg is quite the master when it comes to grill.

He got up at 4AM to get the smoker going and start smoking two pork butts* and some racks of ribs. They were, quite simply, incredibly delicious.The pic below shows the thermometers as its hard to time these job precisely...

Here is a nice shot of the ribs:
And here is one of the butts...

before Greg pulls it apart. MMMMM pulled pork.... YUMMMMMY!!!
Greg used a kick ass dry rub and the meat was so flavorful and juicy that sauce really wasn't needed. My contribution to the party was some apple cider vinegar based coleslaw which complemented the pork nicely.



*A "butt" actually refers to the shoulder of the pig. Why it is called a butt I have no idea...

Oct13-19

S: 23,700 yds
B: 9h 33min
R: 6h 28min

Total: 21h 57min

Another solid week down the drain. I can't say there were any spectacular workouts, just a lot of high quality "getting the work done". Additionally the perpetual state of soreness/tiredness has returned to almost full force so getting out the door has been a bit of a struggle but with Clearwater less than a month away, the motivation is there to get out and train.

Bonus to the weekly update we have a quote of the week. This gem is courtesy of Newt Gingrich who, when referring to the Bush Administration on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, said, "They came in as social conservatives and are leaving as conservative socialists..."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Only in Alabama

Last night I was stuck on the trainer again as rain + fleeting daylight + everyone trying to get off the Arsenal at the same time = extremely unsafe riding conditions. So after getting home and setting up the pain machine, I got started around 5:30 and was flipping between PTI and World News with Charles Gibson before watching Modern Marvels from 6-6:30 then picking up the Thursday night football game on ESPN at 6:30. While getting a shot of Erin Andrews always rates near the top of any viewing experience, the highlight of this evening's television was actually a commercial. At some point there was an ad for Woody Anderson Ford where they were advertising a free shotgun with the purchase of an F-150. Thats right kids, buy a truck, get a gun. Honestly, I couldnt make this up if I tried...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Beef Stew

With the weather turning its the perfect time for a nice warm, hearty, stew. Last week I made some chili but this week I wanted to try something new. After scouring various food recipe websites, I settled on a recipe for a beef stew from Dave Lieberman which looked particularly appetizing. Unlike the standard beef stew containing beef, carrots, potatoes, onions, and maybe some celery and/or peppers, this ingredient list still has the standard fare of beef, carrots, potatoes, and onions but also contains crushed tomatoes, red wine, green beans, and fresh rosemary. So Sunday afternoon I made the usual trip to Publix, picked up the ingredients, and got to work. The full recipe can be found here.

I realize that simply linking to the recipe is admittedly a bit lame but the instructions were well written and the soup came out really well. The flavors of the beef, tomatoes, red wine, and rosemary all work very well together to produce a savory stew. While (like any good stew) it did take a while to cook, the wait was well worth it! Additionally, the best part are the leftovers! This one pot will last at least four or five meals and most likely be just as good (if not better) each time so although there is a bit of work required up front, the ROI is substantial especially when considering how much more time is available on the weekends for food preparation compared to the weekdays. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

BRO

is the name of the game right now on the bike. For those unfamiliar with the acronym, BRO stands for Big Ring Only and comes via The Professor, Matt Calarco. Matt grew up riding in San Diego in the pre-Lance days when cranking a big gear was all the rage. As the story goes, he and his friends would have contests on long training rides to see who could get the farthest up a few long climbs in the Southern California area in their big rings. This doesn't sound like fun for your knees but when you're 16, who cares??

Anyway, what was once merely a joke has now turned into a training philosophy as Paulo is convinced my cadence is too high in races. And who am I to argue? So in order to counteract that its been lots of BRO riding in training. Now while this may be easy and even comfortable for the uber bikers out there like Bjorn, this is not particularly fun for me as its quite difficult to make my little legs crank a high torque. The bottom line though is that as long as it will make me faster on two wheels, I'm all for it!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Oct6-12

S: 22,900 yds
B: 9h 10min
R: 4h 12min

Total: 19h 7min

With less than a month to go until Clearwater, its all about intensity. Of course with daylight disappearing about as fast as investment banks, its hard to rack up much bike volume during the week. Even with the shorter weekday workouts, if I have to stay late at work I'm relegated to the trainer. This happened on Tuesday AND Thursday this past week which made Thursday's workout especially mind numbing.

I almost forgot... Happy Columbus Day! I'm not sure who decided this needed to be a holiday, but I dont have to work, so I'm not complaining. Gotta love those random government holidays!

Wind blows aka Another reason to train with POWER

Below is a comparison of the first half of my rides the last two weeks. I only took the first half because the route is fairly flat and doesnt have too many stoplights. So here goes...

Date: 10/5/08
Pnorm = 214 W
Pavg = 205 W
Avg Speed = 21.7 mph

Date: 10/12/08
Pnorm = 217 W
Pavg = 207 W
Avg Speed = 20.5 mph

As you can see, although the power values for both rides were about the same, the average speed on 10/5 was 1.2 mph higher. The main difference? It was really windy yesterday whereas the 5th was a relatively calm day. Of course everyone knows that a headwind or crosswind will slow you down. The problem is that it is hard to say how much. Additionally, because struggling to pedal along at 12 mph into a headwind feels so different than flying along at 30 mph with a tailwind, it is often hard to use PE to determine which is better workout.

This just another advantage to owning a power meter. Unlike speed, which is highly dependent on external environmental variables, power is only affected by how hard you are working. So whether you are going 12 or 30 mph the power meter doesnt care.

The map below encompasses most of the first part of the ride but I have to admit I dont know all the road names so I only made it as far as I know ;)


View Larger Map

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pretty nice little Saturday

Yesterday started off with the Monte Sano 15k. I have been doing a long tempo run on Friday night so I really just switched it to Saturday morning this week and did my usual 50min Saturday morning run on Friday night. Heading into the race I planned on running the first half in 5:35 pace or so (the course is pretty hilly) and then picking it up the last few miles. I felt good starting out and was in 2nd for the first few miles and everything was going according to plan. However, going up a couple of the steeper hills I started having some lets just say... internal plumbing issues... and was worried about changing pace too much. The legs felt fine though so I just kept the same pace for the rest of the race and upon finishing continued straight through the chute and into the little boy's room.

After clearing things out, I felt much better but was dissappointed about not being able to accelerate at the end of the race. Still though, the legs werent really sore and I ended up getting in 18 miles on the day with 9.3 @ 5:37 pace, so all in all it was a pretty good workout. Even better, it only costed me $15 to sign up and I got a long sleeve tech shirt and a free pair of shoes as an award. Not a bad deal! Plus, even with the digestional issues, it was a lot more fun (and a more quality workout) doing the race as opposed to the long run by myself.

From there I headed home to clean up, watch some football, and track the IM. Texas-Oklahoma put on a good show as well as South Carolina-Kentucky.

At the end of the early games it was time for a bike ride. Because I didnt get to open it up as much as I wouldve like to at the race, the ride ended up being better than expected.



With that out of the way it was time for the highlight of the day: Florida-LSU watching with the Spring City Gator Club. The gathering was at a member's house this week and due to the matchup with LSU, the club bought some gumbo and asked everyone to bring something to share. I made some cornbread and was stoked for the game.

In case you missed it, the game was total domination for the Gators as they "hung half a hundred" on LSU. It was the first time since 1996 that LSU had given up 50+. Anyone want to guess who that came against? Thats right, the Gators, under some guy named Steve Spurrier.

But back to the game. It really was a great performance by the Gators. The offensive line opened up some nice holes for freshman running backs Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey helping Florida amass 265 yards on the ground. Additionally, the defensive front stepped up big holding LSU to only 80 yards rushing. This is dispite the fact that LSU's leading rusher, Charles Scott, had rushed for over 100 yards in every game this year. And finally, Tim Tebow was Tim Tebow. I can only hope they'll (yes they, NOT we) play this well the rest of the year. If so, it should be a great season!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Branded :0

As if I didnt hate the trainer enough already, it gave me even more of a reason to despise it. Or maybe it was just getting back at me for all the evil things I've said to it, who knows. Anyway, this little incident offers the perfect opportunity to highlight trainer safety. After spending 1.5h suffering, be very careful when putting your bike and trainer away!

When winter finally rolls around I'll likely just leave the bike on the trainer permanently as the chances of riding outside during the week will be nonexistent. However, because I plan to ride the orange speed machine outside tomorrow and Sunday, I went ahead and took it off the trainer last night after the workout. Wanting to keep the apartment semi-straitened, I decided it would be a good idea to move the trainer out of the middle of the room. However, I did this right after finishing my workout and apparently wasnt paying much attention because I allowed the cooling unit to hit the back of my leg. Because I had just completed my session, the unit was still quite hot and I got a nice little burn on the back of my leg. As if the initial pain wasnt bad enough, the shower last night and dip in the pool this morning have offered repeated reminders of its presence.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Rain, rain, go away!

or at least come again later in the day. Actually, there no reason the rain needs to go away... just the lightning that accompanies it.

Shortly after dragging myself out of bed this morning at 4:30 I noticed it was raining. It wasnt a torrential downpour but it was coming down fairly steadily. I didnt think too much of it except how nice it would be to have a legitimate excuse to just go back to bed and skip the trip to the pool. However because a little rain is certainly not the requisite excuse, I proceeded on my standard pre-swimming procedure of starting the coffee maker before getting dressed. However, once the coffee was ready I had to pause a bit to ponder how wonderful going back to bed would be. That lasted all of about 13 seconds and soon enough I was savoring the coffee while constructing my lunch.

Up to the pool and even during my 5 minute drive there were huge discrepancies in the rate at which precipitation was falling from the sky. I arrived at the pool, got changed, and stoop out on the deck for a few minutes, procrasitinating about starting the workout. I eventually jumped in and went through my usual 800 yd warm up. Shortly after starting the main set, however, the plug was pulled on the early morning fun. There was lightning in the area and we had to get out. Dumpster. At this point I had had coffee and warmed up, so going back to sleep really wasnt an option. However, I also didnt really do a workout so needless to say, sleeping in would have been a much better decision but such is life.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sep29-Oct5

S: 23,800 yds
B: 7h 42min
R: 4h 11min

Total: 17h 50min

Last weekend was the SC Half so the first few days of this week were relatively light training. However, by Thursday I was back to regularly scheduled programming. I've been feeling great in the pool and got in a few really high quality swims to end the week along with a very solid long ride on Sunday.

As for this week I have a 15k to look forward to on Saturday. It takes place up on top of Monte Sano Mountain so it should be nice and cool for the 8AM start. Other than that it'll be business as usual as I'll just be focusing on GTWD before Clearwater.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday Ride Summary

I had a pretty decent long ride today so I thought I'd post the stats. The workout was a pretty typical Sunday ride, 3h Zn2 with 3 x 30min Zn3.

Duration: 3:02:31 (3:03:26)
Work: 2147 kJ
TSS: 208.9 (intensity factor 0.831)
VI: 1.07
Distance: 63.571 mi
Cadence (avg): 86 rpm
Speed (avg): 21.0 mph
Mountains traversed: 1

Friday, October 3, 2008

Gotta get LEAN

And no, I'm not talking about body fat...

The last few days I've been sequestered in a room with 10-15 other materials engineers with the goal of coming up with a process for... writing processes (technically materials and process specifications) for the manufacturing of the Ares Upper Stage. Sounds fun, huh? This was a "Kaizen" event which is where you are supposed to take a process, analyze it, and then "lean" it out. The only problem was that we didnt really have a process to begin with. So after following our "moderators" instructions and going through all the steps, we eventually formed our "idealized" process and came out with some "action items" for management. IMHO, we couldve done this in about half a day rather than 2.5 but of course this was a "value added" activity due to the fact that it was a "Kaizen" event. Yeah...

So after being holed up all day yesterday (and Wednesday and Tuesday) it was nice to get out for a run. I'm back in the routine after the race last weekend and last night was tempo run night. While the weather is becoming less and less ideal for cycling, it is patently perfect for running. This led to utter enjoyment once I got the legs going. Now admittedly I certainly didnt break any records in terms of speed but the cool, crisp air was just what I needed after the 3 day headpounding session I had to endure at work.

Monday, September 29, 2008

South Carolina Half RR

I mixed things up a bit and started the day with a chocolate peanut butter and banana bagel rather than the usual peanut butter and banana bagel with honey mainly because well, I was in a hurry while packing and the chocolate peanut butter was the first thing I saw. This stuff, BTW, is delicious and it got the day started off right. It also goes very well with coffee.

I arrived at the race site without any hassle and after parking the car I started getting my bike ready. I then headed over to transition and went through the usual prerace nonsense. In transition I got to meet Jeremy Sipos, a fellow member of the Posse who lives in the ATL. Soon enough it was off to the swim start, which was about a quarter mile from transition.

After pulling on the wetsuit I only got to warmup for about 5 minutes in the water before we were called out. While I would’ve liked to have loosened up a bit more I wasn’t too worried because we were allowed to wear wetsuits even though the water was reported to be a cozy 73 degrees. Regardless, after a prayer and the national anthem, the largest open field in the (short) history of the race was back into the water for an air horn start.

The lake was nice and calm and after a few minutes I settled into a group with two other guys. There was another guy out front so we were 2-3-4. I was sitting in third (2nd in our group) and about a quarter of the way through the swim the guy in front of me started veering off course a bit so I cut back to the inside. He mustve realized his error because soon enough he came back towards me and I ended up pulling my two swimming partners the rest of the way. Fine by me as I was in a good rhythm; just trying to go as fast as possible without overheating in the wetsuit. Finishing up the swim I could tell the first place guy wasn’t too far ahead so I was hoping he’d come back during the run, if not on the bike.

I jumped onto the bike and I was ready to rock and roll. In order to not have a repeat of Almere, I was determined to not to go out too hard and I also wanted to make sure to eat enough. Not going out too hard was simply solved by trying for the same power as Almere as I was fine through 56 miles there (just couldnt quite make it 75...). So once I settled into my targeted power range I braced myself for what was sure to be a number of people coming past me on the bike because, well, that’s what usually happens to me in races.

However, a funny thing happened… no one was coming. On the other hand, I was actually catching the guy ahead of me… what a concept! About 12 or so miles in I caught him and was feeling good so proceeded to go right by him into the lead. “He must be a swimmer,” I thought and after passing him I was still ready for others to start coming by. I continued to lead up until the aid station at mile 30 when while I was grabbing a bottle of Gatorade, former #1 passed me to retake the lead. I let him lead for about 5 minutes then repassed him on a downhill as I was determined to keep the speed up and we just weren’t going fast enough with him in front.

So the miles ticked by and I kept riding my race, waiting for the others to come. 30, 35, 40 miles down. At this point, I was still feeling great. Additionally, I knew that time was running out on the cyclists. If someone else wanted to win the race, he’d have to catch me pretty soon or be ready to run really fast. 45, 50 miles down. By now I was pretty excited and I start kicking it in, just so I could win ST’s all important “race to T2.” The best part was that the power was still there and I finished strong.




Heading out on the run I saw my pursuers and realized they weren’t far behind. However, I also knew that as long as I didn't totally blow up, I should have be able to hold everyone off. I felt good and came through the first mile in 5:42. The run course is two loops and I just told myself to just take it nice and easy on the first, then if I needed to I could always pick it up on the second. The miles started slowly clicking away (2= 5:48, 3 = 5:40) and I just sang along to the song(s) in my head and tried to stay relaxed. Finishing up the first loop, I got a huge boost from the crowd and headed out onto the second. There were some hilly parts around the turnaround with uneven footing but other than that I was feeling fine. It was nice to see the other competitors out on the course as well. Soon I arrived at mile 11 (11 = 5:52) which sat near the top of a hill and was a place that I told myself I just needed to get to as it would me mostly downhill from there. Still feeling good, I started to open it up a bit. I turned back into the park for the last time and it was a thrill running through the crowd again.



At this point I was still feeling great, but was ready to be done. However, the finish for this race is a bit evil. After running by the lake, participants had to trek up an ~13% grade hill. It was only about 20m long, but that’s an eternity at the end of the race. As I begin the ascent, the announcer starts screaming, “Come on, if you sprint you can break 4 hours!”




Do I want to sprint? Hell no. But he totally just called me out so I oblige, huff up the hill, and finish in 3:59:53. I’m told that it is a course record, so that was pretty cool.



The post race spread was included a nice meal of hamburger, grilled chicken, pasta salad, and a brownie in addition to Coca Cola and lemonade. There was also Bruster’s Ice Cream which, unfortunately, was not free. However, I had no problem forking over $5 for a double scoop waffle cone of sheer goodness.

All in all I was really pleased with the race. It certainly helps get over the poor performance in Almere and gives me confidence for Clearwater. For now though, its back to work!