Thursday, July 31, 2008

An easy day!

Today I'm heading up to Frederick, MD for my mom's uncle's wedding which meant Paulo had to give me the evening off. This meant that when I woke up this morning it was so great knowing after I got my AM workout done, I'd be done for the day. Of course the only problem is that this workout was a 16 mile run. Not a hard workout but not an easy one, either. I mean, I can remember (not that long ago) when a 16 mile run was one of my hardest workouts of the week. It was done on a Saturday, when I had nothing else to do all day and could relax and recover. Now OTOH I'm thrilled that I just have to knock it out, go to work, and not have to worry about another workout in the evening.

While this short break is nice, tomorrow its back at it with the always dreaded 2x20!

Fun times on the tempo run

Last night I had a 35min progressive tempo run after a 1h ride and when I started the run my legs were feeling pretty heavy... They just didnt have any 'pop'. I eventually worked my way into a decent pace but it was certainly nothing special. Additionally I was running through a neighborhood I run through fairly frequently and just didnt have any motivation to really push the pace. However, with about 15 minutes to go I came out of the neighborhood and into a rather large strip mall parking lot. Within the span of a couple of minutes, I had a few incidences which, got me going a bit and provided some entertainment for the rest of the workout.

First, a guy yelled, "Get after it, son!" out the window of his truck. I'm sure he was mocking me but ironically it was a nice little bit of motivation. Next up was a "nice legs" comment from a group of middle school girls. (Incidentally, Target is apparently the new hangout for middle schoolers. It seems every time I run by there is a group loitering outside.) Finally, I passed by a Cold Stone and caught a whiff of the scent of freshly cooked waffle cones emanating from inside. Soooo yummy. For whatever reason, the short distractions provided a bit of mental break and made it a lot easiery to really push it for the last 10 minutes or so without too much trouble. In the end it was still a pretty tough workout but at least I had some entertainment along the way.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Jul21-27

S: 20,300yds
B: 14h 52min
R: 6h 7min

Total: 26h 4min

All in all a pretty huge week. I am pretty sure that's the most I've ever ridden my bike in a week which not surprisingly also led to an all-time high in total number of hours. After all its pretty easy to pad the hours with lots of bike miles. Anyway, the good news is that I'm feeling much better on the new position as power numbers from Saturday's and Sunday's rides were much better than the previous weekend's. More importantly though I'm feeling much more comfortable in the aerobars which is rather imperative for fast riding. Hopefully I can keep things rolling for a few more weeks and be ready to rock and roll in Almere!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Taking the good with the bad

The past few days have been a nice little reminder that while consistent high quality training will ultimately lead to good results, there may be some bumps along the way. Wednesday's afternoon workout was not so great and then Thursday's 2x20 was just downright terrible. Or aweful... whichever is worse. The PE was high but the power just wasnt there. And it wasnt just barely not there... it was like Zn4-intervals-at-Zn3-power" not there. On the other hand, Friday I had a great workout. It was a 1h bike + 50min Zn3 run + 10min cooldown and I hit the last two miles of the Zn3 part in 5:45, 5:38 and felt nice and relaxed. Similarly, Saturday's 3h ride, the third workout of the day, also went really well as I had no problem keeping the wattage in upper Zn2 on the flats and Zn3 on the climbs. So the moral of the story? While quantitative feedback is great, every once in a while you have just take a bad workout for what it is, move on, hope the next one is better, and remember that it is just a workout and not a race. Plus lets face it, if every workout goes great then you probably arent training enough.

Friday, July 25, 2008

SEC Media Days

Ahh yes, nothing like a little college football talk to get you through the dog days of summer. Although the Tour has been incredibly exciting, it still doesnt hold a straw to the excitement of the college football season. The passion, especially here in the south, is simply unreal.

This year the media throng culminated in Birmingham for the annual SEC Media Days where columnists from across the country get to drill SEC coaches and players. One of the the main attractions this year was last year's Heisman Trophy winner and all around good guy, Tim Tebow. Seriously, is there anything this guy cant do? Here is his recent schedule, taken from this article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In addition, he is working on a cure for cancer and solutions for the world food and energy crises, so we'll let you know when he finishes those up.

TEBOW STAYS ON THE RUN

Since the end of Florida's 2007 regular season and the beginning of preseason practice in August, Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow will have traveled more than 15,000 miles to be honored by 15 different organizations in nine different states. He has also made three mission trips. Here are just the highlights of his travel schedule this year:

Jan. 1: Plays against Michigan in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando.

Jan. 10-13: Walter Camp All-America weekend, New Haven, Conn.

Jan. 18: After team meeting, goes to locker room to tape an intro with ESPN's College Game Day.

Jan. 19: Honored at halftime of the Florida-Kentucky men's basketball game.

Feb. 17-19: Davey O'Brien Awards, Fort Worth, Texas.

March 6-8: Maxwell Awards, Atlantic City.

March 8-16: Spends his Spring Break in the Philippines doing missionary work. Does minor surgical procedures in the local clinic.

March 19: Spring football practice begins.

April 1: Flies to New York and back on the same day to accept the Sullivan Award.

April 11: Receives Ben Hill Griffin Award from athletic department at hall of fame dinner.

April 12: Spring practice concludes with Blue and Orange game. ESPN's College Game Day visits and Tebow is honored with a sign on the fa├žade of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

April 13: Organizes a powder puff football league from Florida's sororities in that raises almost $10,000 for orphans around the world.

Apri 19: First free Saturday since December. Visits two area prisons to minister to the inmates.

April 24: On a day with no classes and no final exams, Tebow joins UF President Bernie Machen on a visit to the state Capitol in Tallahassee. They meet with governor Charlie Crist and were recognized on both the Senate and House floors.

May 1: Speaks at a banquet for the North Florida Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

May 2: He spends the day with his family as his brother, Peter, graduates from high school.

May 4-11: Visits Croatia with his family on a mission trip.

May 17: Spends Saturday playing golf with Danny Wuerffel, the 1996 Heisman Trophy winner.

May 28: Spoke to a youth rally of over 2,500 in Starke, Fla. Was invited by the First Baptist Church of Starke.

June 21-28: On break between summer school sessions, Tebow goes to Thailand on a mission trip,

July 11: Flies to Atlanta to see his sister and attends a Kenny Chesney concert the next day.

July 14-17: Travels to Los Angeles for the ESPY Awards.

July 23: Attends SEC Media Days in Birmingham.






Thursday, July 24, 2008

BUGS

Yesterday was one of those days where it was realllllly hard to get out the door. I was struggling all day at work to stay awake and the storm which popped up just before I left the office was the perfect excuse to skip the afternoon workout. Unfortunately though the clouds disappeared, taking my excuse with them.

Once I finally got going I had a 1h ride + 35min tempo run + 10min cool down. Everything was going fine until about 20min into the run when I was attacked by a swarm of bugs. Technically though I guess I actually attacked them but who really knows. All I know is that I was running along the sidewalk and all of the sudden I was immersed in a sea of swarming insects. Here is what I looked like when I finally got home and this is after wiping a few off:

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Caffeine post workout?


"But unless you're an Ironman triathlete planning for another three-hour workout later in the day, you don't have to rush this process."

I had to chuckle when I read that quote as I found it quite relevant, especially on multiple workout days when eating "real" food becomes a chore... All kidding aside, even though the article is from a Runner's World blog, it gives a nice overview of studies regarding what kind of calories to consume and when. This discussion/debate was brought to the forefront again due to a soon to be published study which suggests that consuming your post workout calories with caffeine helps improve glycogen production. This is promising as more glycogen production means more glycogen available for your muscles to store which is a key component in recovery. What does this mean in a practical sense? No that I needed one but this sounds like a perfect excuse for my post swim, pre work cup of joe.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hot ride, cool watermelon


Its always fun when you glance at the temperature on your desktop before heading out for a ride and it reads "104F". And lets not kid ourselves... this is no "dry heat." Regardless of the heat, it was a pretty nice ride last night out on the Arsenal with lots of wildlife. I hit a couple of large bugs which were quite annoying but I also saw what appeared to be either a fox or coyote. I'm not much of a biologist so I'll have to ask around about the natural predators out here.

After the ride though I had some cool, ripe, sweet watermelon waiting for me. Loaded with antioxidants in addition to a high water content and high GI value, watermelon is the perfect post workout snack. It is also incredibly delicious and refreshing when its hot out. Best of all, they are in season now and very reasonably priced, so load up!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Jul14-20

S: 19,700 yds
B: 13h 22min (TSS = 704)
R: 5h 40min

Total: 23h 58min

Overall a pretty solid week capped by a great weekend. My friend Philip and his girlfriend Katherine were in town for the weekend as Philip was racing his bike in a road race on Saturday and criterium downtown on Sunday. While he was racing, I had a nice standard 10h training weekend so things worked out well.

While we got in plenty of exercise we also had some time to hang out and catch up on things. On Saturday afternoon/evening we picked up some Sam Adams Summer Ale to enjoy while watching the tour before having a kick ass dinner at Mezza Luna. Not only was the food awesome, but one of the guys on Philip's team who ate with us is really good friends with the owner so we scored a couple of free appetizers.

Friday, July 18, 2008

New bike position

The weekend before last I made a few fairly significant changes to the bike position, mainly to ease some pressure off of my piriformis but also to get into what is hopefully a bit more aerodynamic position. Changes include:
1. A new adjustable stem which allowed me to lower the front end over 1cm
2. Flipping around the seat post to the "forward" position in addition to moving the seat forward on the rails.
3. New fizik Arione TRI2 Wing Flex saddle. Although admittedly I bought this saddle solely due to their recent awesome add campaign, I have actually really enjoyed riding it and it has been a welcome upgrade from my previous saddle.
4. I switched from the T2+ Cobra bars to the Sonic CSX bars. These have taken a little getting used to but they are SO much cleaner and more stable than the Cobras.
5. New bar tape. A necessity when you get new aerobars.

On to the pics where its out with the old, Euro-pro bike position:



And in with the new, tri geek position:
So far things have been good with respect to the butt but the new position will certainly take a little while to get used to. Early returns (from 2x20 workouts) indicate a loss of around 10W @ FTP but I'm fairly confident I'll be able to make that up relatively quickly.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

JibJab

This has been around most of the major news outlets but in case you havent seen it check it out... its hilarious!

Send a JibJab Sendables® eCard Today!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday Night Worlds "Race" Report

I had a fun ride last night out at the Tuesday Night World Championships, the local group ride here in Huntsville. I was ready to put in a hard effort so right from the start me and another guy took off and stayed away for about 40 minutes before a strong headwind foiled our chances of making it to the finish alone. Naturally after we were caught the pack slowed down for a bit before the attacks began again in earnest. Nothing really stuck until about 1h15min into the ride when a group of 5 of us got away. Although there were only three of us really doing any work, we hammered pretty hard and I was starting to hurt. We kept the fast pace up until we were within a few miles to go at which point everyone started playing the "cat and mouse" games in order to win the spint. I was feeling pretty tired and knew I wouldnt be able to put up much fight so I took a couple more hard pulls to get us to the finish a bit quicker. Eventually the final acceleration came about 300m from the finish but I was shot and had little response. I went as hard as I could but three of the four others easily rode away from me.

While I didnt have any kind of a sprint at the end, I didnt mind because I'm pretty sure I inflicted enough pain throughout the ride. Now while I certainly wasnt riding with the calibur of riders The Professor, it was still nice to be dishing out the hurt while on a bike as opposed to the other way around...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jul7-Jul13

S: 21,900 yds
B: 11h 30min
R: 4h 5min

Total: 21h 7min

After having the week before last off, last week it was back to the grind. I also changed my bike position up which is an especially aggravating and time consuming operation when you are the person fitting you is in New Mexico and you are trying to take pictures of yourself on the bike after every incremental change. This led to a few late nights and this lack of sleep and increased training load caught up to me around Friday which was unfortunate timing with the race on Sunday.

Speaking of the race, looking back at the results it appears I had a nice 2h Zn3 workout which led to a fairly embarrassing results. But the focus now it Almere at the end of August and learning how to ride my bike with this new position. Because I'll have to ride 120k, this means a lot time in the saddle which my butt really isnt looking foward to.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sh*t Show

Back in the 'ville so this will serve as the official Waterfront Triathlon race report. As the title indicates, the race went pretty poorly for me. I was really disappointed with my swim, had an expectantly slow bike ride, then a very sub par run. I could list a myriad of excuses but they would be just that... excuses. Anyway, I think I was 4th but I could very well have been lower if any age groupers beat me (which certainly is very possible given the less than stellar performance on my part.)

Other than that, the trip to the Chattanooga was a lot of fun. We had a really fancy dinner the night before the race and then hit up Lupi's for pizza and beer after the race. Eric and I split a kick ass pizza with spicy chicken, basil, roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes, and red onions and I washed it down with a St Peter's English Ale. The great food, drink, and company almost made up for the shit race. Now its off to Club Pub!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Off to Chattanooga

So after a nice 3k swim with the kids this morning followed by a 2.5h ride over the hills and through some rain, its off to Chattanooga for the Waterfront Triathlon tomorrow. This likely won't be my most impressive performance ever but I've heard there is a great pizza place near the race which also has an impressive selection of microbrews so I'm hoping to at least have a nice post race meal...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Keep HS sports

"I'd rather deal with them on the field or in the gym than at 2 a.m. in a cornfield." -Jim Richardson, Grand Meadow, Minnesota's assistant wrestling coach and police chief in a great but sad article by Andy Staples of SI.com.

The article is about the drastic cutbacks in funding for HS sports due to the current downturn in the economy. In fact, many districts are in the process of cutting programs altogether in order to save a few dollars. While we are almost always in favor of a smaller government, it is our opinion that school sport programs have an incredible, some could argue immeasurable, ROI and therefore should be retained at all costs.

The first reason sports programs are of the upmost importance is due to the reason highlighted in the quote above and discussed throughout the article. That is, kids in sports are NOT kids on the streets. Not only does practice literally keep them occupied for 2-4 hours a day, but coaches have the rare opportunity to display first hand that discipline and hard work will lead to success. While in theory teacher can deliver the same message in the classroom, many at-risk students simply have no desire to achieve in that arena as accomplishments are praised nearly as much as successes on the field. Whether or not that is good is another debate but the hope is when these children mature they will draw on their experiences and successes on the playing field and apply that same work ethic in life.

The other huge benefit of high school sports which wasnt even mentioned in the article, is the relationship with general health. School sports teams are one of the few ways kids stay physically active. Without that social construct in place, do we really think they are going to work out on their own?? Unfortunately in the digital age this is highly unlikely. Considering the fact that obesity and type II diabetes are already a big enough problem in this country, doesnt this just make it worse? Sadly though, something tells me the local school district chairman who is charged with the uneviable task of balancing his budget doesnt really care about a couple of extra fat kids.

There are other negative consequences as well, like a potential GOAT athlete never taking up a sport because his/her school doesnt offer it or kids missing out on the simple experiences of being part of a group of individuals working towards a common goal. Overall though the main point stands, that the benefits far outweight the costs when it comes to school sports programs.

New toy

I got a new toy in the mail last Saturday but yesterday evening was the first time I got to use it. What is it, you ask??? Toy implies something fun, maybe a new TV, video game console, or some other electronic gadget? Not quite. My new "toy" is actually just a bicycle wheel, and not even one for racing, just training. It is however pretty fancy. I got a new Bontrager Race X Lite wheel with a PowerTap SL. Functionally the PowerTap is exactly the same as the one on my current training wheel, a Mavic 32 spoke Open Pro. The wheel, on the other hand, is much stiffer and lighter so for its maiden voyage I took it out with the roadies yesterday evening and wow... it was a lot of fun. The wheel is just so much more responsive that it really makes it delightful to go out and play around with the cyclists.

Now admittedly I must mention that it is sad that I get this excited about a new training wheel but such is life.



(Isnt it sweeeeet??)

In other news... after a nice relaxing week last week, I'm sliding back into the more normal perpetual state of soreness, just in time for the race this weekend. Awesome. Good thing I didnt really want to win any money anyway...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Oxymoron Fun

During my drive home yesterday I heard one of my favorites on NPR... "Clean Coal." So this morning during my lovely 1h20 run through the cool, humid, morning I thought about some of my other favorite contradictory terms. A short list includes:

Reagan Democrat
Christian Scientist
civil war
soft rock
great depression
instant classic
new antique
internet security
progressive conservative
reality TV
metal wood
non dairy creamer
unbiased opinion
negative growth
jumbo shrimp
social science

and last but not least...
diet ice cream

I'm sure I forgot a few so feel free to add to the list...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Free Week no more

Last week was fun but this week its back to business. Last night was the always dreaded 2x20 and just to make it even more fun it was about 95 degrees outside. I really cant complain about the heat though as I'd much prefer hot to cold, especially when it comes to biking hard.

The main significance of the workout though was the new position. Over the weekend I morphed from a "Euro-pro" (coined my Mark Andrews, aerodynamic wiz from Trek) to a more traditional tri-geek setup. Needless to say, there will be some adaption time but Paulo and I were pleased that the power numbers from last night were at least close to my previous 2x20 effort on the old position. I'll post new and old position pics later in the week as I havent finalized the new position.

Why the change? Well, hopefully this new position will open up my hip angle and alleviate some of the pressure on my butt while sacrificing neither aerodynamics or power. With that having been said, a bit of power loss in the short term is expected and will be tolerated due to the fact that as we all know, power @ LT is muscle specific and I'm certainly using different muscles in the radically different position. Hopefully though I'll be able to make some nice adaptaions by the end of August when I take off for the Netherlands.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Jun30-Jul6

S: 23,700 yds
B: 6h 40min (TSS = 353)
R: 3h 43min

Total: 16h 19min

Not bad for a "free week" especially considering I didnt work out Monday since I flew home from DC and got in to work late. Although I got in a decent amount of volume, most of it was lower intensity stuff so it wasnt very mentally taxing at all. It was also nice to feel fresh on my run workouts during the latter part of the week. This is as opposed to the usual state of soreness/fatigue which causes the legs to feel like trash for the first 20-30 minutes of a most runs.

Thursday's run was an especially comfortable 64 minute 10 miler up on top of Monte Sano with David. We started easy then finished up at a nice comfortable cruise pace. After the run we then went to dinner at Cantina Laredo which, BTW, was quite delicious. Not only was the food good, but we got half priced margaritas!

This weekend I have another race but its just a local Olympic distance affair so I'll be training through it. In fact Paulo intially sent me my schedule without the race and when I reminded him I was racing his response was, "OK, keep everything the same but do the race on Sunday." Should be a good time...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

3 Day Weekend


Tomorrow is of course the 4th of July which means no work and therefore a 3 day weekend. This will be especially fun as it falls during my aforementioned "free week" which means I'll be celebrating America's birth (and TJ's and John Adam's deaths, incidentally) by hanging out by the pool, grilling, and downing what will likely end up being more than a few cold ones. Even better, Lindsey will be escaping DC for the weekend so it should be a good time all around.

Additionally, while there won't be any triathlon on TV this weekend, there will be high quality swimming, cycling, and running. The US Olympic Trials for track & field and swimming continue through Sunday while the Tour de France gets underway on Saturday. NBC's coverage of the swimming has been pretty good although its track coverage has left something to be desired. But hey, at least I'll be able to watch. Both sports have had some incredible races and there are certainly more to come on this final weekend. Then of course comes the three weeks of Le Tour, during which time anything can happen. This is especially true if the peleton is in fact clean this year. The lack of drugs makes recovery much more difficult and therefore increases parity as riders wont be able to demolish themselves on long mountain stages and be fine for the next day. Either way, Phil and Paul will most certainly make it entertaining.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Free Week

So after finishing off 3 half IMs in 6 weeks, Paulo has been nice enough to give me a "free week" which basically means hes too lazy to give me a schedule so I just get to do whatever I want. Of course he still expects me to work out but it will be nice to just do whatever I feel like and set my training schedule around when other groups are meeting as opposed to making sure I complete prescribed workouts.

I've still swam the last two mornings but since I've been swimming with the kids and the pool has been LC it has been a lot easier to get out of bed and get in the yardage. As for the PM workouts, last night I started the week with a nice easy run over to the CC park where I jogged with a few of my running friends. It was a surpisingly comfortable evening with temps in the low 80s and there was plenty to talk about with the ongoing swimming and track and field trials. All in all a great start to the week.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

MedExpress Mountaineer Race Report

After a short drive from the hotel, Lindsey dropped me off at the parking garage transition area in plenty of time for me to get the bike ready and get in a bit of a warm up. It was overcast and the forecast called for rain on and off throughout the day so it was actually nice to have a covered transition area. Nothing exciting during warm up... I got the bike all set and I was ready to get the party started!

Like last year, the pros got to dive into the river so here we are, awaiting the start:



Not having been a swimmer growing up, I'm not exactly the best diver but I did what I could. We were off and right away I was caught in between some people when I noticed a break opening up. I tried to pass the two guys I was swimming behind in an attempt to catch the guys up ahead, but to no avail. So I ended up swimming the rest of the way in open water while pulling 3 guys along. Awesome.

Out of the water I was a little upset that I had missed the first two guys and then had to pull the second pack the whole way but I'm pretty sure we would've swam slower had I not been in front, so sometimes that's just the way it goes.

Once I was out on the bike the guys I pulled through the water (David Thompson, Daniel B., and Chris Bagg) immediately left me at the start of the ride. Coming to the first out and back, Andrew Yoder was way out ahead but I just tried to settle into my pace and ride with a nice consistent effort. As if I didnt already dislike biking, the conditions didnt help any as the roads were littered with obtrusions and it was raining and a bit chilly. Anyway, the rest of the ride was more or less uneventful other than the dodging of potholes and occasional downpours. The bike course was two loops and I did manage to negative split, finishing my second lap faster than my first, so I was feeling pretty good coming into the run.

As I entered transition, I noticed only four bikes on the racks. Apparently Andrew Yoder had gone down in a corner, moving me up a spot. So just like last year, I was starting the run in 5th which I was pretty happy about because the prize money went 5 deep and I was, as usual, pretty confident no one would be catching me.


I set out on the run and was feeling awesome which just reaffirmed me belief that the ART has really helped. Within the first mile I got my first split from Lindsey, "3:30 to 4th!!" she informed me. The next time I saw her, only a few miles later, the gap was down to 1:30. I moved into 4th around mile 6 and was still feeling great, moving fast but still under control. Starting the second lap blisters started mounting and the HEED they were serving was not sitting well in my stomach but other than that my legs felt great so I kept clicking off the miles. Finally between mile 9 and 10 I passed another guy, moving into 3rd. 1st and 2nd were way ahead and both of them were moving pretty good so I just kept up my pace and was content to cruise on home.

I was still feeling fine until about half a mile to go when I had a blister under the ball on my left foot pop. I had plenty of other blisters all over my feet but this particular one was where I had had another blister which had popped in Kansas. So basically there were probably 3-5 layers of skin removed which made it VERY painful to put any kind of pressure on it all. Luckily though I was only about half a mile from the finish so I crossed the line as quickly as possible and proceeded to go directly to the medical tent where I was cleaned up and taped up.

Although there was a great spread which included trail mix, watermelon, soda, pasta with marinara sauce, huge cookies, and other goodies which I'm likely forgetting, Lindsey and I had to dart back to the hotel to check out. After that it was back to transition to pack up the bike. Here we are in the middle of packing my bike in the transition area parking garage. Doesnt Lindsey look good in orange??


After a quick packing, we were on the road back to our Nation's Capitol where we had reservations at a fancy restaurant, Central. (BTW, thats sen-trahl not sen-truhl...) The company was great and dinner lived up to the hype. It was a nice evening in DC:




but unfortunately due to my early flight in the morning and the multiple flesh wounds which had devoured my feet, we didnt hang around the ciy much.

All in all the trip was a lot of fun and even a bit rewarding as I made some money on the deal.

Results can be found here: http://www.hfpracing.com/results/results.php?eventid=38&raceid=94