Monday, August 25, 2008

LD Worlds Info

I've had a couple of questions about athlete tracking/race coverage and unfortunately I'm not positive whether either will be available but here is what I know...

When: The race will start Sunday morning at 8:30 in Almere which will 2:30 AM for east coast viewers and 1:30 AM for folks on Central Time here in Huntsville. Assuming we start on time, the 4k-120k-30k distance should take me a little over 6 hours to complete (give or take) which means I should be finishing up somewhere around 8:30/7:30C. So just before or after most people are waking up.

Where: This is where it gets tricky. Hopefully there will be a link on the front page of the ITU's website. However, if not, the next place to look would be the information page for this race on the ITU site. If not, you can of course always try the Slowtwitch Triathlon Forum (warning: enter at your own risk!) which may or may not contain any information. If all else fails, I'm sure the ITU will have the results up later in the day, so just check back to their site.


S: 18,700 yds
B: 8h 4min
R: 3h 50min

Total: 16h 35min

Starting to feel pretty good about the race next weekend. Although I was still a little sluggish during the week, I had a couple of really quality sessions on the weekend. It was also pretty awesome to have less than 5h of total training time on Saturday and Sunday as it allowed me to actually get some stuff done around the apartment... what a concept!

This week should be interesting. I leave tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon, arrive in Amsterdam Wednesday morning, and I'm hoping I can get acclimated to the new time zone relatively quickly. I also got some compression socks for the long plane ride in order to mitigate the effects of being cramped in a tin can as much as possible.

Friday, August 22, 2008


"One day I will be doing a 13-mile tempo run feeling strong and filled with energy. The very next day I will be doing close to two hours of running (split between two runs) and feel like I couldn’t take on a recreational jogger." -Ryan Hall

In what will (hopefully) become a regular installment, this week's quote of the week is courtesy of Olympic marathoner Ryan Hall. This gem was from a July 31st blog post which I just recently stumbled upon. Later in the post Hall says, "On Monday I was tired... Sara [Hall] just laughs at me in the gym on such days when I am pretty much useless." He also mentions that he took not one but two naps that day. Must've been nice. Anyway, the quote (and whole post, really) hit home as I definitely feel the same way sometimes. Its nice to know that even the super talented, full time athletes have days where it is everything they can do to just "get through the day" even though all they have to do is train.

Speaking of training, final preparations for Almere are going well. Although I've started tapering a bit I've still been a bit sluggish at the beginning of workouts. However, after warming up I've had some very solid shorter sessions the last couple of days which has me really looking forward to next weekend.

I'll try to get some information up about the race within the next couple of days, so check back for that.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Late birthday present...

I got a couple of boxes in the mail yesterday, one of which contained something I was admittedly giddy as a school girl about receiving. In addition to other Team USA Speedo apparel, there was my own FSII with my name on it. Cool stuff. So without further ado, here is the hotness:

Pretty exciting. I took it for a test drive this morning in the pool and wow, it was awesome.

In other news, tapering is fun. Today was the first day in the last seven (?) weeks or so that I didnt have to ride my bike, so that was pretty sweet. Needless to say, riding everyday was getting old and it was nice to do a run today WITHOUT having to ride first.

In other other news, I went out to give my talk on Training and Racing with a Heart Rate Monitor to the Tennessee River Athletic Club at First Place Athletics in Florence, AL. Overall the talk went really well as there were plenty of questions and I actually had answers for most of them. Additionally, I was really impressed with the turnout at the meeting and the general activity of the club. They actually put on a ton of races and from I hear although none are huge (maybe on the order of 300 or so people) they all have excellent support and are offered in a variety of locations and at a variety of distances.

Monday, August 18, 2008


S: 15,640 yds
B: 13h 4min
R: 5h 50min

Total: 22h 49min

Not a bad last big week before the taper begins for Almere. The Zn4 workout on the bike went well, I felt great on the the long run, and had a nice race on Saturday which all contributed to a pretty high quality week. More importantly though is that I've finally settled on a bike position, one that allows me to generate power while also being aerodynamic. After a very solid last 6 weeks, I'm definitely ready for the taper which will slowly begin towards the end of this week before I board the plane for Amsterdam next Tuesday!

25! :-0

On Saturday I turned 25, which has to be the first of many depressing "important" birthdays. Why? Up to this point, "important" birthdays entitled me to new rights and privileges which was fine because I was OK with being one year older. At 16 I could operate a motor vehicle, 18 afforded me the right to vote, and of course the big 2-1 granted the ability to legally consume alcoholic beverages. 25? I get lower insurance rates and can now rent a car without having to pay the ridiculous "under age" fee. While this is certainly a good thing, it also means that insurance folk, or more importantly the smart statisticians they employ, have now deemed there is much less risk of me doing something stupid. IOW, they think I am now more mature. This is of course just a nice way of saying I'm old. So while this realization is a bit depressing, it by no way put a damper on the day...

The first order of business was the HiWAAY Huntsville Sprint Triathlon. The race consisted of a 5k cross country run + 6 mile bike ride + 400m swim and best of all started about a mile from my house (Gotta love when you can ride your bike to a race!). I had a lot of fun and was fortunate enough to hold off Huntsville stud Dr. Jonathon Krichev for the win.

Upon arriving home there was a package waiting for me. I opened it up and found a carrot cake from my Aunt Marianne. She is a baker extraordinaire so I was thrilled when I saw it. Inside was a card apologizing for the lack of icing and instructing me to go to the store and buy Betty Crocker cream cheese icing. Admittedly, I was a bit dissappointed at Mare's low expectations of my culinary abilities. Buy icing? Why would I do that when I can make my own? So after picking up some powdered sugar and cream cheese from Publix, I whipped up some icing and the cake was assembled. Yummy.

After a nice bike ride, it was time for the night cap. A group of us went to Bandito Burrito, a local hole-in-the-wall burrito place, for dinner. The food and drink were great (they have Dos Equis on tap) and we even got to see the beginning of the womens marathon. After dinner it was off to watch the Tennessee Valley Vipers, the local AFL2 team, in a playoff game. More beer was consumed, the Vipers won, and we migrated to Mason's Pub downtown. Shortly after our arrival the men's 100m final came on NBC so it was cool to be able to watch Usain Bolt DESTROY the field (incidentally... what are the Jamaicans on???).

As appealing as a post bar Waffle House trip was, I (thankfully) talked myself and everyone else out of it and was delivered home in one piece, without a stomach full of grease. All in all not a bad way to spend a birthday.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


WOW, simply amazing. How Phelps got to that wall first, I dont know...

Friday, August 15, 2008


Yesterday evening after picking up my CSA bushel of veggies, it was time for the usual Thursday night ride. Depending on the week, this means either 2h w/ 1h Zn3 or the dreaded 2h w/ 2x20min Zn4. Unfortunately this week I had procrastinated and left the 2x20 until Thursday (rather than Tuesday) so at 5:30 I was out the door for the weekly torture session. Little did I know, things would only get worse.

Only 15 minutes into my ride and just after riding onto the Arsenal, I got a flat. At first I just thought of it as a minor inconvenience which was simply giving me a little more time before the self thrashing began. Unfortunately however when I started pumping up my replacement tube from my saddle bag, it too had a puncture. So there I was with no way to inflate my rear tire.

I called a couple of people and luckily my buddy Justin was in the area and kind enough to pick me up and give me a lift home. Luckily I wasnt too far so it wasnt too much of an inconveneince for him. So by the time I got home and got the tire changed it was 7 and the motivation was REALLY lacking. It was hard enough to get out the door the first time, but now if I wanted to do the workout I realized I had only one option: the trainer.

So yeah.. nothing worse than having to sit on the trainer in the summer for a hard workout, especially when you had already been out on the road. But I sucked it up, turned on the Olympics w/o the volume, put some music on my computer, and pounded out the workout. While it was pretty painful, it ended up going pretty well as I was really trying put off my "Anticipatory Regulation" and push through the pain. The one concession I made was 4x10min instead of 2x20, but I think that was a good decision as my first 10 minutes were kind of crap anyway. Well admittedly I also shortened it from 2h to 1.5h but it was getting close to bed time and that Zn2 time is just filler, anyway.

All in all it was a pretty good session. After the hard part, I cooled down while watching Kerri Walsh and Misty May dominate on the sand in their white uniforms, so at least my eyes weren't hurting...

BTW, the title of the post is tribute to BIGZACH who is famous for late night trainer rides although his are later and much longer than mine.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Women's" Gymnastics

Admittedly, I'm not the biggest gymnastics fan. While I certainly respect the athleticism (strength, flexibility, coordination, etc.) required to compete at a high level in the sport (or even just to be remotely competent), I have a hard time getting into sports in which the winner is determined by a judge. Part of my disdain may also be traced back to being dragged to my sister's gymnastics practice as a kid and being forced to stay in a little room in the top corner of the gym while all parents crowded around a tiny window to watch their children... but I digress.

Regardless, I still follow at least on an ancillary level during the Olympics because I follow sports in general and apparently gymnastics is one of the more popular Olympic sports here in the US, garnering front page attention on

So while I havent been particularly interested in the competition itself, I have been following the news stories recently (and earlier, prior to the Games) about the age, or lack thereof, of the Chinese gymnasts. Most notably a news story published in July in the New York Times indicate that more than one of the gymnasts are not the required 16 years old and that a couple may in fact be only 14. Other reports indicate that as many as four of the gymnasts are underage. Aside from numerous journalists noting that they had seen the girls listed at 14 only months ago, there is also a glaring size discrepancy between the Chinese and American women, some 3" and 30 lbs, on average.

In gymnastics, "women" have to be turning 16 in the year of the competition in order to be eligible. This rule was put in place in order to protect young girls from the mental stress of major competitions and the physical stress which is required to compete in them. Whether or not you agree with this rule is beside the point because national federations agreed on it at the beginning of the competition and it is only through an apparent cover up by Chinese officials that these girls are being allowed to compete.

The sad part in all of this is that IOC is just taking the Chinese officials' words rather than investigating the matter further. This is a shame because there is clearly and advantage to having a smaller body. Smaller hips and shorter bodies make jumps, twists, etc. much easier and this kind of cheating of akin to state sponsored doping as it is the Chinese officials who are falsifying passports to enable these sports to compete, much like the East Germans used to feed their women anabolic steroids.

I'll end with some pictures from the "Women's" Gymnastics event this year. My favorite picture is the last...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Long Run Fun

I had a great long run of around 16 miles this morning and actually felt pretty good afterwards as well. I ran the first 8 or so by myself and then joined David for the next 5 or 6 before finishing up the last few miles at a very solid (but still easy) pace. This makes me feel pretty good heading into the 30k run in Almere.

Awesome weather
It should be stated that while I did have a very nice run, the weather played a huge role. Unlike the last couple of weeks when my shorts were saturated after only 45 minutes, this morning when I finished my shorts were totally try. Not only was it cool, probably in the upper 60s, but it also wasnt very humid which made for quite pleasant running conditions. In fact, if were back home in Orlando, I wouldve sworn it was the middle of October.

Now its time to recover at work while getting ready for the always popular Tuesday Night World Championships!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Want to live a long life? Run

Nothing like stating the obvious!


S: 16,300 yds
B: 12h 32min
R: 5h 22min

Total: 21h 59min

The race Saturday was a lot of fun and capped off another pretty solid week. Work and travel got in the way a bit, but nothing to get too worried about. On a positive note, energy levels throughou the week were pretty good so I think that is a nice indication that I'm adapting well to the training. Should be another big week this week and then we'll only be two weeks out from Almere!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

3 seconds...

I raced the Mountain Lakes Triathlon this morning, a sprint in Guntersville which is only about 40 minutes away. I felt great on all three legs and the weather was awesome... cool and relatively low humidity.

They started the college kids first and then I was the first of everyone else to start. I passed about half the college kids during the swim and headed out onto the bike. I felt great on the ride as I was continuing to pass those who started ahead of me although my rear wheel started "wobbling" (for lack of a better term) during the second half. I tried not too think too much of it and caught the last of the college kids in the last mile of the bike. (As it turned out, when I got my bike after the race, my rear tire was flatter than my Saturday morning pancakes. Awesome!)

Once I started the run, I was excited to be running fast. I tried to open it up as much as possible but it was a bit painful as I havent run that fast in quite some time. The 3 miles went by pretty quickly and soon enough I was finished!

Unfortunately, crossing the finish line first wasn't good enough for the win. Timex teammate and swimming stud Bruce Gennari ended up beating me by 3 seconds! (Results here) It sure wouldve been awesome to actually RACE him but sadly enough, I had no idea where he was on the course because he started about a minute and a half after me.

This offers a great opportunity for a little triathlon bashing. What is the point of a time trial start??? I can understand if its one of these early season races that is in a pool as clearly you cant have 500 people starting at the same time in a pool. But when the race is in the huge Lake Guntersville, why the hell do you need a TT start? If I wanted to do a time trial, I couldve just driven down to the river 5 miles from my house. However, I wanted to actually race but apparently that was too much to ask.

OK rant over. Overall Team Magic does a great job with events but I just dont understand the fascination with time trial starts. Also, aside from the frustration of getting beat, it was a fun day out there and nice to be able to sleep in my own bed the night before a race. I was also reminded of how much fun sprints are in general.

Friday, August 8, 2008


So here they are, the Summer Games are upon us. The Olympics are great because they are the one time where athletes with whom I can relate are actually shown on TV and given some publicity. Generally the only sports on TV are the "big ticket" sports which feature "minimum" yearly salaries of six figures. In the Olympics on the other hand, most of the athletes can not afford to make a living off of their sport and if they can, it isnt a very glamorous life. Most of these athletes struggle with a "day job" while also trying to be competitive on a world class level. Pretty impressive if you ask me and something I can relate to.

One aspect of these particular aspect which has been talked about quite a bit air pollution. It will certainly be interesting to see how this affects athletes, especially in endurance events. Thus far, most people have been focusing focusing on the smog, but this article from raises another issue, the carbon monoxide levels. Apparently CO occupies hemoglobin, a protein in the blood, just like oxygen. Therefore when inhaled CO gets absorbed by the blood, it is effectively taking the place of an oxygen and lowering an athlete's hemoglobin count. This is akin to anti-EPO (EPO works by raising hemoglobin levels) so it will clearly have a detrimental effect on athletes.

The question of course is whether it will affect everyone the same or not. I suspect athletes who train at altitude will have a bit of an advantage if not for any physiological reason than for a physicological one due to the fact they will be used to exercising with less oxygen available. This experience will then allow them to moderate their pace better and keep a positive mindset, both of which should ultimately lead to a relatively better performance.

Finally, I'll end with this lovely picture taken by Rojo of As he puts it, "That's the sun - in the middle of a 'sunny' day."

Mmmm wouldnt you love to run in that??

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

More praise for the PT

Yet another reason to get a power meter, if you dont already have one. I'm still tweaking the new position and its great to have the PowerTap to get immediate feedback. The PowerTap is useful in this regard because the best position on a time trial bike is the one that allows you to go the fastest. This seems like a simple concept but is actually quite difficult to consistently quantify due the many variables that go into speed. These include wind, humidity, barometric pressure, incline, equipment, power input (how hard you are working), and aerodynamics of the bike/rider system. Because of all these variables, it is almost impossible to simply make a change in your position, go ride it, and determine whether or not it was faster by just looking at speed alone. However, what can be done is have someone who knows a thing or two about aerodynamics put you in a position that "looks" aero and then tweak that position out on the road using the power meter. It really is amazing to see how much moving the seat a couple cms up or down, forward or back, can drastically change power output.

So what does all this mean? Well yesterday's 2x20 showed some improvement over the last couple of weeks, meaning the new position is getting closer to being final. Once that occurs, I should have the same power output with less drag which means more speed. And as Maverick (and Goose) said, "I've got the need... the need for speed!"

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

UL's Wedding

Just a few pictures from the wedding this past weekend. This first group is at the reception which took place at Hood College in Frederick, MD.

Then the next morning after going for a little ride, Lindsey and I made it over to brunch with the family. Even though we procrastinated a bit at Starbucks and got started late, we still made it over in time to enjoy copious amounts of gourmet breakfast food. To top it all off, the weather was perfect which made for a really nice day.

Monday, August 4, 2008


S: 19,100 yds
B: 12h 54min
R: 5h 40min

Total: 23h 21min

The volume this week was a tad lower than last but that was mainly due to the trip up to Frederick for the wedding. Taking that into consideration though, it was pretty good week. Also encouraging was the fact that I had felt consistently better throughout the week which makes me think I'm adapting to the increased training load on the bike pretty well.

Its August now which means Almere is coming up fast with just a couple more big weeks before the taper. In the mean time I have a couple of local races, the Mountain Lakes Triathlon this weekend and the Huntsville Sprint Triathlon on the 16th.