Thursday, April 26, 2007

Go Craig!

Will you do a brick workout soon? (no break between exercise).
Also do you know if that Rocky Gap Tri fills up? I'm still not sure I can make it but I'd like to.

I think I'm going to go to my Chiropractor to have him check out this hip flexor. I doubt it's an alignment issue but he's really good at the reflexology. So I'm hoping he will be able to tell me what's up.
The adjustments are always great anyhow.

I went to the pool tonight. Did 50's mostly, working on pushing all the way to the end of the stroke every time. Naturally I lost count of how many laps. Too many things to think about. 45 minutes, then went home and did some quick shoulder work with weights.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bike Parts

I found this chart awhile ago and forgot what site it was on. So I'll post it here so I can't lose it again.
I can't keep track of the Quality levels this chart makes it easy. Here is the site it is from.
Buying a New Road Bike

From Ebay:
Campagnolo Veloce $549
Campagnolo Chorus Carbon Group: $1,100
campagnolo Record Carbon Groub: $1,550

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Swim Class: Round 2

OK. This is kind of funny. I got beat up so badly last week I'm actually somewhat anxious about going to class tonight. I did practice on Sunday... I'll post more after the class.

I forgot to get the workout sheet today. But he strayed from it anyhow. What I remember.
Start off with an 800... LOL.

Then we did a 50 Drill holding a baton in front, You would have to keep it there and grab with the other hand before continuing. It's supposed to teach where your reach into the water should be.
3 75s
1 300
4 x 50,25,25 (the 50 was a stroke, stay on side 6 kicks, Quick stroke to other side repeat). Then a technical 25, Then an all out 25.
1 50 Baton Drill again
1 150

I know I'm missing stuff. There were more in the class today so we had 3 lane. I did the novice stuff which I listed. The pro lane finished the night doing a 1000, while we were doing our drills. The 2nd lane was doing 50 more than us for most of the longer distances.

Anyhow, I didn't have nearly the problems cramping that I did last week. When I got home from work I walked on the treadmill for 20 minutes, then did about 20 minutes of stretching. I'm guessing that helped.
As for the swimming. The coach is telling me my form is good for short distance. I've got to keep my chin lower so my back will arch less. (one of a dozen things to work on).
I'm going to have to structure my workouts now. I'm starting to feel like I can swim with decent form for all of 30-40 yards, then fatigue makes me lose it. I'm going to work on 50's with strong/fast finishing strokes to the hip. I feel that as I fatigue I just don't finish the stroke which messes up your ability to breathe properly as well. I've got to build those muscles up.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Swim Class

Ha. These folks are serious.

200 Swim/Drill by 25s
100 Kick
200 Pull

4x <4 x 25 Build :40
<1 x 125 Free Race 2/2:30
<1 x 75 Easy Back 2

2x <1 x 400 Free Pull 7:30/8
<2 x 100 or 75 Free Race 1:50

2x <1 x 100 Stroke Count (2)
<1 x 200 Free Race (2)
<1 x 50 Fly/ Free (1)

100 Cool Down

3700 Meters
4048 Yards

Ok. that was the workout for the night. I have no idea how much of this I got through. I'm easily the worst swimmer in the class of 8 or 9.
So they threw in the back stroke. Well remember how I said my kick was bad. Well it's worse on my back. It instantly cramped my calves so bad I had to hop out of the pool to work them out. I don't know about you but once they start you know it's going to come back.
Anyhow, some of the fixes. When I breathe in I wasn't bringing my face to my shoulder enough. Also was holding my breath too much, it would seem you shouldn't at all really. More on that later once I get it figured it out.
I've never used a pull buoy before. I can see how this can help with your rotation. Of course I had very little clue but I can see how it will help.

There you have it. It can only get get better from here.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Blew the Carbon out of the Cylinders

Good weekend all the way around for me. Not only did I get two runs in, a bike, and 40 minutes stretch & strength, but I spent time with the kids. Took them to a local volunteer fire hall craft sale. They sold pizzas for lunch/dinner, so the kids had one of those and I got an excellent steak sandwich. Had mozzarella cheese and peppers in a red sauce on the sandwich. Very good. Then we enjoyed our new family favorite show America's Funniest Home Videos. The Kids love it, and it is on constantly in reruns on WGN. It is wonderful that Levi knows HEAD, GUT, or CROUCH. I am very proud.

Now my challenge is not to go hog wild with the training. I can feel the fatigue in my legs today. It is strange, because I still would like to work out again, but I won't. I need the rest today (maybe 20 minutes strength & stretch tonight, not too hard). I agree with Matt I do miss running when I can't. Must be all those endorphins.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bad Pedal

I still don't think I should be running. So I'm not. I did some biking instead.
With those new Crank Brothers Quattros.
Well I have to send them in for repair already. The right pedal has a bad bearing. I'll be without the pedals for a week at least.

Hoping to hit the pool tomorrow AM and sign up for the Tuesday Swim class if the class isn't filled already.

I had thought I'd be ready to go for the Rocky Gap Sprint Tri with Craig. I'm starting to doubt that is going to work out for me. I guess I'm glad that this happened now rather than this time next year. Hopefully I'll be able to keep better track of my training and not over do it.

I may go to my chiropractor to talk with him regarding this hip flexor problem. I'd love for it to be gone already. Who knew I'd miss running!

Thanks for the 300 Training video Craig. I should look like those guys by this time next year. Ha!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Easter Bunny Slowing Us Down

Started feeling bad about my lack of effort. I had a cold last week, but still did some stuff. I was excited about Easter, thought I would feel better. We traveled to Williamsport (Sorry for not looking you up Shawn) to visit Grandma. We stay at a hotel now to keep Grandma from working too hard. The hotel had a Treadmill, Exercise Bike, and a pool. I took two sets of shorts so I could workout at least two days. The extent of my workout was splashing in the pool with the kids for 1 and half hours. That cold I had manifested into something worse in my chest (which I haven't experienced for a while). Fatigue overcame me. I have been in bed by 9 pm every night and sleeping in whenever I can.

I did decide to swim last night. Pool was closed. Not sure why, but one person really manages the pool and does almost all the life guarding, so if she is sick, there goes the good time. So, I did what any dedicated athlete would do, I played Levi's Gameboy for about an hour. Read a magazine and went to bed, got all that in by 9.

I hope everyone else is well. I went to the spreadsheet this morning and realized, except for Eric, who already identified his fatigue, we have fallen off the wagon a little. So, I plan to run tonight and do some weight training. Woke up this morning without the coughing and tightness in the chest, so I should be good to go. Not to hard tonight. I think 30 minutes easy running, and then 20 minutes weight stuff, easy.

My Brother sent me to the site below to see some Skateboarder racking his junk against a rail, then getting run over by a car. While watching, I saw a another video thumbnail stating "300 Spartan Workout Training. Home Version". Most of it doesn't look to bad, but when you look at the quantity of reps, it would probably get you there. Here is the link:

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Electric Vehicles

Ah! A passion I never get to do. I created a new post to give you a couple hotsport links. Your motorcycle idea, I believe is excellent. DC powered vehicles have very little that will not make them run. Usually just bad batteries. Here are some examples of motorcycles, you can poke around for other vehicles:

Shawn's project would be a good one. If I remember it is somewhat of a small bike, but I guess we are not talking about traveling 50 miles, maybe just 20 or so before a charge would be needed. Take a look at this scooter:

A little out of your price range. I called and spoke to them, a while back. They take the original scooter, which could only do 20 to 25 mph, with a range of 20 - 25 miles, and make it go 30 mph with an effective range 30 to 40 miles. I believe they upgrade the batteries from a total 38 Ah (amp-hour) to 50 Ah with 48 volts. Which we all know Amp-hours is what drives the range in Electric Vehicles. This vehicle is pretty cool, because the others I have seen had to drop voltage to 24 V or 36V to get this type of range, but with the lower voltage run closer to 20 MPH.

For Shawn, I evaluated prior to this because he mentioned it to me before, we would need to get a 36 volt motor to move his carcass and any booty at let's say 20 mph. I believe the size of Shawn's bike would limit us to 36 volts. This would require 3 12Volt batteries. Each battery weighing minimum 40 lbs each. The gas engine is replaced essentially lb for lb for the new electric motor. So we would have the current weight of the bike, plus the batteries, plus Shawn. Now, using a 24 volt motor, which is probably more available, could be an option. This could reduce weight. You would only need two 12 Volt batteries, you sacrifice speed (maybe 15 mph), but would gain range if you bought slightly better batteries.

I demonstrated how this works with one of those little kids battery powered 4 wheelers. Neighbor was throwing one a way because the battery was bad and a small wiring problem. I took it, put two 12 volt sealed cell batteries in it. Worked good with the two youngest kids, but would not push poor Maddy (about 65 lbs at the time) up the hill. I determined I could take the two 12 volt batteries and wire them up 24 volt to the motor (a little hot for the motor, but it was free why do I care). Don't worry I put a fuse in-line for each battery. My mistake was I used too small of wires. Maddy jumped on, and BAM! Wheels were spinning, she was going up the hill as fast as she was going down before. Had a great time for about a half hour. Then Levi flipped it over going too fast down the hill. While I was nursing him, Maddy took it up the hill and then it stopped. It had blown a fuse, because the wires had heated up enough to melt the plastic on the outside of the wire, and two wires that should not be touching arched across each other and fused together. We went back to the slower 12 volt system after a little rewire. Also the batteries need charged because it was draining them fast.

Shawn has touched a real passion for me. But my big project for the summer is to install an earth coupled heat pump. I also have plans to wire my shed with a solar panel and an inverter. I also have plans to make an electric riding mower (Snapper, rear motor style, best choice, no variable speed switch needed, transmission already does it for you), I also want to make an electric go-cart for the kids, also train for triathlons, also work my full time job, also be involved with the kids, also try to keep a relationship with my wife, also want to buy a sail boat, also want to go camping every weekend, . . . . I digress.

Sure Shawn let's take a look. Send me a photo of the bike, so I can remember what it looks like.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007


Yesterday, I tried to get my motorcycle running for the spring. It has been sitting for a few months, as it always does in the winter. Well, as usual, it wouldn't start. So I decided to try to push-start it by pushing it down the hill in front of my house. This is sort of like trying to run while pulling a 500-pound sled. Well, it didn't work, which caused me to have to push it back up the hill. This was another innovative and challenging workout for me. I have activated yet more new muscles in this process, though I don't think I am going to make a regular practice of this exercise. In fact, this has convinced me that the thing to do is convert this thing to electricity.'s where our team comes in. Craig, I want you to help me figure this out. We talked a little about this last year, but it is time to put it into action. I will pay for everything. And I'm serious. I never ride this bike farther than 3 miles from my house. It is basically worthless to me because it's such a pain to get it running and I never have time to sit there working on it, and I have always wanted an electric motorcycle anyway.

I figure we can keep the chain, and just drop an electric motor of your choice into the space where the transmission is now, and weld the front sprocket from the existing transmission onto the spindle. We stick a couple of deep-cycle batteries in the big hole where the motor was, convert the throttle to a variac and we're good to go. I even have a heavy-duty variac already. What do you think?

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Name Dropping

I understand name dropping for obscure, yet somewhat successful triathletes may not be to impressive, but I taped the Ironman 70.3 on Saturday, then sat down to watch it and saw someone I knew. The pro woman who took 3rd, who they highlighted a ton, because she was such a good runner and looked to be in contention for a top 3, I know, or as stated earlier, I had contact with and recognize, even though they would have no clue who I was.

Here is the story. In 2005 I showed up 6 am in the morning to volunteer for the Mountaineer half Ironman/Olympic triathlon. I had the pleasure of writing, with permanent marker on peoples bodies. Number on both arms, back calf of left leg distance (either H or O), and class (age group, pro, elite, Clydesdale, etc.) on the right leg. A cute little blond comes up. She was in shape. She starts talking and you can tell this girl isn't from America, had a distinct Australian accent. She tells me her number and I write it on her arms. She turns around, I kneel down to write distance on her left leg. She tells me Olympic, so I put a big "O" on her leg, she then says "NO, NO I am doing the Half". I say are you sure, she says yes. So the "O" becomes a smiley face, and a "H" is written below it. Next I ask her class, she looked at me strange, so I was helpful by saying you know your age. Oh! she says 23, but I believe I am in the elite class. So, I go to make a "E" on her right leg, she says "NO, NO I am a PRO!". I stop and say, "Just so I got it straight, you are here to do the Half Ironman, and you do this for a living, correct". She laughed and said absolutely. And I proceeded to put a big "P" on her right leg.

As she walked away another volunteer standing next to me said I will be surprised if she finds the finish line. To my shock not only did she find the finish line, but was the first woman to find it. The girl held her own in the swim and bike, and put the hammer down in the run. By far the fastest woman runner, 3rd fastest run overall, all contestants. Top 10 finisher in the Tri, even compared to the men. Miranda Carfrae is her name. She is still under 25, I think. If you watch any tri's you will see her again.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Longer break / Hip Flexor

Everything I read online regarding hip flexor strains is 4-6 weeks. Work on stretching and strengthening.

Not being on a treadmill for a month will be tough but I think it's probably the right thing to do. The question is do I think the charts on this link are accurate.

Activity and Muscle groups Link

Do you think if I get my cardio by spending time on the bike that it's going to give my hip the time it needs to heal? I'm going to try it I guess I'll find out.
Sadly it's tough to know if it's getting better unless I do some jogging to test it.

I do like that link for the listing of muscles that aren't being worked in certain activities. Reminds you of the groups you need to work on elsewhere.

Bike comparison

Today, I trotted out my older Trek road bike, which I used regularly up until last spring when I bought a new Trek all-aluminum mountain bike. My old bike is very tall, and was rather expensive when I bought it (in 1987). Cripes, it's 20 years old. That's older than some of the competition. Anyway, I was comparing the geometry, crank length, cassette teeth, and general feel. I found that the road bike definitely has a more efficient feel to it. The crank housing is dropped down, whereas the mountain bike's is pretty much level with the rear axle. This allows me to lower the seat on the road bike while achieving the same leg angle, meaning I have a lower CG on the road bike, which is good. The handlebars are also lower, putting me into more of a natural aero position. This could be painful over the long haul, but I guess no triathlon I do is going to take that long. I rode 186 miles in 3 days last Spring, on dirt, so anything else should be a piece of cake. That hurt, but that's another story.

Now, to get either bike ready for a race, I am going to need new tires, which if they are any good, cost at least 25 bucks each. I guess I would need these eventually anyway, so I'll have to live with it. The guy at the bike store was not convinced that I needed to get the clipless pedals and shoes. Of course, if you want to be the most efficient and use your other muscle groups, those are great, but then you have to change shoes in the transition. He suggested getting toe clips and just using my running shoes. Then the bike to run transition is almost instant. I am thinking at the moment that because I am not "serious" about winning, and that I am a grad student making poverty wages (literally) that I am just gonna stick with the BMX pedals I have and rely on my quads (or as one article from Matt's recent web site says, my "best workers.")

I don't know how to do a very scientific study of which bike works better. They both have some advantages. I'm also thinking that one of the biggest weight issues on the mountain bike is the tires, so if I put little road tires on there, it might weigh close to the same as the road bike. The suspension fork is way too beefy, but I can't swap that. Parts are so dang expensive. I looked at seats at the bike store today and they were between 30 and 100 bucks.

I guess I'll just ride them both back and forth to school and see what feels better, and throw in an occasional sprint workout to make sure they each work under load. The good news is I don't think anyone would steal the old one.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Bike Fit Stuff

Tri Bike Fit Link
I've never done much bike riding other than for easy fun rides. I have absolutely no clue as to how everything should be adjusted. So I've read a bunch of stuff to try to make sense of it all. Then yesterday I worked on making adjustments. I'm going to list the things I did and why.

Keep in mind I don't have a racing bike. This is a hybrid/mountain bike. No dropbars or tribars.

1: Seat tilt, I had the front tipped down (trying to improve comfort to "the area"). That tilt is no good if you are going to be riding any distance. The result of that tilt is you put a ton of weight on your hands as the seat isn't really supporting you with this angle. So I adjusted it back to flat. Sure enough my hands/wrists no longer feel as much weight.

2: Seat location forward and back. I'll have to look for a link about this. The method I used was the plumb line off the knee when the pedal is at 3/9 o'clock. The weight should go through the ball of your foot. That moved my seat back considerably and created a straighter back.

3: Seat Height: This is where I really became confused while I was on the bike. I would power my downstroke and instead of finishing at the absolute bottom of the pedal (6 o'clock) I would be in front of it. I couldn't make sense of that until I read Method 2 of that link above. Which reads.
I don't like to consider 6 O'Clock the bottom of the pedal stroke. I rather prefer it to be that point where the crank arm is parallel to the line drawn up to the greater trochanter (i.e., more or less parallel to the seat post)
So basically you have to tip the clock more closely to the angle of the seat post. Then it all makes a bit more sense. This bit of info also helped me understand why the seat post angle is the big difference in road/tri bikes. I now see how the geometry is going into play. (hope this helps someone else too).
So do I have my seat height set properly. I don't know yet, work in progress.

Also in progress is my handlebar height. If anyone else has a great link of how to setup your bike "properly". (Again hybrid/mountain no dropbars). Let me know.

I also realized I didn't mention that I did buy the Crank Bros. "Quattro Pedals" and the Shimano Tri Shoes to go with. So far so good, easy in/out of the clip once you figure it out.
The other purchase was the "kurt kinetic trainer". This may seem totally stupid to many of you but it's tough to find a safe place to ride here. I don't want to have to load the bike onto the car and drive somewhere every time I want a bike workout.
Also I checked it out on ebay. If it turns out I never use this thing after a year. I can get nearly the selling price back. I bought it from