Friday, August 31, 2007

VO2 Max

I've been surfing around looking at different plans on improving VO2 Max.
Mostly Variations on a theme here.
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3
Link 4
Link 5

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pro Photos from Morgantown

Matt at the start of the bike
Craig at the start of the bike
Matt at the end of the bike
Matt at the start of the run
Craig at the start of the run

Craig is that the guy about to crash into you in the bike picture?

I'll include this one too. The reason I didn't clip my shoes to the pedals and try to put my feet in them once I got going.
Picture of ?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I thought I would mention the humorous side effect of my weight loss. I went to the pool with Fi yesterday and there was some little kid of about 11 who started throwing these sinking torpedoes at us in the deep end (12 feet) and asking us to go get them. Fiona likes to dive, so we did that for a while. Then I went down and stood on the bottom, waiting for more to arrive. After I caught both of them, I came up and handed them to the kid who was standing there slack-jawed. He said "How do you do that?" Yes, my friends, my ability to sink has returned! I have finally gotten rid of enough fat that I am only about neutrally buoyant with mostly-full lungs.

As most of you know, I used to be able to sink like a rock, and swim around underwater while wearing a lifejacket, so I am looking forward to getting back into that kind of shape.

I met a guy tonight in one of my classes who lost 90 pounds in the last year, so I will be talking to him about that next week. See if I can get any helpful hints. Obviously it is the same as ever. Eat less, burn more. I am mostly interested in the psychology of the "eating less" part. Burning more is fairly straightforward. Burn baby burn.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Flickr Pictures

I wanted to try out this website for awhile. I always get in trouble not sharing all the pictures I have. This site may be the answer to that problem.
I sent invites out to everyone, at least I tried to. If you didn't get one let me know.

Once you get to the site you typically arrive in thumbnail mode. I'd recommend the "Details" view. Then you can see the Description of each image and yes, you can leave your own comments on the picture.

Once I familiarize myself more with the site, I'll post up all of the Tango Pictures.

HR Note from Morgantown

From the spreadsheet, I noticed Eric was frustrated with his HR on his bike rides the other day. It didn't look to me like it was far off from my triathlon.

I downloaded the race info from my HR monitor yesterday.
Cycling Range 162-181 bpm Average was 169. (Max was in the 1st mile of the bike).
Cadence average was 65, my cadence sensor only caught about 40% of my ride. Which is disappointing because I did quite a few change-ups during the ride.

For the 1st 3 minutes of the run my HR went from 170-177 constant drift upwards. Then I stopped to get my footpod going. As I'm sure I was running above my normal pace.
For the next 18 minutes or so it held at 178ish, then it started to drift upwards slightly to 182. It looks like I upped the pace for the final 1/4 mile, my HR went right up to 188-190 to the finish.

Looking at my HR training post a few weeks back. If I've accurately located my zones it would appear that I raced the entire event in Zone 4 "sub lactate threshold". For the most part I was able to hold that intensity for the full 1:14:00. I certainly would not be able to go 3 hours at this intensity. If the mooseman were a month away, I'd be practicing my pacing to hold a lower zone for sure.

Nothing too enlightening here. Just figured I'd post so I could find it later as reference.


I have determined, again, that triathlons, regardless of your fitness level come down to the run. As with Rocky Gap, my Morgantown Tri came down to the run for me to show overall improvement. My swim and bike have both improved, but my run has suffered. In my final analysis this means I won't go faster until I improve the run. For example: I improved my swim this year. I worked hard at doing this. I have a ways to go and I would like to get there, but the most I could hope to take off at Morgantown would be 2 minutes. Bike - worked hard at this also. I improved about 1 MPH. In this distance, I gained 1.5 minutes. I do see room to take off at best, about 4 minutes. So, do the math with me 2 minutes + 4 minutes = 6 minutes better, very best situations after a couple years of working really hard.

RUN - I did 26 minutes last year. I did 27.5 minutes this year. If I could get myself during a tri to my current 5 K pace (25 mins) when doing a stand alone 5K, Bam I just saved 2.5 minutes. If I could get to a below average high school cross-country runner (22 minutes) Bam another 3minutes. If I could get to what I think would be the best for a guy my size and age (2o minutes) Bam another 2 minutes. Total - 7.5 minutes in the run.

I have looked at the Hal Higdon run things, maybe you have to pay for the good ones, but he doesn't let me know how to go from a 25 min 5K pace to a 23 min 5k pace.

So, I found this link.

I am going to focus this fall on getting my 10K pace to sub 45 min. I determined that my pace is near 55 mins (8:52 min/mile) at this point. I would be happy to get to the sub 50 min. But my goal by the end of November is to go sub 45. This would also get me to a sub 22 min 5K, which would be great.

Let me know if you think this is crazy. I keep seeing people who can't swim as well as me, can't bike as well as me still pass me in the run after I build sizable leads in the other two areas.

Actually Jim would probably be the best person to ask if my goal is possible. Even the training program above doesn't seem to indicate how quickly I could or should be able to improve. I essentially am no faster of a runner today than three years ago, I just feel a ton better after the race and don't hurt for three days. Matt also talked about focusing on this this fall for his 10K in NH.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Cadence Note

Craig, I have to link you with this article by our guru Mark Allen. It is about cadance, which we had a very brief discussion about at the Tango. I'll let Mark do the talking. This is on XTri, which is linked on the right side of this page, but I wasn't sure if you ever checked it out. I think it is good advice.
Find it here:
Cadance Training.

What I have learned (in the last two weeks).

Since this is what I consider an educational community, I am going to post what I have discovered recently. Please pardon me if it is long. You don't have to read it all if it doesn't interest you. As you already know, I spent the last two weeks in Ireland and the Netherlands. While there, I read two books, The New Rules of Lifting, by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove, and Freakonomics. I won't discuss Freakonomics here, though it was rather entertaining, and very helpful from my perspective as a grad student. I will discuss what the Lifting guys say we should do with strength training, and what I learned simply by spending time in Europe.

First, Europe. Upon weighing myself today, I have found that I have lost another 5 pounds since the Tango, putting me at least at a 7 year low of 255. I mostly have you and our goals to thank for this, but the last five pounds was all Europe's fault. There are many reasons combining to assist in this, and to explain why Americans are so dang fat (including me). As I mentioned in a recent post, everything is smaller. There are no huge drinks (much to my dismay), no refills, very few fast food restaurants, and gas is freaking expensive. How does the price of gas effect our fatness? You have to bike or walk everywhere! Craig, the Netherlands is your dream world. Here is a picture of the local train station parking lot:

There is a small bike store on every street in the Netherlands and bike repair shops are booming.

We also ate significantly fewer calories than usual, obviously, as we lost weight, but we didn't really notice. All the food was good, and I rarely felt like I was starving. I carried around a few Clif and GoLean bars just in case but didn't eat half of them. We usually ate one "big" meal a day, with the others being smaller, and then we had a bagel or scone or something in between. I am going to try to really continue these eating habits this fall and plan around my workouts so I get the most bang for my buck with nutrition. I felt totally at home in Ireland, as if I returned after a long journey. I had no trouble understanding people, though Amy sometimes did, and I love the landscapes and music. It is actually quite reminiscent of Warren, naturally speaking. Everything is green and hilly, with many of the same plant species. It rained every day that we were there, almost all day. Never got above 65 degrees, in the middle of August, which also kept the metabolism up.

On the lifting front, these guys propose a few things that I have been promoting for years. I liked the book, partially because I agree with it, I admit, but they do back a lot of it up with research and reasonable explanations. They say there are six movements you need to be able to do as a human. They are Squat, Bend Forward, Lunge, Push, Pull, and Twist. They add walking and running too, but don't cover it, because it's not lifting. They base these six movements on practical use. I'm not gonna justify them, but they do. So concisely, the exercises that most effectively replicate these movements are Squats, Deadlifts (Bending), Lunges, Push-ups and Presses (pushing), Rows and Pull-ups (pulling), and Twisting exercises, which are a little less well-known, but involve things like the Russian Twist, lying on your back with your knees bent and swinging your legs back and forth, and others such as that. They don't like isolating your muscles, as the machines do, because in real life, that never happens. They prefer dumbbells, which tend to balance you better, and require all the surrounding muscles to stabilize the ones you are trying to work. They also say that doing these exercises will work almost all of your muscles, and put them in better harmony than isolating. For example, deadlifting uses your quads, hamstrings, glutes, shoulders and back, but also requires your arms, gripping muscles, core muscles for stabilization and so on, so you tend to be rock solid when you do these kinds of things. This provides a usable, highly functional strength, instead of large muscles that don't do much else. Another admonition that has been a pet peeve of mine for years is not lifting more than you can hold on to. Why on earth would you want to be able to lift something that you can't pick up? I've never understood that. Improve your grip if you can't pick it up. Speaking of that, they said that grip strength has been shown to be highly correlated with long life, as has abdominal strength. This was nice to hear, as they used to call me gorilla grip in the stagehanding world.

Using these six movements, they offer many different ways to perform them so you get variety, which they constantly recommend, such as step-ups, many different kinds of presses, both chest and overhead, all kinds of lunging exercises which are just killers, and lots more, and the great part of it is that almost everything can be done at home which just a couple sets of dumbbells (or one set in my case, so far), and maybe a kettlebell or two, a wooden box and maybe an exercise ball. That's it, and you can be strong like bull, hard as iron, look like Adonis, and run like a Cheetah with irritable bowl syndrome.

I'm joining the Y this fall, any day now, and I will begin trying to add these kinds of things in 2-3 times a week, along with regular swimming and aerobic stuff, and hopefully it will all pay off without a huge time commitment. I'm hoping school won't be quite so sucky this semester, but I can't say yet. It certainly won't be easy.

If anyone wants more details on the lifting plans in this book, just let me know, and I can fill you in. This is a library book, though, so I will be returning it. I'll be recording the stuff that I plan to do, then sending it on the next lucky patron.

Craig's Race Report

It was great seeing Matt. Just so you all know, even though you probably lived through it, Friday night was oppressively hot during the kids Tri. Matt & Genine hung out and took pictures of the kids getting on & off the bike and caught Eleanor at the end of the run. I got a good work out too. They put he kids in Heat 2, 5, 9. So, Tamara got them ready for the bike coming out of the swim then I helped them transition to the bike. Back & Forth, I was getting a little soggy. Kid's did great. Maddy was our best swimmer, Levi hammered on the bike, & Eleanor was the only kid to run the whole run leg (or close to it). It was fun.

Race Day for Matt & I. We got there about 50 minutes before Matt's start time. It was a little hurried getting stuff set up outside the pool, but once we were pool side it was relaxed and it was good to talk to Matt before the start. Matt looked awesome in the pool. There was a 14 year old kid that was flying in his heat. He definitely had swam some competitive meets before. Matt was 3rd out of the pool in his heat. It would have been tough for him to catch the first two.

My swim went well. I was over 20 seconds faster than last year. Of course by well I mean the spas freak boy in my lane didn't drown me and I didn't punch him. Of course Tamara told me she was ready to punch him. Right off the bat, he was flailing with like a broken windmill. He was just fast enough I couldn't get around him in the first lap. Lap 2 I went to go around I got drove in the lane line to my left. Lap 3 went to go around, again my arm was whacking the lane line. I then settled in behind him for lap 4. Lap five he was tired enough that I put the hammer down and gained about 10 seconds on him. I probably lost a little time, but didn't get worked up and felt good coming out of the pool. I swear he didn't open his eyes once.

Leaving the transition out of the bike, I was mounting my bike, when from my right I saw someone coming towards me. It was Spas freak boy from the pool. He was trying a flying push jump start, and I believe if I hadn't moved my front wheel to the left it would have been a bad day for both of us. Well the next challenge was passing him. I caught him in the first quarter mile. He was on the wrong side of the lane and I had to pass him on the right. My bike went great from there. Matt has the distance listed as 10.5 miles. I checked the distance on Google yesterday, it comes out to 11 miles. Last year it was 10.5 because of some construction. This year they got the full 11 in. I went a few seconds faster on the bike this year, of course keeping in mind the 1/2 mile increase.

My 2nd transition was slower than I wanted. The run just feels awful for the first mile. I then started to pick it up. I was very encouraged to run into Matt about 1/2 mile from the turnaround. He looked great, very happy. I was able to get my pace up the last 1.5 miles. But guess who came running by me with about a 1/2 mile to go (Spas Boy). I tried hard to hook on. He got me by 15 seconds. My time was slower than last year. I was 1:25 slower to be exact. It came almost entirely in the run. I was 1:30 slower in the run.

A couple notes, which may appear to be excuses, but I can live with that. The bike was 1/2 mile farther. So, I actually went faster here. Spas boy didn't help, but I won't say he hurt me. The run may have been a tad longer than last year, based on discussion from the local tri group, that it was not quite a 5K last year and they moved the turnaround farther down the trail. It could have only been 100 yd tops. Doesn't explain 1.5 minute drop. The heat/humidity was up, I no like this.

All in all the number that I like best, was last year I was 99th overall, this year I was 93. So, I moved up 6 slots. Of course teams are included in this. So against individuals both Matt & I are looking better.

I can't wait to get Shawn involved in one of these, as well as the rest of you all. We had a good time, & I would love to go to NY to do a tri in the city or near the city with Matt & others.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Matt's Race Report: Morgantown

Friday Travel Day to WV for pre-race meeting:
Genine and I arrived at the race site about 4:30PM. The Race meeting wasn't until 6. After being in the air conditioned car all day. The 93 degree temp and high humidity was brutal. We actually went over to a grocery store to pick up some allergy medicine I forgot and also just to hang out in their A/C. Ha!
Craig and Family showed up closer to 6. The Kids were going to race their triathlon right after our meeting. They did great. It was very fun to watch about 100 kids and the differing levels of intensity they had about the race.
After the race we headed out for some dinner. That's when things started to fall apart for me. I guess I got a migraine headache. I even broke out in a cold sweat. So I really wasn't a whole bunch of fun at dinner. I think I had everyone pretty worried about me. I was really out of it.
Driving back to Craig's after dinner, I was already thinking I might not be able to compete in the morning. Although, I was still hopeful that it would pass.

Saturday Race Day:
5:30 AM wake up call and I was feeling better. So off to the races.

My heat started at 8:00, Craig Started the group after me 8:10. So we were able to chat right up until my start which was nice. Kept my nerves down. I have to say watching some of the people swimming in the groups ahead of me boosted my confidence too. Some people were really struggling. (I know.... nice that I take confidence from that)
I was happy with my swim. I didn't think about the fact the timing mat was on the way out of the pool area. I should have run to that to save a few seconds off my swim time. I was the furthest lane from that timing mat.
I didn't even think to look how many had finished in my heat. I guess I was the 3rd out of 10 in my heat. So when I got to the transition area as I was getting ready for the bike I think 2 or 3 people arrived after me but were out of transition ahead of me.
When I got to the bike start, someone else was right behind me. I never looked to see who it was. I just decided to dig in and hold my position at that point. So I kept looking over my shoulder during the bike to see where he was. I didn't see him and never caught me. I'll have to look up how much time I made up on him at some point.
The exciting part of the bike was on the loop back. First there was a guy really digging in heading my way, aerobars and looking down I guess, because as he got close he headed right at me. I had to yell to him to let him know I was there. We passed each other very very closely. Not Cool.
Next I ran into a big ole bumble bee. Fortunately it didn't latch onto my shirt.
Lastly, some guy was walking out of the trees along side the path right into my way. Again had to yell out to him to get him to hold up. He had no clue I was there.
In the 2nd transition I switched my watch to Run Mode and tried to get my foot pod going. I guess I didn't get the pod switched on, but I figured I didn't care. I'd go without it. Well my right calf started cramping up on me almost immediately. I wasn't going to have any part of that I just kept going and it worked itself out within a half mile. My Heart Rate within that half mile was 180-185 which I knew wasn't good. I was having to walk for 15 seconds a couple times. I decided if I was walking, I may as well stop and get my footpod going so I can see what my pace is. When I started running again, I found I was running way above my normal pace.
Now that the pod was working, I was able to pull my pace back and run the next 2.5 miles without having to walk. A few people passed me on the run. The guy that had started the bike right behind me as he passed me running said. "I couldn't catch you on the bike!" So I guess he was gunning for me for about 40 minutes now. I had absolutely no extra burst to give at finish of the run as I had hoped but I'm happy with the split times and overall results.

I'd like to thank Craig and Family for letting Genine and I stay at their house. They are great hosts and it was a very fun weekend. I hope you plan for a trip out our way sometime so we can return the favor. We don't have to do a triathlon when you visit if you don't want to. Ha ha ha!

Morgantown Photos

Click on photo for a larger image.

Matt's 330 yd Swim 5:55 79th/300

Craig's 330 yd Swim 6:26 120th/300

Matt's 10.5 mile Bike 35:04 / 18.8 mph 111th/300

Craig 10.5 Mile Bike 33:24 / 19.8mph 81st/300

Matt's 5K 29:18 164th/300

Craig's 5K Run 27:30 123rd/300

Finished: Craig 93rd place, Matt 128th place overall. 300 participants.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Morgantown Results Links

Results Link
I'll post more later. Yes we have pictures.


Is anyone taking photos at this race?

Let us know how it all transpires.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Race like the wind

Good luck guys. Wish I were there with you. Of course the Netherlands is okay too. Wandered around Amsterdam today with our hosts. Didn't stop in any Cannabis Bars. I've been walking many miles every day, in the mountains of Ireland last week, and the streets of Holland this week. I haven't had much of a chance to run, unfortunately, but I am beginning to see why Europeans are so thin. When you walk everywhere and there aren't any Doritos readily accessible, it's harder to be fat. I've lost a fair bit of weight just living here. Also, the portion sizes are ridiculously small compared to what we're used to. The Double Gulp has never been introduced here. Cokes are never refillable, and the size I get is slightly larger than a shot glass. I'm not kidding. They have these bottles that are .2 litres. That's what I got tonight with dinner. That is about one-fifth of what I would normally drink with a meal. I did finally find Doritos in a major city but they came in tiny bags with about 6 chips in them, about one-third of the 99 cent "Grab Bags" you see at Sheetz.

Anyway, I want you guys to do your best and have some fun. I'm sure your day will be educational as well. Sorry I have been absent for a while. I'll be back on Sunday, and I gotta hit the bricks.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tri Shorts / Speed Laces

Initially I was thinking I didn't care how long I spent in transition. I was concerned about what I was going to wear in the pool and then go to the Bike/Run with though.
So I went looking for some tri-shorts. It would seem this stuff is going on sale most places but the selection isn't the greatest. Of everything that fit me there were two that I liked. One was $60 the other was on sale for $30. I bought the Zoot Suit for $30.
I did my run in them last night. No problems there. I'll go to the pool with them tonight. I'm not sure I like the draw string. That is likely important in the pool. Do they DQ you if you lose your suit? Ha!
Anyhow, since I was at the store I figured I'd check on the Speed Laces with bungee laces. (careful when purchasing, they sell stiff laces too). Craig had mentioned that he used some form of them. For $9 I figured they were worth trying out. I like them. I figured for $9 they would be kind of chintzy, not so, they seem well designed and durable. Time will tell I suppose. I put them in for my run last night, again no problem.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Transition Checklists

Swim Cap
HR monitor and strap

Swim to Bike:
Race Number. on bike or shirt
bike shoes

Bike to Run:
waterbottle at transition

What am I forgetting? Other than my 70's tube socks and shorts?

HR Training Part 2

Some of this is a repeat from the other. I was just trying to be more descriptive of the physical benefits.

Zone 1: Steady State Training: Warm up, Cool Down and Recovery Day workout zone. Increases blood flow to muscles which helps remove Toxins and bring Oxygen and nutrients for repair.

Zone 2: Steady State Training: Improves and Maintains endurance ability. Improves ability to use Fat for Fuel. Type IIa muscle fibers have some aerobic function increase.

Zone 3: Steady State Training & Intervals: Boosting Muscular Endurance working towards being able to maintain a relatively high intensity for a long time. Type IIa muscle fibers are maximally challenged in this zone, pushing them to become more slow twitch endurance fibers (rather than power).

Zone 4: Steady State Training & Intervals: Improves Muscular Endurance, Significantly improves performance for events which are 1 to 3 hours in duration.

Zone 5a: Steady State Training & Interval: Similar to Zone 4 with the addition of building tolerance to acidosis. Longer recovery needed compared to Zone 4.

Zone 5b: Interval: Improves anaerobic endurance (VO2 Max) or volume of blood moved per beat. Also improves the body's ability to tolerate and remove acid from the muscles.

Zone 5c: Interval: Develops Muscle power under maximum acidosis. For Short Sprinting Events

Morgantown Start Times

Got our start times. You are starting one group ahead of me.

70 (bib#) 8:00 AM Matthew Carlson

78 (bib#) 8:10 AM Craig Cerra Link to all start times.

I got an email about my swim time. I gave them a 6:20. I am assuming you gave them a projected time faster than mine. Of the individual contestants last year I was 89. So my bib# is not too far off. I went to last year results and looked at the people in my group. about 6 people show up. The swim times are all over the place as well as there overall times. I have not idea how they calculated start times. I checked out your group, a little faster than mine, but still all over the place.

The neighbor guy, Joel, has a 7:50 start time. His daughter told me last night he tweaked his calf and may not do it, if it doesn't feel better by Friday.

I looked at your group 0f 10 people. I only recognized one person, Noah Brak. You probably got him on the swim. He did Rocky Gap with me and was even with me on the swim. His bike was right next to mine in the transition. I am not sure how close you may be on the bike to him, but it is fair to say when he goes under 20 minutes for a 5k you might not be able to stay with him. He is an incredible runner. Of course he is 20 years old and couldn't be 150 lbs.

This means we are leaving the house about 6:30 Saturday Morning. Normal day for me, kids might not be to happy about getting up that early.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Winter Get-away??

Anyone interested in planning a winter break? Chris J and I and maybe Marty Durnell are running the Phoenix Marathon January 13th, 2008. We will likely fly out on Friday and take a red-eye back late on the 13th.

PS-I've really enjoyed reading your blog! You guys have a very interesting forum here. Good luck this weekend. I look forward to reading about how it goes.

Heart Rate Training

Here is my attempt to answer some of the HR training questions. I'm going to start broadly then answer questions or go into more detail later.
The 1st thing you need to determine are your zones. The Book I read "Total Heart Rate Training" has you use Perceived Exertion to locate your "lactate threshold".
Once you've done that there are charts for each event as each have different ranges because of the differences in the exercise. The Zones are 1-4 then 5a, 5b, 5c. the bottom of 5a is your lactate threshold.
Next you want to look at the duration of the event for which you are training. There you will see which zone should be your race day zone. (not training zone but what you want to maintain on race day). I will include what I believe are my HR Zones for Running based on 188 LT.
>12 hours Zone 1 <160 "Active Recovery Zone"
8-12 hours Zone 2 160-170 "Aerobic Threshold"
3-8 hours Zone 3 171-179 "Tempo"
1-3 hours Zone 4 180-187 "Sub Lactate Threshold"
20 min - 1 hour Zone 5a 188-191 "Lactate Threshold"
2-20 min Zone 5b 192-199 "Aerobic Capacity"
<2 min Zone 5c 200+ "Anaerobic Capacity"

1 Active Recovery: If you are in good shape a workout in Zone 1 promotes recovery more than a day off

2 Aerobic Threshold: Best way to improve aerobic function because of the easy recovery time from this type of workout.

3 Tempo: This zone is useful mostly to people who's events are spent at this rate as it's very similar to zone 2 but requires more recovery time.

4 SubLactate Threshold: Effective zone for improving acid tolerance. Intervals of 6-12 minutes with 1/4 of that time recovering. Keeping the Workout under 60 minutes helps keep recovery time at a minimum.

5a Lactate Threshold: Very similar to zone 4 with even more caution about workout time and recovery as this level creates acid very quickly.

5b Aerobic Capacity: Max Aerobic Capacity, you can only hold this for a few minutes. Interval training of 3 min 5b / 3 min recovery for 15 minutes would be a typical workout. Recovery time would increase greatly going much longer than this. (infrequent zone for endurance events)

5c Anerobic Capacity: You can only hold this for a minute at best. This is an area used most by Sprinters and Cyclists which have a sprint at the end of the event to determine the winner.

More later. I've got to get my workout in!

Tango Prize Breakdown

I never got a good look at the race packet. What were all the prizes that were awarded?
I'm just curious because I'd think posting that type of information to the website might actually draw a bigger number of competitors.
Just curious.

Intensity or Heart Rate Maintinance

I'm trying to debate whether I should be shooting for the fat burning <150 BPM heart rate the whole time or run with increased intensity to increase my fitness. If I do the latter, my heart rate will eventually come down as I become more fit, right? I saw that Shawn posted something similar on the spreadsheet. Does anyone have an opinion on this? I just feel like if I shoot for the <150 rate while running, I'll have to be going really slow. Plus I can hang out around 160-170 for a half hour or so during my runs. It this a bad idea? It's probably time for me to do a little reading on exercise physiology.

On an unrelated note, does anyone know if it's a bad idea to eat a carb intense meal before working out? My typical schedule is to eat a breakfast consisting of a bowl of oatmeal with a generous scoop of brown sugar on it then go workout. Am I only burning this glucose during my workout and never touching those fat stores that I'm gunning for? Would I be better off waiting till after my workout to eat breakfast?

Good luck to Craig and Matt this weekend.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The new running shoes

It's still early but I have to say that I am really surprised at how much better my left foot feels running in these. At the same time, the muscles responsible for shin splints are feeling tight. I can't say whether this is because of the shoes or not. It could be from pushing hard on my Brick workout the other day. Another week and I should know for sure. I may find out that changing shoes a week before a race is a bad idea.

Bike Drafting and Passing

Good link explaining the rules of Drafting.


It is time to Taper for the race. I did not get the workouts during the week in I wanted to. I was in Bakersfield, CA. I got in a couple days, but my travel days were not too successful. I tried to make up for it on the weekend. I did 10 miles (6 Sat & 4 Sun) of running and 19 biking. Last night after my Brick I felt good. Two hours later I was whooped. This morning my legs felt the fatigue, about as much fatigue as the Tango.

The good news is I have had a calf problem from before the Tango until about a week ago. It no longer is there. I was worried yesterday was going to aggravate it. Not so, it feels good.

I am going to take it easy this week before the Tri on Saturday. A couple short runs (3 miles), a swim on Wednesday (all form nothing too hard), and a couple bikes < 10 miles. Everything done pretty low in the Heart Rate zones.

My time from last year was 1:08:47. I hope to best this. I got into predicting my time before Rocky Gap and I fell apart. I will only say I hope to best this.

I hope to have Matt hard on my heels.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

SSS - Morgantown

Matt, here is the map for the bike course. I think you were so close on the run I won't redo it.

The pool is right where I started the bike course, thus the common transition area for all events is located here.

I figured we would attend the mandatory prerace meeting Friday night at 6pm. If I didn't mention it before, all the kids are doing the kids triathlon immediately after the meeting, so we will have some time there to look over things.

The only thing tricky about the swim is the fact it is a 33 yard pool. The bike only has one small hill. There are some sections were they have these posts across the trail to keep vehicles from getting on, but totally managable. The turn around is pretty abrupt at the half way, but not a problem. The run does have a steady climb about mile 2 which makes you feel like you will never get to the turn around, but it is down hill the way back.

Plenty of snacks and drinks after the race and last year they let the kids grab whatever they wanted to.

This is a great first race because it is well organized and so many volunteers.

Look forward to seeing you guys on Friday. I can take some time off if you want to get to Morgantown earlier in the day.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Plug for donations

I'll keep this short.
Doug is the guy that is going to help me out with my running. He's doing the Livestrong Challenge 5K run again this year in Philadelphia. He's also hoping that Lance will run, figuring he's got a good shot at beating him!
2006 Race Results Not bad eh?
Here is Doug's fundraising page for the Philly 2007 Livestrong Challenge.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Casey, could this be the problem?

I ran across this forum, I have no idea if this happens to describe your knee problem at all. I figured I'd post it just in case it was.

Naturally anytime I find something like this and want to know more...Wikipedia

Shawn is in Ireland

Shawn left the Tango wanting to do more.
Do you suppose after all his rants of looking for a "big man's event" he decided to travel for some real competition?
A quick trip across the North Channel and he could be here.
Cowal Highland Gathering
The list of heavy events seems to be exactly what he would want to do.
In case he is unaware of the event and is checking the blog, I'll provide driving directions.
Google Maps
No running involved at all Shawn! You can do it! USA! USA! USA!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tango Canoe / Gait Analysis

1st I know I will forget this before next year's tango, so I'll write it here.
just below the refinery there was "whitewater". There was actually a safety canoe there as well. I guess with a race canoe, this section can swamp you rather easily. Which happened to many in the Canoe Races the week after the Tango. From what I understand, the route is to take the left side of the big waves, there is a good "path" which will also keep you from taking on water.

Gait Analysis: My running shoes are shot. I found this out from taking on water in the canoe. The air cushion of the right shoe gurgled for a few days after the tango. So I decided to take advantage of a place in the city that has treadmills setup at the store with Video Cameras.
They had me put on "neutral" shoes, (no pronation fix) and run on the treadmill. On the screen we could see that I had moderate pronation. (I would have guessed I had the opposite problem to be honest). So he then went back to the stock room and pulled down 2 pair of shoes. Then he video taped me on the treadmill again. The 1st set was better but it was still there. He said the next pair would do a better job. Sure enough, it looked great! Of course just for fun I had him pull down a couple other brands that were built to fix my problem. He video taped me with all of them, none of them were as good as the 2nd shoe. They are Brooks Adrenaline GTS 7's.
(There was no extra charge for the analysis).

Of course the real test will be once I get to do some running in them tomorrow night.

I wish I would have thought to ask him to video tape me with my walking shoes. I bought inserts for my walking shoes a few days before the Tango because my left foot was bugging me. They seem to be helping but it would have been interesting to see on film to see for sure. The place is close by, next trip in I'll see if they will check for me.

Here is another link explaining pronation.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

This was surprising

There is a guy that works down the street from me in NYC. We do quite a bit of work with their company. I had heard that he was quite a runner, he finishes marathons in about 3 hours, give or take 10 minutes.
I figured I'd shoot him an email asking if he might be able to help me out. I explained that my goal race is the Mooseman in June and that I'm running it as a fund raiser for Leukemia.

This was part of his response: "
My sister went through 2 rounds of back to back chemo for Acute Myeloid Leukemia. She received a bone marrow transplant almost 2 years ago and is doing great."

This is the same "rare" type that both my mom and Nathan had. I was stunned. So of course he's very supportive of the cause. He also does races with Lance Armstrong's foundation.

Anyhow, I'm going to wait until after the Morgantown race before messing with my run technique. Then hopefully he will be able to give me some advice which might speed me up a bit. I'll let you know how that goes.
I felt compelled to post because of the fact his family also has dealt with AML.

Morgantown Sprint Gmaps

Sprint Bike Map

Morgantown 5K run
I don't think I got this one exactly right. Let me know what's up with this one Craig. Their map is kinda weak.

Saturday's Bike/Run Brick

I decided I had better try the 10.5 mi and 5K that I'll be doing in Morgantown.
I did parking lot laps at Mountain Park for the bike portion. There is a bit of an elevation change between the 2 lots and there are quite a few turns to negotiate. I'm guessing there will be fewer turns in Morgantown but I suppose there may be more hills.
I actually finished the bike quicker that I'd thought I would but there wasn't a swim ahead of it.
My biggest concern regarding the bike is passing people and being passed. (I'm hoping I'll get to pass someone!). Maybe I'll have a later start time (it's a staggered start) and I'll get to watch some people on the course ahead of time.

The beginning of the run could also be a problem. I started my run much faster than I should. Which surprised me given the awkward feeling of running after biking . The only way I knew I was running too quickly was the foot pod. Would I be allowed to use a foot pod during the race? It's basically the same as a bike computer right? (those are allowed too right?)

Genine's HR monitor is back in action also. I had hoped we'd have it for the Tango, it arrived the Monday following, naturally. I'll bring it along in case you'd like to use it Craig.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Orienteering Gmap 2

I have no idea where the trail up the face of Rim Rock is. Craig and I were saying the best way to go up would be the gradual slope which I plotted on this map. If there is a reasonably straight trail there. This looks to be about a half mile shorter than our route.
Orienteering #2
Of course being on a trail vs on the road plays a part as well.

Another bike store trip

I rode my mountain bike down to the local bike store, appropriately named The Bicycle Shop, and tuned my rear derailleur which was sticking when I shifted into a higher gear. Well, that was a snap, but I thought I would test drive a bike or two to see whether there was any reason I had to have one. I figured since I wasn't going to buy one anyway, I might as well go for the big guns so I took out a Cannondale CAAD 8, which was retailing for about $1100, in a 63 cm size. Well, it was sweet, as you might expect. Super smooth and light, with crisp power application. It had to be several pounds (!) lighter than my road bike. It put me into such an aero position that my neck hurt after the test ride, yet it was generally much more comfortable than the last road bike I test drove. And technically, it wasn't that expensive, compared to most of the tri bikes, although to be fair I paid less than that for my last motor vehicle. I'm pretty sure I won't be able to justify a new bike unless I start getting close to winning, but it's fun to dream.

P.S. I will be doing all three disciplines today.

HR: This one's different

I haven't seen this method of determining your HR Zones before.
HR Zones Link

Various run Training Programs.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Need Bike Help

Thoughts of the '08 Mooseman and Tango events have inspired me to start thinking about my game plan. With that in mind, can anyone recommend a "middle of the road" mountain bike? I have a really old Timberline that is in pretty bad shape. I'm not really interested in fixing it up either. I just want a new one. I don't want to spend more than $300-$400. I have absolutely no idea what kind of bike I can get for that, or what brand names I should be looking for.

I was Googling last night and came across the link below, which I believe is also one that someone posted several months ago (although I am too lazy to go back and weed through all the old posts to find it). Of course, the only thing I am going on is the price tag.

Does anyone have any helpful hints for me?

Swimming - What stroke to use

This may sound like a strange question. Freestyle should be the answer, but it is not for me. This is what has happened to me.

I went swimming last night. 100 yd warm up free style stroke count (18 is my normal count by the way). I then did 9 50yd drills. I was practicing keeping the stroke count down (once again 18 is normal). I noticed my first four sets I was around a minute per 50 yds. So I tried to go harder on the fifth set. I came in 54 seconds. I thought I wonder what I could do a 50 breast stroke in. I came in 57 seconds, but I felt better than the 50 free. So I did breast stroke down, and freestyle back on the next 50. I went 52 seconds.

I thought well I only swam harder because I was being timed. So I did 4 X100's to test it:
  1. 100 yds - freestlye - 2:05
  2. 100 yds - breast - 2:12
  3. 100 yds - first 50 free, 2nd 50 breast - 2:09
  4. 100 yds - breast, free, breast, free - 2:02

I then did 300 yds to gauge my prep for Morgantown. I did it alternating every 25 yds breast to free. I completed it 6:31. I was 3:11 at 150 yds. This is about the pace I did it in last year, but I hadn't swam 900 yds in front of it.

What is up with this? The only thing I can figure is that I am not getting enough breath during free. So I can only handle 25 to 50 yds before I need to get my head up for longer breathes. I breath every other stroke, trying to get oxygen during the freestyle. I just feel better when I throw in the breast stroke.

Heart rate was never over 140. That was after the 300yds. So I got a little to give, but my arms hurt too much to keep up the sub minute 50 yd pace during free.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Swim Class / Muscle Cramps

So I was back to Swim Class tonight. As you know I complain every week that I cramp up some time after the 60 minute mark. So I decided to make sure to drink a ton of water during the day and then change up my pre-class "meal".
I did eat a bit of chicken, but then added a multi-vitamin and some gatorade. I also took a bottle of gatorade with me to class.
Well I made it through class without having to drop out. I'll try it again next week just to make sure it wasn't a fluke.
I also asked what the other people ate before swim class. Most of them carb-load. Pasta meal a couple hours before class then a gel on the drive to the class. Some take the salt pills. So I guess I was being way too conservative with my preparation before.

The class was intense tonight so it was a good test.
100 yd warm up
4x25 2 drill, 2 race. 3 times.
8x 25 on 30 seconds. (I was getting about a 4-6 second break each lap)
30 minute Race for distance swim. 1450 yds. I probably could have done more but I didn't feel like passing the person ahead of me. So I just worked on staying in the draft.
4x200 race: 1st time I finished in 3:48, 2nd 3:58, 3rd 3:50, 4th 3:58
100 yd cool down

Race Results

Did everyone get the race results? Here it is in JPEG form. (Click on it to make it bigger.)

One thing this shows me is that we really weren't that competitive with the high performers, and even if we shaved an hour (and hour!) off our time, we would have moved up only one place. 90 minutes gives us one more rank advancement. So my thought is that we must only be doing this as a challenge to ourselves, because it seems unlikely we can place in the money without replacing our entire team. :-)

So I say if we are trying to challenge oursleves, let's go for it! If the Mooseman doesn't kill us, it therefore must make us stronger, so we should be able to rock the house in the Team Tango division next year. Who's with me!

Equipment Check

Casey, how's the knee 3 days after?
Craig did the rims on your bike survive? I'd hate to see you on the mountain bike in Morgantown. If I'm going to beat you I want it to be be an even race! Ha ha!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Matt's point of View

I had a ton of fun. I'm guessing you could tell that when you look at the pictures. I kind of have PermaGrin going on.
I was waiting to post my information because I wanted to throw some HR info in here.
When we were handed the map we took off in the direction the trail head was supposedly located. (yes, we probably should have been checking this out before we started). It didn't matter. We didn't even go 50 yards before we both realized the run up the road and hitting the course in reverse was a decent strategy. So we headed for the entrance gate.
Craig knew this was my first race so he was coaching me as we were going along. I'm sure I'll hear this in my head before every race now. "This is what you call a delayed gratification event." Which once you finish an event like this you understand completely. I now understand. (PermaGrin).
Once we got into the slope of the hill, he then mentioned keeping positive mentally.
The run up the hill was pretty rough. My watch recorded minimum temperature of 90 degrees. Ascent of 700ft in about 2.5 miles. We reached the RimRock road in 32 minutes. My HR hit 185 6 times during that time. Each time we would change to a quick walk until my HR dropped to 170 then back to the run. (Not exactly HR training day).
Just looking at my HR graph. I'm guessing we hit our 1st target at 37:40, 2nd target at 48:55, 3rd target at 56:00, 4th target at 1:04:00.
Craig didn't need a compass for this event. He did use it to move us to the 3rd point but it only verify what he had already said. I do feel like I did contribute by spotting the target at least a couple of the times. I think as he was scanning the terrain to stay oriented, I was free to scan for the targets in a much wider scope.
There were comical moments as Craig would ask the kids at each station for the Ice Cream he was promised for reaching each point. Some of them weren't sure what to think of this request. The one kid was pretty quick and replied "I just gave the last one away, you were too slow". Craig would also tell them his nephew's name, they should know him from school or scouting. I'm guessing those kids are now telling Craig's nephew he has a Kook for an uncle.
As we cleared our 4th point. I think that we ran into Scott and Joe about 15 yds away from what would be their 1st point. Craig mentioned to them they are on the right track. I think I could hear the kids at the marker laughing at this.
Once we got to end of the trail head at the road. There was a guy with his map on the ground. Compass and full 360 protractor out and in action. Craig asked how they were doing. The guy said he'd be better once they found the 1st marker, to which Craig replied "That trail right there looks really promising". I wonder how many hours it took that team to find the other 3.
It appears we made our decision to take the steep slope through the waist high ferns, monster rocks and downed trees at the 1:18:00 mark. On the climb down I was commenting that it would be fun if there was someone running down the road and we pulled ahead of them. As we were just about to clear the trees we spot 2 people walking. So we start hollering. Well we thought it was funny anyhow. After our slide down the final slope and offering some gatorade and water to them, we were back to running at 1:30:00.
Now Craig and I start talking about what we are going to do if Casey's knee is locked up. My HR was in the 165 zone at that point and I was just saying "I feel like I could do it" when my calves started cramping on me. I'm not sure if it was the downhill running or just my typical 90 minute exercise limit. All I know was we had left it at, we will decide when we get down there.
We were both quite pleased to see that Casey was going to tough it out and take it on.
Average HR 170, max 190. Time 1:43 plus or minus a couple minutes.

As for the Canoe. We thought we might have a race with the High School team that pulled out just in front of us. I guess they didn't get the message it was a race. We never saw them again.
All I had to do then was survive my own leg cramps while sitting in the canoe. I had upper/quad hip cramps this time. I had no idea how to manage it being in the boat. So basically I stood up, bent at the waist and held the sides of the canoe. Kind of looked like I was mooning Shawn. Fortunately that didn't last too long.
Later as we were navigating shallow waters, the boat suddenly lurched to the left. My whole body tenses up trying to hold on. (leg cramps return). Shawn is suddenly at the front of the boat pulling us ahead. I tell him he could have warned me. He said it was spur of the moment, his end of the canoe wasn't going to make it. Ha!
Canoe time 1:40 Average HR 139, Max 166.

It seems that we have inspired some other people to prepare for next year's race. So even if our team isn't the same next year it seems that there will be people to fill in. I guess it's a question of whether we want to prove we can place with our current team or prove to ourselves that we could in fact finish an endurance race such as this.
However it works out next year. I'm looking forward to it already.

Lastly: For the sake of having a record. I want to mention our combined weight. I'm estimating 845 lbs combined. I'm guessing we had a good shot at oldest average relay team as well.
I'm guessing our total weight will be lower next year, can't say the same about the age thing though.

Thanks Guys

Next Year

Today, I feel so full of energy that I am thinking I want to do more next year. I certainly don't want to tear the team apart, but I am in the mood to really challenge myself, and put some pressure on my running requirements, which I really need to hit hard for the Mooseman. So, my hope is that I will be in shape to do the Two Person Complete with someone (maybe we could form two teams from our relay team), or go solo. Now of course anything could happen between now and then, but this would be really motivating to me, because I would need to get much more aerobically fit to be able to do it. During the race, I felt like I wasn't doing enough. I wanted to ride with Craig and run up in the woods with the boys. I didn't really want to run with Casey (no offense, of course), but if I keep working at that, maybe I will. So why not do it all next year? Just speculation. I may be in no shape to do anything. Having seen those people coming down the river at 9 PM, I feel pretty good about not being in last place. Just finishing it would be a remarkable accomplishment. It's 54 miles, for the love of Pete!

Nothing to see here. Just letting the mind wander.

Congratulations Everyone!

It looks like you all had a great day! Regardless of where you placed, it still sounds like you had a strong showing. When are the official results going to be available? Do you feel like a lot of people and teams didn't even finish? The Warren Times Observer headline seems to imply that was the case. Hopefully I'll be able to contribute a leg next year if you're interested. Seems as though everyone learned a lot as well and will be able to take the lessons to the Moosman next year. Way to go.

Warren Times Observer

Scores start Tango; fewer finish


Times Observer photo by Emily Whitaker

And they're off!

Runners in the Second Annual Kinzua Country Tango began the 13.1 mile first-leg run from the YMCA, across the Kinzua Dam to Kinzua Beach at 7 a.m. Saturday morning.
8/6/2007 - Staff Writer

It doesn’t always take two to tango.

Several athletes spent Saturday proving their individual and team strength and endurance as they ran, cycled, swam, orienteered and paddled their way throughout the Kinzua Dam and Allegheny National Forest areas during Warren County’s Second Annual Kinzua Country Tango.

Starting at 7 a.m., several of the approximately 130 participants — entered as individuals, teams of two and relay teams of up to six competitors — began their journey with a 13.1-mile run from the Warren County YMCA, up Hemlock Rd. and across the Kinzua Dam to the Kinzua Beach area.

Once at the beach, individual competitors and relay team members hopped on their bicycles for a 20-mile ride through the Allegheny National Forest which concluded at the Elijah Boat Launch.

At the launch, swimmers fought through approximately 2.2 miles of water before exiting back at the Kinzua Beach area and using their orienteering skills to negotiate their way through 6.5 miles and several checkpoints located within the National Forest area.

As the final two legs of the race, competitors laced up their running shoes, yet again, for a 4.5 run from Kinzua Beach to the tale waters of the Kinzua Dam. From the dam, a dash for the finish line was made as competitors canoed their way to The Point, or where the Allegheny River meets the Conewango River behind the Municipal Pool.

Traveling to Warren County from areas as far as Florida, Virginia, Vermont and Illinois, six individual competitors, eight teams of two and 20 relay teams persevered through over 50 miles of combined events.

At the close of the competition, Tango director Thad Turner felt the day was a success.

“I think it went really well,” he said. “We had a good competition and its incredible how many people come from all over to compete. We also gained sponsorship from Kwik Fill this year, which really helped.”

Winning the individual event and edging out the rest of the competition for the second year, Warren native Toby Angove — who was able to compete after being granted a 48-hour leave from his active Army National Guard unit located in the eastern part of Pennsylvania — said he was overwhelmed at the amount of time and effort that went into planning the event.

“Thad (Turner) puts on a phenomenal event,” he said. “There’s so much support and so much time, effort and energy that goes into this. Its been great to see the local support and to watch the event grow.”

Finishing in just under seven and a half hours, Angove said that this year’s competition provided him with some ups and downs.

“This year was a mix,” he said regarding his performance. “I had a decent first run and my biking was good, but I made an elementary mistake in the orienteering that cost me some time.”

Despite his mistake, Angove finished approximately 15 minutes ahead of the first-place relay team, comprised of students from Southwestern High School.

“The Allegheny National Forest and Warren County have so much to offer,” said Angove. “I hope people start to see what they have to offer.”

Casey's Comment (moved from comments)

First of all, I want to say it was a great day overall. The weather, the scenery, the company. Can't wait for the Mooseman and the Tango next year.

I second Shawn's opinion that we finished with a pretty respectable time of 10 hrs, 15 min (by my watch - I haven't seen the official times yet). Had we not encountered a few issues (I will share mine below and I'll let Craig share his own), I believe we could have finished in under 9 hours, which would have put us around 3rd or 4th in our division.

I stuck to my original plan (which, in retrospect, was a mistake) and kept a 7:30 pace, at least for the first 3 miles. I thought I would keep it up for as long as I could (my goal was the halfway point), then drop back to my normal 8 or 8:15 pace. After mile 3, the inclines kicked in and ended my plans. From then on, the course was one of two things...either sort of uphill or really uphill. I just wasn't physically prepared for it. I also had a stitch in my side that I couldn't shake. Usually I am able to work through them, but again, because I never got a break from the inclines, I couldn't lose it.

I think I crossed the dam somewhere around the 75 minute mark. I estimated that to be between 8.5 to 9 miles in. Around mile 10 I felt the knife in my right knee. I had the same problem 4 years ago while training for the Pittsburgh Marathon. It was run, hobble, walk the rest of the way. I think I finished right at 2 hrs.

The second run was much worse. I wrapped up my knee nice and tight and found that it didn't make a lick of difference. Thankfully it was only 4.5 miles and mostly downhill this time. I got there in 50 minutes, which was better than my goal of an hour.

I figure I cost us 20-25 minutes total.

By the way, my orthopod is going to name his boat after me. The knee makes my third different body part with him. I will keep you posted on how that all works out.

One additional note. Joe (my brother) and his teammate Scott Angove finished the race in just under 11 hours. They came in third in their division and 4th overall. Not too shabby. Their biggest issue was in the swim. Scott had some difficulties so Joe ended up towing him with a rope for almost two miles. They still finished the leg in 2.5 hours.


I don't have my map. But here is my guess as to what our run was.
Turn on the elevation on the sidebar!
Orienteering Run

Here is a website with some tango photos.
Some Tango Photos

Bigger is Better

Great race! Everyone did great. I was excited to see how well we did. I learned a valuable lesson. Listen to the 40 other people using a different bike than myself. Everyone there knew of my self imposed plight. I used too skinny & weak of tires on the bike.

I reviewed the map. My first flat occurred about mile 11. I fought the flat issues to mile 13. Then I made the decision to go for it (25 -30 mins wasted time). I did have air in the tires. But it was a down hill bomb, very rough. I didn't feel the back tire blow, but a hard left and it got steeper, I was braking hard to get stopped. This was mile fourteen. I got off the bike and walked/run for half mile.

I jumped back on and started to bike, two flats. I might have tried to fix it, but I had used up the patch material on the two tubes I had. Still on Gravel when my dad came to see how things were. Made a decision for him to go get Amy's bike back at the Kinzua beach. He went up the road to turn around and by the time he got to me I was traveling on hard road and he said I would beat him to Elijah before he could get one way to Kinzua. So, I kept trekking. It was dicey coming down the hills with no air in the tire & even slicker when I hit the Elijah area and the blacktop was greasy. I almost biffed it twice. It was a happy day to see Shawn standing there waiting for me. I tried to hammer at this point, but the bike would get squirrelly. I had passed about 10 groups on the way up on the bike. I was then passed by those 10 and another 5 or 6. All said, if I would have used a mountain bike no flats, we could have gained an hour. Bigger is better.

Orienteering went awesome. I will let you all know (especially Scotty) that Matt was blowing me away up the hill to get to our first orienteering spot. My muscles were not responding after about two miles of running. It was hot, and steep. It took about a mile on top of the hill before I felt right. I think then we put the hammer down finding the last two spots (we could see the light at the end of the tunnel). Matt's suggestion about using the hard road up and then cross-country to get to the highway to go down, I believe, cut 10 minutes off our time. We did it in 1 hr 42 mins (or so). We also went down a pretty shear cliff to get on the road. Riding on our butts through the weeds. Two people on the road stopped and just stared at us. We then had to give them water because they had run out.

It was awesome to see Casey ready to run when we got in, I just hope it didn't do any more damage then he had already done to his knee.

I felt pretty awful for an hour after I was done, but can't wait for next year. Thanks guys.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Tango Photos

Start of the Day

Casey Crossing the Dam

Casey nearing end of 1/2 Marathon

Craig takes off!

Craig Bike Finish. Nice Tires!

Shawn approaching

Shawn Swimming, nearing finish

Matt & Craig Finish the Orienteering

Transition from Orienteer to Casey's 2nd Run

To the canoe!

Canoe near finish line


Tango Complete

I will let everyone discuss his own portion of the race in his own words, but we have completed the race, finishing respectably, though I think it's safe to say we did not finish in the top 3 in our division. It was a great day of fun and excitement, and we all learned a lot.

Here are some things I learned from my section:

Put sunscreen on your eyelids if you are planning on having them closed while looking at the sun for a long time.

Some people underestimate the value of hand paddles, while other overestimate their ease of use. I did neither.

Watch out for submerged Christmas trees while swimming.

Properly planned buoyancy assistance could be very helpful next year.

As for my swim, it went well. From what I saw, I passed 7 people, and almost caught one more on the run to the transition, but the safety canoers said I passed 9 people, and they surely had a better view than me. No one passed me. Our rough estimate of my time was about 85 minutes, though I'm very curious to see the splits from the race officials. That time was based on a general feeling of when I jumped in the water until I tapped Craig and Matt at the orienteering transition. I forgot to set my stopwatch when I tapped in because of all the excitement and my urge to get going. Considering the average swim time last year was 117 minutes, I think we are all pretty happy with that time, especially me! I felt great afterwards, like I could have kept going, though the run up to the transition was not easy after the swim. My sorest spots the following morning were my traps (from doing my patented reverse butterfly), and my eyelids. My Achilles tendons and my hip flexors were also a bit tender from the constant flipper flapping, though nothing major.

It appeared that I had the largest hand paddles there, and probably the largest flippers too. Many people had training fins and no paddles, or very small ones. I'm sure that gave me an advantage, though Amy heard before I started someone making a remark that those hand paddles would "rip my arms off." They didn't.

Our canoe section was extremely uneventful, as we passed the only other canoe in the race in our first minute, and never saw another one. We just cruised along at a reasonable pace and seemed to navigate successfully. I jumped out once to push and get off some rocks, and Matt had to deal with some residual cramps from the orienteering, but other than that, it was pretty much a typical canoe trip down the river, although we paddled more powerfully and constantly than we would have if we weren't in the race. Basically, our rankings were sealed by the end of the orienteering, which appears to have gone quite well.

There are many stories to tell about the race, but I think it will be better if each piece is told by the people who lived it. I definitely want to participate in some fashion in this race next year too.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

I'm waiting!

Well? Are ya all dead? I wanna hear the results! Get on it!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Leaving for Warren Friday AM

I decided I needed to get to the chiropractor before leaving. Then every road in NJ turned out to have massive backups and accidents. So instead of driving until 2-3 AM. We will get up early and drive. I imagine we will be there before noon.
I'll talk about the chiropractor at dinner tomorrow. It's nothing to worry about. I am ready to go!

I just counted my July Exercise Schedule, 24 workouts, much better than June. Maybe we should watch 300 on Friday night for inspiration. Ha!

Bike Leg Question & Contact Info

Hey Craig, have you had a chance to check out the bike course? If so, how did you find the conditions? My brother gave me a heads up that his partner, Scott Angove, said that a road bike would be a poor choice due to the rough conditions. Do you have the option to bring one of each, or at least a change of tires?

Just something to consider...

And in case anyone needs to try and reach me this weekend, here are the digits that should cover my bases:

My cell: 804/519-9046
Tara's cell: 804/519-6188
My mom's home: 814/726-0229
Tara's parents: 814/723-3246

Support on the Course

Casey, Shawn wanted to make sure you caught the FAQs about the support. I don't believe there is any water support on the course (Shawn's case the water is the support). Also, we are not able to give water to whoever is doing the leg, except swimmer. Just wanted to make sure Casey had a means to carry water, if you need it.

Also, Shawn I saw you can be handed food & drink from the boat, you just can't touch the boat. So, I spoke with my sister-in-law and the boys are planning on having a cooler, if you think you need something.

I'm getting excited. Look forward to seeing you all.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Latest Tango Update

My brother has formed a tandem team with Scott Angove for the race. He just emailed me the links below outlining the maps for each leg. He said he got them from the Tango home page.

First Run Leg:

Bike Leg:

Swim Leg:

We were sort of right. The map says the distance is actually 2.38 miles.

Orienteering Leg:

I am guessing the line simply marks the perimeter of the course, but I am not sure.

Second Run Leg:

Canoe Leg:

Tango Update

When our applications were submitted we were the 12th relay team to enter. I'm guessing this is including High School and Corporate teams.
So the road that goes by the his cottage was scheduled to be tarred and chipped on Thursday. He informed Thad of this. Thad is going to make a call to see if they can hold off on that project. Pennsylvania Ave is already enough of a problem....
Thad also said that he'd run up Rte 59 that night in case that becomes the first part of the race.

The Canoe ends at the point of Conewango Creek and the River.

Craig you mentioned the double ended oars. Could you also have a single end available. I have a feeling I might be more powerful with a single ended. (have to try and keep up with Shawn).

Dad just Instant Messaged me. Up to 20 Teams! Hemlock is going to be the run. Tar and Chip isn't going to happen.