Thursday, December 27, 2007

No Tri Christmas for me...yet

I got nothing tri related at all. I did get one pair of workout pants, but I took them back. My wife and I decided not to give each other much, although I seemed to take this idea further than she did. Nonetheless, I expect I will buy myself a bike computer like the one Craig got soon. Amy was looking at some online, and I suggested I wanted a number of features including cadence speed, so it sounds like Craig got what I wanted. Of course Matt's doesn't look too shabby either. I'll wait 'til we get paid again and try to join the trend. I think I would like a nice pair of cold-weather running/biking pants, but I'm not sure I want to lay out the cash for those. Although I think I could easily save that much money by turning down the heat in the house and wearing my new pants all the time. What else do I need? New running shoes, new bike would be cool, and time to manufacture my swimming apparatus for the 2008 Tango. That's all I want! I guess I will have all summer to work on the swimming stuff, so I'm really only talking about three things. Santa? Where are you now?

Tri Xmas

The coolest new toy is the Polar Power meter for the bike. Works with my current watch, bought used on eBay.
Along the same line I got a couple Spinervals Videos. Between these two things I hope I will become motivated to sit on the bike in the basement staring at my watch or TV while spinning away. I have #1 No Slackers Allowed and #3 Suffer o Rama. Sounds like fun right?
I also upgraded from my AquaSphere mask to some normal speedo goggles.
I wore these goggles to Friday's swim class. I took the mask along in case the goggles didn't work out. There were no troubles, hardly noticed the difference to be honest.
My Lycra/spandex "superman" Speedo Jammers were starting to wear out (I'll spare you the details). Chlorine was too much for it I guess. So this time I decided to buy something I hope will last longer, although I don't think it's as slippery a suit. Endurance Jammers. These are polyester and feel rougher but this won't be a race suit anyhow.
I'm also guessing I got about 3 pounds of unwanted weight but those shouldn't stick around too long.... I hope.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I will go First - Best Tri Present

Cycle Computer, wireless, hope it works well. Km/h, Total time, pace, etc and Cadence. I will be very excited to get it on the bike and check out the Cadence piece.

Nice seeing Matt & Others at his Genine's Mom & Dads. Big news was wedding date for Jerry. Thought Shawn would want to know, August 9 for Jerry & Michelle. Of course if we don't get wedding invites this may be premature celebrating. :)

Scott, sorry it was your year in Pittsburgh. Looked forward to ribbing you. Hope you had a Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

PSU Tri Club

I was looking at ways to amp up my training next semester so I could do better in the Mooseman, and thought my best bests were to join the Master's swim and the PSU Triathlon Club. I was hesitant to join last semester because I didn't have any extra time, so I wasn't sure what I could get out of it. But I looked again today, and I discovered that the coach of the club is Paul Fritzsche. He's pretty good. Here's his website: He normally does the MedExpress Mountaineer too, Craig.

He's a professional triathlete, and a Penn State grad, so I am thinking it would be cool to have access to such a knowledgeable guy for a mere $20 fee of joining the club. Maybe I could go on some rides or runs too, though looking at the pictures of all the kids, I fear I will be left in the dust. Then again, maybe they will push me. I think I have to at least go to the meetings next semester and maybe do a tri or two with them. They take the whole group to things. It would be cool to expand our knowledge acquisition activities so we might benefit further.

I am beat today. Did the weightlifting, running, biking triathlon of my own design. It kicked my butt.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Giving Season

One thought before Christmas and since it is the giving season, we had discussed doing the Mooseman not only for our own self satisfaction but as a money maker for a charitable donation. I think we have a fairly unique story about this journey. I think our friends and families would be honored to sponsor us in such an endeavor especially if we have a good charity to help.

I guess I will ask two questions:

Do we have an interest (I volunteer to organize)?

Secondly, who or whom may we want to do it for?

If you have strong feelings, let me know. I think we should get moving on our homework in January to give us and other time to think about supporting us.

Here were two links Matt wrote about the idea back in January. Gives you a little history about the idea.

Matt has a point in the blog about donating directly to a Dr. If he doesn't have a tax ID as a charitable donation it may be tough to get companies to donate, but I like the money going more directly to a cause we believe in.

Please let your thoughts flow free.

Gifts / Warren / Thanks/ Final third

Looking forward to hearing about the gifts next week.
I know I need to upgrade my goggles and Jammers but to be honest I'm waiting to see a post from Craig with "NEW BIKE" as the title.

At the moment we are planning on being in Warren from Saturday afternoon until Thursday. If you have some free time, give a call at the Johnson's or try my cell (spotty service in Warren). I'm hoping to do some swimming and running while we are there. Gotta offset the cheesecake!

I also wanted to thank everyone for an awesome year. I've got to be in the best cardio health of my entire life. I appreciate the camaraderie on this forum, it's been very helpful keeping my focus and interest.

Mooseman is less than 25 weeks away, 1/3 of the original countdown. Keep focused and don't let the weather slow you down! Plenty of time left to improve! Rah Rah Rah. Har Har Har.

Happy Holidays

Monday, December 17, 2007

Seasonal topic

Since it seems like all topics are a go on this blog,......any of you suffer from runner's nipple? That's right. I ran 10 miles last Tuesday in 34 degree temps with a persistant drizzle/rain and wind that provided optimal conditions for the bilateral runner's nipple.

This must be one of the most painful injuries of the sport. Showering,...ugh!!!

There's a study for you? Do women get this type of pain form breast feeding? I certainly hope not. My friend asked if I'd heard of the new invention called Band-aids? But as some of you on this blog know ( i won't mention names), when you have a hairy chest, there is not a band aid
in the world that will stick.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Marathon Training

Craig you might want to get in on this
Marathon Training


I was in Morgantown Wednesday for a Math Field day for Maddy, so I took a walk down to the bike shop. Had him pull the GIANT Trinity off the wall. Very cool. It is the 2008 Time Trial Bike. I also looked at the GIANT TCR. Same frame style but not a Time Trial geometry. The dude at the shop said I would be happier with a non-time trial. We were talking and he asked How good of a biker are you anyway question. I think to see if it was worth his time to show me a 1,713 Euro bike. I told him my speed in the Tri in Morgantown, and what bike I was riding. Without even a hesitation he said "Man, on this bike you could 40.23 Kph". I said no, I probably could not do that. He came right back with "You would be amazed, especially if you are cranking almost 32.19 Kph on that Schwinn." So, He is one of three things, a liar, way to optimistic, or he wants to sell me a bike at all costs. Of course he was talking me into a 959 Euro bike, so I am confused about his motives. Ultimately, he said if I came back when it wasn't raining and 3.33 degrees Celsius that I could test ride and choose the Cannondale anyways.

This all being said, I went to EBAY to try to find my dream bike. Not as easy as you would think. I did find this link.

I know the pricing is confusing on this link. He is asking 649 Euro for the bike, so don't work too hard to convert the whole US $ thing. It comes in a box, so I am assuming some assembly may be required. Of course I don't feel complete unless I own things that need worked on, so this is brand new and needs worked on, perfect. The Ultegra components and DuraAce stuff is what has me intrigued. The frame is only Aluminum, but does have Carbon forks. I guess even if I don't like the frame, I could always move the components over to a different frame. I don't think I could buy all the parts minus the frame for this price.

We will see. I really like this whole Metric thing. Speeds look faster, my weight looks lighter, cold temperatures seem more extreme, and Tamara is going to love the prices I quote her.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Insurance pays for Gym

Here is the deal through my Health Insurance:
Type of Service - General: We will partially reimburse the subscriber and the subscriber's covered spouse for certain exercise facility fees or membership fees but only if such fees paid to facilities which maintain equipment and programs that promote cardiovascular wellness.
This is only covered for the subscriber and the subscriber's spouse. In order to be eligible for reimbursement, the member must complete 50 visits in a six-month period.
Type of Service - Inplan: The member will be reimbursed the lesser of $200 or the actual cost of the membership per six-month period.

You would think I did that and more. Sadly no. Vacations and being sick took a few weeks out, and I only go to the Y to swim. Maybe I'll add running to the Y to my run plan. I'll run in just to sign in. I don't think that would be cheating the system. Would it?


I finally took a few minutes to check out Craig's 2Peak data, and saw these guys cranking out over 300 watts for the entire bike of the Ironman, which is over 4 hours long. I wanted to see what that felt like. I forgot to add that the guy Craig references did this while maintaining a steady HR of around 140, right where I want to be for my race pace eventually. Well, suffice it to say that I am not going to be setting the bike course record at the Ironman. I put the exercise bike at the Y on Watts and tried a number of different combinations of cadence and resistance to see what kind of wattage I could generate. I was able to get up to nearly 400 by pushing hard with pretty high resistance, but that was not something I could do for long. That's essentially sprinting on the bike, though I was still seated. What I ended up doing was averaging around 210 watts for the 36-minute bike ride, maintaining an average cadence of about 100. I did a section later in the ride where I held an 85 cadence with higher resistance, which output about 240 watts continuously. I'm not sure if I could've kept that up, but it felt okay. This would be fun to do day after day, trying to find the perfect combination, as this would answer the cadence + gearing question, assuming, of course, that we all have the same crank length, which Craig and I shouldn't by race time (although we probably still will). I suppose there is a kinesiology study to be done here (hint Jim?), if no one has actually answered the crank length + cadence + resistance question yet. Since different crank sizes are hard to come by, it may be kinda moot for real world application, but maybe we could change that by showing that there is an advantage to longer cranks for people with longer legs. Makes a lot of sense to me. This would change bike geometry and soon the world!

Anyway, I would like to up my average output on the bike, but we all know that running is where the action is, so I have to keep plugging away at that. Losing weight will not aid in increasing power output on the bike, but it will reduce the required watts needed to move my wide load up the hills. 240 watts isn't gonna be close to the good guys, no matter what I weigh, so I guess I need to improve that too.

The good news in all this is: I am feeling confident I can finish the race. And that is a victory in itself.

The Zen, Chi, & Yoga approach to Tri' ing

So I looked up Total Immersion website too see if I can get some more info. I have determined that I have to go to the pool for six hours and not swim. At the end of this time I will be World Class or at least NCAA Divsion 3 All-American in the 1000Meter Free. :)

So, TI guy is constantly referring to Yoga and Yoga Breathing. So I have thought that my Presbyterian (Puritan) view of the world would make me a hard enough worker to achieve something in triathlons, but it appears the Far East has something to say on that. I apologize in advance if I inadvertently offend your religion, remember I didn't have my kids name a Teddy Bear or something (isn't funny no one ever writes a book about the Islamic way of working out). I did not know I would have to become an expert in World Religions to finish triathlons.

The TI book uses Yoga pretty good. He talks about Yoga breathing. Which is fine. He also talks about balance and essentially finding inner peace about being in the water, which can kill you, so anxieties could come up. So from Wikipedia (which is my current expert on all unknown areas in my life) , "There are numerous opinions on what the goal of Yoga may be, although generally they involve some kind of union, either of a personal or a non-personal nature". Pretty good I can handle that.

Well the TI website also has Tri Training seminars in conjunction with Chi Running. From the ChiRunning website "ChiRunning combines modern physics with the ancient wisdom of T’ai Chi to create a running form that is easily learned and makes running more effortless and enjoyable." Well that is great, what is T'ai Chi. Unless I got it wrong, it is, once again from WIKI,"In Chinese philosophy the yin and yang (simplified Chinese: 阴阳; traditional Chinese: 陰陽; pinyin: yīnyáng) are generalized descriptions of the antitheses or mutual correlations in human perceptions of phenomena in the natural world, combining to create a unity of opposites in the theory of the Taiji."
Ah, the paradoxical opposite philosophy with Harmony as the core, or union.

They also are trying to set up TI seminars with Zendurance for cycling. Zen, now isn't that the same as Yin & Yang. It's not taught in school and not in the bible. So, back to Wiki, "Zen ( or ) is a school of Mahāyāna Buddhism notable for its emphasis on practice and experiential wisdom—particularly as realized in the form of meditation known as zazen—in the attainment of awakening. As such, it de-emphasizes both theoretical knowledge and the study of religious texts in favor of direct individual experience of one's own true nature." Oh, Buddha. not so much harmony now, but more about how I feel about it or relativism. I may read too much into this, so here is my theory.

Swim - Yoga style - means breathing in union with my stroke which is in union with my hips as my arms are weightless and my buoy (lungs) are being forced down to make the rest of my body rise, in harmony.

Bike - Zen Style - Get a big gut(may be the offensive part), practice or experiment how to ride my bike, don't pay any attention to theory (Shawn likes that, Mr. Honharts chemistry class), but ride on my own true knowledge (nature) of my own experiences, it still burns and hurts.

Run - Chi Style - If my left leg goes up my right leg must go down. Right arm forward, left arm back. Blink my left eye, eyelid open on my right, just kidding. Do this with the right motions to avoid injury. I can't figure out what the Yang of my running fast (Yin) would be. Is it running slow or is it walking. Maybe it is lying down.

In conclusion, I probably have helped no one, but I was toying with getting ChiRunning, & Zendurance, but if the books have me astro projecting I am out of there.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Google Search

Try these searches:
mooseman 2008
Kinzua Tango

Yes, our blog is near the top of the list for these searches. About a month ago I put a site meter on our blog to see what kind of traffic we get. You can check it out. It's at the bottom of the page.

Let me know if anyone ever prefers to make this blog private. It's simple to do.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Question for Jim or others, I think you mentioned a definitive book on running. I am looking for efficiency stuff so let me know about books on running.

I am going to use physics to win the Clydesdale division at the Mooseman, and I don't want to leave anything on the table. I figure Swimming without my hands and legs will save 30% of my energy, I have calculated by being more stream line I will increase my efficiency by 20%. So a total of 50% more savings in energy. The next calculation is I will gain about 20% by getting a Time Trial bike, and another 10% by riding my bike slower.

So this totals me to 80% more efficient. If I can squeak 20% out of the run I can quit training altogether. Based on the article I saw the other day I use less energy running fast so it appears I will have excess energy at the end with a faster time. At very most I may have to train 10% of the time I use too just to make you guys feel good about yourself or have something to talk about.

Don't pooh-who my math, I know it is sound and will not listen to you naysayers.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


I was reading my Total Immersion (TI) Book last night. The whole concept is use less energy to go as fast or faster than you could before you learned to be more slippery. So, I learn this to have more energy to bike & run.

So, how do I keep the energy to run after the bike. I told you about the big dude in the IM, Torbjorn Sindballe. He is a hammering fool on the bike. In 2005 he broke the bike portion record. Above is an article showing his output during the IM and other pros, just for run and bike. It gets complicated looking at the charts, but the paragraph under the first chart sums it up. "Going super fast on the bike is a waste of energy unless the superior speed is the result of superb aerodynamics. "

This essentially what TI is saying. It is a waste of energy to try to swim super fast unless it is the result of better aero(water) dynamics.

It's all physics for the first two stages, then hammer it home on the run, which goes back to my other comments about great bikers/great swimmers only hold their own in tri's, running is the key. This doesn't mean I won't work on the first two, it just means the bang for the buck is in learning to run fast or saving energy for the run.

By the way this is how Mr. Sindballe performed in the two Hawaii tri's he completed. Obviously he theoretically would do better in his second one, but you see he backed off the swim and bike, and got an hour better on the run.
I am looking at the buying a time trial bike. I will use the old schwinn for now, see how the bonus check works out this year and see what I can get.

Monday, December 3, 2007

IM Hawaii on TV last Saturday

I watched the Iron Man Championships on TV Saturday.

I kept track of the the stories.

The Winner, Chris McCormick, 6th year he targeted this race to finally win it. Took 2nd last year. Last years winner dehydrated on the bike and went out early in the run, you got the impression from pre race comments these two guys didn't really like each other, but the guy who dropped out was at the finish to meet the winner and give him a hug.

Women's Winner, can't remember name, had been a British sponsored missionary before picking up tri's, ironically she taught people how to get water to their village, she looked good and was built more feminine than most pro-female triathletes. I say this because looking at her you would not have picked her to win. Her first Hawaii trip.

Third place guy. Big dude by Ironman standards, said he weighs 8 to 10 kg more than most competitors. I assume most competitors are close to 160lbs. This makes him 180+. He was tall and skinny, built a little like me with less in the mid section. He talked about not being able to get the heat off. He wore all white. His shirt was long-sleeve, some type of special material that kept him wet. He also wore what appeared to be knee high socks, he looked a little weird in his get up.

List of human interest:
  • Early 20's kid that almost died five years ago from a nasty car wreck. He finished.
  • Navy Seal doctor, 30 yrs old, finished his 6 IM. He looked the best of the non-pro's they showed.
  • 65 yr old woman. She made it, I believe also won her age group.
  • Dude who had been a rugby player, had lost his legs(below knee) in a car accident. Very stout fellow. Had tried other IM's, finally made it under the time limit. I still think those springs could be an advantage, I also get the impression that good paraplegic athletes are sponsored and have a huge support group, with coaches and such.
  • 65 yr old legally Blind grandfather. Had a young guy with him the whole time. Bicycle built for two, and strapped to the other guy during the run. He almost tripped as he came up the finish ramp, forgot to tell him about the incline, I guess.
  • The pro who finished 4th last year, locked up at mile 10, but refused to quit because he said he would finish unless for a medical reason. He walked the last 10 miles saying that it would show disrespect to the age groupers by not finishing.
  • Heart breaker, when a 40ish Japanese woman didn't make the bike cutoff, by three seconds. They were screaming at her to run across the line but she couldn't get her legs moving after biking. The poor volunteer(race official) that had to tell her she couldn't start her run.
  • Other heart breaker was the 77 yr old nun who didn't make the bike cutoff. I remember her from last year. She has done it 20 times. She opened up the 75-79 age group two years ago. She was the last person to be in before midnight last year.
  • Finally, our inspiration. They showed a guy coming out of the water. I think the term is man-boobs, a lot of flab around his chest. He easily had to be the biggest guy in the race. He was very excited just finishing the swim. The final person they showed finishing this race was him. He was big. I assume over 250lbs, but probably only 5'10". Incredible, because he looked good coming across the line.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Weekend of Workouts

Friday night, Masters Swim Class: I was looking forward to getting back to class. I had missed 2 weeks. Sick/Thanksgiving. Also I had thought I had made some improvements and was looking forward to a good night of swimming. The coach had a different plan. He had us do 10 x 25 sprints 4 different times during the class. Some he wanted us to go "no breath". I learned the hard way you can't hold your breath AT ALL if you want to swim well. So that is my newest focus, relaxed breathing.
This was the hardest class we have had. I left feeling beat up.

Saturday: Tried to run 12 miles, got in 10. I started to tighten up (hamstrings) somewhere about mile 9. So I just ran home. I stretched out and everything was feeling ok, except my legs were very fatigued. I ate a ton at dinner. Then I crashed and was asleep by 9-9:30.

Sunday: Back to the pool. This turned out to be a recovery swim. I put the fins on early and did some kickboard drills to get the blood into the legs. Once they started to feel a bit better, I decided to focus on my breathing and working on the high elbow catch from those videos in the previous post. I also put on the Hydro hip belt and worked on rotation for 200yds.
Lastly here is something new. Sculling for 3 minutes. Basically this is treading water but no legs. Keep them still below you and keep your breathing relaxed. Doing this at the end of class Friday and near the end of today, big time triceps burner. Also oddly enough, the pinky side of my hand is pushed very near to cramping.

So here is the main point of my post. On many of the triathlon forums people ask "what do I need to do differently to run a half iron vs sprints and olympic distance?". The response is usually "You need to be diligent with your diet." Which always sounds to me like you have to watch your weight and not eat junk.
Well after this weekend, I think I now understand what they mean. They mean you need to know how to feed yourself in order to train well and recover well. I guess Jim is the only one on here that has done endurance events. I'm curious to hear how he manages his diet as he ups the mileage.
I mention this because I know Shawn has his eyes on the Tango which is similar to Half Iron, I suppose.
I feel that now that my weekly run mileage is increasing, I'm going to have to start messing with the diet to handle it. That being said, there is snow on the ground today. It might become tougher to become inspired to run outdoors, in the slop.

Also I sent an email to Thad regarding the Tango, I forwarded a copy to the team. Let me know if you didn't receive it.

Swim Videos

These definitely show the stroke. It doesn't seem to be helpful for proper recovery from what I can tell.
High Elbow Catch
Power Stroke
Race Pace Tempo

Now that I've looked at this training Device. I now see what this Video of Ian Thorpe is showing.
Ian Thorpe 1
Ian Thorpe 2
Ian Thorpe 3
Michael Phelps Some of the footage after the race is helpful. I'm trying to find some above water views, to see the high elbow / hand low.
Popov Video
Popov Video 2
Popov Video 3
Popov Video 4 Around the 3rd minute, is a drill where he just keeps his head up. I'll have to look into what that one is all about.

Saturday, December 1, 2007