Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Heads up regarding the Tango

Maija is working on putting together a super women's team for the Tango this year. KB2 is looking to improve. Here's a link to her post.

While I was in Warren, Craig and I spoke about our plans. Both of us have a big triathlon just a couple weeks after the Tango. I'll be doing my first Half Iron at Timberman and he will be doing the Spirit of Morgantown. So he thought maybe we need to work on recruiting for the super men's team.
Craig, Matt, Shawn, Jim, Marty, Chris.... Casey (I know you are out there, and you saw the pictures of your brother I posted from last summer.... you are itchin...)

Just wondering if we put a team of 6 of us together. What do you think the best lineup would be?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tango Pictures

Here is a working link to view the pictures of our teams from this summer.
I'm trying out the method where the photos are not available to browse unless you use the link above to get to them. Or if you are a flickr "friend or family" member of mine.
Let me know if it proves to be problematic for some reason.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tango Pictures

This Link Doesn't work very often. But there are some nice shots.
I've got all the pictures from it tho'.
When we go to the Y tomorrow, I'm going to see who I need to credit so I can post the pictures of our group on my flickr site. There are some good ones.

Morning workout then driving back to NJ tomorrow.

Hope all is well with everyone.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Need a post holiday event!

There needs to be a post Christmas/New Year's Triathlon or something, because it would seem I can't stop Carb and Fat loading. It would be nice to have a really good excuse for it :-)

So Thursday afternoon, Genine and I ran 5K of hills. It was the worst feeling run I've done in quite awhile. It wasn't until I upped the pace and ran up the hill to the lower parking lot at the High School that I actually felt stretched out.
It reminded me of something Kevin had said regarding one of his half marathons. He felt that for whatever reason the slower pace he was initially running with a friend, was actually more difficult than running his faster pace.
Not sure that is exactly what happened here. I think the 8.5 hours in the car and the bad back are more of the cause.

Friday: Over to the Y for a swim. Genine picks a workout from the swim book and it was just like swimming with Majia and Esther, because I started modifying the workout pretty quickly. My left shoulder is either still recovering or it's just much more weak than my right because of pulling improperly for the last 18 months or so. UGH!
Anyhow, I kept it easy, tried to focus on form and worked on stretching out my back.

The fun part of being "home for the holidays". 2 lanes over I see someone get in the pool that looks familiar. With a swim cap and goggles it's tough to recognize people but I realized it was Marisa. I don't think I've seen her in about 20 years. I said hello and of course she had no chance of knowing who I was either. So I told her who I was and then Genine swam up and said hello. Marisa swims with a large Masters group in China about 40 people I think she said. Fun stuff!
Didn't get to talk with her much as she had a printed workout as well, so I didn't want to interrupt. Would have been cool to be able to figure a time to catch up with her. Would be interesting to hear what life in China is like.

Well it looks like it's going to rain from now until Monday. Hopefully it won't be awful and we will get to run with Craig and Jim at some point this weekend.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

With the greatest of ease....

In case there was a doubt in anyone's mind out there, let me just clarify something for husband rocks!! Not only did I get 2 new swim suits (which he patiently waited 1 1/2 hrs for me to decide on at the swim shop) and new goggles, I got TRAPEZE LESSONS FOR CHRISTMAS!!!

That's right, I will soon be flying through the air with the greatest of ease (well, maybe not the greatest). I am sooo excited! What great cross training for triathlon...don't you think? It probably will not happen until Jan/Feb. I will be going with our friend Lidia from C5 who has been taking lessons for a bit of time now. I'm sure Matt will be there to document the event, so stay tuned for fun pictures in the future. Wahoo!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ice Storm

Heck of a drive this morning. We left at 4AM. Driving in freezing rain and the temperature was between 25-30. That was our driving speed for the first 3 hours as well. Our car was slowly being encased in ice. It was 1/4" thick at least.
At one of the rest stops I was able to free up the sheet on the hood and lose that. Pieces of it had been breaking off from time to time and hitting the windshield. I'll admit it, I ducked when it happened.

So 8.5 hours later we make it. That's 3 hours longer than normal, but I'm not going to complain, we weren't involved with any of the dozen or so accidents we drove by today.

The 8+ hours were certainly uncomfortable though, becuase I tweaked my lower back yesterday afternoon. I have no idea how. So the first thing I did when I got to Warren was call the chiropractic office, hoping they might still be open. Nope, they can see me on Monday. (we go back to NJ Monday).
Guess if I'm still feeling badly on Friday (likely) I'll call one of the massage places. I really don't want to be lame with this for a week.

Well that's enough crying/complaing. Time for a nap.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Xmas favorites

Here is a bit of "Naughty or Nice" in tribute of Maija's Swim Suit

Tom Petty

This takes us back to our Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Just for fun, Don't miss this one

Friday, December 19, 2008

Roads are a mess....

So we decided to workout at home.

Genine hit the treadmill for 4 miles.
Then joined me for pull-ups. I switched to doing sets of 3.
10 sets overhand 5 sets underhand. 45 total
Genine did 10 sets of 2. 20 total

Then onto push-ups. I did 265 tonight! Better than last time!
Oh, and Genine did 289! Awesome! Had she known she was so close to 300, she probably would have made it there.

I think the push-up plan is a twice a week thing. It's not very fun and it takes quite a bit of time.

It was getting late so the abs workout was quick. Then we stretched out the hamstrings and called it a night.

Week Review

Week in review:
Saturday AM. Woke up late had to rush to meet Todd for our hills run. 7.3 miles of hills on 240 calories of cliff bar. Then join Esther in the pool for about 40 minutes of swimming. I started to bonk and was going to go to the locker room to see if there was a GU in my bag somewhere but she said that was the end of the set and only had the cool down. Whew!
I still need to learn to wear less for these cold runs. I was soaked at the end of the run. I have to suck it up for the first 10 minutes. I’m sure I’d be fine once I get going.
The swim bonk reminds me that I should probably have a GU ready to go at the midpoint of these hills runs. At this time of the morning, I don’t have enough nutrition to really do my best. A GU would probably help me get more out of this workout.

Sunday: Swim with Esther and Maija. I got a good 90 minutes in. Towards the end of the session I timed out a couple 100's. 1:39 and 1:40. I guess the 1:40's aren't a fluke.

Monday: Masters Swimming. Only 4 of us. I was having a great night of swimming but I started out being lazy on my turns. Once she mentioned it, I made a serious effort to try and do the open turns properly. They certainly aren’t perfect but they are less awkward feeling. She also mentioned my fly kick looks decent technically but I’m not putting any power behind it. So I’m working on making it powerful, if I’m going about it the wrong way, she will let me know next week.
The 100's on 1:35 were the highlight for me.

Tuesday: Morning 5:40 swim because Genine had a holiday party after work and would be home late. Genine left for work and Maija and I finished out the set. So I got another 1:20 in the pool.
Evening. Pull ups Push ups and abs

Wed: Slushy/ Icy morning run w/ Todd. 6.75 miles w/ 3 hill loops. I have extra vacation days left. Genine had the day off because she’s going to work Saturday, so I took the day off as well. We went to TEST to do strength training in the evening for probably 90 minutes. I hit my legs pretty hard. Leg Extensions, Leg Curls, Walking Lunges, Curtsey Lunges, Squats. Also did, Hanging Abs. Lat Pull Down. Under hand Pull down. Triceps Presses and Stretching.

Thursday: Morning Swim. Not as sore as I thought I’d be following the weight lifting. Still I started out easy long warmup with 25m kick/ 25m Swim trying to get everything going.
Then I figured I’d see how the Fly Drills would feel. Fly w/ PB. Surprisingly, this went well. Still dying just short of the wall on 25s. Bad technique is making this harder than it should be I’m sure, but it makes it a great strength builder for the time being. I then worked on fly kick w/ fins. Then put it all together with fins. Not too bad.

Friday: Didn’t get to sleep until 12:30 last night. We had a dinner party with Genine’s co-workers Thursday night. Extra credit for being at the pool at 6AM. Bob and I did some warm-ups until Maija showed up with her “SNOWMAN” Set. I did well until the 500m. My left shoulder is either very fatigued from all the workouts, or the new pull is using a new muscle group which isn’t ready to do 500s.
The 4x25 no breath w/ fins, I stayed very relaxed and made all 4 of them without much discomfort.
The 10x25’s on :30 tough on the left shoulder but I kind of enjoy the sprint workout. I need to learn to push myself a bit harder on these, or maybe pace them so that each 25 gets faster. That is how Bob does them.

My glutes and hamstrings are feeling Wednesday’s weight lifting. I wish I could have run last night to get them warmed up and stretched out a bit. It’s likely to be a snowy mess out tonight. I may end up going to the gym and running on the treadmill for 15 minutes just to stretch out before hitting the weights. Abs, back and arms should be the focus tonight.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pushup Plan is back

I can't seem to find the time to put together a decent blog post but I want to have something going on here...

Last night was Pull ups/ Pushups and Abs.
I decided to try a modified version of the pushup plan for pull ups.
I did 5 sets of 4 then 3 more. I should have moved to sets of 2, just to get 10 sets in. Next time.

Then the pushups. I'm not sure where I left off earlier in the year when I was doing this. I'll have to go digging in the spreadsheets...
Well I did 239 pushups last night. 10 sets of 7, 3 times. then I bonked on the 3rd set of 10 on the last pushup of the set. I have a feeling I won't make it that far if I do them again on Thursday. Trying to decided if this is a twice a week or three times a week thing.

Abs: Genine was at a party and I still did the abs workout... I hate doing abs.

Here is the pushup plan again if you are feeling inspired.

7 push-ups-rest 30 seconds-10 sets/ 1 minute rest.

after you've done 3 sets of those (70x3=210) 1 minute rest.
-then 10 sets of 10 push-ups with 30 second rest. total of 310.
- then 10 sets of 12 push-ups with 30 seconds rest. total of 430
You'll feel like superman in a month or so
-start slow
-it works everything-especially if you tighten your core. squeeze your triceps as well.
-you get to a point where you stop from boredom
-Once you have built up to the full set. Doing them once a week is enough. Rest is important.
-keep a log of your totals while building up just to see the progress and set some goals

Monday, December 15, 2008

Seeing improvements is also motivating

Just got back from masters swimming. We worked on fly. She said we look better than we did a few weeks ago... I'll take it.
Then she had us do 10 x 100 and we had to finish each 100 at 1:40 or under with 2 minutes rest.
Of course last week was the first time I've even hit 1:40, so I guess this will be a good test.
1:35, 1:35, 1:36, 1:35, 1:35, 1:36, 1:36, 1:37, 1:37, 1:38.


Friday, December 12, 2008

How to stay motivated

Some might wonder how it is I'm staying so motivated in regards to my training.
Simple answer. Training partners.

For example:
I got an email from Todd asking if we are on for Saturday 6AM hills run.

I reply:
Oh Yeah! Should we do the new loop and repeat the 1/2 mile hill a few times?

His reply:
Yes!..... I may also bring a few 45 lb weights we can carry while we run the hill repeats. Maybe we push the jeep up the hills just to wake up the legs a little? Big question is break on or off?

Ha ha! Fun right?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Swimming Breakthrough #2?

If you’ve been to the training spreadsheet, you’ve noticed how much time has been spent in the pool. It’s my favorite part of the triathlon and I keep hoping that it will become a strong event for me.

It’s been about 7 weeks since that coaching session which moved me from 2:00/100m to 1:50/100m. The big fix being the depth of my hand at the start of the catch. My hand depth was above my shoulder, which prevented me from getting good rotation. That fix seemed to happen quite easily.
Since that time several people, including our new coach, have told me that my stroke on the left side is “funky”. Crossing over being the most obvious problem.

Well last night I was swimming with Genine and we were just working on fixing our “problems” rather than swimming intervals or following a workout. I was giving myself lots of rest so I wouldn’t fatigue and fall into “whatever it takes to get you there” mode.
Since it would seem that my right side is doing the right thing, I was trying to focus on matching the movements with my left arm.
At first I felt that I was rotating less than I should but it actually felt more similar to the right by doing this. So I was able to let go of that thought rather quickly.
The more important part was this. I’m fairly certain I’ve got my left hand entering the water wider (away from my head). Which leads to a pull that is also away from my body. (It was kind of under it before). I think this solves the fact I would short stroke that side because my body is no longer in the way of the finish.
As I practiced this, I kept thinking of the underwater boulders, reaching over them and pulling myself forward using them as an anchor. This helped me realize how awkward my left arm pull really was when I was crossing over.

So how significant was this fix?
I may be jumping the gun with this but I’m going to write it anyhow.
This morning I did 6x100 on 2:15 (yes that’s a lot of rest).
1) 1:43
2) 1:42
3-6) 1:39-1:40

Then when Maija showed up, we did 4x75 on 1:30. I think she was a little surprised when I finished the first one a couple seconds behind her and didn’t lose too much ground on the next few. Wahoo!

Obviously I’m hoping I can keep this fix in place. I'll be curious to see how it holds up on longer distance intervals. It may take awhile for the new stroke to build up strength.

Don’t ask how the Butterfly is going ;-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Side by Side / Comedy

Because with the beard I seem to look like other people...

Click on any of them for the larger image.

Here is Jim's comparison. Wolf Blitzer

Greg's suggestion of Brett Favre

And finally George Clooney

I'm guessing everyone is now thinking... hmmmm not so much. Ha ha!

Rutgers Swim Meet

First off: It’s official, Genine has found her inner Dory and she’s putting the pressure on. (Of course that’s not her point of view at all.) I say this because on Sunday afternoon Maija timed Esther, Genine and I for a 1500m time trial. Esther on her first day back after weeks of recovering from an injury finished in 26:20 (I think). I finished in 28:40 and Genine finished in 32:xx. As you can see she’s right there and she said she was just swimming easy... What can I say. Genine is awesome.

Now let's go back to Saturday:
Saturday was a fun day. Todd and I started the day out with our 6AM Hills Run. We had mapped out a new course and because my hip is still somewhat tweaked (Piriformis too tight), had an easier hill day than normal. (no hill sprints). We aren’t getting a break with the cold, it seems any time we get together to run it’s under 25 degrees. I try to remind myself that 25 is easier than 95.

After running I hopped into the pool where Esther was already swimming. The highlight of our workouts typically involves some “all out” pull buoy intervals. No exception today. We did some 50s’ and 25’s and in true Esther fashion, she reduced the recovery interval after the first couple and then added more repetitions to the set. Ha Ha!

After our swim we headed over to the Rutgers pool to watch Maija compete in the Masters Swimming Meet. Her morning event was the 1500m. She had some friends in the lanes next to her so there was some friendly competition. Santa…. I mean Maija did great, she beat her seed time and was pleased with the result. The other perk was I got to play around with the camera and take a ton of pictures. (Note: don’t leave your camera in a cold car, then go into a hot humid event and expect to use your lenses any time soon)
IMG_0416 edit.jpg

After her 1500m, she and Esther had the video stroke analysis done for $10. Me? I learned to always have my swim bag packed and ready to go at all times. I figured I’d just have it done after the evening events but he ran out of time… ah well.
Maija and Esther

Genine worked in the morning. Then went for a swim at the pool. Immediately followed that up with a run as soon as she got home. Then we headed back over to Rutgers to watch/photograph Maija’s 2 evening events.

I guess after watching all these different swimmers, the one thing I took away from it all is this. Time in the weight room isn’t going to improve your swimming nearly as much as swimming with great position and technique. Obviously having both is awesome but reducing resistance has to be first.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

To offset the last post....

A bit of random surfing landed me at this blog.
It explains how aerobic activity is really bad for you.


Bad Habits: Pavlov’s Bell/ Conditioned Response.
After my morning swims, I’m off to catch my train to work. Once I’m on my train, I finally have a chance to eat my post workout snack, typically a Balanced Energy Bar and an apple. That’s a good habit. Problem is on the way home, I get on a train and feel the need to eat something. Stupid right? Situational Habit/ conditioned response. I guess. Ring the bell Pavlov.
Nothing to do here other than be aware of it and make it stop.

In the same field, I have been feeding my Starbucks addiction again. Bad in a few ways.
1) Expensive
2) No nutritional value
3) Even though it’s decaf there is enough caffeine in there to cause some “side effects” for me. Heart Palpitations, Makes me feel more hungry, then of course the possibility of headaches if I don’t feed the addiction. I know it’s decaf but there is still caffeine.

I was completely off coffee for a while, it’s just that my will power had to triple in order to fight it. A year ago, I would pass 1 Starbucks on the walk to work. Now I pass 3. This is walking from 34th St to 22nd. Fortunately I don’t care for Dunkin Donuts coffee, I’d have to add 3 of those as well. As for the countless Delis and coffee/donut carts along the walk, I’ve just convinced myself that their coffee is terrible, even though’ I’ve never tried it.
Anyhow, I now have 3 reasons to keep walking past each place I walk past every day.

Waking up early enough to exercise in the morning:
Making this happen took quite a number of weeks. I take the law “an object at rest, tends to stay at rest” very seriously. Yet I eventually adjusted my evening schedule to accommodate my morning workouts. Well our morning workout schedule has changed up a bit lately and it was very easy to start ignoring the early alarm because there was no workout scheduled.
Well we just got a few Yoga DVDs, they are now my fill-in workout for any weekday morning that I don’t have something planned. This will help keep my sleep schedule in place and add strength & stretching to my weekly schedule.
Wednesday morning was my first DVD yoga session. It was laughable. Flexible isn’t an adjective anyone is going to use to describe me. I’m just going to keep in mind that “swimmer”, “biker” or “runner” were not words people would have used to describe me a couple years ago.

Okay, all that up there was health/nutrition related. Let’s look at some other stuff.

My lack of attention to keep my office organized both at home at work. This one will take some serious effort. At both places, I feel I am handed physical things all the time which I really don’t have a place for them. I’ve got to figure out how to handle that problem.

Money, Budget/Investing: A couple years back, I realized that I wasn’t being disciplined enough with my investing. So I decided I should find an advisor. After many emails and phone calls I found that I would have to double my salary before these people would even be interested in talking with me. I might have the minimum portfolio value they were looking for when I retire. At which point I probably won’t need an advisor…
One guy finally did meet up with us. It was a 2 hour meeting, we thought it went very well. Following that meeting his office never returned an email or phone call. After that I lost all momentum on that project.
Of course my portfolio has been beaten down badly lately, I don’t feel badly about this. Almost everyone is in the same boat, you just take notes and learn from the situation. There is a saying “there is money to be made every day in the market, you just have to know where to look”. That’s very true and optimistic but really not very helpful. I’ve only been investing for 13 or so years, but one thing has become obvious to me. There are times when investing is easy. We are likely very close to the beginning of one of those times. I really need to put some effort into making this a priority for the next 18 months. I’d like to think I’ve learned some hard lessons and that it’s time to put those lessons to good use. (I’m guessing my stock blog will be back up and running soon).

The budget is another thing which I need to spend some time with. We’ve made attempts at this in the past and the plans have never worked. We either never stuck with it long enough to create the new habit or perhaps the “system” we created required too much effort. I’ll try keep this in mind as we take another shot at this. This time around at least we have an “Incentive”. We have been wanting to have some work done on the house. I believe if we were serious about our budget we could make this happen.

I feel I’m going into all this a bit more optimistically that I may have a few years ago. After all, I’ve made some significant changes in my habits the last couple years. Eating/Exercising/Sleeping. The things on this list can be approached in the same way, schedule time for it, make it a priority, make it happen.

Finally, here is the catch phrase for inspiration. Along with a link.

It's about Our Need to Change, and Desire to do so. When want meets willing, there is no limit to how high we can climb.

Thinking vs Music

I love music but have never listened to it when working out, I tend to think more philosophical.  So, I thought I would share some things I think about:

If god is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, then why does he allow evil?  Does he author evil (I conclude no)?  Does he just allow it?  Where does my free will work into this?  Is good the donut and evil the hole?

Did I just step in Dog Dodo?  I can still smell it, so I am pretty sure I just did?

If the universe if infinite, how can it be expanding?  If it is expanding, what is it expanding into?  Is it expanding infinitely, into nothing and at what speed?

I wonder how many days that deer has been dead?  It didn't smell like the dog Dodo?  I think it was fresh?  Is it fresh enough to Keep :), only in West Virginia.

I hurt, I hurt, I can't breath, I am going to die.  People do die from this, God I hope it is not me, because I forgot to give Tamara a receipt for my new biking clothes and I would hate for Tamara to have to find that and be upset at what I spent, wait I am dead, why would I care?

Are things really relative?  If things are all relative then why does Einstein's theory have a constant in it?  The cosmic speed limit, "C".  Maybe, they will break this like in Star Trek.  Warp speed, give me all she gots, Scotty.

Music:  Here was a couple thoughts of three songs I like to listen too, that motivate me.  I heard the Mighty Quinn on the radio.  Here it is on You tube:
"You'll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn"

Then I thought man I always loved AC DC - TNT.  But Thunderstruck always got me moving:

I have an infinity for Italian restaurant Music, being that I am Italian and my Grandparents owned an Italian restaurant.
Here is a favorite of the kids and I, (Tamara thinks I am crazy, Dinah hasn't let me know yet):
"When the moon hits your eyes like a big Pizza pie, That's Amore." Hey, Lady!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

Food Tracking is Back

After a weekend of massive calorie consumption, I've realized it's time to get myself back on track. I'd allowed some bad habits to creep back in. So I'm back tracking on, so far so good.