Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Food Tracking Program

Another reason to want an iPhone. :-)
I haven't tried this site yet. The UPC Scanning if it works well would be cool.

Mooseman 70.3 News

I know we have been doing the olympic distance race. This could bring in some bigger names into the area for the weekend. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Here is the story

Monday, September 28, 2009

Not so smart sometimes

So last week my brain was fuzzy. As a result I wasn't very productive. Thursday night I was going to sleep at 9PM!! Slept until 6:30AM. I was hoping that I would be well rested and could drive back to Warren Friday night. Nope, got home from work Friday night and was still in a fog. It was starting to freak me out a bit. I was well rested, eating well, drinking plenty of fluid... I was starting to think something more serious could be wrong. Then I figured it out.
The weekend of Buckman/Skylands, I somehow got some poision ivy rashes on my chest. I eventually broke down and started to put Benadryl cream onto the rash. Not only did it stop the itch, it stopped my brain from working right! So dumb! I was glad to have figured it out. I stopped using it and all is well.
We made it to Warren Saturday afternoon. Jerry, Jordan and I went to the weight room while Genine and Michelle went swimming. I still wish our Y could be as nice as the Warren's facility...
Then I went to my Dad's and we watched the PSU game. It wasn't their night.
Sunday, Genine and I go over to run with Michelle and Jerry. I started running up the hill and the big toe on my left foot was in bad shape. I've never had this problem before. It felt like that toe was broken or I had turf toe. So I tell Jerry he should go catch up with the girls and I'll just walk back to the house. After about 10-15 minutes of walking, it felt like I was going to be able to run. I didn't think I had a chance of catching up but I headed down Conewango and up 5th to see if I could see them. Nope, I just continued up to the High School, up to the elementary school, 1 lap around the lower parking lot and back to the house just in time to see Genine run around the corner. So much for the group run..
Then more football over at my dad's. This time the Steelers bummed us out.
Jim texted that he was back in town and asked if I wanted to borrow his boot for treating plantar fasciitis. Genine and I went up to pick that up from him. He thinks my toe problem is probably a side issue from the fasciitis. He's probably right.

That's the news. Hopefully I'll be less foggy this week and be more productive.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Not Worth It!

Did you know that there are 260 calories in ONE jelly filled donut? Also- 100 of those are FAT calories. That means I would have to run 2.6 miles to burn off that garsh darn thing. Not gonna happen.

Ok--I admit it. We had a vendor show up with fresh donuts and I almost gave into temptation. But alas--I stand strong. No donut for me....just black coffee...YUM

Last night I did my 5k run around Warren. I didn't feel as good as I did on Sunday's 4+ mile run. My left leg continues to hinder my overall performance. It's become apparent to me that its not just my calf but my foot that is affected by the poor circulation/inflammation. Regardless-I completed the run. Sunday's run was much better. I powered through running at a faster pace (kinda like the Carlson "meet in the middle" concept posted by GEnine). It was GREAT! Thanks to Jerry who sticks by me the whole way.

Tonight - I am going to do another 5k run and then rest for Saturday's race. I am looking forward to it (even if it does rain!) Even better-Genine and Matt are coming home. Hopefully I can get Genine to hit the pool with me while Jerry inflicts pain on Matt in the weight room...Should be a great weekend.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

following the dude

Tonight was the second time in a week that I ran WITH Matt....the whole time. Not just starting out together and then him taking off after a minute. We did 5miles last Thursday and 4miles tonight. It's been so much fun for me! Even thought I know that he has slowed his pace waayyy down for me, it's still enjoyable to be running together. The other amazing point worth mentioning is that both runs have been pretty much pain free. Go figure!! Maybe being sick for 12days and not working out much has helped from a recovery stand point!

I hope to be able to keep up this slow, but steady "running program". As I have said before, I really think I could grow to love running if I can manage my hip/leg pain. Time will tell. For now I will keep following Matt for our "meet in the middle" runs (his slow run=my "fast"run) and see where that takes me over the next few months. Thanks, Matt! You rock!!

35 pushups

Started off tonight doing some of the exercises Tiffany put together for me. Then Genine got home and we went out for a 4 mile run. Then it was test night for the pushup plan. I did 35, the last 4 were pretty ugly. When I looked to see where that put me on the schedule, I was somewhat relieved to see that I was placed in the "easiest" of the 3 columns. 36 would have put me into the next group. Whew!
Next up 100 squats. They seemed much more difficult tonight than the set I did last week. I'll be curious if I feel my quads for 2 days like I did last week. Just think I'm only 100 behind Genine!

I did the pullups last night. I still fail on the last one of the 5th set every time. I guess that means I'm on the right track with that plan. The first 4 sets last night felt great and I wasn't feeling very well, so that was encouraging.

As for my plantar fascitis, I've put my Sole orthodics into my running shoes, I ice my heel after I run and I've also been doing the foot strengthener/calf stretch Chris suggested. It's kind of early to say, but I think it's getting better.

what the "hill" was that?

So yeah, Debbie and I went this morning to Van Cortland park to check out the trail run we THOUGHT we were going to do in Oct.  I'm sad to announce that we decided to postpone the run until November when our calves hopefully will recuperate from the one hill on the trail. Holy Moley! Not only that but for the 5k, we'd have to run up that hill twice! But we are determined. Today we only did 1 loop-1.5m. Thursday, we're going to try to do it twice. Debbie was able to jog up the hill. My calves gave up on me 1/4 of the way up (and frankly I think I was able to walk it faster than I was jogging it) I was glad there was no one else on the trail because I am sure my grunts were rather bestial.  I was really working my arms and I felt they were helping, however, I also felt that my nose was almost on the ground but I am sure that was just my imagination.
Then of course there's the downhill...which is the reason I'm posting. Any tips on running downhill? I kept finding myself leaning back, running on my toes...God only knows what my knees were doing. When I tried to lean forward (to gain momentum) I felt I was going to fall forward on my face and break my neck (which would certainly prevent me from having to run up that hill again...there's a thought) and what to do with the arms? Down? Up? Any thoughts? The surface was a true trail with little rocks,  branches and the such so there wasn't much traction...How does one run downhill? Any tips from the experts will be welcome.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Have we got a window for you!

Saturday we went to a contractor’s showroom so that he could show us our roofing and window options. The salesman should be on TV or at the very least he needs a remote to cue applause and laughter. We had 3 choices. Expensive with wood trim, expensive vinyl or lastly, you wouldn’t want to buy this crap. After we left Genine said, so why is it they have the “crappy” window in the showroom??? I have a feeling I'm going to laugh at the quote he sends us this week but I wanted to make sure to shop a few different contractors.
This place was about 45 minutes away, I allowed for a GPS adventure. I didn’t bother to really look at where this place was before getting in the car. Fortunately, it turned out better than our trip to the Y the other week. We decided to take a different way home and set the unit to shortest route. As we are driving along, we pass a Bird Store. Genine says let’s check it out.
So we go in. The owner is a nice guy. There were some very nice birds there. We aren’t shopping for another bird though. We ended up finding some toys for Milo to destroy then started talking about the cages. We’ve been looking to buy a new cage for about 7 years but the prices have always been too high. I guess prices have finally come down. We ended up buying one because it was about half the price of anything we’ve ever liked before. The next trick is putting it together. I didn’t think it would be much trouble until I saw that the instructions were 4 pictures and no words. It really wasn’t difficult, it’s just with such bad instructions it takes an hour longer than it really should. Once you’ve built it once, you could probably take it apart and put it back together in 30-40 minutes. Milo is one step closer to having a new home. Now we need to buy a few more things to make it functional for her. Here’s the cage.

Back to triathlon stuff. Genine and I made it to the pool Saturday. After a warm-up, I decided to just put the hand paddles on and swim for 50 minutes. I was able to get the time in but I’m definitely off. I’m doing something that is causing troubles when I pull with my left. So much so that for the rest of the evening my elbow hurt, even my neck was tight towards the end of the set. I have yet to return to the form that I had leading up to Timberman. It was a perfect time to have a good swim. I’d just like to keep it all the time!

Sunday morning: 10.2 mile run with Todd. We did about 5 strides at the end of the run. The concept here is that it will get the muscles stretched back out and also should help work towards better overall speed. Left heel was kind of sore when I got home. I iced it a few times during the day. I think the worst thing for it is if I do nothing. If I’m on my feet all day it seems to help keep it stretched out and feeling normal.
Genine got home mid afternoon and we went out for and easy hour + ride with Maija and Adam. It was definitely good recovery for my legs. Glad I went with them because on my own, I’m sure I would have cranked up the speed for 20 minutes or so.

Monday morning. 5:30-7AM swim. Genine is there for the first 50 minutes then she had to head to work. I spent much of the first 45 minutes really focusing on getting to the catch and being aware of how I’m pulling. Trying to figure that left side thing. I’m guessing it’s my kick getting in the way of things and throwing my balance off when I breathe to the left. So I did some work with the zoomers (fins) trying to get a feel for my kick timing. I didn’t gain much from that. I think my kick timing is better at 60 strokes per minute. I’m working at 50 strokes per minute tho’ and I don’t think I’ve got it put together with my kick.
When Maija showed up I followed her workout. Otherwise, I’d probably have just done 100’s trying to figure out what to adjust. I left the pool feeling pretty good. I didn’t bring any post workout food though... I get to work at 9, very hungry and not looking so good I guess. Three different people asked if I was all right. I said that I would be once I’ve had something to eat and some coffee. I guess I felt much better than I looked. But as Fernando Lamas would say, “It’s not how you feel, it’s how you look. And you look marvelous.”

Friday, September 18, 2009

So begins the off season.

Now that I’ve got the race reports done I can go back to my normal ramblings.

I was pretty wiped out on Monday so I watched the Bills game into the 3rd quarter. Then figured I’d better stop watching before the wheels fall off.

Tuesday: we decided to go to the pool. They’d painted the pool so we wanted to check that out. Genine got a good swim in. I was having trouble with my goggles and felt like the paint fumes were going to kill me. So I didn’t get much accomplished.

Wednesday: back to the pull up plan. Then went to masters swimming. The pool seemed to have less of a paint smell to it tonight. I got some good distance in tonight. Wasn’t doing a good job at watching the clock, nor was I counting laps well. I guess as long as err by swimming extra, how bad can it be?

Thursday: Pushups… I crashed and burned on the last set. Genine beat me by 2. Then we went out for our run. I ran with Genine for 5 miles of the Ballpark loop. It was just a great night to be out running.
Then we decided to check out the 200 squat challenge. Figured we’d do the test to see where we should start. Genine did 200. I did 100 and quit. I guess we are going to add weight and try again some time next week. Lunges will also be added.

Friday: Taking the night off.

I’ll admit I spent more than a little bit of time considering different options of how to improve my biking for next year. I’m not alone with this. Biking is Genine’s favorite event. She wants to spend a lot more time in the passing lane next year.
So we’ve been looking at options. Power meters and Online Coaching being the money options. At the same time we’ve been trying to modify our schedule so we can make the classes that we want to attend… swimming, yoga and other stuff.

You can expect to hear a bunch more about the biking plan in the next week or so.
Suggestions are welcome!

Matt's Skylands 09 race report

Relay Day!! All I have to do is swim! Just take the wetsuit and I’m ready. Whoops, make that wetsuit and goggles. I almost oversimplified. That would have made for a much tougher swim.

Get to the race site and meet up with the rest of Team “Steve Austin” (Lee Majors, not Stone Cold). Perhaps the name dates us a bit but I’m all right with that. Steve Austin’s primary mission of the day is to beat KB2 (Genine and Maija). The 2nd goal of course is to win the Male Relay Division.

Feeling pretty good. I guess the party didn’t completely wipe me out. The weather is perfect. Relays are in the last wave but they are starting 5 minutes apart, so there shouldn’t be too much trouble moving through the water. The only challenge is the fact that the buoys aren’t in a very straight line. Hopefully that won’t be a problem.

I line up directly behind Maija and Oscar. I tell them I plan on grabbing onto their wetsuit zipper pulls so that I can water ski behind them. Plan B involves smacking Maija’s feet in an attempt to neutralize her kick. Of course neither of those things happen.

Off we go! The water is murky enough I have no chance of following feet unless I pull my head to sight constantly. I’m concerned about tracking too far to the right so I keep focused on staying close to the buoys. Turns out that wasn’t the best plan. I pass a buoy and the next one looks to be way off to my left. So I correct and make my way over to that one. Once I’m by that one, I decide to spot of the turn around buoy rather than the intermediate buoys. That seemed to work well. As I approached the turn around I notice the person beside me has red sleeves on their wetsuit… It’s Maija. Wahoo! I’m not minutes behind her… yet.
There are a few people from the wave in front of us trying to negotiate the turn. Maija takes a good line and is through them in no time. I on the other hand got too close to one of them and had to deal with being swatted a few times. As a result I lost track of Maija once again. I try to find a sighting point at the beach or at least see what the flow of traffic is so that I don’t get on a bad line back to the beach.
I realize that I’m working way too hard. I’m not feeling my 50 strokes. I try to adapt but I can’t convince myself that I’m not losing ground by easing up. So I spot some caps ahead of me and I work on reeling them in. Next thing I know, I’m running up the beach. I finished my swim in 15:12 (not awesome), 35 seconds behind Maija. They negotiate T1 20 seconds faster than us as well. Now it’s up to Bob to go catch Genine. I go grab the camera out of the car and switch to being a photographer.

Bob bikes the 17 miles 2:58 faster than Genine. KB2 Transitions 16 seconds faster than us in T2. Which gives us a 2:07 second lead starting the run.

As Todd runs out of the park, I yell to him “2 minutes”. Meaning I believe he’s got a 2 minute buffer over KB2. Todd tells me afterwards that “2 minutes” sounded generic so he didn’t believe me. So he continued to push very hard knowing that Maija would be giving it all she had to try and catch him.
He stayed strong and finished in 21:52, Maija finished in 22:34. Neither were thrilled with their run but considering we had raced yesterday, and then partied the rest of the day, it’s not too bad.

Genine and Maija won the Women’s Relay division beating the next women’s team by 34 minutes.
Another team told us that we had won the Male division. The results were not posted for us to confirm this until much later. Then we found out we were beaten by 1:37… so close. Maybe if we hadn’t raced on Saturday??

It was a fun day. I’m guessing we might see “Steve Austin” again someday. Maybe we will take it a bit more seriously next time. Maybe.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Run for Liberty - Raising Money for a Good Cause

There is a bald eagle that the Audubon Society of Jamestown takes care of (he can't be released back into the wild). Saturday September 26th there is a trail run to raise money for his care. Apparently they've had up to 500 runners in the past.

Anyway--I'm running along with Jerry.

Attached is the information. If anyone is looking for a great trail run...I'm told this is the one....

Buckman 09 Race Report

Sorry this is so late. This report really doesn't reflect how much fun I had this weekend but I don't think I'm going to be able write anything better...

I took Friday off to meet with a roofing contractor and to get the place ready for Saturday’s party. It was a long busy day. I was glad when Kevin and Lara showed up around 9ish. At that point I finally took a break and let the weekend begin.

Saturday morning the weather was still kind of miserable. Light rain but fortunately it wasn’t too cold. We get to the race site and our friend Jeff is there. He is going to do the Swim on the relay with Maija and Kevin. I haven’t seen him since 1993 I think. I have to credit Facebook for the reunion.
We were a bit late getting there so I didn’t get to stand around and chat much before the race but we definitely were not rushed. It’s a small race and everything is close. No long walks from the car to transition.
We had a good group of friends there. Todd, who I run with twice a week was there. Ed and Chaz from our Y. Kevin and Jeff from College and Maija jumped in to bike for them when Genine started to not feel so well during the week.
I had my new sleeveless top for my wetsuit today. Some thought it might be cold enough that I’d want the sleeves. I found the water to be very comfortable. The race was small enough that all the male racers started at the same time. Then the relay team started in the next wave with all the women. Jeff was the 1 lucky guy swimming with all the women.
The swim start is very shallow and it stays that way for a long time. You could dolphin dive 8-10 times in a row if you wanted to. One of the college guys did in fact do this and he got to the front of the pack with that method. The water isn’t clear enough for me to want to do this. With my luck I’d find the one and only rock in the water and knock myself out.
I started out beside Todd, he’s definitely faster than I am. I plan on getting on his feet and trying to stay even with him for the swim. Unfortunately, because of the shallow start I wasn’t able to keep from being cut off. You couldn’t see much in the water anyhow. Following someone would have been difficult. My swim on the way out was decent. I felt that I kept a decent line and seemed to be swimming fairly well. On the way back, I kept feeling like I was swimming too far from the buoys. Sighting and swimming straight are definitely 2 things I need to work on.
I didn’t ever get to the point where I felt that I was swimming well but as I exit the water. Maija yells that Todd is just ahead of me. Sure enough we get up to transition and there is Todd.

I spent a ton of time in T1. I had decided to wear gloves today. With the wind and rain, there is very likely to be obstacles on the road. I’d rather have the gloves on. I almost forget to take my swim cap off before putting my helmet on. Fortunately Genine points that out to me. Todd yells back “NO COACHING!!” ha ha! Then he heads out of transition. I probably start out 20 or so seconds behind him.
I have a very specific plan in my head as to when I should be able to start attacking the course. I know it very well. Unfortunately, I’m without my bike computer today. I figured I’d be able to go on feel and wasn’t concerned about it.
I get Todd back in my sights shortly after the sharp right turn at the bottom of the big hill. I pass Todd at the tracks and try to take it up a notch. I should have known it wasn’t going to go well when I didn’t crest the 2nd roller with power. I gave up all my speed and was back to spinning. It wasn’t too long after that, at Pickell Park, that Todd was back even with me again and passing. This next section is the other area where I plan on hammering because I know I’ll get a nice break after I power through that section. Again, I feel like I have nothing. I have Todd in my sights but I can’t close.
The next section is a short recovery. You get a section of downhill where you can get up over 30 miles an hour for a bit. Todd plays it safe here and I barrel past him on the downhill. Unfortunately, the next section is my weakest of the entire course. So I know he’s going to pass me again. He does.
Last chance is the hill climb back to the park. We basically climb that section at the same rate and we are into T2 at almost the same time. Jeff, Kevin and Lara are standing at the transition area cheering me on. I say to them that I just couldn’t manage to get ahead of Todd and that I really needed to get a minute or two ahead of him somehow. They ask if I can catch him on the run. Ummm not likely, I figure he will be 60 to 90 seconds faster than me on the run. Lara is surprised that I’m going to do the run without socks. I did remember to put bandages on my feet, so I didn’t have a problem.
Todd is out of T2 ahead of me. He slowly pulled away the entire run. I see Genine taking pictures at the mid point of the 1st lap.

She says I’m going to have to run hard to catch Todd… I get to the 2nd lap, there’s Maija, Jeff and Lara. Maija is yelling for me dig in. I realize that I really am not going all out and I turn it up. I definitely felt that my 2nd lap was faster than my first. Can’t say for sure because I didn’t wear my watch today. This was a no technology race for me. I finish feeling like I put in a good race. I’m sure it’s not my best but it’s something to work from.
Next to cross the finish is Kevin. His first 5K I believe. When we looked at the results, his 5K time was one second faster than mine. Nice.
Now the funny part is this. Here it is Thursday and I’m just now realizing that their relay team probably beat my total time. Not surprising, it’s just that I haven’t thought to look. The only thing I really even cared about was making improvements in each event compared to my results from last year.
Let’s see, Jeff had a good swim, only a couple minutes slower than me. Maija I think finished 4 minutes ahead and Kevin added another second to that lead. Now I’m going to have to look at the results again. (I beat Jeff by 1:59, Maija beat me by 2:44 on the bike, Kevin beat me by 1 second. The rest of their lead is transition time. Beating me by 2:51 total)
I realize that this was a “fun” race. I didn’t really have myself on a training schedule that would allow me to put out my best effort. I’m l glad I raced rather than relay. I have a couple things to think about now because of it. Mainly I’m frustrated with my bike result. Was it because I didn’t have my cadence computer and I ended up over-spinning? Was it lack of calories/nutrition? Or was that truly the best I could possibly have raced that course. It’s hard to say because I don’t know my biking abilities well enough to have an answer.
After the race we headed back home for some lunch and to finish the party preparation. It’s been a very busy summer. It was nice to finally kick back and visit with everyone. Of course we still have a ton of food left over. Anyone hungry for a meatball sandwich with a side of cookies?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

and so it goes...

As the triathlon season comes to an end and my work "season" is shifting into high gear, I recently find that I have been giving myself little pep talks to avoid going down the dark path of "poor me" is overwhelming...I'm tired...I have to work Sunday so I can't go on a long bike ride...and the list can go on from there. Sometimes the pep talks work, sometimes they are short lived. I guess that's the way it goes sometimes. A few days ago I got one of those chain emails from a friend. I didn't pay much attention to it at first, but then I read the quote at the end. It is a rather simple message, but it really struck a chord with me. I don't intend this to be "preachy" and I apologize to the guys as this may be more of a "girl thing", but I couldn't resist sharing it with you. Hope you like it, too.

'May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are
exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the
infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and
others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content withyourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.'

First completed 5k report!

I did it! After three very long months of training, I did it! I ran (jogged, really) my first 5K.
It was an interesting experience. The crowd was pumped (25,000+ strong) and in the beginning I got so carried away with adrenaline and the bodies running around me that I started too fast, half way before the first mile marker I was already out of breath. I knew if I didn't slow down I would not be able to continue. It took much concentration to focus, to ignore everyone around me and go into my own familar pace. I looked down to the ground, to my feet, (though all books tell you not to do that) but it helped. I was able to slow myself down and find my pace. My ipod helped but I know that in future races I will not be able to use it. This was considered a fun race so the ipod wasn't an issue. I realize I need to start training without it.

The friend I have been training with got ahead of me in the first few minutes and I lost sight of her.  She was off and running! Good for her!

As I was passed by what seemed thousands of people, I passed one of the wheelchair participants who was also a survivor as her pink hat indicated. I felt a bitter-sweet pang in my chest, inpired by her determination. Counting my blessings, I picked up the pace (ever so slightly) and kept doing my thing.

A little after mile 1 marker I saw a co-worker in the crowd who was there cheering her power-walking mom and it was great to see a familiar face! I waved, she waved and I kept moving. Note to self- time each mile!

The mile 2 marker never seemed to come. But finally I saw the beautiful sign the organization had posted along with the water station and I knew I was almost there. I'm always hesitant to drink as I run so I didn't stop. I feared I would not be able to continue jogging. My breathing was labored, more so than usual but not bad enough to force me to stop. I ate Spanish tortilla the night before made with onions, which I think aggravated my acid reflux. Note to self-- be aware of meals day prior to race. Simple and obvious advice, right? I don't think the nerves helped either.  However, my feet and legs were feeling good. I took two Aleve before the race to help my bad knee out and they did the trick. No complaints in that dept. Also, my new way of tying my shoes allows the blood to flow freely to my instep so my feet did not fall asleep!

Got to the bottom of the CP loop and I knew I was close. A horse drawn carriage with some trigger happy tourists passed me by as well as a power walker, she was fast! I tried to keep up with her, even my stride was at the same pace but I could not reach her. How is that possible? And damn she was shorter than me! She was awesome,  and I lost sight of her quickly.

Next thing I knew I saw the mile 3 marker. Almost there. I knew I had to go around the bend, pass two traffic lights and then the final turn on 72 st. I'm glad I was able to do the course several times before the race. Mentally it helped me to know I could finish it and  how much left to the course there was to go.  Man, I saw the timer at the finish line above me: 49+ . Everyone was cheering everyone else. I looked at my watch and it read 44:16-- I had just beat my 45 minute goal (the timer hopefully was for the elite runners that started 5 minutes before us) I texted my running partner with a simple word "IN" and proceeded to find water because I started to cough and then to gag.  The PBJ sandwitch that I had for breakfast was coming back to haunt me. The water line was long and I hoped my stomach would wait.  It did, I drank and drank and made it to the Key foods booth to grab some food for later (banana!)

Met up with my friend, we did the rounds and collected some nice stuff (Ford scarf, Bank of America water bottle) and more food and sat down on a grassy knoll to stuff our faces with healthy free treats like yogurt, pirate's booty, apple sauce (MOTT's granny smith apple- possibly the best apple sauce EVER) and to take in the sounds and sights.

Overall it was a great day. Personal record for me 15 minute mile pace! My average has been 16, with my slowest run at 18 minute miles. I hope I can keep that 15 mile pace and get faster.

My next 5K is coming up in a month-- OCT 11. It's a cross country one so I hope the field is not too muddy. Hopefully we'll have the opportunity to check it out before hand since it's in the Bronx. I hear it's hilly! GASP. They will have timing chips so this one is for real!

Now I really would like to do some speed work. I don't know if my knee will allow it, since she demands warm up time...but we'll see! Need to read up more on it.

GOAL: next year I want to do the same race in 30 minutes (10 minute miles!!!) Is it possible? Only time will tell. Man, that would be simply, awesome. I start a running class in mid october which will force me to keep running and hopefully will help with that goal.

I want to thank all of you who have inspired me tremendously with all your races (your incredible finish times!) and all the good training tips. Never in a million years did I think I could run a 5k. Maybe what they say it's true, anything is possible.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pictures from this weekend

Pictures from Buckman Triathlon
Pictures from Skylands Triathlon

I have a bunch of good pictures of other racers we don't know I'll get them posted later on this week.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Last Hoorah- Genine's Skylands Race Report

A few drops of water didn't dampen the spirit of those who came out to participate in NJ Tri-Fest. The rain did not cut us a break yesterday, but today was glorious and sunny. I spent the day yesterday playing fan, photographer, sherpa and dog-sitter, along with Lara, while Matt and friends raced at Buckman. It's a small local race, so many people from the area to see. Matt, Todd, Ed and Chaz all raced as individuals and Maija filled in as the biker for Team Tonmeister with Kevin and Jeff. Even though a part of me was disappointed not to be racing, I always really enjoy spectating. I was (still am) feeling tired very run down/sick from lack of sleep and a stressful work week. I anticipated not being in shape to bike for Kevin & Jeff, so we called upon Maija to fill in for me. Good call! Everyone raced well and there are many fun tales which I am sure will be told in future race reports. Including the fact that Team Tonmeister, Todd, Ed and Matt all took home trophies for their efforts. Way to go!!

Kevin, Chaz, Matt, Maija, Todd, Me and Ed pre-race.

After the race, we came back to the house with Kevin, Lara and Jeff to clean up and prepare for the party. It was nice to have a few hours to relax and catch up with them before everyone else arrived. The rainy weather turned the evening into a more intimate gathering of 12 or so. It was quite nice to be able to really get to visit with people instead of feeling like you were "making the rounds" as it often does during a big party. We all fit on the back porch, ate like kings and chatted our way into the evening hours. The party broke around 9:30pm as all were tired from racing/spectating (hey! it's hard work, too.) earlier and many of us were anticipating more racing today. Matt ad I cleaned up and were in bed by 11:00pm.

The alarm went off at 5:00 this morning. I promptly hit snooze and slept until 5:30. (Ahh...the joy of a local race that starts later.) I got up and began to get my race stuff together (didn't do it the night before). You would think that only doing 1 leg of a race would be easier to pack for, but it was strangely disorienting. I kept feeling like I was forgetting things! We enjoyed a beautiful sunrise on the ride to the park, arriving around7:05. Got everything settled in transition, then headed down to the water, saw Matt & Maija off on their swim, one last stop in the bathroom and then back to transition to get ready to bike...anxiously waiting to see who would run into transition first!

Finishing the bike - wearing Maija's aero helmet for extra speed!

I was excited to ride this course again. I haven't been on it since last year's race and I was hopeful that I could make some improvements. Here comes Maija!! Struggled a bit getting the chip off her, but then grabbed my bike, told Bob I would see him out there and then ran out to start my ride. As I glanced at my HR on the way out of the park, I saw 170! Ha...this is going to be fun! As expected, Bob caught me around mile 4. I passed him once, then he passed me again as we started the monster climb. My mission was to stay as close behind Bob as I could. I never anticipated beating Bob on the ride. I am a realist. Bob is an awesome biker. He proved it on the ride today. On the killer hill (that lasts FOREVER!!...that many people walk up), I never saw him come out of aero! In true "Bob Style", he effortlessly chugged up, up, up the hill. The last I saw him he was cresting the top and then dropped out of sight. I didn't see him again. The second half of my ride felt great. Strong and fast. I held close with another guy who was relaying as we took turns leading each other all the way back to the park. It's so helpful to have someone to push you through a race! As Maija grabbed the chip to start her run, I saw Bob at the rack. he said I was only a couple minutes behind him ( a tad under 3min, I believe). Nice!! I have to say I was pleasantly surprised that I was that close! Finished in 49:36.... 17.3mph. Even thought we didn't beat Steve Austin, we did manage to defend our title as reigning womens relay champs! KB2's record remains undefeated at 4-0! Woo-Hoo!!

KB2 post race

Welcome to the Gun Show! Yeah...we bad!!

KB2 with the hardware! :-)

Show me the $$$$!!!

This was most likely my last race of the season (possibly a 5k or two in the fall). It felt great to spend it having fun & racing with friends. As I always say, we are so fortunate to enjoy this sport with so many great people! It continues to be an amazing journey. After all, that's what it's all about, Charlie Brown.

TriFest Weekend Results

Full Buckman Triathlon Results can be found here.
Matt's 2008 vs 2009 Buckman Results:
Oall   S/Rank  Swim  S Pace   T1    B/Rank Bike   MPH
47 48 16:28 32:56 2:41 51 56:33 18.0
46 35 14:37 29:13 1:57 50 55:29 18.4

T2 R Rank Run R/Pace Total Div Gender
1:07 51 24:27 7:54 1:41:14 10/24 38/117 M
1:13 52 23:43 7:39 1:36:56 5/12 43/127 M

Full Skylands Relay Results
can be found here.
Our relay team results.

Team Steve Austin 2nd place Male Relay Team.
Matt, Bob and Todd

Oall S/Rank Swim S Pace T1 B/Rank Bike MPH
3 7 15:12 30:23 1:49 5 46:40 18.4

T2 R Rank Run R/Pace Total Div
2:04 2 21:52 7:04 1:27:36 2/6 MTEA

Team KB2. 1st Place Female Relay Team.
Maija, Genine, Maija

Oall S/Rank Swim S Pace T1 B/Rank Bike MPH
6 4 14:37 29:13 1:29 8 49:36 17.3

T2 R Rank Run R/Pace Total Div
1:48 6 22:34 7:17 1:30:02 1/3 FTEA

I'll write up more of a report later.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ahhh swimming....

Wednesday night I finally made it to the pool....all clean, with fresh water and newly installed drains (to meet the new safety codes). It was great. I had the pool to myself (I am sure the lifeguard was thrilled when I showed up). Broke out my new equipment, chose my workout, and I was off. The water temp was actually a bit warmer than I expected but not so warm that it hindered the swim. My initial goal = endurance with extended strokes without breathing so often. ( Yeah - I remember Coach Phillip's words about not breathing with every stroke. I remember Judy Kylander (Olympic Trial Competitor - WAHS grad) breathing only once per length....NOT me.) I had to breath on every 4th stroke. Soooo---that's something to work on. Additionally I found that my kick is quite weak. Matt-any thoughts for improving this (drills etc).

Here's what I did
200 WU
2x200 (50 F, 100 Kick, 50 F)
300, 200, 100
100 CD - backstroke
And then time ran out....time to pick up football player #2 and go home and feed both FB#1 and FB#2. (Thank goodness for stirfry!)

All in all---loved the swim. Can't wait to build up more endurance. I simply focused on freestyle. I do want to crank out some butterfly but that can wait. Next time I will be sure to give myself a full hour to complete the entire work out.

Plan for this weekend....3 mile run, Football tomorrow in Erie at 9 am, maybe breakout my new DVD when I get home (P90X), Sunday Football and maybe p90x. I'll let you know how it all works out.

Oh yeah - good news...found a fellow goal oriented individual "competer" who has signed up for Thad's class. She's shooting to do the Tango next year (solo). She said "It ain't pretty (her in Thad's class) but she's doing it and refuses to quit." Sweet...I'll be hooking up with her soon. "Girl Power"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Entire Buckman, Swim at Skylands

Unless they modify the course on Saturday, it will be the first course that I've raced twice. So I'll finally get to compare results. It's also my first sprint distance race of the year. I intend to leave it all out there. I'm guessing relays will be last wave. That means I have to swim through a ton of people. (Yeah because I'm just that fast, ha ha!). It also means they might serve as a good sighting tool. Last year I went way off course on the return trip.

Unless it's raining. I think I might be more aggressive on the bike than I have been in the past. It's a fun race, I may as well try some things out. I have a pacing plan for the entire course in my head. I can't say that I'll actually follow it on race day, sometimes I kind of zone out on the course. Guess we will see.

The run. Well it would be nice if Todd and I start in the same wave so we might have a bit of a foot race on our hands at the end. Although whether he is ahead of me or behind me, I'm going to have to run as hard as I can.

Then on Sunday. It's KB2 vs the guys team "Steve Austin" is the name of the guys team. (Lee Majors not Stone Cold). I'm teamed up with Bob (Bike) and Todd (run).
The trash talking has started. The girls are planning on feeding us drinks all day Saturday at the party. (see they are afraid to race us). I figure it's the perfect setup to set PRs on individual events.

I'll do my best to get results posted. It's going to be a busy weekend but also really fun.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Columbia Triathlon

Well I'm already registering for 2010 races. I'm signed up for the Columbia Triathlon. I hope to be healthy this time around so I don't miss it.
This race sells out fairly quickly. A day or so typically. Craig it's just over 3 hours drive for you. From what I understand this is a great race. Check out some of the names and the results from last year. Keep in mind it was hailing on them during the bike. Shawn I think you know the guy from Penn State. He had a decent race. ;-)

I also plan on racing Mooseman and Timberman again.
Tango of course is in there as well. Not sure in what capacity yet. Time will tell there.

Just thought I'd throw this out there. Check it out!

Andy Potts / Chicago Triathlon

I missed this story.

Plantar Faciitis / Pull ups / Push ups... Diet

My left foot definitely has a bit of plantar fasciitis. Last night at the pool we caught up with Grace she told me she hasn't raced all year because of plantar fasciitis. Yikes!! That is a huge bummer. Naturally, I've been digging through triathlon and running forums to find out how other athletes have worked through this problem. One of the posts had a couple interesting statements I thought I'd share here.
First he mentioned that often times PF occurs when something new has entered your world. It could be workout related. Or it could be something like a new chair at work, which makes you place your feet differently for the majority of your day. (As in not flat on the floor).

Second he mentions that the cause is quite simply the lower leg and foot muscles being too tight. So you should work on stretching everything out. Then he adds that these calf stretches should be of the type, which has your foot flat on the floor. Not hanging off the edge of a stair or things like that as this has a tendency to over-stretch (tear) things. (He’s not a doctor but it sounds logical)

So put these 2 comments together and what do you get? Probably the cause of my PF. Back in April when I hurt my right knee, I decided that a good part of that injury could have occurred because of my lack of flexibility in my calves. So I made a point of stretching my calves daily... usually by hanging my foot off of a stair. Also I have been starting my morning by doing 15 minutes of yoga, with a bunch of time spent in Downward Facing Dog. Again, my heels are off of the floor. So perhaps I've found the source of my "overdoing it" for my foot. I'll make some adjustments and hope that it heals up. (Yes I should be doing more of the ice therapy as well)

Enough about that. The pull up plan is still rolling. Although I almost forget to do them every day. So I end up doing them at 9-10 at night. I feel I've placed myself into the right place on the pull up plan. Meaning it's pushing me but I'm getting it done.
The push up plan on the other hand, I think I may have placed myself a bit ahead of where I really am. I'm getting it done. Yet every time I look at the next workout, I realize it's not going to be easy and there is a bit of dread. Ha ha! The payoff is going to be worth it, I already feel a difference, which is surprising given how little time has been spent. Each workout is less than 15 minutes.

Lastly, the diet has been in effect for over a week now. Not sure if I mentioned that I gained about 15 pounds between February and Timberman Weekend. How's that for the opposite of what I wanted to accomplish? I can tell you it's much easier to diet when you aren't doing 2 workouts a day. I definitely have to continue the food tracking. It seems to be the best way to go for me. The fact I can check my Carb/fat/protein intake through the day helps me stay balanced and keeps me from feeling like I "need" to eat. The weight is falling off again and after getting past the first 4 days, I'm back to feeling normal.
I guess the challenge of next season will be to learn how to eat when the workouts increase again. If at first you don't succeed...

Bugs Bugs Everywhere

Headed out for my "newly mapped" 4 mile run. Started at the house, ran the high school hill, down to Prospect, over to Jackson, up Jackson, down Carver, to Pennsylvania, Conewango AND then home (for all familiar with Warren). Lots of hill work...I felt pretty good. I definitely felt better than I did on Saturday.

Jerry ran with me. At least two times during the run we ran smack dab into the middle of a "hatch." Picking bugs out of eyes and spitting them out of our mouths along the run....WHAT FUN!

Tonight I am hoping to swim. Keeping my fingers crossed that I can somehow work in pool time around, football and nightly eating fests (wow-can boys eat a lot!)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

2 for 2 is a wonderous thing

Home from my second solid swim workout in a row. Matt & I swam at RVCC pool again tonight. I had picked a workout from my binder, so we were going in with a plan...which is always key for me. Even with my lack of sleep (stress sucks, man), I felt quite good. Our swim friend Grace showed up during the warm-up and she swam the main set with us. We got a bit chatty, as we hadn't seen each other in awhile, so the rest intervals were "extended", but we kept on task and got the entire main set in before pool closing. Total of 2200m. Good stuff!

Since Matt recently purchased a sleeveless top for his DeSoto wetsuit, I too have been looking around for some swimming apparel to enhance my performance. There are many amazing suits and swim skins out there, but I can't help but wonder....what if???

I earned my Cookie!

I did the trail run on Sunday. It was an absolutely beautiful day. The race had 200 pre-registered participants and about another 80 show up that morning. There were some very familiar faces in the crowd. Tango winner - Chris Welch was there. He was the first runner across the line for the 11 mile course. He's amazing. Jeff Dahl and Kelly (Dahl) Mangione ran together. They crossed the finished line looking refreshed (if only....)Everyone said the 11 mile run was great. I suspect this race will occur again next year. If so I hope that some of you give it a try.

Anyway - here's my summary. I ran the 4 mile race (2 miles up hill climb on Morrison Run Road and Back down). Nothing compared to the 11 mile course! We all started at the same time on a narrow dirt road. The walkers were behind the runners. It was somewhat tough to find a place to run given the nature of the gravel road. There was quite a bit of zig/zag positioning for the first mile. Apparently, there's lease gas somewhere in the vicinity as well...the odor was quite strong initially.

For the first 3/4 mile I felt training was paying off. Then the nausea started. I am still not sure if it was due to my heart rate or lack of nutrition (my lungs felt fine). I slowed my pace and at one point started power walking. Nausea wouldn't go away. I was able to run in the ruts of the road thus avoiding the rocks on the road. The only really difficult portion was an obvious mud hole that they'd recently filled with large CHUNKS of rock. How do you runners do it??? I had to way my ankles would hold up on that surface.

I celebrated at the turnaround....yeah...two miles of uphill climb it's down hill the rest of the way. I told Jerry to please go ahead. It was too hard to have him near me as we kept bumping into each other. So off he ran like an little kid (rrrrr). He joked with many of the people that he passed that he was the first of the 11 mile runners--just finishing up. He's lucky none of them tripped him!

Kathie (yeah "Vash's Kathie" from the Tango) told me that I looked strong coming through the finish line. She's always a great motivator. I didn't meet my goals given that I had to adopt more of a run/walk approach to this race. I did however finish. I will run it again next year and hope to see great improvements in my time.

I think my time was 42 minutes---not great but willing to put it out there so I can reference it next year and how I've improved.

Oh yeah there were dozens of celebratory cookies at the finish line --the best part for me--one of the guys I cyclewith ran the 4 mile course. As he came through the finished line He said quite loudly "Where are the cookies?!" Me--I didn't eat any cookies...just drank water...too nauseous (bummer).

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Chasing rabbits....

After a very productive day of outside chores, Matt and I decided to enjoy the beautiful cool, sunny weather today with a bike ride. We set out late in the afternoon around 4:30pm. Decided to start at the Y and ride the course with the good rolling hills up to the library near Bedminster/Far Hills. My legs (hips..of course and quads...surprise) were feeling inten-sati from yesterday in a BIG way. Tiffany had been away the past 2 Saturdays and she was back with a vengeance...but in a good way! So, my ride started out slowly as my legs warmed up and decided to work for me. I had told Matt to check in from time to time, but not to hold up his ride for my turtle-like pace.

We held together (for the most part) until we made the right turn on to Lamington Road where the rolling hills start. It is our typical protocol that Matt leads and I try to keep him in my sights. He waits for me at the turn around point at the library. I was keeping a steady pace, trying to work through the sore muscles. I pulled onto the library road and there was Matt waiting & eating his gu. I said, "hey! I'm going to go around and stretch." as I rolled by down the road to make a loop around the library lot to stretch my hips/ legs. I didn't really think too much of it when he didn't acknowledge me. As I was riding back up the road out of the lot to meet him, I see him start to turn on the road to head back! Why isn't he waiting?? Oh crap! He didn't see or hear me go by and now he thinks I'm flatted out or stuck somewhere! I decided I had to put it into super high gear to try to catch him (yea...right!) or at least keep close. I went like a bat out of hell! As I would get to the bottom of each hill, I could see Matt cresting the top of it. I figured he was riding hard thinking that he needed to find me. Poor Guy! I was pedaling up hills as I have never done race day adrenaline only stronger. My quads were feeling like cement blocks hardening with every turn of the chain ring! Which at one point I realized I was climbing in my big ring!! I was like a greyhound chasing the rabbit. I knew he would stop at the end of the road where we turn...thank goodness! And he did! I told him what had happened and we both laughed a bit! Turns out I had more juice in me than I thought! Just needed some incentive. We ended up riding a little over 27miles in 1:41.

Speaking of incentive...after the ride I got my chai. good!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Deals on Bike stuff

I'm on a quest for new bike shoes. As I was looking I found the following on sale until Monday.

These are the pedals I've used for the last 3 years. I'm retiring them.
Crank Brothers Quattro Sl Pedal $20.00

CO2 Pump $10

Maija did you say you needed a new crank for your bike to get rid of the creak? Or new Bottom Bracket?
Ultegra Crankset Double for $80 9 speed (umm. I didn't think the front ring had anything to do with your rear cassette?)

Shimano Ultegra 9 speed Cassette 11-23 $50

I haven't used a mag trainer but this is a pretty good price to try one out.
Nashbar Mag Plus Trainer $99

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Once in a Blue Moon...or maybe a full moon

It's not often I get to say that I had a good swim, but...tonight I felt great for my entire swim. It was only about 50mins (since the pool closed at 9), but it was 50 solid minutes. No lolly-gagging after every 25m. I kept every rest interval (by counting "mississippis" - no lap clock at RVCC). I picked a workout from my swim book and did the entire thing without cheating or "altering". It was 2600m with a good mix of drill, pace building, dps and free style. I didn't get out of breath and I felt like I was keeping a good pace while not "working too hard". Not sure of my times, but for now I am more than happy with "feeling good". I think the RVCC pool is a good match for me...or maybe it is the full moon.

Matt said that my reward for keeping on task was a SFV soy chai latte from Starbucks post swim. It was too late by the time we were finished. Guess I will get to cash in over the weekend!


Thanks for all the encouragement prior to the race. It was great to hear from from some of you. Maija, it was also great to see you there, I'm glad we got to hang out and get to know each other. It was funny when a buddy of mine from Pittsburgh asked Maija and I how we knew each other and we both had to stop and think about it for a second.

Chicago was a great reminder of how much I have missed the sport of triathlon. It was the first time I had competed in Triathlon in four years and it felt great to be back. I'm not really sure why I took so much time off, I didn't plan on it, it just sort of happened. However, I think it was a good thing because racing in Chicago has recharged my batteries. I couldn't have asked for a better race.

I was very apprehensive about getting started that morning, especially since the water was reportedly so cold. It ended up not being too bad ( I think 65 or so). I felt good in the water and I only went off course twice. The break wall just happened to be on the same side that I breath so that made things a lot easier. I would recommend this triathlon to anyone for the swim venue alone. It was perfect!!

When I got to the bike I put on all my gear and looked for the shot blocks I had set out. It seems that someone had walked off with them. Next time I'm going to implement better security for my stuff including facial recognition technology to identify the perp. I went without any energy replacement with the exception of diluted gatorade. The bike started off well except for the headwind but I kept plugging away because I that eventually that same wind would be at my back. I told my Maija and my friend from Pittsburgh that after we made the turn I felt like I was on an amusement park ride because we were able to go so fast.

The run was flat and fast but seemed to go on for ever. We ran right by Soldier Field and I has visions of Mike Ditka yelling at me to run faster. I literally ran side by side another guy for 5.5 miles of the 6.2 run. I pulled away from him with .5 to go but he found a way to get me at the end. I still thanked him after it was over because had he not been there I'm sure my run would have been slower.

Overall I was happiest with my bike section of the race. I've never had much confidence on the bike because I always seemed to get passed by tons of people right after the swim. I blame Lance Armstrong in part for this because I always read that he practiced a high cadence to conserve energy. I figured that in preparation for this race I would try what felt natural which meant turning a higher gear with a lower cadence. It felt more comfortable and turned out to be much faster. I also didn't feel as tired either. Does anyone know what is recommended for triathletes? I think I'm going to stick with this new strategy. Maybe having an actual tri bike would help even more.

The timing for this race couldn't have been better since I had been apprehensive about next summer's Ironman, but now I feel much better about my decision to go back down that road.

Now its time to relax, do some short runs, even shorter races for a couple months.

new slideshow

I keep meaning to ask if everyone can see the new pictures. It could be I need to change the security on them. There should be 117 pictures.

Let me know.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Buckman bike practice / Otter

You would think that for as often as I've been on that course this summer that it would no longer be a challenge. Sadly that is not the case.
Once I got warmed up, I decided that I should put in race effort for much of the course, just to get an idea of what I can and can't do. It was a tough ride at times. There were a couple sections that I really stunk it up. I underestimated a couple of sections. I'll probably be back out there this weekend to try riding starting from the park which is the race start for the Buckman. Typically we start halfway around the course but with the way the hills are it would be good to take one practice run starting from the right place.
It's really a great ride, I feel if I get so I can kick butt on that course, I'd really improve at the Mooseman course as well.

Here is a cute story about an otter. It's even a triathlon related story.

Gonna Getcha

Last night I dragged my husband along for a run. I was pleased because initially I was running at a faster pace (I've been working on interval training at the Y-treadmill style!). I was pleased. But by the time we hit the bridge it became apparent that my left leg was not going to keep up. Mind you my right leg felt great! So we slowed-drats! We probably ran between 3 and 4 miles. I need to drive it for exact distance. I discovered yet again that I rock on the treadmill BUT my leg continues to swell when running on hard surfaces. Gosh darn DVT! Tonight I think I am going to go for a shorter run, take a baby aspirin before the run and wear a compression sock on the left leg (Suggested by my chiropractor as a possible option).

I should note that so far my neck (which hampered training during the summer) seems to be much better. Thanks in large part to Dr. David Brooke!

On a fun note (or crazy depending on your perspective): at one point later in the run I decided to increase my pace for two blocks. Jerry ran behind me "encouraging" me by saying "I'm gonna getcha." WE laughed at the time BUT I am sure any passerby would have assumed we escaped from the State Hospital.

I always enjoy running with Jerry. We may not be fast BUT we're doing it. As he pointed out last night....none of our parents were doing this when they were 39!

Run is on Sunday (proceeds raised will benefit local hospice group)- 4 mile trail run. I am hopeful that the leg will cooperate given the morning temps and softer surfaces. We'll see.....

Frustrating Left Heel.

So last week 70.3 and the next day I don't have any heel pain in my left foot or problems with my right knee.
I ran 8 miles Sunday morning. At mile 6 my left hip flexor starts to feel like it's been carrying the load. I stop for a few seconds in an attempt to break my stride and try to establish a better more correct one to see if it helps.
When I get home, the heel of my left foot is killing me. I stretch and massage it often through out the day.
Monday, I'm walking funny probably to avoid stepping on the bad heel.
Tuesday, I feel like my foot doesn't hurt as much but my walking stride feels awkward still. So I go to the chiropractor. I definitely had a bit of a hip tilt going on and the electrostim on the lower back always helps relieve any lower back muscle cramps.
I'm feeling better today but I didn't run this morning. I feel like I should give it a bit more time. Also I think I'm going to start running with my Sole inserts in my running shoes. With the big races out of the way, it's time to start figuring this thing out. Next step is a podiatrist I suppose.

Some might argue I'm old and I'm wearing stuff out. Honestly, I think my feet/ankles feel better now than when they did when I was 19 marching with the Crossmen back in '89.

What is different about my swimming this year compared to last year

I’m not incredibly faster this year over last year but I am definitely not working as hard. It’s too bad my HR monitor didn’t work at Timberman. I would have loved to know what my average HR was during that swim. I’ll try again at my next race. Last year at Buckman I think my Swim HR was an average of 170. Yikes! Hyperventilate much? That was typical all of last year.
Anyhow, I just thought I’d list some of the stuff I know that I’ve worked on and changed.

1) bi-lateral breathing: The biggest benefit to this in my opinion is that it keeps me from hyperventilating. Breathing to the same side (every 2) causes you to breathe too often. It seems really difficult at first but eventually it is incredibly relaxing. It also helps you swim straighter and reduces the likelihood of fatiguing one shoulder more than the other. It balances the load.

2) Front Quadrant swimming and balance. Look at the catch up drills and change it to almost catch up to understand what your arms should be doing to swim front quadrant. The big benefit of this change has been balance. It seems to promote downhill swimming for me.

3) Stroke mechanics. This is the stuff that doesn’t seem to be mentioned often enough. For someone without a swim background, this is not obvious.
A) Arms should not travel under your body. Think of paddling a surfboard and your body is the surfboard. Keep those arms wide.
B) At the catch your hand needs to be even with or slightly below your shoulder. Otherwise the first motion you make with that hand is pushing water down towards the bottom of the pool, which will lift your upper body out of the water and provides no forward propulsion. When you are driving your hand forward to the catch, think about sending your hands to 8 o’clock and 4 o’clock, 9 and 3 would be would be even with your shoulders. Also allow your hands to drift to the outside rather than closer to your body line as you drive your hand forward.
C) Arm and Hand path during the stroke. Think about pushing water towards your feet at all times. This means you have to bend your wrist. I was pushing water up towards the top of the pool at the end of my stroke. This pushing water up towards the surface would push my legs down, which messed up my balance and didn't move me forward.

4) Tempo Trainer: This tool was huge for me. I have been told many times that I need to slow down my stroke. That has not been easy for me. Largely I think it was because of the stroke mechanic problems listed above. Without those fixes, I only felt balanced in the water when I was pulling and it was a false sense of balance. With those fixes in place, my balance improved to the point where I could actually balance without pulling. I could finally glide.
Back to the Tempo Trainer, using this metronome I was able to try out different swim cadences to determine which is the most efficient. I had/have a tendency to overstroke. I would be at 60 or more strokes per minute. As it turns out, currently I’m just as fast swimming at 50 strokes per minute. I get to save 10 strokes for the same speed! A huge energy savings in terms of effort. Of course the next goal is to be able to stroke at 60 and actually be faster. A matter of maintaining my distance per stroke at the higher cadence.

There you have it. It's just that simple ;-)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Didn't want to steal his thunder

Great Race Chris! Can't wait to hear about it.