Saturday, January 31, 2009

Do I keep going?

Friday night I wanted to bike for about 2 hours.
I stay focused on staying in my Zone 2 HR Range. 132-145. Well more like the top of my Zone 2 HR range. About 50 minutes in I start to realize that my legs are shot. The weight lifting the previous night I'm sure is the reason. The result of this is my cadence is low and my HR was starting to hang out around 135.
I bailed out at 1:20:00. As I was questioning whether this was actually effective training or just a waste of time.
What do you think?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

This is the new Gatorade Logo.

I've been seeing it all over Manhattan this week. Cabs. Bus Stops. Platform Posters...

You know what I'm thinking when I see this right?
Exactly!! Gatorade should totally sponsor Genine and hook her up with a TriSuit and all the other fun gear with this logo on it.


Friday Morning Swim

Genine, Maija, Esther and I.

Couple drills today really pointed out some problems.
Kick on side drills when my right side is up, it’s not very good. I’ve practiced this a couple times since Monday. It’s amazing how difficult that side is for me.

We also did 25m right arm swim, 25m left arm swim. Guess what? The left arm is still a mess compared to the right. My balance/rotation problem above probably has something to do with it??

We join up with Maija and Esther for the 1/1, 2/2 ….4/4, 5, 4/4, 3/3, …
Where you are swimming easy/hard for the number of lengths. This is a non stop swim, so I’m going to have to count for myself as Esther and Maija are going to be well ahead of me quickly. I did fine up to 3, ha ha. Somewhere during the 4’s I got lost in really focusing on my left arm and holding good technique. Then Genine disappears out of my lane and I’m without a clue as to where I am in the set. Instead of just picking a place and going with it, I continue to swim just working technique as best as I can. Kind of lame in hindsight, oh well.
There was some good news from the workout, the other night I had practiced with the Pull Buoy swimming 3x 25 breathing 5/7/9. Well today for the cool down, I swam (no PB) breathing every 5 fairly easily (my pace was slow I’m sure). Then I even did every 7 and that didn’t kill me. I guess the practice is paying off.

The other good news is I saw Chaz on the train this morning and there was no mention of Britney or Pussycat Dolls.

Super Bowl

Food, Food, & Food

For the last four years I have started to prepare food from the cities involved.  Menu last year was easy.  Clam Chowder (New England, Manhattan), Bagels (NY style), and Beans (Boston of course).

This year has been more difficult, but here is the menu:
  • Primanti Brother Sandwiches (if you haven't had one, your missing out, and no they won't let you put the cole slaw on the side, it goes on the sandwich, along with the fries.  I will be making them myself)
  • Pierogies, goes without saying
  • Vegtable Pizza, my sister-in-law claims Pittsburgh, but I am suspicious
  • Taco Salad - Southwestern style chicken, really we are getting lazy here.
  • Southwestern Corn Cheese Pepper Dip with Blue Tortilla chips
  • Iron City Beer, not for the taste, purely a 'Burgh thing
Once again last year was easy in comparison, Chicago style Pizza two years ago, awesome.

Honestly the best was the Philly Cheesesteaks with New England Clam Chowder.

Go Steelers!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Random Web Stuff

So the UberMaija cookies got some recognition on my flickr site.
The guy that commented (David Lam) is making a movie "Athlete".
Here is his blog. Here is his Flickr Site with some videos that you might find interesting.
I figured I'd post it up, I mean I work for a sound for film company so I should support NYC directors. The fact that it's got triathlon in the mix is a bonus :-)

It's interesting, between blogger, flickr and facebook, there is so much "random" surfing that goes on. Some good some bad I suppose. I'd like to think there is much more good than bad.
Speaking of bad stuff on the internet. I found this comical. The Africa Bank Scams.

Lastly, I installed a utility on my computer today. A backup utility, I've used an older version for years but I had to update. It's a "freeware" application. Well when I ran the new version I laughed out loud. When I started the backup, there was a window with a small progress bar at the top and then streaming advertisments in the rest of window. Brilliant! Some backups take hours!!
It's a great program so if the guy is making some extra money by doing this, good for him.

Rockin' out to Genine's iPod

So now that I’ve started putting in 3 or 4 rides a week on the bike trainer, I’ve decided that I’d borrow Genine’s iPod Shuffle while riding.
The shuffle is very convenient you can just clip it to a cable on the bike. No need to build a playlist, she only loaded “workout” songs. So I don’t have to bother finding the skip button very often. (The songs from Grease are skipped before anyone starts singing, that stuff just doesn’t work for me.) Everything else I seemed to be okay with, until....
I biked for an hour before work today, so I probably hear 13-17 songs during that hour. What song sticks in my head??? Yup, Britney Spears Toxic... I understand that the music is designed to be catchy like this, but I'm not liking the idea of being 40-50 miles into my Timberman bike, my brain is looking for some inspiration and all the sudden there's Britney!! Seriously, if Chaz reads this he's going to smack me the next time he sees me. I mean his IronMan race report... I think he said something like "Shed a tear at the line up when AC/DC For Those About To Rock starts to play". You see what I'm saying right?
Right, tonight I'll be ripping the Metallica Album to my iPod and putting together some playlists.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Training is for Suckers

I only say this because mine has been dismal.  The best workout of the year before yesterday was sled riding a week ago Sunday.  I drug Eleanor and Rachel (Eleanor's friend from church) up the hill a dozen times.  Amaizingly when I said I was done, they grabbed the sled and went up themselves.  

I feel good muscle wise, but my wind suffered when I was cross country skiing yesterday.  My AB workouts are going well, but I need to add the Push-up regiment.  I think the focus will need to be Running on the weekends, I may have to travel to find trails, due to the fact the roads are pretty slushy around here.

I promised Tamara I would lay off the equipment this year, but man a bike trainer would be my friend.

Speaking of ABs, what are others doing, specifically Matt & Genine.  I wouldn't mind mixing it up a little.  I am doing the Brenda Dygraf 6 pack ab workout.  It hurts, but I get easily bored.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Smooth Swimmin'

Just a couple quick notes to serve as a reminder to me in the future.

At masters tonight, I had one of those days where my balance is really good. (for me anyhow). I had decided that I would slow my pace down and really work on holding form as well. The longest we did was 200 and I was pleased with how I paced them.
I had a tendency to open up my kick wide when I rotate. Not necessary. Need to keep a tighter kick.
Also have to work on keeping my thumb in. I have a tendency to leave it out wide.
Need to drive my left hand further ahead and get that shoulder down, that is likely the reason I drift left. I'm not getting as deep with my left side, even when bilateral breathing.

Drills: Kick 6 and switch. When my right shoulder is up. It's not up as far as it needs to be. I'm tipped forward on my stomach on this side. Need to work on that.

Fingertip Drag: Got some good instruction on this drill. She told us to make sure we didn't drop our hand into the water until it's way out in front near the catch. By doing this it's going to make you rotate that hip in order for you to reach your hand that far out in front of you. Makes perfect sense. I got the feel for this right away. The extra bit of instruction for this drill has made this a much more effective drill for me.

Modified Catch up drill: You don't start your pull until your recovery hand is in front of your head. Basically this gets you into Front Quadrant swimming. Again, I think I have a good feel for this. At least I did tonight. I need to think about swimming this way more often, it feels much more smooth than my "normal" stroke.

Apologies for the boring post. As I said. Good reference post for me.

Oh, we did 2 starts off the blocks. 25m swim. Genine beat me both times. :-)

All Salute.....

Major Improvements! The past two days have brought a couple of small personal victories.

As you may know, I have been suffering from sciatica (aka:pain in the butt) for the better part of 6-8 months. Running of any sort being the big aggravator. Of course, I only found out what was causing the pain about 2 months ago when I finally decided to go to the chiropractor to get the situation resolved. What can I say...I'm slow and stubborn. Anyway, since then I have not been allowed to run up until this past week. While the pain is not completely gone, it has significantly improved and I was given permission to "test the waters". I ran 3 times in the past 10 days (2 times on the treadmill and once outside- with my orthodics in my running shoes). The good news is that I could get in 3-4miles each time without any more pain than I have usually been feeling. Thank goodness! So, at tonight's appointment, the doctor has reduced my visits to once a week and I am allowed to continue running 3-4 times per week. Wahoo!! (Don't worry Esther, I am still on for our Saturday morning aqua jogs until your butt is better!) I'm hoping to be able to up the distances as my condition continues to improve.

Deciding to push my endurance envelope a bit yesterday, I tried my own "indoor brick" for the first time. After a 90min bike ride on the trainer (spinerval aerobic endurance builder dvd), I got on the treadmill to do a 5k run (8:30 pace). I would love to tell you how many miles I biked or what my cadence was, but my bike computer is still MIA....grrr. I can tell you I was in my mid-high heart rate zone for the entire ride minus the warm up and cool down. Regardless, I felt quite strong at the end of the run and much more confident about my abilities and endurance. We'll see how that translates to the outside world soon! The ironic thing is that my hip/butt seemed to hurt significantly less running post biking. Strange, right? maybe because the muscles were already warm and flexible from the bike? Not sure on that one, but I'll take it.

My second personal break through happened tonight at masters swim class, believe it or not! I think I may have learned how to rotate when I swim! It all started to happen during the "finger tip" drill. Something clicked in my brain and my stroke began to feel different....smoother. It isn't very pretty by any stretch...still very amateur. But by the end of class during the cool down, Elana (our coach) was yelling, "Yes! You are rotating!" Again, a ton of improvement to go, but for now... I'll take it! We also got to dive of the blocks again at the end of class and did 2x 25m sprints. I love it! What a fun reward!

All of this leaves me very hopeful. Wow....I might actually be able to do this!

"It always seems impossible until it is done" - Nelson Mandela

Bike shoes / Insert

I forgot to mention that I've been having trouble with my bike shoes. The toes on my left foot were going numb, which is just annoying.
So I pulled out my SuperFeet shoe inserts out of my other shoes and tried them out in the bike shoes yesterday. It seemed to to the trick. Guess I should give it more than one 90 minute ride before making that claim, but I didn't want to forget to mention it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Matt's Bike Zones revisited

Considering how sick I was at the start of last week, I’m satisfied with what I managed for workouts the rest of the week.

Yoga: I can’t help but feel optimistic about the improvements I can make here. It’s kind of the new, and dare I say, "fun" thing for me. Yoga is kind of a difficult thing to measure or gauge your progress, yet I feel I’ve already decided “downward facing dog” is the yardstick. This is because I feel I would really benefit from having more flexibility in my calves, hamstrings and lower back and this pose seems to be the trifecta. I'm not in a hurry, I know it was 12 months or more that I felt I was "average" at swimming, biking or running. I don't expect yoga will be any different.

Swim: Bad week of swimming for me. I missed masters. Then felt like I sandbagged the workout with Maija and Bob on Wednesday. My only other swim was Saturday after the 9.5 mile hills run. That wasn’t much of a workout either. I eventually broke out the pull buoy figuring it would be a good arms workout.

Run: 5K easy run w/ Genine on Thursday. 9.5 mile hills run w/ Todd on Saturday. 40 degrees on Saturday morning! Wahoo!
So we have 2 hills courses, this one has about a mile loop towards the end which we have said we will add one extra loop each time we go there until we build up to 12 miles. At which point we would just run the entire course twice.
Anyhow, this hill is about 170 foot climb in .65 miles. My legs felt like lead from the start of this run. When we got to about mile 5, where we have just climbed that hill and was descending to where we could “repeat”, I say to Todd. “I’m guessing you were thinking we should run another loop”. To which he replied “3 more times in fact”.
Oh man, I knew that was the answer… I told him it would be slow but let’s keep rolling.
Once again a training partner pulls me through. Instead of only getting 6 miles in, we got 9.5 done and we are still on track with our “add a loop each time” plan.

I feel that I should credit my chiropractor with an assist for the weekend of training. I went to see him on Friday afternoon. The electrostim on the lower back.... So good.

Bike: Good bike week. An hour on the trainer on Tuesday and Friday night. Then 90 minutes on Sunday.
I was talking to Maija about how I felt I was really falling off 40-50 minutes into my “rides”. At which point she asked how hard I was pushing, what HR Zone am I riding in? Hmm, good question. I had a pretty good idea where my Threshold was but I really hadn’t been thinking zones while I was riding. I was just trying to go along with the DVD. Not a good plan.
So Maija shows up at the pool Saturday with a few triathlon books for me and I have my homework assignment. Find a Bike Zone Test and get it figured out.
I did….

Did a HR Test to determine my Zones. I’m going to say my VT is somewhere around 163-166. I’m going to err on the low side for now. 163.

Zone 1: 132 and below
Zone 2: 132-145
Zone 3: 146-152
Zone 4: 153- 162
Zone 5a: 163-166
Zone 5b: 167-172
Zone 5c: 173+

I did my 90 minute ride on Sunday keeping my HR under 145 and didn't run out of power 40-50 minutes into the ride. (Thanks Maija)

Here is the graph from my test.
If my ability to generate power is directly proportional to my ability to relax, as that quote to the right suggests, I should be a human nuclear power plant. I can relax like a three-toed sloth on Valium. What gives?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Running again... finally

I knew it had been awhile since I've run but I finally decided to look at the planner and I saw that it was a full 2 weeks off of running. Yikes! Not surprising given the bad weather and having been sick. I figured I'd better get some easy miles in before the longer weekend run. I was glad to go out tonight and run 5K in some "warm" 31 degree weather.
After the run, we were planning on going swimming. Well this is where the Y is starting to bring me down. I just assume that there will be no hot water in the showers at this point. It's been at least 2 months since they've posted their "for the next few days" sign. So after we get done running, believe it or not, I ask Genine if we can do Abs rather than go swimming. Seriously, I can't believe it myself but it's true.
The Y had better get their crap together soon. Genine and I have been talking about looking into other pool/gym options lately. I'd talk to someone at the Y about it but unless I put a petition together and get a bunch of people behind me, I don't think it would matter a bit.
I'm hopeful I can find a better situation. I'm sure some of the gang would follow if the deal was right.

I went to the Inauguration!

Not the one you think.  I went to the inauguration of the Governor of WV, Joe Manchin.  It would be his second term.  I have met Joe multiple times through work and deal with his son on a weekly basis.  So, I got an idea.  Wouldn't be nice for my daughter and her friend to meet the Governor.  His son set it up so it was easy to get to see the governor.  It was a great day, the girls enjoyed it.

Here it is, and yes it was cold.  The pics are all inside.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Breathing in the 1/2 or full iron?

Is there a recommended pattern for breathing in these long distance swims? I have no idea, because usually my plan is to a:)" just breathe" or something more basic like b:)" try to get out of the water alive without being rolled into the sagwagon/canoe" A student has asked me about this suggesting that some breathe every stroke and others do every 3rd stroke. Thoughts from the hydrostatically efficient??

Sunday, January 18, 2009


First, I guess this is a stomach virus and not the flu. I'm still not over it and now Genine has it. Ugh! It is painful, I was up most of the night again last night. Very frustrating.

So back to what's been good about being sick:

Grocery bill will be low.
Going back on my diet will feel like I'm pigging out.
I had time to find some old friends on Facebook and email them.
Actually watched both football games today.
Genine hasn't been making me do abs every night. :-)
(for the record, the abs workouts are less painful than this stomach virus, I'll have to remember that when we get back to them)

Regret may not be strong enough

I went to the local bike store to buy myself a pedal wrench because I was having trouble getting my pedals switched back over from the mountain bike since the Tango. Yes, this is the first time I have ridden my road bike since August. Get off my case. While there, the owner, who is a pretty good triathlete himself asked me what I was doing this year, and I told him. I mentioned the Timberman and he said "Oh, that's a tough one." I said "How so?" thinking all half-irons are pretty tough. He said "It's hilly." This got me thinking I should check out the elevation map of the Timberman. The Spirit of Morgantown is kind enough to include this information on their website, but Endorfun doesn't seem to think it's necessary. Surely no one at Endorfun weighs in excess of 250 pounds though, or they would understand the need for this information. I didn't have the gumption to try to translate the course map onto MapMyRun or the G-Pedometer map and see what it looked like. Anybody up for that? Or is it out there somewhere? I found this report -- "The course had a few hills but everything was definitely manageable. I was actually expecting the course to be much hillier and found it to be pretty flat to rolling. I stayed seated for all but the last climb and just spun my way up everything else. I could have stayed seated on the last hill, but I wanted to pass someone so I just powered up the hill." That doesn't sound so bad. I can live with rolling hills alright. It's the two-mile long ascents that kill me. Of course I stayed seated up Devil's Hill too, so that doesn't tell me much.

Then I was thinking that the wave arrangement might put me right in front of the sag vehicle. That would be embarrassing. If I end up biking in front of the sag vehicle, that means the entire race will be waiting for me to finish, because I'm probably not going to pass anybody on the run. Unless of course it's the Screen Actors Guild vehicle looking for an Orc or something. Then it's cool.

Anyway, I got my pedals swapped in a jiffy. The 12 dollar wrench was definitely worth it. No pain, no scraped knuckles. No stripped pedal nuts. I rode my bike on the trainer for 45 minutes and it was all good. Looks like things are picking up. Next I have to swap out my aero bars, which are also still on the MTB. Can't do these long rides without those.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Flu Diet

Well we were planning to go to NH this weekend. Instead, I got the flu. So I was up all night Thursday and missed work on Friday. Symptoms started to fade late on Friday night.

The body aches are making me want to go get a massage.
And because I got all of 1200 calories in me on Friday, I'm feeling awfully weak.

Let's look for the positives here:
I'm positive I don't want to get the flu again any time soon. :-)
I lost about 4-5 pounds in 2 days. (I'm sure once I'm hydrated they will be back)
This week was supposed to be an easy week of workouts anyhow.
It's 8 degrees outside, being sick is a good excuse for not going out running.

Edit: OK. Maybe symptoms aren't gone...UGH!
I was told this was a 3 day bug, I was just being hopeful I guess.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Looks like enough to ski!

Man it is cold, but the snow should stay.  Getting the skis out tomorrow for a little jaunt up the hill.  Better than running!  Hope I don't break something.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yo-ga, Yo-ga, Yo-ga

Well tonight was my first ever yoga session.
Tiffany asked what it was we were looking for from the sessions. I explained that I felt that I didn't really have a clue as to how to get myself stretched out properly and that eventually I thought the strength side of yoga would address some of my weaknesses. I then asked her to feel free to point out weaknesses as we go along. She said that I would feel where the weaknesses are and she wouldn't have to tell me. Yet as we went through the session she named 2 things that have been concerning me. Weak adductors and very tight hip flexors. (always nice to have confirmation).

Tiffany worked with Genine and I on a number of poses and she was constantly correcting our form and adjusting for my lack of flexibility. The session was exactly what I was hoping for. I left feeling confident that this is going to be a good addition to the workout schedule. I know I have a long road ahead, but it will be fun.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Talk about tough woman, Eleanor does crunches and situps at her dance class.  She is the ony Cerra with a six-pack, I can say that confidently.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weekly Journal

Monday 5th: AM 50 min Bike, BaseBuilder
PM 90 min Masters Swim
Tuesday 6th: Day off, a few pullups.
Wednesday 7th: AM 50 min Swim
PM 60 min Bike BaseBuilder
Thursday 8th: AM 60 min Run 7.3 miles
PM 75 min Weight Training and ABS
Friday 9th: AM 55 min Bike BaseBuilder
PM 60 min Swim
Saturday 10th: AM 70 min Hills Run.
Sunday 11th: Swim w/ Maija & Esther
40 min weight room working on legs.

I figured I'd post this up as a journal as I'm hoping to balance stuff out. Also looking to work on the Hard Week/ Easy Week schedule.

For the record, my Wednesday and Friday bike my legs were shot at about 45 minutes. I didn’t have my bike computer so I don’t know if this was incredibly lame or if I was just going way too hard.
The Friday Swim wasn’t all that great either.
The Saturday run was our original hills loop. We did really well on the gradual hill. After our warmup, Lap one was 7:20 min/mile. 2-4 was 7:00-7:04 min/mile. Lap 5 was 7:10 I think.
Then we moved to just sprinting the steep hill. I was amazed at how dead my legs were. Walking would have been faster for me. I still think my pace was 8:00 tho.
Sunday’s swim was good. We did a set 4x50. First one breathe every 3, 2nd every 5, 3rd every 7, 4th every 9.
I did 3s and 5s and was fine with that. When I was doing the every 5 my hipflexors were screaming for me to breathe. What the heck is that about?? I figured my lungs would be buggin or something. Well this made the list as something I need to do more often.

This week will be an easier week. The fact that I broke our bike trainer and have to wait for a part will definitely help keep me stick with this plan.


Well, friends, it's time for my annual caffeine cleansing procedure. I have already begun. My wife went to a conference this week, so those are always the best times to do these sorts of things. No one yelling at me to get out of bed. Do the dishes, vacuum the floor, take the dog for a walk. I'll tell ya, I have to assume this is what chronic fatigue syndrome feels like. It's like I have bonked as soon as I get out of bed. There's nothin' there. Carrying the laundry up the stairs feels like the last mile of a triathlon.

I am trying Truvia this year as my drink sweetener of choice. That's a Stevia derivative. Supposed to be much more natural than any of my previous options. I was down to one 12 oz. can of Diet Coke today. I think I'll have one can tomorrow, then that will be it. After that, it is all homebrewed iced teas of my own design, with a bit of Truvia to make it palatable for me. Maybe a little juice added.

The hopeful benefits of this will be rapid weight loss because of the loss of appetite caused by the caffeine. And I should be able to get up in the morning without chemicals. It worked last year. But I am going for more weight this year. Two pounds a week will be a nice reasonable target. Hopefully there will be weeks that go better than that. Coupled with my proprietary 300 workout, I should be ready to rumble in April. See you then.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"A" Race?

I will be lucky to finish "a" race this year.

Polar Meter / Calorie counting / "A" Race

Bike trainer: 5:30 AM Monday morning I’m on the trainer unfortunately my power meter wasn’t working. So I didn’t get power, speed or distance information, only cadence. I figured it must be the battery.
Next day I check the battery, it’s fine. Must be the wiring.. again. So I pull out the soldering iron and fix the one broken wire. Still no good hmmm. I take a closer look and notice that I had butchered the soldering job because it’s such a tiny connector. Long story short by the end of it I had broken a pin off. Now I’m either going to have to send the whole unit in and pay way too much to have it fixed, or I’ll get lucky and they will mail me a new connector. I chatted with someone on their website today and they are going to send me the part. Thank You Polar!

Wednesday I swam for an hour in the morning, then wanted to bike for an hour or more in the evening. Well this is also day 3 of the new eating plan and I’m still learning how to adjust the plan so my workouts don’t stink. My bike workout didn’t stink but it was obvious I ran out of calories. About 50 minutes in I’m switching to easier gears to try and maintain the cadence being asked of me on the workout. That isn’t so awful, until I notice my HR is about 10 bpm under where it’s supposed to be as well. I was shot. I couldn’t hit either number.
I had eaten about 2100 calories for the day up to this point. I’m running with Todd Thursday morning 5:45AM so I decide I had better eat something rather than going to sleep. I ate another 500 calories…. I probably should have eaten those before biking? Ah well, I knew it was going to take a couple weeks until I figured out how much I have to eat on which workout days.

Maija asked what my A Races are and whether I had a training plan. I didn’t include this in my list of goals initially because I knew my answers wouldn’t have been very well defined at that time. They still aren’t locked in. I guess I’ll tell you what my thoughts are about the subject at this moment.

A Races: Mooseman is an easy candidate for the A race simply because it’s kind of my “home” race. I know the course well enough that I can actually strategize how much I can give along the way. It was the only race where I had that feeling last year.

If I’m only allowed 2 A races, I’m not sure Timberman should be my other choice. I question my durability for this longer distance. I think I’m looking at Timberman as my test Half Iron to see if I enjoy 70.3 or if I’d rather stick to Olympic.

So I guess I don’t know what my 2nd goal race is yet. Spirit of Morgantown if I decide I can do that one without destroying my Timberman race?

Training plans: I have a planner and I am attempting to keep a plan for the current and following week. Things happen and I miss workouts or the order of things change. When this happens I look ahead and adjust to keep the balance between swim/bike/run.
I’m also hoping that I’ll be smart and adjust my schedule if it’s feeling like I should give myself more recovery time. Currently every Tuesday is an off day.
It’s certainly not a long term plan but it’s an attempt at being more balanced. Maybe I should be trying to make a longer term plan?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It Takes Two

Okay, here's the deal. My brother has committed to doing the whole Tango as a team with me. Therefore, I have done the same. I will consider this a warm-up for the Timberman Half. Sure the Tango is longer, but for some reason I am more trepidatious about the Half than the Tango. Maybe it's because I'm familiar with the Tango, the routes, the lake, and the accommodations. Maybe it's because I am used to being slow in that race. Maybe it's the more homegrown competition in the Tango. Whatever the case, I am not too worried about that. I am thinking the run in the Timberman is going to be a real slog, and I better lose as much weight as humanly possible before that. August is going to be a heck of a month.

Oh, and I crashed my car today. No one was hurt, but the car suffered some major underside damages. We had an ice storm last night and I paid the consequences. it was kind of like a Rally Car wreck. Hopefully this will all be covered by insurance, because this is my tri-vehicle!

I may regret this...

But I have completed my registration for the Timberman Half Iron. The slots were going quickly. Less than 100 available today, so I thought I better jump on it. Now, of course, I actually have to prepare for said race. I really don't know if this is going to work out, but what the heck, I'm a durable guy. I am willing to come in last. All I have to do is beat the cutoffs. They appear to be pretty generous, so I should be safe. What have I gotten myself into?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Matt's New Goals and plans of action:

1) This one has to happen. More time on the bike / bike trainer. My longest ride is about 38 miles right now. I need to be ready to knock out 56 miles without it "being in my head" that it’s a long ride. I’m scheduled to be on my bike 3 or 4 times a week.

2) Weight Goal: I’d like to know what 165 pounds or less feels like. I’d like this to happen before April 1st. I don’t want to be losing weight during race season. I’m tracking my food on and using my calorie (deficit) plan. I know... I've been saying this goal for a while. It's going to happen this time.

3) Nutrition. I will have to work on figuring out what it is I need to consume to do the Timberman Half Iron. I know I didn’t feed myself very well during the Tango last year. That was a good wake-up call. I’ll be very aware of my needs throughout my training and try eating drinking different things while exercising to see what works the best for me.

4) Yoga. I’m awful at improving my flexibility on my own. Genine is friends with an instructor who has agreed to “coach” us once a week. I’m guessing it will be money well spent.

5) Here is an odd one I’ve been thinking about for awhile. No meat days. Because I track my diet and know my breakdowns, I know that I can do this easily and not be “lacking” any nutrition. I figure I’ll start just one day a week (probably my off day) and just let it roll from there. (Today is a No Meat day).

6) This one I can thank Maija for: Qualify for USAT Age Group Nationals. When she first suggested this to me I kind of shrugged it off, but it’s been in the back of my brain ever since. Maija is very good at judging people’s capabilities after she’s seen them workout for a while. So if she thinks I have a shot, I probably do. I don’t expect it will be easy and maybe it won’t happen, but I’m putting it on the list! Plan of action: Train Smart!
(FYI. I think you can qualify for Worlds at the Mooseman Half Iron?)

I also have lists of non-triathlon related goals for both Home and Work. That makes for a ton of goals and responsibilities to fit into your day. Coincidentally, a friend of mine happened to post a book review on his blog. He said the book changed his life. The book is called “Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress Free Productivity” by David Allen. None of the information in the book is really surprising. You probably already do each of the steps, but he explains the “system” for how to handle things in a very efficient way. I’m about half way through the book and I feel that it’s made an impact already. Thanks for the heads up Paul.

Lastly, I should review my previous set of goals.
Starbucks: The addiction is gone…. again.
Waking up early for workouts: Done deal.
Getting organized at home. Definite progress there.
Stocks: I ordered up Fortune Magazine and I’ll pickup IBD newspaper once every 2 weeks to see what’s up to help keep my mind on my portfolio.
Budget: Work in progress

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Say What????

Today at the pool I swam my workout with Esther (while Matt swam Maija's workout with her)....and I realized that there may actually be a few things that I enjoy about swimming. I know....who would of thought that those words would ever come out of my mouth!

First of all...Esther is so much fun to swim with! No big surprise there. But for maybe the first time ever in my brief swimming career I enjoyed swimming. Thanks in part to her. We did some good drills working on rotation and pull (kickboard between the legs and stroke using fist only) and some good kicking drills (always a favorite) and we used our FINS!! My fins are fast becoming my favorite pool toy. They make me feel fast! biggest accomplishment of the afternoon was learning how to do flip turns. They are so much fun!! It's like doing somersaults in the reward for making it to the other end of the pool! Of course they are no where near perfect, nor am I ready to break them out during swim class, but it's something new and different to work on (even though they do not help my breathing issues...but that will come along eventually). Thanks Esther for being such an awesome flip turn instructor!! You have helped to give me something fun to look forward to at the pool, like getting to dive of the blocks at the end of masters swimming.

Buckman and Skylands Triathlons

Am I right to say they are both on September 13th 2009?
That's kind of a bummer. Unless they have one start at 8AM and the other at say 4PM...

Buckman is on the 12th
Skylands is on the 13th

Not Exactly the triple tri, but....
It might be fun to race Buckman and come up with relay teams for Skylands.

Sparta, here I come

In my zeal to become Spartan this year, I am adopting a new policy. I will do a "300" workout every day. At a minimum, I will do a series of movements using locally available supplies that entail doing 300 reps in the manner of a high-intensity interval training regimen. After looking on YouTube for some examples, I settled on a list of optional activities I might include and wrote myself one for today. They will evolve over time as I get stronger and lighter. I will also be running, biking and swimming as time allows, but I must complete a minimum daily requirement before going to bed.

Here was today's:

30 Kettlebell swings with the 45-pound KB.
20 Curl/Shoulder presses with 20-pound dumbbell, right arm
20 Curl/Shoulder presses with 20-pound dumbbell, left arm
30 Stump jump-ups. (I have big portions of a tree that I can set on the ground. I think today's was about 15 inches high.)
5 Kettlebell snatches, right arm
5 Kettlebell snatches, left arm
40 swings of the 12-pound sledgehammer.

Repeat that set.

I timed myself so I can do comparisons as I improve. This set took me 16 minutes to get through twice. When I was writing this out, it looked pretty easy. 20-pound curls? I can do those all day. Jumping up onto a stump? Big deal!

But as it turned out, it was a nice level of challenge for me. After the heavy snatches and KB swings, the shoulder presses became rather arduous. After blasting the quads likewise, the stump jumps became quite difficult. I had to focus and prepare for each leap. By the end of the hammer swings, my forearms were screaming for mercy. How wonderful!

By the week before the Bassman, I will be able to do 300 reps of each of these things, consecutively. I think I'll do 150 snatches with each arm, though. Forgive me for my weakness.

Should be a fun couple of months.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Presque Isle State Park 5 miler

Well did you make it up there Jim? I can't seem to find any results.

Jan 1st was a recovery day

We had a really fun party New Year's Eve at Maija's. You can check out the pictures here.
Check out Genine on Maija's bike. It's a Tacx trainer. Which is hooked up to the computer and the roller varies resistance to simulate hills and wind. Of course now Genine wants one, she really misses riding the bike. I guess if you add up how much it would cost to get winter clothes for both of us to bike in, it might cost just as much as the tacx. Genine also liked the areo position, Areobars are definitely in her future, not so sure about the Tacx...
Maija got some loot from her sponsor Genine really likes their triathlon heiroglyphic, but she has a idea in mind so we might make a custom one soon.

Jan 2nd, We met Maija, Esther and Todd at the Y. We were a little late but got a good workout in. Esther challeged me to 10x100 on 1:45. I tried to hold really good form so that I might make it through. First one was 1:36. Good start. 2nd one 1:43 ugh... 3rd one 1:45 Now I'm taking :15 seconds rest. Esther on the other hand was knocking them down.
Eventually I bailed out on her and when she got to the 10th one. I was well rested and said that I would race her on it. (nice right?). Well I set a new personal best doing a 1:30 or 1:31 and I finished just ahead of Esther. Of course she had just done 1000m with very little rest. I'll pretend that it was her 1st 100m though :-)

Genine then led Esther and I through some abs/strength training. Ugh! Genine definitely rocks the abs. I just keep trying to look respectable.

Glad to See everyone's thoughts regarding race schedules. I'll try to dial mine in a bit more this weekend. Depending on what we end up doing for the Tango, maybe Morgantown is a possibility. I also was interested in the Penn State Tri. Maybe we could get Jim down for that one too?

Happy New Year Everyone!

Craig Race Guess's, not to lag too far behind.

02/08/2009 PA Nordic Championship 5.5K ( I threaten to do a X-country ski race every year), Mill Run, PA
06/13/2008 Rocky Gap Sprint/International Tri,  Flinstone, MD
08/01/2009 Kinzua Country Tango, Warren, PA
08/09/2009   Spirit of MorgantownMorgantown, WV
08/29/2009  Sprint Splash Spin, Morgantown, WV

Of interest:
If I decided to try to do three Xterra races to get involved in the points deal with this group.
06/02/2009 XTERRA ACE Big Canyon TriathlonNew River Gorge National River, WV 
06/28/2009 XTERRA trimax off-road traithlon, Mifflinburg, PA

If I don't do the Xterra, interest:
07/13/2009  Scenic Mountain TriathlonRichwood, WV

Looks like a lot, especially with a new child.  Last year I did three triathlons, the Tango, and three 5K's.  So, the absolutes look like the way to go.  I may do the International version of the Rocky Gap race to compare my conditioning to the Mooseman group.  I was talking about cutting out the 5k races, but I enjoy those three races for so many reasons.  Of course a race near Shawn and a race near Matt seem attractive also.  See how much sleep/ exercise comes my way.  

Three New Year resolutions:
  1. Try to reduce High fructose corn syrup from my diet (soda comes first, but I have found a couple that use sugar).  Read the labels and do not buy if it is High Fructose Corn Syrup or find alternative.  Bad stuff.
  2. Arm Strength/Endurance.  On top of swimming, I need these useless appendages to be an advantage to me, not dead weight.  Matt's Push up schedule, maybe Kettle ball classes, and stepper workouts with straps.
  3. Read the bible in a year.  Nothing to do with exercise, but I can't say I have read the whole thing, even though I know the ending, I want to see all the details in-between.  Got a schedule that does it using 5 days a week, use weekends to catch up.
Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 Schedule Guesses

I thought today would be a good day to propose my 2009 race schedule. It is all rather hypothetical at this point, but here are some things I would like to tri:

4/25 Bassman (International)
7/5 Happy Valley Sprint Tri Nice low-cost accommodations available here.
8/1 Kinzua Country Tango (Whole thing as a Tango Team)
8/9 Spirit of Morgantown (Olympic)
8/23 Timberman (Half)

And if my fall academic schedule allows, which is getting more likely as my courses are almost done, I would like to try this one this year too:

9/19 Make-a-Wish Triathlon at Sea Colony

And if anybody is interested in extending the season with me, so I don't get lazy in the fall, we could do:

10/4 The Fall Bassman Half

I might be able to skip the Sea Colony Tri if anyone wants to do this one.

Still expecting to go to Africa for three weeks in May and June, and I'm not sure what kind of condition I will be in when I get back from there, so that's why there is a big whole in the schedule at that time. That trip may also deplete the bank account sufficiently that I may not want to travel extensively or pay all these dang race fees. Unfortunately, I feel like I'm not doing a "real" triathlon for three months in a row. And the spring Bassman may not be my best race ever, since I am currently fat and weak (it could easily be argued that this is nothing new). Can I be a Spartan in 4 months? I want to try that one because it will help put pressure on me early and the bike course is flat, which will be advantageous to me. I'll need all the help I can get at this point.

New Year, New Man

I started the year off with a bang. Tabatas for 12 minutes in the morning. Sounds like a snap. Only 12 minutes. I followed the 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off routine, alternating between 4 exercises. The 45-pound kettlebell swings start it off, jump to dumbbells for curls and overhead presses, slide over to a bigger dumbbell for snatches, then finish it off by swinging a 12-pound sledgehammer like a crazed Viking going berserk (don't let go!). Back to the kettlebell for more excitement. 10-seconds rest seems like almost nothing. I made it through without cheating, and I have to say this is actually kinda fun for me. If I could hit something with the hammer, that would probably help me get some aggression out and I might swing harder, so maybe I'll have to look for an old tire on the street.

This 12-minute routine has made my whole body feel like rubber, especially the thighs. The KB and the snatches do a number on those. I am going to try to get some kind of HIIT into my mornings, even if it is only 10-15 minutes a day. Hopefully I do a little running in the evenings. I never made it to Sparta last year, so I need to ramp up the commitment this spring. Wahoo!