Thursday, December 30, 2010

Non-tri end of year checklist

It seems everyone else is doing a year in review thing right now. I’m not sure I had a race in 2010 that I need to review. They were fun, but nothing needs to be added to what has already been said. So instead I’m going to go a different route with this post. Here are a few things I’ve been working on to finish out the year.

If you have a stock portfolio, it’s time to rebalance. If you have losers in the portfolio, decide if you would buy the stock at it’s current price. If the answer is no then you really should sell it at a loss. Even if you would buy it at it’s current price, you should consider selling it for the loss and moving it to a similar investment. Or waiting the 30 days (or however long it is you have to not own it) then buy it back. This is to help with taxes. It also helps people who can’t bring themselves to admit they bought a stock at the wrong time, sell out of a bad position.

The Stock Market has a regular day Friday. I thought they might close at 2 but it’s a full session.

Subscriptions: Make a list of all your monthly bills/subscriptions. Are all the subscriptions worth the money being spent on them? Where can you cut back? I know I have some cleaning up to do here.

Passwords: I’m going to guess that many of you have the same username and password for 50% or more of your logins. This is a really bad idea you need to make some changes. It’s insane how many usernames and passwords we need to keep track of now but it’s really important that you create really good passwords for the important sites. Banking, Investing, Credit Cards… Unfortunately different sites allow different numbers of characters and which characters are allowed which can make it tough sometimes to make a strong password. Get creative tho’ and make something that passes the test. Check out your passwords here to see just how good they are. . If you are struggling on how to be creative with your password, here is a push in the right direction.

I think I had some other end of year suggestions but I guess they will have to wait for another post. Hopefully they aren't that time sensitive.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Out of Sync.

I had planned my workouts last week in such a way that I could have stayed on track if I ran a couple times and did some easy weight training while I was in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, I woke up Friday Morning with some messed up sinuses and I spent the next 2 days with a box of Kleenex at my side. I’m still not recovered from it and it’s now Wednesday. So I haven’t run in over a week, which is frustrating. I suppose to look at the bright side, I did swim twice while back in PA and I was really pleased with my balance and form.

We got back to NJ Tuesday night. I was expecting a really tough evening of shoveling snow but was surprised to see that Somerville didn’t have nearly the insane amounts that NYC had. It was still a chore digging out the driveway especially near the road where we get plowed in but because I was expecting so much worse I wasn’t really bothered by the task.

This morning I woke up early to go to the pool. I got there a bit later than I had planned but I was still going to be able to finish my workout easily. I hop out of the car go to grab my swim bag out of the back seat…. Only to realize I left my swim bag beside the door at home. I practically had to step over it to leave the house and yet managed not to pick it up. So much for my swim workout this morning… I had to head back home to get a shower and go to work. So much for getting back on track.

Waiting for my train, I spoke to someone that lives in Whitehouse Station, it’s a little further west than Somerville. They didn’t get much snow at all. He said he ended up driving into the city yesterday. He wished he hadn’t. The closer to NYC you got the more snow there was and even after nearly a day Interstate 78 which is 4 lanes wide only had one lane open for about a 10 mile stretch. He figures he was in that mess for almost two hours. I’m glad we waited the extra day before driving back to NJ. It was a very easy and safe trip for us on Tuesday.

Speaking of being safe, I should mention that Genine and I are somewhat lucky to be here. On our way home to PA on Christmas Eve our drive home was about 336 miles. Well, at about mile 330 just as we were driving out of Sheffield, (in front of the billboard at the High School). The car driving towards us crosses into our lane at 55 miles an hour. I hit the brakes and start heading for whatever room I have off the side of the road. There wasn’t much and even if I dump into the side, if she doesn’t change course she’s still going to hit me basically head on. I’m staring right at her trying to get a read as to what I need to do. I see her look up from her lap and she corrects back into her lane with a very abrupt move when she was probably within 20 yards of me. I’m guessing at 55 miles and hour I had less than 2 seconds left before there was going to be be a very serious accident. My heart rate was through the roof. I was scared and very angry. I can’t help but think that she was texting or doing something with her cell phone and my life nearly took a very bad turn because of it. I could go on a very long rant about cell phone use without a good hands free system, lack of recognition as to when it is even safe to be talking on the phone while driving and as for texting?!! I’ll spare you the rant. I’ll just ask that you take a hard look at your own use and consider letting the voicemail pick up the call for a change. That driver was distracted for less than 5 seconds and if I didn't leave the roadway, I hate to think of what would have happened.

I promise to get back to the fun stuff soon.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday Haul

I'll post more about this later. Here is the teaser.

2008 P2 SL Ultegra

2008 P2SL DuraAce

So which bike is going to be Matt's and which is Genine's?

Here is the link to the full specs on the Ultegra.
Here is the link to the full specs on the DuraAce.

Review of Ultegra
Review of DuraAce

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Kona NBC, My favorite part.

I watched the NBC coverage of the Ironman Championships at Kona the other day. From a production standpoint, I was left feeling like I wanted to be given access to all the footage so that I could try to edit something together that would be so much better. Even if I found that I couldn’t do it, watching all that great cinematography would be worth it.

The one thing everyone seems to agree upon is that one of the best parts of the show was about Lew Hollander, the 80 year old finisher. There was one statement he made that I kept thinking about this week. I couldn’t remember exactly how he said it so I went to his website.

There he says it a bit differently. “We all get a free ride to the age of around 40”. I think on the show he added, if you want to get to 100 you need to pay attention when you are 40.

I probably heard that louder than others because I’m 40 but when I looked at his website he gave his reasons for why he thinks 40 is the end of the free ride.

He’s a motivational speaker, so of course he’s going to say things in a way that have a bit of edge to them, even if they are true. One of his thoughts to help motivate you to stay in shape, "There are no fat old people so watch your calorie intake.”

Anyhow, I found him to be interesting. There is one thing I would add to his website to make it better. I think somewhere it should say, “It’s never too late, but it gets harder to start with every passing day. Seize the Day!”

(2nd post in less than 24 hours, the schedule must be easing up.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dangerous Weekend Ahead

(click to enlarge)

The chart above shows my progress so far with the diet. As you can see, so far so good. I don't expect to get very far away from that purple line. I just want to make sure I'm on or under it the majority of the time.

It will be interesting to see how this weekend goes. There is going to be plenty of good stuff to eat and I'm not sure I'll find time to workout. I'm hoping to run a couple times and maybe a very short swim. I'm not sure the pool there will be open on Sunday tho'.

I'm hoping that because I posted this, I might show some restraint around all the food and snacks. I did alright last night at dinner in the city with friends. We went to TAO. We had a good time. (Genine may post pictures later). Surprisingly enough we had a very easy drive in and out of the city. We even found street parking at both stops we made. (beginner's luck, I don't drive into the city much). It was a late night, but it was worth it.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

NYRR 15K Report

The start of the race today was in the North East corner of the park. We haven't started there before. So the first challenge of the day was to find some parking in a new part of town. We just missed with a couple of spots, where the car in front of us got it. Finally we decide we are going to have to pay for a parking lot. On the way back to the lot we hit an area with parking everywhere. Now we know where to start next time around.

Trouble is, we are cutting it close. Out of the car, and we start jogging to the start. Drop our bags at bag check. (you need warm clothes post run). Then stand on line at the portajohns. We are still on line when they are singing the national anthem. Had to wait tho'. It's a bit of a drive into the city and 9 miles on a full tank isn't a good idea.

We run to the corrals, the horn sounds before we get there. Todd jumps into the first corral as best he can. I duck in half way back.

I'm glad I wasn't trying to set any kind of PR today. I felt penned in for about two miles and I was running slowly. (HR under 150). When it finally opened up a bit, I probably bumped my speed up so I was running 150-160 BPM. I was still trying to figure out how I was going to play this. I felt pretty good but I had a feeling that 9 miles was going to be too much. The 3 mile mark is ahead. I decide that I'm going to step up the tempo for at least 3 miles and see how it goes.
So now I'm running with my HR between 170-180. I don't know my speed, never took a single split all day and didn't use my footpod. I wanted to make sure my decisions were based on how I felt rather than some number I felt I should be capable of.

While running "fast" two things were brought to my attention. I don't have the hill power I'd like to have and my hamstrings/glutes are still too tight. The lack of flexibility in my hamstrings felt like the biggest limiting factor for me today.

When I got to mile 6, I went back to an easier run 140-150 BPM. I was very tempted to take the cut off for the first loop and cut the race short. I'd just take a DNF. My hamstrings probably would have liked that. I decided to finish it out. I just kept it real easy. The worst part was that I started to get cold. So I probably returned to the 150-160 range again.

I finished in 1:21:03, 8:42 pace.
Todd finished in 1:07:11. He said he wasn't going to go all out today. He had been skiing the day before. Still a good run in my opinion.
Looking at the results, it would have been a fun finish to watch. 2nd place was 1 second behind, both running 5:08 min/mile pace.

I'm not sure running 15K was really the best idea for my training but I did come away with a few things.
My ankle is no longer an issue. I never even thought about it at all today.
I need to focus on stretching more often than I do.
I need to get my polar watch software back up and running.
Once I have my graphs back up and running. Contact the coaches about adding a bunch of shorter races Jan-April. Then I'll make sure to get some feedback about the results.

I have a pool workout yet to do today and then some weight training. I'll be stretching my legs every chance I get. Time to break out the STICK again.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Some good links

Just thought I'd mix it up a bit here. Here is a collection of links I gathered this week that I thought were worth sharing with others.

Jeopardy. I could see putting this on the TiVo list.

Great Photos from National Geographic

A Velodrome in Hillsboro NJ?!? (about 10 minutes away from where I live). I doubt this will happen but it would be fun if it did.

We all know facebook has created a ton of connections. Here is an interesting picture showing the connectivity.

Best of 2010 space pictures.

Man cured of HIV with Stem Transplant. Fascinating to me because of the fact the man had Acute Myeloid Leukemia. The same type my Mom and Nephew had.

"Shooting Stars" This is a little late as a post but it happens every year. Put it on your calendar.

I hadn't seen this before. Wow.... wow. (This really wasn't ever on a bus, was it?)

Animal Voiceovers

And this one I saw earlier this year and is a favorite.

Have a good weekend everyone!

A Bike? No NYC Half Marathon. 15K

I got an email from the bike shop last Saturday. The 2011’s had arrived and they had my size in stock. I emailed back saying I’d be there late afternoon.

Yep, I’m considering a tri-bike. I have a few reasons for it. One of the key reasons is I figure 2011 may be as good as it gets for me in terms of fitness. (Hopefully I’m wrong about that) Another is the fact so many people tell me there is free speed to be had by getting into a better aero setup. Then of course the “saving of the legs” for the run with the tri position over the road bike setup. The big thing for me is probably the hope of being more comfortable on the bike.

So after my swim workout, I’m off to the bike shop. It was one of the shops I typically get very frustrated with in terms of customer service. There just aren’t enough employees there to handle the volume of customers some days. So I was pleasantly surprised by the fact the person I was supposed to meet left his lunch to help me. I guess having an appointment is the key to this place.

So we spend a bunch of time determining if the frame is the right size for me. This one is a 54, the next size down is a 51 I believe. He decides 51 would be too small and we go about making various adjustments to the 54 as I spin away on the trainer.

Unfortunately, we eventually run out of daylight and the shop is closing up so I never made it out on the road to try out the bike.

So we head home and I was surprised to find myself less enthused about buying a new bike than I was when I got there. It had nothing to do with the service, the guy helping me, he was very good, much better than I was expecting. I would definitely consider him to help with my next bike fit.

Why the loss of interest in the bike? I’m not really sure. Well first on the list is that it’s a bunch of money for a bike! Maybe it’s that I don’t race very flat bike courses. Maybe I don’t believe the time saved is going to be enough to really matter, what’s 120th vs. 140th? Nobody is going to remember that or care but me. If I continue to race my old bike I’ll know any improvement in time is a direct result of my efforts, not technology. I don’t know, someone talk me into this one.

In other news, I did not get into the NYC Half Marathon. So no run through Time Square for me.

The training volume has been high for the last two weeks, which is part of the reason I haven’t been writing much. This time of year is busy enough as it is without having 11-12 workouts a week. Fortunately next week the volume goes way down for a recovery week. I’m probably going to take even more off the list than they are suggesting. I don’t want to be overly concerned about fitting my workouts in when I have so little time to visit friends and family.

The pullback in volume will be good. I’ve been getting everything done and I’m definitely feeling the effects. I regret not having my Polar watch software working. (Why can’t they release a Mac version of their software?) I think I’m starting to see some improvement in my HR while running. I also think my resting HR has improved. At least it seems better than it was compared to a year ago. I’ll have to get the PC software onto my Mac and start to check all this out. Maybe the lower resting HR is just that I’m not overtraining?

We scheduled some coaching sessions with Coach Q. Unfortunately he is in demand, so unless something opens up, we won’t see him until February. That should work out well. I’m finally starting to feel like I have a clue in the pool. I definitely lost a ton of swimming fitness and form during that break. Also this will give Genine some time to also build up some swimming fitness before our first lesson.

I’ve met a few other triathletes at the pool recently. Some have expressed interest in training as a group, even without an instructor. The real difficulty I’m seeing here is the speed difference between all these people. Circle swimming through a workout would be difficult with this big of a difference in abilities. It’s just as well. Right now I’m very happy to just be doing my own thing and working out my own issues. I’m not in build yet. That’s when I’ll have to accept the technique I have and work at pushing through the workouts.

I’m going into Central Park on Sunday to run a 15K. I haven’t decided how I’m going to play this yet. I haven’t done any speed work so to run hard would just be asking for an injury, especially after my last 2 weeks of high volume. (Relatively speaking)

Option 1: Jog the first shorter loop (about 4 miles) and quit.

Option 2: Jog the first 3 miles, “Run” the second 3, jog the last 3.

Option 3: Jog the first short loop loop (about 4 miles). “Run” the second loop (about 5 miles)

I have a feeling I’ll be making my decision at mile 3. I wonder if/when they will knock my corral pace down to reflect my "training races"?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Photo Contest on ITU's Facebook Page

Some of my friends tell me I need to submit my photos to more contests.
Well there is a small one on the ITU Facebook Page, so I submitted a couple photos. I've got one more I can post I just can't decide what my 3rd is going to be.

I have no idea what you win, I just figured I'd put them out there and see what happens.
It said photos from 2010 which eliminated some of my favorite shots. I'm not sure anyone would have known the difference but I limited my picks to this year's.

If you've got a good shot, send it in!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

How about a Greek Diet?

It’s way too early to talk about progress with my diet. I don’t think it’s too early to talk about some of the mental battles that go on when dieting.

I make a point of weighing myself every morning, no matter what. There are definitely mornings I know the number isn’t going to be better than the day before. Like after our dinner party at Eleftheria’s the other day.

A Greek Feast! (click the picture for a larger image)

Check out the bottom shelf on the right. Those would be cheese stuffed dates, wrapped in bacon. Something I never would have thought up. Let me tell you they are awesome. Salty, sweet, smoky and creamy. You eat another one because you are wondering if you missed a flavor. You eat the third one... well because when are you going to have these again?!?

Where was I? Right, dieting and getting myself on the scale. This is a habit I want to create long term, just like my improved eating habits because you should see some direct cause and effect, which should improve accountability.

For many, seeing these numbers everyday can be difficult. I understand that, after a couple of really perfect days of dieting, combined with some longer efforts for my workouts, it suddenly looks like I’m 3 pounds ahead of schedule. Then the next day you are higher and the next day higher again. You think “I ate perfectly! This isn’t working.” Or in my case, I just get upset over the fact that it’s not happening quickly enough and backwards can never be a good thing right?

I’ve got a couple of things going that help keep my sanity about this. The first is a graph within the site, where I track my food. It has a graph showing my start weight and my goal weight. A long line sloping down moving left to right. Everyday when I enter my weight, it adds a point somewhere on that graph. My goal is to keep that point under that long sloping line the entire time. It’s very unlikely that I will make a big break away from that long line. Maybe if I get the flu or something like that…. Anyhow, this works for me because if I go over that line, I know I’ve not been eating properly and I’ve got to focus or my goal isn’t going to happen. (I suppose that’s a key too, you have to want the goal).

The other thing I’ve done is this. I’ve marked my calendar with the weight I need to be at/under each week. I put it on my calendar because I look at that often each day and it’s a good reminder.

A pound a week sounds very doable but obviously it requires more effort than many might think. To put it into perspective for people who don’t have any trouble with maintaining a healthy weight Do you consume a lot of sugar or caffeine? Do you smoke? All these things are habitual and have both a physical and mental aspect to them to which make them difficult to cut back on. If you’ve ever tried to cut back on those things you know the feeling of the void you are creating by doing so. It’s the same with a diet, only it’s ALL foods, even healthy food. It’s not easy.

Well as I said, I’m very early in the whole plan. Once I wrote the weight goal down on the calendar, I realized that it might take until May to get there. Whatever, as long as I get there.

Monday, December 6, 2010

From Lava Magazine

The new 5i50 series race in Miami.

How long would you be in the water for this one Jim?
You would think they might have someone check this over before sending it to print.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Not much to report over here. The pool is back down to being its normal temperature. I’m now wondering if it was for a diving competition. Not that it matters. It’s just that I can’t imagine it reaching that temperature accidentally. Lap swimmers are going to mention/complain that the pool is warm well before the temperature got to where it was on Monday. I can’t imagine that they could change the temp of an 8 lane pool like that overnight, there is a bunch of water in there.

My swimming feels like it’s all over the place. Short distances on long rest, I think I could fool myself into thinking I’m doing alright. My workouts have had 300s&500s in there tho’ and they have been giving me a good dose of reality.

I’ve had two things I’ve been focusing on in the pool. My left arm pull: my nasty ole S pull returned on that side and it’s not a good S pull. My left elbow will actually hurt for days after a hard effort when I’m pulling that way. It is also a big part of why I don’t swim straight in open water.

The second thing is my breathing, which is actually two things. The first is my head position as I go for my breath. On my left I’m very consistent in terms of keeping good position. On my right, which I consider my preferred side, I get sloppy and will often catch myself lifting my head out of alignment. I have a feeling that pull with my left arm is tied into this problem. I’m working it out.

The other thing is my exhalation and inhalation. If I’m doing short distance, I have a tendency to hold my breath and then exhale in very strong bursts and then very large gasps inhaling. So I’m spending time focusing on keeping my breathing rhythm very calm and consistent.

Of course there are many other things as well but it’s hard to fix more than one or two things at a time. I’ve got to get these things in place so that I don’t have to think about them anymore.

On the bike I’ve had my first really bad trainer ride this week. Bad in the sense that with an hour left to go I was already thinking, “Am I done yet?” It was the first time in quite a long time where I was just not that into the workout. It had better just be a fluke, we aren’t going to see the sun on a weekday for quite some time.

Running: I’m still running very slowly. I’ve been watching running videos to put ideas into my head about what I need to be thinking about in terms of technique. It was just too easy to zone out and jog through the workout. I’m feeling more focused there now. Also, I’m now finishing my runs wishing that I could do some speed work. One month ago I was glad to be finished with the jog and was wondering what was wrong with my hamstring, hip and back. I definitely had concerns that I was never going to be the same again. So wishing for some speed work is a big step in the right direction.

Diet: The scale is moving the right direction. It’s been a really good week for me in terms of eating. It might be because I’ve changed my fat/protein/carb balance. I gave up the high carb diet (15/25/60) and moved them to protein mostly. My balance has been more like. 20/40/40 and it seems to be easier to maintain the calorie deficit. Hopefully that continues to be the case.

Lastly here is a link to a blog post that I really enjoyed. It's about being fit vs being healthy. It's a good read.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bird, Nerd, Word.

As I've mentioned before, I get harassed a bit on my training rides and runs because I'm constantly pointing out what birds are around. So yeah, I'm a bird nerd. This past weekend we didn't travel so I took a shot at renting a x2 lens multiplier for my 100-400mm. Turns out it was going to cost me $12 to borrow it for the weekend which was amazing. Well I took a ton of shots. I thought I'd share a few of them with you. Here is the link.

As for triathlon, I missed a workout last week. It wasn't my fault!!! Naturally it was the YMCA's. I guess they decided to schedule a kids team workout without notifying the rest of us. Ah well.
So I get to the pool this morning and the water is as hot as it has ever been there. Someone said 89 degrees. (no idea if that's right). All I know is I was glad I only had a 1500m workout. I'm guessing the kids have a meet next weekend and that pool is known to be very warm. I'm expecting to have at least 2 more very warm swims.... yuck.

Giralda Farms 5K & 10K Photos 2010

Here are the pictures Genine and I took a few weeks back at the Giralda Farms race.
Giralda Farms 5K 10K Pictures.

Here are the results from the Flemington, CEA-Johanna Foods 5K Turkey Trot.
2010 Results. Some crazy fast people 14:58!!! 3 people under 5 minute mile pace.

Photos for the Flemington 5K Turkey Trot can be found here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Trot

A fun run today. We got there early but we didn't bother to warm up or anything. We opted to share a scone at the coffee shop instead. 4,000 or so racers. We started about 2/3's of the way back. It's a very slow start to the race but they did have the chip timing so at least your start time is correct this year. Not important for me this year but a nice upgrade from 2 years ago. (Yeah I'm still bummin that I didn't get my under 21 minute run because of the start).
We tried to run as a group. We being Genine, Amy and I. Not as easy as it sounds. We did alright tho'. By the 2 mile mark I was warmed up and feeling like running. I decided that in the final quarter mile or so, if I saw someone going for a sprint finish, I was going to run with them and make a race of it. Sure enough, a guy comes bombing through, I break into a run and pass him. (it's still very crowded) Then he comes by me and says "I've got your tail" So I turn it up again. I'm on the outside edge running by all the spectators. I'm hoping none of them lean out or a kid steps out because now both of us are cruising. Unfortunately, he got cut off by some other runners and I got away from him with about 20m to go. It was a fun finish but I would have liked to have crossed beside him for the picture. I have no clue what number to look up now to find out his name. I crossed the line around 29:30 by the way. My training schedule today was supposed to be 35 min HR under 142. I probably managed that for about 2.5 miles. Good enough.
Genine finished maybe 20 seconds or so behind me. Amy a minute after that. Then it started to snow. Wahoo! Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Here we go again…

It’s very likely the most difficult time of the year to start dieting but it’s also likely to be the best time to start. Otherwise, I could easily put myself another 5 pounds into the hole by the time New Year’s arrives.

It’s been a pretty disappointing year for me in terms of my weight. It was a year of many stops and starts. If I had to guess, I’d say I lost 7 pounds and gained them back 3 times this year. Which says to me, I never really changed my eating habits. If you want long term results you have to not diet, you have to change some aspect of how you feed yourself…. Forever.

For example, when I weighed 230 and worked my way down to 210. That was done primarily through exercise. I was eating the same but burning more. Unfortunately you reach a point where you can’t add more time working out and you plateau. That’s when I checked out my diet by tracking on and realized how removing a few key items were going to make a big impact. (Butter & Cheese primarily). I say remove but what I mean is be aware of the impact these items have on your total calories.

Well what’s the deal now? Did I go back to eating butter and cheese? Nope. Currently my problem is this. I eat fairly well for breakfast and lunch but then I end up eating too many calories in the evening. Weekends are also trouble, all three meals could end up being too large.

So I’m back to tracking my food on fitday. This was very successful for me a couple years ago. Although that time I definitely put myself into a pretty steep calorie deficit, one that would have me running out of calories mid workout. That meant that I wasn’t practicing a diet that was going to be sustainable long term.

So I’m eating 3 small and 2 average meals a day. (Pre workout breakfast, Post workout breakfast, LUNCH, late afternoon snack, DINNER). This seems to keep my energy levels even throughout the day and my mind off of the fact that I’m in a bit of a calorie deficit. This is also a way of eating I can maintain.

My strategy here in terms of calories is this. (Nothing new here, just writing it to show how attainable it is)

Using any number of calorie calculators (mine is at the end of this post), determine how many calories it takes to maintain your goal weight. Then determine how many calories a day you require to maintain your current weight. Depending on how far away you are from your goal weight, the difference between the two is probably pretty tiny looking. 20 pounds from goal weight for me, would be 300-350 calories. A cliff bar is 250 calories and a GU is 100, that is the difference we are talking about every day. Obviously the effects of that small overage add up over time. It means you are eating about 10% too much.

Next thing to consider is the time frame you are looking to lose the weight in. I’m 20 weeks out from starting my push into race season. I could possibly lose 20 pounds (maybe). It takes a 500 calorie deficit to lose a pound a week. (see why I started this now?) Any more than a 500 calorie deficit makes for bad workouts (BONK!). My workouts are currently very low HR fat burning mode so that part matches up well. So I am starting with -500 calories.

As I approach my goal, that deficit may be tough to manage, especially if the workouts become more difficult. The key is to try and stay at or under the goal weight calorie count the entire time.

Obviously the entire time will exclude various holiday parties. Weeks with events I will try to have more of a deficit on the other days of that week. On weeks like this, think of it more as a weekly total, rather than a daily if your weekly total is still under, you are doing well.

All this because I think it’s stupid to have a coach and be overweight when it gets to race season… Alright, maybe I also know that my run speed was much better when I was lighter and I’m looking forward to running fast again.

There you have it. Same as it ever was.

Or maybe this is more appropriate. (how about that album cover?!?)

This is the calorie method I like to use as a guide.

Determine which of the following describes you. Then multiply your current weight by the number indicated and you have a good starting point as to how many calories you can eat to maintain your current weight. If you fall somewhere between the levels adjust the number accordingly.

12) You Exercise: Almost Never
13.5) You Exercise: Lightly 3-5 days a week
15.5) You Exercise: Moderately, 3-5 days a week
17) You Exercise: Vigorously, 6-7 days a week
19) You Exercise: Vigorously, daily and you have a physical job

I’m also a big fan of being aware of your Fat/Protein/Carb intake. 15/25/60 is great for race season. All of them are important but you definitely don’t want to be deficient with your protein.

The Recommended Daily Value (RDA) suggests that typical healthy adults should consume 0.8 gram of protein per kilogram. Any excess protein will be converted to body fat for storage.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

3 weeks with the schedule

3 Weeks of the offseason training plan is complete. No missed workouts. (11 per week)

I can’t help but think that I’ve aged 10 years during those 8 weeks off with the bad ankle tho’. It’s crazy, I feel like I need a massage before and after every run. I’m running at a speed, which is barely considered running!

I ran for 55 minutes tonight, slow, as in I may have run 5.5 miles. The good news is that around 30 minutes in, I actually felt somewhat comfortable. I’ll take any progress I can get.

I keep thinking of one of my friends who as he saw me getting into shape he said “Don’t ever stop, getting started again is so awful you may never get back into it” Hmmm. Agreed.

We are running the Flemington Turkey Trot this Thursday. The last time I ran it (2 years ago) I was going into the race looking to break 21 minutes for my 5K (just missed, I blame the crazy packed start). This time I’m thinking about how my entry fee is going for a good cause and how it’s always fun to “race” with friends. It’s going to be a packed race. 3500 “racers”, no corrals, but plenty of kids and strollers, yep mayhem at the start.

Swimming and biking is going along just fine. The swim workouts are still short in comparison to what I’ve done previous years but I’m not complaining about having more time in my day to do other things. I’ll trust that the plan will get me there when it needs to be there.

I did add a new tool to the training kit, a medicine ball. There are so many good exercises to do with them. I wanted to mix up the core exercises this year and this is the tool to get it done. We will talk more about this in future posts.

Our food blog has stalled a bit. I had tried to make Wasabi Crusted Ahi Tuna the other week. I say tried because there were certain parts of it that just didn’t work out as I had hoped. I’ve thought about what it is I need to modify for next time, I just need there to be a next time so I can post this one up. The first attempt was pretty tasty. How bad can it be? You use coconut milk instead of water to cook the rice! (fat city)

Monday, November 15, 2010

A very social weekend.

Week 2 of the training plan and I completed everything again. There were a couple of mistakes in there tho’. The first one was because it was such a nice weekend here in NJ I decided I’d bike outdoors with Genine on Sunday. (She worked Saturday). Well when I went to move the workout from Saturday to Sunday on the schedule, it informed me that I couldn’t move it to the same day as my long run. Well that was the last day of the week so I had nowhere to go with it. So a double “long day” Sunday was going to happen. Long is fairly short right now so I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. The bummer about all this is that because we were so busy this weekend, our ride became a trainer ride Sunday night anyhow.

The other mistake is that when I run with Todd I can’t run slowly enough to have my HR in the zone I’m supposed to be in. I think this is because Todd would be walking for this to happen. Cold start to the morning tho’, 32 degrees out there, we had the canal path to ourselves. I think many people figured it was worth waiting for the 35 degree warmup that was going to happen. Because of the low traffic on the path, there were a ton more birds around which I always enjoy. At the end of the run as we were standing in the lot talking, I look up over the river and here is a bald eagle flying up the river! I’ve never seen an eagle in NJ. Then 15 seconds later a second one flies by. Amazing!

It was a busy social calendar this weekend. Friday night we tried to rally a bunch of the triathletes together to go to dinner at the Mexican place. We ended up with 5 of us but next time around I’m guessing we will have a few more show up.

Saturday Night was a reunion with Genine’s Bloomingdale’s employees past and present. This was a trip to “The Melting Pot” right in Somerville. I’m guessing there were 25-30 people there. It was really nice to see these people. It’s been a year or more since we’ve last seen most of these people.

Sunday afternoon our friend Amy was going to run the Giralda Farms 5K-10K. I knew I wasn’t going to race but we figured we’d go up and meet up with everyone for lunch afterwards. We also decided to take the camera along because you never know who will be at the race. It was kind of funny. Typically I can stand and take pictures for an hour without even thinking about it. Not the case Sunday, my arms were tired enough that I asked Genine to take over about half way through. I know the camera is heavy but am I that out of shape? Or is it the fatigue of the weight training? Anyhow, it worked out really well, she spotted her friend Bridgett running and got a bunch of pictures of her. I’m still working on editing the set they will be posted soon. Although pictures of people I know, I typically no longer post publicly. I will have pictures of a ton of other racers tho’. We took about 1200 shots. It was a really beautiful day and it was a big race. After the race we went to a diner with Amy and Steve. Nowhere near as satisfying as Gronsky’s but it was nice to catch up with both of them.

After that it was time to mow the lawn one last time in 2010. (It had better be the last time). My yard and shrubs are a mess. I know that I don’t spend as much time as I used to before all the SBRing, but being on vacation during that heat wave really just killed a bunch of stuff. We are hopeful that our Dogwood will come back to life in the spring but I’m not holding my breath.

Alright, back to the training schedule. I’m still enjoying the fact I have a schedule. It keeps me from getting home and just doing whatever happens to be the most fun or convenient. It’s also making me kick at the pool. I’m terrible at kicking. I think I’m so bad at it that I could injure myself in the attempt. Well because the sets have been so reasonable I’ve been doing all the kick sets. I’ve been trying different things with my kick because I’m obviously not doing something right. I was pleased that making a change made a huge difference in my time. Now I’m just slow instead of embarrassingly slow. I’ve also become better at doing descending sets.

Doing all this swimming on my own is fine for now but I know that starting in January, I should really get some feedback on a regular basis. I need to start planning for that now as the one coach is very busy and to get on his calendar during swim season is tough.

Final note, my right ankle is very tolerant to all the workouts I’ve been doing. My left hip and hamstring are still an issue. I guess that whole side must have adapted over those 8-10 weeks of my limping around with a bad right foot. I do think it’s improving, just nowhere near as quickly as I’d like.

Friday, November 12, 2010

NYC Half Marathon Lottery

I decided to sign up for the Half Marathon Lottery. The race is March 20th. I don't know if my schedule will allow me to race that weekend or not. I just figure that even if it's a training run, it will be fun to run through Times Square. Most of the NYRR runs are in Central Park and well, been there, done that... This will provide some variation.
The last day to throw your name into the lottery is Monday. Of course it will cost you $5 for the chance to gain entry.
Anyone else out there signing up?

Monday, November 8, 2010

NYRR 5 "Race Report"

Friday morning Todd and I drove into the city to run the NYRR 5 Miler in Central Park. This would be my final race to meet the 9+1 requirement to gain entry for next year. It was mid 50's and damp. Fortunately the rain held off.
We had to be there early (before 7AM) to pick up our race numbers, so we had a chance to warm up for a change. My left hamstring was still giving me grief, so I wasn't much of a running partner during the warmup. I also knew I needed to keep my run in a very low HR zone. (My training schedule doesn’t really allow for racing in week one. Go figure?) My race goal, finish. Todd on the other hand was looking to improve his NYRR pace. They use your fastest run pace from all your previous NYRR races to seed you into the corrals.
He was also psyched to see that his race number was 187 today, which meant he was in the front corral. The course is wide open when you are up in the front, meaning you don't have to weave through the slower traffic.

My number 1036 didn’t put me too far back. I think 2nd corral but I wasn’t going to run anywhere near my normal pace. I really like how they seed the corrals so I wanted to be respectful of the system. I went back into the back of the 3000’s. I’m not sure what pace that would be but I knew it was far enough back that I wouldn’t feel like I was in the way.

They gave away 5 2011 marathon entries to runners of this event. There were only 2102 people running. That’s probably better odds than the real marathon lottery right? Maybe not. A woman that was standing just a few feet away from me won. She immediately said “Oh dear Lord, I can’t do another one!” It was pretty funny. She then went up and picked up her award. (some sort of certificate). At which point the race was about to begin so she was trying to figure out what the heck to do with it. Again, somewhat comical.

Horn sounds and off we go. I just settle into the pace surrounding me. I don’t have my HR monitor/ pace watch on. After a few minutes I decide it would probably be good to pay attention to my breathing. That should help keep me in check. I was breathing in for 4 steps, out for 4 steps. I got to the first mile marker on a 10 min/mile. Alright, that’s what we are talking about super easy. When you are running that easy, you can really take in your surroundings. Watch what other runners around you are doing or actually look at the park you are running through. Which was fun, I couldn’t help but think that the crowd I was running with would have been me about 3 years ago. 2 mile mark, I’m fairly certain this was another 10 minute mile, I looked at the clock but when you aren’t racing, it’s not all that meaningful. It was around this point that the group I was with started to have issues with the hills. Both uphill and downhill. I was jogging along but then started to think, nice long downhill. It’s actually tougher to stop your momentum than it is to just open up a bit and take the speed the hill is offering. Then on the next uphill, I’m looking around thinking, “use your arms people!” and I power up the hill. I get to the next mile mark look at the clock and think, that wasn’t a 10 minute mile. What was that? I’m definitely not breathing every 4 steps anymore but I’m not exactly going all out either. So I just keep rolling with it. It was cool to be running under the mile banners for the Marathon and imagining the route being absolutely packed. Then running up the finishing chute with all the flags lining the way. It was a good run, I figured I probably ran a 9 min mile average. I checked the results later to see I ran an 8:31 min/mile, which would mean I was running about a 7:30 pace for the final 3 miles if I was correct about my 2nd mile. This proved to me that I’ve got to take my watch with me if I want to keep focused on holding a low HR. Perceived effort isn’t going to work for me yet, at least not in a “race” situation.

Later in the day, I made a trip over to the Javits Center to pick up my Marathon Race packet. Basically I paid what $150 or so for a bottle of water, a bottle of Gatorade, a reflective wrist band and a nice long sleeve tech shirt. (my 2nd of the day). I figured it’s better than getting nothing out of the deal which was the case for Timberman this year. Packet pickup was very simple at 2-3 in the afternoon on Friday. I’m guessing I had all my stuff within 15 minutes of walking in the front doors of the place. I’m guessing that it would have been much crazier starting around 4-5. The only deal I took advantage of while I was there was buying a box of 24 GU for $20. You were able to mix and match the flavors, so I now have a good variety again.

I also completed my first week of “coaching”. I finished all 11 workouts and stayed within the guidelines with the exception of the 5 mile race. I guess I don’t have much to say about it other than I like the idea of having the schedule. I don’t have to question how long of a workout I have to do each day. It’s all taken care of. My job is just to follow along and trust that it will get me there.

(I can’t wait to get there, it’s going to be fun.)

Big Congrats to Todd for running a 6:43 min/ mile at the 5 mile race Friday. 5th in his age group. 103rd overall out of 2102. I was 718th if it matters to anyone, it didn't to me.

Also a congrats to Jim for running an 18:49 5K (6:03 min/mile) for 2nd place back in Warren.

This is the kind of stuff that keeps me focused. I need to up my game so that I can continue to train with you guys.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Happy Meal Ban.

I'm out of touch with the news sometimes, so maybe this is old news.
Here is the story.

My guess is they will end up giving toys to kids under a certain age if the total bill is over a certain dollar figure.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

How to become an amazing person/citizen

I'm sure many of you have heard about the 11 year old girl that was a performer in The Lion King on Broadway, passed away this week from Acute Meyloid Leukemia. This is the same type of leukemia that both my Mom and my nephew had. This is the reason for our fundraiser each year as well.

I bring this up because it being the off season, what better time to find a registry drive in your area? Round up a bunch of your friends and get yourself on the list. Often times they are paired with a blood drive.
I understand that many people are uncomfortable about giving blood, not being a fan of needles myself. For the Bone Marrow registry, all they have to do initially is a cheek swab. Here is the link to the FAQs, it will likely answer many of your questions.

There is also a link to find a place to register. At some of the facilities there is a cost to join, but it is tax deductible. You can often find blood drives that have the Bone Marrow Registry at the event as well. Typically joining the registry is free if you donate blood as they use the money from the blood drive to pay for the registry fees.

While you are there, and if you are one of those people that is very comfortable giving blood. You should take the time to find out about platelet donation as well. This process takes more time but has less of an impact on your system as they only take your platelets and put everything else back.

Donating through Red Cross and other places is obviously perfectly fine. Yet from what I understand, it might be more beneficial to your local hospital if you find out if they have a system in place "in house". Children's Hospitals seem to always have a system like this in place.

For the record, I wasn't on the bone marrow registry until I needed to find out if I was a match for my nephew. I ended up spending quite a bit of money at that point because I needed a full listing and it had to be done in a hurry. (I was not a match, he had no match world wide)

As for donating blood, I have a marker that makes it look as if I have had Hepatitis. I guess they don't take the chance even tho this isn't the case, so they would discard my donation. One of my friends here at work says his wife has a similar issue and can't donate.
My dad on the other hand has O- blood, meaning he is a universal donor. So he is a card carrying member of the red cross and has donated gallons and gallons of his blood over the years. If you happen to be O-, it's definitely a very cool thing if you step up to the plate and make this a regular thing that you do.

I am hopeful that maybe other readers/bloggers might find this important as well. Go out, get themselves onto the Registry and then spread the word by talking about their experience with the process or by simply linking to this post for others to read.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Training plan starts this week.

I thought this was a funny shirt. You can just put triathlon or training in there for me.
You can buy it at the NYRR store of course.

It wasn't too long ago that I wrote that I was hoping to be in the best shape of my life this week. (NYC Marathon week). It turns out I'm probably in the worst athletic shape that I've been in the last 2 years... Ah well. The good news is that my ankle keeps feeling better. During my 5 mile run on Saturday I didn't think about my ankle until the last mile. My toe raises continue to get stronger. I'm no longer worried that my foot will never be the same. (whew).

We were at the pool yesterday and it wasn't very inspiring. It's tough to look at the clock and not see the numbers that you had worked so hard for a few months ago. Genine said she felt like she was starting over. That's probably the best way to think about it anyhow. Forget about the old numbers, figure out where you are right now and improve upon those. I also decided that instead of thinking speed, it's the perfect time to think about form. One thing I'm trying to improve is my head position when I breathe. As I fatigue, I think I start to lift my chin up. So I've been trying to focus on getting my chin to my shoulder and rotating properly for the breath. That will definitely save time in the long run as my feet won't drop because of my head lift.

Today is also day one of the Mark Allen Online training plan. Only it's not going to be. I had to drive to our NJ studio today so a morning workout wasn't possible. Also Friday is supposed to be a day off and I'm going to run the Central Park 5 miler. So I'm going to adjust a few things this week. I'm hoping not to modify the schedule too often but maybe I'm being unrealistic thinking that. Guess we will find out soon enough.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

More Good Eats

For the last few weeks, Matt & I have been cooking up a storm on Sunday afternoons preparing meals to have on hand for easy weekday lunch options. It helps to keep us on track with our eating plan and also saves alot of $$$ by not paying for lunch everyday. Today we made spinach pie, black bean/sweet potato skillet (a weekly favorite right now!), chicken stir fry and big salad with a new dressing recipe from my friend Eleftheria (the Greek Goddess). I posted the spinach pie recipe and a couple other favorites on our Good Eats blog. Feel free to check them out.

Please let us know you have any favorite recipes that you would like to share on our Good Eats blog. Our hope is that over time it will become a group blog of healthy recipes, training/race nutrition options, family traditions and seasonal favorites.

"Tis the season" in retail, so unfortunately training has taken a back seat these past 2 months. I'm trying to overcome my "all or nothing" mentality and stick to a 5 workout per week schedule. 1 run- 1 bike- 1 swim- 1 IntenSati- 1 yoga. Seems piddly compared to what I was doing thru the spring and summer, but it is all I can do right now, so it is enough. This is what I have committed myself to until January in hopes that something is better than nothing. I am already looking forward to the new year of new goals for training and racing. But until then, I will make the most of the opportunities I have. Even if it is 45mins of sucking wind at the pool. I am thankful.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Morgantown's Oly and Half Triathlons

I just got the news that they've moved these races back to late June.
Here's the link to their site.

I'd really like to go back down to Morgantown and visit Craig and his family. Unfortunately, if I race Columbia and Mooseman, it's unlikely that I can race that as well. Late July would have been better for me. It's on my calendar because you never know...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Off topic, Motivating employees

They spend a ton of time talking about the money issue, which distracts from the fact that there are 3 key things, it's still a good lecture tho'. I enjoyed it. I thought you might too.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Looking forward to 2011

Some people might think I didn’t make much of an effort to get back on track in time to run the marathon. After all, the doctor that checked me out even said he thought I should be able to run it, just not race it. Trust me, I wanted to be out there, the thing is I’d really rather be able to walk later in life. I’ve known people that have ended up having surgeries on knees and ankles after races and I really don’t want to go that route. The other reason I’m not going to run 6-12 miles of it and then quit is that there is a possibility that I wouldn’t want to quit. So why chance that mistake?

I’ve been thinking about what went wrong with the plan. Was the plan just to aggressive? Would fewer days of running mixed with more Swimming and Biking have worked to be a safer mix for me? Should I have scheduled more massages? So on and so on… My chiropractor had asked me about a month before the injury when the last time I took a significant break from training was. I kind of do what I can, when I can and when life gets in the way, that’s when the “breaks” would happen. Hmmm. Not a very good answer, I know.

So how do I improve on this? I feel like even though I’ve read a ton of stuff and I’ve got this big box of clues about how it’s all supposed to work. It’s still really hard to build the perfect plan when you’ve never built one before. So then what do you do? If you are lucky enough to have a few bucks, you hire someone to build it for you. That’s exactly what I’ve done. Of course it’s really important to get referrals and to see the person’s work before you hire them. I’d been considering this for a long while so I had coaches in mind. I kept waiting for the perfect situation to happen before signing up tho’. Well, I decided that having a coach start me off after an 8 week break would probably be as good a time as any. Starting next Monday, I’ll be following the advice of Mark Allen Online.

I’m looking forward to it. I like the thought of going into a workout knowing that there is a solid plan behind it. I feel a bit like a lab rat, do this and this should happen, if it doesn’t happen we need to change something. It’s going to be interesting.

This schedule has been tentatively approved.

5/22/11 Columbia Triathlon, Olympic Distance B Race
6/4/11 Mooseman Triathlon, International Distance A Race

7/24/11 NJ State Triathlon, Olympic distance.
8/6/11 Kinzua Country Tango Adventure Race. Swim Leg of Relay.
8/21/11 Timberman 70.3 A Race
11/6/11 NYC Marathon

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Marathon Push.

The marathon push is on. The advertizing push that is. On my way to work I now walk past no fewer than 3 signs about the upcoming race. Which is definitely fun and that’s partially why I’m not going to go and run 6 miles of it then quit. You only get one first Marathon, not to mention your first NYC Marathon. So I’m not going. Instead I signed up for the 5 miler in Central Park the Friday morning before the marathon. This will be my 9th NYRR race, which will allow me to sign up for the 2011 NYC marathon. Yes, even though training for this one knocked me out for a while, I do think this is something I want to do.

I think I’m between the 7th and 8th week since my ankle injury and it’s amazing to me how much it has improved in the last week. Every morning it’s still tight enough that it will roll a bit, but after a couple stretches I don’t notice it the rest of the day. (Unless I’m sitting around for a couple hours and it tightens back up a bit). The thing that really has me feeling that it’s improved is when I do my toe raises. A couple weeks ago, it was somewhat painful or uncomfortable under that right ankle when I’d do these. That discomfort is nearly gone. So I guess the doctor knew what he was talking about. He said it was typically a 6-week injury and he wasn’t far off.

I’ll just take this as another learning experience. In order to safely ramp up the running mileage to the distances necessary for marathon, I’ll have to keep at these ankle strengthening exercises. They seem to be just as important as core strength in terms of stability. Also like the core, many of the best exercises are static poses. That’s a good thing as it helps reduce the chance of repetitive motion injury.

It’s kind of bummin’ that I didn’t race the two most expensive races I signed up for this year (Timberman & NYC Marathon) but I guess 2010 is going to go down as an off year. It started off well with a ton of short running races in NYC although my times were not personal bests or anything. Then we spent some money on a swim coach to get us ready for Triathlon season, that went really well. First up was Columbia. The swim was good, a rainy day kept my bike time slower than it could have been. (I think anyhow). Then a run that was really weak. In hindsight, I now wonder if I just didn’t have enough calories in me, thus not being able to work hard enough to get the HR up.

Mooseman I guess we should be glad that they didn’t just cancel the race because of the weather. The bike/run was fun but that is my favorite swim race and I didn’t get to do it. So much for all that extra swim coaching.

Not long after Mooseman, it was determined I wouldn’t be doing Timberman at which point I lost quite a bit of tri training momentum. I had to start Marathon training. That was hard enough for me that I basically stopped swimming and biking. So when the Tango came around, I was no longer ready to improve my swim time from last year.

The good news is, I’m really not that caught up in the results. Honestly, what I’m disappointed about is not being able to race more than I did. I had a great time at every race. (Maybe the Run for Haiti wasn’t worth it in terms of “racing” but it was definitely something to witness)

Well 2011 isn’t that far off and I have more than a few goals lined up. I’ll have to post about that some other day.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

How not to hit the wall.

It's quite simple really. Just read this article. (The article starts about halfway down the page).
Jim I think you might be the most qualified to not only work this all out, but to make it happen on race day as well.

In other news, here's an article about a project that is being worked on at C5 right now. That's right, the bike recordings we did the other week. My bike could end up being Lance's bike.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Push past the pain!

NY Times Article.

That article has nothing to do with what I’ve been up to lately. I just threw it in because as many of you know, I don’t find the NYT’s Health and “Sports” articles to be very good. They are anecdotal but not that useful. When I finished this one all I could think is that it boils down to the writer wanting to brag about her son.

In other news, I finally went out for a 2 mile run last night. The ankle seemed to be agreeable to it. Here I am on the train the next day and it feels no better or worse because of it. I may need someone to watch me run though’. I’m curious if I’m still favoring my left side, limping in an odd sort of way when I run. I’m suspicious because my left leg (good ankle) was very tight during and after the run. The bad ankle was questionable for a few minutes of the run but I think could be that because everything was trying to re-learn what was supposed to be going on.

Post run I had a good bit of asthma. Maybe it was the cooler temperature or all the fall molds in the air? It’s strange because it doesn’t hit until I actually stop. Maybe because it was such a short run my body didn’t have time to kick in the adrenaline and other stuff that usually keeps that in check? This doesn’t happen often, I haven’t had an inhaler in over 20 years. I just wait it out.

So my left leg is really tight. I’m not surprised; the last couple weeks just walking around I’ve been noticing that my left hamstring & glute are awfully grumpy for not doing much. I made some weak attempts at stretching it out but really I don’t think I stretch at all unless I warm myself up with some sort of workout first. So stretching out is more of a 30 minute thing than a 3 minute thing. Well I was warmed up so I spent the next 20 minutes or so working on the hamstrings. It’s almost scary how tight the left was compared to the right. I kept at it until Genine got home. Now it was time to get on the bike trainers. As I was waiting for Genine to get ready I also got a few sets of shoulder presses in. Having access to the weights at home is definitely going to pay off.

We biked for 45 minutes. Genine said it felt like she was starting from zero again. (I think I said that about my bike ride the other week.) I told her the good news is that the next time we have to bike in a race is months away so there is really no rush. Her work schedule is crazy so what we are working on now is to stay motivated enough to be consistent.

Monday night’s Yoga session was a tough one. We spent a lot of time in downward dog, planks, forward lunges and warrior poses. I was dripping sweat and at times my one ankle was really testing the limits. The next day I was sore, I know I’m not in great shape right now but this was a good wakeup call. Not to mention, I think that even though I was concerned for my ankle at times during class, I think those stretches are exactly what my ankles need long term.

Going to a yoga class once a week and not doing any yoga in between is like taking piano lessons but never practicing outside of that lesson. Fortunately, it looks like there will be a second class I will be able to go to each week. Now to add in a couple sessions at home along with taking the time to stretch properly post bike and run, maybe I’ll start seeing some progress again.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Swim, Grill, Eat (offseason tri)

Went to the pool today. I was on my own so I knew I had to have some sort of workout planned out, otherwise I’d just be wasting time. It’s been about 2 weeks since my last trip to the pool. I wasn’t expecting that because I was well rested I would be speedy. I decided on 250m warm-up, 10x100, then 10x50 followed by 10x25 with a 250 cool-down. The 100’s went alright, slow but I made it to the end of them. 1 min rest then into the 50’s, I got to the 5th one and took another minute rest before finishing them out. The 25’s were on :40 and after fighting through the other stuff they felt great. It was a good workout.

When I got home I mowed the yard. My arms were shot! Just pushing the mower around was a workout. So I may as well continue to beat on them. Today was bench press day. When I finished I went to the basement and knocked out a few sets while dinner was defrosting.

After that it was time to grill. I had cleaned out the grill on Saturday only to find out that my burners were nearly shot. One of them was fell apart in my hands when I went to move it. Fortunately just setting it all back into plan in just the right way was going to allow me to use it until my new burner arrives. I’m guessing this is our 3rd in 10 years moving onto the 4th when it arrives this week. I’d imagine I use it twice a week 10 months of the year. They sell for about $43, so that’s 32 cents every time I go out to grill. I figured I’d do the math because I always wonder if I should have bought a better brand that might have a more durable burner. My guess is that my Kenmore grill with 4 burner replacements is still cheaper than a Weber or something like that. (I’m not saying it’s better, just cheaper).

Not much on the workout front this weekend but I’m going to try to do more this week. The ankle is still not 100% but I think I understand how to work with it. It seems it works the best once everything is stretched out. After swimming, when I mowed the lawn, I didn’t once feel the tendon under my ankle roll. I was feeling really good about that. Then when I was climbing the stairs from the basement, that’s when I got a good roll from it. It doesn’t hurt, I just can’t imagine that if it were to do that every step of a 30 minute run, that I wouldn’t be asking for trouble. That being said, I think I need to finally take it out for a test run and find out how often it does roll. It could be that I just have to keep the course straight and flat and the time short. I figure I need to do this because I’m going to dig around for a podiatrist this week. I figure if it’s only $35 to get a second opinion then I may as well do it. I have too many people telling me that they can’t believe the other doctor didn’t do an MRI to really see what’s going on and to make sure something isn’t torn. I don’t know enough about it to really have an opinion of whether that’s a possibility or not. I just know that I want to be running on a regular schedule sooner than later. (who thought I’d be saying that 3 years ago).

Edit: One final note. Tried a couple new beers this weekend.

Cricket Hill IPA. My review is that if you are a lager fan and don't care for a strong IPA this beer might be for you. With a name like Cricket Hill you would think it would be super hoppy but I didn't find it to be so.

Sam Adams Lattitude 48: This IPA I really liked, there was a ton of flavor in this one. I'm not good enough to compare to some other IPA without a side by side but I put it up there with the Long Trail IPA for sure. I'll be stopping to pick up another one of these later this week.

Genine also posted up a new chili recipe.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Changes to our blog

I’ve wanted to add some new features to our blog for awhile but have never taken the time to figure out how to make it happen. Well as you may have noticed, I finally found the time and figured it out.

Of course once I figured out how to change the layout, I then had to go digging through the blog to find the Race Reports I wanted to link. I haven’t posted them all yet and I feel like I may have missed some. The titles of the post aren’t always a giveaway. Please let me know if you know of any I’ve missed and I’ll work on adding them in. I didn’t have time to read them as I did this. I’m looking forward to revisiting them soon.

I have a feeling the recipe link is going to have to be it’s own blog, unless I completely fail in my attempt to add new items to our “Menu”.

I kind of let the quotes die out when it was just sitting on the sidebar because there were so many. With this feature I’m going to start adding to those again.

I’m also going to add a tab with a list of blogs that I follow. There are so many good people out there, that list might get really long.

I’d like to get more pictures posted as well. This will be a bit of a project, because I’d like to change how I process them before posting.

I have other ideas as well but I’m going to keep the to do list short.

The ankle is at it’s worst in the morning and by the end of the day it’s stretched out enough that I’m tempted to go for a run. I really don’t think it’s ready yet tho’. I’d like to think it’s getting closer.

I was on the bike trainer for 40 minutes last night and did some shoulder presses. It’s nice to have access to the weight bench again.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

No training weekend...

Saturday, Kona: I tuned in early on Saturday morning and heard that the weather was looking favorable and that the bike conditions were going to much less windy than was typical. Then Genine got back from her class and we met up with Todd for breakfast. I don’t see him otherwise because I’m still not running. He on the other hand set a PR last weekend taking 2nd at the Duke Island Park run. Of course during breakfast we were talking about the Kona race quite a bit. Todd eventually said ok we need a bet on this race. What place is Chrissy going to be overall? I said because of the lack of wind on the bike course, the guys would have faster races than normal (can’t say if that’s true or not, that’s just what I was thinking) So I said more guys would beat her this year and went with 28th. Genine had her slightly better than last year by a spot or two. Todd had her at 17th. Obviously, it was disappointing when she dropped out of the race. It was still a very fun race to watch. Still nowhere near enough cameras out there to get the coverage I’d love to have but I realize that type of coverage is likely never going to happen because of the cost. It would be nice to have the GPS live tracking of everyone. That is something I would pay for if it worked perfectly.

Sunday: I went to the Hunterdon Half Iron race on Sunday. 8AM start it was 36 degrees out but it was going to warm up to be a beautiful fall day. The bike start would be awfully cold tho’. I was thinking to myself that I would probably have brought a couple towels to try and dry myself off pretty good before heading out of the bike course. A long T1 but it might be worth it no? Of course I wasn’t racing anyhow. Nor did I have my camera with me. Instead I had my crappy hybrid bike and my road bike on the top of the car and a co-worker and I had already been out trying to record bike sounds for the last 2 hours. It was a tough finding a place without crickets or cars was tough but actually the birds were the biggest problem at dawn. After we finished up with that we set ourselves up on the bike course to capture the bikes going by. When we first set up it was really looking like we were going to get a bunch of good recordings because there was so little traffic. Unfortunately once the bikes started rolling by, so did the cars. It was almost comical if no bikes were in sight, there were no cars, then as the bikes approached so would the traffic. I’ll be curious to find out how much of the morning’s recordings were useful.

I also spent time working on upgrades to our bike trainer area. I now have a fan hung from the ceiling just above the TV and between the speakers. Once I get all the audio hooked up to the mixer (yes there is a mixer) the only thing I can think of adding is a flat screen TV (we have a 20” sony). That way we could rig up our laptop to the screen. I could probably mount the trackball between my areobars… (not going to happen)

I also reclaimed the weight bench. It had been home to our wetsuits and various boxes of race gear all summer long. It is now clear of all that. I no longer can use the excuse that I don’t have time to get to the weight room at the Y. Of course I don’t have everything the Y has but this will be a good start.

Perhaps the most important thing being worked on this weekend was food preparation. During the week, I don’t have much time to spend preparing food. If I can’t have it on the table in 30-40 minutes it’s not going to happen. So the good stuff that takes a couple hours to put together has to happen during the weekend and then get it into the freezer. The scale is showing me numbers that suggest that the Clydesdale division could be a possibility for me next year if I don’t change something. So I’m planning on cooking and I’m hoping to find some new things that are really good. I’m going to change the format of the blog and create a recipe page or I might just create a separate blog for the food. I’m really hoping to find a good recipe for Wasabi Crusted Ahi Tuna. This weekend I made split pea soup and a black bean & sweet potato dish. Those will likely be the first two recipes to be posted. Feel free to send me your favorite healthy recipes to try.

Monday, October 11, 2010

For Shawn: Weight Class Racing

“We aren’t fast but we can lift heavy things like sofas and armoires.”

Read the whole story here.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Twin cities report

Here is my brief race synopsis-
Pretty chilly to start 40 degrees, beautiful morning and race course. Started out running right where I wanted at about 7:40 per mile. I lost an extra minute and a half for a bathroom break in the first half marathon. Felt pretty good up until about 20 miles. After that I was having some stomach issues and right achilles cramping. The achilles was a new and unexpected race day happening. So I mixed walking and running from 20-25 hitting splits of around 9:25 to 10:45. At 25 miles, I knew I could grit it out the rest of the way and still be easily under 3:40. So I ran 8:49 the last mile and 1:28 for the last 2 tenths. I finished in 3:36:24 which was by best in about 5 years, so I was very pleased. 1,463 out of 8212.

5K 23:23, 10K 47:08, 13.1 1:41:51 , 30K 2:23:42 , 20M 2:34:21

8:16 per mile (view kilometer pace) 5:08 per kilometer (view mile pace)
1463 out of 8212
1205 out of 4818 Males
164 out of 698 Males in the M4044 Age Group

In related news,.... I lost a toenail Wednesday as a result of the marathon. Not an uncommon occurrence for me. So I called a podiatrist to get this thing done permanently. Friday morning I had the minor outpatient surgery on the toe so that nail will never come back. I'll spare you the pictures, and just say it was an interesting experience.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Let’s get this goin’ again

Wednesday night I got on the bike trainer. It was the first time on the bike in 2 months, and really the first leg workout in 5 weeks. As you would imagine, it wasn’t very impressive. You have to start somewhere and for me it was 30 minutes of spinning followed by 15 minutes of ankle exercises. I was wondering if the ankle was going to disagree with the biking. I think if I pushed harder it may have been a different story but as it turns out, it was no worse for the wear. So it looks like I’m going to start putting on some miles on the bike.

I may try running this weekend. The ankle is definitely improving. I don’t feel the tendon roll unless I make a quick turn or a strong push off. I’m still hopeful that eventually that will stop happening. The doctor last week seemed confident that it would but did say that I should come back if it’s still an issue in another 4-6 weeks.

So what to do about the NYC marathon? Part of me thinks I should attempt to get onto some sort of running plan and see how it goes the next 3 weeks. Heck, my ankle might let me know it’s not possible after a couple of runs. I guess my thought is I’ve got my entry, if I can run without doing any damage it is worth doing. Because who knows if I’ll be around to run it next year.

The other part of me thinks what a waste of time. I’m not at my goal weight, or fitness. (I was dying at yoga Monday night) So really it’s kind of a throwaway race. Can I enjoy that? Or am I wasting the “magic” of the NYC Marathon crowd, or the fact that you only get one “First” marathon. Do I want to run it this under-trained?

I don’t know but that’s what’s been going through my mind lately.

My momentum of getting back into swimming has been quashed by the fact that the water at the pool destroys my sinuses every time. Last Friday, it took me almost 18 hours and about 6-8 uses of the neti pot to get back to feeling normal. I think we are going to look up the other pool’s schedule. Until they change the water in this pool, I think I’m going to have a problem. (it’s been over a year since they’ve changed the water, not sure when it will happen).

This break from training has been interesting. I’ve discovered a few things these last 5 weeks. I had thought that the reason I feel asleep on the train so often was because of all the training. Turns out it’s me just following in the footsteps of my father and grandfather’s anytime naps.

I also found it odd that I am finding it harder to wake up only to get a shower, than it was to go swim or run.

Dialing back the eating took way longer than it should have. It’s tough to change gears that quickly.

I am someone that likes to be doing something all the time. So here I had all this “free” time, I tried to fill it with things I liked doing in the past. Poker, Reading, Stocks, Photography… I still enjoy all those things but what I noticed was that those things were not as relaxing to me as a workout. It’s because those things aren’t giving me a mental break. I guess during a workout, I get to zone out and just focus on the physical aspect of life. Perhaps it’s much like meditation?

Well, I’d like to think this is the start of getting back onto a regular schedule but I’m probably getting ahead of myself. Let’s just see how things go.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sports Doc. Ankle report

Just got back from the Dr's office. My problem is with my peroneal tendon. You can google that and find all sorts of awful things about it. My problem is not severe, the doctor said it's likely that in 2 more weeks I'll be good to go. A 6 week recovery is typical.
I've got a bunch of exercises I need to do for it which should help, time will tell.
The most surprising part was the fact that he said I should be good to do for the marathon. Umm, I'm not sure by looking at my ankle that you can tell if I'm ready for a 26.2 mile run but I appreciated the vote of confidence. I'll be thrilled if I have no symptoms a month from now.

He wants me to try biking. If the tendon doesn't move around on me, I should continue with that. All swimming should be without kicking until this is recovered. It seems many people that are not "swimmers" have a history of messing up our ankles.

That's the news.