Sunday, September 26, 2010

Crazy week

This blog is starting to be about people that wish they could do a triathlon...
I put in a bunch of hours at work last week. I was driving to the NJ studio and because of morning sun glare, I chose to leave very early so my drive would be 1:15ish rather than 2 hours. Then I was basically a mover all week. My low back was shot and I've got bruises all over my arms from carrying stuff awkwardly.
There was one night last week that I planned on being home in time to test out the ankle on a run. I got home just in time for the rain and lightning. Which eliminated the possibility of swimming too. Ah well.
Here is the plan this week. I'm hoping to have Thursday & Friday off and I hope to get an appointment with a podiatrist. I'm walking on it alright now but I'm guessing a run would make it sore or maybe actually inflame the tendon that is moving around on me and take longer to heal. I guess it's time to let the doctor give me an opinion. I don't expect anything other than a suggestion to do some Physical Therapy.

Genine's family was here this weekend, we had a great time, even tho' everyone was exhausted. We celebrated Genine's birthday a little early and I cooked a bunch of food. The big hit was the Chicken Bryan (grilled chicken w/ sundried tomatoes and goat cheese... oh and a ton of butter).
After they left on Sunday, we went to the pool to swim. I got 2500 or more done during the hour, not bad.

Now for the photo that made my whole weekend. Here is our teammate from the Tango race back in August performing with the HS Marching Band. Truly fantastic. So glad someone got such a great picture of this.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

3 Week Break

So it's been 3 weeks since I tweaked my ankle. I still haven't run on it. I think that I'm finally walking on it normally which is good. If I do a toe raise, I can feel that it's weaker than it should be. Also occasionally that tendon under the ankle will move on me if I step on it a certain way.
I was planning trying a test run tonight but I've been busy. Hopefully I'll have time tomorrow night because I'm running out of time to be ready for NYC. I've had a number of thoughts about how I'm going to approach this run. None of them really matter until I've put a week or so of running in and I know where I stand. Hopefully tomorrow is the day I start to move back towards that goal.

I've only done a bit of swimming and finally I made it to yoga last night. Both of those made me feel like I'm out of shape. Ah well, the good news is I'm still motivated to get things rolling again.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Inspiration / Direction

It's been 14 days since I tweaked my right ankle. I think I've been to the pool twice during those 14 days. Those have been my only workouts. Biking and running were not possible and I just ended up taking it easy.
This break showed me a few things:
Oddly enough, I think the plantar fasciitis in my left foot feels worse now that I'm not running than when I was running. Which probably means I do a much better job of keeping myself stretched out when I'm working out. I think I can say the same thing about my hamstrings and lower back as well. Some are telling me it's because of the endorphins but I think it's more like "use it or lose it".
I can definitely say that working out definitely provides me with more energy than not working out. I've had more sleep the last two weeks and yet I have felt more tired. I mean all through the day. One of my friends at work said to me a long while back that he does his workouts in the morning because he feels totally oxygenated the rest of the day. At the time I kind of understood what he was saying but now, now I really understand.
The other thing which I suppose I should have expected was how different food was affecting me. A few days into this break, I started to notice anything I ate that had sugar in it really made me feel odd. I'm guessing it's because I really didn't have a need for it. It would just hit the blood stream and my brain would feel like I just overdosed on sugar.
I also was finding certain foods were no longer appealing. In hindsight I wish I kept better track of this. There were definite adaptations my brain/body was expecting of me. If I had been tracking on, I'm guessing it would have been clear to me what the adjustments were.
Enough about diet stuff.

This past Sunday was the Skylands Triathlon. This race is about 25 minutes away, I wasn't racing but it was a 9AM start. I wanted to go watch the race for a few reasons. I was hoping to see some of my friends that I haven't seen in awhile, I wasn't sure who if anyone was registered tho'. I also enjoy the whole vibe of race day. I think I was hoping to capture some of that and use it for inspiration. So we woke up packed the camera and headed over to the race. Naturally it started to rain, because that's what happens at Triathlons that I attend in 2010. I kept asking Genine if she'd rather just go to breakfast but she went along with it.
We didn't have the luxury of being in a wetsuit during the rain. So we were standing under awnings down near the beach until it was time to start. Then Genine held the umbrella and I took a ton of pictures. I was surprised to find that none of our old triathlon gang was there. So there wasn't much point of hanging around too long. We took off well before the final finisher, I think some people may have been heading out to run.
As I was editing the photos I came across one photo that really stood out. Check this out.

I hope that her areobars are in the position they are in because something got loose during her ride, otherwise that just looks incredibly uncomfortable. Although it could be incredibly aerodynamic. (maybe)

I'm not sure I left the race feeling the way that I'd hoped but I was glad that I went. I want to be back in the mix. So Genine and I headed to the pool that afternoon, only to find out they close at 3:30 on Sundays. It's been that was all summer. Wow, I guess we really haven't been swimming at the pool much this summer.
I finally got to the pool Tuesday night. I figured I'd give my ankle a pool workout before trying running Wednesday night. I was on my own for this workout, sometimes this is a bad thing. I think it worked out for the best because instead of following a workout I tried a few things out on my own. I've lost a bunch of my swimming strength, which means I need to spend some time with the pull buoy. I wanted to make sure I wasn't using it as a crutch, so I pulled out the swim metronome. Initially I set it to my Timberman cadence, this was a comfortable pace but I could see that I was going to have trouble holding even that slow of a cadence for a long time. So I decided to test my 100m time with different cadences. Unfortunately, I don't remember all the numbers. I think my 1:10 cadence resulted in a 1:38/100m. The 1:00 resulted in a 1:34/100m and when I set it to :50 I felt like I was flailing and out of sync. My time fell back down to 1:39/100m. I should have been keeping track of my stroke count as well...
I was in the pool for less than an hour but it was a good workout. It's got me thinking about putting a plan together with some sort of "test" every two weeks. I think that would provide some motivation to get to the pool more often. The tests will let me know if I'm improving and when I've stalled, at which point I'll look to get some coaching. That's where I am with swim direction.

As for marathon direction, hopefully I get to take this ankle out for a test run tonight. I think I was losing hope, that was until we had dinner with Kevin and Lara Saturday night. He reminded me that he had to take quite a long break during his training the one year. He also told me that his plan has a max of 40 miles per week. I was doing a very aggressive plan. If/when I get back to running, I need to take a good look at my run plan options and reevaluate. I still have a chance at getting this NYC Marathon thing done.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Photographer at Skylands Triathlon

We didn't race Skylands this year but we went out and watched the race anyhow. It was a rainy morning (the 2010 Triathlon theme for us). That made it difficult to get amazing pictures but we snapped a ton anyhow. It was a situation that I should have been playing around with my settings more and just made it a learning day. Instead I set myself up in my position, found something that worked and kind of left it there.
Here's the link Skylands 2010 Triathlon pictures.
I don't upload the full resolution files anymore. If someone wants a full res file, contact me.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ankle Update / 2011 Triathlons

Ankle is improving, slowly. I still can't guess as to when it's going to be well enough to run.
The good news is I'm well rested. When I get back to working out I'll be ready to go.
I probably should be swimming and strength training but it hasn't happened yet.
I was getting frustrated with the whole thing earlier in the week but I've relaxed about it again. Maybe it's because Genine found this blog post by Hillary Biscay last night. After reading it, I realized that even if NYC doesn't happen and 2010 goes by without a successful "big" race. I've had another decent year of training and that's a big part of what it's about for me anyhow.

It's also that crazy time of year where you have to actually plan your 2011 race schedule if you want into some of the bigger races. Mooseman, Timberman and Columbia are all open for registration. Columbia will probably fill first. I still have some time to consider if I'm going 70.3 for Mooseman or not. I still like the idea of starting the season fast and building into the longer distance of Tango or Timberman. Oh and the 2011 NYC Marathon.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Still Not Running

Still not running on this ankle. It doesn't hurt, it's just that something isn't right. Tendon rolls across my ankle as I push off. Or something like that. Tough to explain, so I won't try.
So what do you do if you can't run and the weather is just perfect for outdoor activities?
Go inside and swim at a pool. Ugh! Well I haven't been swimming much because of all the running and well at the end of our workout, I could tell that I haven't been swimming much. It was a 3000m set and I was cooked at the end.

I also haven't been on my bike for over a month. August went by with zero bike miles. Which is somewhat surprising, unless you've trained for a marathon before. Then perhaps it makes sense to you. Training for triathlons I was often working out morning and evening. Running 5 days a week on a marathon schedule made that darn near impossible for me. I wanted rest and sleep, so that's what I did.

Well I finally mowed my lawn. I think I last mowed it back in June. It's been really dry here so I really didn't have any grass to mow. It was just weeds for a long time. I was wondering if the neighbors had one of those "guess the date" games going. Anyhow, the weeds are all equally tall now.

I also vacuumed out the car and washed it. It's funny how our new car never seemed really new. It's so similar to our other cars that it's just familiar. The result is that it's been very lived in the last couple months 7,500+ miles already. It's been a busy summer.

I guess the good news is that I've compiled in all the tango results from the 4 years that are available to me. I wasn't exactly thrilled to see where my swim time landed me this year... ah well. If anyone would like the spreadsheet, drop me a note and I'll send it to you. I was hoping to put it up on google docs but from what I can tell it's too basic and you really can't do very much in terms of sorting. I figure eventually I'll figure out how to build some nice looking reports and I'll post those up somewhere.

I'm still not sweating the ankle thing. I wish I knew what do to, to help it along. If I'm still not running by this time next week... well hopefully that won't be the situation.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I went in for a massage tonight. I can now walk without limping. Nice to walk out with such a big improvement. I'm not going to oversell the whole thing yet but it's looking positive. I'm doubtful that I'll be running this weekend, maybe that will free me up for another massage. We will see how it goes.

A few more things.

A few other comments about the NH trip.

Genine is a Bree Wee fan. I was fortunate to have Genine ride "run support" on Sunday while IM Louisville was going on. Genine was checking Ironman Live all through breakfast to see how Bree was doing.
We were also checking in on Eric Shabshelowitz. You might remember him from our Mooseman 70.3 Transition videos.
After our run the athlete tracking and the ironman website was no longer working. This was upsetting. Genine was trying every which way to figure out where Bree finished. Finally I logged onto her blog and someone had posted a congrats on 3rd place. Whew, that was a huge relief for Genine. No wait!!! Is that good enough for a Kona Slot?!?! Once that was determined, Genine was able to shut down the computer. Ha! I'm glad she's into it, I'm fairly certain she could name more pro triathletes than I could and I know she can spot them at a race way better than I can.

As for Eric Shabshelowitz? He finished in 14:54:17. Nice work Eric!

Now what about all this marathon training? When you are out there running, you have a lot of time to think about stuff. Sometimes it's actually about running. Here's what's been going through my mind lately.

My friend Bob told me that training for a marathon is way harder than a half iron triathlon. There is no doubt about that. Hal Higdon's run guide says that marathoning is both a physical and mental challenge. Yeah, that sums it up nicely but until you experience it, you don't really know what that means. I'm starting to see that by doing this, I might find myself at a different level both physically and mentally. The physical aspect is easy to understand. Mentally I'm curious if I find that I push myself a bit harder than before when I get back to triathlon training. That might be harder to measure because by extending myself like this, it's as if barriers are being taken down. Once they are down those barriers kind of disappear. Meaning you now pass those without even noticing.

Towards the end of Sunday's run, I was having a hard time pacing myself properly to keep my Heart Rate in the zone I was shooting for. (Zone 2, low zone 3) (152-165). Hopefully that wasn't because of fatigue or hydration but because all the hill climbing I just did and the fact I knew the next 3 miles were basically flat. Either way, I'm hoping to continue to improve my hydration during a run. I know I lose a ton, I should work on trying to find the max I can handle in different conditions.

I also can't say enough about the Hal Higdon Schedule. The chart telling you your mileage is good. It's nice to have a plan that will get you to your goal, but it's the weekly instructions that I've appreciated much more this week.
For example, I've been looking at doing various races. Sprint/Olympic Triathlons and Half Marathons. The Half Marathon fits the schedule perfectly. Or does it? The 12 miler two weeks earlier would have given an easy green light for this race. But now 14 weeks into an 18 week schedule he points out this is no time to risk injury. Only a 5K or 10K in place of both weekend runs would be recommended.
I may still run this event if friends are going but I'll use it as a training day (slow) and be happy that it finished out my requirements for the 9+1 to get into the Marathon again next year.

Next year?!?! There are days that I'm thinking that all this running is absolute insanity! Running more than 2 hours gets incredibly boring. Am I sure I want to be doing this again next year? No I'm not sure but I want to have the option. I'd also like to think that I'll be able to hang onto some of this distance fitness over the winter. That would allow me to consider racing the Half Iron distance at Mooseman next year.

I've been looking at the schedule and my main thought is, "the taper better be something magical" because at the moment I can't imagine running 26.2 miles at my goal pace. This training plan has been used by a ton of people tho'. So really, I just have to believe that it's going to work.

Now that I've tweaked my ankle of course I've been thinking about why that happened. I blame the drive to New Hampshire and back, 13 hours of driving. It's my right foot. All my other problems are left foot issues. I guess I did a really poor job at keeping myself stretched out. I knew at this stage of the training I was going to need to try out the massage option, yet I haven't made the time to get there. What can I say? I'm traveling new territory here. Mistakes will be made. Hopefully I'll be able to run sooner than later.
In the meantime, I've got to figure out other workouts. If I swim, I think kicking is out. So that's not going to help the legs. I'll have to put the bike on the trainer to see how the ankle reacts to spinning. I'm guessing that's not going to work either. So I'm thinking it's time to hit the weight room. What do you think? Obviously I'll have to keep it light.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I ran my 4 miles last night. It's funny how 4 miles doesn't even seem worth doing right now, but it's on the plan and has a purpose. It was a nice easy run and the humidity wasn't as bad as I had expected.
Today I drove Genine to work and I went up to the recording stage a bit further north. So about 80-90 minutes of driving. No big deal. I got to work, ate some breakfast then walked back out to the car to grab my bag and... I tweak my ankle. I didn't trip on anything. I didn't roll it. Nothing, just put my foot down and it let me know that it wouldn't be working properly for awhile.
Great... I'm not sure what to expect here. I don't know if we are talking a day or so or a week or what. At the moment it's not a big deal. I just have no clue if there's anything I can do to help it along. This is a new one for me.