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.