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.