Wednesday, December 31, 2008
1 pound dried Adzuki beans
4 ears corn
1 large Bermuda onion
1 large red bell pepper
2 jalapeno peppers
3 16 ounce cans diced tomatoes in puree
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
salt to taste (about 4 tablespoons kosher salt)
fresh ground black pepper
Soak beans overnight. Drain and rinse, put in large pot and cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer 1 hour. Drain and set aside.
Shuck corn and cut kernels off the cob. Finely dice the onion. Remove and discard the seeds and ribs from the bell pepper and the jalopeno peppers. Dice fine. Rinse and chop the cilantro well.
Combine all ingredients in a lare bowl, stir well and let marinate for at least one day, refrigerated. Stir occasionally and again before serving.
Serve with tortilla chips. Makes about 1 gallon of salsa, serves 2.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
And my time was running wild.
A million dead-end streets and,
Every time I thought Id got it made,
It seemed the taste was not so sweet.
So I turned myself to face me,
But Ive never caught a glimpse,
Of how the others must see the faker.
I'm much too fast to take that test.
"Changes", David Bowie
Did bike functional threshold test after 3 weeks interval training. virtually no gain in threshold power. Maybe lost 1 pound. I am told that improvement can appear at any time, it's not unusual to go several periods with no improvement, then see a big gain. so i keep trying.
I do feel strong and healthy. I wonder how much of my performance gains might turn out to be ability and willingness to work through pain.
One Rolf session to go. i feel so much more in balance, walking and running feel more natural. i can put my socks on while standing on one foot, cant remember the last time i did that. however, the pulled groin is still an issue.
Pulled the yoga DVD out yesterday before my brick. The hip opening, hamstring stretches, definitely helped. I will incorporate yoga into my daily routine.
Re Grease the Groove, i was a little surprised no one asked me how doing pullups would help me perform in an Ironman distance triathlon. Good question, in itself it might not be helpful. However, the upper body work will strengthen my core as well as shoulders and upper back. I think this helps with reducing my stomach size, help me to stay in aero on the bike, and add power to my swim stroke.
It's been hard staying with the daily Grease the Groove workout. My pull up equipment is in my office, so sundays and holidays i need to skip those days. In any case, my 2 minute max for the standing row went from 40 to 50 after 7 days of work. Still cant squeeze out a single pull up, but i am moving in the right direction.
I have not made hummus in a month, i have been buying store bought and eating plenty for lunch. I am gearing up to whip up a batch for new years eve. I am also preparing to romance the adzuki beans for some healthy salsa. I also need to do some testing with my sweet potato bread, tryng to reduce the oil and processed sugar I use. I think I'll post those recipes.
I am seriously considering going vegan, at least through the end of March.
Using buckeyeoutdoors, alongside training peaks, as an online workout log. feel free to take a look and comment of you wish, my user name there is ironnewman
Looking ahead to 2009, i will be looking back at some goals i had set for the coming year, back in mid 2008. I am also looking ahead to the 'on season' training plan from Endurance Nation. And holy shit there is a lot of work to come. And yes I am indeed racing Triple T and Ironman Lake Placid in 2009.
I need to get back to swimming. Will incorporate two days a week at the pool starting next week.
Listened to a podcast while out for my 3x1.5 (5' rest) @ half marathon pace run today, a talk by Daniel Bowling on Right Speech (download link). An interesting discussion on intention, and determining your intention 'thematically' versus 'circumstantially'. I highly recommend you listen to it. Youll also enjoy his charming, touching story about how he met his current wife :).
He also commented on the need we sometimes have to form an 'intelligent question', before we can ask one. What does that say about the theme we are living, that we need to know before we can ask? I like to say "There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers". Seriously. It's ok to ask, and not knowing is the default, and probably the most common for us as human beings.
I want to always remember that there is more of what i dont know than what I do. It's OK to wonder and question. No shame in saying 'I don't know'.
(turn and face the strain)
Dont want to be a richer man
(turn and face the strain)
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I cant trace time
Thursday, December 18, 2008
But I like the way this guy thinks. Enjoy life while you are living it, don't defer your joy. Accomplish your dreams now.
A couple of things happened recently that kind of pusshed me over the edge. One of my employee's husband died suddenly. A guy in his late 40s with no apparent health issues, heart attack. And a friend of mine caught a cold and stopped posting to me on a web thingy for a day or two. One change of monumental consequence, one inconsequential change, both gave me pause. Rethinking.
Some tactics I am employing so far
- Unsubscribed from a ton of email lists that I dont miss.
- Bought french press and ground beans, eliminating daily 60-90 minute morning coffee/reading Starbucks timesuck
- Chucked a bunch of 'to do' piles in my office, if i haven't gotten to those projects during 2008, i dont know why id spend time on them in 2009.
- Moving my workspace into my adjoining conference room, where I will remain available but less subject to interruption by staff
Some things I will be looking at
- Eliminate time sucks like gtalk, facebook,twitter. How? I am a little bit addicted :/
- Hire people.
- Evaluate client worthiness.
Looking forward to more time to read, train, fish, sleep.
Monday, December 15, 2008
As I work to figure out this whole physical training deal, along the path to finishing Ironman, I'm finding there are a variety of areas to focus on. The word "fitness" means different things to different people, and maybe even different things to one person at any given moment. While I work on improving my speed on the bike and running, I also am concerned with changing my body composition (body fat), altering the physical form my body takes (waist measurement) and enhancing my overall stability and strength (core) and ability to do work effectively over a long period of time (VO2 max/aerobic). The Crossfit Journal of October 2002 lists 10 "General Physical Skills" that might be measured to establish criteria for optimum physical competence.
- Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance - The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
- Stamina - The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.
- Strength - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
- Flexibility - the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.
- Power - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
- Speed - The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
- Coordination - The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
- Agility - The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.
- Balance - The ability to control the placement of the bodies center of gravity in relation to its support base.
- Accuracy - The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.
By the way, Crossfit looks pretty cool, heh? The high intensity, core fitness orientation, and high bad ass quotient, make it a natural for Ironman training, i think.
Problem is, I can't do one pull up. I have been able to effectively increase my number of pushups to 3x40, and crunches are coming along similarly. I found that loosely following some of the principle of 'Grease the Groove' gave me good results quickly. Bascially we are talking about excercise specific, low number of reps, high number of sets, resulting in huge number of reps when done periodically all day long. This accomplshes "Synaptic Facilitation", teachign the nueromuscular pathways to perform more efficiently.
Admittedly I do not know what I am talkign about, really. So this is a bit of an experiement. I bought The Perfect Pull Up and installed it in my office. My fellow Endurance Nation Citizen 'Turbomentor' sent me his two week grease the groove routine, as follows
Day 1 test Max reps in 2 minutes. Remaineder of day do 30% of max every 60 minutes
Day 2 50% every 60 minutes
Day 3 60% every 45 minutes
Day 4 25% every 60 minutes
Day 5 45% every 60 minutes
Day 6 40% every 60 minutes
Day 7 20% every 90 minutes
Day 8 Test max reps n 2 minutes. Remainder of day do 35% every 45 minutes
Day 9 55% every 20 minutes
Day 10 20% every 15 minutes
Day 11 65% every 60 minutes
Day 12 35% every 45 minutes
Day 13 45% every 60 minutes
Day 14 25% every 120 minutes
After that I will rest a day or two, then test the 2 minute max again.
I am goign to do the first cycle with 'Upright Row' (a little easier than the standard pull up so I can actually do this ;) ) and regular sit ups. I am thinking that for the next cycle I can move up to 'Australian Pull Ups', and then finally full pull ups, some time in lat January or early February. i will check back in periodically with updates.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
The week started with a bike functional threshold time trial on the trainer. I screwed up and didn't push hard enough on the first try Tuesday morning, so redid the test Tuesday night. I don't recommend doing this, twice a day. 2x20' as hard as you you can sustain really sucks. Wednesday morning I could not get out to do a 5k run time trial, so i used the time from the 5 mile turkey trot a week earlier.
The values I developed from these first time trials will be used to set intensity levels for workout over the next 3 -4 weeks, until the next round of measurement. Looking at my numbers in relation to the others I see posted on the EN forum, I could easily become discouraged. I need to remind myself that the idea here is to improve my own performance over time, in relation to myself, not someone else's test scores. It is possible, come to think of it, that the fitness loss I have had with a 2 month lay off really sets me up for significant percentage improvements in a short period of time. Unintentional sandbagging.
Functional Threshold Power 164
Watts/ Kilogram 1.6
Threshold Heart Rate 137
(This is down from 187 and 1.9 on 9/1/08 measured on Bear Mountain Cent)
5 mile pace 8:53
(This is slighlty up from 33 measured 9/21/08 at Phillie Distance Run half marathon)
My weight is now 220 pounds, up 10 pounds since early October. I measured by body fat percentage last night using an online calculator. The tool uses weight, age and some body dimensions to estimate percent fat. I scored 26.6% (fat). Not sure how accurate the percent is, but the compnoent measurements were as follows:
waist (belly) 45
That first measurement I think is key to my cycling efficiency also, as I am finding my knees are hitting my stomach and my chest is somewhat constricted in the aero position.
So i have some targets set for the next 15, and I will see how this first period goes.
FTP >190, w/kg >2
Stomach circumfrence 36"
Body Fat <20%
In addition to the running and cycling, I need to add some core work, which will be modeled on the "Grease your Groove" plan using sit ups, crunches and pull ups. Also need to keep focused on the healthy, clean diet, stretching and plenty of rest.
I do feel good this morning, legs a little tired, but feeling healthy and strong.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
The basic concepts on which EN bases their off season training:
- Fitness is the ability to do work,
- Improved fitness will naturally follow from doing more work,
- To get faster you need to train faster,
- Build 'go fast' now, add 'go far' later,
- Rest and recovery are as important as work,
- Measure for benchmark, set goals, work, remeasure to set new benchmark.
Week one looks like this:
Day off , listen to podcast and read off season plan overview
1 hour- bike time trial to establish functional power threshold
1 hour- bike time trial to establish heart rate threshold
20 minute run (easy)
1 hour-run 5k to establish heart rate threshold and vdot
1 hour bike, main set 2X6 minute 90-100%, remainder 85%
1 hour bike, main set 8 minute 95-100%, 5 minutes easy, 2x10 minutes 85%, remainder of hour 75-80%
45 minute run- 15 min warm up include 4x30 strides, main set 3x800 at threshold pace/zone 4 w/2 min recovery, 5 minute cool down
No swimming! There is no swimming anywhere on the out season plan. I will probably add 1 or 2 swims per week focusing on form/drills on easy/off days. I also plan to do daily core a al Grease The Groove, but will not start that until Iweek 2 or 3 depending on my Rolf series progress.
This first week work totals around 6 1/2 hours, and that's fairly representative for the next 16 weeks. Through March 2009 my main focus is marriage, family, keeping healthy, getting my business in order and getting all my soldiers in a row and ready to launch the main training block, in mid to late April.
I am excitied to see where my threshold numbers start, and to establish some meaningful and realistic goals for improvement.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I've been dealing with a few nagging niggles, aches and pains for almost a full year now. Last winter, as I focused on core strength and stability training, I injured myself, a groin/abdominal pull i think brought on while doing planks and crunches.
Even before that, I have had pretty consistent issues with the ITB, piriformis, and plantar fascia, which i attributed to, and were exacerbated by increased running mileage and my adult onset cycling as i trained for triathlon. I've also had some issues with my shoulders and arms that seem to associate with my swim training.
I tried to follow what was suggested for this variety of problems. Rest, strengthening, stretching, massage. All of these were really helpful but only temporarily.
Then recently I became aware of "Rolfing", less commonly but more descriptive called "Structural Integration". Basically this method involves reorienting the body to more efficiently exist in gravity. As this is a force that is constantly pulling on our bodies, even non athletes might benefit by such adjustment. Intuitively we know that gravity is the force that we increase, and sometimes fight against, when running, for example.
Rolfing generally involves a "ten series", each session should not be separated by more than two weeks. At first the therapy looks like massage. It's done by a massage therapist in a massage studio, with a massage table etc. And part of the process involves palpation. But that's where the similarity ends. The first thing i noticed was that the therapist was taking notes! Next, she asked me to walk back and forth and made notes as to how my body moved through space. Then she had me get on the table and began working on my lower legs, just that.
The next week she spent time on my lower back and hips. The following session started with my raising and lowering arms, viewing from front and back. Noticing my right side was tighter than my left, she focused on opening my right shoulder, which we accomplished to some extent, but not completely, by the end of the session.
After 3 sessions I am starting to notice a difference in how i am moving through space. My feet are more solidly, but with less impact, meeting the earth as I walk. My body column feels more vertical, more properly aligned over my feet. Each week I have had some new area of pain, which seems to indicate a shifting of structure based on the prior week therapy.
I am excited to see what happens over the next 7 sessions. I also have some questions. This method seems to assume we are moving upright, walking or running. How does movement in other positions, like swimming or cycling, work into this process? Also, I noticed all of my complaints are on my right side. Are we going to find some deep imbalance on my right side, or will it be on my left and is that causing me to overcompensate to the right?
Oh, and I had my eyes checked this week. I am nearsighted in my right eye. Whats up with that?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Traditional hummus is a blended puree of chick peas, lemon juice, garlic, sesame seed paste and olive oil. It's served with pita, raw vegeatbles, chips, etc. You can see by the ingredients this is a healthy, high protein, low fat food. It tastes good and fills your stomach. And its the perfect platform to mix in your own ingredients. Google hummus recipes and see what you find.
Here's a basic recipe I used for my first attempt last Sunday (from About.com)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
- 1 16 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
- 1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas
- 3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Preparation:Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.
Place in serving bowl, and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus.
Add a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) of olive oil in the well. Garnish with parsley (optional).
Serve immediately with fresh, warm or toasted pita bread, or cover and refrigerate.
We've recently started getting a carton of organic produce delivered to our house each Friday, and so always find some new, extra vegetable in our fridge. This week we had some fresh organic spinach, so I chopped up a cup and added it to the blender. It really didnt add much to the taste, but boosted the nutrients and made it look a little like guacamole!
That turned out pretty good, and sitting at my daughter's swim practice Sunday I thought about what else you might put in hummus. How about something sweet? My wife and I both love pumpkin pie, and sure enough I didnt have to lok far to find a recipe for a pumkin hummus.
I whipped this one up tonight (Adapted from allrecipes.com)
1 (16 ounce) can garbanzo beans
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
juice of one lemon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup tahini paste
1 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
salt to taste
Drain the garbanzo beans, reserving the liquid. Place the beans and 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid into a blender, and puree until a smooth paste forms. Add the pumpkin puree, lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Cover and puree again until smooth. Use additional cooking liquid as needed to achieve a smooth consistency. Season to taste with salt.
The version you see here was made with a bigger can of chick peas, juice of 2 lemons and 3 cloves garlic. Still good, especially with the graham crackers (a nod to the traditional pie crust ingredient, thanks to my smart wife), but I think the next batch will come out better, a little less spicy, a little sweeter and more pumpkinier.
Please try your own and let me know if you come up with a decent version. Enjoy
Sunday, October 5, 2008
I should be heading back in toward transition on my second loop of the bike by now, on my way to crushing my Half Iron Man personal record. Instead I am nursing this coffee and taking two advil.
This morning Simeon and I woke at 4:45 (actually the crappy alarm clock in the lousy Atlantic Terrace hotel somehow woke us at 2:45 first. Please contact me offline to hear mostly negative things about this hotel). We had some coffee and some apple muffins my wife baked, and headed over to transition. He got himself situated and I found the staff tent to inform them i wouldn't be racing and turn in my timing chip.
I have been fighting a head cold for about two weeks, and been on the losing end. What started as I think a little fall allergy progressed into head cold, then chest cold, then sinus infection which eventually forced me to take a day off work, unheard of! On Thursday I broke down and went to the doc and he prescribed Azithromicin (Z Pac), a very strong and fast acting antibiotic. I had hoped for the best but so far have not seen any great improvement. One day left on this course, and I have a recall visit with him on Tuesday.
The way I felt last night after dinner, over night and then upon waking today, there was no way I could effectively complete, let alone compete in, a 70.3 event. I toyed with the idea of having the swim and bike and then DNRing. Because I volunteered at the sprint yesterday the race director said she'd make an exception and let me defer this year's entry, not normally allowed. So it really made a lot of sense to allow my body a chance to heal and be prepared for my off season training, to start in two weeks.
Even so, being in transition this morning made me rethink, if even for just a moment. That energy and excitement is clearly one of the great attractions of sport, and what keeps us coming back. As I rode back to the hotel I felt a little better and calculated I could possibly change my mind and get my chip back. On getting back to the room I laid down for a moment as my head had begun pounding again. Back to plan, nap until 10 and then head out to cheer on my friends.
At 9:00 I got up, got dressed and opened the door to walk down to the (nonfunctional) wifi hotspot, and saw it had rained! That was a surprise. But just a passing shower, surely, as the clouds looked to be breaking and the sun shone through over the ocean to the south. After failing again to connect to the interwebs, I packed my laptop in my day pack and rode into town to find a cowbell and a hotspot.
Nary a cowbell could be found on the eastern end of town, but the Gig Shack offers free wifi, and even though they weren't open, the outdoor patio was open and I hopped on for a quick email check before heading west to Montauk Bike Shop to hopefully find some kind of noisemaker. Presently the rain began again.
Ok I have been sitting here pondering now for an hour and a half, and it's still raining. I hope those guys don't mind if I don't ride up to the run course as I had planned. It's really raining, and cold too! This is sort of a replay of my Lake Placid spectating routine, in which i went to the start, got soaked, went back to the house to get dry, and then napped and watched golf on TV all day. Were the girls thinking I was letting my end down, staying inside while they donned ponchos and made repeated trips out to the course to cheer on our teammates? They never said a word, anyway.
Fish Tacos ordered. The skies are brightening, time to check weather.com. I will have lunch, then if the rain hasn't let up it's back to bed for me. Got to get and stay healthy, my sights are now set on Lake Placid.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
We walked around alot the day before, the expo, liberty bell, constitution hall, ben franklin's grave , had fun, nice family time for the most part (the rest being the 'normal' family stuff that must go along with the Father Knows Best version of life).
I woke up at around 430, got shaved, showered and dressed and stretched some. Then i walked down and across 11th to the WaWa for a donut and coffee, to get things moving. Back up for some more stretching and then about a mile walk down Ben Franklin Parkway to the start.
On the way over I met Marion and Christina from Sunrise Tri . Their dad Frank is my bicycle maven/monger and he had told me to look for them. I laughed at the thought of actualy finding them, but there they were! I also met up with Erin from RwP, a surprise! Correct Erin, you cannot hide with that orange singlet.
Saturn is a major sponsor for this race and does somethign nice at the start, a stretchign area with yoga mats and physio balls. Actually I suggested the balls last year and so glad to see they listened. Next year please properly inflate them. And I also suggested ropes or straps for stretch assistance.
So 15,000 runners went off around 7:30 and what a great crowd of runners and spectators. Great atmposphere, great city, a fun race.
I bought some of these sports beans at the expo, figured i'd give me a try on Sunday. Around mile 3 I opened a package, and found I really needed to walk to eat them, or else dump the whole bag in my bean hoel at once and probably choke. Anyway, as I walked down the sidewalk, an older gentlemen with an australian accent commented on the number of people running.
Yes, 15,000 this year, a good crowd Never seen such a big race Oh this is nothing New York Marathon will have over 30,000 this year No kidding thats amazing Yes its really a great time have you ever run in a race you shoudl try it Well I guess where I am from they have some short runs maybe i would Where are you from? Canada Oh you don't sound canadian Well I am originally from Australia but I moved many years ago.
A small pod of runners weaved up the sidewalk behind us and jostled my new friend as they passed us, and one of them offered a rude excuse me as they conitnued snaking through sidewalkers. If you are racing, and you shoose to use the sidewalk instead of the road where everyne else is running, fine, but should you be surprised that teh city goes about its regular business, buying donuts and coffee on a Sunday morning?
My temporary race walking partner asked me how long it would take me to finish today.
"Depends on how long I talk to you!" I said and we both laughed.
So you start to get the idea. Not a serious race, but enjoying myself.
Around mile 6 I really needed to stop and poop, and there were a bank of portosans there before we turned left and crossed the river. As I exited my potty I found a woman with a baby stroller, waiting there with a sort of befuddled look on her face. I told her the one i was just in had paper, if thats what she was wondering. No, she just didnt know what she was goign to do with the baby while she went in. I offered to watch the baby for her, if she was comfortable with that. After all, i did have a race number on and wasnt one of the disturbingly vocal homeless who youll see in the area.
"oh. but aren't you racing."
yeah but ya know, this is my second stop so far this morning, it wont really make much difference.
And it really only did take a minute, and having done my good deed for the day I felt an extra spring in my step as i rejoined the race.
Runnign up the west side of the Schuykil River I found myself back a little further in the pack than I would normally expect, at about 10:30 pace. I realized this is the spot i really liek to be, with the huffers and puffers, folks workign hard and enjoying themselves.
There are alot of cowbells on this race course. I noticed one guy in cycling gear with what I beleive to be the smallest cowbell ever. About 2 miles later I saw him again, obviously following someone who was about at my pace. about 15 minutes later, again. and at the bridge back over the river there he was with his tiny cowbell.
All along this section of the race Iwas followed, passed by, passed and was followed some more by two young women in matching red shirts, shorts and red compression socks. On their shirt backs one had "Soul" and the other has "Sisters". I picked this couple to keep me focused until I got to mile 11.
Arond mile 10.5 the guy with the mini cowbell appeared again, and appeared to be cheering on the soul sisters! I asked them if he knew that guy. Yeah, he is 'Sister''s husband. I commented that that was probably the smallest cowbell on the course, and I had given him a special nickname, "Tinkerbell". We had a good laugh, and then they told me about the bell's history, the many, many road races that bell had been rung at, by him, to cheer them on.
Thanks Soul Sisters and Tinkerbell, for gettign me to the race that started at 11 miles.
Now it was time to dig in and work. I ran mile 11 at around 8:50, mile 12 around 8:30 and the last mile somwhere around 8:15. Finished in 2:09, 1 minute faster than my adjusted projected finish.
Organizationaly the finish line here just sucks. Pudding with no spoons. Lines to empty water tables. Stacks of sports drink still in shrink wrap, some racers walkign off with whole cases on their shoulders. the greenest bananas in Pennsylvania.
Crocs is a sponsor and they do somethign great, foot ice baths! Highly reccomended. I hope next year they will have the full body ones.
After the race I ran easy back down to the hotel and met my family. They had actually seen me a couple of times on the course, although I never saw them. I showered and we walked down to south phillie to see Pat's and Geno's and have cheesesteak sandwhiches for lunch. This was a very logn walk from old city, but if you can do it i reccomend it, getting out and seeign some of the real city and people.
Pretty happy with the day considering I definitely wasn't racing.
Ok so I get it, and i have a series of appointments next week to work on my groin, and I will try this one of those days. A couple of thoughts:
1 Do not eat burrito the night before
2 Ask for finger pulling at the very end of the session.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I can relate this to the "Grease the Groove" concept, on which I am planning a subsequent post. Essentially greasing the groove is a physical training method based on the precept that "Specificity + frequent practice = success". Do a Google search and you'll find references to the Bulgarian Special Forces, pull ups, push ups and weight lifting. By focusing on a specific exercise using proper form, repeating it many times frequently over time, 'synaptic facilitation' strengthens the neural pathways associated with the exercise. Why wouldn’t the same concept apply to exercises of the mind?
Until that moment I hadn’t really given it much thought. Looking inside I quickly saw that things could be better. I have a half marathon coming this weekend, I scheduled this race a year ago planning to put up a personal record (1:48). I am not feeling it. My "A" race, the Montauk Half Ironman, is less than 3 weeks away and I am decidedly unexcited. I haven’t ridden my bike since the century on Labor Day. Shit, I haven’t even washed my bike since that ride. I haven’t run since a 14 mile run i did 10 days ago. Not even my easy 3 mile recovery, or some strides. I started Masters Swimming two Mondays ago, so I have swam twice, and this week the coach basically told me i suck. I suck bad. I feel like a slug.
At the zendo, the abbot keeps asking me the same question every time i go. How do I become my true self while looking at a stick he holds in his hand? Each time i go back I think i have the answer, but i never do. And one night this week I forgot the specific ritual that goes with meditation and teaching in the zendo, and got up and changed positions at completely the wrong time in the process. I feel stupid.
Dealing with some long standing family relationship issues, I feel “out of place” with little or no hope of getting to a good place. Ever.
My groinulars, which I pulled during the off season while doing my winter speed project, are bothering me again. My lower back is tight on the same side. My knee on that side gets sore on long rides. I feel an occasional tug on the heel, and my toes on the same side are stiff and crampy. I feel wounded.
Last night I went out for a short easy run, 3 miles at 10:20 pace. I felt fine. When I got home my wife was surprised I had gone out at all, expecting I would be resting. She asked me how I was feeling about my final races. I told her, eh, wasn’t too excited, but feeling confident. She wondered if perhaps I had done too much this season. Good question, but I don’t think so. I did a lot for sure, made big strides. A lot but not too much.
I have been thinking about trying Rolfing Therapy to get my right side back in alignment and ready for 2009. I was going to wait until after the half ironman. Now I am changing my plan. Tomorrow I will visit my massage therapist and talk about beginning immediately on this imbalance. If the work changes my gait, or otherwise causes me to need to slow down in these next two races, so be it. I don’t care.
I will go to Philly this weekend with my wife and daughter and enjoy myself. Walk the full expo. Walk around center city, do the tourist thing. Art Museum. Rodin Museum. Franklin Institute. Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall. Eat a cheese steak sandwich. All the walking you’d never do the day before an important race. I will enjoy my family and myself. Sunday, I might just run a 2:10 half, so what.
I will go to Montauk on October 3 and have a blast. I am getting out there Friday night so I can volunteer for the sprint race on Saturday. I am bringing that mini Heineken keg, leftover from Lake Placid, for Saturday afternoon and evening. My new friend Simeon, I promise to stay ok to drive until we get you back from the train. Sunday, I will enjoy the day, and might just PR the course (7:13:54 2007) and distance (6:59:52 Tinman 2008) anyway. But who cares?
I do triathlon because it’s fun. I have a sharp mind. There is something else in me beside mind, I can feel it. I can put all this together, and I am.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
This was my first triathlon in 2006, and I like to do it every year just to gauge my improvement, if any, from season to season. This season I have been concentrating on Half Iron distance, so it wasn't clear how much gain I would show, but at least I'd get a good high intensity brick workout, and have some fun. This is the largest triathlon on long island with over 1,500 participants.
I arrived at the race location at 5 am for a 7:30 am start. I was not the first person there, i think i woke up a couple of people who had slept in their cars. I stopped at Dunkin Donuts for my regular pre race routine, a medium coffee with milk only and a plain cruller. I rolled my bike into transition and racked it, went over to pick up my chip and got body marking, and paid a visit to the still pristine portosans. I then walked back to my car, got my gear bag, came back in and stretched and did trigger point and some yoga stretches and listened to Zero Seven Simple Things, kind of mellow and cool and relaxing. Around 6:45 I went over and got my stuff set up, shoes on pedals, helmet, gloves and glasses on aerobars, running shoes and hat on towel below bike. No socks. Simple, straightforward, transitions should be fast.
I was in wave 4, Clydesdale and Athena, and each wave was separated by 5 minutes. i got a little splash around in, feeling very calm and comfortable, and just hung out and shat the shot with some of the guys i have met around at races over the last few years, talking mostly about the upcoming Half Ironman in Montauk.
The swim geometry needs some adjustment. I am not sure why, it may be some restriction due to local boat traffic, but the base of the triangle for this swim is too short. In other words, we swam out to the far buoy, turned left and swan only about 20 yards before turning back to shore and the boat ramp exit. The problem with this is we were running into swimmers from later waves who had encroached into the area between the out and the back parts of the swim route. To compound this, I was now catching the back strokers in the waves that went off ahead of me, and they weren't able to sight very well, doing the back stroke and all. And I was following them. So the second half of my swim was serpentine at best.
Swim 22.44 (2007 24:25)
I ran pretty well from the water. I focused on kicking more for the final 100 yards of the swim, and i felt my leg turnover was very quick. As always, my wetsuit came off easily. I found myself fumbling wit my gloves, actually put the left one on my rigth hand and lost some time switching that. I wonder if its really worth it to wear the gloves. I thought maybe because of the large percentage of inexperienced riders and greater chance for a wreck.
T1 3:51 (2007 3:24)
Having the shoes already on the pedals saved me a bunch of time in T1 (which i wasted with the gloves), but i think i need to work on this a little more. The Velcro straps on my shoes had come out of the little metal loop thingies and so i took some time as i rode out of the park getting the straps all properly fixed and tightened. Still, it was faster than sitting down in T1.
i got that all settled before i left the park and started working. my goal is to maintain my cadence near 90, which i did pretty well with speeds up to 27 mph, until reaching Moores Hill Road, at which point I am down to the 60s and 7mph. That hill is short enough, i think .3 miles, and I did manage to get my speed up around 30mph on the big downhill on 25A. You may have heard me screaming "STAY TO YOUR RIGHT", as several fellers on mountain bikes had a leisurely coast all over the road there. Scary as hell.
On the next up hill I dropped my chain downshifting. After stopping to reset it I got my speed back up and promptly had a puncture on my rear tire. That was it then, my race as over, and so I would get some practice changing rear flats on the road. But before that I alked back and cleaned up what appear to be some construction debris, a metal bracket and some sheet metal screws and plastic lags, that littered the shoulder. I estimate the whole process took me 10-12 minutes. I was able to make up some time on Berry Hill Rd with speeds up to 37mph.
I took my feet out of the shoes and pedaled with feet on top for the last half mile or so. I really like doing this, passing all the guys running in cycling shoes. I dont get much chance to pass people any other time.
Bike 43:38 (2007 35:19)
Emptied the spent CO2 cart, levers and bad tube out of my back pockets, sat down and tied my shoes (got to get yanks with the next pair) and headed out for the run. Grabbed a bottle of water from my xlab, noting I hadn't drank at all on the bike. Had a Power Gel as I left T2, mostly for the caffeine.
T2 3:00 (2007 3:08)
This year they moved the first water stop from right outside of transition to a little further down the course, good idea. There are plenty of spectators lining this section and that's always a big help. I noticed, as usual, I was going too fast, around a 7:00 pace. Slow down. After a short flat section I came on the first hill, a short but steep climb leading to another flat section. i struggled up and around the corner and soon enough I started to find my groove, around 8:45 pace.
At the end of this flat section we turned right up a long challenging climb up Underhill Rd toward Planting Fields Arboretum. The course is an out and back and you see the people finishing before you coming down the hill you are climbing. The road is crowned and alot of people run the double yellow because its flattest. I am one of those people.
At that corner the grade steepens, and i walked about 30 yards, then ran up to the turnaround, and now back down, FUN! I was cooking along around 6:30 to 7:15 pace.
About half way down the hill I heard a car coming up behind me, some distance back but you know how you can kind of tell from the sound how fast a car is coming. I looked back and confirmed this white car was coming down the center of the road, straddling the yellow double lines, about 20 miles an hour. People were moving off toward the shoulders to avoid getting hit.As the car passed me I moved off slightly and struck the driver side door with an open hand and shouted "slow down!".
I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to see the woman slow slightly so that I could look her right in the eye as she gave me the finger and Yelled "F* YOU".
In retrospect this might have been a good time for me to drop it.
Instead, as she drove off I struck the driver side rear door. Now she stopped and rolled down the window and unleashed a tirade.
Come to think of it this would have been another chance for me to keep running and forget this crazy bitch.
If you know me, you know this stuff happens to me all the time and I suppose I have to take some responsibility for it. So at this point, don't ask me why, I reached down and opened her door. I think this might have been a mistake on my part.
She tried to get out of the car to get at me, clearly agitated. Fortunately she had her seat belt on and so she couldn't get out. Fortunate for me, and also for the several hundred runners in front of her, because the car was still in drive.
I yelled at her "Put it in park! Put it in park!". Alright this was good she was fumbling with the gear shift and we were actually working together toward a common goal. I once took a course in conflict resolution so I knew this was a positive step. As she got it in park, she finally also got her seat belt off and lept out of the car at me.
"You want a piece of me? Come and get it!"
I backed up quickly toward the front of her car and she started to chase me. I figure she was about 5'5" and 180 pounds, and she looked like she could probably pummel me pretty good before I knocked her out. She quickly realized we were going to run in circles around the car, I was not interested in wrestling. I was yelling for a cop and calling out her plate number (New York CES 7369).
A woman running up the hill yells to the driver "cant you see there is a race going on?".
"Oh shut up, you dont even look good in that outfit!"
She got in her car, yelled a few more choice curses and drove off, still too fast, down the course.
I turned left on Lake Ave, running hard now because I was kind of riled up. At the end of lake I found a couple fo Nassau County cops and announced "I want to report a crime". I gave the officer the plate number and told him what happened, and he agreed "She is not allowed to do that". He didnt take my name, but I now felt released of my obligation and starting sprinting the last half mile, at around a 7:00 pace.
Run 27:40 (2007 27:02)
At the finish line I saw a guy vomit! While his effort at the end of the run was obviously impressive, I wonder if he should have eaten all them pretzels.
On my way over to transition I saw a couple of race officials and relayed the story to them as well, and so hopefully someone will be paying that lady a visit.
One of the great things about this race is the free beer from Blue Point Brewery. I had a Hoptical Illusion, a Toasted Lager and an Oatmeal Stout. Oh yeah, and a bagel. I had a nice chat with Teddy Roosevelt and a new friend, Franco Zuccoli.
Awesome day. I would have had a PR for sure without the flat, and my run was great considering the shenanigans. Thinking about a family relay next year. Maybe they will keep me confined to the swim.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
We arrived at the pond around 9:10. There is plenty of free parking by the soccer field as well as down toward the boat ramp. Good news, swimmers, a new concrete ramp has been installed, so you can hopefully avoid some of the ankle twisting boulders as you enter and exit the water.
We decided, since we didn't have any distance markings for the swim, to go about 15 minutes out and come back. I led the way out toward the big white hotel to the right. Sighting on the way out was not much of an issue, but we did have a slight wind blown chop into our faces, and i did notice one fishing boat seemed to be pushed back toward the ramp. We stopped, turned and returned toward the ramp, using the condominium towers to sight on. Nice swim, done in 22 minutes, probably around 1000 to 1250 yards.
A short walk up to the car for T1, which probably was a leisurely 15 minutes, no rushing.
We headed out on the bike, a somewhat challenging ride with some rollers, and beautiful scenery throughout, especially at the tops of the toughest climbs.
Crossing in front of the lighthouse a group of kids were crossing in the cross walk, and decided to play a little game of whack a mole with Jen. Step, stop, step, stop. She almost took one of them out. Seeing this, I decided not to play, and stopped to let them pass. The ride, for me, was pretty easy. I raced this course last year, and between lake placid and my recent bear mountain ride, these hills really did not cause any trouble. Jen did super too! Thanks, Jen for reminding me to drink. that's where i screwed the pooch on race day last year, making a note for this time. Bike done in 1:14, average 22.5 mph.
We had another relaxed transition, bikes on car and shoes changed and headed out for the run.
Jen wasn't feeling it, so I suggested we take the hills first. I like to do that in case we need to bail, at least we get some work in. The run course is challenging. With sections named "Murder Hill" and "The Pits", i think psychologically alot of people get whipped before they start. I have run this two loop course a bunch of times, enough to really look forward to the hills. And again, because of my hill training this year, you know.
Jen really wasn't feeling it. That, or else I make her physically ill with all my talk of ancient Indian science of life, food and eating, breathing through the nose, and probably other annoying stuff I cant remember. Anyway she headed back to the car, and I felt terrible leaving her, but i had to finish the run. So I hurried. Run done in 1:04, 10:32 pace.
Total time (without transitions) 2:40. I did the 70.3 last year in 7:13:54. Based on my times this day, I guess I could go out on a limb and predict something around 6:40. That would be a significant improvement over my current PR set at Tupper Lake TinMan this year, just under 7:00.
We had a dip in the pond, dried and changed in the public restrooms, and headed by car down to Duryeas Lobster Deck for Lobster Rolls. Then a quick stop for chocolate ice cream shakes, and the day was complete.Jen home by 5:00, me home in time to catch cake at the nephew's birthday party. Everybody happy!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Wake 445AM, walk dog
2 X 30 pushups
7 mile tempo run 10K pace +:20
4 sets of 10 pushups at mile 3, 4, 5, 6
Push hard last mile
I think I can keep this up every week right up to my A race, even during my taper. Maybe need to increase the intensity.
Thanks to Brian Mc Nitt , Coach Adam, Drew Holmes for providing the inspiration to start.
If you are interested in doing pushups for good core strength, health, positive mental attitude and self image, check out http://www.hundredpushups.com/
Sunday, August 10, 2008
The Ironman Lake Placid bike course is hilly. It’s in the
I don’t want to brag, but I didn’t think the bears were so bad. During my Lake Placid Adventure week, we did the loop twice, with a day rest between, and the bears weren’t so bad. Actually they were easier the second day when we knew what to expect. I am sure that two loops in one day without breaks will be harder, I need to get back to
Anyway, someone decided to call our century the “Disgruntled Bear Boondoggle”. I am not sure who it was, it wasn’t me, but I think I liked that name. After all, a disgruntled wouldn’t be so bad, sort like a bear who got his order screwed up at the drive through. Not happy, but he’ll get over it.
Sometimes Things Work Out Better Than You Expect
Of course after reading some of Adam's posts on www.racewithpurpose.org during the week, a few of us were a little nervous. Someone asked about a SAG wagon. Javier offered to follow us in his car. I was thinking I might want to ride my road bike with the three ring, rather than my tri bike, so I might survive the hills. After all, we were talking about 100 miles, and a mountain.
Don't we look happy? We made the summit in about 3 hours, just short of 50 miles.
A few things to take away from the experience to this point:
1. Plan stops for water, food and bathroom. Organized centuries I've done have them every 25 miles for a reason.
2. Bring lunch. There are no food vendors at the top of the mountain.
3. Use the rest room before climbing. Those portosans at the summit were not approachable.
4. Spend more time at the summit. That's a long climb, hang out a while and enjoy the view.
Sometimes, When You Think The Worst Has Passed, The Really Bad Stuff Starts
I swear it took an hour to climb that 1300 feet to the summit. Does it seem right that we were at the bottom in 5 minutes? Anyway, it got us down to the restrooms quickly which, at least for me, was badly needed. I had intended to practice peeing on the bike, but i just couldn't. And what I did finally do was other than peeing anyway.
Back over the Bear Mountain Bridge to the east side of the Hudson, and here we departed from the route we had taken to get here, and as Adam warned us, we were now into unknown territory. Meaning he hadn't ridden it himself, but he had heard tales of horrible things from some who claimed to have ridden here. Ha! How bad could it be, surely we had this in the bag.
Note to self-avoid routes that include names like "Gallows Hill Road".
Gallows Hills is a long steady climb leading to a nice long downhill, which feeds into a 5-way intersection and Red Mill Road. That is not a road. It is a wall. Christine and Conner were well ahead and out of sight. Adam and I were climbing so slowly I do not think we could have stopped, lest we just fall right over and never get up again. Fortunately Adam found a little side road flat spot and we stopped for a minute. The scene here to the left is apparently from a previous rider who stopped for too long.
Soon we came up on Christine and Conner, buying orange soda from a vending machine. They said they were all right so I kept going and suddenly realized I was by myself. A Breakaway! I was able to stay out in front for about 8 or 10 miles, but they caught me on the long climb up Seven Bridges. Those two are climbing machines.
I waited for Adam, and we rode into Chapaqua. There, on King Street and about 80 miles, he decided he had enough, gave me his cue sheet and went lookigng for a train station. I pushed on, got a little lost as here the cue sheet was lacking.
Adam called and told me he was riding the course backwards (be careful!) and was going to meet me, which he did, and took me in the last couple of miles back to his house. I was really gettign bonky at this point. I couldnt subtract 13 from 116, was feeling nauseous and lightheaded. I had to stop for a gel at one point for fear I was about to lose conciousness.
Finally I saw my car (" I love you, car"), pulled up and racked it on the roof right away. I didn't want to have to sit on that thing another minute.
One more thing to do; a quick run around the block, probably not more than 400 meters. I like to do this after a long ride just to train my legs to move after being in the saddle for so long. That, and I believe moving my muscles in this way helps speed my recovery.
Everything I do this year is about Ironman Lake Placid, so here is a comparison of the ascent for both routes.
IMLP 112 miles with 8,634 feet climb
Bear Mountain Boondoggle was 108 miles with 19,385feet elevation gain.
Planning to return to do this one again in the next several weeks, and certainly several times next spring and summer. Hey, this is going to be a gorgeous ride in the autumn if we hit it at peak foliage change. Anyone care to join me?
Thursday, August 7, 2008
boondoggle :work of little or no value done merely to keep or look busy
I spend probably too much time on the Internet. One of the triathlon websites I frequent is Race With Purpose (www.racewithpurpose.org), populated by a group of athletes who train and race together with the larger goal to raise donations to support youth-wellness causes. Shortly after returning from a week of frolic in
Beautiful view of Manhattan skyline from Bald Mountain
To: jen; christine; coach_adam
Subject: RE: Warning: Female triathletes, age 25-30, beware...
I am thinking Sunday August 3rd is looking Preeeetttyyy
good for the:
"Ride With Purpose, 100 mile
Whats all of this talk about lederhosen? Are those
the revolutionary german tri suits that are coated with tefflon so that after a
race or workout you can throw them on the fire for for cooking stuff
So this is how the Boondoggle started. Christine had discovered some new cycling skills and got a better bike fit, and Javier suggested a long ride. Unfortunately for Javier, shortly thereafter he took a bad fall and broke his collarbone and was sidelined. Jen got roped into a Sunday conference call for work. We picked up a fourth along the way, Conner. Adam pieced together cue sheets from a variety of rides he had done and produced a draft turn sheet which we would use. The course was sort of a figure 8, and after the descent from
In addition to getting to spend some time with a few awesome friends, my purpose for the day was to knock off a hilly century to kick off my training for IMLP2009, and to start gathering power data to establish my Functional Power Threshold. I had a loaner Powertap 2.4 installed on my Cervelo P2C a couple of days earlier.
We all met at Adam’s in
We attacked the course, and in the early stages the ride was pretty easy, no big climbs, some nice descents, and the turn sheet was right on. I had a 3 liter camelback with Gatorade and two bottles behind my seat. I think everyone else had two bottles each on frame cages. We made one brief stop in some bushes to “wag the dog” ( I think this is a
The Goat Path is so named because it is steep and narrow, and we rode up in single file, me leading and Adam in the rear. Christine and Connor stayed right on my rear wheel all the way up and back down the other side, where we stopped to wait for Adam before we crossed
Adam and I made it to the top and found Christine and Conner eating cheese crackers.
I'm waiting on an updated cue sheet and elevation data and working on my power distribution graphs, hopefully to be included in part 2.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Let the games begin.