Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Adzuki Bean Salsa

This simple low fat, high fiber mix of beans and vegetables is a crowd pleaser. Everything is raw excepting the rehydrated beans and the vinegar. Add additional seasonal vegetables as available for variety. For example, try adding finely diced yams in the fall and winter, or zucchini in the summer. I suppose you could add, or substitute, small black beans also.

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


Still don't know what I was waiting for,
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

Simplify, Elimnate

Reading a book recommended by fellow triscooper moonpie, "The 4-hour work week". I am on page 67, i think i am averaging about 6 pages a day. Not acceptable. Too busy!

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

Grease the Groove

Specificity + Frequent Practice = Success

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.

  1. Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance - The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
  2. Stamina - The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.
  3. Strength - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
  4. Flexibility - the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.
  5. Power - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
  6. Speed - The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
  7. Coordination - The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
  8. Agility - The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.
  9. Balance - The ability to control the placement of the bodies center of gravity in relation to its support base.
  10. Accuracy - The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.
However you look at it, getting fit is big target, unfortunately cumbersome if you try to wrestle the whole thing into submission sumo-style. With this in mind, I am focusing on parts, and hopefully building a unified approach.

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

End of Week One- Benchmarks and Goals

Just in from the track interval workout that closes week one of the Endurance Nation "out season" plan. 15 minute warm up with a few strides, then 3x800 at about 'threshold pace' on the East Meadow High School track. The inch of freshly fallen snow made for a little extra fun :) The groin pull is still present but i cant really call it painful, just present. I also noticed my foot falls seem more even. Some of this is from the rolf work i am sure.

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)

VDot 35
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
hips 43
forearm 12
wrist 7.5

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
VDot >45
Weight 200
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.