Thursday, July 30, 2009

Step it Up Thursday

I have been kind of a slacker this week. Well, not a total slacker, but a partial slacker. As I wrote in previous posts, I had my Sprint Triathlon this past Sunday and felt pretty good about my performance. Since Sunday I have taken it pretty easy with regard to my training, specifically with regards to my swimming, my weakest part.

I was a touch sore from my race but I still managed to get out and do a 3.4 mile run with a friend from work. The route is an out-and-back up a pretty significant hill for the first 1.7 miles and then the consequent return. I wasn't really feeling like running too hard, but rather just getting out and stretching my legs. We ended up running it in about 8:15 pace, which I was good with. My heartrate averaged around 151 BPM and I wasn't terribly exhausted at the end of the run. I really wanted to get to the pool on Monday night but I just didn't have the energy to do so.

I decided on Monday night that I was going to ride my bike home from work on Tuesday evening and then ride it back in on Wednesday morning. The trip is around 31 miles each way and it is a good way for me to get my bike miles in since it is nearly impossible to do so after least until I can save up enough money to get a trainer. So around 3:30pm I headed down to the lockerroom, changed into my biking attire, grabbed my bike out of my car, and off I went.

I opted to take a different route home that night, heading a bit more west than usual, as I wanted to ride along Round Valley Reservoir and tackle some of the hills. The route is a touch longer than the course I normally take by about 4 miles and the hills are more dramatic. Without getting into to much detail, the ride was pretty rough, as my legs were extremely sore for the first 3 - 4 miles. Within the first 6 miles or so, it was largely uphill...and by uphill I mean really up hill. Miles 7 - 9 were downhilll and definitely fun....I think I hit around 45 MPH on the decent. I was fortunate to not encounter the thunderstorms that were ravaging the area just to the south of me. I did see the aftermath as I rode into Flemington, with some very wet and steamy roads and branches littering the streets.

The ride ended up being about 34.5 miles, which I completed in 1:58 for an average of about 17.4 MPH. Not blazing by any means but I got in some solid miles. As for my planned swim, yeah, if just didn't happen as I ended up hanging out with the family afterwards and had a late dinner.

After a somewhat solid night of sleep, my wife woke me up at 4:50am to have me take our 6 year old off to her bedroom (she has snuck into our room around 2:00am). I thought to myself, "You couldn't have just let me sleep for another 10 minutes as my alarm was scheduled to go off at 5:00am?" After a bit of movement, I ended up leaving my daughter in our bed and I just got up and got ready for my ride into work.

I downed a package of Pop-Tarts and off I went into the foggy morning at around 5:40am. The sun was just starting to come up but there was still a solid layer of clouds delaying its appearance. The ride back into work is always faster than the ride home, mostly due to the net elevation loss of about 200 feet. Again, I won't get bogged down into details, but will say that I felt a whole heck of a lot better on the bike than I had 12 hours before. I managed to make it to my office by 7:20am and I felt surprising good. The rided stats: 30.5 miles, 1:38, Avg. 18.6 MPH.

I hit the pavement for a hot and steamy afternoon run of 5.06 miles. It was about 90F out there and the humidity was probably equal to the temp. Suffice to say my clothes were soaked to the bone and it was a relatively rough day. I managed to run it at 8:18 pace, still not where I want to be for an everyday training run, but I assume my times will start to drop a bit once I get used to the heat.

After work today, I went straight to the pool and played with my little girls for about a half hour before it was time for them to head home to get showered up and get some dinner. I stayed behind and swam 2,000 yards. Here is my work-out:

Warm-up: 500 yds - 9:09 (200 free, 200 pull, 100 free)
5 x 200 yds: 3:49, 3:53, 3:51, 3:53, 3:53
Stroke Drill with Pull Buoy: 300yds - 1:51, 2:02, 1:59
Cool Down: 200 yds - 4:04

Not a great swim session, but one that I am very content with. It is 9:30pm and I am beat. I am going to drink a big glass of water and then hit the hay. I am working from home tomorrow so that I can see my daughters in their swim classes. I also hope to get in a ride and a swim at some point.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

NJ State Triathlon Race Pics

Here are the race pictures from Brightroom:

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Jersey State Triathlon – Sprint Distance

Four years ago I had a crazy idea to sign up for a triathlon. I don’t recall how I learned about the race; I only knew that it sounded like it would be something fun to try. I had completed two New York City Marathons and thought that through “triathlete” on my social resume would be pretty cool. That first triathlon I did was the New Jersey State Triathlon – Sprint Distance, the same race that I completed for the fourth year in a row yesterday

My goals for this race were probably a bit unrealistic, but then again if you make your goals to easy to attain there is no need to push yourself. If I were to achieve all of those I set, I was looking to better my PR in this race by more than six minutes with my lofty goals and I would place in the Top 25 of the race overall.

Race Goals (Best Case Scenario):
Swim (500m) – 10:00
T1 – 1:30
Bike (11.5 mi.) – 30:30 (22.6mph)
T2 – 1:00
Run (3.1 mi.) – 22:30 (7:15/mile)
Total: 1:05:30

Saturday night (night before)
I got to bed around 10:00pm, not bad for the night before a race. Around 3:00am a thunderstorm rolled though and woke up my 4 year old daughter and she was calling for me. I hopped out of bed, and basically we swapped beds. I retreated to her room to spend the next one and a half hours of remaining sleep with the security of Snow White, the Frog Princess and various other stuffed animals.

Sunday – Race Day
I rolled out of bed around 4:40am, got dressed and did a once over to make sure I had everything that I might need and off I went, out of the house at 5:00am on the dot. The stars were out and the thunderstorm that woke my daughter was far off to the south now. It looked like it might be a good day for a race. I ended up getting to the race site by 5:45am, parked the car and made my way to transition. I couldn’t believe that the prime rack spots had already been taken, amazing!

Swim – 500 meters
By some miracle of nature, the water in the lake was 77.9F, just under the legal limit for wetsuits. I pondered the benefits of wearing it for the swim and after a very tough debate with myself I figured that it would only benefit me to wear it. I was in the third wave which was a bit odd; I have always been in one of the first two waves. Last year they had an athlete die during the swim portion, so in an effort to alleviate some of the congestion during the swim, they mixed up the waves a bit, mixing different age groups together and then sending them off in five minute intervals (in most races it is 2 – 3 minutes).

Not too much to say about the swim other than I felt really good. I didn’t have a chance to do a warm-up which definitely didn’t help, but otherwise I was somewhat loose and swam solidly. I took a good route through the water, didn’t get hit or kicked, and passed more people than I ever have. I was out of the water in 10:02 which is more than a minute faster than any other year I have done this race. 10:02 – 162nd Overall, 1:50/100 yd.

T1 - The run from the water to transition is up a bit of a hill and then through a parking lot. Footing was a bit rough on my bare feet and I would have been a bit quicker if I didn’t have the wetsuit on. I still managed to get out of there in 1:52.

Bike – 11.5 miles
Simply put, I felt great on the bike. Given the length of the course, I pretty much tried to pedal as hard and as fast as I could for the entire length. My early average was around 25 – 26 MPH, but that would slowly drop as small hills and some wind would take their toll. I probably passed about 30 - 40 people during the ride and was only passed by one guy…who I tried to chase down but just couldn’t catch. My only complaint about the bike was that due to the spacing of the swim waves, there were some big gaps on the road and I had a hard time targeting people to pass. Since I am so competitive, I always do better if I can pick someone out, chase them down, and then pass them. There were times when there wasn’t someone within 200 – 300 yards in front of me. I still managed to ride well. 32:13 – 45th Overall, 21.4 MPH

T2 - I really need to be smoother in transition. I lose valuable seconds here. I was slow racking my bike and getting my running gear on. I normally wouldn’t wear socks in a sprint distance, but I had two blisters on my toes from Friday nights run and I had to put on socks. I probably lost about 20 seconds doing that. 1:30

Run – 3.1 miles
I loped out of transition and started my run with tons of people yelling and screaming. It was such a great feeling to hear people yelling my number as I ran by. This year was a bit different in that I didn’t have any family members there to cheer me on. My ‘rents are in Arizona and my wife is still recovering from some medical issues and couldn’t make it with the kids (my in-laws usually come but since my wife and kids weren’t going to be there, they didn’t come either). So, I tried to channel as much positive energy as possible and started chugging away. My running has been pretty much crap lately and I was just hoping to keep my pace under 7:30 for this race. For the first two miles my pace was right at 7:36 and I was alright with that. The last 1.1 miles I picked it up a bit but didn’t have anyone to run down (thank you 5 minute wave spacing), so it was a bit tough to get going for the home stretch. There was also that matter of my left hamstring feeling like it was going to cramp up. I still finished strong, and heard the announcer call out my name as I shot down the finishers chute. 23:07 – 91st Overall, 7:28/mile

Post-Race Analysis
Swim (500m) – 10:02, 162nd Overall
T1 – 1:52
Bike (11.5 mi.) – 32:13 (21.4 mph), 45th Overall
T2 – 1:30
Run (3.1 mi.) – 23:07 (7:28/mile), 91st Overall

Total Time: 1:08:42
Overall: 53rd out of 1121
Age Group (35–39): 10/91
Gender (Men): 41/559

I didn’t exceed any of my goals which I am OK with that. The goals were a bit unrealistic, but had I attained them I would have been ecstatic. Fact is, I managed to have a great race and improved my time from last year by over four minutes and just missed the top 50 by a mere 30 seconds. I had a fun day out there and drove home to my wife and kids very proud.

Next up, Steelman Triathlon – Olympic Distance on Sunday August 9th.

The Friday Night Robbery

It is actually Monday morning but I have to talk about my Friday afternoon/evening in a completely separate post....yes, I am still somewhat blown away by the events of the evening.

I'll start with how my Friday afternoon went. I let work a bit early so that I could get in a quick swim before dinner. I headed over to Fanny Chapman Pool and banged out a quick 1,800 yards wearing my race shorts (no drag suit!). I felt so much smoother in the water. I don't recall the exact work-out but I am pretty sure it was a 500 yd warm-up, followed by 5 x 200s with 20 seconds rest (I averaged around 3:40 for each 200). Then an easy 300 yd cool down. I recall the whole swim taking around 34 minutes.

After my swim I headed home and me and the family headed out for some pizza in an out door restaurant in downtown D-town. It was so nice to be out with my wife and daughters (the girls were dressed up in pretty dresses, so cute). I had BBQ Chicken pizza and it was awesome! After dinner we went to Rita's and the girls got Italian ice and ice cream.

So far my Friday night had been pretty ideal. I had gotten a swim in, spent some good quality time with my family and around 8:30pm, the little ones were fast asleep. It was then that I coerced the Misses into letting out for a quick three mile run (with a belly full of pizza). I have been running so slowly lately that I just wanted to get out and see if I could run 7:40 pace, or something respectable.

The run was good, although I kind of wish I had vomitted up some of that pizza along the way. I believe I ended up doing 3.1 miles in 23:45, about 7:39 pace. I am not exactly sure of my final end time though because of a little incident. As I was approaching my house, I saw a little flicker of light in my garage. I should preface this all by saying I left my garage door open when I went for my run. I figured that I would be back in about 24 - 25 minutes, and I didn't want to have my loud garage door going up and down while my family was sleeping.

The Incident
Anyway, I got to the start of my driveway when I saw someone come out of the garage and down my driveway with a bottle of vodka, a Corona and a flashlight. The first words out of my mouth were, "WHAT THE @#$&! ARE YOU DOING?" I got no response from the individual, who was about 6'-2", maybe 18 - 19 years old, had longish brown hair, yellow t-shirt, jeans and was kind of gawky/lanky. In an effort to clarify any uncertainty as to who I was I asked the following question, "WHAT THE @#$& ARE YOU DOING IN MY GARAGE?!" It was at this point that the perp realized that it was in fact my house that he has just trespassed on and at that point he freaked out....I should also be noted that I was wearing a headlamp and it was shining directly in his face during the whole incident. I grabbed the alcohol out of his hands, and had a hold of his flashlight. I kicked him in his thigh and he took off running. I contemplated throwing the bottle of vodka at him, but thought that it would be better used at a later day. Instead I started running after him. To sum it up the next tenseconds quickly, I ended up letting him go because my body just didn't have it after my big ass dinner and quick run.

I ended up calling the police and told them what happened. They said that it is a normal occurence in our neighborhood and others nearby. He stressed that we keep our house locked up to minimize the chance of something like this happening again. All in all, I was happy that the punk kid was just trying to snag some alcohol. If he had looked around a bit, he would have noticed my $3,000 Cervelo sitting in the garage, and he could have just as easily took off with that.

My wife and I alway speak so highly of the area that we live in. On more than one occassion I have told friends how safe we feel and how there are times we go for a walk around the neighborhood and leave our front door open and our garage door up. This "incident" has pretty much eliminated the chance of us doing that ever again. On a positive note, we are thankful that nothing was actually stolen, no one got hurt, and we learned a pretty valuable lesson in the end. up....NJ State Sprint Triathlon Race Report.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tale of a Tired Slacker

Today was just a blah day. It rained pretty much all day. I had some moderately high hopes of going to my chiropractor appointments, mixing in a bike ride and then possibly a swim. Well, I guess I managed to complete 50% of what I really wanted to accomplish.

I chose not to run at work today since I ran two days in a row and I am getting a bit of pain below my left knee. This was a good choice since it was just a rainy miserable day out there. The one bad thing about not running today was that the temps were much cooler than they have been recently. Oh well, no worries. After work I had my doctor appointment and I decided that the best way to get my ride in for the day would be to ride there, get treatment and then ride home. It sounded like a good plan, eh?

Well, I rode the 5 miles over to the doc and got about 45 minutes worth of work on my lower back which feels awesome now. The bummer is that I told my wife that I would be home by 7:00pm and it was 6:20pm by the time I finally got out of the office. I was supposed to put in about 20 - 25 miles on the bike just wasn't going to happen. I managed to get in about a total of 15.5 miles and cruised into my garage around 6:58pm. I tried to ride at a pretty high cadence to at least work my lungs a bit since I wasn't going to get the full distance in. I think I averaged around 19 MPH, not terribly fast, but fast enough given the wet roads and somewhat harsh wind.

I didn't manage to get the swim in. By the time I got home I could tell that my wife wasn't feeling all that well and I had to take care of the girls. It ended up being a somewhat late night for them. I think they finally fell asleep around 9pm.....maybe they'll sleep in a bit tomorrow?!

As I sit here typing I am still just not feeling right. My legs are sore, it doesn't seem as though my breathing is quite right, and I simply don't feel fresh. I don't know what it is. On a totally separate note, I really need to get a trainer for my bike. It would make life some much easier for me to just be able to hop on it after getting the girls to bed and pedal away for an hour or two. That is on my list of things to get before the summer is over.

It is time to get up and go to bed. Sleep is at a premium and with a race on Sunday I want to be as fresh as possible. Ciao!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Too Hot, Too Humid

I think I am getting to the bottom of my overall lack of lung capacity and energy. The reason(s) have to be the heat and humidity...and/or my allergies. Either way, there is no way that I should be hurting the way I am when I go running. Two and a half weeks ago I felt awesome when I went for a seven mile run at lunch; I managed to maintain an 8:15/mile pace and wasn't killing myself doing it. Back on April 19th, I ran a 5K and ran a personal best 20:45 (6:41/mile). On May 13th, I ran a local 5K in 21:20, this after two 30+ mile days riding my bike to/from work.

Tuesday Run:
I felt so much better running yesterday, although still not close to 100%. I did 4 miles in 33:45 (8:22/mile); the second mile is all uphill and the 3rd mile is downhill. Average heartrate was a more respectable 149 BPM, but still too high for the distance and pace. I usually do this route in right around 32:00, but as I have said lately, I am just dying out there on the run.

Wednesday Run:
Today I went out for a 4.3 mile run at lunch and I was hoping to kick up the pace a bit for miles two and three. It just wasn't going to happen. I just couldn't get my heartrate down despite the slow pace I was running at. I think my average pace for the run was a less than brisk 8:39/mile (~37:15). My average heartrate was a whopping 156 BPM, way to high for such a run. Two months ago a heartrate that high would have meant a six mile run at 7:40/mile pace. No matter what I tried today I just couldn't go any faster and I was struggling to take good solid deep breathes. I do recall feeling like this last year at the Verizon Wireless 5K. I hope that this is just a matter of me getting acclimated to the changing weather or my allergies easing up.

Wednesday Swim:
I felt really good tonight, especially considering how exhausted I was on my short run today. I was planning on doing 2,500 yds but my wife wasn't feeling all that great. I didn't want to leave her for two long with the little ones, especially with bed time looming close to when I would be probably be home. I did manage to fit in 2,300 yds, quality yards at that. Here is a break down of my work-out (FYI, I wear a Speedo drag suit for all of my pool work-outs):
  • Warm-up
    800 yds - 400 free, 300 pull buoy, 100 free - 15:11
  • 10 x 100 (20 sec rest)
    1:47, 1:51, 1:52, 1:50, 1:52, 1:53, 1:55, 1:51, 1:51, 1:48
  • Stroke Drill
    300 yds - 5:56
  • Cool Down - free real easy
    200 yds - 4:06
Final Tally - 2,300 yds - 43:50

My appointment with my sports doctor/chiropractor was cancelled tonight, thus no insight into what my issues might be. Looks like it is going to be tomorrow instead...hopefully going to be my last visit to him for a little while; the $25/week is killing me and my effort to save some extra money.

It is almost 10:00pm and I need to hit the hay. I am thinking about getting up early and getting in an early 25 mile ride. Who knows if that will actually happen.....more likely that I will ride to the pool and then ride a few extra miles on the way home.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just the Pool Maam

I am getting more and more comfortable in the pool. I guess it is the fact that I am doing close to what I need to be doing, and that is just getting to the pool and pushing myself harder and harder each time. Last night was no different.

I spent the day at work as is how most Monday's are spent. I opted out of a run because I was pretty sore from the weekends activities. After work, my wife and I took the girls over to the "Green Park" (so named because all of the jungle gyms equipment is a shade of green, along with the rubber ground material). The girls ran and played for about 45 minutes and just had a blast. I can't believe how big they are getting. It seems like only yesterday I was climbing around with them, helping them get up the stairs and down the slides. Now, I just sit back and watch to make sure there aren't any big falls.

Then it was time for me to get over to the pool and get in my 2,000 yds. before it got too late. When I showed up at the pool it was pretty much deserted, at least the lap pool was pretty empty. I hopped in and did a nice 400 yd warm-up, actually swimming my first 100 yd in 1:40, which is pretty fast for me. As is usually the case with me, I started out strong, swimming around a 1:45/100yd pace and then gradually dropped off a bit as the work-out wore on. The fact that over the past two year, I really only swim for three to fourr months a year takes a bit toll on my conditioning, namely my arms and back just don't have the endurance that all swimmer have. I basically have to retrain myself how to swim every season and then work on getting into swimming shape. My plans for the fall are to join a gym with a pool and to concentrate on my swimming fitness.

Here is a break down of my swim work-out last night:
400 yd - Warm-up - 7:08 (1:40, 1:47, 1:46, 1:55)
500 yd - 9:57
550 yd (500m) - 10:49
300 yd (Drill w/pb) - 5:44 (1:47, 1:58, 1:59)
250 yd - Cool Down - 5:15 (real easy!!!)

Total - 2,000 yds - 39:00:47

That was it for last night. I now have to get back to work and try and figure out how far to run at lunch the rain.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Good Day/Bad Day

This weekend was a one filled with lows and highs. One day I felt like I had just picked up running after a five year lay-off as I struggled to maintain a 9:00/mile average, the next I was pounding on my bike like I was competing in the Tour de France. It made no sense to me at all. The one constant throughout the whole weekend was how great my wife was. I don't know if it was but she was wonderful yesterday and today. She knew that I had to get my workouts in...and not short and simple workouts...more along the lines of a 10 mile run on Saturday with a swim later in the day, then a 40 mile bike and 3 mile run off immediately after. Despite this all she was awesome about it.

The day started out like no other. For whatever reason, act of God, planets mysteriously aligned, or the simple law of averages, both of my daughters slept past 8:00am. How does this translate to me? Well, that means I was able to sleep in as well. I felt like half of the day was over and I still had to get out and run. After eating a bit of breakfast (Pop-Tarts), I geared up and headed out for what I hoped would be a respectable 10 mile run into town and back. I was to be sorely mistaken as this run turned into a horror show. It was eerily similar to my run last weekend. No matter what I tried I just couldn't get myself going. I don't know if it was some residual exhaustion of my lack-luster 5K two nights before, but for whatever reason I sucked. I am looking back at my stats from the run and it reads like this:

10.34 miles - 1:32:31 (8:57/mile)
Average HR - 158 BPM

Atrocious! My average HR is lower when I am doing a speed workout. I am starting to suspect that it might be a bit of over training as I am trying to get back into the shape I was prior to my groin injury. Whatever it is I need to figure it out fast because I have a race this coming weekend and then another two weeks after that.

After my disgusting display of my running skills it was off to the pool to play with the girls. We had a great time and I was able to escape up to the lap pool and get in a quick 1,000 yds. I averaged a little under 2:00/100 yds, wearing my board shorts which I was very happy with. I felt so good in the pool for the first time in a while. Maybe it was that there was no pressure to swim hard, but rather just get some yards in.

I ended the day with a well deserved hamburger at Dilly's....maybe it really wasn't that deserved, but I needed something to lift my spirits. I did manage to fall asleep by 10:00pm. I was extemely tired.

Today was to be a new day, one that would better define me as an athlete. Despite my soreness from Saturday's workout, I was determined to fight through it and put in a solid 40 miles on the bike. I was given the blessing from my wife and at 8:27am I began my quest. The first six miles were mellow as I tried to loosen my legs up and prepare myself for the NJ hills (yes, there are some hills in NJ). Once I crossed the Delaware River into NJ I decided to try a hill that a few local cyclist had told me about, Federal Twist Rd. I made the left onto the road and rode steadily towards the first incline. It was then that I realized how f'ing steep and long it was....there were two cyclists shooting down and they were flying. I took a few deep breathes, bore down and started up it (see mile 7 in the elevation chart below). In a mile it goes from 100 ft above see level to about 475 ft, 375 ft of vertical gain in a mile, an average of 7%, with the last 1/2 mile closer to 9%.

Despite some technical issues with my Garmin Forerunner 305, I managed to put in 40.75 miles and I felt pretty good about my workout considering the difficulty of the ride. Granted I was slower than I would have liked to of been, but I still felt good. On a side note, I really have to remember to bring my camera with me when I do these rides, the scenery is really awesome!

40.75 miles - 2:23:49 (Avg. 17 MPH).

Avg HR - 137 BPM

The run after the bike was cut short a bit because my wife wasn't feeling all that great. I ran a quick 1.5 miles in 12:32 (8:18/mile), which I was pretty psyched about considering it came after a very hilly 40+ mile bike ride.

It is now time for bed, and trust me my head will be hitting the pillow and I was be dozing in no time. Ciao!

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Day After a Bad 5K

I just got back from swimming a very solid 1,800 yds at Fanny Chapman Pool. A bit of a drab and overcast day, but I was happy to get into the water and swim. It was also a good way to wash away the remnants of a pretty bad 5k I ran last night. Have you ever ran a race that you were just miserable doing? Well that was last night for me.

I suppose that I should better set the scene, it was the Verizon Wireless Corporate Classic 5K held in Morristown, NJ. I had run this last year and at the time I was in pretty good shape but I was having some issues with my allergies (pollen, etc.). The race ended up being run in 90F heat and 90% humidity. It was a miserable experience and I ended up running what was a very slow 22:23. This year I was determined to better that time and possibly come close to my PR (20:45).

This weather for this year wasn't a whole lost better than last years...temps still in the 90s and humidity still high. The major difference has been my fitness. Since I pulled my groin muscle back in May, I have been having a tough time getting back into "fight shape" so to speak. I haven't done any speed work and have been concentrating on just getting my miles in. Add to that the swimming and biking that comes with triathlon training, and well, you get what I got last night. A 22:39 5K race time. My first mile was run at about 7:00/mile pace and I felt OK, then the wheels slowly began to fall off as the hilly course took its toll on me as my second mile was a mere 7:56. Each climb I felt like I had sand bags strapped to my thighs. I was miserable. The third mile was a bit better but I just couldn't seem to get into a groove. I think I ran the last mile in about 7:15 and the last tenth of a mile was whatever it adds up to. I did my standard last 400 yd sprint where I passed about 30 people to get a somewhat respectable finish, but still was extremely disappointed with my performance.

What really bothers me about last night is that I have a sprint triathlon in just over a week and I now scared that I am going to totally blow. I think my swim time will be pretty solid and my bike has definitley improved, but my run is absolutely awful right now. I better get some quality run miles in this weekend and next week instead of just "miles".

Time to grab some dinner and then hopefully go out for a 20 mile ride this evening. Cheers!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wednesday Rest Day

Wednesday was a weird day in that I am in the middle of training for a bunch of triathlons but I also had a 5K on Thursday night (tonight). I decided that I wouldn't run or bike but I was going to head to the pool and swim 1,000 to 1,500 yds. Well, family got in the way a bit and I ended up not doing anything but sit on the couch with my wife and daughters and watch TV. My wife wasn't feeling all that great and I suspected that she needed me there at the house to help out with the kids.

I probably could have headed over to the pool much earlier, but my in-laws were over and I didn't want to be rude and head out while they were there. Then I planned to head over right after dinner, but that just wasn't going to happen either.

Maybe it is a good thing that I had a true "rest day" yesterday. Hopefully I will be fresh for the 5K tonight. Based on how I have been running lately, I really need some help....I've been feeling like I have sand bags tied around my ankles whenever I hit the streets for training.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tired Tuesday

Already I am complaining about being tired. I feel like I am tired all the time. I think it is largely due to the fact that I haven't been able to sleep in my own bed for about five days now. I seem to be bouncing around from room to room based on different things and I just haven't gotten a solid 7 - 8 hours of sleep in close to a week. Regardless of this my training has gone on and I have been powering through it so to speak.

It was a bit of stressful day in the office and I was not a happy camper at all. Prior to my afternoon run with friends I was in the foulest of moods thanks to an arrogant and disrespectful co-worker. He just flat out pissed me off. When it came time to go for a run I had all the best intentions to go out and run sub-8 min mile pace.....but it just didn't happen. I was suffering through the whole thing. I think it was the combination of a few things: sleep deprivation, nutrition, and the hard training on Sunday. I did manage to run 4.5 miles at 8:06 pace, with that last half mile at 7:15 pace. I have a 5K on Thursday night that I hope I can run well. I would love to break my PR of 20:45, I just don't know if it is in the cards for me right now.

When I got home from work all I wanted to do was vent to my wife about my day and she obliged and told me that I was right and that I shouldn't feel any remorse for what went down. She actually expected that I would want to head out and go for a bike ride. So when we were done with dinner I decided to head out for a 40 minute or so ride. At first I was going at a pretty good clip, averaging over 20 MPH, then I hit some gradual hills and I slowed. It was probably when I was about half-way through it that I decided that I was going to try and really ride pretty hard. I didn't ride far but I did ride hard for the last half of it. I rode 11.74 miles and averaged 19.4 MPH, with the last 3.74 miles at an average of about 22 MPH. It felt good to just ride fast and unleash some of the tension that I was feeling.

Now it is time to hit the hay and get a good nights sleep. I plan on getting up and getting in a moderate swim tomorrow morning around 7:00am at my pool, before my 7:45am doctors appointment (getting my back worked on a bit more). It may not happen which would mean a trip to the fish bowl tomorrow night. Ciao!

Monday - Rest Day...kind of

I am playing a bit of catch up these past couple days as I haven't had a chance to get on my home computer at night. Hopefully I will be able to get on this evening to update my day. What I am going to do with this post is talk about here goes....

I had what some would consider an easy day...2,000 yds in the pool. I was supposed to fit in 25 miles on the bike but I just couldn't find the time to do it. I wasn't going to get up at 5:00am and fit it in before work, especially considering the lack of sleep I have been suffering through. I couldn't do it after work because I had to get the swim in and I did want to spend at least a little time with my wife and kids. I really think that I need to save up some money to get a trainer so that I can ride in the basement after everyone goes to bed. It seems like the only logical choice.

I did manage to get in the pool and do a much needed swim work out. Usually the pool is pretty empty when I go during the week, around 6:00pm. The swim team is usually on the way out and I am left with empty lanes galore. Well, last night that was not the case. Apparently there is a group of people (maybe 10 or so) that meet every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:30 or so, and do major workouts. Needless to say I hung out and stretched a bit before getting in, hoping that they would be wrapping up their session soon. I didn't want to be mocked too badly for my lack of swimming skills. Luck was not on my side and they happened to be pretty early on in their workout. So I sheepishly entered the water and started to swim.

There are some good things that happen when you swim near people who are much better than you, similar to running or riding with someone faster than you. You start to concentrate more on how you are swimming, focusing on form. I mentioned it in previous posts, and I am finding it to be very true. I ended up doing 2,000 yds in 38:41, which for me is pretty good. Here is a breakdown:

200 - free - 3:43
200 - pull - 3:41

500 - free - 10:14
500 - pull - 9:17
200 - free - 3:56
200 - pull - 3:42

Cool Down
200 - 4:05

I know that I don't swim like a fish, but I do feel like I am getting faster. I just have to try and get to the pool more often and work on my conditioning. It never fails that the first 100 yds I swim is always the fastest (1:43), then I can feel the energy drain out of my arms and into the water, lost forever. No swim on Tuesday because of a swim meet, will definitely be in on Wednesday.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Long Tired Weekend

It is Monday morning and I am tired. This weekend I stuck the letter of my training program and actually added a couple extra sentences to ensure that I am read for my sprint triathlon in two weeks. I put in a solid swim on Saturday, ran a horrible run on Saturday evening, biked a tough route on Sunday and did a solid 3 mile run off immediately following my ride. Add to that a spouse imposed 1/2 - 1 mile walk about an hour after my work out and you get a very tired camper. I should probably break down the weekend a bit better than I have.

It was a nice day, a bit cloudy but no rain. I made it to the pool around 12:45pm (after dropping my oldest daughter off at a friends birthday party) and thought something along the lines of a 2,000 yd swim would help me regain some of my lost swim fitness of this past week where I was only able to get into the pool once. I did an easy but somewhat quick (for me) warm-up of 500 yds and then decided to swim 5 x 200 with a 1 min. rest between. I felt surprisingly good, and I really tried to concentrate on my form. It helped that there were two dudes swimming in the lanes next to me that were just flying through the water. After the 200s, I did 200 yds of stroke work where I used a pull buoy and focused on my reach and follow though with my arms. Then came an easy 300 yd cool down.

I was about to get out of the pool then, but I wanted to try and see how fast I could swim 50 yds. I hit the start on my watch and off I flew, swimming strong and hard. I felt like I was just flying through the water and when I hit the wall it was....a pathetic 52 seconds. I decided to give it another try, this time I was going to try and swim smoother and not try to power through the water. I ended up swimming it in 53 seconds...I guess swimming is all about technique and not about power. I have a lot to learn about swimming. Total swim: 2,100 yds - 40:24. Time to pick up my daughter from her party.

Let me state here that I do not nap. Maybe once every few months will I crash out on the sofa in the middle of the day. Not that I don't enjoy a good afternoon siesta, I just feel like it is a waste of time. With that said I crashed out on my couch at 3:30pm and woke up groggy and still exhausted at 4:30pm. The swim wiped me out. Problem was that I still had to get a 8 mile run in and I was in no condition to do it after the nap. I thought about bagging it. I tried to rationalize how it wouldn't do me any good to train when so exhausted. Heck, even my Garmin was telling me I shouldn't run (the battery was dead). I was convinced it would be better to just get some rest.

Well, 6:00pm and I am sweating and miserable. I am moving at a snails pace cursing myself for being how I am. Any normal person would have stayed home and enjoyed time with their family. No, not me, I am an idiot who despite my best efforts could not talk himself out of participating in my own personal death march. Yeah, I was out running what was going to end up being one of the more difficult runs I have done over the past six months. It took me 1:15 to run the 8.5 miles that I would end up doing (8:49/mile). Yeah, an extra 1/2 mile, like I needed that. The good thing is that I did it and I am better of for it!

I was hoping to sleep in a bit, maybe make it to 7:30am. I don't know why I even considered this as a possibility. I have a six year old daughter that has a clear understanding of weekdays versus weekends. She knows that "Tom & Jerry" are on TV only on Saturday and Sunday morning. Needless to say I was awoken at 7am and instructed to please turn on her favorite show. FYI, my wife and other daughter didn't wake up until 8:15am...DAMN!

After some putzing around I finally threw on my biking gear and headed out for my ride to the hills of NJ. I managed a very up and down 42 miles (click for route and elevation) and despite my weak 17.6 mph average, I was happy with my performance. I did get a bit wiped toward the end of the ride, the result of losing a water bottle around mile 22 (cage broke with out me knowing it, thus tossing my bottle in the process). I managed to ride hard the last 5 miles or so, up from the Delaware River, as I chased another cyclist.

Immediately after finishing my ride, I changed into my running gear and headed out for a 3 mile run which I did in 26:15 (8:45/mile). I wasn't looking to break any speed records, I just wanted to get the mileage in and be done with my exercise for the day.

The rest of the day was spent just chilling out and watching the girls play. I really wanted to head over to the pool to relax, but it wasn't in the cards. I ended up getting to bed around midnight, thanks to a night with co-workers and kids. I really need to get more sleep going forward....or take more naps!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Rough Tough Friday

I am so happy that Friday is here and I can get to bed as soon as I finish typing this. I was up early and in the office by 7:25am, rearing to get the day started. Work was exactly what it normally is, lacking in any sort of excitement. I really wish that I had a job that I was excited to go to every day, something that was fun and I felt like I could make a difference doing. I guess in this economy I should be thankful that I have a job and stop complaining about the one that I do have.

So, at lunch today I headed out for what I thought would be a relatively easy 4 - 5 mile run. A friend of mine joined me (Chris) and he decided that it would be good to go out a different route and hit some hills. That was all well and good until I hit the first long incline and I had to convince myself that it was going to be good for me, it would make me stronger. Then came the next really steep hill, which just plain ole sucked. All in all the run was only 4.6 miles but my average heart rate was about 159 BPM and the pace was about 8:30/mile; quite a bit different from my run on Wednesday which was 7.2 miles, my heart rate averaged 154 BPM and the pace was 8:13/mile. I am not exactly lighting the world afire with these times, but I feel like I am dying out there lately.

I had planned to head over to the pool to put in about 1,500 yds but I opted instead to take my daughters over to swim instead. I think this turned into a good idea when I saw how excited they were to be going to the pool at 7:30pm. We had a good time, the highlight being showering in the locker room afterwards I suppose....go figure.

That is about it for tonight. I am going to try and get eight hours of sleep and bang out an eight mile run in the morning if possible, and then hopefully 2,000 yds in the pool sometime in the late morning or early evening. Ciao!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Back to Training

After a rough ten days or so of intermittent training, I think I am back in the grove. Everything in my life is slowly getting back to normal, my dear wife is home and on the mend, my little girls have their smiles back on their faces and I am looking forward to getting some monotony back in my life.

Let me start with yesterday which was my second day back at work in what has seemed like an eternity. It has been a bit difficult getting back into the swing of things and the fact that there are some significant changes going on hasn't made life any easier. I did manage to get out at lunch for a nice run (especially when compated to the day prior). I planned to run about 5 miles, possilby with a friend or two from work, but alas no one was available. No worries, I strapped my iPod to my arm and off I went. I turned out of be one of those days when you just want to keep running (Forest Gump like). I felt so good runnign down the country roads near my office, along a creek, in the shadows of tall oak trees, and over a couple quaint was just so perfect. As I was running I dind of lost myself a bit and each time I looked at my Garmin I noticed that the miles were just flying by. My 5 mile run turned into about 7.2 miles and I felt great. My pace wasn't exceptionally fast (8:16/mile) but the fact that I felt as though I was just cruising was so encouraging.

Today was a bit different in that I had quite a few things going on (webcasts, conference calls, doctor appointments, etc.), but I still managed to fit in some much needed training on my bike and in the pool. Around 2:00pm I hoped on to my bike (2009 Cervelo P2C which I LOVE!!!) and did a 22 mile ride with some solid hills. My average speed (17.6 mph) wasn't stellar but I was happy with how I managed to handle the hills.

I then had a trip to my sports doc for what I hope was the last treatment on my pulled groin muscle which feels great and then some work on my lower back which is really starting to feel better as well.

I wrapped up the night with a 1,500 yd swim which was supposed to be 2,000 yds but was cut short by the fact it was 7:30pm and I really needed to get home to see the wife and kids and eat some dinner.

All in all it was a good day and I am feeling like I am back in the game so to speak. I only hope that I am able to keep up the momentum this weekend as I am supposed to run 9 miles on Saturday (I'll try to throw in a swim as well) and then a nice 40 mile bike ride on Sunday with a 3 - 4 mile run off.
Oh it's on!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Land....but no Sea

I managed to get back to business today, although it wasn't full on training. Oh, before moving on, I should probably clarify what exactly I am training for. On Sunday, July 26th I will be doing the New Jersey State Triathlon in Mercer County Park (New Jersey). I am going to be doing the Sprint distance because I was too late in registering for the Olympic distance (bummer). Then on Sunday, August 9th I am doing the Steelman Triathlon (Olympic distance) up in Quakertown, PA. I am going to try and find a couple more tri's to do at the end of September and early October. Not sure if I will do a half-iron distance or not. I am considering doing a fall marathon as well.

So with that stuff out of the way, I did actually get out and run today. Nothing terribly crazy, just 5.3 miles at about a 8:15/mile pace. It was extremely humid and the temperatures were definitely creeping up, which made the whole experience much more difficult that it should have been. I was supposed to put in 2,500 yds at the pool but it turns out it was closed because of a swim meet. I was hoping to get in a late night swim at 8pm but it just wasn't possible.

It is late and I need to get some sleep tonight. Peace out!

Monday, July 6, 2009

No Deal

Today was one of those days where no matter how much I wanted to get in some training it just wasn't going to happen. No matter how I tried to slice it and dice it, there just wasn't going to any way to get on my bike for the scheduled 25 mile ride or to the pool for a 2,000 yd swim.

I spent the morning taking care of "family issues" and around 11:30am I was off to see my sports doctor to have my groin worked on as well as my lower back. I recently found out that I have some issued with my lower back. Let me rephrase that, I have known that I have issues with my lower back since last September but recently had them diagnosed. I have been told a few different things:
  1. I have stenosis of my L4/L5 and L5/S1 vertebrae with mild herniations of those discs as well. I was instructed to see a spinal specialist ASAP!!! - This diagnosis was by a PA-C who I found out didn't really have a clue and got me far to nervous.
  2. I don't really have stenosis but rather some of my discs have slipped a bit and a little chiropractic work should help. - This diagnosis was by my current sports doctor who referred me to a spine specialist (see below)
  3. I have a slight tear between my L4/L5 vertebrae that could be eased with a cortisone injection. - Final diagnosis from spine specialist who said to keep seeing my sports doc and stregthen the region. Keep doing what I am doing and he could help with the pain if I really needed it.

Anyway, after a 45 minute visit with treatment and therapy it was off to see my kids who I hadn't seen since last Thursday afternoon. We spent a few hours at the pool which was great....but it didn't mean I was able to get in any laps.

Then that was pretty much it for my time up until about 20 minutes ago when I finally got home and decided that trying to go for a 4 - 5 mile run just wasn't in the cards for me tonight. Deep down I know that I should have gone out and done it especially after my brief work out from yesterday. Then again I am able to rationalize it by looking back over my past two weeks of training and noticing that I haven't had a true full day off.

Well, that is it for now. I really need to get some sleep tonight. It is back to the office, where I haven't been in a week. I will definitely get in a 5 mile run tomorrow and possibly squeeze in a brief swim tomorrow night as well.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Coming Up Short

Today was a bit of a disappointing day in that I didn't come close to meeting my training goals. I was supposed to put in 40 miles on the bike and then do a 3 mile run off. I ended up doing 5 miles on the bike, heading home to fix the rubbing sound I was hearing as I was climbing a hill (tire against the down tube which meant backing out the drop-out screws about 2mm), then heading out for another 15 miles before I realized that I had to get back home to take care of some family matters.

In hindsight I probably should have started my bike ride about an hour earlier but some recent family issues have necessitated me putting training second. I probably could have headed out and put in another 20 miles on the bike tonight starting at 9pm, but I just wasn't up for riding at night, especially on a Sunday night of a holiday weekend. Yes, I fear the drunk driver! I probably could have run the three miles, but the whole point of those three miles was to get conditioned for running immediately following a bike ride. They seemed pointless when I really started to think about it.

I don't know, I suppose that things will get a bit back to normal by next weekend, at least I hope they will. Of course the fact that my girls have spent the past four days with their grandparents should have freed up more time for training, but that hasn't been the case. They return tomorrow and the quest to find training time will resume again. In case I need to clarify here, I have missed my daughters dearly and I can't wait to spend tomorrow afternoon with them at the pool. It is just a fact of life that I am always torn between trying to be a good father and trying to train hard to be in the best shape possible. It seems to be a battle that I face daily and that I can't seem to win.

So, to sum up my training day:
Bike - 20 miles - 1:06; 18.2 mph average
- Speed was a bit slow, probably still feeling my 2,000 yd swim and 7.6 mile run from yesterday.

The upcoming week:
I am going to have a couple nights of 2,000+ yds in the fish tank and some moderate runs in which I am going to try and fit in one speed work out or possibly a hill work out. I will have to get on the bike at some point as well, I just don't know when. Oh, I also have a visit to my sports doc tomorrow to have my groin worked on (pulled it playing soccer six weeks ago) as well as my back (will explain in the near future). As for now it is off to bed and to try and catch up on some sleep until the crazies come home tomorrow.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Blog Day 2 - 4th of July

A beautiful day today in Eastern PA, mostly sunny and 80F. I was up around 7:00am this morning thanks to Willie (our dog) wanting to eat his breakfast and then of course to "fertilize the lawn".

I didn't do too much this morning aside from hanging with my wife and keeping her company.

Around 12:30pm I decided that it was time to head to the pool and get in a good swim workout which I haven't had a chance to do much of lately. Actually, I have been in the pool a lot this past week, but my workouts have been less than stellar. I have felt slow and tired, more of a manatee than a dolphin (not that I ever feel like a dolphin). I made my way to Fanny Chapman pool and hoped in.

I ended up doing 2,000 yds which is a big workout for me. I felt better than I have in probably six months, the result of seeing one of my daughters friends mom's there swimming laps. She is the swim team coach at the pool and from what I understand, a very good swimmer. Call it what you want, but I was determined not to look like a fool swimming next to her. I did my best to concentrate on my stroke, lengthening my body, reaching out and making smooth strokes. Amazingly it worked! I swam much faster than I have at all this year and I really felt like I was a true swimmer out there, albeit still a very slow swimmer. So if Carey is out there and happens to read this, thank you for inadvertanly pushing me along.

Here is a breakdown of my swim workout:
200yds - Warm-up - 3:43
300 yds - Pull buoy - 5:22
6 x 200 (30 sec rest) - avg. 3:55/200yds
400 yds - Cool down (300 w/pull buoy, 100 free) - 7:57

Total: 2,000 yds - 39:03

I have a 8 mile run on tap for this evening, probably around 8:00pm tonight. Hopefully I will get to see some fireworks at some point.

Update - I ended up cutting my run a bit short; ended up running about 7.6 miles. It was late (around 10pm) and I just wanted to get home and eat something and go to bed. It was a long day and I have a 40 mile ride on tap for tomorrow.


Friday, July 3, 2009

First Post....EVER!!!

There is only one "first" of anything. One first kiss, one first love, one first get the idea. Well, this is my very first post as a "blogger". I have read so many blogs over the past year, mostly of aspiring triathletes, accomplished triathletes, and professional triathletes. I have finally decided that it is time to start publishing my life, whether it be hourly, daily, weekly or monthly. Honestly, I don't know if this is something that I will be sticking with or not....I hope that I do.

My goal in starting this blog is to tell the story of me, a 37 year old married man with two beautiful and awesome little girls, as I begin my project compete in an Ironman triathlon, specifically Ironman Arizona 2010. My plan is to not only talk about my training (how far I swam, how difficult my ride was or what a great run I had), but also the ups and downs that come with balancing training, family and work (no I am not independently wealthy or living off of a trust fund). Trust me, there will be ups and downs based on my past experiences with marathon training.

I expect that my experiences will be similar to those of many men and women my age who are looking for something beyond they normal lives. I am not bored with my life, in fact I am very happy with my life. I have an awesome wife who I love immensely, two daughters who I adore and would do anything for, and a dog who is as loyal as they come. No, I just want a new challenge, something that will fulfill my competitive spirit, something that will make me a stronger person both physically and emotionally.

With that said, I officially launch this puppy and hopefully someone, anyone, will read this and possibly get some insight and provide me with some insight into the world of triathlon training and competing. I will try to fill in some gaps about my life as I write each post, i.e. athletic experience, life experience and hopes and dreams.

Training - 7/3/2009:
Swim: 1,250 yds - 23:20 - FYI, in the words of Martin Short, "I am not that strong a swimmer"
  • 300 yd. Warm-up
  • 10 x 50 swim
  • 200 pull
  • 250 Cool down
Today was a bit of a recovery day as I have biked or run every day this week (and swam). My knees were feeling it a bit and I thought it would be wise to take it easy today. Tomorrow I am going to try and head out for a 7 - 8 mile run in the evening and maybe get in 2,000 yards in the pool in the afternoon. I'm not sure if I am going to be able to fit it all into my schedule.

Well, that will do it for now. I haven't gotten much sleep the past few nights so I am looking to crash pretty soon if possible. Ciao!