Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Back to Back

Short post here since it is late and I need to get up early for work tomorrow. I have managed to put in two consecutive solid days of running and I am sore. As I said in my last post, I can't believe how quickly one can lose their fitness. Those seven days in Orlando really took a toll on me, actually my inactivity and eating tons of great (BAD) food were what did it to me.

I got back to business and hit the road with Bill for a 4.65 mile run. We started out at a good clip then slowed as we hit the long mile uphill. We ended up at 8:20 pace, not great but better than anything I did down in Florida.

A bit better day than Monday, I did the same 4.65 mile run only in reverse, and again with Bill. We stepped it up a bit this time bringing the pace down to 8:10 and I believe my HR was around 157 BPM. A bit high, but I'll take it considering the extra weight I am carrying around my mid-section.

Not much else to say right not except that I am in need of a race sometime soon. I need a goal to work towards for the next month or so before my running clubs winter series starts in December. I need to find a weekend race that won't interfere with my daughters soccer games on Saturday's. Time to start hunting!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Back and Fatter than Ever

I am back. Back from a week in Florida and an mini-vacation away from running, swimming and biking. I suppose it is good every once in a while to take a little break away from training to refresh the "batteries" so to speak, but to also remind yourself how much you miss it. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy not having to drag myself out into the 90F+ temps and high humidity to run a very slow 4 miles while I was down there. Running in Florida sucks when you are used to running up north where the temps are just getting back to ideal and the humidity is a non-factor. What I did realize while I was down there was that I really missed being in shape. I missed feeling good about myself. I missed the feeling of going out and running four or five miles at a sub-8:00/mile pace and finishing with a smile on my face.

So am I glad that I didn't run from Thursday through Sunday? Yes, I am glad. It gave me time to spend with my wife, that we haven't had in a while. We had a great time visiting EPCOT (I love "Soarin'" and walking around to all of the different countries) and Downtown Disney, and going our for an extremely nice dinner at the Disney Boardwalk.

The break also gave me the opportunity to realize that I do love running, swimming and biking more than I may have previously realized. It also reminded me that you can destroy months worth of work in a very short time (I think I gained around 8 - 10 pounds on the trip).

Good Food + No Exercise = 1 Month of Serious working out and a strict diet

The only recap I can really do for the past week or so would revolve around my vacation with my wife.

As I mentioned above, we walked around EPCOT for five hours or so on Thursday night in flip flops (OUCH!), going to all of the exhibits that we weren't able to go on when we were here with our girls last November. We went on "Soarin'" twice, went in the giant EPCOT globe, rode the "Test Track", saw "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience", and capped off the night by sharing a massive turkey leg and a funnel cake over in the U.S. (actually I ate the majority). Once the park closed we drove over to Downtown Disney to check it out (translation, spend a bunch of dough on things for the girls).

We woke up with sore feet and very sore calves. Who would have thought that walking for seven hours with little rest would hurt so much. We were able to sit by the pool at the hotel for a good portion of the day (despite the large Central American contingent that monopolized the area). We did find the Spa pool to be a bit better and we were able to nap for a bit. Around 4:00PM we decided to head back to the room and get ready for dinner which was over at Disney's Boardwalk. Again, we had a great night, just the two of us eating a great dinner at the "Flying Fish Cafe" (although briefly interrupted by some phone calls from the in-laws). FYI, my wife looked AMAZING, absolutely beautiful at dinner that night (I wonder if she will mind if I post a picture of her on here).

Not much here except for some last minute gift buying and then the trek back to Pennsylvania. It was a long day of travel, but we were both looking to getting home to see the girls.

I thought I would be getting out for a run or a ride at some point, but I just wasn't feeling it. I was exhausted from the previous days travel and my body was just hurting. I should have found and excuse to get my butt off of the couch and go for a run, but it just didn't happen. I did decide that Monday would be the day to start. Monday is the day to officially start my training for November 2010! Oh, I technically started with dinner on Sunday, salad with some chicken in it (no bread). Then I technically took a step back when I had a big bowl of Vanilla Fudge Ripple ice cream before bed. Oh well, I guess Monday it is!

That's it for now. I'm looking forward to getting started (today that is). Things are going to get interesting, that's for sure.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hot Ass Florida

Just when the Pennsylvania weather cooled off and I was getting back to my normal running times....well, I had to go off to Orlando, FL for a conference. Any why is this not a good thing? Well, the temps have been over 90F and the humidity is equal to that. Needless to say, my pace has slowed considerably and I am feeling like crap when I am out running. I guess it is official, I am just no good in really hot and humid weather. I am starting to rethink my choice of Ironman Arizona as my race of choice.

I arrived in Orlando around 1:00pm and initially had plans to go and play some golf. I couldn't justify the costs and quite frankly it was friggin' hot out. I decided that it would be good to get out and do a quick run and then hang by the pool. So off I went, into the heat, into the haze, into hell. It was around a three mile run (2.88 miles) and I actually went at a decent clip, 8:02/mile (23:09). Of course my heartrate was soaring and I was soaking wet.

After my run it was off to the pool to kick back and relax. It was so nice to be able to sit by a beautiful pool and just unwind for a bit. It would have been a lot better had my family been there with me. Something about just being by yourself in a beautiful place and not being able to share it with them.

I awoke somewhat early, around 6:40AM and intended to get up and get right out. It actually took me about 20 minutes to drag my ass out of bed and actually hit the road. The one disadvantage about where I am staying (Marriott Orlando World Center Resort) is that there are no remotely decent running routes. The resort is on a highway and there are no trails or sidewalks within 3/4 of a mile. I ended up going out of the resort and making a right and heading towards Disney. I had all intentions of making it to Downtown Disney but I just didn't have it in me. I managed to see Cirque du Soleil tent off in the distance and read a bunch of misleading signs (e.g. "Downtown Disney .5 miles", more like the exit was .5 miles). The run ended up being 5.57 miles in 47:06 (8:27/mile), HR 160 BPM. I started out pretty strong but then just got slower and slower as the sun rose higher and higher and it got hotter and hotter.

I spent the rest of the day hanging by the pool for a bit and making my rounds at the conference. Oh, the highlight of the day was that I was able go to Emeril's Orlando at Universal City Walk. It was one of the best meals I have every had in my life. I had the pepperoni flatbreat, Apricot-Chili Glazed Half Duck Toasted Almond Basmati Rice Pilaf, Sautéed Rapini and Smoked Duck Jus (the best duck I have ever eaten), and for dessert Emeril’s Banana Cream Pie with Banana Crust, Caramel Sauce and Chocolate Shavings (recommended by my wife and it was AWESOME!).

It was tough getting up this morning. I wasn't up late, but the bed in my room is so comfortable. I don't think I left until around 7:30 and I probably should have listened to my body and just stayed in bed. It was a very rough and slow four mile run. It was hot and my heart was racing. So, 4 miles, 35:43 (8:56/mile, multiple walk walking breaks from 1.5 miles on to lower my skyrocketing HR), average HR 154 BPM, but was well over 160 BPM for most of the run which necessitated the walking breaks. I guess I have get up earlier tomorrow and try and beat the heat.

I did manage to get in the pool and attempt to swim a bit. One word: DISASTER. I haven't swam in probably three weeks, since our pool closed. I am guessing that the fact that I hopped into the pool about 15 minutes after my run didn't really help at all. I think I swam maybe 300 yards before I called it a day and got out. I was just beat.

Tonight I had another great dinner, this time at Hawk's Landing Steakhouse (right on premises). I had the Blackened Beef Tenderloin to start and then the 16 oz. boneless ribeye with a side of Steakhouse Hash Browns with Smoked Bacon & Onions.

Well, it's 10:00pm and I am stuffed from my dinner. I think it is time for bed. Big news is that I'm excited to see my wife when she comes down here tomorrow. We are having a little vacation together following my conference, it should be great.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fab Friday

It is absolutely gorgeous out right now! The morning was a bit overcast and cold, but the weather has turned and it is around 65F and sunny. There has been zero consistency in the weather the past two weeks, which is frustrating, but I will definitley take the weather right now.

This week, like the weather recently, has been very varied for me. I spend the early part of the week in Chicago on a business trip, then was in the office on Wednesday for a normal day, and yesterday and today I have been working from home. All of this variety has had a definite impact on my training both for the good and for the worse, but most for the good.

I woke up around 6:00AM and headed out for another run along the western shores of Lake Erie. As was the case the day before, my Garmin was as inaccurate as could be. It wasn't until I got out of the tall buildings and along the lake that it started to read accurately. I was feeling a bit tired but I pushed along at a good pace and just had a good time running along the water. I think I ended up running around 5.7 miles at about 8:15/pace.
Back in the office and no one was around to run with me. I ended up running 4.34 miles in 34:17 (7:54/mile pace), and I felt pretty damn good. I would have gone farther, but I needed to get some work done having been neglecting so much work while in Chicago.

I had all intentions of heading out and running or riding but it just didn't happen. Even though I was working from home, time didn't permit. I was busy all morning and then had something to do in the afternoon. I did manage to pick up something that will aid me in my fall/winter/spring training...a new Zoot Ultra Nanoshell Jacket. It was on a clearance rack at my LRS for 50% off. I was psyched!! FYI, that is not me modeling the jacket in the photos below.

Again working from home. My wife and I got our oldest on the bus this morning and then we dropped the little one off at Pre-K....and thank God she was in a good mood and went in with smiles on. I trudged through a bunch of stuff this morning and then at noon I decided it was time to break out my bike and go our for a ride. It has been about two weeks since I rode her and oh how I missed flying on her. I decided to not head to NJ, instead heading down to New Hope and doing a 21 mile loop. The first few miles were fast (I averaged about 34 MPH on one downhill stretch) and then it was slow, fast, slow for the rest. All in all I think it took me around 1:12 and I averaged around 18 MPH, which is pretty good considering the climbs I had....oh, and the fact that I haven't ridden in two weeks.
Now for the rest of the day it is get some major work down before the girls get home from school and then it is pizza for dinner. Tomorrow there is a soccer game for my eldest followed by a play date and then on Sunday it is off to Florida for a week (1/2 work, 1/2 vacation when my wife joins me). Cheers!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Windy City Running

When I travel for business it's a Catch-22. I am currently in Chicago for a brief business trip; I haven't been here in probably four year. I love being able to come here and do things that I wouldn't normally do when I am home, such as go to Niketown (bought three pairs of socks), go running along the lake, eat things I know are bad for me (burgers, steak, apple pie, etc.). Then there are the negatives....I hate travelling because I miss my family; I feel like I inevitably miss out on something when I'm gone. Maybe one of my daughters does something so amazing and I am not there to see it...you get the idea.

I got here yesterday afternoon after a short flight. I had all intentions of going out for a nice long run, but it just didn't happen. Instead I decided to go for a walk up to Niketown to peruse the store that I love so much. After some deliberation I settled on a few pairs of socks....that was it, just socks. So very sad that I couldn't find anything else. After shopping, it was off to ESPN Zone to grab a bacon cheeseburger and watch some football games. FYI, this is traditionally how I spend my free time in Chicago.

Today was a different story. I got up relatively early (6:00AM), threw on my running clothes, and headed out for a nice run along Lake Erie. I wasn't feeling all that great, but I didn't really care, I just enjoyed running through the city and out to the path along the lake. I was able to watch the sun rise over the lake to a beautiful Monday morning and just enjoy the scenery. I wish that I could give some run stats, but the buildings in the city really screw with the GPS and it had me running around a two minute mile pace for a while....is that even possible? I believe I ran around six miles and for about 48 minutes.

I finished off today (after six hours stuck in a conference room with seven other guys pouring over spreadsheets) with a great dinner at Shaw's Crab House. I ate some oysters, a blue cheese encrusted filet mignon, and then an awesome apple pie ala mode. Needless to say I am friggin' stuffed and ready for bed.

Tomorrow I plan on getting up early and going for another run along the lake before seven or eight hours in that same boardroom before heading back to my beatiful wife and daughters.

Friday, September 11, 2009

And I Ran, I Ran So Far Away....

My pre-mature off-season seems to be continuing, but I will try to fight it and get back into some sort of training groove. True, I will not be doing a whole lot of lap swimming for the next month or so, although I will when I go to Orlando in a weeks time (there is a sweet pool at the resort). True, all of the rain and business travel I am going to be doing over the next three weekends is going to curtail any attempt at getting on my bike. Looks like it is going to be RUN, RUN, RUN!

This week has been a tough one to get back on track. I did get out and run on Tuesday at work, but my legs just weren't there. Wendesday was impossible for me to get on the road as I had a long webcast at work that meant no afternoon run. Then later on that evening I wouldn't have been able to get out until 9:30PM and I just didn't have the will to do so. This will have to change when I start my base training for Ironman Arizona 2010!!!

I finally made it out for a run at lunch with Chris. I threw it out there that it would be good to do 6 miles today, which then led us to try and decide which way to go. We decided to run the opposite loop of the route we ran last week. It was a great day for running yesterday, cool (only about 65F), not too sunny, and a nice breeze was blowing. All in all the run was perfect. We ended up doing 6.3 miles in 49:44 (7:54/mile) and my average heartrate was 159 BPM. It was a bit high because of the hills on mile 3, then just never came back down all that much. Here are the mile splits:
Mile 1 - 7:52
Mile 2 - 7:52
Mile 3 - 8:20 (up hill)
Mile 4 - 7:40 (down hill)
Mile 5 - 7:49
Mile 6 - 7:55
Mile .3 - 216 (7:42 pace)

It was just a great run I felt like I could have kept going at that pace. The cooler weather is bringing back my lungs and legs. I am anticipating getting faster this fall and winter.

I managed to get out for a run at lunch. The weather wasn't as bad as I expected, a bit of drizzle and some wind but not bad. None of my running partners were available so it was just me and my iPod Nano. I ended up going for 4.67 miles in 36:46 (7:52/mile) and I forgot to put my heartrate monitor on, although I would estimate my average HR to be around 158. I felt really good, which is promising based on how my summer went. I only hope that I can carry this momentum forward.

Oh, also had my annual Fantasy Football Draft last night and had a good time. I think my team sucks, but hey, you never know. Go Fat Jesus!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Unexpected Off-Season

Well, it seems that the off-season has snuck up on me. Little did I know that the training that I have been doing over the past month was going to be all for nothing. It is a shame too because I feel like my cycling has really improved and my swimming definitely has.

I did my last race on Sunday August 9th, the Steelman Olympic Distance Triathlon and was hoping to do maybe two more races before beginning my off-season training. I had planned to do the Skylands Triathlon this coming Sunday, but an unexpected business trip popped up and I can't race it. There is maybe one or two more options if I really want to race, both down the shore and in October. I am probably going to pass on both of them since I am trying to save some money up to get an indoor bike trainer so I can do some solid winter training.

The past week has been a bit of a mess, with no real consistency or structure. I did have all the best intentions but nothing ever really materialized. Here is a quick recap of the past week:

Did a 4.3 mile run with Bill at work. Apparently I was a bit tired and my pace was slow, around 8:30/mile (36:29). I recall that the weather was a bit warmer than the days prior.

I was fortunate to be able to work from home which meant that I was able to go for a lunch time ride. I geared up and was about to leave when I noticed that the battery on my Garmin was down to one line. Damn! I decided to use it anyway, for as long as it would last. I decided to do the Federal Twist hill and then come down the road just north of it. About halfway up the hill the watch died. I felt really good for the most part. I powered up the hill and was damn proud of myself. I then made my way along the ridge and back down to the river. It was just a great ride. I think I did the 21+ mile route in around 1:13, for an average of about 17.7 MPH.

I hit the road around 8:15am for a quick 5 mile run. It was beautiful out and I was really excited to get out and run. I did a loop south of where I live that starts on a somewhat busy road but then heads into the woods a bit and has some rolling hills. It was just such a great morning to be outside. I did the 5.1 mile route in 41:13 (8:06/mile) and could have gone a bit faster if I wanted to, but I didn't. I did have to get home and let my wife head out for her daily exercise.

After my run and a much needed shower, me and my daughters made it over to the pool for what would be their last day of spashing around. The water was cold but we had a really good time.

I ended the day/night with a quick 800 yard swim (my last time in the agua). My first lap 100 yards was in 1:33, the FASTEST I HAVE EVER SWAM 100 YARDS!!! I was psyched. the next 700 yards was pretty mellow, but I went at a good pace (1:43, 1:36, 1:48, 1:42, 1:45, 1:56, 1:43). It was then time to get home and spend some time with the family.

I went to the shore to see my sister, brother-in-law and my nieces and nephew. I planned on going for a run but it never happened. I brought my wetsuit with me thinking I might get a swim in....cloudy skies and 30 MPH winds negated any chance of that. So what did I do? NOTHING!

Monday - Labor Day
I was home with the family and after some pancakes, my wife and I decided to take the girls for a hike. We had a lot of fun walking the trails of the park; it was really the first time that the girls have been in the "forest". Aside from a little trailblazing with ended up in some pricker bushes, it was a great experience. Heck, we even brought our dog Willie with us and he was passed out for the whole ride home.

Ah, back to training after two full days of from any running, biking or swimming. I hit the road with Bill and we did our standard 4.3 miles in 36:12 (8:27/mile). Yeah, it was slow and neither one of us was looking to push the pace. Looking at my HR and the obscenely low number of 145 BPM means that I really took it easy.

Well that does if for my week recap. I hope to get out and run tonight after "Back to School Night", although I don't know if it is going to happen. I have my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Back to Normal

I finally feel like my old self again. My lungs and legs are back to where I would expect them to be. I don't know if it is the weather or what, but I finally feel like I can run again. It has been a pretty frustrating summer with regards to my running fitness. I think the pulled groin muscle that put me out of action for a good two to three weeks at the end of May really hampered my attempts at getting in good shape for the triathlon season. Despite this injury I still managed to have a one or two good races, but I didn't manage to do as well as I had hoped.

Granted it has only been two days of good runs, but I finally feel strong and increasingly faster. I am still no where near my normal 4 - 5 mile run pace of 7:45 - 8:00, but I am getting closer.

I went for a run with my friend Bill at lunch and we both felt pretty good. We opted to do a 4.66 mile run that includes a pretty decent hill around two miles in. I was actually surprised that he wanted to do it considering he had done a similar run the day prior. Our first mile was in 8:09, second was a bit slower at 8:15 and the third, which is essentially the hill was 8:28. Then we picked up the pace and did mile 4 in 7:53 and the last .68 in 5:24 (7:59 pace). Total run stats: 4.68 miles, 38:09 (8:09 pace) (forgot to wear my HR monitor). I felt great after the run and definitely could have run farther and faster.

After work I got my wifes blessing to go swimming. I have been horrible at keeping up with my swimming over the past two weeks. Since I don't forsee me doing any more triathons this season (maybe one in October), I haven't been that concerned about getting in the water. I still felt the need to get in and flop around for a bit since I had the time to do so. I did 1,400 yards, 500 yd WU (8:57), then did a ladder of 100 yd (1:39), 200 yd (3:39), 300 yd (5:42), 200 yd (3:44), 100 yd (1:45). You can see that I was definitely fatiguing at the end there. I could feel my stroke going to crap at the end of each set. Regardless, I felt good having gotten in and doing some laps. Total - 1,400 yds, 25:28.

What a gorgeous day out there today. 75F and sunny, not a cloud in the sky and humidity very low. I was actually excited to get out there and run. The plan was to run with my friend Chris (ran Philly Marathon last year in 3:18...he is the rabbit of our work time running group), and do the 7.25 mile route we all like so much. It goes along a creek for about two miles, then up a dirt/gravel road for another mile, then down a good hill and then back along the creek. It is just a very pretty run (damn...why do I always forget my camera!!!). We actually had to shorten it a bit, so we ended up just going 6.24 (or 6.27 by his Garmin 405):

Mile 1 - 8:05
Mile 2 - 8:12
MIle 3 - 8:22
Mile 4 - 8:24
Mile 5 - 7:45
Mile 6 - 8:03
.28 - 2:10 (7:54 pace)

I felt awesome and definitely could have ran the last 1.24 miles faster than we did....surprisingly Chris was hurting a bit and his HR was really high for him. It was odd, I just felt like I could have kept running at a 7:45 pace, I just felt so strong. So the final run tally was (subject to change): 6.28 miles, 51:02 (8:08 pace), HR 153 BPM

No swim or ride planned for tonight...U7 soccer practice for my daughters soccer team that I coach. I will be in charge of nine six year old girls from 5:30 - 6:30pm tonight. Should be interesting, God knows last week was!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hot & Cold...The Weather I Mean

This has been one of the most bizzare summers that I can ever recall, weather-wise that is. To quickly recap:
  • June was relatively cool, never really got into the 80's.
  • July was pretty much just a wash out, it rained, then rained again, then rained some more.
  • Early- to Mid-August was when it finally started to get hot and humid, hitting the 90's a couple times
  • Late August, the temps are either in the 90s or the 70s, but at least there hasn't been much rain.

Yesterday and today it has been in the low 60s when I left the house and it isn't supposed to get above 74F all day. I blame the weather for my poor summer of training. I never realy felt good at any point. My breathing has been labored for the most part which has led to me always feeling fatigued. I hope now that the cooler weather is here (at least for the short term), my training will improve a bit. Now for a weekend recap:

It was my darling wife's turn to do a morning work out, so I got to stay home and play with my girls while she was out pounding the pavement. For about an hour we played a version of "Hide and Seek" in which I would hide, they would try and find me, then I would jump out and scare the bejesus out of them. Oh, and then I would have to chase them and tickle them until they said "Uncle". We had a blast and I was pretty beat afterwards. It was nice to play like a little kid.

After playtime, all the ladies of the house went out to do some shopping while I did some painting (just put trim up around all of our upstairs windows and they needed their first coat of paint). The whole time I was hoping to get out and go for a decent run. Finally I finished and the family came home, and gracefully allowed me to go out for my run. In short, it SUCKED!!! I didn't leave the house until around 2:00pm and the temp and humidity were around the same number "90". I started out pretty well, with an 8:07 first mile and then things gradually fell apart. 8:24, 9:31 (steep hilll that I walked a bit on), 8:07 (down the big hill), 9:07 (walked again), 8:26, 2:16 (.27 miles last little bit). All in all it was a 6.27 mile run in 53:58 (8:37/pace). My average heartrate was through the roof, 162 BPM. I initially felt really good, but the heat and humidity just got to me.

I awoke around 7:00am, thanks to my dear daughters realizing that "Tom & Jerry" was on and they came barrelling into our bedroom. I did my best to get an extra 30 minutes of shut eye (I think I actually did) before getting up to let the dog out and get him some breakfast. I then went back and forth with the Misses about whether or not I should go for my bike ride right then or after we got back from her 'rents (we were going to their pool for the day). It was decided that it was best to get it done and out of the way. So I geared up and off I went.

I decided that I was going to try and climb a pretty good sized hill once in NJ so that I could descend Federal Twist (a road I had climbed a month ago that is upwards of 9% incline). It was just a gorgeous morning and I wish that I had my camera with me. About two miles from my house I saw 5 turkey vultures just hanging out on the side of the road (ugly birds, but so cool), the trees were all glistening thanks to the rain the night before and the sun slowly rising higher into the sky, and there were just a bunch of people out enjoying the nice weather.

I made my way down to the river, then found the road up away from the river and started pounding away. All in all it wasn't that tough of a climb, unless I really am in decent biking shape. I climbed up and an for about three miles and then I started the descent. It was pretty gradual for the first three and a half miles, then came the steep part. I was a little apprehensive at first, but then decided to just go with it. I ended up hitting 47 MPH on the way down, my fasted top speed ever. I was really hoping to hit 50+ MPH, but a little too much braking minimized my chances of that happening. After that it was time to make my way back in to Pennsylvania and back up the gradual incline to my home. Total stats: 21.6 miles, 1:14:42, 17.3 MPH, average HR 135 BPM. Here is a link to the route I rode...a very solid ride...short, but solid!

The rest of the day was spent at my in-laws pool where I managed to get in a 500M swim (9:51) and take a 45 minute nap. It was a good day.

A rest day for me. I was just exhausted and thought any attempt to swim, bike or run would have been a waste. I probably should have headed over to the pool to swim a bit, but it was a bit cool out and I decided to cut the lawn and head out for a family bike ride instead (a good choice I think).

That is about it for now. FYI, both girls started school this week so things are going to get interesting.