Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What To Do?

New Jersey State Triathon - Sprint or Olympic? 

I am going to sign up for the NJ State Triathlon today, but I don't know which distance I should pick.  I have only ever done the Sprint race, primarily because the Olympic distance always sells out before I have the funds to pay for the entry.  Thus, I go with the Sprint distance and I am happy with that.  Well, it appears that neither race is sold out yet, so I actually have a choice this year.  Problem is, I don't want a choice, I like to have it pre-determined which race I will be doing.  Here are my thoughts on each:

Sprint Distance
  • I missed the top 50 last year by 30 seconds and I think I could really do well this year...maybe place in my age group
  • The race is on Saturday instead of Sunday, so I will still have the rest of the weekend left to do with as I wish
  • Since I would be done in just over an hour, my wife and kids wouldn't be too bored
  • My Ironman training doesn't call for an Olympic Distance race until mid-August
  • I won't be totally wiped for a long run or ride on Sunday as part of my training
  • Packet pickup is on Friday night from 5pm - 8pm....a bit inconvenient
Olympic Distance
  • The first year of this race I was signed up for the Olympic but went with Sprint because of poor swim training
  • A lot of triathletes I know will be doing the Olympic distance
  • It would be a good test for me on a fast course to see how I stack up again other area triathletes
  • Packet pickup is on Saturday, Noon - 6PM, I could go earlier and watch a bit of the Sprint event
  • I would be subjecting my family to two and half hours of watching me race
  • I'm planning on doing another Olympic distance tri only two weeks later (Steelman Triathlon)
I think that last bullet pretty much decided it for me.  I think doing the Sprint Distance is probably the way to go this year.  It just fits better into my training and it won't weigh too much on my family from a spectating perspective.  Plus, I think I have the potential to really improve this year and knock some significant time off of last years PR.

Maybe next year I can try the Olympic distance.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

WET, COLD, WINDY....and did I say WET!

Is it too much to ask for a sunny day, temperatures in the low 60s, and a slight wind that is just enough to keep you from getting too hot?  Really, can't I just have such a day at some point in the near future? 

What is today all about?  Well, in a word WET!  It has been raining for the past two days straight and to say that everything is saturated would be an understatement.  Yesterday I didn't run because of a long lunchtime meeting....there was no business meeting this afternoon, only my appointment with the elements, the cold, wet and windy elements.  My work out called for a short warm up then:  2 x 1,200M @ 10K pace (600M rec), 4 x 400M @ 5K pace (200M), 4 x 200M @ 5K pace (100M), and then a cool down.  I probably should have done this on a track after work, but I don't have that kind of time, so the roads of Whitehouse Station, NJ would have to do.  I won't bore anyone with the details, but know that the first 2.5 miles were run into a steady 20 MPH wind, with the rain slamming into me the whole way.  When I turned around I was in heaven, feeling came back to my hands, I could see again, and I was done with the 1,200Ms.  The bad part was that I was completely drenched and I now had to pick up the pace for the last half of the session.  DANG! 

About 40 minutes after I started I walked into the locker room freezing and drenched.  I had to ring out my clothes before stowing them.  The shower was amazing for the lone reason that the water was so hot.  I could have stayed in there for an hour....but damn work gets in the way (FYI, my hands are still not back to proper working order as I type this).  Despite all of my complaining about the weather I must always remind myself that it is important to train in conditions like today because you never know what nature is going to throw at you on race day.  My perfect example of this:  2008 - Jerseyman Half Iron Distance Triathlon.  The rain and wind started when we were entering the water for the swim and it didn't let up until well after the race ended.  You just never know what type of day your are going to get, so you better train in all conditions (oh, Steelman Triathlon last year has crappy conditions also.....lots and lots of rain!).  I am stronger for todays workout and it makes me appreciate the perfect days, those 65F and sunny days.

This Morning2,300M in the fish bowl!  That's right, that equates to 1.42 miles of swimming this morning.  That is farther than most people will run in a day....heck, walk in a day.  It was a good session and I am now able to correct myself as I swim and fix my form when I feel like I am dragging.  I did a 500M warm up then did a pyramid (at least that is what I call it), 100M, 200M, 300M, 400M, 300M, 200M, 100M and then a 200M cool down.  It took me a little over 48 minutes to complete it all, about a 2:03/100M average.  What is important is that my laps were pretty consistant and I felt good for 90% of the laps.

That is it.  Time to do what I need to do.  Peace out!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy Weekend

What a great weekend.  That statement deserves to stand alone and just be read in its simplest form.  The weekend was great for many reasons, training reasons, family reasons, and....well, rest reasons.  This weekend was just great, and might I say a bit interesting.

Saturday morning I was awoken by a little four year old girl looking to find a place to sleep for a another hour or two at 5:30AM.  I obliged her by moving over and trying to fall back asleep (I was successful).  Around 6:45AM the seven year old decided that it was time to get up because (as I would find out later that night), she likes to get up early on the weekends so that she has more time to play, unlike during the week when she has school.  I wish I could subscribe to her logic, but I just can't.  I wish that I could have stayed in bed a bit longer but the dog was whining and I remembered that we ran out of dog food the night before so I had to get some clothes on and run out to ACME to get some (aaarrrggggghhhh!).

Upon my return I decided that I should get my 1:20 bike ride done before it got to late.  Before heading down to the basement I turned on my Garmin, filled a water bottle and said goodbye to the ladies of the house....I would see them a bit later.  An interesting thing happened then, my Garmin acquired a satellite signal in my house.  Yes, IN MY HOUSE.  I didn't think anything of it, assuming that I would lose the signal as soon as I went underground.   Well, I didn't and it created a bit of havoc for my ride.  The time was showing accurately, my cadence was spot on, my heart rate A-OK, but my speed was pretty steady at 3 MPH for the entire duration.  I even stopped at one point and reset my watch hoping that I would lose the signal, get the "ARE YOU INSIDE" question and move on.  It didn't happen so I just plugged away.  Kind of a bummer that I don't know how "far" I spun for, but I guess in the end it really doesn't matter so long as I kept my heart rate where it was supposed to be and my cadence in the correct zones.  Still the mapping of my "ride" is pretty comical, I will have to post it tonight.

The rest of Saturday was nice, I took my four year old to a birthday party at GymMini Crickets Kidsport, an awesome little gymnastics studio for kids.  She loved it all.  I had a good time as I was able to talk to one of the dad there, he was in military intelligence for awhile bck in the early '90s (Desert Storm).  Some good stories and perspectives on the military and government today.  After that, we met up with my wife and other daugher at McD's....and yes, I ended up eating there and I felt like crap for doing so.  Then I took the girls home while my wife went to do some more shopping.  Once home I passed out on the couch for a bit, I was wipped from my morning ride I guess.  The rest of the day/night was spend just lounging around and not having to do anything.

Sunday I had all the best intentions to get up and go for my morning run at 7:00AM...kind of impossible when you sleep until 7:15AM.  DOH!  Well, looks like it would have to wait until after church.  Church was....well, church.  But, on the way to the car a gentleman walked up to me and said that he thought it was so cute how my daughter and I looked throughout the service.  I had been holding her for some parts and she had her head on my shoulder.  It was nice for him to say that to us, made me feel good.

Once home I changed into my running clothes, then my wife and I dealt with a  "breakdown" from the little one.  She was just not happy with her clothing selection for the afternoon party and was testing my her Mom's patience.  Once that was resolved they headed out the door to do some shopping and go to another birthday party (3rd one of the weekend), leaving me to go for my short eight mile run.  The first 2.75 miles were rough, for whatever reason my head was all cloudy, I felt kind of dizzy and out of it.  I stopped for a minute or two, gathered myself and then pressed on.  That short break seemed to do that trick as after that I felt so much better.  I actually had a good time running after that and it showed as my pace quickened and I had a bit of a hop in my step.  The route was hilly, so there were some fast sections as well as slow sections, but I managed to keep a steady pace. 

The first six miles my pace was a steady 8:15/mile, but the last 2.6 miles (I was going to end up short so I added a loop that got me an extra .6 miles) I ran at a faster pace because I felt so good.  In fact, mile 8 I ran in 7:13 and the last .6 miles I ran at 6:50/mile pace.  Awesome!  Total run - 8.64 miles, 1:09:41, 8:04/mile.

A deserved shower and then down in the basement to watch Liverpool crush Sunderland 3 - 0!  I spent the rest of the afternoon down there doing absolutely nothing, it was heaven.  The ladies got home around 4:00PM, we ordered pizza, and spent the rest of the night doing more "nothing", which was a good thing.  Seems like a lot of doing nothing this weekend, but I think we all needed it, we have been so busy with birthday parties, shopping, work, school and whatever else gets thrown our way that doing nothing was needed.

Today:  Awoke at 4:50AM, was at the gym by 5:30AM and in the water by 5:40AM.  2,000M in 41:20 (2:04/100M or 1:53/100yd), consisting of a 500M warm-up, then 200M, 300M, 400M, 500M, and 100M cool down.  I felt so good this morning, so much smoother and I can see where I can improve on my form and get more streamlined.  I hope to make some significant improvements over the next month!

Time to get some work done.  Adios!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Unscheduled Rest Day

I like that I am bummed at not being able to get in the pool this morning.  When my wife got home last night from jury duty and told me she had to go back again at 7:50AM this morning because they had unfinished business, I was bummed because it meant I could get in a fourth swim this week (my weakest discipline).  So because of my dear wife's third day of jury duty I am not going to be able to get into the water today, it is now an unscheduled rest day for me.

I suppose that I could get on my bike tonight once the kids go to sleep and put in an hour or so, but then again, I am supposed to do a 10K race (or ride an hour and twenty minutes) on Saturday and then an easy eight mile run on Sunday.  I am thinking that getting on the bike tonight might be the way to go....we'll have to wait and see.

As for everything else that is going on, things are good.  I feel like my swimming has really improved this week, my running is much more solid and I am handling faster paces better, and my bike could improve which will come with more time in the saddle.  My off-season has been far more productive than in years past, meaning that I haven't just focused solely on running, but have incorporated a lot of swimming and spinkled in some riding as well (albeit in my basement).  I think that my goal of 1:36 for the Unite Half Marathon is a definitely reality and that there is a chance that I could even lower that time a bit if I have a good day.

Thursday:  Yesterday was a good day of training....tiring but good.  I was up and out of the house at 4:58AM, yes a pre-5AM departure and was in the water swimming by 5:45AM.  The pool was a bit crowded again with each lane occupied and two already doubled up.  I eventually got one swimmers attention and was able to start swimming.  I did a very good 2,200M (500M warm up, 3 x 500M, 200M cool down), the 500s were are pretty consistant for the most part, but I did start to slow during the last 200 of the final set.  I am still not fast, but I am definitely getting more efficient in the water.  I am going to get the Total Immersion CD next week and hope to strengthen my swimming a bit more.

My Thursday run is always a tough one, and yesterday was no different.  It was 4 miles (including 6 x 1:00 at 5K pace) followed by 4 x 100 strides.  I actually did the first two miles was Chris (he had a longer work out planned that I didn't have the time to do) and we ran those at around 7:15/mile pace.  On my way back I had to mix in my on minute speed bursts over the remaining two miles, so I ended up doing on minute fast, then two minutes slower, one minute fast, two minutes slower, and so on.  What a tough two miles that was.  I think my overall pace was sub-7:00 as I was really trying to push on the one minute bursts and not slowing too much on the recovery.  The came the dreaded 4 x 100s, which I was very close to bailing one....but I didn't.  The were tough and my quads were pounding, but I finished them and I am faster because of it (I think).  Then it was time for a deserved shower.

This weekend should be a good one, weather is supposed to be nice, sunny and cool.  I don't have a lot in the way of mileage since this is a step back week for me and my half marathon training.  Lots of birthday parties for my girls to go to...three actually!  Should be fun!  Sayonara!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Northeast Training...ughhh!

Training in the Northeast U.S. is tough (I consider where I live to be the NE, some might say it is Mid-Atlantic), and by tough I mean the climate.  Here in Northeast Pennsylvania we see the entire gamut of climatic change over twelve months, sometimes over the course of a week or two.  Take this past weekend for example, the temperatures soared into the mid-70s, which is a good thing...most of the time.  The problem is that two weeks ago we have about a foot of snow on the ground and the temperatures were in the 30s.  In a matter of two weeks we went from snow storm, to monsoon (yes, we had a major rain/wind strom roll through on weekend as well) and then sunny skies and beach temps a week after.  

Why should I complain?  Should I not be happy that we have been blessed with such amazing weather?  I suppose I should, I guess I am ungrateful for Mother Nature's gift.  My problem is that my body does not adjust quickly to temperature change.  This is due partly to allergies (I am very allergic to pollen and I suffer greatly at the beginning of the season) and partly to my bodies make up.  I am a warm person by nature, meaning that I am usually never cold.  I don't cover up my legs when running outside until the temperatures are sub-20F.  My wife says that I emit large amounts of body heat, thus why she has a tendency to use my legs and back as a means of warming her frigid feet.  So when the temperatures escalate 40F over a two week span, my body goes haywire and I seemingly overheat.  

The way the end of winter/beginning of spring has gone, it is going to be a rough time getting used to warm weather.  FYI, the 70s are gone and are going to be replaced with 50s for the next week or so.  I guess I should be happy, eh?

Tuesday AM:  Enough complaining about warm, sunny days.  The past two days have been good days for training.  Yesterday I got my butt out of bed by 4:50AM (4:30AM will become a reality soon) and made my way to the pool for 2,000M.  It was probably the best that I have felt in the water in two months.  I have tried to incorporate some of the techniques I have watched on YouTube of the Total Immersion (I am going to be buying the DVD next week).  I tried to swim relaxed and steamlined, gliding through the water instead of powering through it.  My average times definitely came down and I was able to maintain my pace during my 4 x 300 sets.  I also counted my stoke length and found that my faster times were when I was around 21 strokes/length, as opposed to 22, 23 or even 24 strokes/length.  I am feeling good.

Tuesday PM:  I didn't plan to run yesterday afternoon, but some meetings ended early allowing me to get out at lunch.  I really didn't want to do the speed work out that I had planned (half mile warm up, 2 x 1200M@10K pace w/600 rec, 4 x 400M@5K pace w/200 rec, 4 x 200M@5K pace w/100 rec, and 1 mile cool down), so I was happy that I was going to be able to just do a normal 4 mile run.  Well, I ended up running into Chris in the locker room and the next thing I knew we were doing that damn speed work out (BASTARD!).  I curse him, but I am glad that I did it.  I wouldn't have done it if he weren't there and when we were done I was happy that we did it.  I will be stronger and faster having done it.

Wednesday AM:  I was on the bike this morning for 50 minutes, watching the conclusion of Pineapple Express (not a fan).  The ride was OK, but I was definitely feeling the Tuesday run a bit more than usual.  I was happy to get off of the bike and into the shower.  Then it was get the girls to school day. 

Wednesday PM:  Finally an easy run.  I ran 4.3 miles with Bill and Scott at around 8 min/mile.  We started out slower than that, but as is usually the case with Scott, get him talking about something that pisses him off and...BANG!....he picks up the pace.  I think our last 2.3 miles were run at 7:45/mile.  It was all good though, I felt OK and was happy that I didn't have to chase Chris.

That is it for today.  As usual, I need to get some pics up on here.  I actually have a new BlackBerry with a camera on it so I might actually be able to take some pictures from my rides and runs.  Hopefully this weekend if the weather is nice....but not too nice.  Well not too warm that is.  Adieu!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Reality Sucks

This weekend was a real slap in the face with regard to my overall fitness.  I don't know if it is the rapid change in seasons that has occurred over the past two weeks (40F to 70F+ in that time span) or that I thought I was in better shape than I actually am.  Whatever it is, I felt like absolute crap this weekend during my first outdoor ride of the year on Saturday and then my Sunday "long" run.  I don't know what it was, I just felt beat, flat out exhausted and tired.

Let me start with Saturday, it was a gorgeous, sun was out, not a cloud in the sky.  My usual Saturday/Sunday routine is to get up around 6:45AM - 7:00AM, eat a bagel, drink some OJ or G2 while I was SportsCenter (before the kids get up), then get dressed and head out for my run or ride.  Well, this day was going to be a bit in-laws we coming over early so we could all go out for breakfast at Sweet Lorraine's in Peddlar's Village.  I thought that there might be a chance to get my hour and twenty minute ride in before they showed up, but that notion was quickly squashed as a knock on the door came at 7:30AM.  No worries, at least I would have a full stomach and lots of fuel for my afternoon ride.

Breakfast was really good, it isn't too often that I get to have thick French toast and sausage.  We had a good time, the lot of us...even thought the waitress knocked over my father-in-laws grapefruit juice all over the table (no one got wet).  We then had to swing back home to put together a plan of attack for the day because we were going to be cruising around Bucks County looking for some things to do (I was unaware of the need for a "plan" as I initially thought it was going to just be breakfast). 

We spend the next few hours at various places, Peace Valley Lavendar Farm (my allergies were rough, Peace Valley Park (some hiking and tiring out of the girls), and lunch at M.O.M's (great place in Doylestown).  Then it was back home....dun-dun-dun...and finally time for my ride.  Of course I had to swap out the trainer tire on my rear wheel for a road tire first.  It was kind of a pain in tha butt; however it is good practice for changing a flat.  Then I was off around 3:30PM and loving the feeling of riding at 25MPH away from my house.  It ended up being just short of 1:20 in the saddle, there were plenty of hills, some flats, some downhills and a lot of frustration.  I wouldn't say that I was hurting, but I didn't feel as great as I thought I would.  Having been putting one or two days a week on my indoor trainer I expected to feel better than I did, I thought I would feel a bit quicker, my cadence a bit brisker.  It just didn't happen like that.  I will say that my climbing felt pretty good though.  I think I ended up going for just over 20 miles (17.5MPH) and I had my first outdoor ride of the year under my belt.

Flash forward to Sunday and my quest to get out for an early run was stimied by church.  I probably could have gotten it in early, but I didn't want to stress my wife out by dumping all of the responsibility of getting our daughters fed and ready by 9:00AM.  So instead of getting out at 7:30 for my 11 mile run, I had to put it off until the afternoon.  As is the case most weekends, if I don't get out early to get my bike or run it, it doesn't get done until after lunch.  After church I had the girls while my wife went to get tickets to my daughters dance recital and then a trip to the food store.  She got back around 12:30PM, and then everyone had to eat lunch and then the next thing you know it is 2:00PM and I am just getting out for my run...consequently the hottest day we have had this year - ~75F.

I could tell right away that I wasn't feeling it.  My legs were still a bit heavy from the ride on Saturday and I just wasn't getting the turn over.  This of course make my decision to run a relatively hilly route probably wasn't the best idea.  Regardless I pushed on and suffered through it at a pedestrian pace (8:30/mile).  I actually came up a bit short on my distance (10.58 miles), but I just didn't care.  I was hot and I was tired.  I really wanted to go out for a 30 minute bike ride following my run, but I just wanted to get inside and get a cool shower.

I am hoping that my training this past week was affected by the increase in temperature and not a lessening of my perceived of fitness.  The temperatures are supposed to fall back to normal over the next week or two, so I should be able to get a better gauge as to where my fitness is.  The Unite Half Marathon is only 27 days away, I am hoping to run in around 1:35:30.  I will be pretty disappointed if I don't come close to that, I feel like I have been training pretty hard and I should be able to reach that.

Oh, did 1,800 in the pool this morning (500M wu, 3 x 400, 100M cd).  I felt pretty good considering the lingering soreness in my legs.  I am looking into "Total Immersion" as a way to help me swim more efficiently (thanks Susietri!).  I need to do something because I need to get faster in the water without expending so much energy.  Work time!  Ciao!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Two-a-Days on St. Patty's Day

Things are heating up and I am getting busy.  Two-a-days are officially up me, not that I hadn't been doing them before, but now it is more official.  I am still trying to figure out which training plan to go with:
The main reason for going with the 30-week plan would be that I could fully train for the half-marathon I have coming up on April 18th (Unite Half-Marathon) and hopefully set a PR.  I just worry that the running load for the TriFuel plan isn't enough to sustain where I want to be and I rish doing too much too early in the season.  Also, I am still trying to build my swim up to a respectable level where I am can manage 2,000M+ at a solid pace (I am not there yet).  I will probably have a decision by Friday, I am leaning toward the 30-week plan right now though. (and life), here is what the past two days have been:

Tuesday:  Swam 2,000M and felt pretty good doing it.  I definitely have to start getting to the pool earlier since I am struggling to finish by 6:45AM and then rush off to work.  I am thinking that I have to start getting up at 4:30AM, so that I can be in the water by 5:30AM at the absolute latest.  I did a speed work out with Chris and Bill yesterday afternoon.  It was 2 x 1 mile at 10K pace (7:10/mile...too slow), with an 800M recovery, then 6 x 200M at 5K pace (actually we were closer to mile pace....5:30/mile), with 200M recovery.  I always hate speed workouts when we do them because they hurt, but when I am done with it I am psyched that I did it.

FYI, yesterday was a bad day for reasons that can not be discussed.  I was glad to get out and run at lunch to help things a bit.  Also, picking my girls up from school and having them just be happy to see me made things a whole lot better.  Oh, we did have a preview of my oldest daughters 1st Grade art show last night, it was awesome (I'll have to post a picture in the next day or two of her artwork).  Thursday is the BIG night where we get to hear (and see) her sing with her classmates during her schools "Spotlight on the Arts" show.  I can't wait!

Today:  Got up at 5:40AM and rode the trainer for 50 minutes while watching "Pineapple Express".  I wasn't really into it, I guess because I'm not one to do drugs.  I suppose if you are stoner it would have been hilarious....for me not so much.  The ride went well though.  It was breakfast with Daddy this morning, just me and the little ones (my dear wife went to work early since she is taking my oldest to Hip-Hop Dance tonight).  We had a good time and they were awesome.  They were all decked out in green for St. Patrick's Day. 

This afternoon was supposed to be an easy 3.5 - 4 mile run with the whole gang from work,  Bill, Chris, and.....Scott.  Scott used to run a lot more that he has lately, work and life have gotten in the way, but he is going to head out with us today.  Well, we started out nice an easy, the first mile at 8:27 and the second (uphill) at 8:31.  At around the 1.7 mile mark Scott peeled off and we pressed on for another tenth of a mile before turning around.  Well, it was at that point that we picked up the pace and the chase was on.  We joked around about trying to catch Scott, who now had a 1/4 mile lead on us, but we didn' actually say, "let's try and catch him."  I guess it didn't need to be said.  Our next mile was at 7:13 and the last .62 miles was 7:30 pace.  We didn't catch Scott, although we could have had he not ducked into the back entrance of the building.  Our run ended up being 3.62 miles in 28:50 (7:58/mile), and we all felt pretty good afterward.  So our easy 3.6 mile run got turned on its ear in the end.  I think there will be a "I [hate, like, indifferent] Scott' post in the near future.

Work time.  Later!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Wet & Wonderful Weekend

Actually it wasn't all that wonderful, but it was wet.  The forecast for Saturday was two to three inches of rain and winds that could exceed 50 MPH; Sunday was supposes to be very similar.  What was on tap for me?  5 miles plus 6 x 100M on Saturday and 11 miles on Sunday (actually found out afterwards that it was supposed to be 10 miles).  I didn't even have to look out the windows to know that it wasn't going to be whole lot of fun running in the elements.  I should state here that I do have a treadmill in my basement; however, I am banned from using it because back in 2007 I cracked the platform on it when training for the NYC Marathon.  It actually isn't a bad thing that I am not allowed on it, it forces me outside to run, which ultimately I enjoy anyway.

So on Saturday morning, after eating my bagel with jelly and downing some Gatorade G2, I go dressed and headed out the door, into the monsoon.  The first quarter mile or so always sucks when running in the rain and wind.  I assume this is so because you are warm and dry and you are suddenly thrust into a completely different enviroment.  After that period of acclimation I tend to forget about the rain and wind and just run.  Of course on this day whenever I came upon a puddle (and there were plenty of "puddles" or rather spontaneous lakes) I did everything possible to avoid soaking my running shoes.  This proved to be an impossible task, by the end of the first mile my feet were sopping wet.

The run itself went pretty well, a bit slower than I expected but good not the less.  The first two miles I ran around a 7:40/mile pace, if not a little faster.  The wind was at my back and I was just cruising, not really feeling the ill affects of the weather all that much.  Then it came time to head back home....HOLY CRAP!  My nice jaunt in what not seemed like mildly wet weather turned bad.  I was now running straight into the wind and pounding rain.  My 7:40 pace turned to 8:30 and I was getting soaked.  I trudged on and despite the head wind on the way back I still managed to finish the five miles in 40:05 (8:01/mile).  Then it was time for my 6 x 100s, of course all back into the wind.  I pushed myself pretty hard and my times were between :16 (with the wind) and :19 (against the wind).  I was happy to have it over and done with....time for a hot shower

I hoped that the rest of my day would be spent lounging around the house, just vegging out.  No such luck.  My four year old daughter had a birthday party at "Let's Bounce Around", the local hot spot for birthday parties.  Off we went around 3:15PM, into the hurricane like conditions.  The party was....well, it was a bunch of four and five year olds running around crazy, followed by pizza, juice and cake.  I think it should be done in the opposite order....pump them full of sugar, then let them run around and be crazy.  Of course that would probably lead to a whole lot of vomitting on all of the equipment.  My daughter had a blast.  The drive home was nuts, the four or five mile drive took us over 25 minutes, there were lakes and rivers where I have never seen a lake or river.  There were trees where I had never seen trees.  The road were a mess....just crazy weather!

Sunday wasn't any better, actually it was a bit better, the wind had died down significantly.  The rain did not.  I had to go through the same hemming and hawing that I did on Saturday before finally man-ing up and geting out there for my "long" run.  Overall, it was good, a little slower than I wanted to go.  11 miles in 1:30:45 (8:15/mile), with my splits all over the place.  It was a relatively hilly run so my mile splits are all over the place (mile 1 - 8:07 vs. mile 4 - 9:15 vs. mile 11 - 7:43).  Again, I was estatic just to have it over and done with and get get a nice hot shower.

So that was my weekend.  What does this week hold?  Ironman training is suppose to start today but I am rethinking my training program.  I was going to follow a 36 week plan but now I am thinking about a 30 week plan.  The reason is that I am training for a half marathon now and the Ironman plan would be a bit of a step back for where my run is right now.  The other option is to modify the plan a bit until after my race in April.  I am going to review my plan options again tonight.  Oh, I did get in the pool this morning, a little late, but I did get in a quick 1,000M (21:11).

Work time has arrived, must earn the money.  Cheers!

Friday, March 12, 2010

I Like Bill

Bill is the other guy that I run with at lunch (see picture to the right).  I like Bill.  He is the one that always keeps everything light and funny.  Some days he'll show up hating everything that is going on around him and he just rips into anyone and everyone, but in a good and humorous way.  Other times he is just a guy, a self proclaimed "traditionally handsome" guy that just does guy things, talks about guy things and thinks about guys....err, rather things about guy things.  What are some of the other reasons that I like Bill?
  • Every 5K I have run with Bill I have beaten him (even by as little as a couple tenths of a second)
  • The inevitable flatulance that occurs on every run
  • He becomes my running partner when Chris leaves us behind
  • We complain about the same things when running
  • He is a sprinter like me and he has the same hatred of Chris' easy stride that propels him along at a pace much faster than us
  • He can push me in the 100M repeats we do
  • He thinks like a guy and that is a good thing
  • He jokes, but doesn't complain when either Chris or I are late.
  • He will do any workout that Chris or I come up with without asking questions, he just smiles and does it.
So Bill is a good guy and he is good to have out on those lunch time runs.  There should be a couple times this spring and summer where we face off at a 5K....I hope that I can continue my dominance over him.

What has been going on since Tuesday?  Well, I did finally top the 2,000M barrier in the pool on Wednesday morning (yeah!).  I think it took me around 44 minutes to complete it all...I was actually following the plan up on the white board on the pool deck (it was the swim team's daily practice).  I was definitely spent at the end of it.  I was supposed to get on the bike later on that night but I was wiped, I had nothing left after a long day of work and travel.  I believe I passed out around 9:30PM.

Yesterday was a good day.  I had the job of getting my oldest on the school bus and my younges to Pre-K, which meant I got to sleep in until 6:20AM.  It is a much better way to start the day, sleeping "late" and spending it with your kids, rather than splashing around the pool at 6AM (not that I don't enjoy becoming a better swimmer, but let's be honest).  We had a good morning that included some tears when Mommy left, but ended with us all laughing and having fun.

Work was work, I am so busy, I need an assistant or two.  I did manage to get out for a strong run out at lunch.  It was an easy .5 mile warm-up, then 4 miles at half-marathon pace (7:20/mile), an 800M recovery (8:30/mile), then 1 mile at 10K pace (7:05), followed by 6 x 100M strides.  All in all it was about 6.5 miles and all of it hurt.  I must say that as much as it sucked when I was doing it, when I finished I felt like I was going to puke....actually I felt great that I had completed a tough workout, one that is going to make me a stronger/faster runner.

Today I was back in the pool and I managed 2,050M (500M warm-up; 1,000M straight swim; 400M pull buoy; 150 cool down).  I believe it was in 44:23; I wanted to go a bit longer but my strong was deteriorating fast and I thought it best to just get out while I was ahead.  I really felt my stroke during the 1,000M portion, I stayed a consistant 2:13/100M through the entire swim.  I didn't start out too fast and then fade, I managed the same pace for the first 800M and even picked it up for the last 200M (2:10/100M).  I am getting better in the water, I am trying to swim more relaxed, and focus on swimming "downhill" and having a good pull (ah, so many things to have to think about, why didn't my parents get me on a swim team when I was a kid).

Nothing on tap for tonight, although a bit of time on the bike would be a good thing.  I have a decent weekend on tap, training-wise, 5 miles plus 6 x 100M strides on Saturday and 11 miles on Sunday.  Then.....dun-dun-dun.....Monday starts WEEK 1 OF IRONMAN TRAINING!!!!!  Holy cow, it is actually here.  This is where things are going to get interesting.  Work time, peace out!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I Hate Chris

I hate Chris!  Yes, I hate him and that picture over there to the right is him.  What the heck is up with that look anyway?  So, who is Chris?  We work at the same company (different departments) and usually run together at lunch, along with Bill (I like Bill).  He is the rabbit of our small lunch time running group, the one we are constantly trying to keep up with.  So you might ask, why do I hate Chris?  Well, let me list the various reasons why:
  • He is always late for our 11:45AM meeting time.
  • He is much faster than Bill and I.
  • His watch is always telling us that we are running too slowly (he has a Garmin 405 set up with pace notifications)....beep-ba-di-beep-beep-beep...."SHUT IT THE HELL UP!"
  • His first marathon ever he ran in under 3:20
  • He doesn't know how to read a training program's speed workout
  • He runs too fast.
  • He is a liberal
  • He makes Bill and I run outside of our comfort zone, making our runs much harder than they should be.
  • He is metrosexual
That about sums it up.  Now for some clarification (as if I need to clarify), Chris is a good guy and a good friend.  He along with Bill and I always have a ton of laughs when we are running together, just ripping on each other.  The other think about Chris that I was killing him about today during our speed workout was that he was running the wrong paces, I thought he was running too fast.  Then it hit me, I shouldn't be complaining that he is running too fast, I should be doing my best to keep up with him. 

I am a pretty fast sprinter, having run a 4.4 second forty yard dash in full lacrosse gear back in college.  But, I am not a fast runner, or rather I am not as fast as I want to be as a runner.  Right now some of my running goals are: a sub-20 minute 5K, a sub 1:35 half-marathon, and a sub 3:30 marathon.  The funny thing about running and goals in general is that once one achieves and surpasses a goal, there is a brief period of happiness, but then we quickly set new ones (e.g. sub-19 minute 5K, qualify for the Boston Marathon, etc.).

So having said that, as much as I may curse at Chris and complain that he is running too fast, I really need to shut my pie hole and pick up the pace, because the only way that I am going to get faster is to get out of my comfort zone and run faster.  Thank you Chris...but I do still hate you a little, you liberal metrosexual bastard!

Oh yeah, did some swimming this week, 1,750M yesterday morning and felt good.  My sinuses have finally cleared up, thanks to Allegra and Flonase (my allergy medication).  I was able to swim with out gagging on post-nasal drip and gasping for air with every other stroke.  Granted I wasn't blazing down the lane, but I was managing. 

Today was in the pool for another 1,750M work out, but this time I tried to swim a bit faster during my 10x 100s....and I was successful.  All of my spilts were under 2:10 which is stellar or me.  Hopefully when I drop the extra 10 - 15 lbs that I need to lose that will help me in the pool a bit, as well as while running and riding).  I also did a solid speed work out with Bill and Chris today, running where I was definitely uncomfortable with our 800s, 400s, and 200s all under 6:50/mile pace. 

Work time and then get the girls.  Planning on taking the dog for a walk with the girls when we get home, should be fun.  Have to get outside the weather is just too nice!  Cheers!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Racing Myself

What a beautiful and amazing day.  Today was by far the nicest day of 2010....sunny, warm, and oh yeah SUNNY AND WARM!!!!  With that said, it is a shame that me and my family spend the majority of the beautifulness cleaning our cars.  At least we were outside doing it, eh?  Really it had to be done, three months of dirt, grime, salt and sand was caked on both or our rides and they weren't looking so healthy.  I am happy to say that after two hours of rinsing, scrubing, rinsing, scrubing, drying, vacuuming, wiping and then staring, the cars were immaculate.  I should point out that during the whole car-washing-thing, my girls were out riding their bikes, scooters, rollerskates (yes, old school rollerskates), and just having fun in the 55F weather, that really felt like 75F (until the sun got a bit lower in the sky and the chill came back).

So what did today hold for me?  Well, an easy six mile run which I was kind of looking forward to and kind of not.  [Aside] See, yesterday I had to do my simulated 5K, which is much harder than it sounds.  In an race, unless you are the front runner, you have the opportunity to chase down other runners.  Yesterday I did not have that luxury.  I had only my Garmin Forerunner 305, a goal pace and my legs to guide me.  My goal was 21:15 (6:50/mile) and as I started out it looked like it just might happen as I was cruising rather easily at about a 6:40/mile pace for the initial .5 mile.  Then I eased a bit as the road went from flat to slight incline.  Still I manged to bang out the first mile in 6:52....I should point out that I was chasing no one, so tough to keep your pace when one has to push oneself.  The first half of the second mile is definitely uphill most of the way and it was reflected in my time as mile number two was a slow 7:16 (or thereabouts).  I decided that despite the weak second mile I was going to step it up for  the last 1.11 mile.  I gave it all that I could give....have I mentioned that it was just me out there?  I turned into my developement and had only .25 miles left and my pace was holding steady at 6:55.  I pushed as hard as I could and finished in 21:45 (6:59/mile).  I would call my run yesterday a success and think I did a pretty good job pushing myself.

Back to today, six miles at a decent pace, 50F, sunny and the slightest of winds.  I wish I could say that I felt great during my run.  I can't.  I wish I could say that I felt OK.  I can't.  I wish I could say I enjoyed my run.  I can't.  Why?  Well, I still don't fell all that great physically, nose is really congested, which consequently just wears me out.  [Here is where I talk about how I toughed it out]  Despite not feeling great, I still went out and tried to run hard, I wanted to be under 8:00/mile.  It just wasn't in the cards today.  I did manage to do it in 8:07/mile pace with four of the six miles under 7:59, and the last two in 7:54 and 7:36 respectively.  I choose not to talk about miles three and four (both uphill and both ugly).

Oh, I didn't really talk about Saturday all that much.  My sister-in-law, her husband and daughter came out on Friday night to spend part of the weekend with us.  We ended up going in to downtown Doylestown to just walk around and get outside.  We had a great time.  I don't think that I have ever really walked around town as much as we did and we went into a ton of great shops (including Let Them Eat Cupcakes, Doggie Deli, Raymer's Homemade Candies‎, etc) and had a great lunch at MOM's

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Illin' (and I don't mean like the Beastie Boys)

Dry mouth.  That is what I awoke with randomly throughout the night, my nose stuffed and my mouth the innocent victim, essential a desert.  This always seems to happen to me as the weather starts to turn from the cold winter to the warmer spring-esque temperatures.  The frustrating part is that I didn't feel 100% yesterday and did think to myself that I might be starting to get a bit sick....then WHAMO! it hits me last night.  My only hope is that it will pass quickly (whatever "it" is I mean).

I managed to get on my trainer last night and did a quick 30 minute spin while watching "Modern Family".  I probably should have gone for an hour but I just didn't have it in me and I really wanted to get to sleep early.  As it turned out I didn't fall asleep until aftern 11:00PM, partly because I was lazy in getting showered and in bed, and partly because my wife was folding laundry and then was watching TV late.  I did ponder going into our guest room to sleep, but nixed the idea when I thought about the ramifications it might have (my lovely wife might have gotten the wrong idea).

This morning was tough.  I kept waking up at random times, 3:30AM, 3:55AM, 4:30AM and then of course I slept through my alarm and didn't get up until 5:20AMDAMN!  I contemplated not going swimming, but then I convinced myself that I would be better off getting in the water and that it might help to clean out my sinuses (FYI, I do not blow snot in the pool, I keep a towel on the pool deck to handle any discharge).  The first 200M went pretty well, although my shoulders were burning, so sore and tired.  I then managed to get in another 450M before I realized that it just wasn't happening for me.  I was totally wiped, I had nothing in me and ultimately my stroke was deteriorating quickly.  I didn't want to be counter-productive and regress the improvements I have made in my stroke, so I opted to just cut my losses and get out of the pool.

I am supposed to do 3 miles w/ 4 x 100M strides this afternoon.  I think I will be able to do the workout without any issues.  Plus tomorrow is supposed to be a rest day (optional swim), so I may take full advantage of that and just not do anything.  My half-marathon training plan calls for a 5K race on Saturday, but I can't find one anywhere.  I may just get up early on Saturday and run 3.1 miles as quickly as I can and simulate a race.  Too bad I don't live closer to my Chubb running pals.

Last bit of news, I am eleven days away from the official start of my Ironman Training program.  March 15th will be 36 weeks from Ironman Arizona and it officially kicks off the start of my training plan, with a two week orientation.  I am actually really looking forward to starting it, I do much better with a formal plan as opposed to the pieced together one that I have been following this winter.  Work time.  Ciao!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Winter Series Pics

Quick post, here are some good (and not so good) pics of me from the past few weeks of the Winter Series. 

This around 2.5 miles into the Half-Marathon (actually 12.6 miles).  Look at all of the snow on the path, it was slow and slippery going for a good 1/4 to 1/2 mile.  Also, I couldn't get my attire right, one minute I was freezing with the wind whippng me all over the place, the next I was over-heating.

Below is the Pick Your Way 5.2 Mile, I felt pretty good that day, not great.  Actually warmed up a bit, maybe to around 34F.

Below is the start of the Staggered Start 4.6 mile race, I am running up the hill only about 100 yds from the start.

These last three pictures are from the final few hundred yard of the Staggered Start.  They are pretty comical if you look at them closely.  In the first I am just cruising to the finish, looking pretty good...but then in the second it looks like I am about to yak all over the place.  In the final picture all of a sudden everything is fine again and the woman on the left is looking at me, probably pissed that I am going to pass her so close to the finish.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The End of the Winter Series

Yesterday was officially the last race of the Bucks County Road Runners Winter Series.  I can't say that I am sad about it, actually it is nice to know that I won't feel obligated to drive down to Tyler State Park next Sunday morning or any Sunday morning for the next ten months.  What I will say is that as far as keeping me motivated during this cold and snowy winter, it has served its purpose and I think I am faster now than I was three months ago.  It has build a solid base for my running as my half-marathon training is in full swing and my Ironman base building is moving along.

So yesterday was the Staggered Start 4.6 mile race, a race that is staged so that just about everyone will finish around the same time.  No one except for a select few know how the "staggers" are computed, but in essence they are based on previous race performances by each individual.  Based on those performances you are assigned a time (mine was 31:50) and you start running when you time is shown on the clock at the Start/Finish line.  The lower your number the sooner you start (slower runners) and the higher the later you start (faster runners).  The race is unique in two ways, the first being that you are trying to catch as many runners as possible by the end of the race (I caught my fair share), and the second that you are running fast so that you don't get passed (yes, I was passed many times). 

Before the race, knowing that I needed to run eight to nine miles on the day, I opted to do an easy three mile run to loosen up a bit.  This probably wasn't the wisest thing to do as I was not feeling all that great when it came time to race.  I did my best to catch other runners and to not get caught.  I ran pretty hard, but not as hard as I could have had I not done the three miles prior.  I finished at 1:03:20, which is 31:50 (my stagger) plus 31:30 (my run time).  I was happy with my finish, although I wish I could have run a bit faster.  My pace for the run was 6:50/mile, but I really think it could have been better.  C'est le vie.

After the race I went home and watched the Liverpool v. Blackburn soccer match (2 - 1 win for the Might Reds!) and then caught most of the USA v. Canada Olympic hockey finals (BOOO!  Canada won 3 - 2 in OT).  By the time my wife and I put the girls in bed at 8:00PM, I was pretty beat.  I think I probably fell asleep by 9:30PM

Today has been a good day for me.  I banged out 1,750M in the pool (500M warm-up; 5 x 200M; 250M cool down), and felt good doing it.  Oh, I forgot to mention that I picked up a new pair of goggles, Speedos.  I have been using the Aquasphere Kaiman since I started swimming but have been having issues with leakage lately.  I decided it was time to get a new pair of goggles and I ran over to a local running/swimming store (Training Zone Sports) to pick out a pair.  Well, I wore my new Speedo Vanquisher 2.0s this morning and I didn't have one problem with them, they fit great!  I also grabbed a bottle of shampoo/conditioner while we were there, Summer Solutions, that claims to remove the chlorine smell from hair (so far so good).

At lunch I just did 4.3 miles in 34:05 (7:55/mile), 152 BPM, I was trying to run it at an easy pace and to keep my heartrate down.  Of course on the back part of the out-and-back run I picked it up a bit and ended up doing negative splits.  There are worst things that can happen I suppose.

Now it is time to get some work done before heading out to pick up my girls.  Later!