Friday, July 30, 2010

Just Training and Being Lucky

Things are going a bit better today than they have recently.  I'm not sure why, I just feel a little bit more at peace with things.  Then again, maybe it is more about me being exhausted and less being at peace....I'll take it though.  Not much to report other than the fact that I really need to catch up on my sleep or more ideally, I need to start getting to sleep by 9:00PM so the 4:20AM alarm doesn't hurt so much.

Ugh, up at 4:25AM....God I hate that time of the morning (or is that night?).  I was in the water and swimming by 5:20AM, and I felt OK.  The swim workout that I had on tap was one that I am not all that fond of because the distances are a bit awkward.  Here is what I had:
  • 500m warm up
  • 4 x 100m drills
  • 7 x 125m @20 seconds
  • 7 x 75m @ 15 seconds
  • 8 x 50m drills
  • 300m cool down
That extra 25m on the end of the 125s and 75s is a pain in the ass.  I think for the most part I got stronger as I went along and overall I was pretty happy with my effort.  I finished the 3,000m workout in 1:02:00.

As for my Thursday bike, I was able to ride at lunch time for a happy that I didn't have to do it on the trainer in the basement (or was I).  I mapped a ride out that would take me from my office, around Round Valley Reservoir and then back to work.  On paper it looked like it was going to be tough, a couple 7%+ climbs, but with some good downhills as well.  Well, it was definitely tougher than my trainer, that's for sure.  I was soaked about halfway through it and my heart rate was through the roof, thanks to the steep climbs.  The whole time I was riding I was thinking about home much stronger I would be as a result of climbs.  All in all the ride was 20.25 miles and it took me 1:07:00 (18.0 MPH average), a time and average that I am totally OK with given the terrain.

As for my sleep on Thursday night, I think that I was up until about 10:45PM playing FIFA 2010 (with my friend who lives in Florida) was probably a mistake.  I had all intentions of being done by 10:00PM but it just didn't happen.  Thus I only managed about five solid hours of sleep.  I am so stupid!!

I allotted myself an extra five minutes of sleep this morning, like that made any difference.  As usual I was at the gym by 5:15AM.  What did I have in store?  A straight 3,000m swim.  I hate the straight swim, but it had to be done.  My first 200m was good (~4:00), then my second was horrific (~4:24).  I don't know what the heck I was thinking.  I managed to pull it all together (if that is what you want to call my lack of swimming speed) and averaged around 4:15/200m for the remaining 2,800m.  The whole time I was swimming I couldn't help but think that every other triathlon I do this year will most likely be wetsuit legal which means that my swim times will improve dramatically (WAHOO!!!).  3,000M - 1:03 (2:07/100m)

This afternoon I have run planned for lunch, 1:00 Z2, at :45 minutes, insert 7.5 min Z4.  Looks like around an easy 5.5 mile run followed by a 7.5 minute hell-fest before my 7.5 minute cool down.  The temperature has dropped a bit, so the run shouldn't be that bad.  As for this weekend, tomorrow is a 3.5 hour ride (no route planned yet) FIB a :30 minute run.  Sunday, :30 minute ride followed by a 1:15 run.  Add all that up and it is my longest training week to day - 13 HOURS!!!  Peace out!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Good Days, Bad Day

After Saturday's race it was back to Ironman training.  There is not rest for the weary and I couldn't rest the day after the race, I had training to do and I couldn't bail on it!

I was able to sleep in until about 7:15AM, thanks to a tired wife and two exhausted little girls.  I lounged around until around 8:30AM when I decided that it was time to get my ass in gear and head out for my three hour ride.  I was on the road a little before 9:00AM and it was already hot out, Africa hot.  I realized right then why it is better to leave the house by 5:15AM rather than 9:00AM.  I soldiered on and rode out to Evansburg State Park, which ended up being kind of a let down.  I guess I expected a big lush park and although nice and the fact that I was only really on the eastern side, it wasn't all that interesting.  I was happy to make the turnaround and head for home.

I don't have a lot to say about the ride other than it was HOT and I had just enough fluids to get me home.  I ended up riding 54 miles in 3:00:00, averaging 18 MPH.  It was hilly, hot and humid...I can live with those numbers.

I followed the ride with a 25 minute run (was supposed to be 30, but I cut it short), which was supposed to be run in Zone 2 (heart rate).  I had to walk a few times to get my heart rate down, the ride and heat were driving it way up and I couldn't cool down.  I was happy to get it over and done with.  When I got home I found myself locked out of the house so I went to the back yard, set up a chair, grabbed a hose and did my best to keep cool until the ladies arrived home.

Rest day!!!  It was so great to be able to rest all day and not do anything.  I picked up the girls from school, got a lot of love from my youngest (big hug and kiss) and a little from my oldest (moderate hug). 

I was up at 4:25AM and immediately asked myself, "Why am I doing this?"  I didn't dwell on it, I simply got dressed and headed to the pool.  I put in 3,000 meters (500wu, 4 x 100 drills, 200-300-400-500 @:45 seconds, 8 x 50, 300 cool down) and felt OK doing it.  I had some really good smooth laps and some struggling to get through them laps.  It took me about 1:02:00 to finish it all up.

Work, work, work, then an afternoon run.  It was hot out, but no nearly as humid.  I made sure that I was drinking water throughout the day and I think it made a big difference on my run.  I did a 10 minute warm up, then 2 x 4:30 Z4 with 1:30 recovery, followed by a Z2 run for the remainder of the hour run.  The Z4 sections were tough and I pushed it hard (around 7:00/pace).  I ran around 7.4 miles in 1:00:59.  I was surprised by how good I felt afterwards, it had to be the water I drank, properly hydrated was I!

Another late-early morning, meaning I slept in until 5:15AM (yea!).  Within 15 minutes of getting up I was in the basement and on my trainer riding (45 minutes) along watching the 2007 Ironman World Championships (love them!).  I felt OK and was sweating like crazy....I forgot to set up the fan.  I did my best to push myself and put in a good ride.  I followed that immediately with a 30 minute run all in Z2 (heart rate).  I started out at an easy pace but picked it up at the end.  All in all a really good morning work out and totally done by 6:50AM!!!!  So psyched!

So above are the good for the bad day.  I am really not happy at work right now.  We have undergone a significant reorganization and new people have been brought in.  My role has been turned upside down and the focus has shifted 180°.  The past three weeks have been very frustrating for me and I am looking to make things better for myself.  I hope that everything turns around soon.  I want to be happy at work, I don't want to dread every moment that I am there.  Stay cool and be happy!

Monday, July 26, 2010

RR: New Jersey State Triathlon (Sprint) - OMG Hardware!!!

I went to my sports doctors (Advanced Sports Chiropractic) to have my neck worked on at 2:15PM Friday afternoon.  It had been bothering me for the past week and a half and I needed some relief before the race on Saturday.  I suppose that it helped a bit, but nothing dramatic.  From there I had to pick up my girls and head over to Mercer County Park to pick up my race packet.  Nothing too exciting to report, just picked up my number, chip and actually was gifted a dry-fit t-shirt that I didn't pay the extra cash for (score!). 

Friday night was uneventful which was a good thing.  I was in bed by 10:30PM, probably a little late, but I wasn't able to get in bed any sooner....too many last minute things to remember to pack.

Up at 4:30AM and out of the house by 5:00AM.  I ate a package of Pop-Tarts on the way along with a bottle of Powerade.  At the race site, I was body marked by a 10-year old boy who apparently just learned how to write his numbers, and write them really BIG.  I laughed it off, racked my bike and set up transition.  Again, uneventful morning leading up to the race start.  I did manage to get in a decent warm-up which helped to loosen up my neck (yeah!)

Swim - 500 meters
The swim was a little rough, and I mean that in the literal sense.  There was a lot more contact than I have had in any other triathlon.  I was dragged under twice, swam over twice, pulled back a few times, and generally man-handled for the first 300 meters.  Once I made the turn to shore I was able to start swimming in a nice groove and cruise.  I think because of all of the contact, I was more tired than I expected to be getting out of the water.  Luckily I immediately saw/heard my wife, girl, parents, and mother-in-law which gave me a boost of energy and I flew up into transition.  There is a good 100 meter run/climb out of the water to transition that goes towards the swim time, so my actually time is a bit skewed. 
Swim time - 11:12 (2:14/100m) - 275th out of 1,357

T1 - 1:28 - really happy with my transition, only about 20 seconds off the fastest (one of the race leaders).

Bike - 11.5 miles
After getting on my bike and getting into my shoes I thought I was just start flying.  That was not the case.  I think my heart rate was really high and I was having a bit of a problem with my breathing.  It took about two or three miles before I felt better, but I never felt really good on the ride.  I think the heat and humidity definitely played a part in that.  It was just after 8:00AM and it was already 85F+ and really humid, conditions that I don't do well in.  I plugged along as best as I could constantly picking off cyclists from the earlier waves.  I tried to keep my cadence up around 100 RPMs and just pedalled hard.  I don't have good ride stats because my Garmin got all messed up about a 1/2 mile out of transition.  I was never passed on the bike and I never saw anyone from my age group the entire ride.  It was definitely odd, but I didn't think much of it.  I finally made my way back to transition doing pretty good, but definitely feeling the heat.  I saw my family as I was racing down the shoot to transition and again got another boost of adrenaline.  Bike time - 31:59 (21.6 MPH) - 56th out of 1,357

T2 - 1:11 - Again, really good transition, only mistake was almost forgetting my race number belt, luckily I was only about 10 feet away when I remembered.

Run - 3.1 miles
One word....HOT!!!!  Even as I was running out of transition I could tell how uncomfortable the run was going to be.  I saw my wife running along side of me down the exit shoot, she was yelling to everyone that I was coming.  I was able to give my daughter (oldest) a high five as I ran by, so awesome to see her and everyone there.  I felt like crap for the entire run, never once feeling like I was running smoothly.  The whole time I felt like I was slogging along through the heat and humidity.  The first mile took forever, but I was only passed by one guy from an earlier wave and I must have passed at least 20.  At least 1/4 of the people I passed were walking, it was just so friggin' hot out there.  I continued to check out the numbers of the guys coming the opposite way to see if there was anyone in my age group that I might be able to catch, but I never saw anyone.  I thought it was odd, but I never thought much about it.  About half-way through the run (at the turn around) I was passed again by a guy I had no chance of catching...that was it for me being passed.  I continued to make my way through the field of runners in front of me and watching what looked like a walk-a-thon for the rest of the folks out there.  Finally, I saw the finish chute and I pick up the pace a bit.  I could hear people calling my name (thank you Lynch family!), then I heard my wife and family yelling for me; I gave them a wave and a smile and made my way to the finish.  I didn't have anyone to catch ahead of me so I just cruised in.  Not a great run, but considering the conditions (and the walking wounded out on the course) I am OK with it.  Run time - 23:24 (7:33) - 86th out of 1,357

Final Time - 1:09:19
Overall:  48th out of 1,357
Gender:  43rd out of 755
Age Group:  3rd out of 123

Post-Race Comments
It was a brutal day, with temps in the mid-90s when I finished.  I would have like to have gone a bit faster in every leg, but conditions just wouldn't allow it.  I was about 30 seconds slower than last year, with my swim time about 1:10 slower (wetsuits were permitted last year).  I wanted to stick around for the post-race festivities and see about awards but I had Daddy-duty (youngest daughter had a birthday party at 10:00AM) and had to leave by 9:30AM.  When I got home around 1:00PM, I checked the final results from the race and BAM!  there it was:

I placed 3rd in my Age Group (M 35 - 39)

Holy Crap!  Granted my time was not even close to the top two guys, but still, 3rd in my age group!  This is only my second award ever (the first an AG 3rd place in a tiny 5k).  I thought back to the bike and the run, and how odd it was that I didn't really see anyone in around my age.  I guess I know why now, they were all behind me.  What a great way to end the day.  Now if I can only find out how I am supposed to get that darn award (I have emailed the race director already).

What's next?  Back to training with my next race either Saturday, August 7th (Born to Tri in Asbury Park, NJ) or Sunday, August 29th (Riverstock in Sunbury, PA).  I am signed up for Riverstock (Olympic distance), but not for Born to Tri (Sprint) as it doesn't really fit into my training, but we'll see.  Stay cool!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Surfing in Lavallette

First let me state that I am not a surfer.  I do go surfing on occasion, but for the most part I am an 38 year old guy that never had the opportunity to learn to surf as a young kid (opting for the much easier body/boogie boarding).  However, around 10 -- 15 years ago I decided to try to learn how to surf.  I have gotten OK at it, being able to stand up and ride waves of very small height with relative confidence.  I ride an 8'-6" "Farrelly by Gordon & Smith" long board that was left at my grandmothers house around 20 years ago by a friend of my cousin.  I make due with what I have.

So with all of that said, here are some pictures of me from this past Saturday night, surfing down in Lavallette on 2' - 3' waves.  It was some much fun getting out there and splashing around in the surf.  The fact that I was able to catch more than a few waves and go "back-side" was a revelation for me and got me totally stoked.  I vow to try and get out at least a few more times before the summer is over....I just hope there are waves when we go down.

Here I am going back-side on a "massive" two foot wave...I am concentrating so hard at this point.

Doing my best to go left and get into the "gaping" barrel of another 2' wave.

This is how most of rides end up, with me flailing helplessly as I go one way and my board goes the other.  Still fun my daughters like when I fall more than when I am actually surfing, they laugh hysterically at me.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Why am I doing this?  That is the question that I asked myself this morning at 4:25AM, with my neck still hurting (officially a week as of this morning), my legs still a bit sore, and now my right wrist feeling like I sprained it (I have no idea why it hurts).  Why am I getting up well before the sun rises to get in a swim workout?  Why do I leave the house on Saturday mornings at 5:15AM for my long ride?

To be honest, I don't really have an answer right now.  If you had asked me a week ago I had an answer, but this morning at 4:25AM I couldn't come up with one.  My mind was blank and all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed and rest a bit.  Then I thought to myself that one day of missed training can lead to two days.  Then two days can lead to three days and then the spiral begins.  I have suffered through one marathon (back in 2002) due to lack of training or rather having too many excuses not to train.  I can't imagine suffering through an Ironman, that would make an already long day, a long and miserable day.

So I still haven't answered the question, why am I doing this?  Why did I make a commitment back on November 20, 2009 to sign up for Ironman Arizona?  Here is what I have come up with thus far:
  • To challenge myself by competing in what I consider to be one of the most difficult races there is...a full Ironman
  • To do something I swore four years ago I could never do...swim 2.4 miles
  • To stay in good physical shape, and not end up looking like so many over-weight guys my age (or younger)
  • To be a good example for my daughters, so they see me as a healthy person who has worked extremely hard to achieve something great
  • Because I can
  • Because my sports doctor talked me into it last year after I pulled my groin muscle and was getting treatment.
That's about it for now.  I have made a doctor appointment for tomorrow morning to have everything checked.  I just haven't felt right for the past three or four weeks.  Of course I have been self-diagnosing online, so of course I think I know what it is.  I hoping it isn't Lyme Disease, although if it is at least I can start taking medication.  I just want answers!  Ciao!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Just a Tremendous Weekend

What a fantastic weekend!  I was down in Lavallette at my 'rents house, with my wife and daughters.  Training aside, we just had such a good time at the beach, in the ocean, and just hanging out.  I was able to get out and go surfing for bit on Saturday night and Sunday morning (more on that later) and I perked a bit of interest in my oldest daughter who now wants to surf.  Anyway, here's how the weekend went down....

After my horrific run in the scorching heat, I did some more work (gotta pay the bills) and then decided to head to Fanny Chapman Pool to get my 3,000 yd straight swim in.  I felt pretty good for the first 1,000 yds (18:00) and then everything started to slow down considerably after that.  I think my second 1,000 was around 19:00 and my last 1,000 was close to 20:00....yeah, very slow.  I think the hour run at noon might have contributed to my lack of speed and energy at the end of my swim.

Following the swim I had to do some driving, e.g. pick-up nutrition for my weekend training, pick up my girls from camp, etc.  Then it was home to pack up the car and head to the shore (it took around two hours for us to get down, so frustrating).  Me and the little ones were really happy to be there.

I was up at 4:30AM and out the door riding by 5:15AM, despite the looming thunder and lightning to the south.  So which way did I head?  South of course, down to Island Beach State Park.  I rode from my 'rents house to the end of the park (~14.2 miles) and back, encountering a little rain, but nothing that would stop a ride.  With a little over 28 miles done, I headed north to Point Pleasant (~10 miles).  Once in Point Pleasant, riding along the boardwalk, the weather started to improve and the sun popped out from behind the early morning clouds (pic to the right).  It was here that I really started to enjoy the ride, the sun was visible, sky was clearing to a beautiful light blue, and I was relaxed and cruising at around 20 MPH towards home.  It was such a good feeling...not necessarily a smile on my face below, but definitely not a frown. 
I ended up putting in 48 miles in exactly 2:30:00, good for 19.2 MPH, with my average cadence right at 95 RPM.

Immediately following my ride I did a quick change into my running shorts and I headed out for my 15 minute run (transition was around three minutes....a mellow change).  I actually felt really good, and my pace was a solid 7:40/mile.  I wasn't trying to run "fast", but rather I was just going with how I felt and how my legs would carry me.  I finished around 1.9+ miles in 15 minutes.

After a cold shower and breakfast, it was time to head up to the beach with the family.  It was kind of an odd day in that my youngest daughter really didn't want to be at the beach.  In fact, around 11:00AM she told my wife she wanted to head home and take a nap (and the went home and she took a two hour nap).  I stayed up at the beach with my 'rents and my oldest.  We had a good time playing in the ocean (moderate sized surf), ducking under and floating over the waves.  I can't get over how confident my daughter is in the ocean, which is a good thing.  The one thing that I can say is that she is also learning to respect the ocean, as the current was a bit strong (very strong for a seven year old), and she would get whisked away pretty quickly when I wasn't holding on to her.  That got her attention quickly.

After heading home and chilling for a bit (including eating dinner), it was time for me to head back up to the beach for some sunset surfing (almost sunset).  I haven't been out riding waves in about two year, but I was excited to get out there.  The surf was only about 2 - 3 foot, but that was perfect for me and my 8' Gordon & Smith (Farrelly by Gordon & Smith).  I had a blast!  I forgot how much fun surfing is, even when wiping out, it is still fun (I hope to have pictures in the next day or two).  The highlight of the night though wasn't my surfing experience, but rather my friend Dan's son (Shane, 5 years old with bright blue eyes).  It was his first time trying to surf on a real surf board.  Dan would start him off and I would stay ahead of him should he wipe out or get caught under.  Shane stood up on his first wave and immediately fell in love with surfing.  He must have ridden six more waved before calling it a night (actually Dan called it a night).  The look on both of there faces were priceless, one beaming with pride (Dan), the other with pure joy and excitement (Shane).  Such a great way to end the night.  Oh, also, my oldest daughter was convinced that she would be learning to surf now as well (I was starting to beam with excitement).

I was up and out of the house by 6:15AM for a 30 minute ride, down to Seaside Park and back, keeping my cadence up near 100 RPMs (10.2 miles in 33 minutes, 18,5 MPH).  My legs were a touch sore, but the ride loosened them up.  I rested for about five minutes following my ride, then headed out on my hour run.  I felt surprisingly good, my feet moved quickly, my legs didn't feel heavy.  I chose to just run the Lavallette boardwalk because there are water fountains every quarter mile or so, and I didn't want to carry water with me.  Not much to report, just ran the boardwalk, up and back, up and back.  Total run was 1:00:30, 7.25 miles, 8:20/mile pace....just a solid run (much better than my Friday afternoon run, whew that was bad). 

I took a quick shower, ate and then headed to the beach with my oldest to try to teach her to surf.  In short, the surf was a bit rougher than the night before, Dan and Shane didn't make it up, and the confidence that had been there disappeared.  There was not going to be an in-water surf lesson (just "popping" on the beach).  Regardless, we had fun up there until the rest of the clan showed up around 9:45AM.  I did manage to get out and ride a few waves before the lifeguards yelled at me to get out.

The rest of the day was spent at the beach, body surfing,  going in and out of the water with my 7-year old, "jumping the waves" with my 5-year old, and doing my best to rest in between.  Even though it was really friggin' hot out, we all had a great day.

I woke up at 6AM and was sore all over.  The beach did me in.  My neck is still sore, although it is not debilitating.  I am considering heading over to my sports doc to have him fix it, something I should have done last week.  Time to get some work done....and try not to fall asleep.  NJ State Triathlon on Saturday, I am hoping to finish in the top 30.  Adios!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Feeling Good....but for How Long?

Friday morning and I feel really good.  I slept in until 7:00AM this morning for a nice 7.5 hours of sleep last night, unusual for me lately.  I opted to work from home today because I am heading to the shore tonight and didn't want to be driving all over the place after work (work, to home, to the shore) and getting down there around 8:00PM tonight.  So I am well rested and looking forward to my run, swim, run workout this afternoon.  As for now I am just taking a little break from work to jot some things down, e.g. yesterdays workout, the past few days, etc.

Wednesday Night
After work, my wife, daughters and I went out for a quick dinner before going to see "Despicable Me".  The movie was really funny, so glad that we went to see it.  The girls really loved it, they were laughing out load for most of the movie...and my wife and I were definitely guilty of throwing out some loud chuckles throughout.

I was up early (4:20AM), but I didn't leave for the pool right away.  I sat there with my neck still sore as hell, debating whether or not I should go to the pool or not.  After a good ten minutes I decided to give it a go and if it didn't loosen up I would just end my work out early.  Before heading into the pool, I grabbed a HOT shower and did my best to loosen up the kink and it did a lot of good, I was definitely a bit looser following.  My swim ended up going pretty well, it was a moderate interval work out - 500m warm up, 4 x 100 drills, 7 x 125 @20 sec, 7 x 75 @15 sec, 8 x 50 drills, 300 cool down.  I don't have the exact time, but I think it was right around 1:02:00. 

The second training session of the day was an lunchtime ride.  I decided to go somewhere I haven't gone before, around my office.  I planned for an hour and 19.5 miles, with a good amount of hills over the first seven miles or so....oh how my plans changed.  My legs were a bit sore, my quads specifically, but I thought I just had to loosen them up a bit.  I didn't have a lot of time to ease into my ride, because after about three miles the climbing began.  Sweat was pouring down my face, my lungs were burning and I was wishing I had chosen a different route.  I sucked it up and and convinced myself that this could only make me stronger.  About 45 minutes in I had to cut the ride a bit short because I needed to get back to work.  This wasn't a bad thing because it meant I could just fly back to the office, lots of downhills (averaged 37 MPH for one mile!!!  Wahoo!!!).  Total ride stats:  17.75 miles in about 1:01:00 (~17 MPH average), not super fast but the initial hills just killed my average.

Pre-lunch run in the stifling heat....holy cow that was a miserable run.  I ran for an hour, but I wasn't able to get seven miles in.  What the hell?  Just too hot out there to even think about going fast, or even just plain ole average.  The pool awaits me and a 3,000m straight swim.  It's going to be a little over two hours of training for the day, it could be worse.

So that is what is going on.  Looking forward to being at the beach later tonight, going for a ride at the beach tomorrow and then spending the day at the beach with the family.  Sayonara!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pain in the Neck....and I Don't Mean the Rain

The rest day is behind me and I have two days of rough training under my belt thus far this week.  I don't know what it is but yesterday and today have been really tough for me.  I just feel tired.  It may have something to do with my only getting about six hours of last the past two nights....yeah, that probably has something to do with it.  Regardless, I am hoping that I will feel better as this week goes on.

I was up and out of bed at 4:20AM, my new wake up time for the mornings when I have to swim.  Since my swim workouts are now 3,000 meters, I have to get to the pool a bit earlier so that I can get my swim done by 6:30AM (and be at work by 7:00AM).  So how did my swim go?  Oh geez, it was not good.  About 200m into my warm-up my neck started to tighten up and it just got worse and worse.  I had to stop and figure out what I should do.  My first thought was, do I bag the remainder of the swim?  It hurt every time I tried to take a breath.  I decided to try and push through it and hope that the muscles would loosen up a bit.  The muscles did loosen up a bit as I swam and I managed to complete my entire work out (500m warm-up, 4 x 100 drills, 200-300-400-500 @45 sec, 4 x 100 drills, 300m cool down) in a little over an hour.  Immediately after the swim I took a scorching hot shower and did everything I could to stretch out and loosen my neck muscles.  I left feeling OK, not great, but OK.

The second work out of the day called for a 45 minute run with 5 min. at Zone 4 after ten minutes.  Well, the 45 minute run happened, but not the Zone 4 stuff.  I headed out at lunch with my friend Chris, into a monsoon.  The rain was pouring down in buckets; we were completely drenched within just a few minutes.  At least it was a touch cooler out and the fact that we were wet so quickly made things a bit easier.  We plugged along at around 8:10/pace, nothing special to report...oh, I did forget to use my inhaler again which made for a difficult time breathing, oh and my neck still bothering me didn't help.  Other than that the run was a good one, 48 minutes, 5.82 miles (8:15/mile.....but there was a mini-break in there for Chris to tie his shoe).

I got to sleep in a bit this morning....5:20AM!!!  Actually, I wanted to get up at 5:00AM, but turned my alarm off and then stayed in bed for an extra 20 minutes.  I think it was a good choice.  Once out of bed I went immediately to the basement, climbed on my bike and put in 45 minutes.  My neck was still hurting, but it loosened up a bit as I went along.  I watched the first half of the 2006 Ironman World Championships, I just love watching those shows, so inspirational.  After the ride, it was a quick change and then out for a 15 minute run, where I flt really good.  My first mile was a bit slow, 8:15, but I picked it up for the second half, averaging 8:00/mile pace (15:00, 1.84 miles, 8:09/mile).  I could have gone faster if I didn't have this neck-thing going on.

The rest of today is a rest day which is a great thing.  I will be up early again tomorrow and Friday for my morning swim sessions, and trying to squeeze in an hour ride at lunch tomorrow (pray for no rain) and an hour run on Friday.  Add into all of that spending time with my beautiful wife and amazing kids, and well, I guess I have a full week ahead of me.  Hasta luego!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Good Pool, Bad Running and Trainer Time

Whew, Monday morning already...I wish the weekends didn't go by so quickly.  Then again I guess I was spoiled by the four day weekend from a week ago.  This past weekend was a good one, it pretty much had everything, bad weather, good weather, inside activities, outside fun, sad faces and smiles.  I do have to do a bit of a recap here goes:

Ugh, what a miserable run I had on Friday morning (6:15AM).  I started the run already in the hole, so to speak.  I had completed my 1:15 ride on the trainer around 6PM the night before (12 hours earlier), I was working off of about 5.5 hours of sleep, it was already 80F with extremely high humidity, and lastly I forgot my inhaler.  That is a recipe for disaster my friends.  My planned hour run turned into a 45 minute slog with my pace right around 8:50/mile.  It was a not a good way to start the day. 

Work was work...not true actually, work was not good and it will not be for a while.  More in the weeks to come I suspect.

The best part of the day came at 4:30PM when I picked up my girls from camp and I was able to get a couple of hugs out of them.  That was a pick-me-up that I really needed.  I asked if they wanted to go to the pool, they said yes, so we all went to the pool (my dear wife met us there).  We had a good time playing in the water, my oldest showed me how she can now dive (so proud), and my youngest just jumping into the water, but still scared to put her whole head under the water (it will come).  It was nice to just chill out at the pool with the family.  Alas, it was time for them to head home and get showered and eat dinner while I put in a brief swim workout.  It was brief because I promised to pick up dinner for my wife and I, thus I only had until about 7:45PM to swim, which meant only 1,800 yds.  I swam hard and I swam fast.  It may have been an abbreviated session but I made it worth it.

Rain!  I was glad that it was finally raining, our lawn really needed it.  I was sad because that meant I was going to be doing my two and a half hour ride on the trainer in the basement.  To ease the boredom of the ride I watched a couple of movies, "9" and "The Rocker" (I love "The Rocker", so friggin' funny!!!).  Nothing to really speak of about the ride except that I did it.  I had a quick change and was out for a 15 minute run right after.  I felt really good and if not for my out-of-shape dog, who I brought along with me, I would have run it at sub-8:00/pace.

As a family, we spent the rest of the day doing rainy day things:  went and saw "Toy Story 3", stopped by Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream, and then vegged out the rest of the day/night.  I was in bed and asleep by 10:00PM that night.

I slept in until about 7:15AM, then got up and put in my 30 minutes on the bike (watch the last few minutes of "The Rocker").  I felt really good on the bike, kept my cadence high and my heart rate in Zone 1.  After the quick ride it was to the shower and then out the door to my in-laws for a day at the pool.  I only wish that I was going right there with them.  Nope, instead I had to do an hour and 15 minute run before hand, so I had my wife drop me off 8 miles away from their place and I ran the rest of the way there.  It was hot, humid and miserable.  I probably didn't have enough fuel in my tank.  The run was rough!  Actually the first two miles were good, it was the last 6.7 that sucked.  All in all, I was simply happy to make it to their place and get over to the pool to spend the day with the family.

On a sad note, the World Cup Final was a major let down.  Not the best of games to watch, rather chippy and not beautiful to watch.  The fact that Spain defeated The Netherlands didn't make things any better either. 

Rest day today, and I am going to definitely rest as hard as I can.  ;)  This coming week is a step back week, but that doesn't mean that much right now because I actually need to get all of my swim sessions in, which means my biking and running may be easier, but my swimming will be considerably more difficult.  I am looking forward to it though, I like improving my swim whenever possible.  Bring it on!  Adios!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Early Mornings

I hate the heat. I mean, I really hate it and can honestly say that I would take 20F over 90F any time. The past week or so has been unbearably hot here in the Northeast; temperatures have been well into the 90s and most recently topping out over 100F. It is crazy hot out there (right up the Heat Miser's alley) and I am doing my best to avoid afternoon workouts at all costs.

On a more positive note, this morning was my first morning without any pain or soreness in about two weeks.  It felt weird getting out of bed, preparing for the pain and feeling nothing.  It took me a bit of time to soak in what exactly I was feeling.  I think I posted it here, if not...Fifth's Disease was going around my youngest daughters' school and I think I may have gotten it (although some may doubt it).  I had two days of high fevers and overall body aches.  After the fever left I was still not 100%, and soccer from a week ago didn't help matters.  My fingers have been swollen, ankles really sore, even my shoulders have been killing me and I haven't been swimming much.  Today I felt blissful and happy.  I hope that these feelings are here to stay!
It was supposed to be over 100F so worked out a deal with my wife on Monday night that had me to running in the morning and then doing my swim when I got home from work at the outdoor pool (Fanny Chapman Pool).  It seemed like a great plan.  I was up and out of the house by 5:00AM, drove to my office and did my hour run on the roads of Oldwick/Whitehouse Station, NJ.  It was slow going at first, I am not a very good early morning runner, but I managed to pick up the pace a bit on the way back.  I think I ran about 7.2 miles in exactly one hour (around 8:20 pace), with the last half of the run a bit faster than the first.  A good start to the day, having already gotten my run over and done with by 6:45AM!

Around noon I thought that I better check the pool schedule to make sure there wasn't anything unusual going on.  That is when I found out that I had a bit of an issue....there was a swim meet at Fanny Chapman which meant I was not going to be able to swim there.  I was bummed, I was looking forward to doing my swim there.  I was also stressed because this was not the way I wanted to start my first week of "Phase 2 Training".  There wasn't really anything I could do but deal with it and move on.

NOTE:  I watched the conclusion of the Netherlands v. Uruguay match (World Cup semi-finals) before going to bed.  What a great game!  I am a big Netherlands fan and I was psyched to see them win!

I was up at 5:00AM to get in my standard Wednesday BRICK work out before the oppressive heat hit.  I banged out a 45 minute ride on the trainer in my basement while watching the 2004 Ironman World Championships (I am only about halfway through good!).  As usual, I started slow but picked it up at the end.  After the bike I did a quick change and was out the door for my 30 minute run.  I have just one word about the run....SLOW!  It was hot and humid out there at 6:00AM and my body was not liking the run at all. 

My clothes were sopping wet by the time I finished, I had to wring out my shirt before heading into the house.  My pace was all over the place and honestly I just wanted to get back home.  I ended up running 3.62 miles (8:18/pace) with my heart rate averaging 152 BPM (but it was all over the place).  I was so happy to get inside and take a cold shower.

As for the rest of my day, it could have better.  Things have not been going all that great at work, I have gotten some troubling news about some organizational changes that will have a immediate and significant impact on me.  To say the next few weeks will be interesting and stressful is an understatement. 

I did my first 3,000M swim session ever.  It took me about an hour or so to complete, but I managed it.  I was hurting during my 500M warm up, but things gradually got better as I plugged along.  Here is the work out:
  • 500M Warm up
  • 8 x 50M Drills
  • 4 x 200M @ 20 seconds
  • 6 x 100M @ 15 seconds
  • 8 x 50M Drills
  • 300M Cool down
I have to do a 1:15 minute ride (100+ RPM) at some point today, probably right when I get home from work down in the basement (or "pain cave" as I have heard people refer to it).  I would have liked to have done it at lunch, but I can get gone for so long in the middle of the day.  I only hope that my girls are up for playing in the basement or on the computer for a bit when we get home today.  Time for some hard-core work!  Adios!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

368 Days & Still Training

I just looked back to when I first started writing this blog and I realized that it has been a year and a three days (368 days) since  I first began documenting my training and life in general.  I can't believe that it has been that long.  I don't have anything deep or insightful, in fact I really don't have anything else to say about the past year.

So....what the heck has been going on with me over the past week or so?  Actually a lot...time for a recap.

I was in the pool and I was in a lot of pain.  My legs were killing me and I felt achy all over.  I had to do a straight 2,550M (53:00) swim and because my legs (hips specifically) were in so much pain, I actually did the entire swim with a pull buoy.  I know that this is probably a no-no, but it was the only way I was going to get it done.  When I finished up, I hopped out of the pool and my whole body was killing me, from my shoulders down to my feet.  It was not a good feeling to say the least.  I wondered if this was all connected to the fever and sickness I had the previous week (suspected Fifth's Disease).

Later on in the day, lunchtime actually, I was out on my bike for an hour ride.  I rode from my office out to Peapack, NJ, a beautiful ride along nice smooth roads.  I was supposed to concentrate on keeping my cadence up over 100+ RPMs, not sure if I managed that or not, although I think I was close.  The ride totalled a little over 19 miles, for about a 19.2 MPH average.  FYI, the soreness was still very much there .

I was off on Friday and me and the family were down in Lavallette visiting with my 'rents.  I was so happy to be down the shore and the weather outlook for the weekend was awesome.  I started out the day by doing getting in my hour run early so I could spend the majority of the day on the beach with my girls.  I don't recall the details but it was about 7.3 miles all run on the Lavallette boardwalk....about 2.75 laps total.  It got a bit monotonous but at least I had a view of the ocean for the entire run.

After the run it was up to the beach to play with my girls and hang out with my parents.  It was a great day up at the beach, ~85F, sunny and the water was around 67F and clear as can be. 

I was up bright and early on Saturday so that I could get my three hour ride in before it got to late.  I had hoped to be out the door and riding by 5:00AM, but it ended up being a little closer to 5:30AM by the time I actually left.  The winds were favorable so I opted to head north and ride for about an hour and a half before turning around.  I was able to catch the tail end of the sunrise as I went over the Point Pleasant bridge (see pics below)

From there it was north through Brielle, Spring Lake, Belmar, Avon-by-the-Sea, Bradley Beach, Ocean Grove, Asbury Park (see picture of the Stone Pony below),

Deal, and finally turning around in Long Branch (just past Seven Presidents Park...see picture of beach).
I stopped briefly to eat a Powerbar and then it was time to make my way back to Lavallette.  Honestly, it was a perfect morning for a ride, a slight wind blowing from the west, not too warm out (yet), and I felt good for the most part.  I pulled onto my parents street right around 8:30AM, finishing my 55.55 mile ride almost exactly in three hours.  I averaged 18.5 MPH, but that is skewed by traffic lights, stop signs and a general laziness on my part.  I tried to keep my cadence right around 95 RPMs for the entire ride which meant I was riding right around 19-20 MPH for the entire duration.  I was conscious of keeping my heart rate below 150 BPMs as well.  It ended up being a great ride and my only regret is that I could have gone a bit faster and a bit farther.

The rest of the day was spent up at the beach with my wife, my girls and my 'rents.  It was a phenomenal day, an absolutely perfect beach day!  The highlight of the day was my oldest daughter boogie boarding and absolutely loving it. She was just so excited to get in the water and float around, swim, dive, etc.  I get so excited seeing her loving the things that I love as well, e.g. playing soccer, body boarding/surfing, swimming, etc. 

Sunday -  4th of July!!!
Ugh, I was so tired and so sore.  I initially wanted to get out and run at 6:00AM, but it just wasn't happening.  The sad part is that my wife and I were in bed by 9:30AM and I just couldn't drag myself out of bed.  I think I finally got up and on the road around 7:30AM, so much later than I wanted to.  The run was rough, slow and slogging...that is until around mile 4 when a total stranger ran up behind me and told me that "out target was Van Halen".  I was very confused.  I ended up running with him for the next mile or so (we caught Van Halen).  He (later finding out his name was Jim) was a God-send, he helped to pick me up from what had been a very bad run.  In total I ran 10.3 miles in 1:30 (8:44/mile pace), but the last six miles were all sub-8:30, which gives you an idea as to how the first 4 miles were.
Again, we spent the entire day up at the beach, from 10:00AM until 4:15PM.  I could rave about the weather and the water, but I couldn't do it justice.  We all had a great time playing in the sand, swimming in the ocean, etc.  I will point out that my oldest daughter had three solid wipe outs on the boogie board.  She was not a happy camper, with the third one ending her day in the water.
One thing to note which frustrates me about the Jersey shore....I decided to go for a swim in the ocean, I wanted to swim between the jetties (groins), which are about .15 mile apart.  I threw on my goggles and swam one length, then was going to hop out and run back and do it again.  On exiting the water a lifeguard told me that I had to swim between the flags (the "swimming area").  I should have known that I would get scolded for my "extreme" swim stunt, but seriously, swim between the flags?  So ridiculous!
We capped off the day/night by watching Lavallette's 4th of July firework celebration.  The girls were in awe of them, at least I think they were. 
REST DAY!!!!  We drove home from the shore the night before and we all slept in until around 7:15AM.  We did nothing all day.  Actually, I did do a bagel run with my youngest while my wife and oldest headed to the food store (we had no food in the house).  After that, we did nothing!  It was such a nice and relaxing day.
That is it for now.  Time to get some work done.  I have a busy day.  Adios!