Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bullet Points within Bullet Points

Bye Bye August, you Bitch!
  • This has been my seventh summer living in the Houston area and it has been by far the most miserable summer yet.  Look at the normal temperatures in the image above and you'll notice we average about 10 degrees more than normal each and every day. The worst part isn't even the 100 degree temps, it is the humidity, which has been even more brutal than the heat.  The term "Dog Days of Summer" held some real meaning to us Texans this summer.
  • Annie and I are a mere 8 days away until we board a plane and head North to Rev3 Cedar Point. We are going to make a short stop in Pittsburgh and see my family and then drive out to Sandusky on Friday morning. My family is going to come out to Sandusky for the race too! And we are both excited to meet up with all of our blogger buddies and Trakkers Teammates, but we are ecstatic about spending time in temperatures that are supposed to be about 30 degrees cooler. It is going to be so awesome to be able to breathe normally while running and biking!
  • My training for the Half Rev is quite different right now.  For the month of August I only biked 90mi and only pushed about 10K meters in the pool.  This are lame numbers for racing a sprint!  But the reason for the lack of swim and bike time is that I was able to drop 150mi running. My run fitness right now is superb! Swim and Bike fitness, not so much!
  • Based on my training it is pretty apparent that Cedar Point is not going to be a PR type of race. The race mantra is: Float the swim, Coast the bike, and Hammer the run.  Got that?  FLOAT, COAST, HAMMER!!!  
  • Why have I backed off on the swim and bike?   Three reasons: 
    • (1) After the heavy volume from the end of last year and then the heavy workload from Ironman training in the first half of this year I am burned out. Looking back over my training logs I had gone about 2 straight years without any significant rest. Much like Government spending, this was unsustainable and a decrease in volume was needed or I was going to break down. 
    • (2) I am doing a 50k Trail Run on November 5th and my first stand alone marathon on March 3rd. I really want to race both of these and in order to do that I needed to become a runner. 
    • (3) Training for Ironman Mont-Tremblant is scheduled to begin the second week of March. One of the things learned about myself is that swim and bike fitness seem to come back much faster than run fitness. So the plan is to have an extremely solid running base going into IM training. 60+ miles per week for four months should accomplish this goal!
I hope everyone has an awesome long weekend!

Thanks for Reading,

Jeff

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

HA HA!


Spectating FAIL!






Nothing makes the hilarity of of one's stupidity captured on video and shared on YouTube much better than the perfect music!

Thanks for Viewing,

Jeff

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Becoming a Runner

"Th......a......t      Su.......c.....ked!"

Is the only words I could muster about 45mi into some diabolical hill repeats this Sunday. I was out with my buddy Dave who has been riding hard all summer and he completely handed me my ass during this training ride. It is awesome seeing my friend, who has put in a ton of hard work, turn into an absolute beast on the bike but damn, did he make me hurt!

We got in some brisk riding over some decent rollers over the first 25mi or so when we stopped at a gas station to refill our bottles. After that the first 10mi were on a newly paved section of road that was relatively flat. I figured this would be a good time to take it easy and warm-up before we got to the South section which is home to some ruthless hills. Dave had other ideas. It was go time from the first pedal stroke out of the rural town of Coldspring - and it was at this point I knew it was going to be an unpleasant ride!

I figured it was better to latch on to Dave's rear wheel going 27mph then it was to go it alone at 23mph so embrace the pain became my mantra for this rather painful Sunday morning. Unfortunately this was the easy part of the ride!

We eventually hit the brutal hills and the realization that this was going to hurt became a reality. I struggled and struggle bad. I watched Dave pull further and further away and my pride was the only thing that kept me from not walking up the last big ass hill. I had never been so happy to be spinning that final couple of miles back to the car. I made it, barely.

The funny thing is that 3 months ago this ride would have been just another day of training and I would have eaten those hills for breakfast instead of the other way around.  But this day was not 3 months ago and I no longer am that guy who rides 200mi over the weekend. Bike fitness sure fades fast!

And I am okay with this because ...

I am becoming a runner.

Over the last 2 months I have become run focused. The lycra is hanging in the closet, my running shoes have laces instead of yanks, socks are now being worn, chlorine is no longer my fragrance of choice, and my right calf is lacking smeared chain grease.

Yep, I am a runner!

At this point I am just your run of the mill recreational cyclist (as proved on Sunday) and swimmer and have decided to dedicate myself to becoming the best runner I can be. I've become so serious about this running thing that I have even sought training advice from running guru's Chris K and Adam (Thanks for the guidance guys)!

When I was a kid I was always one of the fastest guys in whatever sport we were playing and this carried over to high school and college. Then in my first semester of college I had my clavicle shattered and tore all three ligaments in my shoulder when I got tackled playing football and landed in a weird way (with a 300 pound dude on top of me). This ended my career in football and put me on the path of eating crappy foods and drinking lots of beer. 

By the time I graduated college my weight was exactly the same as it was when I entered but my pants had increased by four sizes and I was no longer good at running.  Over the years I gained even more weight until 2008 when I dropped 50lbs and started Triathlon.

Flash forward to today and I feel like it is time to see if I can be good a running again by giving the training the time and effort it deserves.  Over the last few years I've been on the podium in my AG at a couple local running races that have been done during Tri training but I have never trained or tapered specifically for just a running race. Last summer a huge amount of time was dedicated to getting better at swimming. Last winter and spring my focus was on the bike. Running has always taken a back seat so this fall and winter it is time to run.

So if any of you bloggy peeps are interested in this little running experiment I welcome you to follow along on this journey to becoming a runner.

Thanks for Reading,

Jeff


Friday, August 12, 2011

Things that Bother Me: The Gym Edition

With the temperatures here in Texas mimicking the surface of the sun quite a bit of my time in training has been spent indoors at the gym. This is not a bad thing as the gym I go to is a huge LifeTime Fitness with four pools and a gazillion treadmills. The square footage of this place makes many a Super Wal-Marts blush and we are fortunate to have such a great place to train when the mercury reaches hell-like levels.

With a gym this size means that I am going to have to encounter that which bothers me more than anything else in the world: Other People.

This edition of Things that Bother Me will be entirely focused on certain types of folks at the gym:


  • 30 Second Treadmill Guy - This is always a dude. He gets on the treadmill, usually the one right next to me, and does a series of stretches for his arms (makes no sense?) and then proceeds to crank the treadmill up as fast as it can go. He usually hangs on for about 30 seconds and then stops and leaves.  And as he leaves he usually struts away like he is Ben Johnson! Great workout dude, thanks for playing.


  • The Checking out my Stats Treadmill Guy - Once again this is always a dude. Last week this happened two times in one run. A guy gets on the treadmill next you and is constantly looking at your speed and distance? It is a treadmill buddy! We are not moving? And I am not racing you? This is more annoying than anything else just because you are trying to get your workout in and you sense the eyes upon you.
  • The Shaving Naked Guy - There is this one guy I have seen a few times when I come into the locker room after Master's swim. He is completely naked shaving his face standing at the sink. This is not what bothers me.  It is that his junk is resting on the sink. Seriously, you cannot toss on a towel and keep the boys off the counter? I openly wish that the guy with athlete's foot was cleaning out his toe gunk on that very spot on the sink!

  • The Using Blow Dryer for your Junk Guy - This major infraction has been witnessed on many occasions. Usually it is an elderly guy. He takes the blow dryer and holds it under his towel to dry off his balls.  It is very classy!

  • The Guy Who Needs the Locker Right Next to Me - As mentioned early the LTF I frequent is ginormous. This means the locker room is rather spacious as well. However, it never fails that I will be standing at my locker getting changed and someone will come in and want the locker right next to or above me. There are literally 1000 other open lockers with no one around them and they have to choose this locker? People become such creatures of habit that they cannot move to another locker - just ridiculous. A few months back I actually yelled at a guy who attempted this, felt bad afterwards but it needed to be done.
  • The Entire Gym Parking Lot - The front of the gym where traffic intersects is tight. Yet this does not prevent people from stopping to pick-up others at the front door. This backs up all the other cars trying to find a place to park. My scientific study has shown that 9 out of 10 people who do this are fatasses. Glad you are off the couch chubby now walk that extra 20 yards to the car.

  • The LifeTime Fitness Music Video Channel - This is quite awful. If you are at a LTF and forget your iPod I suggest you go home because the music will drive you crazy. Thanks to the video channel I now realize all current top 40 music absolutely sucks and every video is the same: Scantily clad singer/dancer chick, surrounded by a bunch of other scantily clad dancer chicks, they begin suggestively dancing in some pyramid scheme with the lead chick at the top, they may or may not be in water/mud/cafeteria/jungle, a group of scantily clad muscular guys at some point during the song enter the video.  Boom! I just directed and produced a LTF music video, genius. 

  • The Text Message Guy/Girl - This group has grown rather significantly over the last few years and us usually a younger crowd but not always. You will be on your treadmill and notice someone come in and jump on a machine. They will sit on this machine for a long time and send a shit-ton of text messages.  Sometimes they will even laugh out loud so we can all see how funny the message they just received was. They may do one or two sets on the machine in between texts but usually will get up and leave without doing any work. 



That is all I got for today!

What do you see at the gym that bothers you?


Thanks for Reading,

Jeff

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Is the Triathlon Swim Unsafe?

On Sunday two triathletes died during the swim of the New York City Triathlon. Details about the deaths are still coming out but it appears both victims, a 64-yr old man and 40-yr old woman, suffered from cardiac arrest.

Fellow bloggers Jon and Joel had some thoughts if you have been in a cave and need to get caught up.

As a surprise to no one, NYC Lawmakers are already calling for changes to protect triathletes in future races.

According to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer:
"New Yorkers signed up for a triathlon - not a game of Russian Roulette," Stringer said. "Choosing to compete is a decision every athlete has to make for themselves - but it is the obligation of the city to make sure all potential risks are accounted for to the extent possible."

Personally, I feel Mr. Stringer is completely over the top in comparing triathlon to a game of Russian Roulette but does he have a point that maybe something needs to be done to mitigate possible risks during the swim?

I've seen a few ideas flowing around the triathlon message boards and was wondering what everyone here thinks?

- Should a competitor be able to prove they can swim the race distance by submitting previous race results?

- If competitor is a first timer should they be required a recommendation from a life guard or certified swim instructor?

- Or, if a first timer, should a pre-qualification swim be required to prove your swim-worthiness?

- Or should we just chalk this up as a tragic accident and not overreact and make the barriers to entry that much more challenging?


I spent this Sunday spectating at a local Sprint Tri with over 1500 competitors and it was reported about half of the entrants were first timers. I saw A LOT of people suffering on a short (non-wetsuit) 500M swim course.  Lots of ugly out there and a few people were pulled out on kayaks as well.

Normally, I would flip the NYC Lawmaker the bird and tell him to mind his own freaking business but after giving it a little more thought would it be such a bad idea to implement some type of qualifier to prove swim worthiness?

Please let me hear your thoughts?

*Disclaimer - since this is my blog I am free to change my opinion and be hypocritical on this multiple times.

Thanks for Reading,

Jeff




Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Next Year

It has been Eleven weeks since the completion of my first Ironman.  In this time I have not followed any training plans or put pressure on myself to train.  The plan was to basically not have a plan and just do what I wanted to do.  This worked out extremely well and both my body and mind are ready to get back to it.

For July the overall volume ended up being pretty low by my standards:

Swim - 7h 23m  -  17,250m
Bike -  12h 10m  -  230mi
Run -   13h 50m  -  92.41mi
------------------------------------
Total -  33h 23m


Total Weight Gained Since IM  - 12lbs!

Yep, I was 150lbs on race day and am currently sitting at 162lbs.   The funny thing is I look fit at 162lbs but 150lbs is a much better racing weight.  I will take my time getting back down to racing weight!


Moving Forward:


I have two more Tri's this year:

- The Half Rev @ Rev3 Cedar Point on September 11th.
- The Olympic @ Rev3 Anderson on October 9th.

Then my schedule becomes extremely run focused.  I am going to use the Advanced Marathoning 18-week 55-75mile per week plan.  The purpose of doing such as high weekly volume plan is twofold: Build up a large running base for Ironman Mont-Tremblant and attempt to Boston Qualify.  Not sure if I can BQ since I have never ran a stand-alone marathon but will use the races listed below to gauge my progress.  It would be cool to BQ on my first marathon attempt but have a feeling my inexperience at the distance make it improbable.  Still going to put myself out there and go for it!

My training program will officially begin on October 31st and I am currently working on building my weekly miles up to the upper 40's.  The first week on my plan calls for 54miles - should be fun!  I will be 36 years old for the marathon and will need a sub - 3h10m time to qualify.  Pretty confident I can do a low 3:20 right now but will need to drop another 15 minutes.

Here is my planned schedule:

- San Antonio RnR 1/2 Marathon on November 12th
- Texas Trail Run 50k on December 10th (tentative)
- Texas 1/2 Marathon on January 1st, 2012.
- The Woodlands Marathon on March 3rd, 2012 (A Race)

After the Woodlands Marathon I will begin Training for Ironman Mont-Tremblant and will do these Tri's in preperation:

- Kemah Olympic Tri on April 15th, 2012
- Rev3 Knoxville Olympic on May 8th, 2012
- Buffalo Spring Lake Tri 70.3 on June 24th, 2012
- Ironman Mont Tremblant on August 19th, 2012 (A Race)


As you can see the schedule is planned for the next year.  It is nice to have it all worked out but the loss of spontaneity sometimes leads to regret!

Since I have decided to focus on running the time dedicated to swimming and cycling is going to have to decrease.  This was a hard decision to make because I really do enjoy both but the reality is in order to put the type of weekly miles into running that is required then something had to change.

This also means that I will be heading into Cedar Point 70.3 and Anderson Olympic under-trained on the swim and bike.  Thanks to IM training I do have a decent base in both the swim and bike so completion is not an issue but I will be slower.  Hopefully all the run training will pay off and carry me through.

Has anyone else started planning for 2012 yet?


Thanks for Reading,

Jeff