As happens every year around this time, over the next few days we should
start to see posts from people making observations about their gyms,
particularly how crowded they are with new people. A couple of years back I
posted the following in response to some of those observations. It has become
something of a tradition that I re-post it in order to add a little perspective
to what will surely be stressful and inconvenient in the coming weeks for many
of us. We're endurance athletes. We train all year not only outside, but also at the gym and the pool. We can expect some serious crowding in both places for
the next few weeks. It happens every year.
Suddenly we have to add 30 minutes
to our scheduled gym time because of the "resolutionists". There are no parking
places. When you do manage to find one and get to the locker room 10 minutes
behind schedule, there aren't any lockers available and the door is blocked by
someone trying to remember the way to the weight room. In there, the machines
you need to use are all occupied by people in new track suits pushing too much
weight with truly horrible form. The bubbler is blocked by someone who is trying
hard not to look totally out of their element. You can't get in the pool because
it's jammed with people using pull buoys on their arms and kickboards as
flotation devices. Half the lanes have people with no goggles and baggy swim
trunks down to their knees who can't swim an entire lap.
The whole freakin'
place is filled with...with...
It's one of my favorite sights.
I've never been in a place more full of hope than a gym during the first week of
January. It's a place full of people giving action to their dreams. People who
for that day are making an effort to be fit, to improve themselves, to live a
better quality of life. The effort and courage it takes them to get there that
morning is huge. It certainly exceeds what it takes me. I know where everything
is. I know the pool etiquette. I know what my workout is going to be and how to
use the machines. I'm not the least bit embarrassed to take my shirt off
in the locker room. This is routine for me. These new people will be showing a
lot of courage and determination by going to the gym in the next few weeks and
they'll deserve my respect. They'll get it.
It wasn't that long ago that I
was one of them. During the next few weeks I'll be making an effort to help some
of these people feel a little less uncomfortable. Maybe make eye contact with
some of them, be ready to give a nod or say hello.
Once we're halfway into
February, the crowds will be gone. Parking will be easy. Machines will be
available again. The wait at the pool will go away. We know this. We're
endurance athletes. We know the reward that comes from sticking through the hard
And from helping others through them.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
What got me thinking about this is that I went for my 40 minute run at 7:30 tonight and it was 42 degrees out. I put on my form fitting long sleeve DriFit shirts and then put a yellow tech tee on top of that for the bright color (gotta be vi sable at night!). And without even thinking twice I tossed on the Under Armor running tights. These things are just awesome at keeping you warm while wicking away sweat. So, I am about a 1/2 mile into my run and I come across a neighbor/buddy of mine on the sidewalk. We talk for a few seconds and as I am jogging away he says, "Nice tights!" thinking he is one funny guy .... now Jeff of a year ago would have been embarrassed. Heck, I never would have worn tights a year ago! But tonight I just turned around and said, "Your just jealous I pull this look off so damn well!
Anyways, I did an nice RPE 3 paced run this evening. It was 4.62 miles in 40 minutes. Quick math tells me that is an 8:40 ish pace. Around 4pm today I went to the gym and got in 1500 meters in 40 minutes. I did less drills today and focused on my form and bilateral breathing while swimming moderate paced laps. I am now doing most of my swimming using bilateral breathing. If only I wasn't so slow!
About an hour ago Annie and I found a 1/2 Marathon in Sugarland, TX (about 45 mins from our house) on January 10th and signed up for it. Since she is doing the Higdon marathon training plan anyways this will be good for her long run day. My long run is supposed to be 1 hr 30 mins that week so it works out good for both of us. For me I am planning on running an easy 9 minute pace and using this as a base training day. The idiot in me will want to run a lot harder but I'll have to fight the idiot when the gun sounds. The reason is that I do not want to run a hard pace and then not be able to give my all in the next week's training. If I run hard my body will need some time to recover! I plan on running the Austin 1/2 mary hard and have that built in to my training plan already.
Tomorrow is a 30 minute run and a 1 hour cycle. I have a very early morning scheduled with work so I will probably do the run around 5pm and then hit the bike around 9pm!
Thanks for Reading,
p.s. - my fantasy team lost! I am bummed!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
QB - Aaron Rodgers
RB - J. Addai
RB - R. Mendenhall
Flex - Greg Jennings
WR - Andre Johnson
WR - Wes Welker
TE - Tony Gonzalez
K - G. Hartley (saints)
DEF - Dallas
This is a Point Per Reception (PPR) league which explains why I am loaded at receiver and TE and not so much at RB. Wes Welker is invaluable in a league like this with all of his catches!
My opponent (Talk is Cheap):
QB - Big Ben
RB - Cedric Benson
RB - Jerome Harrison
Flex - Beanie Wells
WR - A. Boldin
WR - Kevin Walters
TE - Dallas Clark
K - N. Kaeding (Played Fri - 6pts)
DEF - Falcons
As you can see Mike's team is crappy when compared to mine. But he has excellent matchups with his running backs this week and that is making me extremely nervous. His backup QB is Vince Young and I almost talked Mike into starting him on Friday morning. Vince crapped the bed so it would have been awesome. But Mike knows my loyalty to the Steelers and thinks it is funny that his QB is Big Ben.
Super Bowl Champ gets $600, Runner up gets $350. Not a bad take either way but I care more about the title than the money and being able to mention I won our league in every conversation with my friends until next year. You cannot put a price on that!
So all I ask is if you are sitting at home say watching the Packers game and you see Aaron Rodgers drop back. Maybe just scream "Throw it to Jennings!!!" because that is what I will be doing and if a bunch of us scream at the same time maybe Rodgers will hear us ... just maybe!
Thanks for Reading and Go Stillers,
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
- Kudos to the congressman from Alabama Parker Griffith for switching parties to now become a Republican. I would have been more impressed if he switched to an Independent or Libertarian but at least he is taking a stand against the astronomical spending in our Congress.
- I used to think that a 3rd party (tea party, conservative ... etc) would be a bad idea and just divide Republicans the way Progressives have splintered the Democrats but now I think it might be needed to define where the Republican Party actually stands on anything.
- If I see one more story about some Special Interest groups being upset about Christmas displays including/excluding their religion/cult/whatever my head may actually explode. Really, this might happen. We have become such a soft PC nation.
- "Inside the NFL" is still the best football related show on the air today!
- I am feuding with my older Pug Ernie. He acts like he is always hungry and his new thing is whining. I have to break this or he will never stop. We have been avoiding each other.
- I really want to see "Avatar" at the IMAX. I know it is probably cheesy but those special effects just look so mind numbingly awesome.
- I was in the barber shop the other day waiting for my turn and started to read a Sports Illustrated. I used to love SI and had a subscription until my early 20's and never renewed after many different moves. It made me think of being a kid and how much I loved sports when I first picked it up. I actually found myself smiling at the cover. Then I opened it up and and began to read and felt bad at the piece of shit this magazine has turned into. Even go sports journalism has turned into a Tweet ... very disappointing.
- My mother sent Annie and I some homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies yesterday. Ever year I ask her not to do this because they are one of my few vices. Every year she still sends them and every year I eat every single one. This year is no different. Thanks Mom!
- I finally got around to watching the Ironman World Championship on the DVR. I have watched this for the last few years and have enjoyed every minute of it. Some of the stories from the Age Groupers are so inspiring! There was one guy who was 79 years old doing his 20th IM, just amazing. They had another story about a women who had a stroke and was unable to walk but fought back to compete at Kona. Then they also show some of the people that have incredible stories but are unable to finish the race. These always get me because you can see how hard these people trained and they failed but it is also humbling because it shows you just how hard doing an IM actually is. If you haven't seen it search for it on YouTube - it is so good!
- The Steelers vs Packers game last Sunday was one of the best games I have ever seen. The had a recap on NFL Network and the number of good plays in that game were absolutely amazing. Big Ben has his flaws as a QB but the one thing you have to say about the guy is that he is just clutch. Time and time again he makes the big throw and just puts this team on his shoulders. Dude dropped 503 yards passing last week. Amazing! Steelers are still on life support and if they can get by Baltimore this week they could be dangerous.
- I am very excited that both "Lost" and "24" are returning next month!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Yes, you read that right. It is snowing in Houston right now and it is actually sticking to the ground. Probably only a 1/2"-1" tops but still this ain't supposed to happen here!
Anyways, tomorrow is the big day. I have been getting all my gear together over the last couple of days and have it spread out on the dining room table. For those of you that are wondering what the heck one needs for a trail run I snapped some pics:
This is my Nathan's hydration pack. I am going to fill these 10oz bottles with Gatorade. The Gatorade is 70 calories per bottle.
Next we have my Nike compression shorts. They are awesome. Some body glide and a first aid kit. All necessities!
Next is a pair of Nike windpants, some towels, and my Drop Bag. The Drop bag is what I usually use for transition during Triathlon. I am going to pack this sucker up and then we will have a bag drop area near the stop to keep this. I am passing this area three times during the race so I can access my gear if needed.
Finally a pic of my Salamon Trail Running Kicks and my Pug, Ernie. Ernie will not be placed inside my drop bag!
So there is everything. Well almost, I just picked up a pair of under Armor compression pants and a pair of light weight gloves. With the frigid temperature these will hopefully make the run much more comfortable!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
BTW - if you are not watching Friday Night Lights (TV Series, not the movie) do youself a huge favor and go out and buy the DVD's or put it on the Netfilx queue. This show is one of the best on TV right now. I cannot recommend it enough - it is that good!!!!
Anyways, I stopped at the REI on my travels today and picked up some GU Chomps and a fannie pack to wear at the race. It is small but made of heavy duty nylon so it shouldn't hinder me during the run too much. My wife thinks I look like a dork with a fannie pack on. I told her I wear spandex and lycra in public now so the fanny pack is pretty much par for the course!
Next two days will be nothing but rest! Unless my New Trainer shows up tomorrow (-:
Thanks for Reading,
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
With my 50K race coming up on Saturday I need to reduce my volume this week so that I am at full strength at the starting line - this is called a taper! So today I did just 2.2 miles on the treadmill. It was enough to get my legs lose but not enough to really exert myself. After the run I went over to the open area at the gym and stretched for about 15 minutes. It felt great and my legs really needed an extended stretching session. My IT band has been a little tender and this helped!
Also this was the first time I have been to the gym in about a month. The "people watching" at the gym is freaking awesome. You see all types! There was a group of 5 guys all wearing jean shorts and knock off Ed Hardy shirts. It was like they all called each other ahead of time and coordinated their clothes. They were taking turns doing max lifts Bench presses and were screaming at each other for motivation. At one point I almost fell off the treadmill I was laughing so damn hard. But then again who am I to make fun of people at the gym? One of those jean shorts guys is probably typing on his blog about the goofy looking skinny guy on the treadmill wearing Lycra with 6 different tan lines!
Tomorrow morning I am going to run with Annie and do maybe 3 miles. She is doing 9 miles but that would be too much for my legs. It is raining and cold here in SE Texas so if we wake up and the rain is still coming down we may have to make it another treadmill day.
Thursday and Friday will be rest days and I will go over my nutrition/hydration plan for the race. Not real sure what I am going to do yet but my normal "just wing it" approach may not work!
Thanks for Reading,
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Today we were scheduled to do a 14 mile long run. We didn't quite make it to 14 and ended up finishing up at 12.24 miles.
Our average pace was 10:24/mile and we completed the run in 2 hours and 7 minutes. I burned 1514 calories and can tell because I am still hungry even after a big dinner. This run was hard on my body. My legs, hips, and knees are aching right now. I soooo enjoy running in the morning over the evening.
(See my Garmin Map and Splits: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/19835082)
We stopped at 12.24 miles because we ended up running this evening and got started a little later than we wanted. It got dark fast and it was actually dangerous out. Our little town turned into a freaking race track tonight and we had a couple of close calls with cars tonight. Even though we were on the sidewalks and I had on a reflective shirt and shoes we were very uncomfortable. So when we made it to the parking lot where we were parked at 12.24 miles we decided to call it a night.
This week is going to be a taper week for me going into the 50K Trail Run on Saturday. I plan on doing 2 miles on Tuesday and 2 miles on Wednesday just to keep myself loose and used to moving. I might even try and get in a few minutes on my new trainer on Tuesday or Wednesday but Thursday and Friday are going to be rest and preparation days. I am getting nervous and excited all at the same time for this race!
Thanks for Reading,
Saturday, November 28, 2009
The reason for this post is to talk about my new training tool! Yesterday I found the CycleOps Fluid 2 Trainer on Amazon for a great price and Annie decided it would be a nice Christmas present for me:
The way this works is that I place the back wheel of my Quintana Roo Tri bike onto this device and it allows me to ride indoors. Think stationary bike but with my own bike. This will help me acquire the necessary volume required to do the upcoming Triathlon Training plan since I can ride while catching up with the Tivo. It should be here on Tuesday or Wednesday.
On Saturday, December 5th I am running in the 50K Texas Trail Run. This is 31 miles and I am pretty sure my butt is going to get completely destroyed - I can't wait!
The following Monday I am going to begin a 20 Week Triathlon Training program that will lead me up to the April 24th LoneStar Olympic Triathlon in Galveston. To view the training program click here.
This Tri is located in Galveston, TX, which is right on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico. This means the swim portion will be in the ocean! Since swimming is my weakest of the three disciplines I am going to be using The Essential Triathlon Swimming DVD from TriSwimCoach.com and will do a review of the DVD compared to my performance. From what I have watched it looks to be a great training tool and if I can follow it then my swimming should become a strength.
Good times to come and I can't wait to start the training but first I need to get in the 14 mile run tomorrow and focus on the 50K next week.
Also, I found a way to import my Garmin data online and then I can link it to the blog. So here are my Garmin Splits from the Turkey Trot: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/19744514
Thanks for Reading,
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Just a quick update on the 5 mile Turkey Trot Annie and I did this morning. First, it was cold -- 41 degrees!!! The organizers said that they had over 5000 people racing and I believe them because it was some crowded running!
At the starting line a young girl held up a sign that said, "6 minute mile pace or less start here." So, I was planning on doing about a 7:30 pace and went about 15 yards or so behind that. I was guessing maybe 100 to 150 people were in front of us. Seemed about right. I overheard some guys talking about all the marathons they did and saying they would do this race, "Around 35 minutes .." Perfect, I thought, I can run behind these guys and it should be good. Annie started right next to me. She was hoping to do a 9 minute/mile pace but by this time it would have been very hard to fight to that area since the starting area was already elbows to assholes!
Our local Congressman, Kevin Brady (a vocal opponent of all the wasteful spending going on in DC), was the official starter and he wasted no time in firing off the gun. So the race begins and it takes us maybe 30 seconds to cross the starting line. Once we cross the pace is incredibly slow, like a 10+ minute/mile pace. We were right in the center and were getting sardined from the sides - hundreds of people were passing us and with that many people we were stuck in the middle. At this point I had to make a decision: Either slow it down and just do a 5 mile training run or put my shoulder down and pass a heck of a lot of people. Well, if you read this blog you probably know what I did next!
I made my way to the outside and jumped up on the grass between the road and sidewalk and passed a ton of people. I didn't even say goodbye to Annie, I was so frustrated with the people in front of me I just took off. In hindsight, I probably should have just reeled it in and enjoyed the run but as usual I am an idiot meathead that cannot control my competitive nature!
I never really found any open space but was able to bust some butt for the rest of the run and zig-zag my way through the rest of the race.
Here are my splits according to my Garmin 305:
Mile 1 - 7:25
Mile 2 - 7:14
Mile 3 - 7:17
Mile 4 - 7:17
Mile 5 - 7:08
Total Time - 36:27
Avg Heart Rate - 177 BPM
Max Heart Rate - 194 BPM
Total Calories - 611
Average Pace - 7:16/Mi
Overall I am quite pleased with my results and actually a little surprised. On Tuesday I ran 5 miles pretty hard and did it in 38 minutes. This was with two days rest and I was very fresh. Today I was coming into the race after 13 miles running the previous two days and my legs were not feeling top notch because of those last two days. As you can see from my Garmin stats above I ran pretty much the entire race in the Anaerobic Heart Rate Zone with an average of 177 BPM. A year ago I would have been able to hold this zone for maybe a minute before I had to considerably back off. Today I was able to hold it for 36 + minutes and could have done another mile or two. It was uncomfortable, actually at times I was hurting. I kept saying to myself, "Pain is just weakness leaving the body ..." and this got me through.
I am very proud of Annie. This was her first race and she did it in 43 minutes. That is a pace of around 8:30ish. She has been doing the Higdon marathon training and most of her runs are in the 9.5 - 11 minute/mile range so she really ran a great race today! She said her legs felt a little rubbery around mile 3 because the initial adrenaline rush was wearing off but she was able to HTFU and keep her pace for the next 2 miles. She wants to do a couple more races like this before her marathon so she can get used to that initial rush. All the long hours she has been logging during training is definitely paying off! I am very happy for her!
After we finished we ate some pancakes and sausage (complimentary!!) and a banana and then went to find the car so we could warm up. They had some unofficial results posted but the line was very long to see them and we were freezing (yes I know I am a wimp). So once they are posted online I will update the blog.
Annie and I both had a great time at the race. It was very well run and a they had a ton of volunteers! We may make this a Thanksgiving tradition!
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family!
Thanks for Reading,
***Official Results: Finished 293/2300 + and 25/143 in Age Group ***