Friday, December 31, 2010

My Gym is Being Taken Over by "Resolutionists"

I posted this last year around the same time and thought it would be nice for all of my new readers to see as well.  Enjoy!

The New Year's "Resolutionists" ....

This was posted on the website by marmadaddy and I thought you fellow gym rats would appreciate it:

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...beginners.
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 parts.
And from helping others through them.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Week Three IM Training Recap

Week 3 has come and gone - bring on #4!  Only 144 more days until Ironman Texas!

So How'd I do with Week 3?

Here are the Results (via Logs):

9700.00 Yd
4h 50m
101.30 Mi
5h 27m
25.03 Mi
3h 47m 10s
Total Time - 14h 04m

Long Run - 15.13 Mi
Long Ride - 60.80 Mi
Long Swim - 3000 Yds

Overall this was about an hour more than what the plan called for and that is because of my excessive amount of swimming.  Lately, I have really been enjoying my time in the pool and have added in some extra work.  My swim fitness is only a couple of weeks away from being Ironman Distance ready!  This is amazing to me because one year ago I never would have imagined that I would feel this way about my swimming.  As a matter of fact, swimming anything over 500 meters petrified me!  

All 5h 27m of the bike were done on the indoor trainer this week thanks to the cooler than normal temperatures in the Houston area.  As those of you that spend anytime on a trainer can attest - this is much more draining mentally than it is physically!  

After three weeks my legs feel really fresh and mentally I am still sharp.  My motivation is very high right now despite the fact the weather has been less than ideal.  I attribute this positive energy level to the large amount of group training I am doing.  This week I did all of my swims and runs either in a group or with a partner.  Now the bike has been a solo effort but as soon as the weather breaks I will be out with my Tri friends sucking wheels.  This group work has helped keep me focus and I plan on continuing it through out the rest of my training!

I hope everyone has a great week!

Thanks for Reading,


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunday Morning Ramblings ...

- It is cold here.  Not Texas Cold (aka: 55 degrees) but cold, cold.  Yesterday was 35 degree with a wind chill in the lower 20's and today is even worse.  We do not even own the clothing to deal with these temps - think about that ....  I know, right?

- Annie and I did a nice little 15mi run yesterday in the cold.  It did prove to me once again that running in the cold is a gazillion times better than the oppressive heat! Once your extremities warm up your body handles the run so well.  The pace was slow (9:19/mi) but my body and legs afterwards felt wonderful.

-  I am in two fantasy football leagues and am in the finals of one of them this week.  My team is pretty loaded except at the QB position and with this being a 12-team league the waiver wire is pretty thin.  My options were to start Jon Kitna last night against Arizona or Tim Tebow today against Houston.  I initially picked Tebow off the waivers a couple of weeks ago as a joke - I told everyone he was added to give unity to my team since Tebow is, after all, a leader of men! Well, the guy I am playing in the finals is a HUGE Tebow fan and I originally was going to start Kitna but a few minutes before the Dallas game last night I pulled Kitna and put Tebow into my starting spot primarily to piss off the guy I am playing. I might look like a genius in the end because Kitna got hurt after tossing two interceptions and didn't play the 2nd half.  His stats were awful!  Now Tebow just needs to do some scoring and Jeff wins $500!

- WTF?  If any of you have been following the WikiLeaks saga over the past few weeks you'll be happy to know that the CIA has instituted the WikiLeaks Task Force to investigate possible unlawful acts.  The WikiLeaks Task Force is know as the WTF.  I cannot make this stuff up.

-  On Friday Night the NFL Network did a show on the Top 10 Pittsburgh Steelers of All Time.  Now for all you football fans out there you know this is going to be a tough list because it can be argued that the Steelers, with 6 Superbowl Rings, have one of the most storied franchise in the history of the NFL.  I have not watched the program yet but here is my list:  10. Lynn Swann; 9. Jerome Bettis; 8.John Stallworth; 7. Mike Webster; 6. Mel Blount; 5. Hines Ward; 4. Jack Lambert; 3. Franco Harris; 2. Terry Bradshaw; 1. Joe Greene. 

- A couple of notable exceptions:  Rod Woodson (if he had a SB ring he would be in), Joey Porter, Kevin Green, Rocky Bleier (great story, average stats), Dermonti Dawson, Troy Polamalu (Will be on list in 5 years), Ben Roethisberger (Will be on list in 5 years).  I am going to watch the program later today and see how close my list is to the NFL Network list.

- IM Training has been spot on this week.  My running fitness is well ahead of the Base Phase of the training and I already have 25 miles logged this week with a scheduled 30 min recovery run this evening.  My swimming is getting closer each time I hit the pool.  I have logged 4 swims this week and close to 10,000 yards, another couple of weeks like this and my swim fitness will be back to top form.  I have logged 3 trainings on the bike this week, all indoors on the trainer and am going for my 3hour long ride on the trainer once I finish this post.  I am struggling with maintaining focus and intensity on the trainer right now because of boredom but HELP is ON THE WAY ....

- My diet did not take too bad of a hit over the Christmas Season.  Luckily Annie and I did not host a party at our house this year.  This means we did not have any leftovers to pick at!  One of the parties we went to had a ton of cake (my Achilles heal) and other pastries and I did eat one large slice of an amazing cake but stopped after that.  All the other parties we went to I ended up not drinking any alcohol because Annie could not say no to the vino.  Someone had to be a responsible driver!

- We are going to a New Year's party at our neighbor's house so I might not have the designated driver excuse since we will walk as to why I am not drinking at this one.  Might have to pull out the training excuse - hate to be the boring triathlete  but Ironman is my focus.

- We are pug-sitting this week!  That means we have 3 pugs running around the house.  The visitor pug is named Holly and she is a very vocal little thing.  My pugs hardly ever bark, Holly, on the otherhand, is quite the little chatterbox.  I found this to be a touch annoying as I was sound asleep at 3am this morning.    I open my eyes and Holly is standing on my chest, barking about 2 inches from my face.  She had to go outside to potty.  I guess this is good since she didn't go on our floor.

Thanks for Reading,


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Motivation - "I Am a Champion"

Every now and again we need that little extra push to get us out the door to get in our swim/bike/run training.  If you happen to need that little bit of extra motivation and that is the reason you are reading blogs right now then this is your lucky day!

I wish this guy was my HS football Coach! Watch and then go hammer that workout:

Thanks for Watching,


Monday, December 20, 2010

2010 Kona Ironman Broadcast - Youtube

This will probably not be up very long once the YouTube police find it so watch now while you can!  The guy who posted it has it broken into 10 different parts.  If you click on his username you can see the entire broadcast.  Enjoy!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Week Two IM Training Recap & Other Randomness

This entire week can be summed up in one extremely descriptive word:  YUK!

Week Two Numbers:

Swim:  4600 Yd - 1h 55m
Run:    20.49 Mi - 3h 14m
Bike:   0
Total Volume:  5h 9m

I you are a regular reader you are probably thinking something is off here?  You would be right.  My training plan asked for 12hrs of total volume and I hit less than half of that because I AM SICK. And it really, really sucks!

After my 5am Tuesday morning Master's class I started to feel a little crappy.  I had a ton of appointments and probably drove over 150miles that day and was progressively getting worse.  Annie and I had to go to a friends child's musical recital that evening and my plan was to hit the trainer later that night.  That never happened.  I got home around 8pm and started to feel like death.  Head was hurting, stomach was doing flips, and I was just nauseous all around.  Wednesday I woke up with plans of hitting the bike and couldn't get out of bed.  I finally did and had a long day working and started to feel better.  So I went to my Wednesday night run club at Life Time Fitness.  I did 4 miles and it was an awful experience - most taxing 4 miles I have ever done!  The results from that was to not do any training Thursday or Friday with plans of recovering for the weekend.

Saturday morning rolled around and I felt better.  I meet a few friends and we ripped off 16.5mi running.  I felt so good that I immediately went swimming and got in 2000yds at a recovery pace.  We went to dinner on Saturday night for Annie's Birthday and I still felt okay, not great, just okay.  This morning rolled around and my head felt like it was going to pop from behind my eye sockets and the stomach once again was not good.  Appropriate text messages sent to my riding buddies and it was back to bed until almost 9am.

As I sit here and type I am feeling better and hopefully am almost done with this bug.  I did nothing but sit on the couch today and despite a long day planned on the road for work tomorrow I will not begin training again until Tuesday.

On the bright side, I am now at my optimal race weight of 148 lbs.  That is an 8lbs loss since I got sick on Tuesday.  You got nothing on me Paleo Diet!


  • I know I can be wordy, but that was a lot of rambling above.  Even for me.  Wow.
  • Loved, Loved, Loved the NBC broadcast of Kona yesterday.  Good trainer material for this winter!
  • We had our Annual Tri Club End of the Year Banquet on Friday.  It was an great time had by all and I managed to be medicated up enough to do a presentation on the plans for 2011.  If you are interested in hanging out with a bunch good people and experienced triathletes and live in the North East Houston area consider joining our club.  Click on the newly designed Kingwood Tri Club Website to register.
  • I cannot believe the Steelers lost to the Jets.  Just a crappy game from a team that looked like they didn't even feel like being there.  Mike Tomlin, you and your team need an attitude adjustment.
  • I have the DirecTV season ticket package and being that I was sick today I watched pretty much every NFL game. I am very skilled with the TV remote!  All I can say is that I love Tim Tebow, QB, Denver.  The kid is just a leader of men. He plays with such heart and passion that I wanted to jump off my couch and block for him.  AND since this is sure to come up in the comments - I am not a Flordia Gators Fan, and could care less about most of the SEC.  I just like the way this kid plays.  That is all.
  • I ran 16.5 miles on Saturday and the entire run was effortless.  Just a great feeling and almost zero soreness later that day.  Despite an overall awful week the one silver lining (aside from shitting myself to race weight) is that my legs are in an extremely good place and are ready to take on the next 22 weeks of Ironman training.  The training for the late season 70.3 is 100% responsible.  The takeaway from this is:  Suck It Offseason!
  • Annie and I have a special Christmas morning planned together:  A 15-mile Run!  I know, I know get you a Kleenex right?  I knew all you Endurance Peeps  would get all choked up at this!
  • Last but not least, Happy Birthday to my wonderful wife Annie.  You are even more beautiful today then when we met 13 years ago!
Thank for Reading,


Thursday, December 16, 2010

What is Your Cut-Off Temperate?

A couple of days ago BDD and me got into a Twitter debate over when you should cancel the outdoor ride and move your rig to the trainer.  He said 33 degrees and my new cutoff temp is 38 degrees (after such a ride on Sunday).  This is sort of like the Boxers vs Briefs or Taste Great vs Less Filling debates - not really a right or wrong everyone has their own level of comfort with cold.  Well, this is what I used to think until I found this handy little chart that tells you what is the appropriate riding temps and it even goes a step further and takes into account wind!  Enjoy:

(CLICK IMAGE to Expand)

So what is your cut-off temperatures? (For the record, I was in Jens Factor 4 on Sunday - not pleasant).

Thanks for Reading,


Ps - I have no idea what "Jens Factor" is supposed to mean - probably someone names Jen came up with this  ? IDK?


My wife Annie is doing great at figuring out all the setting on our new SLR camera:

- Training is going poorly this week due to me being sick.  Aaaggghhhhhh.  Tuesday evening I started to feel pretty bad and then when I woke up for my 5am bike ride on Wednesday I was in full blown sick mode.  I showed up at Run club last night and figured I could do 4 easy miles and it would open up the sinuses.  I should have realized this was a bad idea when I walked in the front door and my buddy is standing there and this is the exchange:

Dave:  "You okay?"
Jeff:  "Head cold, I'm fine."
Dave:  "You look like a zombie from 'The Walking Dead'"
Jeff:  "thanks"

-  Still got in the 4 miles but the pace was dreadfully slow and it felt like I was dragging both of my legs.

-  I skipped Master's swim this morning and am supposed to run after work today but might miss that as well.   Pretty sure this sickness is a direct result of my freezing bike ride on Sunday.  Lesson learned.

- I put an Airborne tablet in my coffee this morning - not a good idea.  It tasted awful.  I still had the entire cup because I didn't feel like standing up to get a new cup.

Hope everyone else is have a good week!

Thanks for Reading,


Monday, December 13, 2010

Week One of IM Training

158 Days until IM Texas ...

And with my official training beginning last week that means week one is in the books and only 23 more weeks remain!

Base training started out very well and I was able to get in 11 of the 12 scheduled workouts.  Overall I was surprised at how easily my body seemed to jump right back into training after being off for a month.  The 12-hours of volume was a nice starting point but I am already itching to crank it up and wreck myself.  Good times ahead for sure!

Here is the breakdown (copied from logs):

8300.00 Yd
3h 45m
81.60 Mi
4h 49m
16.99 Mi
2h 31m 23s

Total Time:  12h 05m 

The one workout missed was a 25 minute recovery run on Sunday evening.  It got scraped because of a head and chest cold that has taken up residence in my torso.  It was okay to miss this one because my Wednesday run was 30 minutes longer than scheduled which is how I hit the scheduled time goal of 12 hours right on the head.

Sunday morning's long ride was an adventure on the bike for my buddy Mike and I.  There was a local 1/2 Marathon going on and they needed volunteers. Since we had a bunch of friends running and Mike's wife was a sponsor we decided to ride from Kingwood to the race, volunteer, then ride back.  In theory, this was a great idea.  But we should have checked the weather.  When we left Mike's house it was 38 degrees. Not too bad - Not much wind, yet.  We rode pretty slow in the 18-19mph range just trying to keep warm.  We got to the race and we were volunteering at the Mile 3 Aid Station.  Luckily, Mike's wife Jennifer, was smart enough to suggest we pack a bag with warm clothes and she would leave the bags in her car for us.  I say "luckily" because the wind started to really pick up as the cold front moved in and the Aid Station was in a shaded area of the woods - it was cold!

After handing out drinks at the Aid Station and cheering on all the runners it was time to head back to Kingwood.  With the warm clothes back in the car we were both freezing as it was getting colder and colder as the morning went by!  We should of hitched a ride back because as we turned to head back north we were greeted with about a 30mph COLD headwind putting the wind chill in the low 20's.  I was still cold as I went to sleep 10 hours later!!

Shout outs

  • My lovely wife Annie has finally started a blog.  It is called Retail Runner.  She actually started it many months ago but never posted, but she was inspired by everyone's favorite Belt Buckle wearing hardcore runner EMZ to finally get to it!  So go check it out!
  • Kati from CoachKatie's Blog has entered her Gluten-Free Gingerbread House into a contest and she could win an iPod Toch.  Please go over and vote for her awesome Ginerbread House - She is GBH #10.  Click Here to vote.
  • Aaron Rodgers of the Packers go a concussion in the first half of yesterday's game.  Why is this notable?  He is my fantasy football QB and this was the first week of the playoffs - or my last week of the playoffs.  Damn concussions.
I hope everyone has a wonderful week and all of my Northern buddies who are getting dumped on with snow enjoy some hot chocolate and snow days from work!

Thanks for Reading,


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Regina Chiu is Awesome ...

... of course we already know that Regina (Chiu On This) is awesome! And just when you think she has already reached the pinnacle of awesomeness she goes and sends me this little piece of photoshop goodness and completely ups bar once again:

Will Run for Sausage on a Stick!

If you are shaking your head right now and wondering why there is a Sausage on a Stick in my hand read THIS and then THIS.

Thanks Regina, you Rock!

Hope every one has a great weekend!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Legend Grows: SAUSAGE ON A STICK

Last weekend Annie and I ran in the La Porte by the Bay Half Marathon.  We had an awesome time but one of the things that really stole the entire show for me was the SAUSAGE ON A STICK at the post race party.  My Race Report went as far to describe the SAUSAGE ON A STICK as glorious, and I stand by that statement!

In the Race Report I also said this:
...And if you are the RD and read this report please include SAUSAGE ON A STICK at every race you direct and you will have a groupie/stalker from this point on!

Well, the blogger gods took care of the rest and through the communicative power that is the interwebz my wife came across this little gem on the FB page for the race this morning:

"Point noted about the sausage on a stick!"
JACKPOT!  Clearly this means the SAUSAGE ON A SICK will become a staple of the race ... and hopefully many, many more races!

And to make things even better I received an email today from the BBQ Maestro himself (Marc from The White Water Cowboy BBQ Company)  and he enjoyed my review so much he invited me to his next BBQ Cook-Off that promises all the BBQ goodness of briskets, chicken, and sausage (of course).

Here is a picture of my reaction:


Thanks for Reading,


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Carrot Goes Green ...

Share The Glory

Today I was invited to join an awesome group of Triathletes and become a member of Team Trakkers.  I feel very honored to be selected to this wonderful group and cannot wait to meet all of my new Teammates!

The announcement was made mid-morning and I am still trying to get caught up on the flurry of tweets, emails, and FB posts.  My new Teammates are an extremely savvy bunch when it comes to the world of social media  - my type of people!

Another awesome thing about this is that I was planning on doing Rev3 Cedar Point 70.3 in September and since Team Trakkers and Rev3 are one in the same I am pumped to pencil that race in - who knows if 2011 goes well  I might even just do the 140.6.

A huge THANK YOU goes out to Joel Strickland at TriMadness for recommending me to Team Trakkers and answering all of my questions throughout the process.  And also to badass Triathlete Carole Sharpless who spent countless hours selecting the team and making sure we were all a fit to the Trakkers Tri Family.  You both are awesome!

One more cool thing:  Team Trakkers is sponsored by Kestrel Bikes.  Kestrel has a reputation as one of the finest TT Bike companies in the world and I personally think they are damn sexy.  As a member of Team Trakkers I have the opportunity to acquire a Kestrel so I have it narrowed down to two TT bikes:

#1: 4000 Pro Ultegra (Click HERE for specs)

#2: 4000 LTD (Click HERE for specs)

The main difference between the bikes are the gruppos and wheelsets.  The LTD comes with deep carbon wheels and DuraAce Di2 shifters.  The 4000 Pro comes with Ultegra and 45cm carbon/aluminum wheels.  As I have mentioned in previous posts I am in love with the DA Di2 gruppo.  I cannot think of any practical reason for electronic shifting other than it being super awesome.  My mistake was that I rode a bike with Di2 and honestly believe this is the future of components.  Such decisions!!

That is it for today's news here at the Carrot.  You will notice over the next few days that the blog is going to undergo some construction (apologies in advance) as I add in my new Teammates blogs and also turn the page to 2011.

Thanks for Reading,


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Single Step ...

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
- Lao-tzu

I have always appreciated this quote and have often thought of it when standing at the starting line of some of my races.  At 4:00am this morning I thought about it when the alarm went off and I had to go to Master's swim class.  The significance of today's swim is that it was the first workout of my Ironman Texas journey.

This was my first time back in the pool in a couple of weeks and it was no walk in the park either.  Or more precisely stated - my arse got handed to me.  It is amazing how much swim fitness has been lost in just under a month's time?  My training plan called for me to do 1800 yds but my master's coach, Katy,  had put together a 3000yd workout with a bunch of intervals.  I was able to do 2500yds and ended up skipping the final 500yds of drills.  I was wasted and my left hammy was cramping up. Good start to the the first day!

I just finished up the second workout which was an hour on the bike.  This was done on the trainer at an aerobic Zone 2 pace - I love the base phase of my training plans!  Legs are feeling spry and have another AM trainer ride and PM run tomorrow.
AM - Swim - 2500 yards
PM - Bike - 18 miles

Day One in the Books!

Thanks for Reading,


Monday, December 6, 2010

Laporte by the Bay Half Marathon Race Report (and videos)

Laporte by the Bay Half Marathon - December 5, 2010

Yesterday Annie and I along with our friends Ruth Ann and Patrick ran in the inaugural Laporte Half Marathon.   Now the draw to this race is that it runs over and back on the Fred Hartman Bridge (pictured).

I had never driven over this bridge (Houston is a big place, leave me alone) but was told that it was pretty steep.  This was not false bravado as this bridge was indeed, steep.

My plan for the race was to take it easy and just enjoy the run since Ironman training begins this week.  Annie wanted me to run with her as she was using this race as her weekend long run in her training for the upcoming Houston Marathon.  This sounded like a fun idea so I was game and spent the entire race running next to my wife. Since this was just a fun run and I was supposed to not care about time I left the Garmin 310 at home and the only piece of technology geek boy had on him was our point and shoot digital camera.

Annie and I in the car keeping warm
So since I was carrying the digital camera I thought it would be cool to video some of the run as we were running.  I was wrong because it is not very cool.  But since it is a slow news day here at the Carrot I will post up the videos anyway.  Be warned:  If you suffer from motion sickness or get nauseous easily these will probably make you puke (I am running afterall!).  Also, I realized after watching these that running, is indeed, boring to watch.  

Video #1:  Race Start

Video #2:  Annie Demonstrates Proper Jacket Removal While Running

Video #3:  Pee Break

Video #4:  Starting up the Fred Hartman Bridge (Listen to the wind 25-30mph)

Video #5:  Getting to Top of Bridge


Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) the camera ran out of juice and I could not carry on with the video documentary of the Laporte Half.  I really need to get one of those Flips for future video endeavors.

We had a really good time and the race was extremely well run and supported.  The post race spread included pizza and SAUSAGE ON A STICK.  This was freaking awesome.  I had two sausages on a stick and should of had like three more.  They were glorious.  This was a unique race with the bridge and the cool ramp leading up to the bridge and we will do this one again.  And if you are the RD and read this report please include SAUSAGE ON A STICK at every race you direct and you will have a groupie/stalker from this point on!

Annie and I finished the race with identical times of  2:04:35,  which was a pace of 9:30/mi.  This was a little slow for Annie as she did San Antonio about 10 minutes faster but the bridge added quite the degree of difficulty and she was using this as a training run.  

Some of you may wonder how a couple could run together for 2 hours without an argument ensuing and the answer is simple:  Annie used an iPod!  I tend to be quite chatty when running and even more so when running at an easy pace like this - I actually toned it down for the video!  At about Mile 12 I was rambling on aimlessly and Annie looked at me with a stern look and said, "Could you please just be quite for the last mile?"  So I shut up and we ran it in - Good times!

Ruth Ann and Patrick both finished under there goal times and a special congrats goes out to Patrick for finishing his first half marathon!

Post Race with our cool Finisher Medals:  The bottoms are bottle openers!!!

Thanks for Reading,


Thursday, December 2, 2010

What's Up Y'all

It has been a few days since my last post and thought it will be good timing to drop in a few Random Thoughts:

  • I got my first edition of the new LAVA Magazine and really enjoyed it.  Some of the complaints I have heard are that the numerous amount of Ads is a little much.  I actually like all the ads and reading about all the new gear and nutrition because I have a sickness when it comes to this stuff.  Hello, my name is Jeff and I am a gear addict.
  • On Sunday Annie and I are running in a half marathon in LaPorte Texas.  With my IMTX training commencing on Monday I decided to just run the 13.1 miles at a nice easy zone 2 pace.  I might not even wear a garmin and just enjoy a nice relaxing run!
  • Last night I ran with the LifeTime Fitness run club and tried out my new Brooks T6 Racers.  All I can say is WOW!  They weigh 6.1 ounces which is like saying they weigh absolutely nothing!  It felt like feathers on my feet and I was a little concerned that due to the lack of stability that my calves and shins would be sore today.  Well, no soreness at all.  I am considering wearing these on Sunday for the half.
  • As I mentioned above, Ironman Texas training will set off on it's Maiden Voyage on Monday and I am ready to get to it and beach this baby on May 21st.  I have spent the last 4 weeks resting with just enough swim, bike, and run to keep me honest.  My body feels healed up and ready to conquer the 24-Week Training Plan that is before it.  If anyone is interested I am using the Matt Fitzgerald Week-to-Week Triathlon Training Book.  Or as Kevin like to call it: The Book.  I will be doing the Level 7 Iron Distance Plan and if you would like a copy of the super-detailed spreadsheet please send me an email (jeffirvin AT and I'll forward it on.
  • All that cool and positive stuff already being said the training will be a little handicapped because I broke the middle toe on my left foot yesterday.  Really wish I had a cool story on how it happened but the truth is I kicked the bottom edge of the shower while stepping out and it caught the toe just right.  Hurt like hell and the toenail is already black.  The good news it that it is the middle toe so it can be taped to the other toes with very little pain.  I ran last night that way and it was fine.
  • Joel over @ TriMadness! has another excellent interview.  This time with Professional Triathlete Linsay Corbin.  Click Here to read.
  • I was happy to see who went home on The Biggest Loser this week.  I won't ruin it for you DVR people like some others - Cought, BDD, Cough.
  • Gordon Ramsey is my hero.
  • On last TV thing:  With the indoor bike trainer season well underway with the cold temps hitting much of the country.  A TV series that you all need to get is Friday Night Lights.  You can get the DVD's for like $14 per season (4 so far) and they make for great viewing while sweating away.  Over the last 5 years this has been one of my favorite TV shows.  The acting, directing, writing and emotional connection the the characters is second to none on the small screen.  Do yourself a favor and pick this up.
Hope everyone has a great weekend and good luck to all of you racing!

Thanks for Reading,


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Suck It Black Friday

The Origin of Black Friday (from Wikipedia):
The day's name originated in Philadelphia, where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Use of the term began by 1966 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation began to be offered: that "Black Friday" indicates the period during which retailers are turning a profit, or "in the black."
My Definition of Black Friday:

On my signal ....
This is the day after Thanksgiving that the public (mainly woman) Unleash Hell on retailers.  The chaos is usually caused because you have just been forced to spend countless hours with extended family members and you are in need of an outlet to vent your frustrations and they are still at your house.  Retailers take advantage of this angst by chumming  the waters with extremely discounted goods and thus cause a somewhat controlled feeding frenzy.  The participating individuals justify awakening at 2am to stand in line at Wal-Mart in freezing temperatures because they can get a flat panel TV for $298.97.   

Sooo ... Jeff why are you talking about Black Friday?  Because I want to tell you about the cool Tri Gear that I got while sitting on my couch searching the interwebz while all the crazies were out fighting each other for parking spots at the local mall.  I actually feel like I beat Black Friday because I still got some smoking deals but did so while watching college football (Hows bout that Bama/Auburn game?), eating cookies, and keeping warm with a blanket! (All the deals are linked if you wanted to take advantage):

Deal #1:
Giro Advantage 2 Aero Helmet (Black & White)
Original Price:  $149.00
Bargain Hunter Price:  $79.99 ($98 w/ S&H and Tax)

I've been looking for an Aero helmet for a long time now and this helmet has been on sale on for a couple of weeks but they did not have my size.  So when I noticed my size was finally available I jumped all over this deal.  And, as a bonus, my father told me a few weeks ago that, "Those pointy helmets look really stupid!"  -- This means even at the age of 35 I am still able to be a little rebellious!  

Deal #2:

Zoot Tri 6 Tri Shorts (Legs not included)
Original Price:  $60
Bargain Hunter Price:  $15.95 (73% Discount)

I already own a pair of these shorts and they are wonderful.  I have been looking for another pair for over a year but the cheapskate in me would not allow them to be purchased at retail price.  On a whim yesterday I checked the site and found this deal. Also found this:

Deal #3:
Zoot Ventilator Cap
Original Price:  $25
Bargain Hunter Price:  $5.95 (76% Discount)

I really have no need for another hat but it was so cheap that I may have been temporarily overcome by the madness that is Black Friday (I feel so guilty).  And the guy in the picture kind of looks like me a little so the hat made it to the checkout cart!

Deal #4:

Brooks T6 Racer
Original Price:  $85
Bargain Hunter Price:  $51 (40% Discount w/Brooks ID)

Okay, I have been running with the Brooks Glycerin 8's and they are good trainers but are slightly clunky for 5k's,10k's, and tempo runs so this little neutral racing flat was just what the run doctor ordered.  I am a big fan of my racing shoes having very minimal support, especially when I am as light as I am right now (154lbs) and these shoes fit the bill.

That was all my wife my pocketbook would allow for on this day of blackness but I also found a couple more deals that may interest some of you guys.

-  Garmin 305 @ Wal-Mart for $99.  This is a smoking deal!  We have two 305's and a 310xt and I am still considering getting a "Back-up" 305 just because this is such a good deal!

-  Reynolds Strike Carbon Clinchers 66mm for $799.  Now these are listed on the Performance Bike website for $999 (original of $1599)  but they were offering a 20% off entire purchase coupon on Friday.  I read on a message board that the 20% coupon would be available on CyberMonday (tomorrow) but this could just be a rumor.  If you are in the market for carbon wheels this might be worth checking out!

That is all I got tonight.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and was able to get in some workouts and I do not mean intervals from the kitchen to the couch!

Thanks for Reading,


Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey Trot 5mi Race Report

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

Before we get to the RR let's talk about how the day began but first we need a little backstory:

On Wednesday my neighbor Elizabeth and I went grocery shopping since we were all spending Thanksgiving together.  The grocery store was the normal controlled craziness before a holiday that was expected.  Elizabeth is a very good cook and extremely picky about the ingredients that she uses.  So after a careful selection process we picked out a nice 18-LB Turkey.  Since we would be doing Thanksgiving at Elizabeth's house we unloaded most of the groceries there and I was to take the turkey and store it in our fridge because we were going to cook it in our stove and then walk it down to her house.  Easy enough, right?

Fast forward to 5am Thanksgiving morning.  I wake up about a half hour before the alarm and sit straight up in bed as I just remembered something unsettling.  I notice Annie staring at me with a dazed and confused look?  At this point I say to her, "I have made a horrible mistake!" She sits up a little and I proceed to tell her, "I left the Turkey in the trunk of my car!"

Now most of you are probably thinking that this is not that big of a deal.  It is November and the frozen Turkey needed to thaw anyway?.  Well, the temperature was around 80 degrees and we purchased the Turkey thawed.  It is ruined.  And my car is going to smell awful!

At this point I jump out of bed and am in full damage control mode.  Annie informs me that Elizabeth is going to kill me and I should be fearing for my life. She then went back to sleep.  Now I could wait until after the Turkey Trot run and try and find a Turkey but Elizabeth was going to be at our house by 6:30am and if she was, in fact, going to kill me then I needed another solution.

I was in the car by 5:15 and head to the grocery store. Luckily, the ruined turkey in my trunk was double bagged and none of the turkey juice had seeped out - disaster #1 averted!

Normally this grocery store is not opened this early but I rationalized that with it being Thanksgiving that they would be opened early.  AND they were!!!  I hustled to the same aisle we picked up the now rotten Turkey and found an identical one.  It was the last one they had left in this size!  I was back in my kitchen making coffee by 5:35 with the new Turkey awaiting to be roasted in my fridge - disaster #2 averted!

Now time to race!

The Turkey Trot is a 5miler in the Woodlands (which is where IMTX is located) and we ran it last year.  It was around 40 degrees last year and just perfect running conditions.  This year the weather was far from perfect as it was already in the low 80's and extremely humid.  We had a foursome doing the race of Annie, Elizabeth, my buddy Bobby, and me.  The fun thing about this race is that they always have an awesome pre and post race spread.  Bobby and I did some eating and hydrating before the race like good little triathletes! The girls looked on at us like we were idiots for eating this much before we ran (no foreshadowing here - I just like to eat and usually do not have GI issues when I eat before races).

Last year I laid down a time of 36:27 and my goal this year was to come in under 36 minutes.  I was a little concerned this race was going to hurt because of the unseasonable heat and humidity and also because I have run only 8 miles in the last 3 weeks!  Yes, I know, pathetic, but I am healing up for IMTX training and am nursing a sprained ankle - leave me alone!

Elizabeth and I started about 10 yards from the starting line.  This is one of those races that people start at the 5:30/mi pace corral and proceed to run an 11:00/mi pace and jog 5 people across elbow-to-elbow.  This drives me nuts so we said screw it and started at the front and just ran a 5:30 pace until the crowds thinned out.  Elizabeth is fast so she had no problems with this!

The race started and the first two miles went well as I held a 6:34 and 6:33, respectively.   At about the 2.5 mile mark my lungs were beginning to really feel the humidity and lack of run training over the last three weeks.  The mile 3 split was 7:09 and mile 4 was done at a pedestrian 7:38.  I kicked it in with a 7:08 for the final mile and was in an extreme amount of pain with about a half mile to go. I limped across the finish line and my garmin showed the course to be a little long (same as last year) at 5.12 miles and my final time was 35:45.  This was a new PR by 42 seconds and the most pain I have felt on a short run in a long time.

Results: 35:45
AG Ranking (M35-39):  8/140
Overall Ranking:  128/2266

- Elizabeth finished 6/146 in her AG at 38:00 even.  She is a new runner and keeps getting faster and faster.  She'll be running circles around me in no time!

- Annie finished 28/146 in her AG at 44:18.  She was a trooper because she worked a 14 hour shift on her feet getting ready for Black Friday and didn't get home until 10:30pm Wednesday night.  She is much tougher than me because I never would have run this race if I had to work like that!

- Bobby finished 42/140 in his AG at 41:22.  He has dropped a bunch of weight doing P90X and is becoming quite the speedy runner! I believe this was a PR for Booby.

Overall we had a great time and it is always awesome to get up early and be active before you go and stuff your face.

Enjoy your weekend everyone and Thanks for Reading,


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gobble, Gobble

The best thing about Thanksgiving this year is the FOUR days off of work!  I am a walking, talking stress ball right now and cannot wait to not deal with the daily grind.  Wednesday at 5pm cannot come fast enough.

It has been 2.5 weeks since the IronStar 70.3 and I have really been enjoying the time off from a scheduled training plan.  When I am in the middle of a training plan each and everyday is attacked with an almost reckless abandon.  This is how I am wired and really do not want to change.  I like the planned workouts and like seeing the results.  BUT I am learning that when in this "Training Zone" that my body and mind really take quite a beating!

Now that I have had unstructured time it is easier to reflect back on the previous 23 weeks and assess what went right and what went wrong.  Sometimes when in the middle of a training plan it is hard to make productive adjustments due to both the mental and physical fatigue.  This is probably when having a coach would really help.  That is why downtimes are the best times to use what was learned and to apply it to the future plan.

The Stats

Here are my weekly average numbers over the course of the Fitzgerald Level 10 Half Ironman Training Program:

Avg Monthly Swim Yards:  40,013
Avg Monthly Bike Miles:  502.05
Avg Monthly Run Miles:  105.58

I look at these stats and compare them to what my training plan asked for and it is spot on.  One of the reasons to keep the numbers and review them is so you can look back and see if the reason you under performed or over performed could be answered in the logs?

The Review

To look back at my race I gained 11 minutes on my previous 70.3 swim and finished 17th out of 62 in my age group.  When I began this training program one of my concerns was that too much time was being spent in the pool.  Just by typing the results you can see that was a foolish concern.  the funny part is that sighting was extremely difficult the morning of the race due to the fog and I probably could have knocked another couple of minutes off the swim in better conditions.

I gained 22 minutes on the bike from my previous 70.3.  This is not a fair comparison because the previous race was on horrendous road conditions and a screwed up my nutrition.  That being said I finished 13th out of 62 in the AG and felt extremely strong on the bike.  It was really cold and that limited my performance in the beginning as it hurt my lungs and throat to breathe and the head wind over the last 20miles crushed my average pace.  Despite those issues I still felt ready to run when I hit transition.

I gained 34 minutes on the run from the last race.  My rank was 23 out of 62 in my AG.  I had severe cramps in my quads at a half mile into the run.  I estimate the cramps cost me close to 15 minutes overall on the run as I had to sit down on the side of the road to stretch out 3times.  Over the last couple of weeks I have spoke to quite a few veteran Triathletes to help determine why the quads locked up on me?  I did a ton of bricks in training, nutrition wasn't perfect but my electrolyte consumption was okay,  I did not push too hard on the bike as I had done the same route over 12 minutes faster a few times in training, albeit in better conditions?  So what happened?  The consensus seems to be that I ran too damn hard the first half mile off the bike and didn't let my legs get used to the transition.  I went back and reviewed the Garmin data and my first half mile was run at a 6:18 pace.  This is ridiculous to even attempt and I had a major brain fart here.  Of course my quads resisted,  I never practiced at this pace and never gave my legs the chance to adjust and the cool temperatures probably didn't help in letting the quads loosen up?  Extremely boneheaded maneuver.

Moving Forward

Taking what was learned will be applied to the upcoming Ironman training plan that begins on 12/6.  Fortunately for me I will be using the same Fitzgerald Training Program only the Full Ironman one.  I will continue to log the large amount of time in the pool that the plan asked for and try and keep a 5 to 1 ratio of bike to run miles.  The previous plan worked well because I felt great during the entire race.  It is important to notate this so when I look back again next year this will be uploaded to my mind one more time!

What I am going to do differently is practice in shitty weather conditions.  In the past if it was raining , too cold, too hot, or too windy I would take my workouts indoors to the trainer or treadmill.  Moving forward this cannot happen.  My body and mind need to be prepared for any type of conditions that race day may throw at me.  Ironman Texas is on May, 21st.  The previous May 21st recorded a temperature of 95 degrees with pea soup humidity.  A few years before that it was a high of 60 and a low of 42 - this means I need to be ready for it all and training in less than ideal conditions needs to occur more frequently.


So what am I going to do up until the Dec 6th training begins?

Well, on Thursday Annie and I are running in The Woodlands 5 mile Turkey Trot.  I am going to try for a new PR.  Here are my splits and time from last years race:

Mile 1 - 7:25
Mile 2 - 7:14
Mile 3 - 7:17
Mile 4 - 7:17
Mile 5 - 7:08

Total Time - 36:27
Then on Dec 5th Annie and I are running in the La Porte Half Marathon.  It goes over and back of this big ass suspension bridge in La Porte, TX.  It is the inaugural year for the race and I am not sure if I am going to run or race yet.

Here is the Bridge:

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and that no one gets trampled at Wal-Mart on Black Friday morning!

Thanks for Reading,


Monday, November 22, 2010

San Antonio Rock n' Roll Weekend

Annie set a PR by over 6 minutes!  

Even with a freaking TRAIN that halted  runners  5 minutes into the start!  Here is a picture our friend Suzie took with her iPhone as they all stood around an waited:

hmmm ... might be a bit of a SNAFU?

According to her Garmin she lost a little under 2:00 minutes waiting for the stupid train.  The RD sent out an apology and so did the train company.  They said they will be adjusting finishing times.  Annie submitted some online form so her time should end up being even faster!

Annie and her Sherpa Pre-Race - lots of gear hanging from the Sherpa!

Elizabeth, Annie, and Ruth Ann displaying their Bling!  This was Elizabeth first half and Ruth Ann's second.  As you can tell from the smiles they all had a great time and a great race!

Annie in front of The Alamo!

Some Texas Love!

This is the Brooks Running area at the Expo. Do you see the little blue booth on the right?  I stood in that for 8 hours on Friday having people fill out raffle tickets.  My feet felt like I ran in a marathon later that night!  The Brooks folks were a lot of fun and all are enthusiastic about Running and make the sport fun for everyone. 

Overall, we had a great weekend and a ton of fun.  The weather was perfect for running and even more perfect for eating and drinking - which I did my far share of!  This was a tune up race for Annie as she prepares for the Houston Full Marathon on January 31st.  She has been working very hard and logging the miles in the bank and is on track to have an awesome marathon.

Annie and Elizabeth on the "Tomb Raider" ride!

Thanks for Reading,