Thursday, December 3, 2009

Understanding body composition

Let me start off by saying that I don't really understand body composition. It's a complex system we possess and making the most of it is a very individual process. The same advice for two people will likely yield different results.

According to answerfitness.com, body composition is the percentage of fat, muscle and bone in the body. Usually it is expressed as a ratio of lean mass to fatty mass. Lean mass being bones, muscle, skin, organs, and body water. Fatty mass being fat (subcutaneous and the fat surrounding internal organs).

OK, still what does it mean? Well that depends on who you are and your body type. I'm not going to be the one to tell anyone they need to have a certain body fat percentage. That's personal and we all have different bodies. What we can do is learn about our personal body composition, and design workouts to help fine tune that composition.

How does one measure body composition, or body fat percentage (as that is the common measure that most of us will see)? We recently purchased a scale that measures weight, body fat percentage, body water percentage, and muscle mass. Our first thought - what does one do with all of this information? For the most part we've just watched and tried to understand how the pieces fit together. It's interesting when one day you discover 2 extra pounds hanging around, but then you notice a jump in your body water percentage. Bloating, no big deal.

Since I still really don't understand how all these items fit together, I'm going to do an experiment this month. Each day, I'm going to record all the measurements and graph them out for your viewing pleasure. And what better time to do it then during the holidays, right?! You'll be able to see what happens when I eat too many cookies (notice I used 'when' and not 'if', it's going to happen).

If anyone has anything of more substance to add on the matter, let me know. I'm trying to grasp it all.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gym workouts continue

Yesterday and today I got in two good gym workouts. I'm finally getting a feel for how much my muscles can take without going too far and the progress has been good. Yesterday was legs and a 25 minute spin. Today, arms and a 25 minute run on the treadmill. Tomorrow, chest and back, then another spin. Should be fun.

Lolo left a great comment on Sunday's post about cyclist/car interaction. It will be excellent subject matter for an upcoming post. Any other comments, suggestions, or questions you have are welcome.

Monday, November 30, 2009

What a ride it's been

Well NaBloPoMo (National Blog Post Month) is coming to a close. It's been a month full of posts, that's for sure. Has it been bad or good? I'd say a little bit of both.

The stats have been good:
Site visitors: 59 in November compared to 19 in October
Number of subscribers: 21 on November 29th, compared to 13 on October 31st
Ad revenue: $0.10 in November! I'll try not to spend it all in one place :)
But I would say overall the content was a bit bland and maybe a little forced. It's been a good experience though. And I will definitely continue, but a bit differently.  I have two other blogs that were neglected this month and I'd really like to get back to writing on those blogs as well. So here is the goal for December:
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I will be writing about Microsoft Excel and other tech subjects at http://excelninja.blogspot.com
Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday you can find content here at http://jwblog-trainfortri.blogspot.com
Sundays will be my miscellaneous ramblings on miscellaneous topics at http://jwi-blog.blogspot.com/
Thanks for having visited over the past month. Training is slow and boring this time of year, so let me know in the comments (here or on the other blogs) what you would like to hear about.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Anatomy of my STP '09 Wreck (and a bit of soapboxing)

I've already mentioned that I crashed and you can see the full ride report here.

At the time of the crash, I was going 27 mph. There was a car on my left. I was in a paceline that was passing another group of cyclists. The white line was also a rumble strip, which made lane changing interesting. As you can see in the diagram below, a cyclist in the line I was passing, decided to jump into my line. He didn't look (or stop afterward, for that matter), just moved abruptly over into me due to the rumble strip.


As there was a car on my left the only option I had was to attempt to brake just enough to open a gap without getting rear ended by the guy behind me. I hit the brakes too hard, and our bikes locked. Justin, the guy following me, hit the road. We were the only two involved in the crash, luckily enough, but both bikes were trashed.

I will fully admit that I am partly at fault here. I was pushing way too hard and didn't have my wits about me. I didn't leave myself a way out in case something like this happened. I hit the brakes too hard. I assumed the leader of the paceline was alerting the folks on our right that we were passing. And the list goes on.

After being picked up, I saw the remains of at least four other accidents on that stretch of road. One of them was being attended to by a fire truck and an ambulance as the rider appeared to have broken a collarbone. 

The Seattle to Portland ride, has had 30 years of history. The Cascade Bicycle Club hosts a great event that both serves a local charity, and gets riders on the road and helps drivers know that cyclists belong on the road as much as cars. But I have to wonder if 10,000 cyclists is too many. I posed this question, along with what happened to me on the ride, on the Cascade Bicycle Club forums. (leave a comment below if you would like a link to the discussion). I received a lot of feedback on what I could have done differently and people's opinions of the event.

I concluded that the STP might not be the best ride for me. I've been thinking about whether it would be more fun to do the ride by myself or with a small group of people. I have family in Portland, and could meet my wife along the way for support. I've also thought about making sure I'm riding with a group of people that I know and have ridden with before so we have certain protocols established going into the ride (i.e. hand signals, pull time, general feel for what people are going to do).

I still don't know if I'll ever do the ride again. I had a blast up to that point. But there is still a bit of bitterness from the crash. I've since searched for and learned a lot about bicycle safety, and group riding as a way to help myself become a better rider. I hope to share some of those items with you all in the coming months. Please leave a comment on any safety related questions, or you thoughts on what I've written here and I'll try to get to them in future posts.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Crosstraining

Today found me in the garage for most of the day. It was in desperate need of cleaning and organizing. I wish I could say it looked a lot better, but at least all the sawdust and spider webs are out. Big steps were made towards organization, but there are a number of craigslist postings that need to occur before true organization can happen.

The surprise benefit to cleaning the garage...I ache all over. Standing, sweeping, moving heavy objects, bending, etc. I'm going to call it a workout. Works for me.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving...The Aftermath

First of all, that death cake from yesterday...it came home with us. My mouth is pleased, my gut will surely grow.

We planned a nice relaxing day at home. E and I put up the Christmas lights. Nothing complicated, but a good day-after-Thanksgiving tradition. Then the wife was looking online and noticed that AT&T had and iPhone 3GS refurb for $50. My response: "What?!?" Sure enough, it was real. I was up for a new phone, and have been having issues with my current phone (what do you mean I have 8 voicemails and no missed calls?), and have been wanting an iPhone. Perfect storm, and it's now in the mail.

There are some excellent workout apps available for the iPhone and I plan on getting a review of them done in the not too distant future.

Other than that, I got a 2.8 mile run in. Nothing extraordinary. But it felt good to get out and work some of that turkey off!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

This morning's spin session went well. A bit of ab work afterwards. All to get ready to eat!

Thanksgiving was great. Time spent with family and a good meal. Afterwards we went to the wife's parent's house to open birthday presents and eat cake. Not just any cake, but Costco's death cake.
In reference to this cake, I sent a text to my sister earlier today telling her to tell Mom to buy us chocolate cake. I didn’t think she would do it. But she did. This is Costco’s All American Chocolate Cake. And it’s as delicious as it looks for all of $16.99. Just goes to show you that it never hurts to ask.
4 layers of moist chocolate cake with the fudgiest icing you will ever find. Chocolate coma here I come.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Conundrum

In the last 2 months I've managed to gain 10 pounds. I'm sitting at about 182 right now. The conundrum lies in that tomorrow is Thanksgiving and there will be copious amounts of food. Tasty food. And pie. And another kind of pie. Topped off with whipped cream. And on top of that it is the Wife's birthday. Yep. Early turkey dinner/stuff-your-face-fest, then birthday dinner and cake. 

Don't get me wrong, my mouth is going to be very happy. And to counteract, I plan on going to a spin class in the morning. But tomorrow expect a "In the last 2 months I've managed to gain 20 pounds" post.

But hey, this time of year Ya Gotta Fight for your Right. To Pie.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bicycle beats all

First off... Gym time today. A bit of everything with a 20 min run on the treadmill afterward. I'll report back tomorrow on how I'm feeling.

About 2 months ago I heard about a contest that was held in Sao Paulo Brazil. Premise was simple: bring whatever transportation you choose and try to get from the start to a finish line the fastest way possible. People showed up with motorcycles, cars, helicopters, bikes, running shoes, etc. What won? The bicycle.



[PSFK via bike hugger]

Monday, November 23, 2009

How early to start kids in triathlons

As early as possible?! The bike below is awesome, but really small. I'm all for letting kids try new things, but this is a bit ridiculous.


[via Sergio Marques]

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gold medal taken even after claimed by lick

Remember back to your childhood. You have just been presented a buffet of desserts at a party: cookies, cakes, chocolates, fudge, etc. How can you possibly lay claim on all of them? Eating all of them now is out of the question - too many people to fend off, and it would take too long. You might hide them all in your bedroom, but that would take too many trips. Then you remember the universal rule of the lick. If you lick it, it is yours.

Now, instead of cookies, picture gold medals.

((AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File))

Middle-distance runner Rashid Ramzi was stripped of his gold medal in the 1,500 meter because of doping.

Turns out licking the medal won't keep the Olympic folks away.

[via Mercury News]

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Messing with tradition

A few weeks ago we made rice crispy treats. My daughter, E, had a blast being the marshmallow tosser, tossing them into the pan. A few nights ago, we were at the grocery store and E says we should buy marshmallows to make rice crispy treats again. I'm not about to turn down dessert, so we wandered on over to the cereal isle. They did not have the generic Rice Crispies, and being the cheapskates that we are, we went for generic chocolate rice crispies instead of paying full price for the regular kind. Then we had a choice: regular marshmallows or strawberry flavored. E voted for strawberry, and being 4 she won the vote.

Turns out chocolate/strawberry rice crispy treats are delicious. It only makes me wonder what other combinations could be had!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Exercise as medicine?

Bicycling.com: Riding is My Ritalin by Bruce Barcott

I was planning on writing some deep insightful big words on what I thought about the article linked above. But it turns out I don't know any big words. :)

I think the article puts it very well. Are we, America as a whole, not getting the exercise we need? And if so, have we ourselves created a lot of the health problems we see today? Maybe. The article is long, but well worth the read.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dancepants? You bet!

I used to train a lot with music. It's a great way distract your mind while pounding the pavement. For those starting running for the first time, Dancepants is a great idea. While you are moving, the music plays. When stopped, quiet.

So picture it. You're out on a long run, grooving to the music. You stop for a breather, and crash. Start back up again and feeling fine. Have to stop at a red light, no music, so you do some jumping jacks. Anything to keep that music going.

All right. That might be a bit over the top. But seriously, motion powered music. Cool.
copy_7_1_2.jpg

DesignBoom [via Gizmodo]

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Running...Outside...During the day...In the sun!

Winter in the Northwest means rain, and darkness. Sun up at 7:30. Sun down at 4:30. Which means I've been either running in the dark and in the rain, or inside at the gym for the last few weeks. Well, yesterday that all changed.

Me and a buddy took off for a 4.3 mile lunch run yesterday under blue skies and a brisk 45 degrees. It was the longest either of us had run for a few months, but it was good to get out and enjoy the weather.

So, wherever you are, if you get a nice day, use it. It could be the last one for a while.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Malaise

Today I got a flu shot. Not the H1N1, but a normal, run of the mill, flu shot. While reading over the paperwork I came across the word 'Malaise.' As in, 3-5 days after the shot you may experience malaise or flu like symptoms.

I've always known vaguely what the word meant, but I decided to look it up. This is what I found:

ma⋅laise

[ma-leyz, -muh-; Fr. ma-lez]  Show IPA
–noun
1.a condition of general bodily weakness or discomfort, often marking the onset of a disease.
2.a vague or unfocused feeling of mental uneasiness, lethargy, or discomfort.


The second definition describes exactly how I feel for most of tax season. Yikes!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cross fit

Cross Fit training is the new rage in the fitness world. It's been around for a while, but is really getting popular.

Basically, you do a few repetitions of really hard stuff as your training. On their website they have a workout of the day. Today's was:


For time:
100 Pull-ups
100 Push-ups
100 Sit-ups
100 Squats

Do all of that stuff, and time yourself. Piece of cake, right?

It's meant to be scalable to your level. So one could do 10 of each and time yourself. But whatever you do, it should be challenging. I read not too long ago of a woman who used Cross Fit as her main training for a marathon. She would do the daily Cross Fit workouts and then 3 times a week she would run 6-9 miles. She didn't run anything longer than 9 miles in training and ran a personal best marathon time of 3:30 and qualified for Boston. Her previous best? 4:45. A lot of people swear by it.

I can't say that I did any Cross Fit specific training. But I've got an idea for them. We were offered a free organ from one of my wife's piano students. We were glad to take it off their hands, and they were happy to see it go. So myself and one other person lifted and carried a 400+ pound organ 15 yards to deposit it into a truck. Then another 15 or so yards and up a flight of stairs to get it into our house.

I fully intended to go to the gym this morning, but I was incredibly sore (and the move was on Saturday). So I called it good and slept for another hour.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Off topic

For those who don't know me, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or commonly known as the Mormons. Generally, members of the church attend a congregation based on where they live. My family and I have have been asked by the local leaders to attend a Spanish speaking congregation. My wife plays the organ. I work with the youth. Neither one of us speak Spanish, though. I speak Portuguese, which allows me to understand well enough, and my wife took a year of Spanish in high school and is doing a good job understanding what is going on, but neither of us have much of a vocabulary.

As members, we all take turns speaking in front of the congregation on various topics assigned to us. We have no paid clergy. We all have a chance to teach and be taught by one another. It turns out, after 3 months in the Spanish congregation, the leaders thought it should be our turn. Where did we turn? LDS.org, the church website has a lot of resources that are already translated. So if you can find something on topic in English all you have to do is find the same thing in Spanish. After cobbling together various passages of scripture and other quotes, it was time to write the filler. That's where Google Translate comes in. We'd write out what we wanted to say in English then translate it into Spanish. It works surprisingly well. After a bit of editing (hurrah for Portuguese grammer being very similar to Spanish) we were good to go. All we had to do was show up and read.

Our 4-year-old has spent the last few months getting a lot of coloring time during the services, as she doesn't understand any Spanish at all. And since she never hears my wife and I speak Spanish (usually done after she's in bed), our daughter has no idea that we can.

So during the services, my wife was at the pulpit speaking, and our daughter looks up, realizes it's her mom. Then she realizes that she can't understand her mom. Then points and says, in a not so quiet voice, "SPANISH." Nothing else. No other comments before return calmly to her coloring, while her 1-year-old sister pays no attention and continues her double fisted eating of the raisins.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Seattle to Portland 2009 Ride Report

When I signed up for this ride, I knew it was going to be a challenge. 204 miles of road between the two cities, and only my legs to get me there. I'd trained, but didn't go on enough long rides to truly be prepared for it. My main hope was that if I could keep from bonking, I could make my legs move enough to get there before the 9pm cutoff. Oh yeah, did I mention I was doing it in a day?!

At 3:45 the morning of, my friend Steve showed up, and my very kind wife and I loaded up the car with the bikes, two very sleepy children and clothes for a weekend in Portland, and we headed to the start line. We got there with 15 minutes to spare, and I stretched while Steve picked up his packet. It was kind of cool to be at the start with a couple thousand cyclists ready to take on this journey. Steve had a coworker that was going to join us so we met up with him and a friend of his, and caught the second wave out of the starting line at 5 am.

I didn't really have any expectations going into this event. It's not a race, and our goal was to finish around 7 pm (14 hours total time, 12-13 bike time). That meant keeping a 17.5 mph pace while on the bike, and keeping the stops to a minimum. All I knew was that I was going to hurt at the end.

The first 15 miles wind along Lake Washington and provided excellent views and a great sunrise. Little did I know I wouldn't be able to really enjoy the views as I had to worry about not crashing amidst hundreds of cyclists. I'd ridden a few group rides with 30 or so riders in preparation for this, but in reality there was not preparing for the magnitude of riders on the road. Picture riding in the middle of the 180 person peloton at the Tour de France, except that you are riding with a bunch of people facing their own mid-life crisis and are trying to make a nice ride into a race. Pretty scary. I managed to keep the group in sight as we moved along at a faster than needed clip trying to distance ourselves from a bulk of the pack and find quieter roads ahead. It was during this stretch that I lost the map, but I figured the turns would be well marked so I didn't bother to go back. The dropped item that did make me stop and go back was the Camelbak water bottle that bounce out of the cage at mile 15. Unfortunately, the hard plastic top hit the ground first. At least it didn't suffer.

I'd hoped at that point there was nothing else that would go wrong. Except that 20 miles into the ride the pace was still above 20 mph. I was beginning to think I should just back off, let Steve know I would meet him in Portland and ride my own pace, knowing that there was still a long ways to go. But, ego got the best of me, and I held on with the logic being that I was drafting for most of the time and that would conserve energy, right?

We stopped at the mile 57 food stop at 8:30 and hit the Honey Buckets and the food line. A cookie and banana eaten, and PopTarts in my back pocket I was ready to go. As we rolled out there was talk of easing the pace a bit, but that didn't last long as we found ourselves hovering at about 27mph on a sketchy bit of road not 3 miles from the food stop.

And then it happened.

We were passing a large group of people when one of them decided (without so much as a glance) that right in front of me was where he would like to be. Except that it wasn't right in front of me that he ended up. It was right on top of me. With a car on my left, all I could do was slow a bit and hope for the best. As I was being followed by another in our group (as happens when riding in a paceline) he didn't have enough time to react and his front wheel locked into my back wheel. He hit the ground but only bounced and wasn't hurt that bad. I stayed on my bike (likely because I was using his bike as a kickstand). We managed to get off the road and out of the way of other cyclists. After a quick check of the bikes (yes, I checked them first) there was no way we could continue. Neither bike was shifting, and his front wheel and my rear wheel were sufficiently bent to not be able to spin freely anymore. Mile 60, may the ride RIP.

Justin, the other cyclist had a brother that lived not too far from where we wrecked. We had thought we would be able to get a ride with ride support to the next food stop closer to his brothers house, but it never came. So his brother came to where we were. By this time, my wife had just pulled into my Aunt's driveway in Portland at the same time that I called saying I needed a ride. My aunt took the two girls and my wife, who had already driven 4 hours that morning, turned around and made the 2 hour drive to Justin's brother's house. We made it to his house about 15 minutes before my wife made it (traffic is slightly insane on back roads when there are 10,000 cyclists on the road) and she and I drove back to Portland to enjoy the rest of the weekend.

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I'd been training for months only to end up not finishing because of something that could have been prevented. That's hard to swallow. But overall, I was glad that I didn't get hurt.

[*I'm going to spend more time in a future post hashing out more of the details of the accident and what I could have done differently during the ride, and the merits (or problems) of having 10,000 cyclists on the road at once*]


[**This ride was back on July 11th. Yeah, I'm 4 months late.**]

Friday, November 13, 2009

Issaquah Tri Race Report Preview

My first tri ever, and it was great. But as a teaser, I ran the race with this guy...


Don't recognize him yet? How about now?...


Yeah, I'm pretty sure the Edge was there. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How much time do you spend eating?

I saw this article a while back, but I think it's still quite relevant. It seems like eating has become a side note in our day to day lives. We only eat things that can be prepared in 5 minutes or less (and preferably prepared by someone else). Drive thru burgers, donuts, coffee, ice cream... You get the picture.

The amount of time we spend eating appears to be at least correlated with how fat we are.

[obesity-rate-vs-time-spent-eating.png]

So, what is it about longer mealtimes that would make people not overeat? Is it that we think about the food more? Is it that more time is spent conversing then eating?

My wife talks about food a lot. Where it comes from. How healthy certain items are (or aren't). How to prepare it. How to store it. How to get it cheaper. All of this time and effort, instead of leading to our family overeating has lead to us all eating very healthy and very well.

I can't help but think that snap decisions made on food are more likely to result in a meal that is not good for you.

What can we do today to spend more time eating?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bike design gone wrong

I'm all for taking design to the next level. Invent a new car that doesn't use gas and looks a bit futuristic: Awesome. Electronic shifting for bikes: Even better. But sometimes messing with the design doesn't achieve the desired results.

This picture doesn't look all that bad. In fact, the design is intriguing. Generally a bike has 2 triangles in the frame design to provide strength and stability, and the rigidness needed while pedaling. For a city bike I could see how this wouldn't be necessary. The design is simple, clean, futuristic.
super minimal city bike_01

Now picture trying to ride it.
super minimal city bike_04
How could everything about the ridability be so wrong? No extension in the legs, short cranks. The pedals are behind the body which means little to no power transfer.

Why can't it be more like this... It's just awesome...
london garden bicycle

If you could design a bike, what features would you want?

[via TheDesignBlog and Tuvie]

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

Finding my rhythm

I feel like I'm getting more comfortable at the gym. No more wandering around aimlessly. I seem to be settling into a routine. Today was all legs. Extensions, Curls, Press (sounds like hair styling!). Abductors/Reductors. Then 22 minutes on the bike.


I managed to stop by the library and to my surprise found 15 Spinervals videos waiting for me. I've been meaning to try. Turns out the library only lets you keep DVDs for a week. Anyone out there used Spinervals before? Any suggestions as to which ones I should try first?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

And now, the rest of the story

Yesterday, I left you hanging (got to get that daily post in), today...the rest of the story.

My dad and I left the house at 4:45 to meet up with Mark (one of my dad's buddies) for a hike up in the mountains. After meeting Mark and picking up Dave, one of Mark's friends, we headed up to the trail head for Snow Lake.

The night before it snowed 12-18 inches, the first of the year. The first 30 minutes it was still dark and we hiked by lamp light. As it got lighter, we started to see how spectacular the views were.



Before long the terrain started heading up (the beginning of our 1000 feet of elevation gain).



As the switchbacks increased, so did the rests, and the stories!



After a little over 2 miles and around an hour and a half we reached the ridge and the view of Snow Lake.



Until the night before this hike, I didn't have any waterproof hiking boots. My dad insisted I get some. I was glad I did. There were about a dozen creek crossings on the hike, and of course all of that snow. My feet were happy and dry the whole way.



The pictures only begin to show how grand the view was. The valley was at least 10 miles across, and the year's first snow made it seem even bigger.

And if you want to see some real pictures (that is, pics that weren't taken by my awesome 2mp camera phone) visit Mark's Flickr page.

I managed to get a little more than half of the voyaged mapped out using my phone. This is a great hike, although it probably shouldn't be attempted until next Spring. Mark said there are frequently avalanches when the snow gets any deeper than 18 inches.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hiking in the snow

This will have to be a teaser. Awesome hike this morning. 6:00 am at the trailhead to Snow Lake, hiking on the first snow of the year.  Pics and details tomorrow. Right now, I'm going to sleep.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Visitors

My parents are in town for the weekend, so I decided to drag my dad along to the gym.  Good session. Cardio first. For Dad, 10 minutes on the stair machine, then 10 on the treadmill. For me, 20 minutes on the treadmill and 2.45 miles covered.

Next weights. No plan really. Just wandered around and lifted things. And grunted. You know, guy stuff.

Tomorrow we will be hiking (very likely in snow) with one of Dad's friends. I'll see if I can get some pictures and a GPS map of it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Training wheel (yes just 1!)

To this day I remember* riding my bike with my dad along a busy road and my training wheel fell off, and I fell in to the street. No damage was done, but we had to ride the rest of the way home with my dad holding on to one of my handlebars so I didn't fall over.

Now, if I only had this wheel. It's a replacement front wheel with a built-in gyroscope that keeps the wheel stable and upright. Awesome...



*At least I think I remember. I was 4. :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gym day 3...not

Yeah, so that goal of going to the gym every weekday this month... that didn't last long. This morning I was really tired. Add to that a bit of overzealousness the previous 2 days at the gym, and everything just hurt. I figured I deserved a rest. Back at it tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Day 2 at the gym

I felt pretty good after yesterday's gym session. There was a little fatigue settling in the muscles, but pretty good overall. Today I did a little of everything in a circuit that was maybe too big and covered too many muscle groups. That compounded on yesterday's training. My shoulders hurt. It's a good hurt. And it sure is going to make painting tonight really fun. :)

Finished up with 20 minutes on the treadmill at 2% incline and a total of 2.25 miles covered.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Session 1 at the gym

I was hoping to have more time to wrap up a event report, but it was not in the cards.

I did, however, make it to the gym this morning for some weight lifting and cardio. Nothing special, just 3 sets of 15 for biceps, triceps, shoulders and back. All of that was followed by 20 mins on the stationary bike.

I don't really have a plan with the weights, I'm just trying to get a balanced strength regimen going. So tomorrow, I'll do whatever strikes my fancy, then follow that up with 20 minutes on the treadmill.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Resurrecting my training (and the blog)

Training for this year's events, coupled with studying for the CPA, painting the interior of the house, being Wonder Daddy, and general stressful stuff at work, led to getting a bit burned out. So i took some much needed time off from training, and have just recently gotten back to finding out where my fitness is after the hiatus.

All in all, I'm feeling pretty good. The cardiovascular fitness is way down, but i'm was faster than I was at this point last year. Tomorrow morning I'm heading to the gym for the first of (hopefully) daily weekday sessions for all of November, which will hopefully lead to swimming starting up again in December. I have no race plans yet for 2010, but I will let you know when I do.

As for the laziness in the blog... I had planned for 3 events in 2009. I ran 2 and the only race report I have posted about was the race I didn't even run! This week I'll get those posted, followed by a safety series that I've been pondering about for quite a while. After that we'll see where things lead. To get myself motivated again I've also signed up for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). 1 post a day for the month of November is the goal.

Here's to November, and let the training begin so I can eat more pie this holiday season!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Running again

Last night I got out for my first run since early June. Just 15 minutes. About 1.42 miles. Everything was a little sore as I worked out the cobwebs, but it felt good. And better yet, I actually felt like running, and went. I've been a bit burned out recently, so this is a huge step forward for me. I've got no events in sight, which is a relief really. I want to get out and enjoy the good weather while it lasts, and have fun getting some exercise in.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Win Signed Lance Armstrong Jersey

This is totally counterintuitive, but since I can count the number of people who read this on my fingers I'm not missing out on much. Click here and enter to win a bicycle jersey signed by Lance Armstrong.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hitting the gym

I've been away from the blogosphere for a while. I've also taken a break from training. My head and body needed a break. That and I continue to have terrible luck with my bike.

Today I hit the gym. It's part of my plan to build strength to prevent injury and improve performance.

Today I did bicep curls (3x12 @ 40lbs) and tricep work (3x12 @ 50). I also got in some oblique work. After all of that I got on the treadmill for 12 minutes. It was short, but the first run since just after the triathlon in May. It was huge because I didn't feel any of the tendon pain that I had been experiencing for quite a while.

My plan for the next two weeks:
Monday - Arms
Tuesday - Legs
Wednesday - Chest and back
Thursday - Legs
Friday - Shoulders

I plan to do some ab work each day to build up my core. I also hope to run at the very least on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. At first only 12-20 minutes.

Back tomorrow with more reports.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

LOL

'nuff said

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

FIGHT LIKE SUSAN

I've never met Elden and his family, but I have come to respect and admire them all over the last year that I have been following his blog.

Elden's wife Susan has fought cancer and fought hard for a long time. Elden's ability to voice what has been happening and make the fight real and personal has brought this fight to the world, probably more than any one else I know.

Both my mother and grandmother fought breast cancer and overcame. They were lucky and very blessed. There are many more who fight just as hard, but this disease is nasty and unrelenting.

Elden, instead of turning inward, turned outward and brought in hundreds (maybe even thousands) of people into his army. Teaming with Livestrong he and his followers have raised over $500,000. I have a feeling that it is only beginning.

Tonight Susan passed on. As Elden put it "Don't say she lost." Instead, "Fight LIKE Susan."

Please help Elden in his quest to rid the world of cancer. Help him HATE cancer if you will. Donate money on his Livestrong page. Help him help others.

FIGHT LIKE SUSAN

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I appear to be a masochist

I've got scheduled to day what promises to be a truly punishing ride.

40 miles, and roughly 3500' of climbing. But to top it all off, it's going to be at least 90 degrees out. That's ridiculously hot for around here. At this point, I'm just hoping to keep hydrated. There are plenty of parks along the way if water is needed (as it probably will be).

Dan's going to have to stop daring me to make hard rides. Planning the routes isn't hard. Finishing them is the problem. :)







Friday, July 24, 2009

What I've Been Up To

It's been a while since my last post. My "racing" schedule is officially over and I've taken some time off from the bike. Add to that some new, exciting, and busy stuff at work and I'm behind on so many things. (over at http://excelninja.blogspot.com I will be chronicling my new adventures at work as well as other tech stuff I come across.)

Firstly, race reports for my very first tri (yes it's been 2 months) and the Seattle to Portland ride are coming shortly.

Now onto this week. I started this week fully intending to bike to and from the office every day. It's only 8 miles each way with about 300-400 ft of climbing. I figured if I could ride 100 miles in one go, I should be able to go 80 miles in 10 rides during the week.

Man was I wrong.

Monday was fine. Legs were tired afterwards, but they were fine for Tuesday. Tuesday morning was even fine, but the legs were complaining a bit more. On the ride home that day, my right calf nearly cramped up (almost identical to what happened in the tri). It hurt and was very tight so yesterday and today were rest days.

I've tried to figure out what happened, especially since it's the second time, and because last time this happened I had to stop running. It may have been dehydration. My other thought was a lactic acid build up. Those are the only things I can think of that are common between the two occurrences.

I've done a lot of stretching as that helped last time, and tomorrow I'm going to bike into work as pedaling helped last time, too. But I still feel like my calf is on the verge cramping all day long. Anyone have any other thoughts?

For now I'll keep working towards biking to and from the office every day and will start getting to those core workouts I keep putting off.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Open letter to Carlos Sastre

Dear Carlos:

I've heard you are having a rough tour. Most of the attention is on the Astana boys. It's a hard life. The tour organizers wouldn't let you wear last year's yellow jersey in the opening stage. Every reporter asks you about those same Astana boys instead of your chances of winning. It's a hard life. But what are you going to do?

I think you answered that nicely. Instead of saying that we will all see your strengths play out in the next few stages, fireworks will fly, etc., instead of that, you say that you feel that "certain riders" are consipiring to make sure you do not win the tour?!?! A conspiracy? Do you know how sports work? 180 riders started the Tour de France this year. Out of those riders 171 of them do not want you to win. That's right, every one that is not on your team doesn't. want. you. to. win. That is not what I would call a consipiracy. That's competition. Everyone out there either wants to win or wants their teammate to win.

Going into the Tour you were a favorite, among an impressive list of riders. Armstrong, Contador, Leipheimer, the Schleck brothers, Evans, etc. What have you done to prove you should be the winner?

I mean no disrespect. Really. The media has probably been unfair, but they usually are. They chase stories that are exciting, and being nearly 4 minutes down on one of the best climbers in the peloton means they probably don't sense you are a threat. But maybe that was your strategy all along.

If you want the attention and the respect, go get it. Attack, and attack hard. Make up those minutes, then punish the other riders by attacking again. There are only a few stages left, best get going.

Sincerely,
Jayson

Friday, July 10, 2009

STP and twitter

I'm officially signed up for twitter. Tomorrow is the Seattle-to-Portland ride. 204 miles of sunshine and bike riding. What more could you ask for?!

Well, I will be posting periodic updates (not while riding of course!) of where I am if you care to follow. Goto www.twitter.com/guitarthrower and look for the #STP tags.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This weekend's ill fated ride and a race report on the race I didn't run

I left the house a little before 6. It was later than I had planned, but I still had 5 hours before I needed to be home. The plan was to head over to Seattle to cheer on some friends at the inaugural Rock 'n Roll Seattle marathon (little did I know it would only make wish I'd been able to do it...). Then after that, get as many miles in as possible on this last high mile day before the Seattle to Portland in 2 weeks.

It always takes me a good hour to warm up when doing these long rides, so I wasn't worried about my pace starting out. After about 4 miles of slow and steady incline I hit a 1 mile descent that lets me cruise at 35 mph. Except this time my tire finds a lot of glass. Flat number 1 for the day is only 5 miles into the ride. That's not good, and I only had one spare (I know, silly for such a long ride). Tubes swapped out, packed up and back on the bike, I cruise across the lake and 1 mile from Seattle I flat again. I have yet to unpack the tube to see what did it in, but I suspect an errant piece of glass I didn't catch the first time around.

I was done, no more tubes. And with the marathon, there was no way I would be able to call my wife to come get me, as it would be impossible to find a road that was open. I figured mile 8 of the marathon course would be a good place to see some of the action. Sure enough, a few minutes later the half-marathon leaders came through with the marathon leader only 30 seconds behind. These guys can haul!


Half-Marathon Leaders

I waited for a bit and saw Dan and Zac, 2 coworkers, come through and surprised them with support I don't think thought they'd get! At this point, I had no plan. I couldn't cross the street at this point as there were 25,000 people running in a constant stream for miles. That would have provided me a chance to make a short(ish) walk to downtown Seattle and catch a bus home (yep, always carry a bus pass). Instead I decided to walk the course and see who I could see. I knew about 20 people running the race and ended up seeing around 10. Since I was walking against traffic, I literally saw every single participant! I even saw some pretty good bands playing. One band even cranked out the theme to Rocky! (sorry about the quality - camera on my phone...)



A little while later I noticed that there were at least 20 racers taking pictures of a tree. I got up there and realized that there was an Eagle sitting 20 feet above the road, posing for pictures.


After 4 miles of walking in mountain bike shoes an angel of a cyclist asked if I needed anything, then offered a tube. I've got to start carrying extra tubes around so that if the need ever arises, I too can help out a fellow cyclist in need. After swapping out the tube I was on my way. 20 miles to home and back right around 11 as planned.


So instead of 80-100 miles, I did 35. But I must say the folk at Rock 'n Roll know how to put on a race. I had a great time just walking and cheering runners on. The music was good, and spirits, for the most part, were high (although I saw people before the half way mark!). I even saw a kid who brought a battery powered amp and his guitar to a street corner and was hammering out 'Sweet Child 'o Mine' with his dad banging out a rhythm on a box. I came home and told my wife that I may just try to get a band together next year instead of running (that's right, I play guitar - www.myspace.com/jaysonwisermusic).

I got home and got working on stuff around the house. I also made a trip to my LBS to talk about tires. I took the bike as I discovered a half inch crack in the tire. I know so little about these machines that it never occurred to me that the rubber in the tires would dry out. I know rubber dries out, but I just never thought of it in this context before. In addition to the crack, there were about a dozen smaller cuts that were compromising the tire and were probably responsible for the 7 or 8 flats I've had over the last 6 months.

So, after some discussion, I picked up a new set of Specialized Armadillo tires. Their heavier than my previous Michelin race slicks, but better for the kind of riding I do. I put them on tonight and took them out for a short test ride. They are quite a bit stiffer than the other tires, and I felt a lot more road vibration, but that could have been because I was riding in normal clothes. I feel better about the STP with these new tires. I would hate to be "that guy" in the group that gets a flat every 10 miles the whole way down! After I got back from the shop, we packed up the kids and headed out for groceries. Then upon returning my daughter helped wash all the bikes down.

To cap the day off, I went to the concert that night. The race bib gets you in, but I had ordered another ticket thinking the wife and I would call it a date. Plans change, and I only had the extra ticket and not the bib. Keb Mo was headlining, and it was a great show. I'd seen him once before a few years back when he opened for Jonny Lang. The venue was great. Grass seating with trees backing the stage. Good music, good atmosphere, and a drunk lady who tried to hurl a bouquet of flowers onto the stage from 100 feet away. Good times!


The day did not go as planned (plan a or b), but it was still a great way to spend a sunny Saturday.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Zensah give away

I can't say that I've used any of their products, but I keep hearing how great they are. Zensah makes compression clothing for endurance athletes. Socks, arm warmers, sports bras for you ladies out there, etc. I must say that I could probably find $75 worth of stuff to get from them if it was free. So head on over to chicrunner's blog and follow the instructions to enter if you want a chance at some sweet stuff.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Decision time

I signed up for the inaugural Seattle Rock and Roll marathon back in January. It was the result of some peer pressure, a desire to actually run a marathon, and for the music.

After months of training, I developed after the triathlon a mild case of tendonitis. It's bad enough that I can't possibly imagine running 26.2 miles (couldn't even push through 1 mile the other night). So, I've sold my entry. I will try again another day. This Saturday, while 25,000 individuals are lacing up their shoes for hours of pavement pounding, I'll turn to the bike instead. It's the one thing that has actually helped my knee out over the last few weeks. I'm going to go for 80-100 miles as my last long ride before the Seattle-To-Portland on July 11th.

To all you who are running, good luck (and let me know of any cool bands you see!)

Monday, June 22, 2009

CPA exam ... I win!

It's been a long 2 years, but I have finally passed all the sections of the CPA exam. (big sigh of relief.) In the words of my daughter "When daddy pass his test, then he play with me!" Yes, E, I will play with you.

(double post warning - for those of you, my wife, who subscribe to both of my blogs you will see this twice)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ramping up

Seattle-To-Portland is in 3 weeks. Today I got out on the bike for just over 50 miles and around 3300ft of climbing (I think). It was an early start as I had to be done in time to take my soon to be 4-year-old to a church activity (obstacle courses, ice cream, games, all while learning good stuff. What's a 4-year-old not to like!)

Next week is the half marathon (I downgraded due to some soreness in my knee - more on that in another post). I think on the 4th of July I'll head out for around 80 miles. Then it's time for 205 miles of fun. Can't believe it's almost here.

I'll leave you with a shameless plug. Steve is having a giveaway for a $75 gift cert to OnlineShoes.com. Surprisingly, and as it's name spells out, it's an online store and they have shoes! I've only just glanced at the site, but now that I've found a shoe that works for me this would be a great way to order a shoe that I know works. Free shipping is definitely a bonus. They say they also do free exchanges, and 90-day unconditional returns. Plus their prices seem pretty good - $20 less than the store for the shoes I bought :(

Yes it's late, but if you comment on Steve's post (link) you will be entered to win a $75 gift cert to OnlineShoes.com. But hurry! You must comment by midnight June 20th (yes that's tonight - I really did mean to post about this earlier!)

Monday, June 1, 2009

The start of commuting

This summer I hope to start (and continue!) commuting by bike to work. I only live about 8 miles away so it should be easy right? This morning I awoke with every intention of riding with the local cycling club on their weekday rides (M, W, F @ 5:30 am they do 35 miles). I got dressed, got some food and got out the door with plenty of time to ride to the meeting place. I slowly made it about 1 mile from home and decided that there was no way I was going to keep up with the group for 90 minutes @ 20mph after Saturday's triathlon (report coming soon!!!), so I turned for home. After a few minutes checking email I figured I may as well head to work.

Dan and I went for an afternoon swim at the gym. It was unexpected for me, but good to get in the water and do some drills and 50m sprints to get the blood flowing.

The bike home was great. It was 85 degrees and sunny. What a treat! I had every intention of taking it easy on the way home, but the sun was tempting, so I pushed a bit. Turns out I made it home in record time. It feels good to know that I am progressing. Now I just have to get my endurance up for the Seattle to Portland in less than 6 weeks.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I digress

This has nothing to do with triathlons. But I am a big Dave Matthews Band fan, and they do put on a good show. Turns out they are broadcasting a live show on Hulu Monday night. Cool!


In triathlon news, we are less than 2 days from my first triathlon! I'm getting excited!

Gear Wednesdays Returns!

I recently got new running shoes - Adidas Supernova. These shoes fit me great. I went on down to Everday Athlete on a recomendation from a friend. The guys there are great. To be honest I wasn't really sure what I was looking for. I knew that I needed new shoes, but other than that I had nothing. So the guy told me to run to the other side of the store. He brought out 4 pairs of shoes and that was that. These shoes are comfortable and have excellent stability. I over pronate (I believe that's the term for foot striking from outside on the heel to inside) and these shoes help correct that and give me a better stride.

Like I said, they are great shoes for me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wetsuits Rock! [and further thoughts on crazy indoor bike rides]

Tonight, the fam and I went to lake so I could take the wetsuit for a test drive. It is awesome. As I get closer to the triathlon (less than 3 days!) I realize more and more how bad a swimmer I really am. I am not going to be setting any records in the swim. I will be finishing, hurray! I'm not really worried about that. What I was worried about was not being able to handle the swim portion. In a pool I can stop and rest, there are no waves, it's warm, I can stand up, etc. When the water is 30 feet deep, there is no standing. So I've been trying to practice all manner of rest strokes so that I can make it to the end of the 400m swim.

We got to the lake and my 3 year old gladly announced (quite loudly, too), "Daddy's getting naked!" The few people that were there looked nervously at one another and didn't turn around, in case there was some crazy hippie family getting their birthday suits on. Got the wetsuit on and headed to the water. Online says the water is 65 degrees (much cooler than the 85 degree pool at LA Fitness) but it was surprisingly refreshing. I don't know how much of that was the wet suit, but it felt good.

First observation on the wetsuit, it is really bouyant. This is just awesome. And the way they fit they put my body in a much better position for swimming, than my normal flailing. The suit is probably a touch big (I've heard that if the suit is tight than it is too big!) but works well. I also noted that if I need to catch my breath that I can still do freestyle with my head out of the water without my legs sinking. That is much better than side stroke or back stroke while I catch my breath.

Overall I'm looking forward to the swim, which is a much better outlook than just last week. Dan also had a sleeveless suit that I may try out tomorrow if I have time to get to the lake tomorrow.

Now on to my continuing thoughts about riding a bicycle indoors for 100 miles. Pros and Cons as follows:
  1. PRO: It can be easier than riding on the road because you can reduce the resistance level. I have a wind trainer that doesn't allow for much control over resistance. I can add a second drum, which makes it quite a bit more difficult to pedal. However, this second drum got bent by a previous owner and produces the nastiest road vibrations. Lets just say that I would have shaken myself into little pieces had I added the additional resistance.
  2. PRO: There are no hills. Yes! Most of the hills around my house are steep. They are hard, and make for very slow riding for a mile or two after ascending while my legs try to regain consciousness.
  3. CON: There are no hills. The best part of going up hills is going down them.  Which brings me to...
  4. CON: No coasting! The hardest part to accept about riding on a trainer is that when you stop pedaling, you stop moving. No more miles, yards, feet, inches. Nothing. If I was going to complete 100 miles, I had to pedal myself there. Harsh! I imagine that it was a lot like riding a fixie with coaster brakes.
That's all for now. Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Back to Life...Back from Vacation...And the Winner!

So... I've been away for a while. Studying for the last section of the CPA exam took all free time and repurposed it for a while. I was lucky to be able to blow off some steam by running/biking/swimming or swimming/biking/running or any other variation you can imagine.

So the end of the testing was May 15th, the next day we flew to AZ to visit my folks. A few days at high altitude (5,000 ft) were perfect for final preparations for...

100 Miles to Nowhere!

For those who aren't privy to what this means, I rode 100 miles INDOORS! I hooked my bike up to the old trainer and started riding.



I started just before 6 am. It took a good hour before the legs got moving. That first hour i managed to pound out 21.4 miles. The incredibles were helping me along. After hour 2 I found myself at 44.8 miles and feeling oddly okay. The farthest I've ridden before was 46 miles, so I was soon to be on new territory. Sometime during hour 2 my 3 year old daughter joined me and we changed the movie to Mulan. For some reason my mileage started going down after that...



Hour 3 ended at 65.5 miles, followed by 85.6 miles at 4 hours. This is when times got really tough. I wasn't doing well at that point. I had to do something to distract the mind from my screaming legs. The last 14.4 miles were brutal, but luckily manageable with a bit of reading.

So, 100 miles, my first century, inside, in 4 hours 41 minutes flat. With the Seattle-T0-Portland coming up in less than 2 months, this was a great preparatory trip. The awards ceremony consisted of waffles (yum!), a shower at my in-laws (hot water heater blew up while we were on vacation...kind of cliche isn't it?!), me crowning myself the winner of the entire 'my house' division, and an afternoon of yard work!

The real important part of this was the reason. $50 of every entry went to Team Fatty's LiveStrong Challenge to support cancer research and such.

Now 36 hours later I'm doing surprisingly well. The legs are incredibly tired, and I'm now tapering (read: not doing anything) for my triathlon on Saturday. Tomorrow will be a trip to the lake for a test drive of the wetsuit (thanks Dan!).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bike safety innovations [Gear Wednesdays]

Safety is hard to come by on a bike. You're moving fast, and you're moving next to 4,000 pound hunks of metal. Even if all cautions are heeded, trouble can happen. A few new products in development/concept stages have caught my eye recently that seem like they could greatly improve bike/car relations.

Item 1: the Contrail

The concept is simple: wherever you ride you draw a line of chalk with your rear wheel. This has multiple benefits. Cyclists that follow behind you can see the safest path to follow. Also cars can see where bicyclist are riding to keep safe.



I can see this could be an interesting device, but I'm not conviced it would increase a rider's safety. If anything it seems to lend to kids drawing their names on the road, which doesn't seem safe at all. Not to mention that in the Pacific Northwest we tend to get a fair amount of rain and that would put quite a damper on all fun.

Item 2: the SpeedVest

This highly reflective vest displays your speed on you back. It'll read kilometers or miles per hour and reads a max speed of 79 of your favorite speed indicator. This looks cool. If there is one thing that I think helps cylclists stay safe is being annoyingly visible. Having you speed lit up with bright neon lights is unique enough to get any driver's attention. One vest has been made, but they are not available for purchase yet.



Item 3: LightLane

This one is my personal favorite of the bunch. Flashing lights are great and all, but being able to project your perimeter onto the road is just flat out genious. We have a lot of bike lanes around here, but drivers don't pay attention. It's hard to fault them when for so long this country hasn't had to share the road. I can't wait until this thing hits the market.

What do you do to stay safe on your rides?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I got kicked out of the pool today

Alright, they asked me nicely to leave.

The pool at the gym has been closed for maintenance. So I was pleased today when they said it was again ready for use. They had just kicked on the heaters so it would be a little cold, but usable.

The cold didn't bother me, in fact, I preferred the colder temp once I got going. After stretching a bit I started with 150m freestyle. I did use a few rest strokes here are there to catch my breath, but it was mostly freestyle. After a minute or so of rest I embarked on the long swim for the day. After 225m, the pool tech informed me I needed to leave. I guess they had a few more chemicals to dump in the pool to help the new parts. I don't really know.

Hopefully Thursday it'll be ready to go.

Oxymoron of the day: Healthy fast-food

I recently saw an article that listed the Top 10 Healthies Fast Food Restaurants. I don't know about anyone else, but if I ever head to a fast food joint, I'm not looking for healthy. I want a greasy burger and a 10,000 calorie shake thank you very much.

Some of the contenders (a.k.a. the ones I've heard of): McDonalds, Chipotle, and Taco Del Mar.

Other ironic bit about the article - related news article "Should Fast Food Be Banned From High-Fat Neighborhoods?"



Mike put it best in his comment on the article:
I’m 62 years old, 5′8″ and 152 lbs. I eat at Micky D’s, Noodle Co, Panera as well a Ruby Tuesday’s, Big Boy, frozen meals from the grocery and occasional home cooking.

Where you eat is not important. It is only about what you eat. Good and bad choices are up to the individual, not the restaurant. None of these purveyors are inherently healthy or un. IMO at least.
So what do you think? Is it the restaurant's problem for people eating poorly, or the individual who ordered?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Running with a group [or - the only way to run long distances]

I've done a few long distance runs by myself in the not too distant past. They were enjoyable, I guess. But the distance is hard to cover, and the speed is hard to keep up. Your mind starts to mess with your body, convincing your legs that they don't need to keep moving. Each step is a struggle, and small inclines are torture. There is nothing to occupy your mind but the beating of your feet on the pavement and the fact you have not reached your destination yet.

I have to say that running by myself is often quite enjoyable and a great time for self-reflection, but the long runs start to wear on me.

The last two Saturdays were long runs, but this time with a small group. What a difference it makes. There is conversation. There is always someone to push the pace. There is trash talking. And when the going gets tough, there is distraction and usually at least one other person willing to drop back for a while.

I've mentioned in a post or two that I've been on these runs with Dan, a coworker of mine. His dad, Cliff, the self proclaimed non-runner, and Dan's buddies Tim and Jared also join in the mix. Dan and Jared have both done half Ironmans and are in way better shape than I, which keeps the pace moving. Both runs we stayed right around 9 min/mile pace, but last Saturday we ran the last 2 miles (of 8+) in 16:30.

What makes running with someone so much different? I'm not sure I could explain why. Is it the knowledge that there are others suffering? Camaraderie? Competition? I'm sure it is a hybrid of those and more. 

This week we are heading out for 9+ miles, which will be my longest run ever. Hopefully that group mentality keeps me moving.

Issaquah Tri - May 30, 2009 [Update]

Registration is open for the Issaquah sprint tri on May 30, 2009.  I'm signed up.

Is anyone else going to be there?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I'm back....

It's been a while since my last post. I kind of shut down a lot of activities as I was in final cramming mode for the latest CPA test I took (fingers are crossed that I passed this one). That, of course, also explains why I haven't posted since the test. Brain recovery after these things is a serious ordeal. All that matters is I'm back to functioning like a normal person and taking a few days off from studying (one more to go - hopefully).

I've been thinking about what I would do during my week off from studying and thought that I would bike into work a few times.  So Wednesday night I mentally prepared myself for the commute (not very far, but this sort of thing requires a heads-up) and woke up to this...



I'm not above riding my bike in poor weather (growing up in the Midwest I had a paper route and road my bike all but two days that year through rain, snow, etc - but I digress), but I would hate to put drivers through the trouble of trying not to hit me on already hard to drive on roads.

Defeated, I didn't even try on Friday.  That means no workouts all week. Yesterday I changed that. I biked into work (7.7 miles). Then after a few hours at my desk I ran 8.1 miles with a co-worker, his dad, and a friend of his. I polished off the day with a 25.8 mile ride home. I'm pretty sore today, but ready for this week's workouts.

Turns out this is the end of the month. Totals for this month:
Swim: 1.52 miles - 4 workouts
Bike: 113.57 miles - 10 workouts
Run: 30.07 miles - 7 workouts
Total: 145.16 miles - 21 workouts

That was the most miles I've covered in a month. Ever. The disheartening part is that I have to cover more distance than that in one day in July.  I've got work to do, but things are going well.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The President's Challenge

Do you remember this from school? I found it kind of fun, but for a lot of kids it was a nightmare. I don't recall much of what it entailed, but it involved push ups, sit ups, pull ups, and running.

It looks like it's still around, and now, not just for kids. At http://www.presidentschallenge.org/ anyone can sign up to take the challenge. The goal is to get people active. You earn points for each workout you do and work towards awards. They have also built in a social aspect, using groups and comparisons to motivate you. I've signed up to see what it's like. I'll make sure to post with updates.

I think this is a great idea. The more ways to motivate people to become active, the better. 

Do you have any memories (good or bad!) of the presidential challenge? If I start a group on the site, would anyone join? What motivates to you get active?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I declare today...

...a recovery day.  Tomorrow shall resume with a 40 minute fartlek and a visit to the pool.

Pearl Izumi AmFib Shoe Covers [Gear Wednesdays]

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was in need of some shoe covers.  My ankles and feet were getting really cold!  I searched a bit on the web and found that people seemed to like the Pearl Izumi AmFib shoe covers. I made a trip to REI, and after some confusion over a mislabeled pair of Pearly Izumi Cyclone shoe covers we found the AmFibs.  I considered for a bit getting the Cyclones as I have the Cyclone gloves and couldn't be happier with them.  But the AmFibs were rated slightly better on both warmth and water protection and were the same price.



The first thing I noticed when I put them on, was how tight they are over the shoe.  Cyclists like to think that being perfectly aerodynamic will help them shave off a few extra seconds.  So, I guess this didn't really surprise me.

The next thing I realized was that I might have to have my wife (who has mad sewing skills!) make some adjustments to the cleat opening on the bottom.  A month or two ago, I was having some numbness in my toes during longer rides.  I found out that can be caused by a saddle that isn't high enough, or having the cleats too far forward.  I already had the saddle as high as I wanted it to go, so I decided to move the cleats on the shoes.  This was the perfect move.  I feel I have more power when pedaling now, and no more numbness.  The only side effect was I had to watch my toes when turning as they now ran into the front wheel.

Where was I?  Right, moving the cleats back put them in a position when the shoe cover sole was close to obstructing them from clipping to the pedals.  I managed to put on the covers just right so there is no problem.  No sewing for now!

It wasn't nearly as cold this morning as some of the other rides I've done, but even so, my feet and ankles were warm and ready to ride.  I haven't had these out in the rain yet, but Saturday's commute into work looks like it could be wet.  I'll keep you updated.