Monday, December 31, 2007

Year End Review.. The Numbers

If I'm to believe TrainingPeaks, here is what I covered this year.. Mind you, there is likely a good deal of grease between this and reality (not in my favor). Yet, if these aren't the real ones, better ones don't exist.

Planned Time 337:10
Actual Time 269:48
Swim 87,086 yd
Bike 2,294.39 mi
Run 377.25 mi
Day Off 83 mi
Walk 5.5 mi

Looking it over, how does one cover 83 miles on a day off? And, it's for certain my walk number is likely off by a factor of 10^2.

What is the big gaping hole in these numbers? Strength. I went to the gym today for the first time and pushed weighted plates around with machines. Those numbers were shockingly low. A stark answer as to what my lie into better health in the coming year.

If you're still reading, here's to your new year. May your days be long and meet you well.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Genius??

If you're still reading, you're either on the pointy end of the I.Q. scale or in way over your head!

cash advance

Thanks to Winz for the idea.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Full Disclosure

Someone shuffled the cards on me. I take the blame. It was my mission to run anyway. I didn't.

I started again today, and a simple 23 minute run has lifted that funk.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Sushi

Not to be out done by other bloggin', bikin', belchin' folks.. I headed out for some sushi the other day. I was in Minneapolis with not much else to do. I hit Sakura with the boss (the work one, not the home one). Good food and good time had all around.

After a few (OK many few) years of my brother trying unsuccessfully to get me to like sushi, I was in a new mindset this day. I piled up the ginger slices, and plenty of the beloved yet attention getting wasabi.. Turned out to be pretty good! Sure I had some soup, salad, tempura and all to keep it real.. Oishi!

Between this and some learn Japanese podcasts, I'm set for a vacation.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Life's too Short



Life's too short not to do cool stuff.

So just so y'all know I haven't completely lost my edge. I'm not completely eaten up by work. (or more to the point, so I know). I hit today's hard snow, sleet, and wind with a bike ride.

Cheers!
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Monday, November 26, 2007

Week One..

OK, 6 days in and I have 26 or so miles of running done. I'm going to take a break and cross train tomorrow.

Today on my run I had oh so many questions... How long before I see results from this "run everyday" plan? What exactly will these results be? How did I make it this far (7 years and an Ironman) in triathlon without trying some fairly regular run specific blocks?

Yep, I'm well aware I just need to be patient and see what happens.

Anyone want to take bets on which day/week I crack and try to go mountain biking?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Weekend Update: Days 4 & 5

It's the weekend. I ran a bit farther. I did a new route and an old route I hadn't been on in a while.

Saturday, I hit the river trails for some slower cruising around. It was nice to mix it up. In the back of my head I was trying to determine how much trouble I'd have on a mountain bike. 5-6 miles total.

Today, I ran down to the lake. I went by the beach. I thought this might be a gutsy (or gusty) move with the cooler temperatures. Turned out not too bad. Since running in 20F Friday, mid-30's seemed great. 6-7 miles total.

This brought my weekly total to nearly 22 miles. If we consider I didn't start until Wednesday, this is a good start to the new run frequently plan. I won't say my shins aren't tight. While it's too soon for weight numbers, I feel lighter. And like most times I run more, I'm more encouraged to eat somewhat more appropriately. Win, win, win. I'll take it.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Day Three

Quick update here.

It was harder to get out in 20 degress. Big picture, 20 is not so bad. But, just getting out in a brand new 20 for the year is more difficult. Check off day 3 though. I ran.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Day Two

Day two of the "run everyday" plan.

Three miles yesterday. Four today. Easy, repeatable runs.

Happy Turkey Day all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hate to Say It

I got punk'd. Some bug / virus had me sleeping on the floor of the bathroom for 12 - 16 hours.

Then when I felt better, work started falling out of the sky.

Now I'm not 100% (see work falling out of sky at 1am,4am,6am,etc).

Food-wise I need to be mindful of my opportunity to hit the reset button.

And the right thing to do (gasp) might be to (gasp) run for a while. Run daily. Run short, run medium, run lots slow, run fast a bit, run run run. I'll report back what happens.

I'm not totally out on Hell's Corner's CX race, but that weekend is piling up quite mightily.

What's the worst that could happen? My run might improve?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thank You Run.

This morning I got up for a "Thank You" run. I was pleasantly surprised at the temperature. After letting the dog out and feeding her (the other dog sleeps in), I got set to go.

The Thank You run was down to the War Memorial (how ever far that is**) and back. I stopped to pay my respects. And on the way back, I had time to think about how lucky I am.

Thank you.

** For the numbers geeks, it was about 8 miles.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

172+

What is it about guys and numbers?

I rode my tri bike on the trainer last night. I decided it needed some redeeming quality other than "much easier than rollers". So I popped the ol' cadence-o-meter on there. I spent some time just riding. Then I spent some time seeing what various cadences felt like. It's been some time since I used cadence, and I think I've improved my range over the year. Yay!

Who knows why, perhaps because it was my first day with it back on.. I had to find a max. It doesn't count of course, because I was shacking the bike all over and could barely read it. But it was in the 170's. Maybe next time I work on something like "max effective cadence".

Maybe it's better that I don't have a power meter.

Good luck Iceman entrants !! Go get 'em!!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

As Good as it Gets

Setup: Estabrook Cyclocross Race.

I was looking forward to this one after the crash and burn last week in Washington Park. I thought I had a better chance on that one geared bike in Estabrook.

Pre-race variables:

Spent a good 12+ hours yesterday putting up a swing/play set for the wee ones. They better like it!! Climbing wall, swings, rope ladder, house... all kinds of fun! Then this morning I woke up a new kind of sore.. I couldn't put it together. Then 20-30 minutes after I woke up, I looked out and saw that set. AHHHH!! I guess that's what happens when you wait for coffee. I'm still terribly sore, hours later. Quick breakfast, plenty to drink and I head off for the race 1 mile or 2 from my house.

Onsite:

It's thinking about raining and finally decides to rain. Just enough to wet down the leaves and allow for a bit of mud on the well worn paths. I rode a couple easy warm up laps then signed up for cat4.

Maybe because it's the east side, but I got more comments on the Milwaukee than normal. I dig the bike, but I'm a bit shy on the legs it takes to race it. No worries, we're here to have fun!

Goals : Not last. And continue to improve my mount/dismount. Next year I can work on cornering...

How it went:

Well, I'm not entirely certain. But I think I accomplished "not last". I certainly passed some folks, though joked with others that they clearly had chucked their bikes and walked home in disgust after seeing me pass.. I must be the reaper (woo good costume idea for next Halloween CX).

I'll take the fact that I was "darn close" (or much closer) to not getting lapped at all as a win in my self competition world.

They added a few million (or 20) turns to the race, making it much more interesting in the rain. See also my need to work on cornering.. Apparently, one can have faster times if one brakes less often.. Go figure. (see also, why I think I have to get much better before I don't think I need a geared bike)..

Ran into the regular crew, Rick, Liz, Toolman, TCrosser, J, and a few others. It's the people that make this fun.

One last note: For those of you I suggested to go watch, I didn't see you. I hope you went after I headed for the b-day party. It's fun to watch!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Well, it was a tough day at the Washington Park cross races. When I have a good day, I stay with the back.. When I don't.. Here's an example of what unfolds.

The Good

Most of my mounts were much smoother than two weeks ago (which left TONS of room for improvement). All the costumage was wild. And the CX atmosphere was nice as usual. $1 brats topped it off as great. I ran into a good crew of bloggers and non-bloggers that didn't turn and run at the notion of sayin' "Hey" to JWM at the races.. Even if I am one of those "get lapped as a cat 4" guys. Skidmark gave me tips on getting the kids into bike racing. Rick listened to me engineer up several possible cheap ways to get a CX geared bike.. Several others too. That sums up the good.

The Bad

This could get kinda long.. So, I'll sum it up. I stuck with the other racers all the way up to the first hill (20-30 seconds into the race). Wherein I learned I should have ran it as my legs weren't ready to climb it on my gear choice. I spent the rest of the lap in visual sight of 2nd to last.. I was even catching him once in a while.. I was red-lined and trying to keep up. At the point of "maintain this and breakfast comes up", I decided to fall back a bit. It was over from there.. It's a nice long course, and it was a good while before I got lapped.. Still a tough day to swallow.

The Ugly

Well, I didn't toss breakfast.. so not much there. Some of the costumes were pretty wild. In comparison, last night I happened to be coming out of the Oriental Theater just before midnight Halloween weekend (think Rocky Horror Picture Show line).. WOW, nutz! And my without my camera. Minus 10,000 cool points for me. Plus, I now know I'm getting old. As I am so far from being in that line...


Ah.. and I stuck around long enough to see the cat 1-2 riders.. Wow! If you have the means, I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

Last night I hopped on the rollers the second time "this season". In my head, rollers is one of my key off season things this go around. Last season I used them, I managed. I never felt near good. I could squeak by. I could do it with extreme concentration. I could do it without falling of (except that once). Do not watch Olympic luge while riding rollers your first season.

One hour and ten minutes on rollers. Time is my only quantitative assessment.

The feel. Somehow, I can already say I have a leg up on them. I'm better. Keeping in mind that one can't forget or get complacent with rollers. They will remind you (or at least me). I still have them next to a treadmill for a grip if I need it. I'm nowhere near setting them mid room and hopping on while watching The Matrix.

For those of you who are roller-less.. I'll make an impromptu list of why punks like us can/should do it:

  • Riding in a straight line is free speed.
  • There has to be some intangible we're getting by keeping the bike straight.
  • When the front wheel spins... When you can ride off the side... It's infinitely more exciting than locking the rear wheel onto a dyno-meter, and falling asleep to SNL while pedlin'. I've been there too.
  • I'm sure the biggest baddest 500 dollar rollers on the block are sweet. 60 bux to a coworker that no longer uses his old Minoura's works pretty well too. My personal experience is medium sized Aluminum rollers are fine. I've never used the really cheap poly ones.
  • People think you're some new kind of crazy. (as if they don't already)
  • Smooth, fast circles. Oh the beauty. (x - x')^2 + (y - y')^2 = r^2 (where (x',y') are the center and r is the radius.
  • Because you don't do them now. Adding them will probably help.
  • One day you might be that person. No need for something to balance on mid-room. Watching The Matrix. And just dead center on the rollers.
Enough promo.. you could always check out some drills.

So, pick up a pair. Find a hallway or door way. And have at it.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Mud, The Blood, and the Beer (Cyclocross racin')

The MUD

The Place: Badger Prairie Park (Verona, Wisconsin).. My last race went through Verona too. So, I had to do this one.

The numbers: 20 bux + 10 for 1 day pass. 30 minutes of racin' (or LT testing).

Weather.. 50F 50% chance of rain.. It was at least raining 50% of the time. Woot! Real live CX weather!

Goals: Not lose site of someone. Anyone.. Go home in once piece.

Lined up w/ 60 or so other riders in cat 4. R. Tool man was afraid I'd do too well as one of them "triathletes". So he let the air outta my tires. Right there with me on the bike at the start line. He said something about mud, and I didn't have time to air them back up before the race. They say go! I'm going easy for the first lap to figure out how to ride mud, and because I didn't pre-ride the course.

This was a good single speed course, minus the mud. It woulda been fast if it was dry.

I HAVE TO work on the mounts. I more or less know how to mount. And I'm thankful to Velonews video to explain you are not to jump up in the air and have your feet race your important parts to the bike. I can get off the bike easy.. getting back on.. well I might as well be waiting for someone to give me a push.

Lap 2, I settled into a groove. Three or four of us trade for last place a few times. I was doing pretty well (relative), in front of that gang on lap 3. Near the end of the lap, out of nowhere I was in the mud, sliding on the ground. Second from last yelled, "GET UP!". I did so, but quick. Run, remount.

Having been lapped and near (or over) 30 minutes, I was done at 3 laps.. I was expecting to go around again one more, so I was holding back coming up to the line a bit. Next time.

Special thanks to the announcer who noticed me right about the time I was "practicing" my mount technique on every lap. It was nice to be recognized.

Goal met. I stuck w/ those 3-4 riders and wasn't totally alone at the end. Right now, lapped is just part of the gig, at least until I put together mounting technique.

I will continue to lust for a sweet geared CX bike. I need to pay some dues first.

Tri-heads who aren't with the program. This could be some killa off season training. I'm sure after a few weeks of this, my LT must improve.

The BLOOD

Post race: I grabbed a bagel. I stuck the knife in my hand when I cut it up. No big deal. Just a scrape.. But, I like the title.

The BEER

I fully intend on cracking one of my favorite Lakefront Pumpkin Lager's open tonight post dinner.


The Prizes

Well, 30 bux and 30 minutes of riding hard... and I won a free Giro E2 helmet to show for it. Raffle style. Perfect!

Monday, October 08, 2007

How To Convince Yourself to Do a Cyclocross Race.

Excuse: you don't have the legs to pull off "newbie Singlespeed Cross race"
Fix: Get a smaller gear than you had. Had 42x17, now 38x18. I may not keep up, but it won't be for the same reasons.

Excuse: You just did a 140.6 mile race. And you're supposed to recover.
Fix: It's been a month. Go to a race, get spit out the back. Maintain, "still recovering" as an excuse.
Long shot on this one: Race into shape. Be so so by the time home course (Estabrook) advantage rolls in.

Excuse: Dismounting, mounting speed and/or success rate.
Fix: Practice. I did today at Estabrook Park. Dismounting got better. Mounting most certainly did not.

Excuse: General fear of crashing.
Fix: Keep riding.

Here's to hanging on this year.

Spectating Shevegas Part 3

The is one sweet bike being pushed up that hill! Bring it tool guy.



And here would be the way to get the bike up so you can really run. This is sheer focus within 8 seconds of her rival. Nice work MK!




Side note: Pics never do these extreme hills / dirt walls justice.. but you can tell by the look of those going up, it was not a joke.
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Spectating Shevegas Part 2

How it's done.



The setup for how NOT to do it. (passing on the right)



Turns out the snap noise was indeed the helmet breaking in 3 places. Score one for helmets.

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Be safe.

Spectating Shevegas Part 1

Well, I decided to get out and get some fresh air. I gave my better half the day off. I took the kids over to the final WORS race of the season. I figured I'd haul my new camera along too, while I'm at it. Well, I made a TON of rookie mistakes on the so called photo shoot. But, I got to say "Hi" to some peeps who seldom see proof this blog is written by much other than a computer and a random text generator.

Lesson 1:

I have a TON of photos that look like this. Yes, these bikers are fast. But, dang if I couldn't have looked at some results in between taking 100 bad pics.


This one turned out better than the rest on accident. Next time, crank up the ISO and follow the biker with the lens. Blurry background will look much better than a non-existent rider.

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Thanks TmonT and son for pointing out said sweet location. The kids had a blast following you guys around, even though all they could do was talk about how strong and fast they are. When they get the training wheels off, you will have to tell them to put up!

More lessons to come.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

All This Time

Complete consternation over cyclocross gear choice. And I could have just hit up Sheldon Brown for advice.

"Choose a good gear. This obviously is the key. You want to chose a gear that lets you not get dropped too badly on the flats and allows you to ride as much as possible on the hills. If you have to get off your bike you better be able to run well (see above). I find a 2:1 is best for me. Although I could see going a bit higher as I get faster. Travis Brown runs a much higher than 2:1, but he is a machine and a half. Being a mere machine, 34:17 works well for me, although I am going to try some races in the 34 16 soon. i think if you are running anything less than 2:1 you need to be able to spin like a mad bastard, consistently through the whole race."

Given that and someone told me "Yeah, I rode 42x17 just fine." I take responsibility for listening. But it's time to switch up from 2.5:1 to closer to 2:1.

And, if I don't get sick from this 0 hours of sleep last night for work, I'm recklessly eyeballing the CX races on the 13Th or 14Th.

Please excuse any mistakes made in this post as I have more or less been on a spirit quest since getting off work.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

What the heck is cyclocross?

A question from a loyal reader deserves an answer. Unfortunately, I have only limited knowledge on this subject. Here is what I do know:

  • If you wear your HRM, you will learn what your 1 hour threshold is.
  • You must be able to run.
  • You really must be able to bike.
  • Think road bike with knobby tires.
  • Think mud.
  • Think about a 1-2 mile loop with 3-6 opportunities to practice your bike/run/bike transitions on each loop.
  • You're probably racing against good mountain bikers or roadies that had a bad season and want to take it out on the race course. If you don't think this is true, look at their faces.
  • If they didn't have bad seasons.. Well, they are there too.
  • It's all in good clean (usually muddy) fun.
And, since I can't be much help. Here are other resources.

Well that video link didn't work too well on format.. So please go check out Velonews TV and click on "How To" for the CX "How to's".

Then once you learn the technique.. It might look more like this on race day...



At least go watch one!

For the CXers listening.. What's the smallest single speed gear I have a chance at keeping up with anyone in cat4? More gears isn't likely in the budget this year.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Shake it OUT!

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Sometimes you just have to shake it out. Learn from the dog.

(Plus sometimes you can't help playing with the new camera)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

PSA: Avoiding Bike Thieves

The real public service announcement here is if you haven't seen Strongbad, you need to.

If you are into not getting your bike stolen, then start with this recent episode. I'm not sure if it will help you keep your bike. But the pink SS mountain bike looks kinda keen.

Other favorites: Dragon, Video Game

Friday, September 21, 2007

Split Personality

It's post Ironman. I'm only 10 days out.

Cyclocross season starts sooner than I will be ready. It just might be long enough that I try to get a race in.

My Ironman goal is in the bag. My weight goal is not. Running works on fat. It would be easy to get up every day and just toss on shoes to run.

I still need some recovery. I'm on-call at work again, just in time. So a few good swims next week would probably be a great way to eek back into working out.

Part of me just wants to pick one and work it. I've been doing sport balance all year. It's time to just break down and ride, or run. It's tough to give up two (for a few months) of them after so long.

Last night, I did some organizing. The rollers are setup in the basement. All I have to do is wake up, and hop on. Perfect! Just what I need.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Top 10 Reasons the Cyclists that read this blog should try Ironman

You certainly don't have to. There are easily a top 10 of why not to do it. But, I'd be remiss not to mention these.

  1. You are probably from Wisconsin too. This is one local race not to be missed.
  2. Ever seen the TdF? Picture going up the hill on the way into Verona with crowds lined on either side, a foot or two away, cheering you on! Where else does this happen? Pardon me if you have actually raced in the TdF.
  3. You could probably do the bike section in less than 8 hours drinking and standing on your head.
  4. Buy a wetsuit, the swim isn't that bad. Just don't forget to lubricate. If you're really slow, start out front and just grab ankles all the way!
  5. If you decide it's not worth it for the medal.. You can bow out for the marathon. The bike was all you wanted anyway.
  6. If you didn't bow out, you get to run through Camp Randall. Maybe even up Observatory hill (or walk). Camp Randall on the field is something else.
  7. There is a remote chance you will get weather as good as I did.
  8. If you are semi-single, there is a shot there will be an Iron person in distress. Then you're buds can stop sending your super-mate pictures on their blogs.
  9. Remember the scene I described going up the hill in Verona? The finish line is even more packed with crowds, in less space. There are stands full of cheering Iron-maniacs. It's a rush!
  10. See 2 and 9, that's worth 3/10.
Peace. Hoping to recover for CX season.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ironman Wiscosin Race Report

This is it. The long and the short. One year in the making. Some might say I've had my eye on this since the first Ironman Wisconsin back in 2002.

Here is the very short version:

swim 1:48:13 / 391 age group / 2149 over all,
bike 7:54:22 / 382 age group / 2057 over all,
run 6:14:31 / 368 age group / 1981 over all,
Total 16:15:10 // 377/399 age group // 2039/2209 over all


Pre-race:

I set three alarms to 3:30 A.M. It didn't take me long to go to sleep. I worried that meant I was tired, but I just had the low power usage thing down. The body knew something was coming..

Race morning..

I woke up to some kid noise at 1:30 am.. I took this as a good opportunity to drink my fabulous liquid Ensure breakfast. Eating early helps. I would not be trying to get rid of a 4:30 breakfast at 6:15. And once the wetsuit is on, it gets tougher.

I took the shuttle to the terrace, and was at the transition area at 5am sharp! Good. I took my sweet time doing almost everything. It was great how at Ironman you are forced to bag and tag it everything. There isn't much to think about race morning. It's all done. I loaded up the bike with a bottle of Hammer Gel (26oz straight up, yea!), one 22oz Gatorade bottle, one 22oz water bottle. I borrowed a tire pump from a fellow Crucible guy three bikes down. Then I was good to go. Now, I had almost too much time (greatly preferred to the alternative). I ran into James (Joe's buddy from MN). He looked calm and set. I started down the ramp. No, not yet. I don't want to sit by or in the water too long. I went back to look at the bike one more time for sanity sake. Back at the bike everything was fine. OK, time to get back out of transition area. Hey, there's Joe. We chatted it up a bit. We realized our bikes were next to each other. Good luck Joe.! A few deep breaths and I'm heading back down the ramp.

I went down and laid on a little hill in the grass for a bit. Finally I decided to get my wetsuit half on. Very few folks were getting in the water at this point. It's a small ramp to get out there, so it does take 2200 folks a while to do so once they decide to go. I get the idea it's time to go, and so do the other 2199 entrants. It took much longer than I thought to get out into the water. I saw Ali and said " good luck" or something I hope she took as well wishing. The national anthem played while we got in the water. It was very emotional. It was a beautiful day. By this time, I had adrenaline gushing through my veins. I think I hid it well and stayed relatively calm considering. I knew I needed to save my energy.

Once in the water, I just laid back and waited. I did not line up in the very back. There was a pretty good bunch up at the front. Behind the front, mostly a folks scattered all over behind that wall of go getters. I think I ended up pretty close to the dead middle. For non-Ironman folks reading this, the middle is told to be about the worst spot to line up. It really didn't seem like many were around.

THE SWIM



POP! The canon goes off! OK, this is it. Deep breath, count to two. I hit my stopwatch and go! It occurs to me that all Timex Ironman watches should have a built in timer from 7am to midnight. Oh well.

I start swimming, next to (it seems like) no one. Oh wait, there they all are. Now I'm finding out what the washing machine is all about. I think I could learn to open water swim pretty well if I could just do an Ironman swim every couple weeks or so! I had switched up to my sleeveless wetsuit, as it was 74 or something silly warm (compared to Racine). My arms thanked me for it. My armpits were really PO'd that I forgot the body glide (wetsuit to skin lube). Pain incurred on the swim doesn't necessarily go away the rest of the day. This is especially true if you forget the Body Glide.

The best intel I had says I hung in with the ( or a ) pack there for a while on the swim. It was a bit daunting. I would site, get going good for a bit, then WHAM! Some "clown dressed in a seal costume" would stop in front of me. They got their penance for stopping. I had to start up again from zero. Also, my sighting was "OK" when it was more crowded (on the 1st lap).. I thought I was doing well, but had NO clue on time.. I looked at my watch at lap 1 turn which said close to 50 min (right around my 1/2 Ironman swim time). I figured (hoped) I'd swim about the same on the second, as I wasn't killing myself or anything. Though I had never really swam farther than say 2500 yards. The second loop did thin out, though I"m not sure how. Maybe some of the folks I swam with had cut and run on loop one. I was probably on pace for 1:40-1:45 until turn three, where I went way wide. For whatever reason, I spent a long time trying to get back in near the buoys. I kept leaning to the outside. Eventually, I got back in. Turning that last corner and seeing the swim finish was something else. I hadn't looked at my watch, but I somehow knew I was going to make it. At the same time, that must have been the longest few hundred yards I've ever swam.

Crazy first Ironman note on the swim. I didn't wear the tinted goggles. I don't know why. On the trip back, the sun was making spots in my eyes. The crazy part, the spots looked like M-dots. Yeah, I know what it sounds like. I laughed under water.

Oh yeah... 1:48:13 could have been much worse. But, I didn't get any free cushion on the bike or run for finishing the swim early!

T-1



I will take running up the helix at Ironman over the sand run at Racine. It wasn't too bad, maybe because I was so dang happy.

In spite of scoping out the transition area, and having Joe go over the details. I knew I wasn't really going to get it until the spectacular volunteers just pointed me true. They, of course, did so. It did look like the biggest transition area I'd ever seen. It was. It flew by quickly. I made no mad rush to get in and out. I just made deliberate and purposeful forward movement. Shoes, gloves, arm warmers (planning for the run mostly), extra sunscreen, Porto-let to get rid of excess fluid. 9:59.. talk about going sub 10!!

THE BIKE



WOW! Is this a beautiful course on a beautiful day? Yes! One couldn't have ordered better anything that day. Up until Racine, I thought I was rocking on the bike. After Racine, I hit a wall and thought I was going to have trouble getting the course done on time. I had a little light shed on me those last few weeks of training. All in all I knew I needed a good day, and still didn't know quite what would happen. I did as coach said and just sat on it. Biked at zone 1 effort, "easy". Get to mile 18 of the run was my mantra. None of the problems I had were bike related. It was all comfort. My neck was better than it had been in Racine, but it still crept in on that second lap. My back was getting the best of me too. My feet hurt. The last 30 miles they really, really hurt. I stood up on some of the later hills just to give my back a break. I wasn't mashing, it is possible to stand and not overdo it (thanks to fixed gear riding). In the name of "racing my race" I didn't flinch when Frank passed me on the bike. That guy is absolutely amazing. Just keep moving, I will get there.

I freaked out a bit when I started doing Ironman math. I read a mileage sign wrong on the bike and thought I was going to have to high tail it. The next sign (5 miles later) just indicated I couldn't read. Five miles is a long time to worry about missing the bike cutoff. The lesson here, "Don't do math during a triathlon."

Also note.. I can (or did) descend (almost) with the pros. I got lapped by my share of pros on the bike (easy to do when your swim is near 2 hrs and they start 10 min early). I was taking the downhills and not totally losing them. This means they must have me by a mile or 43 on the power/weight ratio, climbing, and cornering ability. I was getting frustrated with a few folks that would pass me on uphills and stay left for the downhill with their rusty hubs, lightweight bodies and/or outright fear of sliding down the hill in only their tri-suit. Least they could do is move right while I use my weight to power ratio on them. Not to mentioned a well lubed steel bike, and sweet aerodynamic wheels. On the other hand, it wasn't worth killing myself to try to pass over the line at 40-50mph. (I had no targeting computers turned on. My speed is all a guess).

That last 15-20 miles I can honestly say I never wanted to run a marathon so bad in my life. It hurt. I had hoped to go faster on the bike, but I will take a finish and the ability to run over anything I consider a respectable bike time hands down.

Time : 7:54:22



T2



Similar to T1.. I put my shoes on twice, as I decided to change socks after I tied my shoes the first time. I sent the help for a scissors to cut the reflective tape. I knew I was gonna make it, so I didn't quibble over a minute or 2. Pics were taken by the family. Stopped at the can again, because it was there.

Time: 8:05. If I was doing this race again, the transition times could go way down.

Note at this point, my feet off the bike felt like they had been broken. They hurt that bad. As in "I can't walk" type hurt. Fortunately, I had felt this pain before at Racine (once or twice). I knew that run shoes and some running can make it go away (and new pain in place of it). So, I carried on.

THE RUN



Here is where the rubber hits the road. A mile or two of real running and my feet did feel better. Phew!! I hit my lap button once in a while at the mile markers. The first one indicated "10:xx" WHOA!! Dude Slow *** Down!!!! Maybe 10:xx pace sounds slow to some of y'all, but you haven't been on JWM's training runs this year. I should been running easy 11:30s at the start of the marathon. I did slow down for mile two (or the marker was more right). I kept running. On the uphills I was fine with walking. It was part of keeping my effort down. I was chided by someone that "knows Strauss and will tell him I'm walking", but I carried on. At this point, I was happy with my run/walk ratio, it was respectable for my training. Many spectators thought I looked strong (most even thought I was on loop 2, ugh!). I saw Strauss (on State st.) at mile 6 or 7 (when you head back up the other side of the capitol). He ran up and said, "Looking good. Now just count the backs of the people you pass. Focus on the backs." Great, I'm in. I bought it.

... .. ... .. ... .. ...

Now for years I have heard that the chicken soup is magical or something. Well it did some magic on me. Nothing horrid. But, It put me on the "slow down, you need to do some digestion and think" track. For me slow down means walk. I decided I had too much fluid. I was slightly "off". I could feel it. I was proud/lucky to identify it. I skipped fluids at a few aid stations. I walked more than ran for a bit. I regained my composure. I ended up waffling in and out of "too much water" a few times, as I didn't know a better way to get calories than coke and oranges. The occasional Gatorade would put me teetering on the edge again. I will dare say, hadn't it been for these new developments I was on plan to laser focus this run thing down and "run" much of the marathon. But it wasn't in the cards. 2 hours and roughly 50 minutes at the 1/2 (not bad when my 1/2 run PR is 2:27 or so). I found some mental spots I hadn't ever been in. I locked my eyes forward and went. If I had to walk, I often needed a downhill to start running again, then I just made it so stopping wasn't an option. Momentum was responsible for most of my motion on the run.

At this point I'd like to interject here.. I'd love to be one of the fast guys. Most have been working at swimming, biking and/or running all their lives. That's why they are the fast guys at this distance. To truly fast, I'm certain you have to do the mental lock and load. It did occur to me that some "faster" folks at least have the option of entertaining slowing down and still finishing. For me I was racing the clock all friggin' day and there was pressure to NOT STOP moving, OR else. I consider this part of why my race was a success. Listened to TTN and many others that said, just keep moving, "stopping is not an option". If I would have done so, I wouldn't have made it.. Yes it was hard to have a 78 year old guy pass me on the bike, my supposed favorite discipline. At the same time, finishing and covering the distance was bliss.

Run Time: 6:14:31

Also note that my run place was better than my bike place. This was a first for me in any triathlon, I'm sure. I don't think that happens to a ton of first time Ironman participants. The run is where everyone dies or wins.

THE FINISH



Also, thank you all!! You were all out there with me. I can't even remember when / where you all were, but you were there. I distinctly recall my late father out there on much of the bike, my entire family, TTN, Dre', Steve's son Derek, Homer Simpson "I can't believe I'm running a marathon! OOOOH I'm hitting the wall.", DZ and J from 14k up on a rock, Tri-teacher, MC, V-girl, rtt, Ali, Cimit, Steve (got2run), Doug, Jim, Rich Strauss, those of you actually there cheering and rooting, my neighbors, that guy that rode his bike the same rainy day I did, those who did Ironman before me and helped, those who looked to me and said "you first", and many, many, many, many others. I'm writing this off the cuff, so I'm sorry I can't pull where you were on the course out from memory, but rest assured if you're reading this, you were out there with me. A BIG Thank you to you all!

And my biggest supporters were out there everywhere.



I give. I gotta get sleep. Apparently, work found out I can endure tough stuff for 16 hours straight.

IMWI Collage made with Animoto

Wow! What a perfect site for triathlon type photo collages... Animoto

This is a 1st try with just a few pictures from Ironman Wisconsin..

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fat Tire

Good luck all you Fat Tire riders. Go get 'em! I'll be holed up here sorting out pictures for my forth coming race report.

Best advice I can steal and give you. "Maintain a sense of purpose."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Setup..



I made it to Madison. Ready for Ironman Wisconsin. All the work is done. What a great venue. Friday and Saturday were filled with a surprising number of signs that Ironman was looming. On my way to the hotel Friday night, I knew it was about 2.4 miles (swim distance) to the hotel from where I was.. I looked down at the "last gas fill up" odometer in the car to gauge when I should look for Rimrock road. The odometer read 140.6 when I looked down. Wooooooo. (cue eerie music).

Also on Friday, I ran into this...


My limited bug experience says it's a praying mantis. Seemed appropriate.

The bike was still at the hotel.. But the racks were up and waiting.


Enough looking around. I checked in and got all my loot. Only to have to go back to the hotel and figure out where stickers go.. Don't put them in the wrong spot, or you might not get your Hammer Gel on race day.



OK, here are the secrets of a first time Ironman athlete.. I tried to keep it simple. What is the minimum I need. No kitchen sinks. Suit, shoes, helmet, shoes, race #'s, and socks. No, I'm not hardcore enough to try Ironman without socks.



I'm not an M-dot tattoo kinda guy. But, I did put this temporary one on so my peeps could find me. Alas, I think it worked once before race day, but no one on race day said anything.



All branded up, and pumped to go. My family showed up. We hit dinner. Then it was back for an early 9:30pm bedtime. I set every alarm I had for 3:30 AM. Unexpectedly I went to sleep quickly. I woke up once at 1:30 AM for breakfast (1 bottle of Ensure). Creamy chocolate is NOT the same as chocolate. In truth, neither are wildly delicious.

Give me time, I'll come up with some description of race day. Safe to say, I was feeling good. I was excited. And I was doing a pretty decent job of staying calm at that point.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

One last look around..

I'm heading out to Madison bright and early. I think I have 99% of my stuff. If I don't, I really hope I'm not missing something important or expensive.

I'm excited. Quietly cautious. Optimistic. Expecting to get hit in the face with some reality. I did what I did, and if what I am now is not trained enough, then so be it. Time to smile, grab on, put the toes in the sand and wait for the gun to go off.

Just keep moving.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Taper..

OK, no excuses now.. I'm tapering. Time for a quick entry.

Random day 1 of taper thoughts:

  • Yeah, I spent a year training and I'm nervous that it wasn't enough. I realize worrying about it won't matter and I will remain calm.
  • It's a year, a ton can happen. It will most likely all happen in the last two (biggest training) months.
  • Things like the chicken pox scare.. and subsequent vaccine.
  • Things like extreme fatigue and a doctor saying, sleep it out.
  • Things like a good brother telling you "hmm.. Ironman training, IT pager, and not enough sleep.. Fatigue you say?"
  • Still, I pulled it together and did a couple last long (slow) rides.
  • I'm well aware of the cutoff times for the swim, bike, and run (9:20am, 5:30pm, midnight)
  • As much as it defies what I set out to do, the progress I made, and most of the entire year... I'm most worried about the bike leg.
  • I know I can run like a slow, slow freight train. Even tired. Even "dang I can't believe I was on the bike til 5:29pm" tired. I will run that marathon.
  • As discussed with my better half. I will finish. (because I'm NOT doing it again)
  • I can not believe how fast what minimal speed I had drained when I started going ironman long.
  • When does CX season start ?
See you out there. (follow link on race day for all day live video)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Open Source: Out of Left Field

I'm imagining that the vast majority of my readers are triathlete types (as if my volume of readers can be described as vast in any way). Here's one under the category of something different.

Open Source is more or less a way that people share ideas to make up new and bigger stuff.. Often the stuff is software. Sometimes it's software that does 3D animation. Sometimes it's sounds, and output of 3D animation software. Long story short, the world's second open source movie is going to be released. If you pre-order Peach, by October 1st you can even get your name on the credits. Mind you, if you hang out and wait, you might just be able to download and watch it. Like the world's first open source movie Elephants Dream.

If you ever saw a Pixar flick and wondered if you could do that. You really need to check out Blender. It's free software that will get you on track. I won't say it's easy, but it is wild stuff. So, try something new... You never know what's out there.

( Those who are wondering if I've gone off the deep end, I still know Ironman Wisconsin is 37 days away.)

Monday, July 09, 2007

What is this blog for?

In the past month or so, y'all missed big posts on:

  • the trek100 Maccfund ride.
  • Vacation, Niagra, a cruise in the North East. Biking, kayaking, hiking, etc.
  • Big training. Strong happy bike rides. Numbers going up.
  • Very little free time. Sorry all, I just haven't been able to post it all.
  • Ironman training begins. I've just been training to train up until now. The switch is flipped. It's "Game On!" now.
  • I signed up for my 5th consecutive year of Spirit of Racine 1/2 IM distance triathlon. See you all there.
Hopefully I'll come back and revisit when there is more time. Consider yourselves somewhat caught up.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Better Late than Never

Happy Father's Day.

This one goes out to Dad. We all miss you. Thanks for everything.

I was going to put a short story here. Maybe something about how I'd take a good number of punches in the gut just to get even the worst of days back.


To all the fathers and would be fathers, just remember it's the seemingly smallest actions that speak the loudest.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Perscription for a Fever

I know that occasionally I tailspin a bit with regards to desiring some material item that I really don't need. I'm vaguely aware that none such items will really make me a better person or even the world a better place. After last weekend's Trek100 ride, I came up with a medium case of Madone fever.

I love riding the four bikes I have. As of recently, I have had a chance to give each and every one a proper ride. A few weeks ago at New Fane, the ATX780 got to ride on real dirt. Not long before that, I took the fixed gear bike out for it's first proper "road tire" ride of the year. Reluctantly, I rode the triathlon bike 100 miles at the Trek100 because crowded charity rides are for road bikes, and not time trial / ride. I was only reluctanttri bikes.. I was super extra careful on it.

Where then was the road bike? In the shop for a week or so. I'm not going to admit why. I got it back and finally, Saturday I took it out for 60 miles in some real wind. I did zone 3 and zone 4 efforts for 4 hours. I rode up north to some road, then rode out until that road ended. It was just what the doc ordered. Prescription filled.

And just for good measure, I spent Sunday night on the trainer for another 2:30. That will rest some of those demons who wish me to spend my cash "just because I've never ridden a bike made of cubit zirconium".

Mind you, I saw the Madones up close. They are pretty. They do make you want to want to ride them. First reports are they are engineering feats of lightness. Lance likes them. What's not to like?

I talked myself out of it.. The kids will eat for another week.

Friendly service announcement: Ride your bike, until the demons are gone.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Hanging It On Out There



One of my top 10 training rules has to go something like "if it's working, keep doing it. If not, try something different." ... Well, it IS working. But I also needed a break from "homework". Not a break where I work 90 hours in a week and can barely sleep, much less train (see a week ago). This past week was much better. I moved some days around, but hit all my training. My long run isn't up to "plan standard" yet (see earlier knee references), but otherwise I was there.

I busted out of the mold this weekend. Having not been on my mountain bike since February (in many feet of soft cushy snow). And before that, I hadn't been trail riding for years.. One might argue that I'd never ridden trails more than a few hours, and certainly no more than say 15, maaaabye 20 miles. Well, life is different now in Ironman training land.. We don't do things in 20 minute blocks.

Thanks to the prodding from Tmontee, I entered the 6 hour solo mountain bike race at the WEMS New Fane race. Thanks to MTB Girl, and her crew, for putting on fun time for all. Where else can you pay someone to count laps while you ride your bike as long as you wish. Trust me, 6 hours was longer than I wished for. I managed to clock 4 plus hours and 6 laps (28-ish miles) of mountain biking. Absolutely everyone was beyond courteous. I knew I was the slow guy, I did what I could to stay out of the way and get my training in. The faster guys (near everyone) all thanked me as they blew by.. I forgot how much fun trail riding was. Though, a guy used to 3.5 hours on the road finds new places to be sore after 4 hours of mountain biking. My legs had a good amount of go left in them, but my shoulders and hands screamed "DONE!".

I highly recommend these type of events to folks who can mountain bike, but might not want all the hubbub of some of the shorter races. It was low key, good clean fun. Show up with your 35 bux, 30 minutes prior to the race, and you're in.. Set your cooler off to the side of the track, and make your own pit stops. Just beware, the trails might not be as "easy" as some might say..

I recognized Coop from his wedding pics on some blog, at the start of the race. Bubba came up and introduced himself. I saw Coffee King, whom I new in a past life.. I hate to list, cause I'm probably leaving out tons of folks I met.. I even met a triathlete or two out there.

Tee up for next weekend the 100 mile ride at Trek 100 Ride for Childhood Cancer. See you all out there. Time to put my head down and hammer through the week.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pulling it off so far..

After that last post, I went right out and poked my thumb in the eye of a tri deity or two. Monday night I went for an unscheduled hour run. So, I was prepared for what might ensue. In reality, what happened was I swapped a few days around and a monday night run made some sense. We'll see what happens with the rest of the week though.

Mostly, thanks for the support and I think this week is looking up.

Someone talk me into or out of "racing" this weekend at a WEMS race. My mtn bike hasn't seen a trail since I blogged the Feb winter ride.. Seems like good clean IM training type stuff though, non?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Wha' Happened?

I just woke up. It was shortly after midnight. I'm next to a big dog, still wearing just my bike shorts and a Livestrong T-shirt. My wife probably caught me mumbling something about "vgexport" in my sleep. How'd I get here? Let's back track.

I'd love to say this was the direct result of a week's worth of non-stop ironman training. No holds barred, stick to the schedule, form perfect, another notch in my belt toward September. In fact it was almost the exact opposite. It all started Monday, with a great swim and an unscheduled, somewhat heavy legged run. Without making excuses, that run bled into my next morning's zeal for an immediate very hard brick. No worries, I'll do it at night. That run, ended up taking my week apart.

Most of the week I could blame on work, and more work, and even more work. When I wasn't sleeping I was working this week (and maybe a few hours in the middle of both). This is not a rant about work, only about my ability to organize my time as such. There will be longer work weeks. It's the gig. It pays for such things as crazy endurance races like Ironman. I blame that extra Monday night run. It was just begging me to take it and throw the week off balance.

After Monday, sans an real excuses, there are a bunch of big, ugly zeros in my training calendar. This weekend I worked a good 18 hours (mostly straight, without enough time to do my 3:30 bike on my one break). Then I ended up w/ 3 hours of sleep Sat morning. Nothing that one can take and turn into a good 3-5 hour ride as makeup. No gas. No mental anything. Just TV fuzz in the head.

Three to five naps on Sunday left me more rested, but still out of it.. I gathered enough gumption to head out on the fixed gear for an easy 25 miler. An hour and a half later, I was cold and tired. We made dinner. Then I went to lie down for a second while my wife read the kids books. The next thing I knew, it was midnight.

Deep breath. A glass of milk and some water. A quick blog update then shower, and back to bed. It is Monday, and I start fresh. Let's see if I can get last week's good swim back.

Rest of the week update:

  • I got my confirmation letter for the super cool MACC fund ride pre-party.
  • Put road tires on the fixed gear bike. My son helped. Ya know, in case I get crazy and take it to the 100 miler ride last minute.
  • Healing vibes for DZ's Dad.
  • And let us not forget why the world is right.. A brand spankin' new, hand made, custom bike was born.
As I look out over the coming weeks. I see some homework. Some 3-4 hour bike rides, back to back on the weekends.. Hopefully many well rested ones. I'm sure I will look at my mountain bike longingly at least once.. Good times are a coming. In spite of this week, things are looking up training-wise. And I refuse to give up my mantra. This IS my year. See you all out there.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Random Rules of Bike Improvement

Recently I've had random thoughts of how to improve on the bike. I feel like I've been improving*** lately, and I thought I should share with those that might be less fortunate than I. Here are ideas for improvement.

  1. Sign up for Ironman. Buy a "plan". If you do nothing else, do at least all the bike workouts. Yep, this is the long way around, but it's already working on me.
  2. Ride on the trainer.
  3. Ride with a Garmin 305.
  4. Ride with a Polar HRM.
  5. Ride in the winter w/ some mtn bikers you only see twice in 2 hours.
  6. Ride in the summer.
  7. Ride rollers (I suspect this would work at least - oh the shame).
  8. Ride while watching favorite movies.
  9. Pick longer favorite movies.
  10. Switch to favorite HBO series.
  11. Switch back to movies, but only long series of movies.
  12. Ride outside.
  13. Wear weather appropriate clothing. Which will make you less likely to wimp out early.
  14. Ride long enough that eating on the ride is expected.
  15. Ride harder.
  16. Ride easier.
  17. Do you know your LTHR? Do a ride to find it.
  18. Ride to a far away bus station, then ride back.
  19. Buy yourself some toys, like power meters and power cranks.. really anything with the word "power" works as long as you also increase the amount of riding you do as a result of said purchase.
  20. Ride hills.
You might notice a common theme among many of the rules.

What am I doing? Tuesday intervals, Saturday 3:30 ride with efforts, Sunday 2:30 (with efforts) /:30 brick.

*** improving - not AS slow as before.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Why "The Bike"?

If you find yourself derailed, here are some alternate rails...

What other racing sports can you get the vehicles the top racers win in for 2-6 grand? Equipped with the proper engine (hopefully you), your bike will be a '62 convertible 'vette. It's certainly not about expensive bikes though.

Maybe, it's about the love poured into your custom frame by frame builders who took care to measure and fit you, and listen to what you wanted out of the bike. Taking each bit of information back to the shop to come up with functional artwork from their skilled hands.

Maybe, it's about what it represents. My grandfather rode it from the farm to town. My father rode for exercise, recreation and with the family. Women have ridden for independence. Many have ridden to save money. Many others to save fuel. Many to raise awareness. Many for the freedom provided by such an elegant, efficient machine. Some because they can take it completely apart, lube it, and put it back together in less than a day. (I will NOT try that with a car)

Sometimes, it's about popping in your favorite movie and after a warm up, hammering until you're woozie, drooling, and can't get enough time between gasps for the hydration you so desperately need.

You may want to think in terms of going somewhere, rather than getting somewhere. Those 50 or 100 milers, take the ride one way and meet somewhere cool for lunch (then get a ride/nap back). Very few folks will ever do this for running... As an example, there is a group ride next month that is Milwaukee to Madison for lunch and back (170 miles). You will be hard pressed to find a group run to Madison and back. (and would you go?) Cycling is all about the experiences.

This is sometimes tough for triathletes. People who are on a rigorous schedule, fitting in this exact bike or run on this exact day. Riding trainers in the wee hours to avoid work and family conflicts. Regardless of what fun may be going on. Do not hesitate to take a day to do something that makes you laugh and smile on the bike. Just don't forget to do the miles too.

Homework to readers.. Grab your bike, shoes, water bottles, helmet, and camera and ride to the steepest hill in a 15 mile radius. Ride up and down it until you are either laughing, crying, or a healthy mix of both. Get someone to take your pic and send it in (link in comments?). Maybe I can make a collage.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Levitation

The best way I can describe it is stepping off a cliff at night with your eyes closed, or so I imagine. A regular reader might note a sudden lack of updates out here on the blog. Here's what happens to me. It's a pattern I have to work on. This year, at least I'm getting better sleep.

I'm cruising along just dandy in my workouts, posting new highs or personal records or both. I'm not even quite believing how far along I am, and it's only April. Then something comes up at work, one or both kids get sick, that spreads back and forth between the kids and my wife, the dog needs three teeth out, our family babysitter heads out to vacation, and I am left fighting off the illnesses the kids have.

The good news, I don't get bogged down and depressed about it. I just deal. This is the levitation part. But, I'm also not moving forward.

My typical reaction is to shutdown some to all of the workouts. In years past this meant fitting in a run or two here and there. This year, my knee is tweaked in conjunction with all this other stuff. This year, I'm spending the time on the bike trainer. My "off" weeks are still 6 hours or more from biking. It should also be noted, that these bike rides were what saved me from falling "Alice in Wonderland" style into the well.

Time to stop floating and get back in the game. It took me about 2 weeks to realize the simple remedy for my knee. Problem, knee hurts after 35-40 minutes of running. Solution, run 20-25 minutes, very often. I'm on day two of that plan. Also, spend the extra time stretching before and after. I'm hopeful, as the not running solution was not working.

If anyone has secret solutions for keeping the rest of the family healthy so my immune system doesn't have to continually fight all this mojo off, I would happily take them as suggestions.

I'm not fretting, but it's time to float back to the plan.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Call to Readers (Trek 100)

OK, if you're anywhere near the Milwaukee area and you ride a bike... There is a good chance you'll be riding it at the Maccfund Trek 100 ride. If you haven't (or even if you have), please read on.

I started with the Trek 100 in 2002. It was my first year doing the 1/2 ironman distance triathlon in Racine. I thought it would be a good opportunity to get in some bike miles. Additionally, triathlon hadn't provided me a way to give like a charity ride. My father passed away in 2001 from cancer. And while the Maccfund is for childhood cancer, I find it provides me some connection to raise the money. I mustered up a few hundred bux in donations and headed off to the event. Under-trained but ready for a long day of riding and plenty of stops for food, my coworker and I stood for the pre-ride talk. I was not prepared for some of the gut wrenching stories and thank yous from children and other affected by cancer. On the ride, I was unprepared for those out working the aid stations. Parents who made me feel like I was helping save their kids by riding that day. I was in awe of the courage I saw in kids faces that day. Here I was out doing what I would do on a beautiful Saturday morning without the parade, only there was a parade. Whatever thanks they gave me for being there, I felt I owed them for my experience..

Stop the tape... I'm not this mushy. I'm a regular JWM, who works a regular job with a couple kids and dogs and such. Let's just say this one day knocks my socks off a bit.

Let's skip a couple years.. Who knows what I was doing, but I certainly didn't forget. Last year I put a shout out. I said, get me to (the made up number) 3000 dollars in donations and I'll ride the fixed gear on the 100k route. Well, I made it to nearly 1000 in donations (Thank you so much). I decided to go through with the fixed gear anyway (I'm sure I just wanted an excuse). I'm not much of a fundraiser. Last year was my first attempt at "not just raising the minimum plus a little". I was incredibly touched by the generosity of those that donated. Then, I showed up to toe the line at the start. When they started the pre-race chat, I actually thought, "Crap, I forget how emotional this is." Or something like that at least.

Fast forward to 2007.. The year of the Ironman (for me) and probably a few 100 mile rides before then. I want this hundred miler to count. I signed up for the "century club". It means, I pledged to raise 1000 dollars at a minimum. So, please.. I'm not a break your door down kind of fundraiser guy. If you read my blog.. or want to help kids with cancer.. or just thought this little blurb about me finding out the rewards of fundraising lightened your heart. Then click my donation page and send what you can.

Thank you in advance for your support. And if you want to come out and ride it with me, sign right up. There are tons of riders and great food and support.

Read more about MACCFund on their site.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Journey to Ironman Month in Review: March 2007

The days: worked out 24/31 days

161 days until race day.

This month's totals.

Swim: 14850 yards (up 4700 from last month)
Bike: 326.3 mostly phantom trainer "miles" (up 136.3)
Run: 28.6 miles (not much change)

34 hours total (up from 22)

Review:

First, it's clear from the run miles which days I was sick. I'm proud that I didn't let my bike slip but once. Recently I have thought this year I should concentrate on sticking the bike. Not (hopefully) to the loss of swim/run.. but in years past, when I got tired or stressed, the bike was the first workout to go. This year it's been the run. Maybe more because of my knees than anything. I know I will need many more miles that March shows.. but I can only ramp up so much at once.. So I won't fret about the lack of run miles.

April 2nd starts my first recovery week. Thank goodness! Hopefully this means I'll start the following week more prepared for "the schedule".

The detractors aka excuse list. I'm glad for work.. Without it there would be no cool tri toys or roof to keep us dry. But it hasn't been getting any easier lately. Anyone know of high paying, secure, computer jobs that are getting easier lately?? Yeah, I thought not. Sleep being a priority in ironman training, it's tough when work conflicts with sleep. I already mentioned the knee, so we'll skip that in this list...

Mantra's (Still).. This is my year. Game on!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Calories

Time to dig in to (what was mostly) last year's uneaten stash of goodies.

Before I can dive head first into any new nutrition plans.. I've got some base miles to put on, and a few piles of "food" to go through. Once some of these supplies are depleted, I can get on with this year's plans.

You can see, I've got some recovery protein bars. I really like the builder bars. There are some fairly non-descript powerbars to fill out the mix. You can see a gel or two in there.. I lived on gels last year (during exercise). For reference, I probably had 12 gels during the Spirit of Racine 1/2 last year. Brand-wise, I'm fairly equal opportunity. I tend to like Clif stuff (except the gels) much more than the competitors. Gu, Carbboom and the like are nice gels. Many, many I have yet to try though.

I'm looking for the good bad and ugly on the Clif Bloks. I dig how you can evenly divide them out over an hour ( about 33 cals per blok ). And how they are so much less messy than shots. My non-scientific guess is, they take up more space per calories than a shot. The "less mess" factor may well be worth it. This year, I'm going to give them an honest try. I tried them on one ride last year. It was pointed out to me, that perhaps I hadn't eaten enough of them. Thus I couldn't tell if they weren't absorbing, or I just didn't eat enough.. I won't make that mistake this year.

Until then, does your basement stockpile look like this? It's hard to beat 70 cents per box. Eek gads! What reason # is this for doing Ironman? "burn calories so you don't waste last year's stockpile of energy bars." I will be the guy with the knife and fork taped to his top tube.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

I'm not duffing them all.

Well, I did toss a few to the wind this week with my knee and all. But I hit the real ones where they count. Weird weekend, but I'll take it.

Saturday - long day, daughter is sick. Got on the trainer after they went to bed. 9 PM to midnight. Then I had time to shower and play a few rounds of Burnout Legends on my PSP before I got to work from 2 AM to 3 AM.

Sunday - up at 8:30 AM. Walked dogs as usual. Hit breakfast and the normal routine. I got out for some real live pavement miles in nice weather. I was almost hot out there in my duds. Rode 11:00 - 1:30. Five minutes for transition. Then I got in a 25 minute "run" and 10 walk. I can quote run, because it was pretty slow. I was really tight. More of those to come I'm sure.

Funny thing, I recall these 3+ hour bricks from last year. I think I did only a hand full, and certainly I hadn't started in March. They weren't the day after another 3 hour ride. This is going to be, ahem, "FUN!"

See you all out there.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mistakes II

Short and sweet. I'm skipping my strides run tonight. But that wasn't the mistake. My mistake led to the missed workout.

Last night, things crept into my evening which prevented early hitting of hay. I woke up late and "off". I put in a 1/2 swim. Then off to work. Home from work late, and tired. I will sleep good as my penance, then it's a freshly LSD run in the morning.

Deep breath. This takes work. Getting the workouts in is easy. Doing it right, getting chores and work done, sleeping well, and still getting good workouts in.. That's when one wins.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A Quick Week in Review

Week 1 of "the official training plan" from crucible fitness. Tough one, cause I hate to call them excuses. I won't bore anyone with the gory details (numbers).
I held up well, sticking to the plan, until Thursday's run. Forty minutes into the run I tweaked a knee. No worries, my next workout was a swim on Friday morning. About four hours before that swim was scheduled, I awoke to an odd feeling. Long story short, I did a massive calorie output in short time. Some kinda bug was all up in my training plan bizness on week one.
Well, now that kinda ruined the idea of going for a swim. Turns out, I didn't work that day or run either.
Saturday I had a 2.5 hour bike scheduled. But seeing as I was still getting winded going up the stairs, I bagged it.
Sunday afternoon, after my second or third nap, I was feeling pretty good. I went down for my scheduled ride (2.5 hours). Later that evening I did the 30 minute run that was supposed to directly follow the ride. Now I'm in good shape for tomorrow morning.

Nighty-nite. I'm sticking to "It's my year".

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mistakes.

Week one. Runs one and two.

Yesterday, I was supposed to do strides. I kinda know what strides are. I know they're supposed to help run form. And, I do have the ability to concentrate on form. But at this point, it's fairly typical for form work to cause my HR number to rise significantly (whatever that means). It seems, I'm getting slightly used to thinking about form. Admittedly, I probably have a _long_ way to go.

I know that strides aren't supposed to be BTTW (term for all out effort). But, I hadn't run in five or six days and I was really having fun making the numbers go wacky on my Garmin. So, when I was doing 30 seconds ON for strides, I was probably (OK definitely) going WAY too hard. But it was FUN! I even clocked a 5:30-ish mile pace (for 30seconds). I didn't write home about it, but at least I know that my body could go sub 6 per mile if I fell off a cliff.
Where was I? Oh yes, happily going all out for short spurts on my 1st run in almost a week (and longer weekly training volume than maybe I have ever done). What happened? Nothing. I went back to work after lunch. Smiling.

Then I got up this morning. Set the scene, it's back to "colder" from 24 hours of 70-ish degrees. I've got a one hour long slow run on deck. I had trouble settling in, which sometimes happens when it's cold and windy. Around 40 minutes in, twang/tweak! What was that? Oh my knee is not as happy as it was seconds ago.. but it's OK. Slow WAY down. Finish out the run to get home. Shower up and head off to work.

Ow, it's a bit tender. No, wait. By the time I was walking into work, I could hardly bend it. Nice! Let this be a reminder to "take it easy on the strides!!!!". Dumb move jwm. Live and learn.

The update here is that my knee feels somewhat better. I suspect it would be tweaky if I ran again right now. But I'm gonna hold off until tomorrow night and go easy.

As for "the plan", I"m half way through my week one. I'm starting to think I'll know if the intermediate plan was too much of a stretch goal by mid-next week.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Day 2 - LTHR Bike Test

LTHR is some number that tells you where your training zones are. HR means it's a heart rate. LT is (to the best of my knowledge) the barrier between zone four and zone five. LTHR is a level one can sustain for 30 - 40 minutes (maybe more if you're well trained and/or really want it). Above LT some nasty goo starts to build up in your muscles at a faster rate than it gets cleared out. This is why you can't sustain long intervals above LT. (all of this is "as I understand it").

Here's the part I know too much about (a little dangerous knowledge).. various prescribed methods for determining LT. All seem to include something like...

  1. Warm up really well. Including some sprints or efforts which will get your HR going.
  2. Go "as hard as you can" for some prescribed amount of time 30-40 minutes. Note, as hard as you can, still means at a consistent HR (not necessarily pace). If you are "normal" you will be far from comfortable.
  3. Cool down.. gasp, fold, whatever.. Drink something.
Where the tests (I have read) differ is which average HR to take. I have often heard do 30 minutes hard, taking the average HR of the last 20 minutes. Today's workout was "supposed to" be 40 minutes hard, take the average of the entire 40 minutes. I have heard the coaches logic behind the "40 minutes". Something like, "for strong athletes 30 minutes" isn't enough.

What about today's workout? I figured right out, I wasn't one of these "strong" athletes who needs the entire 40 minutes. So, I went with 30 minutes all on my own. I also did the occasional visual on the HRM to see how I was doing. And sure enough the first 10 minutes I was still warming up to my LTHR.. I suspect this brought my entire average down somewhat. Stupidly, I didn't take my HR averages in any kind of interval to provide actual data to said theory.

My final 20 minutes were all easily in the low to mid 150's, with some spikes up to 160. Yet my "average" said 146. Looking at appropriate zone charts for 146 LTHR, I suspect it's on the low side. Also note that my last run LTHR test was more like 170. Incidentally, I felt I had erred high on that one. I am aware the bike and run LTHR numbers can be somewhat different.

I have another LTHR test in 4 weeks. Hopefully I will have improved my biking and pacing significantly by then. Until next time..

Addendum... These tests are supposed to be taxing. You're supposed to take the rest of the day off. But, dang I haven't run since last Friday. And for the first time in I don't know how long, the snow is _gone_ and it's near 70. Tomorrow it will be 40-ish again. I might have to sneak "off plan" this once and get a recovery run in. Also note, I don't ever recall cheating on my plan by adding a run... this must be a new year.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

TSOTD 4

TSOTD strikes again.

I went to Camp Anokijig as a child. My parents took what was probably countless photos up there. But, what I have is this shirt. Now, mind you, this shirt isn't from when I was 5 or so. I got this shirt last year when some bad mojo was going down. A bunch of good folks got together and raised some money to save the camp. This T-shirt was bought for me during one of their fund raising weekends.

When I did my first Elkhart Lake Triathlon, I hadn't yet realized how close I was to the old camp. (I was pretty darn young the last time I went). Yet another small world link to the good old days.

If you fondly recall Camp Anokijig, you may want to help save the camp.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Treadmill Fixed.

That's right. Five or so weeks ago (probably right before all the snow, cold and ice started) the treadmill broke. I should say _I_ broke the treadmill. How do we know this? The deck broke. I'm 200+ lbs. Enough data for all you folks out there in blog reader land?

Anyway, we called the LBS right away. Low and behold it was under warranty for a mere 2 more days. Thank goodness. So, JWM gets a free deck. I still get to pay 100 bux for the LBS guy to order it and spend his precious waking hours wrenching on it in my basement. Not to mention he had to corral some sort of international shipping incident in order receive said treadmill deck. Five weeks. These are the days of Internet tracking and me getting my Ipod from China in a matter sub triple digit hours. It's hard to imagine that a package coming from Brunei could get lost 7-8 times almost to it's destination and still be here in 3-4 weeks. Of course, maybe treadmill decks are made from wood on an island that you can only swim too. And that wood can't get wet.

But, my rant is over. Because NOW the treadmill is back, fixed, good to go. No more excuses about icy sidewalks (which ironically I ran on tonight). Just in time too, the training plan starts Monday.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Someone Talk Me Down From The Ledge..

Grrrrr.. 1/2 a pizza that I didn't need from Little C's. Then I stood fully clothed on the scale at night (all variables which contribute to a higher number than I normally see on the little readout).

Breathe deep. It's just a number. Not even a fairly taken number.

Shoot my 4 year old son even ate more pizza than I did. (He's not over weight, just on a growth spurt). I on the other hand, am not on a growth spurt. Or I should say I don't want to be on one.

This post will serve as a reminder that even if it is "my year", I will falter. What I put in this blog is a goal.

Breathe deep. Move on. Pack my swim bag. Back to the pool in the morning.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Compromise

I can't believe it. I let up.

Today, "I want a CX bike" slipped out somehow in front of my wife. Now, mind you I have four bikes (at least). My fixed gear works wonderfully as a CX single speed bike. And if you buy into the fact that I could do it with one gear, then fine. I think though I might need the extra help of more gears. Blah blah blah.. I got Ironman to worry about for now.. So why let the CX bike slip? It's not really even on the radar yet.

I got the complete warranted/expected "you're not getting another bike now."... OK fine. I got now quarrel with that, for now.

Then I get, "you need to do a full season of races. Then you can get one." What? Can I head off to a season full of CX races every weekend all over Wisconsin???? Dang! And after being rewarded with that, I can buy a new bike ??? She must have been sleeping.

Long story short, I told her I'd forget the conversation (until after Ironman). I don't want her stressing over some non-existent bike purchase for another 6-7 months.. And, oddly enough, I feel good for having dropped it. Win win...

But don't think I forgot about the "do a season of CX races". Oh NO!!! If I can still walk after Ironman, I'll be considering getting muddy.