Archive for May, 2011

The wheels on the bus go round and round

Posted in Rants on May 25, 2011 by eeodim

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”  — G.K. Chesterton

I received some rough news yesterday regarding the health of family member who’s very important to me.  It had an impact strong enough to make me sit and contemplate what’s important to me in life and why.

I was supposed to run and swim yesterday for an hour each, but I didn’t.  Instead, the Wife and I took a walk with our girls to the local ice cream shop where I proceeded to take down a generous scoop (or two) of English Toffee ice cream.  All three of us sat there savoring our dessert while enjoying the warm evening weather.  We walked home taking our sweet time while singing “The wheels on the bus go round and round…”  After a little play time, I gave my three year old a bath, kissed her good night, and went to seek out my twelve year old for some more quality time.  We ended up watching a good half-hour of “The Biggest Loser” before it was time for her to hit the sack as well.

The point is, this is not normal night in our household.  Far too often I get caught up in my workouts and don’t take enough time to just sit back and live.  I’m missing my little girls grow up because I’m on the bike in the basement, at the gym trying to get another swim in or on the computer reading the latest Triathlon related news story.  This blog was started as a way to document what it was like as a father training for an Ironman.  I think I’ve skewed too far in the direction of ‘reporting’ my training routine and not enough on the father aspect of it all.  Yes, I missed an important training session, but damn that ice cream was good.  I plan to take more of these days off in the next few months and if it means the difference of being a few minutes slower in Louisville then so be it.  Life’s too short too miss all this good stuff.

La Semana Cinco (aka Week 5)

Posted in Workouts on May 24, 2011 by eeodim

Don’t push too hard.  Let those other speed demons pass you – you’ll catch up to them on the run.  Stay dialed in to your plan and you’ll be fine.  Ok, T2 is coming up here – time to go through your mental checklist: take in some fluids?  Check.  Slow the pace a bit to stretch the legs?  Check.   Dismount without falling down and head as quickly as possible to the  transition area – check and check.  These are all things going through my head as I’m on the bike preparing to start the run.  I put my shoes on, grab my fuel belt, and I’m on the way.  As soon as I’m ready to exit transition a race official stops me.  “Wait, hold on one sec.  Where’s your timing chip?”.  What?  My timing chip?  Crap – I forgot to pick up my timing chip before the race!!

I woke up Saturday morning to find out I just had my first Tri nightmare.  Unbelievable.  I didn’t even mention it to Wifey for fear of being laughed at and ridiculed.  I actually had a dream / nightmare about competing in 2/3 of a race without realizing I had not properly registered!  Ugh.  I guess  the lesson learn is come prepared.  Just under 100 days now until IMLOU and I now have a little notebook with me to document “things” I need to remember for race day.  I’m such a nerd.

Anyway, on to bigger and better things.  The days are getting tougher (and longer) now – especially the weekends.  This past Saturday / Sunday I did two hour rides both days (~34 miles each day) followed by a 4 mile run on Saturday.  My body is handling it okay for now, but I’m hoping I don’t get burnt out here in a month or so.  The plan for the rest of the week …

Monday

Swim – Video session.  Not a workout from a fitness standpoint, but valuable lesson here.  Watching video proves to be very helpful in the longrun.

Tuesday

Run – 60′

Swim – 60′

Wednesday

Run –  30′ in the morning

Bike – 75′ in the evening

Thursday

Run – 90′ total

Friday

Swim – 2600 meters, 60′ total

Saturday

Bike – 210′

Run – 30′ brick run, but may shorten the bike by 30′ and add 15-30′ on the run instead

Sunday

Bike – 180′ total

Say “Swimmer’s Sinusitis” three times fast

Posted in Random on May 19, 2011 by eeodim

My desk after a morning swim

I’ve noticed the past three or four times after been in the pool that my “allergies” were acting up in tremendous fashion.  Immediately after my swim sessions and lasting roughly 24 hrs I have a stuffy nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, and minor headaches.  I chalked it up to allergies the first couple of times, but after this last session I knew it was more than just tree pollen.

After some research I found that Swimmer’s Sinusitis (aka sinus infection) is quite common in athletes exposed to chlorine for extended periods of time.  Quickly explained via ehow.com  … water from the pool can find its way into the nasal passages and be breathed further up into nasal passages. Chlorine from the water can burn and irritate the sinus lining, causing it to become inflamed. In some cases, bacteria that the chlorine did not eliminate may be present in the water and could find its way into your sinus cavities, causing infection.

So the question is what is a guy to do?  I can’t just not swim (as much as I would love that), so the next option is to try a nose plug.  Ummm … yeah.  Now I’m not just the dorky guy at the pool in a speedo, but I’ll be the dorky guy at the pool rockin’ a nose plug.  This will definitely test my resolve to get back in the pool and get my training in.  It’s such a good excuse to just say “ehhhhhh, I’d rather be able to breathe today – I’ll just stay home”, but the bottom line is I have to do it.  A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

This is a test…this is only a test

Posted in Random on May 17, 2011 by eeodim

Last week it was reported that officials were getting closer to bringing an Ironman to New York City.  While there still seems to be a number of questions that need to be answered my immediate thought was “Hmmmmmm…”  Now I’ve yet to even finish IMLOU and I’m already contemplating whether or not I could give IMNYC a whirl.  So I thought I’d have a little fun with this and post this news on the blog just to see how Wifey responds.  I don’t even know if she reads this anymore, but this will be a good test.  Again, this is only a test.

“All day son, all day”

Posted in Random on May 16, 2011 by eeodim

The following is a Guest Post by my boy, Paco.  As a lifelong athlete he has recently decided to take the plunge into the endurance lifestyle.  While presently focusing on the running discipline, I hope some constant prodding will eventually move him into Tri’s.  His story is unique and inspiring – without further ado … 


May marked the 5th month of my running “adventure” – before the 10K, I had done 2 races, a 5K in March and a 4 mile race in April. I have definitely improved since January as I’ve gone from being able to barely run 1.5 miles (and at a 10:30 minute pace) to doing 8:48 on 4 miles and 9:10 on a 10K.

That’s a walking pace for you but given that “interval training” for me before was seeing how many shots of tequila I can do in an hour, I’m pleased with the progress.

When I woke up in the morning, the first thing I did was look outside to check the weather.

JW, EZ, and Paco

The forecast was rain and the clouds were out in full force. At this point, I’m thinking that I must be doing rain dances in my sleep because every race I’ve done up to this point has been in rain. And not just regular rain – I’m talking torrential downpour / “why the f*ck am I out here running so f*cking early” kind of rain. If there was a race in the Sahara and I was in it, I guarantee that a freak hurricane would hit the desert.

Mile 1-2

We get to the park, do our stretches and instead of going to our corral (7k+ runners so our group was at least 1/2 a mile from the starting line), we decided to stay near the front and jump in when our group passes. Once in, I try to settle into my pace (was aiming for low 9s to start) but the first 2 miles are pure chaos. I do more zigging and zagging then running and at one point, I got elbowed in the back. Two runners got into a quick shouting match because of all the jostling (the yelling was akin to fighting for the only cab available in midtown at 6pm during a storm)…I guess this wouldn’t be a race in New York City without some “friendly” yelling. I manage to find some space on the outside and actually got into a rhythm. As I’m running, I noticed that a) there was a guy running barefoot (insane!) and b) a very pregnant lady in the race!! I think to myself that if this pregnant lady can do this, then I really have no excuse for not going all out in this race. Also, although the clouds remain, it doesn’t rain so I felt like my “rain curse” was broken.

The first 2 miles are rolling hills (going up on the west side), culminating in 2 big hills on the northern end of the park (one big uphill, followed by a nice downhill, followed by another uphill). I do the first 2 miles at a pace of roughly 8:45 so I’m feeling good. That’s faster than I planned on but I felt good so I kept the pace.

Was this the prego lady running along side Paco?

Mile 3-5

As I make it past the 2nd uphill and go south on the east side, I start to get tired. I cross mile 3 at roughly 8:55 but I can feel myself beginning to struggle. I usually get tired around mile 4 but the fact that this pace was faster than what I have been doing is forcing the fatigue to set in earlier. I also realize that I don’t have a downhill for another 2 miles so that starts to bother me. When I get to mile 4, not only am I tired but I’m also hearing voices in my head – “It’s ok to stop here and walk a little” or “Why are you doing this? Do you know how comfy your bed is?!!” or “If you stopped and went home now, no one would really know.” I know that it’s all mind games at this point and that I needed a way to block all these voices of doubt. I start digging through my “mental file cabinet” of inspirational speeches/quotes/voices – Rocky (Mick yelling at me), 300 (Spartans!!!), Gladiator (are you not entertained?!!?!), Any Given Sunday (it’s a game of inches!!!!), anything to keep me going but none of it is helping. Then suddenly, a voice came and drowned out all the noise. It wasn’t yelling but it was definitely a firm tone – the voice of a guy from Minnesota who played soccer in college and got dominated by me in fantasy football (sorry, had to throw that in!). For some reason, I could hear EZ’s voice saying “All day son, all day.” And then I felt better, and I kept running. I started leaning forward like the Chi running technique says you should. I’m muttering “all day” to myself now, to the point that 1 or 2 runners definitely glanced me like I was crazy. I get to mile 4 in roughly 9:15 pace (my worst of the day) but manage to get myself to ~9 as I get to mile 5. “All day son…..”

Mile 6+

So at this stage, EZ has been joined in my “imaginary corner” by JW! In my head, JW is just yelling at me. Nothing coherent, just motivational yelling. I’m thinking that I’m losing my damn mind but it just makes me run faster. I give it everything I have left and push as much as my legs are willing to give me. As I get to 800 meters left to the finish, I’m practically zoning out because I am exhausted. But then suddenly, I hear another voice….don’t worry, this one was actually real and not imaginary!! Over the crowd I hear a French accent yell “Come on Paco!!!!!” It was Meneret, who had already finished and was cheering from the sidelines. That last yell was enough to give me one last push and I finish the race. According to my Garmin, I ran about 6.35 miles at an 8:57 pace. It’s not a big deal for most runners but I was thrilled to get under 9 minutes for this.

In a fit of motivation (or insanity), I immediately signed up for 2 half marathons (first one is June 5th in San Diego) and a 5 mile race. So what have I learned so far in this running adventure? Too many things to list but some main lessons/observations: a) as hard as it is, there is something so peaceful and rewarding about getting out there and just running, b) the improvement “curve” is steep and once you get going, it’s addictive and you don’t want to stop, and c) although some may say I should get medication for the voices in my head while I run, I don’t mind hearing EZ and JW yelling at me if it means I don’t stop.

“All day son, all day…..”

Giddy-Up

Posted in Workouts on May 16, 2011 by eeodim

The last few days have been a whirlwind of traveling and catching up with extended family – two key ingredients in a disastrous training weekend.  My intentions were good in that I brought all of my workout gear (I even laid my clothes out the night before like a 5 yr old attending his first day of kindergarten), but I was just too exhausted to follow through and actually train.  I’m extremely upset with myself for slacking in such a monumental manner.  Rather than lament, however, I’ve decided to keep it moving and focus on this upcoming week.  There’s nothing I can do about the past other than learn from my mistakes, so time to get back on the proverbial horse and get ready to go.  Here’s a quick look at what the schedule looks like for week 3 of my 20 week Ironman training program:

Monday

Swim – 2600 meters, 60′  total

Tuesday

Run – 60′ in the morning followed by the Wall Street 5K Run and Heart Walk later that evening

Wednesday

Run –  45′ in the morning

Bike – 60′ in the evening

Thursday

Run – 90′ total

Friday

Swim – 2300 meters, 60′ total

Saturday

Bike – 180′ ride scheduled with my boy, JW.  We’ll ride the 11 mile Doc n Sok (sprint) course as a time trial.

Run – 30′ brick run, but may shorten the bike by 30′ and add 15-30′ on the run instead

Sunday

Bike – 120′ total

NJ Devilman Race Report

Posted in Races on May 9, 2011 by eeodim

Ad·dic·tion/əˈdikSHən/

Noun: The fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.
       ———————————————–
It’s official, I’m addicted.  I hate swimming, my ass hurts after riding the bike for extended periods of time, and running is just all around boring.  Add ’em all together and one would think I’d bemoan anyone who participated in these Tri-thingy’s.  Yet, I can’t get enough of them.  This past Saturday marked the first race of the Tri season for me, the NJ Devilman Half-Lite: 0.8 mile swim, 40.3 mile bike, and 8.8 mile run.
Now according to my wife I’m somewhat of a detailed oriented freak.  I make lists, I plan things out, and I over analyze.   So it was a bit strange that I had zero expectations going into the race.  The way I see it, the weather has just started to warm up, so it hasn’t really started to feel like Tri season quite yet.  Another explanation could be this was more of a C type race on the priority list.  IM Rhode Island 70.3 and obviously IMLOU are my A targets, so this was more or less a glorified training session if you will.  Anyway, on to the details …
Pre Race
Packet pickup started at 5:30 a.m., so I was out the door by 5ish to grab a quick bagel and be there early to get setup.  Breakfast consisted of a banana, 16 oz of Gatorade and a dry bagel …  Mmmmmmm.  Since I wanted to practice everything that I’d be doing for IMLOU I actually woke up at 2 a.m. to take in some calories.  I don’t think I opened my eyes the 5 minutes I was awake to take in my Cliff bar and some Gatorade.  I’m blessed with the ability to fall asleep at the drop of a dime, so this wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
Swim

Other than being unbelievably slow, the swim went ok.  I had probably been in the pool only 6-10 times leading up to this, so I made sure my goals were manageable.  Keep a nice and steady stroke, maintain a stable heart rate, don’t get kicked or punched by other swimmers, and come out of the water with energy.  I nailed each one.  I’m pretty sure I saw a turtle swim past me, but on the bright side I didn’t drown.

One nugget of information I gained heading from the swim to T1 was not to wear my Garmin 310xt under my wetsuit.  Even though I wasn’t using it to for data purposes I wore the watch so I wouldn’t have to fumble with putting it while in transition.  Unfortuanately, while ripping off my suit the unit snapped from the wristband and went flying.  Had another competitor not notice and picked it up for me it would have been lost.  So the good news is I didn’t lose it and was able to use it on the run just holding it in my hand, the bad news is I need a new strap.   Total time: 24:44

T1 
Overall I was happy with how my transitions went.  I struggled a bit with my wet suit, but then again who doesn’t?  I left my shoes on the pedals and planned to put them on after I crossed the bike mount line which helped a lot.  I’ll need to work on mounting the bike, but that’s really my only complaint.  Keep it simple and quick.  Total time: 1:19

Bike

The course was set up nicely for my first race of the year as it was very flat and pretty fast.  The only real drawbacks I recall were the gusty winds and course not being closed to traffic.  I heard a few stories of riders having close calls with cars / trucks.

One of the better investments I’ve made so far is my power meter.  Having all my bike data right in front of me while I ride has been worth every penny.  Having trained hard the past few months, I know what my body can handle and what it can’t.   Having this type of information during a race allows me to just focus on staying aero and not worry about what others are doing.  There was some disappointment when some faster riders went past me, but ultimately I knew they’d fizzle toward the end of the bike or I’d catch them on the run.

I pegged my target watts to be 204 and after checking my numbers last night my normalized watts came in at 200 on the nose.  Some other nerdy numbers for my fellow Tri geeks:

Total time: 2:01:42

Distance: 40.8 miles

Elevation Gain / Loss: 66 ft / -49 ft

Avg Speed: 20.5 mph

Norm. Power: 200 watts

Avg Cadence: 71

Click for a map of the bike course and more data

Final bike note:  I forgot to take a little time heading into T2 to relax a bit.  I should have remembered to take the final few hundred yards at an easier pace to loosen up the legs a bit before getting off the bike.  My quads were pretty tight after I hopped off.  I think some simple on the bike stretches could do wonders to alleviate that pain going forward.

 T2

Again, relatively smooth transition.  I did lose a few seconds while racking my bike as the knucklehead next to me racked his incorrectly which didn’t allow me to get my bike in.  I slid into my shoes, grabbed my fuel belt and was off.  Total time: 1:10


Run

This is where I get my mojo back and start to get comfortable.  The legs were sore, but I still felt pretty fresh all things considered and had no reason to think I couldn’t run the full 8.8 miles at a decent clip.  The first two miles were intentionally slow (7:45 min/mile pace) –  I actually had to tell myself a few times to relax as I was moving at a sub 6 min/mile pace.  I almost stopped to walk at the first aid station forcing myself to slow down, but I really didn’t want to walk.  I wanted to hit a 7:15 pace for the next 5 miles and then let the cards fall where they may for the last 2 miles.  Not having my Garmin on my wrist was a bit annoying as I was constantly reaching into my pocket to check my pace – speed up, slow down, speed up, etc.

Right around mile 5 I started to feel both of my quads tighten.  I tried pushing through mile 6, but around mile 7 or 8 the left one just seized up on me.  It was one of those cramps where you let out an “arrrrggggghhhhh” while trying to stretch it out.  As I was bent over in agony another racer passing by me shouted “You’re almost there, time to bring it home” which was literally all I needed to hear.  I let out a “F it” and headed back on my way.

Quick Tangent:  I absolutely LOVE being apart of the triathlon community.  At various parts of the day people are always yelling words of encouragement to each other.  Early in the run I passed a guy and he said “Good form buddy.”  Honestly, you don’t find that anymore in today’s sports.  Yes, triathletes can be jerks if you mess with their transition area or ignore some common rules of the road while on the bike, but for the most part everyone is encouraging and supportive.  End Tangent.

After reestablishing my pace I eventually passed the good samaritian who said the kind words and a few other people who I remember passing me on the bike.  There were a few racers who passed me on the run, but not many.  The run is definitely my strong suit and an area I look to strengthen even more in the next few months.

Total time: 1:08:30  

Representing ReserveAid to the fullest

Distance: 8.8 miles

Avg Pace: 7:30 min / mile

Click for a map of the run course and more data

Final Notes

I was very pleased with my overall performance.  I finished strong and I knew I had some gas left in the tank.  This was a great benchmark to use for upcoming training sessions and my IM Rhode Island 70.3 race in mid July.  I forsee some big gains in the swim – after all, I can’t get much worse.  I can only get stronger on the bike and I’m going to push myself even more now on the run.  This weekend a door opened and I was able to get a little peak of light way down at the end of the tunnel.  Where I once thought finishing an Ironman was a pipe dream, I now actually think it’s a possibility.

Race Stats:

Finish Time: 3:37:26

Overall place: 86/293

Men 30-34 yrs: 14/32

Team ReserveAid  

We are ... Team ReserveAid

What made the day even more special was the ability to race with all my Team ReserveAid cohorts.  This was the first time we were all out together rockin’ our new kits.  We received a ton of “Hmmm, I wonder what ReserveAid is?” type looks from other racers.  I gotta say, looking good is a huge part of racing good.
More pics of the crew …

JW, Terminator, and Jess

James, Simmer, Amanda, Me, Stacey, JW, Jess, and LT

back of our jersey

Finally, a cool lil video JW put together …