Monday, March 26, 2007

Where does it come from?

This past week we saw a nice warming trend into the mid 60s. With that we all want to spend some much needed time outdoors. Snickers and Ruby, our Brittany's, have enjoyed the warm sunshine and the chance to chase the birds and critters around the yard. Here is a picture of
Snickers staring out the door at Peter Cottontail sitting in our garden.

Snickers gets funny when he sees a rabbit. He locks on with an intense focus. He shakes and shivers imperceptably, yet I can see his ears and fur move. He ignores whatever is around him. He may look away for just a moment but will return to his "prey" so he doesn't loose sight of his "goal".

Brittany's are natural flushers. They are supposed to be awesome bird hunters. Flushing birds from the underbrush for hunters to shoot from the air. Birds do hold an amazing fascination for both dogs. It is a true example of basic instinct. We have never hunted with the dogs. This is something that they are born with.

Watching Snickers made me think about my own focus and drive. Specifically in the area of competing in triathlons. Hey....what did you expect....this is a triathlon blog.

Lately, I've been trying to figure out my drive to compete in triathlons. Why do I train so hard? Why do I spend so much time in the pool, on the bike, pounding the pavement. Why am I swimming laps in a 20 yard pool, running circles on a high school track, spinning my legs for hours in my basement.

I absolutely enjoy the training I do. My coach was watching me swim and called me a swimmer. Swimming was my weakest part of the three but has become one of my favorites. I like the level of fitness I have acheived. I am in better shape than high school, maybe not as fast as high school but fitter. I like the balance training and racing brings to my life. That saying of work hard, play harder......I admit I do that. I train and race hard to see what I am capable of. What are my limits? For some unknown, internal, deep seeded reason I need to find out what they are.

I feel similar to how Snickers wants that rabbit so bad......I don't know what he would do with it if he caught the little critter......but he gets so excited.

I get excited with my workouts and seeing how I'm improving. I'm testing myself and learning new things about myself, others, life, fitness, etc........I hope I never stop learning or reach that unknown goal. Once I reach it what would I do next. Enough rambling.

Wouldn't you know it TriSaraTops has found a piece of the puzzle with her most recent post.

I Don't Wanna Wait

Where does it come from? Deep inside. Game On.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Out with the old, In with the new

Yes the weather is starting to improve here on the north coast of Ohio. Looks like we will be in the 50's all week. I'm hoping to do some training outside, especially on the bike. But first I have to get things ready for the road. but then I started to think about what else needs to be prepared for spring training and the races that follow.

Check your equipment against the list below and see what may need to be replaced.

Goggles - Maybe it's time to replace that old pair with new ones. Are they scratched, band is old, leaking. Maybe you just deserve a new pair.

Swimsuit - Is your suit suffering from Lycra disease? Is it wearing thin and the lycra is breaking from being in the chlorine pool all winter? A new suit will spare you the embarrassment of showing too much when group gets together for an open water swim.

Tires - This is the most important aspect of transitioning from indoor to outdoor riding. Replace the rubber that has been worn thin by the indoor trainer. The roads are covered with salt, rocks and other debris that will put a hole in the tube before you know it. Your tires may also have a lot of mile on them from last year.

Cables - Over time the cables will stretch. The extra slack in the cable will cause problems when shifting gears. The cables may need to be tightened or replaced completely. If the ends are unraveling, replace the entire cable. The cable could come apart and cause the brake or derailleur to slip.

Bar tape - Think of all the miles you rode last year and all the sweat, dirt, snot, drool, gatorade and other nasties that have been on the handlebars. On a tri bike the bar tape may not be as bad but if you have a road bike the cushioning may not be as good. Maybe pick a fun color to spice up your ride.

Chain - Like the cables a chain will stretch over time. When the stretching occurs the links will not sit properly on the chain rings or cassette. There could be problems with shifting or the chain could stick to the teeth. And clean that chain. Sure you rode inside but it still gets dirty. Clean it an Lube it.

Cleats - You never see them but they are what connects you to your bike. The cleats under your feet have been scrapped and scuffed against the pavement and clipping in and out of the pedals. New cleats will make sure you have a solid connection with the pedals and allow for smooth clipping in/out. If you think the cleats are okay, make sure the bolts are tight.

Brake pads - If you don't care about stopping then don't worry about this point...but you will go screaming into T2 a little out of control. Brake pads have wear indicators that help you determine if the pads should be replaced. There could also be a bunch of gunk on the pads. Stone chips, metal shavings and other"crap" can get imbeded into the pad and could cause the wheel rims to wear quicker than you want. Brake pads are so much cheaper than a new wheel set. An ounce of prevention is worth about $10.

Shoes - How many miles have you put on your shoes over the winter. It may be time for a fresh pair before you start racing. My trail shoes have been idle lately while I get used to my new road shoes for my first half marathon in April. Remember that 300-350 miles is usually when shoes should be replaced.

Socks - I am a total fan of DeFeet socks....and they are fun. Get some new socks to complement those new shoes. I saw a new pair of Swim/Bike/Run socks that I will buy.

You have been training hard all winter. Bundled up in several layers when venturing outside and sweating buckets when inside. Treat yourself to a new racing/training outfit. The padding in those shorts from last year having lost some of their "cush" for the tush.

Give the bike a good check, lace up those shoes, get outside and train safe.

Game On.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Race Etiquette

I read this article on and felt it appropriate for everyone to review as we head into the racing season.

Triathlon Etiquette

Game On.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Check it out

I've finally figured out how to create and upload a header for my blog. Let me know what you think.....constructive criticism appreciated. Being in the IT industry I really suck at this web stuff.

I got awesome tips from here: Peter Chen

and here: Paul Stamatiou

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Race Strategy - Part Deux

I guess I need to be serious about this race strategy thing. My fast, faster, really FAST strategy was a spoof on a Saturday Night Live skit. I can't remember details but a track coach was telling his team in order to win they would have to run fast, then run faster, and finally run really fast.

Aimee and I throw that back and forth at each other to break any pre-race tension, stress and anxiety we may have. A quick kiss also helps.

Pre-race strategy for me involves the following:

Having confidence in my training. Believing I have prepared myself physically as best I could for this particular day.

Proper Planning. I have laid out my transition area, brought the right fuel, selected the correct equipment for the conditions of the day and course.

Mental Preparation. Staying calm and relaxed. The above two items helps me find the calmness before the storm.

Smile. No matter what the day brings try to have fun. Remember how fortunate we are to be able to participate in triathlons, running, cycling, etc. Thank the volunteers, police and event staff. Cheer for other competitors. Finish the race knowing you have learned something more about yourself and others.

Just something to think about as you taper and prepare to toe the line for any event.

Sometimes the smallest things will help get your Game On.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Racing Strategy

As we enter into the racing season everyone should be tuning up their mental preparation and confidance. Mental training is just as important as swimming, biking and running. Without the proper mental balance you are just going through the motions.

Aimee and I help each other prepare for races. We remind each other about the appropriate race plan. It works for us, maybe it will work for you.

First you start the race going fast.

Part way through you should begin to go faster.

For the final part of the race you should be going really FAST.

No......don't thank me now. I'm here to's what I do.

I think Bolder would approve.

Game On.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Extreme Workouts

Extreme conditions call for extreme measures. Not to be confused with extreme weather conditions, this weekends extreme conditions involves work. I'm posting from the Motor City, Detroit. Actually just north of Detroit but that point is moot.

I'm performing a computer migration for a customer. I drove up (2.5 hours) to my customer so I could prep for the weekends activities. I'm up here all weekend. Saturday is the main event which will be at least a 15 hour day. I'm hoping to be out and driving back home no later than noon on Sunday.

So I'm coming of a workout high with my Thursday double. I wanted to carry the momentum into my weekend workouts. But I'm up in Detroit for the weekend. The best thing about being able to drive to my customers......I can pack all the shit I want.

So I put my bike, trainer, workout bag, gatorade, two water bottles, weekend bag, laptop backpack, bike shoes, running shoes, and casual shoes all into the Pilot for the weekend. I was determined to get in my workouts. Here are the workouts for reference:


Ride 2:30/Zone 2
Warm Up 20 min- Zone 1
Do 4 x 10 min Pup to Zone 3
Big Chain Ring- Pushing Big Gear 12-15/ 85+ rpms
Take 10 min off easy spin Zone 1

Do 8 x 1 min High Cadence spin- small chain
Go for 100+- spin the legs out- Zone 3
Take 2 min off moderate- Zone 2
Finish steady aero position for 26 minutes

Run 40 min- 1st 10 min
Zone 3- then back to Zone 2

1:45 Long Run
Long Run 1:45 min/ Zone 2
From :50 min - 1:10 Pup up the effort- to 10K pace-

right at Lactate Threhold for 20 min- then do 10 min easy jog
Finish run Zone 2 - 25 minutes now see the picture that has been painted. First thought was to do the brick Saturday night and the long run Sunday when I got home. After meeting with the customer and laying out the time-line of events there would be NO brick on Saturday. So I had to re-arrange my plans. I'm mean......I'm in Detroit, what else was I going to do on a Friday night before a work weekend. I wasn't going to the casino's to gamble (don't gamble anyways) or visit Winsdor (remember I don't gamble, what else would I do there....wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more)
So I check into my hotel and get set up for my 2.5 hour ride. Oh.My.God. Two and a half hours riding my trainer in a hotel room? I checked out the movies I could order and Casino Royale was available and it's a 2:24 movie. Brilliant! So I'm good to go. Check out these picks of my setup.

What the room looked like with the bike on the trainer:

I used the desk chair for my goodies and TV Remote:

Those are some damn good snacks. I brought the Clif bars from home and the others are from the hotel welcome bag.....(I only ate the crackers)

And the view of the TV from the bike.

The workout went well. I hit each segment in the zones I needed and time went by fairly quickly. The movie was okay with several spots that dragged on too much. I skipped the 40 minute run post ride because I didn't want to run on the hotel treadmill, low quality garbage.

So I ordered dinner instead, pizza, and called it a night.

Saturday was Go Day for migrating my customer to a new computer system. We were only changing to new hardware but we had to save and restore the information. It was going to be a long day with quite a bit of down-time. I packed my bag in case I could get in a run. The building is next to a high school track.

Here is a picture of the battlefield.

So at 3:30 that afternoon I changed and started my workout. Go back to the top to review the run workout again......that's okay....I'll it........done? Good, let's continue.

Yes that said a 1 hour 45 minute run. Yes I said I was heading to a running track. 400 meters oval. East/West on the straights with the wind, about 10MPH, coming directly from the west. Time to get down to business.

How much can I tell you about running around a track? The two kids playing on the concession stand roof. The people that came and went while I was there. The traffic, sun, water, WIND. Well, the sun was nice. Mid to high 40's during my run. I was in shorts and a short sleeve shirt. The snow was melting around the track and that left puddles at different spots which left the back of my legs rather dirty. And the wind each time I came off the curve and ran west was intimidating.

I was hitting my splits every 1600 meters and would change direction every 4800 meters. Too much going in the same direction I feel is bad for the knees. My first 50 minutes was 7:15 average. I was expecting 8's but was liking what I saw.

My 20 minutes at 10k pace had me at 6:40's. Two years ago my 10k pace was 6:24 but I was also on tired legs for this workout. I finished the run around 7:48 pace.....staying in my appropriate zone.

I summarized my run like this since I kept track of how many meters I did:

22,300 meters = 22.3km = 13.8 miles = 55.75 laps

Oh.My.God. Did I do almost 56 laps on a high school track. I never thought I would ever do that.

But extreme circumstances call for extreme workouts.

Time to rest. Even on a rest day...the Game is still On.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Becoming a Shark?

If you have told me 5 years ago I would look forward to my swimming workouts more than running or biking I would have looked at you like you were high on drugs.

Yet that is what has happened to me recently. While my running has been significant and my cycling rather stale, my swimming has been improving. Getting up at 5:00AM to hit the Y pool hasn't been hard at all. I don't know if people have been going to a new Y that opened up or what but there have been times that I am the only person in the pool. I swam for 40 minutes one morning before another person came in.

Thursday was by far one of my best swim workouts in the past several months. Here is what the workout looked like:

Warm Up 600 choice
Swim 10 x 60 yards- drill/swim/drill
Swim 4 x 500 yards
1-Negative split
2-easy/hard by 100
3 &4- race effort
Cool down easy 200

3400 total yards in this workout. After Ironman, I've been finding that anything under 3000 yards isn't worth getting in the pool. Every once in a while I will have a straight 2500 yard swim, but usually it's around 3500 which makes for a good 1 hour workout. I've also found that I have to get in that 600 warmup in order to attack the main sets with good form and attitude.

So I wasn't sure how the swim would be. My legs were still recovering from a 15k on Sunday (I still have to finish the race report). So I set out looking to make the best of the workout. Everything was feeling great.....until the last two sets of 500. Take a look at these splits per hundred yards and total time for 500:

500 race - 1:27 / 1:32 / 1:29 / 1:30 / 1:28 - 7:26
500 race - 1:24 / 1:28 / 1:28 / 1:30 / 1:28 - 7:18

Oh, I'm sorry. Did you think I was going to say my workout went to hell in a hand basket? That I went from a great workout to shit? Au contraire mon frere (that's for you Bold).


I've always strived for the 1:30 hundred. Break 3 minutes for 200, achieve 6 minutes for 400, and so on.

My Game was Soooooooooo ON. I reached, I glided, I pulled back to my hip, I rotated. I was a shark. When I reviewed the splits on my watch I couldn't believe it. I was totally jacked up about this. Nice to know something is feeling good in my workouts.

I tried to ride the high from the swim workout into my trainer ride that evening. An hour on the bike with 8 two minute pushes in the big ring/small cassette/hard resistance (MASHING) into my Zone 3.

I got on the bike and my bike legs were ready to work. I hit the trainer ride on the money as well. It was great to have two good workouts on Thursday. The mojo took a break on me and I think he's returning from vacation or something.

With the warmer weather starting to creep back into Northern Ohio I'm thinking the mojo will be stronger and the workouts will get better.

I'm a swimmer.....I'm a cyclist.......I'm a runner......Most of all.....I'm a triathlete.

Game On.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Priceless - Police Style

On-line at Ticketmaster - 2 minutes

Two concert tickets - $218.50

Look of excitement on Aimee's face after purchase of tickets to The Police concert at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland ---------

Abso-f'in-lutely PRICELESS!!

Now here's a challenge

A group of guys from Northeast Ohio are chasing after the 24 hour treadmill record. The records involves a team of 12 running for 24 hours to see how many miles they can get. You can read all about the details and status at the link below. Aimee and I were at the store from 10PM 'till Midnight to serve as witnesses. It was just amazing watching these guys running between 11-12 MPH. Also managed to see some friends we haven't talked to in a long time.

So far they are on record setting pace and are ahead by 7 miles. Events ends at 5:00PM Eastern. There is also some YouTube video.

Great Lakes HSA Treadmill Challenge

Friday, March 02, 2007

What's next?

Every once in a while I wonder what my racing/training future holds. There are so many events around the world to check out. Here is a collection of my possible races. Let me know what you think.

Off-road Ironman

Tough Guy ---- here is an ESPN story for the Tough Guy and there are plenty of videos on YouTube

Extreme Ironman